Blog Advertising

Every so often, I get a request seeing if I’d like to put an advertisement on my website. It’s tempting sometimes, one little harmless ad to help offset the cost of hosting my site (it’s something like $100/year for everything). But I don’t, and you will never see any advertisements on my blog (save the Amazon affiliate linking and things of that nature that are unobtrusive). This site is first and foremost my blog. Its existence is to serve as a repository for the random bits of life I choose to store here. It is not a commercial venture.

Jeff Atwood had a great post on Blog Advertising a couple months ago and I want to reiterate one of his points:


Realize that advertising changes the nature of your blog. The first ads you take convert your blog from a non-profit to a commercial venture. It’s no longer a hobby; you’re being paid to blog. It’s work. And unless you’re only accepting only random ads, there are also new avenues for conflicts of interest.

This goes back to my point about this not being a commercial venture, but rather a place for the random bits of my life. The random bits of my life do not have any sort of advertisements as part of them.

Red October Repairs: Conclusion

When I left off, I had an appointment to get Red October serviced at Merrill Axle & Wheel.

Mom happened to be in town, so she was able to come with me to play chauffeur. This made things easier and cheap.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be the only cheap thing about my alignment.

When I initially took my car in to Mobile Mechanics, I was holding my breath for the dreaded news. Something along the lines of “you’re entire left wheel is SOL and needs to be replaced.” When he said I just needed a simple alignment, I was pretty happy; however, I still kept some of my reservations.

So off to Merrill Axle & Wheel. I have an appointment first thing Thursday morning. About at hour later, I get a call. To soon to be done, this can’t be good. They’re going to need to replace the steering knuckle, strut and mount assembly. Total damage: a bit over $900. Egad!

However, I can’t say enough good things about Merrill Axle & Wheel. The mechanic talked me through the entire thing and walked me though all my options. He was very informative and at no point did I think he was pulling the wool over my eyes. The mechanic at Mobile Mechanics recommended them to me and I cross checked that with Car Talk, so you know they’re good.

P.S. Funny story about why I finally got around to posting this. Someone called me up and said, “You’re going to think this is weird, but I found your blog….” Long story short, she was looking for a recommendation on a place to get her wheels aligned. You can probably guess where I sent her.

Naked Conversations: A Case Study of the American Red Cross, Kinda

Okay, this really isn’t a case study. But I felt a somewhat witty title was needed. However, in many ways I think this would be a great case study for Naked Conversations.

This story is a little bit different though. Instead of the business reaching out through the blogosphere and starting the conversation with the consumer, I (as the consumer) reached out and started the conversation with the business. The effect is still the same (I believe at least), as the corporation (who the average consumer probably perceives as a monolithic entity) was able to have a frank and unhindered conversation with me, the consumer. There was no corporate babel, there was no legalese. It was, in essence, a naked conversation. Pure and simple. And that is what makes this so great. I egress to the story though:

As you know, I took an American Red Cross class on Saturday that I felt was less then satisfactory. I just got off the phone with one of the directors for the Mile High (Denver) chapter of the American Red Cross. I talked to him about how I felt about the class, what I expected from the class, and compared it to my training from NOLS.

At the end, he asked if I had filled out one of the survey sheets. I was a little surprised by this question as I thought that he was calling me specially because of the survey sheet. I said yes and asked if that’s why he was calling (in retrospect, this is a rather illogical question; further compounded by the issue that survey was anonymous, how could he contact me?). No, someone there had found my blog post and brought it to his attention. My phone number is right there on the front page, so it’s easy to contact me (which is the point).

I wrote about my thoughts on the class last night at 10:30 pm and now I was actually talking to real person who was trying to help me out. That is why this is so awesome. The American Red Cross cares about me as a person and they’re willing to go the extra kilometer make sure that I’m happy.

He offered to schedule me for another class. I declined. Partly because it would have been near impossible to schedule*, mostly because I had received the CPR training (which is what I really wanted, even though I also received AED and First Aid), but also because I did not believe going through the course again would give me any additional knowledge.

In the long term, this gives the American Red Cross HUGE points. I can’t tell you highly I think of them now. I’d even venture to say that because of his call, I am now significantly more likely to take another class from the American Red Cross then I was before.

And all it took was a seven minute phone call.

*: A week and a half of school left, plus another week of finals, and them I on my way back to Seattle.

[tags]Red Cross, American Red Cross, Mile High Chapter, Denver, CPR, AED, NOLS, First Aid, Naked Conversations[/tags]

I have a smart cat.

I have a smart cat.

Update: Dunstan mysteriously escaped. When I got home at midnight-ish, I heard this noise in the bush. I thought it was mouse or something. When I got to my door, I turned around and Dunstan was walking towards me. Like I said, smart cat. He knew where he lived and good spot to hide out and wait for me to come home.

Red Light Photos

The concert at EDay’s provided some great lighting (I’ve been reading Strobist lately, a blog about off camera flash lighting), but I had some issues when the red lights came on.


The red light tended to really wash out the image, almost light a bright white light. I did some research and I guess that the CCD sensor is particularly sensitive to red light. There is supposed to be a “built-in, low-pass, long-wavelength cutoff filter in front of the sensor” (Source), but it doesn’t appear to work very well. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just something interesting I’m noting.

Red Cross Certified

In addition to having my Wilderness Outdoor First Aid Certification, I am now certified by the American Red Cross in First Aid and Adult CPR/AED.

However, I have to say I found the class less then satisfying and even borderline unprofessional. Our instructor brought all three of her kids to the 7 hours long class. She introduced herself as a former EMT, which I thought would be excited but it wasn’t. She anecdoted the entire class with her own personal stories of trauma that were unnecessary and took away from the learning experience. She mostly read out of the book (which I could have done myself) and played the videos. I think most of the class time was spent watching videos. Most of the clips were designed to be interactive, but they weren’t. Instead we just watched and then performed exercises half as many times. We also completely skipped the AED exercise (which I was looking very forward to) because our instructor didn’t want to have to deal with the machines that occasionally malfunctioned…whatever that means.

There was one thing I learned that I have never know before: when performing CPR, you will/should break the ribcage on the first compression. If you don’t, you’re probably doing it wrong. This makes sense if one thinks about it, seeing as the ribcage is designed to protect the heart.

In case you were wondering, the ratio is now 30:2 for all ages. Use two hands for adults, one hand for children, and two fingers for infants.

Also, please note that while this particular class completely sucked, I have no way to way to know if all Red Cross classes suck. I doubt they do, and will chalk this one up to a lousy instructor.

In any event, at this time I recommend taking the above mentioned NOLS Wilderness Outdoor First Aid course and then a CPR course (since WOFA doesn’t cover CPR…probably because doing CPR for over an hour would completely suck).

[tags]Red Cross, American Red Cross, CPR, AED, NOLS, WOFA, Wilderness Outdoor First Aid[/tags]

Update: Removed image at request of the ARC. See here for update.

Exams Results

Thursday concluded the final round of exams before finals. Here are the grades I know thusly:

  • Mechanics of Materials: 73
  • Thermodynamics: 102/150 (68%)
  • Circuits: 81

I have yet to hear back from Differential Equations and Probabilities & Statistics. These latest scores do give me a much needed confidence boost going into finals.

More Days Off Next Year

This comes as welcome news for everyone at Mines, I’m sure. Starting next school year, we will receive an extra three days of break spread throughout the year; all without pushing back the end of school.

How? As I understand it, we’re only required to be in class xxx amounts of days a year. As it currently stands, we’re above that number, so we can take the extra days off without any ill effects.

So, what days do we get off?

  • A Tuesday has been added to extend Fall Break. Fall Break will now encompass Saturday through Tuesday, Oct. 13-16, with classes resuming on Wednesday.
  • The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, has been designated a non-class day. Thanksgiving Break is Nov. 22-25.
  • The Monday in February that aligns with Presidents’ Day, Feb. 18, is also now a non-class day.

Source: Campus email

Three Weeks Left

Two weeks left of regular classes. Three weeks if you count finals. I have 7 exams (including 5 finals) in the next three weeks, two of which are tomorrow. To say that I’m a little stressy would be an understatement.