All posts by Jacob Bohall

I’m Getting Married!

Proposal Painting

I proposed to Michelle in March (via the painting Chandler and I painted), and am looking forward to sharing our lives together…

The final date is November 10th, and we will be having an intimate wedding at the King’s Daughter’s Inn in Durham. You can get more of the details by visiting our official shared site at

I will likely keep this blog going for my personal rants and random thoughts, but will share my family experiences at the site.


Merry Christmas from Allstate?

Hi Thomas,

I have always had Bob XYZ as my agent, but you are now listed on the website as my agent when I login, so I am now contacting you.  In addition, I will be sending a copy of this email to Bob XYZ and posting a copy on my website.  I was not able to find a general customer service email for Allstate that I could also involve.

I cancelled all three of my Allstate policies effective midnight 11/1/2011.  I had paid my renters (renewed 08/11) and motorcycle (started 07/11) policies in full, but was making monthly installments on my auto policy (renewed 08/11).

When speaking with Bob regarding the cancellation of my policy, we went over the fact that there would be “penalties” for cancelling my policies, and discussed the refunds I would receive on the motorcycle and renters policies, as well as the bill that would be due for the auto policy.

Within a week of cancellation, I started receiving significant amounts of “spam” mail to my home from Allstate.  I understand, but do not appreciate, these aggressive attempts to win back my business.  With equal swiftness to the spam mail, I received an invoice for the outstanding balance on my auto policy.  It has been less than 60 days since my policies were cancelled, and I believe I have received 2-3 notices for my outstanding balance.

Continue reading Merry Christmas from Allstate?

Dalai Lama Quote

“When asked “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”, the Dalai Lama answered:

“Man…. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Dalai Lama XIV


It has been pointed out to me in the comments, etc.. that this was not a quote by the Dalai Lama XIV, but rather falsely reported to be the case across the web.   I shared this quote not because of “who said it” but because of the meaning of its content. Thanks to my readers, I can report the original author of this quote was James J. Lachard, while writing under the penname Jim Brown in his writing “I Dreamed I Had an Interview with God”.   The full text of which is here:

 I Dreamed I had an Interview with God.

 “So you would like to interview me?” God asked. 

“If you have the time”, I said … God Smiled.

“My time is eternity, … what questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered.

“That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up and then long to be children again”

“That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future, that they forget the present, such that they live neither in the present or the future.”

“That they live as if they will never die and die as if they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while.  And then I asked.

“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons that you want your children to learn?”

God replied with a smile.

 “To learn they cannot make anyone love them, what they can do is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to other.”

“To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love and it takes many years to heal them.”

“To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that there are persons who love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”

‘To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they must forgive themselves.”

“And to learn that I am here … ALWAYS.”

James J. Lachard (Jim Brown)

WTF is “Natural Flavor”?

Checking out the pantry, I discovered a jar of Planters Five Alarm Chili natural flavor with other natual flavor Dry Roasted Peanuts.  Such an interesting byline to put on the front label of your product.   Now I’m wondering, wtf is natural flavor anyway?… and why are they mixing it with “other natural flavor”?   Here are the labels: 

So, on the back of the label under ingredients:

They have things you would probably expect: peanuts, sea salt, brown sugar, dried onion, dried chili pepper, dried garlic and dried tomato.  But, you won’t find them in that order.

They sprinkle in things that sometimes seem silly, for example: cornstarch and modified cornstarch..  are they disguising their secret ingredient in corn starch?

There are those things I only vaguely understand their purpose: gelatin, dried corn syrup, and gum arabic.

Things I completely don’t get, such as: maltodextrin and autolyzed yeast.

Then, there are these two seemingly intentionally vague phrases to describe ingredients: spices and natural flavor.

Well, I don’t see the “other natural flavor”.  Why is it on the front, and what is natural flavor.    I wonder what other people think.  I”m going to find out and come back to this.

Continue reading WTF is “Natural Flavor”?

Where DVDs Go to Die: Writable DVDs Often Don’t Disclose Life Expecentancies

Let’s face it – ever since the advent of the digital camera, you got a little bit trigger happy. Why take only 1 picture of the cheesy statue you saw on the family road trip when you could take 40? Of course you need to take a picture every day of your baby’s growth for the first year (and, come on, you know it is going to take at least 5 snap shots to get it right). Like most consumers, eventually you realized you don’t have time to go through every picture, and don’t want to throw them away – so how do you store them?

Many consumers have turned to the now almost ubiquitous writable and rewritable DVD technology (DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM) to store these massive quantities of images, songs, family movies, documents and whatever else they are trying to clear from their desktops, phones, and cameras. But unfortunately, many don’t realize that these storage devices don’t offer perfect protection.

So, How Long Do DVDs Last?
I wish that we could give an exact number, but unfortunately there is a huge range. Let’s start with those factors that can impact the life expectancy of a writable or rewritable DVD.

  • Type of Disc: Writable discs tend to last longer the rewritable
  • Manufacturing Quality: Buying the cheapest disk might mean a shorter life span
  • Condition of Disc Before Recording: How clean was the disc? Had it already been sitting on a shelf for 3 years when you got it? Unrecorded, the shelf life of many dvds is only 5 to 10 years.
  • Quality of Recording: Was the disc professionally recorded, or did you burn it on your home computer without error checking?
  • Handling and Maintenance: Has this disc been stored away for safe keeping, or have you been using it in your car stereo?
  • Environmental Concern: Has this disc been sitting in your air conditioned home or stuffed in a box in the garage? Heat and humidity can wreak havoc on optical storage

Given all of this, what is the real life expectancy of a DVD? Well, manufacturers would like you to believe that a DVDR will last you anywhere from 30 to 100 years while DVDRws will last up to 30 years! Well, the good folks at have looked a little more closely (if you haven’t guessed, archiving is pretty important to them). Their “experiential life expectancy” which is a measurement of how long the storage is still readable is closer to 2 to 5 years.

How Do I Make My DVDs Last Longer?
There are several steps you can take to make the disc last as long as possible

  • Only handle the disc by the outer edge and center ring. Never touch the shiny surface either before or after recording.
  • Store at 62 to 70 degrees Farenheight and 35 to 50% relative humidity. Do not allow the temperature to fluctuate more than 2 degrees or humidity more than 5%
  • Store them in their specific “jewel case”
  • Store the “jewel cases” in plastic or steel containers

The best solution, though, is to have multiple back up plans and semi-annually transferring data to new discs while keeping the old discs as copies. There is safety in redundancy.


This guest post was provided by a staff writer at

Sir Ken Robinson on Education

A while back I started writing an opinion piece regarding education… I never quite finished it. My overall point in the piece was that our current education system is so ineffective that it literally makes our children less intelligent when it comes to their ability to learn and retain useful information. Moreover, it creates an environment in which it becomes practically impossible for a child to discover their passion in a manner that is healthy or conducive for expansion of that passion.

Please watch this video, as Sir Ken Robinson does an exceptionally great job of making a similar point… albeit in a way far superior to my stream of conscious rantings.

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Playing Guitar on a Sat

I’ve slacked on my hobby of playing guitar (can you slack on a hobby?)… and decided to spend some time this morning playing around with the digital loop pedal and drum machine…   Put together a little jam, and then recorded it onto my phone.   The sound quality is crappy,  maybe I’ll find some software on the cheap that will let me put the tracks together properly and cut out all of the crappy notes.

Here’s the raw cut, no polish: