10/05/2010

What a week - And it is only half over

This has been one heck of a week so far, and it is only half over.

Rachel went to a reenactment over the weekend, so I watched all three boys by myself. Friday, I took the boys to the park, then we watched Veggietales till bedtime. Saturday was fun, but busy. We went to Dunkin Donuts, then the UC surplus sale, then the zoo, then to a birthday party, then to McDonald's as it had started raining, and I let them run around in the PlayLand. We finished off the day watching IronMan 2.

Rachel came home late Saturday night due to weather issues. So Sunday we decided to do a few things that we wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. But the day started off with Teddy throwing a remote at Rachel's laptop and shattering the screen.

Rachel got to go to a Baby shower for two friends, one living in town, and one living out of town. Unfortunately as we were leaving that party to head to the next, I backed into a mailbox, scratching the entire driver's side of the Pacifica :(.

After that we went to a birthday/football party at our friends new home. We didn't get to stay long due to the boys behavior, but at least we finally got to see their gorgeous new home.

When we came home, it was cold in the house. I had the furnace set to "emergency" heat, which is how we bypass the heat pump and use the gas. (Long story, but our heat pump is 20+ years old, and I just prefer the heat from gas). The thermostat said that the heat was on, but the furnace wasn't running. After tearing into it, I found the inducer motor to be really, really, really hot!!!! and buzzing, so I figured that was messed up. I scheduled an appointment for Tuesday afternoon to have an HVAC company look it over, but was hopeful that it would be an easy fix. Flipped over to the heat pump for heat, and have been relatively happy with it for a few days.

That brings us to Monday. It started out great. Cupcakes at work, started reading the new Monster Hunter novel (see last post), and then I got a phone call from Rachel that Ricky had been bad at school and that they were sending him home early. Since I had the HVAC appointment on Tuesday, I was working late, and by the time I got home from work, Rachel had put the boys to bed.

This morning started out ok. Picked up MCD's for breakfast due to Monopoly, and that I was skipping lunch to make up more time for the HVAC appointment. At lunch Rachel informed me that we didn't get a rent check from our Minster Renter (late charges start on 6th), so I sent him an email. Got the response that they had mailed it yesterday, and then he dropped a bomb. They had been telling me that they were going to go month to month, but now he informed me they were moving out at the end of their lease. So we have two more checks coming from them (counting this month), and then they are done. So that is a huge stress as we really can't afford to carry that loan without a renter. So we dropped the price on the house again, and are hopeful that something will show up in the next 60 days. We now have it listed for less than we purchased it for 4 years ago, not counting all the work we have done to it.

So at 2:30, I headed home as my appointment was the whole "Arrive between 3-5PM" thing. I got home at 3, and played with the boys some. At 4:45 (seriously) I get a phone call that the technician is 20-25 minutes away, and will be there as soon as he can. But just after 5, he shows up, and I show him the issues. He has me run the unit in a variety of different ways, and he verify's that the induction fan is bad, and buttons everything up. As he is gathering his tools, I point to water running out of the bottom of the unit with a "Hey, it has never done that before". So we tear back into it and find water in the heat exchanger, and running out the bottom. He informs me that this means my heat exchanger is cracked and that he is really sorry, but it will have to be replaced, and it is not cheap. He also says that he can't just replace the induction fan now as it could be a CO issue, but tells me that I can run on the heat pump till I make a decision. He buttons everything back up, and we head up. After looking at my Heat pump outside, he sits in his truck for a while, and finally comes back to tell me the damage. ~$5k for a 95% unit installed (furnace only). Yikes!!! But wait, with that unit I qualify for all of these rebates and tax credits!!!! So it is only ~3.5k after that!!. I tell him I will think about it and pay the service call.

I called my parents, and dad told me he can get me a pretty decent unit for ~1.5k, but I will have to install it myself. That sounds much better to me. Going to see if I can get something else from a guy at work, but that looks like my best bet. And since it is the 95% unit, I still qualify for the ~1.5k rebates, so I might get it for FREE ;).

Anyways, thanks for reading this far. Can't wait to see what the rest of this week has in store for us.

10/04/2010

MHV!!!

Just finished chapter 1 of Monster Hunter Vendetta at lunch today. Off to a great start!! Can't wait to keep reading.

7/27/2010

Parable of the Sheep

Found this online today, and thought I would share:

Author has given permission to copy and share.

Parable of the Sheep

By Charles Riggs

Not so long ago and in a pasture too uncomfortably close to here, a flock of sheep lived and grazed. They were protected by a dog, who answered to the master, but despite his best efforts from time to time a nearby pack of wolves would prey upon the flock.

One day a group of sheep, more bold than the rest, met to discuss their dilemma. "Our dog is good, and vigilant, but he is one dog and the wolves are many. The wolves he catches are not always killed, and the master judges and releases many to prey again upon us, for no reason we can understand. What can we do? We are sheep, but we do not wish to be food, too!"

One sheep spoke up, saying "It is his teeth and claws that make the wolf so terrible to us. It is his nature to prey, and he would find any way to do it, but it is the tools he wields that make it possible. If we had such teeth, we could fight back, and stop this savagery." The other sheep clamored in agreement, and they went together to the old bones of the dead wolves heaped in the corner of the pasture, and gathered fang and claw and made them into weapons.

That night, when the wolves came, the newly armed sheep sprang up with their weapons and struck at them and cried "Begone! We are not food!" and drove off the wolves, who were astonished. When did sheep become so bold and so dangerous to wolves? When did sheep grow teeth? It was unthinkable!

The next day, flush with victory and waving their weapons, they approached the flock to pronounce their discovery. But as they drew nigh, the flock huddled together and cried out "Baaaaaaaadddd! Baaaaaddd things! You have bad things! We are afraid! You are not sheep!"

The brave sheep stopped, amazed. "But we are your brethren!" they cried, "We are still sheep, but we do not wish to be food. See, our new teeth and claws protect us and have saved us from slaughter. They do not make us into wolves, they make us equal to the wolves, and safe from their viciousness!"

"Baaaaaaaddd!", cried the flock,"the things are bad and will pervert you, and we fear them. You cannot bring them into the flock. They scare us!". So the armed sheep resolved to conceal their weapons, for although they had no desire to panic the flock, they wished to remain in the fold. But they would not return to those nights of terror, waiting for the wolves to come.

In time, the wolves attacked less often and sought easier prey, for they had no stomach for fighting sheep who possessed tooth and claw even as they did. Not knowing which sheep had fangs and which did not, they came to leave sheep out of their diet almost completely except for the occasional raid, from which more than one wolf did not return. Then came the day when, as the flock grazed beside the stream, one sheep's weapon slipped from the folds of her fleece, and the flock cried out in terror again, "Baaaaaaddddd! You still possess these evil things! We must ban you from our presence!".

And so they did. The great chief sheep and his court and council, encouraged by the words of their moneylenders and advisors, placed signs and totems at the edges of the pasture forbidding the presence of hidden weapons there. The armed sheep protested before the council, saying "It is our pasture, too, and we have never harmed you! When can you say we have caused you hurt? It is the wolves, not we, who prey upon you. We are still sheep, but we are not food!". But the flock would not hear, and drowned them out with cries of "Baaaaaaddd! We will not hear your clever words! You and your things are evil and will harm us!".

Saddened by this rejection, the armed sheep moved off and spent their days on the edges of the flock, trying from time to time to speak with their brethren to convince them of the wisdom of having such teeth, but meeting with little success. They found it hard to talk to those who, upon hearing their words, would roll back their eyes and flee, crying "Baaaaddd! Bad things!".

That night, the wolves happened upon the sheep's totems and signs, and said, "Truly, these sheep are fools! They have told us they have no teeth! Brothers, let us feed!". And they set upon the flock, and horrible was the carnage in the midst of the fold. The dog fought like a demon, and often seemed to be in two places at once, but even he could not halt the slaughter. It was only when the other sheep arrived with their weapons that the wolves fled, vowing to each other to remain on the edge of the pasture and wait for the next time they could prey, for if the sheep were so foolish once, they would be so again. This they did, and do still.

In the morning, the armed sheep spoke to the flock, and said, "See? If the wolves know you have no teeth, they will fall upon you. Why be prey? To be a sheep does not mean to be food for wolves!". But the flock cried out, more feebly for their voices were fewer, though with no less terror, "Baaaaaaaadddd! These things are bad! If they were banished, the wolves would not harm us! Baaaaaaaddd!". The other sheep could only hang their heads and sigh. The flock had forgotten that even they possessed teeth; how else could they graze the grasses of the pasture? It was only those who preyed, like the wolves and jackals, who turned their teeth to evil ends. If you pulled their own fangs those beasts would take another's teeth and claws, perhaps even the broad flat teeth of sheep, and turn them to evil purposes.

The bold sheep knew that the fangs and claws they possessed had not changed them. They still grazed like other sheep, and raised their lambs in the spring, and greeted their friend the dog as he walked among them. But they could not quell the terror of the flock, which rose in them like some ancient dark smoky spirit and could not be damped by reason, nor dispelled by the light of day.

So they resolved to retain their weapons, but to conceal them from the flock; to endure their fear and loathing, and even to protect their brethren if the need arose, until the day the flock learned to understand that as long as there were wolves in the night, sheep would need teeth to repel them.

They would still be sheep, but they would not be food!

© 1997 Charles Riggs

7/16/2010

What a day!!!

Today was interesting. Everything was pretty normal today till it was time to go home from work. I got out to my Rover and noticed that my keyless entry wasn't working. So I put the key in the door and it only unlocked that door. Uh oh, I don't think it is a problem with the remote. Then I notice through the door that the headlight switch is on. I didn't use my headlights this morning. I must have bumped it this morning.

Well here I am, at the side of the road in the Heights, with traffic wizzing by. The hood is up on the Rover and I have a pair of jumper cables hanging over the fender of the truck, hopefully conveying to someone that I could use a hand.

I had called a few co-workers, but they were all too far away to ask to come back to help. I was just about to call the UC Police to see if they would come give me a jump when a pickup pulled up and started trying to parallel park into a spot that I thought was too small for it. I decided to wait till he gave up and then ask him to jump my truck in exchange for the parking spot. As I was waiting, a small green wagon pulls up next to the Rover real close and stopped. I had noticed this exact car pull out of the parking lot across the street. The couple had come completely around the block to come back to give me a hand (and this is quite a big block). We had a bit of a scare when we noticed that my battery was on the passenger side of the Rover (against the curb) and his battery was on the driver's side of his car (towards the middle of the road), but my jumper cables were just long enough to reach.

I unlocked the passenger door to get into the Rover to start it. And of course the alarm started going off. So I had to use the remote to turn off the alarm and then the Rover started right up. I unhooked my side of the jumper cables and started cleaning up, thanking the couple all along for the kindness. He explained a bit that he had had a few people help him over the years and it was time to pay it forward. Then he and his wife were gone. I sat there for a few minutes to let the Rover idle for a bit (wouldn't it suck if I had stalled right then?), and praised God for sending people to help.

My plan for the evening had been to drive straight to Colerain Ave and hit up Walmart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot and Sears to look for pricing on a new dehumidifier for the Minster house (house is going up for sale again soon, interested?). The renters had sent me an email telling me that the one I had left in the basement had quick working the previous Tuesday. Instead, I drove home and changed clothes as it was over 90 degrees, and hot. I stopped at home, changed and said goodnight to the boys, as I figured they would be in bed by the time I got home. After going to Walmart, Home Depot and Target, I was not holding out much hope for finding one that would drain for a decent price. And they were all over $100 :(. I went to Sears and they had what I was looking for for 35 less than HD, so I just decided to buy it. Rachel is going to drop it off with Mom tomorrow (who is down here working on some stuff), and she will drop it off when she heads home this weekend.

After that I swung by Borders to just browse some books, as I have run out of Star Wars books. I just finished Millenium Falcon, and I have to say, it was a great book. While at Borders, I saw that they sell the Sony Reader Touch for $169. Wow!!! That's $10 more then half the price of last year at this time. If we weren't so far in debt with the two mortgages and all (plus I had just spent that amount of money on a stupid dehumidifier), I would seriously think about picking one up. I love my Sony Reader PRS-505.

This weekend is going to be exciting too. I am finally going to activate my library card, then possibly head to Loveland to pick up some furniture (if Rachel decides she wants any of my Grandparents stuff). Then Sunday is the Cincinnati British car show in Fairfield. We are considering going, and maybe entering the Rover, just for fun :). We could win worst wreck or something. :).

Well, better get to sleep, as I see I is already Friday, and I started typing this on Thursday!!

6/24/2010

Today

9 years ago today, it was hot, and I mean HOT outside.

I was standing in a shed in a tuxedo with my great uncle and my best friend Andy. Waiting........







For Her.



She looked amazing!!!!!!


Happy 9th anniversary my Love. It feels like yesterday that we walked down that aisle.

6/17/2010

Yikes. Very quiet lately

Sorry about no posts for a while. We are still hanging on. Haven't sold the Minster house yet, but will probably be putting it back up for sale soon. Hoping to see if the renters are interested again. Need to send them an email.

I have added a widget at the side to show blog posts that I have enjoyed reading. I used to post a link to each of them to Twitter. Twitter automatically updates to my Facebook page. Some friends (Yes I am looking at you Sara ;)) didn't care for it, and Facebook actually treated me like a spammer the other day, so I decided I needed to change how I was doing this. So I am using a Google Reader Share page to handle it now. I will still post the occasional link to Twitter/Facebook if it was just amazing (Like the post to the Pioneer Woman's coffee cake that I just posted...Drool).

Well, back to work.

3/31/2010

Interesting History Lesson

I was walking from where I parked today into work. There was an older gentleman with a cane behind me. As I was passing a breese way, he called out to me: "Young Man, do you have a moment?". I stopped and turned around and started back towards him. Then he said "I bet you walked past this every day and thought it was brick. What is this?" "It looks like wood", I replied. "You're right, this is an original wooden sewer from the 1800's." Then he said, "Make sure you share it with someone else." "I will", I replied. I reached for my camera, and took this picture. When I looked up, the man was gone.

3/12/2010

What does the 2nd amendment mean?

In honor of the current Supreme Court case, I thought I would post a few things I found on the internet about the words found in the 2nd Amendment.

(Found in the comments here - http://twowheeledmadwoman.blogspot.com/2010/03/regulate-means-facilitate.html)

“One problem with the English language is that words change over time. For example, the word “gay” has had two major shifts in my lifetime. The 2nd Amendment was written in the language of the day and it often requires going back to the definitions in one of first issues of the Oxford English Dictionary to understand what was said."Regulated" is one of those words that has changed dramatically from the time that the Bill of Rights was adopted. One archaic definition of “regulated” is smooth or practiced; a ballerina's movements might be called well regulated. It takes training and practice to correctly load and accurately fire a muzzle loading rifle. I maintain the correct definition of “Well-Regulated” is proficient rather than subject to bureaucratic whim & fancy. People of the day despised bureaucrats, regarded them as little more than thieves and it would be ludicrous to imagine that after throwing out one tyranny, they would set up another.“Militia” is another word that's largely dropped out of common usage. In its' most common form, the term "militia" was that group of people able to defend the community. In past times, the people who show up to help assist at disasters would be called militia rather than volunteers. I'm no constitutional lawyer but I'm guessing that if the 2nd Amendment were translated into contemporary vernacular, it might read something like this; "Since a proficient population of shooters is needed to defend a free state, the government shall not make any laws which abridge the rights of law abiding citizens to keep, transport and use arms of any sort, for any reason.”An interesting sidelight is that, at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, American citizens could keep and use all the arms of the day. It was common for businesses to build their own warships and operate as privateers; not unlike modern bounty hunters. In modern terms, this would be like someone owning a Perry class frigate and all the missiles and weaponry that goes with it.”


Here was the definition of Militia from the Militia Act of 1792 (Found Here - http://www.constitution.org/mil/mil_act_1792.htm)
I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act. And it shall at all time hereafter be the duty of every such Captain or Commanding Officer of a company, to enroll every such citizen as aforesaid, and also those who shall, from time to time, arrive at the age of 18 years, or being at the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as before excepted) shall come to reside within his bounds; and shall without delay notify such citizen of the said enrollment, by the proper non-commissioned Officer of the company, by whom such notice may be proved. That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

Again it is very clear that the militia was intented to be the Army. If you look in the constitution, the Army we have now isn't supposed to exist. (No standing army for more than 2 years).

2/02/2010

Reading list

Thought I would check in for the two of you who care about what I am
reading right now. Just finished up Book 16 of the New Jedi Order
Series. And I want a break from the Yuuzhan Vong story line.

Picked up the last in the Republic Commando Series this weekend (in
paperback, as no one carries it in ebook format), 501st: An
Imperial Commando Novel. I also have a novel about the end of the
world to read (also paperback), plus the book written by that airline
pilot who crash landed the plane in the Hudson (ebook). I've also got
some non-fiction to read too, but I think I will stick with fiction at
the moment.

(I know, I need to put some titles in here, but I can't remember what they are, will look when I get home).

1/28/2010

Apple iPad and Me.

To preface this, I will disclose that I have been an Apple customer since 1986.  I have personally owned a Mac since I turned 18 in 1996.  I currently have 4 Macintosh computers (PowerMac G5(server), MacbookPro (mine), Macbook Air (Rachel’s), 12” Powerbook (Not even running right now), 3 ipods (2G Shuffle, 3G Nano, 1G Touch), and an AppleTV.  And believe it or not, not one of these devices was purchased new.  Most were refurbished, and a few were used.  I am not a fanboy, and actually have disliked many of Apple’s decisions over the past few years. (No real display port on a laptop?? Why do I have to carry adapters to make any presentation at all???? Only two friggin’ USB ports??).  Anyways……
 
Let’s talk a bit about my usage.  I am not a heavy lifting computer user any more, at least at home.  I check email, surf the web, use Web 2.0 (twitter, blogs, facebook, ect), and do finances and calendar sharing.  Sometimes I do presentations, and papers for work, or the Fraternity at home on my Mac, but it’s just not an everyday occurrence.  I don’t have a single Macintosh game.  I do have a game I play in Windows with Bootcamp, but not very often.  Lately, I have been doing most of the email reading, blog reading, and Web 2.0 stuff on my 1st Generation iPod Touch.  This has been great, as I am not spending as much time downstairs on my computer, and am more connected to my family.  But I still have to go to my laptop to do most of my web surfing.  Before I bought the Macbookpro in January 2008, I had been hoping for a 12” tablet, or new 12” laptop.  Alas it didn’t come to pass, so I got the MacbookPro.
 
Yesterday, Apple announced a device called the iPad.  It is basically a 10” iPod Touch.  Many people have panned it as it can’t multitask, nor does it run OSX, just a scaled version of the iPhone OS.  What I see, is possibility.  Is this the device I wanted in January 2008?  No.  Are my computing needs the same as they were in 2008?  Not even close.  I see the iPad as exactly what Apple designed it for.  A device to sit between devices.  I have my laptop to do the heavy lifting, and as a home base as such.  I can still take it with me if I need it.  But I see the iPad as a perfect replacement for my iPod Touch.  Perfect?  Yes, as it can run everything I have on my Touch now, plus it has the potential to be so much more.  What about Multitasking?  I haven’t used it in 10+ years as a Palm user, why would I need it now.  The Touch doesn’t have multitasking, but I get email, Facebook, twitter and other notifications when I am using other programs. Can someone explain to me what you really want multi-tasking for???  Please, people have had this discussion for years between PocketPC and Palm, and I could never figure out what multitasking brought to the table.  I used to read ebooks on the iPod Touch, but it was killing my eyes, and I switched to a Dedicated ebook reader (Sony PRS-505).  Reading on that is great, except it has all of the same issues as a book, mainly, I have to have a light on.  I look forward to hearing how the reading experience is on the iPad, and how you load books that you already own, or make yourself.  If that works out, I can combine quite a few devices into one.  Yes it will be larger, but it is a version of what I have wanted for over 4 years, and I can’t wait to see what develops.
 
The only thing this brings to light is that I would lose my music player.  I could temporarily use the 3G nano, but I guess this is basically pushing me towards getting an iphone (which other things have already been doing anyways).  Hopefully the mystical Verizon iPhone will materialize around when my contract runs out in 2011.
 
What are your thoughts on the new iPad?
 

1/26/2010

Found on the Interwebs today

A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said,
 
'Jesus knows you’re here.'
 
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze.
 
When he heard nothing more, after a bit, he shook his head and continued.
 
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard
 
‘Jesus is watching you.'
 
Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.
 
Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
 
‘Did you say that?'  He hissed at the parrot.
 
'Yep', the parrot confessed, and then squawked, 'I'm just trying to warn you that he is watching you.'
 
The burglar relaxed.  'Warn me, huh?  Who in the world are you?'
 
‘Moses,’ replied the bird.
 
'Moses?' the burglar laughed. 'What kind of people would name a bird Moses?'
 
'The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.'
 
 
 

1/20/2010

Don't hold your breath.

An historic night last night. A non-democrat has been elected from Mass. After being "represented" by a Kennedy and a Kerry, for years, they have elected a new person. But what about Obamacare? After all the rhetoric, after all the fear-mongoring, do you think the Democrats will listen to the people and stop the healthcare bill now? The Democrats said that if Brown was elected it would put the bill in jeopardy. Maybe "We the People" want it in jeopardy, want it stopped, but I bet they won't believe that. To them, it wasn't the people that voted in Brown, it was the right-wing conspiracy. So, I wouldn't hold your breath on Obamacare going away.


This November is looking like it could be fun. Find out if your Congressman/Senator is any good. If not, lets find someone to run in his or her place.

Lets throw the worthless bums out.