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Archive for November, 2006

Photo-A-Day #600 11/29/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 30, 2006

Today I gave a demonstration here at Ready Randy’s. I have been looking forward to this for a while because, well, the place is called Ready Randy’s. It sounds like a seedy club for scantily clad women. However that was not the case. Ready Randy’s is a Sports Bar and Grill and also a banquet hall, a pretty nice banquet hall too. The banquet hall was set up for a seminar and it was in a very large ballroom. We connected to the network wirelessly too. My friend Ken demonstrated to a large gathering of people in that room. He even had to wear a wireless microphone. I demonstrated in a smaller room next to the banquet hall. I am grateful that I did not have to set demo in that large room. From what I hear the demos went well today.

On the way to the demo I saw a sign for a White Castle. I’ve wanted to go to a White Castle since I watched Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. One of the other demonstrators has Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle with him. It seemed like fate, but it was not to be. The highway exit on the way back was not the same one as I had seen on the way there. I was unable to go get some tasty sliders. So I went back to the Mall of America and ended up having lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

I sat at the bar and watched Forrest Gump while I had many types of shrimp. I had Chilly Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, and Coconut Shrimp. The meal also had Hush Pups and they were pretty tasty. I then wanted to grab some ColdStone Creamery, but I was too full. So I headed off to the airport to see if there was an earlier flight to St. Louis, no such luck. So now I’m hanging in the food court with another demonstrator while we wait for our flights.

My flight was pretty good. I sat next to this guy who as rather large. We were on a regional jet. There is not much room on these flights. I was on the aisle and he was on the window. When he sat down he began talking to me and he was very congenial. I offered to switch with him so he would be more comfortable, and I did this because when he sat down he did not crowd me like people half his size often do. But he stayed at the window and he and I sat in this tiny aisle trying keep from crowding each other. I moved the armrest on the aisle to the up position but I think I broke it because I heard a crack and then it wouldn’t come back down. Oops.

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PVP Animated? Yes Way!

Posted by BenSpark on November 29, 2006

I just read it today. Scott Kurtz over at the webcomic PVP (a term for online gaming for player vs player) is now taking his characters into the world of animation. PVP centers around a fictional office of great characters who create a fictional magazine called PVP. The comic has been around for 10 years. 10 years is a long time in the world of web comics, it is a long time in the world of comics too. But with webcomics being in their infancy this comic was there from the beginning. And it is a very good comic indeed. The writing and art is fun. The characters are likeable and it is updated 7 days a week. The entire archive from 1996 onward is online. You can read all about Cole, Brent, Skull, Jade, Francis and the rest of the characters to your heart’s content. Allison just finally got caught up on the archive and she is onto reading the comic daily with me. She is also a fan.

The animation show starts on February 1, 2007 and will run for a full year. There is a cost to this because the animation is being done by real animators, the voice work is being done by real voice actors and somebody needs to get paid for this work. Scott Kurtz himself has given a lot to his fans, comics 7 days a week for free, a free archive. This is a guy who is doing things on his own terms and doing them well.

You can watch the first minute of the cartoon on YouTube. I’ve added it here. Oh yeah, if you sign up for the full year of episodes, 12 in all, right now it is $19.95 and if you wait till February it is $29.95. So glad I have some PayPal cash from PPP.

YouTube is having scheduled maintenance right now, I mean it is midnight, who is online at midnight? I’ll embedd the video tomorrow. In the meantime you can read about the animation series and hopefully see the video at Scott’s Blog

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Photo-A-Day #599 11/28/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 29, 2006

Today I went back to Minnesota to the Mall of America. This place is pretty cool. It is huge and I can’t believe that it is only the 4th most popular mall in Minnesota. I walked around, went to a movie, drooled over the toys and the giant lego setups. This place has it all. They even have an aquarium in the basement with a walking tube through the aquarium where you can see all the fish all around you rather than looking through round walls. Apparently they even have 38 sharks. I didn’t end up going there but rather I went and saw Casino Royale. Then I walked through the whole mall and had dinner at Famous Daves. It was okay but not exceptional.

Here are some photos from the mall.

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Photo-A-Day #598 11/27/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 27, 2006

If you read the comments here on the blog you may have noticed that my friend Andy has put up another great rant. I asked him to critique the new BenSpark Bookstore. And he did critique it and then went off on his own journey. I thank Andy for critiquing the site. I have been an Amazon affiliate for some time now and have recently put together my own storefront with Amazon. I had the flatwater bookstore blog and I am going to let that go away. Now I am going to maintain an Amazon storefront with books, dvds and other items that pertain to topics I am interested in. I will also try to keep a couple of pages set up for items I mention on this blog.

The photo is of some kayaking books that I have read. I started the BenSpark Bookstore with Kayaking books. And there is also a kayaking shirt that I got today from Paddling.net. I joined the Paddling.net paddle perks program for 2007. If you are into kayaking then you should sign up for this newsletter. It is fantastic and informative. There is also a sweepstakes each month.

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Some shows we watched.. Hs/Ss

Posted by BenSpark on November 27, 2006

Allison and I finally got to some of the shows that we had taped.

Standoff – This was an episode from last week. Matt Flannery helps to save a young woman who has been taken hostage in his home. She begins an obsessive relationship with Matt and eventually takes a hostage of her own. Emily, Matt’s partner, realizes what has happened to the woman and she talks through to a safe outcome. The dynamic between Matt and Emily gets better and better. This week looks to be a really tough episode to watch and one that is timely.

Standoff – This was a good episode. Throughout the episode I kept going back and forth about my theories of how the show would end up. It was well written. Also, the character development was great.

The Nine – Well this is probably the last episode of the Nine that will be aired. The show got pulled out of the lineup. I hadn’t realized that I taped this show last week. But I did and it was a decent episode. We learned what happened in the hostage taking between Jeremy and Lizzie. It was a big deal too. I think the show was hitting stride but just wasn’t going to work without Lost as the lead in.

The Nine – I’m really miffed that they are taking this show off the air. It’s a great story – I love the back and forth of it all. I really do.

Also this weekend Allison and I watched the Comedy Central special – Gary Gulman – A Boyish Man. The show was hilarious. Gary is obsessed with cookies and holiday weirdness. He was just so funny. I want to see more of his stand up.

Gary Gulman – A Boyish Man was a great hour of comedy. I really love Gary Gulman. He’s funny. He’s not overly vulgar or stupid, he’s just funny. Who else talks to a Nutter Butter in their comedy routine?? Seriously. It was funny.

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Photo-A-Day #597 11/26/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 27, 2006

Today we said goodbye to Dan and Marcia. We had lunch with Dan,Marcia, Grandma Eva and Grandpa John and Nate. We also were visited by Uncle Jim and Alice. Today we did not do much. Dan and Marcia packed for their trip to Florida. We packed up to go home. The Christmas decorations went up yesterday and today. So it looks like Santa has some clothes he forgot to pick up last year. Maybe he’ll come get them this year.

Starman was on Sci-fi channel today. I remember seeing that movie when it came out. I really liked it. I still like it today. A very good movie overall and Jeff Bridges was great in it.

From reading the user reviews it looks like the European version is widescreen with commentary, the US version does not have that. Maybe on the 25th anniversary of the movie we will get a better DVD.

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BenSpark Book Store

Posted by BenSpark on November 26, 2006

I’m working on a new project through Amazon where I can choose books to be in my own affiliate bookstore. I have begun by choosing books and DVD’s related to kayaking. I set up the store to be organized so that interested kayakers can find relevant information pertaining to their style of the sport. Whether they are fans of kayaking literature and stories, building kayaks, whitewater or sea kayaking I have set up categories for all sorts of things kayak. I plan to also set up some other aspects of the store related to my other hobbies like photography and rollerblading and transformers collecting.

Take a look at the The BenSpark Book Store to learn more. Let me know what you think of the set-up so far. And Andy I mean you, you are very good at constructive criticism.

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Photo-A-Day #596 11/25/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 25, 2006

This is Clyde, he is one of Marcia and Dan’s cats. Clyde is pretty much a huge ball of fur with a tiny head. He plays till he starts panting. The poor cat has no sense but he is awfully cute to photograph. I couldn’t resist taking a bunch of pictures of him after he played for a long time.

I finished reading Tyrannosaur Canyon today. A decent read. I liked the book and the characters. There was quite a cast in the book and very interesting as well. The plot was good and the action kept me entertained. I will probably read more Douglas PReston books in the future. Here are some of his books. Preston often writes with Lincoln Child

Series Books

Agent Pendergast, an FBI special agent, is featured in:

Margo Green, a natural history museum curator in New York City, is featured in:

Non-series books:

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GPS…

Posted by BenSpark on November 25, 2006

Dan just bought a new GPS system. The Magellan RoadMate 2000. He went out and braved the Black Friday craziness and came home with a navigation system. This is a windshield mounting GPS system that has preloaded maps for 48 states. Sorry Alaska and Hawaii you need to find your own way around. I like having the nav systems when I rent cars but that happens very very infrequently however. But it is nice to get one once in a while. Here are a few GPS systems for you to check out.

A GPS system would be great if I was into Geocaching.

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Photo-A-Day #595 11/24/06

Posted by BenSpark on November 25, 2006

This morning we got up and went to Cafe Loco for a delicious breakfast with Tara, Shelby and Erik, thanks Erik. I had the Michael Muffin and Allison had the Long Boat Key Omelet. Then we picked up some salsa to bring to Allison’s parents. We walked around back and I took some pictures of the cows.

Then we stopped back to the cottage and picked up our stuff, said goodbye to Mom and Dad and headed out to Manchester to see Dan and Marcia and spend the rest of the weekend with them.

Allison and Marcia spent the afternoon sorting through the decorations from various holidays. Marcia decorates her house so well and thoroughly each holiday that after many years she has many decorations. Because they are moving she is consolidating those decorations and giving quite a few to Allison. We had the trunk full after about 30 minutes.

In the afternoon we were visited by Sandy and her niece Brenna and Allison’s friend Jessica.

Ken called me later in the afternoon about doing dinner at La Caretta. So Allison and I met up with him at 7:30 and then James came and then Ken’s fiance Alicia arrived. We had a nice dinner and good margaritas. I do like their food very much and have missed being able to go there with our friends here in New Hampshire.

After dinner we went back to Dan and Marcia’s so I could show them the video I made for Marketing Day (Andy I swear you will get to see this). I don’t think that they were all as impressed as everybody on Friday night but they laughed none-the-less. Allison snapped the Photo-A-Day of Ken leaning up against me and me having my arm around him. He tries to freak me out by getting uncomfortably close all the time but I wouldn’t let him this time so I played along. It is a running joke with us. Ken and Alicia closed the living room well after I headed to bed. It was nice to see Ken, Alicia and James. We had a nice dinner and conversation.

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