Five Dollars and Five Cents

I was shopping yesterday at Wal-Mart. My wallet was feeling a little light, so I decided to get money back with my purchase. I was thinking about getting say $15 dollars. The smallest option was $20. So I chose $20. The friendly checker offered to give me a $20 dollar bill or four $5s. I was going to get the $20, but then I thought about the times I wish I had smaller bills for things like tips at restaurants.

I was wondering about getting a $10 and two $5s. I peaked into her drawer and saw why she didn't offer giving me a $10. Her cash drawer had no $10s. She explained that they didn't give them any $10s to start with. She said any $10s she got were from customers. So I'm guessing I was her first or one of her first customers of the day.

This reminded me of something I've noticed a few times. I told her, 'Yeah - it seems like you always run out of $5 bills too soon. But you don't run out of nickels.'

She said, 'Yeah, why is that?'

That gave me a chance to tell her my theory. I've noticed it a few times before. I told her, 'because we don't have a $25 bill. We have a $20.'

She thought about it for a few seconds and agreed.

Yes, there are other factors. But I think the main reason is that with coins we have a 25 cent piece, but in dollars with have a 20 dollar bill.


Photo Theme: Still Life

Still Life - click for larger picture

Live frog at the Museum of Natural History, New Your City. Taken Oct 12, 2004.

For Photo Friday

MP3 for M.Python Fans - Not Kids

The FCC Song
Political commentary too. :)
Lots of F* word. :)
Thanks for the link Anna-Banana!


Plush Microbes

While we were on the East coast, 2 of my boys wanted to visit Liberty Science Center. We had a lot of fun there. When we lived in New Jersey, we used to be members. About once a month, they would have a member's night. The place was closed to regular admission, and they had many extra activities. I'd take my [eldest] son up to it pretty regularly. That place is one of the things I miss since moving to Colorado.

When we finished, I decided to look around in the store. The boys got a couple of toys. I also got all three a microbe each. These are the stuffed animals of microbes. The include an interesting variety of problem-causing microbes. But the plush toys are really cute, and the boys really liked them ThinkGeek :: Plush Microbes



Digital Camera Insights

I just wrote about starting out, or enhancing your skills with a digital camera, based on what I've learned on: TechChatter: Digital Camera Insights

Colorado Springs Snow

After posting the picture of Pikes Peak to my blog last week, I got a nice comment from Michelle asking when she would see snow here in Colorado Springs.

After writing a reply to Michelle, I realized that others might be interested, so I've included it here.

Checking my pictures, the first day of real snow in town last year was exactly a year ago! October 25, I have pictures of my kids out playing in a about an inch of snow in the backyard.

But if you are new to Colorado Springs, the snow situation may be a bit surprising to you. It was to me.
I moved here from NJ 4 years ago. Where I lived in central NJ, we didn't have all that much real snow most winders. Mostly slushy stuff. But there were a few bigger snows. Heavy, wet snow. Back breaking to shovel. And it would get dirty and stay around for a long time.

When I moved to Colorado, a bunch of people said: I hope you like snow! The truth is I do.
But, it seems that most of the moisture that heads towards Colorado Springs, comes across the Rockies. So, due to mountain effect, most of the snow falls further west. Say places like Aspen, Breckenridge and the like. :)

For the most part, Colorado Springs doesn't get all that much snow. It will usually snow 4-10 times in town over the year. And depending on what part of town can make a big difference if you get snow or rain. Up where I live in Northern 'Springs, we often get a couple of inches of snow when it can be rain or even clear near downtown. But often Black Forrest and Monument will get even more than we do. And while you may not see much accumulation, you can get snow any month of the year! I've heard that before I moved here, most Halloweens brought snow storms. I've seen very cold weather most Halloweens, including rainy/icy last year (or was it 2 years ago). But that doesn't stop the trick-or-treaters. They just bundle up. And it can mean that people will give up early. The colder and wetter, the earlier most trick-or-treating will stop. Last year it fizzled out about 8:30 or so. I think my eldest braved it until about 9:00.

There are two basic ways it will snow in Colorado Springs. The first is usually fast, dry and sometime deep, when snow makes it all the way across the Rockies. And usually it will be melted away for the most part within a day. Often by the next afternoon, the strong sun will melt and dry the snow from all but the spots that are shadowed by northern exposure. My neighbor's across the street and my back yard can have snow for a few days after sometimes. I usually shovel the snow just to be sure it doesn't get icy. It usually only gets really icy if it stays very cold. Like staying below 20 Fahrenheit during the day. And sometimes the winds can make the snow pile up really high. My first winter here, I helped neighbors with 5 foot drifts against their garages.

The other normal type of snow here is when the weather come up from the Gulf of Mexico. Usually once or twice a winter we get these 'storms'. Usually the clouds will come up and stall against the mountains. We usually get three straight days of clouds. Often it will snow lightly most of the time. And the first time I saw this 'storm' it did something I thought was extremely strange: it snowed while it was foggy! From the East coast, I was used to foggy being too warm for snow. So it sort of blew my mind the first time. But then I realized, I guess that is what you get living up in the clouds!

So, you would thing that with it being Colorado, people would be used to driving with snow. You wouldn't think so to see how people drive, and how many smaller accidents happen every time it snows. Four wheel drive can let you accelerate faster in snow and ice, but it doesn't give you better stopping control than a two wheel drive car.

So people see that I live at the edge of the Rockies. There is a 14,000 foot mountain at the edge of town. So people figure I must ski all the time with it being right next door. I have to disappoint people and tell them that it usually takes at least 2 hours to get to the nearest skiing. Of course 2 hours gets you to places like Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, and nearly Vail. So the closest skiing is some of the best skiing in the country.

But I've found that the skiing is a lot different than I expected. I've average about once a winter so far. Costs due to low-employment has been a big factor. Back east I could do black diamond trails. Maybe not very gracefully, but pretty controlled. I haven't been able to manage that out here. I think part of it is that the runs are a little harder out here. But another factor is the type of snow. Out here, you have powder skiing. Which so many people rave about. I miss the icy snow. I do so much better on icy snow. But I guess power can be fun. I find it is harder, slower and more work.

And even with living at just under 7,000 feet, I found the altitude of the ski areas can still affect me. I also felt the altitude affecting me much more than I expected when I hiked up Pikes Peak. It can happen driving up it too. One of the best things you can do to fight altitude affects is to drink a lot of water! (And don't fight the dehydrating affects of alcohol :) ).

Another thing I found during my first winter here was how people dressed. I'd go out in 40-50 degree weather during the winter, and there would be so many people without jackets or even short sleeve shirts. At first this baffled me. I figured it had to be some sort of acclimation. It turns out in part it is. Once you are acclimated, many winter days can seem like spring. If the sun it out - and most days it is out strong. I found before the winter was out, I was doing it too. Anything 32 degrees or higher, with the sun out can be no-jacket weather. Also if it isn't too windy. But the main thing is to make sure you have a coat handy. You can get cold very quickly as the sun gets close to the mountain. About an hour or more before the sun slips behind the mountain, it starts getting colder. Much colder. Very quickly. This is a combination of the sun being less warm because of more atmosphere, and because the temperature can really drop 20 degrees or more in an hour as the sun sets.


Terror alert on Arizona school buses

The Payson Roundup: Terror alert issued to school bus drivers
This is concerning.

Found on CUT TO: blog

BlogShares - Game

I had noticed a few times in the past few months that my blog showed up on BlogShares.
I ws intregued that my blog was rated a value - and glad to see that it has some positive value. But I didn't understand who would pay money for shares in a blog. Well today, when I noticed that someone had invested in my blog, I looked closer at the site.

It is a *simulation*. A game! - Okay - I guess if I had looked at the title where it said 'Fantasy Blog Shares Market' I might have understood sooner! :)

So it seems all you have to do is sign up to get virtual $500 to invest in blogs. More links can mean more value. Also you can get shares in your own blogs by signing up and putting a blogshares icon on your site.

So I started investing this morning. I spent all but a penny investing. I also signed up all my blogs, so I'd have more shares in each. We will have to see where it goes.

Then just a short while ago, I found an interesting blog. After I read some more of her blog, I found her entry talking about playing blogshares: Blogshares ate my Double Decker

Neat stuff!

Blog Typos

I occasionally check sitemeter to see what kind of links and searches point to my blogs. A few times I've noticed that the searches matched a mispelled word. A word I spelled wrong on a blog. Oops. Then the big question: is it better to leave the typo, or correct it? If I leave it - it matches the search engine indexed wording. If I change it, will I get less hits? :)
So far I've always corrected my spelling mistakes. I had one that I fixed this morning, where I had 'cloud' spelled with the 'L' in the wrong position on my picture's blog.

Trip East - Mohonk

Well, there may be a couple of you that noticed that I haven't done much with my blog lately. The main reason is that I was away on vacation. Last week we flew back to NJ and NY to see family. The trip culminated in another visit to Mohonk.

We spent Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon at Mohonk. It was a grand visit. This year we had even more family there. One of my favorite things to do there is hiking the rock scramble and crevice. When I have enough time, sometimes I'll even start with the labyrinth. This time I went through the whole labyrinth all the way up the crevice and up the tower twice! We went as a group on Saturday. But after getting through the labyrinth, and feeling some rain, the rest of the group decided to take a stairway up to a main path. I kept going all the way, leading a couple of strangers who were new to the hike up the crevice.
Even though I was kind of sore, most of the group wanted to try again. My two older boys wanted to try. My eldest lagged behind at first, so I stayed with him. My middle boy went on ahead with the rest of the family. I love doing the rock scramble, because I've found that I can be surprisingly sure-footed across the rocks. After the labyrinth, and as we were nearly finished with the rock scramble, I noticed my eldest started to go from being very reserved to becoming the same kind of sure-footed on the rocks as I. This was late Sunday morning, and after climbing up the tower, we were treated with the clearest, sunniest sky of the weekend.

Mohonk Mountain House on the lake

Mohonk Mountain House - the dock and lodge

View from the gardens to Mohonk mountain House

The path divides - on to the crevice

Rock against the sky, hiking the rock scramble

Climbing up ladders in the crevice

Picture of me in the crevice

Picture of me at the top of the Mohonk tower

Picture Theme: Unexpected

Sunrise on the mountain

I was driving to work, it was cloudy. We had snow the previous afternoon. Suddenly as I was driving down the hill, a hole opened in the clouds. There was Pikes Peak, with a fresh cover of snow, glowing pinkish-purple from the sunrise. I pulled over to the side, put on my hazzards, and took some pictures. I was not expecting to be able to see the mountain that morning due to the clouds.

For Photo Friday theme 'Unexpected'.