Jan 032016
 

I never thought my life would come to this: appreciating the humour of a grumpy, anthropomorphic piece of dockage equipment…on TV, no less! Even when I started buying and collecting Thomas the Train wooden railway parts, pieces, and trains for my little guy, I never imagined I’d give the series any screen time, or be able to name most of the characters. I have to say, a favorite character has grown on me, and it’s Cranky the Crane! Cranky is a stationary crane who works down at Thomas’s local docks. As his co-worker /  “friend?” Salty states, he is indeed “Cranky by name, and cranky by nature.” So what’s so fabulous about this guy?

1. Cutest face. Cranky is the cutest character in the Thomas the Tank Engine world, where everyone has a distinct, gray round or square face. Check out the faces; decide for yourself. I think Cranky is the cutest, hands down.

2. Most realistic personality. This guy is pretty grumpy. Cranky rolls his eyes, bosses the trains around, and is never without a snide or sarcastic comment. As an adult watching Cranky in action, this makes for some very comedic moments in an otherwise tame children’s program. His reactions are very applicable to what one might encounter in the real world. Cranky is just what one would expect from a gruff, middle-aged guy who works down at the docks. Under-paid and over-worked, full of one-liners, Cranky is probably a little too skilled and a little too smart for the job he’s stuck in. Because literally, Cranky is stuck at Brendam Docks; he is screwed into the ground as a permanent installation.

And now, a poem:

“Cranky
By R. Schuyler Hook

Off the train,
Onto the ship,
The crates and barrels
Must not slip.

Off the ship,
Onto the train,
In the sun,
The snow,
The rain.

Back
And forth
And to
And fro.
He has no wheels-
He cannot go.

Day in,
Day out,
The whole year through.
Wouldn’t you
Be cranky, too?”

I feel I could have a real conversation with Cranky, although it would probably turn into an amicable gripefest. This is in stark contrast to, for example, a train engine like Percy. Despite being an “adult” train tasked with delivering postal mail all over an island, Percy believes in monsters, has issues identifying friendship, and generally acts like a flighty six year-old. Cranky may be crabby, but he doesn’t have some of the other psychoses or personality flaws of many of the other characters.

3. Killer Toy: The Thomas Wooden Railway toys, or whatever you want to call them (action figures?) are AWESOME. Having kids is a great excuse to have the time of your life collecting some really awesome and cute characters, and pretty detailed buildings and quality train tracks. This isn’t a kid’s pursuit; Thomas’s Wooden Railway is an adult-driven passion. Any sum of lunch money or birthday checks from Grandma won’t get you very far in this world. This stuff is pricey!

Cranky himself goes for about $45 as of this writing, and he is worth every bit of it. He has a surprisingly pleasant expression on his face, and two controls that spin him and raise and lower his magnetic crane hook. An adorable addition to your train table, your life won’t be complete without a cranky “doll”. Score one of these, and it’s a slippery slope toward getting lost in the world of Thomas the Train, with all of its kooky characters and quality toys. Enjoy!

 Posted by on January 3, 2016 at 8:47 pm Uncategorized
Dec 172014
 

October 2014 marked the launch of yet another social network, called Tsu.
Pronounced “sue”, Tsu at first appears to be a fly-by-night, get-rich-quick at the expense of other scheme, when it is actually the opposite!

Tsu is user-owned, just like a co-op. It works by directed advertising – collectivelly and intelligently mapping what your followers interest are, and returning a percentage – I believe 90 percent – of  advertising back to the original users – you. Sounds a little “big brother”? Guess what: that is already what has been happening, mondo style. Only you have no chance of a piece of the pie. Guess what else? People actually like shopping online! And how nice is it, that we don’t have to see endless ads for Viagra and Ashley Madison but actually get ads regarding stuff we might want?

I believe the undeserved “get rich quick” image will be their greatest barrier to entry, until people figure out the business model, and learn for themselves it’s actually like a hippie dippy co-op, a positive community and chance to be part of something mildly productive, too.

Following, I’ll describe why I decided to join, and how it’s going.

I kept seeing my friend and neighbor posting links to join Tsu, which is invite – only. I thought it sounded intriguing, and as I briefly read more about it, I decided to spend the 2 minutes it took to get the app and sign up. I love their user-friendly interface, which is both straightforward and logical. I easily linked Tsu to my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so when I post on Tsu, it automatically posts to those three networks without me having to repost to share with all my friends.

So it’s true: you can make money on Tsu. Once your account reaches $100, you can request a check from the company, or spend your boku bucks with one of their advertising clients on products at a discount. Keep in mind that Tsu is relatively fresh, but has a strong backer and will only get better and more integrative with time. I personally, have made a little money, but it’s been a month for me and I’ve put only about 30 seconds of effort into inviting friends and making my stream marketable, so I haven’t hit $100 yet.

I think the BEST part of Tsu is not the likeable interface, nor the easy ability to actually make a little money, but your RIGHTS. Unlike Facebook, with Tsu, YOU own your material that you post. Totally takes the creep out of it, and my feeling is TSU has that individual, almost myspace-user-y feel to it. Like you don’t need to live in fear that our account will be banned forever because you posted a photo of you breastfeeding your child of a dog’s butt or something loco. Tsu gives you the rights, the freedom, and the ability to sustain! It is the New Hampshire of social media, and I am glad I made the move.

Shameless plug: want to join me? It’s free, and you have nothing to lose:https://www.tsu.co/missymiko

 Posted by on December 17, 2014 at 3:13 am Uncategorized
Dec 052014
 
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Narragansett heritage turkey feathers striped black white

Available wing and tail turkey feathers for $3.50 each. Free shipping within U.S. (contact me for international rates).

Naturally lost by our Narragansett  tom heritage variety turkey named Gary. Collected by me or someone on the homestead.

Add a touch of heritage to your home, also great for projects, smudge sticks, fishing lures, hair decorations, or adding realistic movement to a “scare owl” decoy/deterent.

Payable by PayPal, cash, or check. Email melissa.miko@gmail.com and specify size from 6″ – 15″, quantity, and preference for wing or tail feathers.

 Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 4:49 am Uncategorized
Dec 052014
 
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Duck turkey Eggs

Local to East Lyme, Connecticut?

Swang by and try some mondo eggs from these Loco birds! Fresh and clean, our yolks are rich and size is Mega.

Our birds all have names (and personalities, believe me), are loved, and are fed greens, fruits, and species – appropriate proteins.

Contact me for your dozen!

 Posted by on December 5, 2014 at 4:28 am Uncategorized
Feb 162014
 

Late last year there was a lot of hub bub over the issue regarding the FDA deciding to try to regulate interpretations of physiological data gained from genetic testing.
Specifically, the FDA attacked company 23andMe for offering low-cost, direct-to-consumer (via online data to you) genetic tests and interpretations for several thousand gene SNPs. (SNPs, pronounced “snips”, are our little weirdnesses or uniquenesses that make us special, but not too special. To be a SNP rather than a genetic anomaly, at least 1% of the population must share it.)
The FDA claimed the results are “medical data” and should be tested for and discussed with a doctor. I believe that’s a load of malarchy stemming from lobbying by insurance companies and the medical field. This is the Age of Information, and now anyone can know everything. You can figure out how to perform heart surgery on YouTube (for the record, please don’t), and that intimidates a lot of people. The fact is, DNA is not a medical condition; it is you. We all have it, we own it.
Think of it this way: if you were blind, and paid someone to tell you what color hair you have, is that really medical data? Does an organization long-known for outdated, unethical standards and decisions, as well as caving in to big pharma lobbyist efforts, really in a position to decide what you can and cannot know about your own body?
Plus, we are finding out more and more that DNA can be changed. Yes, it is you, the essense of you, but, it can change. Got that? The study of epigenetics and genetic therapies are a testament to this. So whether you think you want to plan a designer baby or you fear you carry a genetic dis-ease, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It really is going to come down to a new culture of ethics: helping those that need it, and not tampering with what ain’t broke.
What the FDA claims is that they fear people are going to take these $99 test interpretations seriously and act rashly.
For example, a big benefit of this test is that it tests for a number of BCRA genes, the same that Angelina Jolie had. However, the FDA is worried tgat if a person carries one or more of the nine SNPs linked to breast cancer, they might precede in taking the same action…but how, or by who, without medical advice? And couldn’t that be lifesaving anyways? And whose business is it what a person chooses for their body? Not some big government organization, I’d agree. I would I think more likely, a person would waste no time in bringing their results to a doctor to discuss further.
What is ironic is that many doctors would never randomly test for these genes in the first place, (its not yet routine) unless pressed AND if the person is a female AND has a family history with at least more than one person afflicted with breast cancer. And for $99 and a little initiative on your part, this new technology, this new availability of information could be saving your life and have the power to enlighten, perhaps, your offspring or other family who may carry the gene so they can be proactive. That is probably the most important heatwrenching examples. But, the FDA, claiming our “best interests”, put a stop to that, at least commercially.
Should the FDA outlaw psychics, too? Because although this genetc data is in us, and can be interpreted, there is so much we don’t know or understand about the results. I think making this type of information available to the educated, healthful-minded, positive initiative-taking customers of direct-to-consumer DNA tests is another step closer to preventative health.
Luckily, with 23andMe as well as a few other ancestry-related companies, you get a file of your raw data. And with that, and a $10 donation, open source community project Promethease will compare your raw results to thousands of published research journal articles to provide you with essentially the same enlightening information.
I submitted my spit to 23andMe, then uploaded my raw data to Promethease, and it was one of the coolest, most important things I have ever done. I found it motivated me to take better care of my health through diet and exercise. For example, my data revealed that I may have an increased risk of stomach problems like bleeding from taking NSAIDs. So before I pop a Tylenol, I will instead hydrate with some good old water and try some pressure point therapy instead.
I believe the more you know, the better your decisions will be, and the higher your quality of life will be. I highly recommend researching whether genetic testing is something you’re interested in, and if so, taking the next step.

 Posted by on February 16, 2014 at 7:15 am Uncategorized