Sunday, December 30, 2007


An old man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his potato garden but it was very hard work as the ground was hard. His only son Fred, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament.

Dear Fred,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over I know you would dig the plot for me.

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
For heaven's sake, don't dig up that garden! That's where I buried the BODIES!

At 4am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rising moon, SW Harbor ME

Rising moon, SW Harbor ME, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Taken on Christmas eve.

I used a flashlight on the birch tree in the foreground to "paint" it with light so it had some depth. The moon is way overexposed, but when it's that bright - if it was perfectly exposed it would be the only thing you could see.

....oh, that's a little Christmas tree at the end of the dock.

Lonely pooch

Lonely pooch, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Taken on the docks in South West Harbor Maine. You are looking down 4 floating docks stacked on top of each other.

Throwing stones into the sea

Throwing stones into the sea, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Paige was tossing stones into the sea and I was lucky enough to capture this.

Is this good?

This is how my Gateway 450ROG screen looks this morning.

I booted her up and heard a lot of clicking and whirring. Hmm, sounds eerily familiar.

However, this time I listened to my own recommendation. Every single file has been backed up to my Western Digital external hard drive.

Now I have to decide - laptop or desktop for the office?

Poor Kaitlyn

She ran into the corner of a table at a party yesterday. One of the people who saw it said she actually *moved* the table.

Becky said she cried for 1/2 hour straight and that's just not like her, so we decided to take her to the ER and after 4 hours and an x-ray - all is OK. Just some bruising.

Whenever she smiles, it hurts her. I was trying to take a picture of her eye and she kept on smiling and wincing at the same time. :-(

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Piglet, Pooh, & Tigger

Piglet, Pooh, & Tigger, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Paige drew this on her white board all by herself.

For those who are counting she is 4 1/2.

Paige doing a headstand on the couch

Paige doing a headstand on the couch, originally uploaded by -SPK.

If this doesn't make you smile....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mom & Paige

Mom & Paige, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Strike on Box

You may notice in some of the photos what appears to be abborations or lens flare. This is actually sparks of hot sulpher flying in the air. I had a lot of fun doing this but the whole house smelled like matches for 3 hours.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

After an intense 3 week test of this free application from, my vote is in: 5 stars. If I could give it 6 stars I would. Why isn't this being talked about more? Is it just because I am in sales and on the road 99% of the time? This is amazing! First, take a peek at this video to see a little bit of what it does.

When you join, you provide your cell phone number and email address. You either upload your address book or type in your contacts. Rather then sending a text or email from the road, you call the toll free number - Jott matches your account to your address book and records your audio message. It then transcribes the message, sends it to the person who you told it to with the transcription and a link to the recorded audio and copies you on the email.

An extremely useful feature is the reminders. Lets say you just remembered that you need to order a gift for me for Christmas before the Amazon sale expires. Just call Jott, when it asks you "Who do you want to jot?" you say "Myself" or "Me". Then say "Don't forget to order the new Tablet PC for Patrick for Christmas before Friday's sale expires." Jott says, "Do you want a reminder?" "Yes" "For when" "Thursday December 13th at 7PM" "OK, got it Thursday December 13th at 7PM" Jott repeats. When the reminder is due, you get a text and an email of the transcription as well as a link to the audio.

Here is the newest feature: Calendar function. Lets say you just hung up with Boom and booked a racquetball game for Saturday. Rather than grab a pen, write it down while you are driving and lose the paper anyway, call Jott!

When Jott answers, say "Google Calendar". Jott repeats "Google Calendar". Beep. "Next Sunday 7:15 am racquetball at Northwood in Palmer with Boom." Boom! Just like that, it's on your calendar with the text that was transcribed and the correct date and time.

Check it out at

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday spirit

We had our office Christmas party last night at Starters Riverport in Bethlehem, PA. A bunch of us ran outside to feed our meters and Melissa found this note on her car:

A server from Starters found them! Wow, in south side Bethlehem? A good deed? Is everything alright?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It reads:

gee-thanks, originally uploaded by -SPK.

You could spend $9,999,818.88 more without increasing shipping.

Wow, thanks.

I wonder how many people have taken advantage of that!

Financial health, or financially unhealthy?

I read an interesting article in the LA Times today about how Americans are tapping their home equity (the value in the home vs. the loan owed to the bank) to pay for things like credit card debt, trips, etc.

The article was more informative and didn't take any sides. Here are two quotes that made me angry and realize that people will say anything to make money.

"If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years," said David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and author of "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?" "It's as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress."

He called it "very unsophisticated."

Anthony Hsieh, chief executive of LendingTree Loans, an Internet-based mortgage company, used a more disparaging term. "If you own your own home free and clear, people will often refer to you as a fool. All that money sitting there, doing nothing."

That's when it hit me, what the problem is: Education. Lack of it. Let me back it up with facts:

You have a $300,000 mortgage and are paying 6.5% for 30 years. Your payment includes principal (the $300,000 the bank gave you) and the interest (the money the bank makes when you borrow). Your payment? $1,896.20

That's made up of $1,625 of interest and $271.20 of principal in the first month of the loan. Yeah.

See, mortgages are structured so the bank makes most of their money in the beginning of the loan and much less at the end. So, what do banks want you to do? GET ANOTHER LOAN!

What would happen if you did not get another loan, rather - you put an additional $200 towards your mortgage every single month?

What I didn't mention yet is that when you pay extra on your mortgage each month, that extra goes directly towards your principal and since the bank's interest is just a percent of principal - over time you pay less in interest. But how much less?

How does $103,450 sound in savings? Yep. And your reduced the length of your mortgage by 6 years and ll months.

Here's the breakdown for you non believers: Your extra $200 per month ended up being $55,200 and because you didn't pay interest on that amount, you saved $103,450 in interest. (your $300,000 is always the same)

I guess you are now "a fool" and "very unsophisticated".

See, the real issue here is that people have not been educated on finance. In most high schools, kids are not taught simple finance. Balancing a check book, loans, interest, taxes, investing, etc.

When I was buying our house, I lived on this web site. Karl's Mortgage Calculator, and I can honestly say, it was the first and so far the last time that I actually donated money to a website that asked for it. I heard Joe Biden say something that I think really fits here: "...don't tell me what your priorities are -- show me your budget and I'll tell YOU what your priorities are."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

"Scrubs" suprise

What is this? Is this blog becoming the "feel good blog"?? I liked this a lot.

It's December 1st and we are in the holiday spirit at the Kaine house!

This is a MUST WATCH!

Thanks Brenda for sending it to us.

What is better?

What is better?, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Here is a sitemeter screen shot for my blog, if you can see about half way down the person was searching for "what's better big or small nipples". How lucky was he that he got to this blog?

What makes you ask that?

Here is a funny and R-rated story of a fellow blogger, jkirlin.