Showing posts from August, 2009


I was amazed when we left the church and drove in a funeral procession to the grave site for M's grandfather. Without a police escort, on both sides of the street, traffic came to a veritable halt. People on the streets removed hats as we passed. Without a cop and completely on their own, traffic allowed us through intersections without issue.

The last time I saw a funeral procession was in Irvine. I was driving to a store on a weekend and saw a police motorcycle ride up to an intersection on (I think it was) Jamboree and begin to wave all directions to stop. The funeral procession arrived and he waved it through as the police escort at the rear of the procession sped past him to do the same at the next intersection.

It so happened that I was turning to follow that same direction, and I noted that traffic on both sides of the street did not stop for the funeral. Some cars had to be "convinced" by the escort to get out of the way of the funeral by pulling into the slow lane…

Windows 7

I downloaded the RC for Windows 7 and have planned to install it somewhere for testing for quite some time. M decided she wanted to test it for work-related reasons, so I installed it on her older laptop. Just this week, after successfully using it on the laptop for about a month, I decided to try to update my desktop PC with the OS.

Now, I have been successfully using Vista since release. I love Vista. Yes, it has some quirks that you have to turn off and some different behaviors from XP/98/95 that you need to relearn, but overall it has been:

A. More stable than XP, requiring no "just because" reinstalls.
B. Faster than XP.
C. Chock full of nice gadgets and extras that XP didn't have inherently; for example, the Snip tool.

Of course, prior to going from XP to Vista, I paid attention, ran the compatibility wizard, and read the suggested minimums and the suggested "full value" requirements and was prepared. I knew what I was getting into and didn't rely on a thi…

No Longer Blue

Some of you may remember my ongoing issues with my American Express Blue account. After a fairly unsatisfactory end to that customer support issue, M and I discussed whether we would keep that card active or cancel it. After much debate on both sides, we decided to pay off the balance and keep it active as a "just in case" card. I took it out of my wallet and set it aside.

Today in the mail I received a letter from American Express about that card. It says that it must be "responsive to the business and economic environment" and, as a result, "found it necessary to increase rates and fees on some of our products." This translates into the following three changes:
Raising (my) APR on purchases and cash advances.Raising (my) APR on any balances that have a penalty rate due to late payments.Increasing (my) late fee.However, the one benefit is that they are no longer charging a fee if (I) go over (my) credit limit. These changes would go into affect on all exis…

Air Canada Update

Just got a call back from MaryEllen at Air Canada in regards to my issue. She apologized profusely for not calling me yesterday and then apologized profusely for the "confusion" over the issue. When she brought this matter to the VP, he agreed, in her words, "100% with you... he doesn't understand why Air Canada won't accept money from people who want to give it to us."

She then informed me that they provided my wife and me access to the Maple Leaf Lounge for both directions of the flight. She also said this same VP is taking this issue directly to the senior management and going to try to get this policy changed-- if people want to pay for access to the Lounge, Air Canada should allow them access.

My only small complaint at this point is that I think Air Canada should have given us one set of passes to the Lounge for free for the stupidity of the rule and for making me argue with them so many times. However, because I made a point of the fact we were willing…


I was reading somewhere something that struck a chord with me. The person, paraphrased because I don't recall the exact way in which he said it, stated that he felt he was lied to by teachers. His teachers, like mine, constantly told him to really study math because you will use it every day of your life. What they should have pressed him on, he lamented, was English.

With apologies to my many friends who have taught or do teach math or work as programmers and engineers and are those few for whom that old adage is true, the vast, vast majority of people do NOT need more than the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to get through their daily lives. However, even those who do use more complicated math daily must speak, read, and write every day, multiple times per day.

How often do we read a sign, or a package, or warning labels, a book, a magazine, a web site/blog/forum every day? How often do we speak to those around us, to ourselves, or to our pets? How of…

Air Canada Does It Again

After my previous encounter with Air Canada, I was hopeful that our experience getting lounge passes would be smooth and without complications. We logged in today and, sure enough, we could get lounge passes... for our flight from SJ to Orange County. However, we could not get a lounge pass from Orange County back.

I called the number and got Rosie. She tried to be helpful but insisted that we couldn't purchase lounge passes for the flight home because our flight from SNA is operated by United. What the hell? We have two flights owned and operated by Air Canada on the way home, but because of the one flight during the day that we DO NOT want lounge passes for in the first place is not run by AC, we can't get ANY passes for the ENTIRE flight?

I have to admit that I lost my cool a bit with Rosie. I tried a couple of tacts to get her to see our position, but she was a company woman and couldn't see it and didn't want to hear it. I finally asked to speak with a manager. She …


Sometimes you just have to be pleased with yourself. Today I started back to work and one of the things I really wanted to do was figure out how to make Excel calculate my time correctly on my time sheet so I didn't have to do any manual work calculating anything. Last time I had a nice time sheet but I still had to manually add up the hours I worked each day, and then the hours I worked for the two week period, and then multiply that by my hour rate.

I KNEW that Excel could lessen or eliminate the work for me, but I didn't know how to make it see my time, convert it to a number so I could use that for the adding up of the time worked, and then multiply that out. So I decided if I'm working for another three months, I needed to figure this out.

First thing I did was remove the Lunch column from my spreadsheet and instead have two Start/End time columns. In this way, I am only adding up the pre-lunch and post-lunch hours.

Next, I figured out which time format to use to convert…