Friday, November 28, 2008

Fried Foods and Riding a Bike

Recently, I had one of my theories broken. That theory was, if you fried it, I'd eat it. Lots of foods I'll eat fried, but not any other way. For example, pumpkin blossoms, zucchini, squash, etc. And until recently, I hadn't had a fried food I didn't like. That all changed when I bit into what I thought was a fried potato wedge that turned out to be fried pear wedges. That's right, fried pears. And they were not good. I can't really describe the taste, other than to say that it was chewy and thick. It didn't soften up nearly as much as other fried foods. Yuck. There goes that theory.
On the other hand, I proved another oldie but a goodie. I rode a bike for the first time in nearly 15 years and remarkably (despite feeling really weird when I first got on) I still did know how to ride. So things that you don't forget how to do, really is "like riding a bike." However, what I did forget about riding a bike were two things. One, how the gears worked. I never knew whether I wanted to downshift or upshift and I always seemed to go the wrong way with it. I guess this is one of the problems with always being lazy and driving an automatic. Two, how physically exhausting it is, especially over hilly terrain. Several times, I just had to get off the bike and walk it up the hill. We only rode for like 30 minutes, but I felt like I'd just toured France. And in hindsight, riding in jeans and a sweater were probably not the best ideas, but I did sweat off those 5 extra pounds I'd been wanting to lose.
I'm so glad we invented cars, riding a bike is too much work!

Vacation Day 5: Hollywood

Finally, the long awaited final vacation day post. Honestly, there wasn't too much to blog about on the last day. We drove into LA and I 'had the privilege' of driving on the 405 for the second time in my life and was reminded once again that LA traffic sucks. From what Jeni could see of it when her eyes were closed (out of fear, not sleep), she thought it was pretty bad too. We visited the Getty Center briefly and then did some window shopping on Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills. Then, walked down Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. Then, we cruised over to Burbank to attend the taping of a TV Show. We saw them film an episode of "The New Adventures of Old Christine." It was pretty cool to watch a show being filmed, much more interesting than I thought it would be and WB did a good job at trying to entertain the audience during all the downtime. We even got a free snack out of it. If you are going to be in Hollywood, check out, you can get tickets for free and with the exception of game shows, there's no waiting in line for 4 hours and hoping to get in. Jeni was ecstatic that we actually sat beside Julia Louis-Dreyfus' son and his friend and she came over and talked to him at one point, so she was within a couple feet of it. Jeni just sat there speechless and staring, just like she did when Wanda Sikes came over a little while later. Overall, it was a pretty good time.
Day 6, we just cruised around San Diego that morning and then caught a flight back to South Carolina and while the vacation was fun and a good break, it sure is good to be back.
As with the other days, click on the picture below for more pictures from this day.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful day, enjoying one of my favorite holidays as it features the 3 F's prominently. Food, Football, and Family. I don't like how it's now the forgotten holiday with Christmas starting as soon as Halloween is over and leaving Thanksgiving as a prep day for Black Friday. I urge all you readers to stay strong and remember Thanksgiving, don't start celebrating Christmas until after.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vacation: Day 4 Legoland

Day 4 was another long one. We spent the night in Carlsbad, CA so we'd be closer to Legoland and the Wild Animal Park. We started out in the Wild Animal Park since it opened earlier. My immediate thought upon getting there was that "oh no, this map was drawn my the same guy who did the San Diego Zoo map". An hour later, yes, it obviously was as we came across our first illogical section of the map and become completely turned around.
Around that time, we found out Tommy Bowden had been fired as my cell began going off like crazy, so I had to spend a few minutes texting and replying to some emails as the new era of Clemson football began.
Not much to say about the Wild Animal Park as we were basically Zoo'd out after being at the San Diego Zoo the day before. So, at lunch time, we headed over to LegoLand. I realized the night before that I'd wanted to go to LegoLand for probably 20 years. And whereas I hadn't lost any sleep over it, I was glad to finally be on the cusp of walking through those golden Lego gates.
Even though we were too old for almost half the rides, it was still pretty amazing. There were Lego's everywhere. Everything was made out of them. They had replicas of entire cities (Vegas, NYC, DC, etc) all made out of Lego with moving parts. The buildings in downtown NYC were 7-8 feet tall. The race cars on Daytona Motor Speedway raced around the track. There were life-size statues of people. All kinds of cool stuff, all in amazing detail. At the end of the faux factory tour that told about how they create Legos's, there was this giant room with Lego's of every size, shape and color. You could make whatever you wanted and then buy it, and as it turns out, there are a lot of lego's per ounce thankfully and I didn't gasp at the price too badly when they ran mine up.
Aside from all that fun, I got to have a torta to eat for the second straight day (one of the joys of being so close to Mexico).
I also came up with a new theory about restaurants. People like Jeni and I (and probably all my readers) need to stick to restaurants with just a first name in the title as opposed to someone's full name. For example, we walked away from the "Anthony James Grill" and had a great dinner at "Tommy's". Skip the "Rick Erwins" and "Sam Snead's" of the world and stick with the "Mac's Drive-In" and "Bucky's type of joint. You'll won't leave hungry and poor like you will at those other guys.
As before, below is a picture from that day, click on it for more.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

Our little angel and devil wish you Happy Halloween as well.

Vacation: Day 3

On day 3, we visited the famous San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park area. We also shopped until we dropped (literally) at Seaport Village.
The San Diego Zoo was very, very large. What bothered me about it was that the map was obviously not drawn by a engineer. I'm normally very good at finding myself on the map and navigating around. But not this map, this map showed roads connecting that ended up running parallel to each other. We didn't stick around for any of the shows, however, I did get Jeni to ride in the sky tram from one end of the park to the other. It was one of those things that sounded like a better idea on the ground than up in the air.
Practically all of the San Diego museums are located in Balboa Park, including the Zoo on one end of it. So we walked around in it some (as if we hadn't walked enough) and saw the San Diego Model Railroad Musuem and the Museum of Photographic Arts. The Photographic Arts museum was not much. In fact, we took more pictures on our trip that what were in the musuem if that gives you any idea how small the 'museum' was. However, at the Model Railroad museum, I found the job I would like to retire into. I can imagine that model train derailment is a lot less stressful than a server crash, and I would gladly walk around pressing green buttons to keep the trains running and talking to tourists about the terrain they are viewing.
We then went to Seaport Village, which for all my South Carolina readers, is the 'Broadway at the Beach' of San Diego. Picked up a couple souveniers and shopped until we could no longer consider taking another step.
Below is a picture of the zoo, like the last post, click on the picture for more photos from that day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mad Skill

This amazes me. I'm not convinced he's actually playing that, but if he is, that's pretty amazing. I love a good wock and woll beat.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vacation: Days 1 and 2

This year for our big vacation, Jeni and I chose sunny San Diego, with a day trip planned to LA.

The first day was mostly a travel day stopped by the WallyWorld and pick up some essentials and get our bearings. We went downtown and shopped around in their historic gas lamp district. We were not that impressed. It was basically just block after block of restaurants, which is fine, we just weren't hungry.

The second day we started out by going down to Little Italy for their Saturday Farmers Market and to explore the Little Italy area. It was pretty cool. We ate at a restaurant called Filippe's Pizza Grotto. Great food, the smell of various, fresh cheeses in the air, abysmal service. They did however have ample wait staff, too many wait staff in wait. It was great opportunity for me to teach Jeni some of what I've been learning in my MBA classes as we discussed the Principle of Diminishing Returns and as she had to go ask our waitress if she was ever going to wait on us. She said no, but that's a different story.
We were then supposed to go snorkeling (something neither of us had ever done) in the La Jolla Cove and caves, but when we got there, they said there was a small craft alert and it was too windy and zero visibility underwater. So, no snorkeling for us. We instead watched a little football back at the hotel and went up to the top of Mount Soledad. It was a really neat view from up there as you could see all of metro San Diego. The unique thing about Mount Soledad is that it's a war memorial, but not just to those to died in battle, in honors those who came back as well.

Then off to Sunset Cliffs for, what else, the sunset. It was just like you see in the movies, with the ocean ending at a wall of rock and cliff.

A couple more quick notes and some pics and I'll continue describing the rest of the vacation in the next couple days.

-I really like Charger and Padre gear. I'm not really a fan of either team, but I don't have anything against either one and I thought they do a do job at being creative with their logo and having a couple different color schemes for each team that mix things up a bit.

-The city was laid out very well. Despite how spread out everything was and how open the area felt, it still didn't take long to get anywhere and the drivers are much better than drivers in other comparatively sized cities. They change lanes a lot, but it's manageable.

Below is a picture from Sunset Cliffs. Click on the picture for more pics from days 1 and 2.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

World Series Prediction

Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 6.

Here's why:
-They finished their series later, seems to be an advantage lately.
-Evan Longoria : Although the odds of Evan being a Devil Ray in two years is about the same as the odds of me playing for the Rays in two years.
-The underdog effect, everyone counting them out should motivate them even more.
-I like the way Tampa plays, reminds me of the Marlins teams that won.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When I'm president: DVR for the radio

We are approaching our 1 year anniversary of having DVR (Tivo as it's sometimes called). I have to say, it's certainly changed my outlook on TV. I find it difficult to watch live TV now, if Jeni and I catch ourselves doing it, we will even go so far as to pause it and talk about our days for bit so that we are behind enough to skip the commercials. Watching commercials at this point seems so ... 2007. I even find that I have trouble paying full attention when watching TV at someone else's house where I can rewind on demand, which brings me to my main point. I've probably always had this problem and DVR has just spoiled me into noticing it. But I seriously need DVR for my car radio. I'm driving along and get to thinking about other things (like paying attention to the road) and totally miss something someone says. And there's no going back. I almost always have to go to when I get to work or when I get home to get the other half of the story that I missed. When is this being invented?

When I'm president... I promise to invest some of your tax dollars into researching and developing DVR for the radio. It's 2008, it should be possible. I'm sure it will stimulate the economy just as much as the bailout plan. Trust me, I took an economics class in high school.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ECU/BYU's BCS Chances and Return of the Picks

This has been posted on my Redshirt Football blog.

Read the post here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Blog

Alright, I'm branching out. Not only will I be trying to post a lot more on the Red Shirt Football blog this season (I have a stragedy at least so I think that might help me), I've started another blog as well. I've been thinking about it a while and bought the domain almost a year ago and didn't do anything with it. Well, it's time. There is barely anything there right now, but add it to the list of blogs you check and I'll be posting there as I have time. Basically, I'll just be finding examples (humourous when possible) of companies and consumers not going green.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Season tickets and re-zoning

My season tickets to see the Tigers play came this week.  One of my favorite days of the year.  As soon as the seal on the envelope is broken, I just like to take a big whiff of the season ticket goodness.  Football season for the tigers is a mere 6 days 10 hours away, and I'm stoked. 

Also, on Monday, Jeni and I did something a little different.  We went to a public zoning hearing.  There is about 40 acres near our house zoned single family dwelling and they want to make it "planned development."  I thought initially that it would be very townhall meeting-ish and a bunch of angry townsfolk would irrationally and unintelligently oppose new development.  It wasn't quite like that.  The developer or developer representative and all those in favor get 10 mins to make their case and then the opposition gets 10 mins to make their case.  And then they ask for all those in favor to stand and be counted and then all those against to stand to be counted.  As someone who was the self proclaimed King of Sim City and invested hours in city planning across Sim City, Sim City 2000, Sim City 3000, and Sim City 4, I found the process and plans presented intriguing.  As Sim City mayor/dictator, I could rezone at will, and I wonder just how much City Counsel takes into account the thoughts of those presenting or if its all just show.  After all, there were 6 hearings on the docket that night, the most people present who disagreed with any on them was about 10.  And none of the arguments against were very good.  The same 3 things were cited in oppostion of each of the properties:  increased traffic, noise pollution, and light pollution.  My complaint (which I chickened out and didn't voice) was that the plans for the development near us looked like a 5th grader did them.  Seriously, crayon was involved.  I'm not against development in that location, I just want it done a little more formally and professionally.  As fas as the 3 standard complaints everyone brings up, first of all, there is a huge misnomer as to what a traffic study consists of.  People complained that obviously one wasn't done or they'd have noticed the deterioting bridge 1 mile away or the fact that it sometimes takes 5 mins to pull out of their subdivision or the that people drive recklessly around there.  I got news for them, none of those are in a traffic study.  Its simply a average number of cars per day and an average speed.  (Crash analysis and sight distance are the only other two things possibly considered). Road conditions and turn out time are not considered.  And should we really slow economic progress so people can get out of their subdivision quicker?  Shouldn't we consider ourselves blessed to be in an area that the economy isn't plummeting in and that new businesses do want to come? Same with noise and light pollution.  I'm sorry, but I'm all for a strengthing the economy in our area (esp during a recession) and if you don't like it, move outside the city.  Don't help the recession along by stifling growth.  Anyway, all that to say, if there is a zone hearing about a property that concerns/interests you, you should check it out.  I know in our case at least, it was good to hear the developers side of the case.  Often, the angry mob is all you hear.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Youngins at concerts

One more post about being old and then I'll stop. I don't want this to turn into "Phil T grows old".
So I went to a concert last night, one of the good things about being old is that you can sit in the back (or balcony in this instance) and take it all in and no one thinks anything of it. In fact, it's expected. Afterall, wouldn't want to break a hip in the mosh pit. And my feet don't hurt when I get home.
Why does it take so long to get the sound right in monitors at concerts? I've never figured that out, surely a band that tours constantly should have it down by now. Or better yet, don't we have a better, more technological way of doing that by now?
Anyway, I digress, the band that opened, they have really grown up. I've seen them maybe 4-5 times over the years opening for larger bands. They are from Greenville, I think the first time I saw them play, their moms had to bring them to the show. Anyway, you how on bands websites where its says who they've opened for, if their sites has one of those, I was at that show. It's been odd seeing them 'grow up' over the last couple years. I don't think they got much better though.
The main band is one of the few bands who I've followed not only their entire career, but who I've been a fan of for over a decade now. There are only a handful of bands whose style is such that I've remained a fan for that long. However, they are a few years older than me (maybe 1-2) and it's weird because the lead singer I've seen gradually go bald. They come into town about every 2 years and every time there is less and less up top and last night, the amount of facial exceeded the amount of hair on his head. Reminded me of this article about how guys view their age that my stepmom forwarded me the other day:
Anyway, if you like heavy rock and don't mind balding lead singers, check out Spoken. I love those guys.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Adding Character and Cavities

I'm glad that August is finally here. For one, because that means football season is almost upon us and for two, because July was a tough month for me to maintain my 'young adult' image. For months, my sister-in-law Allison has been giving me a hard time about how old I am and how I'm no longer a young adult. That I'm an old man. Well, this month I not only had my 10 year high school reunion, but also my first cavity and first gray hair. My wife says the gray hair 'adds character', but I'm not too sure about that. I'm tempted to pull it, but I'm afraid that 3 more will grow back in its place and before you know it, I'll have a gray spike. I'm sure that can disagree with her much after this month. The cavity, luckily was not painful. But apparantly, I'm going to have to start brushing my teeth now, all that bad diet and lazy hygiene finally caught up with me. If you are in the Greenville area and want a pain-free filling, Dr. Ben Daniel is your man. Didn't feel a thing, not even afterwards. As for the gray hair, well, you can't really even see it once it's covered in hair gel and spiked up with all the others. For now, I might just have to live with it. And maybe not...
"Jeni, have you seen my Sharpie?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Deal or Not to Deal... that is the question

During a recent conversation it was brought up that the 'other blogger' on here doesn't appreciate the "Deal of the Day" posts that I do & maybe I should do my own blog after all. I think if I had my own blog that I wouldn't be as consistent with posting as I am on this blog, since this one isn't really my "responsiblity" (yes there is a prize if I use so many quote marks per post) :) Anyway - I need to know from you - do you use the Deal of the Day? Do you find it to be beneficial? Do you think I should limit it to like the Deal of the Week or do I just need to pull up my boot straps & get my own blog? Let me know how you feel about it, because I love deals & I like to share good finds but if no one is using them, then I'm just wasting my time & annoying the 'other blogger'.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Post of a Post

A good friend of ours has a blog & he had a very insightful post the other day. Check it out here.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Riding Sparkles on the trail

Over the holiday weekend Phil & I had the opportunity to go horseback riding at Jerry Cooper's Ranch - Black Horse Run. Let me just tell you it was a pleasure to meet this man. He was kind & gentle with the animals. He made sure that both Phil & I felt comfortable on the horses before taking us out on the trail. The ranch is not that far off of Fairview Road but on the trail you feel like you are so much further out from the city. There are beautiful trees & a lake as far as you can see.

During our trail ride Jerry told us about a previous ride where he had seen a baby black bear run across the trail. You could tell that he just loved doing what he does. We had such a wonderful time & plan to make it back out to Jerry's ranch in the near future. His prices are also quite reasonable. For both of us to ride for an hour it was $75 and the more people that go, the lower the prices are. So if anyone is interested in a group ride (..lifers?) let us know & we'll go enjoy some time together at Black Horse Run.

Jerry Cooper - #864-505-7920

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Princess Party

Back in the day I don't remember having themed birthday parties. Maybe it was because we were in the lower-middle class, maybe it was because I wasn't allowed to watch very much TV so I wouldn't have even be able to know what "theme" I wanted or maybe it was because my parents didn't love me enough, yeah I'm sure that's it. Really though I do have very fond memories of my birthdays growing up. Every year my mom would bake peanut butter cookies & put the number of M&M's on the cookies of how old I would be, sometimes she even let me put the M&M's on there myself. Then I was allowed to invite as many friends as I was old. Just thinking about those times brings a cheerful tear to my eye.

My beautiful niece KDP recently celebrated her fourth birthday that was a "Princess" theme. I wonder if she'll remember that all the princesses (including Ariel) were present on her cake or that she got a TON of presents.... Or will she remember all of the family members that were there & that come to all her birthdays, driving over 3 hours to get there just to share in the celebration? Will she remember years from now how much her parents loved her & that they did everything they could to make her birthdays special? I sure hope so. Happy Birthday Princess, you are truly loved.

Deal of the Day

Another one from Papa John's.
Get an XL pizza with up to three toppings for $15.99. Use the promo code 71508T. May I suggest mushrooms, pepperoni & ital. sausage as your three toppings? Yum! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All Star Games

(cross posted on Red Shirt Football blog)

With the MLB All Star game today, it got me thinking about how little I care for the All Star games. And I think that's true for most people these days. Maybe not, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems like they don't matter nearly as much as they used to. I feel like even as a kid, back then the build up was bigger and they were more anticipated then they are now. I have a couple reasons for why I think the importance and significance of the all star games (for all sports, not just baseball) is down. The first is just access to games. 15 years ago, heck, 10 years ago, not every game was on TV. Not every game was streamed live on the Internet. The guy that sits in front of me in class watches the gamecast for every Braves game during class. We have Baseball Tonight, Sportscenter, Inside the NBA, a dozen NFL and NCAAF telecasts. We are surrounded by sports coverage now. I think that takes away from it some because we are exposed to both leagues and all teams now. Back in the day, you got coverage of your local and sometimes regional teams, but beyond that, you didn't get to see the everyone play. So, the All Star game was a big deal. 20 years ago, if you were a Red Sox fan, that was probably the first TV coverage you caught of any NL players that year. Another factor is interleague play. We are seeing AL teams, AFC teams, Western conf teams, play against the the NL, NFC, Eastern conf. So, it isn't as special. Also, I don't think the conferences mean as much as they used to. Some of this probably goes back to the vast amount of sports coverage we get now. Divisions still matter, but outside of your division, I just don't feel like AFC vs. NFC, etc doesn't have as much weight to it. Again, these are just ramblings and I'm probably off in left field here. But, I can tell you one guy who won't be watching the All Star game tonight and won't regret my decision at all. I just don't have the motivation to watch a meaningless game whose stats don't even help me out fantasy-wise. Maybe that's how we can get people to watch it: 1) fantasy all star challenge? or 2) legalized gambling on all star games. The game doesn't count anyway, why can't we gamble on it?


We saw MuteMath at the Tabernacle last fall & they yet again topped their previous show. We didn't tape any of it, but someone else was able to get some shots. Check them out. New album is coming soon (can't wait!!)

Deal of the Day

The Discovery online store is having their Semi-Annual DVD Sale: Up to 75% Off+ Free Shipping Offer! If you spend $75 or more you will get free shipping. Be sure to check it out they have stuff on there that's not "educational" as well. It's not to early to be thinking about Christmas presents! ;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Deal of the Day

Here's another one for today - Redbox is already such a good deal for a little over a $1 for movie after tax for rentals, now it's even better. Free Rental Monday - use code 83CB4K at your local redbox & get a movie to watch tonight FREE.

Deal of the Day

Happy Monday!
Pet Food Direct is having a sale. You'll be able to save an additional 5% when you use coupon code INSTANT5

Friday, July 11, 2008

Deal of the Day

I really like Ten Thousand Villages. They work with over 100 artisan groups in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to bring you fair trade jewelry, home decor, gifts and more. Fair trade enables artisans to earn a fair wage and provides the opportunity for a better quality of life..

Their Greenville location on Augusta Road is having a sale:
World Caravan Sale
Lewis Plaza Sizzling Sidewalk Sale

Begins tomorrow -- July 12
Continues through Saturday, July 19

Many selected gifts, home decor, jewelry
and more on sale!!

Be sure to check it out & if you can't make the sale, Visit during regular store hours Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:30. They still have great things for reasonable prices.

Deal of the Day

Today at Chick-fil-A they are giving away free food if you come dressed like a cow. Apparently it's "Cow Appreciation Day". Check it out here & if you all do dress up, or have your kids dress up I expect pictures. :)

What's that noise?

Oh, it's just my head pounding. So, we've had an ongoing issue with our cat, Dirty Sox crying/meowing to wake us up in the morning. She actually didn't start with the crying, she first messed with the blinds in the bedroom. We thought we had won. Since she figured out that she couldn't get up on the windowsill, she stands at the end or side of our bed & just cries. We tried calling her up on the bed & petting her, which worked, until about an hour later, wash, rinse & repeat. We tried carrying her out from our room & putting her in the guest bedroom. Which worked, but prevented Austin from being able to get in there & use the litter box. We tried earlier this week taking her out & putting her in the guest bathroom. She HATED that & cried the whole time & pawed at the door. We tried just simply closing our door & they BOTH sat outside of it & cried. So yesterday, exhausted & at the point of giving up, I turned to my friend. The two most common pieces of advice were to use a squirt bottle & to simply ignore the cat because any response from the owner is a response, so the cat will keep on keeping on. Phil & I are against the water bottle because I think it's mean & DS is skittish anyhow & we fear that would prevent her from wanting to come into the bedroom at all. This morning was day one of Mission: Ignore DS. It went okay. She started crying/meowing at about 5:30 & kept on doing it on & off until the alarm went off. She also managed to knock down one of the monkeys & started messing with the blinds because she was so determined to get attention. Day One: Us - 1 DS -0... I think.....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Deal of the Day

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! We had a wonderful day off of work, more about that soon. But now - the Deal of the Day - CVS Photos - Add 50 4x6 prints in your cart, enter promo code 50get20 and pay for only 30 prints . And right now all prints are only .15/ea. so go & get those holiday photos uploaded!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Deal of the Day

Having a bunch of folks over this holiday weekend? Order your pizza online from Papa John's & use coupon code 70308A and get FREE Cheesesticks when you buy a large pizza with three or more toppings at regular menu price. Hope everyone has a safe & fun holiday weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I love me some sales

Shortly after I moved to the south I heard about this great store (Kohl's) that was having a HUGE sale & it was over at midnight that night. Well I LOVE deals so I was all excited to head over there. If memory serves, I cancelled the plans that I had just to go to this sale. It was a "grand opening" sale for a store that had already been opened but they had a store opening in another state, so hey, let's all celebrate. I went to the sale, found some great deals & was all proud of myself for my pickings only to notice that the next week they were having another sale that ends at midnight & hurry in these prices won't last long. This is not to say that I don't like Kohl's, because I do & you CAN find good deals there but if you miss one sale, don't fret they'll be sure to run another one in prob. less than 7 days.

Deal of the Day

Kohl's is having a sale (as always) & shipping is only .99 (if you read the fine print this seems to be per item not total shipping costs - BUT still less than gas these days) So if you are only buying a few things this may not be the deal for you but once you buy up to 5 things the shipping starts going below .99/item.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Deal of the Day

I don't promise to be consistent with these but I keep up on a lot of deals & thought I would share with our lovely readers from time to time. So today's deal:

Carabella's is having a sale & to add to the excitement, use coupon code C384 & get 30% off of already low-priced items.

Friday, June 27, 2008

This had me rolling

This made my day. Hope you all have a wonderful & safe weekend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tales from the trip

Savannah- Glad we went it was good to get away but there were some disappointments. Here come the negativity: ;)

the "dueling" piano bar we went to check out was a step below upstairs @ Wild Wings including a "divorce party" like a bachelorette party but she was wearing a black veil & the group were all wearing black. I'm not making this up. The pianos didn't duel so much as take turns playing different songs.

Hotel room - we only had to pay for one night because we had free night points stocked up from Wyndham Rewards fka TripRewards. First room had ants crawling all over the air conditioner. Second room was perfect

Eating in Savannah was difficult for every meal. The advertised restaurants in town were mostly overpriced & had long waits due to the holiday weekend. Our eating schedule was totally off beginning the day we arrived in Savannah having us eating lunch between 2 & 3 and dinner as late as 9 one night.

Southern hospitality at all places that we went to (exception being Paula Dean's) was lacking BIG TIME. Including the visitor's center. They had pamphlets on a tack board that you had to ask for & one was called "Park Smart". So we asked the guy behind the counter for one & he says ,"I'll tell you how to park smart, it's free after 5 downtown". We were kind of taken aback & didn't get the pamphlet. We got back to the car & were discussing & decided to go back & park because HELLO where do we park BEFORE 5pm?

Tybee Beach was great. We went & toured a lighthouse (yes i went up the stairs but not out on the ledge) and just chilled at the beach for a few hours. We had planned to go to a highly advertised restaurant.. our lack of planning got us again. we went, just beating the dinner crowd (actually were there by 6) sat down & realized ummm we don't like seafood. LOL. We already knew that but they had no FRIED seafood. That is the only kind I will eat. Takes that whole fish taste out of eating fish. :) So we left & went to a restaurant back near the beach that had no wait time & had fried seafood. It was a good meal & we were able to sit & watch the traffic leaving the beach rather than being stuck in it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Working Hard for The Money

I had another one of my hair-brained schemes the other day. I'm always looking for ways to bring in more money & save it up. I 'm a big saver & tend to spend more on loved ones then myself. So since we've had the recent car purchase & with Phil going back to school, I thought it was valid to want to pull in some extra cash. There is a publication that gets delivered in our neighborhood. We'll call it the Neighborhood News. In the NN I saw an ad that you could get extra money to deliver the NN & to email if you were interested. I emailed them right up & didn't hear anything. Figured they filled up fast since it was summertime & there were prob. a lot of college kids home for the summer until I got a phone call 2 weeks ago. Those of you locals know that 2 weeks ago we had record highs in temp on the weekend. The lady called & said that someone had cancelled their route & they needed to have the NN distributed by Tuesday & she told me how much it was & that it was only 400 houses & was I interested? Well of course I was! :) We were having a lazy Saturday so we were able to meet her in town to get the NN that was already supposed to be stuffed in the bags that you hang on the doors. - only to later find out that she lived in my neighborhood & I could have walked to her house to get them-
Well when we met she noticed that there were not in fact stuffed so she told me how much more I would get for stuffing them. Then she told me that the neighborhood had to be done by Tuesday (it was about 4PM on Saturday). Then I realized that 400 houses, is well FOUR HUNDRED houses. I will just come right out and tell you I am NOT directionally savy in any sense. The way the neighborhood was laid out practically every street was connected to the next so it would be hard to just stay on one side of the street without missing houses. We had plans with our Lifegroup for Sunday night, Phil had school on Monday & I didn't want to hand them out last minute. Now you are prob. wondering why does it matter if phil had school on Monday? Well I roped him in to help me with MY project because of the amount of houses & because it was so freaking hot. So we traveled out to the neighborhood, and for 3 straight hours on Saturday night in the heat we handed out the NN on all the doors. It wouldn't have taken nearly that long if you didn't have to actually walk up to every door of all 400 houses, which I knew I would have to do, but didn't realize how much time that would add. We ran out of daylight on Saturday & finished up the last 100 or so homes on Sunday after church, again in the blistering heat. I swear I sweated off at least 4 pounds that weekend, but never fear I ate plenty of Salsarita's with the Lifers that night. I am going to continue to try & hand out the NN as new routes become available, but I told the lady in charge that I think I would prefer to do smaller neighborhoods. (You know that way I don't have to rope my wonderful husband - who by the way has been roped into plenty of other 'I'm in over my head' projects that I decide to take on without ever complaining.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

New Car

Well, I finally did it. I broke down and bought a new car. I'd been looking for one since February, I've driven tons of different makes and models, visited umpteen different car lots across several cities. I hate car dealerships. I hate car shopping. Even when I would find a model I liked, I had trouble finding a car dealer I could haggle with to get the price down to what I wanted to pay for it. Things with my car got worse and it began overheating and needed some work done. At least it has been paid off since March. Anyway, that escalated our search considerably and right as we were at our wits end, we came across our dream car at our dream price. It's great. I love the car. It drives amazing, has a 3.2L VTEC V6, so she has tons of horsepower when needed. It's sporty, but it also has a lot of luxury, which I require in my cars. So, what did I buy. A 2005 Acura TL.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blind Cat

Jeni and I woke up refreshed Sunday morning after the best night of sleep we'd had in almost a month. Why? Because we finally outsmarted our cat, Dirty Sox. It took us a couple weeks, but we did it. See, Dirty had gotten into this nasty little habit of messing with the blinds in our room starting around 5:45-6:00 am time period. After she'd woke us up playing with the blinds, she'd start crying. We tried petting her and giving her attention. Didn't work. We tried messing with the blinds when she sleep. Backfired. She started coming in earlier. We tried locking her in her room when she played with them. (Have you ever tried to wrangle a cat into a room at 5 in the morning? I don't advise it) Somehow she kept managing to get out. She must have some Macgyver in her. So, we tried closing our door. No blinds, but now we had two cats ramming themselves into our door trying to get in and/or crying relentlessly all night. We put doublesided tape on the window sill. Turns out, she likes the flavor of tape. So, we took every stuffed monkey we had, and lined them up on the window sill. There was no where for her to jump up there. And it worked. She still stared right up at one of them and 'gave it the business' as I like to say, basically meowed at it as loud as she could. But that little stuffed monkey stood strong. He wasn't intimidated. So, the monkeys have a new home for a few weeks, retraining the cat not to get up there. Back to sleeping in as late as possible for us! It feels good to win.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

You have to get up pretty early in the morning .....

.... to eat at Paula Dean's restaurant. Very early. Jeni and I visited Savannah over Memorial Day weekend, more on that trip later. One of the things we wanted to do while there was to eat at Paula's restaurant, The Lady and Sons. Jeni is a big fan of Paula and I like to eat Southern cooking, so it was a win-win, we thought. (We've also listened to her autobiography book on CD on a trip, so we felt connected to her). However, they don't take reservations in advance. Every morning at 9:30 am, the hostess comes out to her stand and starts taking names and giving out times for that day. We thought we'd saunter up there around 2 or so and be able to get a dinner slot. Not so. Booked for the day. The hostess said we should come back the next morning [pause] between 7:30 and 8 and get in line if we expected a reservation. [insert Phil jaw drop here] So, the next morning, we got there about 7:40. The line was already well formed. In fact, at 7:40, we were 64th in line. No, I didn't count, the guy behind me did. By 9:30 when the hostess did come out, the line wrapped halfway around the block, crossed the street and wrapped 3/4 the way around the next block. When I say 3/4 the block, I mean, 3 of the 4 sides of the block were all line. We did get to eat there, however, we needed an early time because we wanted to go to the beach that day, So, at 10:10 when we were given our 11:00 time and had to be back there at 10:45 again for opening bell and to get in another shorter line of all the 11:00 times, we didn't have much time to go and do anything. I can tell you that by 10:50, all the times for the day were gone and hundreds of people were then turned away. [As a brief aside, people are stupid. Like I said, this is a LONG line, and yet, I can't tell you how many people just walked up to the front of it and asked if this was the line to get reservations. Um, no, it's that really short line 3 blocks away. It isn't the long line that starts in front of the restaurant at the hostess stand, that wouldn't make any sense. Then, after the hostess is there, countless people just walk right up to her and ask for a time. Can they not see the line of people? In fact, this is such a problem, that they actually have two hostess. One to take peoples names from the line and one to stand there and turn the idiots who can't see the line away and tell them how a line works.] So anyway, as I'm sure you are all wondering, yes, the food was great. The fried chicken on the buffet was piled high and was delicious. Probably the best restaurant fried chicken I've ever had (still can't beat Grandma's), and everything on the buffet was excellent. Neither of us were fans of the hoe cakes though (cornbread pancakes). The biggest letdown factor for us is that hardly any restaurant could live up to the essential 3.5 hour wait we had. We are glad we went, but be prepared to wait if you go. Below is a picture the line with Jeni asleep in it soon after we got there. And also a picture of fried chicken on the buffet.

Friday, May 30, 2008

7-Foot Optimus Prime

Anyone have an old clunker car sitting around that no longer runs? Need something to do with it because your HOA things that cars up on blocks in the front yard is not advisable? I ran across the article below where someone contrusted a 7 ft tall Optimus Prime from old car parts. I think he has too much time on his hands.

Update on Time

It appears as if everyone who commented agrees that to push something back would be to make it later in the day, and to move it up would make it earlier. Which means....Phil was right. But I prefer sleeping on the bed over the couch, so we will leave it at that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

P.S. Pass the Prozac

I thought that this movie would be about a woman dealing with the death of her husband & rediscovering herself. The previews made me think that it was full of laughs & good times. Hilary Swank has done it again (remember Million Dollar Baby?). I should have bought stock in Kleenex before watching this one. There was hardly any funny scenes & they were immediately followed by depressing scenes. At the end, which at some points felt like it was NEVER going to end, I just felt frozen in the sadness of it all. Rating = 3. Only because the idea of the movie w/ the letters is creative & not something I've seen before. Luckily we got this from Redbox & only paid $1.06 but I still feel like I had my evening stolen.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Unprepared and safe flying

Unprepared and safe flying

I've been flying a lot lately for work and have a couple observations.

First of all, they are now charging you to check more than one bag.  I don't have a problem with this except that a) they are not prepared to implement it and b) the way its being implemented doesn't make sense. 
If you are going to charge me, fine, charge me.  But to be honest, it was a very cumbersome process and the ticket counter attendant tried to talk me out of it.  She had to go to the back to get forms (not sure why they aren't stored at the counter) and then they don't have credit card machines.  At two airports now this is the case.  That was the first time I've seen someone whip out that slide imprint device in years.  Its seriously a manual process and not a automatic swipe machine.  Every store and restaraunt in America has these now and they can't get 4-5 for each airport?  Its not like a deployment that large hasn't been done before. 
What's more is that you can avoid the charge by carrying the bag on and gate checking it.  Only difference is that you have to carry the bag through the airport instead of them.  I mean, don't they know its all going in the same plane?  Its the same weight, just changes how it gets to the plane and they are taking some there anyway, right?  Plus, now I gotta carry all my crap through security and lug it around the airport for an hour?  Crazy.

My second point is that people keep telling me to "have a safe flight."  I got news for them, I don't have much control over it.  I'm just sitting there.  Really.  I understand 'drive safe', etc. I'm an active part of that process.  But there just isn't much I can do on the plane to safen my flight at all.  Or, is that my free ticket to drug the screaming kid next to me?  After all, he could be distracting the pilot or pushing the otherwise normal people on board dangerously closing to the insanity tipping point.  None of us want that.  Is that my excuse to need more than 3.5 ounces of shampoo?  What if there is a hair emergency on the plane?  That wouldn't be safe for anyone.  I guess that means I can't punch out annoying business guy or talking too loud asian guy if I'm "flying safe.".  Maybe I'm supposed to remind the pilot?  Its just people trying to be polite, I know, but they could say something that makes a little more sense.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Trouble with Time

The Trouble with Time

Maybe all you faithful readers out there can help Jeni and I out by settling an argument we've been having over the last couple moments.  It has to do with the concept of time.  For the sake of an example, let's say you have a 1:00 pm appointment.  You would like to change this appointment.  If you "move it up" 30 minutes, what time is the appointment?  What if you "push it back" 30 minutes?  We both use "push it back" and "move it up" in opposite ways.  I won't tell you which one thinks which way, just that I'm confident my way is the right way.  Please leave a comment about which way you see it and help us settle this once and for all.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Book Review and Historic First

This weekend, I did something I've never done before.  And a feat I might not repeat for years or possibly even decades from now.  Any guesses as to what it is?  Scaled a mountain?  Ate a vegetable?  Made an impulse decision?  No, I'm still not that crazy.  I started and completed reading a book.  That's right, normally I make it through a book every 6-8 months.  About 1 a year.  I just don't make time for it.  I don't have a strong desire to make time for it.  Not only did I read an entire book in a weekend, I bought the thing on Friday morning and was done by late Sunday night.  (To my advantage, I was awake over 20 hours on Friday and got up early Saturday, more on that later).  I've heard of people doing this before, even heard of people who may complete several books over a vacation, I just never thought it could happen to me.

Which brings me to:  the review.
The book was Rigged: The true life story of an Ivy league kid who changed the world of oil from Wall Street to Dubai, by Ben Mezrich.  Obviously, since even a typical "I'll watch the movie" guy like myself couldn't put it down, it must be pretty good.  At times, the business part of the oil exchange and how oil is traded as a future at the NYMEX got thick, but not overly complicated.  Some of the depictions of Dubai were also a little hard to imagine as if it were anything half as much as described would be nothing short of spectacular.  And the language was pretty bad, particularly the first couple chapters.
But overall, I liked the book and would recommend it.  Ben does a good job at building suspense right as the chapter closes and keeps the story moving as the project progresses, not giving too much detail or too little.  I've read some reviews where people thought the story itself was uninteresting.  So, if the story of a young Harvard Business School grad changing the way oil futures are traded by trying to open an exchange in Dubai doesn't catch your attention, the book may not be for you.  I like that kind of thing though.  And it was good enough to keep even me reading right through the afterword.
If nothing else, google Dubai and check out it out.  Sounds out of this world. 

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Derby Day!

What an event.  Hours and hours of build up for the big event.  Its one of those things though where you either like it or you don't.  And I love it.  Costas' intro always gives me chills.  One of these years I'm going to be there.  Soon I hope.

This year, my moneys on the favorite Big Brown. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Grad School

I've officially been accepting to Clemson's Executive MBA program and will be starting back to school May 19th. Two nights a week at 3.5 hours a night. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to be disconnected for 7 hours a week. By the end, I just hope I'm not having convulsions. My two classes this summer should be pretty easy to get things started. "Statistical Analysis for Business Operations" and "Organizational Behavior and HR Management"

Saturn of Greenville

We are no longer customers of Saturn of Greenville. Unfortunately, I don't think they care either.
Let me explain.
Those of you who know me know that I can't stand being ripped off. It makes my blood boil. Wanna know what I can't stand even more? When the person admits to ripping me off. That really gets me going. So, Jeni's Saturn had a problem and I had it towed in. I've said I was never going back there before, but decided to this time anyway because the issue was similar to my last 3 repairs and I was hoping they might warranty the work since they've been trying to fix this issue unsuccessfully for the last 2 years. Not so much. Not only did they not give me any discount on the work or the part, when I challenged the fact that they were way overcharging for the part, the service manager said, yes they were. He said that they just keep raising the prices and that I could have gotten one for half the price with a lifetime warranty. Instead, they were charging me double and it only had a 12 month warranty. Like it matters, they will just lie about what's wrong next time too so they don't have to give me the warranty. Wouldn't be the first or the second time that I've caught them in that lie. Anyway, so I made the comment that I should go somewhere else next time and the service manager said 'Yes'. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that I didn't have a choice to have it repaired there as it was already there and wouldn't start, until Jeni was looking over the bill. The bill indicated that the car would start fine when they looked at it. That really made me mad then because had I been told that in the morning, I'd have never had it repaired there.

But wait, there's more. Lots more. I should add here, that during the initial diagnosis call, he also mentioned that it was low on oil and that the timing chain was rattling. I told him not to worry about the timing chain for now because I have several thousand more miles before the recommended change of it and knew he was just trying to drum up business. They always try this. I've driven the car quite a bit over the last week and knew the timing belt wasn't rattling audibly. However, on the drive back from Saturn of Greenville, it was. That's right, they made it rattle. I wasn't sure the car was going to make it the 5 miles back to work it sounded so bad. So I called them, they said that they forgot to put oil in it and that's why the timing chain sounded so bad. What!?! Those systems aren't even connected!! They tell me stuff like this because they treat all their customers like complete idiots.
So I took it back down there so they could put 2 quarts of oil in it.
So, while the hood was up and someone was putting oil in it, I asked the service guy there if they reimbursed customers for repair costs to fix their mistakes. Only seems fair to me, I have to take it to a mechanic to fix what they broke, they should help pay for that cost. I took it in for a bad starter, and now my timing chain is rattling and I'm leaking oil. So, anyway, at that point, he started beginning his sentences with "Sir". But not just the word Sir, he also said it in that tone. Guys know what I'm talking about. That condescending tone that implies you are being irrational and have no clue what's going on. The tone that had this been a movie and not real life would have gotten him punched in the face. Because honestly, it almost got him punched in the face in real life. He accused me of "always" blaming them for my car's problems and accusing them of making mistakes. It's not every time, it's twice, and its because both times the car left in worst condition than it arrived. Never the goal. NEVER. Argument ensued. I told him I'd never be back and he said "Good". So we are done. No more Saturn of Greenville for us. That was the straw that broke the camel's back that should have been broken two visits ago. You can't say I didn't give them a chance.

After driving it some more, the timing chain is not rattling as much, but its still WAY louder than it was before I took it in and I'm having to take it to a mechanic tonight. Never good when you get your car back from the shop and have to take it in to a different mechanic because something else is obviously wrong with it. Thanks for nothing Saturn. And if you live around here, AVOID Saturn of Greenville like the plague. I hope this post finds its way to Google and saves someone some hardship along the way.

For more Anti-Saturn reading: (at least I'm not alone)

Saturn Service Complaints

Saturn of Greenville - her take

Although I was lucky enough to have Phil deal w/ all of the issues & UTTER & COMPLETE LACK of customer service there are a few things I want to expand on
(back story: my car died in Bi-lo's parking lot on Sunday & AAA had to tow it to Saturn. Our friend Casey took me to Bi-lo to get Phil's car keys & then to work where Phil's car was so that I could drive back to Saturn to pick him up - Thanks Casey!) Monday morning Saturn calls & tells us that the starter is bad & just for example sake let's say they said it was going to be 200 (they didn't it was more). So phil gave them the green flag to fix it. When they called they also said that the timing belt was bad ($700 to replace) and that the oil filter need a solution (bought at your local auto store for about $10) that would cost $150. Phil said no to both of those. When he went to Saturn to get the car w/ it's newly installed over-priced starter they informed him that it was actually going to more than they quoted on the phone (they can apparently legally do this as long as it's not 10% more than the original quote). A discussion w/ the manager that happened to be standing there lead to him admitting that they overcharge for their parts. On drive back to work it seemed that the timing belt was now making noise & it hadn't last time we drove it on Sunday. P got back to work & called Saturn only to be told that they may not have filled up the oil like they told him they were going to & that the reason it was making that noise was because of the belt not working, or it was because the car was low on oil, or the belt, or the oil (you get the idea). they offered to fill up the oil if he brought the car back. While they were filling the oil, the mechanic was sure to tell P that you just can't run a car this low on oil, it's not good for the car - umm yeah that's why we told you to fill up the oil- Since you can't, apparently, run your car w/ a bad belt either we will be taking it in this weekend (NOT TO SATURN) to get looked at. Donations can be made to either Phil or myself towards the purchase of a new belt - or maybe a new car since the Saturn isn't worth much more than 2K at this point. oh & one more thing. I was looking over the invoice after all of this had happened & they noted on there that the Saturn started fine for them Monday a.m. had we known that we would have driven it elsewhere.
UPDATED : phil & i cross-posted on this at the same time so there will be repeats in my post vs. his

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random Tuesday Thoughts

-I need to stop drinking my hot chocolate so quickly in the morning. I end up warmed up for a minute with a burnt tongue that lasts all day
- We will NEVER go back to Saturn of Greenville again. (more on that later)
-I like jolly ranchers - only the watermelon flavor. I like how the wrapper slides right off.
-LOST is starting to get on my nerves. I can't follow the story line anymore. I don't anticipate
the next week's show like I used to.
-SO glad that bright, warm Spring days are here
-I really need to start working out again
-I thought I had more random stuff that would make this post interesting to the 2.5 people that read here

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Curly Brackets

Real quick FYI, one of the software packages we use at work is from across the pond. I called today and got a guy with a real thick British accent. Have you ever heard someone from England say the phrase "Curly Brackets" several times in few sentences. I almost laughed out loud on the phone. Hilarious.

Monday, April 21, 2008

City Review: Nashville

I recently spent 5 days in Nashville for work. Apparantly, they are marketing it now as Nash-Vegas. What happens in Nashville, stays in Nashville. My manager didn't agree though, and still wanted a full report of everything I worked on and how it went.

Previous visits: I'd been through there before about 15 years ago (back was Opryland was a theme park and not a mall) and I've been through there and shopped at Opryland Mills twice before when staying near Nashville and spent one night there for work before. (although with my job, that means I got there, worked until the wee hours of the night, slept 4-5 hours, drove back).

Downtown and Dining: I was very impressed by my downtown dining options every night of the week. With few exceptions, most downtown areas in a city that size or larger are ghost towns by 7 pm. At the end of a 4 block walk in most large cities, you'll be forced to give 32 people money, forced to purchase drugs, be mugged 3 times, pick pocketed, punched in the face, threatened within inches of your life, and have all your drugs taken from you at gunpoint. And that's just 4 blocks. And no stores or restaraunts would have been open. Nashville was quite the opposite. There were several blocks worth that were hopping every night of the week. Most restaraunts were of a bar and grill type format, several with musicians performing every night. And it was crowded. Downtown is the place to be it seemed like. I never had to wait long for a table, but at the same time felt safety in numbers.
That said, I really enjoyed Demo's Steak and Spaghetti House. Rotiers was a hole in the wall near Vanderbilt that was excellent (try the cheeseburger and fried zucchini). Also, Big River Grille and Brewing Works was so good, I went two nights. The homemade root beer was great, so was the Chicken Fried Chicken. All in all, I was impressed that they were able to keep the downtown area clean and safe.

Music: Like I said before, if you like live music, Nashville is the place to be. Walking down 2nd Ave and Broadway on Saturday and Sunday night looking for a place to eat, I'd say every other establishment had someone performing. Also, I saw two music videos being shot and one band playing on the sidewalk outside the smallest record store I've ever seen.

Navigation: One of the important aspects of any city to me is how well I can get around. Nashville was laid out pretty well and lots of one-way streets helped keep traffic flowing. Aside from parking being a bit of a problem, I'd say getting around in, as well as in and out of the downtown area was pretty good.

Overall, Nashville was a nice city. I could see going back there, but I'm not sure that there would be much to do if you didn't like live music (especially country music) or eating. Those seemed to be the two main attractions.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm old

Yesterday, I got invited to my 10 year high school reunion.  That one stung a little, I knew it was coming up, but the reality sunk in yesterday.  10 years?  Has it really been that long since I packed up the "Yellow Dream" and headed off to college?  Where has the time gone?  I guess I spent half that time in college and the other half working my tail off and wooing the girl of my dreams.  I think I still have some work to do, I'm supposed to be halfway to a million by now, according to the plan. 
Oh well, its been a fun ride.  Thinking back to who I was then, I'm certainly glad that I've changed a lot since those days.  Now if I can just find my cane so I can get back to making the benjamins.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Maybe i'm not saying it right

I went out to dinner last night w/my friend Jaygirl Jones on Woodruff Road. After dinner I headed over to a store we'll call "Bircuit Bity" to get a gift card for another friend's birthday. While I was in line I noticed that among the normal looking cards there was one that was a small CD that you could load on your computer & get free tunes. I was looking on the card to see if there was a fee for this & couldn't find it. I hand the card to the check-out girl.

Me - Is there a fee for this since you can download music?
-she looks over the card front & back & then up @ me-

CO Girl - Now what was your question again?

Me - Is there a fee for the card since you can download music?

CO Girl (still looking confused): I'll have to go ask
-She walks away to go & talk to someone. I don't see the interaction but she seems to have a smirk replacing the confused look earlier-

CO Girl - It's a gift card, ma'm, you put money on it to spend in the store

Me - Yes I know that, just put the $ on there

Somehow I walked out feeling like I was the moron in that scenario.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Irregardless and Whelmed

One of my coworkers new favorite word is 'irregardless'. It's driving me crazy? Why? Because its not a real word. How is something irregardless of another. By being in regard to it. It's a double negative. The ir- prefix means not, so the meaning would be 'not regardless.' But that's not how it's being used in context. If statement A that was just uttered has nothing to do with upcoming statement B, the correct word to use is regardless. Otherwise, you would say, 'with regard to' or similar.
What drives me even more crazy is that after sitting in a meeting where the made up word was used like 6-8 times in 90 minutes, I ended up using it later in the day. Twice!!

In other wordplay, lately I've been finding myself overwhelmed. Which makes me wonder, in times when I'm not overwhelmed, am I just whelmed? On vacation, am I underwhelmed? The guy down the hall, he seems pretty underwhelmed by his workload. Oh, to be whelmed more often, I look forward to the day.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The story that never leaks

Cross posted on, where I'll be blogging most of March.

Ah, March Madness is back. The time of year when pens are once again relegated to second class material and good, old fashioned pencils (and most importantly, erasers) get brought out of the closet to help fill out those NCAA brackets.

One of the interesting things to me that just dawned on me this year, the selection committee has no leaks. It seems like almost everything these days gets leaked to the media before it actually happens. We've known the #1 draft pick the last 10 years or so, I almost always know which bowl game my Alma mater is playing in prior to the announcement, all trades get leaked and circle the Internet a dozen times, and so on and so forth. But no one ever knows those bubble teams. No one even posts the #1 seeds on the Internet at 2:30. It's all speculation right up until 6 pm.

It pretty amazing they've been able to keep everything that quiet for this many years. You'd think that surely someone is texting their best bud who's a alum that they are in or out. They won't let anyone near this selection committee and when questioned, they never mention any names of any schools about who the last team in or out was and why. You know what that means, Congress will launch a full scale investigation on that soon. Let's see, Virginia Tech was left out, so was Arizona State, Illinois State? What about that four bubble teams that got in all had a Wildcat as a mascot (Arizona, Kentucky, Villanova and Kansas State), sounds like conspiracy to me. That's several eligible senators right there to lead the charge against the NCAA. We have Congress investigating the MLB and NFL, the NCAA seems like a likely next target. I'm sure in a couple months, they'll be investigating the shady move of the Seattle Supersonics to Oklahoma City. It's not like our country has any real problems for them to solve, they might as well spend 100% of their time tearing down the establishment of American sport. It's obvious that it has done well on its own and needs governmental intervention to lead to its downfall, that may not occur if left to govern itself. They've done well at deconstructing the American government so that it operates nothing like it was designed to, we are stuck in a war we can not win nor get out of easily, we have a huge debt problem, immigration is a mess, obviously, these are not the people the commissioners of these leagues want investigating their sports. If they can't run a country, why stretch themselves further and try to investigate and poke into privately owned and operated sports leagues and screw those up too?

Anyway, I completely digressed there, all that to say, I think it makes it all the more special and unique that the seeds don't get leaked to the media beforehand. Maybe some of the other sports could get a clue and tighten down their security or the media could respect the information is does get and not publish it until due time. I don't see the media changing its evil ways though, better work on battening down the hatches at league headquarters.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dan In Real Life

Phil & I watched this movie last night. Before I go into my review on it I have to give a shout out to redbox for having great movies at $1.06 after tax. A friend of mine had already seen Dan & said she was let down because there wasn't constant humor in the movie. I was okay with that going in & I'm a HUGE Steve Carrell fan so his little bits of humor prob. resonate more with me than someone who doesn't watch The Office ( The movie started out introducing us to the fam and showing Dan's life as a single, widowed, dad of three girls getting ready to head to a family trip in New England. Although there were some obvious plots in the movie they were presented in a different perspective than is normally used & had a softer tone to them. (I'm not going to go into detail for those who haven't seen the movie yet.) On a scale of 1-10 (1 being I'd rather sit in a tub of ants covered in sugar & 10 being elated & winning money) I rate this one at a 7. It had it's funny points. There was quirks that Steve Carrell brings out in everything he does & the performance of the other actors in the movie was well done. Go rentthis one, you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I have a blog?

Ok, so, the fact that I have a blog and in theory, a blog audience, completely slipped my mind for the last 2-3 weeks.  I had a horrible month at work, spent a good bit of time studying for and then taking the GMAT exam to try and get into grad school and pursue my MBA (thankfully, I think I got a good enough score), taking care of my sick wife and then subsequent sick self, and countless other distractions.  All that to say, I'm back.  Also, I'm pleased to announce the addition of a guest blogger.  She may already be familiar to a couple of you and she's been mentioned in previous posts.  That's right, its Jeni, my wife.  She'll now have the ability to post as well, and I believe she is especially interested in posting movie, music, and book reviews, as well as other musings.  Opinions from the other side of the household, so to speak.  Behold the beauty of the Internet, everyone gets to have their voice heard, err, read. 
I'll try not to let her out blog me too badly. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Final Travel Jotts

- The seats on my plane coming back had ash trays in them. Yeah, ash trays. We've haven't been allowed to smoke on a plane since the 70's, right? Surely, my plane was not that old. I was hoping maybe the seats had just been recycled, but the couple primer grey panels on the wing leads to be believe I just flew home in a relic.

- I thought security was supposed to be heightened. And tougher to get through. And we all have to show a barcoded ticket that someone scans prior to boarding the plane. Apparantly, that bar code isn't what we thought it was. On the first leg of the trip, someone had the same seat as a lady near me and I kindly pointed out to him (with my powers of observation above those of normal humans) that his ticket was not for this flight. Wouldn't the bar code not have scanned if it was for the wrong flight? However, I realized why before boarding my next plane. The guy in front of me had a ticket that the attendant couldn't get the barcode machine to scan. So she tried keying the ticket in manually and it kept erroring. 3 times she did this. Then, she told him to go on and she'd worry about it later. Later?!$@# When we find out he's a terrorist and used a fake ticket to board and he's taking down the plane? Heck, it can't be that hard to forge a ticket that doesn't have to scan in the barcode machine or be entered manually. That makes forgery easy. What is the point of even having the bar code? Or the ticket for that matter?

- Finally, looks like the marketing gurus have finally taken over the friendly skies. Yep, they've found more places to advertise. All the tray tables on all my flights were covered in advertisements and even the bottoms of the bins to place all your crap in to go through the x-ray machine were advertised on. Remember everyone, nothing says "Buy my product" quite like being treated like a suspect. Do all these companies really want to be associated with one of the most annoying parts of travelling? In Greenville, all the ads were for Charter. So, in that case, the association is a more positive one than the actual Charter experience. Normally, when I think of the perfect places for Charter to advertise, I think about maybe them putting an ad on a dentists drill or pick. Possibly, an ad on the side of a rectal thermometer. Or on a cover sheet for a subpoena? These are all things I would associate to the Charter experience and then I saw it, I'd be reminded of Charter and all my wonderful customer disservice experiences with them. In your mind, it would make sense and it would just click. And that would be a memorable advertisement.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Travel Jotts

A couple notes on my travel to Miami today:

-Since when did flying on an airplane allow you to wear pajamas in public?  I still don't understand that.  Its not like you are travelling in your car, there are plenty of other people around.  I think people forget about that fact when they fly.  Like today on the plane, this guy is playing poker on a handheld with the sound on.  I don't want to hear who he's doing.  Be considerate, its bad enough we are all crammed into a small space.

-Thanks to US Airways trying to save a penny or two on gas, we had to land prematurely in Fort Lauderdale to fuel up for the final 30 miles.  Because we sat on the runway in Charlotte 20 mins, we didn't have enough gas to circle the airport when a "micro burst" storm came up.  Secondly, I was delayed by two such "micro bursts" today.  Shouldn't weather terms be universal?  I don't think you can just make them up on the fly to suit your needs. Anyway, that little detour set me back 2 hours.

-Who schedules flights?  They should be fired.  For like the 5th straight time, I've had to wait to take off.  Ridiculous.  Today, we were 20th in line and the weather was perfect. 

-Who decided airline seats should recline?  They should be shot.  I guess the concept is not all bad.  But as soon as they break, they go back way too far and never get fixed.  I hate 2 hour flights with someone lounged 6 inches in front of my face.  Sometimes I cough frequently just to disturb them.  They are invading my personal space, they should be subjected to my germs too right?
I almost got into a fight with some guy on a flight to LA one time over this.  His chair came back so far, it touched my face.  I had to put mine back to keep him from slamming it my face repeatedly.  Needless to say, he didn't care and the flight attendant was on his side.  Today wasn't quite that bad, but he couldn't figure out how to get it to recline again after the stewardess made him put it up for takeoff and I wasn't volunteering the information. 

Table for One

There's nothing worse than going into a restaraunt and saying "table for one please."  It was really bad when I was single, and now that I'm married, I dread it just as much.  First of all, it reminds you that you are away from your wife and having to eat alone.  Secondly, you get treated like a second class citizen if you don't want to sit at the bar.  I'm sorry, but I don't like to sit at the bar.  I want to sit in a regular chair at a regular table and enjoy my meal.  I don't want to strike up conversation with the person next to me, nor the bartender, and I certainly don't want to eat my meal straddling a bar stool.  I know many people enjoy it, but its not for me.  So instead, I have to wait until every couple and family that comes after me for 45 minutes gets seated and done eating, then I'm allowed to be sat.  I feel like a homeless person begging for scraps.  So please, restaraunt owners, parties of 1 are customers too.  Please treat us that way.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

50 Years of Lego

So, this actually happened like a week ago or so, but Lego recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Lego brick. As many of you know, I am a big fan of Lego, my childhood would not have been the same with out it. Nowadays, that I'm old and grown, I'm judging Lgo F.I.R.S.T. competitions and converting my Lego's into USB thumb drive covers using my dremel. Anyway, thank you Lego and see the Lego timeline and my homemade Lego USB drive below.
Click on the timeline for a larger view

Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Time for my annual Super Bowl preview and it will again come with the disclaimer that this is probably be very lengthy.

This year, we have the 18-0 Patriots vs the 10-6 Giants. Not quite the matchup that everyone had predicted, well, everyone predicted the Patriots would be the team representing the AFC, but everyone excepted Eli to through 4 interceptions and be out in the first round. But throughout the playoffs, an improved passing game and improved run defense have allowed the Giants to keep winning.

And now, its time for the Super Bowl. The stakes are a little higher now. Here's what's surprising to me. On the SportsNation poll on ESPN this week, 39% of sports fans think the Giants are going to win. Really? On what basis? We really are a nation of haters aren't we? So many people don't want to see the Patriots go undefeated that they can't separate themselves from it enough to think rationally about it. They are 18-0, have you seen them play? What makes anyone think that a 10-6 NFC team has a chance against them? The Giants could even beat them at home in cold weather. They are going to beat them at a neutral site in warm weather? Does everyone forget that in warm weather, the Pats were beating people by 40 points in the first half? Oh well, I guess 50% of Americans can't find Florida on a map, why would we think they could predict the winner of the Super Bowl.

The Prediction Factor
Is Plaxico Burress a complete idiot? Predicting to the media that you are going to beat the Patriots this year hasn't worked for any of the other teams, why is it going to work for the Giants. In fact, it seems to only tick the Patriots off. Good job Plaxico, you just about guaranteed yourself that Bill is going to have a game plan for shutting you down. Hope you didn't want a catch in the Super Bowl. Then he says that the Giants receivers are better than the Pats recievers. Sure, let's tick Moss, Welker, and Stallworth off too.
Speaking of people saying stupid things to the media. I got a chuckle out of an interview I heard a couple nights ago with Giants offensive lineman David Diehl. He said that he thought the Giants had a chance because no one is perfect and because this was not only the best team he'd ever been on, but the best one he'd ever seen. Maybe he sat out week 17 when the Patriots beat them? Oh, and the team you are playing, they are perfect so far.

Experience/Letdown factor
The Patriots have been here before. 4 out of the last 7 times. They know how to prepare for the game while being bombarded with interviews. They know how much slower the pace of the game will be compared to a regular season or even playoff game. They know what its like to have people think they have no chance (like the Giants) and how to overcome it and you know coach Bill will coach his team for how to prepare for that.
And the let down factor is that the Giants think they want to win, they think they can win. But deep down, they are happy to be there. No one expected them to be in the Super Bowl, no one will fault them if they lose. The let down factor comes into play with you get down by 14 early and you look up at that scoreboard and you know. That's game over.

Patriots offense vs. Giants defense
Sorry, Plaxico, but the Patriots haven't been held to 17 pts or less in a long time. And Coach Bill has only improved when playing a team a second time in the season. The Giants would have been better off forfeiting in Week 17 so the Pats couldn't see their plan for stopping them. Plus, this is what I've heard from Giants. They have a plan to shut down Moss, to shut down Welker, Faulk, and Stallworth. They have a plan to pressure Brady. They have a plan to stop Maroney. How many guys are they going to have on the field? Do they know they are only allowed 11?
They have a better chance at trying to keep them under 40 and they hoping they can find a way to score themselves, which brings us too...

Giants offense vs. Patriots defense
Now, I know Eli has played better in the playoffs, but he's going to have to get a lot better to beat this Patriots team. They've seem him already, and not too long ago. They know they need to get pressure on him and will find a way to do so. Belichick is a defensive genious, he's going to find ways to pressure Eli and keep him from even having the decent game that he had in Week 17. So, with Eli out of the picture, will the Giants be able to run enough on that Pats D-line and aging linebacker group to put up the kind of points to beat the Patriots? I have a tendency to think they will be fortunate to score over 24.

This Patriots team is one of the best teams ever assembled. What have the Giants done that would make anyone think that they have a chance? They played them close a couple weeks ago. That's what people are basing that on. Most major Vegas oddsmakers opened the line at around 14 pts, its still around 12. That's a lot of points. That means they are fairly confident in their pick. I won't dispute that it MIGHT be a close game, but look at the history of the Super Bowl. It normally isn't. This game is decided by the 3rd quarter and the 4th quarter merely decides the MVP.
I still just can't wrap my head around how so many people say this is one of the best teams in NFL history and then in the next breath say the Giants have chance to beat them.

Halftime: Patriots 21, Giants 10
Final: Patriots 38, Giants 24

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Custom" Curtains

"Custom" Curtains

It has come to my attention that we need some window treatments for our living and dining rooms.  Our chewed up, raggedy old blinds with missing pieces aren't as pleasing to the eye as they once were. 
I have been kidding the wife that the garage is a month away from qualifying for "Clean Sweep" and that surely Clive and his crew were already biting at the bit to get here.  So when she said that someone was coming to give us a free estimate on some windows treatments, I was hoping, of course, for "Design on a Dime."  Much to my dismay, a dime doesn't get you much when it comes to window treatments.  Especially "custom" ones.  Well, unless we are talking about a dime in gambling terms because unless you are laying about a dime a window, you're not getting custom windows treatments.  And that's if you use the illegal immigrant installation option and finnagle the assembly costs by routing it around to different companies.  I had no idea they were so costly.  I was thinking, you know, a couple hundred dollars at best.  I mean, its 50 yards of fabric, and a piece of plywood or two for the cornice board and a rod and some rings, right?  Based on what I know from buying fabric at WalMart and buying plywood at my local lumber yard, several thousand dollars and a small business loan should not be required to purchase curtains.  Unbelievable.  After the "custom" window treatment was gone, we checked at the price at our local Bed Bath and Beyond.  Much better.  If you can go to JCPenney, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sears or numerous other places and get the same stuff at a tenth or even twentieth of the cost, why pay more?  I mean, I can understand double.  Maybe even triple or quadruple the cost for custom made treatments.  But 20 times as much!!!  Save yourself the money.  Go to a chain and invest the difference, you'll thank me later.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Greenville County

I've been posting a lot of negative rants lately (when I do post) so its time for a rave. I had to go down to the county building to update my voter registration and get a new card. I need to update Jeni's as well. Normally, trips to the county building are dreadfully long and painful. However, the folks down at County Square impressed me. They were knowledgable and I was in and out in 15 minutes (during busy lunch time hours). Actually, this was my second straight successful trip there. So, thank you Greenville County, for making my governent experience a positive one.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Burn Victim

Well, I am now a burn victim.  As I said before, Jeni and I are destined to burn this place down. 
Recently, the handle broke on the electric skillet in my hand.  In an attempt to save the rice-a-roni and at the same time, salvage the screw so that I might be able to repair the handle, I sacrificed my hand.  The left hand side of my left hand suffered pretty badly.  It burned for about 2 days.
However, there is a positive to this.  My office is soooo cold (we can't turn on the heat on my floor because of the server room) that it has been nice to at least have a portion of my body warm.  Friday, I was wearing long johns and a parka and a sock hat in the morning, but my left hand was warm, dang it.
Until winter is over, I may have to periodically burn parts of my body, for survival.  My office was below 60 degrees much of the week and never got above 64.  It doesn't sound cold at first, but try sitting in it for a few hours. 
Jeni, have you seen the matches?