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Flipping through the channels, I came upon a show called Scariest Places on Earth on the Family Channel. This show is so freaking hoaky. They send familys into some supposed haunted places. But it is so obvious that the places are set up. Things falling, and doors opening and closing and everything. It is so funny. Like at one point a guy is going to read a scroll from a box of scrolls. This is in a place that is hundreds of years old. Yeah, like the scrolls were just sort of left there and haven’t disintigrated. As soon as he goes to grab the scroll somethings falls and scares him. I was laughing when one guy saw a cradle rocking apparently on it’s own, and he gives a very cursory glance around the cradle and then starts saying stuff like he believed in spirits now because his scientific inspection revealed nothing. I would have been searching every inch of that cradle for fishing line, or push rods, etc. The cradle itself maybe have been a rigged prop. Again, this place was hundreds of years old. Why is there a cradle there? Why wasn’t it stolen? I did a Google search for information about the “Abbey of Lucedio” and found this description: “The marvellous medieval halls of the Abbey host guided tours, food tasting, breakfast, receptions, conventions, fashion parades, concerts, cultural events and exhibitions; some of the Abbey halls have been used as locations for television, cinema and advertising filming.” Sounds real scary. And I love Zelda Rubinstein, I really do. She was awesome in the Poltergeist movies, and other stuff I have seen her in. But her voice overs in this show are just funny. It is like they handed her a page of lines, and asked her to read them in a really scary voice.

I seem to be getting a lot of people searching for information about this show. They did release a video that contains episodes from the show:
Scariest Places on Earth

Scariest Places on Earth video

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Garmin GPS V Deluxe 19 MB GPS with PC Cable

SUMMARY: Great GPS for road trips once you learn how to use it, and get used to how it works.

I have owned half a dozen different GPS units, with the GPS V being the most recent. I knew people that had the GPS V and the earlier version the GPS 3 and 3+. They had told me about using it for navigating. My previous GPS was a Magellan Map 330. While the Map 330 had road maps, it didn’t do routing (tell you which roads to take to get where you are going). I still used it while travelling, and it was helpfull, but I really wanted a GPS to give me directions. So I added the GPS V to my Amazon wish list. I planned on buying it at some point in time. When Christmas came, I was surprised when I found my wife had bought one for me. This was also the deluxe package that came with the MapSource cds, and unlock codes for the US and Canada. Excitement turned to disappointment when I found the unit I got was missing a spring clip out of the battery compartment, and it wouldn’t work at all. Since it was Christmas, I had to wait days for Garmin’s tech support to be open. When they were finally there, I called and explained the issue, and they mailed me the missing part. I had a couple weeks to play with it a little bit locally, before we used it on a trip to Las Vegas/Los Angeles. I had the MapSource CDs, so I downloaded maps for the Las Vegas area, and the Los Angeles area into the GPS. I also plugged in coordinates for places we were planning on visiting, and also routes for how to get from one place to the other. I was planning on hitting about 25 used book stores around the Las Vegas area, so coordinates for each of these were also loaded.
When we got into Vegas, I turned the unit on. Our first destination was Pahrump, NY, so I selected the route I downloaded into the GPS from my PC. The GPS had us leaving the airport and heading north. It didn’t make sense. I knew the best route was to head south and go across the mountains via 160. Why was it taking us north? Finally I gave up on the GPS directions, and went the way I knew to go. All along the way, it kept trying to take us north. I figured out later that the GPS wanted to take us up to I-95, and get to Pahrump from the north. A longer route. We used the GPS to get us from Pahrump to Oxnard, CA, and using the routing downloaded from the PC was a pain was well. The GPS also seemed to have problem tracking while in the mountains, and would often be recalculating the route. The GPS was very helpful in navagating around the Anaheim area. Using the GPS to get back to Pahrump was a little better. Next task. I had entered in 25 used books stores around the Las Vegas area and had made a route to hit them all in an efficient order. We followed the GPS, and it took us to the first store. When we left there, it kept wanting us to back to the same place. After playing with the GPS, I figured out the store we went to was actually the last store at the end of the route. We went to the first store on the route, and the GPS then worked fairly well taking us from store to store. About halfway through the route, it wanted to take us back to the last sote skipping the second half of the stores. I stopped the navigation, and restarted it, and it got us back on track. All in all using the GPS was kind of a pain.

Those were my first experiences with the Garmin GPS V. My experiences since then have been much better. I have learned to use the GPS better, and have had much less problems with it. I have used it for various trips including a trip to Tennessee which had me driving from Knoxville to Gatlinburg, and have had few problems. I have learned not to use the routes downloaded from the PC. I still use the PC to download detail maps, and to enter addresses and waypoints. Now when I want to go somewhere, I just tell the GPS to calculate the route, and it generally does a good job. It will be interesting to take it back to Vegas, and see how it does taking me to Pahrump again.

I do geocaching, but I haven’t used this GPS for that. It is kind of expensive, and I don’t see the need to get it scratched up or risk breaking off the swivel antenna. I still use my older Magellan Map 330 for that.
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Nikon Coolpix 7900 7 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom

SUMMARY: Great camera for point and shoot photography. Also great for taking video which can be later burned to DVD.

I am not a professional photographer with masses of photographic equipment all over the place. I have always loved taking photographs, but have a limited budget to do so. I could afford to buy top end stuff, but for the amount of time I would spend using it, and my skill level, it would be a waste. I have owned several digital cameras. My last camera was a Fuji Finepix 3800 (3.2mp). With a Caribbean cruise planned for next year, I decided I wanted something better. I was looking at the Nikon 8800, which looked like it would take great pics, but when I considered whether I was likely to actually carry it every place, I thought probably not. What good is having a great camera, if I am going to leave it in the room. So I decided to get something smaller. I looked at offerings from Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc. The Sony looked promising, but was a little more expensive, bigger, and the memory was more expensive as well. I ended up going with the Nikon 7900. Thus far I have been very please. I have not used half the features, but am slowly learning the ones I am most likely to use. I have taken video with it, it did an awesome job! With the software that came with the camera, I converted the .mov files to .avi files, and then using Pinnacle Studio 9, I burned these to DVD. I am looking at geting Sony Vegas DVD software which I believe will do the whole process of going from .mov files to DVD in one package. With the quality of the video, I am not planning on taking the hi-8 camcorder. Why bother when I can take good video with this camera that is not much bigger than a cell phone. In the best quality mode 640X480 at 30 frames/sec, it will take over 14 minutes of video on a 1gig card. So if you want to take a lot of video, you will need a bunch of SD cards, or get something to save the video to such as one of those portable storage devices.
While it does have 7 mega pix, I think it is a limited by the optics. If I had gotten the 8800, which has bigger lenses, I am sure the pics would be sharper. But overall, I think the 7900 does a good job. I like the built in lens cover as opposed to the plastic lens cover for my Fuji 3800 that kept falling off. I like the feature that warns me that the picture was blurred before I save it, thus giving me the option to retake. How many times have you gotten home to find that picture of you and an old friend, or the picture taken in front of a water fall were blurred, and you will never have the opportunity to get another picture just like it? Very cool!
I would recommend this camera to people looking for a nice digital point and shoot camera!
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Fujifilm FinePix 3800 3MP Digital Camera w/ 6x Optical Zoom

SUMMARY: Great camera even after a couple years.

I bought this camera a year or two ago. I still love it. The batteries last a long time with flash, and longer without. With a 128mb XD card, I can take about 100 pics in the highest res, and best compression. I have printed pics out as 8x10s, and they look great, and would probably still look great printed larger. It does ALMOST everything I want to do. The only limitations I have found are when taking pics in subdued lighting, the image in the finder is too dark, and hard to compose the photo; the image looks great when actually taken though. Another thing is that when taking action (e.g. sports) shots indoors, without a flash, the pics tend to be motion-blurred. Another minor annoyance is that it seems to have a minor draw on the batteries when not in use, so that if you have put the camera down for a couple months, and then pull it out, the batteries are likely to be dead, or close to dead. Overall, it is a great camera if you can live within these minor limitations.
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