Thursday, March 22, 2007

Line Rider - some people have too much free time

Line Rider is an addictive little game - draw some lines and curves, hit play, and a little guy starts sledding down the curves. Once you start, you can't stop until you've made a cooler track for him to go down - then a more creative way for him to crash.

Some people, though, have spent way too much time coming up with paths for him to ride down. Check out the movies link on their page. Ding is particularly fun...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kiva - Loans That Change Lives

As part of a birthday present last August, I signed up for Kiva, a service that provides loans to the working poor in countries around the world. People are trying to (among many other things) raise money for a cow so they can make and sell cheese in Azerbaijan, for supplies for a beauty salon in Uganda, or to open a photography studio in Togo.

Our job is simple. We choose which businesses we want to support and provide some money to help fund that business. Not a lot, perhaps just $25.00. Those small loans are combined with other Kiva members and once all of the funds are raised, the business owner gets that money and soon after starts paying it back over some agreed-upon period of time usually in the 6-12 month range. Over the past 6 months or so, I've loaned money to 15 businesses. Some are just starting but two of them have already paid back the loans.

Kiva's website does a good job of explaining microfinance and it is actually very interesting to understand why the working poor have such a hard time getting even small amounts of money to start or grow their businesses. For me, though, it is much more satisfying to look at the loans in my "portfolio" and know that somewhere around the world, someone is working to make their business better and that in my own little way, I'm helping them.

That's cool.

The banner below will show a different Kiva business each time you refresh this page.

Calm by Leslie

Leslie has been updating her massage website/blog with tips on finding a good massage practitioner, reflexology information, and offers for people looking for a bit more calm.

Check it out!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Graeter's Ice Cream - Mana from Cincinnati

Tony had never tried Graeter's Ice Cream and now he is a believer. For those of you who think you have tried the best ice cream in the world -- until you've tried Graeter's you haven't. :)

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and when my mother would make trips to Cincinnati she would bring back a couple of pints of Grater's vanilla chocolate chip. The ice cream itself is intensely creamy and fresh. The chips are not little chocolate morsels. They are an event all to themselves, sometimes reaching three inches in length due to the way the chocolate is added to the ice cream. The combination is exquisite.

It's a good thing we could only get it on rare occasions because this stuff is addictive. For those of you wanting to give it a try, it is available online and shows up still well frozen. It's kinda pricy to ship, though, so you should order a bunch to justify the shipping costs. Then invite me over and I'll help you get rid of it.