Wow… it’s actually finally raining. On my way down to VCU it started pouring. They said on the weather that we might get an inch of rain tonight. We need it so badly. It was weird even seeing dark clouds, much less rain coming out of them. I can’t even remember the last time it rained. Maybe mid-August? Tori mentioned last night that it seems like everytime we are on or about to be on mandatory water usage restrictions, we get a soaking rain that puts a big dent in the drought. It seems to be true. Anyway, you know why this is happening, right? I hadn’t washed my car in months and I spent an hour yesterday washing it and Windexing the windows inside and out, not to mention cleaning everything inside and vacuuming all the carpets. Murphy’s law!
After originally saying they wouldn’t allow any third-party applications on the iPhone, Apple has just recently announced that it will, after all, open up its’ popular phone to developers. Currently, you can only use Web 2.0 applications through the Safari (internet) application, which of course offers limited functionality. I’ve never been so satisfied with any phone, or gadget for that matter, as I am with my iPhone, but this will make it even better. What would I personally download first? An instant messaging application and one that lets you send picture mail (can you believe you can’t send multimedia messages on the iPhone?!)
After I figured out the whole (complicated) deal with hosting WordPress on my own server, I helped Tori do the same. Her blog, “Thoughts of a Quiet Dreamer,” is now hosted at her own domain name. She writes a lot of insightful, thought-provoking posts. Be sure to check out her blog at blog.toricarol.com!
Here’s an interesting article I came across online. It’s amazing how the little stuff adds up. And the last item on this list? Shoot, I go out to lunch/dinner almost every day in some form or fashion. It’s hard to believe how much money you can save by making small changes. This article comes to you from the researchers over at Tesh.com
If you’ve ever wondered where all your money goes, even when you’re not a big spender, I’ve got the answer. It’s actually surprisingly easy to blow THOUSANDS – a few dollars at a time. Here are some tips from Bankrate.com to help you stop frittering away your hard-earned cash on little daily expenses. Avoid these money traps:
Your daily cup of coffee. The average price for a cup of brewed coffee is $1.38, which comes to almost $360 per year if you buy one every weekday morning. If you go for the fancier lattes and cappuccinos, your morning habit could easily set you back over a thousand dollars a year – for COFFEE! So save money by brewing your morning cup at home.
Cigarettes. Just in case you needed one more reason to quit, this has become not just a bad habit – but a really expensive one. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you’ll fork out almost $2,000 a year.
Bottled water from convenience stores. One bottle a day costs $365 a year. All that plastic costs the environment as well. The tap water in most areas is safe to drink, especially if you install a filter.
Car washes. Spending $10 every couple weeks to get your car washed will set you back $240 a year. Add in basic auto detailing twice a year and you tack on another $120. It’s better for the environment to go through a car wash than to wash your car in your own driveway. Just 30 minutes washing your car with a running hose will use more water than the average family uses in a day. To save money, only go to the car wash when you really need to.
Manicures. The average price of a manicure is about $20, which means this weekly indulgence will run you over a thousand dollars a year, ladies. So paint your own nails.
Your weekday lunch out. This one’s a biggie. If you figure $9 a day for a decent lunch, you’re shelling out about $2,400 a year! There’s a reason those little brown bags were invented.
Your grand total? Cut out all this frivolous spending and you’ll save $6,500 a year.
I’m going to start posting a music video each week reflecting my favorite song at the time. I’ve never heard a bad song when Carlos Santana pairs up with another popular musician. Chad Kroeger, the lead singer from Nickelback, has teamed up with him in the past to record the hit, “Why Don’t You And I” a few years ago.
Locally owned and operated. It’s always a nice thing to see in the business community, and now I’ve done it with my blog. I’m now hosting it myself on my own server, and have the ability to do much, much more than I could hosting it on WordPress.com. Let me know what you think of the new look and features, and keep on the lookout for lots of new posts on a variety of interesting topics!
The subject of Revelation has always been something that’s interested me. From the time I was just six or seven years old, my late grandfather, who studied the Bible very intensely over the course of his life, told me all about what the scripture had to say about it. He told me time and again that he believed the time was near when Jesus would return, because of all of the “signs of the times.” So from a very early age, I became intrigued by this. Now, nearly a decade and a half later, it doesn’t take much analyzation to see prophecies being fulfilled. Just turn on the news. Now at the same time, I know people have been saying for years, maybe even centuries, that the end times were near, but I honestly don’t know how things could get much worse in the world. I believe that it’s only by the grace of God that, even though things are bad, especially in certain parts of the world, that things aren’t much worse. By this I mean there is still relative peace in many countries and in the United States. With all the nuclear weapons worldwide, I think there would be widespread destruction by now if it weren’t for God watching over us.
I’ve looked into many different current events going on in the world today and see and hear so many people saying there are parallels in the book of Revelations. For example, I’ve read a couple of scholarly articles on there being a relation between the new experimental identification chips being implanted into test participants, which would serve to identify any given individual and even allow them to make purchases by swiping their arm across a reader at retail stores, and the Mark of the Devil. Obviously, it’s not the “666″ you hear about, but it’s very interesting. Think about it- you can’t make a major purchase such as a car or house, apply for credit, or a job, without having a Social Security number, a system coined only in the past fifty years.Occult religions, as mentioned in the Bible as a sign, are popping up everywhere. There’s the Church of Satan, founded in the 1970’s, Scientology, and even (this is rediculous) the Church of Google. I kid you not. There’s actually a group of people who claim Google is all-knowing and god-like because it has all the world’s information indexed on it. If you want a good chuckle, Google their “church” website.Global warming is another thing. I don’t know if there is a direct correlation with the Bible on this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was. Look at what we’re doing to our earth. We’re destroying it. Steps are being taken to slow it, but I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can stop the process. God did not intend for Earth to be around forever, so it definitely makes you think if nothing else.
Anyway, there is compelling evidence for the return of Christ sometime soon. The thing to keep in mind, however is that centuries and centuries are but a blink of the eye to God. So it could be in the lifetime of my great, great, great grandchildren for all I know. There’s no way of telling for sure, but the signs are coming together any way you look at it.
What are your thoughts and perspectives on all of this? Leave your comments.
I’m so busy lately that I barely have enough time for myself, much less anyone else. Between school, work, and GACC, I’m a busy beaver. This weekend, though, it was nice to just have some time to relax and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while, as well as the family.
First off, last week, I went to Casa Grande for dinner with Jenn, Winston, and Lizzy, three of my favorite people who I never get to see anymore. I used to pretty much hang out with at least one of them most every day during the summer, so after a month and a half of not seeing them basically at all, it was awesome to get together and catch up.
Friday night, I went to Deep Run’s Homecoming Game. It was great to go back and see everyone and talk about what we’re all up to lately. I’ve gotta say, though, that it was kind of weird at times. While I was glad to see people I haven’t seen since last year, it’s just kind of awkward to walk up to someone and say “hey” and then really not have much of anything to say to them. I didn’t do this, but people did it to me. I mean it’s cool and whatnot, just kinda awkward with certain people. I hate awkward situations and will do anything to avoid them when possible. I equate this thing that was going on to calling someone up on the phone just to say hi… that’s why we have text messaging. Now don’t get me wrong though, I had a great time talking to so many people, but it was just certain people who made things weird.
Saturday, I went out to lunch with my dad, who I rarely see anymore lately. Between my school and work schedules and his work schedule (which often entails going out of town on business trips), we hardly ever see each other. It was really nice to get to talk to him for once.
Saturday night, I went to see “The Heartbreak Kid” with Megan and Tori. The plot just sucked. I’ll go ahead and ruin it for you since it’s not worth your time anyway. Ben Stiller marries this girl after only knowing her a few months, then she annoys the crap outta him on their honeymoon, so he cheats (emotionally, not physically) with another girl who thinks his wife has died. And repeat. Same thing over again. That’s how it ended. Go spend nine bucks on something else. Had fun hanging out with Megan and Tori, though.
Sunday, I did Tech Team Leader duty at GACC South Side, then headed straight out to the State Fair with the family. Brooke and her friend went to the Jonas Brothers concert after a little while (by the way… a couple thousand pre-teen girls screaming at the top of their lungs for an hour, non-stop… even way away from that amphitheater… is absolutely excruciating. It’s this shrill, awful sound I can’t even describe). I got bored waiting around for my sister and her friend to get out of the concert with my parents, so I left. Randomly happened to see Becca and Megan out there before I did, though!
So I went straight over to GACC for Christian Community with Tori. The Praise Band was even more incredible than usual. I always feel the presence of God there during services, but wow, I really felt it last night.After the service, Tori, Anthony, the Phillips Family, and myself went to Nonna’s Pizza and had dinner. It was fun.
So now, it’s Monday night, and I’ve been at VCU just shy of twelve hours. I got here at 11:30 AM and it’s now 11:00 PM. I’m with Jen. We’re at the library and she’s finishing up a paper. I’m exhausted, but I wouldn’t even think of going home, though, because I’m not leaving my best friend down here alone! She needs me here to keep interrupting her every two minutes and keep her from finishing the darn thing. Right Jen?
Anyway, it’s off to work tomorrow, then maybe out to dinner. I have a really interesting post about something I’ve thought a lot about lately that I’ll hopefully write about in the next couple days.
Wow… I haven’t updated in almost two weeks. A lot’s gone on in that time. Let me get everyone up to speed on what’s happening in my life, with a few quick blurbs.First off, last weekend I went to Field Day of the Past out in Goochland. I’m usually an exhibitor out there, taking my history exhibition out there, displaying old pictures of Short Pump and the three-dimensional model and whatnot. I decided to take this year off, however. But I still went out to see everything, and one of the highlights of my visit was getting to see the choir of Springfield Baptist Church perform at their relocated church building on the show grounds. In a joint effort initiated by myself and others in the Henrico Historical Society and officials with the County, Springfield Baptist Church was moved from its original home on Brookriver Drive behind Best Buy in Short Pump, to the Field Day grounds in Goochland. It was really moving to see how incredibly happy the congregation was that their circa 1880 church was saved from the bulldozer and preserved for everyone to see and enjoy. I filmed the entire move from a pickup truck directly in front of the church as it made its way westward on Broad Street. I’ll edit and post it up here someday soon. Here’s a video of the choir’s performance that I filmed last weekend:[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCfeY3coHig]Speaking of music, I also went to the Jon McLaughlin concert at the Canal Club with Megan and Tori. It was amazing. Jon was awesome, but I’ve gotta say, Sara Bareilles stole the show… well at least in my mind. She is absolutely incredible. Her vocal style, unique music composition, and overall aura were just mind-boggling. She is so extremely talented. Here’s a video I took of her song “Long Song” (for the rest of the videos, visit my YouTube site… just click on the link in the video):[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqKwxqNxNX4]This past weekend has been a mixed bag, I guess you could say. It started out great. Friday night, Tori and I worked on video production stuff at church, then went to dinner at Max & Erma’s. It was great to just chill out for once and talk about life. Yesterday, I went to Casa Grande with two of my friends from high school, Sarah and Becca. It was awesome getting to catch up with them because we never really see each other anymore. They’re always a lot of fun to hang with and definitely keep me laughing. The fun kind of got cut short, though, because somehow, while at lunch, I was rewetting the contact lens in my left eye when all of a sudden it felt like I had an eyelash in my eye, or something of that nature. I got up and went to the bathroom to see if I could get my contact out and see what was in my eye. I couldn’t see anything. I even got Becca to look and still nothing. So after lunch, we went cruising in my mom’s new convertible (She just got a new Toyota Solara… it’s pretty fun to drive!). It was a lot of fun, but my eye got increasingly worse.By the time I got back home after dropping them off, I could barely keep it open anymore. So as I laid on the sofa with a cold compress, my best friend Jen called me and asked what time we were going to dinner (we had planned to a couple of days ago). I explained the situation, and said I should probably go to Patient First (the only medical place open on a Saturday afternoon) and get it checked out. At this point it was hurting whether or not I had it open or closed. So she offered to drive me up there, and we had to have been in there an hour or more. It turns out I scratched my cornea. I know that sounds really bad, and I thought it was, but it actually heals within 24 hours in most situations, and now, about 36 hours afterwards, I’m feeling a lot better. But last night, I was in a lot of pain and kept the eye shut for the most part. Jen took really good care of me, though. Not only did she wait patiently with me at Patient First, but (after we grabbed dinner at Tara Thai) she drove me to get my prescription, back home to get the South Side campus hard drive to take to church, and to Blockbuster to get a movie, which we took back and Jen pretty much just watched, seeing that I really felt more like closing my eyes. But I just wanted to post this to let her know just how much taking care of me like that means to me and how much I love her.So it’s been an eventful couple of weeks. I’m chilling out for a little while in preparation for another busy week ahead. I’ve got a lot more to post on, coming in the next couple of days!
Ever since the iPhone came out in late June, I wanted one really bad. I told myself I wasn’t going to get one. Well, for one, I had Sprint and had no intentions of dropping them. But when Apple dropped the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200, I just had to take the opportunity to get one. I know I posted before about my enV (I got Verizon after I dumped Sprint about a month ago, but bought the iPhone when they dropped the price and got my money back from Verizon- they have a 30-day money-back guarantee) and I have nothing bad to say about Verizon. Unlike Sprint, I had great service with them and got a signal just about everywhere, including my office building downtown, which is a concrete barricade for most all cell providers and even the majority of local radio stations. But, I just felt that I needed more of a PDA-like device to organize all I have going on with school, work, everything I do with church, and extracurricular activities.
I absolutely love my iPhone. It’s just like my Mac: intuitive interface, easy to use, simple yet powerful, minimalistic architecture, aesthetically pleasing, elegant, and is designed beautifully. Everything made by Apple just makes sense, and this device is no exception.
I’d like to go through and review each home screen application individually, as they appear on screen, based on my personal experiences over the past week. Here’s my personal review:
Text – Sending texts on this phone resembles an iChat conversation (it’s not too far off from AIM, either) with the talk bubbles and conversation-based layout. The on-screen keyboard is very easy to use despite it’s small size because of the shear precision of the touch screen interface.
Calendar – Syncs with iCal (Mac) or Microsoft Office Outlook (PC). I have four color-coded calendars set up in my iCal: Personal, Work, Church, and VCU. They all sync seamlessly with the iPhone. All alerts, reminders, and other features remain intact and all events are editable on the fly. My Mac was already helping tremendously to organize my busy (as of lately) life, but now that I have my calendar with me at all times I always know what I have going on.
Photos – Displays photos automatically synchronized from iPhoto (Mac) or any set folder on your Mac or PC, or those taken directly with the iPhone’s built-in camera. Nifty interface with options for slideshows, transitions, and other cool things. You can also quickly zoom in or out on photos by “pinching” the screen (sliding your thumb and index finger together/apart).
Camera – Nice 2.0 megapixel digital camera that takes photos comperable to the iSight webcam built into my MacBook Pro. Good color quality with little to no brightness wash-out that you sometimes get with cameras on mobile devices.
YouTube – Excellent mobile version of the site with options for search, most popular videos, bookmarks, and more. Nice widescreen, full display of videos, fast loading, especially when connected to wi-fi as opposed to over AT&T’s Edge data network.
Stocks – As you could imagine, I’m not really into the stock market, but very nice interface for checking up on the performance of your favorite companies should you so choose
Maps – A mobile version of the Google Maps application, and just as with any Google software, it’s feature-rich and intuitive. “Pinch” to zoom in/out, view satellite imagery, get directions, search for the nearest anything (a simple search for Starbucks returns all the nearby Starbucks locations, complete with wi-fi information and phone numbers. Some even include store hours!
Weather – Simple, easy-to-use weather interface that shows the next few upcoming days’ weather forecast and high/low temperatures, easily customized for multiple locations
Clock – Includes a timer, stopwatch, alarms feature, and world clock that displays the time in any city of your choosing worldwide
Calculator – Does the job. Simple, big buttons, does what it needs to do
Notes – Similar to the Stickies application in Mac OS X, useful for writing down “to do” items or anything you need to remember
Settings – Controls for everything on the iPhone, including really cool built-in ringtones. A lot of times phones come with lame ringtones, but Apple did a good job with this.
Phone – Well, this IS why I have the thing, right? Among other things, yes. View all your contacts (synchronized from Address Book (Mac) or Microsoft Office Outlook (PC)), and just click to see all their details. Click below to get to your “Favorites” list (basically speed dial on most phones), and the voicemail menu brings up one of the coolest features: Visual Voicemail. No more dialing your mailbox to retrieve messages and listening to frustrating audio prompts from within. Visual Voicemail does just what it sounds like- visually displays your voicemail messages and lets you click on them to play (click below to stop or pause) and delete or save them, scroll through them much like you would with a song on the iPod, and call the person back, all with one touch of the screen. Amazing feature.
Mail – All mail messages and account settings are imported during sync, and you can set your iPhone to automatically check for new messages from multiple accounts up to every 15 minutes. Very sleek, nice interface, easy to read and reply. I have my two personal accounts, VCU, and GACC accounts set up and they all work together seamlessly.
Safari – The iPhone is the first phone to offer “true” internet, not the mobile version you find on most phones. With the ability to “pinch” and “pull” to zoom in and out on the page, you can easily view everything in a snap. The screen will rotate from the normal portrait mode to landscape (widescreen) when you flip the iPhone 90 degrees. Very, very cool.
iPod – All the features of a regular iPod, with the ability to actually hear the songs on the built-in speaker, and view Cover Flow (shows your album artwork like a jukebox) when you turn your iPhone in landscape mode.
So with all these wonderful features, I will say that there are actually a few downsides that I’ve noticed. Nothing’s perfect. Apple is due for another firmware update (1.0.3) within the next week or two, and I think they are going to squash most of the bugs. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
1. When I listen to music on the iPod application of the iPhone and open up Safari and get online, either Safari or the iPod application will crash sometimes. It’s about a 50/50 chance. You’re supposed to be able to multitask and have multiple applications open, so I think this is definitely something the update will address.
2. No picture mail (!). Can you believe that? A phone that can send emails, have full web access, and get on YouTube can’t send multimedia messages? Wow. There is a workaround I’ve found, though. You can email photos you’ve taken on your iPhone, so let’s say you wanted to send a picture to a friend who has Verizon. All you have to do is email it to FRIENDSNUMBER@vzwpix.com and it will be sent to their phone as a picture message. Cool, huh? It sucks you have to do that, but it works.
3. No instant messaging/AIM support. The texting application looks like iChat and resembles an online chat, but for some reason no AIM support was included. This is rumored to be included with the update that’s coming out, so we’ll see. There is a nice version of Meebo built for the iPhone, though, although it sometimes causes Safari to crash.
4. No video support. This is also a rumored update. The camera is completely capable of good quality video, so I think this will be supported.
5. Limited settings. The Settings application is very clean, but limited. For example, you can’t change the alert tone for texts, voicemail, email, or calendar alerts. Lame!
Overall, the iPhone is amazing. It’s far beyond any of the competition. Years away, I believe. I’m very happy with my purchase and look forward to the future additions and updates.