Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fort Wayne children's zoo

One of the local attractions around here is the Fort Wayne Zoo. they have a website HERE. I was also able to waymark it HERE. It is a nice zoo especially when you figure how small a market Fort Wayne. I hope this does not sound like i am knocking Fort Wayne but it is not big market area. That is neither a good thing or a bad thing since they are good and bad things about big and small market areas. I enjoy living in a small town because of safety and friendliness considerations. I do like the bigger city attractions. The Fort Wayne Zoo at least for me is a nice venue. It is cheaply priced at $13 for adults so that is another plus.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Painted Hydrant

My wife and I waymarked this hydrant under the painted hydrants categories a while ago and I thought I would go back and check on it. I was happily pleased to see it was still painted the same. The waymark for it is HERE.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fort Wayne Highland Games

I am a bit slow about reporting back. My wife and I went to the Highland Games in Fort Wayne last Saturday and enjoyed ourselves. We had to cross the pedestrian bridge pictured above which was a neat experience. We also go to hear the Mimi burns Band rock out to some Celtic Rock. Great Band adn thier website is HERE. We are looking forward to hearing them again soon near Kendallville. I also got myself an utlikilt from a vendor at the games. Their website is HERE. It did not take me long to realize why they are popular with some. with the warmer weather, they are awfully comfortable. I think we will try to go back next year.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

DeKalb county Visitor's Bureau

Part of my attempts to have fun and do it on the cheap is to make use of the local visitors centers in the local area. One of them is for DeKalb, the county I live in. they have a website HERE. I noticed they have a passport system for the museums to get discounts on the local museums. I think I am going to check that out and use it on the ones I would like to go to anyway. As I do, I am hoping to have more posts to blog about here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Local Sports and Media

One of the new programs that has to 1440 AM/ 95.5 FM with their extended air time is a sports talk show on Thursday Night from 8-9 PM. My apologies to the host Fred for forgetting his last name. Regardless of my shortfalls in memory, I tried the show out for the first time last night because he was going to interview Bob Chase who does the radio broadcasts for the Komets on WOWO 1190 radio. It should be no surprise why I turned in since I love hockey, the Komets and think Bob Chase does a fabulous job on doing the play by play. I was really pleasantly surprised that not only did I enjoy the topic for the night but enjoyed the show itself and its format. It was very much from a local fan prespective and I found it enjoyable. I enjoy hockey but I am not that much of an overall sports fan but this sports show is going to get a bit more attention from me.
Blake Sebring was also on and he is one of the local Fort Wayne reporters who has done three books on Komet Hockey related topics. I had two of them previous to the show last night and I got to be doubly lucky by them giving away copies of the one book of his I did not have on the Komets and I was lucky enough to win one. Talk about icing on the cake for my first time listening to the show.
Both bob Chase and Blake Sebring gave some really interesting information on the history of the Komets and where they are now.. I am by no means a super uber fan but I like to be informed about it and these two guys are worth the listen. One thing that shocked me but did not surprise me really was that the IHL was looking to do some cooperation with another league. Running a minor league is hard in good times and with the economy being soft it makes the challenges a bit harder. several teams in the IHL were really struggling both on the ice and on the business end and at least two of the teams are gone now. That is a shame since I think the IHL is a good sports product for a good price. It is not like I totally dislike the NHL but I do think they expanded too far and have been priced out of hand of a lot of people.
Enough of the soap box, I will be enjoying the show, the hockey and the new book I got. I am still going to be a fan regardless of the changes coming down the pike.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It is June

I can tell that it is June. That is when I start waiting for the weather to get dryer so the lawn does not grow as fast. I can not complain too much because I never really got behind on mowing due to the rain this season but today it was getting close. I should have cut it Thursday but wanted to chance it on making it til today today. It is threateneing rain today and the mower (which is getting older) is getting cranky like its owner. Guess I am also going to have to start cutting as early as my neighbours will bear me cutting. I do not like being rude about it but I also like getting it done early so I can beat the heat of the day. Fortunately I have never had a complaint so I guess and hope that means no worries on that front. We have some great neighbors around here and I would like to keep it that way. A little consideration goes a long way in getting along with people.

I think I hear the pool calling my name. I am so glad we HAVE a pool.I do not always enjoy the expense or maintenaince of it but it is sure nice when it is hot and to have people over for BBQ adn pool party.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Fort Wayne Scottish Society

There is a Scottish Society in Fort Wayne and they are having a Highland Games today. As a result, their website (HERE) is this week's webness. I hope to get down and come back with some photos for the blog.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University

I would like to start with a disclaimer on this review. My aim at this review is to be as accurate as possible but it will have the flavoring of my impressions. This is neither good nor bad just just admitting that I might not get all things right nor put it right. I do suggest you check this course out to help with your own finances as well as making up your own mind about it. Now, onto the review.
The course itself is a 13 week course (one financial quarter). It is 13 classes on DVD doe by Mr Ramsey with group discussion afterward. You also get a book, a work book, audio cds of the lessons that were on DVD and the envelope system that is taught in the class. All of these parts work together to get the essentials of the course learned. It is well packaged to get the ground covered and get it done well.However there are some drawbacks. It does help and does work but it definitely not a one size fits all and I do not think it would be possible to do that without one on one counselling. The small group discussion does not cover a lot of this but it still a case of fitting the principals that do work fit to your particular situation. The other thing you must keep in mind is that your finances will not be fixed when you get out of the class but the foundation for that will be. I am not saying that to be negative or put the course down but the reality that to get your finances truly better it is going to be slow and take time. Mr Ramsey even states that this is a crock pot solution so if you are going to look for microwave results, forget it.
The one tool that probably has helped the most from the course is the envelope system. It has really helped us get onto a cash only/ on a budget basis. The biggest challenge was weaning off the credit cards to buy things when we wanted to getting things and going out to eat only when we had the cash on hand. At least for us, that took about 2 to 3 months to get onto that system. It was hard as heck just to get 2 twenty dollar bills just to prime us into using the envelopes. With each paycheck, it got easier and easier to put and keep money in it., There was some going forward and giving up on how easy it was bu tin general it became easier and easier. Now it seams like they are having babies all the time and leaving at least something in there. We are not out of the financial woods yet but we are at least on the path.
One big disagreement I have with Mr Ramsey's point of view is on credit cards. He has the point of view where you need to get rid of them all but ATM and debit cards are ok. I am pretty much ok with the spirit of this but not totally. I come from a point of view that all three of these are dangerous tools and I need to be a good craftsman with these and use them wisely. Credit cards should be used sparingly and only if you have the money to transfer to pay it right now. Treat the credit card like a debit card or ATM card and that the money comes out right now and you are on a better footing. All three of these can be abused if you are not tracking your finances. It is better to use cash from your envelopes and only spend the money you set aside in the envelope with that purchase in mind. Find the right tools to manage the money and you have most of your problems taken care of. It is about discipline and having a plan. The tools can only help or hinder as they fit or do not fit into that plan.
There is a lot to this course and I do not think I have enough room for it in one blog post. If I were to sum up the most important things I learned from the course is to have a written plan/ budget, get out of debt, and work and talk to you spouse so you are in agreement on this. One more nice thing about paying cash and using the envelopes is that money fights can be eliminated to a degree by using the envelope to decide on purchases. If one of you wants something, it is not so much up to th espouse to agree (although that still is important) but you look at the envelope with the money for that item and see if there is money for it. If there is not, then you either have to wait to get it until there is or agree to short another category to get it. Instant feeding back and decision making. It takes it out of the realm of personalities and into the realm of can we afford it and how. It has given my wife and I a framework hon how to deal with money better.

In the end, I might not think Mr Ramsey is always right, but the framework and principals he teaches out works. Check the course out. There is far too much I have left out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Exploring Your Own Backyard.

I have been on the them of exploring your own back yard to one degree or another for a while in this blog. Thanks to cutting back on our budget and wanting to find out more about the area, I will be turning this up a bit both as an activity and a subject on this blog. So be expecting the weekly webness and other posts to be reflecting this. The blog will not be only on this but it will be a goodly portion. It should be interesting. It will have a focus on North East Indiana but it will not be limited to that. I hope you like what I will find.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Freak the Norm Factor

I went out benchmark hunting today. I wound up finding neither of the ones I was looking for. The basic problems were the facts that I had no good place to park and both locations had a freak the norm factor to it. I define the freak the norm factor as any hobby or activity that is both harmless and out of the norm enough and yet public enough to make those unaware of the hobby to get suspicious about what you are doing. Geocaching, benchmark hunting and waymarking can count at this. Whether it is a a person using a gps to find something or the fact that you are finding a hidden container and then replacing it can be unnerving to those who are not familiar. It is sad that this is a part of life. These hobbies are really cool (at least to those involved.) but to those outside, it can also be scary.
It reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode called "the monsters on Elm Street". (I hope I have the title right.) Some weirdness happens on Elm street and all the tech starts shutting down. The inhabitants get isolated and they start blaming each other for the problems based on each other out of the norm behavior whether they are an insomniac or a ham radio operator. It ends with the street doing a melt down and shows that aliens have set this up to have the inhabitant kill themselves off for the aliens. It is funny how this 40 year old episode is just as timely now as it was then. That is one reason I think the show has had such a large following even now. It poked at ideas that we are still dealing with.
I think it is sad that with this post 9/11 world, we are still having this paranoia. I am not saying that this is unique to here and now since the McCarthy hearings had the same issues with the communists. There are threats in this world but when we start mindlessly demonizing things, then we can get into trouble.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Skip Douglas Tree

My wife an I had to drop off some books at the Dupont Library in Fort Wayne. Sticking to my habit of taking notice and carrying gps and camera along, i came across this tree. It is a Royal Star magnolia dedicate the memory of Skip Douglas. The waymark for it is HERE. It may not be the biggest or greatest adventure or discovery but it is the stuff I find while living my life.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stain Glass at the Courthouse

Thanks to waymarking, I have a tendency of looking around me a lot closer and carrying a gps and a digital camera with me. As i said in a previous post, i needed to go to the Dekalb County courthouse. (Waymark) I did both notice and take pictures and waymark the stain glass in the courthouse. They really do not make stain glass or old buildings like this anymore. Just my nevedr to be humble opinion.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Latitude 47

This week's website is I found out about from It is the blog for It is HERE. The waymark is HERE. I have been with caching and waymarking for a while and did not know about it. Once again, I see I still need to learn and never know everything.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I have taken to walking around the neighborhood a lot more lately. I do it to get the exercise as well as i enjoy doing it. Every so often, I see something that catches my eye. This monument was one of those things that caught my eye. It also , not surprisingly also became a waymark. (HERE) It is out in front of an old gas station that has been pressed into other use and I can not help to wonder what the story behind this is. Maybe some day I will get the ambition and courage to do some asking around. When I do, I will bring it back here.

DNR Benchmark and Waymark

I was out doing errands and I needed to go to the DeKalb County Courthouse to file some paperwork. (What is the modern life without paperwork?) I was on my way out of the courthouse while I was looking for the time capsule monument I knew that was there (HERE), I notice a bare spot in the grass. It was not your normal bare spot in the sod but an actual benchmark. Since I had my digital camera and my gps with me, (yes I am a nerd or geek), I was able to get the information necessary for doing the waymark. The waymark is HERE. the things you find when you are out looking for something else.