Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Catalina State Park beckoned us once again. When a state park calls you, you must heed. That's in the state park bylaws. We heeded our way out into the 101 degree temperatures to walk around and take pictures. This is one of several ways you can tell we're not natives of Arizona. We're too stupid to stay inside when it's friggin' hot. The picture is not representative of all the trails we traveled yesterday. It's just an example of a little bit of erosion from all the rain we've been getting. Another example is how friggin' green the place was. It was downright verdant.


Remember, this is the desert. Cacti and lizards and stuff like that there. Not lush groundcover ivy that's going all over the place, nor green grasses waving softly in the breeze. (Of which there was very little.) (Breeze, that is, not grass.) It was like a second spring. As if Vertumnus himself came and frolicked a bit in the park before heading off to another party. (You know how those Roman gods are.) (Or Etruscan. Whatever.)

The barrel cacti seemed to like it. They were blooming like bloomers. Without any suffragettes to be found, though. They may have gone south for the winter already.

Friday, August 24, 2007


No, I didn't sneeze. is an email marketing service for bloggers. It's supposed to help you build your readership by sending e-mails of your posts to subscribers. It's free, so like many free things I checked into it.

For starters, the home page has the word "Yeh". Here's a message for all businesses out there: it's not cool to be illiterate. If you want to be professional, stick with "Yes". If you want to be hip and casual, it's "Yeah". If you want to sound as if you were just hit in the stomach with a wayward elbow, it's "Yeh". It's one small step up from "Ug".

For seconders, the signup page isn't secure. If you want me to type in my personal information, you better make sure that nifty little "https" is up in the address bar. I don't like submitting information in the open. I did anyway for two reasons: even when it's printed, few people can spell my last name correctly; and I want to write a review that's more than five syllables.

The "About" page has the "yeh" as well. I'm reading it as I wait for my confirmation e-mail to arrive. Oh, that's another personal note... I call it "e-mail". Running the letters together, without the dash, makes the word sound like "emale" in my head because that's how English works. So stop it. Use the dash.

It was 10:30 AM when I signed up. I had to wait for an e-mail before I could continue. It's now 8:22 PM, when I got the first confirmation e-mail. I'm now waiting for another before I can actually do anything with the service. Color me not happy.

8:52 PM, and I'm finally registered. Here we go...

Typo on one of the templates. The grey one. "Enter You E-mail". They need to hire a pirate, so they get an extra R. I got a site timeout once, and it loads slowly. The majority of the templates are Blogger templates, with one Zookoda template. Meh. Hopefully they'll have some more templates soon, but as it is it's not bad. Not great, but not bad. There is an option to make a custom template of your own, though. I may revisit it once I actually get going, but for now I'm going with one of the Blogger templates. Different than the one you're currently viewing. It's good if you've got a default Blogger blog, since the e-mail's theme would match your blog. Sort of a brand recognition kinda thing.

I can't send anything yet. Seems I've not been authenticated. So, if I was a spammer, I'd be stymied. (That means "stopped cold", for those of you unfamiliar with slang from 1928.) Your outgoing newsletter things will all have your actual name and mailing address. Well, they'll have whatever name and mailing address you provided when you signed up with the service. As a real person who has gone to some lengths to keep his real name separate from his internet name, I don't like that. However, it's a necessary evil in this age of Spam and roses. Without the roses. Legitimate subscribers will have to be patient before they can send anything. Legitimate subscribers can be patient, so that's OK.

After all is said and done, I don't think this is for me. It may be good for someone, but I'm not that someone. I thought it may be a viable alternative for the default newsletter option for our shop. But I really don't want my name going out like that. If that's the way it has to be, then no alternative is going to suit my needs.

Oh, one last thing... they call the members of their community "Zookodans". As an Arizonan who is a Tucsonan, I say go with "Zooker" or something. That's where you can get your hip, edgy made-up word jollies out all you want.

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This is the funniest spam I have ever received and or read. I present it in its unedited glory for your amusement. I laughed so hard, I had to read it to Deb. It's much more enjoyable if you read it aloud.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

One Of The Healthiest Things I've Ever Eaten

Corn, black beans, red and green peppers, onions, and diced chicken in a flour tortilla. Yes, I made it. It's also as close as I get to eating salad without death threats. (Even with death threats.) See, mom? All you had to do to get me to eat vegetables was move me 2,000 miles away! I'm surprised you didn't do it sooner. (I'm sure you thought about it sooner...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


As you can probably tell by the title of the post and the purple button on the sidebar, I have signed up at payperpost. It is not an intentional misspelling of "paper post", but rather it is a service which provides opportunities for bloggers like yours truly to make money. The money is made not through the normal means available to bloggers (i.e. blood donation and black market kidney auctions), but rather bloggers get to give their opinions, thoughts, ideas, and rambling diatribes about a variety of services and products available. In other words, you get to read what I think about stuff. Pretty much the sole purpose for most blogs out there, no? Advertisers get to build "buzz" about their product or service or whatever, and the blogger gets a little extra spending money. (And also gets to keep whatever major organs he or she still had.) Not a bad deal! I think it's an equitable trade for both parties, really. I don't expect it will enable me to buy a mansion or a yacht any time soon, but a few extra dollars never hurt anyone. Well, unless it's in the form of pennies, in bags, dropped from a skyscraper. That'd be bad. Luckily, that's not how they pay. PayPerPost uses the more logical and far safer choice of PayPal to complete transactions. I learned about the service thanks to Sam and her recent efforts to embiggen her blog empire. She has been using a wide variety of tools which have made me look at my blog in a different light. So, thanks to Sam and PayPerPost, you'll be seeing a few unusual posts here from time to time. Oh, I'll still rant and blather on about different things that happen to me in my sheltered life. Brushes with humanity still send me off into Rantville. I'll be writing more, and posting pictures less, as my days are spent up to my bald head in pictures and I really don't seem to find the time to make "unsellable" ones just to put here. So, I'm going to ramble more, and render less. That's good, because my writing has been lacking of late. My typing, I mean. Not my handwriting. That's an entirely different story.

Boy, it's a good thing they don't have a maximum word limit! I don't call this "Wontar's Ramblings" for nothing. If you're interested in PayPerPost, just click on the purple button with the same name off to the right. If you've got a blog, have time to write about stuff, and don't want pennies dropped on your head, it's worth a look. Share your thoughts and opinions, and get paid for it. Not too shabby!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Calls Are Not Coming From Inside The House

Yesterday was a wee bit strange. I woke up after having a rather bad dream. Remembering a dream is itself unusual, because I normally don't. In this dream, I was back at my old workplace, trying to get from one part of the room to the other. Boring, you say? Oh, did I mention that I was stopped every few feet by people asking me questions, so a trip across the room that should have taken seconds lasted hours? The thing is, with slight exaggeration, that used to describe a trip across the room for me. I may never get over this "don't want to deal with people" thing if I have any more dreams like that to remind me what it's like.

Roughly twelve hours later, we were struck with more weirdness in the form of a phone call. The caller ID said it was from our friend, but the voice that came out of the phone was decidedly not our friend's voice. The biggest clue was that the person on the phone was yammering on in Spanish. Our friend does not speak Spanish, and neither do we, so the sounds coming out of the phone had an even greater level of incomprehensibility than they normally would. We then tried calling her husband's cell phone, but got no answer. We tried their home phone, and got the machine. It wasn't terribly late at night, but when two out of three alternate forms of communication come up empty after the first has been compromised, one tends to worry a bit. Toss in the fact that they live somewhat close to the border, and have had incidents with illegals literally in their back yard, the worry becomes a bit more pronounced. By "pronounced" I mean that we decided to call the cops.

Yes, really. We called the cops.

Not 911, but their town's police department. They redirected me to the county sheriff's office. To both departments' credit, though, they were very good about listening to me blather on about our non-Spanish speaking friends and the mystery phone call. They also got to our friends' house reasonably quickly. They were there when our friends finally got home. They were fine, of course. She just lost her phone, and the person who found it was calling everyone in the phone's book.

None of whom speak Spanish. Unless you count my ability to count to 10 thanks to Sesame Street, but that severely limits communication in anything other than binary. Not terribly popular.

It's nice that the person who found the phone tried to contact people who knew the owner and didn't just abscond with it. However (and here's where the rant comes in), you mean to tell me that you couldn't find one friggin' person who could speak even a little English? In America?!?!?!?!? Call me racist, I don't care. America = English. Speak it. You don't have to speak it well, you don't have to write it well (we got that one covered already). Speak the damn language. Yeah yeah... "America doesn't have an official language!" My rebuttal: bite my hairy ass, it's English. American English, but it's English, dammit.

That's a mini-rant, as I could just type about this for hours on end. I just hope she gets her phone back, even though they have to find a friggin' translator to do so.

Monday, August 06, 2007


It's been quite humid here lately. Cloudy, rainy, floody... It has rained on occasion during our time in AZ, but it's been so sporadic that it's really helped me to see that humidity really makes my head hurt. A lot. (Hear that, family?) Sure, our high temperature today didn't get above 79, which meant that we got to leave the windows open and enjoy the cool weather. In August. But I've been eating Advil Migraine tablets and sitting near-motionless with an icepack on my head for two days. Humidity sucks, and this monsoon season can end any time now, thank you.

The cooler weather can stay.