Thursday, March 31, 2011

C25K Time!

The wifey came home with some information from Never Quit Beach Fest last night and it sounded good. I mean really, how hard can it be to walk/jog a little over 3 miles? And this is at 5pm, so we don't have to get up early, it's at our favorite place, the beach...I can do this! Right? We've wanted to do a 5K, but really just haven't gotten around to signing up. This one sounds perfect!

I grabbed the C25K (Couch to 5K) app for Android and it follows the 9 Week Cool Runnings program. Unfortunately we actually only have 7 weeks and one of those weeks we're in the Dominican Republic on vacation, but hopefully that is sufficient to get us prepared. Wish us luck, we'll keep you posted on our efforts! Come on out and join us!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pre-Vacation - Majestic Elegance Punta Cana

Our upcoming vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is getting closer. It's about a month away!! YEA! Over the last few weeks I've been looking more at pictures and forum posts on Trip Advisor and other sites to get into vacation mode! We can't wait, we were last in Punta Cana back in 2003. That was where we got engaged. The beaches there are the best we've ever been to and that is saying something because we've been to a LOT of beaches over the years.

We're staying in the club section, which is the Adult only section of the resort. That gives you access to 2 adult only pools, 2 rooftop bars, bali bed section on the beach, poolside/beach drink service, internet access in the room, separate lobby with computers/internet access, free room service, concierge service and a bunch of other things that I can't recall.

We're staying at the Majestic Elegance and I thought I'd post some pictures from other travelers that have been there recently....Can't wait!!

Photos of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

I think this is similar to what our room will be like with the jacuzzi by the balcony

Images of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

Wanted to get a picture showing the Bali beds with the the Bali beds!

Photos of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

View of the hot tubs in the Spa

View of the main pool that spans most of the resort

View of some of the bali beds and beach

Photos of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

Crystal clear blue waters at the beach....ahhh...

Photos of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

Photos of Majestic Elegance Punta Cana, Punta Cana

Post Trip Update:  We had a wonderful time and the pictures are very accurate, it is beautiful.

One thing we were glad we did ahead of time was to do one of the Spanish Learning programs.  Most employees do speak some English at the Majestic, but unlike Mexico where everyone speaks fluent English for the most part, in the Dominican it really does help a bunch to speak a little more Spanish than just Hola, Cerveza or Donde esta el bano?  ;)

We tried a few different programs and sites and we found that Rocket Spanish helped the most to actually be able to speak and understand the language the best.   I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you are traveling to the Dominican Republic and they have a free 6 day trial as well with nothing other than a name and email required.  Can't beat that.

All in all it was an excellent time, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day Trip - Caribbean Jacks Daytona Beach

Over this past weekend we wanted to take a drive somewhere to do something different. Pretty vague I know, but we wanted to just get in the car, head down 95 South and go to some venue we hadn't been. It was around 11:30am that we left the house and I had in my head that we'd drive until around 12:30 and find a place on the water to eat. I didn't say that to the wifey, we just started driving south.

As we started driving, we both were wanting to head right to the Florida Keys. A 6 hour drive one way wasn't really in the cards, but we do love the keys. Anyhow....It was funny, at 12:25 the wifey was using Google maps and the restaurant locator piece to find a cool place on the water to have lunch. Restaurants/bars on the waterfront are our favorite places to go. Love waterfront views. She must have telepathically picked up on my desire to hit a waterfront place for lunch around 12:30.

So we stopped at Caribbean Jacks on the Intracoastal Waterway in Daytona Beach. We've been to Daytona Beach a bunch of times, it's only an hour away. The main boardwalk area is touristy and kinda dated and stuff so that whole area wasn't the draw. We have never been to anyplace on the Intracoastal there and this place fit the bill perfectly. Nice big outdoor patio, weather was perfect, water view was great and food was good as well! It's always fun to go out and explore and find some place new that turns out to be a great find. Gotta hand it to Google maps and smart phones to make exploring easy! Hard to believe 4 months ago we'd always call one of my sisters' to have them look stuff up for us. Love the Droid X!

Here are some pictures from our little adventure....Do you ever go out to explore a new area for something fun? What are some of the apps/ways you find something new that have provided the best results?

Picture of the restaurant from the water taken from their website

Great view from our table


There was a pool at the restaurant...some sort of club membership was required.

We went over to the beach after lunch, you can still drive on Daytona Beach

The water was nice and clear there...the soft white sand helps!

We took the scenic route home, going up A1A along the Ocean and stopped to take this quick photo in the Crescent Beach area...the water looked so clear and blue!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazon Android App Store

Amazon recently rolled out their App Store for Android phones and initially I wasn't real excited. You have to enable one click to 'purchase' apps even if they are free. But once you get over that, it's really cool. They have a daily free app, which highlights one app that normally is a paid app, but for that one day it's completely free. That is the main reason I installed the app, to get the free Angry Birds Rio. Since then I've grabbed two other free apps, Diner Dash 2, the game where you serve people in your restaurant and the Swiftkey Virtual keyboard.

So far I love the Swiftkey Keyboard, it's predictive nature has done a good job figuring out what I'm going to type next. It was recommended by a friend, but I didn't want to pay the few dollars and of course downloading a hacked copy would be illegal and immoral and require a little effort, so finding it free yesterday was a bonus.

Another feature they added today is an option to test out the app directly on their site without downloading it. That is super cool. It basically runs the app on their site via an Android emulator, saving you from having to download, try it, uninstall, etc.

I wasn't expecting a lot from the Amazon App store, but I do love Amazon and it's where I go first to buy just about everything I buy. Having good luck so far and with the new features being added almost daily, I think they will give the regular Android Market a run for their money. Even if you don't have an Android phone or tablet, you can use the test feature to try an app that might be available on your platform as well to try it before you buy/download it. Check it out!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Springtime in Florida

Since the weather has been absolutely perfect for over a month now in Florida with temps in the 70s and 80s and the weather up in Western NY has been absolutely terrible, especially with the 4-8 inches of snow YESTERDAY, I thought I'd share some photos I took with my phone over the last week to hopefully thaw some of that snow up there for my friends and family....

Guana River Nature Preserve Beach Access

Ahhh...the beach, our favorite place to be!

View from the upper level lookout, great place to take pics....

Our first trip to chillax on the beach this year....was 84 and purrrrfect!

View from the same lookout, facing the Intracoastal Waterway on the opposite side

My old favorite beachfront bar....LEMON BAR! We saw the Perigee moon rise over the ocean from there, very cool but the pictures didn't turn out very well....

Azaleas almost in full bloom and look, green grass!

This was pretty incredible, we went for a walk last evening and looked in the back yard of this one house in our neighborhood and blamo DEER lots and lots of deer! They were all looking at us...the person has a salt lick and/or some food or something and apparently it works! There were approx 10 of them, they're not all in the picture. So cool!

They were all playing and having fun, you can maybe tell from the picture that some on the right hand side were running around just having a good time. It was super cool.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Updates to Prior Posts

I thought I would do a quick update on two prior posts...

Android App Creation
Regarding my App-a-palooza post I was wanting to try to create an application that would allow me to control the two flash LED lights on my Droid X camera flash independently, so that I could just turn one light or the other on instead of both. The bottom LED is faulty and started to blink about 10 seconds after using one of the LED flashlight apps. Well, after over a month, the Motorola development team finally got back to me and said that while the two LEDs are in fact independent, there is no way to control them separately at the application level. On the plus side, when I use the flashlight app now, after around 10 seconds the bottom LED just goes off. It no longer blinks, so problem solved on it's own! I might return it for a 'new' refurb just before my year is up, but really no need to at this point. All is good now.

P90X workout
Regarding my previous post on P90X from last week. I was onboard, for a day anyway. I got the supplements that I had mentioned and started in on the workout for day 1 and at the 1/2 way mark of the first workout I started to feel funky. My muscles were extremely fatigued to the point where I didn't have the energy to continue and I felt as if I needed to lay down. I had taken the Size On supplment prior/during the workout and this was the first time I had tried it.

In addition, I did the workout at 5pm, prior to eating anything major. Even though I had some turkey and some hard boiled egg whites just before working out, it might not have been enough food and that could have contributed to my fatigue. I've taken the Size On supplement separately afterwords with no major issues, I do feel a bit different when taking it, but haven't felt that same funky/fatigued feeling. I've also taken it when doing regular weight lifting workouts and no major issues.

I think the P90X is a bit too much at my current level of fitness. I have no problems at all doing a few miles on the treadmill-walking fast with some slight jogging and can do weights fine, but my typical workouts are only 2-3 days a week and 35 mins in length. I may incorporate some of the individual exercises of the P90X into my regular workouts, but I do not plan to continue with the program as a whole at this point in time.

I returned the Size On and Protein supplements to GNC. As far as GNC goes, it was great to be able to return the supplements used with no issues for a full refund. I didn't realize they would do that when I purchased them, so that was a bonus. They aren't bad taste-wise compared to things I've tried before, but I can taste the artificial sweeteners. My stomach/body is easily bothered by certain things and while these supplements aren't directly causing immediate issues, would rather not take these specific ones due to all of the additional ingredients that I don't necessarily want/need.

The main reason I wanted the Size On was for the muscle gain, which is a result of the creatine mostly. So I'm going to instead get a creatine only supplement. Creatine is tasteless and naturally occuring in the body. I've taken it before and I know it works, so I'd rather just stick with pure creatine for that one. I'm planning to get this one.

As far as the protein supplement goes, it wasn't bad, but again, has a whole lot of other ingredients and the aftertaste like a diet drink might, due to the artificial sweeteners I would guess. I'm going to go with this Now Whey Protein Isolate instead, which is all natural and doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners and is unflavored.

I think that wraps up the two things I've been wanting to provide an update on. If there's anything else you would like an update on or anything you'd like to have me post about, please leave a comment, as I'm always looking for new ideas for blog posts!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Angry Birds Rio!

Angry Birds Rio is officially here! For iPhone you can get it from your normal app store for 99 cents. For Android you need to get it from the new Amazon App Store for Android and it appears that it's only free there today. So get it now! Enjoy. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Perfect Day

I was poking around other blogs yesterday and came across a post regarding the subject of 'your perfect day'. If you had nothing holding you back, exactly how do you envision your perfect day going? From what time you get up, what you have to eat, what sort of smells are present, what do you do, etc. Write it all down. Don't worry about how or why, just envision how you would want your day to go and write/type it out. This goes along with my recent post about the Secret and the Law of attraction, what you envision and concentrate on, you attract to you.

I started to instantly get a visual of how my perfect day would go as soon as I started to read the post, so thought I would share it here as it was unfolding. I figure this will help me put together a dream board soon as well, because I can incorporate some of what I'm about to detail below. So let's begin...

My perfect day would start out around 8:45-9am waking up on my own, fully refreshed and invigorated to the sound of the ocean with a nice tropical breeze. The air would have that fresh ocean breeze smell that just smells so good when you take in a nice deep breath. I envision being on the second or third floor of a home in the Florida keys or someplace very similar with nice bright blue water and a panoramic deck with a view of the water on all sides.

I would begin my day with some fresh fruit and would start right out on my day analyzing the stock market and the activities that happened in the world over night. My 'job' would be to trade stocks and I would be very good at it. I would start to analyze things from 8:45-9:30 prior to the market open and would actively trade the right opportunities between 9:30-11:30am.

From 11:30am-1:30pm I would take the time to shower up, if I haven't already, and head out to lunch at a local place overlooking the water and would probably have some sort of blackened fish sandwich with some red beans/rice. There would be a nice tropical breeze, with great water views and even some dolphins or manatees close by.

I'd return home to recap my activity from the morning and see where things are at in the market between 1:30-2pm. From 2pm-4pm I would trade the market into the close as opportunities present themselves.

At 4pm when the markets close until 4:30 or 5pm, I'd grab a quick snack and recap my trades from the day, making note of what worked, what didn't and adjust my game plan for the next day accordingly. Around 4:45 or 5pm I would get in a workout, either nice long walk along the water or workout on my home gym until around 5:30-5:45. Then I'd shower up if needed and prepare for dinner....Dinner would be at home most nights on our covered upper level deck overlooking the water. Some areas would be screened in to allow the kitties to join us and come and go from the indoors to the outdoors as they please.

After a nice relaxing dinner, we'd take a walk or just enjoy the view/sunset to unwind. After sunset I'd check out my stock shows or the online recaps to see what might move the markets the next day. We'll watch a TV show or two, either in one of the outdoor areas or inside and then wind things down and turn in for the night between 11-12.

On a weekend day, we would spend our time exploring around town, check out a park, do some snorkeling, take a nice leisurely ride in a small boat that we had access to, head to the beach, check out some outdoor music at places overlooking the water and just enjoy the laid back atmosphere that is part of the culture in the surrounding area.

Ahhh.....just thinking about that makes me happy! I now have a much better idea of what I want to put on my dream board. The 'job' portion will allow me the ability to work from anywhere in the world with a good good internet connection and computer(s), which is something I always mention when I envision my future. I also just identified the subject of the book I want to get to read for our upcoming vacation to the Dominican Republic.

I've decided on Trend Trading for a Living. It sounds like exactly what I'm looking for based on the reviews. It sounds like it will present a system that you can easily understand and follow to help you pick certain stocks to trade, identifying entry and exit points. I am currently reading Come Into My Trading Room which is a good book also and it sounds like it may have some slight overlap, but I think both books will be complimentary and help me become a better, more systematic trader.

One other thing I envision, which doesn't really go along with a perfect day, but does go along with a more perfect life in the future is wanting the ability to travel anywhere on short notice if I desire. I'd like to be able to take a vacation for a week on short notice, like to be able to travel to visit relatives for a weekend, go wherever whenever we want to. In order to do that I also envision having someone that we trust greatly that would come take care of our cats more than just 2 visits a day like our pet sitter does now. It would have to be more of a house sitting situation if we were to travel a lot more often so we wouldn't feel guilty for leaving them home alone and they would get lots of attention.

Hopefully that helped you to layout your perfect day! If you have a blog, post about your perfect day and send a link. If not, leave a comment and put it there. Would love to here how your perfect day would go!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Foursquare - Mayor of Tropical Smoothie!

I did not realize when I woke up today that I would be taking public office! I am now officially the Foursquare Mayor of my local Tropical Smoothie! I checked in to get my 10% discount today for lunch and apparently that was enough to appoint me Mayor. I guess it's a function of who has checked in at a particular location the most in 60 days.

That's quite a lot of pressure. I will have to uphold the integrity of their 'Eat Better, Feel Better' mantra as well as making sure I wear flip flops or sandals as often as possible while maintaining the tropical vibe. That certainly won't be a problem! The weather has been in the 80s and we plan to chill on the beach tomorrow for the first time this year and will certainly be sporting some sandals and tropical attire.

From what I read, the idea is that once you become mayor, venues may choose to reward their most loyal customers with additional discounts/incentives. But alas, that is not the case thus far into my first term as Mayor.

Tropical Smoothie was the first local venue I noticed that gives a discount for checking in. You check in via the FourSquare app on your phone and then show your screen for a 10% discount. While I was there today I noticed that the FireHouse subs was also showing a deal. For every 3 check-ins, you get a free 32oz drink with your food purchase. So it does look like more places are getting on board with the check-in based discounts, which is cool.

I'm a big fan of using coupons to save $. I think it's a major pain to have to remember to look for coupons or keep them with you at all times, or to always have your entertainment book handy to get a discount. Since you usually always have your phone with you, why not convert over to paperless coupons that you can use by showing your phone screen. I think that will soon be the case. The entertainment book does have an app, which is handy to see what places nearby have coupons, but they don't yet allow you to utilize your screen as the coupon.

Companies will have to come up with a way to be able to mark your coupon as used so you can't just keep using a coupon over and over if they don't want you to, but I think things like FourSquare will get more and more popular and a handy way to save a few $. It's also good for the businesses as they can have a much better idea of who their customers are and how often they come in.

Do you have any apps which allow you to receive a discount on food, products, etc. by just showing your screen? I'd love to hear about them.


Mayor of Tropical Smoothie

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt First 4G LTE Verizon Phone

Looks like the first phone that will run on Verizon's new LTE network, the HTC Thunderbolt, comes out today. Much to my surprise and to the surprise of most writers about the story online this week, the phone will retain the same prices for data as their existing 3G phones/plans. It will still be $29.99 for unlimited data. That's very surprising because the Verizon execs have hinted at a tiered pricing plan similar to what ATT does, for the last 6 months or so.

They still left open the door to change to a tiered plan and the rumor now is that might occur sometime during the summer for new plans. My wife and I currently have the Verizon unlimted data plan for both of our Droid X phones. I have been averaging about 750MB per month with the wifey at around 600MB. I'd probably keep unlimited, even if they offered a cheaper capped rate of like $25 for 2GB similar to AT&T, just to have the flexibility to use more data in the future.

If the unlimited data plan for the ThunderBolt stays in place for a while, unlimited plans could also apply to three other LTE smartphones coming from Verizon: the LG Revolution, the Droid Bionic 4G and the Samsung 4G LTE.

That should definitely help keep the momentum going for Verizon and so far so good. I haven't seen any major slowdowns or issues since the iPhone was added to the network recently.

That means that all the commercials about Verizon customers not being able to talk on the phone and do other things at the same time is no longer valid. Interestingly, the HTC Thunderbolt will also allow people to talk and do other things even on the regular 3G network. Not quite sure how they managed to do that, but that's pretty cool also.

So it looks like pretty much all the carriers are equal in the services they offer going forward. Assuming the next generation iPhone 5 is 4G/LTE compatible, that will even the playing field even more. Now it's pretty much just a matter of what company offers the best coverage and best plan/pricing for your particular situation.

What's your plan for your next Smartphone upgrade? Plan to switch carriers or switch phones anytime soon? We look forward to what new and exciting options will be available when our next upgrade date happens in 18 months!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Riverside Arts Market - Stepping Stone

We went to the Riverside Arts Market the weekend before last. As the site says it's a weekly arts and crafts market on the Jacksonville Riverwalk under the Canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge. It's a cool every weekend event that runs March-December. In addition to arts and crafts, they also have lots of fresh produce, food, music and other entertainment.

We'll usually try and find something unique to purchase. The last time we went, which was around this time last year, we purchased some really yummy fresh bread from a place in Central Florida that was there. We saw the line and figured it had to be good and it sure was! Don't recall the name of the place.

This time we ended up picking up a decorative stepping stone to put outside the entrance to our patio. It was a really neat looking unique item that we had never seen anything similar to before. You can purchase them at the couple's site online. They live in St Simon's Island Georgia. We were torn between the palm trees and the lighthouse. We also really liked the Pineapple one, which would go great with our pineapple themed lamps in the front yard, but we weren't sure where we'd put that. The turtles, fish and heron are very cool too. It was $34.99 and just had to carry it back to the car, it's 35 lbs but wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

P90X - I'm On Board!

Well sorta...I'm going to start in on the P90X today. My goal isn't to get through the entire program from start to finish, I just want to use the different workouts to gain muscle mass and hopefully a little weight in the process. I don't belong to a gym and don't have a home gym or anything, so I figure this is a good way to get a great workout with minimal equipment.

I've done some of the individual workouts from the program before and I know they are TOUGH. I was sore for 5 days just from doing 2/3rd of ONE of the workouts. So this time I'm a bit more prepared, hopefully. My sister Jen and her husband David have been doing the program for several weeks and have been doing good. They have a few supplements that are supposed to help gain muscle, provide energy during your workout and help cut down on recovery time. I picked them up today as you can see in the picture above.

I did a bunch of research and took some tips from what Jen and David are using and here's what I came up with for myself...I'm taking the Size On for the during workout energy, for the muscle gain and also to aid in the recovery process. I read a bunch of reviews on the product and it is very highly rated. I was most interested in the muscle gain/bulking up part which is due mostly to a combination of different creatines. I was planning to get creatine separately, as that has worked for me in the past, but since it's already in here in good quality/quantity and form, no need.

Most of the flavors got great reviews for taste also, which was a key factor for me as well, I went with grape. It does not get chunky in water, so all you need is a good BPA free water bottle to go along with it. Jen said it will stain your container though, so be aware of that.

I was wanting to also do a weight gainer supplement, but most everything I found is loaded with sugars and most concerning was the large quantity of cholesterol. Since I'm already on cholesterol lowering drugs, that category of supplement was out for me. I'll have to instead attempt to consume additional food to increase my caloric intake.

In addition to the Size On, I also picked up a Whey Protein Isolate supplement. I was most interested in one that had very low cholesterol and hopefully good taste. The worker at GNC talked me in the GNC branded Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60. Serving size is 3 scoops, but she said just take one scoop, as that will have enough protein and it is supposedly the latest technology for proper protein uptake in the body through advanced space age blah blah blah...Whatever, it's a protein supplement and she said it's their top selling product and it tastes good, got the Vanilla flavor there. I went with the smaller bag version, to be sure it tastes good before buying a bunch.

Depending on how it goes with that protein supplement, I may go with Now 100% Pure Whey Protein that is 'all natural' and 100% pure Whey Protein. I was going to go with this one initially, but it seems to be sold only online and I wanted it today, but it's very highly rated for quality, purity, it's unflavored and inexpensive.

Since the protein supplements tend to be a bit thicker, I got one of the Blender Bottles also. It's a water bottle with a whisk type ball inside that mixes up your protein shake while you shake it. Also BPA free.

That's pretty much it, just the two supplements and I will drink additional water throughout the day. As far as equipment needed for the P90X, you can do it a few ways. You can use hand weights/dumbbells or go with resistance bands for the exercises which call for it. I have a few dumbbells and picked up some resistance bands, to have the option to use either. Other than that, I just have a chin up bar similar to this one. That's pretty much all you need.

Like I said I'm looking to add noticeable muscle mass and possibly put on a few pounds in the process. In addition I hope to have more energy, have better strength and endurance and feel better in the process.

Have you tried out the P90X or another workout program that is easy to do from home with minimal equipment? Would love to hear about your successes and tips/tricks for sticking with it. BEEFCAKE! :P

Monday, March 14, 2011


You might be familiar with my dislike for 'same siders'. People that sit on the same side of the booth for no apparent reason. There are a couple of exceptions that I'm cool with, check my previous post for details.

We recently came across a new phenomenon we'll call 'leaners'. We went to a local place called Taps for dinner and it was pretty busy. It's a cool little place with around 30 beers on tap and decent food, etc. and there's always a decent crowd when we've been there.

We waited about 10 minutes and got seated at a high top table in the bar area. All was good, but about a minute after we were seated a group of about 10 people came in. It's a real small place without a lot of room to just hang out unless you are at the bar.

So we order up an appetizer and blamo, 3 of the 10 people are basically standing AT our table. One guy has his elbow leaning on our table facing the bar while the two women are facing him/us. How awkward is that? I can tell you from experience, VERY awkward. It was noisy and festive and we didn't want to rock the boat, so we didn't say anything. Didn't want to come off as the party poopers. Luckily a few spots at the bar opened up about 5 minutes later and the group of 10 migrated over to that area, but it didn't stop there.

Two biker dudes came in after and had their arm on the chair next to me, which wasn't as big a deal, but still. We found it very odd that someone would think that is ok to do. I get that we were at tables closest to the bar but?!? The two empty chairs at our table were closest to the bar as well, but I still don't think that is an open invitation to hang out at our table and invade our personal space while we're having dinner.

We decided to just laugh about it and said this will make a good blog post. Unfortunately it wasn't all that bright and the pictures we tried to take didn't turn out. We couldn't be obvious and take a picture with a flash of said 'leaners', but I think you get the picture....What do you think? Have you ever experienced complete strangers leaning on your table, hand on a chair, anything like that at a local watering hole or restaurant? Would you think that was ok?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Friday!

Spring Ahead

I wanted to try and beat all the media outlets to the punch, time change this weekend! Time to move the clocks forward an hour. Hard to believe it's almost here already. I get very excited, since that means it will be lighter longer at night and really signals more of a feeling of Spring/Summer for me. Also, more time to get things like mowing the lawn done after work, etc.

I also like that it starts earlier in the year that it used to. The only downside for me is losing that hour, especially since I'm on-call this week and have to do work at 00:45 early Sunday morning, but that's ok. I don't get up early enough to be driving to work in the dark, so that issue doesn't affect me. I really think we should get rid of the time change all together and move them forward an hour now and leave it that way, but so far that hasn't happened. Other groups would like to leave it with more daylight in the early morning, rather than the evening and there are lots of sites out there that will sell one way over the other using safety concerns, energy cost savings, etc. but for me, I just like the additional sunshine at night.

Excited? What do you think?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cummer Museum

We went to the Cummer Museum in downtown Jacksonville this weekend so the wifey could complete a project for her Humanities class. Lots of paintings and outdoor gardens.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Angry Birds Facebook Game

'Angry Birds' to attack Facebook, your remaining free time

Just when you thought the "Angry Birds" campaign for world domination was finally starting to subside, it appears that no, NO ... it has only just begun. "Angry Birds" and Facebook are about to join forces ... and your free time will never be the same.

Mikael Hed, chief executive at Rovio (the development company that makes the game), says in Wired's UK magazine that "Angry Birds" is coming to the social network in the next month and that "there will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced in any other platform."

Rovio has not released much in the way of details about how the game might differ from the "Angry Birds" we know, but there is one tidbit of information to be had: Those of you who think that the pigs have been getting the short end of the stick in this ongoing saga will be happy to hear that "the pigs will have a more prominent role" in the Facebook app, says Hed.

(An interesting side note: Rovio tells Wired that users spend 200 million minutes playing the game every day and that some three trillion pigs have been popped so far.)

Meanwhile, Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's "mighty eagle" (and head of business development) confirmed in the article that there may be other spin-off games in the works as well — perhaps games in the driving and sports genres.

Though "Angry Birds" got its start on the iPhone, it can now be played on iPads, Android phones, Palm devices, and Sony's PlayStation Portable game machine among other places, and the game is in the works for Windows Phone 7 devices and the Nintendo DS. Meanwhile, it's approaching the 100 million download mark.

But be warned: "Angry Birds" and Facebook together ... that sounds like the deadliest combination yet. Be afraid for your free time. Be very afraid.

While you wait for the end of your free time to begin, take a look at Conan O'Brien's tribute to Finland's most famous export. He and his crew say they've built the world's largest live-action "Angry Birds" game ever.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Secret - The Law of Attraction

If you're not aware, I'm a big believer in the law of attraction. Basically that just means that what you concentrate on most, you attract to you, good or bad. There are so many different ways to explain that further, but basically if you focus your thoughts on what you want, being as specific as possible and visualize/concentrate as often as possible, the universe has a way of delivering those things to you. You don't have to know how it will happen, you just have to believe, concentrate and visualize and sooner or later, those things begin to materialize.

That's the theory of many books and movies on the topic. The movie/website that I think does the best job of explaining and motivating you to put the law of attraction to work for you is The Secret. The secret is nothing more then learning to harness the law of attraction. If you haven't seen it I HIGHLY recommend it. There are lots of different presenters talking about the secret from their perspective and it is produced very well and conveys the message in a powerful way. I downloaded the movie and when I first got into the concept, I probably watched it 10 times in a few months time. It has actually been quite a while since I've watched it and I was about to search for it on my PC when I said hey, that would be a good blog topic!

I think the Secret became popular most recently when featured on Oprah. I came across The Secret after reading a John Assaraf book I think 3 or 4 years ago entitled 'Having it All'...It was a book describing how he utilized the law of attraction and the power of visualization and goal setting to achieve the life of his dreams and how you can do the same. He is one of the featured speakers in the movie.

I wasn't aware of the law of attraction as a term or phrase or way of life until I read that book and watched The Secret movie, however afterward I saw so many examples of how I've used that throughout my life without even knowing it. I don't want to get too over the top and sound like I'm part of some crazy cult or something like that. My advice at this point would be to get ahold of The Secret movie or book, go through it on your own and then decide if/how you want to try and use it to your advantage. But I do want to give a few specifics from my own life that I thought were pretty powerful...

I work in the IT field and many of my past jobs have been the typical 24/7, always on-call, always available type jobs, where you hardly have any semblance of a personal life. My job when we first moved to Florida had turned into exactly that type of role. The bottom line was that it was really causing a ton of stress, I was on-call just about every 3 weeks and would always get called during the off weeks anyway. We had to work most Sundays from 6am-noon and it really was wearing me quite thin. It wasn't just me, everyone on our team felt the same way. It wasn't always that way, but the last two years had gotten progressively worse...When things started to get bad, I always found myself saying these specific words all the time to either myself or my wife or just in general..."I want my next job to be more pay, less work, less stress and I'd love be home more days than I'm in the office."

I don't believe that I was aware of the law of attraction at that time, but I would always say those words probably at least 3-4 times a week, sometimes more, consciously an sub-consciously. I had absolutely no idea how/if I'd find something like that, but that was what I wanted. Slowly, everyone else in my group started to leave. One every few months or so until I was the last man standing from the original members of my team. Many took any job they could find just to get out, but I really didn't want to just go into another position and be in the same situation a few months later. Fast forward a bit and probably a year after finding a new job I watched the Secret. It was actually shocking to look back at some of specific events or moments in my life to see how the law of attraction had played a huge role, without even knowing about it.

For the past 3 years I've been in a position making more $, less hours, less stress, only on-call every 13 weeks and I work from home 2 days a week, which means I'm home 4 days a week and in the office 3 days a week. I was absolutely floored that what I had asked for over and over, had come true to perfection without even realizing it. I didn't even think a job like this existed, but sure enough, it was delivered to me. One of the other guys who had left my old group brought it to my attention and sent my resume on, I interviewed for the position, did better on that phone interview than any job interview I've ever had and the rest is history. In the past I might have just said that it was meant to be, which may be partially true, but now I really believe that the law of attraction played a huge part in everything.

It can work on a much smaller scale, or a larger scale that you currently think possible. Basically, anything you can imagine is possible. If you can think it, it exists. I found that I had to take a leap of faith for some of those concepts, but I do believe that anything is possible.

That really got me more interested and I started to recall all the past wants and desires that had come about in a similar way. For example, any new item that I have really wanted badly over the years came about in a similar way...You concentrate on what you want, picture yourself having that item, start to do research, go look at the item, etc. and eventually the item is yours.

Think about the process you've gone through when looking to purchase a car. Chances are you start to do research, think of the specific make/model and/or features you're looking for. You narrow things down to a few different vehicles or type and all of a sudden, you start to notice that you are now seeing those vehicles all the time. On the road, in a parking lot, etc. It's not that they weren't there before, you've just begun to focus and the law of attraction is bringing these vehicles or types of vehicles to your attention.

Hopefully you're starting to see how this can be a very powerful force, if you choose to believe and use it in your everyday life. It can start to take on a mind of it's own and the more you use it for good, the better it gets and it can start to take on momentum.

When I first got into the concept, I was really into it and spending much of my time watching or reading about the Secret and personal accounts from others on their website. I was super focused on being positive and wanted to bring in more $, I had no idea how but I was conducting myself in a much more positive energetic fashion. About a week later this one guy at work, always known for having side jobs and personal projects to bring in more $ came up to me completely out of the blue and said to me "I don't know why I never thought to ask you this before, but would you be interested in doing some short term contract work on the side over the next weekend or two at a large hourly rate?" I was taken back, at that point I was rather freaked out about the whole thing...he'd never come up to me before to have a one on one conversation, we'd passed in the hall, but that was the first personal conversation we ever had.

Say what you want, but I'm a believer. In that particular case, I did not take him up on the offer, since it was for that coming weekend and it was not something I felt I had the knowledge to handle under such short notice, but just the fact that things unfolded the way they did made me a firm believer. One other thing I like to think I played a role in was landing our favorite Mexican restaurant. We had always said that when we moved to our current home, one of the main things we missed was La Nopalera. We wished we had one close by all the time...then BLAMO...we have one literally steps outside of our community. The leg work started years prior when we had talked to one of the owners of the local chain and said he should look into putting a location near where we live now.

It's easy to lose focus and get bogged down with day to day setbacks that you might encounter in life, but if you try and live your life like every new day is going to be the best day of your life and focus and visualize everything you want to come true, I believe you'll be much better off in the future! Believe it and it will happen...Dream big!

Do you believe in the law of attraction and have any positive stories to share? I'd love to hear your stories or ways in which you utilize the law of attraction to make good things happen!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

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