Friday, January 22, 2010

Oh, Canada

In a few weeks, the Winter Olympics will take place in Vancouver.

But before we get to that excitement, I'd like to take this opportunity and stake a claim on Canada. The Canadian Parliament has been prorogued, which is like putting Parliament on summer vacation. Seeing as how there's no effective Canadian gov't til after the Olympics, I hereby claim all of Canada and rename it North Texas!!! That's right! I'm claiming Canada!

And who's going to stop me? The head of state? Her Majesty, Liz? Please, it's winter now, and everyone knows the UK shuts down every time it snows. She can't leave her house to check the mail, much less cross an entire ocean and a continent in winter! She could fall and break a hip, and her injury might mean Charles becomes King. I don't think Liz is quite ready to give up the throne nor let Camilla near it. The only throne Camilla should sit on is the kind that flushes.

Besides, as an American, I'm not afraid of the monarchy. In fact, Americans have a history of successfully revolting against and overthrowing monarchies, like the Hawaiian one,

Give us your pineapples!!!

The Mexican one,

Yo quiero Taco Bell!!!

And of course, the British one,

Hit the road, Jack!!!

And it's not like the Canadians are going to put up a resistance. They will be too distracted by the hockey and curling games at the Olympics to pay any attention.

There will be a few changes to ease the annexation of Canada aka North Texas.

From now on, British Columbia will be renamed American Columbia.

Saskatchewan will be renamed Sasquatchland.

All Sasquatches (and law abiding, tax paying Wookiee immigrants) will be recognized as citizens and granted the same rights and protection under the laws as all other citizens.

All Canadian Indians will have the same rights and protection as American Indians. Now, they, too, can live in trailer parks and own casinos.

People living in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and New Foundland and Labrador will be given rifles and lots of ammunition to fight off invaders, Sarah Palin, polar bears, and killer seal pups.

She can see us from her house! Start shootin' at her, Chewie!!!

Quebec will be correctly spelled as Kebek.

And as the designated French Quarter of North Texas, Quebec City will now be renamed Lady Marmalade. Carnival will be celebrated in the Spring complete with floats, parades, and lots of drinking and beads to exchange for brief flashes of adult nudity.

The capital of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, will be appropriately renamed, Green Gables, and the the entire island will now serve as a wildlife refuge for all redheads--except for Lindsay Lohan and Carrot Top. We want to preserve the endangered species, not pollute its gene pool.

Anyone foolish enough to put up a resistance or talk about separation will be charged with treason and subject to swift, harsh Texas Justice!

And in our efforts to be more environmentally friendly, condemned criminals facing execution will now be placed on an ice floe and sent out to sea. This way, we reduce energy costs and the polar bears get to eat. Any convict who tries to swim back to shore will be shot on sight. If they make it to Greenland, well, then the Danes can do whatever they want with them.

We will register Celine Dion as a weapon of mass destruction. And we are not afraid to unleashed her against any nation foolish enough to mess with North Texas!

Finally, we will restructure the office of Governor General. From now on, anyone who wants to be Governor General will be awarded the post the same way all Crown representatives are chosen:

Through a beauty pageant.

The Governor General Beauty Pageant (scholarship program) will determine the best candidate for the post.

We want to ensure that the Governor General is someone who is talented, intelligent, poised, and looks good in a swimsuit and evening wear.

Welcome to new North Texas, where everything's cleaner (and colder in winter)!!!

We hope you enjoy your stay!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blog Tips--fun graphics in comments

I have updated this post to make it easier to post fun graphics in the comments of blogs. It doesn't work for all blogs, but it does show up in a lot. Just preview your comment before publishing to see if it works. And even after a good preview, there's no guarantee the graphics will display right, because each blog has a particular template or layout that affects how the graphics are displayed once they are published in the comments.

Here is an awesome site that converts your tags into plain text to be displayed in blog post:

That site has made it possible and incredibly easy for you to just copy and paste the graphics below right into the blogger comments section. Yay!!! Thank you freebits website tool creator!

A word of caution: Every blog has a unique or different template/layout. That affects how the graphics will be displayed. In some blogs, the graphics will appear somewhat crooked--rustic! Preview your comment with the graphics before publishing. Even then, be aware that the graphic might still appear crooked when it publishes in the blog comments. That's just the way that particular blog is set up.

Xmas tree with gifts underneath:
Tip: You can copy just the tree or gifts below by themselves or together.



Winter Snowman with Happy New Year Greeting:
Tip: You can copy and paste just the snowman or New Year greeting by itself, or use both together. You can type the recipient's name in front of the greeting plus a space bar to separate the name from the greeting.

<b><a>H</a>a<a>p</a>p<a>y</a> <a>N</a>e<a>w</a> <a>Y</a>e<a>a</a>r<a>!</a>!<a>!</a></b>


Season's Greetings:

<b><a>S</a>e<a>a</a>s<a>o</a>n'<a>s</a> <a>G</a>r<a>e</a>e<a>t</a>i<a>n</a>g<a>s</a></b>

Happy Holidays:

<b><a>H</a>a<a>p</a>p<a>y</a> <a>H</a>o<a>l</a>i<a>d</a>a<a>y</a>s</b>

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:

<b><a>M</a>e<a>r</a>r<a>y</a> <a>C</a>h<a>r</a>i<a>s</a>t<a>m</a>a<a>s</a> a<a>n</a>d <a>H</a>a<a>p</a>p<a>y</a> <a>N</a>e<a>w</a> <a>Y</a>e<a>a</a>r<a>!</a>!<a>!</a></b>

Cake with candles and Happy Birthday Greeting:
Tip: Replace the YOU in the Greeting with the birthday celebrant's name.

<b><a>H</a>a<a>p</a>p<a>y</a> <a>B</a>i<a>r</a>t<a>h</a>d<a>a</a>y, YOU<a>!</a>!<a>!</a></b>


Cake with candles:


Cake (no candles)


Wine/Champagne glass (classic, festive, sparkling)
Tip: The classic is the simplest and easiest to use in comments.




Wine/Champagne bottle
Tip: These are risky, because a lot of the time, they appear crooked or weirdly shaped due to the blog's template or layout. Preview before publishing. Or just stick with the wine glass above.


..<b><a>*o* </b></a>


Rose or flower in vase.



Roses or Flowers in a vase


Easter Bunny and eggs
Tip: Replace the YOU in the Greeting with the name on of the person you're greeting.

 <b><a>H</a>a<a>p</a>p<a>y</a> <a>E</a>a<a>s</a><a>t</a><a>e</a><a>r</a>, YOU<a>!</a>!<a>!</a></b>

 () ()


Have fun copying and pasting and using these fun graphics in the comments. Let me know how they work out for you!!!

No need to read past this point. The update above summarizes and simplifies creating fun graphics in blog comments. Also works for a lot of Wordpress blog comments. Have fun!

Original post published 1/14/2010 12:50 PM follows (for archival purposes):

Sometimes, it's fun to use characters and letters and numbers to leave graphics in comment boxes. I thought I'd share some of these graphics and show how to make them.

First, we have to remember html tags and how to use them in comments. I've all ready posted about using tags to bold, italicize, or link words in comment boxes, explained at this post here.

Now let's look at another tag. This one, I discovered by accident. I found that if you use this tag,

it turns whatever character or word(s) inside them blue.

1. Type <
2. Type a
3. Type >
4. Then type words or letters or characters you want to look blue.
5. Type <
6. Type /
7. Type a
8. Type >

Here are a few fun graphics that I had fun making and would like to share. Now it may seem a little complicated, but don't be afraid. I can tell you it gets a whole lot easier once you make it to the end of the post. I'm not a computer whiz but if I can do it, so can you!

(Note: If the pics of what you're supposed to type are too small to read, just right click on it and open in new tab/window to see a bigger size)

Also take note that these graphics will have some blue color when used in the comments box. They aren't blue now because of the way this blog post is formatted. In fact, I'm going to post a few examples in the comment box so you'll see what they're supposed to look like.

Let's get started with my fave for the holidays:

Xmas Tree

To get this:


Type this for

1. Type each line without using any spaces in between the characters.
2. Use the preview button to see how the graphic looks.
3. Make edits as necessary; sometimes, it might mean adding or taking away a dash or a period along the line to get the correct alignment, so the graphic looks right. In fact, I've had to add and remove dashes and periods to make these graphics display correctly in the post.

How about some Gifts to go with the tree?


Type this for

How about some drinks to celebrate?

Some wine perhaps?


Type this for

How about a bottle of champagne?


Type this for

You can even take your graphics up a notch, with just a little bit more work. You can combine graphics, and the easiest way to do this is putting one graphic over the over:

There are two easy steps to combining graphics.

Step 1. Type out the first graphic, then press ENTER twice to make sure you have a line space before the next graphic.

How about a birthday cake?


Type this for

Step 2. Add the second graphic underneath the first one. Make sure there's a line space between the first and the second graphic.

For example gifts usually go with birthday cakes.

Type this for

And the end result should look like this:



Now, if you look closely at the graphics for cake, you'll see that there is a period instead of a ~ in the last line. Remember the third recommendation above, where I said, sometimes, you have to make adjustments by adding or removing a period or dash? Well, I took out the ~ and added the period so that the graphics look better and not too crooked.

The second way to combine graphics requires a little more work (and patience). Say you want to combine graphics side by side, instead of one over the other. Well, you can do this, but you really have to pay attention to where you place your lines and you might have to use a lot of periods and dashes to make your adjustments.

For example, after all your hard work, how about celebrating and unwinding with a bottle of wine and some wine glasses with friends?

Step 1: Type out the first graphic.

Step 2: Look at your second graphic, and count the lines from the bottom.

For example, there are two lines in the wine glasses graphic:

Step 3: This requires a little more work, but it's very important. You have to make sure that the lines of the second graphic match the lines of the first.

For example, since there are only two lines in the wine glasses, those lines should match up to the last two lines of the wine bottle.

Now, make sure that the lines of the second graphic are flushed (lined up correctly) with the first graphic. The easiest way to to do this is to look at the last two lines of the first graphic. Notice how the wine bottle's last two lines are the same? That makes it a whole lot easier.

Just type of the last line of the second graphic (wine glasses) next to the last line of the first (bottle). Then match the next above line of the wine glasses to the matching bottle line.
It should look like this:

(Right click and open in new tab/window to get a bigger view)

To get this:


You can even add a period or more to provide some separation between the wine bottle and the wine glasses. But make sure that if you add a period to the last line, then you must also add periods to the line above to match.

For example,

And you'll see this:


As you can see, I've added three periods between the lines of the first graphic (wine bottle) and the second graphic (wine glasses).

As you may have noticed, some of these graphics require a lot of typing!!! But don't despair. I've got a little gift for you. I've uploaded a small text file (about 2.7kb) here . Just click and download for free. It's in a notepad (text) format, so you can just copy and paste whatever graphics you want to use in your comments. For some reason, the previous uploads were deleted, so I've now updated the link. If the link isn't working, then please feel free to let me know in the comments so I can fix it. Thank you.

Remember to be patient and have fun! Go ahead and practice some of these graphics in the comments section if you like. You can type out the easy ones, like wine glasses, or just download the link above and copy and paste.

Here's a helpful hint: If you want to type just one wine glass, just type the first half of the first line, and ignore the periods and everything else on that first line. Now press ENTER and type the first half of the second line, and ignore the periods and everything else on the second line.

Use Preview in the comments section to see if your wine glass showed up. Then Publish it if you like it.

I've been working on this post for a few weeks now, trying to keep it simple and easy to understand. Hopefully, I've done that. If not, feel free to let me know what I can do to help you out. I'm adding this to the sidebar.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

When cougars attack!

Recently, there has been an increase in a number of cougar attacks. Thankfully, the victims survived. But it's a frightening reminder of just how dangerous and frequent cougar attacks are becoming. The old barriers that've kept the cougars away are gone with the changing times and the changing environment. Cougar attacks are becoming all too common.

The cougar often stalks and attacks the young.

Dude! Where's my carseat?

The few who survive the attack are often scarred and traumatized from the experience.

Help me, Jesus!!! Me ajude por favor!!!

Yet, there is no consensus on how to deal with cougar attacks. Some dangerous cougars have been shot and killed. But we cannot just eliminate a creature that is acting out of instinct and natural impulse.

The cougar has a role in the ecosystem, but its usual hunting grounds have been reduced, and the number of its usual prey has been shrinking. So it's only natural that it adapts and stalks newer prey species that encroach into its territory.

Yeah! I knew I'd get one at a children's tv award show!!!

Still, we cannot let cougars keep attacking unsuspecting victims. A balance must be restored to the natural order. Something must be done to ensure that the cougars have their own space and their own resources to continue living their lives and to eliminate their attacks. It will take a lot of give and take on our part, but it's necessary to ensure the survival of the species and the safety and well being of the community.

The latest cougar attacks occurred around Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Hopefully, a solution can be found to deal with the cougar attacks effectively and soon. We certainly do not want an unfortunate cougar incident at the Winter Olympics next month.

I've fallen! And I can't get up!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A New Year

Well, it's the new year and I'm looking forward to it. I've always liked this time of year. It's like we get to start over. Hopefully, I've become wiser, having learned from last year's mistakes and memorable moments. I've never been one to set New Year's resolutions. In fact, I had no clue what a New Year's resolution was til my first New Year after leaving my small town to live on my own in the big city far, far away. And while I don't usually have any New Year's resolutions, I do like to think that I have some goals, or at least some thoughts on the things I'd like to do.

Of course, as always, I'd like to do some traveling. What can I say? I like wandering around and exploring new places and meeting new faces. It's fun to visit some fantastic foreign land and experience the culture and landscape. Maybe I'll go see some majestic National Parks. I like do luv nature!

I visited Yellowstone a few years ago, and it was amazing! I only stayed for a day, but I wish I could've stayed for a whole month!

I saw wolves, bears, deer, elks, moose, and even fish and eagles. There were animals everywhere! And some even stopped traffic by just standing in the middle of the road, like some elk did.

But I never got to see any buffaloes. Which was kind of strange considering how everyone who's been to Yellowstone before told me that I'd definitely see some buffaloes. But maybe the buffaloes sought shelter as we encountered some light hail during the drive in Yellowstone. It was the size of M&Ms dropping from the sky for about 20 minutes. Pretty cool.

We got to see hot springs, geysers, and so many other colorful, exotic natural phenomena. We even got to see the famous geyser, Old Faithful. There was a large printed announcement that stated that Old Faithful would erupt at 4:20 pm. And guess what? They were right! At 4:20 pm, Old Faithful started bubbling up water and steam for a few seconds. Then it started shooting up water high in the air! The crowd cheered and clapped and took fotos. It was a pretty awesome sight!

I would definitely like to go see more National Parks, maybe take more time to visit Yellowstone again. Or just book a trip to some other beautiful country.

But I'm also practical, so I need to be a little smarter with money these days. That means I'm going to start taking lunch to work more often. I often waste a lot of money buying blah tasting food during lunch. All the best eateries are either too far or take too long to prepare what I'd like for lunch. So, it's time to fire up the slow cooker again and start making meals to take to work. I usually like what I make anyways...I'm just too lazy to make it. And I can probably put the money that I save towards a better use.

But I think the most important goal I have for this year is the one that I try to achieve every year for a long time now. I want to live each day fully, as if it were my last. If I've learned anything important in the last year, it's this: Life's too short. Enjoy it while you can. I suppose that's why I like this time of year so much. Because it's like a new beginning, a second chance to do what makes you happy.