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Showing posts from January, 2007

Nice Start to a Monday

So, I am sitting on Culver stopped behind a bunch of traffic at a light thinking to myself, “You know, our roadway system really moves a lot of people without a lot of accidents.”Bam!I jerk forward and my seatbelt stops me—the woman driving the white Jeep Cherokee behind me doesn’t see that traffic is stopped, or isn’t paying attention, and plows into me. Ugh!We motion to each other to get over to the side of the road and I hop out with my first question being, “Are you alright?” and I smile at her. In the few fender-benders I’ve had, it is my experience that people come out angry and yelling because they are scared. By asking how the person is and smiling, I try to put whoever the other person is at ease. Seems to work, as the woman is a little shaky but otherwise becomes calm and smiles back. I would guess she’s in her late forties or early fifties with dark hair dyed so that it comes across very maroon in places. From her dress, she looks like a professional of some sort.I wait for…

HR Block Adverts

I thought there were rules and regulations about lying in advertisements?

I hate the current HR Block advertisements that say you should use them because they have "people" instead of a box. Talk about sour grapes-- more people use a form of online tax preparation (most notably Turbo Tax) than HR Block. So of course they are going to say something like that.

But it is entirely false. A lie. Fabrication. Falsehood.

Whether you use Turbo Tax online, or Turbo Tax through the box, you HAVE access to real, live people to help answer your questions! Yes, you have to contact them (on the online version, it is incredibly easy and you get live help right there, via phone or IM) rather than having them there in front of you, but they ARE there.

It is like the Mac vs PC ads-- most of them are incredible fabrications that makes a PC look like it doesn't come with anything-- which, is a not true. You can't get Windows without IE, you can't install it without also getting their…

Annoyingly Polite

I hate grocery shopping. Most stores aren't designed in a way that makes sense to me (why aren't all the bread products together? Why are beverages spread out-- some here, some there, some over here). The "help" is, rarely, helpful. And don't get me started on the grocery store cards in order to get "savings" -- what a rip!

So, today, I had to go to the store. I pulled in and the parking lot was a mad-house; uh oh. Never a good sign. However, inside, it wasn't too hectic. I cruised the rows, finding my various products (still noting that the store hasn't improved its selection even with all the suggestion cards I have filled out).

Everything went as smoothly as it normally does, with me forgetting the aisles in which some of the items I want are located. As I pulled up to check out, I saw my worst nightmare: a peppy young girl doing the bagging in this row. It was obvious this was her first job and she was so excited about it. She was smiling a…

Thoughts for the Day

I have way too many mnemonics, acronyms, and abbreviations than I could ever possibly remember. No wonder I can't remember my own phone number half the time.How did I become the guy in which so many people confide?I hope they do a good job on The Dark Is Rising, book two of the Dark is Rising series. Not sure why they skipped book one, which is my favorite and about which I have often commented should be made into a movie. I guess because Will Stanton is not in book one and is in the other four. But Over Sea, Under Stone is the best novel. Tell me whether you want me to solve your problem or just want me to listen. It'll save time later if I know going in what is expected of me.I hate solving other people's PC issues. I also find it somewhat funny how often I get asked to.-31 C/-22 F is really, really, really cold.My cat is a goof. Today, for no reason at all, she just howled. I thought maybe she was dying or something, but she was just lying down and wanted some scratchi…

Movies 2007

This is more of a list for me to keep track of what is up and coming this year—movies that I am fast tracking to the “probably theater experience” list. I doubt I will see even half of these actually at the theater, but I’ll have the list to go back to for my always expanding Netflix list.
NameCurrent Release DateProbability CommentsGhost RiderFeb 16LowUnless good reviewsThe Number 23Feb 23LowUnless good reviews300March 9MediumLooking good, enjoyed the comicSpider-Man 3May 4CertainDefinitelyShrek the ThirdMay 18HighWhat can I say? I liked the other two.PotC: At World’s EndMay 25LowReally liked 1, disliked 2
Ocean’s ThirteenJune 8MediumLiked 1, 2 was okayFantastic 4: RotSSJune 15MediumEnjoyed the first, probably will go seeNancy DrewJune 15LowI like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Might be fun to watch this.Live Free or Die HardJuly 4MediumI like the Die Hard seriesTransformersJuly 4MediumI enjoyed the cartoons; but I don’t like Michael BayHarry Potter: OotPJuly 13HighI really like what t…

He Tasks Me, Starbuck

M is quick to point out to me that getting the Italian Delight sandwich made correctly (and by that I mean according to the directions/ingredients listed on the wall minus the one item I don’t like) has become my white whale.

I had to get some meds today, and I use the Sav-On pharmacy within that Albertson's. So, I ordered The Sandwich.

Dorothy and I walked up, were the only two in line, and she can verify that I said to the guy who has helped me at least a half dozen times with this sandwich, “Italian Delight, no onions or tomatoes.” Because it was this guy, I had to add “onions” as he always includes them even though they are not listed for the sandwich.

He smiled, as he knew what I was going to order, repeated the order back to me, and then got to work. I walked to the other side of the store to the pharmacy, took care of my business there, and came back as he was finishing the sandwich.

Back at the office, I carefully took the sandwich out of its bag, unwrapped it from the paper a…

Know When to Fold 'em

I went with my buddy Robert to his regular poker night last evening. Card games and gambling are two things that I generally stay away from. I usually stay away from card games because I do not generally care for them and, just as I get used to the rules and rhythm of one game, people change the game on me. I stay away from gambling because I have a bit of an obsessive personality when it comes to these activities and do not want to become addicted to it and lose my shirt (or more).

However, it was a friendly game with set limits and payouts for the top three players. So, I figured, I would be sociable, try my skills at this game, and could walk away with only loosing $40 (two $20 games).

The rules were fairly straightforward: Texas No-limit Hold’em was the game throughout (so I didn’t have to worry about new rules, wild cards, etc.), 10 minute blinds (meaning every ten minutes the blinds doubled), and your minimum bet had to be at least one multiple of the small blind (to call) or the …

Championship Caliber

Not bad, I went 3-4 and the one game I missed was the one that I thought could go either way and I said I wouldn't be unhappy if the (eventual winner) Patriots managed to take it.

This week's Championship games are:

Saints vs Bears: The Bears have a great defense, made only slightly more vulnerable by the loss of some key players. Their offense, however, is another thing-- Grossman is inconsistent and can be pressured into serious mistakes. The Saints had the top passing offense this season and have a good tandem at RB. In addition, their defense is not too shabby as it uses the "bend but don't break" philosophy. Plus, they are playing with passion, having the entire state of Louisiana behind them. I just don't think the Bears D can slow the Saints down enough and I'm sure that the Bears O can't keep up for all 4 quarters. Saints: 28-17

Patriots vs Colts: I said it for last week's games: the winner of the Pats/Chargers game will represent the AFC in …

Prognostication

I'm going to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and actually put in writing how I think the playoffs will go in this round. What the hell, right?
Colts vs Ravens - I think the Colts will win. I think their defense will come out with the same statement as in the previous game. Manning will have a much better day (as will his WRs) and the Colts D is enough to keep Lewis in check and contain McNair. Early in the season the Colts proved they could win tight games and they now have Vinatieri as their Kicker. While the Ravens have a stout D, their offense is not that strong and got really lucky in at least 4 games this season. Colts, 24-21.Eagles vs Saints - I like the Saints, playing with fire and emotion at home. However, I think the bye week may hurt the NO offense and they may come out flat. The Eagles will give them some trouble, especially Westbrook and early in the game. This could be a decently high-scoring game. Saints, 31-24.Seahawks vs Bears - I am rooting for the &#…

6 Years

Today is my 6-year anniversary at my present employer. Which officially makes this the longest I have been employed with one company. My previous employer let me go a few months before my 6 year anniversary because "(we) don't need technical writers any more." Of course, at that point, I was hardly doing any technical writing for them and they wound up having to hire someone to take over all those other tasks I was doing within 2 months of letting me go. And then they hired new tech writers within 6 months to cover those they got rid of. Stupid.

My present employment has undergone quite a few changes over these years. The company was purchased. I've survived quite a few purges of employees. Our stock went in the crapper and then crawled its way back out 3 years later. We've purchased quite a few competitors. We have sunsetted and dawned a few product lines. We are currently undergoing a shift of programming and support to India (neither of which is going very well…

The Year in Movies Review

I have the following movie stubs from the previous year:

Good Night and Good Luck (2/10/06): A very good movie, with superb acting by David Strathairn. My only complaint is the side story about the married couple; it was well acted but took away from the force of the main story. I still think that David Strathairn should have won Best Actor over Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. I thought this was a far superior movie to Capote. Grade: A-

Walk the Line (don't have stub): M reminded me that we saw this picture around the same time. Fabulous movie about the early life and times of Johnny Cash. Extremely well-acted by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. I actually liked this movie more than Ray, another Oscar-winning movie about a musician. My only question is why they stopped it where they did-- I was very interested in seeing his rise to fame again in the late 90s/early 00s with a whole new host of artists and fans. Grade: A

V for Vendetta (3/18/06): The first really good movie of…

Home Again

Made it home. Had to get up at 4:30 am AST to get to flight on time. Had to endure the usual ripping out and eating of my heart that goes with having to leave my beloved. Our relationship will be super-human in strength if there is any truth to that "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger" saying.

Only have one brief story to tell, involving changing terminals and customs in Toronto. The pen I was using to fill out the customs declaration form for the US ran out of ink. I had finished most of it, but couldn't sign it. The first woman trying to be helpful directed me into the non-US citizen's line, but I realized my mistake and got the second woman to give me better direction. (Aside: The really need to make that "US Citizens go here" sign bigger and maybe attach it to the ceiling so you can identify it). I finally get to the front of the line and to the agent and she takes one look at the form that is not completed (needs my signature) and she says…