The big change

09-10-transitionI dunno about you, but I haven’t seen much about the change of the decade. It seems like a bigger deal to me than what I’ve seen. In some ways, Friday is just another day – but in other ways, it’s good to remember that we are entering a new decade!

Happy new year.


Shiny bits in a place I have never been

Shiny-Bits-01Shiny-Bits-03My friend Johanna put some of my Shiny Bits stickers in prominent places in Waxhaw, North Carolina – just before leaving town. I appreciate her willingness to spread the word of this site to places that have never heard of Shiny Bits before.

“This bridge defines Waxhaw. Everyone who visits Waxhaw, everyone who lives in Waxhaw has to walk across the famous bridge, and of course pause at the very top, where the sticker now lies.” (I am hoping that one of Waxhaw’s more conservative parishioners didn’t remove it before nightfall.)

The lower shot is near a very sacred place in Waxhaw.

Again, if you want some for your creative positioning ideas, just send me a note via a comment.



trabantKottke, the author of another of my favorite websites, did a story on how a company is updating the Trabant.

The Trabant, you see, is one of the worst cars ever made. (Thank you, formerly communist Eastern Europe.) It was a horrible polluter, terribly unreliable, ugly – and I have now run out of bad superlatives. This company is making it into a fun car that would be desirable to almost anyone that likes new little cars. (Me. In fact, I’d like one for Christmas.)

Humans sometimes amaze me in a good way.



scottish-danceI’m not a dancer.

Heather is much more open to such things than I am. Early in our marriage, she realized that my reluctance to do stuff that I am horrible at was strong enough that it wasn’t worth dragging me to things like Scottish dances. These days – twenty years after we said “I do” – we have found enough things that we both enjoy doing together. And she has accepted my complete lack of coordination in the area of dancing.

The lady I dated before meeting Heather was really into Scottish dancing. That might explain a little more of my fear of that form of art.


A very tiny Christmas gift

google-chromeGoogle Chrome.

If you don’t have it yet, go here for the free download. It’s a web browser. A fast one. Now available for Mac too!

Details, for those who are into this sort of thing…

My Comments: It’s way faster than Safari. Chrome imported my extensive bookmarks seamlessly – unlike Firefox or any other browser! Firefox is still my default browser… I like to root for the little guy – and also I’m just used to the Firefox work flow.

SmallDog’s comments: Chrome is unique in that each tab runs as its own process. If you’ve ever had Safari quit unexpectedly because one of your windows or tabs encountered a situation it couldn’t handle, you’ll appreciate this feature of Chrome. If one tab encounters a situation it doesn’t know how to handle, only that tab will quit. The other open tabs will be unaffected. This leap is is similar to the protected memory in Mac OS X vs. the shared memory of the classic OS. Remember the day when one application crashing meant you had to restart the whole computer?

While developer previews were available some time ago, this is the first public beta of Chrome. It is quite fast, and I haven’t been able to make it crash yet. There are plenty of benchmarking articles out there, but I’m not prepared to declare any browser fastest until Chrome is no longer a beta. With Google’s tendency to keep products in perpetual beta, when or if that happens is uncertain.

Mac users: Intel only.


Lest ye buy too much

estate-saleThere was an estate sale in our neighborhood a few weekends ago. “Everything must go!” (An estate sale is a fancy way of saying the people moving didn’t want to hassle with selling everything, so they hired a company to do it for them. Or worse yet, they were simply unable to sell everything, due to poor health – or worse.)

I thought it was highly appropriate that someone had placed this small plaque in the front and center of a prominent table full of lovely nick-nacks for sale. The people moving out of the home (to a retirement community or assisted living home, by my guess) realized that they could not take it all with them. In fact, the estate sale agent informed me that as of two o’clock that afternoon, it would all be hauled away to the dump.


Christmas Lights and Museum

englew-xm-3englew-xm-2englew-xm-1A home in nearly Englewood, Colorado boasts an amazing Christmas display. Many homes do the lights thing. This family has taken it to a new level. They have converted their front yard into a museum.

Elvis is part of some Americans’ Christmases. (I admit to owning some Elvis Presley music – the only album of his in my CD collection is his Christmas compilation.) The dolls? I was not sure what part they played… maybe they were given to the lady of the house when she was a child. I don’t think they had gotten rid of anything they were ever given or bought.

I have not shown their amazing train set. It included a cable car that started on their roof!

A few collection boxes were placed along the pedestrian path. I dutifully inserted a dollar or two. (I am sure the electricity costs must be enormous.)

I am glad that family shared their lives with us in that way.


Christmas wonder, Japanese style

IsetanI thought this campaign was funny. Tokyobling highlighted it recently. Isetan’s Christmas site is interesting – a lot of Flash programming went into their creation.

Isetan is a Japanese department store. And their marketing department doesn’t speak English very well.

I was also struck by the fact that no American department store would feature the word “Christmas” in the title of any marketing campaign – too narrow and inclusive. Can you say “Holiday”?


More popular than me

TP-ingMy oldest son, Jay, is quite a friendly kid. He was TP’ed a month or two ago.

I was never there when I was in high school.

It’s fun to see personality characteristics skip generations. He inherited my mom’s extroversion. He pegs the scale in that area – way beyond where Heather is or I am. He knows people in every grade at his large high school – and not just the kids in his strata – kids from every caste.

I guess there’s a little of that “wish the best for your kids” thing going on here… I’m very happy that he is so well-liked.