- May 31, 2005 -

Yesterday I got the pond dug a little deeper, and wider on one side- after that I was bloody tired and pondered that a small pond that overflowed into the larger one on the other side... would be a good thing to save for the next time I have to redo it in 10 years! So I put the liner down, filled it, and started to get the rocks back in.

Today I got up early and got a few more stones in, after work I put the fish back in and a very large dragon fly nymph! It was over an inch long.

The European Union seems to be hitting their first speed bump in becoming a union. France rejected their constitution mostly over the concern that they will lose jobs to poorer EU countries. The Dutch are projected to also reject the constitution as they are in strong opposition for Turkey's membership.

- May 29, 2005 -

It's Memorial Day weekend- Saturday I went to work, it was a pretty nice day, not very busy, but things to keep me busy. After work I went to Todd's and helped him with his computer and printer. Today though I started my big project for the weekend: Renovating the water garden. I first dug that big hole in the backyard eleven years ago. The water lilies in the pond had gone crazy and were covering everything, and there was water trapped between the layers of plastic so it was time to redo it all... I started by taking the plants around the outside edge of the pond out, and I put all of them in a large tub behind the garage. I then started to tug on a lilly to try and pull it up, but everything in the pond seemed to move with my tugging- so I pulled on them, and it was somewhat like reeling in a big fish because they only gave a wee bit with each pull. It took me half an hour probably, but I was able to drag probably four cubic feet of muck and lilly root up... apparently they had abandoned their pots, and rooted in the much that was on the bottom- and in that horrible muck, they thrived and multiplied. I got to work hacking them apart, and I separated them and packaged up most of them for new homes. (If anyone would like a water lily let me know!) Then I picked up all the rocks and piled them in a row behind the house. When I finished for the day I had the pond drained (except for a wee bit of water and the muck at the bottom) and the fish were all happily sleeping in their 55 gallon barrel where they will be staying for at least the next day or so. I hope I finish tomorrow. So far I've put a good twelve hours into it- I forget how long it took me to dig in the first place, but this seems much faster. Tomorrow I plan to build a cool waterfall and enlarge the north side some, and then refill it and put the rocks back down.

- May 26, 2005 -

Today is my sister Carrie's birthday. Happy Birthday Carrie!

Tonight I had karate, it's the second time I went this week, since Nick (Brent's Sensei) is staying with him to build a deck.

- May 25, 2005 -

The House passed new legislation today to fund stem cell research, and the Senate is expected to pass it soon as well- It will be the first bill created by the Republican controlled Congress to be vetoed Bush White House.

Senator George Voinovich, (R) Ohio gave a passionate plea today for the Senate to vote down the Bolton nomination to the UN: "I'm afraid that when we go to the well, that too many of my colleagues... that too many of my colleagues are not going to understand that this appointment is very, very important to our country, at a strategic time when we need friends all over the world, we need somebody up there that can get the job done." This he said nearly in tears.

For my entire lifetime Voyager has been on its way through the solar system, and now it has just passed into the barrier that separates our system from interstellar space. NASA had considered cutting funding to the Voyager project (which pretty much now is just to paying people to continue to listen to it) but perhaps now they will continue to pay attention to the probe so we can learn more about how interstellar space differs from that in our system.

- May 24, 2005 -

It has now been a month since the kittens were born, and they are quite lively. They seem a bit timid too- when I drag string by them they seem to half want to jump on it, and partly they want to run from it. So they'll kinda swat at it, and then run for cover. I guess that must be a natural response programmed deeply into the feline subconscious- It could have been a snake after all, so being timid is good to keep a kitten alive, but they are also so curious and playful that they can't help but swat at it some.

Small Fry seems to be getting along quite well recently, she was a foster dog that we ended up keeping after we discovered she had lymphoma. She's been on pregnazone for a couple months, and it seems that some of her visible tumors on her stomach have decreased in size or vanished. She also seems happy that the weather is not heating up- Chihuahuas hate the cold.

- May 20, 2005 -

Yesterday South Korean scientists announced that they were able to take a Human egg, and a skin cell to create embryonic stem cells after five days to be used in stem cell research. Its certainly groundbreaking, and highly controversial here, since if those cells are implanted into a woman, it would result in a human clone. I'm for this research, and feel our government should fund it- we think now about the oil crisis, and how we must pay so much to attain the oil and gas we need- but we overlook the revenue that will one day be lost when we fail to find the cures to life-ending diseases or genetic disorders, when another country discovers them before us. Senator Orin Hatch, Utah (an anti-abortion Republican) stated today that we must conduct in stem cell research- though there is huge debate over conducting research over what could become life, these cells are legally being discarded as "medical waste" by fertility clinics on a daily basis- thus, if they are destined to be destroyed anyway, why then can some good not come from it. The House and Senate are expected to pass new stem cell research legislation, but President Bush stated he would veto it, and condemned the actions of South Korea.

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal Polls are in:
47% of Americans approve of the job President Bush is doing.
20% of Americans feel our economy is better off since the start of the year.
40% of Americans feel it was worth it to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

36% of Americans feel it is a good idea to change the Social Security system.
35% of Americans feel that the country is headed in the right direction.
33% of Americans feel Congress is doing a good job.
34% of Americans feel the Senate should change the filibuster rule to vote on all judges.

Site Update: I added the full images to the Japan section in my photography portfolio.

- May 19, 2005 -

Tonight I saw Episode III of Star Wars. Sara had an extra ticket as her church was sending a group, and they had gotten too many- I had not intended to go see it so soon, the opening day is always crazy, but it really wasn't that bad. I got there half an hour early, there was no line, and the theater was about 1/3rd full at that time... I was rather surprised that when it started there were quite a few empty seats, but they had many showings all day. I won't spoil any of it here- I felt it was a very good movie, all was as it was supposed to be, but that still doesn't make up for all that was wrong with the first two.
- May 16, 2005 -

Not too much to report today, I went to work for a focus group meeting to talk about all the aspects of the historical society- I was somewhat nervous about talking in front of the group at first, but all-in-all it went very well and I did ok.

The kitties can now jump out of their bed, and run several feet in a shaky manner. In another week they will probably be little terrors.

As of today, women have the right to vote and run for political office in Kuwait. They were already able to work outside the home and drive. There are still many people opposed the new law, but the majority now appear to be on the liberal side. I hope that the changes Kuwait is undergoing will be able to spread.

- May 15, 2005 -

I spent my day painting with Teresa at Matt and Judy's in Lawrence. Wow... The first time I saw their yard I thought it was great, but this time they had so many flowers in bloom, and all the other plants had grown and filled out since we were there last. I took my camera to take pictures of the picket fence to show off our work & progress- but the fence became just a background to the garden they've created. I put a few more photos from today in my portfolio.

- May 14, 2005 -

Site Update: I added the full images to my portfolio section- all except the Japan section, but hopefully I'll get that done soon. Once I do get that done, then I'll try to add some new and different stuff, take out some stuff I don't like as much, and add descriptions to some of the pages. Please tell me if you see any errors, or have comments.

- May 13, 2005 -

Friday and tonight was the last of Enterprise- the episodes were ok, neither epic, or as bad as I heard they would be, so they get an ok rating. I put a sympathy card on Sara's desk today so she'll find it Monday- and hopefully it will cheer her up some, it's certainly a loss that will be difficult to get over.

My credit card started to show an available balance again- perhaps Visa thought someone stole my card when I charged the digital camera? It's more than I usually charge, but they should know that things I purchase from are most likely going to be really mine.

My pic of the day: Me. I probably won't have a pic of the day, cause I'll run out of space someday if I did that.

Brent told me the other day that he had a friend that ran a company that did currency trading- kinda like trading stocks, but you just change your money into other types of currencies, and buy and sell as markets go up and down. I googled it, and ponder that I might try to get into it. It seems much more simple to do than trading stock, one site I found had a lot of helpful info, and a program to let you practice as long as you like without using real money.

- May 11, 2005 -

My camera came today! UPS dropped it off just ten minutes before I had to leave for work though, so I had to wait all day to play with it, so now I have to ponder all the things I want to do with it! More little trips I ponder, and more pics in my blog... All talk and no show is bad for a blog I think, so... Show and Tell! This is my rubber band ball! I started it in 1994 when my friend Jesse showed me his- now mine is over a decade old and is about nine inches across (volleyball size). Right now it's in pretty good condition, but it is at the maximum size a normal rubber band ball can reach. A standard rubber band can still be pulled around it, but it then remains stretched out- and rubber bands tend to fail if they are under that kind of stress for a long period, so it use to be somewhat frayed with lots of broken ends sticking out, but I recently added a newer layer of really long bands so they are not very stressed.

I'm a little plexed at the Visa people; after buying my camera, I pondered mayhaps I'd look online to see what my next bill would be, and all was as I was expecting, but the available balance was $0! I was a little: "Wha?" Cause I'm not near my limit, and the site acknowledged that it got my last payment, and I've never not paid off the full amount each month- so I went to buy a phone card online for my tracfone, and sure enough, I was rejected! I was pondering getting a card that would give me rewards or something anyway- perhaps this is the poke I need?

RED ALERT: A small plane few within three miles of the White House today, and it was the first time that the Homeland Security color code level was raised to red. The White House, Capitol Hill, and the Dept. of the Treasury were all evacuated, everyone running for safety. Bush was not told of the incident for an hour after it had ended.

- May 9, 2005 -

Our neighbors are morons- They have three dogs, and a very small pen, but often they just let the dogs run free, which they did today. So... the neighbor guy was out mowing, and the dogs are running free, and one gets hit by a car- and it ran back up into the yard yipping not walking on one leg. He left his mower running and went over to it (the car didn't stop)... and after a few moments it seemed better so he continued on mowing and about ten minutes later the guy from the gas company came to read the meters and one of the uninjured dogs took after him and chased him back to his truck and apparently bit him once at least. The neighbor guy paused in his mowing to call to his dog to stop, but after the meter-man retreated they finally locked the dogs up and he continued to mow. Mom noted that in five minutes the police would be there, and sure enough, shortly after that a squad car and the animal control van was there... there was a lot of loud disgruntle talking, and gesturing. They didn't take any of the dogs, but they did give them a ticket... I wonder if after today they will comprehend why you just don't let your animals run about free.

Topeka made it in the NBC Nightly News today for the "Evolution vs. Intelligent Design" hearings. A state school board member said that her religious beliefs were not behind her push to add intelligent design to the curriculum- and that adding it only serves to look deeper into the facts behind evolution. I never pondered that the creationists could be so capable to alter their tactics that this could become a debate once again. Apparently the "Creationist" mentality has somewhat fallen away- At least in the public debate, and it has been replaced with a: "Sure, Perhaps things do evolve, but it just cannot happen without the Great Intelligent Designer behind it."

Another religious story in the news; Pat Robertson announced Sunday that federal judges were more dangerous to America than "A few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." I frankly don't know what boat Pat got off of- Has he always been insane? It's a scary time to be a judge I think with Delay saying he'll get them, and now this... and what's most odd, is the judges in the Shiavo and cases that have outraged the religious sorts, have all been conservative judges appointed by Republicans.

The Super Volcano documentary was on National Geographic again last night- I taped it, as it was a very interesting program.

- May 7, 2005 -

I finally did it! I ordered a digital camera last night. The Canon Digital rebel XT... It's an 8 MegaPixil camera, and I also ordered a 1 Gigabyte flash card to go with it so I'll be able to take close to 300 images at the highest resolution before I have to download them

How do we define a terrorist? In a latest Wall Street Journal poll people were asked what they were most fearful of... A terrorist attack was down the list a few- the leading response was the rising cost of healthcare.

- May 5, 2005 -

The debate over evolution continues in Kansas, even international media is here to cover it. A French journalist was on TV saying that the French people are very fascinated by this debate, as they have a separation of church and state in France- so it was very foreign to their viewers that we would be discussing teaching a religious belief in our schools.

Another thing in the international news is the British election. Those Brits are strange people. The conservative candidate took the electorate of Folkestone & Hythe, and the returns were most interesting- there were a dozen candidates, one was "Loon Party" and their candidate was dressed like a fool taunting the people that got less than a hundred votes... though he himself only got 22, and the entire thing looked like it was run by a high school or something- I'm thinking they don't spend nearly what we do on electing their leaders.

- May 4, 2005 -

Yesterday I went to Brent's to help him learn Photoshop, so we took some photos of his new pup to work on some. She is just the best dog- loves to fetch, play and cuddle. He's still working on training her, but that will probably take a while as she is only a few months old.

India has launched a new satellite into orbit this week, and it is the first planetary mapping satellite capable of stereo (3-D) images.

- May 1, 2005 -

I spent today catching up on a few things, cleaned the upstairs, made a dozen CDs for Carrie's students to practice with. The kittens opened their eyes today- They are so cute, I wish we could keep them.

Today marks the two year anniversary that President Bush announced that major combat operations were over in Iraq. reported that the new administrator of NASA, Mike Griffin, has ordered engineers at Goddard to prepare for a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The former administrator had stated numerous times that Hubble was too dangerous to repair, and that it would be deorbited... Many in the scientific community were very upset by this, and I am certainly happy with the new administrator has reversed what was previously planned.