Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Check Your Spam Folder

E-mail has become as common as picking up the phone to dial (or push buttons.) But whenever something is in widespread use, there are always culprits trying to mess with a good thing. First the telephone was invented, then you started getting obscene and prank phone calls. Eventually Caller ID was born to help avoid answering an unidentifiable call.

The same holds true for e-mail. People around the globe feel it necessary to send you alerts about some two cent stock that will hit the charts the next day, or inform you how cheap you can buy prescription drugs online. Or worse to spread computer viruses through various means via e-mail. To combat that problem, many e-mail providers have developed this lovely little folder called "Spam" - the name given to undesirable or unsolicited e-mail sent in bulk. There was even legislation passed - the CAN-SPAM Act - to control the actions of guilty parties. So, everyone raise their hands in praise, no more Spam!

Yeah, right.

Solving this problem seemed easy, right? Just set up some rules and allow all the spammy mail to land in a designated "Spam" or "Junk" folder. Wrong. Oh yeah, it captures a good number of these nastygrams, but many a good e-mail gets sucked up in these folders. I've had some recent issues with my BellSouth e-mail (I have 4 e-mail addresses to manage all my communication) Evidently BellSouth has had some culprits issuing spam from their domain name, causing all bellsouth.net e-mails to get blacklisted from some e-mail servers. If I've had this conversation once, I've had it five times in the last week:

Me: "Did you get my e-mail?"
Them: "No"
Me: "Did you check your spam or junk folder?"
Them: "No"
Me: "Well, do that because it's probably there."

For all you non-techhies out there that just empty those folders without a quick scan, here's some food for thought. Let's say you were getting a lot of visitors at your home that were a little sketchy. To avoid having to open the door everytime someone arrived, you rigged a robot to stand at your door and determine who is legit and who isn't. Chances are some of your best friends might get turned away. Robot failed.

Well, that's the methodology behind Spam and Junk folders. They are trying to determine automatically and technologically, what is and isn't spam. Chances are those directions to this weekend's party got sucked away into SpamLand simply because it was sent to multiple addresses. The moral of the story? Check your spam folder...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


More than 8 million copies of the final installment of the J K Rowling series on Harry Potter were sold on July 21 in a 24-hour period. I have yet to read any of the Potter series (insert your gasps here), but plan to eventually. I'm overjoyed that this little guy, created in the mind of his author, has spawned a renewed love of reading. Midnight showings of Stars Wars epics or Tolkien trilogies at the movie theater would always draw a crowd, but now, even a nearly 800-page book brings out the night owls.

In a recent interview with Rowling, she stated that the week after she finished the series, she was quite depressed. Her character, Harry, had saved her from a life of doom as a single Mom, and now her 17-year journey had ended. Endings are sad for me. I know before I even begin this series, I'll lament having to see it come to an end. I'm known for my slowness of finishing books, and I think it's some inward feeling of seeing something good come to an end. After much analyzation, I realize that I do that in a lot of areas of my life, not just books.

This past weekend I finished watching Alias - Season 3. Though Alias officially ended its run at the end of the 2006 television season, I am just beginning to enjoy the complexities of this show through the beauty of DVD. As much as I want to start Season 4 immediately, there is this part of me that wants to wait, to savor, the ending of this season, knowing that it's all over in about 44 more episodes. When I finished Season 2 last Fall, it was such a great experience, that I let that one simmer for almost a year. Seeing something great end brings a bit of sadness with it for me.

All things come to an end. Except for one thing...our souls. We will live eternally..somewhere. As a child when I began to think about "How long is eternity?" I remember sitting over my PB&J at lunch one day and not being able to grasp that concept. I got up from the table with my sandwich half eaten and wandered off to my room to think. Everything ended, but eternity doesn't...how does that compute, Dr. Smith?*

I take such comfort in knowing that as a Christian, my life in eternity will be a marvelous thing with no ending. No more will I dread something glorious coming to an end...something more glorious than a Harry Potter book, or a season of Alias.

"And this is what he promised us--even eternal life." - 1 John 2:25

What an encouraging promise. Life without end. Now that's an "ending" unlike any other.

*reference from Lost in Space, a question asked of Dr. Zachary Smith many times

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hometown Cuisine

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Katrina, posted a tagged meme about her five favorite local restaurants. Although she didn't tag me, I found the topic intriging and decided to blog about it myself. Louisville, Kentucky, is my hometown and unlike some folks who can't wait to leave their hometown, I love it. Oh, I would be open to moving wherever God may take me, but Louisville will always be my home. It's a unique town - not too southern, not too northern - just right. And, our food selections here are quite diverse given our somewhat non-metro feel. I'm including restaurants that I frequent, since there are oodles of higher level local restaurants that I visit periodically that I love. Let's just say, we eat out a lot in Louisville. Without further ado...here we go...

1. Kayrouz Cafe - The Kayrouz family has operated restaurants since the 1920s here in Louisville. For as long as I can remember, my Mom and her friends would go to the St. Matthews restaurant for lunch and have Benedictine sandwiches. Then, many times, my family would go there for Sunday brunch after church. It was nothing spectacular in it's decor, but the food was wonderful. The restaurant closed in 2003 and we were left with no Kayrouz touch on the local food scene. Then in 2006, the Kayrouz Cafe was born. The son of a Kayrouz opened this cafe, also in St. Matthews, and it's by far one of my favorite places for a good light meal and great conversation. The outdoor seating is glorious when the weather permits. It doesn't hurt that there is a Graeter's Ice Cream shop across the street.

2. WW Cousins - This is a local burger place that makes the juiciest burgers around. You place your order in line and give them your first name and when your order is ready, you pick it up. One of the crazy things my friends and I used to do was give a fake name just for grins. "Amelia, your order is ready, Amelia." The menu here isn't huge, but they do offer chicken and other items, but I can't pass up the burgers. Plus, they have a bakery in the store where they make their own hamburger buns that is just about as good as the burger itself. And, with the bakery comes the ability to buy homemade cookies and treats. The restaurant is located near the cheap-o theater in town (I'd call it the Dollar Movie House, but it's more like $3 now) so it makes a nice quick place to grab some grub before a movie.

3. Kingfish - For the seafood lovers, you can't beat Kingfish. The first restaurant opened on Derby Day 1948. Being on the Ohio River, you have to locate your seafood establishment riverside, which they did. Since that time, the original restaurant at 4th and River has closed but they have a riverview location on Zorn Avenue and one across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Whitefish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, and the greasiest onion rings you'll eat are all included on the menu. I frequent the non-river location on Blankenbaker Avenue and the food is just as good.

4. J Gumbo's aka Gumbo a Go Go - This Cajun hole in the wall is one of my favorite places for two reasons - the food is excellent and the price is right. All the "Big Bowl" favorites are $5 and include Jambalaya, Etouffee, and their house specialty, Drunken Chicken. What started as a little place on Frankfort Avenue (home of a thousand great local eateries) has grown to seven locations across the city.

5. Homemade Pie Kitchen - Like most of the places on my list, this started out as a one-location wonder that has blossomed into multiple locations. With the original location in the Highlands, a visit to this kitchen full of sweet treats during the warmer months usually meant a long line - but it was well worth it. Everything is homemade there, from the pie to the cookies to the ice cream. And the beauty is you can eat it there or take it home. Nothing spells lovin' like a slice of their signature Caramel Dutch Apple Pie with a dollop of ice cream.

Honorable Mention: Qdoba - This Mexican Subway isn't unique to Louisville, but it is by far my favorite restaurant, above all. I am completely convinced that there are Qdobas in Heaven, right next door to a Starbucks and a bookstore. But, I digress. If you've never eaten at a Qdoba, find one near you on their site. Fresh ingredients, delectable seasoned chicken, and even tortilla chips with a splash of lime make this restaurant stand out. And after you buy 10 entrees, you get the next one free. All the more reason to visit often.

I could go on, but visit Louisville Originals, a site dedicated to many of the original restaurants located in the great city I call home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lasting But a Day

Last week on my way into the office, a co-worker asked me, as we waited for the elevator, "Did you see all those winged bugs on the Humana building?" I have to admit I'm a bit oblivious when walking from my parking garage to work. Call it paranoia, but I'm more aware of my human surroundings than any buglike creatures that may be flying around my head.

As I left that day, I was more alert and found gobs of these winged insects everywhere - dead. Not being an outdoorsy girl, I was perplexed. They looked a lot like a Dragonfly, but I think if there had been a Dragonfly swarm in downtown Louisville, I would have heard that on the local news.

The next day I asked one of my faithful employees if they noticed the lifeless winged creatures all over the place and he, being knowledgeable on many topics, solved the mystery. They are Mayflies. They live and breed near water and, given our office's close location to the Ohio River, they had found a new landing pad along First Street. My co-worker was quick to admit his wisdom came from baiting fishing lines with Mayflies, not his entomologistic tendencies.

The interesting thing about these insects, aside from the fact that they are annoying and run in packs, is they only live for about 24 hours. This order gets it name from the Greek word ephemeros meaning "lasting but a day." Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "My how time flies...."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Build Me an Arky, Arky

This weekend I saw Evan Almighty with some friends. My first choice would have been Ratatouille, but given one of the attendees is a Mom, she said, "Can we please not see a movie I'll see with my kids, then see every day for a year when the DVD comes out?" So, since this was a last minute idea, our options were limited, and we chose the latest "Almighty" movie.

I went in with low expectations, which is probably the way you should always enter a theater, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the movie keep the Biblical account of Noah intact, it was just plain hilarious. Wanda Sykes is a scream. Her quick commentary made me literally laugh out loud. When Evan's hair kept growing and he finally showed up at work, she said, "What are you doing comin' in here looking like a Bee Gee?" Not as funny unless you are experiencing her delivery on screen.

If you are looking for a family-friendly movie, this one is it. Very little, if any, profanity, and a good lesson wrapped up in a flood. The nice lessons in the movie about acts of random kindness and a modern-day retelling of the story of Noah are definite plusses. I'm always a little concerned about how Hollywood will portray a Biblical story, but they get an A+ on this one.

My favorite line happened when God was continuing his plea to Evan to build this ark. Evan said, "You see, God, I have these plans." God bursts with laughter and says "Your plans?! Your plans?!" How appropriate. Now, every time I pray and say, "You see, God, my plan for my life is...." I get this visual of God just bustin' out with a hearty guffaw. He knows my plans don't hold a candle to what He has in store for me. Since He sees the complete picture, He is way more advantaged than me.

One of Evan's sidekicks is a young man named Eugene, but referred to as "the human search engine." Rumors are he's the candidate for the next "Almighty" feature film. Hmm, how about Moses?...anyone? anyone?