Friday, March 31, 2006

Got I.D.?

When I walk into work each day, I'm required to show my I.D. It was much worse when there were threats against some of our hotels for possible "dirty bombs." Our bags were searched each day. This never bothered me too much. I figure that I can take a few seconds of my time to help security. I also know that, currently, if we don't have our I.D. when we walk in, we stopped and are walked to Human Resources to verify who we are and have to pay to get a new I.D. card. This sucks when you are running late. Yes, it's easier to just comply.

The reason why I'm thinking about this is that I have Georgia on my mind... that is Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Representative McKinney was stopped while in a rush and heading into government building without wearing a pin that allows government officials to bypass security. According to witnesses, she turned and hit a security officer in the chest while holding er cell phone after he put his hand on her shoulder when she was told to stop.

McKinney held a press conference today claiming that she was stopped because she was "a black congresswoman" and has hired a lawyer although she has been told not to talk about the incident as it may go to court. Whether charges for assaulting security are filed against her, I think about the fact that I'm heading into work in a few minutes and know the procedure. My I.D. card is in my hand as I walk through. How's the security at your work?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Steps On A New Path

When I passed my classes for home appraisal nearly 2 years ago (July 2004), I figured that I would wait out an intership where my friends are at. I did interview with their boss but they can't hire until one of them has finished their internship... not to say that I'd get the job. Anyhow, I had my interview with a company from Pennsylvania last week. It just so happens that they were planning on opening an office in town. The first interview went well and was asked to meet with them the next day. The second interview went well also and was offered the internship that day which would start in June. My only task until then will be helping them find an office location... which I've never looked for before and should prove interesting.

This means that I need to take care of a lot of my projects while I have the time. But, with the change of days off, I do foresee having weekends pretty free (although, I'll probably sleep a lot.) I have a good feeling about time getting sorted out but I do feel apprehension about the new job. It's probably just the jitters.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Yard: The Removal

Pictured here is what my house looked like when I purchased it. From the looks of it, the environment is trying to reclaim it... the pine tree and the juniper on the right side of the photo actually were touching the house (the juniper looked like it would get caught soon in the garage door.) On the left is the massive bush and an oleander that is peeking out near the front door. Since I've moved in, I've removed the juniper, removed the oleander and ripped out the bushes on the left. (The roots to the bushes were so big that they pushed the sidewalk up where there was a good half inch difference between slabs.)

As part of my converting to desert landscape, I picked up a sod cutter on Friday. My work on the yard itself would have taken until Sunday had my neighbor's brother Pietro not joined in. I cut the sod (and many sprinkler heads) while he cut the strips into rolls. Everything was going well until the pull string on the cutter snapped in half as I started work on the back yard. The company sent someone out to fix it while Pietro and I took the rolls to the side of the drive way and stacked them up neatly. I put a post on in the Free section about the sod. 3 people that saw the ad came by and took all the good sod (1 woman made 4 trips with her sons in the car and later purchased my lawnmower from me.) Lots of little pieces of sod left under the pine tree but hopefully, I'll find a way to slowly dispose of them over the next few weeks.

Pietro had asked me about a leak in the sprinkler system several months back. I kept thinking that, I'm removing it so it really isn't a big problem. Well, after cutting up the sod it seemed to be a bigger problem than expected. It was a huge puddle. After cleaning out the area with a shovel, we discovered that the water wasn't coming from the sprinkler line but under the concrete... so we called the Water company. It didn't take them long to notice that the leak was on my side of the meter but under the concrete (meaning = "your problem buddy.") Kept the water off that night and repairs would cost $403.11 that next afternoon. I used that day to prune and trim up the bushes and trees.

My body was extremely sore after the first day of yard work. The second day felt better after ibuprofen and forcing the muscles back to task. I'm still sore today but I know more work is coming and my pockets will be emptying out a bit more. On the next episode of The Yard, Martin tries to design, remove the sprinkler system, organize plants and prepares for the coming rock.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Life Update - 032106

Ok, lots going on so today is an update day:

1) The iPod is full and now I have to choose which songs don't make the cut. It's like playing American Idol with people who already were/are stars.

2) A friend at work bumped into an appraiser moving his business into our area and he is looking for an intern with knowledge of the area. Hmmm... my interview is tomorrow at 3pm prior to work.

3) I decided that my procrastination with the lawn conversion has to end. On Friday, I'll rent a sod cutter and pull up all the grass (with a little trimming around the sides.) On Saturday, I'll take some photos of my irrigation system to professionals so they can build me what I need and go look at pretty rocks. On Sunday, I'll play in the dirt a little but expect to spend the day doing my newsletter.

4) Dad got a used Tivo from my brother Matt (first he gives me a sofa, dad the Tivo... I need to check with his wife about his health.) I'll be heading over to Dad's to set things up maybe early tomorrow. The good thing about now getting Sunday's off is that I will not miss family gatherings in the evening.

5) After going to my friend Mike's house last week, I've been thinking of painting these white walls in the house. I thought white was a serene non-color but I just don't want to start another project too soon.

6) People keep asking me about advertising on my main Web site. Usually, I just take so long to answer them that I delete the email. I need to figure a "going rate" at some point. If the new podcasts work out alright, I'll probably need to figure out ad rates for that too. Never had to worry about it in the past because I wouldn't consider the idea unless they had something to do with 80's music. Now, some of them are popping up.

7) I'm really loving Taco Bell's Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuffed Burrito. I love a good caesar salad (the dressing is important.) And considering it is one of the few sources green cellulose (salad) that I'll ingest, it may be a healthier option than my regular haunts.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It Takes A Cab

As I've mentioned before, Tivo is my friend. I like to let it make suggestions for me according to what I already like to watch. (Actually, because of it, I've recently become a Nielsen family... of one.) Anyhow, I was very happy to find two new television shows on my Tivo recently and thought I'd share them with you.

The Discovery Channel's reality series It Takes A Thief is intense. The series takes two reformed thieves who stake out houses and propose a deal with the home owners. They will show them how unprepared they are for a real home invasion in exchange for a home security upgrade. Seems like a fair deal but think of this: If you walked out of your home like normal and sat somewhere nearby to watch everything that means anything to you ransacked and taken, what emotions would you feel? Even knowing that it isn't real, it pretty much is what would happen. Great series but do yourself a favor and don't watch it before going to bed. I made that mistake one night.

On a lighter note, there is Cash Cab. Imagine that you are on the streets of New York and hail a cab. Upon sitting down and telling the cabbie your destination, you are greeted by computerized sounds, see flashing lights and hear "You are in the Cash Cab!" The idea for this game show is that during your drive to your destination, you will be asked questions and accumulate cash as you go. You are also allowed a "Shout Out" where you can either call someone on the host's cell phone or pull over and ask someone on the street for an answer to the question. Oh, there is a catch: You miss 3 questions and you get kicked out of the cab where you are without winning anything or getting to your destination. Great stuff but I do think that groups of 4 people in a cab have a huge advantage.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Everything And The Kitchen Sink

I've mentioned before that I have a lot of home projects in the works. (One that needs to be done by Mar. 18th that I haven't even come close to starting.) They have been building up since moving in and were taken care of in order of what was important at the time (that big hole in the roof letting water in was critical.) Tomorrow, I will be knocking one more off my list... the sink.

I guess that when I moved into the house, I was under the impression that the most work that I'd have to do is mow the lawn. I was very very sadly mistaken. After awhile, I noticed that the bathroom shower had badly cracked grout (after a few repairs, I gave up and plan to redo that sometime), the dishwasher had rust on the rails (replaced that) and the sink had chips in it that were obviously touched up. I was able to put the sink out of my mind for the most part until the disposal went out recently. Most of these things have to be expected after 2 decades in the life of a home and I've accepted that. So, I'm taking the opportunity to change the disposal and sink at the same time for a little under $500. Should be interesting as the sink is supposed to not scratch, stain or scorch while it will bring a more modern look to the area.

I'm just wondering how distracting it will be having them install it while I'm working on the newsletter. So, what is the one home project that is haunting you at the moment?

Thursday, March 09, 2006


It's Matt's fault. I saw that he took The True Geek Test and said, "Let's see how I do." Not only do I pass it with flying colors but they give me this funky picture (seen below.) Then again, I don't know if I feel worse about how I did or not knowing which questions that I answered wrong. Otherwise, Mom should be out of the hospital tomorrow.

The Uber Geek
You answered 87% of the questions as a geek truly would.
You just completely conquered the geek test. Not only are you a geek, you're you're proud of it and wear it like a badge. Saying you're socially awkward is an understatement. Your hobbies include most things that normal folks cringe at.

You're obsessed with information and details. You'd skip a Friday night party if it meant getting your latest project finished. Your intelligence probably intimidates people, and you enjoy spitting out random trivia to annoy people.

So what does it all mean? Well for one, your claims of being a geek are true. You were probably picked on - heavily - in high school. You don't care about fashion, so generally you're easy to spot from a distance. In social situations, you're either perfectly silent or ridiculously loud-mouthed (true geeks always fall into the extremes). Cool people probably laugh at you behind your back, but you take gratification in knowing most will grow up to become career alcoholics.

In a nutshell, you answered almost every question as a true member of the geek philosophy. You're geekier than 80% of the population!

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 95% on geekness
Link: The True Geek Test written by ambientred on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On Why I Avoid Watching Award Shows

I'm not a big fan of award shows. Sure, if I have nothing else to do or watch, I might see a little of one but in general they mean very little to me. The major reason for this is the subjectivity involved with saying something was 'the best' that year. Yes, film awards are voted on by actors but... what if they were voting on films that they themselves would like to be in? A little twist like that would likely push out any big budget film and focus on ensemble casts with meaty parts and controversial stances... like what they had to choose from this year for Best Picture. Yet, not all the films cleanly connect with what the people want to see.

When I started thinking about this, I stumbled on a fact nestled in the middle of an article about Mariah Carey "reigning supreme" at an award show. Essentially, Jamie Foxx was honored with the Quincy Jones Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th annual Soul Train Awards. Yes, the man has released only 2 albums (1994's Peep This and 2005's Unpredictable) and they honored him for his 'life's' work. I along with many people believed he performed very well in the film Ray. I even watched him on In Living Color and Roc. But, isn't Quincy Jones a musician? They should be honoring this person for his contribution to music during his lifetime. Maybe, Unpredictable was so amazing that they decided it equaled the life's work of many other musicians. All I know is that it gives me one more reason to believe that award shows are created to place things on pedestals that might not belong there.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Poe Slacker Me

Things have been a little busy lately. I've also been slacking a bit on the posting as I started thinking (if I post less, people have more time to comment etc.) but that's just a catch-22 created by 'the man.' Anyhow, here's a quick update on what I've been doing (in no certain order):

Went and read Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," "Eldorado" and "Annabel Lee" to Mrs. Mann's 4th grade class. Good kids and no, I didn't sneak in any adult humor. Poe has and will always be one of my favorite authors due to the lack of respect he earned during his short 40 years on this earth, his variety of writing styles (poetry, novella, plays, etc.) and his morbid obsessions. Sounds like some of the kids took up my call to learn all the big words they could from the dictionary.

Mom has been in the hospital since Wednesday with an upper respiratory infection (I believe, as detailed information has been unusually vague.) All I can think about is the last few times that she was in the hospital for having an attack of emphysema which were close calls. Things really have changed for her physically as I remember a much healthier woman raising me. My youngest brother, Michael, flew in to surprise her and I'm hoping her relationship with my brother, Matt, will thaw during this time. We are a stubborn lot.

Grandma (Dad's mom) went back into the hospital for surgery to remove more cancer found on her bladder. They expect it's going to be a short outpatient procedure but I'm still concerned.

Measured my front, back and side yards today. This is actually a big task as I set in motion the process of converting to desert landscape in October. The rush is on now as my slacking has left be with 34 days to complete everything (if I want to be reimbursed $1 per sq. ft.) I'm expecting to rent a sod cutter next week and then learn a lot about drip systems. Should prove to be an interesting project.

When I helped Matt move several months ago he offered me his sectional. Little did I know how big it or expensive it was. It seems that it didn't fit the decor of his new place. So, I spent last week rearranging the room, painting the coffee table and rewiring the HDTV/surround set-up. The living room looks amazing and only needs a little more touches to be finished. I owe Matt bigtime.