Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Satellite Radio

My rental car that I took to Birmingham this week had satellite radio in it. My first real experience with it.
It was ok. I did enjoy the clarity of it and the fact that even though I was in the car for 4 hours and traveled a couple hundred hours, my stations stayed the same the whole time.
What surprised me, was that I ended up changing stations a lot more than I thought I would. Sure, it's commercial free, but all the stations played a lot of crappy songs. And there is no station that plays all current music. The "top 40" station is like, top 40 of all time, and there is just no good transition from Fall Out Boy to Debbie Gibson. Also, its not really commercial free. Yeah, there are no commercials for businesses, but there are plenty of advertisements for the other satellite channels and for the specialty shows that are on them. Maybe I'm just too picky about my music, I just found myself changing channels possibly more than I do with regular radio.
I did enjoy ESPN Radio, but I don't need Sirius for that, it's nationally syndicated most places and I listen on the Internet as well.
I really enjoy listening to comedy while I drive, so I was looking forward to the comedy channels. But alas, it's comedy bits and about the time I get used to one comic, they change right out to another. I guess I don't like my comic to change so often.
All in all, it was ok, and if you were in your car a lot, I could justify the cost. Only being in my car 30 minutes a day, I just don't think its worth it to me.
I do recommend Napster though. Worth every penny if you listen to music much on your computer. I'd go crazy at work most days without it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rental Car Tires

I'm having some bad luck with rental care tires lately. My last rental in Colorado Springs got a flat tire that we had to have repaired. Then today on my way to Birmingham for work, a light in my Dodge Magnum (yep, it's a Hemi) started flashing and beeping on the dashboard. I had to look it up because its a weird looking light. Turns out, it's the tire pressure monitoring light. It detected a tire was low on air. So, I pulled into a gas station with no cash and no change. No cash back. Went to another gas station, and another, and then Wal-Mart. Grrrr. Finally, after getting some cash back from Wal-Mart, I went out to the air thing, and guess what? Out of order. I had to go back to one of the previous gas stations and put air in. However, the car doesn't tell you which tire is low and since I didn't have a tire pressure gauge handy, I had to put air in all the tires. Fun, fun. All in all, that tire pressure light cost me a 30 minute delay trying to find cash back somewhere and a working air compressor. Two straight rentals with tire problems, what are the odds.
On a side note, I got to pick my car yesterday. Dodge Magnum, Chrysler 300, or Toyota Prius. Save the Earth vs. Screw the Environment. Obviously, I chose Screw the Environment, give me the hemi. The 300 was my first choice, but it smelled like smoke inside, so I'm trying out the Magnum. Pretty nice so far, its roomy and has satellite radio (which I'll blog about later) so it was more equipped for the drive

Fall TV Review

I guess I better write this before they all get cancelled. I try not to watch too much TV, but of what I do:

Chuck - Good concept. I like the idea of a computer guy working with spies and federal agents on missions and succeeding, but the "computer in the brain" plot line is a little too unrealistic for me. Plus, the show lacks something. I'm not even sure what, but with every week the jokes get a little worse and the action a little more unbelievable. I guess its meant to be an action and not a comedy, but is too little action and its confusing as to whether its a comedy, action, or drama. Decent show, but could be a lot better.

Journeyman - Well, if "computer in the brain" wasn't unrealistic for you, there's random time travel following people through time and seeing just how powerful Google really is. Oh, the people who could have been saved had Google been around in the 80's. I actually like this show, but I also enjoyed "Quantum Leap" and "Sliders." Has its flaws as well (he'd have been fired, divorced, and committed by now), but worth watching.

The Office - Not a new show, but still the best show on TV. The premier wasn't as good as the rest of the season has been and some of the hour long shows were a bit of a comedy stretch. A little too unbelievable even for Micheal Scott, but still good.

Big Bang Theory - I really like this show. I don't think it'll make it past midseason because the audience has to be pretty small, there just isn't a big demand for nerd humor. Socially inept nerds probably don't make for big time primetime ratings. Worth watching, you can catch up online.

How I Met Your Mother - Seriously, how long is this story? Still no sign of "mother"? And would you really tell your kids these stories?

CSI - Disappointed season so far, I think. Naturally, I'm not going to stop watching just yet, but none of the plotlines this season have kept my attention. The Sarah/Grissom thing isn't as interesting now that its out and its too blatantly obvious that the new girl and Greg are going to get together.

The only show I watch on ABC is Lost, which doesn't return until Febuary 2008 and even only for a partial season. Why? Do they not know what to do next? Talk about losing your audience. No TV show should be able to take almost an entire year off. If there aren't a lot of answers when it does finally return, their viewers will drop off quickly, including me.

Which by the way, get some new shows ABC. Nothing on your network even looks interesting to me.

The Evil HOA

In my "Back to Reality" post, I mentioned that I had a "conversation" with my HOA manager when we got back from vacation. Some of you have heard the full story, but some haven't so here goes.
Jeni's car is, from now on, to be referred to as "Kitt". That's right, the famed car that saved David Hasselhoff on countless occasions now has a Saturn brethren. The reason for this, we got a warning while we were on vacation for parking the car in the grass while we were gone. The thing is, the car was in the driveway when we left and it was in the driveway when we got back. Since Jeni and I have the only keys, the only explanation is that it moved itself while we were gone, Kitt-style.
My contention is that since this probably didn't really happen, the HOA manager should revoke the warning. Correct? Afterall, if I call up and explain politely that we were out of town and that the car was in the driveway the whole time and it is impossible for it to have moved, a sensible person would have negated the warning. Not our HOA. So, I called up there, laid out my case and said "Therefore, I think you need to reverse the warning." 'Sir, I think you don't need to be calling up here telling me what I should or should not do. You have no business telling me how to do my job. What I saw is what I saw, you can not debate that. MY SAY IS FINAL!! YOU HAVE NO RECOURSE!!" This is when I decided logic and reason would not work.
After some debate, I asked her, "So you're telling me, that this car moved into the grass by itself temporarily so that you could give us a warning and then moved itself back?" Her response, "Yes". My response, "Well, that's a miracle". Her response, "Yes, sir, it is." This infuriated me.
In the end, she hung up on me, but not before reminding me that I had no case and that legally, it's my word against hers and that hers is worth more than mine.
First of all, I'm not sure why her word is worth more than mine. Secondly, I don't think its just her word against mine. I have travel receipts that say we were out of state, I have several eye witnesses as to where the car was parked, and the car can be inspected to show that it doesn't have a kitt computer in it.
However, it's just a warning, so there are no charges to dispute in claims court. The thing that makes me mad is that we get one free warning and the next one costs us. So, our freebie is an absurd, fabricated lie that I can't dispute, and if we have guests over or for any reason I have to move the car into the grass or street temporarily and she comes by, she can fine us.
I just don't understand why every dealing with her ends in an argument, even our annual meetings. In any "conversation" with her, she is instantly on the defensive. Has been since about 15 minutes into our first HOA meeting involving her.
Honestly, I can't imagine a worse HOA experience that what we've had and its unbelievable how impolite and spiteful she can be and keep her job.
She so spiteful and malevolent, we can't do anything to her or she'll just start giving us tic tac fines for our mailbox being too faded or confuse one our shrubs for a weed and fine us for having weeds. Realistically, since her word is final and not debatable, she could sabotage our house and then fine us for "changing the appearance".
We gotta move.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Feel like a winner!

Free tacos for everyone! Jeni and I were fortunate. We were switching back and forth from our normal Thursday night TV schedule and game 2 of the World Series Thursday and were lucky enough to see Jacoby Ellsbury steal second and win us and every other US American a free taco from Taco Bell. Taco Bell has been doing stuff like this for a while (at Clemson, we all get free tacos if the team scores 28 pts or more), but this is huge. Just go into any Taco Bell between 2 and 5 pm next Tuesday and get your free taco. I got to say, sitting there, watching Jacoby steal that base, we felt like winners. And you can too, chowing down on your own free taco. I would just like to say, I called it. When Ellsbury got on base, I told Jeni right away, we have a great chance at a taco standing right there on first base and not to change the channel just yet. And sure enough, stolen base.
I'm just glad the Sox are up 2-0. I look for Colorado to bounce back and win Game 3 and possibly Game 5. Red Sox in 6.
Go Sox!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Life of a President

Political musings for a change...
I was following a car in this morning that was covered in politcal bumber stickers and I got to thinking. We can remove the two term limit for a president now. I'm not sure if anyone, Republican, Democrat, any party, could survive more than 2 terms in our current culture. As the end of the 8 years approaching, the media, Internet and opposing party have been working so hard for so long at making the current President look bad, that the American psyche buys into it. Bush wouldn't stand a chance at getting elected a 3rd term, and maybe I'm wrong, but Clinton wouldn't have either. If I remember correctly, we were all ready for a change. And whoever is elected this coming election, if they are re-elected, you watch, about midway through their second term, everyone will be against them and ready for a new president.
In my opinion, FDR was one of the greatest presidents we ever had. It makes me wonder if he would have gotten elected for that 3rd or 4th term in today's society. What if thousands of bloggers, Steven Colbert, SNL, CNN, MSNBC, all who are going to find faults with, point out mistakes, mock, and generally doubt everything about any one elected president? It's got to wear on the person and I know it wears on the public.
I don't want you think I'm some kind of Bush supporter or apologetic, just musing some on the matter.
Nowadays, perception is reality, and with the world getting smaller everyday, I think the media has a big say in altering that perception. FDR wouldn't stand a chance. That Hoover Dam is one penny over budget and CNN would blast him up one side and down the other. Environmentists would be all over him for all the road construction, city rebuilding, etc.
Just something to think about...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What's New?

At work this morning in passing, someone asked me "What's new?" Someone else always asks me "What'd ya know?" I gotta say, there are no good answers to these questions. Those are not the kind of questions you ask someone in passing. Whatever happened to "How's it going?" or "What's up?". Questions that don't really require a detailed answer. Especially "What'd ya know?" Maybe I'm just socially inept and that's why I have no clue how to answer. Wait, I am socially inept. Regardless, I never know how to answer "What'd ya know." What is he looking for? "It's raining out." "The Rockies don't have a chance in the World Series" "Elephants are raiding villages in India looking for beer". "Trying to push applications to 372 blackberries is impossible" There are sooo many answers to the question that I never know how to answer and always end up sounding like an idiot. And to answer "What's new?", I feel like I should start with "Well, how long do you have?" There's always something it seems like, but is it ever anything the person really cares to hear? Also, apparently, I'm not very quick on my feet in these situations because I can't ever think of anything new or anything that I know when asked. That might be getting back to that being socially inept thing. Anyway, just some random thoughts for you while I wait for 33 GB of files to finish transferring.

Elephants electrocuted in drunken rampage

So, I was setting up a server yesterday, and had to open Internet Explorer for the first time and got shoved down my throat because Microsoft thinks we should all get our news from them.
Anyway, I saw the headline above and I had to detour briefly to see what it was about.
Apparently, elephants in India raid villages and one of the things they go after is the rice beer that the village folk brew. They have so many elephants, that's it becoming a problem. Drunken elephants raids that is.
I was thinking, we need to make a mockumentary about this. It can be a movie that follows a band of elephants as they raid villages looking solely for rice beer. I can see it now, the elephants have matching tattoos on their shoulder of an angry elephant or something. I don't even know where the shoulder is on an elephant, but that'd be funny. The attacks could be coordinated, one could stop by the pond on their way in and fill up his trunk with water to spit at people who try and interfere with the raid. Another one just goes around knocking over huts and raising up and stomping to scare away all the villagers, while the others search for the beer. Those things are always pooping though, so someone would have to get pooped on. We could try and make that part comical.
The bad thing is, the movie would probably have to end on a sad note. Let's be honest, there's just not much good that can come of a band of alcoholic elephants on the warpath. Maybe at least we could follow their tusks all the way to eBay and then show someone getting arrested for buying and selling ivory on the Internet, so there is a brief ray of light at the end.
Anyway, enough fooling around, you can read the full article here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back to Reality

Vacation Over, for schizzle.

-Limp Along (Austin) is back to normal, for those of you wondering. His sneezing fit that he picked up while on the foot medication is pretty much over as well.

-Works sucks. Came back to thousands of emails and hundreds of questions. It never seems to stop. You'd think I was gone for weeks, but it was only 4 days. And I'm overdue on projects I was assigned while on vacation. Yep, I'm late on doing work that I didn't even know I was supposed to be working on. Anyone looking to hire a good IT guy? I'm ready to go back to Colorado.

-After a "conversation" with my HOA today (which I will post about later, I'm still too upset to even think clearly about it), I've decided we can no longer call our house our home. It just doesn't sound right. We clearly have no stake of ownership in it. After the bank, we are like 4th or 5th in line, and I don't even know some of the people in the line. I don't even think its right to put our last name in the title of the place, therefore, it is now the Reedy River Inn and Suites. We basically live in an expensive hotel suite, with no maid and no free continental breakfast. Wireless Internet is free, on a clear night when you can find a neighbor who has an open, unsecure network, or you can pay a premium and get your own connection. You can also pay to get water, cable, electricity. It's basically, hotel a la carte. I better wrap this post up quickly, my car has been parked in the same place for too long, I have to go move it or I'll be in violation. I keep looking for the front desk so I can check out of this place and check into a house not in a subdivision. If you need me, I'll be here, just ringing this little bell for service, going a little crazier every day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last Vacation Post

I'm currently blogging from high atop a red rock formation in the Garden of the Gods. Its absolutely beautiful. It really goes to show you how modernized even our wilderness is now as I have almost a full signal on my Blackberry. Feels so good being out in Gods creation hiking around.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Life Church

Gotta give some props to our worship pastor at our home church, Crossroads. We attended New Life Church in Colorado Springs yesterday. The worship pastors there are Jared Anderson and Ross Parsley and Jon Egan. Ross and Jared, in particular, have published tons of praise and worship songs, have recorded albums, and pretty well known in the praise and worship genre. However, they didn't hold a candle to our worship leader, David Walker. David Walker, you rock. Really, seriously, I'd take our worship at Crossroads over those guys any day of the week.
What was impressive about New Life was their audio/video setup. They had a tech booth manned by 6 people running lights, cameras, at least 8 projection screens for series graphics, and 7 video projection screens showing the stage and song lyrics. Plus, they had a sound booth that had another guy. All in all, it was quite the production.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Jeni and I are 2 full days into our vacation and having a great time. Yesterday, we rode a train up to the top of Pikes Peak. The views were astonishing. Truly spectacular. Of course, it was astonishingly cold at the top as well. About 50 degrees colder (it was 26 degrees) and the thin air made it seem colder to us. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon in the Garden of the Gods. Something about the red rocks just speaks to Jeni. She loves them. We climbed up to the top of one and just sat for a while and took it all in. You can't capture the Rockies in photos, everyone should come out here.
Today, our rental had a flat tire when we went out to it. Instead of just filling it with some air and letting it blow out on me up in the mountains, I took it down the street to Discount Tire Co. They hooked us up and got us back on the road in no time and didn't charge us anything. (Probably helped that I buy all my tires there). I felt much more confident behind the wheel then. We drove up to Denver for a Pumpkin Festival (gotta love the fall festival food) and to see downtown, Coors Field, and Invesco Field. I'm not a Broncos fan, but Invesco is a really neat stadium. Nice design, and tied nicely to the team. Some stadiums are pretty generic, but you can definitely tell that the Broncos play there. We scratched plans to go to Vail and Aspen though as they as expecting a couple feet of snow this weekend and came back to Colorado Springs. There is still plenty more to do here and hotel recommendation if you are ever in the Springs: Travelodge. We checked right back in here. Great rates and nice rooms and free wireless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

American Gladiators

As some of you may have heard, NBC is going to redo the classic "American Gladiators" show for midseason. Whatever show gets canned, will be replaced by it, my guess right now is "Chuck" or "The Singing Bee".
But that is a different post. What's funny is the casting application for Gladiators. I stumbled across a link to it the other day. It's hilarious. You have to read over it. It asks some classic questions like "How are you competitive in every day life?" Well, I'm glad you asked. Often, when me and another co-worker are both going to the water cooler at the same time, I start running so I get there first, like an impromptu race.
"How would you use the American Gladiators prize money". Let me count the ways. Gym membership, steriods, HGH, protein shakes, and Coke Zero.
There are a ton of questions about who you have lived with, who you are living with, for how long, etc. I guess they are looking for compatibility? That confused me.
Anyway, my favorite question are questions #39 and #40.
39) In the lines below, write a poem or rap. Seriously? How does that qualify you to be on American Gladiators?
40) Draw a picture of yourself in the box below. Yep, that's really a question on the application. I can only imagine some of the pictures they got. I wish they would publish those.

You can see the full application here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

News and Notes

Nebraska State Senator Sues God Over Natural Disasters - That's right, he's protesting frivolous lawsuits by filing ... a frivolous lawsuit. The suit asks for a "permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats." Wow. That's quite the statement there.
The funniest part of the whole thing to me were the specific acts mentioned. They were "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornados, pestilential plagues". I think he forgot formidable forest fires, desolate, disastrous droughts, tragic, tumultous tsunamis, and venerable, vile volcanic eruptions. Wait, this is fun. I could do this all day. There's also astonishing, abominable avalanches, loathsome lightning strikes, insipid, incurable, insatiable illnesses, fatal, frightful floods, and severe, shocking snowstorms. And all that's not even mentioning that grievous global warming and our outstandingly high oil consumption, etc. I better quit while I'm ahead, I have stuff to do. I could literally do this for hours. I love alliteration.

How well do you know the United States? Officials have released updated questions that are part of the naturalization test required for immigrants to become citizens. To take part of the quiz, you can go here. There was a lot of history questions, I'm guessing our education system is so bad that most high school seniors probably couldn't pass this. I knew all of them but one, for the life of me, I couldn't remember what Susan B. Anthony did. However, I'm not sure how knowing what she did qualifies me to be an American. It certainly doesn't help me to be prove that I am one. I'd like to see more questions that make sure they know how to pay their taxes, obey the law, and about not sneaking in their relatives. Can we quiz them on that?

The Hallelujah Diet - Here's a story about a pastor that's created a "new" diet. It's the Hallelujah diet. Basically, you are eating what Adam and Eve ate. Fruits, berries, vegatable, and nuts. All raw. Adam and Eve didn't have a stove, so everything they ate was raw. Only 15% of the food in the diet is cooked. Apparantly, the guy is in perfect health (at age 73) and has been cured from colon cancer. Several others who are on the diet have also been cured from diseases. Well, hallelujah. I don't think he's ever had my Grandma's fried chicken. Because it is God ordained. Someone was also acting under God's guidance as they came up with peanut butter, chocolate, and fried apple pies. That's all I'm saying.

Limp Along

I'm sure several of your are worried about Austin, he is doing much better. He had a follow up appointment with the vet yesterday. He's still limping, but the cut on his paw is stabbed over and healing. We just have to keep giving him his medicine and putting ointment on it. Also, it was advised that we have him soak it in epsom salts. I'm not sure its even possible to hold a cats paw in water for any length of time, but we'll see. It beats trying to do what we read online, which was to ice it for 10-15 minutes several times a day. I mean, I would ice a bum ankle myself, but how do you get a cat to let you ice its paw for 10 minutes? I guess if you enjoy getting scratched up.