Saturday, August 17, 2013

Holidays for August 17th 2013

National Thrift Shop Day

Start your money-saving engines. Today is National Thrift Store day!

Recently, second-hand shopping has become one of the first stops for people looking to spruce up their wardrobes and save some serious cash.

Savvy shoppers can capitalize on racks filled with brand names and designer duds for a fraction of their retail price.

The idea that thrift store shopping is only for those who can't afford retail shopping is out of touch and out of style. The sad economic climate has significantly increased the customer base and profits of thrift stores around the country.

“The message we're trying to communicate is, it's not limited to low-income shoppers,” Brendan Hurley, spokesman for Goodwill of Greater Washington, told the Washington Times. "Anyone can shop there."

The clothes' cache becomes even more chic when you learn that style mavens such as Iman and June Ambrose have loaned their star power and time to the second-hand shopping campaign.

In addition, The Association of Resale and Thrift Shops reports that there are more than 30,000 consignment and thrift stores currently in the United States -- and that they have been growing at a rate of 7 percent over the past two years.

Consider this thrift store boom the perfect opportunity to lighten your load by purging any unwanted clothing, accessories, furniture or home decor -- or fatten your wallet, if you decide to consign your goods.

In celebration of National Thrift Store Day, here are some helpful tips to optimize your next second-hand shopping spree:

1. Go there often. The great thing about thrift stores is that new stuff is always coming in via donations. Shop later in the week for the best selection, as weekends are crowded and busy, leaving shops depleted of stock on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2. Find out when the discount days are. Most thrift stores have at least one day per month when everything is 50 percent off in the entire store.
3. Try to buy winter clothing or items in the summer and vice versa. Waiting for the weather to turn cold to buy a jacket will cost you more.
4. Avoid holiday times if you can. The prices will go up, and so will your stress.
5. Try on or try out the item you want to buy. If it is a sweater or a CD player, make sure it fits or works before you buy.
6. Have fun. The best part of thrift store shopping is that you never know what you will find.

National Vanilla Custard Day

Custard is a sweet sauce or dessert that is made with milk, eggs, and sugar. The consistency of custard varies depending on how much egg or thickener is used. Thin, saucier custards are typically served over breads or cakes. The thicker, and in my opinion, more popular version is baked in pastries and pies, served with fruits and vegetables, or enjoyed on its own. Historically custards have played an important part in European cuisine.

I won’t lie, when I first heard of this holiday the first thing that came to my mind was Carl’s, located in nearby Fredericksburg, VA. As a matter of fact, up until yesterday a trip to Carl’s was going to be how I celebrated today. There are also a few frozen custard places near work I was planning on hitting up. Unfortunately it wasn't that type of custard. Fortunately, we had everything to make homemade custard. I headed over to and found a recipe for Basic Vanilla Custard. To my surprise custard is fairly easy to make, or at least this recipe was. I made the custard and let it chill as I made and then ate dinner. When it came time to have dessert I got a little nervous. I’d never had custard (other than a Boston Creme donut) and didn't know what I should except. I’m also not a huge fan of pudding or anything with that type of texture. However, I was shocked after my first spoonful of custard. The consistency isn't quite as bad as pudding and the sweet taste is exquisite. It’s just a shame that Brittany wasn't here to partake in dessert with me tonight. I've actually quite enjoyed this holiday. It will be nice to come home tomorrow and have the remaining custard.

International Geocaching Day

The Origins of Geocaching
Geocaching, first coined by Matt Stum on the "GPS Stash Hunt" mailing list on May 30, 2000, was the joining of two familiar words. The prefix geo, for Earth, was used to describe the global nature of the activity, but also for its use in familiar topics in gps such as geography.

Caching, from the word cache, has two different meanings, which makes it very appropriate for the activity. A French word invented in 1797, the original definition referred to a hiding place someone would use to temporarily store items. The word cache stirs up visions of pioneers, gold miners, and even pirates. Today the word is still even used in the news to describe hidden weapons locations.

The second use of cache has more recently been used in technology. Memory cache is computer storage that is used to quickly retrieve frequently used information. Your web browser, for example, stores images on disk so you don't have to retrieve the same image every time you visit similar pages.

The combination of Earth, hiding, and technology made geocaching an excellent term for the activity. However the "GPS Stash Hunt" was the original and most widely used term until Mike Teague passed the torch to Jeremy Irish in September 2000.

The Birth of
For the first few months, geocaching was confined to existing experienced GPS users who already used the technology for outdoor activities such as backpacking and boating. Most users had an existing knowledge of GPS and a firm grasp of obscure lingo like datums and WGS84. Due to both the player base and the newness of the activity, players had a steep learning curve before going out on their first cache hunt. Tools were scarce for determining whether a cache was nearby, if one existed at all.

As with most participants, Jeremy Irish, a web developer for a Seattle company, stumbled upon Mike Teague's web site in July while doing research on GPS technology. The idea of treasure hunting and using tech-gadgets represented the marriage of two of his biggest interests. Discovering one was hidden nearby, Jeremy purchased his first GPS unit and went on his first hunt the following weekend.

After experiencing the thrill of finding his first cache, Irish decided to start a hobby site for the activity. Adopting the term geocaching, he created and applied his professional web skills to create tools to improve the cache-hunting experience. The cache listings were still added by hand, but a database helped to standardize the listings. Additional features, like searching for caches around zip codes, made it easier for new players to find listings for nearby caches.

With Mike Teague's valuable input, the new site was completed and announced to the stash-hunting community on September 2, 2000. At the time the site was launched there were 75 known caches in the world.

If You Hide It, They Will Come
Slashdot, a popular online magazine for techies, reported the new activity on September 25, 2000, introducing a larger group of technology professionals to the activity. The New York Times picked up the story and featured it in its "Circuits" section in October, starting a domino effect of articles written in magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets around the world. CNN even did a segment in December 2000 to profile the new hobby.

However, because there were so few caches in the world, many would-be participants discovered they didn't have a cache listed nearby. Many wondered whether anyone would bother looking for a cache if they hid one in their area. The growing community chanted the mantra "If you hide it, they will come" to the newer players. After some reassurances, pioneers of the hobby started placing caches just to see whether people would go find them. They did.

Through word of mouth, press articles, and even accidental cache discoveries, more and more people have become involved in geocaching. First started by technology and GPS enthusiasts, the ranks of geocachers now include couples, families, and groups from all walks of life. The excitement of the hunt appeals to both the inner (and outer) child. Today you can do a search on just about anywhere in the world and be able to walk, bike, or drive to a nearby hidden cache.

The Creation of Groundspeak
After the increased traffic from Slashdot, Irish realized that the ongoing management of the web site would quickly grow out of the lone computer on his home DSL line. So in late 2000, he partnered with Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth, two coworkers at Sunrise Identity, to start a new company called Groundspeak Inc. (originally "Grounded Inc."). With the proceeds from sales of 144 geocaching t-shirts, they moved the machines into a hosted environment in downtown Seattle. The founders continued to work for Sunrise Identity while managing the new company and the web site in their off hours.

After several years of working on the web site, Jeremy and Elias were able to raise enough through Premium Memberships to make Groundspeak a full time job. In late 2005, Bryan Roth finally became a full time employee at the company.

Jeremy Irish, Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth continue to own and operate the web site today. They are supported by a small team of Groundspeak Lackeys and over 100 geocaching volunteers worldwide.

Special Thanks...
Special thanks goes out to Sunrise Identity who was gracious enough to support the Shop Groundspeak site in the early years, and Killerlink, who continues to help us with network operations, bandwidth needs, and security on the web site.

Special, special, thanks go to the unsung heroes who maintain and review the ever-growing list of caches listed on the web site. Additional thanks goes to Moun10Bike (Jon Stanley), for donating various Microsoft software licenses that help run the web site. Thanks Jon!

*there is no actual blue switch

International Homeless Animals' Day

Organizations around the world come together on the third Saturday of August to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic. International Homeless Animals’ Day activities often include candlelight vigils, adopt-a-thons, spay/neuter clinics, microchip clinics, blessings of the animals, and heartfelt speeches given by council members, local veterinarians, humane officers and shelter personnel. Other activities include slideshows, rallies, dog walks, open houses, award ceremonies, live music, raffles, and games. To read about previous International Homeless Animals’ Day events, please visit our Newsletters page on our website.

Individuals and organizations wishing to take part in ISAR’s International Homeless Animals’ Day events can order a complimentary downloadable candlelight vigil packet by contacting ISAR by mail, phone, fax or email. Our vigil packet includes guidelines for organizing a successful vigil event with tips on site selection, suggestions for speakers and vigil events, reaching target audiences, poems, songs, sample press releases and more!

In addition to your downloadable copy of ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day vigil packet you will receive our International Homeless Animals’ Day posters to advertise your event, Proclamations to be signed by your governor and mayor declaring the day as International Homeless Animals’ Day, coloring sheets and more through the U. S. Postal Service. Your participation in ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day will guarantee advertisement of your organization’s event to thousands of people on ISAR’s website, as well as promotion on ISAR’s online communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

By coming together on International Homeless Animals’ Day you can support ISAR in letting the world know we will not tolerate the senseless killing that continues to take the lives of innocent dogs, cats, puppies and kittens simply because there are not enough good homes for them.

Together, we will continue to be a voice for the animals, and continue to demand an end to the suffering these animals face each day.

National Meaning of "Is" Day

What is the meaning of "is"? You can't even ask the question without using the word, so it's pretty hard to define. It's the third person singular form of the word "be," which is also hard to define without going into existential mumbo jumbo. Spend today trying to define is in your words without using the word be. It's actually sort of a challenge.