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Philip Oscar Dendron

The first thing that went through my mind when I started my new job at Indiana Tech in 2007 was “this office needs a plant”. Dusty, grey, lifeless cubicle walls don’t exactly inspire creative thinking. Research shows that some plants can actually measurably improve indoor air quality. So I asked Google for recommendations. The plant needs to be very easy to care for, it needs to be able to survive with minimal attention from me, and not much ambient light available.

Given these limitations, my choice was clear: I need a philodendron.

I came home with the perfect specimen from my next trip to Meijer – the plant was on sale for $7.99, because it had obviously been neglected. Three strands of about 4 feet length each, wrapped around a wooden stick in the middle of a plastic pot. The dirt in the pot was dried out, some of the leaves where yellow. Phil didn’t look like he was going to make it.

Look at him now, though! The plant has surely broken several records. At least what I read from this website Plantopedia, about the Philodendron Houseplant Phil is already three times as long as is to be expected. Probably because I string him up high along the ceiling tiles, so he can grow all he wants.


15:49 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


Thanksgiving Sweepstakes – a social Experiment

ThanksgivingSweepstakes.jpgReaching the milestone of 50 sales in my Etsy shop was reason to celebrate, and give thanks to my audience. So I created a “Thanksgiving Sweepstakes” post on my ExxoPok Facebook page and ran an ad for it. My $30 marketing budget would be spread out over 27 days, until November 30th.

Instructions were simple: just comment on the post, telling me how you currently carry your cell phone.

The results are now in. Facebook congratulated me with a five star rating for exceptional relevance of my campaign – and told me to run another one now.

My boosted post received a total of 591 views, 45 organic, and 546 paid.
There were 55 clicks on the photo recorded.
I got 36 “likes”  for my post, and I gained 2 new followers for my page.

The big surprise for me, though, was that only 4 people actually read and followed my instructions on what to do to win that free ExxoPok – by telling me how they currently carry their phone!

So I decided that all four participants deserved a prize. I messaged them all, telling them that they are winners, and would they please let me know what kind of phone they have, what color of leather they would like, and tell me their address so I can send them their free ExxoPok.

One person responded immediately. With all the information I had asked for, thanking me for my generosity. The second person answered a few hours later, saying what a great idea my ExxoPok was, but giving absolutely no answers to my questions. It took four more messages to find out what phone to make the pouch for, what color leather, and where to mail the finished product. My third winner replied late in the evening, picking a color for the leather, specifying a phone model that doesn’t seem to exist, and giving no address. I haven’t given up on that one yet, still messaging. The fourth person hasn’t responded yet.

In the meantime a new order came in from my Etsy shop, somebody wants an orange left side ExxoPok for his Moto Z2 Play.  I’ll be busy on the weekend, making at least three phone pouches. Life is good.

06:49 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


Labor Day


This year, for the first time in decades, Indiana Tech gave us Labor Day off! This was the perfect opportunity to load up the van with beach gear and dog, and head to Portage where we stayed at a hotel for two nights. Yesterday we shopped the Lighthouse Place outlet mall in Michigan City, today we relaxed at Central Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The wet and rather cold June had prevented people from using the beach, so nature had had a chance to clean up. The lake was crystal clear, we had the beach mostly to ourselves. Armani went in the water a lot more than he did in previous years. We even let him off the leash for a bit to wander about on his own.

11:17 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


Netbook Revival

In September 2009 I bought this cute little Samsung N140 10" netbook to facilitate my academic endeavors. It featured Windows XP and a German keyboard. Last year, when Microsoft stopped supporting XP, I reluctantly put the poor little thing away, only using it once in a while, for fear of virus attacks.

Even though I now have a Surface Pro 2, and like that a lot, I still felt there was more life left in the netbook. So I bought a 2GB memory chip for $22, and a full version of Windows 7 Professional 32-bit edition for $73, on eBay. I spent the weekend refurbishing my old friend.

After 189 updates, installation of MS Office 2010, Visio 2010, AVG, Zonealarm, Superantispyware, Malwarebytes, Skype, VoipConnect, a VPN client, my favorite Skat game, three Auslogics utilities, the Live Movie Maker, Audacity, C-Cleaner, VLC Player, Firefox, Chrome.... and another round of 72 updates..... my little old netbook is good to go for at least six more years.


07:03 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)


Beer and Wine at the State Fair?


This is the first year that they are serving beer and wine at the Indiana State Fair. Before you get all excited and jump up and down about it, though, let me tell you how it works.

To get into the "adult" exhibition hall you have to make it past the guard. She will strictly enforce this "State Law" that supposedly says you can't bring any liquids inside. Not even water. Nobody under 21 years of age is allowed to enter, of course. They check your ID and put a red plastic bracelet with three tabs, numbered 1, 2, 3, on your wrist. That is to make sure you don't go on a binge.

Once inside the holy grail you may pay $5 to consume up to three samples of Indiana made beer or wine, served in little plastic cups, for a total of about 9oz. of slightly alcoholic beverage.

Seriously? No, thank you. It's funny, though.

16:18 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)

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