Aloha Friday: Parades

A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from my cousin stating that he and his kids were going to be marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see it live, so I DVRed it for later.  My kids, however, love watching parades and were able to see it live.  NHL said he was able to spot my cousin’s kids.

Upon watching the DVRed footage, though, I couldn’t spot them, but I was able to spot my cousin (dressed as a hockey referee).

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Did you watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #165

Prime Decisions

Kliponius_Cardboard_box_packageRight now, we’re weighing a decision which could either cost us a bit more or save us some money.  We’re deciding whether or not to sign up for Amazon Prime.

In case you haven’t heard about the program, Amazon Prime gives you free 2 day shipping from Amazon, free instant video streaming, and free Kindle rentals.  Of course, the details are what makes this decision tricky.

First of all, not everything on Amazon’s website qualifies for free Prime shipping.  Many items are left out of the deal which would mean that our Prime savings would be hit or miss depending on what it is that we are ordering.  That being said, Amazon has become a go-to store for us to order items from.  When I examined our last 6 months of orders, I found out that the shipping we had paid (or would have paid in the cases where we took advantage of their slower free super-saver shipping), would have come to more than half of Prime’s cost.  So it might be worthwhile here.

When it comes to the streaming videos, we’re always on the lookout for something that could help us cut the cable cord.  I was very intrigued with Amazon VOD since, unlike Netflix, they tend to have TV programs listed the day after they air.  Unfortunately, as I dug deeper, I found that past seasons (sometimes the previous season, sometimes 2 or 3 seasons back) were free for Prime members, but the latest episodes remained $1.99 each.  This means that a 26 episode season of a show would cost us over $50.  Multiply that by the nineteen shows that we currently DVR and which appear on Amazon VOD, and you get a cost of over $980.  Even spread out over 12 months, this would be pricier than cable.

Of course, the other option would be to just be patient and wait until the shows ended up on Prime.  However, that would mean waiting months, if not years, for shows that could be viewed relatively quickly via cable.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m just not that patient.

Now, it’s possible that Prime could save us money by allowing us to cancel Netflix.  Currently, we pay $7.99 a month for Netflix and prime would cost $79 per year.  This would save us just over 2 months’ worth of Netflix.  Still, this might not be the cable slicing possibility that I was hoping for.

Finally, there’s the Kindle Lending Library.  We’ve grown quite fond of our Kindle.  We even went so far as to name "her" Kimberly.  This means that the idea of borrowing books from Amazon without having to pay extra for them is intriguing.  Again, however, the details are a bit of a letdown.  You can only borrow one book per month and you can’t accrue your rental credits.  If real life intervenes and you take one and a half months to read a book, you’ve just lost and entire rental.  In this respect, renting from the library (which actually does some Kindle rentals) makes more sense.

In the end, we’re going to have to weigh the pros and cons carefully before we sign up for Amazon Prime.

Do you use Amazon Prime?  If so, what do you think of it?

Note: The "Cardboard Box / Package" icon was created by Kliponius and is available from

The Earworm and the Memorized Lyrics

The Earworm and the Memorized LyricsI’m not sure why, but songs seem to be getting stuck in my head recently. Yesterday morning, as I was leaving for work, the Today Show played a segment of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe.  I only heard two lines, but that was enough.  The song began playing in my head and didn’t stop for half the workday.  (Merely typing this out has resulted in a Call Me replay.)

That wasn’t the worst earworm of all.  That honor belongs to Lilo and Stitch.  Thanks to Disney Junior, a lot of older Disney Shows are getting re-aired.  One of these that my boys have taken a liking to is Lilo and Stitch The Series.  Where the original movie saw Lilo meeting Experiment 626, aka Stitch, this television series had Lilo and Stitch trying to catch the rest of the 625 experiments that Jumba created.

NHL, however, has gone a bit further than merely "liking" the series.  He’s memorized the theme song.  While in the car one day, he began to sing it – complete with Stitch’s "alien language" lines.  Yes, even those words have been imprinted on his brain to be recalled at will.

Unfortunately, the constant playing of the episodes and singing of the theme has left it imprinted on my brain too.  I’ll be in the middle of work and realize that the song is playing in my head and won’t stop.

Since the best way to stop an earworm is to share it, here’s the theme song.

What’s that?  You don’t stop an earworm by sharing it?  Oops.  Well, time for me to go.  Aloha!

Disclaimer: The image above is a combination of "Music Icon" by Minduka and "Green Worm" by Carlitos.  Both came from

Geeky Upgrade

IMG_20120803_073708_watermarkedThis past week has been quite the geeky upgrade.  It all started on Friday.  Ok, technically that’s not “this week”, but it is within the past 7 days.  As part of my birthday present, I received three Lego minifigures that I’m going to use to create some Lego tie clips.

On Saturday, the boys and I watched some Bean episodes.  I had previously shown the boys Mr. Bean’s Vacation and they had fallen in love with Rowan Atkinson’s antics.  I figured that they’d like the Bean shorts more and I was right.  They laughed non-stop at Bean in a hospital (hand stuck in a teapot), Bean visiting a school (losing his pants in a changing room and tracking them down), and more.  Every place Bean went, chaos seemed to follow and Bean would either be the cause or would come up with an extremely creative (and unusual)

Sunday was the day that I took apart my laptop to fix a problem deep inside.  Though I believe I fixed that problem, it turned out that the power cord was faulty too.  A replacement has been ordered and is on its way.  Still, the lessons learned from that operation were well worth the effort.

Sunday night, I introduced NHL to Back To The Future.  He’s been hooked since that night.  We watched BTTF parts 2 and 3 and he is in love with the entire trilogy.  I was so proud of NHL when, after Marty was apparently shot and killed, he guessed that Marty had copied a scene from A Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood (a scene shown in the previous movie) and had a metal plate under his shirt.  He could barely contain himself as the third movie reached its climax.  Check that, he didn’t contain himself.  He was up off the couch, jumping up and down, and cheering Doc Brown and Marty McFly on.

Finally, I had a small geeky upgrade of my own.  For years, I’ve heard people say how great the Doctor Who series is.  I meant to watch it, but never seemed to get a chance.  With six seasons available on Netflix, though, I decided it was time to watch.  I’m only three episodes in, but I love it already.  The weirdness, time travel, and plot lines have me wanting more.  Given that I still have 80 episodes to watch before I catch up, I should be good for some time.

Have you or your kids tried any new geeky pursuits?

Of Scarborough and Non-Apologies

Insert_Foot_HereThe tragedy that unfolded in the Aurora movie theater was beyond imagination.  Why someone would do something like that baffles the sane mind because sane minds don’t see "Go into a movie theater and shoot people" as a rational response to anything.  One person has a theory, though.  A theory that has upset a lot of people (for good reason).  That person is Joe Scarborough.

Scarborough, without having any psychological degree or examination of the man behind the shooting, believes that the "why" explanation could be answered by Autism.  Yes, Scarborough seems to think that being autistic is just a short hop, skip, and a jump away from being a mass murderer.

Here’s what he said specifically:

“You have these people that are somewhere, I believe, probably on the autism scale, I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it happens more often than not, people that can walk around in society, that can function on college campuses, can even excel in college campuses, but are socially disconnected. I have a son who has Asperger’s who is loved by everyone in his family and who is wonderful, but it is for those that may not have a loving family and a support group and may be a bit further along on the autism spectrum, an extraordinarily frustrating, terrible challenge day in and day out. and so, I do think, again, I don’t know the specifics about this young man, but we see too many shooters in these type of tragedies bearing the same characteristics mentally.”

His reasoning seems to go thusly: Autistic kids are detached from society.  Sometimes, people who are detached from society go on killing sprees.  Therefore autism is responsible for killing sprees.  The big hole in his reasoning, though, is that many things could cause detachment from society.  He might as well argue that, since school buses are yellow and the sun is yellow, that school buses bathe our planet in light and warmth.  I doubt that anyone will lay down next to a parked school bus in hopes of it giving them a tan, though.

As might be expected, there were many calls for Scarborough to apologize.  As I write this, one petition has over 8,500 signatures.  You would think that he would realize that his foot was wedged firmly in his mouth.  You would think he would issue a retraction.  Instead, he gave this clarification:

"The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently."

Now, I can’t argue with the first part of his clarification, if taken on its own.  Autism needs increased funding and awareness.  I also agree he could have made his point a lot more eloquently.  Then why am I still upset?  Listen to the video of the program where he made his original statement.

Did you catch the statement that was made just before Joe made his "diagnosis"?  Here it is, in case you missed it.

"It’s so interesting, Joe.  When you look at these pieces. The mental health aspects of it.  You could list issues with this young man that clearly should be warning signs, but they always seem so clear in retrospect."

Yes, the setup talked about mental health and warning signs.  To me, that might seem to lead into a discussion of schizophrenia or other mental disorders which, if left untreated, can result in violent behavior.  Autism is not one of those disorders, though.

Instead, Joe decided to talk about Autism.  If he wanted to make a point about needing more resources for Autism, this wasn’t the time.  He could have made this point at any of a dozen other times without implicating it in a horrific mass murder.

The worst part of all of this is that Joe’s son has been diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Does he really think that his son being on the Autism Spectrum means that the boy is somewhat likely to kill people?  I call on Joe to issue a stronger retraction of his statements.  He should admit that he was wrong to bring it up then.  He should acknowledge that his statements unfairly linked autism to violent actions and, no matter how valid his claimed attempted point about Autism funding, it was the wrong time to try to make it.

NOTE: The "mouth" image above is derived from one available via

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