Sunday, April 30, 2006

Back home again

The trip out west wasn't nearly as fun this time as Anaheim was. Even though I had company, which was great company, I just wanted to be home more. Plus the training itself was no good.
I had a good weekend though; the kids all welcomed me home with open arms. This was my weekend with Jonas, but it wasn't nearly enough time. Because my flight didn't get back until so late on Friday I didn't get Jonas until 11 AM on Saturday, and Sunday he was back on his way home. We had a good time while he was there, and spent probably more time than normal snuggling. That's something that's going to get harder and harder for me. He's only 4 so he doesn't mind that now, but as he gets older I'm going to have trouble dealing with having him for a weekend that he doesn't want anything to do with me. Hopefully I can keep things interesting enough for him that we never have that problem. I just need to be the cool dad that plays baesball and basketball and soccer and whatever else it is that he likes, so we can spend that time together doing things.

The wedding is now less than two weeks away. I'm starting to get nervous about having everything ready for it. Erin and I are going this week to get our marriage license, and to get the food. We are going on Sunday to discuss with her mom how we are going to set the yard up. And there are other non-wedding things going on too, so it is going to be completely crazy for the next two weeks. Then things will slow down a tad, but not much. We have a very busy summer planned. I can't really say that it will ever slow down, but I'm hopeful that somewhere around September it will start to slow down. Until then I'll at least have a lot to write about.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Funny Commercials

I was just sitting here watching TV and a commercial came on that I thought, that is so funny.

Then I started making fun of it.
Have you seen the commercial where the guy wakes up to a sound of hammering and walks next door in his robe, pulls out a tube of glue and glues a piece of panneling to the wall for his neighbor? That's where I laughed. Then I started wondering, why does he carry a tube of glue in his robe? What is he using a tube of glue for while in bed? And who the hell does he think he is gluing a hammer to the ceiling? He's lucky it was a commercial, in my house he would have been knocked off the ladder and then I'd have beat him down (or at least kicked him while he's down).

The other commercial I like right now is the baseball commercial that lists reasons to watch baseball.
"They spend so much time carving those little bats out of trees. I'd go to the gym but it's closed until October". These are great. I would also like to see "because Baseball has to b's a's and l's", "It's America's past-time". "I've got this apple pie to eat", and finally "I can't play, so I may as well watch".

Wind power rant

Arguments against wind power annoy me. They aren't intelligent arguments and I hate that.

Here are the arguments and me countering them.
1. They are ugly.

  • I would much rather see a windmill than see smoke billowing from a chimney for coal powered plants or steam from Nuclear plants. People used to complain about the high voltage power lines too, but we've learned to live with that. I would much rather know that the energy I'm using is not also killing me at the same time.

2. They are loud.

  • I'll trade the volume from windmills for the air that I breath. Would you rather hear a windmill or would you rather have asthma from coal power plants?

3. Wind power is not constant and other power plants need to stay in action, so it doesn't reduce the emissions.

  • Wind power can be used to generate Hydrogen stores which can already be used with Fuel Cells. Fuel cells have been around since 1839. It works in large projects already, the problem is the cost with trying to make them small enough and powerful enough for vehicles. But we can already use them for power plants now. Also if batteries are created, we can use the Wind Power to recharge the giant batteries for storage that could then be used to power whatever. Furthermore. Houses themselves could have batteries at them to be able to store a day or two of power, and the house could run off of the battery partly and partly from the grid. This will allow the max drains of power to require less of a pull from the grid and we would need less power from the existing grid because houses are pulling power from their own batteries.
4. They are bad for migratory birds and bats.

  • So is smoke, smog and acid rain. Although those are also bad for the ozone, and everything else that is on the planet, not just birds and bats. I'll trade a few birds and bats to be able to keep the rest of the animals and the entire planet.

I'm mean

I am sitting in training with a computer programmer and he complains that the tool we are using enables the menu when you hit the Alt key. He wants to know if they can change that.

The trainer Fritz is stumped. He has this dumb look on his face and is curious what the issue is. You can tell just by looking at him.

I however am shocked. This is a programmer. I tried to stop myself, but my smart-assness was out of control. I responded with "That's a new feature of the Operating System that Microsoft recently implemented in Windows 3.1." His buddy starts laughing at him and I am the big man beating on the small man. I try to back down by giving him a softer landing. "Go ahead and open any other window and hit the Alt key and see what happens, you'll find that it's not just a problem with this tool".

I feel bad for demoralizing this guy, but he's been kind of annoying during training so far acting like he knows everything and I just couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't the right thing to do though, so although it was funny at the time to everyone else, it's not something that I'll keep doing.

Wow.

Lots of wow things in my mind right now, so I thought I would make a quick top ten list.
1. I ran for a 2nd straight day.
2. Training is going great, I get to daydream and look out a window all day.
3. This is my 201st post, I had no idea I was so prolific.
4. If you right hand is positioned one character to the left of where it should be on a keyboard and you go to type key, you get jet.
5. My wedding is less than 3 weeks away, I'm very excited.
6. My weight has gotten out of control on the high side, wow at the number, but not an exciting thing.
7. I am almost 30. Strange with my wedding so close at hand that this number is popping up in my mind more and more.
8. In this training class I am one of the least folically challenged (as Paul put it).
9. At 29, I'm older than all of the Tucson people in the class.
10. I watched 3 games online at the same time that I watched the Arizona Diamondbacks game on TV last night.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My addictive friend

Baseball on the internet is my addictive friend. Tonight has been a tough night for me, being away from my fiance and children. Granted listening to the kids have a rough night of their own on the phone earlier made me a little grateful that I wasn't there, but I still miss them, even their screaming. I would hope that with me at home they wouldn't have been screaming quite as much because I could ahve helped to calm them and reduce the amount of stress in the situation. That's not me saying that Erin didn't do great, just being hopeful that with me there it may not have been quite as bad. Besides I miss them. Mostly I miss Erin. It's now 10:30 at home and she's sleeping in bed with family guy on TV and I'm not there to hold her and laugh at the stupid jokes on it.

Instead I'm here watching the most addictive night of baseball ever. I've got two different web browsers open monitoring games while watching one on TV. Oh yeah, and I'm listeneing to some music on my computer and blogging. Hrmm... I wonder if one or two more things would be enough to fill this gaping hole in my night. I doubt it. I can't think of what else I could do. I miss Erin. go sox.

Change of plans

Well, tomorrow has changed already. I was planning on getting up early and going for a run then sitting in the hot tub to recover. Nothing helps me recover from a run like 10 minutes in a hot tub. Some of my best runs have been while I've been at a hotel that had a hot tub. I didn't run at all on my golf trip in Nashville because the Hot tub was closed. I don't know what I'll do here. I want to run, but after 10 minutes in the hot tub tonight, which would be better to be called the lukewarm tub. I won't be able to do it first thing in the morning. The hot tub doesn't open until 9 AM. Damn that sucks. Maybe the bathtub (although small) will have hot enough water for me.

A long day

Well, today started with the alarm going off at 4 AM. I was at the airport by 5:10 and on a plane at 6 AM. At 2 PM CST, I finally made it to Tucson, AZ. After a wait for my bag, the rental car and driving to the hotel we made it (we is me and a co-worker Paul K).

We got to the hotel and asked the time. Ahh, it's two hours behind, just 1 PM local. I was worried we wouldn't be able to check in, but the hotel already was prepared for us and let us in.

Then Paul and I did the most exciting thing yet, we went looking for where we are supposed to be. We drove and drove and drove. Finally we gave up with trying to find our work and just decided to eat. So where do a couple of Illinoisans eat in Tucson Arizona? Unos Chicago Bar and Grill. That's right, we like it where we live and we wanted a taste of home.

Now, I'm sitting in the hotel blogging and watching the Cubs game. I'm not a Cubs fan, I'm a baseball fan, but I still pull for the Cubs silently because it's a Chicago team, and I like to cheer for my hometown boys. Go Sox (first and foremost), Braves, then Cubs. That's the order I'll cheer for teams. I bought myself a Braves hat while I was in Atlanta on a layover this morning. I've wanted one for a long time and looked at the Hat World at Braves hats, but they are so expensive because they only sell the highest quality hats there. I just want a cheap Braves hat becaues I love the Braves (just not quite as much as the Sox). So for just $20 I got a Braves hat. Sadly I think it looks better on me than my treasured Sox hat. Now I'm in Arizona, I think I need an Arizona Diamondbacks hat now, since I'm in Arizona. It's like a thing with me (all of a sudden), after all, when I went to an Angels game last year in Anaheim I bought a hat there. Now I can expand on that collection. I think I'll save the Cubs for absolutely last though, I really don't want a Cubs hat.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Windows faster than OS X (Mac)

The Inquirer reported a study that has Windows performing almost twice as fast as Apple's OS X. I doubt that this will be the only study that proves it, at least now. Apple has taken advantage of the hardware that was in place with their OS (Operating System) to make it faster than Windows in the past. The change to Intel puts them on a new platform competing against Microsoft who has been developing against this platform since practically the beginning of time. It will take time, but I think that Apple will at least catch up. The no longer have their own proprietary setup to use to their advantage. It will be an interesting stat to keep my eye on.

US has good sex

I don't want this post getting lewd so I'll leave all personal comments out, but I found it interesting that a study shows a correlation between equality of men and women and satisfaction with sex.

It's amazing what people have time and money to study.

Oracle challening Microsoft?

Is Oracle ready to challenge Microsoft? I read yesterday Oracle was considering buying Novell, but then today I read that they have decided against it because purchasing an Open Source company does not also purchase the Intellectual Property.

Oracle wants to offer more Open Source solutions, but won't buy an Open Source company for lots of money because they can't get the Intelectual Property. That sounds like a contradiction. In fact that's why Microsoft is opposed to OpenSource. Heck that's why I'm opposed to open source. I consider the things that I think up to be important. And any significant improvements I could make to a system are worth money to me. I don't like the idea of giving my mind away, it's just too much of a socialist idea. That's why I not only am opposed to Linux, I don't have a distribution of it. I only have Microsoft products that are paid for and licensed. Ok, I also have licensed third party products, but I believe in and support capitalism in all its forms and I live by that belief. I don't just say that I do and then sidestep it.

However, this does show that Oracle is looking at the OS level and may be considering an OS optimized for Oracle to compete against Microsoft on the server level at least. And why not? It's a good capitalist thing to do.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wind farm in central Illinois

Right in my own backyard (not actually literally) there is a windfarm that is going to start going up soon. I'm excited. I'm a huge fan of renewable energy and I'm looking forward to taking a trip out to see the new windfarm. It won't be hard to either, because they are planning a visitor center.

First Meijer trip

Erin told me yesterday that I could not go to the new Meijer without her, so I did not go during lunch. Instead I went home, picked her and Jaden up and came back to town to shop at the new store.

Meijer was nice and clean and most of the aisles are big (some of the kids aisles are close together, just because they're kids clothes doesn't mean only kdis are in the department).

The place was packed. I parked as far away from the building as possible in the only open spot I saw. There were probably 2 dozen cars driving up and down the aisles waiting for parking spots to open. Inside wasn't much better. It took over 2 hours to get through the store and I was tired by the time we were done. There were some good deals on things that we needed as groceries anyway, so the prices probably made it worth it, but it was still tiring. Checking out took 20 minutes and every lane in the store was open.

The next light bulb

I read about this new light and was just amazed. This could be a replacement for flourescent bulbs, but actually be better lighting, and it sounds like it may be as cheap for the electric bills.

Google changes search again

Google has a bad joke. They put a Romance site up, but don't worry, it's just an april fools joke. Go ahead and click on the search to see what it says.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jaden sitting up.


Erin took a great picture of Jaden. I had to post it on my blog. Here he is sitting up by himself at 5 1/2 months. He can hold himself up for quite a while but he doesn't get there by himself yet. Last Friday he rolled over from his back to his belly for the first time and has been doing it a lot since. He's finally decided that he wants to be mobile.

Scarlet




Scarlet is starting to come into her own. She's a little more active and interactive. She definitely likes to be petted now, at least for very short periods of time before she walks away to play guard. She's very loving, but also likes to protect. Here's a few pictures of her showing her love for Jaden.

Jonas and Ady hitting a pinata



We had a lot of fun on Easter. Aunt Shel had some games the kids played before the Easter hunt. The funniest was probably watching them try to hit a pinata blindfolded.

Jonas gathering Easter eggs

Downstairs bathroom door.



Here are the before and after shots of my bathroom door.

Warren Buffett buying Russell

Warren Buffett has bought out Russell clothing. Everything this guy touches turns to gold. I'm interested in seeing what happens over the next 2 years with Russell athleticswear now.

Meijer Grand Opening

Ok, most of you won't care, but Meijer is opening a new store in Bloomington and today is the Grand Opening. I am thinking of running over there during lunch to see if there is anything exciting on sale.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon was run this weekend. A friend of mine ran and finished in a decent time. Knowing him, he won't be happy when he gets back to work on Wednesday, but this is the guy that inspired me to start running several years ago.

Paul Martin finished in 4:28:51. Not too bad for a 42 year old.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why Japan makes the best Hybrids

I was driving to work this morning thinking about hybrid vehicles. It's something that crosses my mind a lot. I started to wonder why it is that the Japanese are so far ahead of us in this area. Then an article that I read recently about IT spending crossed my mind. The article stated that IT shops genereally increase their spending in order to meet new regulations set by the government. I started to snicker at myself and asked why would I think that these are related. Then another article that I read recently popped into my head (I swear sometimes I have no idea what's going on in there) about the top 15 skylines in the world. Tokyo is listed here having a population of 32 million. Then another article about Japan saving energy popped into my head. All these separate things that I have read over the past few months finally came together to give me a Whack on the side of the head.

Japan has the best Hybrids because they are hurting for energy more than anyone. They are doing everything they can to save energy at every level. Not because of environmental concerns, which is the driving force in the US, but because of costs. They are hurting for cash and saving energy at every level will help them save the money. Interestingly, here in the US we could also be doing some of the same things to save money. We could not only reduce the overall pollution, but we could save money. The goverment uses some of the biggest most inefficient vehicles, and energy saving they have will put money into more worthy programs, or better yet, back in my pocket. Let's drop the temperature in the Capitol building by 10 degrees and see what we save. There are thousands of goverment buildings. Every city and state have their own. Let's work towards energy and financial savings as well as saving the environment. Then we may be able to get more people to help. And just as with IT spending, if the government pushes the auto industry, they will follow.

I also like the X-Prize method of raising reward money that a company does not get until they meet the criteria, similar to the Space Ship one rocket that won 10 Million last year for being the first commercial rocket that made it to 100 miles above the earth. Ah to dream of 250 MPG. I guess we are on the way though, Toyota already has a car it's claiming gets close to 100 MPG.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A worried White Sox fan

After blowing out the Indians on opening night my beloved Sox dropped 4 in a row. I was worried. We had already blown a lead of 6-0 to KC and the following day a lead of 3-2 to KC. They have followed it up with 2 striaght wins. 3 and 4 doesn't look so bad after 1 and 4. I would never have predicted this poor of a start, but it doesn't feel too bad right now.

I do worry that the sox are back to a home run hitting team. Small ball seems to have gone away just as quickly as it came. I hope they get their heads on straight and start doing all the little things right and not just hitting home runs.

New Watch

I finally broke down and bought a new watch. It's a cheap watch from Walmart. I ended up spending about $5 on it. I like the color, band size everything. I was ecstatic to find one that I liked this much for so cheap. I found out quickly why it was cheap. After less than an hour of wearing it, I went to check the time and the face is scratched. I'm now on day 3 for this watch and there are 4 very visible scratches on the watch face. That sucks because I like this watch so much. I wish there was some way for me to buff out the scratches; some kind of scratch away type of product. Oh well, I'll wear it as long as I can, I guess it will only cost $5 to replace.

Qualtiy time with Jonas

I've had some great quality time with Jonas this weekend. We spent some great time together playing, and picking up the house. We were working out in the yard Saturday, which was a lot of fun. He's been the biggest help around the house with everything. Setting the table, helping with dishes, picking up toys, He wants to do everything we do. He sits and watches us feed Jaden, he probably could even try to do that himself, if I wasn't so selfish and like doing it myself.

We also played guitar this weekend. I don't really play guitar, I only know a few chords, and I don't really know what I'm supposed to do with rythm, no matter what I'm doing I always seem to have the exact same rythm. I've got a lot of work left before I'm good enough on the guitar to play anything at all. Jonas on the other hand is getting an early start, maybe he'll be something great.

We've got so much more that I want to do yet this week. I want to get him outside every day if I can. He has a new bike to ride, and some baseball stuff from Christmas to break in, it would be easier if he could catch. Wednesday I am taking all the kids to get pictures, both as a group, and individual. I'm already telling myself not to freak out, because it will most definitely be the most expensive pictures I've ever bought.

Easter is just next weekend and we will have a party both on Saturday and Sunday (one for each family). I asked Jonas on Friday what Easter was about and he started telling me about the Easter bunny. I told him that Easter is also about a lot more though. It's about when Jesus came to life again. Then I started thinking about how difficult it was going to be to explain that to a 4 year old, so I simplified it. "Some bad people killed Jesus and he came back to life to save all of us so we can go to heaven. Easter is when he came back to life". Last night we were reading children's bible stories for bedtime and he wanted me to read to him about when the bad people killed Jesus, who is as big as God, according to Jonas. I decided to read him the story about the last supper first, tonight we'll cover the resurrection. The bible story book that we have is great. It's about 10 pages per store and they are really written well for kids.

Monday blog marathon

I've noticed that Monday's are my most prolific day. It's not that I don't have anything to say on weekends (my slowest time), it's that I'm usually too busy to spend time blogging, and I get caught up on things on Monday. For some reason, Monday is also my most mentally alert day of the week. I seem to always start off well on Monday's. Today doesn't appear to be any different. I have alrady had several posts and I have 6 or 7 more notes to myself of things that I want to post, even if they don't make it up here until later this week they were all started today. I wonder how I can get this level of creativity the rest of the week.

Laptops are getting dangerous

Laptop thieves descend upon wireless cafes. Apparently Laptops in public make for easy theft. More and more they are being targetted by thieves. It's an easy thing to steal. I've been out and even seen people leave them on a table unattended while they use the rest room or buy another coffee. I don't leave my car unlocked and I won't leave my laptop alone.

I guess there's a hidden call here for laptop anti-theft systems. GPS systems built into the laptop that can track where they are. Then when they are stolen a quick call puts the cops hot on the trail of the theif.

Gas prices up

As I'm sure you've seen gas has been going up
lately. I hate having to pay more for gas, and since my dad works for gas stations I thought I'd have a little chat with him about it. From my observations when oil goes up on the stock market, pump prices go up, even though the pump is not directly affected for months. When oil goes down, gas stays the same.

In my local community State Farm employs about half the town. On state farm payweeks, gas goes up about Wednesday and stays up through the weekend getting all the state farm people to pay higher prices for gas.

Then there are the freak incidents, a bombing in Africa or Venezuala for some reason the prices go up. I think too often the gas company uses the potential world turmoil to make a huge profit, and last years profits from all oil companies seem to agree with that.

So my conversation with dad mentioned these things and he said that they do seem to affect the pump, but right now they aren't the driving force. Right now, the refineries are switching over from winter blend gas to summer blend gas and that makes supplies dwindle, which raises prices (thanks to my junior high social studies teacher for teaching me about supply and demand). So every spring gas prices go up at a time that you wouldn't think they would, and they do it again in the fall to switch back. This just blew me away. Why would we have a different gas for the summer and the winter. Just have one that works all year long. We don't want these artificially inflated prices. 17 cents a gallon. I've been stuck buying close to 50 gallons at this inflated price myself, which is an additional $8.50. Right it's not much for just me, but it's a ton when you consider the amount of gas being purchased at these places daily. I went out and found a decent post about summer blend gas. I still think that a better combination could be found that would work for all year and prevent these artificial inflations. We need to reduce the number of different blends of gas to make the refineries more efficient and that will allow them to produce more of the gas that everybody needs. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all use the same gas everywhere?

A new fat loss method

There is a new kind of laser being developed that zaps fat. It basically disintegrates the fat while not harming the skin. This sounds a lot nicer than liposuction, where do I sign up?

Crap, it's not available yet, they are still working towards it. Well, I know what to start saving for.

High phone bills

In Malaysia a man was sent a $218 trillion phone bill.

And you thought your phone bill was high.

Hybrid Garbage Trucks

Hybrid garbage trucks are coming. This is one of those types of vehicles that I think needs major overhauls to. According to this article garbage trucks average 2.8 mpg, and there are 136,000 refuse trucks on the road each day. That's a lot of wasted gas. Sure there's a lot more cars out there but at least the cars are getting somewhat decent gas mileage. Plus the inneficient garbage trucks are what help raise our taxes and fees in cities to pay for these. Diesel vehicles are high polluting vehicles, and these poor gas mileage vehicles are out there adding a lot of smog to the big cities as well. I think a hybrid in this industry is extremely welcome. I also think that these should be the types of vehicles being targeted for fuel cells first along with the buses.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Home improvement coming soon.

We are getting ready to do some home improvements. Most of the tax return money was set aside to allow for working on the house. Today dad came over and helped me measure things out and we talked through what we are going to do. I need him to be here because he is a lot more handy around the house than I am. I do my best, but I don't have a lot of experience and I'm really slow at getting things done. I don't want the room to take 6 months to finish, so I need him to help me with everything. I'll start working on before, during and after pictures for everything so the progress can be seen. There's a lot that's going to be done this summer.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dumbells for your lungs

As someone who is fitness aware and has grown up with asthma these dumbells for your lungs are like a breathe of fresh air. Now if I can get them to ship it to the US. The site states that it's only available in the UK.

Home again.

What a weekend. It was a lot of fun. The golf was good, the company was great!
The drive was long. 15 hours in a car is more than enough for a 4 day weekend like that. Between golf and 4 guys watching sports we didn't do anything else. The past few years in Nashville we have gone somewhere, downtown or to the mall or something, but we just golfed and hung out playing games and watching games. A few beers later the weekend was over and I was on my way home.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Looking forward to coming home

This has been a long weekend. It was 85 degrees the first two days and I got sunburned. Monday was 60 and very windy. Strangely Monday was the best golf we played. With best-ball we played par.

Sunday night a major storm moved through the state and did lots of damage, but nicely didn't cause any problems here in Nashville, so we just slept a little late and plaed golf later in the morning on Monday than originally planned.

Now I'm ready to come home. Erin's ex-boyfriends dad died on Sunday and she's taking it pretty hard. This is my first experience with her and death, so I didn't know what to expect. Everyone reacts differently to death and I've seen a lot worse. At least it sounds like he passed peacefully.

The golf trip this year was a ton more fun than last year, and I'm already excited about coming again next year. I hope we do. Time for me to run back to the room and finish getting packed. When I left 30 minutes ago, the other 3 guys were sleeping.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Two days of golf.

Saturday was a long day. We all got up at 3 AM and drove down form Kankakee down to Nashville. It's a long 7 hour drive. We did stop for a quick breakfast from "The Waffle House" this has become a nice tradition for us. We've stopped at the same waffle house both coming down and going home for the past 3 years. It's interesting to stop in and see the same people working there. Even more interesting is that when they see us, they remember us and ask us about golf again. This year was probably the best drive down that we've had. Everybody was wide awake and telling stories that just made me laugh and laugh. I did more listening than talking, but it was still a lot of fun. After that long drive we played golf. I started out stiff and it didn't get much better. I wasn't the only one though, all of us were stiff and we all played a little sloppy. Somehow we managed to shoot 5 over par playing best-ball.

Saturday we were going to have a tee time at 8:20, but the weather at 7:30 said that there was a nasty storm coming, and it did. There was a lot of lightning and thunder which kept us off the golf course until closer to 10 AM. We played another 18 holes of golf and it worked out pretty well, we finished 3 over par playing best-ball again and it started to sprinkle on the last hole. Our timing was perfect. We loaded the clubs back into the van and made it back to the condo just before the rain hit. The next hour and half was torrential downpours. I don't think we could have asked for a more perfect break in the weather to be able to play a round of golf.

The 2 days of 80 degree plus sunny weather though has gotten my face and neck sunburned and is wearing me out. I fell asleep watching the Nascar race this afternoon and ended up with close to an hour long nap. I'm up and blogging now, but I'm still really tired. We've got some fun plans for the evening though and I look forward to whatever it is that we end up doing.