This is the second archive page that I've made. The old one was breaking 250k, and that's not good. So I filled this one up till it made it to over 250k. And now it probably won't be changed ever again. -22SEP2008
...A note to Google users that end up here...
CTRL+F Brings up the 'Find' dialog box
Type a key word in it, and you should be able to find what you're looking for...
Sorry if you don't find what you're looking for in this page. There's a chance, but I think it's funny that I can type all kinds of bits and pieces of things that are happening to me, and people get here through a search and end up finding no answers whatsoever. There's good info here and there, but if all else fails don't hesitate to email me (Crawdaddy79@thecrawdaddypage.com) and ask for further info on anything you read on this page.
...and the archive begins...
I have a website, and I need to friggin use it. It used to have a purpose. I wish I know where that has gone. :( I've had broken images and links at the bottom of this page for over a year and didn't care. I've had an invalid email address at the bottom of this page for over four months and didn't care. I've had posts at the bottom of this page all the way from last year and didn't care. So tonight I remedied this. I removed posts from over a year ago and put them in the archive. I fixed the broken image and links at the bottom of this page. I updated my email address, complete with a secret message for spambots. I fixed a misspelling at the bottom of the page that I doubt anyone noticed. It's almost like I care. - 17OCT07
The Jena, LA story seems to be pretty hot right now. A lot of people are calling the town racist, and outraged that racism of this scale can still occur in this day and age. Unfortunately, these people are going off of complete assumptions based off of scarce facts doled out by the media. I won't bother explaining the case. I will just assume that you know about it already. I've found some non-media outlets where people who claim to be residents of Jena are speaking out against the publicity.
Fact: Three nooses, painted in the school colors were hung from a tree. The three (white - which the media never forgets to specify) students who did it were suspended for three days. Assumption: The nooses were hung because some black kids sat under the white tree, and the the white kids were let off easy with a 3 day suspension because they were white. Possible Truth: The tree was jokingly regarded as a white tree at a school get together by a black person, because lots of white kids hung out there. The tree is a site where many football-themed hoaxes take place and the nooses were a part of it. There were even signs that went along with them that said "Hang dem Cowboys", the rival football team that they were playing that week. The three kids were given a non-serious penalty because it was just a "school prank".
It is obvious that the nooses were a source of racial tension that led up to the event of the white kid getting jumped by the six black kids; but I find it extremely ironic that it may have all started out with purposeful misinterpretation, later perpetuated by the Reverend Al Sharpton and the NAACP with more bias and fact hiding... because after all, if racism doesn't exist then neither entity has a job. Here is something I found looking through Google for the details of the cases. Inside is rife with propaganda with such wording as "country white male" and "Jim Crow regime". Those "case details" can be found in hundreds of places around the internet. Unfortunate the residents of Jena aren't speaking louder because if they aren't what the media says they are, then we all need to know. Not because it's the truth, but because it *might* be a lesson to the US public about not believing everything you hear and see on television. There are a lot more contradictions between what the media says and what the town residents say, but the noose one I believe to be the most important.
FREE THE JENA 6
Rewind a few weeks. I saw the Republican debate. Issues were discussed. Ron Paul said some crazy things (though crazy sounds pretty good right now). Huckabee kissed McCain's ass (How does Vice President Huckabee sound to you, Mr. Huckabee?). I was looking forward to seeing the commentary on the debates on the news the next day. The news so rarely covers Republicans these days it makes me wonder if they have some sort of agenda outside of reporting facts and various other goings on around the country. Surely the day after the Republican debate they would cover Republicans, right?
Well they covered the Republicans alright. Or - I should say they covered Fred Thompson alright. Apparently he announced his presidency on Jay Leno the night of the debates, and that was all that was covered. The news did show clips from the debate, but only the parts of the debate where they talked about Fred Thompson. I don't see what's so great about this guy. He appears to me to be insanely lazy, just in how he talks and how he carries himself. He has a hot wife, but that's about where the appeal stops. I stand where he stands on most issues, but I'm certain that he doesn't have the energy to do what's needed to enact them.
The post below where I said my Subaru was reliable - I take it back. My CD player jammed itself somehow, and stopped playing CDs as well as ejecting them. It took two weeks for them to replace it, and I'm still waiting for my CDs to come back. Also my clutch is making a lot of noise. It's going to need replacement before my warranty is up. This is the last new car I ever buy. -15SEP07
I'm still alive. :) Bush gave a press conference for the first time in a long time late last week, and CNN didn't show it live, nor did they show any highlights from it. That angered me a little. It was actually a good press conference. -13AUG07
Looks like I didn't update like I thought I would. Instead I spent all day yesterday playing Starcraft, and today I'm burnt out from the computer completely. -15JUL07
My wife lost her grandfather last Friday. They think it was a blood clot in his lung that caused it. He was in bad health, wheel chair bound and on oxygen... But his mind was sharp, as was his humor. He will definitely be missed by many. We drove down to my mom's house in North Carolina Friday night. Slept, ate, and then drove to Georgia. Got my sixth speeding ticket on the way down, but I was lucky in that the cop knocked 7MPH off of it, reducing the fine by $100, and the points to 2 from 4. Wednesday I made my way back, and she stayed in Georgia to help her grandmother and aunt cope. I may be updating again in the next couple of days, as I am alone and bored until Sunday night. :( -12JUL07
"Save money on gas! Buy a new car!" seems to be the theme of many car commercials these days.
With the depreciation of the dollar over the last four years or so - fuel is the only thing that has really gone up in price (well, real estate too but I think that's more of an insane fad than anything else). I have been thinking about this for a while, so I'll go ahead and make the prediction just so I can say I was right later. Right now we should be paying more for everything on the market. But we're not. The longer we go without prices rising to match inflation, is the worse that inflation will be when it finally does catch up to us. I say by this time next year we'll see the start of this, and by this time two years from now our economy will be suffering a very bad hit. So start saving your money now. Buy as many Euros as you can as soon as you can. Even the Canadian dollar is starting to match ours - at .95 now, when five years ago it was nearly half... but yet the prices on Canadian merchandise still reflects the older difference (for instance, if I were to go to Canada and buy my Subaru there, I'd have to pay about $10,000 US more). It can't go on like this forever. -25JUN07
Needless to say it came out delicious.
Oh and here's a picture of the door dings I was talking about: CLICKY -19JUN07
Whatever it was that I had before that motivated me to update... is gone. Right now I'm pretty much forcing myself to type this. I think it's because I'm out of the army so I don't really have much energy to complain - because there's that much less to complain about. Oh yeah I got a really nasty door ding yesterday. Took some of my paint off while leaving some of theirs. It always amazes me how little accountability people have for themselves. - 16JUN07
What??? It's been almost two months since my last update? I suck very badly, and for that I do apologize. Happy Mother's Day! - 13MAY2007
It's funny how reading blogs of other people make you want to stamp the internet with your own. Nothing much going on here. I had a 103 fever two weeks ago - went to the hospital and I'm better now. I've been drinking a lot of different beers. Haven't found anything especially good. Also I recently read that Giggleman is moving away from being vegan. That's pretty big news as far as I'm concerned.
Also the more I watch politicians the more I see our country wanting to be communist. Yay. -03APR07
So the big update is here. Well... not really a "big" one. Just one that says I got married and now I'm married. Yep, I'm married. I wear a ring and everything. When I talk about my wife I call her my wife, which is much easier than saying the word fiancee (also less flamboyant).
How is married life? How does it feel to be married? Sorry but I do not like these questions. There's no answer.
Since the first day of the honeymoon I've been sick. Whether this is a result of my marriage or not, I don't know. It was at it's worst Wednesday. I had to blow my nose every 10 minutes (about three tissues worth of crap came out each time), and later in the day when I tried taking a nap, I woke up with a severe headache (also I thought the lamp was a tree). I got my trusty thermometer and found that I had a 103 fever. Then I went to the hospital (I called my boss and he ended up bringing me). They threw a couple of IVs in me, took blood (which I passed out during), took urine, almost took stool, and took a chest X-ray. After all was said and done they found nothing and said that it was a virus, and that it would have to run its course. They said take Motrin for pain and reducing fever (I thought I left that BS when I left the army) and I should be fine soon. Today I'm feeling a bit better. I still have a decent headache, and am developing sores all over my nose and upper lip, but at least I'm still alive.
For all that attended my wedding (and view this website on a semi-regular basis) I thank you very much. I didn't do any of the legwork (except for finding a rehearsal dinner place - but even then my wife inadvertently helped me) so all that you experienced -except for my presence- was a result of Jessica's research and endless hours of work. From the flowers, to the music, to the food, to the location... everything, she did it all (well, she got some help from her aunt as well). And the photos, I see so many good ones on Flikr and on Nina's blog site that I regret paying the money for a professional photographer. Hopefully, when the pictures from said photographer actually come in I'll feel better. (there's another update below this one... added today) - 23MAR07
Jackson Hewett rhymes with "Don't do it.". Well, it also rhymes with "Do it." but that wouldn't make for a convenient argument.
So after being force-fed Jackson Hewett commercials all year long, I decide to use them when I can't figure out how to have two state incomes with one residence through Turbo Tax (I had Louisiana as my home of record when I was in the military). I go in and am greeted by a friendly qualified tax preparer. It was not her turn to do my taxes so she sat me in front of another lady who seemed very happy to help me.
We go through the process of entering my information for about 5 minutes and she hits a brick wall. 5 minutes later after clicking back and forward over and over again she finally gets the other lady who notices she's in the "Practice" section. Now she has to figure out how to get out of the practice section and go to a real section so that my taxes can actually get done. She inputs all the information over again.
She gets to a point where she needs to know my current occupation, and I shrug and answer "Technician". She doesn't know how to spell it. She gets a piece of paper and a pen and tells me to write it down for her - I refuse. I try telling her letter by letter how to spell it and she keeps putting "A" instead of "I" (remember - I am spelling the word out loud letter by letter) and forgetting the "N" in the word. I finally type it in for her, and she apologizes for her bad English. She goes through several questions without really reading what they are asking - probably because she doesn't understand them. She input the info from my W-2s and everything appears to be going like it should.
Until she gets to the point where it says I owe Louisiana $800. What makes it even more fun, is this figure is included and above the statement asking if I would like to donate to the Military Family Assistance Fund. She gets the other lady (okay, let's call her Bonnie, and the lady doing my taxes is named Lady) and they both sit there trying to understand the question. Bonnie asks me what the fund is for, and why do I owe $800 to it. I said "I don't owe money to the fund, I owe money to Louisiana but that isn't correct. There's no way I owe them $800." But Bonnie is still confused, and Lady has no clue what is going on. Finally she asks why does it say I owe $800, and I say that something must have been entered wrong in the form. 20 minutes later they fix whatever it was and it changes to Louisiana owes me $32 (I suspect Lady combined both of my W-2's for my Louisiana income, and of course if I paid for just 9 months I owe them $3 months worth of taxes).
Oh man - this is much longer than I wanted it to be and I'm only about 1/3rd of the way through the experience.
-Nearly a month later I decide to continue this update (I don't remember everything anymore)- Eventually we get to the part where I claim residence in Virginia for all of the year, but have paid taxes to Louisiana for the first 9 months of the year. Lady doesn't know what to do, Bonnie refuses to believe that you can live in one state while paying taxes to another. I tried to explain that if you're in the military you can claim pretty much whatever state you want to pay taxes to, but she doesn't listen. Eventually a 3rd lady - the boss I guess walks in and they ask her. She doesn't know what to do, nor does she understand what's going on but eventually we all find it best to just claim residence in Louisiana for the first 9 months because Jackson Hewett's clerk program (which is a few steps down from TurboTax) doesn't allow for anything else.
A bunch more happened from there but I don't remember anymore... and finally we get to the point where Jackson Hewett charges me for the amount of time they spent on my form - now up to nearly two hours. Bonnie feels it isn't right to charge me for the time they wasted so she asks Lady to remove the minutes counted. Lady can't figure it out, so Bonnie steps in. She backspaces over the "112" and hits "Save" and then it prompts for username/password which she entered. As soon as the screen cleared "112" appeared right back where it was. So she tries to get the boss lady to do it, but doesn't want to interrupt her personal conversation she's having with her husband/boyfriend who just walked in. So all three of us sat there listening to their conversation for about 15 minutes when finally I asked Bonnie if she could try again, but this time put "0" instead of leaving it blank. She does and it saves correctly, saving me an undetermined amount of money. They print everything out, charge me $166 and I am never going to Jackson Hewett ever again.
And yes, I know I'm a moron for paying at all and I'm not happy about it. But they did have all my tax information, and with lots of immigrants easily accessible to the area any commision they lose by me refusing to pay they would surely get by selling my identity. - half 26FEB07, half 23MAR07
Exactly two years ago I read an article about the Subaru Legacy GT in Road & Track, where it was pitted against an Acura TSX on all fronts. Very excited about the car, I went looking for it and actually test drove one. While I was very impressed with it, there were a few things I didn't like about it and my Prelude was running great so there was no real justification for a new car payment (that and I would be getting out of the military in two years - uncertain of what kind of job I'd have when my tour was up).
Fast forward two years - I have a new job that I'm doing well in. And Subaru has added several neat-o features to the Legacy GT without raising the cost. Back in November, the new car bug was back and biting me hard. The only car that I've ever considered is the Subaru Legacy GT - so that's what I went looking for. Well, come to find out there were no manual transmission Legacy GTs in my area... not within 100 miles. So I ordered one (just so I could test drive it).
Fast forward three months later and it arrives. I test drive it, and sign the paper work, and then drive it off the lot.
Long story short this is the best car ever. It's fast, it's comfortable, it's reliable, it's (moderately) cheap, and it looks pretty darn good. And on top of that, it's very rare because the 2007 models have had a short year. As of January 31st, dealers stopped taking orders to make room for the refresh of the line in 2008 (scheduled to arrive on lots in May of this year...). I've been monitoring dealer inventories over the last two months (looking for my car to accidentally show up somewhere else) and 90% of the Legacy GTs out there are automatics, and then of the manuals 80% of them were the new gray color and the remaining 20% were light blue (ugly color all in all). So I'm pretty sure there are very few black 2007 Subaru Legacy GTs with a manual transmission in the US. I may even have the only one. :)
Other than that, not much going on in my life. Got a wedding coming up next month that I'm barely prepared for. I'm trying to go to school at DeVry and I'm finding out that it's very expensive (but I'll still be going). I still need to do my taxes. When I applied for credit for my car I found out that my credit score is to be admired. Yep - that's just about it.
Oh yeah, and Iran might be selling weapons to the insurgents in Iraq. What the media doesn't say is who exactly "Iran" is. I find it pretty annoying that they generalize like that only to strike fear into the general public, who will then pressure politicians into making rash decisions based on ... basically nothing. Companies that make weapons sell weapons to make money. It's a business. If a company based in Iran only sold weapons to non-insurgents, then they wouldn't make any money. And even if the Iran government is encouraging these sales, I don't see how we can be surprised by it. The more soldiers that get killed, the worse it looks for us, and the more pressure is on our politicians to pull our troops out. And when that happens, who here thinks Iran is going to stay put? Anybody? Hands? No?
So when Iran takes over Iraq, maybe then it will finally stabilize. And then maybe Iraq's resources can get used efficiently, and Baghdad can become another Dubai (a city who is currently working on the tallest building in the world). And then, because of all the hate we've fostered towards us perhaps they will be able to afford a force actually strong enough to enact their revenge upon our country. Basically, all I'm saying is this war screwed us bad and there's no way out of it. The other side of that, is at the same time, we may have had it coming anyway just because of who we are. But even then, the war simply accelerated their learning in tactics... firing weapons, investing in research, etc. because they had to learn it out of necessity.
I think we need a powerful enemy for us to get our ducks in a row as a country. In less than ten years, we might have exactly that. (Wow, I ranted for a lot longer than I expected) - 13FEB07
Today is the only day that we (me and the lovely fiancee) have had the chance to get a new couch. Our poor futon was pummeled and abused very badly during Christmas and it's just not holding up anymore. The folding brackets are bent and the back leans further back on the right side than it does on the left. I actually have an old box filled with crumpled paper for the back to lean against the wall with so that the brackets don't snap apart completely.
The first store we stopped at was a discount furniture store. They had some good stuff at good prices but it's always best to shop around if you can. We then went to Marlo furniture right down the road, and their selection was surprisingly awful, and most of the prices not worth considering. It was starting to snow when we left, but I wasn't worried about it (first snow of the season). It was very light. As we drove south on the interstate, it started getting thicker and thicker. Ikea was our destination and it's about a 30 minute drive away. We get there only to find out they don't deliver ("But you can rent an Enterprise truck!"). On the way back there were a couple of wrecks on the way we came (traffic the other way was awful) and one wreck that had just happened a couple of minutes before we got there our way (about a 10 minute delay). We got back to the first furniture store deciding on a recliner couch ($499, $100 cheaper than a Playstation 3), and a table with chairs (yes, I've lived here for over 5 years without a table -or anything- to eat on). Of course the snow was pretty thick by the time we got out of there, and it turned what is normally a 8 minute drive to a 45 minute one. I got to see three more wrecks by the time I got home.
My Subaru Legacy that I ordered should be in this week, and if I end up buying it I wont have to worry nearly as much about snow again (it's all wheel drive). What I will have to worry about is other drivers though - and sitting in traffic because of them :( -21JAN07
About six years ago I was deployed on one of many training missions in Ft. Stewart. It was a unique setup, one where we drove out to the woods to do shiftwork, and drove back to barracks (that consisted of nothing but a concrete floor, cots, and three showers).
One of the guys that rode in our group, his name was Cassabria was about 7 donuts short of a dozen. Another guy had a good idea to write on a small piece of paper:
WE TODD DID
and give it to him - telling him to read it out loud. Cassabria was a nice guy, always the runt of the group but took it well. Naturally he was a little leery about reading it but he couldn't figure out any reason not to (and it was hard to resist the strong encouragement from our group) so he did.
And we laughed.
And so did he. Of course he was confused as to why we were all laughing, but he knew that whatever he was doing was making us. Very rarely was he the center of attention so he decided to exploit his position a little by reading it out loud again, this time with a confused laugh. And we laughed harder.
Seven or eight times of reading it we were bawling (it had been a long week and a half and we still had another two weeks to go) and for whatever reason he finally started getting suspicious. He started mumbling the words to himself. Which of course made it even funnier. Two or three times of mumbling it to himself (oh man it was perfect) he finally realized what he was saying and he got the most betrayed look on his face that I would think a person capable of.
Very rarely have I laughed that hard at something so stupid. I know what you're thinking... "This guy misses the army" to which I answer "No. I absolutely do not.". As a Staff Sergeant Arnold I once knew said, "I hate the army, but I love the soldiers. You never know what they are going to do.". - 13JAN07
I don't know if you've been to Google today but they've changed their google pic because it's a special somebody's birthday.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! ... Oh. Yeah, I'm a bit late for that.
Yay for 20,000 hits! ... Oh. Yeah, I'm a bit late for that too.
Okay I guess I'm late for everything. Until tonight I almost had a whole year of updates on the front page alone (I moved a lot of it to the archive with this update - December 18th was the oldest date on the page previously) I will update more regularly, soon. Not next week, but soon. It's hard to update lately because I can't really talk about my job, nor can I talk about the news because I don't watch it (no longer have a TV to watch while I work).
I guess now that I have steady pay coming in I am looking at new cars (again). I'm still after the Legacy GT that I talked about two years ago. They've added a ton of new features and the price has remained the same. It's been difficult trying to schedule a test drive because I want a manual transmission, and there are no Legacy GTs with manual transmissions on any lot in Virginia. I had to order one from the factory so I could test drive it ($300 deposit required - I get it back if I test drive it and decide not to buy). End of December, early January is when it will be available.
In the meantime my Prelude has developed a water leak when it rains... And the worst part about that is the location of the leak - it comes from under the dashboard and runs over my fuse box cover. Surprisingly, after a year of dealing with it only now has my cruise control stopped working, and now my parking lights come on when I hit my brakes (subsequently dimming the dash lights with every slow-down/stop). It will take a lot of money to fix the wiring/fuse box short(s), and an undetermined amount of money to fix the water leak. Other than that, the car runs great as usual.
And finally, the inspiration of this update follows. My fiancee and I were in the market for an entertainment center - but to our surprise entertainment centers are no longer in style. Now it's TV stands and the like. After searching for about two weeks we finally settled on a large TV stand from the closest Target Supercenter (the Target and Best Buy near our apartment had very little to choose from). At the same time we got this bookcase thing that a bunch of crap can go into.
As you can see, $160 and a bit of instruction reading (for assembly) can go a long way. Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to remove the brown towel from the shelf-thing before taking the first picture - underneath was a bunch of dusty game consoles and a box with random crap in it that would have made a much more effective "before" picture.
Of course the fiancee had to put all kinds of decorations and pictures and crap on the bookcase-thing (what's that all about?) but what you see there is a near-final picture. There's a few random objects to move around/get out of the way but I probably wont remember to take a picture of it when that gets done, and it would take that much longer for me to update again. Also pay no mind to the toilet paper roll on the left. -26NOV06
Well I have a job now and I really like it so far. I have no routine at all - this may be why I haven't been inclined to update. I also don't know what I can talk about and not talk about publicly about the specifics of my job (not that I know them anyway) so I probably won't mention it very often. I don't have anything to say other than that really. I would like to update more often but I don't know when the motivation will come. I'd like to talk about developments and stuff - but so far everything I have in the works as far as work and possibly moving out of my fecal-hole apartment is just in the beginning stages.
Happy Halloween (in case I don't update again between now and then)! -25OCT06
Yesterday was the last day I had anything to do with the army. I should have been able to say this a month or more ago, but things happened to delay it. I have my piece of paper and a certificate that says "Honorably Discharged" and I even got a lapel pin that looks like a silhouette of George Washington standing with one leg on a mound. I only got this pin because I asked for a "Stay Army" pin as a joke as I was signing my clearing paperwork and that was the only pin he could find. I asked him what it was and he didn't know, so I'm sure he had it in his desk probably from someone that used it before him and saw an opportunity to get rid of it.
I have five days of pay left until I'm living 100% off of my savings. Luckily, I have 4 days until I need to show up for training in Rochester, NY and I'll be getting paid for that. And hopefully once the training is over with I'll be able to start with the company ASAP in Virginia where they have an office. Also I'd LOVE to get a degree as the lack of that is what's caused me to take this long to find a job (and I'm very lucky to have the one I've found).
It feels weird being all grown up... doing grown up things. Working and talking with other grown ups that treat you like a grown up as well. -14SEP06
There comes a time every now and again that I forget that I have a website. And when I remember that I haven't updated it in a long long time I instantly forget because the thought process necessary to think of something to say and then type it down just takes too much effort. So I guess you can say... Once again... That I'm lazy and that's the only reason for my lack of update.
Plenty went on over the last month believe you me. I'm still not out of the army thanks to the common lack of communication between departments. Hopefully Monday I'll be through with it and completely out. And after that I have a whole new week of doing nothing some more until I get a job.
During the time of the lack of communication in the army I went on a big vacation. It ended up being about a week's worth of time visiting family in Louisiana and a week of driving all in all (plus visiting family in North Carolina and fiancee's family in Georgia). When it was all done and over with I realized I hadn't visited my dad or any of his side of the family - something which I had months earlier planned on doing.
While in Mississippi I got to visit with Cousin Stacey and her husband and her newly born (just got the announcement for it today in fact) son. Of course, since her husband works for a company that deals in communications devices I thought it'd be super if he could hand my resume to someone and maybe I could get a job (even if it is in the dirty South). I got a call from someone in that company the day before yesterday in fact. They asked me if I would be interested in taking a trip down there to interview and I said "Sure" and then he said he'd give me a call later this week with information on the appointment/interview next week. Of course I haven't heard from him and I didn't get his phone number so that could be another opportunity lost. At least I got a call though, which is more than I can say for 75% of the companies I've sent my resume to.
I also handed my resume to Petrocom/Uplit based in New Orleans while I was in the area. I walked into the building and I saw all kinds of multiplexing equipment that I'd worked with extensively in the past so I was almost positive I'd hear from them. That was two weeks ago so I guess they aren't hiring.
I really am just blabbering right now. Sorry.
Hubig's Pies are back in action. They make the best tasting fried pies that can be bought in a store (of course homemade ones are capable of tasting better) and are very cheaply priced. They are only sold in the New Orleans area and I was really scared that they'd go out of business after Katrina. Turns out everyone from New Orleans that relocated are craving these pies because they are now selling them online and shipping them to your house. Unfortunately - before you order yourself three cases I must warn you that they go bad fairly fast (lack of preservatives cause that somehow) so you have to eat them fast. And before you eat them fast I must warn you that they weigh in at about 390 calories a pop. It's 390 calories of heaven, but it will still turn you into a blimp in a month.
After I was done with the vacation I moped around my apartment for a week (got here when I did because I thought I'd be meeting the CEO of a company that was interested in hiring me... Turned out that I was to just drive around the area where the office is and give him a call letting him know what I thought). So I moped around for a week and then for Labor Day weekend went with my mom to visit my grandfather in Florida who I've seen twice in the last 12 years. It was a great visit and I learned a lot about the family and ... well... Getting to know the people in my family is always a good and great thing. It's a shame we're spread so far apart from each other because I think most of us are compatible with each other more than we are with our best friends.
Well that's all I have for now. It's crazy how jobless I've been and how much free time I've had and yet I've barely touched this website. I still have pictures from places I've been in February that I haven't posted and still won't tonight. I don't have cable so I don't watch TV all day. I don't have money so I don't go shopping all day (I transferred money from my savings to my checking -today in fact- for the first time in five years so I could pay off my credit card, whose APR climbed to 12.5% somehow and I owe $45 in interest for last month). I pretty much just sit around looking at the internet or playing games on my computer all day long. Checking email every hour, occasionally checking up with companies that I've sent my resume to, waiting for my phone to ring, etc... It's pretty boring. Though I do have potentially very good news about my job search, I'll wait till it's more solid to say anything more about it. -08SEP06
Well I had a most eventful week. Monday I did the second half of my physical and now I'm ready to clear the army completely. After that I flew up to New York to do an interview for that job in Tampa I talked about. I did pretty well but wont hear back from them until next week. Also at some time between now and the last update my fiancee and I (along with about 100 other people) got to take a picture with the president. He asked us a couple of questions and thanked me for my service (and he seemed very sincere - sincere enough for me to get a warm fuzzy feeling). And now the pictures will be shipped to my current address in roughly three months when I will no longer be in the area. So basically, some 22-strong Mexican family will get put pictures of me and the president on their wall in three months.
My last day at my unit was yesterday. I was very sad almost all day long. We had a luncheon/cookout there and I got a neat lithograph and a joint service commendation medal. I gave a crappy speech and then I left. And it wasn't until I was walking out of our compound for the very last time that I realized I would never go back. You do something every day for four years and I guess you can take it for granted (if you don't hate it - I don't miss my previous unit one bit and never will. I do miss the people but they weren't enough to make up for it). The people that worked there are probably the best people I will ever work with, as well as the leadership. It seemed that during my entire career in the army a unit always got worse as time went on. My 9 months of AIT it got progressively worse... exponentially worse until I left. My 3 years at 514th, same thing. My 4 years here, it did as well until the last four months. Things have been really looking up. We got a kick-ass First Sergeant, we're starting to get more Air Force people (AF guys are great because they don't buy stupid BS like army guys always do - and that stops it from rolling downhill enough that the unit policies actually improve over time) and we're getting a new commander (though I wont be there to see if things change for the better or worse for the new one). The facility has improved, we're testing out new comm equipment, and it really is unfortunate that I can no longer be a part of that.
And with that I announce the start of my vacation, to be tomorrow around noon time. I plan on stopping in North Carolina (mom, sister, uncle) for a half day, Georgia (fiancee's friend and aunt/uncle) for about a day, Mississippi (cousin, sub-cousin, cousin in-law, Aunt, Uncle, and other cousins in law) for about two days, Louisiana (former boss/mentor, his wife, uncle and two cousins I haven't seen since they could barely talk and now they are probably dating) for about two-three days, and then I'm making my way back up. I only have about two weeks if I get a job offer. I have all the time in the world if I don't get a job offer. Feel free to give me monies to supplement my unemployment. :) - 11AUG06
Some of you may or may not be wondering when or where exactly we will be getting married. A venue is found, and a date is set. On March 10th, 2007 the event will happen at Mountain Top Inn & Resort. The place accommodates 100 people - just enough for us to be able to afford. :) Also, Jessie created a profile for us at TheKnot.com so sign our guestbook now before it gets flooded with spambot entries.
In speaking of affording things, I have two (2) jobs in the works right now that I didn't have since my last update. One is located in Tampa, FL and the other in Omaha, NE. The Omaha one I think I will not get due to my inability to conduct an interview over the phone effectively. For some reason I'm 10x more nervous on the phone than I am when talking in person so I wasn't able to sell myself at all. It only lasted about 12 minutes and the questions they asked me I had no answers to (other than the typical lame interview questions like "Are you a self starter?" ... of course I am, what else am I supposed to say?).
The Tampa one I haven't interviewed for yet, but should know if I have the opportunity sometime next week. The interview would take place in New York, where I will stop by Cousin Veronica's apartment/dorm/house/flat/refrigerator box/whatever and say hi either on the way there or on the way back.
This Friday was my last real day at work. It was a pretty plain, normal day. I still feel like I'm going back to work on Monday - but I'm not. I start terminal leave then - but I can't really do anything with it until I finish clearing out of the army. Nobody told me that one of the requirements (a physical) that you had to complete before getting out took two weeks, and had to be done at an army installation. Because of this, instead of being out of the army last Friday like I was supposed to be, I will not be until around August 8th. I do plan on taking about two weeks to visit people in the Louisiana area - most notably my Uncle Zachary and my two cousins Rachel and Taylor who I haven't seen in probably 10 years.
My car is running well again finally... after paying $900+ to get it fixed. It's not as powerful as it used to be but at least it's still reliable. This is a good thing seeing as how the purchase of new(ish) car would hinder my ability to search for jobs at my general leisure.
Other than these things, I have nothing new to report. If you have a picture you would like for me to put at the top of this page please email it to me, as I can't find much worth throwing up there. A requirement for it is that it has to be fairly unknown around the internet. If you send me a picture of... say... this then I will not post it. Yes, it's funny but it's been seen already six hundred times by six billion people. -29JUL06.
So it's been two weeks since my last update already. Heh. Nothing special this time.. at all. Still looking for jobs and applying online, still not receiving any responses. I'm not as nervous as I was two weeks ago, but I think I should be.
One thing that I'm surprised at is that Giggleman has said nothing about the recent happenings in Lebanon. I remember on his old old old site he had a rant of some sort calling Israel "attack dogs" at the disposal of the US and I'm wondering how true that is now. What I think is going on is that Israel is fed up with its borders constantly getting pricked at by all the other countries around it and has finally decided it was going to attempt to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, as we all know... they are only going to make things worse.
A talk for cease fire was offered to the Hezbollah group (this information currently can only be found at Fox News for some reason... A search at CNN.COM turned up nothing, but at least I had the opportunity to get low low prices on Cease Fire from many different internet venues), which they rejected accusing of it being a ploy to allow Israel to attack Beirut some more... Seriously do they really think they're doing enough to Israel with those weak rockets that it's actually preventing them from escalating their attacks even more?
Of course if you haven't heard about these things going on over there, then you must be a typical American. The number nine news story is the only one in the top ten most popular that has anything to do with it.
Happy 3rd of July everyone. A couple of weeks ago I went to visit my mom, sister, sister, and see my new cousin Victor. It was a good trip, I thought I could at least mention it.
I went to a local car repair shop near Lexington, NC called Rafferty's... My car had been ticking ticking ticking and they had to re-time (?) the valves because they were closing when they should have been opening or something like that... Only $140 - but now I have a massive oil leak, my car hesitates a lot, and just recently it's started idling pretty rough. So I've come up with a theory - and that is to never ever under any circumstance (unless it stops running altogether) take your car to a shop large or small because it will be worse off when you get it back than when you brought it in.
I could go over the nitty-gritty details of everything that's been wrong with my car and what's been broken when I get it back but that would take waaay too long especially for an audience that wouldn't even read half of it.
I got a call at the beginning of the weekend telling me that I'd be going on another trip. I have less than 30 days before I start terminal leave and I'm not supposed to be traveling because I need these days to outprocess and prepare for moving, etc. So, for the trip I bought an iPod, knowing fully well that if I did get an iPod (it's an expensive but very nice portable music player, mom) that I would get taken off the trip due to Murphy's Law. Especially since I had a job interview scheduled for this Friday, being put on a trip would really throw a nasty wrench in my cogs.
In speaking of job searches... That's going okay but not good. I've turned down one offer that wanted to send me to the Middle East (but paid $150k with bonuses etc..) for a year, and I am about to turn down another offer that wants to send me to the Middle East for a year (though the area I'd be going to on this one is much nicer, but the pay is about half as much too). The interview I have on Friday (that I may not be able to attend) is a job I'm kind of leaning towards - but this particular company is sort of notorious for not paying very much money, plus I'd probably have to stay in the DC area (a big minus). In the meantime I've been getting calls from head hunters wanting me to call them back... I don't think I'd mind too much going through them, I mean if they get me a good well paying job then what would I have to complain about? Even if they do take 25% of my pay - if I don't see it what will it matter?
Well that's my update so far. Lots going on, but little motivation to talk about it. -03JUL06
My cousin Stacey gave birth to a very small (but healthy!) baby boy last Sunday. Over at her BLOG you can see all kinds of pictures and stuff as well as a vid of him sucking his thumb. I'm usually not into baby stuff but when I saw that video my brain just couldn't stop going "AWWWWWW". I am very happy for you cousin and I will be there to see my (cousin once removed? What?) in the coming months.
I can't stress enough how nervous I am about not being able to find a job in the next few months. I don't want to end up like Giggleman who can't afford to eat anything except bean curd and corn grain pancakes. I'm open to anything that will pay me enough money to live comfortably - as well as being a secure job. I don't want to come to work everyday wondering if it's my last day because someone figured out I don't know what I'm doing (because I had agreed to take a job that I knew I couldn't handle) or that they can't afford to pay me because the company is trying to keep from going under.
I thought that Crawford.com would be a sure thing for me (they advertise "largest fleet of satellite trucks". I mean, come on! That's what I did for my first four years in the army). But instead the site application section specifically says that they wont hire you unless there's a job opening posted... And the only jobs posted are for technical writers and 3D animators. Sucks.
I guess if I can't find a job that's satcom related then there's always wedding photography to fall back on. Those people will rape you if you let them; and apparently a lot of people let them. -11JUN06
Today is my favorite girlfriend's birthday. She turned 25 today so she's really old. Don't tell her I said that though.
Happy Birthday, baby! -Jessie's birthday, 2006
UPDATE: Okay so guess what.... My girlfriend is now my fiancee.
Since her birthday was during a weekday I felt it best to take her somewhere nice for her birthday dinner on Saturday. We got all dressed up and went to a restaurant that goes by the name "Chef Geoff's" which was recommended to me by Josh as a really really nice place to eat. Well we went there and it wasn't at all what I expected... It was more like a Macaroni Grill but with more expensive menu items. She didn't get her birthday present then... Not at that dinner. It wasn't her birthday you see.... You get birthday presents on your birthday, not the two days prior.
So for her birthday I planned to drive her all the way to the nearest Waffle House - about 40 miles from here because I know she loves Waffle House and she's been talking incessantly about it for the last month and a half. It was supposed to be a secret that we were going there but she figured it out after I threw the hint "Just be prepared for a long drive." She was very excited about the whole ordeal.
At lunch I got my Trutech DVD player box and dumped out all the styrofoam. I put the ring (seen above) (it was in it's ring box) in the center and put a cheap T-shirt on top of it. I then put two water bottles on either side to weigh the box down and then laid t-shirts on top of those. I also got some Chapstick and a small package of chocolates and threw those on top. I wrapped the box in Scooby Doo wrapping paper. I informed her she would not receive her present until after she ate.
Well she felt uncomfortable opening the present inside Waffle House so I let her open it in the Waffle House parking lot. I acted really good (I could have won a Pulitzer!) and pretended to not notice the look of confusion and disgust on her face as she pulled out the Chapstick and t-shirts thinking that was all she was getting. Well she found the ring and she said yes, even though I never really asked (however I did have a note inside made out of a heart-shaped cut out of paper asking "Marry me PREEEEZE??") . Well that's my little story and I hope you enjoyed it. -Still Jessie's birthday, 2006
I went to a job fair today. Everyone was pretty nice, but I must say that DRS wins the "most free stuff" award... I have a first aid kit, a cloth bag, a box of mints, a tape measure, a CD case, and a pen with a battleship on it. I don't have more stuff because I didn't want to be greedy... They had all kinds of other stuff to take and a huge presentation. Marketing definitely did not skimp out on the job fair. What made it ironic though, was that they weren't really there to recruit like all the other companies. They didn't ask for or take my resume. Instead they told me to go to their website to apply for a job.
I was told by several recruiters for other companies that I would not have a problem at all finding a job after they looked at my hastily made resume (the format of which I got from Mr. Martin who is living it up in Kosovo working with another company) where I pretty much deleted out irrelevant information and input my own. The first two paragraphs are what make me look the best I've realized. The rest is pretty much filler.
There's a lot of job opportunity out there - and while I'm scared I won't know how to market myself at least I have reassurance when some recruiters from other companies are tripping over themselves trying to get my information. There was one though, that I didn't like. It was for a very large company that I don't know if it's legal to mention them or not. I figured it couldn't hurt to give up a resume to them, and when I did the guy asked me what my salary range is. I said that I wanted 65k-80k (I was asked this three times and all three I said the same range and the recruiters all seemed to be happy with that; this gave me more reassurance), but only if I'm outside of the DC area. If I were to stay in the DC area I'd need at least 100k. And he said the strangest thing... almost like he was insulted by my statement. "Without a degree you'll have a really hard time finding a job offer for that much. Just being honest." Well thanks a lot, dickhead. I could have swore I just mentioned that I hated the DC area and plan on moving out and that's exactly what it would take to keep me in town. I never said that I actually expected a 100k offer. Moron. 02JUN06
Small update because I forgot to mail my mom her birthday card that I bought and sealed weeks ago. This is the least I could do. The card (with presents) is in the mail as of twenty minutes ago. -Mom's birthday, 2006
I just boiled a whole potato for about 40 minutes. I emptied the water and poured cold water in the pot. I let it sit for about five minutes, the water was hot and then I replaced it with more cold water. I then cut a quarter stick of butter and put it in a bowl, and microwaved it. I then took the potato out of the now warm water and dipped it in the bowl of melted butter (with added pepper), eating it like you would a breadstick with marinara sauce. It's times like this that I truly feel like a man. - 26MAY06
Just letting you know I'm still alive. They've been keeping me busy. In newer news, I just spent over $40 on a fill up for the first time ever. Just last year I broke $30 for the first time ever. I love spending as much money as they can squeeze out of me on gas. -25MAY06
Here's an open apology to all mothers out there, especially my own... I'm sorry that you are not getting a card on Mother's Day. I didn't realize that Mother's Day was today until yesterday. I actually bought the cards last week but for whatever reason I thought I had until the 22nd to get them to you. I extend my deepest, sincerest apologies and just know that you will get a Mother's Day card from me as soon as humanly possible. :( -Mother's Day, 2006
I really have no excuse. I'm sorry.
No excuse except for the game that has consumed my life, that is... Oblivion. Luckily I'm almost finished with it, but damn is it taking me a long time to get there. So far, Xfire (a gaming application that also records how many hours you've spent playing each game) has me down for playing over 80 hours. And the game only came out three weeks ago. And I was out of town for one of those weeks. That's a lot of wasted time, but the game is just that addictive. There is so much to do... It completely dwarfs the world of Gothic II
So it's mainly because of that game that I haven't updated this site.
I just thought I'd chime in with some tentatively exciting news... An old army buddy works for a company in Georgia (the state I plan on living in when I'm done with the army). I emailed him for information about his company and he responded with a copy of his resume. After seeing his resume I notice that before he started with the company he has everything down that I did in my last unit. And I notice what he added since he's worked for them consists of the jobs and equipment that I deal with now. It's a good feeling to see that and know that I do have a place in the civilian world. Now all I need to do is figure out how to make my resume reflect how awesome I am and then send it to them.
A while ago I wanted to rant on the cry of racism by Cynthia McKinney (she wasn't wearing her pin and the security guards refused to let her bypass the metal detectors - she said she was being discriminated against) but after a little bit of research I found that pretty much everyone holds the same opinion as I do on the matter.
Instead, today I will put my two cents in about the immigrant protests that went on yesterday. So their idea is to show us how much our economy needs them by not going to work for a day. Okay, that's fine... But why can't they give me the good with the bad? Why on my day off do I have seven layers of mariachi music coming in my window because they are open because of the nice weather? Why on my way to get my hair cut do I have to maneuver my car through crowds of loitering non-English speaking people that don't know when and when not to walk across the street? Why do I still have to be driving behind a car going dreadfully slow, only to have to come to a complete stop in the middle of the road (don't they drive on the right side of the road in Mexico?) for no reason, and then when I honk (just a quick, polite, double tapped "Hey, you're in the middle of the road... please move" honk)all I get are rude looks and a reluctant, slow drift over to the side of the road while they look for someone that appears to speak Spanish to ask for directions to one of their hundreds of relative's house? You'd think that people that are here illegally would show a little common respect to the people that are here legally - but no... Instead it seems they feel I -the white man- am infringing on their right to be here by not welcoming them with open arms.
Sunday my girlfriend and I were driving back from getting something to eat when a young (5 -7yrs) kid amongst his friends threw a rock at my car with an adult standing right there watching them. It could have been an uncle, a brother, a cousin, or anyone but he said nothing... did nothing when we stopped the car and got out. Didn't even make eye contact with us, and the kid was long gone. I wouldn't be surprised if he was encouraging the child to throw rocks at white people's cars as they drove by.
I guess what pisses me off most about the immigrant population is not what it's doing to the economy, but instead what it's doing to the community. To me, the formula is simple. Come from a crappy country, arrive in a better country. Do you A) Live the way the better country lives, or B) Attempt to bring your country over to the better country? I would choose A myself. For instance, if I moved to Sweden I would make every attempt to learn Swedish so that I would be more marketable and be able to get higher paying jobs. In fact, I would even try to learn the language (here's an idea!) before going to the country. I would not be content doing sporadic manual labor for random people that I can't understand.
I appreciate the fact that people come here looking for a better life for themselves and their children, but what I don't appreciate is the fact that they feel it their right to protest. They've been changing our communities to those likened to Ecuador and we're (finally) pushing back... because Americans don't like Ecuador, they like America. That's why we're here and not Ecuador. -02MAY06
Well I came back from that trip and now guess what happens tomorrow? I go on another trip!!! This is so exciting.
A while back (while I was on my last trip in fact) I added two more game reviews. Firestarter and Trackmania Sunrise. The Trackmania Sunrise one isn't completely complete (I want to add some more gameplay vids... Actually I want to add videos to all my reviews), but it's good enough for now.
The Firestarter review came along unplanned. I only had the intentions of adding the Trackmania review but as I look through my folders and pictures and stuff I see that I had already started on the Firestarter review a long long time ago and never got around to finishing it. So I finished it and added the Trackmania review. I also updated my review page entirely to where it doesn't use frames.-15APR06
Once again I can only apologize for my lack of updates. I've had more time off in the last two weeks than I've had in the last two years yet this website has gone without being touched. And now I leave again tomorrow. :( -28MAR06
Pictures from Africa are up. Now I'm thinking about going through my movies and maybe adding some to my movie page. If I do, I'll let you know. Keep giving me hits.
Okay, movie page updated. I still have a year's worth of movies to look through but what I've posted is all I will for now. Enjoy.
Thanks to Giggleman's post about Juicy Juice I am now a fan of the drink. I used to like it a lot but it was too expensive back in the day... But now that I've discovered the advantages of the commissary (you know.. it being cheaper than grocery stores and stuff) I can get entire quarts of the stuff for under two bucks. Had my first glass of the Fruit Punch flavor this morning and man was it good.
Since my girlfriend moved up here we've been venturing out to new places to eat about once a week (when I happen to be in town). The last place we ate was called Generous Georges... a place that I wish I would have discovered long long ago. For $12.99 I got what they call a Chicken Flamingo (sounds gay, I know) which was basically fettucine, chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, and a basil cream sauce piled on top of a thick pizza crust... It took three sittings for me to finish it. -12MAR06
Sorry I lied to you. It appears as though every time I open up my stuff to start working on my webpage I just sit there staring at it for about 10 minutes and eventually close it and go do something else. I apologize for the inconvenience. For now I have on my other webspace two new sites.. Neither of which are run by me... Check out coic.crawspace.com and gigglehertz.crawspace.com to see what these guys are up to. Maybe they will update more frequently/usefully than I. -11MAR06
Sorry to keep you looking over to my places page over and over again. It probably wont be updated tonight, but should be updated by tomorrow night. -09MAR06
I bought a cheap Hoover vacuum cleaner a long time ago and I liked it for what it was, but entirely too much dust escaped through the various cracks between the opening over the floor and the small tube that blew it into the bag. I was constantly wiping it down worried at how much dust the thing wasn't getting.
So, I decided I would get a new vacuum cleaner; one that wasn't so cheap. This is an unfortunate decision because all of the newer "good" vacuums have clear bins where all the dirt goes which basically forces you to wash it out after each time you vacuum or else you'll be looking at a concoction of various dusts, hairs, dirt, and (dare I say) bugs (how's that for a run-on sentence?). It took me almost a year to mentally prepare myself for this decision but I finally did; and $119 later (twice as much as the vacuum I bought for my mom) I now own a Bissell Cleanview Bagless Revolution Deluxe vacuum cleaner.
Also while I was there I bought my first home DVD player; a TruTech TT320 for $35. I was amazed at the picture quality and the amount of features this DVD player had stuffed in it. I thought I got one over on the man by avoiding spending $100+ on a better name brand with the same features... That is until all of a sudden the TruTech wouldn't read DVDs after watching my third one. They'd just sit in there spinning over and over again and once you hit the eject button it would take over a minute to actually eject. So it seems my little theory of "You get what you pay for" still stands from vacuum cleaners to DVD players.
Oh yeah, back to the vacuum cleaner... So I bring it home surprisingly anxious to try it out. It was pretty easy to put together (most of it was already together) and I plug it in and commence vacuuming a 15 foot long, 3 foot wide section of hallway. I turn it off and look at my clear but no longer clean bin.
As you may be able to tell, there's quite a bit of dust in there especially when you consider the small amount of area I covered with the vacuum. I must confess that it'd probably been over two months since I last vacuumed, but despite that I still think that's an amazing amount of random particles.
A feature of the vacuum I was skeptical about is a green/red light displayed on the front. The red light is lit when the floor is dirty and the green light is lit when the floor is clean. Well, I can say for what it does it works pretty well. I go over a spot on the floor until the light turns green and then I go to another spot where the floor lights red until it's green, and then I go back to the spot of floor that was green and the light remains green. Now I'm hooked on the feature because before I wouldn't have run the vacuum for nearly as long in the same spot as that light tells me to (which could be another explanation for the amount of dust in my hallway).
So I continued to vacuum around my furniture and big objects laying on the floor just kind of trying it out and by the time I decided to stop I figure I probably got 1/2 of my ~500 sq ft of carpet and this was the result:
Afterwards I saw the same thing on the Bissell that I saw on my cheaper vacuum cleaner... Dust coming out of the cracks. Maybe you don't get what you pay for after all.
For those curious to where I've been lately.. well... I've been out of town for the last two weeks and will be for another week. I was lucky enough to score free internet where I'm at and that's why I'm able to talk to you now.
I added pictures and text to my Places page of my trip to St. Louis that I was on months ago. I'm still in the process of coming up with things to say for my last five places I've been... as well as what pictures to post. Check back to that page periodically even if I don't update this one. -02MAR06
1st Page 2006 was released recently.. and let me be the first to say... What a POS. Seeing as how awesome 1st Page 2000 is I thought Evrsoft couldn't go wrong with the newest version of their software, seeing as how it came 3 years late because of how much fine tuning and bug fixing the program went through.
Well, come to find out it's crap. Completely unusable crap. On my laptop, it runs so slow that I can type two sentences before the first one finishes... And correcting a typo is a very very painful process because you have to wait for the program to finish typing what you've typed before you can move the cursor to your mistake.. This can take up to a minute (well, actually an infinite number of minutes, depending on how much you've typed and how much RAM you have) and then it takes more time for your error fix to happen... a backspace and a letter press takes about five seconds. I even made a small movie about it... It consists of my dainty little fingers typing a message and then picking up the camera and pointing it at the screen... so you can see what I typed spelled out in painful slowness. Enjoy.
On top of that, it boasts all kinds of new features... admittedly, I haven't searched through and played with each one.. but all I've found is that when you type the paragraph tag, it automatically inputs the closing tag after the cursor. While this is neat, you will have to arrow over where the P tag is to type the next one... Which can take just a s long as typing the tag itself. Also it has a What YOu see is What you Get type of feature.. one which for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to make a page with a black background... The options seemed to just be forgotten about. It's a good thing I know HTML and am not relying on First Page 2006 to make things up for me...
Five minutes later... I've figured out the feature that needed to be turned off to fix the slowness. It is the one feature I mentioned... the "Smart tag auto-completion" feature. Apparently it uses up a lot more resources than it should. And this whole time I thought it was the live-preview feature (where you can have a page opened up and you can watch your changes live as you type.. which is pretty cool, but my screen isn't big enough for that to be useful). Well, it's time to go to bed... I'm tired of playing around and typing my boring results here. (30JAN06)
The following was typed before my most how the recent update, but after the one before that. If you're confused... just look at the dates. I could have deleted it all, but I am not the type of person that builds a sand castle only to kick it over. (30JAN06)
I forgot to transfer my website (current) to my laptop, so I've been reluctant to update any pages because I don't want to undo any work that I've done since I was last on my laptop. For instance, I want to add a few "places I've been" but I don't remember if I've already added Knoxville or not... The version of website on my laptop indicates that Ireland is the last place I've been, and that November 6th was the last time I updated my main page... If I had internet access I'd be able to download my site to my laptop, but unfortunately 25 cents a minute for crappy dial-up (I'm in the middle of nowhere at an expensive hotel...) just isn't worth it.
But then an idea came to my head to update my pages with notepad, and cut and paste as necessary when I get back home. Of course this idea comes to my head on the very last day of my trip, and late at night at that. I never claimed to be perfect.
Since I knew for sure that my traffic rant hadn't been updated in over a year, I managed to complete another page of that over the course of the last two weeks. I still need to update the other pages of the spread to coincide with it, and make dummy pages in place of ones I need to create soon, but once that is all done I will have a great archive of how much smarter I am than traffic engineers. Funny story. It took me about two hours to do the three new graphics for the road layouts (a lot of the time I would decide to delete a picture entirely after working on it for 20 minutes or so). When I looked at all the other graphics I made for the section (in it's picture folder) I saw that I already had made two of the three graphics many moons ago and didn't remember it. So yeah.. that was a bit of wasted time. At least I got more practice with Paint Shop (hard to believe I've had the program for over three years now and still don't know how to use it.). (19JAN05)
I've selected, resized, and renamed all the pictures I took over the last few days... a hefty task considering that I had over 200 pictures to sort through. Now all I have to do is figure out what I want to say and then type it.(20JAN05)
The above was added to the main page. I am now going to tediously work on my Places I've Been section, and perhaps update this page once more when that is done. My apologies for the screwed up timeline. I could fix it, but there's more important things to do and I don't have much time. -10FEB06
Okay, maybe this update wasn't so major... Just letting you know I just got back from a lot of work and haven't had nearly enough time to update like I wanted to... So the real next update will be large, but not huge like I promised.
Also, I've disabled my guestbook. You can try to enter something in it all you want, but it wont work. 08FEB06
I'm back from being out of town... Unfortunately I'm leaving again. The next major update will be huge... There are a lot of things I'm working on right now. Sorry for keeping you waiting for so long. :( -28JAN06
I'm going (way) out of town again for about two weeks.. maybe more maybe less. It looks like I'll be bored 90% of the time I'm there so hopefully I can do some much needed restructuring of this website... and maybe even finish/improve my traffic rant.
A while back I decided to leave my spam infested guestbook up... I call it my dummy guestbook... It has a lot of spam messages. Previously I would change the name of the file so that spambots would get a 404 error.. and eventually they'd get smart to it and find my recreated guestbook, and spam the hell out of it. Now I have two guestbooks. My previous one.. as of today has over 150 spam messages since December 18th. Click here to see it (EDIT: 02MAR06 - I removed the guestbook because there were over 5000 spam messages in two months and left the bots a special little message of my own in its place). Happy New Year everybody. -07JAN06
I added a long overdue link to ArmyParatrooper.Org to the bottom of this page. Check it out.
The news is covering the celebration of Christmas in government establishments. My new question is... Why does Christmas have to be a religious holiday? Why can't it just be a celebration of the birth of a man that almost singlehandedly caused a turn of events throughout history to bring us where we are today? We celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. in our schools... Why not Jesus? A lot of people that celebrate Christmas aren't doing it religiously anyway... I mean.. since when did green and red become the colors of Christ, and hanging lights around your house the official decorations of Christianity? This doesn't seem like a ritual.. just something that's fun to do simply because it's that time of the year. What's all the big hub-ub about it mixing things up in our schools? What's so religious about eating cake and ice cream and drinking punch the last day of school before your two week Winter holiday? It makes no sense to me.
Two days ago was my sister's birthday. It's late (sorry), but Happy Birthday, Rebecca! (I gave her a call then.. I just didn't feel like updating the site at the time.) - 22DEC05
For those of you keeping up, my birthday passed by recently. I'm 26 now. I received a couple of complimentary birthday song messages from Cousin Stacey and Auntie Donna (listen: 1 and 2 respectively) and a phone call from my darling mother and sister. And to top it all off my girlfriend got me the most expensive birthday cake ever from Cold Stone Creamery... It had peanut butter chocolate ice cream with coffee flavored... crust stuff on the outside and Reese's Peanut Butter cups crushed and dropped on top... Very good. She also got me a Braun Activator (which incidentally.. and sadly has mostly the same parts as the Braun Synchro I got myself for my birthday two years ago.. just a different foil) which is a very very nice razor and I like it lots and lots.
For the first time ever... I have a (decorated) Christmas tree (sorry about the picture quality.. I have only a small tripod and no convenient spot to use it, so I used a small table along with a small whoopee cushion that Cousin Stacey sent me to stabilize and angle the camera correctly.. it really was the best I could do at the time) which I placed underneath the Christmas Rug that my mom made for me many moons ago. What motivated me to have a tree? I'd have to say it was 100% Jessie (my girlfriend). The tree was about ten dollars at Target and the decorations another 30 (maybe) but now that it's here I'm glad. I've not decorated for Christmas since my first Christmas in DC (it was a tree made out of construction paper... I can't find the picture of it unfortunately.. otherwise I'd post a link to it... I took it down off my wall about a year and a half ago). Since this paragraph is big (even though it's mostly in parentheses) I'll go ahead and start a new one.
School school school. I had to let one of my online classes go because it was geared for people with little free time, and definitely not for people that are out of town a lot. The other one (History 101) is pretty easy but I almost had to drop that one too. I am not even close to meeting the deadline of completion (16 weeks worth of work in 16 weeks... which incidentally ends Monday). I just took my midterm three days ago. I barely read the textbook because a lot of the assignments are not based off of the textbook. As a matter of fact, out of 150 points on the midterm, only 25 of them were questions based off of the textbook (though I did read a lot of the text for the midterm, little did it help me to cram 9 chapters of history for 25 points... and I didn't get all the 25 because I didn't even 'sort of' remember a few of the terms that I was supposed to define). This is a very strange class. Now that I have taken the midterm I need to apply for an extension which will give me another 16 weeks to finish the course.
Last month, Evrsoft apparently released a 1st Page 2006 program in Beta form. Anyone that got a chance to download it then now cannot use it, because it expired in December. I only found out about the Beta because someone got to my site searching for a "1st Page 2006 crack". I don't have one, of course... I don't even have the useless program but I really would have liked to see it. When they do release a final version I am absolutely sure I'll be happy with it, considering how much I love 1st Page 2000 (which I am using to make this update right now).
My apologies for the level of bore in this update... I really started rambling on right there after the first paragraph. Have a good day. :) -18DEC05
As expected, moving my mom from Louisiana to North Carolina was a load and a half of fun.
First I picked her up from North Carolina (she was already there, but without her stuff) where my Uncle Walter let us use his old Little Helper's van (a '92 Chevy Van) with which we attached a U-Haul trailer to. It proved to be quite a workhorse as it brought the trailer full of stuff all the way to North Carolina in a 16 hour drive almost non-stop.
Kenner was hardly affected by the hurricane, save for the massive amounts of traffic induced from the people unable to live and drive in and around New Orleans. Most of the businesses were open, but limited because of workers not being around. Of course, FEMA did not help the situation because they were offering locals $15+ an hour to do BS work all over the place... I know a certain someone getting paid $20 an hour to look at trash bins on a conveyor belt and note how full they were as they went by. And another thing FEMA was doing was calling houses and asking if they needed a trailer to live in. There were trailers sitting in front of perfectly good houses everywhere.. not to mention trailers being staged on acres upon acres of countryside in Mississippi, waiting to be moved to a house that doesn't need it. After seeing this, I realize that FEMA are the biggest wasters of money that I've ever seen, and they need to be disintegrated. I also hate how they are giving money to people without insurance... What's the point of getting insurance if FEMA will take care of you anyway? Stupid stupid stupid.
Anyway, we were able to eat at various places and buy groceries and such so we were okay as far as that went... Gas was even easy to attain and not too expensive. Traffic was bad as usual for a Christmas season... I don't know how much of it can be attributed to the hurricane, but I know that traffic from Kenner to Baton Rouge increased threefold at a minimum. This caused the Loyola Drive interstate ramp to be highly congested, with cars backed up for a mile or two (though, a right turn lane would fix that pretty good.. But I'm not a traffic engineer so my suggestions don't mean anything).
Damage around my mom's apartment of 18 years was evident, but nothing devastating. The fences were knocked down and the power feed tube was bent down, but the place had plenty of electricity.. Everything seemed to be fine. The roof on the neighbor's house was blown off... They had a lot of trash.. mattresses and such out in front. When we were packing up my mom's apartment we put all the good stuff in that pile... It took a day or two, but eventually people were noticing that they could get perfectly good stuff for free and they'd keep driving by checking out the pile. Some people would even stop in the middle of the street to look at the stuff, not caring if there were cars behind them.
(One week later... I keep procrastinating.. sorry)
My Auntie Donna came down to help pack up things and that was very nice. My cousin Veronica was supposed to come down, but strangely disappeared when the time came (she hasn't even updated her site, but that's pretty normal actually). My dad drove his old truck over and helped pack things up too.
It was the Friday after Thanksgiving that we were pretty much ready to go... The only problem was how to get my cat into the cat carrier. He really doesn't like being picked up, and especially doesn't like being trapped in little boxes. My mother procured some sleeping pills for animals, and the plan was to starve him and mix it in with some food for him to eat and get knocked out and sleep until we arrived in North Carolina. I guess he was so confused and in a state of disarray that he didn't want to eat anything. Somehow he managed to hide when 99% of everything in the house was gone (I even saw him open up a bathroom cabinet under the sink and climb in, and close it behind him... something that he's never done to my knowledge) but eventually I got tired of waiting for him to eat (actually, my mom was extremely ready to go for some reason and didn't want to wait any more.. and was talking about leaving him behind) so I grabbed him much to his discontent and shoved him in the carrier. He was immediately freaked out, but it didn't take long for him to realize he wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Little did he know, that the next 16 hours were going to be the worst 16 hours of his life.
The drive wasn't too bad. I didn't hit traffic, and didn't almost wreck at all. My mom was extremely nervous the whole time though.. but if I drove the way she wanted me to we'd only just now be getting to South Carolina. I remember one guy was merging onto the interstate... and I couldn't move over for him and I didn't want to slow down.. and she was screaming that I was in his blind spot. If he can't see this big ole van with a huge U-Haul trailer in his mirror then he's probably blind in his entire left eye. Anyway, it turned out he didn't want to merge and took the exit only path right after the ramp.
We finally arrived in North Carolina at my mother's house around midnight. We went to sleep and woke up the next day refreshed for unpacking and filling in various spots with boxes. I had my first barbecue sandwich with cole slaw on it, and found fried pies made locally almost as good as Hubig's (which are not doing business right now due to their location in New Orleans... I hope they come back but I'm doubtful). I enjoyed visiting my Uncle Walter and Aunt Stacy, and especially my newest cousin Danielle, and their pet walrus Jack.
All in all it was a good experience, but now I'm ready for a vacation. I will finish this entry off with a picture of my mom's back yard the morning of the day I left North Carolina to go back to Virginia. -11DEC05
Hello again, everyone. Quick update today.. just on this page to let you know I probably wont be able to update for a while. I'm helping my mom and my sister and my cat move from Louisiana to North Carolina and it will take quite a while.. a little over a week and a half to be exact.
I have loads of spam messages in my guestbook and will probably have more.. Feel free to click on the websites of said spam messages hundreds of thousands of times so that their servers become overloaded and crash. There's a new version of guestbook out that has steps to prevent it, but it wont read the database messages so if I upgraded it, all previous messages would be lost. -19NOV05
Well, then. Busy busy busy.. I just got back from almost a month straight of travel and little picture to show for it. Highlights include getting a Penske truck stuck in the mud and watching (though I didn't get the nerve to take a picture of) a bunch of Navy E-1s clean it all up (we had other stuff to do, of course). Also I got to meet up with a few internet friends in St. Louis (had a lot to drink one night while playing the Deer Hunter arcade game), and meet up with Christina's parents in Perry, Georgia. After that I got to watch a football game where the Lions lost to the Bears in Detroit. On our way to the airport to leave Detroit we got lost because they closed the interstate on-ramps for construction and had detour signs that.. stopped in the most inconvenient spots. Instead of taking half an hour, it took a little more than an hour to get there and we got there just before boarding. Other than that, my trip(s) was(were) pretty uneventful.
No rest for the weary, however because I leave for another trip Thursday and when I get back from that I'm going on leave to help my mom move from New Orleans to North Carolina. That's going to be fun.
I finally have my credit card completely paid off (for those that care) and now I'm back to saving money. The new car bug is biting me still, and every time I check my savings balance it bites me harder. I'm kind of torn between fixing up my Prelude to get it running for a long time and getting a new car entirely. I like my car a lot, and it will be hard to part with. It's served me well, even though I've wrecked it three times. Although, I now know there's a leak somewhere because after a heavy rain a couple months back the floor by my back seat had standing water in it. Now the car smells of mildew.
Before the day is over, I plan on adding some sunset pictures so keep checking back.
UPDATE: I guess I wont be updating as much as I thought I would because I somehow managed to erase all the pictures off of my camera before transferring them to my computer. I did save some of them to my laptop, but nothing in the last.. oh say... week and a half. No more pictures of Detroit. A couple of them were pretty good. :(
UPDATE 2: It appears the great folks from Germany have come up with a program called Smart Recovery that specializes in recovering erased pictures and such from Compact Flash (and other media) cards. It is still working, but it's already recovered over 150 pictures that I've erased long ago so I'm sure that when it's 100% done scanning it will have recovered all pictures that I've lost (it's at 40% after an hour so far).-06NOV05
Got some free time so I added some pictures of Hurricane Katrina to the family section. I felt it was the most appropriate place to put it. Other than that I have nothing new to say. -20OCT05
Oh my goodness I've been busy. I have one day off (today) that I need to use to wash all my clothes, pay my bills, update my website, send and receive emails, and clean my apartment... It's evening now and I'm not even close to being done. I leave tomorrow for another two weeks, and possibly a third. As far as updating this website, this page is all that will change today.
My mom sent me some pictures from the devastation in New Orleans, and I'll post them when I have time.
A guy emailed me to ask permission to use some pictures that I have of Waco for a project he was doing for the city... Something like "Waco: Building Bridges to the Future" or other of that nature. If you live in Waco and you see pictures that look familiar popping up in posters around the airport and other city controlled areas let me know so I know how famous I am.
Other news: My credit card is now paid off for the first time since Christmas... My car is still running... I bought Lunar: Dragon song for my Nintendo DS and am extremely disappointed... I am having trouble with my online courses. Little did I know when I signed up for them that they were geared for people who live in the area, but simply don't have the schedule flexibility to take college. All tests are taken in the testing centers (rather than online, like I expected... stupidly) and I haven't been in town long enough to even make an appointment much less actually take the tests... The last week I ate fast food an average of 2.5 times a day so I've probably gained a few pounds... I bought a bag of Krispy Kreme brand coffee and it isn't half bad... I've been thinking about getting a portable mp3 player, such as an iPod but haven't gathered the drive to actually shell out $$$ on it... And finally, my load of clothes is done drying. Hopefully I can update again on the road. -15OCT05
Just letting you know I'm still alive. Came back from a trip Wednesday and I leave for another one tomorrow morning. Early. Could be another two weeks before you see me again. Hopefully they will have internet available there. -29SEP05
Yet again a while has passed, hasn't it? I've been quite busy the last week or two. I had to deploy to Baton Rouge last week for a few days because they needed my help. I've also been taking online college courses, which surprisingly take a bit of time to complete.
A lot of things have been happening to my car too.. Not "the car is old" things, but stupid things.. The week after I got my alignment fixed, I noticed a crack in my windshield. Not a little crack, but a big one that went from the rear view mirror all the way down to the dashboard. That was $300. And then a couple of weeks later my parking light was stolen when I was parked in DC. That was $85 (I went ahead and got the other one too, since it was cracked from the last time I ran into a car in front of me.. for another $85). That and there's a few things acting funny. Every now and then my stereo will cut out and come back on.. and sometimes at the same time my ABS warning light will come on, and sometimes when that happens the entire right side of my dashboard goes black... all for a split second at random times while driving. But it doesn't happen every day... more like one day out of a month, it will cut out about 10 times and then the rest of the month be fine. I think a wire is loose or worn and is shorting out somewhere... That thing could be hard to find. In light of all this money I'm spending I feel my final reinlistment bonus could not come at a better time.
I've decided finally not to get a Subaru Legacy GT if I had to get a new car... It's expensive (though worth the cash), and only gets 25 highway miles to the gallon... and with gas prices in the upper $3 per gallon range, it would be very expensive to drive. I think my next one (in the event a meteor crushes my car while it's parked... or other similar scenario) would be the much cheaper and economical Volkswagen GTI. Comes with a better warranty too... and the dashboard is more interesting looking (stupid criteria, I know.. But my Prelude has the best looking dashboard ever and it will be hard to go to something more boring). It's not nearly as fast as the Legacy, but it's about as quick - maybe a bit more - as my Prelude.
Old army buddy Chris has started up a website, armyparatrooper.org along with appropriate forums... I can tell by looking at the main page that he is using Front Page to make it (shudder). Check it out if you aren't scared. -16SEP05
For all wondering, my mother, sister, and cat are okay. I've not heard about my father though... He lived one the West bank of the Mississippi river, and I know nothing of the damage in that area. I also do not know if he got out of town beforehand.
My apologies for not updating sooner, but I've been away from my computer and ultimately the internet since Wednesday night. Jessie and I flew down to Atlanta (I had bought the tickets weeks ago, at the outstanding price of $35 a pop. I do not know how Airtran manages to make a profit by selling tickets for so cheap, but I wont complain. On top of that, they have XM radio and a free set of earbuds which I listened to the whole flight.. the CNN station had lots of Katrina information), stayed a day to take care of various errands to prepare her car to come to DC, and then we drove down to Florida for my friend(s) Christina and Zach's wedding.
I wish the both of them the best of luck in the future. It's a really small town they live in, so hopefully they can figure a way to keep themselves entertained.
The ceremony was much shorter than I expected somehow. I guess there's not much to weddings overall.. I mean... you walk a few people down the aisles and then the bride. A few vows are said, a kiss, and then they run out. And it takes months of preparation to coordinate all of that.
Gas prices are ridiculous. There seems to be very few stations selling for less than $2.99 a gallon for the cheap stuff. It was an average $2.30 a gallon when the barrel was priced at $70, and since Katrina the barrel went to $72 and that seems to be enough to jack up the gallon price of fuel by 70 cents. I don't understand it. In light of this I am convincing myself against the 25MPG Subaru Legacy GT that I was considering sometime last year. I guess it all depends on what kind of job I manage to get when I'm out of the army... Hopefully my Prelude will last until then. -05SEP05
Many thanks goes to Cousin Stacey for keeping me up to date on my mother who is staying with her mother, who happens to be my Auntie Donna. I'm glad she made it out of town, because the last time I spoke to her the impression I got was that she was going to stick it out. I've since tried to call them, but have been completely unsuccessful due to busy/dead networks.
For a while I've been pretty complacent towards hurricanes... For a while, since I was born to be exact. The news always painted doom and gloom and when the hurricane finally came along, it might have knocked out power for a day or two at most. Even when I went to Florida and Alabama for the hurricane Ivan and Charlie relief, things were getting back to normal within days.
After looking at the pictures on various news sites, I realize that Katrina - an ugly name as it is - was not a joke. I am scared to find out that when my mom returns home, that there wont be a home left for her (and my cat will probably be dead, or at the least missing.. :( ). -30AUG05
Sorry for the lack of updates. Jessie moved to the area Friday night and I haven't had much time since.
As far as what made me mad at the army a week ago.. it's gone I guess. I was arguing with my boss about a new policy that is probably the stupidest, most useless policy I'd ever seen. And finally, when it came time to actually enforce it, he silently folded.. I guess he realized I'm right, or has a special BS excuse as to why he did nothing. -23AUG05
The army sucks. I really hate the army. As an institution... sure... it's great. As a job, it sucks. Sometimes I wish I was in Iraq so that I could at least get stressed out about dodging bullets instead of stressing out about stupid BS that everyone in town seems to be focusing on. -16AUG05
For those that haven't noticed yet, the pics of the last place I've been have been up for about four days now. -11AUG05
So Monday morning I get told that I am going somewhere, probably that night.. It ended up being the next afternoon, but still quite short notice. I actually like that aspect of my job.. makes me feel important. So since I was riding on a cargo plane, which is very noisy I decided to pick up some noise cancelling headphones from the BX. They had a much larger selection than I was expecting.. including the $300 Bose Triports that I despise. I have had fairly bad luck with high-end headphone purchasing.. my $120 Sony MDR-V600s were far from decent.. it completely lacked any form of bass, and generally had the sound quality of an alarm clock speaker. Even worse, the headphones weigh about three pounds and it hurts my neck to wear it for more than twenty minutes.. and on top of that, they did nothing to drown out ambient noise, especially on a cargo plane. I made a couple of unsuccessful $50 - $70 headphone purchases after that... But this time (years later now.. long after I thought I gave up) I decided to go with an unknown brand.. No more Sony, Koss, Bose, or Aiwa.. this time I went with Targus.. the same company that is most popular for manufacturing laptop cases. It is the best pair of headphones I ever bought (outside of the Radio Shack Pro35As, which by far sound the best, but don't have ear cups and are useless for long cargo plane flights) in a long time, and at an affordable $40 at that. It has a switch inline that if turned on, will do something and actually cancel ambient noise. And guess what... It's PERFECT for the cargo plane! I can actually hear music now over the high pitched whine of the C-17's compliment of engines, and at only half volume of my MP3 CD player at that (which is made by Sony, and I'm quite happy with it). The only downside to them is that there's no breathability in the ear cups, so wearing them for a while will produce quite a bit of sweat around your ears if you are not in an especially cold environment.
Also for the ride I bought a bag of Jack Link's brand beef jerky... and it was awful. The meat was pressed to the point where it was paper thin, and even then it was 40% gristle. The flavor was good, but the food was unedible (inedible?)... That was a waste of six dollars.
My front tires are now both replaced... That's $300 gone. They couldn't even do my alignment because apparently the 'alignment guy' had to go home early... and I was given a $20 courtesy discount on it for when I do come in for it.. So now it looks like I'm going to have to take time off of work to get it done on Monday.. What a shame. 07AUG05
Happy belated birthday to Cousin Stacey!!! I really didn't forget, I just didn't have a chance to post or call her yesterday, seeing as how I was working and then sitting on a cargo plane most of the day. I have things to do right now (my right tire is getting eaten up due to poor alignment.. somehow.. It's bad enough I can see white threads in it... I only noticed it last time I drove my car. I'm very surprised it hasn't blown out.) so don't expect any crazy updates today. :( - 06AUG05
I have figured out what makes D.C. traffic much worse than it should be. Yes.. after almost four years of driving around back and forth to work I have come to a realization. The D.C. area has more dumptrucks per capita than any other city in the world.
Do you wish to argue? How many dumptrucks do you normally see on your way to work? This question goes not only to my regular viewers, but my random visitors as well who are from all over the world (the wonders of the internet). I bet I have more than you. Yes.. In my short 8 mile drive to work this morning I counted 4,325 moving/driving dumptrucks. And that number is lower than normal because it's Friday... and I guess lots of people that work in the area have Friday off (because traffic is especially light in the morning.. but don't try to get anywhere in the afternoon.. oh no.. You have people coming down from New York, and people coming up from .. the rest of the country to go places for the weekend. It took me an hour to get home after work, and I was off at 3 o'clock).
The only way you will count more dumptrucks than me is if you have an especially longer route (such as.. say.. 500 miles) or if you drive in my area, or if aliens attack your city by dropping dumptruck bombs all around you... and even then you will be too busy dodging them to count them so any claim you make I will still doubt.
And dumptrucks are slow, as you know. But here, not only are they slow.. but the drivers also think they are driving cars. They see nothing wrong with moving into the left lane to pass a car when their exit on the right and three lanes away is only 500 feet ahead. Do you know what happens when a dumptruck suddenly crosses three lanes of traffic? People get the hell out of the way, that's what... and of course it slows things down for miles.
Unfortunately I have no explanation as to why there are so many dumptrucks in the area.. I know the Woodrow Wilson bridge is getting torn down eventually, and they are building a new bridge right next to it.. there's plenty of dumptrucks over there, but I don't go that route to work. If I did, then my daily number would easily double... triple. -29JUL05
My shortcut saved me at least 45 minutes of sitting in traffic today. As I pulled into my parking lot, I thought that I would use that extra time saved to update my website. I got to my door and I see a piece of paper stuck in it's crack... I open it and it says that I need to provide proof of renter's insurance (a requirement by law in Virginia) and that it was time to renew my release, coupled with a raised rent of $125. I renewed my lease in May, for a year. I called and was put on hold for ten minutes, where I got frustrated and hung up, and walked down to the home office to show them how mad I was.
Turned out everything was fine.. that something or something or other blah blah blah we're so sorry blah and that sheet was sent in error. By the time I got back inside it was exactly 45 minutes from the time I parked. You are extremely lucky that I am still doing this for you.
I gave the guy I hit a check to the tune of $672 dollars. Less than I expected, but still more than I'd like to pay. It's worth it not to make that claim on my insurance though. Driving sucks. I used to love driving.. Now I'm scared out of my gourd just to go to the grocery store. -20JUL05
They say bad things come in threes... I guess I just received my second one. I rear ended another person. We were at a yield sign to merge onto fairly fast traffic. A gap opened, the car in front of me went and I moved forward and waited for my turn to go. A few seconds pass, I see a nice open gap and I go. As I move forward I turn my head straight and see a stopped Mazda Tribute with bright red brake lights laughing at me as I run into the back of him. He never went, apparently. He just moved forward really fast and stopped almost on the shoulder apparently changing his mind about merging. It's a shame he didn't tell me this before I decided to go, otherwise this whole incident could have been prevented.
I am not going to worry about the damage done to my car. It can be bent back. The hood is bent on the right side (as you are sitting in it), the headlight has a gouge on it, and the front right quarter panel is bent in. No.. Not nearly as bad as my last one. It's raining outside pretty bad, otherwise I'd get a picture for you. The next time I go outside, I will begin fixing the looks of my front end. It wont be perfect, but I don't care. I'm just going to wreck it again anyway.
I talked him out of making a claim (hopefully.. I still gave him my insurance information in case he changed his mind) and settling privately. His rear bumper, which consists of 99% cheap plastic has two small holes in it from.. I don't know.. Somehow my car made little holes in his bumper. No damage to the metal behind it, but the entire rear plastic part will need to be replaced. This will probably run me somewhere in the neighborhood of one thousand dollars. I guess that's what I get for thinking I was going to pay off my credit card this month.
After my last wreck I was really bummed. Extremely bummed. It was because I made a stupid move that I shouldn't have done. This time, I'm just really really really mad. Not at myself. Not at the guy that didn't go. I'm just really mad at the situation. I'm done getting in wrecks. No more for me, or at least if I get in another wreck it can't be my fault. How can I go for so long without incident (excluding the time I changed lanes into a Land Rover.. thinking back it was as much his fault as it was mine..) and then all of a sudden in two months I get in two wrecks? But then the thing about how things come in threes enters my brain and, .. I just know there's something waiting for me. Hopefully it wont be serious.
My page counter reached 15,000 hits the other day. Did you notice? -15JUL05
London was disrupted today by subway and bus bombs. :( As of now only 37 people confirmed dead. I guess the British are very sturdy people, though nearly 1,000 are injured. At least now I'm not seeing pictures of Natalee Holloway plastered all over the place. Shame it took something of this magnitude (not that it doesn't happen in Iraq every month or so.. but this is London!) to focus the media's attention somewhere else. However, while the London bombings were being covered on Fox News, I saw the stupidest headline I ever saw set on the bottom of the screen.. It said "BUSH: SAYS HE'S IMPRESSED WITH LEADERS OF G8 SUMMIT". I would think they could have used that screen real estate for something a little more intelligent. Fortunately I couldn't hear what they were talking about at the time else I'd probably rant about the news being stupid for a little longer.
I found out today that I'm going to BNCOC, a two month long leadership course that the army has for my job. Yep.. Apparently I'm leaving for it next week. Yep.. nothing like a good bit of notice to help me prepare. Right now it's looking like I wont be able to go because my unit has to prepare for me going as well, and they don't have enough time. The army since I've been in has all the time been trying to go 'paperless' meaning most things would be done online, through email, etc. Well this is how I found out I was scheduled for the class.. I logged onto my AKO account (an email account given to all soldiers) and checked it's corresponding email and I saw an email that said a slot was reserved. I clicked on it and it had a report date of the 13 of this month. It was sent out on the first of this month. The only reason I checked that email account is because I was bored at work. A couple years ago, if I were slated for the school I would have received what is called a PERSGRAM, which is a paper certificate of sorts that has my name/SSN, and the date(s) and title(s) of the school(s) I'll be attending. Funny how this is one of the first things they decided to make online-only.
At first I was tempted to ignore the email.. Pretend I didn't see it. But that wouldn't be 'the right thing to do', so I told my initial level admin people who basically laughed at me and sent me to the higher level admin people. When I got there they saw my situation and they are being very difficult in telling me what I should do. They are telling me don't worry about preparing, but they are also afraid to tell me that I'm definitely not going... So I have to prepare... But I might not be going.. I probably wont be going.. I need to call this person.. That person is out of office.. I need to tell this person to call that person.. This person is gone, how bout I contact them myself, this person only talks to the kinds of people that are out of office. So it's pretty frustrating and stressful not knowing where I'll be or what I'll be doing next week. I guess it's better than being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan with a few day's notice like some of my old friends. -07JUL05
I updated the Family page with pictures of Rebecca's graduation. Enjoy.
My traffic seems to have died today and yesterday.. I wonder what happened. I used to get at least 10 hits on this page a day and yesterday only got 5, and today so far only 6. :( -03JUL05
I've been getting much better at reading other people's blogs.. I check them almost daily now. Strange that I decide to do this just as Nina decides she's starting to get tired of it. On the post that said this, most people replied "You know what's best for you" etc, etc... I was the only one that told her not to quit (to me, quitting meant that she'd delete her blog and never be on again). I only posted in that manner because I've gone through that stage many a time... Where I just felt obligated to post something.. When I stopped liking my webpage.. And at one time, I thought about deleting my site entirely. In the end, I decided not to (obviously) and I'm really glad I didn't.
So thankfully, Nina's blog is staying up... though updated much much much much much much much less frequently.
Did you know that the word "blog" is short for "web log"? I did, and because I know that, I also know that my updates on this page make it... essentially... a blog *shudder*. Of course there are many other sections to this site that I could update.. I've actually had an inkling (did I use that word right?) to update my traffic rant section again (and maybe even finish it.. But the thing about that is, is that my drive back home from work is only 15% as painful as it used to be thanks to a shortcut a cab driver showed me... So I can't really talk about that too too much).
We'll see what I do in coming days. I've actually wanted to post here lately, but I rarely have anything to post. I can't talk about work too much (because I can't kill you over the internet ) and work is really all I have to talk about. There's the news, but just about every complaint I have about the news is the same... Too much coverage on one subject when there's fifteen million more important things going on (like the disappearance of that Natalee girl in Aruba.. If she were black and chubby, but the story were exactly the same we would have heard nothing about it. Instead she's white and pretty and takes up about 70% of Fox News, the news station that my coworkers keep putting our shop television on.)... And there's traffic I can whine about, but I have a whole section dedicated to it.. I haven't found any good unpopular games so I can't really review any (basically, the requirements of a game I review is that it has to be fairly unknown, and good.. and that hasn't been happening very much lately)j games.. I've been buying CDs at a snail's pace so I never want to update my music section (that's the hardest one to update of all my pages).
So.. you see, I'm full of excuses.
I've noticed that I've been taking naps on Thursdays.. I guess that's when my not sleeping enough catches up to me... and then of course there's the weekend when I'm usually off of work (especially lately.. I've not traveled in almost three months). I took a nap today and I feel pretty relaxed. I think I'll go blow some people up in Battlefield 2 now. -30JUN05
I made a mistake Friday... Yes.. It appears to be a big one. Nay.. a huge one. I bought a game. Normally this isn't a problem.. I install it and play it a little and go back to it when I feel like it. Not this game, oh no.. This is a different kind of game. This game grabs me by my short hairs and wont let me go. It goes by the name of Battlefield 2. It is now 5 in the evening on Sunday. I've logged over 13 hours into this game and it's hard to keep away from it even now as I type this.
It stresses my computer.. It stresses everyone's computer. When I went to CompUSA to get the DVD version of the game, I saw a coworker looking around in the video card section. He needed to upgrade it.. Why? Because he couldn't play Battlefield 2 with the one he currently had. So he shelled out nearly $300 on a new card so he could play this game. Right now as I type this, there are 37,000 people playing on various servers around the country.. and this is rising steadily as more and more people upgrade their computers. I will not bore you with the specifics of the game... I will just say that I like it... I like it a lot and leave it at that.
I have to throw a congratulations out to Nina for besting my site in hits and traffic, even though her's has been up for less than 1/5th of the time mine has.. I guess that's what happens when you update every day. :)
UPDATE: Okay, I was premature about Nina's congratulatory thing.. I (for some reason) forgot about the visits that the entire rest of my site gets... Which from January of 05 to yesterday is 16,434 page loads, plus 27,000+ from March through December last year.. Unfortunately I don't have track of my pages before that.
But I CAN do something to increase my number... Watch this: Download Gothic 3 Beta HERE! Hehehe... That's so dirty. -26JUN05
If you are reading this right now, then you are witness to one of the biggest updates in TheCrawdaddyPage's history (er.. well.. at least in the last three years)! Can you see it? No? Well click on the Family Link, silly! It's all cool looking now.-23JUN05
Happy Father's Day! Yes, it's today...
Wow.. has it been a week already? No.. it's been more than a week since my last update. I put some more captions under my Moscow pictures.. I've forgotten all of what I wanted to say about the city really... Oh well. If I can't remember now, I guess it wasn't all that important, was it?
Let's see.. what's been going on in my life? Hmm.. Nothing. Work has been painfully boring.. I walked around the other day with a can of air spraying things.. What came out of it was extremely cold, especially if you shook it and got some of the stuff in liquid form to spray.. It was like liquid nitrogen.. I actually got ice crystals to form on a piece of paper. Once the can was wasted, I had nothing more to do... That's your tax dollars hard at work.
My car developed a new problem... I don't know what it could be, but I don't think it's serious. My ABS light comes on, and at the same time my stereo cuts off.. but only for half a second, and very randomly. It was only during one drive back from the store that it did that... so maybe it fixed itself. Who knows..
There's a group of five to seven non-English speaking people that have started to hang out right in the entryway to my building.. The night before last they were out there talking (about what?) for almost six hours before I went to bed (had to turn on my boombox to keep from hearing their droning voices), and yesterday they started around 3 in the afternoon and stayed out there until I went to bed near midnight... And today they are out there now. It's not even noon yet.. and I wonder how long they'll be this time. Why can't they go inside? Not to mention I basically have to dance with all of them to take some trash out or get to my car... They don't even understand me when I say "Excuse me"... they just look at me all the while standing/sitting right in my way with looks on their faces that say "It's nice to meet you".
Do you own a Mastercard? If so, you might want to read this. -19JUN05
Hello, all. I am now back from vacation.. Do you want to hear how it went? No? Oh well.. I'll save it for the last part of this update then.
I was looking at my website statistics (the ones that only I can see).. and I've noticed that I am getting tons of hits on my other pages.. My game reviews and music reviews especially... And I need to throw a very special thank you to the site leftlaneidiots.com for linking to my traffic rant. I've only gotten three hits from them so far, and one of them was from me.. It's a beginning site but I do see at least a small amount of success in a site that dedicates itself to stupid drivers and how much they make smart drivers (like me.... yeah..) mad.
I still have Rebecca's graduation pics (the best of which are courtesy of Mr. Bobby) (not completely ready to be posted yet) as well as Jennifer's wedding pictures and I still plan on posting them on the family page. Right now Jessie is here with me (she drove up with me.. I opted to miss my plane from Atlanta seeing as how I wasn't put on any trips, and she was able to get off of work) so I only want to spend a little time on the site. She doesn't go back until Monday, so it'll probably be at least till then before the pictures are posted.
I have also altered a little bit of my guestbook code to warn signers of email spambots before signing... That was a little easier than I expected... so I guess another thing now on my list of things to update/do is to overhaul the look of the guestbook. Hopefully German and Russian PHP gurus wont figure out how to hack it again and make me re-update the whole thing (and any work put in included).
First order of business took place in Kenner, Louisiana (where I lived most of my life) for my sister's graduation. I got home a day earlier than expected (my fault) and promptly ate at Kenner Seafood.. a hole in the wall turned into a fairly busy and nice place to eat (the food has always been good).
A couple of days later, my sister graduated from Riverdale High School... with Mr. Bobby, Auntie Donna, Cousin Stacey, Cousin Jennifer, and (cousin in law?) Frank as well as myself and mom watching. Here are a few excellent pictures of everybody but me.
After Rebecca graduated we all went to Bud's Broiler and ate.. and talked. And then we went to my mom's place and after that I left to go with Cousin Stacey to the New Orleans Greek Festival. It was fairly well done.. Live music, lots of food.. You just about can't go wrong with that.
A couple of days after that, was my mother's birthday. As you may have read already, we went to Ralph's on the Park to eat. That restaurant is exactly what I would think a nice restaurant in New Orleans should be like. The food was good, the service was nice, and of course the atmosphere was perfect. The food portions were enough to make a meal.. not so much that your stomach hurt when you were done and not so little that you needed a dessert to keep you from being hungry. The price wasn't expensive (compared to some of the hotel restaurants I've been forced to eat at before).. I think $15 for my chicken and $12 for my mom's beef stroganoff. And her birthday cake was free. :) After we ate we drove around City Park... I remember it being much much larger than it was.. but then.. I haven't been there since I was seven or eight (everything seems smaller since then).
While in Kenner, I went to Sam's three (3) times and Wal-Mart four (4) times. I ate at 0 fast food restaurants (I've never not eaten fast food at home) and made 2 laps (one was walking.. you can see a small video made with my phone here.. but you need Realplayer to watch it.. If you don't have Realplayer it is not worth installing for this video.) around Lafreniere Park's 2 mile track.
From Kenner, I went to Atlanta to visit my girlfriend for her 24th birthday (June 5th). We originally were going to go to a sushi restaurant called RuSan's in downtown, but she wasn't feeling well (especially not for sushi) so we ended up going to her best friend's parent's place for barbecue.. It ended up being pretty fun and best of all, free.
The following day we went to St. Augustine just to go somewhere (under the suggestion of our friend Christina, who goes there often). First thing I did was sleep in (I haven't gotten to sleep in since the weekend before I left for Kenner) until noon. We went to the pool and swam around a little, and then straight to the beach. I wanted to play in the waves, but my girlfriend's deathly fear of jellyfish kept her from going more than ankle deep in the water.. so I felt kind of silly diving into the waves by myself so I didn't play for long.
We went back to the hotel, showered and met Christina shortly after. We went to the Scarlet O'Hara restaurant for a long time (our waitress forgot about us once we had our food). The atmosphere and food was good, but the service (just for our table I think) plain sucked. We walked around the town a bit (and I tried taking a few night pictures with my camera.. But I desperately needed a tripod for them... They all turned out either blurry or out of focus or crooked because there were no perfectly flat surfaces to be found). Christina Zach (Christina's fiancee) gave us a tour of what they knew from the tours they went on (it was too late for us to get a 'professional' tour) and we ended up back in our hotel room to catch up on things/talk, etc. Here is a picture of Christina looking through the pictures on Jessie's phone:
The next day, we walked round the Spanish Fort and looked around a bit in the city.. We ate at the highly acclaimed Pizzalley restaurant (very very good pizza) and left for D.C. a little after noon. I didn't realize until I started talking about my vacation that my grandfather lives near St. Augustine (if not in it)... If I had thought to visit him while I was there,(I'm slapping my forehead right now for not thinking of it) I would have. My apologies. :(
So there it is.. That's what I've been doing for the last two weeks or so. I took a lot of pictures, but like rest of the pictures I take, few of them came out good. I got some great pictures from outside the plane window when I took off in New Orleans.. one of which you'll definitely be able to see on my sunset page someday.
Despite my wanting to spend a minimal amount of time doing this, I've neglected my girlfriend for over two hours (a lot of time was spent transferring pictures, etc..) so I will stop typing now. Good day to you. -10JUN05
For those of you that may have missed it a couple of days ago, May 30th was my Mom's birthday. If you know her blogspot blog (she's asked me multiple times to never link it here) location, please go there and wish her a happy birthday.. If you haven't already. If you don't know where her blog is at, feel free to wish her a happy birthday in the forum here, or in an email.
It wasn't that extravagant of a celebration for her 53rd birthday.. We ate breakfast at home, watched The Price is Right and then went to lunch at Ralph's on the Park, which is a fairly historical restaurant near City Park in New Orleans. The food was great, and not too expensive, and the portions perfect. I told the hostess that it was my mom's birthday, and after we finished our meal a very delicious slice of chocolate cake was delivered to our table. I think next time I'm in town I will go there again.
In weight news, I've lost about 8 pounds... From 187 with clothes/shoes on to 179.. Only 14 more to go, and the rarely available blueberry flavored Hubig's Pies aren't helping. For the first time ever, I did not bring running clothes/shoes with me on leave. And for the first time ever, I ran while on leave (had to go to Wal-Mart to get shorts to run in, and then ran in my K-Swiss look-pretty shoes which were pretty loud and clumsy on the track no matter how soft I tried to run). My mother and I went to Lafreniere Park which has a decent 2-mile track.. I ran back and forth a few times (53 year old mothers that have smoked for 36 of them, and that have quit smoking are unsurprisingly slow) so I guess I went about 3 miles total (which isn't much on the Army scale of things, but hey.. I'm on vacation). That may have worked off half of one (1) of the three 400 calorie fried pies that I ate.
My car is back from the body shop... I got some coworkers to pick it up and park it at my apartment for me, seeing as how I'm 1100 miles away from it right now. Hopefully, since they were unable to alarm it for me, it does not get broken into or stolen. I would hate to have to make another claim on my insurance, as I'd likely be dropped immediately after. And I'd also like to see what my car looks like without half the paint missing from the front bumper.
Once upon a time, a blogspot blogger was stealing my bandwidth.. I noticed this by seeing it in my access logs that a web address isleofthemighty.blogspot.com was snatching up my Manila sunset picture to use in a description of his experiences while he was in Manila. It wasn't a bad read at all, but I left a comment on his blog mentioning that it was my picture, and then another sarcastic one mentioning the fact that he was hotlinking the large version of my picture instead of the thumbnail version, even though it was sized down to thumbnail size in his display.. thus wasting 100k of my bandwidth every time someone viewed his page. I would have been fine with his 'borrowing' it, if he'd posted a link to my page, or if he'd used the thumbnail version instead of the large one.. but he did neither.
So I checked back to his blog and noticed that he'd updated it since I commented and awaited further comment/response from him. Instead of that, my comments were deleted a couple of hours later (I guess it took him that long to figure out how to do it, as he's admitted he's not internet savvy). Once I realized this the revenge bug bit me and I decided to do something rather unlike me. I decided to replace my Manila sunset picture with unique one of a "rather adult nature" that I'm sure nobody wanted to see. I did this at the encouragement of a number of friends as well as a couple of family members (yes, family). After about six hours, the blog entry had been removed and replaced, this time pictureless.
He tried to make a point that he was simply sharing my work for all to enjoy, but if that were truly, genuinely the case he'd have posted a link to (at least) my sunset page so all can enjoy all of the pictures I decided to showcase on this site.
I was expecting a large amount of disdain and disrespect in his posts and later comments directed at what I did.. but the worse thing that he said was "There's some nasty people out there".. He also called me a trespasser (even though he was on my site first and decided to use my picture without asking my permission) but that really doesn't mean much. I suspect that he was fairly polite to me due to (maybe) he thought I somehow hacked into his blog and (definitely) doesn't want me to do it again. (I am not a hacker, I am a hackee.. seeing as how this site still receives several hack attempts every week.. Thankfully they are rarely successful) Either that, or maybe he was just being generally respectful. Either way, I told him I'd link his blog the next time I updated my site, and lookie.. there there the link is near the beginning of this story.
And everybody lived happily after.
If anyone is a little too curious and wants to see screenshots of what I did, email me a request. - 01JUN05
Good news is my car isn't totalled.. Bad news is my insurance is going to skyrocket. I guess I'll take 1 out of 2 versus 2 out of 2. Hmm.. But there is a 3 involved.. The body shop will be done with my car while I'm on leave, and will commence charging me $100 a day, per day after 48 hours from the time they fix it. I don't know if that one will be a hit or miss, because I'm only 90% sure a coworker will be able to pick it up for me.
I finally put up some pictures from Moscow.. I had a lot more to say about it, but I really do have more important things to do. It will eventually get more content/stories.. but for now it's mostly pictures without descriptions. - 24MAY05
Can you see the picture up there? That's about how my day went today.
It started out okay.. I woke up late (10 o'clock).. Stretched a bit.. took a shower.. Posted on a few forums.. And decided to look out my window. It was a darn nice day outside! I know.. I'll go for a drive. .. .. Yeah.. Good idea. Two lanes, I changed into the left one just as it was coming to a sudden stop because someone decided ..er.. suddenly that they were going to make a left turn there. I hit a car in front of me. The damage that they took? Not much... but still visible.
Please forgive me if I want to mope around all day and be depressed. :(
I put the forums back up because I fixed them a long time ago... I was hoping to get a request to bring them back.. but none came. Now I want them back so.. they're back. They've always been there.. I just took the link away. Feel free to click on them and post to me about how stupid I am for running into another car. :( -21MAY05
Even though it was nasty, for some reason every time I see that picture of that sandwich I get hungry.
Sorry for being lazy and not updating. I know you're itching to see pictures of Moscow, but you will have to wait a little longer. I'm having problems getting 1st Page to input Russian characters.. It shows up as a bunch of question marks instead. That was a major reason for my flow being broken when I started making the Moscow section a few days ago. I think I'm going to start using something else to edit my html pages solely for that purpose. All I need to do now is find one that works. -19MAY05
I've been without internet access for the last two weeks... Well.. not completely without internet access as I was able to use my work's computers to do work related things and check my email. Actually, I guess I could have updated the website if I really really really really wanted to.. at a mere cost of $30 a day I could have used the hotel's service.
While the lack of updates could be explained by me not having the ability to upload the stuff, this does not explain why I didn't bother to make any changes on my laptop for future updates.. What does explain that is that I've been without more than an hour's worth of free time at least 10 days out of the last 14.... and 3 of those four I felt I could be having more fun doing things other than updating my website (such as going out on the town)... Well today is your lucky day because I can't find anyone that wants to leave the hotel (that hasn't already left) and I'm bored... And I do kind of feel like updating anyway.. Lots of updates are long overdue (such as posting Jennifer's wedding pics and the pictures I've taken recently), but it all wont get done today (unfortunately). Instead what I am doing today is simply updating this page and changing various outdated bits and pieces in other pages.
I can't really give you any news on my life or car really... Both were left behind me on the other side of the world. The last two weeks have passed in a sort of daze and I'm on my way home tomorrow. I felt kind of depressed when I was packing my bags because I've been here for a while and haven't had much of a chance to see what the city had to offer, and would like to spend this last day seeing some more of it.. (ten minutes later... I just received a call that I would have to wake up at 4:00 instead of the originally planned 6:30, so now I don't feel so bad) Though, I have lost a bit of weight (four pounds) while I've been here. I guess staying active instead of staying on my computer will do that to me.
I've gotten into (or have always been in) a bad habit of not proofreading my work when I'm done.. In the update before this one I noticed that I had "Guess who's car overheated?" "Me!" instead of "Mine!".. That's pretty stupid of me, but it's fixed now (20 days later?). I've also gotten into (or have always been in) a bad habit of typing straight from my brain.. and I've noticed that a lot of my entries don't make a lot of sense. Pretty much every time you see this: ... (dot dot dot) it's when I'm typing from my brain. Putting the dots there gives me time to think about my next sentence.. and when I'm done I save the page and upload it. If a few mistakes don't catch my eye when I go to make sure the page uploaded properly, then chances are they will stay there forever. I will try to be more understandable in future days. -10MAY05
Guess who's car overheated on the way back from work because he had a crack in his radiator?
That's right. Mine. Kind of funny that I don't have this problem at all until I bring my car to a shop... It's one of the things they "found" while my car was in there, and they offered to replace it for a miniscule $748 (they also found a leak in my oil pan gasket, in my o-ring gasket for my distributor, and my CV boots were in need of replacement.. and my power steering rack also had a leak in it).. I politely declined. Well today I notice that my temperature is past the halfway mark for the first time ever so I roll down my windows and turn on my heater.. I needed gas so when I stopped at a station I popped the hood to see if maybe one of my fans got disconnected.. No.. my overflow bottle was empty and there was antifreeze fizzling out of the top of my radiator.. Right next to the mount where if someone were to lean on it really hard, it would crack there.
Great.. so now I need a new radiator. Luckily the Auto Zone nearest me has one for $168.. I'm going to get it and try to replace it myself (like I did the Celica). So far this car has been easy to work on.. granted I've only fixed minor things on it.. The Celica was real easy and the Prelude seems to be configured nearly the same way. Looks like I have a task for this weekend before I go out of town.
The class I had to give took a lot out of me. Not so much the class itself, but the hours.. As I said, 6:00 until 4:30.. Not especially horrible, but when you add on the extra hour and a half it takes to just get across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (which is at it's worst between 4:30 and 6:00), and then the extra hour it takes to get home from where we work (traffic is surprisingly bad at 7:00) I have about an hour to myself and then I go to sleep to wake up at 4:50 the next morning and do it all over again.
I did this for 3 days and yesterday was my last. Tomorrow, however there is a 4-mile run event that I was told I would not have to participate in (due to the fact that I've been working 16 hours a day all this week).. I found out today that indeed, I will be there because "we need max participation", as my boss put it.. He said that after the run I could go home, but I know that his boss will say that we have a formation at 2 o'clock and he will change his mind, and tell me I will have to stay for the formation. I love the army. -21APR05
Hey! Looks like my forums were hacked into again! YAY! I don't know what they did this time, but it's not an easy fix... So I think that, on account of the forums hardly ever get used I'm not going to bother putting them back up. 90% of the time people use my guestbook anyway for feedback and comments.. which is not what I intended it for, but oh well.. It's all I have now.
My $1300 clutch works great.. It feels a lot lighter than the old one, so I don't know if they fixed/aligned/improved the hydraulics on it, or if the clutch itself is actually easier to use (I don't know.. maybe it's lighter or something). But either way, the car is running excellently now and all I can do is hope nothing else major breaks down.
I took a PT test today.. I did great on the situps and pushups, but the run I almost failed. I was also 1 lb. overweight (according to Army standards) which caused me to go through a tape test, which revealed that I have a high percentage body fat.. so much so, that if they were mean to me they could have gone through the steps to make me unpromotable until the weight and fat is lost.. But instead they weighed me again, and luckily that pound was lost.. so I am at my limit right now. Time to go on a diet.
I have a stupid Army class to give/grade all week next week.. The hours are 0600 formation at Ft. Myer, depart for Ft. Belvoir at 0615, and then once there, set up for class (out in the woods..). At 1700, we leave Ft. Belvoir (right at rush hour I must mention) to go back to Ft. Myer where we will clean weapons and turn them in. And then the next day, 0600 formation again.. Monday through Thursday.. Yeah.. It's going to be a blast. -15APR05
I had a fairly busy day planned ahead of me.. It included lots of driving and stopping.. looking at new PC games, grocery shopping, etc... I also wanted to pick up some "inboxes" so I had something better than a cutting board (which is what I currently use).
Well, first stop was CompUSA to see what they had in stock.. I got on the interstate, pulled off, hit a light.. Light turned green and when I went to go, I noticed something was dramatically wrong. I shifted into 2nd gear, and there it was again. I stayed in 2nd until I parked at the store.. Checked under the car for leaks or metal objects hanging from under the hood.. Nothing.
So I went in there, saw they didn't have anything (well, they have my video card there now... and the one up from it. This means that it's taken almost 6 months for these video cards to hit the shelves from the time they were first released... Ridiculous.. Anyway back to my car, I started it up and I pulled out of the parking spot.. Yeah.. something was very very wrong. What was happening, was every time I put it in gear and released the clutch, the car shook very badly. The clutch was slipping, grabbing, slipping, grabbing very very fast.. I decided that I would have to go to the evil place that is Landmark Honda (because it is the closest place to CompUSA, and to my apartment if I had to walk home) and see what they could do for me. I talked to the guy and he assured me that it was indeed the clutch slipping and it could go out at any time. He said that it might take a day for it to go out completely if it just started doing it.. I could have dropped it off there, but there would be no way for me to get back home because their rental car place closed at 12 (it was 12:24 at this time)... So I vowed to bring it back first thing Monday morning and not drive it at all until then. I wanted to get some more coffee beans too.. :(
Thinking about it though.. the clutch on my Prelude has 149,549 miles on it currently.. The slave cylinder for the clutch on my old Celica went out at about 106,000 miles (with no warning at all, the clutch just didn't work) and then the whole clutch needed replacement at about 130,000 miles (was slipping so bad that I couldn't power the car up a hill). This being the first major problem for my Prelude I can say this has been a very reliable vehicle. Of course, if it's anything like the Celica after fixing this, there will be something else major that breaks.. rinse, repeat (The Celica went: CV joints, rotors, drive axles, clutch, radiator, engine mounts, and finally heavy smoke out the exhaust pipe caused by piston ring wear all within the span of a year)..
Gas prices are skyrocketing again.. Yesterday was the first time I broke $30 filling up my car (at $2.51 a gallon, this can be expected). This brought me to think... People that work in a big city generally can't afford to live in a big city. So they live far away and they commute every day (that rhymes). When will it get to a point where it's more expensive to commute than it is to live in the city? But then... Real estate prices are rising faster.. much faster than gas prices, so it will likely never be more expensive to commute. -09APR05
It looks like I updated my page here, but I forgot to upload it. Oh well. It's two updates in one.
I decided not to take that job, and three days after I notified my boss(s) that I did not want it, my name was submitted anyway for an interview. I think I wont shave that morning.
Just got back from Reno (again).. I got to visit my Aunt Cindy and cousin Jessaca for six hours and twenty minutes, respectively. It was a good time and I was hoping to visit them again at the end of my trip.. but things kept happening and next thing I knew, it was 8 at night and I still hadn't packed yet.
Terry Shiavo is a sad story. Very sad. But that's it. She is one person who is being starved to death. She may well be alive and conscious, but she's been a vegetable for years and will likely remain in that state for a long time to come.. probably until she dies. Yet the news is all over it (Fox news especially). This is one case of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of similar ones that have happened over the past few decades. If Terry were not attractive in her younger years, I'm certain that we would not be hearing about her on the news.
Her story is sad, but far from horrifying. What's horrifying is knowing there are groups hopped up on opium actively planning and plotting parking cars with bombs inside them near large groups of people and detonating them, and then cheering about it later... and calling it a step closer to victory of the jihad. But is this on the news? Not really.
A Fox news reporter interviewed (basically) someone off of the street via satellite and asked them if the Supreme Court's decision seemed like it was influenced at all by the media's attention on Terry Shiavo. When that person said "No", the reporter made a surprised and disappointed face.. It seems that she didn't know, nor did she expect her viewers to know that the job of the Supreme Court is to NOT be influenced by anything.. especially the media. This is why THEY are judges, and news reporters aren't.
Well.. I'm off my little soap box for now. Hopefully I can come up with something better to talk about on another day. -26MAR05
I don't know if anyone noticed.. but my forums were hacked into today. Why do these people keep messing with me? Apparently I need to update my forums, but because I leave on a trip tomorrow I do not have time to do it... so it may get hacked into again.. and possibly even this entire site depending on how big the security hole is... between now and the time I get back.
I was offered a super-secret job today.. But because it requires that I have at least 18 months retainablity, and I only have 15 I don't think I'll get it. If I do, I will not be travelling anymore and you may hear me whining about receiving an involuntary extension, and talking even less about my job.
I found Jennifer's wedding pictures CD.. I apparently stashed it in my Reno 911 DVD case when I was home at Christmas, and didn't find it till the day before yesterday when I was in the mood to watch it.. I'm thinking about trying to post all of them. It'd have to be a new page and I'll probably use a lame html generator to make it (Paint Shop Pro came with something of that nature). Don't expect to see it before a week from now, though. -15MAR05
Hey, guess what? It's been a really really really long time since I last updated. Nothing really good or bad has been happening. I haven't travelled anywhere. Nothing interesting is happening at work.. I tried enrolling in college for online courses but found out I was too late and will have to wait till next month.
It snowed today.. a mean snowing it was.. Winds are up at about 40 MPH and icicles are forming at a 60° angle. It was interesting walking through without a jacket due to the temperature being 70°F yesterday.
Jessie came up to visit me for the weekend.. we saw a couple of bad movies.. One of which is The Pacifier.. Starring Vin Diesel. What a horrible movie. Holy moly. Maybe if your kids are into the military they'd like it, but I suggest getting a ticket for a different movie for yourself so you don't have to be subjected to it. I liked Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick (other movies he was in) but after watching The Pacifier.. I don't think I'll enjoy those movies ever again.
I finally updated my movie page.. you can view two movies I made during Christmas vacation under the High Quality section. If you are a high-speed internet user then you will definitely make good use of it here. -10MAR05
Yesterday was my sister Nina's birthday.. She had a rather emotional post on her blog so if you are an easy crier, do not click this link. I managed to be reminded of it by going to Veronica's site and seeing her announcement.. It was 11:00 at night yesterday when I posted a comment on Nina's blog.. so I didn't miss it completely. Thank you Veronica, and Happy Birthday, Nina.
I finally got a new computer chair.
On the left is the old crappy chair that I've been using for over three years now.. I bought it quick and in a hurry with the intent to get a better one soon.. Soon seemed to go away and next thing I know, every time I lean back in it my back starts killing me. So I went to Office Depot which had this chair for $79.99, minus a $40.99 mail in rebate. It tricked me at first, all I saw was "$38.99" and I got excited.. looked at the box.. it looked like it would fit in my car.. and then I brought it to the checkout counter. "$79.99, sir."
"That's wrong. It's supposed to be $38.99 like it says on the sign."
"After the mail-in rebate, sir." he said with a strong Chinese accent. I hate mail in rebates.. because I never use them. When I bought the RAM for my mom's computer, it came with a $50 mail-in rebate. Did I mail in the rebate? No. Why not? Because I'm a lazy bastard.
Anyway after much hesitation I decided to get the chair anyway, because six months ago I was thinking about buying the same one at Staples for $79.99.. It was worth it then, but I had too much crap in my car at the time and wouldn't be able to take it home and I opted to come back another day and get it. I never did.
I got home and put it together and something crazy (just as I've been called) got into me. I started looking at the receipt to find out how to redeem my mail in rebate. And then I got even crazier.. I actually started following the instructions. And while I was at it, I looked for my DVD drive receipt (I had to buy one from Best Buy, because I forgot the one I ordered from ZipCrapFly was cancelled) that also had a $30 rebate.. I didn't find it. But I did find my $50 rebate for my cell phone! But it was probably expired, right? Considering that I bought the phone on the 28th of December. Nope! The requirement was that it should be postmarked by the 19th of February. Lucky me. Good thing I bought the chair when I did because I would not have thought to mail in my cell phone rebate.. Considering this, I virtually got paid $20 to take the chair home.
My video card came in yesterday.. and it works just fine (for those that are wondering). I now have a near top-of-the-line machine again... but at quite a cost. From here on out I am going to budget the heck out of myself.. $100 a week is all I'm allowed to spend on everything except regular bills. The $100 includes gas (for the car) and food. It's been a long time since I've had a budget.. I guess it will give me something to pay attention to until my credit card is paid off again. -19FEB05
Wow.. I can't believe how lazy I've gotten about this website.. and about reading other people's websites. Happy Belated Belated Birthday, Veronica! I was reminded a while ago that it was on the 8th, but.. I forgot. Sorry.
I still don't have a working new computer.. but I should shortly. When my shipment finally arrived last week, the video card turned out to be borked... So I had to send it back. You can read my entire story in the forum.. as I felt it best to post it there and not here... Because apparently I can talk about it for a long.. long time. And I'm 99% sure that 99% of the people that do read this site regularly would just skip over it anyway.
I'm coming down with something fairly strong.. My snot is as thick as glue and I have a ringing in my ears.. It didn't start until yesterday afternoon and it's progressed fast. My windows are now open (cold air, but better than sick air) and I'm in the process of washing all of my sheets and towels. I read somewhere that doing these things is what stopped the Black Plague from killing everyone... Maybe it will work for this.
I will update once again within the next day or two. -18FEB05
As of Wednesday upon entering my tracking number for my shipment of the computer parts I ordered, FedEx's site said "Data transmitted to FedEx. Package not in FedEx possession. Estimated Delivery: Friday 4:30PM". I figured maybe someone wasn't doing their job and didn't input everything they needed to for it to be displayed on the FedEx site.. And another possibility was that FedEx hired a local contractor to deliver the package for them and that's what it shows when that happens (this is something I came up with in my own head.. FedEx likely does not pay other companies to do their job for them). So when 6:00 rolled around and the status didn't change.. and I didn't have my package I called them up to see what was amiss.
They said that they never got the package... that it was still in ZipZoomFly's warehouse (ZipZoomFly is the company that I ordered the majority of my stuff from). That ZipZoomFly never gave them the package. I said (and I quote) "That's not a good thing.".. to which they said "I'm sorry sir, but they will be able to answer any questions better than us. You can call their Customer Support at.."
So I called up ZipZoomFly. I was surprised at how fast I was connected to a real person but still the end result was not good. After giving my order number and put on hold for about four minutes I was told that the reason my shipment was delayed was that I had an item on backorder. Their website plainly states that they ship backordered items separately, and I said that to the lady. She said that I was wrong and I had an item on backorder.
Now let me explain a little more to you. When I picked out the stuff I ordered, I avoided picking items that said "On Backorder" and only got items that said "Add to Cart", which assures me that "Items unavailable on our site for any reason when you return will show as "Back Ordered" in the Saved Cart". Call me crazy, but when I don't see "Back Ordered" on a product in my shopping cart the last thing that I think is that I have an item on "Back Order". On the 2nd of February I got a confirmation email that my order had been shipped out. Call me crazy, but when I see the words "Shipped Out" I do not think that it really means "Delayed" or "You have an item on backorder". On their website, under "My Account" it has all the items that I purchased and a tracking number and status for each of them. The status can say the following: Processing, packing, packed, staged, and shipped. Do you know what it said for each of my items? No? Well I'll tell you. It said "Shipped". Call me crazy, but when I see "Shipped" under the status I do not stop and consider that it really means "Delayed" or "On Backorder". AND CALL ME CRAZY, but if a company is to charge me $1542 dollars on my credit card for an order, I WOULD NOT THINK FOR ONE SECOND that my order was incomplete due to an item being on backorder. I think you get the point.
I asked her when my shipment would arrive.. She said sometime next week... She was very cryptic and hard to get answers out of. I hope my stuff arrives Monday like it should (she mentioned that the item came in that day -Friday, and was already sent out.. Yet, I don't have a new tracking number to look at.. nor have I gotten another email from ZZF telling me about my order, so I think she lied to me there too.).. or at the very least Tuesday.. She was acting EXACTLY like the lady at AMC Relocations acted when they were lying to me (Oh, I'm sorry sir but we're very busy. We'll deliver your stuff sometime tomorrow. I'm sorry that we couldn't make it today.) to put me off while they looked for my lost stuff from Ft. Bragg. It wasn't until I called the government entity that contracted that company for the job that they told me the truth.. that indeed they could not find everything I had shipped from Ft. Bragg. I am extremely disappointed with this situation.. I think they lost my stuff, and didn't ship it out until I reminded them about it, as each item I ordered still shows as "In Stock" on their site. I think that when my order got placed "On Hold" so that I could get "verified" they put it in a corner and forgot about it.. Where it will show up next.. we'll never know. - 06FEB04
I got a post in my guestbook from an old army friend.. Unfortunately he supplied a bad email address and I cannot email him:(. So if he's viewing this site to see new posts it would be great if I got an email from him. He was involved in one of my more favorite memories where we were in the desert doing a training mission for two weeks. During which there was nowhere to use the bathroom.. There were port-a-potties, but they were always near the officers tents which were well over a mile away.. And nobody wanted to walk a mile to go to the bathroom. My team chief (Lee, seen in the movie "Leegoingcrazy" on my movies page) decided that it would be enough to dig a hole in the ground and squat... But not far away, oh no.. But near.. almost in plain view (the desert does crazy things to people). Clyde got the biggest smile on his face, and picked up the fire extinguisher, sneaked up behind Lee and got him real good in the nether area while he was most vulnerable. That was funny. I don't think I'd laughed so hard in my life. It was one of the moments that made me want to buy a digital camera that records movies (and a year later, I did).
As a matter of fact, it was right after that field mission that I bought the car that I have now. This car has been amazingly reliable, and even more so after I tell you a story. Remember when I got new spark plugs? That was quite a while ago.. six months I'll venture without looking. Well, ever since then I've been hearing this knocking sound under my hood. I thought nothing of it because my car is old and it will make noises as it gets older.. But over the last week or so it's gotten especially loud. So yesterday I finally decided to investigate. With my car running I popped open the hood and the first thing I saw was one of the spark plug caps vibrating bad. I pushed down on it and my engine stopped knocking. I released pressure and my engine started knocking. I thought that air pressure and vacuum were causing the cap to bounce up and down real hard and the bouncing was causing the knocking sound. I tried to push the cap back on, but it wasn't snapping.. The ball of the spark plug was stuck in the wire, and the ball needs to be screwed onto the plug in order for the wire to 'snap on' to it. So I let it sit thinking that it only needed to make contact and hoped that my car would start the next day. It did.
So at work today I consulted Josh on this matter.. He came out in the parking lot to look at it. He pulled off the cap completely and told me to start up my car. I refused to do this because.. well.. if the cap isn't on the plug, the plug will not spark.. and a non-sparking plug in an engine is very very bad (I thought). It took some convincing, but eventually I started the car with the cap off the plug and it started up just like it had for the previous hundred times I've started it.. complete with knocking sound. It was then that I realized, that I'd been driving my car with only 3 effective cylinders instead of 4 for I don't even want to think how long. Potentially 6 months. Including driving from D.C. to Atlanta to New Orleans and back. The whole time I didn't notice that I was missing a cylinder. Performance and gas mileage was unchanged from a year before.. I don't know how this is possible, but the results do not lie. And the car still runs like like it was new.
So I replaced the spark plug and wire today after work, and there is no longer a knocking sound.. What was causing the sound was the piston tapping the top of the engine, because there was no explosion happening to push it down before that happened.
I ordered my computer parts Tuesday.. The bill came up to be just shy of $2000.... Good thing I have a credit card! That's a lot of frigging money. Now I'm just waiting for the stuff to come in.. Wasn't today like I originally expected, because the majority of the stuff I ordered was through ZipZoomFly, and they have a policy that if your shipping address is different from your billing address, you need to be verified before they can ship your order. Being verified encompasses receiving a call from them on a phone number that you provided when you ordered, and telling them your shipping address and billing address over the phone. What this does to verify someone, I do not know.. but what I do know is that it delayed my parts by a day. Bastards. 03FEB05
I've been looking at putting together a new computer. Components have really really really gone up in price over the last couple of years. A decent video card? $400. A decent CPU? $400 A decent set of RAM? $500 A decent power supply to support all this? $200 Tack on the nessecary (but reasonably priced) motherboard, case, CD/DVD drives, soundcard and you're looking at spending $1900 for a half decent build-it-yourself computer. If I wanted to go the whole 9 yards, that price is doubled. Easily. I spent most of today looking around the internet at different stores and stuff to see what's out there.. As usual if I were to choose to wait just a couple more months something better will be out.. But this has been the case for the last year that I've been wanting to upgrade.
Cleveland was okay.. I worked 90% of the time so I didn't come back with too many memories of the city. Or pictures. It was cold.. really cold.. This is all that I can remember from it. Oh, and there was this street.. Carnegie (pronounced locally Car-NAY-gy) that had six lanes. During the day four of them would be opened to inbound traffic. During the evening four would be opened to outbound traffic. In between it was three lanes wide each way. These lanes were open or closed depending on what the lights intermittently hanging above it said.. If it was closed there was a red X, and if it was opened it was a green arrow (pointing up). I have not seen so many near-accidents in my life. I saw this SUV trying to make a left turn from the third lane.. but the fourth was open.. so cars kept driving past it on the left side.. honking as they went. I felt so sorry for that lady driving the SUV... But seriously she should have just gone straight to the next street, changed lanes to make a proper left, and circled the block instead of just sitting there like an idiot. -30JAN04
Traffic was horrible today. Inauguration is tomorrow (so there's lots of tourists), and it snowed today. Took me three hours to get home. Thought I'd share that.
I leave for Cleveland pretty soon too. I'll be gone till next week.
Oh.. I've decided not to answer questions asked in my guestbook after today. From now on, if you've a question use my forums to ask. :) This way I can respond much faster and easier. I check them nearly every day. Nina, feel free to use the pic, just as long as you mention where you got it from. -20JAN04
Welcome, welcome. I have now updated my family page with some pictures. I would have added Jennifer's wedding but I can't find the disc my Uncle Walter sent me! I looked everywhere, but I can't find it. I still have more pictures and movies to add. Hopefully I wont be as lazy as I have been over the last week (or so) and I will put them up for you to see between now and tomorrow night. -15JAN05
My board went well.. not great.. but well. I was told many many times that I did good.. but when I saw my final score it was 144 out of 150. While this sounds good, it really isn't. If you score below 140, then you did extremely poorly and likely will not be recommended for promotion and will have to go to the board again. If you score 145, you did about average. If you score 150.. well.. I've yet to meet a person that scored 150 on any board.. it's near impossible but I'm sure it's been done before.
The questions that I missed were questions that I either did not understand (I was asked what the form number was for an NCO counseling form.. but what she meant was the NCO evaluation form.. There is a generic counseling form.. there is no NCO counseling form.. but NCOs can receive counseling forms in addition to evaluation forms) or did not study at all.
Anyway, it's over. I feel no relief though. Had I gone to the board in October like I wanted to, I would have been promoted on the first of this month because the points are really low (a person can get so many points by doing so many things.. Points required to get promoted changes every month according to the needs of the Army), but because I will not be eligible until March that is the soonest I can get promoted. And as a general rule.. once the points required are lowered (which they are for this month.. significantly at that) they skyrocket the next three or four months and gradually lower from then on.. And I don't have very many points to start with... so I'm pretty much SOL for a good while.-05JAN05
It didn't start out too well.. because the day before I was supposed to leave, I had to see the First Sergeant (my big boss, but by far not my biggest). It was an uncomfortable situation, because he didn't feel to confident about me going to the board, so he said that I would be in his office every day from that day forward until my board so that he could monitor my progress (by asking me questions, etc.). I told him I was going on leave the next day and he got angry. He asked how long I would be on leave.. and I said until the 1st of January. And then he got angry again. Apparently he didn't remember authorizing my leave spanning over two holidays (this is a big no-no for lots of army guys in charge) and I thought he would try to cut it short. But he didn't. He told me to study and that I better not f**k up.
So the next day (Wednesday, the I left, bright and early at 11 a.m. for my 10 hour drive to Georgia to visit Jessie (my girlfriend of four years). I filled up my tank right outside of my apartment, once more somewhere in North Carolina and made it to Georgia in just under nine hours. I figured it out to be doing an average of 74MPH the whole way... including the one (1) stop that I made, and getting stuck in 20MPH traffic for half an hour in North Carolina. May not have been the smartest thing for me to be speeding like I was when I already have five speeding tickets (plus one photo ticket) but luck was with me and I was not pulled over or even looked at twice from the cops.. I generally did 9MPH over, but there were times where I was doing 14.
So once in Georgia I went out to eat at several places (of course), I finished up my Christmas shopping, I studied, I waxed my car for the first time in two years (it made quite a difference!), and I drove on some winding country roads (very theraputic), I studied, I watched Spanglish (good movie), and then on Saturday morning I drove to Louisiana.
I helped my mom make pumpkin bread, I went to church with her and my sister, we went to Applebee's for Rebecca's birthday (she just loves their Spinach and Artichoke dip), I studied, I visited cousin Stacey in Mississippi (nice house, by the way) (and cute cat.. Nimbus..) and she bought me dinner at Sonny's, I visited Mr. Bobby and Mrs. Vicki, I looked at cell phone deals, I studied, I deposited $100 worth of coins in my super-secret savings account, had Christmas dinner, had Christmas dinner again, and again, and then a family get-together where Nina, Dan, and my Dad joined me, my mom, and my sister for... well... for Christmas. Once everyone left I was left with Christmas dinner to eat along with many of my acquired Hubig's Pies (a southern Louisiana/Mississippi specialty.). And the next day I went to church again... and the rest of that Sunday is faded from memory.. but the next morning I left to go back to Georgia.
Once there (oh, and did you know that the Boy Scouts Headquarters is located right off of I-459 in Alabama?) I studied and studied and studied while Jessie pretty much worked the whole time. For New Years we went to downtown Athens to meet up with her brother with a friend of hers and had a blast. We didn't see her brother until we were driving back home.. (she was driving) we almost ran him over as he tried crossing the street. The next morning Jessie and I drove from there all the way back to D.C. stopping often because she is female, and we all know how females like to pee a lot, right?
From Rebecca I got a picture of her at school, included with a picture frame. From my mother I got a Dilbert day-by-day calendar, a stoneware plate thing for cooking biscuits (?), the Star Wars trilogy, a car trunk organizer, a car readiness kit, a glove box orgainizer (included a flashlight and a plier tool with attachments..like a Leatherman), An American Werewolf in London (DVD), and a book about Mr. Bingles (a person or ideology I never heard of).
From Nina and Dan I got a really nice Colombia (brand) sweater, and from Uncle Walter and Aunt Stacey I finally got the CD with the pictures of Jennifer's wedding on it (now all I have to do is find where I put it). From Jessie I got an Espresso maker, a Hamilton Beach coffee maker (this one does not leak like my previous two Mr. Coffee ones did), Star Wars trilogy (again, but I returned it for:) a transflash memory card for my cell phone, and a reader for my transflash memory card for my cell phone (it also reads CompactFlash, the memory my camera uses.. and it transfers data three times faster than if I were to plug the camera into my computer).
From myself (hey, when you don't get everything you want from others, you gotta get it yourself) I got a new cell phone, a new car battery (that costed $80 and took an hour and a half for them to install.. that's the NTB in Douglassville, GA folks.. don't ever go there. Oh, and they somehow managed to spill antifreeze all over the inside), a bunch of CDs, and a bunch of PC games. All in all, I have a lot more stuff now than I did two weeks ago.
On my way down to Georgia, I was speeding (about 9 over, remember). I came up on a truck that was trying to pass another truck.. It was night time and they were both doing about 50MPH in a 70 zone. There was a very large gap between the front of the truck in the left lane, and the back of the truck in the right lane (about ten carlengths) with no sign of it closing.. so I went for it to try to pass the truck on the right. It was right about then that the truck started speeding up and the gap was closing fast, so I sped up some more and fully planned to do an all-in-one move of applying my brakes and moving to the left to get in front (a rare move of caution on my part). When I got up to about where the cab was on the left truck, he started moving into my lane... On PURPOSE! He was trying to run me off of the road, because he didn't want me to pass him. I know this because I continued to pass him, and as soon as I got in front he turned on his brights (like that would intimidate me). When I moved over there was still five carlengths of space, so I don't know what the big deal was.
On my way to Louisiana, I saw a Target truck run a white Grand Am off of the road. He turned on his blinker, moved over half a lane, and when the Grand Am was completely out of the way the truck continued to move over. I copied the information off of the back of the truck and was really wishing I had a cell phone at the time. I ended up calling Target's 1-800 number the next Monday (because the customer service is closed on Saturday and Sunday) and reported it to them. They took me VERY seriously and made me feel good about reporting the incident.
Snow. Snow. In Louisiana. On Christmas day. Yes.. Snow. It snowed. It snowed enough to make snowballs (had to scrape it off of the cars, though.. was melting as soon as it hit the ground). Yes.. Snow. I have a movie of it. I will post it later. I also have pictures of it. I will post those later too.
I mentioned before that I got a reader. Initially I bought it at Best Buy, because that's where we happened to be at the time. It was $39.99, and it was an 8 in 1 reader. A little pricey, but worth it. Well, luckily I didn't open it that day or the next day because that's when I decided to stop by Circuit City to kill time.. And guess what they had? It was the same brand reader, only this time a 12 in 1, for $29.99 plus a $10 mail-in rebate. So I bought it there, and returned the other one to Best Buy for a full refund. Yet another instance where Circuit City is better (by far, this time) than Best Buy.
Well, kiddies.. that just about covers it. There is a lot more I could have typed.. but frankly I'm tired of typing.. Spent an hour and a half yesterday and almost two hours today (most of it was trying to remember what else to type.. like going over my gifts, etc..). I know you're itching for an update so here it is. Enjoy. -07JAN05
I haven't forgotten about you, loyal readers... do not fret. An update will be in within the next couple of days detailing most of what I can recall of what I did over the holidays. It will be a large one. I cannot allow myself to type it until my promotion board is done.. which will be Wednesday evening. Good day to you and happy new year. -03JAN05
What a birthday, I tell ya. I studied all day long, because there was a practice board set up for me to go to today... Not too exciting, I know. But for my birthday present to myself I bought an UPS for my computer. YAAAY! Now when power goes out I have an hour of use left on it to do whatever.. and I can leave it on for days without worrying about power surges blowing it up and making it die.
I also had dinner at Copeland's.. Man that place has gotten expensive. There was a crowd of about 30 people together making all kinds of noise.. really disrupting the normally quiet atmosphere. I ordered "Al & Jen's Steak Filet" expecting a nice, well-sized great tasting steak.. and what I got was an over salted, dried and shriveled piece of meat, that once may have at one time been called "quality". It couldn't have been more than 4 oz's. And it was $27 for that and a side item (with no salad and one (1) really dried out biscuit). A LOT different from the "Steak and Steak and Chips" dinner I got from the Old Triangle bar & restaurant in Canada for $14 where they had two 5 oz. pieces of steak on top of a big ole pile of fries with sauteed onions and mushrooms.. Man that was good. Copeland's is now not on my list of favorite restaurants. It just isn't worth the money. Not even close. -13DEC04
I got my pumpkin bread mini-loaves today! Thanks mommy!
Traffic has been unbelievably horrible the last three days. I'm tempted to make a 45 minute long movie of it just so I can have it available for you to download so you can live with me through my pain. 45 minutes. 8 miles. Every day. That's from leaving anywhere between 6:45 in the morning to 9. No wrecks. No construction. No road signs falling down. Nothing. Just.. cars. and cars. and more cars. Actually, replace two out of three "cars" with "SUVs" and that would be more accurate. How bad does it have to get before the government does something about it? That is what I always wonder. I should file a complaint.
Oh, and they changed a red light that I need to go through, from Green 20 seconds/Red 1:30 -to- Green 10 seconds/Red 3:00. Because there is now a large line at the light all the time.. and also because people stop paying attention to the light after two minutes and sit there for five seconds once it turns green this one small change has added 20 minutes to my drive home every day. I am able to bypass it by making a right and then a U-turn.. But I don't want to have to do this. I feel dirty when I do this... It is a nessecary evil though. 20 minutes is a long time to sit at a light. This, I will file a complaint on. The extra time isn't helping traffic at any time of the day.. there's very little cross traffic at that street (which makes the wait at the light all the more frustrating.. As a matter of fact, they should not have a light there at all. They should just make it a stop sign. That's what I'll suggest!). -08DEC04
It's been another long while, hasn't it? As your reward for waiting I now have a small update in the pics of places section with Reno in it.
I do have an excuse for this though.. From Thursday through Sunday I was in Georgia with Jessica and her family for Thanksgiving. Leaving D.C. took three hours in itself because traffic was so bad on Wednesday.. And of course I opted to come back up here Saturday night to avoid a similar situation. Good thing too, because (according to a coworker) in North Carolina they cut two lanes down to one and the sit-in-traffic time was five hours because of it. When I drove through that section at 7 in the morning Sunday, they were just putting lane ending signs up so I guess I lucked out there. Of course when I got back my phone didn't work at all. That and my internet was very splotchy (it would work very slowly for a minute and then stop) so I was unable to check my email or anything.
On top of THAT, I found out Monday that I was going to be leaving for Canada at seven in the morning Tuesday. So Tuesday I went to Halifax, Canada where they worked me like a dog for two days and now I'm back. While in Canada I took 0 pictures. Also while in Canada, my phone line was fixed and it works good enough for me to update my site on it. Yay for everybody.
Now that I'll be 25 by the next time I pay for car insurance (and also now that my car is 10 years old it's value is cut in half.. to about $3300), I only pay $445 for six months of full coverage. That's about $60 a month less than before. Yay for me.
***One hour later***
Read all of Stacey's site for late November till now.. All three of Giggleman's posts Started working on Nina's (at an average 298 words per post, and 12 posts per week, equals about 10,728 words for me to read.. sheesh) and now I'm distracting myself by typing this. Afterwards I am heading on to Drew's seven blogs and then Veronica's and finally my neglected mother's.. Another update to come tonight.. possibly.
***Two and a half hours later***
Wow.. I had no clue I was such a slow reader. I've gotten to the point that I'm catching myself mouth out words as I read them.. and "That's bad", says the Speed Reader Teacher. I see that my blogging skillz are inferior to most out there. But, with this I also understand that this website was never meant to be a blog. And with that, I also understand that that is what it's main purpose has become.
I have been intimidated by the sheer size and update frequency of my mother, Nina and Drew's blogs (and the occasional spurts from Veronica and Stacey.. Giggleman rarely has more than two per week though.). Today.. as I read these blogs intimidation cleared away like mist in a soft, steady wind. Yes, I came to a realization. THESE PEOPLE UPDATE FROM WORK. Of all the things.. of all the betrayals.. of all the deceit.. (well, not really deceit, as it was mentioned in two of the aforementioned blogs) I truly had no idea.
You see, I am not allowed to update from work. One of the rules against using a government computer (including looking at pornography) is you are not allowed to "participate in open forum discussion". Now, this can be interpreted several ways, and over time it has been amended to the point where the rule now states "posting text, pictures, or files to be seen or downloaded publicly on the internet". Not much room to maneuver there.
And to think.. that I felt shame for not updating as often as others. HA! Now I know your dirty little secret, and I'm not afraid to use it against you.
I saw on Veronica's site she has a couple of movies available for download. I highly recommend you look at the most recent very entertaining and slightly pornographic movie that she labels her final submission. Download it from her post here, or download it from my site (I mirrored it in case lots of downloads might bring her server down again) here. -03DEC04
I beat Half Life 2 now. Man.. what a good game. Here is the best looking screenshot I took from the game. It's near the end, so if you plan on playing the game then don't look at it.
Last Sunday I finally got around to test driving the Subaru Legacy GT. My first impressions of the car were great. The engine leaves NOTHING to be desired.. a simple tap on the gas pedal will lurch the car forward like a rocket. After test driving it.. got the brochure and left.. came home.. and every hour that passed I wanted the car more. The next day I wanted it even more.. and the more I thought about it the more I wanted it. So I finally got a calculator and input $35,000 (which is what it would be after tax, extra charges, and a financing buffer because I don't know how to calculate APRs), subtracted $14,000 which would be my trade-in and down payment and divided by 60.. Come to find out, I would still have a $350 a month car payment.. Keep in mind my savings would be dwindled to nothing. And I called up my insurance, and my 6 month fee would go up just $91... so now I'm looking at a $365 extra monthly expense.. plus the extra $20 in gas each month and after realizing all of that, I started thinking about the things I didn't like about the car.
Shifting felt awful. It was rubbery and hard to find where the gear was, and once you found it there was no established 'click' so you never knew for sure if it was in or not. On top of this, the shifter had a very strong constant vibration to it. The seats weren't all that comfortable. My Prelude has very firm bucket seats.. The Legacy has very firm flat seats.. I fit snugly in my Prelude, but I had an extra six inches of sliding in either direction in the Legacy.. Basically.. they are wider seats. And then there was the speed bump in the parking lot that I hit. The front tires hit it and it was good. But then the back tires hit it and the car bounced up in a way that reminded me of sitting in the back of a Ford Club Wagon. So, it has a cheap rear suspension. The stereo display was very hard to see. The front was not glossy.. but looked like it was sanded down smoothly.. but when the sun shined on it (at all) a big blurry white oval would cover the display. The whole area looked like it was one piece, and would be very expensive to get a different stereo put in.
So having said all that, I decided that I will wait a bit longer before getting the car. Maybe I'll save more money, maybe it will go down in price. Or maybe a better, cheaper car will become available. My Prelude is still running great and I don't think I can part with it just yet. -21NOV04
Hello once again, readers. Sorry for being neglectful over the last week or so.. but you see something tremendous happened. The much anticipated PC game Half Life 2 came out, and it is good. The gravity gun is the best.. It can pick up any object and shoot it out. A can of paint? Shoot it and watch the paint splatter all over the bad guy and the wall behind him. A saw blade? Shoot it and watch it cut the bad guy in half. A box? Watch it break apart. A car engine? Watch it take out five or six guys in one shot. Good stuff.-
I will probably update once more before the weekend is done. -20NOV04
I got the worst haircut of my life yesterday. The Korean lady spent about 20 minutes on it.. cutting too much, evening it out, cutting too much again, evening it out.. and asks me "Okay?" and I say "No, it's uneven" and then she continues to cut more and more and more and when my hair dried twenty minutes later, it looked like a lopsided round fur cap. I then went back and asked them to fix it.. a different lady tried but there really wasn't much she could do with it. Click here to see it. Warning: It's ugly. And they didn't even offer to give me free shampoo or my money back or anything... and I don't have enough nerve to ask for it.
So to celebrate, I decided to put some pictures up. I didn't put all of them up because I don't want to overload you. I also put a link to Josh's page at the bottom of this one.-07NOV04
Guess who didn't win the presidential election. That's right, John Kerry. Now I'm going to have to read about what a horrible president Bush is in almost every single internet site I go to (I even got a gaming newsletter from 1up.com titled "Thanks a lot, Ohio!" - mocking Bush's win in that state... and there was a controversy two days ago that CNN.com had a picture of Bush that was named asshole.jpg -it's been changed since, of course). There are a lot of Bush haters out there.. and the numbers grew exponentially until the election... Hopefully now it will subside. I can't take four more years of the bitching.
There are millions of people speaking out against the war in Iraq. More and more people are getting on the "no war for oil" bandwagon every day. This is getting tiring to see as well. The time to speak out against the war was before it started. Doing it now does no good for the United States or anyone else.. the best you can do is support it until it's over. Before we jumped in World War II, the majority of Americans felt we should leave it alone, but we did it anyway and the results of our actions have carried over for many years to the point where almost nobody now feels that we should have sat idly. Now, I'm not saying that both wars are equal in America do-goodness, but I think that once Iraq is set straight we will not regret going in there.
Thank you Stacey for your concern of my sleep schedule. :) I am not quite back on track.. I slept for sixteen hours when I finally got home for a bit. And then the next night I slept about ten hours. And last night I slept about six. And tonight I will sleep until I wake up tomorrow morning.. because tomorrow is my FIRST DAY OFF IN 29 DAYS!!! My place is a complete mess and I don't plan on cleaning it up any time soon.
Since I've been gone little bitty roaches infested my coffee machine. Apparently they like my Colombian style coffee as much as I do. I don't know where they came from, and I don't know if there are more in other places.. It gives me the willies thinking about it. And it makes me even more willy thinking about how I almost made a pot of coffee with them inside. They were (it looked like) feeding off of the residue of the coffee on the hotplate and inside the filter holder. Next time you drink coffee, I want you to think about that. Also when I came home there was a notecard on my counter saying that the exterminators had been there the day before.. So I don't expect to see any more of the buggers until at least Spring time.
My coworker Josh now has his site back up and running. Due to his multiple requests I've decided to present to you a link to his page. www.coicfamily.us is where you can go to see it. Inside is about six hundred million pictures to browse through, so get a drink and get going.
Veronica moved her site to Fwapah.com for whatever reason. I guess because http://homepages.nyu.edu/~vls211 was too much to type. *shrug*
I just got a call telling me that I had to go to work tomorrow. I was supposed to be in my suit. HAHA! Joke is on THEM, I didn't pick up my suits from the cleaners today and they're closed now so I can't do it. HA! Laziness works in my favor once after all these years. I just remembered that there are a couple of coworkers looking at this. Oops.
I have a lot of pictures to put up in places around the site. I wont be doing it tonight.. possibly tomorrow or the next day.. but not tonight. I'll let you know when they're up.-05NOV04
I am updating just to apologize for not updating sooner, and to tell you that I wont be updating again for probably a week or more. I have gone from Reno to Rochester to LaCrosse (Wisconsin) to Minneapolis and tomorrow I leave for Dallas. Dallas is going to be a crappy trip because we will only have 3 days to do 6 days worth of work. If I get to come home afterwards I will probably spend two or three days doing absolutely nothing if I have that opportunity... Nothing includes not updating this site. Sorry, but I haven't gotten good (more than five hours) sleep but two or three nights in the last month, and tonight will not be an exception. :( -29OCT04
On October 15th an extraordinary event occurred in American Media. On CNN there is a show called Crossfire, which features two guys "debating" each other for half an hour or so about.. stuff. Usually it's a shouting match where nothing is said, and hate is fueled. There are many shows very similar to this. The O'Reilly Factor is another one that is fresh in my mind. The guy will have guests on his show, and he will ask them a question. As they try to answer he yells at them telling them how stupid they are.. and they never really get the chance to answer the question.
Well.. On October 15th Crossfire decided to have Jon Stewart, host of the comedic news show called "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central as a guest there. He has a new book out called "America: The Book" and he was there for the purpose of promoting it and answering questions from the Crossfire gurus Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. Instead of deciding to promote his book, he decided to get a message across that needed to be said for a very long time. That is.. that the media is no longer doing it's job of keeping the country in check. They are focusing on silly things and making big deals out of them rather than focusing on real issues. An example is when a big deal was made over "Well, Mr. Kerry.. what did you throw away? Was it medals or was it ribbons? Why wont you tell us the truth?" when both really are the same thing.. it was covered for about two weeks about how Kerry would not 'come straight' with the US public. And it's BS.
There is a clip available for you to watch.. I highly urge you to do so. I have it available on this site.. though it is poor quality and some things are cut out of it (I can't seem to find a better downloadable version).. but you can keep it and watch it whenever you want. Right Click, Save As.. You can see the full length clip over at ifilm.com. It really is a good watch and gave me much satisfaction to see it. I haven't watched The O'Reilly Factor in a very long time because all he does is interrupt and yell at his guests, and the same goes with Crossfire (as can be witnessed in this clip). Hopefully.. from that day on forward our media will progress into what it was meant to be. Not a greedy ratings-grabbing (ABC's 'Action News' is another good example of how ratings are getting more and more important) pissing contest.. but rather a well balanced and informative thing.
There's talk all over the place of a civil war brewing (though I've no idea what it will be based on).. but I can see that the country is becoming more and more divided. This can be best witnessed on message boards and blogs everywhere.. People make their political stance known and they are all too happy to jump on you for your's, and why you are wrong.. "The Republicans are doing this bad thing" or "The Democrats are doing that bad thing".. It's disgusting. Hopefully the media will straighten itself up at least a little bit.. But if not.. hopefully more people will now be willing to do what Stewart did and speak out against this insanity.
Now that that's out of the way, let me say that I was just in Reno, NV for a week. Out of that week I was only able to visit my Aunt Cindy and cousin Jessaca (who live 30 mins from there) for about four hours. I have pictures, and so do they. You will see at least one of them on the Family page in an amount of days. On top of this, I would like for anyone with pictures of cousin Jennifer's wedding to email as many of them as possible to me. I only have one very low quality one that Uncle Walter sent me and it leaves me yearning for more. -17OCT04
COUSIN STACEY HAS ... .. erm.. ... A FETUS!!! YAAAY! The first of my generation of ten females to make a baby. I haven't made a baby yet (to my knowledge) and don't plan to for quite some time.. But.. My nearest-of-age cousin Stacey has decided to go ahead and jump the gun and make one. Congratulations. Sign her guestbook!
I got pulled from the promotion board. They said my uniform wasn't ready. But they said this three days before the board. There was nothing wrong with my uniform that couldn't have been fixed by the time I was to go to the board.. But they held me from it because I wasn't showing the "Enthusiasm and Initiative" to get promoted (read: have your uniform perfect well in advance).
With that said, I'm headed over to Aunt Cindy land in Reno, NV. I was supposed to leave today.. but it got pushed back till tomorrow.. so I thought I'd use my extra time to update my lil site here.
Not sure if anyone noticed, but I took my guestbook offline a couple days ago. Reason being is because a few internet 'Friends' got together and began spamming the hell out of it. I deleted all but one of the posts.. but it's back online now. Too bad they didn't spam my neglected forum (though not so much this week, thanks to cousin Stacey!).. it would have enjoyed the attention.
There is another blogsite from cousin Stacey's husband.. mindgarage.blogspot.com. I don't know where he finds the time to type all that stuff up.. oh... wait.. he lives in Mississippi. There's nothing better to do there. Nevermind. :D
The Vice Presidential debates did not disappoint me... Cheney did exactly as good as I expected (after all.. I kind of know him).. but he did dodge a couple questions that I would have liked to hear his answer to. Edwards blinks waaaaaay too much for me to stand looking at him while he talks. There was nothing he could accuse Cheney of that he was not guilty of himself.. Though I wish the finger-pointing style of campaign commercials and argues would go away.
There's not really much else to talk about right now.. The Presidential debates are on tonight.. though I can't stay up to watch it. I gotta be at the airport tomorrow at 5 in the morning. I hope Bush does infinitely better in this one. But in the meantime, have a look at this excellent animation. I almost posted it in place of the hurricane damage pic up there. :)-08OCT04
My schedule has been extremely hectic. I've spent six of the last 30 days in town, four of which were each day before this one. I would have left today on another trip if I did not have a promotion board to go to on Wednesday... So it looks like I'll be in town until then at the least. This is what I have to memorize by Wednesday.. I'm about 1/4th of the way there.
I barely had enough time to do an emissions test on my car in order to renew my plates and city tag. In speaking of the emissions test, my car once again impresses me. Even with 140,000 miles on the ten year old engine and no oil change since March it still managed to emit only about 1/15th of the toxins that would make it fail the test. I don't know what's normal for a car but I'm extremely happy with those results.. Though I have been looking at the Subaru Legacy GT an awful lot lately... It is a very appealing car. The problem is, I really enjoy being out of debt.. and I have no reason to get a new car other than the desire to. My Prelude runs great.... it's just... I'm ready for a new car. It's strange that I don't have near the attachment to this car as I did with my '86 Celica. I almost cried when I had to sell it. I still miss that car. :(
I saw the Presidential debate on TV Thursday. Bush put in an extremely lackluster performance. I'm tempted to say he had a bit too much to drink before he got up stage. Lots of pauses.. lots of blank stares.. lots of stuttering.. lots of repeating.. Very very different from the Bush I saw debating against Al Gore four years ago. Kerry on the other hand put in an impressive performance.. seemed well composed and very prepared. This debate undoubtedly will turn the polls around into Kerry's favor. I supported Bush pretty strongly until I saw that debate. Now I'm not so sure. Hopefully he will do better in the next two.
Anyway I finally added Kansas City to my places page.. be sure to check it out. -02OCT04
Sorry guys.. I cannot stress enough how busy I've been the last two weeks. I have time off Saturday so I should have something good up before the end of then. In the meantime, try to count the people in this picture. -01OCT04
So far, the French journalists appear to be alive (news story) but still in custody. I do not take pleasure in seeing France in distress, but I still hope that they come to the realization that all predominantly non-Islam countries are vulnerable to terrorist attack from Al-Qaeda. And maybe once they realize this they will do something about it and maybe even (EGADS!) be on our side.
Of course.. Today is September 11th (though it will probably be much later than that by the time I post this). Where was I? I was coming back from breakfast at Ft. Bragg. I heard that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. My first thought was "What dumbass drunk pilot did that?". And then in a couple of minutes it was reported that a second plane crashed into it. That was about when I realized that it was done on purpose. It didn't affect me emotionally much at all, except for being mad at the terrorists for doing it. It was a stupid thing to happen and all it did was harm. It harmed us and it harmed them (thanks to our retaliation). And then a plane crashed into the Pentagon (though there's a good conspiracy theory & another theory on that). (11SEP04)
It looks like it took a little longer to update than originally thought. On the 12th we worked all day, and on the 13th we had to wake up at 3 to catch a plane at an airport an hour away at 6, only to be delayed until 8, and then the layover in Chicago lasted until 11, and then we arrived back in D.C. at about 1, and didn't get out of the airport until 2:30, and THEN we unloaded our equipment, checked it out and stacked it back up for our next trip. And I think that's the longest sentence I've ever written. Once done there it was about 6 before I got home.. and I went to bed at 8.. and slept until 8 the next morning. That whole day (yesterday) I did nothing productive. I didn't even touch this page.
I received an email from a Filipina that happened upon my Places page (regarding my Manila spread) and included lots of good input about the (her) country.. So naturally I added it to my first places page..
I still have the pictures of Kansas City calling for me to be posted.. as well as pictures wreckage from when I was down in Port St. Lucie (aftermath of Hurricane Frances).. but I cannot right now. I need to pack for my next trip. :)-16SEP04
An interesting development.. As much as France tries to be anti-U.S. and anti-war, two of their journalists have managed to get captured. They face certain death unless France repeals the ban they implemented months ago banning religious headwear in their public schools. While I do hope the journalists make it out okay.. I have to wonder what decision France will make. Seems as though they are finally getting a little taste of what we and other countries have gone through.. Maybe this will force them out of whatever happy little world they think they are living in.
Kerry supporters and haters alike, click here. As Mom once told me, for someone who uses his military past in 90% of his campaigning.. he sure doesn't have much to back it up. It's pretty obvious to me that Kerry is doing and saying whatever he thinks it will take to get your vote.. And when he gets in office.. what will happen? I see complete chaos... and lots of political cartoons. -02SEP04
Guess where I'm on my way back from? Overland Park. Do you know where that is? Neither do I! Either Kansas or Missouri.. one or the other.. right near Kansas City... which is in both states, but just one city (for those that don't know). It is a good place.. But I'm starting to get aggravated with these cookie-cut cities that I keep seeing.. Complete with Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Applebee's, and Chili's all within a stone's throw of each other. Kansas City was a little rundown downtown.. not nearly as bad as St. Louis, but a little more than I expected nonetheless.
If you ever get a chance to fly Midwest Airlines, do it. It is probably the best airline in the world. I am not at all sure how much their tickets go for, but it can't be too much because the government paid for it. All the seats are first class quality.. nice, cushony leather, plenty of room (at least enough for me to pull out my laptop and type this).. a foot rest.. and just when you thought it couldn't get any better... here comes the flight attendant with a basket full of fresh baked cookies. I had five.
So I see that a million and a half people have a blog site now.. My sister Nina, my mother (who does not want me to link to it), Giggleman, my cousin in law Drew (linky), and eventually my cousin Stacey.. Well.. in order to comment on them I had to register.. and as a result I now have my own blog page. Do not go there to see what's up with me or what I happen to be up to at the time.. go here instead. This site is my creation.. my ideas.. all mine. <- See, there's a smiley. Cool, eh? I bet you didn't know I could do that.
...and then the battery dies on my laptop. Good thing I save often.
Between the time that my battery died and the time we landed I realized something pretty important. That was that I forgot my keys in the hotel in Kansas right on top of the TV where I knew I wouldn't forget them. We had to leave the hotel at 5 in the morning.. and me waking up at 5:12 didn't help with my remembering skills. So I forgot them. After we landed I had to go to my home office for my apartment complex (thankfully we landed early enough that I could go there before they closed) and ask them for a spare set of keys.. and then I had to scour my apartment to find my spare car keys.. and then I called the hotel and asked them to mail them to me.. and they still have yet to send them out (I called them yesterday) to me.. As my sister Rebecca would say.. this was a very necessary adventure.
By the time I got that all sorted out it was already nearing 10 o'clock.. and I had to be at work at 5 the next (this) morning in order to go to the range to shoot a rifle so that I could get promotion points so that I could get promoted again one day. After not touching a rifle for nearly four years I zero it (shoot 3 bullets at a time and make minor adjustments to the sights until all shot groups are generally in the center of the target) and shoot 35 out of 40... which is fairly good. I'm glad I didn't embarrass myself. I took a few pictures of Kansas City.. I'll have to post them for you later. For now.. I still have some unpacking to do.-26AUG04
I am back for one day. One... single day. And now I'm back for two days because there were no plane tickets available for us to buy to leave. And so I decide to type stuff on this page, hoping not to lose any regular visitors as has happened with cousin Veronica's site.
Where did I come from? Elko, Nevada. Have you ever been there? Have you ever heard of it? No.. me neither. Well, I have been there.. but that was just a week ago so it doesn't count. The hotel we stayed in had a casino in the lobby. Cigarette smoke, maroon carpeting, old fat smelly people with yellow hair, everything you could imagine a casino to be, this was... Only a lot smaller of course. I put 5 bucks in a video blackjack machine, and got it up to 15! And then it went back down to 0.. So I lost five dollars during my trip. Gambling sucks.
I haven't taken but two pictures in the last week.. both came out like crap... but that's okay. Maybe this next trip I go on I'll have plenty of stuff to take pictures of, as well as opportunity.
A couple of weeks ago it rained really bad here.. and during that there was really loud buzzing noises on my phone.. When the rain went away, so did the noises.. But when I left for a week the day after, I come back and there's no dial tone on my line at all. The Verizon people are supposed to be over to fix it soon, but I somehow don't expect to see them at all... Much like when I tried to order cable and they never came by.
A highly, highly, highly anticipated PC game Doom 3 came out. I bought it during lunch (when I was actually in town two weeks ago) and called into work and said I had a leak in my roof (which was true.. but I didn't need to stay home for them to fix it) so that I could play it. Immediately after installing the game I started it up... The first couple of levels were entertaining.. but after that I experienced nothing but disappointment until the end. It did not come close to living up to my expectations. :( -17AUG04
Friday morning in Washington state: Wake up at 5:30, get dressed, get to work, wait for the word to break the equipment down. 3:30 in the afternoon the word comes and by 4:30 everything is loaded up and waiting to go into the truck. The truck is late, so we don't get to load anything until 5:30. 5:45 we're done and take our quick showers in the hotel and leave there to turn rental vehicles in and catch our plane that is scheduled to leave at 7:00. We get to the airport at 6:15 and make it into the terminal just in time.. to find out the plane is late and we don't leave out of there until 8. Three connecting flights (the last of which was also an hour late) later we arrive back in D.C. at 10 o'clock Saturday morning. I lay down in my bed at noon, and sleep until midnight. Of course I'm tired again at about 8 in the morning.. so I take a nap. What a mess.
Believe it or not, there is very little to take a picture of in Pasco and Yakima, Washington. Therefore, I do not have any pictures to share with you.
New web addresses ahead. Giggleman apparently is getting mad at himself for spending money on a service he doesn't use.. so he created a blog, even though he once said he would never use the word, nor be one of the people that did that. My, my.. how times change. You can see his new blog by clicking here. I find it unfortunate that he does not want to learn HTML or the "secrets" of FTPing to a host so that he could avoid using Front Page altogether.. but to each his own I guess. I added a link to the blog in the description of his site at the bottom of this page.
My sister Nina now has her own Blog site as well. A link to it is also provided at the bottom of this page. I checked it out earlier and managed to finally order her book.. Hopefully I will be in town long enough to receive it :) .
I shocked the bejeezus out of myself while trying to plug in a cord inside an equipment box a few days ago. Playing with electricity is fun, but not so much when it burns through your flesh.. possibly bad enough to fry your muscles and veins from the inside thereby provoking a doctor to want to amputate it. Fortunately, I didn't get myself that bad. The power went through my finger on my right hand ( See it ) and out of my wrist where it was resting on the grounding bar ( See it ). I was a little scared that I was going to lose feeling due to less circulation as time passed, but everything stayed A-OK. The worst pain was when I hit the top of my wrist on something when I jerked back from getting shocked.. Good stuff.
I saw the movie "I, Robot". It got lots of criticism from lots of places for not having an original story.. but my statement to those critics is that I don't care where the story comes from as long as it's told well. The movie kept me entertained from beginning to end (though it had a really cheesy ending) and that's something I can say about very few movies. -01AUG04 (This marks one full month that The Spiehler Spot has not been updated)
So Arnold is frustrated with the girlie men.. I find it hilarious that he said that.. and I applauded him at first. And the more I heard the Democrats bitch and whine about him being "Homophobic" or "Sexist" the more I applauded him.... Then I turned it off of Fox News which was repeating the same quotes over and over and over again as though it were new news and I changed the channel to MSNBC.. where they interviewed someone who actually said something intelligent.. and that was "Because of that comment, it will now be even harder to get anything done in the state of California" - and then I decided to not applaud Arnold anymore. There are better ways to spank lawmakers into action than by calling them names...
But even so, what I find even more moronic is that more energy is being wasted by the state and media over the two words "girlie men" than being used to fix the problems of the state of California.
Pittsburgh pictures are now available for your viewing pleasure.-19JUL04
There's a very funny political Flash movie I want everybody to watch. Click Here to see it. It's rare in the sense that it makes fun of both presidential candidates.. without making one look better than the other.
Sorry for the long length of stagnancy (though is minuscule compared to cousin Veronica.)... After my last trip my girlfriend came up to see me for a couple of days, and after that I worked (nearly) non-stop until Friday night.. where I could have updated that night.. but didn't feel like it because I'm a lazy hoe. Not only that, but I had lots of time off in Pittsburgh and I didn't touch this site at all. I did get lots of pictures though.. but not many are very good. Tuesday I leave for Middle-of-Nowhere, Washington so hopefully I'll feel like putting up some of the pictures I took between now and then.
Thursday I was pulled over for the first time in a long time.. The cop got out knocked on my car and walked away. He mumbled "Have a good day" and drove off. At first I thought he let me go because I was wearing my uniform. But then, after further investigation I realized that he was looking for somebody, and my car slightly resembles the car that they are looking for. What makes this ironic, is that the victim is a coworker of mine.
My clan decided not to use my idea for a new site, but instead went with a big cluttered PHP/database based site (click here to see it). It's very useful. I even put up a movie review for Eyes Wide Shut somewhere in there, if you want to read it.-17JUL04
Over at SomethingAwful.com yesterday they put up a few pictures that was sent to them by a user who went to Iraq.. It even included a large video of an entire stockpile of U.S. munitions going up in flames and explosions due to a single well aimed Iraqi rocket. While the person was filming the whole thing.. you hear plenty of laughter and joking going on in the background.. talking.. I kind of felt like I was there.
I leave on another trip tomorrow morning.. As always stay tuned for a few pictures when I get back.
I've been working on a site for my gaming clan.. trying to show off a little of what I can do.. I've posted an example for them to look at here.. It's not prettied up.. but the basic functionality is there. Now it's on them to tell me if they want me to continue, or have somebody else work on it. I'm especially proud of the Members section (even though I don't have individual pages up yet).. The way it's laid out.. frames within frames.. and then the background image lines up with the frame on the top.. I'm a genius.. -06JUL04
A lot of times I've wondered where I'd be if I hadn't reinlisted in the Army... What kind of job I'd have.. where I'd live.. How many kids I'd have.. How many lotteries I would have won.. How long my toenails would be.. You know, things like that. Well, thanks to this article I now know that it all wouldn't matter.. Discharged soldiers are being pulled from the Individual Ready Reserve to go back to the Army.. to Iraq. When you enlist in the Army.. you enlist for eight years. Even if you sign up for just two, or three, or four, or in my case six.. you are still indebted to the Army for eight years.. After that eighth year, they cannot force you to come back. I am coming up on my seventh year since I've signed up.. so I'd be Prime Choice for going over there.. I'd have to drop everything that I (potentially) built up over the last nine months.. possibly lose a house or a new car in the process.. because of this.
I am starting to realize that I hate Donald Rumsfeld.. He has made some horrible decisions since this war began. He extended the tour of many units in Iraq to 15 months, from 12.. and then to 18 from 15. Imagine being a soldier.. weeks away from going home after spending nearly a year over in a hellhole.. and being told you'll have to stay for three more months. Now imagine you're a soldier with a family. And we wonder why these guys are torturing prisoners over in Iraq. And they seem surprised that the suicide rate has skyrocketed ( another article). It would seem.. that the Pentagon does not care about these soldiers.
I've pretty much kept quiet about the war in Iraq. I'm glad we've done what we've done. But I hate the way we're doing it. In my AKO account, I (we) get news briefs of happenings (good and bad) over there that just isn't seen in the news.. which is very frustrating because the news just focuses on beheadings and such. We are doing good things over there. It's a slow painful process.. and very expensive, but good things are happening.
My solution to better our Army is to decrease the length of the tour in Iraq to 9 months, with good benefits (bonuses, etc.) for those who choose to stay longer. I guarantee that the average someone who is there for 14 months does not perform at near the level as the average someone who is there for 3 months. Things will get done better. Soldiers will feel like they have something to live for. If there are not enough soldiers in the Army to allow that kind of tour.. well.. let's just say I don't believe that. I've seen the amount of wasted space.. and it's a lot. Soldiers just need to be used more efficiently.. I've seen all too many cases where five soldiers are thrown on a two soldier job... and other cases where two soldiers are thrown on a five soldier job. If this is the type of stuff going on in Iraq (and.. as I've said the same people that made the stuff happen are over in Iraq as I type this) then no wonder the Army is being stretched thin. More emphasis needs to be put on the leaders to manage their time and personnel and less on just keeping everyone busy. I would not be surprised if hundreds of soldiers are out there right now raking lines in the sand. We should not be shipping rakes over to Iraq.. but chances are 10 to 1 at least a whole planeload has made it over there... Okay.. I'm starting to ramble now. Till next time. -30JUN04
Big Update today. Beaver Creek is done. And I updated the 514th page. Enjoy.
I went to Circuit City the other day (it was right near the furniture store where I bought my bedroom set.. I had no clue there was a Circuit City anywhere around here) and saw that my camera's price had gone down from $579 to $499. I tried to get my 80 bucks back with their policy.. but it turned out I bought it one month and four days before the price dropped.. and their policy is 30 days or less. What a coincidence... So instead I bought much needed external hard drive to store all kinds of crap that I've been accumulating... I already have two 60 Gig ones.. and both are with less than 10 gigs free. I have too many games and .mp3s (all of which I have on a bought CD as well, thankyouverymuch) and now with my new camera.. each picture taking up roughly 1 - 3 megs.. they filled up fast. I take a lot of pictures that you don't see here.
I don't remember where I put my old camera. I miss it.. and kind of feel like I've abandoned it... Poor thing. :( -25JUN04
I changed my archive page around a bit.. added a new one. For some reason I thought I had already done that, but when I went to chuck stuff from here over to there, there was no there to be found. So I just made up a new archive page. Hopefully it works just fine when I upload it.
They fixed my drawer. Yay. It looks crappy, but a lot better than it did before I gave it to them. They didn't charge me, and maybe fired the Mexican that delivered it to me.. or at least charged the repairs to him.
I'm still working on the Beaver Creek portion. So far I've two sets of pictures and text up.. don't have captions for the second set of pics, and have another complete set to position and talk about. It's not there yet, so don't bother looking. Be patient grasshoppers. Be patient. I get distracted easily.. plus I have to study for a board for 'promotion'. Not for a rank raise, but a position raise.. one that will give me a lot more responsibility and a lot more stress and a lot less time off while on a trip. Sounds fun. -23JUN04
I got back into town at about 2 o'clock in the morning.. The pilots of the cargo plane we were supposed to leave on out of Colorado were scared we wouldn't make it out of the small airstrip and get high enough fast enough to clear the mountains. They wanted to wait for the weather to cool down.. because that gives the plane more lift. But the tower closes at 8 o'clock.. A full hour before the sun sets. So we ended up taking off at 8:05.. The crewmember that I could see had his head in his hands and his face was red as a beet. That got me pretty nervous.. The plane accelerated to take off but not very fast. The plane was pretty heavy. I think we used every inch of that runway because it was a full 30 seconds (seemed like ten minutes) before we finally got off of the ground. I didn't get a chance to talk to the pilots afterwards, so I don't know how close we came to careening into the side of a mountain. It would have been really fun, though. :(
I took quite a few pictures during that last trip.. expect to see them on my 'Places' page within the next few days.
And on a (much) darker note, I managed to see the full video of Nick Burg getting his head cut off. I highly suggest you don't do the same. Instead, just know that whenever you're captured by terrorists that you must fight tooth and nail to get away from them because they are good at giving you the impression that they don't intend to kill you. -21JUN04
I think it's safe to say that I didn't update again... sorry. :(
I added three more pictures to the More Pictures page.. One sunset and two 'Other'. I'm really liking my new camera. I just wish I didn't look like such a dork carrying it around.
Every time I go to a gas station, I notice there's a new energy drink in the coolers and I have to try it... If you're into the stuff, my two favorite is Monster and BooKoo. Disregard the x-treme to the max wording all over the can as it may cause you to put it back on the shelf in disgust.. Instead, pay the $3 for the can and try them. Monster gives you more of a buzz, while BooKoo actually tastes good. What's crazy about Boo-Koo, is that it's in a can that has three servings.. but also has a warning on the side telling you not to take more than two servings in one sitting. I drank the whole can and my heart didn't explode.. so I think it's okay for anyone else that isn't diabetic. -13JUN04
I was told by multiple multiple people that it does not matter what spark plug you are using.. They will all make your car perform the same, unless one is malfunctioning. Sorry for posting the misleading info for the world to read. I may update once more before the day is done. -12JUN04
Yesterday was my girlfriend's birthday. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, BABY!. There.
I got some new spark plugs for my car earlier this week. Splitfire Triple Platinums to be exact.. They sure do make my car run good. I figure since the world is going to run out of oil in a few years, I better make the best out of what's left.
I took my drawer back to the furniture store... They said they'll see what they can do with it.. I'm not going to hold my breath. They're closed on Tuesday and I go on another trip Wednesday, so I hope they have whatever they're doing done by tomorrow. If not, then they'll probably forget about it while I'm gone and I'll have a big gaping hole in my dresser for the rest of my life. :(
I've been given several requests to post about WhyQuit.com, which is a site that really helped my Mom out. So, if you smoke (and my sources say, that as of now 100% of my regular visitors don't) it would behoove you to quit, and look at that site to see more than enough reason why.-06JUN04
It was decided to celebrate Memorial Day by going furniture shopping... After looking through a few places, a few internet sites, and a few phonebooks I finally found a good deal. Most furniture out there is too expensive or priced *just* high enough for you to buy it... And it was a local place that I found a good looking bedroom set, for the measly sum of $799... roughly what I paid for my camera.
It wasn't until Wednesday that it would be delivered, so I got to stay home from work in anticipation of it's arrival. Hours rolled by and by and a truck with a non-English speaking delivery guy arrives, with my furniture in the back. I had to help him bring it up to my apartment, and in the process a drawer fell out and busted on the ground. The guy immediately felt obliged to show me how easy it was to fix, taking care not to show me the unfixable damage of the front face (see it). As of now, though.. the drawer is unusable and irreplaceable, as the company that made the furniture is out of business, and it was the last floor model that I bought. Anyway, I have pics up on my Apartment page of the new stuff. -03JUN04
I didn't think it would be done by today, but I guess that's what I get for thinking, eh? This is a milestone.. definitely. 10,000 hits.. I thank all who participated (especially cousin Stacey).. and thank all who will participate until I reach 100,000. :)
Giggleman has put his site back up.. Complete with pipe-y and music downloads and such... Check it out when you can. And Stacey's site is back up. Looks like DSL Extreme may have had a bad hiccup on their servers.. causing most personal sites hosted there to go down.. but all is well now. :)
I posted a poll in the Suggestions section of my forum. It's gotten 1 view over the last week, and that was from me.. Feel free to look in it and vote.
And one last thing.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!!! It's unfortunate your birthday came on the same day as my 10,000 hits.. but.. well.. Happy Birthday!, even though I know you are away from civilization right now celebrating and wont see this message until Tuesday.. -30MAY04
Ever since I've been back (all 16 hours of it so far) there's been this sound coming from somewhere far off that sounded like a whistling fire alarm (that is normally heard in Army barracks). This morning I decided to go investigate and drive towards the sound. Every time it sounded like I was getting closer, it immediately sounded like it was behind me. Every turn I took was the wrong turn.. the sound seemed to be coming from everywhere. And I noticed as I got closer to trees and bushy areas, the sound would sound more .. 'specific' and I noticed some strange looking bugs flying around, and all kinds of birds chasing them. Then I remembered when I was in Florida, someone mentioned these bugs that lay their eggs in the ground where they stay for 17 years and hatch by the millions.. living for about six weeks to mate and lay eggs, and ultimately die. And then 17 years later the eggs re-hatch and the cycle continues. I did a Google search and found this article and found that they are called periodic cicadas. And damn are they noisy.
Stacey's site is gone without a trace.. Anybody know what happened to it?-23MAY04
I must sincerely apologize for the lack of update. But you see, the cause for such was completely out of my hands. For one: No internet access. Two: No time to use my laptop while traveling. Three: Going from one city to another without even setting foot in home.
I did manage, however.. to purchase a new camera thanks to the recommendations of many people from the magical text generator we call 'The Internet'. This camera (Canon G5) was said to be the bestest deal offered with a perfect balance between quality and features and price. The price part I'm not so sure about.. It was almost $600. For the same price and a little more, the camera is unmatched.. To pay less would leave me wishing I had spent more money on something I wanted. So even though I feel that it wasn't *quite* worth it, I still wanted it really bad and bought it.
///--- BEGIN CAMERA TALK ---///
The next major thing is zoom. My Kodak only had 2x optical zoom, whereas the Canon has 4x. The difference between the two is amazing when trying to get a good shot of something that's far away. If not for my new camera, the "Goodyear" on this blimp would not be readable. Just for you I did a comparison between the two cameras zooming in on a Coke bottle. The pics are sized down to save your wait time, but both started at almost the same resolution (the Kodak at 1800 x 1200, the Canon at 1600 x 1200). You will also be able to see the general vibrance difference between them (flash was not used on either shot). Kodak. Canon
Another major thing is manual control. The Kodak had no controls for focus, shutter speed, or aperture setting (controls whether or not you want to focus on something small or focus on as much as possible). It also did not have the ability to increase the quality of the compression of the pictures taken (which was always a high compression to allow more images to fit in it's memory card, but the tradeoff was that a lot of 'busy' pictures came out looking grainy). The Canon allows three settings, with the lowest setting looking slighly better than the Kodak's.. and the highest having nearly no flaws whatsoever.
Megapixel size. I've always felt that megapixel size was overrated, and still do. What counts most is image quality. If a small picture looks crisper and clearer and more vibrant than one ten times it's size, what is the point of having the bigger picture? There is none.. Either way, the Canon looks a lot crisper and cleaner than the Kodak, so the fact that it's 5 megapixels instead of the Kodak's 2.2 allows for a much much more detailed image. Example? Here. This is a picture of my roomate's (from the hotel we stayed at in Florida) shoes. Make sure you scroll over to the middle of the pic where the fuzzies of the shoestrings show in the light.
And finally.. The main question is 'What can Jonathan possibly do with his $600 camera?'. The answer is... I don't know. :( It's basically a toy for now.. I have only played with about half it's features so far, and I've had it for a week. I may be posting more pictures on this webpage, as less pictures are going to come out looking too grainy or out of focus..
I added some pictures to the More Pictures page.. All of which are from the new camera. -19MAY04
Well, it seems that the internet access was broken in the hotel we were staying in the minute that I went to upload all this.. and stayed broken until we left. So sorry for the extra 3 day delay. P.S. I'm back in town as of this minute...-21MAY04
Hello again, all... Looks like I've nothing to do to the site right now.. Just write a paragraph or two here.. The solution to the above puzzle was found.. thanks to Mr. Drew. I couldn't figure it out myself.. at all.. not even close.. I got a headache trying to.
I leave tomorrow morning for a week or so. I can't tell you where I'm going until I get back.. mainly because I don't even know where I'm going yet. In the event that I do not have a chance to give you an update until I get back, go ahead and enjoy this ROFL-copter (and LOLercaust). -08MAY04
Looks like the non-update season is in.. Veronica's last one was the 15th, Giggleman's last one the 14th.. Stacey and Drew are still consistant with letting us know all about their lives, though. :)
I just came back from Tallahassee... What a horrible horrible trip. I got an average of four hours of sleep a night the whole eight days I was there. When I got back, I slept for 16 hours straight only to be woken up by a call from work asking me where I was.
I took a few pictures in a plantation in Thomasville, GA. Only a couple came out good. Look for them in the bottom of my More Pics page. I also added a sunset pic from Seoul. -03MAY04
There have been multiple hack attempts through the guestbook again... From the looks of it.. It may have been the password (the one required to delete entries) that they were going for. All were kind of sloppy (hi, Mr_Cheese) but who knows when they'll hit the right command line and blow the entire internet up. So naturally, I changed the URL to the guestbook. Perhaps now, anything they do will not affect this site, but instead be isolated to it... hopefully.
I've been going to bed at 6:30 every day this week.. I just can't seem to stay up for anything. Jet lag is a beautiful thing. This morning I woke up at 1 and couldn't go back to sleep. I leave for a week starting Sunday morning... Staying within the shores this time, though. -23APR04
So much for my "10,000 hits before I get back" thing.. The traffic appears to have stopped six days ago (though it started again in a big way yesterday...). I made a celebration picture in preparation for it. I'll be waiting. I'd like to know who my 10,000th visitor is.. so if you look at my counter and it says 10,000 please say so in my guestbook or at least in an email if you can't figure out how to use it.
I updated my 'Places' page. Enjoy. :) -20APR04
Before I left home, I went to get a much-needed haircut (if I didn't I'd look like a Beatle by the time I got back). While waiting for my turn, I saw for the first time in my life a man-woman sitting on a chair talking to a friend. Just by looking at him/her, she was very pretty and feminine. But once he/she talked with an extremely deep voice to his/her friend (who was getting some sort of major hair upgrade for a wedding) there was no mistake that it was once a male. What gave it away even more was when he/she mentioned a guy that he/she met and was interested in but couldn't date because he was straight. Upon hearing this, I laughed to myself and pulled my hand across my face.. and when I looked up, his/her eyes were right on me, wide and he/she was smiling real big, apparently enjoying my attention. It wasn't exactly the most comfortable moment of my life...and then it was time to get my hairs cut.
The plane ride sucked. Seven hours to Tacoma, Washington for a three hour layover, then a twelve hour ride to Tokyo for a two hour layover, and then a two hour ride to Seoul where we unloaded the plane and loaded all of our equipment into a hotel. I slept from 7:30 that night (local time) until 7 the next morning.
Everything in the hotel is expensive, and nothing is free. In the Philippines we had free breakfast, and free snacks and drinks during dinner time. Here, breakfast is the equivalent of $28 and I'm scared to even look at what dinner costs. A 250mL beer out of my fridge would cost me about seven bucks so a small mixed drink would probably run me 12 or 15... Luckily there's an Army post near here with an American-ish food court, but unluckily it's a pain in the ass to get to. The street that leads to it is barely wide enough for two cars to fit side by side, and there's no sidewalk, and it's about 30° downhill. Of course, going the other way it's uphill. It takes about 25 minutes to get there and about 40 minutes to get back (considering that especially on the uphill part, you have lots of food in your belly).(02APR04)
Since we've been here there's been little work to do, so we went shopping. Things are pretty expensive not just in the hotel but in the entire city, which is a first for foreign countries that I've been to. I ate at a Korean Chinese restaurant and had fried rice with egg rolls, and it came up to be about $18. There's a watch shop in the lobby of the hotel that we're staying in that sells some Swiss made watch that costs in excess of $119,000.. and a Rolex that looks almost exactly the same is 'only' $48,000. On the other hand.. There is an oxymoronic phrase running around in the shops on the sides of the streets.. and that is 'Genuine Imitation'. Hard Rock Cafe shirts can be bought for $6, Air Jordan shoes for $18, Gucci socks for $2 a pair.. the list goes on and on. I tried not to indulge in that stuff too much, though... (05APR04)
It appears as though my site was hacked into today. I don't know who did it and I certainly don't know why. I'm kicking myself right now for not looking at the source of the page they replaced mine with.. it may have had some sort of secret message in the code. I think they may have found my ftp password through a gaping hole in my ftp program.. SmartFTP (Update.. the hack had nothing to do with SmartFTP or anything else not concerning my guestbook). That gaping hole being that I had encryption completely disabled (I haven't figured out how to FTP over a SSL connection yet) so anyone could have just 'rode my wave in' with me and done anything they wanted to my site. What confuses me.. is that nothing was done except the 'hacked' message with the main page. When I get internet access once again ($25 a day or 50 cents a minute is pretty rough) I will look through my files and see if any illegal stuff made it on to my webspace somewhere... I had a quick lookthrough earlier but saw nothing out of the ordinary... but you never know what could be hidden in some little cranny somewhere.. but even then why would you announce the hack on the main page? I uploaded my main page through my browser, and changed all my passwords and so far it's been 16 hours and the site hasn't been hacked into again yet... Maybe it was just a one time thing. In either case, I keep my entire site saved on my hard drive (on my main computer and my laptop and on CD every now and then) so my (hard, hard) work has a good chance of survival. I feel sorry for the peeps that this happens to that use a web-based page editor (like the one used on Homestead sites) and have no record of their work... and have to either start over from scratch or give up webpage making altogether.
The hacker(s) could have done a lot worse than they did, I'm sure... Maybe they were waiting for a later time to do something or maybe they were seeing what would happen in the recovery of the site.. or maybe they were trying something new.. And there's always the possibility that it could be someone I know from somewhere, but I don't think there's anyone that I could have pissed off bad enough for them to do that.(07APR04)
Wow.. Just had a look at my counter.. It's coming up on 10,000 hits. And it seems to be accelerating towards it. Where are all these hits coming from? I think someone may have stolen my counter and is using it on their site.. (just kidding) It seems that this site has inadvertently become a hub of some sort for my family... But a lot are also coming from people doing an MSN search for (removed..), as my site is the fourth one on the list when that is searched for (at least it was when I last checked it). I will have to make up a celebration picture for it, I guess.. as it seems that 10,000 will be well done and over with by the time I get back home. You will probably see that picture well before you read this. -(08APR04)
Well, as I see through evidence in my access logs the site was not hacked into from SmartFTP or password copying or anything like that.. but rather from a basic knowledge of PHP code through my guestbook... Many things were attempted.. An .avi file could not be transferred to my site, several different versions of 'hacked' pages could not be made. A hex.hex file was transferred.. though I have no idea what it could have been for. A cmd.php file was made through my guestbook, and essentially it was what was used in conjunction with more lines of code to make a new index.html file on this main page and another in my guestbook. I have upgraded the guestbook to version 1.6, and that may be all that needs to be done to fill up any holes. If not, I'll simply make a new subdomain just for the guestbook, as it appears from the commands they used that they would only be able to hack into the guestbook itself (and not the rest of the site) that way.(09APR04)
The initial 'wowee' of Korea has now worn off and I'm about ready to go home.. But there's still six days left.
There's a bug going around.. everyone is joking that it's SARS. I've managed to stay clean of it until today. Luckily, it's just a slight cough and a slight headache and hopefully it will not get worse.. But then for that, my luck would have to be better than everyone else's. Some guys are throwing up, and others generally feel like complete crap and can barely move. (11APR04)
To say that the plane sucked on the way to Korea is a drastic understatement to the plane ride on the way back. We had twice as many people and twice as much equipment on the plane so there was no room to stretch out (normally on a cargo plane, they let you sleep on the floor once you get to cruising altitude) or anything.. and the seats are horrible. Circulation is cut out from your thighs after an hour of being still... But we made it back safe, sound, and very smelly.
So I get back and realize nobody has signed my guestbook since I updated it. I try to sign it myself and lo and behold.. it can't be signed... Why didn't anyone email me to let me know? It's fixed now so sign away at your whim.
Work started to pile on us the last week we were there, so I didn't even have time to get internet much less pay for it to update this site. I also was unable to complete my Seoul pictures page/section. It will be ready for your mega-viewing pleasure within the next few days. Luckily I got to take some more pictures on the truck ride to the airport before we left, namely of some Hyundai-owned apartment buildings.
Right now it's 3:30 in the morning and I'm dead tired but also wide awake. Hello jet lag. It's been a while.. nice to meet you.
My cousin Stacey and her husband are busting their humps on their site almost every day. I just can't compete with that.. man. I thought they had jobs. If anybody has a cow, be sure to let them know how to acquire one as it would greatly help them out.-18APR04
It looks like they got in through my guestbook. So I updated it to a later version. Unfortunately I can't figure out how to set it up like the older one, so you will actually have to type in an email address complete with the '@' in order to post a new entry. -08APR04
Someone hacked into my site.. I don't know if you got a chance to see it, but it seemed pretty pointless and stupid to me... I don't know what else is affected and I don't have time right now to see. Lets see if I'm at least able to update for now..-06APR04
Just letting you know that I have not forgotten about you. Here it's roughly $25 a day to connect to the internet so I wont be doing it too often.
I removed Xerzes.net off the bottom of this page and put in a new link to my cousin Stacey's website. I'm sure she's been checking here fifty times a day to see if it's been added. :)
I can't update the site to what I've worked on so far, as it will give away where I am and I can't really say where I am... yet.. But here's a hint. When I get back home, there will be many more pictures to see, and lots to read.-04APR04
Sorry that I cannot provide you with a decent update today.. :( I am only coming here to let you guy(s) know that I will be gone.. out of town.. out of country until late next month, and probably will not be able to update this site while gone. I will (hopefully) have some sort of mega-update when I do get back, as I'm taking my laptop with me.. and my camera.. and my camera cable.. and lots of batteries.. and some money.. and some non-perishables.. and some clothes.. and stuff. See you all eventually! -28MAR04
For those of you that both pay attention and care, my cousin Veronica came to D.C. over the weekend. It's still unclear to me her exact reason for coming to this area.. but she did and she let me know about it so that's all that matters. :) We ate at this Ethiopian restaurant called Fajitas, but for some reason all they had was Mexican food (inside joke). It wasn't a very long time spent, but quality not quantity eh? Nothing like watching Univision with a cousin you haven't seen in four or so years. Unfortunately I'm stupid and forgot to bring my camera along. But she was smart enough to have one, so maybe one day she'll get the film developed and scan it and post it on her website. It will probably be a really bad one, so don't be surprised if you ever see it.
My cousin Jennifer (no recent pictures.. no website.. no links.. sorry) is scheduled to get married to some guy she recently met nine years ago.. My Congratulations is here for the whole world to see.
Wow.. Two people have posted in my forum in the last month. And that's without me prompting them! That just brings me one step closer to world domination. On top of this, my daily hits are rising! And so is my spam box! YAAAY! Domain names are always a good way to get spam mail.. Heck even two months ago I recieved a bill in my mailbox (my real mailbox.. the one that gets paper stuffs in it) for my site being submitted to thirty search engines. It wasn't a real bill, but it sure looked like one. It was a pretty obvious scam, but a good one because if I were the type to pay someone else to make a website for me I would have written the check out and sent it, no questions asked. -24MAR04
Guess who got promoted? I DID!!!.
Also I am getting a very special visitor this Saturday... Yes the famous, world renowned master of websites.. Veronica. I know I will be a bore, because I don't go out at all around here.. but I'm sure she'll get over it.
Some of you may have noticed.. that I updated my Pictures of the Places I've Been page. It has zoo pictures, and some poor quality humor so be sure to check it out!
I bought a game called Firestarter. From user reviews and professional reviews alike, it isn't very good. But my own personal opinion is that playing this game is probably the most fun I've had in months (except other non-PC gaming related activities of course). So expect a review in coming weeks. There is a song on it that I thought I'd post for your listening pleasure.. It's techno sounding, but I like it so listen to it anyway. MOOZAK (6 Megs).
So today from work we went to this sandwich shop near my apartment called Togo's. I had never eaten there and was surprised at how good the sandwich was, and regretful that I had not gone there before. Anyway, after that we all decided to go to Best Buy (walking distance) and look around. I found Mr. Bill's Disasterpiece which contained 3 DVDs and was about $22.00. So I decided to buy it. When everyone was done looking around I went to the checkout counter and was asked in the midst of pulling out my credit card "Would you like a free magazine?" I shrugged and said "Sure". And then "Would you rather Sports Illustrated or Entertainment Weekly?".. Not really caring about either, I felt it would be more manly to say "Sports Illustrated". And I said this thinking that he would pull out a magazine from under the counter and put it in my bag. I signed my name on the little box, and a thing pulled up my old Fort Bragg address asking me if it was correct. I clicked 'No' and then the cashier asked my what my address was. I was a little impatient because the people I went to lunch with were waiting for me outside so I told him to not change it. I then got my receipt and was on my merry way.
I opened up my bag and noticed the receipt was especially long for just one item, and saw on it that I had somehow (when I authorized charges to my credit card) signed up for a free trial magazine of Sports Illustrated (which was not in the bag, by the way), with automatic renewal of subscription. I immediately got especially irritated because the cashier said nothing about a subscription, and conveniently did not mention that if my address was wrong, I would not get my free magazine (or any paid-for magazines for that matter). I called up the store when I got to work and tried to get them to cancel the whole thing, and they said I had to call Sports Illustrated to cancel. I then called up Sports Illustrated and they said I had to give them my address so they could verify I was who I said I was, but I couldn't because they had my old address (sent to them from Best Buy) which I had long forgotten! So I went back to Best Buy, in person and returned poor Mr. Bill and told them I would never shop at their store again, and would just dispute any magazine charges that happened upon my credit card. I probably wont have to go to such extreme measures because they managed to retrieve my old address, and since Sports Illustrated wont have their records 'updated' for at least 72 hours I'll be able to use it and hopefully cancel my subscription.
If they had asked me if I wanted a subscription to SI with a free trial issue I would have said "No" because I don't care about sports and I don't like to read. But they tricked me into getting one anyway. So I do not expect you reader, to boycott Best Buy (like I am from now on) because of my misfortune.. but merely keep in mind that companies that you think you should be able to trust are really out to screw you over. So pay attention. Be on your guard. And spit in their face when they try this with you. -16MAR04