Definition: Gtextplanation

G text pla na tion [jee tekst spluh-ney-shuhn]

1. A Google Talk conversation with a friend or co-worker with the sole purpose of having to explain the custom status message you are currently using.

[Origin: 2006; Middle New Hampshire; from GTalk (Google Talk) + Text + Explanation]

Google Talk, GTalk, Gtextplanation

Google Talk emoticons (stand alone application)

As has been prevoiusly noted, our colleagues have become increasingly reliant on Google Talk as a means of not only direct communication, but also indirect communication.

However, one thing that is also fun is playing with the emoticons Google Talk provides. Apparently, the talk feature with the GMail browser interface has a large set, but the stand-alone application (even the newest version) only appears to support a subset of these emoticons.

Whenever I or a friend of mine notice a new emoticon, it often spawns a flurry of emoticon attemps -- some of which work, and some that do not. Here's what I have discovered. Any combination of one item from each of the three columns should yield a highlightable face. (so far 36 combinations)

Acceptable components
eyes noses mouths
: (none) )
; - (
B |
O (Shift-O)

I expect that I have missed some and that subsequent upgrades that will bring more -- especially since the other GTalk version has more, so please add real (and appropriate) ones, and I will update the table. Also, none of the symbols translate.

Google, Google Talk, GTalk, emoticons, stand-alone

Helpful vi commands

These commands helped us split a large file into two smaller components.

To create a split screen:
:split filename (the second screen will fill with either a new file or existing file, depending on whether or not the filename exists or not)

To find out what line you are on:

To perform a multi-line cut to that line:
:1 (gets you to the beginning of the cut-worthy text
Ndd (N=number of lines you wish to cut)

To switch between the windows:

To past the multi-line cut:

vi, vim, find line, multi-line cut, split screen

Deep-dish Chicago-style pizza in New Hampshire?

Quality ZaNot quite, but a while back the Food Network program Unwrapped featured regional foods that could be shipped to just about anywhere. One of these such locations was Chicago, and they featured deep-dish pizzas from Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (Availble at

Being from Chicago myself, I know Lou Malnati's pizza and have eaten in a couple of the restaurants.

Aside: I am actually from the suburb of Elgin, but when you live as far away as New Hamspshire as I do, it is easier to stretch the truth, but a helpful hint -- do not tell a real Chicago native that you are from Chicago when you are really from the 'burbs!

The fact that Lou Malnati's classic Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas can be purchased and delivered anywhere in the United States, and I live 900+ miles from the Windy City, only made my experience with this program inevitable. And God bless my Mom, who finally made it happen!

I write this for my few friends up here in the Northeast who have never had the pleasure of tasting the true Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. You can not let your life slip by without doing this at least once!

Of course by now you know that I whole-heartedly enjoyed this pizza. However, I will temper this with two facts. 1) If you live in Chicago, go to the restaurants (Gino's, Lou's, whatever) -- it will be better than these. 2) It's pricey. 2 pizzas go for about $50; 4 for $70, and yoou will likely only feed 2-3 people per pizza.

But when you are as far away as I am, it is definitely a special treat. There are two things that make the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza unique -- the massive, crispy, buttery crust, and the upside-down-tomatoes-over-the-cheese arrangement. These pizzas certainly deliver on both counts -- with instructions that are very straight-forward. The sausage are better than the cheese, and these are the two options you have.

I should mention that this service also ships Carson's ribs and Eli's Cheesecake, among others, but the pizza is the prize.


This space for rent?

In a New York Times article, reporter David Joachim wrote that the CBS network has arranged to have advertising printed for their fall season onto 35 million eggs. Each egg will have the trademark CBS logo, the name of an upcoming fall season show, and a silly egg-related pun.

The eggs are created by EggFusion, who have special technology to engrave the markings onto the eggs instead of using inks. Mr. Joachim also noted that the ability lies to track eggs well enough in their delivery to stores that they can target ads to specific zip codes.

You will need a [free] subscription to to read the article in its entirety, or you can read a shorter version of the story from CBS News.

Being in central NH, I haven't seen these, nor do I expect to anytime soon, but this idea has legs and will only become more popular and ubiquitous with your everyday egg purchase...I can't wait until they start printing coupons on them...

AP Photo (click to enlarge)

ads, advertising, cbs, eggfusion, eggs, new york times

The Hawaiian Punch Board Game

Among the many weekends that I found myself playing with the toys and games in my grandma's house, one of my (and my brother's) favorites was a game called "The Hawaiian Punch" board Game. While this game lacks the cache of more traditional board games, I can assure you that to a nine-year old, this game rocked. I recently found one in a collectibles shop in West-Leb.

Hawaiian Punch Board Game
Sweet Box Art!

The game is a classic (© 1978), and would easily rank in a top five of my favorite childhood board games. (Off hand, and in no particular order, Careers, Life, Mad Magazine, and Outburst also come to mind.)

To play, you need a gamepiece. Enter the first great nuance...your gamepiece is a pineapple molded from clay! (The mold itself is shaped like a can of HP). The movement of the game is straight-forward...spin the wheel and move accordingly...that is, until you land on a space with a color that matches your opponent.
Hawaiian Punch Board Game Pieces
Gamepiece, Mold, and 'Punchy'

Enter the second great nuance...the payback. In Monopoly, when you land on someone else's space, you pay with your money. In HP, you pay with your clay. Every player has a masher shaped like Punchy, the HP mascot. Said opponent gets one free whack at your poor clay pineapple to smash it into as flat and nasty a piece as possible. Pure violence. The catch? You get one shot. Miss, and too bad -- wait till next time. Interestingly enough, that's the only penalty until we reach the third great nuance...size check.

There are spaces scattered on the board called size check. No matter how flat and nasty your gamepiece is, you can use it unless you land on one of these spaces. If your squahed remnants of a pineapple fail to fit wholly within the space, you have to reform and lose a good number of spaces.

Reach the end and win, but this game is not about winning, its about the journey...

Hawaiian Punch Board Game Size Check
'experienced' gamepiece &
Size Check

On one final note, I completely forgot how awesome the box and board art was with this game. Just look at the style used in this large board section.

...old school fun. Thanks, Grandma.

Hawaiian Punch Board Game Art

Hawaiian Punch, Hawaiin Punch board game, board games, games, punchy

Tracking Flights in 3D with Google Earth

I often like to track flights of friends. I'm a map freak, and just think its cool that you can get quasi-realtime flight information. Also being a map freak, I also love Google Earth. Now, with the help of you can track your flights in 3D with Google Earth.

There are two things I have noticed as being inconvenient about this service
1) It is very difficult to use this service to find a random active flight. You really should know flight information before you continue to fboweb.
2) The list of flight carriers is large and includes company names that need to be used instead of their parent companies. (For example, Trans World Express and Trans World Air both are listed and you need to know which one to choose even if the carrier mentions the other).

Tracking in 3D

  1. Just install Google Earth on your local computer
  2. Point your browser at
  3. I have found that the flight track form is the way to start, but do not enter anything will not work.
  4. Click the Track button
  5. On the page that follows, click the 'airline' radio button
  6. Complete the form by picking the carrier and typing the flight number (optional, but recommended to save copious time)
  7. When the result hits, click the Track in 3D button. Google Earth opens on its own, but you may need to do some navigation.

The Tick is Back

The TickGiven enough time, I would probably -- at one point or another -- make a claim that any given cartoon I have seen in my life was a great cartoon. I just happen to have a very large soft-spot for cartoons. However, one of the truly great cartoons of the 90s has made somewhat of a comeback.

That's right, the Tick.

For those who say, 'what?" Stop reading now! There is no point for you to read on. I have neither the time nor the patience to attempt to explain to you why this show was just so damn funny. It had a very short run on Fox Saturday (and at times I think Sunday) mornings, and then spent some time on Comedy Central -- in the days before the network had as much original programming as they do now.

That said, the Toon Disney Network has apparently lauched a more 'big-kids' segment of their daily programming called JETIX. It runs only in the evening, and plays a lot of power rangers and what-not that I could care less about. But at 10:30PM ET, the Tick, Arthur, Die Fledermaus, Sewer Urchin, American Maid, et al., are back in my living room, defending The City from evil...SPOON!

Life is good.

tick, the tick, cartoons, toon disney, jetix, saturday morning cartoons

...something profound...

Somedays I like to think I have something profound to say, but today I don't.

Actually, I am reminded of an obscure appearance that professional basketball player Scott Hastings made on (I think) The Tonight Show. Scott, who was a perennial 12th man in the NBA during the 80s and 90s (there are only 12 players on an NBA team, and usually, no one past #8 or 9 sees any time on the floor -- even if your team is up by 20 with a minute to play) made the following statement.

"Sure, I've heard Scott Hastings and Michael Jordan mentioned in the same sentence...'Scott Hastings, he's no Michael Jordan.'"

Suffice it to say , I felt like writing, and here I am...with nothing profound to say.

Or am I?


Dan-a-thon: Disclaimer

Disclaimer within Disclaimer: This probably contains so many inside joke/references, it’d take a park map to get out…and only a few of you have that…


BEFORE-YOU-READ other postings about this thing called ‘Dan-a-thon’ I (Dan) must make the following disclaimer.

A Dan-a-thon, regardless of how it is defined or interpreted, is:

Really Fun
A Necessary Good
A Group Effort
[and yes,] Strategic

It is not:



One wise crack and the picture gets bigger

I’d like to return to the point of strategy, as this is what this all boils down to. Discussion with colleagues independent of this topic was had about Game theory, and to many, game theory is all about trying to understand how you and your partners can work together to ensure that everyone succeeds. This, in some ways is the strategy that the Dan-a-thon apparently employs. Maximize the fun by leveraging previous knowledge to meet the group’s goals. It speaks to a larger over-arching philosophy that I abide by but have never spent too much time thinking about…I guess that’s just me.

That is all.

Dan-a-thon, fun, strategy, game theory, disney world, groups,