Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The New Nationals' Stadium

Here are a few shots from the new Nationals' Stadium.

The Running Presidents

Yes, it is indeed the running presidents. As you can see they come out of center field and race around towards the Nationals' dugout. George was in the lead for most of the race but Abe eventually caught up with George and won.

Nats Win, Nats Win!!

The Nats react to the single that won the game.

All tied at the end of nine, 1-1.

Here's how the extra innings went.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Nats had bases loaded with one out. They hit into a double play.

In the top of the 12th, Atlanta scores one run. Things don't look all that great. This was very much a defensive game with very little offense. I said just one run by either team could probably win the game. Atlanta is ahead 2-1. How would the Nats respond to Atlanta scoring?

In the bottom of the 12th, there is walk to start the inning. Then there is a single. Then what should have been a sacrifice bunt is instead an error and the Nats have the bases loaded again. The tying run is walked in so the bases are still loaded with no outs. This time no double play but a single to win the game.

It was a very exciting game too.

Celebrating a victory!

Lisa and Sue after the game.

Here we are enjoying a really great night.

A view from the new stadium.

Just about everyone's gone home.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday Treat

Here's a great way to start off a Tuesday with a couple of strips from Peanuts. Nothing gets a smile more in the morning. Enjoy and smile!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The iMacs Are Coming, The iMacs Are Coming

All I can say it is about time. I've been waiting for Apple to come out with a new version of the iMac since the start of the year. They finally got around to it today. Here are all the details.

They are really fast. And for once Apple wasn't stingy on the RAM. Also maxing out the RAM doesn't cost a fortune.

I have to get someone in to look at my air conditioning unit. If the repairs to that don't cost a fortune, I'll probably get a new iMac sometime in June. Maybe I'll give myself a really cool birthday present.

My old eMac is now five plus years old. It is starting to show its age. It takes a while for it load pages and open some programs. It really doesn't like to run any other program when I have Photoshop open.

I use Photoshop to size my pictures and do other changes to them. I'm slowly going through all of my London pictures. It takes a long time for the program to open and I can't open many pictures at one time. It will be nice to have a machine with some speed and power.

Of course in its day the eMac worked really well. But five years is a life time in computers and it is time to move on. I'm not sure what I'll do with the old one. I also don't know how all the programs I have will work on the new machine. I'm hoping InDesign and Photoshop will be fine which I think they will. Of course if they have problems, I'll have to buy the new creative suite from Adobe.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Credit Card Headache

This all started back on April 17. I got an e-mail from my credit card company saying there was suspicious activity on my account. I went to their web site and found some information on the transaction but not really enough to figure out what it was.

I ended up calling the card company. The charge was for $19.95 and was from the previous day. It was from telemarketing company. The card representative said the company contacted me. Well I hadn't ordered anything like that. The rep said maybe the numbers had been transposed because that does happen. But to be on the safe side she wanted to close out the account and issue me a new card. My main concern was if the merchants who automatically charged the card (Earthlink, Netflix and Results) would have any problems. The reps said no that the first charge would be honored but after I'd have to make sure that the company had the new card number.

This happened early on April 17.

I thought well isn't it great that they altered me to this problem. Nothing to worry about right. Wrong.

By Friday of this week I called the card company back to find out when the card was mailed and when to expect it. It took then until Monday, April 21 to mail out the card. It would take 7 to 10 business days to reach me. I said you've got to be kidding.

It also turns out that when a card is closed due to fraud the automatic charges are not honored. I found this out because I was contacted by Netflix saying there was a problem with my account. They had tried to charge my credit card and it had been turned down.

I called the card company again. I found out that I'd been given bad information about the honoring of automatic charges. I was also told that I would get the card in 5 to 7 business days not 7 to 10. I should probably get the card on Saturday or for sure on Monday. I was given the new card number.

I contacted Netflix to explain the situation to them. I said I had the new number but really didn't want to give it to them because I didn't had the card yet. The guy there said it wouldn't do any good because the card had to be activated.

I am not happy about this at all. I can't believe in this day and age that it would take almost a week to get another card out to me. There is no reason for this long of a wait at all. When people today have so many things automatically charged to their cards, it is imperative that you get a new card in a couple of days so you can inform your merchants of the change in the number.

I also don't understand why it took so long to mail the card out to me in the first place. The original call to the card company was before 7am on that Thursday but it takes until Monday to mail out the card.

The Netflix guy said I had 30 days to update my information. I went to Results yesterday to explain what was going on. They charge my account on the second of each month. I figure it is going to be a real close call on that one. They put a note in my account. I guess you get a $10 fee if the credit card is rejected but they'd refund that to me. I guess I'm grateful that I only have three accounts that do things automatically.

The added pain to all of this is that this is the only credit card I have. I was so proud of myself to getting down to just one card. This points out just how silly that is especially when getting a replacement card takes so damn long. I've solved the problem of only one card. I applied for one over the phone yesterday. It should be out to me in 7 to ten business days. I wonder which card will reach me first. Oh and the current one I have now, the one that's caused me so much bother. Well once my new card arrived the old card will be gathering dust.

Back on the Bike

I rode my road bike yesterday!

This is probably the first time in like two years that I've actually been on the bike. I didn't ride all that far. I went to DuPont Circle to run some errands then down to talk to someone at my gym (more about that later) and then around the White House and then home.

I even tackled the big hill on Rhode Island Avenue which really isn't all that big now that I've ridden up it. Actually going down the hill is something to be carefully about. You can build up pretty good deal of speed if you don't watch yourself.

I think the bike needs a little work. I'd like to have it tuned up. I'll need another odometer too. It looks like the only problem with the one I have is the battery needs to be replaced. The problem is sincerely doubt I'd be able to fine the instruction. I will give it a try and hope for the best but I'm thinking I'll be getting another one.

I hope to be able to ride a couple times or more a week to start things off. I actually think I can park the bike in the garage next door at work. If I can, it means I can start riding to work and save a little money while I'm getting in shape.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Back to the Gym

I'm back at the gym.

I started on the 15th. Randy took it easy on me the first couple of sessions.

This week was not the case.

Tuesday we did abs and legs. All I can say is wow I hurt. I'm glad we moved our other session of the week to Fridays. I was still a little sore today when I went in.

Today was chest, arms and back. I know I'm getting stronger if very slowly. I was doing bench dips today for my triceps. For the second set I put my legs up on another bench and not on the floor. It made the exercise more difficult. The thing I need to do in the future is keep my feet closer to the side of the bench so the exercise is even harder.

I asked Randy to give me some exercises to strengthen my forearms (this is one of my weak points I have very small wrists). We did a couple and I can incorporate them into my own workout which I do I Sundays.

I really like have the sessions twice a week. I'm not sure I'd survive if I had three in a week. Also I like one day to go over some of the exercises I've learned during the week. I can concentrate on those areas that I really have problems with.

I'm back on the stationary bike too. I rode three times this week so far for over 20 minutes each time. On Wednesday I did 26 minutes. I'm using the heart monitor that I bought to make sure I'm reaching my target heart rate. I took yesterday off and will do the same today just to get in a rest.

I hope tomorrow to get out my road bike and pump up the tires and go for a ride. The weather is supposed to be good. I won't go very far I just need to get back on the bike. I'm going to look into riding my bike to work. There's a garage next to the building I work in that has a bike rack. I think anyone can use it. Th idea would be a couple times of week to get up early hop on the bike and go for a ride. Maybe just to National Airport. I could then go to my gym and take a shower and change. I could even go to my office since there is a shower there too.

Lots of options to pursue now that the weather is getting better.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We Now Return To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

The London pictures are up so now I guess I’ll return to regular old blogging.

It was strange being out of the country for that length of time and not seeing the news on a regular basis. I sort of have to get back into the habit of watching the news and reading paper.

I did catch the news from time to time. Big the news was about British Airways opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow and the huge mess with the luggage. They actually had to cancel flights. Other big stories were the Zimbabwe election. The Princess Diana inquest results and of course the Olympic Torch relay. The US election was mentioned a couple of times. It might have gotten more play if there’d actually been a primary during the time I was gone.

I still want to post video of the trip. I need to find some way to reduce the size of the file. You’re limited to posting 10 minutes or 100 MB. I can post about 30 seconds before I reach the 100 MB. There has to be a way like in Photoshop where you either change the type of file or the resolution. So far I haven’t found anything to help with this. I have an version 5.0 of iDVD. I haven’t brought in any video so I’m not sure it can size things down or not. I hope to try it tonight. A quick update. I have found a program from Adobe that looks like it can down size the file the only problem it's a PC program.

But now back to regular blogging.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My London Trip

My London trip is probably one of the best vacations I've ever had. I really can't think of a way it could have been any better.

My trip to New Zealand was an incredible adventure too; but, once I got to New Zealand, I was in the very capable hands of my friends Arthur and Nigel. With the trip to London, I had to do all the planning. And I will say I did a damn good job!

There were so many wonderful things to see. I guess my favorite museum was the British Museum. Every time I went there there was something new to discover. The last day I was in London I stumble upon three galleries I didn't even know that were there. I really liked Hampton Court too. The trip to and from there went flawlessly. In fact, just about everything went flawlessly. I didn't get lost on the Tube not once. I did get lost a couple of times walking around but was quickly able to figure out where I needed to be.

I was amazed by the sheer number of people in the city. Not everyone was a tourist but they did account for a big percentage of the people out and about. I can only image what it must be like during the summer.

I really loved the place where I stayed. I cannot say enough of how great the Jesmond Hotel is. It could not have been in a better location. Close enough to just about everywhere I wanted to go, but, at the same time, just a little off the beaten path. And the people at the Jesmond were fantastic.

I guess the question is how do you improve on perfection. The answer is the only way to find out is to go back again. I can hardly wait to go!!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Jesmond Hotel in London

This is the front door to the Jesmond Hotel.

I loved this place. It was just a wonderful place to stay. You couldn't ask for a more central location. Easy access to the British Museum and the theater district and Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. Goodge Street tube stop was a little over a block. away.

Yet at the same time it was far enough away so that it was completely surrounded by all the activity going on in London. I really enjoyed the walking back after a show. The theater district would be teaming with people and slowly the crowds would diminish. By the time I got to the Jesmond there were few people on the street. It was a great way to unwind from the day and to think about all the things I'd seen and done for the day.

The breakfast and lounge area. The computer was off to the right.

My seat was the far table. The chair with its back toward us. It was a nice place to sit because I to talk to people as they made breakfast. I usually had cereal, toast (brown toast to be exact) and a couple of scrambled eggs. I usually take a banana with me. I could have had a full English Breakfast but that was just too much to eat in the morning.

These are a couple of pictures of my room. It was small but it was clean. It had its own bathroom. The bed was very comfortable; the mattress was actually firm. It was a great home away from home. I can hardly wait to go back.

The wonderful host at the Jesmond Hotel Glyn Beynon.

Dr. Who

There's this great store of sci-fi stuff on the way down to Piccadilly Circus. They had so much Dr. Who stuff it was scary.

Buckingham Palace

I decided to go see Buckingham Palace and just happened upon the end of the changing of the guard.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Back to the British Museum

The British Museum is my favorite museum in London. On my last day I went there again and discovered several galleries that I hadn't seen at all. It is just such an amazing place.

Little Venice in London

This is Little Venice. It is a neat little area. A couple of the boats are cafes. You can even get a cruise to the zoo. The weather was a little too cold to hang around and I wanted to see a few more things but it will be a fun place to go next time.