Category Archives: General

Good Morning – It’s bRight & Early

HGV LogoNot a whole lot to say here, just a short update to my life. I start training for my new job at Hilton Grand Vacations this morning, so I am up bRight & Early and getting ready. But not before coffee and a few minutes of computer time. The good news is that I won’t always have to be up this early, but I’m sort of like a kid on the first day of school – up much earlier than I need to be and anxious to go.

I’m also a little OCD – I’ve checked the weather (76 and clear at the moment, with a predicted high of 92 and a 20% chance of rain) and traffic (Google Maps projects 54 minute drive time). My phone is charged and so is my e-cig. I have a tank filled with Howling Wolf. Now I just have to shave, shower, and head out the door.

Have a great day everyone.

History Today – June 17, 1950 – US Troops to Korea

The US involvement in the Korean War began today in 1950.

On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea.

[...]

On June 27, President Truman announced to the nation and the world that America would intervene in the Korean conflict in order to prevent the conquest of an independent nation by communism. Truman was suggesting that the USSR was behind the North Korean invasion, and in fact the Soviets had given tacit approval to the invasion, which was carried out with Soviet-made tanks and weapons. Despite the fear that U.S. intervention in Korea might lead to open warfare between the United States and Russia after years of “cold war,” Truman’s decision was met with overwhelming approval from Congress and the U.S. public.

2011 100 Post Marathon #20 – Stregulation, California Style

I cannot understand why anyone still lives in California. Sitting here on the east coast, it sometimes appears as if the goal is to drive as many businesses and residents away from the state as possible. Stregulation is choking everyone from Amazon to Mom and Dad, Inc.

Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys’ fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers – from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)

A Request

I won’t go into great detail, but just say that May is a historically bad month in our household. Two large and largely unexpected expenses have hit in the past two weeks. Combine those with one income that is totally dependent on tips (which tend to be a bit spotty in May) and here I am seeing if you can help.

If you can…




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Looking Back at 2010 – Part 4

Welcome to New Year’s Eve 2010. Time to continue my look back at the paucity of posts here at bRight&Early. October was no exception. I did tell everyone about a new site I had created – The Polk Family Fun Guide. It is a directory for local family friendly businesses, and something I will be spending quite a bit of time on in 2011 as we get closer to the opening of LEGOLAND® Florida in October of 2011. One of the other posts this month was related to Legoland as well, pointing to a series of post I did at The Brick Blog regarding the Media Hard Hat Tour. Between those, I did manage to take a look at the mid-term elections that were still two weeks away.

The pace of posting finally went up in November. As you might suspect, many of the posts were related to the mid-terms. I particularly liked how things turned out here in Florida. One post that was well received was Obama’s (Imaginary) Address November 20, 2010. I finished the month by posting my favorite Thanksgiving video (As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly) and my thoughts as I turned 55.

Part of this month (December) was dedicated to looking at blog comments. I think that the three posts I did on that topic were pretty interesting, and informational. A few days before Christmas I noted that I have posted the text of the United States Constitution on a page. As promised, I have started to add anchor tags to the individual sections, but it is still a work in progress.

Well, there you have it — my look back at 2010. Yes, I see that the posting has been light at times. Yes, I’d like to do better. Still, 2010 has been a very good years in many ways. I hope that it has been a good year for you as well. No matter what, we are only hours away from the beginning of a new year. I wish for all of you a very productive, satisfying, successful, and Happy New Year.

Lunchtime List & Lass – 6

Hope you are off to a good week. We are still working our way through 100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About, if any of you are actually reading the lists. Today we take a look at Gadgets, and I comment in italics.

Gadgets

57. Typewriters.
58. Putting film in your camera: 35mm may have some life still, but what about APS or disk?
59. Sending that film away to be processed.
60. Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.
61. CB radios. 10-4 good buddy.
62. Getting lost. With GPS coming to more and more phones, your location is only a click away. Now you can get lost in new and technologically inventive ways.
63. Rotary-dial telephones.
64. Answering machines.
65. Using a stick to point at information on a wallchart. The stick will never go completely out of style.
66. Pay phones.
67. Phones with actual bells in them. Along with phones mounted permanently to the wall and owned by the phone company.
68. Fax machines.
69. Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.

OK, today’s lass has nothing to do with the list, but most of you don’t care, do you? Danica Patrick anyone?

Danica Patrick

More below

Going Open Source

A few weeks ago I shared the news that I had lost everything on my hard drive (making me the poster boy for those who don’t do backups like they should). I’m still a bit sick about all the pictures I’ve lost (although I have recovered all those I lost that I had posted here on the site), but my biggest concern, moving forward, was how to replace the programs I lost.

Fortunately, for nearly every program out there, an open source equivalent exists. Many, if not most, of them are very robust and every bit as usable as their commercial counterparts.

Web Page DesignAmaya

Amaya is an open source editor from W3Schools.com

Amaya is a Web editor, i.e. a tool used to create and update documents directly on the Web. Browsing features are seamlessly integrated with the editing and remote access features in a uniform environment. This follows the original vision of the Web as a space for collaboration and not just a one-way publishing medium.

Productivity ToolsOpen Office

A complete suite of tools that compete well with the products that cost serious money. Here’s what you get:

  • Writer — A very full featured Word Processor/Desktop Publisher.
  • Calc — I’m a numbers geek. Can’t help it. Calc is a spreadsheet program that does everything I need it to do.
  • Impress — This is a program for creating multimedia presentations. It’s not one I use a lot, but it’s nice to have it in the tool bag if I need it.
  • Draw — It’s a drawing program. I need to use it a bit more before I can say anything about it.
  • Base — A database program. Again, I haven’t given this a good test drive.

Suite!

GraphicsGimp

An open source graphic manipulation tool. The learning curve is just a little bit steeper than I would like, but I’m learning. I’ve been using PaintShop Pro for years, and this is going to take a while to get used to, but I do like it so far.

On a side note, the www.gimp.org site appears to be down right now, but I’m sure it’s only temporary.

I’ve also tried Inkscape, but didn’t like it very well.

Well, that’s how things stand today. Do you use any open source programs? What are your thoughts? Any suggestions?

Doing the Math

I know it’s awfully early in the morning, but I’ve been up for two hours and I’m on my second cup of coffee, so I shouldn’t strain anything trying to do some math. If you’re going to play along at home, please stretch first. I don’t want you hurting yourself, and numbers can do that to you.

Burning MoneyThe tax on cigarettes goes up $1.00 today in Florida. That’s on top of the increase in the Federal tax that has been in place since April.

The first increase prompted me to go from my regular brand to the generic brand that, I believe, is manufactured from the sweepings around the “good” cigarette machines and grass clippings. As of today those cheap cigarettes will cost just over $4/pack, over half of that in various taxes (which tells you just how cheap those generics are).

I’ve told you in the past that I’m a bit of a numbers geek. I spend about half of my work day immersed in an excel spread sheet. And I like it. That’s the background. This morning I ran the numbers on my habit.

At the end of a week, July 7th, I will have saved $28, almost enough for a family run through McDonalds.

When we get to the end of July I will have saved $124, about the equivalent of an extra day of work without the drive, conference calls, and complaining.

Lets move out a little further. School starts around here on August 24th. I can have an extra $220 in my pocket. Who wouldn’t like that? Of course, with what it takes to equip three for school, my pocket will still be empty.

My birthday falls on Thanksgiving day this year. If I put all of the money that I save away (an if that isn’t going to happen) I could have $596. That’s a lot of turkey and cranberry sauce.

By Christmas eve, just in time to do my shopping, I could have $708 to take on my frantic dash through the empty-shelved stores that are going to close in just a few minutes. Either that, or I could buy a whole lot of presents at the nearest gas-n-shop.

Finally, in a year from now (making the probably inaccurate assumption that prices won’t go up any further) I could save, are you ready for this, $1460!

Dude, I’m getting a Dell.

A New Week – A New Begining

I hope that all of you enjoyed a great Memorial Day Weekend and that you managed to find time to remember those who paid the ultimate price to secure our freedoms.

This weekend marks the traditional start of summer. Schools here have just eight more days, the four this week and the first four next. I thought we just finished buying new backpacks and shoes, crayons and paper and glue.

People will be going on vacation (a theory I’ve read about, but haven’t actually experienced in quite a number of years). Some of you will be heading to the attractions area of central Florida. A Note to my blogging friends: If you are heading anywhere near the Florida House of Mouse or Greater Orlampa (The Tampa-Orlando corridor), please let me know. There are so many of you I would love to meet.

Have a great week everyone. Check back often. Tell your friends. Leave your comments.

If you can…




To learn more about the 100 Post Marathon read here and especially here.