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Idaho City, Idaho Can Be a Fun and Cheap Family Vacation Destination

Posted by Frederick Parker on

For many families around the country, vacation plans are being seriously affected by the soaring costs of gas. For a family planning any type of road trip, the portion of the budget set aside for fuel costs must be nearly double what they would have been just a year ago. This means there is significantly less money left over for visits to amusement parks or family resorts. Finding an inexpensive alternative to the more traditional vacation destinations, could mean the difference between whether or not a family is able to take a vacation at all. Add some educational benefit to that vacation, and your next family trip could be even better!

The state of Idaho is home to many locations which offer both an inexpensive and an educational destination to a family on vacation. One of these locations is the historical town of Idaho City. Idaho City is one of Idaho's oldest towns, and although it is commonly thought of as a "ghost town" today, this tiny town is home to approximately 500 residents. Many of the original structures still stand including homes, businesses, and even a courthouse that is still used. Many of these businesses and historical buildings are open to the public, making Idaho City a very educational place for a family to explore. Idaho City is also an incredibly inexpensive family vacation destination, as there is no admission price charged to enter the town or any of its historical buildings.

Take a leisurely self-guided tour up and down the streets of Idaho City, exploring the structures -many of which were built during the mid to late 1800's. Idaho City was a gold rush town that got its start while the Civil War raged in the Eastern Portion of the country. Choosing a visit to this inexpensive and educational destination is like taking a step back in time. Walking up and down the tiny streets makes it possible for visitors to really imagine what this boom town was like more than 100 years ago. Don't forget to make your way up to Pioneer Cemetery, a truly historical site, with many graves dating back to the time of the Civil War. Walking through Pioneer Cemetery offers an educational experience not easily found in many parts of the country, and is as inexpensive as it gets, as there is no admission fee.

There are restaurants and a hotel in Idaho City. Although if your vacation budget is really tight, there are campgrounds very close by. These are primitive campgrounds, charging only a very small fee (well under $20 per night).

Getting to Idaho City is easy. From Boise, take Highway 21 East for approximately 35 miles. This is a beautiful mountain drive, complete with a gently flowing river and occasional glimpses of local wildlife. This is a very well maintained highway.

For more details and contact information about this inexpensive and educational family vacation destination, check out Idaho City's Chamber of Commerce website.



Have Fun at the Sochi Olympics

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Sochi has been called the Russian Riviera. It is a bustling city adjacent to a sweeping rocky coastline. The Winter Olympics comes during the off-season, so visitors should find travel acceptable in and around the city. Although there is plenty to do in the Olympic Park, those looking to take a break from the Olympic festivities should find many enjoyable activities available with few crowds.

During your stay, you don't want to miss the cultural program that Russia has assembled.

The cultural program highlights the variety of Russian art, music and dance representing eighty-three regions in six separate locationa.

What to Do

The central event of the Games Cultural program is the Winter Arts Festival, which takes place February 6-20 in Sochi.

The Gala Concert will take place in the Zimny Theater and will highlight leading soloists of the Russian Ballet and performances by the State Ensemble of National Dance.

The Exhibition of the Russian Regions allow guests to view the ethnic and cultural diversity of Russia.

At the heart of the Olympic Park, you will find the Medals Plaza. Here, from 1pm – 5pm, spectators can watch live video feeds from Olympic events. Starting a 7pm, the evening show of Russian performers, followed by the Awards Ceremony and a headliners concert. Get there early, as crowds of 20000 are expected nightly.

During the day, spectators can take a break from the Olympic views and enjoy the Theme Park located within the Olympic Park complete with two roller coasters.

If traveling with young children, you may want to visit the Residence of Drd Moroz (the Russian Santa Clause). His house is expected to be a major attraction for the youngest spectators.


Sochi is a smoke-free city. All Olympic venues and public gathering places are also smoke-free except within the designated smoking areas.

Excessive noisemakers are prohibited, including vuvuzelas.

The U.S. State Department reminds Olympic spectators that Russian Federal law allows the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that crosses Russian communication networks. This includes Internet browsing, email messaging and telephone class.

Even though it is cold outside, remove your gloves to shake hands in Russia. If not you will be considered rude.

The Russians believe that one should give only odd numbered flowers during happy times, so skip the dozen roses.

Whistling inside is considered a curse of poverty to everyone around you.

If you drink while in Russia, do as the locals do and give a toast, "za vas (to you)."

Enjoy partaking in all Sochi has to offer. Whether it is watching an event or riding a rollercoaster, here's za vas!



Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich; Another Fun Adventure with Stephanie and the Gang!

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Lean Mean Thirteen is the thirteenth book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I am a faithful fan of the series, even though it really is not what it used to be.

I remember the days when I would frantically search for the next book in the series days before it was set to be released in hopes that some over eager store clerk would make a mistake and put up the display early. I didn’t do that this year, mainly because I was going to a Janet Evanovich book signing and had to buy the book there in order to get it signed. But, also because I just wasn’t as excited this year as I have been in the past. I’d just really gotten worn out by the repetitiveness of the series. I mean, seriously, how many cars can one person destroy in a lifetime?

A brief history of the series for those who have not read it. Stephanie Plum is a Trenton, N.J. Bounty Hunter. She’s a bit bumbling and always gets herself in to a mess of trouble, but she’s also smart, sassy, funny, and doesn’t take much garbage from anyone.

Stephanie and her partner in crime, Lula, the bonds office’s file clerk, spend their days and sometimes nights chasing down skips and the rest of the time Stephanie bounces between the two men in her life, Carlos “Ranger” Manoso and Joe Morelli. Steph and Morelli have been on again off again since high school, and Steph met Ranger when he was a full time bounty hunter. Now Ranger owns his own a security company and only picks up high bond skips, like; murderers, rapists, drug lords, dirty politicians. Stephanie and Morelli are usually in couple status, but her feelings for Ranger seem to increase with each book. There are excellent supporting characters in addition to Lula, Ranger, and Joe. Stephanie’s grandmother most notably who often steals the show all on her own.

LMT has Stephanie, Ranger, and Joe frantically searching for the answer to Steph’s ex-husband, Dickie’s disappearance. It seems that Dickie and his law partners may have been involved in some shady dealings, and when Dickie comes up missing, Stephanie is suspect numero uno. Of course, everyone at Dickie’s office saw Stephanie lose her cool with him just hours before his disappearance, so the accusations are not terribly far fetched.

Eventually Stephanie and Ranger discover more dirty dealings than they ever expected to find, but unfortunately none of the discoveries lead to proof of Steph’s innocence. Joe insists she not worry, but Stephanie Plum accused of murder is not a formula that equals no worry. Joe is also being secretive and distant about his current case which doesn’t help Stephanie’s overall calmness factor. When Joe takes off in the middle of the night after a call from the station, Stephanie ends up not seeing or hearing from him for days, and the few times they talk on the phone, he’s grumpy, which has Steph a bit put off and more than curious. When she finally finds out what he’s up to, things start to come together.

Lean Mean Thirteen was not my favorite book of the series, but it was certainly not my least favorite. There were not nearly as many laugh out loud funny moments as other Plums books, but there were many times that I chuckled. There is one in particular scene with Lula losing her cool over a situation with her current honey, Tank that is quite hysterical. Stephanie and Lula also have a few scenes with one of Stephanie’s FTAs, a taxidermist which involves exploding rodents which made me laugh more than once.

Anyone who reads this series knows that one of the most important and often frustrating parts of the story is the triangle with Ranger, Stephanie, and Joe. Joe is her “boyfriend”, but there is a strong attraction between Steph and Ranger that often crosses the line of inappropriate. Fans of the series hold their breaths each year waiting to see which guy will play the bigger role in Stephanie’s heart in the latest book. In the last book, Twelve Sharp, Stephanie took a big step and told Joe she loved him. Of course, after twelve books that span at least five years, the declaration was ridiculously overdue, but let’s not go there. Stephanie finally said it and probably had Morelli fans all over the world fist punching the air saying “YES”!

In Lean Mean Thirteen, Stephanie seems to have settled in to a more committed relationship with Joe, but there is still that not so underlying thing between her and Ranger, which for me, a die hard Morelli fan, was extremely frustrating.

During the days of Joe’s MIA status, Stephanie spends a lot of time with Ranger. Granted, it’s all in the name of business, as they are searching for clues to Dickie’s disappearance and for ways to clear her name of his murder, but regardless, it was still a bit too close for comfort. Joe enlists Ranger’s help in protecting Stephanie from the bad guys, but he most assuredly did not mean Steph should move in to Ranger’s house, which is precisely what she does.

I am a big fan of Joe Morelli and want desperately for him and Stephanie to find happily ever after together. Because Janet Evanovich has said Stephanie will not choose between the men until the last book of the series, I know I have some waiting to do. It seems that all arrows point to my desired conclusion, but I wish at this point, Stephanie had more strength when it came to standing up to Ranger and telling him to take a hike. She’s much better at it, but it’s obvious her heart’s not always in it. Maybe not sleeping at his house and not wearing his clothing would be a step in the right direction?

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was that in all other areas of Stephanie’s life, she really seems to be maturing and growing up. She is not as bumbling as usual, and although she’ll never win Bounty Hunter of the year, she’s come in to her own as far as her job and could almost be considered good at it.

Lula and Grandma Mazur were around frequently, which is always a bonus, and we had two Plum dinners to enjoy, one with Ranger in attendance and one with Joe. It’s always fun when Stephanie’s family sits down to the dinner table. The possibilities for humor are endless.

Overall, Lean Mean Thirteen was a light, fun read. It did not have the comedy or the depth of previous books, and there were things about it that made me think it might be time for Stephanie to hang up her handcuffs, don that wedding dress and walk off with Morelli in to the sunset. But, I’m sure when next June rolls around, I’ll be happy Janet didn’t take my advice.


News Is a Fun Place to Play Even More Vintage Nintendo Games

Posted by Frederick Parker on

I have been cruising EBay and Craigslist for months now trying to find a great deal on a NES system so I could play all of my favorite past time games but now I have found another site dedicated to emulation of NES games. The site is and it has 500 NES games for you to choose from and it has some of my all time favorite games that didn't have. Since the discovery of this totally free site I have abandoned all plans of buying a NES system, why spend $50 bucks and only get a few games and an old system when I can play all of my favorites on my computer at home?

The website is very simplistic and easy to use. Once you get to the site first thing I would do is click on the option that says Public Terminal Mode, once you click it the option will be set to on. This makes sure that your machine will be able to load the Java virtual machine in the window, for some reason Microsoft blocks it and this option will make it work properly. Otherwise if you leave this option off then you might see a page that says page can not be loaded, if you click on a game and this happens then come back to the home page and toggle this to on. You shouldn't have any other issues once this is turned to the on position.

You also have the option to turn the sound off if you want, I guess in case you are playing a loud game or don't know how to work your computers sound, what ever the reason they have included this option. Once you have your options set then you can go to the games, I stick mainly to the English language games because I am more familiar with them. What ever game link you click on will bring you to a long list of games you can play, now you just have to make the difficult decision of which game you want to play first!

I was impressed with the selection of games they have, I found so many that didn't have and was very pleased with some that I wanted to play badly but the other website didn't have. gets an A+ for game selection.

So next I was wondering if the quality of the games would be as good as and I have to say that the games are actually more impressive. Most of the screens are larger than at and game play didn't ever freeze, which was a common problem I had with . The quality is by far better here at compared to and I am going to stick to this site for most of my NES gaming from now on.

The games load so fast it's amazing, I mean I know the Nintendo was only an 8-bit system but still other sites that offer emulation of these games don't load nearly as well. The game play is always steady and I love this site for just killing time during the day or night. To use you will need a computer that has internet of course, and very minimal system requirements. Just a mere 192 MB of RAM and a Pentium 3 or better processor, so it's not heavy on system resources.

The website also has a forum and a help page incase you run into issues or just want to discuss the website. In the help section there is an extensive FAQ with some answers to common questions and a place to request a game be added to . There is also a section where you can donate to because as they state on their website hosting fees get expensive for a site like this and to keep it free to all the users. So think about a possible donation before you start to play or after if you are as impressed with the site as I was.

This is a very impressive site with hundreds of my favorite games from my childhood past, I have spent hours here playing games and Re-Learning how to win them. I didn't remember excite bike being this hard! I have had lots of fun here and hope you all will too, it's a great way to reminisce about your past and relive those childhood memories, also teach these young punks what real games were like! My cousin can take in Madden 2007 but he can't stop be and Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl!

Have fun playing the games and be sure to check out if you can't find a title you like at . So don't waste your money buying an old NES when you can play almost any game you can think of right on your home computer!



Menewsha, Fun New Online Avatar Community

Posted by Frederick Parker on

Menewsha is an online avatar community that was founded in January of 2007, and has grown a lot since. It is in its Alpha stages now, but you can still do a lot of fun things there!

The sidebar of the website is easy to navigate, and contains most of the links you will need. Other useful links are easy to find also, they are located underneath the well drawn banner that is on every page. Menewsha has very good artists working for them, the art around the site is very nice and professional looking.

One of the cool things you can do on the site is create your own customized avatar to use that will represent you on the forums. You are able to choose your avatars hair, eyes and mouth.There are plenty of choices and they are all very well drawn and fun to choose from. You have the option to change these as many times as you want, for no gold, so don't worry about it if you like more than one of the styles of features. Once you choose your avatars features, you can look through the shops to see what clothes you will want in the future, seeing as your avatar is only in their underwear now! I find this good though, because unlike websites that give you starter clothes, at Menewsha you have to work to get gold to buy your first clothes! There are different ways to get gold, currently there is the card game and posting on the forums. If you are playing the card game you can bet your gold and pick a card. If you pick the right card you get double your gold, but if you pick the wrong card, you lose your gold. At the forums, it's less risky trying to get gold. All you have to do there is post! You will find that you get caught up in conversations and make new friends, soon you will have a bunch of gold without even realizing it! With almost 2000 users and many forums to post on you are sure to find someone you get along with! You might even find someone you know, because a lot of people (like me) hop from avatar community to avatar community! Don't forget to post on the newbies forum, when you are a newbie. There will be a ton of people waiting to welcome you!

Now, once you have posted on the forums and played cards until you have enough money, you are ready to buy clothes. It's lots of fun looking through the eight stores of Menewsha that carry all sorts of pixel clothes and cool things in search of the perfect outfit. If you don't find what you want the first time you look, don't worry, either the artists will put something new and fancy in the shop that will catch your eye, or when you go on the forums, you will see another persons avatar wearing something that you like, but didn't seem to see when you were looking through the shops. Looking at other peoples avatars is a good way to imagine how something in the shops would look on your avatar, since there dosn't seem to be a preview feature in the shops yet.

Don't forget to make a bank account also, once you get enough money to do so that is. You can earn a 5% monthly interest rate on gold that you have in the bank.

Journals are an interesting feature of Menewsha. You can make a journal, read other peoples journals and even comment on their journal posts.There are lots of people telling interesting stories in their journals, why not join in?

You will notice that there is a trading link on your sidebar as well. From here you can check out your trading activity that you have been doing with all of the items in your inventory.

So, as you can see, there are tons of fun things to do and many friends to make at Menewsha! Hope to see you there soon!