Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sam Sunday Shots

Sam Sunday Shots II

Sam trying not be interested in a rolled up piece of paper.

Yes it is right next to me but I don't have the slightest interest in it at all.

Ok maybe just a little interest but that's all

Sam Sunday Shots III

Sam out enjoying the very sunny warm Sunday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visiting an Old Friend

It wasn’t a person rather it was a DVD of the musical Barnum. This is the version of the musical with Michael Crawford in it and was recorded live in London. The show was recorded in 1986.

I smiled a great deal while watching and I have to admit that at the end I was singing along to Join the Circus. As you might guess from the title it is about the life of P.T. Barnum. I never realized that Barnum got involved in the circus only late in life, that he was elected to the Conn. legislature and mayor of Bridgeport. The show also emphasizes his showmanship and his many hum bugs he pulled on people.

It is a very fast paced show. There are many actual circus stunts. People on stilts, people being twirled on ropes. Crawford participates in many of these in fact he even walks across a high wire the width of the stage.

I discovered Barnum when I was working at a video store in the early 90s. Watching last night brought back memories of working at the store and all the great people I worked with. Several of whom, very unfortunately, are no longer with us. It brought a rather wistful smile to my and reminded me of how much I still miss them.

But it also lead to other much more pleasant memories. I got to see Barnum on Broadway in December of 1980. In fact I still have the playbill. Jim Dale played Barnum and Glenn Close played Chairy. If I looked hard enough I sure I could find the ticket stub as well. It was a great show. Before you even got into the theater there were clowns and stilt walkers outside the theater. It was a truly magical performance.

Here’s a clip from the Michael Crawford version of the show. Join the Circus. It’s a little long but well worth watching.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Treat

Time for some fun as the week is now just about half over.

The McSame Campaign

If ever there was a reminder of exactly how much the same John McCain’s campaign is and the presidency of George Bush is, this comment from a McCain adviser from Fortune magazine shows it loud and clear:

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event,” says Black. “But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who’s ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.” As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,” says Black.

Once again using the threat of terror not to unit the American people but to divide them. The same thing we’ve been getting from the Bush administration since September 12, 2001.

You can read all about the comments and the immediate back peddling by the McCain campaign here from the Post and here from USA Today.

What to say about such slime that is a top adviser to a presidential candidate.

The assassination of an important world leader is “an unfortunate” event. Sort of like if a highly placed aid to a presidential campaign was shot in an attempted robbery.

This guy should be fired immediately, but of course that won’t happen. This is not the first and by no means the last time the terror card will be played by the Republicans to hang on to power. They are a complete and total disgrace.

Outside My Front Door

This is the glorious rainbow that greeted my outside my front door after our ran last night. There was even a second rainbow. It lasted for about half an hour. I'm always amazed at the incredible and wonderful things that nature can show us. Especially if we stop to take the time to notice. This was spectacular!!

More shots of the rainbow

You can even see the double rainbow!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Bike Ride

I did the majority of my ride on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (W&OD).

If you want to learn more about the trail go here. It was once the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad which was in operation from 1847 to 1968. The trail came into existence in 1982.

I was on my bike at 6:53 am Sunday morning. Needless to say that early in the morning there were not many people out. I made good time. My plan for the ride was to go out on the W&OD and then after going around 25 miles or so turn around and head back to a friend's house where I'd take a shower and then we'd go out to lunch. I carried a change of clothes with me. In retrospect I should have dropped the clothes off at my friend's house on the way out. The backpack got rather heavy. My friend's house is just a littler over 10 miles from mine. I got there in about an hour.

I picked up the W&OD trail at the 5 mile marker. I went to Herndon, Virginia which was a little over 25 miles into the ride. I stopped there for a quick snack and headed back. I got to my friend's house a little before 11; we sat around for awhile then I took my shower. We went to Joe's a great Italian place for lunch. I was back on my bike by 2:30 and home a little after 4.

In all it was one fantastic ride.

I haven't been on that trail for several years and haven't been to Herndon probably since training for the AIDS Ride which is 9 years ago. I was reminded of one of the things I do not like about the W&OD there are hardly any bathrooms. There was one port-o-potting in like 20 miles. That's not to say you can't pull off the path and pee in the woods but come on a couple of johns wouldn't hurt anyone.

However, there are many things to enjoy about the trail. When you are out of the towns you are very much out in the country side. I saw many creatures: several rabbits, more chipmunks then I could count and a fox running across the trail. The most impressive thing was a hawk that dived down and caught itself breakfast and then flew off with it. I did not take a close look to see exactly what breakfast consisted of.

Another thing I really like about the trail is how flat it is. You can really work up some speed in places. A couple of times I got into the top gear of my middle ring and was going between 17-20 mph. I thought I was doing well until several guys past me and left me in their dust. Oh well I still did damn good.

I'm hoping to do another ride on the trail in the next couple of weeks. I want to be completely prepared and leave by 6:30 if not earlier and see how far I can go. Maybe ride until 11 and then start heading back. And this time carry a lot less stuff so I hopefully go even faster and farther.


That's how many miles I rode my bike yesterday.


That's the most miles I've ridden in probably eight or more years.

I broke the ride up into two parts.

But more on the ride a little later. And all the fun things I saw on the way.

Right now I need to head out and face Monday.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jury Duty Update

A quick update on jury duty.

Turns out I was wrong on when I've been called as a juror. Here's when I served:

June 3, 2004
June 22, 2006

I'll be serving on July 2, 2008.

So I've served 3 times in four years. It means I've been called as often as the rules governing jury duty allow.

I'm thinking at the end of this summons I'm going to write a letter and ask why I've been called so often.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stepping Up the Workout

I'm sore tonight.

I had to really hard workouts this week. Randy really earned his money this week as my trainer. He was easy on me last week in part because he'd just got back from vacation.

This week was not the case. On Tuesday we worked out with kettlebells.

This is what one looks like. I used it mostly for leg work. Squats and lunges. Lunges where you'd pass the kettlebell underneath your extended leg to your other hand. Then come to a standing position and then do another lunge. Lunges where you'd hold the kettlebell in one hand to your side and when you lunged you'd flip it up to be even with your shoulder. Then when you stood up you'd push it up over your head. Lunges where you'd keep the kettlebell up over your head.

I was one worn out trainee on Tuesday.

Thursday was chest and back. Working with the cable machine I'd do thirty seconds of a chest press. Then during the "rest" between sets do five push ups (five sets). Went on to a series of three chest machines where I'd do thirty seconds on each one and then move on to the next and then the next (three sets0. A thirty second rest between rounds on those. That's to name a few of the exercises for Thursday.

Today I'm sore. But it's a good sore. I know that I'm working my body and making progress.

Tomorrow I'm going to go back to the gym on my own. Sunday if the weather holds I'm going to go for a bike ride. (I need to get my brakes adjusted so they don't squell; I'm doing that tomorrow after the gym.) Next week I hope to add in a spinning class.

I think things are going very well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Band Wagon

The movie that is. Here's a story about that movie:

Have you ever had the perfect day or the perfect evening? That’s what seeing the movie the Band Wagon was a perfect evening.

It was at least 25 years ago. My parents were in DC for a visit. One evening we had dinner at Swenson's Ice Cream (remember them, remember a Coit Tower yum yum) and of course had ice cream for dessert.

We then went to the Circle Theater which was on Pennsylvania Avenue at I believe 22nd Street. It was a revival house. They showed old movies.

The night we went they were showing the Band Wagon. I'd seen it there a couple times before and new my parents would enjoy seeing it. And enjoyed it they did. Actually they loved it. My dad said it was great to see it on a big screen. He said he hadn't seen The Band Wagon on a big screen since it had first come out. My mom said she enjoyed seeing the dancing and one of the actors in the movie, James Mitchell, was on her favorite soap opera All My Children.

It was as I said a perfect evening. A memory I will always cherish.

Here’s a great article of appreciation on Cyd Charisse from the Post.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jury Duty

Oh the joys of jury duty.

I have it on July 2.

In the questionnaire that is sent out to you, you’re asked if you’ve served in the last two years. The last time I had jury duty was June 22, 2006. I called and asked if I had to go on July 2. I got the response of well it would be more than two years. Yeah more than two years by 10 days.

Also why doesn't the Clerk of the Court know the last time you were called for jury duty. It would seem to me that that would be something the Court would have a record of.

So this means in a little more than five years, I’ve had jury duty three times (the time before 2006 was in 2003).

I’m curious and a little pissed off as to why I’ve been called so many times in such a short period of time. I can’t believe that there aren’t enough people around to make my summons less frequent. Or maybe it’s just that people don’t show up at all. Or are there so many cases that they need to call that many people in to serve on juries.

Cyd Charisse

Cyd Charisse died yesterday at 86. You can read more about her at USA Today and the Post.

One of the few remaining performers linked to the golden age of movie musicals especially form MGM.

From the Post article:

[Fred] Astaire called Ms. Charisse "beautiful dynamite," adding, "When you've danced with her, you stay danced with." Their elegant duet of "Dancing in the Dark" in "The Band Wagon" (1953) was a peerless display of romance set to music. In another sequence, she proved dangerous as a barroom seductress in a satire of Mickey Spillane.

It just so happens that Dancing in the Dark is one of my favorite numbers. So watch and enjoy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day 2008

Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.
June 14, 1777

We hardly ever celebrate this day. It mostly comes and goes completely forgotten. Here's a little history:

Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

In light of the fact that we are at war in two countries, we should remember those who are not here to celebrate this day.

Those We've Lost

Pfc. Joshua R. Anderson
January 2, 2008

Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten
Lost December 25, 2007

Pfc. Juctin R. P. McDaniel
Lost December 17, 2007

Chief Petty Officer Mark T. Carter
Lost December 11, 2007

Pvt. Dewayne L. White
Lost December 4, 2007

Cpl. Christopher J. Nelson
Lost November 18, 2007

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Air Conditioner is Fixed (I Hope)

Yes the central air is now fixed. I hope so at least. I hope no more problems.

Actually the fact that it didn't work turned out to be a good thing. It was actually working.

Here's what I mean. Central air conditioners have for lack of a better word a bucket that the moisture drains into. There is a pump that empties the bucket. In my case the pump pumps the water on to the roof where it will evaporate. If the bucket becomes full and is not emptied a sensor will turn off the condenser of the air conditioner. That way the bucket won't over flow. This is what happened.

So it took about an hour and a half and they got everything all set. They had to go and get a pump. I hope now that will be the end of my problems.

I have been thinking about how I use the central air. It doesn't make much sense to me to have it cooling the front bedroom when the only thing in there is Sam's litter box. I also don't know why there's a vent in the bathroom. I'm thinking of closing these. Right now I've used an old sock to close off the "vent" actually it really is a circular hole in the ceiling that the cold air comes out of. I was told by the air guys that there are plugs you can get to close them off with.

I'm also thinking at night I might just turn on the unit in my bedroom and turn the central air way up so it doesn't come on. I think that would be a good way to save some money.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Problems with Iraq Treaty

Seems the Bush Administration is running into some problems with negotiating their "security framework" with Iraq. See this story in the Post. Here's a revealing quote:

The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq, said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament's foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, 'Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don't need you here anymore.'

From reading the story it sounds like Bush and friends want to put American bases all over Iraq. The original idea was to have over 200 facilities across the country. How could this not be interpreted as a long term permanent presence in the country? And wouldn't these "facilities" as the story refers to them not be targets for terrorists? The number the Americans want has since come down to 58.

It makes you wonder if the administration is having problems with the Iraqis what problems they will have with Congress. And Congress on this one had better not roll over as they have in the past. I guess the White House is getting a little concerned about how Congress will react:

In Washington, the White House hastily organized a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after Sens. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.), the chairman and ranking minority member of the Armed Services Committee, respectively, demanded Monday that the administration "be more transparent with Congress, with greater consultation, about the progress and content of these deliberations."

This is a treaty with Iraq no matter what the Bush Administration may want to call it and as a treaty it has to be ratified by the Senate.

Getting the Air Conditioner Fixed?

Well they are here. Well to be more accurate one of the guys is here and he's waiting on the other one to show up which I hope will be soon.

They have the relay so they can fix it so the fan won't run all the time.

My main hope is that they will be able to fix the rest of it without too much of a problem. I've sort of decided if I'm told I need a new unit I'm going to wait until next year. Too much of a hassle.

I need to get the problem with the hatch to the roof solved. That might not be all that easy.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gas Keeps Going Up and Up and Up and UP

About a week ago I had a post on gas prices. In it I talked about how some “experts” thought that gas prices wouldn’t be going up all that much more. Guess the “experts” were wrong.

Other “experts” seem to think the average price of gas will reach $4.50 around July 4th. The way things are going it will probably reach that in a couple of weeks.

Bush on his way to Europe said:

“A lot of Americans are concerned about our economy,” Bush said. “I can understand why. Gasoline prices are high, energy prices are high.”

But the Bush administration offers little more than I guess people are concerned about the economy. I think people are more than a little concerned.

This article from the Post talks about the impact gas prices are having at all levels.

Consumers are of coursed being squeezed. They’re having to decide what not to do so they can fill up the tank. I’m glad I can take public transportation to get to work. I can only imagine what the commute from the burbs into DC is costing people these days. But it is not only impacting consumers. It seems some of the gas station owners are being forced out because of high rent and low profit margins.

A little over a year ago I did a post on gas prices and some of things that might be done to help bring them down
. My suggestions on what to do is even more relevant today then it was a year ago:

Give a $15,000 tax credit for buying a hybrid car. The person would get $3,000 a year for 5 years.

Give a $10,000 tax credit for HEV (high efficiency vehicle). The person would get $2,000 a year for 5 years. Now what exactly is an HEV? An HEV would be a car that had a high EPA mileage rating. The EPA is now recalculating the mileage standards to better reflect how people drive today. Having said that I’d say an HEV would need to get somewhere between 35-40 miles per gallon to qualify for the tax credit.

Then there is what I call the gas guzzler tax. There would be a minimum mileage threshold. I would put it at 20 miles per gallon. Any vehicle that did not reach that threshold would have a tax of $1,000 added to the price for each mile per gallon it was below the threshold. Take a Hummer which gets 11 miles to the gallon. It falls 9 miles per gallon below the threshold. The sticker price would go up $9,000. The money would go into the social security fund or better yet to the Veteran’s Administration. Now for small businesses buying trucks there would be an exemption. The threshold would be raised one mile per gallon each year.

Most important we need some political leadership.

We need to have a real sense of urgency about this problem.

We are addicted to oil and the oil companies are our dealers.

It is time for an intervention.

It is time to break our addiction.

That won’t be easy.

But it is is possible.

And we need to start now!

Monday, June 09, 2008

What I've been up to

Here's a narrative of what I've been up to since the air conditioning went down on me.

The Air Conditioning Saga Continues

Where to start?

I contacted the air condition people on Thursday. They set up an appointment for Friday. I tried the unit a couple of times. It sounded to me like the actual air condition unit would start up but the fan never came on. Describing what I did to several people they agreed that that was probably the problem too.

That’s what the repair guys thought too. They didn’t even go up on the roof this time. They worked in the attic where the air flow unit is with the fan that pushes the air through the house. The fan was not working correctly. There was a relay switch that was out. They tied the fan directly into the air conditioning system. The fan would run all the time even when the air conditioner was off. But the air conditioning unit would still switch on and off and cool the house down. Case close problem solved.

Not exactly.

I get home Friday night and the house is warm no not warm it’s hot. I was a little less than pleased. Here’s what I think happened. Friday morning it was cloudy and cool. So when the fan came on and we thought the air conditioner was on the air felt cool when in fact it really wasn’t.

To add insult to injury I got a notice for jury duty in the mail.

Surviving the Heat

I took a friend to have LASIK surgery done early Saturday morning. That went well and then I went home.

I didn’t realize how hot it was going to get. It got close to 100. I thought I could tough it out and deal with the heat. During the day it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t do a whole lot. Slept some did a little bit of stuff around the house. With a fan on you it wasn’t all that bad. But trying to sleep is another matter all together. In the heat you just don’t get all that much sleep.

I tried sleeping in the room off my bedroom. It has a air conditioner in it. It has a recliner in it too. I tried but I could never get comfortable in it. I’d doze off for a little while and wake up with a start. I ended up sleeping in my bed but didn’t get a very good rest.

I got up Sunday and decided to hell with this I was going out and getting a room air conditioner.

I went down to Home Depot. I’d gone down quickly on Saturday morning to see what they had and get an idea of how much they cost just in case I needed to buy one. Well needless to say there were a lot fewer there then when I went on Saturday. At first it looked like my choices were between an 6,000 BTU and 10,000 BTU units. I decided I’d get the 10,000 better to have way too much cooling power than not enough. But then I saw an 8,000 and thought that one will be perfect.

I got to the store right when it opened and was out of there by around 8:20 or so. Put the box in the back of the car and was headed home. As I was getting into the car I noticed a tack in the front tire. I pulled it out and immediately there was the hiss of air. I put the tack back in. I decided first things first I’d put the air conditioner in and deal with the tire later.

I got home. Got the air conditioner upstairs and started putting it together. Here’s something I find interesting. The instructions talk about that if you have a storm window frame you have to take additional steps to make sure the unit is properly supported. I have to ask who doesn’t have a storm window frame on their windows. It has to be very few people.

I decided to put the air conditioner in the window that goes out into the room off the bedroom (that turned out not to be a very good idea). I thought the way things were going for me if the air conditioner fell it would only be going a few feet instead of two stories down to the concrete. It was pretty easy to install. I do think some of the instructions were not as clear as they should have been and the illustrations should have been a little more clear. But I got it in and it actually worked.

The next step was the tire.

Fun With Lug Nuts and other Tire Peripherals

The flat well it wasn’t actually a flat at this point in time. It was a slow leaker. If I’d pulled out the tack it would have gone flat in no time. The flat was on the driver’s side of the car. I decided that fixing it in the street was out of the question. The way things had been going I figured if I changed it in the street I’d be run over.

I pulled the car around back and put it in the drive way. I was pretty proud of myself because backing into the drive way is not very easy because there is very little space on either side of the gate. I was also pleased I didn’t scrape the car against the fence.

The car is now in the drive way. I then find the jack and spare tire. That wasn’t all that hard to do. I loosened the lug nuts. I didn’t have any problems with any of them. I then jack up the car. This took longer than I thought it would. I wasn’t too handy in using the jack. I got the lug nuts completely off. Next step take off the tire. I could not for the life of me get the damn tire off.

The problem was I just didn’t have enough leverage to move it. The space in back is so tight that I had the fence to my back and could reach out and touch the tire. Not enough room to have enough force to pull the tire off. I did rock the car and after I did that a couple of times decided not to push my luck. Put the car back down, put the lug nuts back on.

Next step find a place to fix the tire. I called a friend and he suggested going to Merchant Tire. I found a listing and called and asked if this was something they could fix. They said yes. Turns out the store is about 10 minutes from my house. Off I went.

It ended up that I got a new tire. The guy said he could not fix the leak. I wasn’t going to argue. He was able to get me in and out of the place in just an hour.

Back home and on to the next task.

Back to the Air Conditioner

Putting the air conditioner in the window that went into the back room was a bad idea. The room got really hot and humid. I cooled down the room by turning on the air conditioner in that room. What happens when warm moist air cools down? Well at least I didn't have a thunder storm but there was plenty of moisture.

The air conditioner needed to be moved over to the other window. I was concerned that it have enough support so that it wouldn’t fall to the ground. I looked around for something to put on the outside window sill to support the unit. I found an extra brick that I used to edge the garden with.

I took it upstairs and tried it out. I thought it was too tall. Support is needed but the directions stress that the unit has to slant down in the back so the water will drain out of it. Off to Home Depot again. I thought I needed something about 3 inches tall and flat. I didn’t find anything that was completely and totally flat. I did find something that was 3 inches. I ended up buying three of them.

They of course ended up not working out. They were too wide. So I decided to try the brick I had. It turned out that it fit perfectly. In fact the air conditioner balanced on the brick without putting the window down on it.

The final project of the day was I had to rearrange my furniture in my bedroom. I had to move my bed out of the way because the air conditioner blew right on it. I’m going to have to do more work on it tonight.

And that was my Sunday.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dead Air Conditioner!?

I came home tonight and switched on the air conditioner and absolutely nothing happened. Three weeks to the day that the air conditioner people came looked at the unit and said the unit was fine it is dead. I was going to do a post about the political situation. But that's not to be.

This is just one more thing in a week that call only be described as hell on wheels. And there still are a couple of days left in it. I can hardly wait to see what other disasters are waiting to happen.

Quick note on the political situation. I saw part of Obama's speech and I thought it was fantastic. It was incredible to think the history that was made last night. When I'm a little less pissed off at things in general and the air conditioner in particular I'll post some of my thoughts on last night.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Primary Season Ends

I don’t think I can remember when the primaries were contested to the very end. Most of the time these contests are just proforma the nominee has been selected long before this. That’s not to say that the nomination race isn’t essential over. Obama will win but he probably won’t get the magic number until Wednesday or later when the super delegates finally make a decision.

I’m still a little puzzled by the coverage that calls this a divisive campaign. I think in general it’s been pretty mild. Now if Clinton were to continue the fight on seating the full delegations from Florida and Michigan that would be divisive. Mud would fly if that were to happen. But I really don’t see that happening. I also not so sure that Clinton would accept the VP spot.

I think one of the more interesting stories during this process was the media's rush to judgment on Clinton's campaign. Yes, in the end she will not get the nomination but if the pundits had had their way she would have bowed out before the New Hampshire primary. I'd like to say the media learned something but they never do. They are too busy going on to the next major story which I think is rather sad.

The other story coming away from this process is the unprecedented number of people that participated in the primaries. From a couple of places I've checked it looks like about 33 million people have participated in the Democratic primaries. I would think and hope that would give Republicans some pause.

Now on to the general election.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Of iPods and iMacs

Actually it is just one iPod and one iMac.

My iPod is on the fritz. The click wheel is not working correctly. Most of the time it doesn't work at all. I can get to the main menu. I can pause a song. I can skip forwards and backwards and that's about it. I can't scroll down any of the menus at all. I can't change the volume. But sometimes I can get it to work. I'm at a loss as to what happened.

I did take it with me when I went on my bike ride on Sunday. I thought maybe it got a little damp from the ride. So I set it out in front of a window and thought it would dry out. If it did, that didn't make any difference. I reset the iPod. After I did that for a little while it seemed to work correctly. But only for a little while. I plugged it into my computer. It seemed to work after that. I thought I'd leave well enough along and deal with it in the morning.

Morning comes and the click wheel won't move at all. I was able to listen to some music but the volume was very loud. On the metro platform going to work for a few moments, I got the click wheel to work. I got it to work long enough to get the volume down to an acceptable level. Since then it has not worked at all.

I went to the Apple web site on Sunday. Looked through it. I found in the forums that many people had similar problems. There really didn't seem to be a definitive answer on how to solve the problem. I've reset the iPod on numerous occasions. I made sure the operating system was up to date. Now I'm in the process of restoring the iPod. This essential wipes the hard drive and restores the factory setting it came with. Now my music is loading on to it. It takes a long time because most of my music is on an external hard drive and my machine is slow to begin with.

This brings me to the iMac. I went to the Apple store in Tyson's on Saturday. I asked the questions I had. They can upgrade the RAM on the machine but any more customization I have to go to the store site and order it from there. I did find out I don't need to get the fancy video card.Also that I can hook up my old machine and when I start the new iMac it will ask me if I want to transfer any data. That will make things much simpler.

I'm going to keep my music files on the external hard drive. I plan to get most everything else off of that. Now I have to figure out the specs of the new machine. I'm going to get the 24 inch screen (yes size does matter). I'm going to go with the 2.8Ghz processor. I plan to max out the RAM to 4GB and I think I'm going to get the terabyte hard drive. (Yes size does indeed matter.) It is only an extra $300. I figure that's a couple of months saving my ones and fives (I went to the bank with $255 from that fund today). Ball park price before taxes is $2,300.

There is one last thing I want to find out and that is if I can order the machine from the on line Apple store but have it delivered to the store in Tyson's.

I think I'll be getting it in the next couple of weeks. As for the iPod if I can continue to get it to play I'll use it. Supposedly there is a new generation of iPods coming down the pike in the not too distant future. I plan on waiting to see what they are before I buy anything. Once that happens the iPods that are out now will probably come down in price.

Buying Gas

I bought gas on Saturday.

I did it in Virginia while I was doing some shopping. I first pulled into a BP gas station. As soon as I realized it was a BP station I pulled right out. I ended up getting gas at a Sunoco station. It was 12 cents a gallon cheaper at the Sunoco station as opposed to the BP station. It was still $3.969.

The only thing I can say I have going is that I really don't fill up the tank that often. The last time was May 1. On that date gas was 30 cents a gallon cheaper.

The increase in prices seems to have slowed slightly but the price of gas set yet another record today. There been some news reports that this is as high as it will go. That there will be a decline in prices maybe as much as 10 percent. I really don't see how that's going to happen. Yes people are driving a little less but we will be heading into peak vacation season in the next few weeks. I really don't see demand going down. Prices may not go up as much but I think we're going to see $4 a gallon or close to it for the rest of the summer.

It seems the price of gas has done some good. More people are taking public transportation according to a story in the Post. It will be interesting to see if those number continue to go up.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Calling All Simpsons' Fans

This is a must see.

Spend five minutes watching all (well just about all) of the opening couch scenes done on The Simpsons for the past 19 years. Follow this link and get ready to laugh out loud.

Cool Podcast

My friend Arthur in New Zealand has a really cool and unique podcast that he recently did. You can follow this link and listen to it.

He interviewed a local artist named Monique Rhodes. She is a singer/songwriter. She splits her time between New Zealand and the south of France. It is a very interesting conversation and you get a sample of her songs too. I'd say it is well worth your time to listen to. So enjoy it!

My Clothes Don't Fit Anymore

But not in the way clothes normally don't fit.

I bought a great pair of shorts last year. Unfortunately I had to get a 36 inch waist. It was the realization of my ever expanding waist line. I wore the shorts yesterday. I went to the gym in my workout clothes and changed into the shorts after I'd taken my shower. I forgot to bring my belt with me. I discovered that I really needed the belt. I had to keep pulling the shorts up. They kept slipping down over my hips.

It means that the weight I've lost is making my waist smaller. Now of course it would be nice if all the weight would come off my waist but of course things don't work that way. However, it is making a change. I wore a pair of dress pants last week that had become tight over time but now fit just fine.

A couple people at work have mentioned that they've noticed I've lost weight which was very nice of them.

I'm trying to figure out exactly how much I've lost. Since the beginning of March I've lost around 7 pounds. If you go back to January I was around 186 so that's just about 11 pounds.

Like I've said I think the new goal is to get down around 170. Then I need to see if I can maintain that weight. Maybe I can even go a little lower.

It's nice to have my clothes not fit. Not because they are too small but because they are too big.

Sam Gets His Day

I have been contacted by the Perpetual Adoration and Worship Society (PAWS). They say I am in violation in regards to Sam. They say that there have been no pictures or postings or even tangential references to Sam in many months.

They say that if I do not rectify this situation I run the risk of not being seated at the upcoming PAWS convention.

They will be convening their rules committee in the not too distant future to discuss this matter. And, unlike other recent rules committee meetings, they promise a swift, prompt and understandable decision on this matter. That is unless I take quick action to solve the problem.

Not wanting to miss the convention (they serve a mean Sunday brunch) I am posting the following pictures of Sam. I'm hoping this will be enough to solve this issue and not have to take this matter to the floor of the main convention.

This is Sam's new favorite place to hang out. He can lie in the sun in the morning and look out the window too. What a life!

Fresh Country Stench

I discovered last night that I have ants in my kitchen and the back room. I was just about to start making dinner when I noticed the suckers crawling around.

I took out the garbage. I swept up all of the cat food that was on the floor. I vacuumed up the ants along with anything else on the kitchen floor and the back room. Then I used Raid ant and roach killer. It has a country fresh scent.

Stench is the only word that can describe this "scent." It is completely overwhelming. 18 plus hours since using it you can still smell it. Not just a little smell but an overpowering smell. It is not too bad in the kitchen anymore. The room off of it just reeks of this country fresh "scent." I thought about opening the window and door in the room but I don't want to spread the stench to the rest of the house.

I'm going to try and use some air freshener in the room but I'm not sure that that will do any good. I do one thing for sure I won't be using this can of Raid on anything in the house any time soon.

Country fresh scent my ass. Manure would smell better!

Early Morning Ride

I was up early today and on the bike shortly after that. I was out the door at 6:03 am. It was a little over cast. The temperature wasn't too bad but it was still very humid from the storms we had the afternoon before (it poured poured poured for like an hour or so).

Needless to say there were not many people out on the path. For that matter there were not many people out on the streets. The goal for this ride was to go 40 miles. I wasn't entirely sure I could do it. I take the Mt. Vernon Trail and it would mean riding almost to Mt. Vernon and back. A couple of miles from Mt. Vernon there was a bridge on the trail being repaired. You could walk your bike around it but I decided not to try that. I got on the road and was on that for a little while but decided I was running out of gas and needed to turn around.

I decided on the way back to ride up to Hudson Trail Outfitters where I bought the bike. I wanted them to take a look at a couple of things on the bike. I also wanted to ask about getting a tune-up. Hudson Trail is located on Wisconsin Avenue. I rode up Wisconsin from M Street. I'd forgotten how many hills were on it. I made it up but of course the store was closed. They don't open until 11 am on Sundays. I should up a around 9:30. I'd hope they'd open at 10. I decided not to stay around and wait until they opened.

I stopped off at another bike store that's near DuPont Circle. I got some oil for the chain. It made a difference but the main thing I need to do is get a tune up.

It was an interesting drive in one aspect. I had more courteous drives then people on bikes. I had several people yield to me while making left turns. A couple people waved me on when we both stopped at stop signs. I even had a taxi driver stop and let me pass a drive way he wanted to turn in to. Pretty surprising. People on bikes well several were just jerks. Passing me without letting me know they were there. A couple of guys passing me when traffic coming in the other direction. The guys passing barely made it back in time. Then there was the group that cut me off not once but twice.

In the end I covered 44 miles. A good early morning ride.