Ready for Blog Olympics Training Camp?

elouai's doll maker 3
Killired is hosting Blog Olympics Training Camp #4 on April 1st, 10:00 PM EST. I'm wearing pink in honor of the event.

It has come to my attention that my Thursday 13 interview was entirely misunderstood by our usually stellar reporter Crazy Daisy (I mean Lazy Daisy). Imagine my surprise to find out I'm really a man!

Did you see the funny picture Daisy posted? If you remember while I was on vacation I was "spotted" in at least 25 different places all at the same time. It was reported that I was personally helping the "President" as well as participating in the Winter Olympic in Torino. I was lost in the Bermuda Triangle, seen at a Mensa convention in Vegas, and also at a soccer game in Houston.

I was in so many places at once I was exhausted! It's a good thing that I am eating well, living well! (Yes, my darling demented Daisy) I have been known to cook, walk on a treadmill and even watch American Idol. Us "big headed" people have been known to multitask.

The heir to the Blog Olympics dynasty was almost deported at a mock school immigration trial. So dizzy daisy you simply misunderstood. (Isn't it a shame how the press greatly exaggerates a story? I told her million times....Daisy don't exaggerate!)

Stories of me being cloned, brain washed, or captured by that darling diabolical world class dominator Scouser are totally not true. I would love to discuss it further with you but my lawyers have advised me not to comment till the "defamation of character" suit has been settled.

Remember to stop by Killired's Saturday evening at 10:00 PM. See the clock on my sidebar to synchronize with your local time!
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Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen Thirteen thingsthat I am grateful for

1) I'm happy my son really enjoyed doing his homework tonight. He worked hard and is very proud of his work.
2) I'm glad Killired decided to host the Blog Olympics Training Camp this Saturday, 10:00 PM EST!
3) I'm so appreciative of Lazy Daisy always going above and beyond to entertain us with the gossip from the Olympics.
4) The weather here has been warming up, people are getting spring fever.
5) My new job is going well, I feel appreciated by my co-workers.
6) I am walking more thanks the eat well, live well challenge I joined at work. There are four other women on a team with me.
7) Now that I'm using my treadmill more I've had time to watch American Idol while working out.
8) My son had a really good time this past weekend with his grandfather.
9) I've been able to sleep better this week.
10) My son didn't get "deported" today. His fifth grade class had a mock immigration session today. He had to pretend he was Slovak Medevsky from Macedonia. He just barely made it into the country, he had to go to medical appeals because of his arthritis. He would have been really bummed if he was deported.
11) I'm not so concerned that I have to park 900 steps (nearly half a mile) from my desk, I get 1800 clicks on my pedometer each day just going to work.
12) I got a free pedometer from the eat well, live well challenge.
13) I passed a couple hours trying on outfits on the virtual doll I created in my own likeness the other night. Thanks Carol for bringing the link to my attention. Here's "me" (only better) in a summer time outfit:
elouai's doll maker 3

Other Thursday Thirteens

Leave your link here if you're participating in Thursday thirteen this week! Please comment either way.

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Wordless Wednesday

Tasty Tuesday

I have a morsel for you to chew on today. I've discovered a new online game that involves Flickr tags. It's a very simple game called Fastr. Fastr will show you a picture, then add another and another until there are 10 pictures. Each picture in the group will contain the same tag, you have to guess what the tag is, as quickly as possible to score points. The faster you type in the right answer, the more points you get. Others are playing along with you. I've played a few times, some of the tags I encountered were: three, dog, clown and zigzag. It's a generally enjoyable way to pass a few minutes, or more.
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Monday Memories

We were standing at the far edge of the backyard, my four-year-old sister and I, she was one year older. There was a space between the bushes to pass into another yard. My sister was standing between the bushes, ready to leave our backyard. Here is our conversation:

Her: C'mon Barb, come with me.
Me: No, we're not supposed to.
Her: C'mon, hurry up.
Me: Mom said to stay in the yard.
Her: Yeah, but they have cookies.

I have no recollection of what happened after that, I imagine my mother called us back, or we enjoyed some cookies. It is a funny memory because of the way my sister said they had cookies. The meaning she was trying to impart to me was this:

"What the heck is wrong with you? Don't you realize there are cookies to be had here? All rules are off if cookies are involved, do you hear me? Null and void, everyone knows that. Now come with me, I'm doing you a favor here."

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PS Hunt
This is one of the neighborhood children drinking hot chocolate. We went sledding with a bunch of our neighbors to Webster Park. It was very, very cold that day, sometime in January 2001.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Join the blogroll.
Visit participants.

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When life is hard, I will not wallow in despair.

This is the only life I have, there is no other.

I will not spend much time on sorrow, I will not give my life over to sadness, I will struggle free.

When a tear brushes my cheek, I will take the time to feel the heartache, so the next day I will continue with out the tears.

I will add bright colors, the somber tones there only to make the bright hues brighter, not to crowd and dampen them.

Those gone and lost inspire me, their memory nurtures me, and flowers will grow, they deserve flowers.

I will have more flowers, my life bright, despite the tears.

When life is hard, I will not wallow in despair.

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Blog Olympic Training Camp Announcement

Killired will be hosting the Blog Olympic Training Camp on April 1, 2006. She is a Blog Olympian extraordinaire who came this close to winning a gold medal at the 2006 Blog Olympics. She is carefully honing her skills and has won two gold and two silver at the training camps.

One of her strongest blogging skills is outlinks. She won gold at Blog Olympics Training Camp #2 hosted by the lovely and talented Tamara. Killired threw an awesome blogroll party (Killired: PINK PARTY!#links) that really showcased her vibrant personality and her endless supply of energy. This is sure to be a must-see event.

Be sure to catch all the off field news and happenings from Lazy Daisy. She always manages to pry the juicy stories out of some of the more loose-lipped players. You can usually find her schmoozing up the players while they are practicing. Will you fall prey to her wiles?
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Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen Thirteen guidelines to follow when hosting a Blog Olympics Training Camp

1) Clue Lazy Daisy in on when you'll be posting and the general topic of your event so she'll have time to prepare her postings.
2) Use the Blog Olympics Training Camp banner in your post.
3) Make sure the results are quantifiable and not subjective.
4) Start on time.
5) Do not count anyone in the results who misses the posting deadline.
6) Let the event run for 24 hours.
7) Start some time on the first or fifteenth of the month and let people know a couple days ahead of time when it will be.
8) Let people know in advance how long it will take to complete an event.
9) Use the 10% gold, 80% silver, 10% bronze guideline for tabulating the results.
10) Post results promptly (Blogger permitting)
11) Tell contestants how to format their answers.
12) Help people out if they need it.
13) Use my blog buttons as prizes or make up your own.

Let me know if you wish to host! Email me
I want to thank Killired for suggesting this topic for my TT13.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Other Thursday Thirteens



Lazy Daisy Log
Undercover Angel
Jen's Horde: Thursday 13
The Purple Giraffe
My. . .: 13 things on my computer desk
YellowRose's Garden: Thursday Thirteen #13 What I Learned On My Cruise
Killired: Thursday 13
Enigmatic Life: Thursday Thirteen 3/23/2006 - Thirteen Things That Made Me Cry
dodge this: Thursday Thirteen
A Whimsie by WendyWings: Thursday Thirteen ( Why is Wendy going to the Emmys

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Duncan Hines - Choose me next time you need to test a recipe!

I looked up the definition of bake:

1. To cook food with dry heat.
2. To become hardened or dry by or as if by having been subjected to the heat of an oven.

I looked it up for all of you who poo-poo the idea that using a cake mix is baking, and you know who you are. So right now I have a cake baking in the oven. Since I used a mix it's easy, right? Well Duncan Hines ought to use me in their test laboratories when they do consumer testing to see if the directions are easily followed or not.

First thing is to preheat the oven at 350 degrees F. for metal or glass pans, 325 degrees for dark or coated pans. So I look at the pan, it's metal. It's kind of gray colored, not silvery. I'm not sure if it's dark or not, can't they put a damn color guide on the box? I opt for 325 degrees.

Next I'm supposed to use shortening on the sides and bottom of the pan to grease it. I decide to spray it with Pam instead, do they still make shortening?

Next is to lightly flour the pan. Hey Duncan Hines, I don't know the difference between lightly flouring and medium flouring, or any other kind of flouring. Get this, flour isn't listed as one of the ingredients I'll need! I don't have it out, but the white cake mix is right here, so I sprinkle a little of the cake mix in the Pam. I don't do the sides, just the bottom, it didn't say whether to do the sides anyhow, it just said flour lightly. I hope I did it right.

1 1/3 cup water sounds simple enough. I wonder if I should use cold or warm. The box doesn't say. I know I've ruined a perfectly good recipe before by using ingredients at the wrong temperature. I went with luke warm, it seemed safest.

Next came something I wasn't expecting, 3 egg whites. I saw the picture of the three eggs, but not the words white. I started fumbling around in the kitchen drawer for the little silver contraption which I think is used to separate the yolks from the whites. I can't find it, I really wanted to try it out too. So I cracked three eggs into a measuring cup and used my fingers to keep the yolks at bay as I poured the egg whites into the bowl. It worked! I'm a baking genius! I threw the yolks down the garbage disposal because I couldn't think of any good use for them, it's not like I whip up recipes regularly, in fact I've never "whipped" anything up.

Next is the blending, 30 seconds on low, 2 minutes on medium speed. It shows a picture of electric beaters so I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to use those. I set the timer for 2 and half minutes and start blending on low, figuring that at 2 minutes I'll crank it up to medium. Thirty seconds is a long time for me to concentrate, after about fifteen seconds I'm lost in thought thinking about how grand this cake is going to be. The next thing I know the timer says there is 1 minute 18 seconds left and I'm still on low speed. Now how long do I go on medium speed to make up for my day dreaming? There's no information on the box about that. Here's another opportunity for you Duncan Hines! I blended a little longer than the 2 and half minutes to make up for my mistake. Who knows if I blended too much or too little, I'm hoping just right.

Now all I have to do is pour it in the pan and cook for the right number of minutes according to the pan size. Got it. Wait, add 3 - 5 minutes for dark or coated pans. Since I went with the 325 degrees I figured I should go with the extra time and set the timer on my microwave for four extra minutes and put the pan in the oven. Oops, I accidentally had the microwave on high instead of just timer. I reset it, oops, I put an extra zero on the time, do over. I'm getting flustered, I'm not sure how much time I've spent screwing up the timer, I set it for the full time correctly on the third or fourth try.

The cake is baking now, I hope it turns out well. I bought some ready made Duncan Hines chocolate frosting. I can't screw that up now, can I?
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Wordless Wednesday


This is what happened to Blogger

Blogger's Blog has the scoop on what's up with Blogger.

Look's like a post for Whack-It Wednesday.
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Tasty Tuesday: Ten Things I Would Do Over if I Had the Chance

1. I would start gardening earlier in life, it is such a wonderful past time.
2. I would keep caffeine out of my life.
3. I would definitely not waste five years of my life on that jerk of a boyfriend in college.
4. I would waste less time on television.
5. I would start a family sooner.
6. I would visit my family more often.
7. I would work less hours at work, and more at home.
8. I would learn earlier in life that not everyone will like me. I wouldn't waste my time trying to get people who were never going to like me, to like me.
9. I would write more poetry.
10. I would make sure to keep my friends in my life and not let them drift away.
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Monday Memories

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about When my son saw double?

Then the doctor did something my mother could never master, she wiped that smirk right off my face. She said “I don’t know whether to send him to an ophthalmologist, or to his pediatrician to get an MRI.” Excerpted from: Eye-scapades

Links to other Monday Memories

fefyfomanna: Monday Memories: Arriving in Korea

Click here for the Monday Memories code
Click here for Shelli's blog

Life in the 'Burg: Monday Memories

Trackbacks, pings, and comment links are accepted and encouraged!

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Shopping trip

My son needs hiking shoes for some upcoming camping trips, we went to five stores today and we didn't see even one pair of kids hiking shoes. What's up with that?

While we were in Dick's sporting goods store I tried out the computerized gait analysis. It is way cool. You walk normally striking a pad on the floor with first your left foot, then your right foot. It will figure out whether your feet are pronated, supinated or normal. It will also tell you what part of your foot takes the most impact, then it told me my shoe size! After all that it figures out what the best shoes are for you according to the recreational activity you want to perform.

My feet are pronated, my heel strikes the ground with the most impact and I wear size 6 1/2 to 7 shoes. I love computers!

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Relaxing Sunday Morning

Winter 3-19-2006

Winter has staked it's claim on my backyard. It's 27.7 degrees F (-2.38 C) outside. I'm reading the Sunday paper, drinking chamomile tea and watching the slowflakes gently fall.
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Something I'll probably get all wrapped up in...

A few weeks ago at work an email went out to everyone encouraging them to join a program called eat well, live well. The idea is that a team of people get together and start charting how many steps they walk and how many fruits and vegetables they eat everyday. One of my friends started a team and asked me to join, so I did. My pedometer will arrive sometime this week, in time for the March 26 start date.

I don't like to do things half way, so I expect that I will only be blogging when I sit down exhausted from a long, long walk. I will probably be a vegetarian for however long this thing lasts. I'll be healthy even if it kills me.

Minerva had her operation...

She is doing well if we are to believe the mysterious X who commented on her blog post about the upcoming operation. I do hope she recovers quickly.


Bermuda shorts socks

IMG_0837 I was hanging out over at Flickr when I noticed that someone marked one of my photos, the one pictured on this post, as a favorite of theirs. Since this photo didn't really seem favorite worthy I clicked on over to his flickr page. It turns out his Flickr name is "Bermuda Shorts Socks" and he wears shorts with knee highs practically every where he goes. It is hilarious.


Somehow my blog looks like a spam blog, or splog as they are sometimes called. That's not good. I've been blacklisted at pingoat.com because their splog filter thinks my blog is a bunch of spam. I know that I'm not the best writer in the world, but I thought I was better than spam. If more sites start thinking I'm spam I wonder if I will become unwanted everywhere I go. I feel like my blog has cooties.

Here's the message that pingoat.com delivered to me today:

Hold it right there!!

You have been blacklisted ! This is not because of the frequency of the pings, but due to the possible objectionable/non genuine nature of the blog. Please understand that this is an automated process. If you believe this is an error, please quickly post on the forum or drop me a mail to get it resolved.

Update: Pingoat fixed the problem 7 hours after I reported it. Thank you Pingoat.




Blog Olympics Training Camp #3 Results

Thank you to all the Blog Olympics hopefuls and past champions for your participation in the third Blog Olympics Training Camp. If you need to catch up on the happenings here at the training camp please visit

Blog Olympics Training Camp #3 is April 1, 2006. Mark the date! Training camps are held on the first and fifteenth of every month. Would you like to host an event? Email me!

How many pictures are on your blog?

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a gold blog button:

51 Imran
36 owlhaven
33 sister celtic

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a silver blog button:

29 - Tanya
26 - lazy daisy
24 - Andria
23 - Killired
22 - Friday's Child
22 - Gnome
20 - Carol
20 - mar
17 - craziequeen
15 - Jane
15 - TNChick
14 - WendyWings
13 - Kristarella
8 - Trinity13
7 - Melli
6 - Nancy
5 - Amber
5 - Keb
3 - Scouser
Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a bronze blog button:

0 - chichimama
0 - Erin
0 - Minerva

Thank you for playing! I'll make sure all of you are on the Olympic Blogroll!


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Blog Olympics Training Camp #3 - Shamrock Style

Ring graphics courtesy of Carrie of Cze-Johnson Fever

Here's how much time is left until training camp closes:

Welcome to Blog Olympics Training Camp #3.

A blogger's guide to blogging

There is an interesting quote in the article above from Nancy Vonk:

"It is becoming common to use graphics; text blogs are so six months ago. Eye candy takes more time and effort, but pays off in increased viewership."

How many pictures have you posted on your blog this month. Count all pictures posted 3/1/2006 until 3/14/2006. Do not count today (3/15/2006 or tomorrow 3/16/2006) in your answer. Count only pictures in your main posting area, not the sidebars or header.

I counted 26 pictures on my blog in March, not counting the picture of the Irish setter I posted this morning. I did count all the buttons in my main posting area as pictures, like this one here:

Post your score in the comments. Use this format:

26 pictures

If Blogger doesn't cooperate and let you add a comment, please email your answer to me. Be sure to nclude a link to your blog so I know who you are. I will add all the answers I get via email to the comments when the problems clear (knock on wood). Here is my email address: blm@rochester.rr.com

If you are having trouble accessing your blog let me know, I will consider extending the deadline.

The higher your number, the better chance you have at winning.

The top 10% of entering blogs (those with the most pictures) will win a gold blog button.

The bottom 10% of entering blogs (those with the least pictures) will win a bronze blog button.

All other blogs participating in this camp will win a silver blog button.

Your comment must be posted by 10:00 PM EST, Thursday, March 16, 2006. Please check the comment of the person posting before you for accuracy.

Good luck and thank you for participating.

Check out the Blog Olympics Training Camp News from Lazy Daisy


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Wordless Wednesday

Reminder: Blog Olympics Training Camp starts at 10:00 PM tonight!



Tasty Tuesday

Ring graphics courtesy of Carrie of Cze-Johnson Fever

Training Camp starts this Wednesday, March 15 at 10:00 PM EST.

Here's how much time is left until the training camp opens:

Camp will be open for a full 24 hours. You will probably need about 10 - 15 minutes to complete the task.

Need the latest news and gossip about the training camps? Visit Lazy Daisy! She's got the inside scoop.

Send me an email and I will add you to the Olympian blogroll. Email me if you are interested in hosting an event at the April 1 Blog Olympic Training Camp.




St. Patrick's Day Parade



We went to the St. Patrick's Day Parade yesterday. Each year it becomes a bigger and better parade. It was a warm March day, so the parade was well attended. I brought our new camera to capture some of the sights and scenes. It was a lot of fun. My great-great-grandmother, Ellen Flanagan, was Irish, so going to the parade seems a proper way to honor her.


Are you a writer?


Here's a website that let's you publish and sell your work worldwide. Free!


The five weird things about me ...

I am finally going to answer the tag from Imran in his post: Passionate About Life | Escapades: Life | Weird Stuff

This is especially hard for me because I am not an "open" person. If you scroll down to the bottom of my sidebar to the Personal DNA cube and hover your cursor over the little green box in the lower right hand corner you will see that I scored very low on openness. I'm surprised that I even put that personal DNA thing on my blog at all, it's way to revealing!

That's #1, I am not as open as most other people. Think about it, how much do you know about me? My religion? My politics? My age? I've never mentioned any of these on my blog.

#2 - I am fascinated by numbers and will turn most anything into an excel spreadsheet. I love control charts and figuring out standard deviations and things like that. I think my love for statistics fueled my love for baseball. I entered my son's report card grades from nursery school through fourth grade into Excel and tracked the trends. I wanted to see what was going up over time and what was going down. I tried to forecast the next report card. Have any of you ever done that?

#3 - I followed the progress of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity fervently. I love those rovers. My son says I should work at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). All my enthusiasm has sparked an interest in my son for the study of space exploration.

#4 - I go on food streaks where I will eat a particular food every day for weeks, or even months, then suddenly drop the food and not eat it again for a number of months. I don't know why I do that.

#5 - I almost always wear shoes, or at least socks in my house because my feet get so cold. I hate it when I go to someone's house and everyone starts kicking off their shoes because then I feel compelled to do it too. I like keeping my shoes on! I would certainly wipe my feet of any mud or water before traversing to other parts of my host's home. Besides, people look more polished and put together with shoes on, shoes are part of the whole ensemble, they ground you. Sometimes taking off your shoes will throw an entire outfit off kilter. In addition, I'm not that tall, I like the extra height shoes give me. I don't remember all this taking off your shoes thing when I was a kid. When did that start anyways? Whenever someone visits my home I always tell them that they can leave their shoes on, besides, I hate looking at a pile of shoes by my front door. There, I am more passionate than most about this subject, don't you agree?

So this is the end of my five weird things. How weird am I?


Does blogging make you more interesting?

I read an interesting article on blogging today.

Here's a couple quotes to get you started:

" He maintains some people are using niche blogs such as Gawker.com and Defamer.com to gain pop cultural insights that make them more socially desirable and ultimately more likely to get lucky."

"Dumenco says that involvement in the blogosphere's "obsessive, hermeticallysealed self-referentialism'' can indeed have a negative effect, turning people into shut-in bores."

So which are you? Hipper or homebody?




Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen Thirteen things I've been meaning to tell you

1. I had a wonderful time in Mexico despite the kiddy booze cruise.
2. Two of our goldfish died while we were on vacation.
3. Imran tagged me over a month ago to do the five weird things meme and I never saw it till a few days ago.
4. Visit here to put the Blog Olympics blogroll on your blog
5. Send me an email and I will add you to the Olympian blogroll, if you actually play that is.
6. My son competed in the Pinewood Derby at Cub Scouts last night.
7. The Mayan ruins in Mexico are a phenomenal feat of engineering and architecture.
8. I wish this was the Thursday Three instead of thirteen. It still has the "Th" but doesn't take quite as long.
9. Work is more stress-free lately.
10. I put a Frappr map on my blog, do the thing where you get added to it.
11. I'm trying to get more sleep.
12. Carol has a cool quiz on her blog.
13. Blog Olympics Training Camp is March 15! See my sidebar for more details!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Killired: Thursday 13
The Purple Giraffe
Ivoryfrog's Blog: Thursday Thirteen - 9th March 2006
The Jake Silver Show: "thursday's thoughts"
wystful 1
Lazy Daisy
My. . .: Thursday Thirteen #3
Insanity Prevails: Thursday 13... round 2...
dodge this: Thursday 13
Cozy Reader: HELLO.......It's Thursday
YellowRose's Garden: Thursday Thirteen #12 - Bahamas Baby!
Enigmatic Life: Thursday Thirteen 3/9/2006


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Wordless Wednesday

Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

File Lodge

"File Lodge is a free file hosting provider especially designed to look after you and your files.

We offer a huge 500MB of file storage and support almost all file extensions, such as jpg, gif, mpg, avi, wmv, doc, pdf, mp3 etc

Bandwidth is unlimited."

Do you use this? It seems like a great deal, free.



Blogger Antics

I'm getting pretty sick of Blogger acting up the way it does, it's happening more and more frequently. I know it's free, but I still have the right to complain because well, there is freedom of speech in the US. That means I can complain about free stuff, besides, nothing is free! Google sends its spiders through my site to gobble up all my glorious content so that they can give great search results.

Sometimes, when I check to see what people are searching for on my site, I see people who are looking for answers to their problems. I wish I could help them in some way. Today someone was searching for "how to put a hamster to sleep", someone else was looking for "funeral poems for my dad". Yesterday someone was looking for "explanation birds and bees teenage son". I know these people didn't find the results they were looking for on my blog, I just hope they found it somewhere else.

Getting back to Blogger, maybe they will put a little more muscle into improving its uptime. According to this article SONY Ericcson has a phone that lets you update blogspot blogs with pictures without ever leaving your phone. I don't think SONY Ericsson will appreciate doing a demo for their customers and having Blogger go down in the middle of it.

Click over to Blogger Status for updates on Blogger Issues. Home



One Night in Mexico

There was a warm breeze blowing as we waited outside the lobby for a bus to take us on a tour. We were excited to finally go on the Pirates Assault. The description of the tour sounded like a lot of fun:

"Become a pirate of the Caribbean on this fun-filled voyage where you will go back in time and experience a pirate's attack while sailing through the beautiful waters of the Nichupte lagoon, while enjoying a pirate's dinner! A fun adventure for all ages."

It was just what we were looking for, an event families could enjoy. I was on vacation with my husband, my son (10 years old), my best friend, two of her sons (15 and 9 years old) and her daughter (11 years old). Our adventure was about to begin.

Someone was going to call out our name to let us know they were there to take us on the tour. It was 10 minutes past the allotted time and no one had called our name. I decided to go ask a man standing outside a van if this was the Pirates Assault tour van. He took the transportation voucher in my hand and studied it for a moment, then nodded. I waved to the rest of our group to let them know our transportation had indeed arrived. The name he had been calling out sounded nothing like our names, but it seemed like we had made the right connection.

The man started loading us into the large white van, the four children first, then me. I climbed into the van, all four kids were in the back seat, I was in the middle seat next to two teenage children. I presumed that the man and woman in the seat ahead of me were the parents of the teenagers. The van was a bit crowded, but there was a seat next to the parents and another next to the driver that my husband and my friend could occupy. Suddenly, the man closed the van door.

The driver pulled away from the curb, my husband and friend still standing there, on the sidewalk. There was another van parked there, maybe they would ride in that one. The van I was in was dark inside, the only sound was the voice of the driver, talking in Spanish into the dispatch system. I know how to count to ten in Spanish, plus a handful of other commonly known Spanish words. The driver talked to the dispatcher every 30 seconds or so, I could only make out the numbers that they said. I expected the driver to make an announcement about our destination, how long it would take to get there, something, anything. He spoke only to the dispatcher. He drove like a New York City cab driver.

The driver squeezed that large white van through spaces so small that I would not attempt passing through them with a Volkswagen. He zipped through the streets of Cancun, where many of the hotels were dark, not yet reopening after the ravages of Hurricane Wilma last October. Twenty minutes had passed, I thought to myself that perhaps we should already be there, I wasn't sure where my husband and friend were. The apprehension I felt at the beginning of the ride was slowly turning to fear. The longer we rode, the more anxious I became. I was in a foreign country, with four children, only one of them mine. I wasn't sure I was in the right van, I had only a nod from the man standing outside the van near the lobby indicating that we were in the right place. There were no words spoken between us. Were we on our way to the Pirate Assault? I wasn't sure. I began to make plans for our safety.

I made note that there were two other adults in the van, and one was a man, so that was reassuring. I reached inside my purse and turned my cell phone on, I pulled out a small brochure and started memorizing the phone number of the resort where we were staying. I checked to make sure I had a credit card in case I needed to pay for alternate transportation. I spoke briefly with my friend's older son, telling him of my phone and credit card, just in case. After forty minutes the van stopped abruptly at the curb, and Captain Hook opened the door.

The captain was a large man, with a loud voice, and louder costume. We got out of the van and the captain beckoned us to his ship, but I was not interested in getting on board. I was interested in finding my husband and my friend. I stood on the sidewalk and began to explain my dilemma to the man in the curly black wig when a dark blue van stopped at the curb. My husband and friend walked towards me smiling. They told me about the plush seats and wonderful music they had in their van, and how relaxing the ride was. I was thrilled for them.

We boarded the party boat, everyone was directed to go upstairs to the second level. We found a small table towards the back of the boat and pulled up some white plastic garden chairs to it. The boat left the dock, the party music was playing, people were getting drinks from the bar, the "pirates" were singing and dancing. People were getting more drinks from the bar, the boat was traveling faster. The boat began to rock back and forth because of the choppy water. We started questioning whether it was wise for everyone to be on the top deck, wouldn't the boat be more stable if it wasn't so top heavy? Where were the life jackets? The partying continued, we sat with the kids in the corner. People were getting more drinks at the bar, then the pirates ordered everyone to stand up and dance. To facilitate the dancing they began to take away all the chairs. We quickly moved to the permanent bench seats around the edge of the boat. Drunken people began dancing on the top deck of the party boat as it swayed in choppy water. The people swayed from side to side falling into each other, stopped by the sides of the boat. We finally slowed down and the pirate assault began. Pirates from other small boats surrounded and boarded our boat. They got into a sword fight with our pirates and took two women off the boat as prisoners, they also confiscated some liquor. Captain Hook vowed to rescue the women, but even more importantly, he vowed to find the stolen alcohol. I took the Pirate Assault brochure out of my purse to recheck the "fun for all ages" statement. It was still there.

The boat finally docked and we were given black bandanas to disguise ourselves as pirates. Captain Hook led the charge to rescue the hostages. My son was handed a rifle to use in the skirmish. I thought that was charming. We rescued the women, then had dinner. After we ate, it was time for some contests and a show. Five women won the first contest and got to share a bottle of tequila, right there on stage. When it was time for the limbo, my son and I joined in. As people got close to the limbo stick workers were ready with a bottle to pour tequila down your throat. I politely refused, and to my surprise, they didn't offer any to my son. Somehow the limbo line got moved up to the stage and the crowd was instructed to dance. My son made a break for the audience benches where he joined his father. I tried to get off the stage too, but every time I did, I was foiled by a woman with a yellow vest and walkie-talkie. She and several other people who worked there danced around the perimeter of the crowd. The first time I tried to leave the stage, yellow vest woman took my arm and danced me back into the crowd. A minute later I tried again, and yellow vest woman matched me up to dance with a lone elderly man in the crowd. I tried a third time and yellow vest woman found a fourteen year old boy for me to dance with while the DJ played "Celebrate". The crowd control on stage surpassed that of a police force, no one was getting off that stage if yellow vest woman had her way. I waited until she started dancing with another hapless tourist and planned my get-away. I danced over to the side of the stage and when yellow vest woman wasn't looking, I jumped off the stage to freedom and ran to my seat in the audience. I made it safely. Meanwhile, my friend had devised a different diabolical plot to get off the stage; she pleaded that her children needed to use the bathrooms, and they were finally let off the stage. They didn't really need to go, but they headed towards the bathrooms anyway; they were afraid they would be captured and brought back up on stage if their ruse was discovered. We didn't dare leave our seats again until it was time to go.

On the boat ride home the passengers could choose either the upper or lower level of the boat. We chose a booth on the lower level. The pirates were doing all they could to get passengers to dance. I think they worked on a commission basis, so much per passenger dancing. My son still had his rifle, so we put it on the table in our booth to ward off dancing pirates. My son wanted to take the rifle home with him, so we explained how hard it would be to get on a plane with a rifle. Finally the boat brought us back to where it had picked us up.

Luckily, we were all in the same van on the way home to the resort. I asked the kids if they enjoyed the evening, and they were enthusiastic in their praise. Just like the brochure said, a fun adventure for all ages, especially if your children enjoy booze cruises.


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Blog Olympics Training Camp #2 Results

Thank you to all the Blog Olympics hopefuls and past champions for your participation in the second Blog Olympics Training Camp. If you need to catch up on the happenings here at the training camp please visit

Blog Olympics Training Camp #3 is March 15, 2006. Mark the date! Training camps are held on the first and fifteenth of every month. Would you like to host an event? Email me!

Event #1 - Host a Blog Party!

tamara gave six participants a great work-out. They will be in good shape to medal in the Most Outlinks competition at the Blog Olympics 2007.

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a gold blog button:

57 - Killired: PINK PARTY!
57 - craziequeen's palace: Blog Party to end all Blog Parties at the Palace

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a silver blog button:

53 - Empty Cerebrations: Toga! Toga! Toga!
27 - Scouser: World Domination Party
21 - Bloggin' Outloud: Olympic Blogging Training Camp Assignment

Congratulations to the blogger who earned a bronze blog button:

13 This and that: Blog Olympics Party!

The following blog showed up too late to compete, but threw a great party:

The Random Yak: Blog Olympics: The Link Party Challenge

Event #2 - How Slow Do You Go?

Do you need to speed up your site? Try these speed tweaks.

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a gold blog button:

42.16 * Joyce
73.30 The Random Yak
82.25 Anita

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a silver blog button:

91.87 Scouser
92.25 * Trinity13
92.61 * Carol
94.28 * David
110.84 Imran
111.61 Keb
112.42 * TNChick
143.56 * Wendy
175.47 * Erin
177.37 Kristarella
180.60 * Crazy MomCat
227.55 craziequeen
233.83 * lazy daisy
242.95 * Mama B
278.67 * Minerva
282.89 * Chrixean
283.74 Suzy
284.97 * Nancy
306.48 * tamara
309.48 Dave
402.97 Lyn
416.65 * Friday's Child
422.37 Jane
481.92 WendyWings
525.98 * Su
537.80 * Gnome
560.85 YellowRose
570.15 * Killired

Congratulations to the bloggers who earned a bronze blog button:

602.71 * Veronika
801.20 * Mar
933.55 Tanya

* denotes former Blog Olympic Medalists


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Blog Olympics Training Camp #2, Event #2

Ring graphics courtesy of Carrie of Cze-Johnson Fever

Here's how much time is left until training camp closes:

Welcome to Blog Olympics Training Camp #2, Event #2.

Champion Bloggers know that people don't like to wait around forever for a blog to load and they make sure that their blogs load without long delays. How long does it take to load your blog? Use this Web Page Speed Analysis Tool to find out.

Go to the Web Page Speed Analysis Tool and enter your blog's link into the box where it says:

Enter URL to diagnose:

Then click on the Submit Query button.

I entered my blog's link: http://bmiers.blogspot.com into the box and clicked on the Submit Query button. The next page that appeared told me how long it takes for my page to load at various modem speeds. Here are my results:

Download Times*
Connection RateDownload Time
14.4K 146.85 seconds
28.8K 73.83 seconds
33.6K 63.39 seconds
56K 38.36 seconds
ISDN 128K 12.30 seconds
T1 1.44Mbps 1.80 seconds

We'll use the 14.4K modem speed for our results.

Post your score in the comments. Use this format:

146.85 seconds

The lower your number, the better chance you have at winning.

The top 10% of entering blogs (those with the fastest loading times) will win a gold blog button.

The bottom 10% of entering blogs (those with the slowest loading times) will win a bronze blog button.

All other blogs participating in this camp will win a silver blog button.

Your comment must be posted by 10:00 PM EST, Thursday, March 2, 2006. Please check the times of the person posting before you for accuracy.

Good luck and thank you for participating.

Event #1 at Cybervassals is going strong! Hurry over before it's too late!

Check out the Blog Olympics Training Camp News from Lazy Daisy


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