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Saturday, November 26th, 2011
11:13 am - QuickRewards holiday shopping bonuses
Did most of my "Black Friday" shopping online this year. Used earnings from Mechanical Turk to cover presents from Amazon, and used the shopping links from QuickRewards for pretty much everything else.

QuickRewards is running a special promo this year -- in addition to the cash back, they're posting coupons for retailers as they find 'em, and higher-than-usual cashback rates for others, they're giving bonuses for the amount of orders you place through their links (basically, you just go to the Shopping section, find the store you want to shop, and click on the "Start Shopping" link). The bonuses start at $2 for three orders placed, up through $10 for 16 orders placed, but they need to be placed between November 25 and December 25.

Got a few reasonably good deals through the QuickRewards links & coupons and stuff, and didn't have to fight through Black Friday sales to deal with 'em. KMart was offering one of the toys that The Boy wanted for about one-third of what Amazon was charging for it, and QuickRewards had a decent little coupon, with a higher-than-usual 5% cashback; and since I can pick it up from a store near my office, I don't have to pay for shipping. Also got a few other good QuickRewards shopping deals, including a present that The Boy picked out for severus_bracae.

It's "small business Saturday" today, and I'm hoping we can make a quick trip out to The Boy's new favorite small business -- a tiny little toy store tucked into an otherwise unassuming little office complex, just uphill from the old fire station. It's cute. :-)

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Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
1:50 pm
This holiday season ... I seem to mostly be ranting about documentation-writing over on Facebook.

You can join in the discussion up at if you'd like. (If you'd rather pop a comment here, feel free.)

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Friday, August 12th, 2011
6:59 am - I'm looking ... for a lamp.
I'm looking for a lamp for the living room. (Click here to hop over to my other blog to read about what I'd like to find, and/or to leave comments.)
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
8:41 pm - Bedtime reading
So, last night, The Boy insisted that his bedtime stories include one of the "big-boy" books on the top shelf of his closet. (He'd been given several big-kid books when he was a baby, and I'd stored them up there to keep them nice when he was ready for 'em).

I gulped, and pulled down the copy of Lanier's The Boy's King Arthur, which had been a present from The Boy's Great-Uncle Arthur, actually.

And ... well, he loved it. We only got as far as the coronation at Pentecost -- The Boy was pleased and amused to hear that Arthur pulled the sword from the stone just like he'd done -- so I'm not sure how much further we're really going to get in section-by-section reading before gets bored of it (it does have the N.C. Whyeth illustrations, but they're geared to an older child's attention span, so they don't appear as frequently they do in The Boy's other picture-books).

We did followed it up with two picture-books, too -- if the slice of The Boy's King Arthur was dinner, then Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse were dessert. Perhaps that's the way to handle heavy reading -- a section at a time, when he really wants to hear some more of it, with some follow-up picture-books.

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Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
6:24 pm - Earning money on QuickRewards
I'd said I'd post a list of the things I do on QuickRewards to earn money, and so, here's a list. (Not all of it earns the big bucks, of course, but when I have a few minutes to play around on the computer while I'm waiting for the laundry to finish up in the washing machine, it seems like a more constructive thing to do than to try to beat my own high score in Minesweeper.)

First thing, of course, is to log into QuickRewards. Then:

  • On the homepage, there's a link to Click on it, and do a search, and click on the search results. You can earn a penny a day doing that.
  • On the top navbar, select "Games," then select "Trivia," then navigate to today's month and day. The trivia questions are all very easy (and often have something to do with TV shows), and they're all multiple-choice. Get the answer right, and that's an additional half-cent.
  • On the top navbar, click on "Daily Checklist." Then click on the link that says "Visit Websites."
    First I go to the "Daily Clicks" area, and for each of the websites, I click on the link that says "Do Offer." There's another link here for, and it gives you about a third of a cent to do another search and click on the page. Mostly, this section is just a matter of clicking on the link and navigating a little on the site and then going back and doing it again on another site. (Don't bother with the Amazon link; it doesn't give you any credits for clicking there. I think it's probably an Amazon Affiliates thing. (I have something similar on my website; if you use one of the links I've set up to Amazon from my site, then I get a tiny commission on the total price of whatever it is you buy, doesn't cost you anything extra.)
    Then, navigating back up to "Daily Checklist"/"Visit Websites," click on "QuickRewards Exclusive Daily Clicks." This is just like the other "Daily Clicks" area, except it's taking you around to various parts of the QuickRewards news & blog pages, their Twitter page, and their Facebook page.
  • On the top navbar, select "Earn To," and then select "Daily Video Watch." There are three subpages of videos. (I find that the ones on Video List #1 and Video List #3 tend to work the best, there's something buggy about Video List #2.) All you have to do is click on the video and let it run until it's done. Most are in the neighborhood of 2 minutes. Sometimes they add more videos during the day. Each time you watch a full video, you get about a half-cent. I think it only credits you for watching each video once (rather than once a day, which is how it looks like it's credited from the way the text is written). Don't worry about signing up for additional credits -- they're just trying to get you to sign up for stuff and the advertisers are promising you credits that you won't actually get.
  • Then I do the surveys. I'm not sure what works better -- clearing out all cookies & temporary internet files between each survey and opening the links from the emails, or just staying logged into QuickRewards and clicking on the survey links from there. In any case, these generally earn you in the range of sixty cents to a dollar each, and most are pretty quick.
    Sometimes I'm not in the target demographic for the survey, so it kicks me out after I answer a few questions. (You don't generally get credit for trying to take a survey, but getting kicked out early on like that.) Close out the window, and start back from the original link.
    (I usually get about 8-10 emails from QuickRewards every day with links to surveys and stuff. I'm pretty sure those links are coded so that they're crediting back to the correct account. When I use the emailed links, I copy the link from my email in Firefox, and then go over to Google Chrome, where I knock out all of the cookies & temporary internet files, and then I open the link in Google Chrome. I think I'll try just using those emailed links exclusively, tonight, and seeing how many of them are credited tomorrow.)
  • So, as mentioned, sometimes the surveys kick you out towards the beginning because you're not in the demographic they're looking for on the survey, and if that starts annoying me, I go and do some Daily Tasks instead. At least the Daily Tasks will credit you for doing things correctly, without asking a bunch of questions only to determine you're not qualified to participate.
    To get to the Daily Tasks, go to either the "Daily Tasks" link from the left-side menu on the QuickRewards homepage, or on the top navbar menu select "Earn To" and then "Daily Tasks."
    These tend to be kind of like copy-editing databases, or data entry sorts of things. It's the same sort of task -- "Is this the right webpage for this company?" for example -- done over and over again. It's pretty quick, once you get the hang of it. The list of Daily Tasks also tells you how much you'll get for it -- usually in the range of seven cents to a dollar, depending on how much time & effort the task is going to take. These credit back to your account really quickly. When I find a task that I find particularly easy, sometimes I'll just keep going back and doing that same Daily Task a couple of times; it comes up with more work to do.
And that's about it. Again, it's not a way to earn big huge money, but it's a way to turn timewasting computer-clicking into a bit of pocket money here and there. (There are some other ways to earn money on QuickRewards, but these are what I've been doing.)

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Friday, February 25th, 2011
8:19 pm - More on QuickRewards ...
Emailed the technical support people over at QuickRewards to figure out what I was doing wrong, and why I wasn't getting credits for some of the surveys, etc., that I was doing. After following the advice, I managed to triple what I'd already earned in just a couple of minutes this evening. Which sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is. But -- anyway.

In case you're trying QuickRewards and not getting the right amount of credits, here's some things to do:

  1. Try using a different browser. (They recommend using Google Chrome, but I switched over to IE and actually am getting the better results that way.)
  2. Clear the browser's Temporary Internet Files & Cookies before you start a survey. (This seems to work best if you're working from links from the emails, if you opt to get the emails. I have them filtered into a separate folder, so they're not clogging my inbox.)
  3. The survey will sometimes reject you early in the process (because you're in the wrong target demographic for the survey), but may recommend that you do some subsequent survey that the system happily links you to automagically. Don't bother with that follow-up survey if you want any sort of payback from QuickRewards, because they aren't getting anything off of that survey, either. Instead, clear the temporary Internet Files and Cookies and start again from the initial link.

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
9:06 pm - Surveys site
Have joined QuickRewards -- it lets you earn (fairly small amounts of) money for doing online surveys, printing coupons, answering easy trivia questions, etc.

Haven't earned much in the way of "big bucks" yet -- but the money I saved by using the coupons at Harris Teeter (which doubles the coupon values) was pretty decent. :-)

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Thursday, January 27th, 2011
9:31 am - Working on updates!
Well, today I'll be working on updates to; a lot of the pages on the medieval/Renaissance side will be getting a new link, but the ones that are getting multiple links I'll make a note of on the Facebook page.

Got ideas for new pages (or pages that ought to be updated)? (Yep, really wanna increase the site traffic ...) ;)

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Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
10:03 pm
If you haven't seen vikingsparrow's travelogues from the "Jacket Tour," go visit her blog to check 'em out :-)

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
1:13 am - Facebook page for
I've set up a Facebook page for -- it'll have information about new & updated pages, and people can use it to post questions, comments, and suggestions.

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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
9:26 pm - Well, so much for Facebook.
Yeah, finally got around to setting it up. But now, I think it's choking on my 1500+ address book. When I tell it not to bother looking through all that, I get an error message anyway.

And now ... it no longer recognizes my email address when I log in. Terrific.

Look, I know that social media tend to broadcast drama, but they're not supposed to be drama -- at least not at the sign-up stage.

So, if you're trying to reach me via Facebook, you're outta luck, sorry. :P

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Monday, September 6th, 2010
4:29 pm - And more stuff ...
I've been adding more pages to the 18th century linkspages at -- a lot more on the "material culture" side of things, now that I'm getting to a point where I'm scrambling to think of clothing-related topics that I haven't already covered. (Though, come to think of it, I think I'll do a page on shoe-buckles next. Yeah, that sounds good. So, keep an eye out for, appearing on an intarnet near you.

The sewing projects for The Boy are pretty much complete. I'll be sewing his cute little breeches this evening. I'm not thrilled with how the neckerchief turned out (and even though he seemed to like it, I think he wasn't too sure, either) so I may cut it in half -- the only extant man's neckerchief I know of (MFA 99.664.67) is triangular, anyway, so I'll just be taking his nicely-hemmed square and cutting it on the diagonal, and hemming the raw sides. One of the two can be donated to the loaner clothing for the 18th century site I work with.

Speaking of which, they really do seem to need loaner 18th century clothing for volunteers, especially in kids' sizes. I'll get some more specifics from the staff, as to what they actually need, but I'm looking at a lot of the heaps o' linen we've accumulated and trying to calculate which colors might be appropriate for what sorts of garments. Used to be that if a kid was going to volunteer, his/her parents were responsible for either also volunteering a certain number of hours, either in 18th century stuff or behind the scenes -- or sewing a certain amount of garments for the loaner bins. These days, I guess most parents don't sew, so the loaner garb is dwindling, and they end up having to pay to get replacement garments as things get worn out or lost. I've got fabric, and I've got some time -- and it's not too hard to hem squares or triangles for kerchiefs, or add a drawstring to a rectangle for an apron, or sew a couple of seams and make a petticoat. (Heck, I've got scraps of linen & cotton that can turn into very nice pockets indeed.) So, just going to wait and see what's needed for now, before I overwhelm them with a deluge of umpteen more of whatever they've already got! (Anyone else want to help out, too?)

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Saturday, August 21st, 2010
5:26 pm - 1765 Encyclopedie entry on Virginia
From Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 1765:

Virginia, region in North America. It is bounded on the north by Maryland, on the south by Carolina, on the east by the North Sea [Atlantic], and on the west by Louisiana.

Raleigh, the plague and the victim of Spain, set up the first English colony in Mocasa, conquered this region, and gave it the name Virginia, in memory [honor] of Queen Elizabeth, his mistress, who lived her life in celibacy, entertaining all parties who sought to marry her without wanting to accept any of them.

Virginia is divided into northern and southern parts. The former extends from the 37th to 39th degree of latitude, and the latter from the 33rd to the 16th.

Northern Virginia is in a rather temperate climate. Summer is hot there, as in Spain, and winter cold, as in the north France. Often the cold is very severe there, but intermittently. One reaches this region through a long gulf between two promontories. The middle of the area is fertile and would be even more so if the savages deigned to farm it, but these savages are interested only in hunting and leave the housekeeping to their wives. They dress in the skins of wild animals, paint their bodies, and pierce their ears in order to hang shells from them. The women wash their newborn children in the river and rub them with certain drugs to toughen their skin against the cold and the heat.

Southern Virginia produces in abundance Indian corn and tobacco, in which the English conduct a large trade. The land is extremely fertile there, and European fruits grow very well there. One sees there lots of deer, bears, otters, squirrels, and animals whose skins are highly valued, as well as a large number of turkey-cocks, partridges, and other forest and river birds.

Read more...Collapse )

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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
2:02 am - This will mean something to somebody.
The commander does not like the "Wraiths"

  • he's got a firey sword
  • we're apparently dealing with druids

I've found a spiral-bound notebook in one of the boxes here in the basement. The delicate cursive handwriting therein is definitely not mine, and certainly not severus_bracae's. I don't recognize the notebook, the subject of the writing, nor do I know precisely how long it's been here, but I would suspect it's only been here for about two or three years.

If you missing such a notebook -- one of the pages of which features the observations above -- please let me know, and I will be happy to return it to you.

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Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
10:16 pm - Patio furniture options
So, now that we have the lovely patio, we're thinking about patio furniture. Read more...Collapse )

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12:11 am - Four chords ...

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
9:47 pm - Hark, a vagrant ...
presents 15th Century Peasant Romance Comics

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010
12:57 am - Early Music DC newsletter
For folks who read this blog and are interested in the DC-area early music scene (and concerts of music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque) -- you can go to Early Music DC to sign up for a monthly newsletter for information & news about what's going on and what's coming up.

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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
7:53 pm - The Boy's first poem

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