Category Archives: General

Fireplace Project

Wow!  Its been a while since I last posted.  Summer will do that.  Been busy with a lot of things, but one project we got done was changing the fireplace area.  We used to have the older dark wood look, that some may say either had an 80’s appeal, or were more suited for a hunting lodge or gentlemans club.  (needless to say, as an 80’s reject and a man, I liked it!!  In any case, instead, I built cabinets into the bookshelves for more storage, we painted them, and updated the fireplace with stone.  We think it came out real nice!  Pics below…

Before————————————————-> After

Before After


After reading through that “Dangerous Book for Boys”, of course I had to build a treehouse for my kids.  The design on 1 tree is pretty good, so I went ahead with it (keep in mind it will cost you a few hundred in materials, and a few weekends)  Below are some of the pics!  Its coming along real well.  Its about 7 feet high on the close side, and about 13 or more on the far side, as the ground slope downward.  It’s already been infested, as you can see from the second picture!


The webRetreat was hacked!

Maybe I am more important than I know!  Somehow, a script got inserted into many of my site pages.  I posted a pic below of what it was, but what it did was popup some strange link to “” on a bunch of my webpages.  What a pain!  Don’t they have something better to do than hack a basic homebrew wordpress blog, of a poor man?

Oh well…how did I get rid of it, you ask?  I had to look at my site via FTP and find all of the files (typically htm and js) that were modified recently, and revert them to backup (or remove the script)

Below is the script that was inserted…

Great Googly Moogly!

Something just reminded me of this phrase today, though I have heard it often on re-runs of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.

I remember it from is the Snickers commercial…which never gets old!  So for all you old timers out there, here it is again! (Sound file only: Googly_Moogly )

Favorite Songs of All Time (so far) v2 – The Top 25

OK, so during some free time last night waiting for my kids, I ranked my top 127 songs (see the v1 post) with a 0-5 star ranking system.  Based on this, using only the 4.5 – 5.0 star song I was able to come up with my Top 25 Favorite Songs of All TIme (so far).  I have not ordered them (i.e. there is no #1), as I am not sure I could, given the fact that “mood” plays an important part of this.  In any case, they are listed below in alphabetical order!  If you have not heard these songs yet, you should!

  • Annie’s Song, John Denver
  • Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen
  • Boxer, Simon & Garfunkel
  • Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls
  • Crazy, Patsy Cline
  • Crazy Love, Van Morrison
  • Crazy on you, Heart
  • El Shaddai, Amy Grant
  • Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue
  • I Got A Name, Jim Croce
  • Jamming, Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • Lean On Me, Kirk Franklin featuring Crystal Lewis
  • Only the Good Die Young, Billy Joel
  • Regulate, Warren G
  • Remember Me, Mark Schultz
  • Shambala, Three Dog Night
  • She’s Always a Woman Billy Joel
  • Stayin’ Alive, The Bee Gees
  • Stuck In The Middle With You, Stealers Wheel
  • Subdivisions, Rush
  • Summer Of ’69, Bryan Adams
  • The Lucky One, Alison Krauss & Union Station
  • The Rose, Bette Midler
  • Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
  • You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon

(sorry Den, no Rolling Stones…)

Favorite Songs of All Time (so far) v1

MediaMonkeyA couple of months ago, my brother had asked me what I thought the top 10 or so songs of all time were.  Being a very subjective question in my opinion, I figured I could answer, but only for “my favorite” songs of all time.  Even then, not something that can be answered quickly IMHO.

Over the years I have cherry-picked and accumulated over 3000 songs on my iPOD (now Zune).  These are all songs that I like, and I have tried to target all of my favorites.  I can’t guarantee I got ’em all, but I must be close!

Using that as a starting base, and the fact that I have every morning and afternoon driving to/from work, I started stepping through the songs 1-by-1, to highlight some of my favorites.  Based on this, I cut the list down to just over 100 songs.

Here are the lists so far.  My goal is to get a top 25.  After that, I think it is really tough to pick and choose, as your mood really plays into this (i.e. am I ready to rock, or mellow, or whatever…)  This does not include Holiday, Kids or Classical.

Complete Song List (including all types):  CLICK HERE

Top 126 (so far): CLICK HERE

Based on the Complete Song List, if you think something that is great is missing, let me know!  I may have missed it, and always like to expand the collection!  Thanks ahead of time!

(Remember, these are MY favorites…some are cheesy!  If you don’t like it, make your own list!) 😉

Daily To-Do

I needed an easy way to make sure I get some things done this year, each day.  (part of my 2009 Soul & Spirit resolution!)  I looked around, and there are some things, but being lazy, they were too much trouble.  Ended up making a simple Excel spreadsheet that I can just double-click in a cell when/if I got it done each day.  It highlights the current day, and on double-click changes the value of the cell from nothing to 1 or back again.

I put a shortcut in the Startup folder on my computer, so I update it each morning.

Feel free to take a look and use it if you like!  It is an Office 2007 macro-enabled workbook for the double-click, so you’ll have to let it run macros.

Here’s a link:  Daily To-Do Excel Spreadsheet

My list of great & useful Apps

This is a list of applications that I have loaded and use on my computer.  There are more, but I would re-install these right away in case my system rashed, as they are highly useful!

  1. UltraEdit – Text Editor (…need free, try Notepad++)
  2. RocketDock – Launchbar
  3. Firefox – Better than IE browser
  4. KeePass – Password Manager
  5. CCleaner – Windows Cleanup Utility
  6. WSFTP – FTP Client
  7. Putty – Terminal Session utility
  8. MediaMonkey – Music Manager
  9. Rainlendar – Desktop Calendar
  10. Skype – Chat Program
  11. IrfanView – Image/Graphics Utility
  12. VLC – Media Manager
  13. PDF Creator – PDF Printer/Maker for any program
  14. E-Sword – Software-Based Bible
  15. WinSCP – SCP Communication utility
  16. WinZip/WinRAR – Compression utilities
  17. Everything – File Search Utility

Other than those, below are some other useful apps, but did not make “the list”

  1. GIMP – Graphics software
  2. Microsoft Virtual CD Control Tool – ISO Mounting
  3. Mailstore – e-Mail backup
  4. AutoIT – Scripting Software
  5. SyncToy – Syncing of Files and Folders
  6. CDex – CD Ripper
  7. ColorCop – Color Chooser
  8. VMWare – Virtual Machines
  9. TightVNC – VNC Client/Server
  10. CAMStudio – Screen Recorder
  11. DAZ Studio – 3D Graphics
  12. Harping – Harmonica Software
  13. MP3Gain – MP3 Volume Normalizer
  14. ZScreen – Screen Capture Utility
  15. Picasa – Graphics
  16. YAPP – Picture Browser
  17. Audacity – Audio Utility
  18. IconTweaker – Desktop Icon Manager
  19. DVDx – DVD Conversion
  20. BAT to EXE Converter – Utility (f2ko(dot)de)

Facebook Connect

OK, I integrated the new Facebook Connect to the webRetreat.  If you are a “friend” on Facebook, you should be able to log into the webRetreat as well!  If you are not a “Friend”…I am not sure if you can or can’t?  It was unclear on that point.

In any case, this made it easier to manage visitors than doing it myself!  (always looking for the easy way out)  😉

Gotta love the Xbox!

In the past I have digitized most of our family photos and videos to DVD, but even in that format, you rarely go to the trouble of finding the DVD, and then loading searching for what you wanted to see.

Being curious about these new Media devices and applications (i.e. stream your photos/videos/etc straight to the TV), I started to look around for a good deal.

What I found was that my old Xbox (NOT the Xbox 360 or newer, I am talking the old Xbox) could be converted to a Media center!  Not just a Media Center, but the highest rated Media Center out there right now!  Woohoo!

Its called XBMC (  It does take some time to “Hack” the Xbox, but once its done, you have a really cool Media Center on your network, for only $30-$40!!!!  Sweet deal, for a cheapskate like me.

If you have some electrical/computer technical ability,  would recommend checking it out.  If you don’t…don’t bother.  Find someone who has already done it, and have them fix ya up!

( …also, if you have a son under 2 years old, keep him away from the Xbox or he will somehow find out how to undo all your changes and remove Linux from your Xbox system in about 1 minute, which took you about 3 hours to load >:-|  )