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Archive for March, 2007

Moving…..

Posted by BenSpark on March 18, 2007

No, Allison and I are not moving, rather this blog is moving to a new home. The BenSpark is moving onto its own domain. Yes, I finally took the plunge. The new domain is http://www.benspark.com and if you are currently linking to me please update your links to point to the new domain.

The new domain will be under construction for a while so please don’t mind the dust. All of my old posts 2100+ will be migrating over to the new domain. Eventually. I am working really hard to make the new BenSpark so much better than this one and that will take time and careful planning. Be on the lookout for the use of labels and tags to make navigation easier for everyone. There is so much I have to do and I am open to the suggestions so please leave comments as new information and old information is posted.

Thank you to everyone who has been a visitor here over the years. I really have appreciated the fact that I wasn’t just talking to myself.

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Photo-A-Day #707 03/16/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 17, 2007

Last night when we were at the Christopher Williams show and I was talking with Chris we discussed Photo-A-Day. You may not know this, but I hope you do because that means you’ve been following Photo-A-Day for a while now, Christopher was the inspiration for Photo-A-Day. Anyway we were discussing it and Christopher has been kicking an idea around about taking a perspective a day. He had to explain it a bit to me so today I took a photo from my perspective, right before I enjoy some diet pink grapefruit soda. This might not be what he was talking about and maybe I just didn’t want to go outside into the crappy weather. Tomorrow’s Photo will be better because we are going to Derek and Michelle’s for St. Patrick’s day and we are having a Wii party. Derek got the Wiimote recharging station. I am jealous, and burning through batteries as I blaze through Zelda. But I wonder if I should buy something specialized like that or just get some rechargeable AA batteries.

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Photo-A-Day #706 03/15/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 16, 2007

Tonight Allison and I went to Christina’s Cafe in Westborough, Ma to see Christopher Williams. Allison saw that the show was coming up so she found out about getting tickets. Christina’s looks like a nice little restaurant. We sat at a table in the front and could see everything quite well.

Before Christopher played we heard three songs by Sarah Adams and three by Brian Vanderpool. They played together but are not in a band together. Then we heard and Laura Bullock. She was very good and also a good storyteller. I liked her song, The Net Below very much. Look for these three artists to become a Singer Spotlight Artist in the future. Christian Bookstore The Olive Branch was the sponsor for the show. Prior to the show starting Allison and I caught up with Christopher and chatted for a bit. Then he was called away and we settled into our seats. I set up my QuikPod with the tripod leg attachments to try and get some pictures. Even though I was using a tripod and the highest ISO I still got pretty blurry pictures because I didn’t use a flash. Maybe next time I will bring the Digital SLR camera and get better shots. Although I do like this shot because it was the only time Christopher used the djembe. And that song was Did Not Draw. I love that song especially the sound of the djembe.

Christopher’s wife was not there and we missed seeing and talking with her. The night was very nice and it was late for us ‘old folks’ especially since it was a school night. Christopher’s storytelling is getting better and better. He just returned from Africa with Blood Water Mission. Blood Water Mission was started by the band Jars of Clay and the mission is to build clean water wells for people in Africa. And they are doing this to help reduce the impact of the HIV/Aids pandemic by promoting clean blood and clean water giving the people basic conditions that are necessary for good health. Blood Water Mission is also trying to raise the funds necessary to build 1000 clean water wells in Africa. You can find out more about Blood Water Mission as well as how a donation of $1.00 can give one African clean water for 1 year. Take a look at www.1000Wells.com.

As always the Christopher show was moving, powerful and fun. If you ever get a chance to see him play go and see him, you will not be disappointed.

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Singer Spotlight: Paul Wright

Posted by BenSpark on March 15, 2007


I enjoy music and have been using MySpace to introduce myself to many talented singers and songwriters. I have amassed quite a few friends of that nature. I basically only accept friend requests from singers, my personal friends and comedians. That is what I use MySpace for. I don’t use it to meet a bunch of new random people. I don’t try and amass as many “friends” as possible. I use it to listen to great new music.

Because of this I have quite a long list of singers/songwriters that are friends on MySpace. I am starting a new feature called the Singer Spotlight. I will be posting about each of the singers I have on my friends list on MySpace and providing you with links to their MySpace profiles where you can listen to their music.

The first singer I am going to write about is Paul Wright. Paul has a very interesting sound. His music blends influences from Reggae, jazz, pop and hip hop, and it comes out on with sweet lyrics on the acoustic guitar. Paul really makes use of the power of MySpace and has a huge following. His music is categorized under Indie/Acoustic/Christian. Paul uses MySpace as his official website too. He is one of the more prolific singers who blog. There is a blog post from Paul almost every week and each one has tons of comments added moments after it is posted. Paul’s music is fun and great to listen to. It also has a message but it doesn’t hit you over the head. Rather the lyrics permeate your subconscious as you bop along to his music.

Paul also has some good marketing stuff as well. He plays on his last name for some t-shirt designs. For instance he has a shirt that says Mr. Wright and a women’s t-Shirt that says Mrs. Wright. When Paul makes a new T-shirt he asks the fans on MySpace for opinions. Paul has a lot of interaction with his fans through MySpace. I just wish he’d come out this may more often but he is based out of the West Coast.

Take a listen to Paul’s music on MySpace. You can even download 4 of his songs. My favorite is Sunrise to Sunset. It has been on my MP3 player for at least a year now.

Paul has also generated quite a buzz through his street team called, The Goonies. He’s from Oregon you know. The Goonies are pretty loyal fans of Paul’s and help market his shows.

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Photo-A-Day #705 03/14/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 15, 2007

Oliver has certainly been making himself quite comfortable around the house. He keeps sitting on Allison while she knits. Allison has been knitting up a storm. She has already made a bunch of scarves and she even made a cute little baby hat for her friend Jess’ baby Kaylee.

I was working on some of the video that I took this past weekend and I don’t really like how everything came out so it might end up on the virtual cutting room floor. I did however pull together video for the RockStartup auditions that PayPerPost and RockStartup are having. The task was to make a video about PayPerPost and what it has done for me and my life. Well so far I have bought a bunch of cool things with the PPP money and that is pretty much what the video is about. And after I posted it it went up on the PPP blog. So quickly too.

And speaking of PayPerPost, Christine from The Passionate Ailurophile sent me a message about going to see the PawSox in April. That will be a good time.

Bones is back on TV as of tonight. Allison and I just watched it. I thought I had the whole thing figured out but I was wrong. They threw me for a loop tonight. Good Job doing that. It was a very interesting ending. I also like how the main character of Dr. Brennan’s book is Kathy Reichs. That is a riot.

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Photo-A-Day #704 03/13/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 13, 2007

Even my Mii takes pictures with his eyes closed. I love Wii Boxing and my Mii is pretty good at it. I haven’t figured out what makes my character get back up after getting knocked down or how to deliver the powerful slo-mo punches on purpose. I am also trying to get my Mii age on a daily basis but some days I just don’t get to it.

I am back after a nice long weekend. And today I had the day off for a day worked on a weekend. I love that perk. I took the time today to get myself caught up on the daily photos and the day completely got away from me.

I also did some food shopping and it took longer than usual because I tried to select items that did not have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. I am trying to eat more healthful foods. And an abundance of High Fructose Corn Syrup is not good for you. Unfortunately it is in so many foods. But I have to keep a watchful eye because there are many organic alternatives.

Here are some sites with information about High Fructose Corn Syrup.

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Photo-A-Day #703 03/12/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 13, 2007

Today Allison and I headed home from NH. We played a few more games with Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne and Andy and Marylin. Dice games like Farkle, One The Rocks and Moose Spotting were a lot of fun. Andy and Marylin had a game called Pass the Pigs. This was a very fun little game that used little pigs instead of dice.

On the way back to Manchester we stopped off to see one of Allison’s friends who had just had a baby. Today’s photo is of Allison and little Kaylee (SP). She is adorable.

We stopped back at Marcia and Dan’s for dinner and then made our way home. The whole time change from the other night had me all screwed up.

We finally got home and watched a bit of a great PBS special that was a tribute to James Taylor. But we were too tired to watch the whole thing so we listened to it as we went to sleep. The nightstand clock radio has a TV station setting on it. So that comes in handy.

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Photo-A-Day #702 03/11/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 12, 2007

Today I snowshoed up and around the Flume in the Franconia Notch State Park. I was with Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne and their friends Marylin and Andy. Allison hung back at the house and got a ton of knitting done as well as some book club reading completed.

We drove up to the trailhead and then put our equipment on and headed out to the trail. It was a very nice hike and easy walking. We went up to the lower Flume Gorge and got to see a bunch of ice climbers. They were scaling the frozen walls of the gorge. It was beautiful to see the ice all over the rocks. Those ice climbers were awesome to watch.

We then climbed up to the Tip ‘O The Gorge and were able to look back down the gorge. From there we could still see the ice climbers who were near the top of the ice walls. I was on one platform with Andy and Marylin and on the other was Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne; we threw some snowballs back and forth.

All through the snowshoe hike I stopped and took many pictures as well as filmed footage for The Wired Kayaker’s first Podcast. I will need another video camera for the podcast. Unfortunately the camera I want is not coming out until around April and when it does it is not that inexpensive either. I need a good camera that is small and will be able to zoom and focus. My Canon SD800IS can zoom and focus well for a still shot but not very well for the video. The digital zoom is useless for the taping video. But the optical zoom is fine. Hopefully between yesterday and today I was able to get enough to cobble together a decent first podcast.

When we got home I took my SD cards out and got the pictures off the cameras. Then I tried to get the pictures off my Uncle’s camera. My laptop has a memory card slot built in that takes SD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro, Smart Media and XD cards. Well, let’s just say that it no longer reads cards of any kind. The Memory Stick Pro from Uncle Wayne’s camera wouldn’t read and then was pushed too far into the reader. I tried to get it out with tweezers and pushed it even further. The problem was that the tweezers pushed together before they could grip the memory card. So now I have a broken pair of tweezers and a broken memory card reader. I did get the memory card out, and then pushed it back in a second time and it got stuck again. I know, that was really dumb to do.

Tonight we played many different games like Farkle, Left Right Center, Scat, Scattergories, and Catch Phrase. One of the fun things I really look forward to when we spend time with Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne is certainly the time we spend playing games. That is really so much fun after a day of some exercise out in the great outdoors.

We had a very nice meal that Aunt Cindy made and then played some more games and now we are hanging out watching the Amazing Race and Grease. I did finally figure out the DVD player. And I didn’t even have to shove some broken tweezers into it.


The Pemigewasset River Covered Bridge


Ice Climbers in the Flume Gorge


A narrow walk up to the Flume Gorge


Uncle Wayne


Ice Climber


Ice Climbing in the Flume Gorge.


Ice Climber


Another Ice Climber


Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne attempt to swat snowballs.


Shadow.


Uncle Wayne, Aunt Cindy, Marylin and Andy on the Sentinel Pine Bridge.


Sentinel Pine Bridge – 1939


The pool below the Sentinel Pine Bridge.


Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne.


Mountains.


Me using the QuikPod.


Uncle Wayne.

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Photo-A-Day #701 03/10/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 11, 2007

Today Allison and I drove up to New Hampshire because we are spending the weekend with my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Wayne. Before we got going I ended up catching Oliver relaxing on some of the tools that we had out for getting our rooms remodeled.

We got everything packed up and headed up to NH. Allison drove and I read some of the comic books that I picked up yesterday. I had Transformers Generations #11 and #12 which were reprints of Marvel Comics Transformers #30 and #31. I have all of the originals but since I am still a big fan I wanted the reprints as well. It was nice reading those comics. I had a little flashback to when I was a kid on the Cape. I would go to the comic book store there every week and get new comics, and at that time it was just G.I. Joe and Transformers. And twenty years later the comics I still collect are G.I. Joe and Transformers. I really like what the artists and writers are doing to the lines now. They have updated the story and the characters but have kept true to the spirit of the series. I also read the Transformers Movie Prequel #1. This is a four issue series that will fill in some back-story on the new Transformers movie that will be out this July 4th.

We stopped for lunch at Dan and Marcia’s. It was a nice little pit stop and we’ll be stopping back that way on the way home. Then we continued on towards Lincoln, NH. But before that we stopped off at Target to pick up some Archer Farms Organic Air Popped popcorn. This is the absolute best popcorn in a bag that I have ever had. It is not overly salty, it is just salty enough. I also like it because you can have 3 cups in a serving and the nutrition information is very good for someone who is trying to watch what they eat.

We got up to the house in Lincoln, NH around 2:30pm. And we took a little rest and watched some CMT. There was a show that was featuring a behind the scenes of an upcoming Dukes of Hazzard movie. I saw the one that had Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott. That was not a very good movie. This new one is called, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning. It actually looks much better and has some fairly unknowns in the roles of the Duke Boys and Daisy. Willie Nelson reprises his role as Uncle Jesse. Who else could play that role? I mean really? The show didn’t say where it was a CMT movie or a movie that would be in the theaters. And I have no wireless right now to check it out. (When I got home I saw that The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning was a direct to video movie and is on sale now at Target.

Then I went over to the Franconia Notch State Park. I wanted to go and get my Photo-A-Day. I walked out onto the trail down to the Pemigewasset River Covered bridge. There I set up my GorillaPod with my Canon SD800Is camera and then took out my Sanyo Xacti C4 and attached it to my QuikPod. I filmed a few scenes for my upcoming podcast for my new blog: The Wired Kayaker. Yes, I know I wasn’t kayaking but that is not what The Wired Kayaker is going to be all about.

The Wired Kayaker is a catchy name but the blog and the podcast will be about all the different outdoor activities that anyone can do. I was out there testing my equipment. I put the GorillaPod on a fence and started filming. Then I walked out to the trail and started filming with the QuikPod and the Sanyo. I need a new Sanyo. I’m going to wait until the HD2 is out in April to buy that one. The reason I want to use that is that the screen flips 270 degrees so you can turn it to face yourself when you are filming yourself with the QuikPod. That way I can perfectly frame my shots on the first try. These two products certainly compliment each other very well. But the problem I am having is that the Sanyo is about 4 years old and you can hear the lens move to focus. But it has been a great camera over the years.

Tonight we went to the Woodstock Station for dinner. We had a 40 minute wait but we had brought some dice with us and played Farkle to pass the time. I took a photo of a sloppy dice fiasco where one die ended up under the couch and Aunt Cindy’s friend Andy went after it. As he was searching everyone else was telling me to take a picture. I left my camera at home but luckily I bought Allison a camera for Valentine’s Day and she had hers. So I used that to take the picture. I almost won the Farkle game too. Dinner was pretty good but we had a very inattentive waitress.


Covered bridge on the Pemigewasset River.


On the Trail above the Pemigewasset River.


Oliver on the tools.


Andy looking for Farkle Dice.

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Photo-A-Day #700 03/09/07

Posted by BenSpark on March 10, 2007

Today’s photo was taken by me using a great new device that I just received in the mail. I learned about this from Cali Lewis on GeekBrief.tv. It is called the QuikPod and I wrote a great post about it on Flatwater. I used the QuikPod for today’s Photo-A-Day and a few other things that I am working on and am very excited that it arrived before the weekend. So now I can try using it while I am on my snowshoeing trip this weekend.

Also today I got a few more posts moved over to the New BenSpark. It still doesn’t look all that pretty but I am working on the content. I will pretty it up later. It has been really fun to go back over some of my old posts. I’ve only done 50+ out of the past 2000+ so that feeling will get old soon. I am also working really hard to make the new blog very easy for people to search. I have added tags to every single post and then created categories and sub-categories and sub-sub-categories so that navigating through my new site will be so easy. So, if you are into roller blading, you can click the category for roller blading and see all my posts about that subject. And if you really like the Photo-A-Day concept but you could do without my commentary then I will be making use of the (more) tag, that will allow me to display the photo and then give you the choice to read on about the commentary on that photo.

This afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment and I ended up over in Attleboro, so on the way back I swung over and picked up my comic books. I had quite a stack waiting for me at Wild Time Comics. Randy even set aside a black and white issue of the Transformer’s movie prequel comic. I’m very excited to read that but I didn’t get time to read any comics today. After work I started my submission video for RockStartup’s call for Postie videos. I used the QuikPod to make my video, unfortunately I finally ran out of batteries in my new camera, which was actually a long time because I have only charged it once. So, I am not completely finished for the video and will get a few more things filmed this weekend along with my secret project.

FuelMyBlog is picking up more steam. Allison is now listed on FuelMyBlog and she needs some votes so please check out her blog, Sparky’s View and give her some votes and leave her a comment.

I found this fantastic kayaking blog called South West Sea Kayaking and I wrote about that site on The Wired Kayaker.

Tonight Allison and I went with Mom, Dad and Tara to the movies to see Wild Hogs. This was a pretty funny movie. It has been the #1 movie since it came out and I wonder if 300 will knock it off. It was sold out tonight and I was glad that Dad went over early to buy tickets. There were some very funny moments and quite a few good cameos. John C. McGinley from Scrubs made a very “revealing” cameo. More than I needed to see, but it made for some funny moments. And I liked the team of Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy. I was reading that Ray Romano had once been tied to this movie. I think William H. Macy really made the movie well rounded. I don’t think I could see Ray Romano in that role. The end was a bit silly and sappy, but it did have another great cameo. And then the very end, stay for the credits, was rather funny as well. Plenty of product placements for OCC and the cameos by Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. were funny. We all enjoyed the movie very much.

I submitted a new Badge for PayPerPost in a recent contest, the voting is now up. If you are a registered Postie you can cast a vote, and if you do vote for my submission which is #9. It looks like this.


Click the Image to get to the thread to vote. I have 5 votes already. So cool. But I am not the top one yet. Help me out with a vote.

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