Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jamie and her Vacation

Well, Jamie left out on her (mostly) annual pilgrimage to the motherland known as New England. She will be starting in Boston, where she will be staying with her friend Kim much of the weekend. Saturday is the big day, when she goes to her Grandfather's surprise 80th birthday party in Connecticut. She will be returning very early on Monday morning.

Of course, in true Jamie fashion she was up all night packing and shopping for food and supplies for her trip and for us at home (She took the two little ones, leaving the older girls with me). She actually left the house about 6:30, to catch a 7:00 AM train! She pulled in honking her horn and getting attention, as the train was already there! The station manager said she had seven minutes to get on the train, and helped her get her bags and kids on the train. She did manage to get one of the seats at the end of the car, where she can lay the baby down in the car seat and spread out her stuff. I'll keep y'all posted as to her arrivals and departures continue.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Testing Remote Controls

Wow, even if you don't need to use this little trick to actually test your remote controls, it's still a pretty cool way to impress kids or your dumb friends (oops, did that come out right? Oh wait, yeah it did!").

How to Use Your Digital Camera to Test Remotes!

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Friday, July 13, 2007

R.I.P. Recorded Music

This is a great story about the rock music artist Prince releasing his new album, "Planet Earth" for free in  a British newspaper this weekend. The recording industry, and especially his own label, are furious, as they are being robbed of their chance to debut the album in retail stores.

While I understand the recording and retail industries' outrage over losing the opportunity to cash in on these sales (especially since this could be a blockbuster album, as it has new songs and old hits from a very popular artist) I still fail to understand their surprise. The world of Media distribution has been going through significant changes for more than ten years now. And the changes are not some sophisticated system that people can't understand, it is simple economics and sales practices that retailers put into place in the first place. While Prince is using the model of "covermounts," putting a CD or DVD in a newspaper or magazine, I'm going to use examples from the more popular model of online distribution.

The first (and perhaps most important) principle is price. When Napster debuted in 1999, the online service allowed people to acquire the same music, at the same or better quality sound level, that they could buy at a store for FREE.  One of the most widely used tools in the Retailer's and Marketer's toolboxes is free stuff. "Buy one, get one free," "free with purchase," "free with a test drive," "free just for stopping in." We have all heard these slogans. The catch is that the free stuff is usually either crap or surplus stock, and everybody knows it. But when you condition the consumer to covet this concept, you shouldn't be surprised when they jump at the chance to acquire something for free that they actually want.

If "free" is our economic concept, then our important sales concepts are "availability" and "impulse." With Napster, (and similar services that still operate) people could "shop" for digital music in the comfort of their jammies in their own home. No weather, no traffic, no rude salespeople. Just put in a search term, find what you want, and download it. Simple, fast, easy.

Now most people would probably not think about impulse in relation to getting something that is free, but I bring it up for two reasons. First, many people have an impulse to accept something that is freely handed out, such as a handbill on the street or a sample at the mall. So when we see free our reaction is to automatically go for the deal. The second reason I bring it up is because the ease and accessibility of Napster and other services did not give a lot of people time to consider the moral applications of their actions, getting hooked on the service before they ever really considered what they were doing. By the time people started labeling the service as piracy (which it was) people were already hooked.

Now of course Napster was sued, deemed an illegal distribution method, and was forced to go legit in order to stay active (basically ending it's life, as far as I am concerned). The problem is the industry didn't learn from this valuable lesson.They could have taken the opportunity to launch their own site, making songs available for a reasonable fee and sending out the CD's as a backup. The retail stores could have brought in coffee, couches and listening stations, gotten rid of the aisles of merchandise, and emailed the people their music once it was purchased.

Instead they buried their heads in the sand and stuck with the status quo. Now companies like Apple and Wal-Mart sell songs legally for $.99 or the whole album for $10.00. I don't if this hurts the record labels' profits but it obviously does the retailers, as people are getting the same music at home for $10.00 that they would pay $15-25 in the store.

If that is not bad enough for these industries, independent artists are now starting to sell and distribute their music on their own websites and online services. So far these musicians are small, independent artists who aren't even on the Billboard Chart's radar. But I believe there will come a day, probably in the next 5-10 years, when one of these artists will sell enough music to make the charts, which will spell the beginning of the end of the labels and the music retailers. Now don't misunderstand, these people still need promoters to get their music in the public eye. But they will not need labels and retailers to do it. Online promoters, marketing companies, and web designers will do the job instead.

In summary, IF the recording industry does not change their practices, and IF it is not too late they will cease to exist as a viable business venture. The only people dumb enough to pay the extra money for a CD will be the recording industry execs. who make them. I hope they get an employee discount, although I'm doubtful they would have the presence of mind to actually use it.

Story - Free Prince CD Enrages Music Industry - AOL News

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

If you are a Harry Potter fan (and really, who isn't? You know you are). Check out this site for The Blue Heron Bookstore in Peninsula, Ohio. Friday and Saturday July 20th and 21st (when the final book in the series comes out) they are having an all out Harry Potter Festival complete with Hogwart's Express ride, start of term ball, feast in the Great Hall, and a trip through Hogsmeade Village (they are turning part of Peninsula village into the village from the books!). I don't mean to advertise for them, I just think it is a great way to celebrate such a wonderful series of literature. Check it out!

Welcome to The Blue Heron Bookstore

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Procrastination and Accomplishing Your Goals

I don't know about you, but I have a lot of trouble with procrastination and getting things done on time or right away.So, ;here is a page from my favorite blog on how to keep from procrastinating and how to tackle big tasks by breaking them down into little bits. Even if you are good at getting things done, there is probably a good tip here for you, too.

Procrastination - Lifehacker

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Let's go Drivin'!

I know kids in the rural south often learn to drive tractors before they are old enough to drive, and professional racing had drivers as young as 13, but this is a bit ridiculous. I guess Cindy Lauper was right. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! Maybe I should start teaching Wayde how to hold a beer bottle between her legs while steering?

Story - Girl, 11, Charged With DUI After Chase - AOL News

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Michael Vick and Dog Fighting?

Wow, if this story is true, it is truly a sad state of affairs for one of America's most popular athletes. I agree that we should not hold these people to high up, as they are just people. But on the other hand they are a representation of their team and sport and should be held accountable as such.

IF Michael Vick is involved in dog fighting, I would expect the league to use stern punishment, as well as the justice system. Such a cruel act to be perpetrated on another creature is simply egregious, and should not be tolerated in our society. If anybody sees more on this, please let me know.

NFL - Investigation Dogs One of NFL's Big Stars - AOL Sports

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hot Fuel

 I just found this article about gasoline, and how it expands in warm weather, which means you get less of it when you pump on a hot day. The story is not very happy, for this chemical process costs all of us precious dollars out of our budget. But my feeling of frustration is tinged with giggles when I read the Petroleum Industry marketing executives comment about consumers gaining fuel in the winter:

"It's our view, generally speaking, that most Americans are made whole
in the course of a year," Gilligan says. "They lose BTUs in the summer,
but gain them back in the winter."

Come on pal, don't build me a snowman and tell me I'm in Hawaii, it's not going to fly. If you don't want to install the fuel coolers just tell us (which they did). But don't try to tell me we get that energy back. Think about it.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Drinking Water

I've heard a lot said about drinking water. That's it's healthy for us, that we should drink lots of it, etc. But there have always been plenty of questions like how much should we drink? What reasons (other than thirst) are compelling enough to make us put down our pop or beer (I'm still not sure there is a good reason to put down our beer).

Well, this article gives some great reasons to drink water and how to form the water drinking habit. I'm thinking of trying this for a week to see how it makes me feel. I let you know later what I find.

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[Jott from Russell Bonchu] This blog entry is being written with a service called, which let's you...

Jott From Russell Bonchu

 This blog entry is being written with a service called, which let's you call the service from your cell phone and it will send an E-mail to someone or a reminder message to yourself and it is currently free. Seems like a real time saver, especially for people who don't have e-mail or web access from their cell phone.
Set reminders, assign, and manage this jott on

Brought to you by Jott Networks, Inc.

[Jott from Russell Bonchu] Hey, this is test of a new service called Jott, which is at and it lets...

Jott From Russell Bonchu

 Hey, this is test of a new service called Jott, which is at and it lets you call from your cell phone to send e-mail or personal reminder messages and send them to groups or people. All I wanted is check this out looks like it could be really handy.
Set reminders, assign, and manage this jott on

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Left Lane Drivers of America

I saw a news story about this site, and just had to check it out for myself: Left Lane Drivers of America is a group that is advocating using the left lane of the highway only as a passing and high speed lane, and asks those who are going slower than the traffic behind them to move over to the right so that the cars moving faster than them can safely pass. I believe this is actually the law here in Ohio, but in a lot of places people tend to just get into this lane and hold up traffic by going whatever speed they want and forcing faster drivers to pass them on the right or stay behind them and block traffic.

In order to combat this problem, Left Lane Drivers have created this car windshield decal:

As you can see, the decal is not unlike the kind on the windshield of an ambulance, with the word written backwards so that when a person looks in their rear view mirror the word appears in the right direction. I sent this to my Dad, and anyone that knows him knows that he would appreciate this. Let me know what you think.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Our New Edition, Anca

Well, It's been almost 2 months and I haven't recounted on here the birth of our beautiful new baby, Anca Joy. I've been thinking about doing this for sometime but have just let myself get busy and been doing other things.

Anywho, Jamie had been experiencing contractions for several weeks but they were all pre-labor, as they had obviously not produced a baby and Jamie was able to lay down for a nap or sleep and they would go away. She told me that you know the contractions are real when they wake you up and you can't sleep through them.

At about 4:00 AM on May first things started to change. Jamie was awakened by much stronger contractions than she had before. She woke me around 5:30 so I could call my boss and call off for the day. We had already set up the birthing pool in the kitchen but still had some things to get ready. At some point during the morning I think I took a nap, and when I awoke our friends Berta and Dana were there to help Jamie with whatever she needed. Dana brought a ton of food for us, so we wouldn't have t really have to cook over the next few days. She and Berta also did some house cleaning while they waited for things to "progress."

Our Midwife came in the late morning to check on Jamie. After examining her she said she was progressing slightly but was not yet ready. So she left, promising to come back later and check on her.

Fast forward to about 4:00 PM. Jamie was walking around the backyard with her friends, trying to deal with the contractions. I new they were getting serious when one of her friends called and Jamie waved me off when I brought her the phone! I couldn't believe it! Jamie, not taking a friend's call? This could only mean one thing: she was going through TRANSITION!!!!

Jamie finally got in the birthing tub about 7:00 PM. We had been filling it up the last couple of hours using the hot water line from the washer (Jamie's idea, and a pretty good one). The funny thing is when our midwives walked in a few minutes later they looked at my expression and privately thought to themselves that Jamie wasn't far enough along to deliver, because I was to calm. The reality is that I was calm because I had such great help from our friends. Berta and Dana had been putting cold compresses on Jamie's forehead and hot ones on her lower back and we were all singing praise and worship songs to comfort her and invite the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us all out (which He did, in spades).

Anyway, our midwives kind of took over and helped Jamie deliver Anca, which went very smoothly, her little body slipping right out into the water (wow, I almost made the mistake of saying it went pretty easy, which could be detrimental to my health if any women read this blog!). I cut the cord which was a little bit scary but no turned out to be no big deal. After she delivered the Placenta, Jamie got out of the tub and went to the bed, where she held and nursed Anca for the first time. The midwifes cleaned her up and examined Anca and Jamie, who were both doing fine. Anca weighed in at 8lbs. 5oz. and 21 inches. The only concern the midwives ever had was that it was really hard to get her to cry! She just kept making little noises like she was perturbed but she never really seems to get angry! Here are some of the pictures from that first night:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day, 2007

I know Father's Day, just like Mother's Day, was invented by the card companies to sell cards and candy. but even something that was invented in the natural, secular world can be used for the Glory of God.

For starters, when I came home on Friday we had a nice time as a family with dinner and relaxation. Nothing fancy, but nobody (especially me) got angry or gave anybody any problems. After dinner Jamie and Berta went out to do a little shopping, while I sat on the porch with a drink and relaxed and called a friend. Peaceful, nice.

Saturday was about as mellow as you could get. The kids left Jamie and I alone to sleep in, watching cartoons and a movie. We finally got up and ate, then relaxed around the house. I even took a nap on the couch while Jamie was nursing the baby.

About 3:30 PM we got up and got dressed to go to church for a barbecue and movie night. There weren't a lot of people there, but the ones that were had a nice time of fellowship, good food, and a very cute movie (Night at the Museum). We had a great time with hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn and pop. It was a beautiful and relaxing night, just fun, and really nothing else.

Sunday was the perfect ending to this great weekend. We got up early so we could go to church for Doughnuts with Dad, which were Krispy Kremes!

We then went into church for a great time of praise and worship of the Lord, the Most Hight God. This is one of my favorite times of the week, as I get the privelage of gathering together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to lift up our praises and thanksgiving to He who paid the ultimate ransom for my soul! Pastor Ron then delivered a great teaching on being a Dad after the heart of God, quoting the many scriptures that teach this. I won't go into them here but I have them available if anyone is interested.

After church we went to the store and left the kids in the drop off center so Jamie and I could shop in peace. We shopped and had a nice talk, and I got to spend some time holding the baby and doting over her, then stopped for a snack before we picked up the kids and came home.

Once home we put the groceries away and watched the new Pink Panther, which was alright (I'm just glad I got it on Netflix rather than paying for it).

Now Jamie is making stuffed shells and bread, which should be a fabulous Dad's Day dinner with the family. It's times like these when you let the rest of the world fall away, and just concentrate on the serving of God and fellowship with your friends and family that you find out just how truly blessed you are. Praise God for this wonderful weekend and time with those I truly love.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

S.B. 17-Protecting our state from drunk drivers

Gentlemen, I am witting to you today to discuss S.B. 17, a bill which toughens the penalties for driving drunk in the state of Ohio. I realize this bill does not yet effect you Mr. Skindell, but once it gets to the House it will.

As I am sure you are aware, drunk driving is rapidly becoming an epidemic in this state. Unfortunately the victims aren't only the perpetrators but also innocent, law abiding citizens, getting maimed and killed in accidents all over the state. While I personally feel that the penalties should be even tougher than this bill, I believe this bill goes a long way to toughening up our laws and protect us from habitual drunk drivers.

I know it is possible for bills to be killed by adding amendments that change or having nothing to do with the original bill, but I can't honestly see anyone wanting to do this. Therefore, I expect nothing but total support for this bill, and will look forward to counting your vote in favor later this year.

Thank you for your time and your service,

Russell Bonchu, III

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lego Church

This is perhaps the coolest Lego project I have ever seen. Ths pictures pretty much speak for themselves, but I have to say that it is a testament (no pun intended)to this person's ingenuity and imagination to creat a structure like this completely from scratch. Check it out!

Abston Church of Christ

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Open Source Software

In my travels around the Internet, I have discovered a wonderful part of computing that has been brought about by the Internet and is a great part of the ability to share that the Internet provides.It is called Open Source Software. Let me explain how it works.

Software that you buy in a store, or download for pay or as share ware is called Closed Source Software, because the code used to create it is locked up inside the program. It is like the secret formula for a product like Coca-Cola. The person who created the software does not want you to have it, because then you could change the code and therefore change their product.

The other type of software is Open Source Software. This type of software is not created by a for profit corporation, but by a person or group who simply wants to create good software that everyone can use; free of charge, and usually available for all platforms including Windows (old and new), Mac (OS X and sometimes older versions), and every major version of Linux. These products are not share ware, ad-ware, or trial versions. They do not expire, nor do they require a code to unlock their best features. Sometimes the creators of the software do offer opportunities to make donations to continue their work, but these are not required to use the product.

The other aspect of Open Source Software is the availability of the source files. In Open Source Software you can download a complete and compiled version of the program that you can simply install and use, or you can download the uncompiled source files. Now for most of us average users, these files would be completely useless because you cannot install them in their present state. But programmers can use them to make changes to the original program either for their own personal use or to redistribute as their own version of the program. Of course these programmers are not aloud to sell or profit from this software, just like the original people who created it.

The result of this process is great software that almost every computer user can use, and it's free! As someone who is still using a Windows 98 computer, I have greatly extended the use of this computer. Just this week I used the program Gnumeric to create a spreadsheet at home for work, saving precious time when I'm in the office. I could never have run MS Exel on this computer, nor any other major spreadsheet program available on the Closed Source market. I created this post with Abiword, and I now surf the Internet not with Internet Explorer, but with the wonderful browser called Foxfire.Because of the availability of the code most of these programs also have add-on programs you can install into them. So even if you are not a programmer, you can still customize the programs to fit your needs and the way you work.

If you are interested in trying some of these programs, I recommend checking out this post from another blog: You can also check out the blog download squad for more information and lots of great software.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Knights of St. Andrew

Hmmm, The Knights of St. Andrew sounds like a really interesting to the Scottish Rite system, making "regular" 32* members feel special. I would join just so I could wear the cool hat, but being in a pipe drum corps would be fun, too.

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