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Monday, December 31, 2007

Patching This and That

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It seems I am constantly looking for patches to fix one thing or the other: Internet Explorer, Windows XP, my web browser, something vital in my life. Now I learn that there is a hoodia patch. Yes, I have heard of people wanting hoodia fix. But exactly when did hoodia itself need a patch?

Sunday, December 30, 2007

All That Glitters...

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ately, I've seen several guys walking around with heavy gold chains around their necks. Maybe it's because I don't have any fashion sense but I really don't see the point in having something around my neck that's worth more than my head. This doesn't mean I wouldn't buy this shiny bling. I've been tempted on more than one occasion to buy several of the smaller, thinner gold necklaces. I thought about forming each one into a letter of the alphabet, gluing it to piece of paper and then mailing it to myself. If the post office is going to deliver "get rich quick" schemes to my house, it might as well be a gold chain letter.

What I Got For Christmas

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During this recent Christmas day, you could almost hear the collective joy of millions of people as they stood knee-deep in wrapping paper and ribbons and uttered those spirit filled words, "Is this all I got?" But not me! On Christmas morning, I bounded out of bed full of glee and excitement because I knew that Santa was going to reward all my good deeds. I anxiously hurried over to my 24 inch high Christmas tree, anticipating the 60 inch flat screen, high definition television that I would find underneath. And what did my innocent eyes find? A 60 inch cardboard cutout with the words "Try again next year" written on it. The first words out of my innocent mouth may not have been the most thankful. In fact, I may have labeled Santa as a specific part of the human anatomy as well as compared him to the husband of a woman who has children. But once those joyful words of praise were spoken, I placed my cardboard cutout on its tv mount. I soon discovered something as I sat in front of my new simulated TV. The shows on it are just as good as the real ones.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Horsing Around

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My daughter wants to get in to horseback riding. She made a very convincing case as to why I should help her get into this. So I told her that I would look into it and make a decision shortly. I researched the costs for caring and feeding such a magnificent animal (the horse, not my daughter) as well as horse riding apparel. After adding up all the expenses and looking at my bank account, I made my decision. My daughter was very happy when I said that I would help her. She was less-than-pleased when I gave her a bunch of quarters for the horsey ride in front of Wal-Mart. Kids these days ....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Truck Gas Mileage

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Lately at work, we have been working to fit our vision system and cruise switches onto various 2008 model year pickup trucks, such as Dakota and Toyota. One thing I've noticed in these late year models is the proliferation of electronic controls throughout the vehicle. Even the tonneau cover
for some of the truck bed is motorized. Of course, this means a need for bigger batteries and more powerful alternators than before. This electrical demand is not free. Since these pricey vehicles are already struggling to get 15 miles a gallon, how much of an impact does this increased amperage have the gas mileage? We're estimating 3 to 5 mpg goes into powering everything. But that just our guess.

(by the way, tonneau is pronounced ta’-no)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wireless Energy Transfer

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Remember those times when you were filming a once-in-a-lifetime moment: your child's first step, your loved one as they receive that well-earned reward, a stranger on the downswing of a police baton, Bigfoot stepping out of a UFO. Is there anything worse than having your camcorder batteries died at the critical moment? (Aside from being chased by Bigfoot or that cop.) Well, that may soon be a thing of the past. Technology has been developed to recharge your vital electronic devices without plugging them in. Next year you will be hearing more and more about wireless energy transfer devices. These technological marvels will charge your cell phone, camcorder, and the like simply by putting your equipment in close proximity to them. Rechargeable batteries may soon be a thing of the past!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hey, Y'all. Watch This!

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My girlfriend and my son were teasing me about not being a bling-kind of guy. It's not that I mind wearing shiny goodies. But I prefer having a low profile to one that attracts attention. Take for example an eye-catching Patek Philippe watch. It has a very elegant, stylish look to it. Yet I don't see myself wearing one, especially with a price tag of over $100,000. I'm not worried about attracting attention. It's the $200,000 worth of bodyguards surrounding me that may bring a look or two in my direction.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Annoying Festive Lights

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Thirty seven lights. Between my home and my workplace, there are 37 festive lights: glowing greens, warm reds, and flashing yellows. But since they are more than just ornamental, I find them to be more annoying than anything else. Today's trip did not help matters.

I cover 55 miles of real estate in my drive to work. Often my commute takes no more than 70 minutes. But a delay here, a dawdling-driver-in-front-of-me there and my trip can approach that mind numbing, blood pressure raising two hours mark. This morning, I won the equivalent of the loser's lottery as I caught every single light at red. Not "red about to change to continue-on green." Oh no! But rather "yellow changing to show-stopping red." After 100 minutes of this stop-and-go-and-stop, I finally arrived at work.

Fortunately the day was not a complete loss. Today, I joined the ranks of the greatest minds in science and proved that you can't travel faster than the speed of light ... especially when it's red.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fashion With Function

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Here I am strolling into an important meeting at work. Well, of course it's a meeting at work. Who has meetings at play... all right, aside from golf games... and hunting expeditions... yes, and any day in Congress. But aside from that...

One of the great aspects of doing product reviews is that you sometimes get very cool stuff to try out. Just the other day, I received a dark blue mock turtleneck shirt (the one I'm wearing in the picture) from www.Clothing4All.com. Perfect timing for today's chilly weather. Perfect timing since I needed to look really good. As you can see, I need all the help that I can get. Even though the Clothing4All shirt can't work miracles, it has a great smooth feel to it. While it kept me comfortably warm all day, I discovered that my new shirt has some unexpected benefits as well.

Around here, the guiding principle of business is "Management-By-Crisis." You might know it by its more common term "Overpaid-People-Yelling-A-Lot." By either name, the idea of planning is disregarded. Instead, upper management makes decisions seemingly on the spur of the moment, often contrary to the advice from their more knowledgeable employees. When that inevitable crisis results, you can sit in a meeting and be regaled by the raising voices exchanging colorful words of curse and angrily placed blame. Yet, as you can see from the picture, I made a wonderful discovery. I found that I can retreat into my shirt while keeping a watchful eye out for thrown pencils, cups of coffee, fists, etc.

These meetings could be productive. They could be called to resolve issues and develop cost-effective timelines. Unfortunately, they tend to start at the bottom and go down hill from there. Even for their moments of entertainment, they eventually become absurd wastes of time. And yet again, my shirt served me very well today! As you can see, I am able to withdraw my head and arms and get some actual work done. You can't tell but I'm actually sending a fax. I can poke my head out once the smoke (and mirrors) has cleared and the decision to have a pre-meeting to set up another meeting to discuss why this meeting failed has been set.

And so! If you're looking for style, I highly recommend getting this mock turtleneck shirt. If you're looking for a way to protect yourself from the spittle of bellowing CEO or from mind numbing droning as VPs try to suck up to their boss, you definitely can't go wrong with this article of clothing!


A Big Thanks to my good friend, the Dawnster, for risking her camera to take these pictures. :D

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ultimate Coffee Machine

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In the early days of computers, we thought that a 4.7 MHz system was a technological marvel. Compared to our abacus and pocket calculator, it was! These days, systems that are running at 2000 MHz are hot stuff. And I do mean HOT! I imagine you would be sweating a bit too if you had hundreds of switches turning on and off at 2 billion times a second.

Well, get ready because things are about to get hotter with computers that run 50 times faster than today's. Naturally with today's environmental concerns, somebody has asked the question, "Can we do anything with all that wasted heat coming off those new chips?" The answer is yes! Instead of putting a heat sink on the computer chip, they have installed an Espresso Coffee Machine. Soon you too will be able to buzz right along with your computer as you make mistakes 50 times faster than you can today. A word of caution if you get this new system: you'll know that you've had too much espresso when, instead of sweating, you percolate.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Travel Insurance

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Do you find insurance to be one notch above a scam? Take life insurance for example. You're betting that someday you're going to die. When you win that bet, you lost. With travel insurance, you're betting that you're going to be sick while traveling. Who really wants to win that kind of bet? Actually we need a different kind of travel insurance. After all, the best way to find out if you like someone or hate them is to travel with them. As common a practice as that is, no one offers love-hate travel insurance for dealing with your companions. If we're going to gamble like this, why not have some fun?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bein' Drugged in the South

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Ever since the first caveman dragged his bride to their honeymoon suite of the moss and rocks, we've been plagued by what southerns 'round here refer to as a case of the "drugs." According to my neighbors, we was drug out of the womb so we's could be drugged into school after a spell. As we got a little age on us and depending upon the state weddin' laws, we's found ourselves being drug down the alter. After a few years of the ceremonial plate throwin' and learnin' each other's curse words, we'd find ourselves bein' drugged into divorce court. I don't know 'bout other parts of the country, but maybe a little drug rehab might be in order 'round here. Or at least some elocution lessons.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blackmail Negotiations

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So my company has been up for sale for a couple of years now. Upper management (UM for short) has been trying to work out a deal with the owners. Yet the owners made it clear that they want to sell it to any one but UM. I'm not sure why. While UM keeps offering more and more money, I think they need to throw in a few pictures of the owners at a hotel with sheep dressed in sexy corsets. Of course, we know such pictures would be discounted. The only way the owners would be in a hotel room is if they got the sheep to pay for it. (Maybe a famous sheep would. Maybe someone like Brittany Shears ...)

Actually, we think that the owners have a group of investors already. And what better, greedy method to over-inflate a price than by having two groups try to outbid each other. More to follow ...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Old Luggage

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The strangest suit case was one that belong to a friend who traveled a lot. His grandparents had given it to him as a gift -- sort of a family heirloom. Or I should say, a family hair loom. The outside of this case was completely covered by the tightly woven hair of some unknown animal. I can't help but think that this antiquated luggage must have been a Samson --- a precursor to the Samsonite brand. This is because my friend tried to trim out the case's knots and the trash that had become embedded from the miles of travel. But by losing its hair, his suitcase also lost its strength. During his very next trip, he found his belongings strewn about the conveyor belt at airports luggage pickup. I understand that it was a very biblical ...

To any single ladies out there, I know of a guy who has less baggage now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Age Is Just A Number

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Last Sunday, George Bush Sr. celebrated his 83rd birthday by jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Of course, he skydived only after his doctors gave him a clean bill of health. As these doctors then gave taxpayers a clean yet padded bill, they were overheard saying, "He's going to wet himself anyway. He might as well have some fun while doing so."

So Happy Birthday, George! We're glad that you made it safely to Earth. Now if we could only get your son's head out of the clouds ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do you like BBQ?

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I've gotten some encouraging comments on how I can take keywords and move my reader to unexpected places. One of my fellow bloggers complained that she was having trouble with the words "Billet Grille". So I suggested that she write a piece about how her daughter wanted to become Australian for a day. Her darling offspring took her favorite doll, placed it on the billet grille and then asked her mother for some shrimp. After all, to be Australian, you have to cook shrimp on the Barbie. I never did hear back from my friend about my suggestion. I can only guess that she's not a big barbie-cue fan.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Newsflash: Curvy Women Have Higher IQs

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According the Sunday Times of London, scientists at the Universities of Pittsburgh and California, Santa Barbara studied the figures of 16,000 women. (The wives of these scientists weren't too happy about it, but what are you going to do. It's all in the name of research, right?) They discovered that the bigger a woman's hips were in proportion to her waist, the higher her IQ and that of her children. Curvier women are smarter? Who knew! At first, I thought "Yeah but watch what happens when you toss a few diamond rings at them." But that was a dumb thought. Actually, being curvy doesn't make a woman stupid, just us men. Viva, la difference!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another Summer Dream Gone

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Shorter and cooler days are here. Not cooler in the sense of groovy, far out, and hip. Cooler as in "what happened to my summer?!" Earlier in this year, I had dreams of relaxing in a hammock, a refreshing drink by my hand, and a 42 inch LCD TV locked on to a plasma mount that was attached to a heavenly shade tree. ::: sigh ::: Another dream bites the sand of time. Of course, with my luck, the TV would have broken loose from the tree, smacked me with enough force to flip me over in the hammock. The next thing I know, I would have been on the TV which would have broken my fall. On the plus side, I could have said that I was on TV ... flattened but on TV. OH well, not this year.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tasty Relationships

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There are some relationships that enhance your life and then there are those that bring you joy at a price ... like bacon. It has become a tough relationship since my doctor told me that I need to work on my high blood pressure. ::: sigh ::: Could I ever give up bacon's crispy kisses? What a sad world it would be. To me, the smell and the taste of cooked bacon makes it a close second to sex. Of course, if we're talking about thick slices of meat, then for some it may be a toss up between pork and porking. In any case, I have been a good boy and have cut way back on unhealthy foods. This was easy to do because my microwave rarely cooked bacon well. Often I ended up with a burnt offerings instead of a meal. I didn't worry about the grease too much. Most of it ended up coating the inside of my microwave. Do you know how difficult it is to lick the inside of your microwave?

Anyway, all this changed a couple of days ago when I received a CrispyClean Bacon Cooker to review. This microwave bacon cooker makes it too easy to prepare six pieces of thick, juicy meat. The bacon cooks in a completely enclosed container, evenly and throughly. I didn't even have to use the smoke alarm as a timer! And, after I safely remove the cooker with its well designed handle, I had the best BLTs that I have had in a long time! Oh, sorry. Please excuse the drool.
So with this innovative device, the CrisplyClean Bacon Cooker has made it easy for me to get into an unhealthy, yet very tasty relationship. I'm so glad it's one that sizzles!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Magic of Three

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The number Three is said to be mystical, magical and powerful: the father, son and holy ghost; the past, present, and future; animal, mineral, and vegetable; Larry, Curly, and Moe. What about that "cleaniness next to godliness" thing? Do you think lather, rinse, repeat is just a lucky coincidence?

Well, as of today, all three of my blogs have a page ranking of ... THREE! OOOOOO, spooky! With all the wailing and gnashing of keystrokes about Google's PR ransacking of blogs, I did ok. Two of my blogs dropped from 4 and my newest blog has gone from 0 to 3.

So what does the mean for me? Not a thing. I'll write in the hopes that you enjoy what you read. Comments, of course, are always welcome ... especially in threes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Prankster

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I have a good friend who loves to play practical jokes. Sometimes he'll come up with ideas on the spur of the moment and act on them instantly. Take last Halloween for example.

He had stopped to check on his mail which is in one of those large cbu mailboxes that you find outside of apartment complexes. He had pulled up just as the mailman was filing the letters through the back side of that postal retainer. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity for a prank, my friend grabbed one of the props for his evening costume out of his car and quietly opened his mailbox. After a little preparation, he then gave a terrifying scream and thrust a fake bloody hand with severed fingers through the box and out the other side where the unsuspecting postman worked. My mischievous buddy said he then heard a responding cry of terror and the fluttering sound of letters being scattered in the air. When this prankster raced around to the back of the mailbox, he found the mailman sitting 10 feet back, clutching his chest with letters scattered around him. The startled letter carrier told my friend that it would probably be a good time for my friend to leave before the postal worker got to his shaky feet.

Of course, our actions aren't without consequences. Shortly after this little prank, my friend noticed a very nasty odor in his mailbox, usually coming from junk mail. I'd like to say that was the end of his practical jokes. But that would be wishful thinking.

SEMA 2007

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Las Vegas hosts several trade shows throughout the year. One that is related to the automotive aftermarket arena is the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show. Even though I have worked as an engineer for an automotive company for over 15 years, I have yet to go to this annual event. At one time, my company was chock-full of enthusiasm, the spirit of innovation, the possibility of a rewarding future, and engineers. During those exciting times, upper management deemed it vital that members of engineering investigate upcoming technology. Research and Development was important to the powers-that-be for future revenue. When everyone returned from this important show, we came up with a lot of profitable products for the company. Of course, from the stories that I heard, not a lot of time was spent sleeping in those Vegas hotels in pursuit of R&D ... and other things.

Ah, good times. Here we are today where greedy owners who are closing in on retirement have stripped the company for immediate profits. The engineering staff is down to a tenth of what it once was. There is no R&D at our company anymore. Engineer has become as most positions in the plant have become -- a necessary evil. The only innovative work that I'm doing now is a redesign of all our production testers from their dying 386, DOS platforms to XP-based systems. This year, only the sales department and, naturally, upper management will be making the pilgrimage to SEMA to peddle our almost obsolete technology.

While moral is at an all time low, we still have a flicker of hope. We all dream that someone will buy the company soon and return us to our productive, happy selves once again. Maybe then, we can return to SEMA as a major factor in the industry.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Halloween Costume?

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This year, I being goaded into donning a Halloween costume. I'm being told that it needs to be outrageous and unforgettable. Hmmm. I have given thought about one costume in particular. Now that I'm getting older, the 'don't-care-what-others-think' mindset is getting strong so I'm not as shy as I used to be. So perhaps I could ... take all my clothes off, put on roller skates and going as pull-toy. Shocking? Outrageous? Could be. Could be. As they say in England, "Everyone needs a good Yank now and then!" Unfortunately, Halloween night is supposed to be in the upper 30s. Severe shrinkage may be a factor and my 'pull string' might turn into a man-gina. Unforgettable? Yeah, it would be...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Posting Constipation

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Here I sit,
full of snark.
Tried to blog
but only farked.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alcohol And Math

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I have a friend who is a mathematician. Yet for such a smart guy, he tends to drink quite a bit. Actually, he only drinks on two occasions -- when he is thirsty and when he isn't.

My computating friend does realize that he has a problem. But instead of checking into one of those alcohol rehabs, he decided to sign up with Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm not sure why. I can tell that he isn't enthusiastic about the group. Instead of going to the meetings, he just sends in his empty bottles.

I can say that he has taught me a few things. For example, I now know that alcohol and calculus do not mix. So please always remember that old saying: "never drink and derive."

What's The Appeal of Scottsdale?

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Scottsdale, Arizona must be quite a place. I have made friends with people who move from Scottsdale to North Carolina. After a year or two, they felt that they just had to move back. I've had other friends who went for a visit to Scottsdale. They love the area so much, they scouted the Scottsdale real estate, quickly located a home and a job, and never returned. I don't know what the appeal is ... but I'd like to find out!

I've Been Hacked?

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Last week when I signed onto Yahoo to check my mail, I had a couple of instant messages from people I didn't know. The message would say something like, "Hey, remember me? It's been a long time. Check at my pictures here." I've been working with computers and security long enough to know not to click on any suspicious links. How they got my name, I don't know. But I thought those stupid IM were the extent of the hacking.

Yesterday morning, a friend of mine asked me about an IM that I sent her about a lnk to Geocities. I didn't send any IM. Last night, my girlfriend asked me about a similar instant message that she received from me. Again, I never sent any message. Great! Someone is using my name and sending bogus messages.

I've since scanned my work and home computers but they were clean. I've also changed my password to my yahoo account and will be probably do so daily for the next few days. Has anyone else received a falsified IM claiming to be from me? It's times like these that I hate the Internet...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Better Fund Raiser Ideas?

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How effective are fund raisers? They might raise money but they definitely raise the blood pressure of everyone involved with tickets, merchandise and whatnot. The entire event always seems to take the 'fun' out of 'fund raiser'.

To lessen the painful process this year, my friend's daughter and members of her marching band brainstormed ideas to earn money in a more pleasant fashion. I can't reveal too many details about the winning idea because I'm sworn to secrecy until they launch their attack ... um, I mean, until they start their fund raiser. I can say that they have a unique ticket design which involves weaving the wicks from candles into small mats. With the onset of Halloween, they call these mats their 'Wicked tickets'. The prize? I can't tell you. The method? Again, I can't say until after this begins. But if all goes well, I know one marching band who will earn lots of money without raising any bad feelings.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Great Must-Have Video

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Attention! Act in the next fifteen minutes and we will send you this action packed video of the greatest Rock and Roll bloopers of all times. Watch Aerosmith do the same song five times in a row without any one noticing. See that famous moment in television history when Keith Richards accepts his posthumous award ... in person! See Mick Jagger trip on his lip and break a hip. Watch Eddie Van Halen get his fingers wrapped arpeggio style in his guitar strings. All this and much, much more.

That's right, folks, this is the ultimate in rock-n-roll bloopers! When you see these rock tumblers and bunglers, you will roll with laughter. So call now, operators are standing by (because we don't have chair for them).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Can Sony Help Its Video Market Share?

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The good news: Sony has dropped the price of its 80 gigabyte Playstation 3 by a hundred dollars to $499.

The maybe-bad/maybe-good news: Sony is discontinuing its PSP3 model that had a 60-gigabyte hard drive and also sold for $499.

The good news: In November, Sony will be introducing a new PSP3 model with a 40-gigabyte drive for $399.

The bad news: This new low end model won't play any of the Playstation 2 games as the costlier model does. Would you spend an extra $100 to double your drive space and have backwards compatibility with older games? I know a lot of gamers who say yes.

More bad news: Playstation is still the most expensive game system on the market!

For comparison, we have Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 at $350 and Nintendo's Wii at $250. Is it any wonder that the Wii has sold over 9 million system while PSP3 has only sold 5 million?

I have a idea for Sony. It's all about the marketing. Look at Nintendo. One reason for the Wii's popularity are the games that involve physical exertion. All Sony needs to do is jump on the health fitness craze and throw in some exercise equipment. Either physical games or just have the PSP work only if the equipment is being used.

The good news: You get more for your money AND get into top Sony-fied shape.

The bad news: That's all the good news that I have for today....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Park And Cover

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When King Solomon wrote that there is a time and place for everything under the sun, he apparently never tried to park a car. Even if you have the good fortune to find a parking space, you have to contend with either lawless thieves breaking into your car or lawful thieves removing your ride because you didn't pay enough extortion at the parking meter.

Have you ever seen the car commercial where a guy has his new, expensive vehicle hidden in a car cover that looks like a junked automobile? I have yet to find anyone that makes those type of car covers. I had thought about a camouflage cover that makes your car blend into the road. But I realized that would lead to double parking -- when someone parks their car on top of yours. Oh well! As Shakespeare once said, "Farewell! Farewell! Parking is such sweet sorrow."

Children Never Grow up, Do They?

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Even though my daughter recently turned a sophisticated 24 years old, deep down inside she's still a kid at heart. In the store the other day, we happened to be walking by kids bedding when she spied a set in the Transformers motif. I hadn't noticed anything until she squealed in delight at the discovery. I have no doubt that she will go back to the store and buy it. Fortunately, her fiancé is understanding and will probably have no problem sleeping in the company of Optimist Prime.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Game Can Beat Up Your Game

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When video games made their entertaining presence known in the early 80s, I was there -- repairing, configuring, upgrading, collecting tons of quarters from these noisy boxes of fun. Then the games began their home invasion with Atari and Activision. Soon I had children (not because of the games) and bought Nintendo's offerings. But somewhere, somehow, the video games kept advancing while I lost the free time to keep up with them. Now I look at kids at stores playing playstation 3, and wii and xbox 360. They have the same excitement that we did way back then. Remember trying to move vertical strips to 'hit' a moving white square? I wonder if our parents felt the same way when they played with sticks and rocks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Accident Lawyers

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I caught a commercial by an attorney of a Raleigh accident lawyers group. He spoke about being upset by recent portrayals as an overpriced ambulance chaser. He talked about the joys he finds in helping people get whats due them and in getting paid a justifiable fee in the process.

Now who doesn't want justice to be served? Who can fault anyone for being paid a reasonable fee for their work? My qualm is with rewarding people for accidents caused by stupidity. Remember the restaurant who had to reward a woman when she spilled hot coffee on her lap? Or the furniture store forced into retribution to a woman who tripped over her misbehaving son and broke her ankle? Where is the justice in winning jury settlements for these potential candidates of the Darwin Awards?

I can understand the attorney's concern. Still, it's not like silly lawsuits are rare events. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pour ice water on my lap and sue myself for hypothermia. I'm sure I'll be able to find a lawyer who will help ...

Monday, October 15, 2007

skeptical children

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Have you noticed how skeptical children can be, especially if it involves something that they don't want to do. My friend has twin boys who believe that sleep isn't a necessary function of health but rather an oppressive ritual imposed by their parents. They believe that night is for games and television. My wise friend knows otherwise. To disprove his offspring's erroneous beliefs, he has bought a pair of special beds known as debunk beds. For now, his children use beds more for creating bunk than dispelling it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Kitchen Sinks

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He was a greedy man with a very small house. But having limited living quarters didn't stop him from trying to accumulate as much as he could. Eventually his tiny bedroom, his bitty bathroom, his little living room were completely filled from floor to ceiling. No problem. He planned to eat and sleep in his undersized kitchen. That worked until that fateful day when he opened the kitchen door to find that there was only enough room for his hat. But like that fateful straw that broke the camel's back, his hat caused the entire kitchen to collapse into a sink hole that opened up from the weight of his worldly goods. So now he has everything ... including the kitchen sinks.

Vanilla Cow Patties

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Once a year, Harvard University gives out awards, known as the Ig Nobel Awards, for obscure and often bizarre research and inventions. One winner turned out to be the recent discovery that Viagra helps hamsters overcome jet lag. Also winning top honors is a Japanese researcher who found a way to extract vanilla favoring from cow dung. I can't wait to see how the market research will go for this product. Will it have to be a blindfold test or can they do a straight survey? "So, Mrs. Johnson, what do you think about this new vanilla extract?" "I'm not sure. I think it tastes like sh.."....ould anyone doubt that there is a market for cow patty vanilla flavoring, think about that last time you drove past a recently fertilized field. Now, wouldn't you prefer the aroma of vanilla? You know this would be much better than having Baskin Robins add "Heifer Hunk Surprise" to their list of flavors.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Two More Days...

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...and my two oldest children will be visiting with me for a week. I am excited about them being here and about the possibility that they might move here permanently in a few months. Still, because I haven't been able to fully recover from the divorce, I am embarrassed about the state of this house. Hopefully they will be comfortable despite the fact that I have very little home furniture. My daughter's response to my concern was "Don't worry. We're coming to be with you, not the house." That sentiment helps. As long as they have a good time while they are here, that's all that matter, yes?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Women At My Work are Sitting On a Gold Mine

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The New York Knicks management didn't score on this one. I just read that a former executive won her sexual harassment lawsuit against the Knicks. Hopefully, the women at my place of work will take notice. Why? Because it is simply amazing what a couple of our upper managers get away with around here!

A few months ago, one overpaid sleeze bag was overheard asking one of the women on the production line, "Will you wear a crotchless panty if I bring it in?" She reacted as these women have been over these past several years -- by faking a laugh and quickly changing the subject. A few weeks ago, she suggested to the manager that she was getting tired of the harassment. Shortly after that, she was fired for being three minutes late to work.

I've told a few of the women that they are sitting on a gold mine. With a good lawyer, they could retire from this place and put a few of the good ol' boys out of business. But they say that they don't want to start any trouble.

My fired friend says that she can prove that she was wrongfully fired as well as sexually harassed. But her preacher husband has told to her forgive and forget and move to something better. Maybe this recently victory against the management of the Knicks will have my friends rethinking their passive roles.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Two Minutes of Free Advertising On TV

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I understand how exciting places like Las Vegas and Miami get TV shows written about them -- all the drama, the mystery and fantasies that go on in the humdrum minds of viewers can make for a captive viewing audience. No doubt, the tourist bureau of such places doesn't have to worry about television advertising. So how does a place like Branson Missouri make it onto the boob tube? Somehow, somewhere, someone knew just the right people because I just watched a two minute scene featuring Branson on ... well, I better not say the name of the show. But it's one of the top adult-type cartoons that have been on the air for all of this century. Since I have done a couple of paid posts on Branson, it was surprising to see their local attractions featured as part of a storyline. I wonder if Branson paid for this or if someone in their tourist bureau just happened to have some compromising pictures. With Missouri being the "Show Me" state, I'll go with the compromising photos. After all, what happens in Branson, stays ... readily available for show.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My Meal On Wheels

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If you visited my other blog at "Whats All This Then" then you've probably read how I turned my sports car into a camper. Since then, I have been thinking about how to expand its capabilities. During that last trip, my car was just a comfortable bed on wheels. The next step would be to add an outdoor kitchen to it. Maybe I could hook up one of those coolers to my cigerette lighter and chill a bottle of wine as I tour the roadways for several hours, letting dinner slowly cook on the engine block. This assumes that the cooler doesn't overload my car's puny electrical system. And yes, I know grease is bad for the health. Hopefully, oily food isn't as bad.

Doctors and Apples

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If blood is so life-giving, why is it giving me so much trouble lately? For now let's just say that I'm learning how well technology has made medical devices extremely accurate and affordable for the average citizen. For example, with a pulse oximeter, you can indirectly measure the amount of oxygen and changes in blood volume in your skin. Before this little medical miracle of a device, the doctor had to shove a large needle into your arm to extract enough blood that would make even Dracula queasy. After that, there was that anxiety-building wait for the lab results. Today, you can get the same results within minutes. Not only that but you can get them as often as you like. Just imagine the fun you can have by annoying your friends with your latest findings until they secretly wish that you would die. Ain't technology grand! Well, hopefully it will help me now. If I had taken care of this issue a few years ago, things would probably be better. It wasn't the Apple-a-Day that kept the doctor away. It was the cost of my medical insurance. Thanks goodness the medical devices are cheaper now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hunting Blinds

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Duck hunters use duck blinds to sneak up on their unsuspecting prey. (Although I find it much easier to go down to the duck pond with a loaf of bread and a hammer. Not only is it cheaper, but the ducks walk right up to me.) Dear hunters also use camouflage blinds during their season. (My hunting friends say that it makes it almost impossible for their wives to find them, especially if they set it up in the living room during football season.) But I was a little confused to learn that, not only do people hunt *IN* the woods, some even hunt *the woods* themselves. I learned this when I saw a recent sale on wood blinds. As fast as a tree moves, I didn't think that you had to sneak up on one to begin with! And what do you do when you catch one? How many people do you know that serve up a juicy cut of truck? How many proudly display a rack of branches over their mantel? Unless ... ah, that's right! There is a season for hunting trees - pine trees - and that happens right before Christmas. Ok, then. Mystery solved.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How To Run Your Business Into The Ground

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This company's pool of talented people is rapidly shrinking. The only thing dropped faster is the moral of employees. Today I learned that yet another fellow employee has had enough of the 'fun and games' around here and turned in her notice. The powers-that-be don't believe in succession planning. So naturally, they have no replacements for their dwindling human resources. The work is simply moved onto one or more already overburdened workers. My departing day is coming soon. For now, staying here is like watching a slow-motion train wreck from the inside car...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Does the World Really Need More Copies of Me?

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My girlfriend lives three hours to my east. My children live five hours to my west. I wish that there were a couple of copies of me to dispatch to everyone I love. Right now, one of me would be helping my children get into a better house. My other version would be investigating Wilmington NC real estate for a love nest on the coast. But it's probably for the best that there is only one of me. The last thing the world needs right now is mo'Rons running around...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Drinking To Your Health

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Some people go to bars and nurse their beers. You can't miss them. They're the ones with soggy nipples. If you think this is unusual behavior, what about the new medical diagnostic procedure that a few doctors are starting to use? Let's see, how can I put this delicately? Just as a mechanic examines the exhaust emissions to troubleshoot your car problems, a few doctors want the "emissions" that their patients create in the restrooms of their local drinking establishments. These bar stools are said to reveal much more about the patient's health than samples from their home environment. Personally, I think these doctors are just looking for an excuse to make a house call at a place where they know they can get a drink and charge someone in the process.

ARRR, What Be Ye Party Theme?

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For the past four years, a good friend of mine has had me conspire with her to create some very interesting murder mystery parties -- the type where everyone dresses in a costume and one of the guests plays a murder victim while everyone else has to figure out who did it and why. This year, we thought we would try something a little different. At first we considered a gay 90s type theme. But we couldn't be sure our guests would show up dressed in 1890s garb. Considering the crew of hilarious nuts that we hang around with, some might think 1990's and show up as flamboyantly gay or as someone in the 90s or as both.

We finally decided to do a pirate theme and base it on the clues game. There will be two teams of pirates competing to find clues of who did what to whom using which implement of destruction. Yesterday, my friend handed out her very innovative style of party invitations -- small plastic bottles that contained coins and an invitation written on an aged scroll. With less than a week away from the day of the party, I now need to do my part to help her come up with the clues. If all goes well, perhaps I'll post a few pictures ... assuming that I am not made to walk the plank because of what I did.

Thank You, Robyn

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Up until a few months ago, I was part of a group of bloggers who were making a concerted effort to visit each other's site on an almost daily basis. While it was great to read each other's latest posts, the main objective was to help our Alexia score. The motivation behind that lie in our financial dealings with PayPerPost.

Then, with PPP latest changes, there was a fear that our efforts would be meet with a fate worse than death -- expulsion from the PayPerPost system. Fortunately, PayPerPost has finally clarified their position and our Alexia group is back in operation. This group is only possible through the generosity of a fellow blogger, Robyn. Thank you, Robyn, for the recently posted blog roll.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How to get the edge over your classmates and fellow workers

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I enjoy trying to analyzing data and come up with trends and predictable forecasts.
Today, I found a site called Swivel that allows you to collect data and graph it for everyone to see and comment. The site is keyed into several data sources such as the various government data banks and financial centers. Here's a graph on "Number of Senators missing a vote, by date." Glad to see our tax dollars hard at work.
Number of Senators missing a vote, by date

Swivel's mission is this:
... to make data useful so people share insights, make great decisions and improve lives. We believe data is most valuable when it's out in the open where everyone can see it, debate it, have fun, and share new insights. Swivel makes it easy to accomplish all this with our simple-to-use blogging tools.


You don't have to be a numbers geek like me to find all sorts of interesting information. If you've got a report and you need some hard data to back your position, Swivel would be the place to start to give you that edge over everyone else. Let me know your thoughts as you try this site out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Only 106 Shopping Days ...

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Walking through Wal-Mart has a way of making you think about money (or the lack thereof). Nothing says "Happy Holidays" better than seeing Christmas decorations up on display four months ahead of that fateful day. Yes, I realize that they are just trying to compete with the snootier stores who put up their decorations right after the Fourth of July. This is referred to as "elegant foresight". Yet, if I leave my Christmas decorations up until after May, I'm referred to as "lazy". Anyway...

Wal-mart's elegant foresight has remind me of what I've got to do -- earn more money while trying to find some really good deals on presents. Woe be it that I don't do my patriotic duty and deny some American the privilege of standing knee-deep in tinsel and wrapping paper on Christmas Day. Who am I to not give them the opportunity to utter those heartfelt, holiday words, "Is this all I got?"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

New York Lawyers

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If going to law school is so difficult and expensive, why are there so many lawyers? I've heard that there are more New York personal injury lawyers per person than there are rats per person in New York. Not that I'm trying to give rats a bad name. After all, I know that rats aren't the reason that the wheels of justice turn slow.

Still, there are reports that an incompetent lawyer can delay a trial for months. Whereas a competent lawyer can delay a trial for even longer.

Too bad they couldn't delay their bills as easily.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Skin Care or Skin That Cares

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If you take real good care of your body, how does your skin show its appreciation? Does it care enough to get you a thank you card? Would such a card or present be considered a "skin care" product?

Seriously, it is important to take good care of yourself, especially as you get older. Go ahead and spend a little money on some skin care products. Make sure you wash and scrub your body thoroughly. And, if you're wrinkly enough, a good ironing never hurts now and then as well.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Antique ... Lovers?

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Sometimes I think I must be mentally warped. Yesterday I walked into the middle of a conversation as someone mentioned "antique lovers." Two thoughts immediately came into my mind. One was an image of very aged, Century furniture, weathered and well seasoned from use and time. The other thought was, "What a great title for a porn flick about elder people!" Naturally, the movie would be a very slow moving work. Hmmm, if we throw in some old, creaky furniture and we might have something .... maybe more horror than erotic...

Monday, September 03, 2007

430 days later...

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430 days ago, I hooked my blogs up with PayPerPost. Today I made it in their postie lottery known as "blog of the day." Amazing! This is a shock since usually the "blog of the day" is someone who just signed up within the last few milliseconds. But not today! Woo-Hoo!

My thanks goes out to a great fellow blogger, CyberCelt, who let me know about this honor! Yes, I probably don't deserve such an award. But I have bad eyesight and I don't deserve that either. So there you have it. If you're a first time visitor, I welcome you to my blog of sometimes outlandish thoughts. Look around, kick the tires, leave a comment or two so we can find out about your blog and maybe share this love.

I want to thank Bill Gates and the Department of Defense for this making this all possible. To Al Gore, thanks for nothing. Much thanks to the all people of PayPerPost for starting this daily event and to their programmers for the randomness algorithm. Much thanks to their parents for having them. Of course, thanks to my parents! After all, where would I be without their union? Certainly not blogging here. And to my teacher who said that computers were a fad, who's blog-of-the-day now, fat boy?! And I should thank the my ex and the thieves at the irs for providing the financial strain necessary to join PPP....

Friday, August 31, 2007

Living Large For A Moment

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My friend has finally lived the dream of his life. He rolled in to the city of sin and checked into Imperial Palace Las Vegas like a big-time spender. This is something he has wanted to do for a very long time. He hit it big too. He arrived there in his $8,000 car and came back home by way of a $50,000 bus. For some reason, he's lost his fondness of greyhounds now...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Free Form verses Review type posts

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There seems to be some confusion about what a free-form post is and what a review type post is. For example, if I were to do a free-form post on intranet software and link it to epazz.com, I might write about the adventures that I'm having at work as I develop a program to connect our production test equipment through our network. In contrast, if I were to write a review type post, my post would be focused entirely on Epazz's intranet program. In this case, I would probably write about their 30 day free trial of their software; how they seek to improve workflow through an effective collaboration and in-depth personalization to the end-user's level; and how the software is designed to easily integrate to all of an enterprise's backend systems. The difference is that in a review post, the advertiser dictates what point they want covered. In a free-form, the writer has a creative license about the topic.

So if you are an advertiser who would like to have posts written for your product or service, please know that there is a difference between a review and a free-form entry. Please make your request accordingly and thank you for your support.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Marriage Tactics of One Southern Woman

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Would you like to hear how a woman who is just under 5 feet tall was able to straighten out my friend, her 6 foot 6 tall husband? After a few months of marriage, my friend's wife began to realize that her husband wasn't quite as perfect as she believed him to be while they were dating. In fact, she discovered that he could be a downright slob at times -- his dirty clothes could be found strewn about the house, he drank straight from the milk carton and put the nearly empty container back in the fridge. As he put it, he was just short of marking his territory in the house. This blushing bride brought her concerns to his mother who told her that, as a new wife, she was going to have to get his attention right away "even if it takes hitting him upside the head with a frying pan."

The next day during dinner, this petite, patience, very passive wife talked about her concerns with large, loud husband who simply laughed it off as the mutterings of his "little woman". There is a limit to the patience of any good person. And his reaction simply infuriated her. She took the figurative advice of her mother-in-law literally and applied a fine piece of berndes cookware upside my friend's thick skull. When he came to, his new bride was nowhere in the house. She had in fact gone immediately to his mother, screaming "I think I killed him." The two women went straight back to the scene of the attitude adjustment and found my friend sitting in the kitchen, clutching an ice bag to the back of his head. He immediately apologized and said that he would change his ways. His mother added, "You gosh darn better!"

I am very happy to report that they have been married over 15 years now and have six children. My friend tells me from that moment on, he had a new found respect for his little bride. It's funny how a nonstick frying pan can cause some good things to stick.

He's Not As Bad As You Think

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He steps into the office with the swagger of a bad ass. His leather boots make ominous thuds as he walks down the hall. The chains on his leather pants and jacket jingle just enough to get your attention. His black shaded, tough guy, Wiley X sunglasses hide his eyes so that all you can focus on is a dark mustache riding atop a deep scowling mouth.

Of course we know better. Outside is a beat up AMC Gremlin, held together by bond-O and chicken wire. Inside, he removes his sunglasses to reveal deep wrinkles about his blood-shot eyes. His mustache is an unnatural shade of black for a man his age. His leather pants may have once held a cow but now they stretch to extreme limits to contain his gut. His dark boots are scuffed and dull with the soles threatening to walk away on their own accord if they could. Clothes don't make the man. The man makes the man.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Programming for Fun and Profit

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I have often heard that it is easy for programmers to make themselves indispensable to a company. Just keep your code cryptic and your documentation minimal if not, nonexistent. But these are just signs of a bad programmer and not of somebody that company could value.

Since I have never followed these ill-advised practices, perhaps that is why I am the only programmer left in my company. And now, my job function is in extremely high demand (though you never know how valuable I am from my pay raises, or lack thereof). So to try and make my job more accessible by the shrinking number of workers in our facility, I was able to convince my boss's boss to purchase a programming environment known as LabVIEW. Instead of writing thousands of lines of code and documentation, I can now drag and drop an icon of the function that I need. I can then draw a wire from the icon's inputs and outputs to that of other icons to create my program. Result is a picture that shows how the program flows in a way that almost anyone can understand. Amazingly, the size of the executable file has shrunken like a large person on a hoodia diet. So now I have a smaller, often times faster file that can be read and modified by someone other than me.

Now this doesn't mean I'm putting myself out of a job. Like any programming environment, LabVIEW has its own set of complexities and learning curve. But if I write my LabVIEW programs well with enough flexibility in them, someone else can be called to the floor to do the hand-holding that our production and sales often need. I can then spend my time more productively ... like looking for another job with a more appreciative company.

Fun With Toprol

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I hope that this drug, Toprol, is worth taking because its side effects have been something else. When I began taking it a few days ago, the doctor instructed me to take only a quarter of the tablet and to do so in the evening. An hour after taking my first dosage that night, I understood why he said this. It was like feeling a gentle fog roll in through my muscles and through my thoughts. Have you ever had dreams where it feels as though you're moving through molasses or, worse yet, you have a claustrophobic immobility? As this drug-induced fog became denser, I became a bit concerned those nightmarish dreams were going to take form in my waking hours. Fortunately it stopped and simply became a slightly euphoric but overwhelming tiredness. In addition to that, my dreams have been nothing short of bizarre when I release myself to the world of sleep.

I am supposed to increase the dosage to a half of a tablet in a few days. But in reading more about the drug on WebMD, I've discovered that I can't suddenly stop taking it. Yet, while that tired euphoria isn't all that bad, it doesn't appear that I will have to seek addiction treatment because of the medicine. So to make sure I can stop taking Toprol, I'm changing my diet and habits. Time will tell how well all of this will work out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Virtual Pain

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More and more, virtual worlds like Second Life are mirroring the real world. For example, a Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducting a concert in the Second Life world. Tickets are on sale as you read this. Major car companies like Ford and Toyota have set up presence in these virtual worlds to sell virtual cars to virtual people. You can even buy real estate, which I think should be called fake estate or fantasy estate. But it is for sale when you transfer your real money into the virtual tender. There are even some greedy government officials (including those in the United States) who are considering taxing the transactions in these worlds with bills to be paid in real-world money ... naturally.

Where is this all going? I don't know. I guess I don't understand the idea of grinding away for 10 to 12 hours at my real-world job, only to come home and spend a couple more hours doing the same thing in a virtual world ... because it's fun? If I have my choice between this and a prickly heat rash, I am going to have to choose the latter, less painful option. But then, that's just me.

My Children Grew Up Too Quickly

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One day my children were just learning to walk. And then I blinked and found my two oldest children in their 20s and my youngest in high school. I still love them even though they are older but I miss those carefree days of when they were little. They had a way of brightening up whatever room they were in. And not only because they wouldn't turn off the lights. They were, and still are, a joy to be around.

I was reflecting on this as I went through boxes of books and toys that they had as young children. There were old Dr. Seuss books, their favorite stuffed animals, and a box with kids bedding and their sleeping bags of the Little Mermaid and of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While these sleeping bags have faded over time, my memories of my children camping out in them are vibrant in color and sound. It's as if everything happened yesterday. So it will be with a touch of deep sadness as I give some of their old childish possessions to Goodwill. But they've grown up now, which is a good thing. Who wants kids that have grown sideways? I have learned a lot of things from them -- like patience ... and that the thirstiest child is the one who just went to bed. I may be getting rid of a lot of unwanted toys, but I'll still have lots of fond memories of my children until the day I die.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

CCA

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Have you ever wondered what happens to all those commercials that are on your TiVo, your replay TV, and your DVR? You know, those annoying wastes of valuable television viewing time; the ones that you zip through to get to the good stuff. Well, hold on tight to your remote because I think I have an idea who's time has come. How about a business that will pay you for all those commercials that you've collected on your recording devices? That's right, I'm talking about a commercial collection agency! After all, you are renting that equipment. And all those TV ads are taking up space on your equipment without paying you so much as a dime. It's time they paid their way instead of coming into your home and freeloading off your recording devices and your electricity. Would it be great if you could get rewarded because of a show's commercials? Of course, this may be difficult to do with QVC since it is ... commercial free? ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Wild And Crazy Bathroom

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I have a friend who is remodeling his bathroom. He could do it the easy way and just throw in some fixtures from the hardware store, slap a coat of paint on the walls and ceiling, and dangle a couple of frilly towels on the towel rack. But noooooooooooo! He wants to do it in a 70s theme.

Imagine this. Instead of normal bathroom lighting, he's installing a disco ball. Actually, this complements the slick tub that he's installing very well. When I say "slick", I'm not referring to something sophisticated. I'm talking about a tub that is so slippery, you look like you are doing Travolta's dance from "Saturday Night Fever" as you try not to slip and bust your butt. "Stayin' alive, stayin' alive, ah ah ah ow!"

For bathroom faucets, he is installing the Farrah Fawcett line of fixtures -- very blonde, very poofy, and a pearly white design around the opening. (It makes me wonder what my friend has tapped into.)

The toilet is done in shag carpeting. Not the seat cover -- the entire toilet!

His hand towels are a odd shade of peach. He said it was called "impeach peach", which would explain the inscription on the towels "I am not a crook". He said he wanted to make sure that his guests didn't get any ideas about his towels.

At this point, I'm rather worried about him. He still has several ideas about this renovation that scare me. But, if you are a brave soul, I'm sure he would have no problem showing them to you if you were to boogie on down for a visit. I'm also sure that you will find him to be one wild and crazy guy...

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Go Ahead, Buy Me Stuff

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A few posts ago, I happened to mention that I don't usually wear a lot of bling. Just in case some of you are getting together to buy me lots of expensive jewelry, please don't let my previous post change your plans. I have no qualms about wearing shiny pieces of metal and glittery rocks. I bet I even look great wearing a large gold chain with large gold letters that spell out my name. (You never know when I might forget who I am and need a little reminder.) In fact, I don't mind wearing something around my neck that is worth more than my head. So if you're considering buying expensive trinkets to improve my looks or to distract from my hideous flaws, please do so as soon as possible. And thank you for your support!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Poker - Alexia Style

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I don't know what to make of my Alexia scores. I bet if I sat at all the poker tables in the world, I would do better than I am at this stupid popularity contest. A couple of months ago, my score was under 150,000. Today, I am up to over 206,000. This means that there are 206,000 sites with more alexia visitors than this blog. But so what? The Alexia group is a tiny fraction out of the millions of travelers on the Internet. Yet, one of the pay-you-for-blogging companies uses this flawed metric in divvying out their opportunities. Apparently, if the number of non-alexia visitors to your site continually increases, that is not important. But then, it's all a game, isn't it. In poker, you can increase your luck with a little skill. But this Alexia nonsense has as much skill as playing a roulette wheel. Perhaps it's time to fold ...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fun Of The Inflatable Kind

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Have you ever had one of those guy friends that seem to do nothing but constantly brag about their bedroom conquests? (I'm sure that it's not always about the furniture. I want to believe that sometimes women are involved.) One such friend was about to celebrate his birthday a few months ago. And being the good friends that we are, we weren't about bring his birthday down with any sentimental gift. That's the kind of friends he has. But we couldn't go out and get him an inflatable woman. We had no doubt that he already had several to begin with. Then, one of us had the bright idea of going through an animal inflatable catalog. It was a brilliant idea! So for his birthday, he got his very own inflatable sheep. A few weeks later we asked him how he liked it. He sheepishly said that it wasn't too baa-aa-ad.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trucker is a .... Lady?

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Well, I know this "woman" who believes that she is God's gift to mankind. With her new job as a trucker, she's started covering herself in makeup to accentuate her femininity. Femininity? The only decent rack that she has is on her truck! Have you ever heard the expression "putting lipstick on a pig?" She's not only using lipstick by the barrel full, but she's applying every pencil and powder that there is in existence. In a vain attempt to catch the eye of some unsuspecting soul, she has resorted to heavy usage of eye liner. She's even into heavy usage of truck bed liner to make sure that her intentions come across. I shudder to think what those intentions might be. If you see her ... Run! Hide! Rip your eyes out! You'll thank me later!

What Do I Wear?

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I have never been a guy that had to cover his body in bling. I felt that I wasn't coordinated enough to make the light dance off my jewelry and blind that pretty girl that I wanted to go and talk with. You know, the old come-out-of-the-sun- and-surprised-'em-before-they-had-a-chance-to-run maneuver. Nope, nothing shiny on this unassuming dude. The less attention that I draw to myself, the better. I have enough embarrassing moments as it is without attracting more onlookers.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Is There A Doctor In The House?

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The Internet is a great source of information, yet I'm having a difficult time using it to find a decent doctor. And, in keeping with my previous post, I do need to find a good physician. You know, someone who didn't cross their fingers when they took the Hippocratic's oath. A professional that doesn't keep you waiting hours after your scheduled appointment. An astute person that has competent diagnostic skills instead of someone that has instant assumptions based on the first couple of words out of your mouth. Someone who doesn't think that "virus" is Latin for "your guess is as good as mine." Does such a qualified physician exist?

With the thousands of doctors across the country, you'd think that there would be some form of consumer rating system. There are a few medical websites. But since they want you to buy a membership first, I have no idea if they offer the service that I'm looking for. I guess I'm going to have to use the tried and true method of opening the phone book, picking a doctor at random, and then calling him to ask, "Who do you see when you're sick?"

Remember This Charity Walk for Alzheimer's

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I was reading that three things happen to you as you age. First your memory starts to go. Next there is...um, well, I seem to forgotten the other two. Lately it seems that my memory isn't quite as reliable as it used to be. I don't know if it's just the stress of these past few years taking their toll. But at times it's been embarrassing, if not downright scary, when I find myself forgetting the name of someone I've known for several years. There may be a bright side if this trend continues. One year I may find that I can hide my Easter eggs and, a few moments later, have the thrill of trying to find them. I'm trying to laugh about these recent bouts of lapses in memory. Yet, in the back of my mind, there's a small fear that grows slightly with each incident of forgetfulness. That fear goes by the name of Alzheimer's.

It wasn't until 1901 when a German psychiatrist, Alois Alzheimer, documented the first case of this disease that now bears his name. In the hundred years that followed his initial case study, we have learned more about this debilitating disease. It is much more than just occasional forgetfulness. The onset of the disease also shows up as a difficulty in orienting yourself in space -- such as walking down the aisle in the grocery store. As Alzheimer's progresses, there is a marked deterioration in short-term memory. A person will also begin to become disoriented in areas they used to know so well. At this point, there can be noticeable changes in the behavior of the afflicted, such as violent outbursts or extreme passivity.

While the symptoms and the causes of Alzheimer's are better known today, there still isn't a cure. To help in the research, I want to direct your attention to a nationwide Fundraising event. Set for the Autumn of this year, this vital charity walk is in need of our support. Please go to this site and type in your zip code to find the nearest memory walk in your area. I encourage you to sign up as a team captain for this very important function while it is still early. It is quite possible that the memory you help to save may be your own.

Everything Will Be All Right

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This is the first weekend in a several that I spent by myself. Yesterday I was able to spend uninterrupted hours tending to troubling concerns that I've been putting off. I guess that's what led to disturbing dreams in the night. Yet, this morning as I sipped my coffee and looked out over the yard, I suddenly found myself having a distant memory from happy time in my childhood. Maybe it was the way the sunlight danced on the leaves of the trees. Maybe it was the way the cotton candy clouds drifted nonchalantly across Carolina blue skies. Whatever the reason, I was immediately overcome with a feeling that everything was going to be all right. It wasn't like the feeling of hope that I had when I got my divorce last year. It wasn't like the feeling of relief earlier this year when my congressman said that he would help me straight out a major mistake made by the IRS. In back of both of those feelings were nagging doubts that things could still turn out for the worse. (And unfortunately, time and events certainly haven't done anything to lessen those doubts.) So this morning's unexpected sense of well-being was very welcomed. For the moment, I'm content to let this warm calmness bathe a very tired psyche...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Garden Of My Life

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Lately, as I walk through my own particular garden of life, I seem to be stepping in a lot of manure. I say "manure" because of the positive connotations of the word. Even though I feel like I'm wading waste deep in the muck of past decisions, I'm hoping that happier times are being fertilized for future cultivation. Either that or I'm just a blooming idiot and am reaping what I unwittingly sowed. (Note to self: start using an industrial-strength pooper scooper more often.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Beating The Cubicle Game

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A few years ago at work, I was being bounced from one cubicle to another. It is extremely difficult to develop test equipment and write code when you're having to set up and tear down your tools every few months. So when an office in a remote part of the plant became vacant, I quickly became a stealthy squatter. The office was ideal because it had whiteboards covering one of the long walls. And instead of one of those small office desks, the room held one of those large conference tables. I spent the next few months quietly moving my books, test equipment and computers into my soon-to-be new home. And, before anyone noticed, I had a new permanent base of operation. Since then, many of my colleagues have had to either move within the plant a few times or move outside the plant because they were laid off. But I'm still in my little hiding hole in the back of the plant. Maybe they forgot about me.

I'm Back From my Training

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Well, I just finished a week long training course for LabVIEW software at a community college on the coast of North Carolina. The classes were held in a air-conditioned trailer on the college campus. While I wasn't expecting the room to be filled with fancy office furniture, I was pleasantly surprised by the ergonomic table and chair arrangement for each student. I didn't notice this comfortable arrangement in classrooms that were inside the college building. So I am very appreciative of where I had to plant my body during this grueling course.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Banks at The Outer Banks

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I imagine that there are several financial institutions located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. So I was wondering if it matters which side of the Outer Banks these places are located. I mean, let's say that there is a "Bank of America" is on the Atlantic side. Would you refer to them as the Outer Outer Bank bank (probably located near Chitty Chitty Bang Bank)? If there is a RBC Centura on the North Carolina side, would you said that they are an Inner Outer bank? I'm tempted to call one of them to find out if they are indeed an Innie or an Outie. My luck, I will get an employee who won't appreciate my inquisitive nature. While they may have lint inside their establishment, I'm sure I will be curtly reminded that they are a bank and not a belly button.

Michael Jordan, Who?

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Is it my age or just a simply ignorance of youth these days? While I was in a store a few days ago, I overheard two children talking. One child ask, "Who is Michael Jordan?" The other answered by saying, "You know, the guy that does sneaker and underwear commercials."

Now I know that Air Jordan sneakers are the rage. Yet here is a man who once was known all over the world for his basketball greatness, his attempts to do the same with baseball, his NBA championship "three peat", a retirement "three peat" and a movie with Buggs Bunny. So how does his reputation become lost on today's youth? His accomplishments are as recent as 2003! Is fame that fleeting...?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Slow Wireless Router

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Are you using a wireless router in your home? Have you noticed times when your speed seems to drop to a snail's pace for no apparent reason? Well, here is something that you might want to check out. If you have a microwave oven in your home, how close is your wireless router to it? I've seen some spectrum analysis that shows how microwave ovens blast through the frequencies used by wireless routers. Since the 2.4 GHz band is unregulated, there is a myriad of devices using that frequency. So there is also a chance that your cordless phone and any other wireless devices (such as speakers and headsets) are interfering with your wireless router. Just thought I'd pass along to you...

Radar Detectors

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If the public radio airwaves are in fact public, then why is it that a few states have made owning radar detectors illegal? The only reason that I can imagine that would justify such un-American legislation is so that these governments can maximize their coffers. So what other options do we have?

Many years ago while in the Air Force, I worked on aircraft navigational systems which included various radar systems. I had the privilege of working with people much smarter than I am. One such gentlemen spent his spare time going beyond radar detection for cars to radar jamming devices. In one experiment, he borrowed a radar gun from his buddy who was in the military police. Unfortunately, my friend's jammer didn't jam his buddy's radar gun. Instead, my friend's device ended up frying the gun.

Anyway, I'm not saying that you have to resort tactics such as jamming. It's just too bad that we couldn't jam thievery posing as law.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Alexa Score has Flatlined

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Ever since day 94 of the Alexa Project, my score has bounced around the 180,000 mark. Day 94 is May 16th. So with no further drop in my score after two months, it's sad but safe to say that my site has reached a plateau in terms of Alexa popularity. I wonder if anyone else in the Alexa Project has experienced the same?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

LCD Revolution

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Part of my job at work involves testing LCD monitors for automotive applications. The technology in these monitors has changed incredibly fast over the past two years. A couple years ago, my 14 inch ViewSonic monitor was almost $400. Today, I can buy a 20 inch ViewSonic for $200. This is nothing in comparison to what will hit the marketplace in the next six to 12 months. This past spring, I read a couple of papers on new manufacturing techniques that make LCD monitors even cheaper and longer lasting than they are today. There's a good chance that will have some great deals on monitors around Christmas time. Stay tuned!

It's That Time Of The Month Again

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I'm feeling a little irritable today. Yes, it's that time of the month again when my little friend arrives. Now I'm not making fun of my postman because he's short. I just dread the monthly flow of credit card statements that will arrive over the next few days. I know they're coming. My bank accounts starts looking a little bloated as it retains cash that I could be using for trivial items like food and gas. At least it's not as bad as some of my friends who have school loans. A couple of them are trying to relieve the cramping in their budget with student loan consolidation. Regardless, we're all going through the same situation -- working hard to make sure that we don't come up late for the month. I hope that you've never experienced the fear and worry that comes with a missed payment period.

Oh well. I know I'll make it through this. A week from now I'll be back to my old self. For now, I'll just put a hot water bottle on my bank book and keep myself in check.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dave is Gone

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It's sad when you don't appreciate someone until they're gone. And Dave is gone. Not dead, just gone on to a more rewarding job that is much closer to his family. If you were to meet him, you might think that he has ties with the mob by the way he walks and talks. But that was just the way Dave is. Once you got beyond his gruff exterior, you discover a man who do almost anything for you. For instance, although I'm not a golfer, he would bring his golf clubs for me to use when the company used to have golf tournaments.

Anyway, I worked with Dave for almost 13 years. And now that he's gone, I'm just beginning to realize how much of an important buffer he was between the company's president and its employees. Our morale has never been lower. And I'm wondering if it's partly due to Dave not being around here anymore. Dave's gone and it shows.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

a disappointing package

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The moment I arrived home today, I was greeted by a happy UPS guy. Not the same as being greeted by a loving puppy but the fact that he had an unexpected package for me made me feel very happy just the same. That is until I got inside and opened this cardboard box of a surprise. Inside I discovered a box of ... female vitamins? A quick glance at the invoice slip and I learned that my ex had ordered these. While the invoice has her current home address, there was a second label on top of the original shipping label on the box. I have no idea why the vitamin company overlaid her home address with a label addressed to my home.

Now, that me say that I am glad that she is ordering something healthy. Although a box of Tenuate diet pills would certainly help her more. But that's not my worry any longer. And I shouldn't worry about this misdirected shipment either. Still, I can't help but wonder what is going on.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

related musical forms?

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I'm working to remember and relearn all the drumming techniques that were once at my command. To this end, I'm listening to a wide range of music. Yesterday, while I focused on the heavy thrash metal songs, I had an epiphany about how closely this style is to another form that is completely unrelated. If you take a song from, say, Metallica, throw in a tuba, an accordion, and a voice that didn't sound like someone gargling moist phlegm, you would have a polka tune! Granted, the words wouldn't be as uplifting as you'd expect but the fast paced beat is certainly there. Just an observation. I don't expect Metallica to be releasing an album of "by golly", "you betcha'" polka tunes any time soon ....

Monday, July 02, 2007

There Is Help...

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It is amazing to what people get hooked on: alcohol, uppers, downers (nothing worse than a drunk on a flight of stairs). Then we go from pushers to pushers and pullers -- you know, people that addicted to the physical abuse of being pushed or pulled. Some of you wake up with the single purpose of being pulled from your bed and then dragged every which way for the rest of your day. What kind of life is that? Fortunately, there is help for those of you who want relief from being dragged about. There are "drug rehabs". "Drug" -- past tense. Because as recovering pull-ees, you know that no one will ever "drag" you again. Unless they're a guy with a preference for dresses and high heels. But that's another post ....

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Baseball versus Cricket

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I have watched both baseball games and cricket games. And I have to tell you that I'm much more motivated to buy baseball tickets than I would for a cricket match. Yes I know that cricket is very slow to watch. But I also know that a baseball game will end within my lifetime. Besides there is nothing like the smell of pine tar and resin, the taste in the air of grass and dirt --- and that's just the hot dogs. You certainly won't find that at any cricket game!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dear Mom, Guess what....

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A couple of my good friends got to go on a well deserved vacation last week. But when they returned home, I know they weren't expecting the drama that their 18-year-old daughter had in store for them. Even though they want her to be independent, they been doing everything they can to help her with her college and with her own car. I don't know how that's going to fare now. When my friends arrived home, their daughter told them that she is pregnant. While there will be no need for a paternity test, there's no comfort in knowing that the soon-to-be father isn't going to very helpful with this new life. In any case, my friends are moving their daughter back into the home. This is one adventure I wish that they didn't have to go through.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dealing With Weighty Matters

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I don't know what has happened over these past couple of months. Somewhere in the midst of my added work load, the rise in my daily stress, the frustration of certain events in my life, the cessation of my exercise regiment, and fast food becoming my main diet --- somewhere in the all of that, 15 pounds snuck on to my body! WHAT HAPPENED?! Great! Now I need to add weight loss to my laundry list of things to do right away. NO, not 'weight loss', rather 'weight management.' We spend enough time worrying about losing keys, children, and relationships. And when I clean my house, I don't think about in terms of dirt loss. So, there you have it --- weight management.

So how am I doing to do this? Last week, a good fellow blogger of mine (Andrew) told me that he had just put online a health site that relates to weight control. That's when I check my poundage and discovered that mother earth must love me more because she's certainly pulling harder on me. Anyway, I'm going to start with Andrew's program. It's only three steps that are very common sense and very easy to do ... and free. To monitor my progress, I going to record my weight AND my waist. Sometimes your weight doesn't reflect that fact that you've removed fat and replaced it with muscle. However, by measuring the circumference of your waist, legs and arms, you can get a better indication of your progress. So I am starting today at 189 pounds and 39.5 inches. A goal to remove one to two pounds of fat each week is realistic. By using Andrew's method that he outlined on his site, I believe my weight reduction is very doable. When you visit his site, please let me know what you think! I'll post my progress here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dog and Pony Show

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To make themselves even more money, the big boys in the front office came up with a new policy a few months ago. The air conditioner for the plant can only run between 7 am and 3:30 pm during the week days. Of course, this belt-tighten measure doesn't effect the A/C for the front office where the big boys reside.

So here we are, in the midst of a hot, muggy North Carolina summer. The folks in the plant swelter for much of the day. It has gotten so bad that fans have begun appearing all over the production floor. Thank goodness, the big boys are saving money from their A/C policy. I don't know how they would pay for the electricity used by those fans.

We did get a reprieve last Friday as we walked in a deliciously cool work environment that morning. Of course, we knew why. This was the day for a grand dog-and-pony show --- potential buyers of the business would be touring the facility. In the front office, a feast for a king had been laid out. I'm surprise they didn't have bowls of goodies throughout the plant so our visitors would think how well the employees were being treated. Of course, the big boys probably would have had the bowls filled with premium dog food but that's beside the point.

It's amazing how happy and productive you can be when you're working in comfort. But that doesn't seem to matter to the powers-that-be. A minute after the last visitor left the building, the air conditioning for the plant was immediately shut off and we were soon reminded that it is summer time. I guess the big boys felt that they had spent enough money for one day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Credit Card Racket

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All I wanted when I called my credit card company was a lower interest rate. They had just sent a letter saying they were going to raise my rates. Why? Is it because my credit score is too good? Maybe it's because I've never missed any payments. Maybe they don't like the fact that I have paid balances down low.

When I finally got a representative on the phone, they wouldn't give me a yes or no answer right away. They put me on-hold to do "research". While waiting, I had to listen to a couple of sales pitches. One was for a form of term life insurance and the other was loss-of-job insurance. I don't know about the loss-of-job insurance, but I do know that there are much better term insurance companies than what the credit card companies offer. After I listened to this mindless spiel, the rep came back on the phone and asked me if I wanted to sign up for the programs. I said no because the whole point of my call was to save myself some money, not increase my payments. But maybe that was the wrong answer because they said they couldn't reduce my interest rate at this time. All I can say at this moment is that they won't have my business much longer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

hair today, gone tomorrow

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Lately, several of my older male friends are complaining about their increasing baldness. I've told them that it's just a matter of their forehead out-growing their hair but that doesn't seem to help matters. So here is my explanation of baldness.

First of all, not only does hair grow out from the head, but the follicles grow into the skull as well. After a time, these hair roots reach the brain and begin absorbing the ol' gray matter. This is why your hair turns gray. The amount of brain material that one has determines how long this process continues. Once a follicle runs out of brain cells to feed on, the hair dies and falls out --- hence, baldness.

Some guys take this all in stride. They'll polish their chrome dome and take time to reflect on their circumstances (sometimes blindingly so). Others will resort to wigs, hair transplants (in fact, let me get a plug in for a hair doctor: Dr. Larry Shapiro. Pun intended) and spray paint. Still others let their eyebrows grow incredibly long for that "comb back" look. As for me, I'm not worried. Just because I'm going gray doesn't mean anything. Although my head has started feeling a little lighter lately and it has become harder to remember things. In any case, the best advice for avoiding falling hair is to simply stand out of its way...

Monday, June 11, 2007

What Can I Say About Today!

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Ever had one of those Mondays when you wonder why you got out of bed? As you drive to work, you hear a strange noise coming from your car. You drop your precious vehicle off at the garage and later learn that the funny noise is a serious $300 to fix. At work, the project that your boss told you months ago to not worry about has suddenly become elevated to crisis status and due ... last week! At lunchtime, you realize that you didn't put your lunch into the refrigerator at work ... mainly because you left it on your kitchen counter top at home. As you drive home, the "gasoline low" light comes on. What?! Did those guys at the garage drive to Europe and back? You put in a gallon's worth of gasoline. You'd put in more but that was all the change that you were able to scourge from your car. Thank goodness you didn't clean it over the weekend!

This was pretty much my Monday today. And as I pulled into my driveway after this long, mentally taxed day, I noticed that my carport door was slightly ajar. Since there have been a few random break-ins throughout the neighborhood, I thought that I would be in for a fitting close to this Monday. Instead, much to my surprise and delight, I found a box addressed to me courtesy of PayPerPost.

I couldn't get into the house quick enough. As I opened this unexpected teal colored box, my weary, dark mood became one of excitement and curiosity. What did I find inside? Well, first of all, there were these peppermint mints. Since I was already starving, I almost consumed the entire container. (I may be passing minty fresh gas for the next week or so now.) I also discovered that PayPerPost had given me the finger. Not the one that you would associate with a rough Monday. But one of their green, oversized "we're number one dollar" fingers. Then there was the T-shirt brick that announced to the world "I used to be a stripper". (Yeah, right. If you ladies want a video of me shaking my moneymaker, send me a dollar and I'll send you a video you won't forget. My G-string accepts PayPal.) There was also this tin of a green, sticky goo. Since it was past dinnertime, my first thought was to check the forgotten recesses of my refrigerator. I was wondering what to do with the green glob when I saw the final goodie contained within this PayPerPost package of pleasure. It turns out that I was one of the lucky 100 posties to receive a "Best of" double CD collection of The Police! So you know what happened next. The preparation of dinner and this post were spent jamming to the collective groove of Sting, Summers, and Stewart. OH YEAH!

So what day is this today? It can't be Monday. Something good happened. Thank you PayPerPost!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Toward Paperless Banking

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At one time, I would write over 150 checks a year. Until a few years ago, that meant getting a fat envelope from my bank. No money inside, just a statement of my transactions and all the checks that I had written for that month. These days we're moving closer to a paperless society. Your bank will send you a monthly statement and nothing else.

Our checks have disappeared through the process of accounts receivable conversion. You haven't lost proof that you wrote a check. The banks are simply making an electronic image of your document while turning the check into a debt transaction. On your statement, your bank may label them "automated checks" or "authorized transfers" or simply "ARC". In any case, this is just the banks effort to speed up the transference of money. Instead of taking weeks for a check to clear, now it's just a matter of hours. Of course, there is an even faster way of transferring funds than electronic banking. It's called marriage.

some of you are too serious

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I recently made a tongue-in-cheek post about promoting the rights of plants. After receiving some e-mails about it, a couple of you took my article a lot more seriously than I intended. So let me state here and now that I have friends who are animal rights activists, who are vegetarians, and some who are a little of both. That post was not meant to be disparaging to either group. OK? The only point I was trying to make was ... well, why don't you read it and tell me what you think?