Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On vacation This Week

I'm on vacation this week. Staying close to home but planning on doing many fun things. I have a list of places that I've never been to in DC and hope to cross off a few of them. Also plan on visiting with friends. Having a couple of nice dinners and seeing the show Chess. And because it is Labor Day coming up I get an extra day off.

SO here's to having fun.

The Wonderful Tina from Tina Seamonster

Here's my great and extremely talented friend Tina. You can find all the wonderful things she makes on her site by clicking here. She also does a wonderful podcast on TV mostly about sci-fi shows. And she just launched another podcast called Doomhouse. She makes t-shirts and buttons and magnets and book marks. One of her clients is Books-a-Million.

We had a great visit and I got to see the new house they've moved into. Also got to visit with her twin girls. Although they were pretty shy but did let me take their pictures.

Me and my Obama vs. Zombie t-shirt

Tina has some wonderful things to sell. One of my favorites is the Obama vs. the zombie t-shirt. Here's me with one.

Tina and her girls

Here are a couple of pictures of Tina with her two wonderful girls. They were really interested in going to Target during my visit.

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History

This is a great museum. It is not very big but has some really interesting exhibits. It's located right in the heart of DuPont Circle:

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History, under the auspices of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, documents and preserves the contributions of Jewish Americans to the peace and freedom of the United States, educates the public concerning the courage, heroism and sacrifices made by Jewish Americans who served in the armed forces, and works to combat anti-Semitism.

There was an exhibit on women in the military. There was one particular pointed letter from a Jewish women working as one of the forward medical team. She wrote how the really heroes were the men in the front lines and not the medical people. She was killed by a German sniper a few hours after writing the letter.

Here are a couple of pictures of other displays.

These are World War I shell casings made into vases.

This is a portable Ark and Altar

Here are some of the men lost in Iraq and Afghanistan

Monday, August 30, 2010

The hypocrisy of Glenn Beck

I wasn't going to comment on this rally but felt I had to after Beck decided God his somehow guiding his every move.

I'm not going to go into all the arguments on how the selection of the selection of the date by Beck was Divinely inspired. I'm just going to say this.

The people that Beck and Palin spoke to on Saturday are all against the idea of a large federal government. They are very much for states rights. One of their arguments against health care reform that it was a massive intrusion of the federal government into state and personal decision essentially socialism.

One has to wonder how in the 60s how these people would have viewed the March on Washington. More importantly the subsequent legislation that came out of the movement. To start with the Voting Rights Act. One can wonder, no I think one can state with a degree of certainty, that Mr. Beck and Ms Palin and the vast majority of the people on the Mall would have been against such moves.

So saying they are reclaiming the Civil Rights Movement is very plainly and very simply hypocrisy with a capital H.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bat in the Bedroom

I had a visitor last night but he didn't stay. I came home from having dinner with a friend in Georgetown. Went up stairs to my bedroom. Turned on the light put my phone on my dresser. I then notice something flying in the room. On closer investigation it turned out to be a bat. Needless to say I did not stay in the room for long.

I called animal control. About an hour later a guy came out. Took him less than 5 minutes and he was out with the bat. He put it in a tupperware like container with breathing holes. He said they'd test it for rabies just in case. I asked how he thought it got in. He wasn't sure. He said this was the season for them to get into houses.

I think he got in from the attic. After all the rain, I'd gone up and looked in the attic. The hatch wasn't put completely back into place and I think that's how he got in. Hopefully that's all that will be showing up.

Tonight so far so good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ward 5 Straw Poll

I went to the Ward 5 Democratic straw poll last night. I thought about driving but thought it would be too crowded and parking would be difficult (and was so right on that). I thought I could walk but I was doing a podcast last night and walking back would take up too much time. So I decided I would ride my bike. I got home around 5 and made dinner. I pumped up my tires and set off.

This was the first time this year that I’ve been on my bike. Not very good when you consider how many times I rode it last year. I biked over to the church at 16th and Taylor where the poll was going to take place. What a mad house. It took me a little while to figure out where I could lock my bike up but I finally found one.

As to the madhouse well it started a block from the church. There were people on the sidwalks with signs for all the different candidates well actually some of them were in the street too. Then were yard signs linning both sides of the parkway. Candidates had set up booths. They were giving away free hot dogs and flavored ice. There was even one of those moon bounce things for the kids to play in.

I got in line. Surrounding the line were people passing out stickers, flyers and urging people to vote for their candidate. There were also candidates there as well. Now when you go to a polling place in an actual election there’s law that no electioneering can take place so many feet from the polling place. Well this was not an official election so people were up to the actual entrance to the church bombarding you with all of this stuff.

When I was just about at the entrance along came one of the workers for one of the candidates saying I’ve got my seniors here and they’re getting off the bus and get to go to the front of the line. Thankfully there were not all that many of them. I finally got in to the church.

Once in people were milling around. Finally there was someone who pointed the way to the basement where you would cast your vote. As I was walking down the stairs there was a man coming up the stairs. It turned out to be Marion Barry. We shook hands. (I commented on this in the most recent 2politcal podcast which should be posted shortly. I said I would never wash my hand but I might sniff it.)

Finally got down into the voting area. I was directed to the M-R table. I checked in and then finally got to vote.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Credit Card Company Does Me a “Favor”

Yes, that’s right my credit card company did me a favor. It decided all on its own that it was going to change the number of my card. I got a letter from them in early to mid July stating that they were going to offer me all sorts of great new perks. Along with that would be a change in the number. After listing all the wonderful things this would do was this statement that I’d need to go to all the places that I might have the card listed for automatic billing and change the number.

Thank you so much for that. Now I get to remember all the places I use the credit card. This is not a bad as the last time a credit card company pulled this on me. The last time I’d set up all my magazine subscriptions to be renewed automatically. That way I didn’t get those constant renewal reminders that start a week after you’ve renew your subscription.

The fun part is that I have another credit card that is doing the exact same thing. Some time later this month I’ll be getting a new card with a new number. I’ll have to remember where I use this one. But they’ll be all those great new benefits that I don’t need and won’t use. Thanks so much for the “favor.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap

Saw a great concert at Wolf Trap on Thursday: Mary Chapin Carpenter. She was excellent. She opened the concert in a very interesting way. She came out by herself and started singing. Then one by one the members of her band came out. She would bow to them and then they would start playing. A very fun night and it wasn't too hot either. Here's a video of the last song she did The Hard Way.

Friday, August 20, 2010

An Update on Sam

Sam continues to do well. Well that is until this past weekend. No crisis where I had to rush him to the vet or anything like that. He just decided he was done with eating with his food. I’d noticed that he wasn’t cleaning his plate last Friday and Saturday. That’s happened before. There are days when he’ll eat a great deal and then the next not all that much.

But there was an even better give away that Sam was no longer intereted in his wet food. I was in the living room ready my book. I heard what sounded like a paper bag being crumpled. I heard this on an off for a few minutes. Then it stopped. A little later I heard what sounded like a paper bag being torn up. I put down my book and looked around trying to figure out where the noise was coming from. Couldn’t seem to locate the sound. I noticed Sam come out of the back room off the kitchen.

The tearing sound started up again in about 20 minutes. I stopped reading again and decided I was going to find out where the noise was coming from. It was coming from the room off the kitchen. I parted the curtains and found Sam. There was a large bag of his old dry food. He’d torn a hole in the bag and was eating from it. That’s when I knew for sure that he was over the wet food.

Thankfully, I had cans of the other wet food. I put that on a plate and gave it to him. I went back to reading my book and hoped for the best. I came back an hour alter and the food was all gone. Problem solved at least I hope so. Tuesday I went to the vets and got some more of the food as well as an additional hydration pack.

And that’s the update on Sam.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Treat

Here's a great way to start off Tuesday. Here's also a link to a great story where as the author puts it:

This is my attempt to answer the age old questions: how many games did Charlie Brown's team lose? how many did they win? how many times did Charlie Brown get knocked over by a line-drive? and so on...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pet Peeves

I had an experience in the grocery store the other day that got me thinking about pet peeves. I mentioned this on the last 2politcal podcast. I was in the Giant grocery store which is down the street from me. This woman decided she would write a check.

It is rather rare in this day and age for someone to write a check. Now I still write checks but it’s for bill paying. I haven’t written a check to buy something in a store in years. To get a check approved is much quicker than it once ones. In fact I’d say it doesn’t take that much longer than say someone using a debit or credit card. So what ticked me off about this woman, the fact that she didn’t have her check book out and ready to pay. She had to fish around in her purse and find the check book. Then she had to find some ID to show the cashier. I’m sorry if you know you’re going to pay by check why the hell aren’t you ready.

I’ll continue the theme of peeves in the grocery store. I love it when people are being checked out and they are talking on their cell phone. They pay little if no attention to the cashier. One women in particular seemed annoyed the cashier was asking her questions. One of my favorite sights is to see people try and use the self check out while on the phone. It really isn’t all that easy. But yet they insist on trying to due both.

Everyone once and a while you get someone who has some common sense. There was women recently in the line I was in talking on her phone. It was a fairly long line. But once the cashier was ringing up her stuff she said I have to go I’m up. I was directly behind her and she smiled at me and said I hate it when people are talking on the phone and being cashed out. They never seem to pay attention to what’s going on. I told her that I thought that that was a good idea not to be on the phone when getting checked out. She chimed in best to pay attention to what’s going on. I said you can always call the person back. Exactly she said with a big smile.

In general it seems when people are on their electronic devices they pay less attention to what’s going on around them. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had to move out of the way because someone is talking or texting on not watching where they are going. I am particularly reminded of this one woman who just about ran into me and then gave me this smirk. As if it was my responsibility to get out of her way as opposed to her responsibility to watch where she was going.

But perhaps my biggest pet peeve these days is people who treat stop lights and stop signs as stopping suggestions. When I light change I rarely step off the curb immediately for fear of being hit by a driver that decides the light doesn’t apply to them.

And those are my pet peeves for the moment.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday the 13 at the Nationals

Friday the 13th proved to be lucky for the Nationals. They beat Arizona 4-2. There were the running presidents and fireworks too. Who could ask for anything more. First picture is the front of the stadium. Then the president. And the last two are of my favorite player on the team Josh Willingham.

It's a Home Run

The Nationals did all their scoring in the first two innings. Three runs in the first and then a solo home run. From the Post article:

[The catcher] Nieves led off the second with a homer to make it 4-0; it was the fourth homer of the 32-year-old's career. The Nationals later that inning loaded the bases - Gonzlez and Desmond again had hits - but could not pad the lead.

I Love the Racing Presidents

I admit it I love the racing presidents. They are so much fun to watch. Since it was Friday the 13th they all had masks on. Alas Teddy lost again. He hasn't won one yet.

Fireworks at Nationals Park

After the win there were fireworks. Pretty spectacular.

More fireworks

Fireworks are always great. These were no exception. Sorry about the rope in the picture but it holds up the netting around home plate.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2Political Episode 35

2PP035 - 10 August 2010

2Political Podcast Episode 35 is now available. You can listen to it on the widget on the right side of my blog, or you can go the podcast site, 2political.com. You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode.

We tried to do a shorter episode today. After Special Days, Jason talks a bit about the passing of Patricia Neal and one of her movies that he highly recommends. He then shares a pet peeve.

We begin today with Right Wing Nut Jobs (RWNJs), in particular, Sharron Angle. Her nutty positions are actually related to the boycott of Target, which we talk about next. After that, it's the Walker ruling overturning California's infamous Proposition 8. We talk about that, and especially what the right has been saying and what a "religious exemption" logically means. Arthur suggests the way that marriage ought to be handled by government.

A couple last things: We have a new Supreme Court Justice! Did you miss that news? We even talk a little about iTunes.

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Link for this episode:
Milwaukee Irish Fest - August 19-22
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sam Packs on the Pounds

Well yes Sam's a cat and so he's not packing on the pounds but he is packing on the ounces. In fact he was up in his weight by 3 ounces. We went to the vet on Saturday for his check-up. There was of course blood work done too.

I heard back from the vet on Monday. Sam is doing well. His kidney levels were up slightly. But the one level that really matters the creatinine levels were down. Botom line is continue with the hydration and all the supplements and we go back to the vet in two to three months.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Progress at the Gym

The last two training session I had point out the progress I’ve made working out. I’d like to say I have ripped muscles every where but well that’s not the case. But my strength had improved. Case in point was with bent over row. Here’s what a bent over row is:
1. Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position.

2. Now, while keeping the torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell to you. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause.

3. Then inhale and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.

4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

I did this with Shawn on Wednesday. I started with a 50 pound barbell. The next set I went up to 60 pounds. The third set I went up to 70 pounds. At the end of it when I was holding the barbell, I said this is 70 pounds. Sure doesn’t feel like it’s 70 pounds. I told Ed about this on Friday. I said I thought maybe I could go up to an 80 pound barbell. And that’s exactly what we did. I couldn’t believe it. If fact I did another exercise using the same barbell. The main point is suddenly a 70 or 80 pound barbell doesn’t feel all that heavy. It means I’m getting stronger.

I’ve noticed a change in my upper body mostly in my chest and arms. More strength. One area I need to improve on is around my wrist and lower arms. I need to strengthen that area so I can lift even heavier weights.

Shawn also said to me that he’s noticed I’m more willing to increase the weight when doing exercises. I know I need to push myself more on this. And I figure if I can’t handle the weight I can always go down.

It’s just exciting to think that suddenly 80 pounds doesn’t feel all that heavy.

The Smart Card gets a little less smart

Metro has SmarTrip cards. You swipe them over an area on the turn styles and that opens the gates. It’s very much like an EasyPass for tolls. What is great about them is you could actually swipe the card and continue walking as the gates opened and you were in the subway system. Paper farecards took longer. And when there are a lot of people trying to get in or out of the system it made a difference of how quickly you got through the gates. It was easy to rush for a train that had just pulled into a station as opposed to using a paper fare card.

Lately I’ve noticed the card has gotten a little more finicky. You have to make sure it is placed directly on the sensor. Sometimes you can still do the quick swipe but sometimes a message comes up saying to swipe the card again. I first noticed it a couple of weeks ago.

The speculation on the reason for this is the new peak of the peak fares that Metro implemented. This is the second phase of the fare increases from Metro. The peak of the peak is an extra 20 cent charge if you ride at the peak time of rider ship. It was supposed to go into effect for both the AM and PM rush. But only the PM rush is in effect right now. From the Metro site:

Due to unforeseen system programming limitations of technology in implementing the new peak-of-the-peak pricing, Metro will implement peak-of-the-peak pricing in two steps. The first step will take effect on Monday, August 2, with a 20-cent fee applied to afternoon trips taken between 4:30 and 6 p.m. weekdays. The second step is expected to occur by the end of August, with a 20-cent fee applied to morning trips taken between 7:30 and 9 a.m. weekdays.

The idea behind this is to of course raise more money to fill in the budget deficit. But also to try and get people to travel after these peak times. It assumes that many people can be flexible with their working schedules. I think this is a stretch to say the least. Also didn’t someone look into the feasibility of doing this before proposing this idea. Why at this late stage in the game does Metro announce the reason only the PM increase in happening is because of “unforeseen system programming limitations of technology.” I guess you really can’t be surprised at that after all it is Metro.

The bottom line is the SmarTrip card is still a great convenience, but, one of the things in its favor the quick swipe to get in and out of the Metro system, is not as smart as it once was.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

To Celebrate all the Fun

I think, in light of the stimulus I've provided to the economy today, it's time for another Peanuts cartoon. I think today I most resemble Linus in this strip.

I'm also in the process of reading a biography about Charles Schulz. It's very good.

The Air Condition Inspection

The Air Condition Inspection or how to potentially spend a great deal of money to repair something.

My next door neighbor was on his roof inspecting the damage done in the storm. He said he looked over on to my roof. Said he didn't see any damage to the roof but that the air conditioner had been moved.

I was going to have a roofing guy come and look at the roof to make sure there was no damage. With this piece of information, I decided that I needed the air condition people to have a look first.

They came today. They said that yes indeed the air conditioner had been moved. The one guy said you could see where the flying roof had hit the unit. They said they tried to put it back up on it's "legs" but weren't able to do that. There was a kink in the hoses in two places. This prevented them from moving the unit back on to them.

When he came down from the roof this is what he said. To put things back to where they were before the storm would cost around $1,600 if they had no problems. If there were problems it would cost any where between $2,000-2,500. He wasn't sure if insurance would cover any of it. I would have to call and find out.

Then he said you don't have to have anything done. The unit works. At one point in time air conditioners needed to be level so certain sensors would work properly. But my unit wasn't like that. As long as it works properly, he didn't see any reason to have the "repair" done.

They also said they didn't see any damage on the roof which was good news.

So for right now I think I'm just going to use the air conditioner as it is. I'll try and get the roofing guy here in the next week or so.

Also today I had a plumber come over to fix a leaky bathroom faucet. Oh if it had only been that simple. It's completely snowballed to where: I'm getting a new fixture for the bathroom sink, as well as a new shut off valve for the sink. But wait there's more (if you call in the next ten minutes you spend even more money on plumbing) a new shut off valve for the main house. The cost is piling up on this one. I hope it to be under $1,000 (probably it will be a little over that).

And so I can spend even more of my money this week, I'm taking the cat to the vet on Saturday.

I was a couple of months ahead on my mortgage but now that will be only one month.

Below are pictures one of the air conditioner techs took of the unit on the roof along with the kinked cords.