December 29, 2006

Came up with a Joke

My humor is usually more observational. Every so often I come up with an actual joke. So here it is.

Do you want to know the five magic words that will make nearly any woman take her clothes off?

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"Wow, your gonna wear that?"

December 28, 2006

Casual thought

French spaceship begins search for new planets. http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1882048,00040005.htm

I'm reading this article and I cannot help but thinking I would rather have the Portuguese do the exploration...

Gerald Ford

President Ford passed away. He was an interesting guy. No one voted for him for the station he ascended too. He stepped into a roll at a time when someone like him was needed.

He was able to put a particularly nasty time behind us and move forward. A good man, a man of destiny if you will.

RIP Mr. President.

December 27, 2006

Fone whoas

Back in the dark ages, my town only had dial up access to the internet. Need to get phone calls made us get two phone lines (this was back in 1998).

We now have DSL and are happily cugging along like everyone else with an extensive home wireless network with multiple systems accessing the net and through the wonders of bandwith sharing, we can call on the phone at the same time!!!

Until last Wednesday a string of events lead to an even MORE interesting TURN of events.

I tried calling home and got a busy signal. We do not have caller annoy by saying hang on and trying in vein to access a second line (aka caller ID). Or any of those anti-social phone company extra's. So a busy signal is not uncommon. The next break being busy was moreso concerning. As my e-mail home proved that no one was online.

So when I got home I went through the typical trouble shooting. Unplugging the phones to see where the culprit was. When that didnt yeild anything I went down to the basement and started checking the various connections only to get a bag of mixed reactions.

This prompted me to put in a trouble ticket with the phone company. They came out and they went through and found I had not disconnected the TiVO. Dial tone came back and we were good to go.

Until....

The DSL and phone went out on Friday 12-22. I put in another trouble ticket and the guy came out and verified I had dial tone to the house. That means he can charge me to do phone line stuff. So be it. He replaced some stuff and re-wired some stuff and we had dial tone but no DSL. He was unable to determine why the DSL wasnt there as he was a 'phone guy' and did not have DSL stuff.

So I go to call up my phone service and put in a DSL fix request. Here it gets interesting. One of the inhuman (non-human) voice maze thingys asks if you are calling in to report the phone number you are calling in on....

thats confusing.... Lets do an EXAMPLE!

inhuman bodyless voice of doom-> I'm sorry your haveing troubles would you like to start a trouble ticket?

Hapless Human - > Yes, you souless machine!

inhuman bodyless voice of doom-> I did not understand your last response please say it again.

Hapless Human - > Yes. . .

inhuman bodyless voice of doom-> I see, okay will this trouble ticket be about (pause) 4..4..0..6..8..8..8..0..0..0..0.. or a different phone number?

Hapless Human - > um... a different phone... er.. wait...... (hangs up)

So you see the phone number the souless machine rattled off was SUPPOSED to be the phone number I was calling in from. It was my OLD dial in number.

My mind quickly figured out what happened, once upon a time there were several males living in a house across the street from an unammed institution of higher learning *cough* cal-tech *cough*. They had found a live phone line and would connect it and make long distance phone calls that would not be billed to anyone... (alleged, cant prove anything).

So my OLD dial up internet line had been lurking live under the house the ACTUAL problem with my phone line was up at the box.

If I put in a DSL call they would come out on January 2nd because DSL is a non-vital service (I do not understand that either)

So I opted to call back to the phone company and sure enough they got the guy back out to my house in about an hour and after a red faced explination they re attached the correct lines and said they wouldnt charge me for the line work they did.

So it ended well...

December 21, 2006

Merry Merry...

So, I get into work today to find out that payroll made an error and are going to deduct the 200.00 sumptin dollars they overpaid me.

tis the season eh?

December 19, 2006

Corky and the Juice Pigs.

Insane customer day...again...

Actual Transcript of a voice mail message:


I am getting sick of this. I have left two messages and I need someone to call me back NOW! This is just poor customer service. Call me back NOW!

Third message same voice. no name no reference of any kind.

December 08, 2006

“very credible”

This is just too good to not share:

Okay go to this website and read a bit: http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/


..good..


Okay now go read this artical:
http://www.advance.uconn.edu/2006/061113/06111308.htm


Now either Laugh or bang your head against something. Your choice...

December 07, 2006

Nothing says love like online gaming

It was obliquely pointed out to me how cool it was that my wife enjoys computer games. At home we have two facing computer desks and regularly log-in as a duet. Most online games, MMORPG's escpecially, teaming up makes the missions go quicker easier and thus more fun.

The total being greater then the sum of the parts. This harkened me back to the time she first participated.

It was a sunday afternoon and I had logged into a game called Asherons Call (AC). This was a sword and sorcery setting game that had a pretty nasty penalty if your character died. You would be weakened (vitae) and your 'corpse' would hang onto a couple of your most expensive items. If you could make it back to your 'corpse' you could open it and take your items back. So getting back was paramount because some of the items were hard won.

Anyways, my perchance for exploration lead me to this volcanic dungeon. It was oddly empty and I was able to make it down to the depths before I found anything to battle. I lost and headed back. As I hit the room where I had 'died' I was jumped by several baddies and dropped more items. This particular labrinth had been cleaned out just before I had entered and now all the critters had respawned. I was now five deaths in and the bulk of my hard won gear was looking nigh impossible to retreive.

So, I sent out a message to some of my guild mates. Word got around that I needed a rescue and most of my guild enjoyed the challenge. While the forces where gathering the clock started working against me.

I had to go to a previous appointment that obviously took precident over any game. However with the people online gathering and my character so weakened I was actually torn about what to do.

Enter my wife. She agreed to help by running my character. I showed her the basics of the game and she explained to the guild her substituting. (no guild talking was around then).

To this day I am not exactly sure what all went on but over the next couple of hours Tina was able to recover all my gear and charm the bulk of the people in my guild who, in turn, kept insisting that she should 'roll' up a character.

And so she did. That evolved into a second account and later dual computers.

December 06, 2006

The golden ole days

Things, our way of life, is different now then it was when I was growing up in the 1960's. In talking with the elders in town, life was different in the 1940's then the 60's then now. In other words society evolves.

It used to be when someone moved away old friendships would be maintained by letter. Later an occasional phone call. Now you can have a six way conversation over the internet while you play an online game together. Or even have a blog where your friends and family can do a quick catch up on whatever is going on or any rant you have going.

In my mind maintaining a friendship on an active basis is better then sending letters.

When I was growing up, I could walk down my street and tell you the last name of nearly every family living in the various houses. I cant do that now. The reason why? My mom was a stay at home mom. She would be on her own while the kids are at school day after day. Our house was immaculate (she still can out clean close to anyone on the planet).

My mom, like most of the homemakers of that time. Would get bored and either turn on the soap opera's or go shopping or head outside and garden or go over to others houses and 'visit'.

Visits consisted of small talk and tea or coffee. Sometimes card games etc. The group would consist of various neighbors and the group would grow or wane depending on the day to day goings on.

In this way the neighborhood became a community and families would get together for various outtings because of the friendships these stay-at-home-moms would form.

Today, everyone works. Instead of being at home. Even if you were a stay at home parent you wouldnt likely be able to get together with other peoples because they are working as well.

So we evolved out of the nieghborhood format and a goodly portion of our social activities involved clubs, churches and co-workers. Or we just hang out with our families.

In my mind this isnt a great step in evolution.

December 05, 2006

Cold is as Cold Does

Cold means quite a different thing to different people from different regions. How many times have you heard someone state they are 'freezing' when you feel the temp. is just fine?

Growing up in OC I remember it dipping down into the 50's and people bundling up. Now in the Pacific North West. 50's is nothing, when it gets to the 40's I feel cold and the 30's I need a jacket and so on as the mercury dips lower and lower.

When it has been in the 30's for a good bit a wam day of 50 degrees allows you to go outside and bask a bit. In the early sprint 60 degrees means shorts and T-shirts.

This isnt a new discovery or anything. Just something I find interesting when I chat with my OC friends. I first noted that where you lived determines cold from Delta Joe. It was a brisk day in Pasadena in the mid 50's and he was in cutoffs and a t-shirt. At that time it was cold to me but not to Joe.

He had come from Alaska.

I have often wondered about someone who transitions from extreme conditions. Like from Edmonton to Atlanta...

December 01, 2006

I'm a stupid man

Today is my day off. As such I have to go in for four hours overtime. Then there are various errands to run.

The Van gets better gas mileage then my truck so I figured I would be smart and take that to work. The fact that I have the only keys for the truck or that my wife would be stranded at home never fired a single synapse in my grey matter.

I apologize hon.

Heroes

http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/

I like science fiction, likewise science fantasy, sword and sorcery. Movies, Books, Graphic Novels, Television etc. My personal favorite genre is the Comic Book superhero. As a long time comic book fan I have been very dissapointed in the horrible transition my favorite characters have made to other media. Until lately.

Maybe its the name 'comic' that gives people a preconceived notion that these stories are camp or two dimensional in scope. As my peers come of age you see the influence comming through. Wheadon, Kevin Smith, Loeb, Rami and many others have a respect for the media and have been able to provide the comic book style outlet to the mainstream. And it has been embraced.

The latest example is the NBC show Heroes. Each week watching it is like turning the pages of a comic to me. The background main story, the sub-plots the character building.

I even like the multi-media approach of being able to watch it online or do a two min catch up. They have a weekly comic online that helps connect the dots as well.

It's very cool.

Save the Cheerleader, save the world.

November 29, 2006

Mi Familee

For a time Tina and I were abandoned by our parents.

My family started an Exodus starting with my brother and no. 3 sister. My folks followed sometime later leaving me stranded in OC. Long before I met Tina, her elder sister had moved north. Her folks moved up to British Columbia, being Canadian it made sense.

So Tina and I spent some time in LA and OC before pulling up the tent stakes and moving north. We found a life in the pacific north west in a little city. Its about an hour from my nearest relative, so family get togethers with my side of the gene pool is frequent and annual.

Thanksgiving is our biggest get together. We have had over 40 relatives and friends at any given time. It's always great to see people and great to catch up or just have a laugh and good food together. It's important for me to know where my family has been and were its going. There are tid bits of information gleened from these outtings that make for a much better relationship with myself and the world. I deeper understanding, because like it or not something about the way we are assembled and the way our family members are built echo's why we are what we are.

I love my family quite a lot. We get along quite well and even the few moments of tension or just sibling rivalry always give way to laughter and genuine affection.

All in all my Folks did good. Great Parents, Amazing people. They raised five kids who are all upstanding adults with great families of thier own.

Going to family gatherings or just visiting with with them is the definition of a Great Time!

November 22, 2006

Meetings (a series)

Ronn of the Ronn show and I met sometime in Junior High School... I think... Or early in High school. The problem with my remembery is someone is insinuated early on and then they grow into recognician. So I knew Ronn in perifery and later it defined itself into a friendship.

In high school Ronn and I were in Swimming and Water Polo. Between classes and during lunch we would hang out. We mutually enjoyed the morning radio jocks Lhoman and Barkley. and the Marx brothers.

Ronn, like most of the guys I knew, would talk about the various hobbies he had and I held a goodly amount of belief I was being taken for a ride. I later found out that like the Eagle scout he was\is honesty was his virtue.

He raced moterbikes and was constantly rebuilding his. He taught himself rock guitar even gave lessons. Later he decided to become a chef, and he did. At one point he fancied himself a stand up comic and headed up to the LA clubs. I guess describing him as a 'do-er' is accurate.

Most of my HS life was based in and around Chior and 'hanging out' with the tech crew for the plays. My post HS life was based in and around my Church Youth group. Ronn was in and around for all of that.

At some point Ronn vanished off my radar. Only to be reconnected via Shoo and the blogs. I missed out on him joining the military and flying Helicopters. Thats Ronn for you. Seeing an oppertunity and going for it.

I do have a defining moment in my life that Ronn was directly involved in. I had a perchant to take myself way to seriously. I had a fear of being laughed at or doing something foolish infront of others. I would respond in anger.

One day we were hanging out at the high school near the Chior room and Ron was goofing around on a bike. He tried a move that ended up with him on his back. Some of the folks around me started laughing at him and immediatly I got mad that they would respond like that.

Before I could say or do anything I noticed that Ronn was laying there laughing at himself. In joining in the situation had filp flopped and the group was now 'laughing with him'. This diffused my anger and caused an epiphany. If I could just loosen up and see the difference between my being a fool and acting foolish, it would cause a lot less angst.

Ronn and I actually had quite a few adventures. I learned to Ski with Ronn. We were the cooks for a snow outting for the Youth Group. We had to figure out how to quickly defrost Turkeys. (I still have to find those pictures...

If anything I wish I would have adopted his follow through more then I did. Taken a few more chances.

Nice to be in contact again.

November 21, 2006

WoWing and Tanking

**MMORPG Geek Zone ahead (you have been warned)

So my gang has transitioned to World of Warcraft and its been quite a hoot. Very different environment from City of Heroes. We have a goodly variety of characters and we are all adapting to the learning curve.

The nice thing about all MMORPG's is the similarity. Once you are familier with the basics the new stuff tends to fall in line quickly.

As the teams Tank I am working from a very different mindset then my previous soloing warrior. As such reaching level 10 and getting defense stance and attacking for agro over damage requires a paradigm shift. Last night, for instance, I had logged into teamspeak and found out that Rob of the California Georges and his son were online levelling Robs mage to 10.

I hear this:
[Rob]>-- Here comes another one.

[Son]>-- Run!

[Rob]>-- okay.... shoot!

[Son]>-- Oh man, Dad, I am So Sorry

[Rob]>-- I'll start running back

[Son]>-- Whew, just made it

[Rob]>-- There were too many

[Son]>-- You have to stay back and not agro so much.

[Rob]>-- Okay, Im back.

[Son]>-- RUN DAD!

At this point I opted to help out and when I arrived I was able to keep most of the agro. I think it sped up things. Not being there before, I really cannot say. At least another player did add to the 'Kill X number' quest. And no one died. That is what a tank revels in.

To be a Tank you need alot of armor. So you need a shield.
You need to keep the Agro (or the Anger of the thing you are fighting so it stays focused on you)
Finally you need to protect the Healer and other Squishies.

I think I am going to need to get a ranged weapon to pull mobs. Probably a Gun, cuz Entrails can make me shot.

You know a game is well thought out when you can have two characters with the exact same class and still have a wide variety of play with that character.

No Wonder its the World of Warcrack...

November 20, 2006

OS recollections

One advantage about walking to work is your mind can wander about the wonders around. This AM my grey matter landed on the lauded Windows Vista release.

Microsoft (MS) rules the PC world. As such they charge a premium for thier product and they know it will be widely purchased and implimented. When your selling a bunch of ones and zeros you have to bring new things to market to sustain payroll and investments.

This lesson took awhile and many Operating systems (OS's) fell to the side of the road. Todays blog is about those pioneers.

CP\M (Control Program for Microcomputers). This OS was poised for greatness and in hindsite would have halted Microsoft from being the jaggernaut it is today. But, they freaked out about being linked to IBM and opened the door for MS-DOS.

Timex OS, Atari OS, Texas Instrament OS. <-> these probably ran CP/M or something. I just know that they were early computer systems (among many, many) that also fell to the wayside.

Commador and Amiga OS. These were innovative and lasted much longer then the others. Amiga really did some amazing things for the time and place.

IBM and MS worked together on OS/2 MS bailed later and IBM lost it touch when it went for the Microchannel and the industry went with EIDE (its hardware on the motherboards) The industry went on to not support either and went with PCI instead.

OS/2 became IBMs OS/2 warp.

CP/M became DR-DOS and was later bought by Novell in an attempt to be an alternative to MicroSoft. They may have succeeded if they had been more cut-throat and gotten pre-loaded contracts.

now we have Windows Vista which is really snazzy looking with lots of really cool funtions. Stable? lets hope, secure? lets hope.

You may note that I left Mac OS out. It and arguably Linux are the only other OS's out there offering an alternative. Even Mac has bowed to Windows, seeing as how thier current advertisements are showing you can buy a Mac and use windows on it...

Personally, I would like to see more alternatives out there. OS/2 Warp open source. If I was setting up a new office environment I would strongly look at getting Linux and Open Office over Microsoft. You could use a lower cost machine compared to Vista.

Its an interesting thought. Larry Ellison is making some rumblings in that direction as well.

November 16, 2006

WoW - The Undercity

**warning MMORPG geek zone ahead**

With my old gang I am playing a Warrior in WOW. Its a big hulking Man-Cow named Tuuk. My role will be that of a Tank. In otherwords, I will engage the enemy and keep their attention while the healer keeps me alive and the others dispatch the intended victim.

If done correctly a Tank is the only one needing healing as all the bad guys focus on him. Getting that kind of attention or aggro is done by a number of methods. Taunting or attacks that 'anger' the creatures AI.

This being the case Tuuk will need to use a shield and sword (Board and Stick in wow terms). Your average Tauren Warrior has two handed mace skills. So I needed to find someone to train him. After getting lost in Ogrimar (capital city of the Orcs) I finally Guided him to the weapon masters. None of which offered one handed weapon training. They did point me to the Undercity, which is the capital city of the Undead (who are allied with the Tauren).

As luck would have it there is a Zepplin that goes right to that location. Unfortunatly they do not provide railings and as the blimp emerged from the malstrom fog over the undead lands, I had Tuuk take an errant step and he did a faceplant from about 100 feet up.

..Dead splat..

In WoW when your Avatar dies he\she becomes a ghost and has to preambulate back to the location of the body. There are other options but they can have nasty results that I wished to avoid.

So Tuuks non-corpreal self trucked it back to his corpse and revived. Now to figure out where the heck he was. The map uses a technique called 'the fog of war' in which only shows places you have been. This being Tuuks first excursion to this gloomy place the map was about as useful as a political promise. I found a road and picked a direction. Soon I came across a signpost and a town of undead called Brill. The undercity was just a bit further.

**whew**

I made it to some castle ruins, I was a bit dissaponted... and premature.. turns out the Undercity is a true 'Undercity' it is massive creepy and oh so full of eye candy!

In the best tradition of horror films! Fun!!

November 15, 2006

Too fast!

I have experienced a rush of time passing as of late. My new sched is four, Ten hour days with a fifth day of four hours Overtime. The longer day at work hasnt phased me that much. This Friday will have me comming home around 11:00AM. Unless they cancel the OT.

The evening is now compressed much more. Lots to do and little time. Add to that the typical bussiness of life with two teens and Connor and I either seem to be missing things I shouldnt or I feel more of a passenger then the driver.

Its probably just a perception thing. I dunno. One of the casualties as of late has been date nite. After our meeting on Thursdays we were going to check out various eateries and just having a nice time the two of us.

I think we have been having Diana take over for Connor more then she should have to as well.

All in all I am looking towards Friday afternoon to decompress and get a handle on things.

November 13, 2006

WoWzers

I am a gamer. I like to game. What I enjoy most about games is the interaction with people. The Gamer group I enjoy interacting the most with is my wife Tina and boyhood buddies Shoo and Rob of the Family George (see links to the right) .

The games go back to Imaginary play with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and Legos etc. Paper and Pencil games followed D&D, AD&D (yes there is a difference), Paranoia, Gurps, Star Wars, Traveller, Phoenix Command etc.

Nowadays due to time and distance (Shoo and Robert live miles from each other in West coast traffic), we play MMOPRGs online. Last night we started up World of Warcraft (WoW)

We opted for Hoard and added Robs son and Shoo's Brother into the mix. The first night was fun and mostly around getting everyone online and in the same area around the same level. next up is trying some quests. Hopefully some real bad ass stuff.

We played City of Heroes and the great thing is we tend to know and trust each others gameplay abilities. Its good to know someone has your back. Periodically we would have a straggler join our group only to be freaked out at the level of the bad guys we were fighting. Only to find out we were more then capable of kicking butt.

I expect this trend to continue in WoW. There is a place called WarSong Gulch that I really cannot wait to try out with this band.

So if your ever in Azeroth and find yourself in Warsong and getting your Alliance corpse pwnd. Betcha its us...

November 03, 2006

Transition


At work one of our motto's is 'live with ambiguity'. Sometimes its very irksome, othertimes sublime.

For along time I was on the 'Sales Outbound and Resolution team' (SOAR). This means I would call back potential sales and call back 'customer satisfaction' issues. I was a fixer, I fixed things. In this particular position I shined. Mostly because I was unafraid to break ouside of the box and look for solutions.

This particular program has just gone full circle and I got off the merry-go-round. It used to be that every sales team had a SOAR sitting with them. This became problematic because of misuse by managers and a general feeling of disassociation by the SOAR. A backup for sick days and being overwhelmed was also an issue.

They made some changes and pulled everyone into one Team with one manager. This worked out very well. One team on the floor was making 10% of the comissioned sales and dealing with customer issues that a typical salesperson would be lost doing.

Quantifying this was difficult, sales were put under the original sales reps name. They came up with a few different methods to track SOAR but all were pretty easy to fudge. They also worked to set up some kind of compensation based upon preformance. Then tweaked it every month since.

Due to head count changes the team got smaller and a 'new idea' sprung up that took the SOAR team down to about 1/4 of its original size. Still we did over 10% of the floors sales.

They put in a call back extension that people could call direct into our team and that really did work out nicely. Well as of tomarrow all that changes and each team is going to have a SOAR sitting with them. But, only the new teams. The 'seasoned' people are going to be calling back customers and handling satisfaction issues. With very little to no training on how to do this.

As for me I am going to be a Sales Retention Specialist trying to stop returns from happening. Wish me luck.

October 28, 2006

Headway

Entering into the 6th week of recovery from my accident. I am happy to report I can again walk to work, I have a truck and my back is at 100%. I have a few appointments left for follow-up mostly. My ankle still gives me an irk of pain every so often, when I step funny. Still I can be without the brace for around the house just fine.

October 25, 2006

World Of Warcraft



I am a MMORPG vetran in quite a number of ways. Starting out in beta of UO I have played or playtested or demo'd several of the genre.
  • Ultima Online (beta tested)
  • Asherons Call (beta tested, played)
  • Asherons Call 2 (beta tested, played)
  • Anarchy Online (beta tested, demo'd)
  • Dark Age of Camalot (demo'd)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (beta tested)
  • Matrix Online (beta)
  • Linage (demo'd)
  • Clan Lords (demo'd)
  • City of Heroes (played)
  • Ryzoms (beta)
  • Some space ship one {cannot recall the name but it was cancelled} (beta)
  • World of Warcraft (played)

Currently I am playing World of Warcraft (WoW) along with several million others. From my viewpoint they did thier homework and put together a very well done game.

The races and classes are very diverse. You can play solo or with groups. They have very little 'down time' and eliminated alot of repitition. Most of all it has a wide range of entertainment.

There are standard recognized fantasy elements. Plenty of quests lore and background depth as well.

October 24, 2006

Doctor Who

I remember watching Doctor who around age 14. It was bad special effects, sets that looked like sets and some great writing and actors who could overcome the lower then Hollywood budget.

Now that the BBC has relaunched the series and Sci-Fi network has been broadcasting the show I find myself in anticipation of the next installment. This is some tight written scripts and characters of depth and charm.

The last broadcast was titled "The Girl in the Fireplace" It revolved around a broken spaceship over 3000 years in the future and the 18th century historical figure Madame de Pompadour. This single episode delt with so many different themes and revelations it was almost dizzying to me. It also prompted me to to look up Madame de Pompadour as well, she was a quite remarkable woman who's contribution to France is still apparent. No wonder the Stevan Moffet (writer) wanted to write something around her.

The most satisfying ending was the final shot which was a great "Oh so THATS the reason" that tied everything together in a great way that in retrospect made it so obvious.

I actually had to watch a second time (thank you tivo) to take it all in.

I really like being able to stand up from watching a show on TV and say, 'now THAT was a good show'

October 23, 2006

Quantum musings

So either my consciousness affects the behaviour of subatomic particles

- or -

Particles move backwards as well as forwards in time and appear in all possible places at once

- or -

The universe is splitting, every Planck-time into billions of parallel universes

- or -

The universe is interconnected with faster-than-light transfers of information

And by deciding which one it is or isnt I fundamentally change the universe??

October 20, 2006

John Harrington NOT Thomas Crappers iinvention


My brand new toilet doesnt flush correctly. I bought American Standard because, according to my pop, they are the best at making shitters...

My pop installed this particular toilet so I know for a fact the installation was professionally done. My pops plumbing prowess is one of those things that are beyond any reproach. Its an absolute.

Anywho, every third flush would evacuate the bowel with that chugging sound. First thing I did was go through the 'trouble shooting' guide cleaverly attached to the inside of the lid. I adjusted the float, the valve, checked for obstructions and verified the water pressure.

Still, the loads would not pass. Okay, next to call tech support... Not exactly the tech support I picture, but, waste removal is something you can get a degree in, so its technology, just too commonplace for us to consider tech over our DVD players and Plazma TV's.

The tech support guy was very nice and we went over various tests and attempts to make the poo go bye bye. Finally he concluded that there was a manufacture defect in the bowl and gave me a RMA number to take back to Lowes.

Toilets are cast and sometimes the casting goes awry and this is undecteable from the exterior. So the flow of water is not maximized for Fecal Removal. So today I pulled up the old John and took it to Lowes got a replacement and installed the new one.

Guess what? Five out of five for flushing. Now I just have to build up a massive bowel movement to give it one final test. So fiber and ex-lax here I come!!

October 11, 2006

Life is tee jus aint it?

August and September sucked (to paraphrase the succint philosophical uttering of Tom Moore "Sucked Donkey Dick")

Between loosing a close respected teen friend of the kids. Wrecking my truck, school starting, insurance not covering something they said they would, my company forgetting a part of our taxes, Injuring myself and falling a month behind on building the extra bathroom, the cost of said bathroom, auto-insurance suckage its just not been the best of times.

October has been better. I got the news yesterday from my orthopedic doctor, I have sprained three ligaments on the right side of my ankle and should have 100% recovery given time. He okayed me to start walking again, slowly at first. My back physician has made sleeping a much more pleasant experience (1hr massage roxor). I got the insurance check for my truck and the tow truck guys said I did good. We are putting the finishing touches on the shower. The new Doctor Who season has begun and so far our German exchange student seems to be getting along okay. Finally my job is attempting to do the four ten hour shift thingy.

This means three days off and a good chance of actually getting more done around the yard now that I can walk again.

First priority is getting a truck...

October 03, 2006

Ensurants Foibles

Okay, so my accident is on the 15th and on the 25th they assigned someone to the case. The liabililty was established on the 19th. The agent on my case left a vm on the 26th telling me we needed to release the truck so he can assess the damage. Okay, I want him to assess the damage. So Tina takes a long lunch drives down to the Tow place. They are used to seeing insurance 'games' and hand her a list of the laws around insurance and tell her that WE are responsible for the towing and storage ($100.00 towing $40.00 a day storage). Tina and I formulate a plan to have it towed to our house to stop the daily $ding! .

Then I find out that the 'release' needed will allow the insurance company to tow my truck wherever they want and they want to do that because THEY are liable for the towing and storage fee's at this point. Further, without the $40.00 a day they can take thier damn sweet time about issuing me a check.


you get that?.... The agent implied that he could not do the assessment without us releasing the truck into his possession. When in fact he can assess the damage at anytime. This is just a loss of leverage.


Now I had THOUGHT my wife had gone down to the storage yard and granted the agent access to our vehicle. I had called the agent and left a message that she was heading down there and he would be able to inspect the vehicle. The agent arranged for his tow truck to come down 80 miles to tow my truck away. The tow truck had to turn around and go back. The agent was pissed off.

He calls me up telling me that Farmers Insurance will no longer be paying the storage and towing fees on my truck. Which is now nearing $1000.00.

Lawyer time... I called and got a free consultation found out some very interesting things. Turns out they need to send some official notification before they can remove thier liablity. That notification is only good for a certain date onward. Still, having admitted liability they can still be held to re-imburse any towing and storage depending on the 'why'.
I also got a bunch of advise on looking at the assessment of Fair Market value and things to look for. With all this knowledge in hand the next agent in line called me.

To date I have had many heated exchanges over the length of time involved, the flagrant lies, the strong arm tactics and the lack of notification of my rights required by law.

Anyways, I finally got a settlement for $2714.00 and they went out the paperwork to sign my truck over to them. When that DHL letter showed up the paperwork shows. 2174.00....


Umkay... back into the Breech!!!

October 02, 2006

Honey do.

Well it took some doing but the insurance company coughed up $2700 for my truck and about a grand in towing and storage fees. The tow truck guys said I did good, so I guess I did good.

Still I am not able to walk very far and that may take awhile to recover. I am going to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor to see what needs doing to get back to walking and running.

The bathroom shower is my Thursday project and then just the trim needs doing and that’s done. It came out pretty nice.

Left to do is:
Shower installed
Caulk the heck out of everything
Trim around Pullman
Trim around floor and doors
Purchase and install cupboard above the john
Purchase a second towel rack and install both.
Purchase a larger faceplate for the GFCI plug.
Figure out a shelf hook holder for our electrical stuff.

Then it’s on to the next project. Getting a truck I think...

September 29, 2006

Meetings part duex (a series)

Robert and the California George Family:

About a year after I met Shoo I met Robert. In my now 40+ brain the earliest recollection was on the field at our elementary school. As I recall it was a confrontation having to do with something stupid. It's a bit of a blur with cubscouts and band (he was playing violin). Sometime in that memory mess I ended up going to his house and meeting his folks and finding he had comic books.

To the best of my recollection he was walking home and I was on my bike (my awseome schwinn two speed kick back golden bike with the mini schwinn handle bards and banana seat). We were talking and walked to where he lived and I noticed behind his house... was the most coolest exporation area ever.

The Drainage Ditch. This was PURE NATURE waiting to be explored for the first time by eight\nine year olds. And he had a tree fort that was just a drop down into it!

Over the next few weeks I was escourted past his Killer Trained German Shepard attack dog of death that wanted nothing more in life to eat me. We stretched ourM4D $k177s (mad skills) and made a barely useable rope ladder for the other side of the tree fort. Played in the dangerous raw sewage of the outback and in general were kids doing kid things.

Rob was the first person I knew who had a job and actually had dedication to that job. I never heard him complain about having to go to work. He had the first car of anyone I knew as well.

Most of my early life adventures Rob was there. Even riding mopeds across Orange County to visit Shoo. Hours upon hours of building lego universes. Altering the DNA of plastic animals. Reading comics, seeing movies, he even obliquely posed as a Catholic at my youth group (well not actively).

He was the Best Man at my wedding. Simply because he was the Best Man.

September 23, 2006

Tilting the windmills

I'm getting bad advice. Well not advice as much as uninformed choices being presented for me to choose. Example: Would you like to be shot in the thigh or buttocks? The actual choice you would want is to not be shot at all, or possibly shooting the 'ask er'.

Okay, I was in a car crash. I am injured, I need to see a doctor. I called my family doctor and was told that he does not see authomobile injuries any longer. Go see the urgent care.

At the urgent care, I was told I have to pay up front and then get reimbursed by my au
to insurance. Not having $200.00 on me and wanting to make sure I can cover the mortgage, I asked for an alternative and was told to go to the ER.

The ER I was greeting by a nice enough young lady who asked me why I was there. I was then told that it was not an emergency condition (it had happened 6 days earlier and I need to go to the hospitals urgent care.

So I limped off to the other urgent care in town, the ONLY other urgent care and was told that I had to pay up front then get reimbursed...

So I limped home took some pain killers and wallowed in my misery.

The next day I was wondering about my own insurance, I am currently covered by my own and my wifes insurance. My quandry was this, I have dolled out some good cash to the car insurance and to me it was wasted if they were not doing what was agreed upon.

So I called up my auto insurance and told them my tale of woah and while she was empathic and outraged etc. there really wasnt anything they could offer as a soulution. So I called my HR department and was transferred the my insurance representative, where I was finally informed about what was supposed to happen over what did happen.

Turns out that there is some kind of agreement between the state and auto insurance that the medical people can only charge so much for doing thier jobs and not seek re-imbursement at all. In other words, lets say they take out your boompooper cuz it was damaged in a car crash. They operation costs $15.00, but the state and the insurance already agreed it costs $7.00. The medical people can only recoup $7.00 and they have to suck up the rest of the costs. THIS is why they are not interested in billing the auto insurance directly.

Next I learn that the ER is required by law to take anyone regardless of whats wrong. If I have a hair on my rear that doesnt look right to me I can go to the ER and get a highly trained professional to check out my asshair. I either mis-understood the ER nurse or I was lied too.
Now, I find out that my insurance company can set up an access file and coordinate between the healthcare people and the auto insurance people. I am further told not to let the receptionists know anything other then I need to see the doctor cuz I have an owie. (full disclosure to the doctor)

So being in customer service I wonder why the receptionist did'nt ask If I had any other means of insurance? They are probably restricted as to what they can and cannot do.

Bottom line is with a little knowledge I got into see a doctor got my diagnosis and now know how to proceed and make sure the correct parties are billed... .um.. correctly.

Between the Medical people the insurance people and the government people and the courts we have a pretty icky mess. It seems to me that in the persuit of making things easier for the various entities involved they have pushed certain burdens to other entities who have pushed it eslewhere to the point that you need to know what to say to whom to get anything accomplished.

Oh yeah, I donated blood again on Friday. Give Blood Its what all humans should do for each other.

September 20, 2006

Straight Outta Lynwood

The words Mega-galactical, awesome, omni-Quasi Godling Pop-musical Genius gets Bandied about much to often these days. In this case its just as overstepping pendantic in this case.

But, his stuff is fun. He has a new album out, check out the tunes on his myspace site
http://www.myspace.com/weirdal

September 19, 2006

Not the best day for "B"

Since I have been at Dell, "B" has always been there (I am omiting the name). She is one of those genuinely nice people, approchable and always willing to help out. She is genuinely interested in what you have to say in any given conversation. Just one of those people who you can count on to be there and do right by you.

She had some kind of seizure in the row today, she sits two desks down from me and just a bit earlier we were talking about her neededing someone to cover her shift Saturday as her Daycare fell through.

We have some first responder people here at Dell, regular employee's trained for first aid situations. Someone like "B" has alot of friends and keeping away well meaning worried people fell partially to me.

She stopped breathing for a bit but started on her own as they were about to start CPR. I have the image burned into my minds eye of her laying there shuddering with her eyes rolled back into her head. I cant help but dwell on that unless I am keeping too busy.

I hope she is okay, I hope we hear something soon. Of course we are far down the line of people who need to be notified about that kind of news.
I find great comfort in prayer.

September 18, 2006

All the, Small things..

My ankle is producing sharp pains for about the first 10 steps I take then it receeds to a dull ache until I stop walking. Then there is my lower back which does not want to move in any way shape or form. My entire body has alot of noticble stiffness and aches.
Car Crashes are not fun. On top of that I have a caffine headache. I have trouble sleeping so I thought going without caffine may improve my sleep. I stopped drinking coffee and soda on the 13th of september and still having the withdrawls.
I feel really groggy in the mornings and have a tough time focusing. Also, my sleeping is still crap. I have a good run from the time I fall asleep (around 11:00pm) till three oclock in the morning. Then every noise is amplified to the Nth degree or I have these sleep dream fits that cause me to wake up every 5min with a start. It really really sux.
I found that an herbal suppliment call Valarian Root makes me sleep deeply but gives me acid dreams, So I take some melatonin and that smooths out the night tremors. You can build up an immunity to these so its not a perm. solution.
At this point the car crash has tainted my experiment so much so I am about to flick it in....

Simple faith, its the richest kind.

I believe in God

When that life curtain finally comes down

You will know the truth

(yes its in Haiku)

September 17, 2006

Deservedly insane customer day

You have to just love new people. For instance the one person placed an order on a customers Credit card (Debit with a mastercard logo). The card was declined and so the rep tried it again and again for a total of Five attempts. (totally used the wrong procedure as well)

The customer, at this point, told the rep to forget it all together.

For some reason the sales rep did not cancel out the orders, rather the rep left them in Held status pending bank authorization. A couple of days later the customer deposited a large sum of money into the debit card account to pay his mortgage.

Yup, his five units payment was authorized and they shipped out. And his mortgage payment bounced.

He was a tad upset. So now normally the units need to be returned and inspected before the credit back can be issued.

This process can take up to three weeks...

September 16, 2006

Traffic accident

Friday I was in a traffic accident. I was heading up Oak street as it crosses Rose. Rose has a stop sign, Oak does not. A lady in a jeep pulled out infront of me and we smashed into each other. I was alone in the car and aside from my right ankle hurting and my back feeling tweeked I am physically okay.

It's just now everything is messed up. Here is what I predict will happen.

My Truck being in perfect working order is from 1993 it only had 90k miles on it. The price for a truck that old is around 1500.00. The cost of a new truck (we bought this new) is around $16,000. The insurance company is going to say the repair cost is higher then the worth of the truck and they are going to send me a check for about 1000.00.

So, Im out a vehicle and not going to get enough to buy a replacement. On top of that having two teens and two working adults is nigh unworkable with one car.

*sigh*

September 13, 2006

Running out of time

Our exchange student is going to be arriving at the end of the month. The new Bathroom has some unanswered questions. How do I secure the flooring? When does the vinyl go in? Who can do the tape and texture.

I suppose I could do the vinyl, Tape and texture, However I know its not an easy thing to do and I think I would end up making a mess of things. Not sure how else to coordinate everything that needs to be done with the time left to me.

*sigh*

September 12, 2006

MMORPGing

Ultima Online is about to get a facelift. Its considered the start of the MMORPG's.
Actually anyone who has been online for long enough can tell you the MUDs (mutual User Dungeons) started the mess.

MMORPG's are a difficult thing to explain to the novice computer user. For the acroynm you expand it to Massivly Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. To the uninitiated its like a 3D chat room with something to do. To anyone else... Just ask someone to show you...

Game Ogre trys to track the top games of this genre and the list as of this morning is:
World of Warcraft
Eve Online
Final Fantasy XI
City of Heroes \ City of Villians
Dark Age of Camelot
Everquest 2
Dungeons & Dragons Online
Rose Online
Saga of Ryzom
Auto Assult

These are the Pay to Play list, which means you have a monthly fee. After you purchase the box set. There are a goodly number of Free ones out there as well. On top of that there are many many in development to grab a piece of the pie.

As a fan of the genre I have been in the beta tests for quite a few of them. Namely UO, AC, AC2, DAoC, AO, MxO, D&DO, Ryzoms, CoH\CoV

Of the beta's I have actually subscribed to AC, AC2 CoH\CoV, Currently I am futzing around with World of Warcraft.

WoW climbed up to the top of the heap so they must have done alot of things right.

September 10, 2006

On the Floor


They had early release at work (The opposite of Overtime). I jumped at the chance to get more Bathroom work done.

First up was the ductwork under the house for the furnace we plan on installing someday. We ran the master bedroom furnace venting when it was open to the sky. This was much easier then this project. First off I have to install a Y for the bathroom and have a vent in the floor. Due to the 8inch floor joist there was only one place that made sense for it to go. I started by carefully measuring the rectangle hole and once I was sure of the geometrics I took out my good ol jigsaw and started cutting.

I noticed the wood was looking damp and while I continued to cut puzzled on this, about one nanosecond before the water started spraying upwards my mind recalled that was at the exact point that the water pipe goes under the floor. I was out the front door and to the cut off valve in under three seconds, Total elapsed time for this paragraph in real life, five seconds. So now I had to mop up the bucket of water under the house, fix the pipe in such a way as to allow the vent to go up in the hole.

As luck would have it, Our plumbing is circa 1949 and has steel running for the water instead of Copper. This is slowly being replaced by this special poly-plastic pipe that uses no glues or welding or soldering. Its very cool and my Pop swears by it, so its the real deal. This section had already been replaced, which is why I should have known better then to cut without looking.

The main thing is you need this special tool that evenly spreads the pipe so you can put in the connectors. I bought one figuring on replacing the plumbing as said above. It paid for itself Saturday. Without my spare pipe, fittings and tool this would have been a saturday housecall for a plumber, or my purchasing the same gear retail. So bad and good...

Next I had to pay homage to the Croc hunter and wrestle the ducting into place. This means crawling under the house, cutting a ten inch flexable duct, taping the inner duct to the Y and the outer insulation to the Y as well as building a fancy two elbow rig up the to floor of the Bathroom.

Tina assisted and made the job sooo much easier. While I would try to plan everything I needed keeping track of that stuff under the floor would have been a pain in the tukus.

Water fixed, tested. no Leaks.

Ductwork, installed and strapped up to the floor.

Next the jigsaw puzzle of boards to replace the water damaged ones. I put down some contruction adhesive and used Stainless steel screws to secure the boards. I'm really happy with how it came out.

The picture up top is Connor looking at the carnage.

September 08, 2006

The depths of the Bathroom

One thing leads to another. As recounted by Shoo and Ronn in various oblique empathic bloggings.

The bathroom in question used to have a tub. This is a good thing

The drain pipes are black steel. This is a bad thing

We wanted a shower and sink added. Good Idea

We had to re-do all the black steel and creativly add a 1-1/2 drain for the sink. Hard idea to accomplish.

With luck my Pop is a Plumbing Guru beyond all mortal kin. It was easy to accomplish.

The old toilet was a replacement for a broken one bought at low low pricing. This was a bad thing.

It did not flush totally and its clever design allowed for um... bodily leakage on the floor. Bad thing

When I yanked it out I found that the reason it was not unlike a rocking horse was the water damage of the boards under the back.. A bad thing.

I spent today crushing boards into dust with my hands and cutting out water damaged wood, then reinforcing the floor and cutting new boards into clever patterns to replace the old damaged ones. A good thing.

The electrial system in the room sucked. It was tied into the north side of the house as far as lights and plugs go. Meaning plugging a hair dryer in would blow a circut. A Bad thing.

We had to unwire the old stuff, rewire it back again. Then run wire to its own circuit for the new batroom. A good thing.

Again, the way I wanted to do the wiring was very tricky and luckily my Pops knowledge of electrical workings came through again.

The only thing now is to run the venting into the room and I can finally seal up the floorboards and stop having to crawl under the house again and again... I hope.

So now I just need to...
  1. Run the vent line and cut the vent into the floor
  2. Screw down the floor boards
  3. Roll out the moisture barrier on the floor and lower walls
  4. Cut and fit the underflooring
  5. Install the bathroom out vent into the side of the house for the moisture
  6. cut and fit the unterlayment
  7. Put up the insulation
  8. Roll the moisture barrier up the walls
  9. Install the roof insulation
  10. put up the roof sheetrock
  11. Put up the walls sheetrock
  12. Install the shower
  13. Install the vanity
  14. Have the walls and roof taped and textured (I have no skill in this)
  15. Primer the walls
  16. Paint the walls
  17. Install the vinyl
  18. Install the toilet

And then we are all finished!

Wheee!!!!!!!!!

September 05, 2006

September 02, 2006

Masterful Bathrooming

My Pop was born in the 20's. He is one of the most hard working individuals you would ever want to meet. Last thursday he came over to help with the plumbing for our remodel. He designed a complex drainage venting system in his head as we went along and quickly worked to get it inplace. During this venture he climed in and out of a narrow hole he cut in the floor and wrestled pipes into position. Not something you picture when dealing with someone in thier advancing years. We saved so much time and money on that portion of this project just saying 'Thanks' seems paltry.

Friday morning, I found my normal office bound body screaming in protest as I did things like... Move... That old man still kicks my ass at damn near twice my age.

I love my Mom and Pop. They give me alot to aspire too. Working class heroes.

August 31, 2006

Black Holes: Deadliest force in universe

Okay, read this and tell me what the freeking point of this 'News-item'?

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=nation_world&id=4507245


This is listed under News... I just know now I will hear someone in the lunchroom verbally worrying about this happening.

August 30, 2006

OMG I just cant believe this one.

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=71395

Obesity is the Governments problem???


WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- According to a new report from Trust for America's Health (TFAH), adult obesity rates continued to rise in 31 states over the past year while government policy efforts have consistently failed to provide viable solutions to the growing obesity crisis.

August 29, 2006

Life = Death

The sky was appropriatly overcast and dark this AM when I walked to work. My mind drifted back and forth to various memories and thoughts, mostly about this young life all too soon snuffed out. I am keeping close tabs on my kids today, calling on breaks and listening carefully to what they say. This is one of those lessons that is very important to learn and understand. Death is a part of life if you look around everyone you see headed there, dont forget to look in the mirror as well.

Accept it.

Loss sux. Right now there is a void in future events that Jack would have participated in and its very palpable at the moment. I know from experience those voids will shrink over time, metaphorically.

The sun was bright and the sky was clear and blue during my lunch. My kids sounded more chipper.

It is still going to be a long process, good thing we are here for each other.

August 28, 2006

Jack

Jack died over the weekend, he drowned. He shouldn’t have. I guess its one of the ‘life isn’t fair’ things. If you ever needed proof, there it is.

We met him through our kid’s elementary school. He was very personable and friendly from the start. When he was over he would take the time to say hello to me and my wife and often would engage in conversation. You don’t usually see that in kids. He had a sense of Honor as well, the kind of person who would choose to do what’s right and it would never suprise you.

He was destined to be a great man, you could sense it when you spoke to him. He cared and had a curiosity about who someone was, not just what they did.

I feel a sense of loss that is compounded by empathy for my kids. Of course it pales to what his family is going through.

I am going to miss Jack, we all should…

August 26, 2006

Robin to the Bathroom!

We got rid of our parking area and now have a masterbedroom. My daughters old room is now a walk in closet (it was a very tiny bedroom and now a decent closet). The second bathroom has now been officially started. We had a toilet and there used to be a tub. The tub was let go for contractual reasons, in its place a rather poorly built set of shelves was installed.

My pop was over on my weekend (read Thursday) and assessed what would be needed to put in a shower. My father is the best construction plumber alive today. I have never met a journeyman plumber who was not impressed with his skills and knowledge. His expertise also goes into housing construction and electrical wiring. He is a very handy guy to have around.

My wife and I had already picked out a shower that is good for a tight space and with our lowes gift cards my youngest and I went out and secured the showers employment and then I had to pick out the shower valve and head and a matching one for the vanity.

Growing up with the worlds greatest plumber I picked up a few things about being a craftsman and how to wrestle various home improvement projects. I also grew up with the Reeves Journal and the UA magazine which had various write ups and ads for plumbing supplies.

This puts me in a quandry for what brand to get. My pop likes Moen, however, thats because they have better discounts and are easiest to install. I had a Delta faucet but the handle snapped off one day when my daughter was using it, likewise the price fister just wasnt secure enough into the sink and the knobs would bang your knuckles if you were not dilligent.

I got a peerless for the kitchen sink and our other bathroom and so far I have liked the solid construction and the copper innards. So after viewing the displays for a good 15 min I got what I think will be a good setup for us. Next I need to get all the prep work done so when my pop comes back up thursday I can run the plumbing and electrical.

fun...

August 22, 2006

Wireless

During my vacation I set up two wirless networks up in Canada. One at my Father-in-Laws and one at my sis-in laws.

My Sister had plunged into DSL after getting a laptop. She would have to set up the DSL modem and the system every time she wanted to go online and then put that tangle of wires away afterwards.

Aside from putting a nick in her flooring the install went fairly well. There was a little oddness with her ISP but that too ironed itself out. Now she can IM with my wife, tech is a good thing.

My Father-in-Laws setup had one major stumbling block. His password was not correct and the hold times for his ISP was 40-minutes. Knowing that most people bail after 10 min, I actually hung in there for 20-min and spoke to a tech.

I really get a kick out of phone tech's, mostly cuz they have to deal with the bottom rung of tech savvy people out there. Usually it takes a good five minutes before they realize I know what I'm doing.

Anyways, we have connectivity!!!

The really odd thing to me was the number of wireless networks out there that have zero protection going on. I was reminded of a customer who had signed up through broadband and set up a wireless network and was disgusted at the slow speed.

His ISP tech went out and found out his neighborhood was surfing on his dime :)

August 20, 2006

Its nice being in Love

And being married for 18 years today!

Having someone that makes the bad days great and the great days amazing!


Double bonus, my daughter turns 16 today...

August 01, 2006

Entertainment news

Reading about the new joker and a thought occured.


"I wish I knew how to quit you, Batman "


heh

July 30, 2006

Happiness

I have been in a very good mood, for about the last 20 years... (Well there was a period of time where I had severe depression and went to a shrink, it turns out job stress wasnt allowing me to sleep so for about four months I had less then two hours restful sleep a night. I got a suppliment and within a week all my depression symptoms vanished. I had not put two and two together, glad I had a good shrink!)

The other day Connor informed me that in the morning he wanted to go to the Bakery. I have no idea why he wanted to go there, but he did, as we needed another bread run I figured why not. So we went to the bakery and I was curious to see what he wanted. He was very interested in the hot dog buns, I explained we did not need any and he moved on to the cheeze nips (white chedder), then the originals, I held up the two boxes and had him pick one. he stuck with the white chedder (good choice). He proceeded to get a diet coke, which was fine cuz I was of a mind to have one anyways, and we could share.

Next stop was K-Mart, I needed to check on a few items for the yard work and in general I like to browse to keep a mental inventory of what they have. I have this tendency to file stuff like that away, then when something comes up it pops into my mind where to go and the approx, price.

At the store Connor walked around in a random pattern just looking at things, I really cannot explain the joyful curiosity he has and how great it is to observe. I commented to my daughter (who was along for the excursion) I just might be the happiest person in the world... or my world at least...

I really enjoy the town I am in, I find the people friendly and open, and very honest. I really enjoy being a dad. I have to have the coolest wife in the world, we 'get' each other, which is great and we are a great balance of personalities. We make a good team.

My house is great as well, very very comfortable and with enough land to be a challange without being overwhelming.

It's good ta be me!

July 28, 2006

Insane customer day


They changed things around at work. If a sales rep is logged out of the phone or on another line it now rolls over into a queue that my team answers. This seems to be working well for the most part. We get some follow up questions.

People calling in to order get to, instead of waiting for a call back. All in all its a win win. I am NOT happy with my teams focus being centered on making money, when it used to be on customer service... but thats a rant for another day.

We have some financing in house, which requires getting a credit check etc. Also, there are some very strict guidelines that sales reps need to follow when setting one up. Asking the person directly if this is thier information, verifying the billing address and getting verbal permission to run a credit check. Forget to do this two times and you are written up, one more time and you are marched out the door.

So anyway, a lady calls in wanting to know why her order was cancelled. When I check its flagged as possible fraud. During the discourse she reveals that she gave her name and her boyfriends SSN.

Lee>: The only way you can straighten this out is by you and your boyfriend contacting the finance department. Let me give you thier toll free number.

Lady>: So am I getting the computer?

Lee>: Not until the finance issue is sorted out.

Lady>: I told that sales man that it was my boyfriends social, he made the mistake, not me.

Lee>: ma'am, I wasnt privy to the conversation, regardless of what happened, the only way to fix this problem now is to get you to the finance department. Do you have a pencil and paper handy?

Lady>: I told him it was my boyfriends social and so HE made the mistake, I do not see why I have to fix it!

Lee>: I have no way of accessing your or your boyfriends financial records. Only the finance department can. They would not even give me the basic information becuse I am not the customer of record. If you have your boyfriend contact them, I'm quite sure we can get this all worked out.

Lady>: I do not see why you are making me fix this. Why should I call anybody?

Lee>: One reason, ma'am, is that this is YOUR financial records. As it is now, it can appear that you commited fraud. So it would be in your best interest...

Lady>: I did not commit fraud!

Lee>: I never said you did ma'am, I was answering you question as to why you should call in with your boyfriend.

Lady>: Your an asshole.

Lee>: I am only finding a solution for you, calling finance is the only way to get you a computer.

Lady>: I want to speak to your supervisor.

Lee>: I am not transferring you to a supervisor. They will only repeat the same thing I just said.

Lady>: You wont let me talk to a supervisor?

Lee>: No ma'am, even if I had one available it would be a waste of time, you need to talk to financial.

Lady>: I did'nt do anything.

Lee>: regardless, our records show that you submitted another persons information to run credit for you. That can have serious credit repercussions.

Lady>: It will have repercussions for YOU! I didnt do anything wrong, the sales rep did.

Lee>: Ma'am if you accidently shoot someone, and they are now dying. Do you send the gunshot victim to the hospital, or the gunman?

Lady>: This is your fault, not mine.

Lee>: I never said it was, unfortunatly you and your boyfriend are the only ones that can fix this problem, that Dell may have created. I apologize for that but its the only avenue available

Lady>: ...click...

July 26, 2006

Three things about OR


In Oregon you pay no sales tax, you cannot pump your own gas and every two years the state government gives the people back any monies over collected. Each of these things is under constant fire from the governments.

The sales tax keeps rearing its head and we the people are being told that it would lower other forms of taxation making it a 'good thing' If they ever bundled it with the elimination of payroll tax and property tax I would take a strong look. I know that the government, any government will swell to the size of the monies it has. No matter how much is put into any program we taxpayers are told that they need more and there is always some scare tactics involved as well.

Self Service gas stations are supposed to lower the cost per gallon dramatically. This is a hard sell when we are paying thirty cents less a gallon then california to the south. Earlier this year there was a story in the newspaper that CA gas has all these emission standards on them that makes it cost so much more. One of our radio talk show guys then found out that around 80% of Oregon gas is the same gas California uses. They just do not charge for the emission addititves becuase um.. we dont use that??? My mom is in her eighties, everytime they try to get self service gas going I think of her in mid winter at night trying to fill up the gas while some punk sits in a little booth reading.

The kicker check is simply this, the state govt sets a budget, if they collect more money then they need they return the money back to the taxpayers in a kicker check. Whenever it comes time to return the money the polotikians up in Salem debate and try to put the money to 'better use'. Some have even called the taxpayers 'greedy' for wanting our own money back. I am very unconvinced that I can not make better use of my own money then the government can.

July 14, 2006

My brand new monitor


I purchased me a Viewsonic VX924 19" flat panel display. This is my first flat panel and its awesome! Not only have I maxed out my graphic card for the first time ever (1280 x 1024) but its got a great response rate, good enough for gaming!

You may or may know this, but the CRT (Cathod Ray Tube) has long been a superior monitor for games, only very very recently have the LCD reached this height.

There are alot of different criteria to be sure but the refresh\response rate is really key to a smooth image with the modern 3D games.

The magic number being 8ms average. The refresh rate or "vertical refresh rate" is the number of times in a second that a display is illuminated. Much of the discussion of refresh rate does not apply to LCD monitors. This is because while a phosphor on a CRT will begin to dim as soon as the electron beam passes it, LCD cells open to pass a continuous stream of light, and do not dim until instructed to produce a darker color. So instead we look at response time.

This means in the heat of a battle with polygons all over the place I get a smooth scrolling image (a lot like real life) instead of a stuttering one. Older monitors with long response times would create a smear or blur pattern around moving objects

Response time is the amount of time a pixel in an LCD monitor takes to go from active (black) to inactive (white) and back to active (black) again. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). Now my monitor is advertised as a 3ms monitor, this is due to a lack of standards in testing. the 2ms and 3ms advertised are for grey to grey times. or changing from one color to another. While thats important, I think its more advertising then something to base your decision on.

Oh and if you are thinking of older flat panel monitors and how the image winks out if you get past a 45 degree angle. Those days are long behind us. 160 degree viewing angle on mine!

I am loving this!

July 08, 2006

Meetings (a series)

I am trying recall a time when I did not know Shoo. It's difficult to pin-point. I do not remember him in kindergarten. By third grade I definitely knew him. So either first grade or more likely second grade that would be 1968.

Mostly scouting memories, Cub Scouts (his mom was Den leader) and later Webelos (His dad was pack leader). Lots of running around playing 'war' his rather large back yard, swimming in mine. Elementry and middle school band. in his back yard. That fish pond that was always empty. Chemistry set in the garage that they oddly never seemed to use for parking cars. Recalling that house I remember lots of dark green and plants.

He was one of the first people I ever met who's parents had divorced. I remember his brother John tagging along and Darren being the age of my neice and nephew. Boy Scouts, Jamboree, being nigh unstoppable in British Bulldog and Capture the flag. My eventual being ousted from the troop and his support at the time.

The tower fort his dad built, that nieghbor guy who either was from or headed to Alaska... Being invited over for Baked Alaska when too much was made. Getting invited to the neighborhood christain club. Shoo liked it for the Cookies.

Paper and dice games, Risk, Cosimic encounters, a host of oriental style home made AD&D characters.

Moving to Lake Forest... Even though he moved he still went to our high school for awhile, until I guess it was just too much of a pain to do. It couldnt have been more then a two or three year period where there was little interaction between us, seems a lot longer.

Computers dawned, Cal Tech and any excuse to get together for a Game. It was more for social interation then anything. But, we had enough fun that we kept going.

Now the Net is what keeps us connected. Nice to know that after 38 years we can still get together 'virtually' and have a laugh or three.

July 04, 2006

Our Forefathers

I read this quite some time ago, It was written by the father of Rush Limbaugh. I thought it fitting for Independence day.

(warning its a lengthy one)

It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.

The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stockings was nothing to them." All discussing was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

On the wall at the back, facing the President's desk, was a panoply - consisting of a drum, swords, and banners seized from Fort Ticonderoga the previous year. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the place, shouting that they were taking it "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"

Now Congress got to work, promptly taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissention. "Resolved: That an application be made to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for a
supply of flints for the troops at New York."

Then Congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. They cut the phrase "by a self-assumed power." "Climb" was replaced by "must read," then must was eliminated, then the whole sentence, and soon the whole paragraph was cut. Jefferson groaned as they continued, what he later called "their depredations." "Inherent and inalienable rights" came out "certain unalienable rights," and to this day no one knows who suggested the elegant change.

A total of 86 alterations were made. Almost 500 words were eliminated, leaving 1,337. At last, after three days of wrangling, the document was put to a vote.

Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: "I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered. The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? To each of you, the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words. Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers. Who were they? What happened to them?

I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half - 24 - were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.

With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward. Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone."

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember, a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson not Betsy Ross who designed the United States flag).

Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks: "Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law.

"The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost.

"If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

· Francis Lewis, New York delegate saw his home plundered and his estates in what is now Harlem, completely destroyed by British Soldiers. Mrs. Lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. Though she was later exchanged for two British prisoners through the efforts of Congress, she died from the effects of her abuse.

· William Floyd, another New York delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. When they came home they found a devastated ruin.

· Philips Livingstone had all his great holdings in New York confiscated and his family driven out of their home. Livingstone died in 1778 still working in Congress for the cause.

· Louis Morris, the fourth New York delegate, saw all his timber, crops, and livestock taken. For seven years he was barred from his home and family.

· John Hart of Trenton, New Jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him, and he escaped in the woods. While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried, and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family.

· Dr. John Witherspoon, signer, was president of the College of New Jersey, later called Princeton. The British occupied the town of Princeton, and billeted troops in the college. They trampled and burned the finest college library in the country.

· Judge Richard Stockton, another New Jersey delegate signer, had rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. The family found refuge with friends, but a Tory sympathizer betrayed them. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and brutally beaten by the arresting soldiers. Thrown into a common jail, he was deliberately starved. Congress finally arranged for Stockton's parole, but his health was ruined. The judge was released as an invalid, when he could no longer harm the British cause. He returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the revolution. His family was forced to live off charity.

· Robert Morris, merchant prince of Philadelphia, delegate and signer, met Washington's appeals and pleas for money year after year. He made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for Washington to cross the Delaware at Trenton. In the process he lost 150 ships at sea, bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry.

· George Clymer, Pennsylvania signer, escaped with his family from their home, but their property was completely destroyed by the British in the Germantown and Brandywine campaigns.

· Dr. Benjamin Rush, also from Pennsylvania, was forced to flee to Maryland. As a heroic surgeon with the army, Rush had several narrow escapes.

· John Martin, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania. When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him. When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were: "Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it [the signing] to have been the most glorious service that I have ever rendered to my country."

· William Ellery, Rhode Island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground.

· Thomas Lynch, Jr., South Carolina delegate, had his health broken from privation and exposures while serving as a company commander in the military. His doctors ordered him to seek a cure in the West Indies and on the voyage he and his young bride were drowned at sea.

· Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., the other three South Carolina signers, were taken by the British in the siege of Charleston. They were carried as prisoners of war to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were singled out for indignities. They were exchanged at the end of the war, the British in the meantime having completely devastated their large landholdings and estates.

· Thomas Nelson, signer of Virginia, was at the front in command of the Virginia military forces. With British General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, fire from 70 heavy American guns began to destroy Yorktown piece by piece. Lord Cornwallis and his staff moved their headquarters into Nelson's palatial home. While American cannonballs were making a shambles of the town, the house of Governor Nelson remained untouched. Nelson turned in rage to the American gunners and asked, "Why do you spare my home?" They replied, "Sir, out of respect to you." Nelson cried, "Give me the cannon!" and fired on his magnificent home himself, smashing it to bits. But Nelson's sacrifice was not quite over. He had raised $2 million for the Revolutionary cause by pledging his own estates. When the loans came due, a newer peacetime Congress refused to honor them, and Nelson's property was forfeited. He was never reimbursed. He died, impoverished, a few years later at the age of 50.

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey signer, Abraham Clark.

He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to that infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York Harbor known as the hell ship Jersey, where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight, with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons' lives if he would recant and come out for the King and parliament. The utter despair in this man's heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each one of us down through 200 years with his answer: "No."

The 56 signers of the Declaration Of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

July 02, 2006

Dancing Matt

This is the 2006 version of Matt dancing around the world. He doesnt dance well but its WHERE he is dancing that is amazing!!

?Sweet Lullaby Dancing Remix? by Deep Forest.

June 29, 2006

Superhero (Final Fantasy)

This is a fan video of Final Fantasy VII to X. The music is a performance of Stephen Lynch. This is primarily a video for irony, since [spoiler] Cloud is infused with mako (drug-free boy) and Tidus is an outsider to Spira (immigration dude). Not to mention Zidane the bandit as (Justice guy).
**The above was written by the author of the piece, I personally do not have a clue about FF but I enjoyed the song.

June 26, 2006

Weight Loss



Technically its 'Mass Loss' right? I mean if I moved to the moon I would weight much less (0.166 Earth Standard). Anyways, I got married and gained weight, I attribute this to being happy. Unfortunately my 'happiness' has come with more wear and tear on the body and borderline diabetes.

During Collage I was in the best shape and weighed 185 lbs. For quite awhile after that I was around the 195 mark and then started going up. My personal 'best' was 281. Mostly I have hung comfortably around the 275 mark.

Well over a year ago, Tina starting pestering me to join her TOPs club and I said no. She said something about loosing the weight and if after a year I had'nt I would join. I did not agree to that either.

Well a year came and went and low and behold I was around the same weight. I thought about my options and came to the conclusions that I was tired of carrying the extra weight, so I joined and so far so good.

I have this mental image of myself and it must have been locked in back when I was around 190 cuz I continually am suprised by how I look in pictures.....

Anyway, I quickly found out that loosing mass isnt simply a matter of eating less and exercising more. I dropped quickly then stopped. I decided to look into what happened (I was very dissapointed I wasnt loosing) and figured out I was eating around 1500 calories a day.

I further found out that my body would adapt to the lack of food by slowing down. It's some stupid survival thing... If evolution existed wouldnt our bodies also speed up to burn any calories over what we eat?? Anyway.

I started looking up the daily calories needed to sustain a man of 200 lbs. I found out that like Republicans and Democrates, there is no agreement on this. I found listings that said 1800 calories a day to 3400 calories a day. I used the exact same criteria each time.

After going through about 15 websites I took the average and it was around 2100 calories a day. So I now eat 500 for B-fast and 500 for lunch with 1000 for dinner, leaving 100 slop room.

So far this has worked out okay. I have lost around 20 lbs. And the Tops club has been fun, I am the token mail person, and the first spouse to join our particular chapter.

Confession is supposed to be good for the soul.