Spring in Michigan

Yes it is the end of April and this is what mother nature has in store for us. I can only hope that my flower bed doesn’t go into hiding.


Variety, a spice of life

While I dearly love the Seattle area, there is much to be said for life in Northern Michigan. While a native puget sound resident might not agree, there really is not seasons there. It’s spring in northern Michigan (finally) and the stark browns and whites of winter are faded away and replaced with green and all manner of flowering colors.

When the world is green all the time, the value of spring is diluted. Here, the hibernating world is springing to life. Jen’s flowers are all popping up, the grass is turning green, and the trees have buds on them. The sidewalks are dotted with people and pets. You can’t imagine how much more beautiful and special the spring season is until you’ve had a real winter.

ShopSafe is cool!

I’ve had a MBNA credit card for almost 10 years and have been very pleased with their service. Over time they have slowly inched my credit limit skyward and yesterday I noticed it was up to $42,000. So, I logged onto their web site to find the “lower my limit” button and couldn’t find it. What I found instead was the coolest new feature called ShopSafe.

ShopSafe is a free service that allows you to generate a temporary credit card number, with specified time and spending limits. The number is only valid for one merchant, with a capped limit and for a pre-defined number of months. How cool is that? Anyhow, I ended up calling them to get my credit limit drastically reduced. Since I never carry balances, I can’t imagine needing such an absurdly high limit.

Today I’m putting together a computer system for a client and needed to purchase $1,200 worth of computer equipment from a vendor I have never dealt with. Rather than giving them one of my credit card numbers, I logged onto my MBNA account, created a one time ShopSafe number with a $1300 limit, and gave that to them. Once they authorize the transaction, the number will not work for any other merchant, and they can’t charge me for any more than the limit I set. That’s very, very cool.

You could also use it for recurring transcactions, such as a magazine subscription. You could set the max amount to the annual subscription limit and a 12 month time limit. After your subscription expires, your vendor cannot overbill you or automatically re-subscribe you without you giving them a new number. Cool. 🙂

We’re no longer pregnant

Yes, that is far from pleasant tidings. Our pregnancy just miscarried. We are going through the process of grieving and restoration. If you want to help us during this process, we welcome your prayers.

Did you know that more than 1 in four pregnancies end in miscarriage? Did you know that 1 in four zygotes (eggs) have a chromosomal abnormality? And did you know that 10% of sperm have chromosomal abnormalities? The latter statistics are best case, for healthy couples who aren’t exposed to known environmental factors (drugs, tobacco use, etc) that increase risk. I had no idea.

Go Surls

My buddy Mike has had a vanity domain (surls.net) for eons. I’ve hosted it for him and thus far it’s sole purpose is to have cool email addresses. Over time I’ve taken some photos and posted them but HTML, while not being difficult, is just something else to spend time on. So, Nathan (Surls) asked me to set up a blog for him and his parents. Why didn’t I think of that. 🙂

So, now the Surls family has their own blog, and whatddya know, Mike has even posted already. 🙂 Nathan also has his own blog as well.

Jen does HTML

Jen created some web pages for her friend Carol. Just a little bit more and I’ll have her publishing her own web pages.

Real Work

While building mail servers and computer consulting pays well, it’s not very physically demanding. This allows certain muscle groups to atrophy. This is never more evident than when a bout of charity strikes. Some friends are opening up a store and phase one is getting the building set up.

I stopped by and, signed myself up for some rather serious manual labor. “Why sure, I love crow bars! I’ll help tear up your floor”. In a flash of red-hot wisdom I also called my cousin Solomon and invited him to help out as well. I didn’t tell him what we were doing, and bless his heart, he just came. We spent all morning and part of the afternoon tearing up plywood and carpet.

The plywood was very thin (3/8″) and extremely well nailed. Excessively so. That made getting the plywood off the floor in sheets very difficult as the nails ended up pulling through the plywood instead of coming out of the floor. Once we had the carpet & plywood layers peeled up we spent several hours with crow bars pulling nails.

All that is little more than a good days work. However, combine that with the aforementioned atrophy of working muscles and that I’ve had a sore throat for the last two days (I think I’m fighting off a virus) and I’ve got some really sore muscles. I should sleep well tonight. 🙂

MT is the way to blog

In case you weren’t away, a blog is a Web Log. All the good acronyms were already taken so the term “blog” is what was left. I’ve been maintaining my web log for quite a few years and in the last year or so, it’s become a very popular thing to do.

A few of my buddies from INLD now have blogs. Jason has one, Deven has one, and even not so geeky people like my buddy Mike Barker has one. Who is next, my dad(s)?

The spring thaw

There is no longer any denying it, the spring thaw is upon us. Our ski trip today is cancelled due to rain. It’s rained for the last few days and last night we were supposed to get snow. We did, but then it rained the rest of the night and this morning. I think it’s safe to take the ski rack off the Jetta now.