Monday, February 27, 2006

Help Sarah Win!!!!!

Sarah has entered a "BarlowGirl Mirror Photo Contest" and needs as many votes as possible to win.

Long story short: BarlowGirl is a Christian pop band that Sarah loves. The local radio station is sponsoring a concert with them this weekend and hosting a "look like the BarlowGirls" contest as well. Sarah entered it and got into the top finalist list. Now it is time for the viewers to vote. Please take a few minutes and visit to vote.

Here is the deal ... to vote, you need to register for the contest. I don't believe the station is going to harvest the email addresses and start sending spam your way. After you register, you will receive an email with a link to the voting page. You are allowed to vote once a day.

I have already received an email from another dad who has some family members in the contest so the "voting wars" have already commenced.

If Sarah wins, she receives an autographed guitar from the BarlowGirls.

Thanks in advance for your assistance with this .......

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BabelFish to the rescue

What do you do if you know you have visitors to your website from other countries, but don't have the time or resources to create sub-domains translated into numerous language? AltaVista's BabelFish service allows you to put a link on your site that will allow for the translation of your page (or complete site) into eight foreign languages.

From checking the visitor logs on the website, I have noticed a large amount of foreign traffic to the site, as well as several emails to the Webmaster account that have to be translated. As such, I realized that I needed to offer the pages in various languages, but didn't have the time or resources to make that happen. I remembered that BabelFish offered this service, so I tried it out last week. On the original ErtlRecon site, only the primary data was translated, since the site was build with frames. After copying the site and applying a different template to it (without frames), the BabelFish translation worked like a champ. It won't take much to keep the two sites in sync, and I get the best of both worlds.

Quick visitor stats of the ErtlRecon site as of noon today:
There were 29 visitors yesterday from 10 countries.
There have been 28 visitors so far today from 6 countries.
There have been 410 visitors in the last 7 days from 28 countries.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

The passing of a legend.

It is with sadness that I share about the passing of Don Knotts. Being that I was in law enforcement, and my mother-in-law used to call me Barney Fife, I was one who greatly appreciated the comic talents of Mr. Knotts.

Knotts died Friday night of pulmonary and respiratory complications at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, said Sherwin Bash, his friend and manager.

While many of his movies are near the top of my favorites list, the one that comes to mind the quickest has to be "The Incredible Mr. Limpitt" which happened to be made the year before I was born.

Several months ago I happened across a very humorous montage of Don Knotts video clips, presented with the notion that Knotts could and should portray US President George W. Bush. It is a rather large .mov file (6.81MB), but if you haven't seen it, it is well worth the download time.
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Coverage of the 2006 Paralympics

In September 2004, I shared a little rant about NBC not airing any of the 2004 Paralympics (see post). It appears I don't need to rant any more, as ParalympicSport.TV is going to broadcast coverage via the internet.
"For the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, ParalympicSport.TV is expected to provide over 100 hours of live coverage from all four winter sports - Alpine Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Nordic Skiing and Wheelchair Curling - as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In addition to the live coverage, the IPC will also provide a daily highlights package with the best performances from the previous days' competitions," said IPC President Sir Philip Craven.

ParalympicSport.TV is a top quality 24/7 television channel broadcasting via the Internet with either regular or full screen size available for the best viewing experience. Free of charge, people all over the world will be able to watch live and delayed programming, or see the coverage on demand later. Developed and managed by Narrowstep Inc., ParalympicSport.TV underlines the truly global nature of Paralympic broadcasting. The implementation of the new channel is co-ordinated by the IPC together with brand stage, a Hamburg based marketing agency.

The multi channel platform with a main video screen, a program guide and a highlights section provides an additional medium for viewers to watch television coverage of the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, when they want, where they want. The searchable "Paralympic Archive" also features historical footage from various Paralympics.

After listening to several of the NBC commentators, I am kinda glad they aren't covering them now.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

This is for Bubby

You know it's time to diet when
  • You dance and it makes the band skip.
  • You are diagnosed with the flesh eating virus, and the doctor gives you 22 more years to live.
  • You put mayonnaise on an aspirin.
  • You go to the zoo and the elephants throw you peanuts.
  • Your driver's license says, "Picture continued on otherside."
  • You run away, and your picture takes up all four sides of the milk carton.
  • You learn you were born with a silver shovel in your mouth.
  • You could sell shade.
  • Your blood type is Ragu.
  • You need an appointment to attend an "open house."
Go over to Hurry Up and Weight and tell him "Hi" for me!
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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Go visit "Law & Disorder"

If you don't mind, take a minute to visit the Law & Disorder blog and wish Brent a happy 45th birthday.

Thanks in advance
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Today's weather report

This afternoon was a field trip for the King's Academy for Girls (just a fun name Sarah made for our home school several years ago) and we went to the Christian radio station we listen to all the time ( We weren't the only ones there, as they were hosting a "Home School day", to show everyone what all is involved to make a radio station operate smoothly. It was setup with several areas for us to visit, with someone there to explain their part of the work load.

When we got to one of the studios, the DJ there was allowing the students to tape a weather spot, and it would be burned to a CD-Rom to take home. They had run a couple of the spots on the air, and Sarah's was selected! We heard it on the radio a few minutes after we listened to it in the car. Talk about a Deja Vu moment.

Hope didn't want to do one at first (because she couldn't read the script), but we told her just to say what she wanted, which was "cold and windy". Sarah did a great job on hers.

With the marvels of today's technology, you too can hear today's weather, as brought to you by the King's Academy for Girls weather girls:
    Sarah's weather spot (190KB embedded file) & Hope's weather spot (105KB embedded file)
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Images of my new leg

I hope you don't mind me sharing my dream with you yesterday. I shared that little story with several friends/family members via email and got quite a few interesting responses.

Quick review of the actual visit to pick up the leg:
Got to the office early (who would have guessed that) and got right in to see the team. The leg looked great (see below) and the feel of the socket was still great. The initial few steps with the leg indicated a little adjustment was needed, but it only took a few minutes to get it dialed in as needed. Then my old leg was taken apart so the foot from that leg could be fitted with the proper coupler piece to attach to this socket. After that and a few minutes of tweaking, the old foot was ready for service on the new socket.

The new Ferrier coupler (the spelling of the word was blurred in my dream) is a very nice addition, since I have the two feet now. I don't know if it is possible to make to identical sockets, so there might have been a slight difference if that had been attempted. In regards to the speed of changing feet with the ferrier coupler, if I plan on using the same shoe on the foot I am switching to, I will spend more time untying/retying the shoe than it will take me to switch out the feet.

Here are the promised images:
click on any image for a larger copy

If you don't remember what "Tis Gar Plen" means, visit this page
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Today is the day I get my new leg!

Today is the day I get my new leg!

Here I am waiting in the exam room when I heard the heavy door from the back of the clinic open ... that means my prosthetics team is on the way. In walks my CP with a piece of art even the great inventor Michelangelo would be jealous of. This work of art, from the bottom up, consists of a Freedom Innovation Renegade foot (size 27cm) attached to a 4.75 inch titanium post. Above the post is a quick-connect Ferrel coupler which has been joined to the sweetest socket ever presented to an amputee. Three layers of carbon-fibre lower and two layers upper, all covered with a beautiful cotton blend material inked with vintage autos and license plates. To top it off, my "Tis Gar Plen" logo is on the side, displayed proudly within an ichthus (christian fish) symbol. It even has the "new leg" smell (carbon fibre & resin)

OK, it looks great, but how does it feel? Time to don the new liner and leg. Both are on, but something is wrong. It feels too good ... yeah, too good. No pressure points, it's not loose, it fits/feels great!

Time to walk. The clinic has decent length halls, so we start there. First few steps are good, alignment feels great. Slight dead-spot at initial load of the foot, but even high-dollar sports cars have some minor adjustment needs initially. After a trip down the hall and back, I decide to put some more "pep in my step" and walk like the retirees at a mall. Still good. Time to jog. After a smooth jog down the hall, I sprint back to my CP, not top speed, but quick enough.

There are smiles on everyone's faces. They see a 40 year old, 6'4" 225 lb (ok, 230) man acting like a 16 year old kid who was just handed the keys to a souped-up GTO. I start getting cocky and think a cart-wheel sounds good right about now, so off I go down the hall. I do the little stutter step prior to the manuever and then do a (n almost) perfect cart wheel. Jaws are dropping all over the place!

Cockiness gets the best of me, so off I run back toward my cp. Halfway down the hall I do a round-over handspring followed up by a perfect sumersault in the pike position. I am just about to stick the landing and...

buzzzzzzzzz sounds my alarm clock, letting me know it is time to wake up. Today is the day I get my new leg! (deja vu)
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Monday, February 13, 2006

Turin or Torino?

OK, I've been sick for the last few days (yes, I'm fine now ... thanks for asking) and I have to ask:
Where the heck are the 2006 Winter Olympic games being held?

If you are watching the NBC coverage, you will see "Torino 2006" everywhere. However, if you follow any of the AP newswire info, it is all "Turin, Italy".

When Googling "turin italy" , the first link is to (I used The 7th link,, uses the "torino" spelling within the folder structure of their website (, but the "turin" spelling in the title of the page ( Turin 2006). Of the first ten options from Google, two use 'torino' exclusively, six use 'turin' exclusively & two used mixed references. All from a search for "turin italy".

In case you are wondering about a search for "torino italy". Of the first ten possible pages, six use torino, one uses turin and the remaining three used mixed references.

No wonder so many people have problems with world geography!

(for the record, I love to use Google as a verb. Examples: 'to Google', 'Googled' or 'Googling' ... and it has to be capitalized)
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Friday, February 10, 2006

20 years ago today...

... I started working for the State of Oklahoma. When I hired on, the retirement program worked on what is refered to as the "80 plan". The way the plan works is adding your age to the number of years of service. When that adds up to 80, I get to start receiving a pension. I started when I was 20, so that makes me 40 right now. (several years ago, the plan was changed to the "90 plan", but I was grandfathered in at the 80 level)

If I stay with the state another 10 years, I will be 50 years old with 30 years of service; which equals the magic 80. However, if I leave the state (where, at times, if feels like I am highly under-appreciated) right now, I would have to wait until 60 to get the checks. If I stay, I can 'double dip' at the age of 50 (be drawing the pension from the state, but still be young enough to consult or something). If I leave, I can work toward a pension at another location and draw both down the road.

Either way, there's plenty of work in my future because I'm not investing my hard-earned $$$ in the new Oklahoma Lottery and Ed McMahon has no idea where I live (even though I have invited him over for tea several times in the past)
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Multi-Monitor taskBar from

Many moons ago (moons = months), I had a feature in my blog called "Wednesday Software Review". This was an attempt for me to post at least once a week, and to provide some information about various software programs that I had found to be helpful in my day-to-day activities. I know it's not Wednesday, but I found something I wanted to share today.

A co-worker of mine that runs three monitors on his desk (I run only a measly two) found an application called "Multi-Monitor taskBar" offered by This app:
1. Creates an additional taskbar at the bottom of the secondary (and thirdary, if that is a word) monitor.
2. It shows only applications from that monitor
3. Add a 'Move to Monitor' button to all windows applications
4. A few other neat things

For those of you with multiple monitors, take a few minutes to check this application out. appears to have a few more possible 'cool' applications, which I may check out later.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The "American Hero" Wrist Band

Hero-bandSeveral weeks ago, while doing some personal research on Reserve & National Guard activity, I ran across a promotional offer from  The offer was for a free “American Hero” wrist band, to be worn in honor of the American citizens who are in the Guard.  I planned on posting the URL for each of you to order one as well, but it appears no more orders are being taken at the current time. (if that changes, I will let you know)

45th Infantry Patch
Each band has a unique number so it can be registered.  During the registration, one of the fields asked who was being honoring with this band, with the options of “any soldier”, “specific soldier” or “unit”.  Even though my father is no longer living, I input his information since both the National Guard and US Military as a whole was so dear to him when he was alive (and he was so dear to me).  I haven’t shared much about my father in my blog, since he passed away prior to my starting it, but he was a military man.  He went into the US Navy after graduating from the University of Oklahoma Medical School (just a few days after I was born), then transfered to the US Air Force.  After retiring from the USAF in 1974, he joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard (had to be in the three major branches) and served as State Surgeon, which indicates he was the highest ranking medical officer in the state (full bird Colonel, for those of you who were wondering). I am displaying the patch of the 45th Infantry, since that is the patch my dad so proudly wore!

I will wear the band proudly, both for my father and all of those who are serving our country (on foreign or domestic soil).  It really doesn’t matter to me if they are ‘regular army’ or ‘civilian soldiers’, the hazards are the same either way. 

My thanks go out to all of them … pass it on!
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From work boots to tennis shoes

Ever wear a heavy pair of shoes/boots and then replace them with tennis shoes or slippers? You feel like you can jump to the moon without all that weight at the end of your legs!

OWW Pathfinder ( II )
On the morning of January 27, 2004, I took delivery of my 'preparatory' prosthetic leg with an Ohio Willow Wood Pathfinder low-profile foot attached to the bottom of it.  From all the research I was able to do, I found that the Pathfinder was, in my words, the Cadillac of feet.  On the back of the foot is an air-filled shock absorber made by Fox Racing Shox, which allows for greater impact absorbing during high levels of activity as well as "two axis" of movement for better walking action.  The double blue springs (mine are actually green - image is the newer Pathfinder II version) absorb energy as a person rolls forward on their foot and releases the energy back during the final ‘push off’ phase of the step.  While it doesn't show well in the image I have selected, the Pathfinder has a 'split-toe' concept, which allows for some side-to-side (inversion & eversion, if you really wanted to know the technical terms) movement as well. Even though the foot is heavier than most, the action it delivers during the walking phases justifies it use (especially for a big guy like me). Note: This is one of the primary feet being delivered to our US Military for their recent amputees.

A preparatory leg is supposed to be used for 6–9 months, and then a definitive leg is made.  Just over 24 months later, on January 31, 2006, I was casted for my definitive leg.  Why the long wait?  I have been working closely with my CP, Jonathan (certified prosthetist … my ‘leg man’), on various projects and have been able to obtain newer sockets since the original one.  One of the primary reasons for waiting for the final leg is to insure all the swelling and size changes in the residual limb (that’s the PC term for ‘stump’) have completed.

FI Renegade
Click on image to see it in motion
Jonathan and I have been discussing various feet options for several months (that just sounds weird, but we were), and we settled on the Freedom Innovations Renegade.  The Renegade model was less than a year old when I got the Pathfinder, but it has been receiving rave reviews since it’s debut in March 2003.  This just happens to be the same model foot that Chad Crittenden used during his time as a survivor in CBS’ Survivor Vanuatu season.

I went in for my first test fitting this morning and couldn't believe how everything felt. The socket fit like a glove (sorry, bad pun) and the foot felt like it should have been called the Freedom Innovations Feather-lite! It was hard to believe that I actually had a foot at the end of the socket due to the lack of weight. It took a little getting used to the change in walking action from the Pathfinder to the Renegade (single instead of two axis, solid instead of split-toe, etc), but after a few minutes and some alignment tweaks, it felt great. So great, that I asked if we could just go ahead and put the Renegade on the socket I wore in, so I could start using it today. I finally gave the socket and foot back, but was quick to setup my appointment for next week for delivery of the leg. While I love the Pathfinder, I believe the Renegade is going to become the daily-use foot. If only the Pathfinder were closer in weight to the Renegade ... but I guess I can't have it all!

I will post when that happens as well, because I have a surprise to share with everyone in regards to how the socket is look.
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Monday, February 06, 2006

Last month 80 Parachute Diamond, this month Base Jumping

Last month I shared a video about an Awesome 80 Parachute Diamond. This month's entry could be titled either:
"Here's to better planning"
"You first next time"
Base Jumping
Click on image
to see the video
in a new window.
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For those of you without TiVo

Visit this site to view all of the commercials and vote for your favorites
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Friday, February 03, 2006

Does Bill Gates know about this?

I have mentioned before that I have the 'pleasure' of carrying a Pocket PC device (Siemens SX66) as my departmental cell phone, so that I can provide support to the "higher-ups" that carry the same device. Last night when I was checking my mail, I stumbled across the MSN Mobile web site. This is a site maintained by MSN (MicroSoft Network) for mobile devices (like Pocket PCs). I was using the loaded version of PPC Internet Explorer to visit the site when I attempted to ‘Sign In’ to personalize the site.  Below are screen captures of the experience:
Screen Capture 1Screen Capture 2
Yep, I was using a MS operating system, running an MS web browser attempting to login to an MS website, and was unable to do so, because Pocket IE doesn’t do JavaScript.  Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing!
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