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

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.


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.


September 12, 2006


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!


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.