December 31, 2008

Ads in the blog

KSko was asking about the ads in my blog, why I have them and what they're for. I'm sure some of you have seen similar setup on other blogs and websites.

Basically, how they work is: Companies pay an ad company (like Google) to handle their ads. Google (or any other online ad venue) turns around and offers a very small payment in return for someone like me to host these ads. Every time someone clicks on one of these ads on my blog, I get a...I think, it's a penny. This is my "payment" for hosting these ads.

When I get a sum of a minimum $100, Google will paypal or mail a check to me. I have had the ads on my blog for 3 months so far, and have accrued a grand total of $1.27.

But I am conservative in how many ads I have on the blog. I don't like it when websites or blogs plaster ads all over the page - they can be annoying and disruptive. If my readership base grows, however, I might reconsider that. The blog currently averages about 10-12 daily readers, so I feel it's not really worth annoying what few readers I have with more ads.

Incidentally, if you ever see an offensive ad, please feel free to drop me a note, and I'll tweak the ad filters to block them.


December 27, 2008

I am not cut out for

this roommate thing.

Am I too anal? I just got home from my Christmas break, and discovered that our fridge is so full that I can't fit the food I just picked up for next week in it. And what food I did have left over from last week, someone moved. Someone TOUCHED MY FOOD.

I'm definitely not cut out for roommate situation. Gah. Just a few more months. I keep reminding myself I'm saving oodles of money by living here.


Ok I'm done.


December 21, 2008

Hopping around DC

Went out last night with a friend.

First, we went to the Arlington Cemetery because someone misunderstood a news article and thought the entire cemetery would have wreathes on the gravestones.

Then I said, hey, I haven't seen the 9/11 memorial yet. So we went up there.

Taken with my cell phone

Then we headed over to the White House lawn where we thought the Christmas Tree was...It wasn't - it was on the Mall. Oops. After wandering around a bit, we found it.
Taken with my cell phone

Then we decided to get a late dinner. After some hoofing, we found a restaurant, Ceiba. We were definitely underdressed, but went in anyway. With one look at us, we got seated at a table near the kitchen. Lovely.

I ordered this: ""Hot Lava Stone" Queso Fundido" - Shaved Ribeye Steak, Poblano Chilis, Oaxacan Cheese
That wrapped up our evening.


December 17, 2008

Uck! Uck!

Coming home on train today, it was a little crowded - but not packed-like-sardines crowded - and I had to stand. No big deal. Bored, I looked around at the people on train, and noticed one guy sitting in one of the rows picking his nose.

No, it wasn't a shallow little scrape. The fine, upstanding gentleman was digging away with his finger up his nose, up to the first knuckle. I watched in horror as the side of his nose stretched and bulged; it reminded me of the scene from Total Recall where Arnie had to pull out a tracking device through his nose.

Then he pulled his finger out. "Good," I thought. A moment too soon. He examined his bounty, then reached out and wiped his finger clean on a woman's bulky jacket collar in front of him.

Say it with me. Uck! Uck!


December 15, 2008

A Christmas present for someone...


Signs of the times

Saturday, I was out shopping for presents for my family, and while driving to a department store, I saw a somewhat beaten-down man standing at a stoplight. At first, I thought he was a panhandler - not an uncommon sight - but when he turned around, I realized he was wearing a sign and had a clipboard.

I don't remember what the sign said exactly...This gentleman was out of work and was collecting petition signatures for another New Deal to send to Obama.

The light changed to green before I could chat with him and find out more. It's been a long time since I studied that era - I think 7th grade in a Social Studies (aka History) class, so the finer details of the program escapes me. For those of you who need a refresher, the New Deal was a massive program that FDR and a bunch of other brilliant(?) people thought up. It gave jobs to the jobless and whipped sleezy business and finance practices with the objective of helping the economy. It also brought about the Social Security Administration and SEC.

While I don't think we need another New Deal of the same scope...Our jobless rate is nowwhere as high as it was then (9-ish% vs 17%)...I would not be surprised if a government job program of some type was created in the near future.

We cannot depend on trading with other countries to help us bounce back. Although the Great Depression wasn't contained to U.S. alone, this recession is affecting far more countries this time around.

To put it in perspective, the forecasts for GDP growth for U.S., Euro Union, Japan, U.K., Canada and Mexico are all expected to have negative GDP growth. China needs at least 7% to sustain its economy, due to its large population and other factors, and they are forecasted to have 6.9% at best. Russia had 6.6% GDP growth for '08; they are forecasted to have around 2% growth next year. Signs of the times, indeed. I'd cite the source, but that'd give away my place of employment, which I'd rather not do online.

How does this affect you and me? Well. It all depends on how the government reacts in the next few months. The jobless rate will almost certainly grow to 10% next year - and that's excluding the fallout of an American auto bankruptcy - which, incidentally, isn't as bad as the media makes it out to be. If one of them filed for Chapter 11, they not close doors, they will continue to function. Remember, America Airlines and Northwest Airline, amongst others, filed for bankruptcy, and they're still around today. But I digress...the jobless rate, however, is not expected to go above 12%. As long as your company is in a decent shape, you cut back on luxuries and hold tight for the'll be fine. If you're caught in a layoff, remember to apply for unemployment - the unemployment period will be extended, I believe, another 3 months.

To wrap this post up - I didn't intend for this to be a long one - I have a feeling that this will be a long, but fairly moderate, relatively speaking, recession. Spanning more than two years, perhaps.


December 14, 2008

Photo du Jour


December 6, 2008

A baby step

I offered to photograph an event or two for a golden-retriever rescue, Grreat, free -- to expand on my portfolio and experience, and went to an adoption event today. Digressing here, I do plan to contact other more "human-oriented" orgs. I only just heard back from Habitat for Humanity a couple days ago.

I did snap a few people pictures but legally can't post them online because I didn't get their permissions, but can use them in an informal setting, such as portfolio.

Here're a couple pictures from today.

Buddy (I think), an 8 year old youngster. He did show his age, but was pretty playful despite it. I wanted to steal him.
This darling, I didn't get the name of. He's 7 or 8 months old mixed golden. Very playful. A lot of people were interested in him.

This old bird, I think, isn't available for adoption. I had a hard time understanding her foodman. I could feel several tumors on her and looked like she wasn't in great health. She was in good spirits though and kept flopping over for bellyrubs.

This guy is either just adopted or just got into the rescue - again, my lipreading skills failed me. He was so so timid and would not approach anyone on his own. Very atypical golden. After some patience, he finally gave my hand some headbutting for some pets. He's about 10 months, and reminds me so much of Apollo at that age - all legs, weird coat, and just plain awkward-looking.


December 4, 2008

Memoirs of Fall

Ok, just one memoir. This is not my favorite picture, composition-wise, but I needed the practice. I messed around with different settings tonight.


All the yellow sucked out. Interesting.

Pushing the envelope further...Almost all color sucked out.

Even more harsh here...I left just a touch of color in.

Looks kinda morbid, no? This reminds me of the recent Sleepy Hollow or The Brothers Grimm movies.

What do ya'all think? Any favorites?


December 1, 2008

Smart Cars

This scares me.

This is a convertible smart car. Not only do you not have much padding in front or behind you, you also lose the ceiling?

I saw this car in D.C. a few days ago. It boggles my mind to picture this car zipping through D.C. traffic. And I use the word, "zip," loosely. It doesn't have much power. 1.0 liter, 3 cylinders.

Crazy. I did read up on this car when it first came out on the market, and I remember an engineer saying that the frame is built like a ping-pong ball. Hit something, you'll simply bounce off. Great analogy, but what happens when you hit a SUV or a semi-truck? Or if you get sandwiched between cars? I don't want to find out personally.

But hey! They have a coin holder! My car doesn't have that!


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