Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I hooked up the Blu-Ray player tonight. Things are working fine, but unfortunately I don't have a Blu-Ray disc to actually try out. I imagine that I'll have to wait until after Christmas to try that out.

We also brought in the new TV stand and we'll get that situated tomorrow. Unfortunately, that means I'll need to re-wire everything (again) but that shouldn't take too long.

The home theater now consists of

Samsung HL61A750 61" LED DLP HD TV
Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-Ray player
Denon AVR-981 AV Receiver
2 Mirage AVS-200 Left\Right channels
1 Mirage AVS-100 Center Channel
2 Mirage AVS-200 Left\Right surrounds
1 Mirage FRx-S8 Subwoofer

In an ideal world I'd like to get a new AV receiver, but realistically mine is fine and plenty loud. The only real problem is with the room itself, as there are too many openings and architectural details that absorb the sound.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We bought a new TV stand from Craigslist since neither of our existing ones would work with both the TV and all of our components. We're in the process of painting it and it should be ready to go tomorrow or at latest Wednesday. We also purchased a Blu-Ray player. We should have a pretty nice home theater setup once everything gets hooked up. I'd like to upgrade the receiver, but I realize that it's not necessary. One can dream though...

Friday, December 12, 2008

It turns out that everything looks good in HD and I never want to watch another non-HD program ever again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holy cow does basketball look good in HD!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The cable guy saga continued tonight. He came out and brought the multi stream card with him. For some reason though he decided it would be necessary to check the cable levels (AGAIN) even though he just did that on Monday. Once again he unplugged the TiVo during that process. If you've got a TiVo you know that once unplugged, it takes between 5-10 minutes to get back up and running. Well, as if that wasn't bad enough, he decided to not listen to me and plug the CableCard in while the TiVo was starting up (even though the directions specifically say not to do this.) Once it booted up all we had was a purple screen. So I told him we should power it off and try it again, but this time wait until it was on. He listened to me this time and 5-10 minutes later he plugged it in and the TiVo recognized it perfectly. He didn't get all of the activation numbers off of it though, so he had to eject it. Somehow in this process he manhandled the TiVo to the point where the ejection button no longer worked. Thanks a lot. He had to actually use tweezers to pull it out and then got the info he needed and put it back in. At this time, the channels came in just fine and multi-channel recording was working. Good enough. Hopefully we never have to deal with the cable company again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Time Warner is coming out tomorrow. There are several issues that will hopefully be resolved. The first is that one of the CableCard tuners doesn't work. That's the easy one. The second and more annoying problem is that when you leave the TV off for a while (> 10 minutes) then it "forgets" how to decode the HD signals. I have to go back through the CableCard setup and have it test for the channels and then it works fine.

I'm pretty certain that the non-working CableCard they gave me actually is not defective. I think they just didn't activate it correctly. They're supposed to be bringing out a multi-stream version tonight, so that will replace the existing two and hopefully all the problems go away.

My in-laws have a HD TiVo and a multi-stream CableCard decoder and don't exhibit the problem of it "forgetting" how to decode HD, so hopefully we'll be fixed tomorrow.

I also hooked up the surround sound again, but because we don't have a proper TV stand yet, it just looks like crap. Actually, it looks like a dorm room. Components are on the floor. Cables are everywhere. It's just a mess. Once it gets properly situated then I'll take a picture of it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our HD TV came this weekend and Time Warner came out today to install the dual cable cards in our TiVo. Of course, they didn't work. They paired up pretty quickly, but the channels didn't work. Later, one of the cable card tuners worked and one didn't. They gave us two single stream tuners. They're coming back out on Wednesday sometime from 6-8 to change it up to one multi-stream cable card. Why they didn't just bring that in the first place is pretty annoying. By trying to give us two single streams they can charge us an extra $3 per month. With one multi-stream we'll save that $3. Stupid cable company.

By the way, we got a 61 inch Samsung and a new TiVo HD for those of you that are interested.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

To those who may not know, my grandmother passed away this past Sunday at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Oddly, I am at ease about it. We all obviously knew it was coming, but I still didn't know how I'd feel. She was in constant pain near the end and was fighting for every breath. Because of that, we're happy that she's not suffering any more.

I also think that it hasn't quite sunk in yet. Who knows if it ever really will.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So far no news about my grandmother. Hospice actually came out again today and said that she looked better today than yesterday. Now the roller coaster ride begins again. Ultimately no one but God knows when her time is really going to be up, but it takes a lot out of you to watch her get so close to the end and then fight her way back a little bit. She truly wants it to be over and has said as much. She's extremely uncomfortable all the time and on so many drugs to help with the pain that though she's alive, she's not living if you know what I mean.

The hospice nurse speculated that she might be trying to hang on for Thanksgiving. I don't know. No one does.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hospice came out today for what is most likely the last time. They said that my grandmother has only hours left.

I thought I had already grieved for her, but when I got that news it hit me pretty hard. There's a big difference between knowing a loved one is going to pass and coming to the finality of that fact.

I'm thankful that I was able to say my goodbye today. She's been sleeping almost the entire time for about a week now. She wakes up for a minute or two every once in a while. I went downstairs and asked to be alone with her. I sat next to her bed and held her hand and was talking to her and she actually woke up during that time. I know what I felt but I didn't know what to say, if that makes sense. What do you say to someone that's been a second mother to you? I told her I loved her and told her I'd miss her. I wasn't easy to do that, but I'm grateful I was given the chance.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I am almost healed. The plague has almost vanished. The concerning thing is that I took my last dose of antibiotics today. Hopefully I continue to improve because I've had quite enough of being sick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I stayed home from work again today. I feel like crap. I have no energy. I'm taking a handful of pills every day. It sucks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, surprise surprise, it's that time of year for me to get sick. I stayed home yesterday and went to the doctor. They stole my blood from its rightful place and proceeded to analyze it. The only one that I was interested in still hasn't come back.

The doctor said that I may have recurrent mono. It sure felt like it yesterday. I was wiped. Now I just feel generally tired and have a sore throat. I guess the 16 hours of sleep yesterday did some good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hey everyone! There's a big problem in the financial markets right now. They need help. Let's pass this $700 billion package to help them.

Congress: No thanks. We want it to pass, we just don't want to be the ones on the record as having voted for it. Fail!

Hey, c'mon guys. We're in bad shape. Please?

Congress: Ok. Can you at least tell us what you're going to do with it first?

Um. Sure. Yeah. Uh... we're going to uh. Help. Yeah. That's it. We're going to help!

Congress: Oh? You're going to help? Well here you go. That's good enough for us. Enjoy the $700 billion with a B.

Oh thanks. By the way. We're not helping very much. Too bad, so sad. Sorry about your luck. Um, but by the way, we actually do need an additional 1.8 TRILLION FREAKING DOLLARS to uh, help. Yeah, help.

Congress: Oh? Ok. Sounds good to us. Everyone likes help.

Lastly, we're not sure what the real cost is going to be and we're just pretty much going to give money to people we like so that they can throw big parties. Is that alright with you?

Congress: Sure! We love to party....

That's my interpretation of the past events detailed in this article.

Effectively, they're not doing anything they said they would, and the amount has almost quadrupled in cost. Good effing idea. Doesn't anyone in this country care about our huge debt? Anyone? I really seriously think we are beyond help. We will NEVER get out of this debt. Ever. We're completely and totally screwed as a nation and not more than one single person in power cares.

I said that we should not have passed the bill. I'm on record for stating that the weak companies SHOULD die. They should not be rescued. What bubbles up must crash down. If the system grinds to a halt, then so be it. That's what is needed. We cannot continue to simply flush money down the toilet like we're doing now.

The article says "Critics are concerned that banks, which are getting $250 billion through government purchases of their stock, are not using the money to boost lending to customers, one of the main reasons why the economy is in a crisis." No kidding. The banks are using the taxpayers money to buy out competitors. For evidence of this see the PNC buyout of National City Bank. PNC outright stated that since they were given $7.7 billion, they were going to use some of that to purchase (at fire sale prices no less) National City. Oh, why didn't National City get money too? Interesting. Nat City is/was one of the ten largest banks in the country, but PNC got money and they did not. Could it be because PNC has a large number of shares held by Goldman Sachs and the former head of GS is freaking running the treasury now? Oh, just maybe. And by maybe I of course mean definitely.

This freaking drives me crazy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The first snow of the year happened today. I had not yet made the switch over to my winter tires either. On Thursday it was 72 degrees. We went out of town for the weekend and today it snowed. I had to make the trip to the tire place on my summer tires, and let me tell you, that's pretty harrowing.

I couldn't make it up one hill, so I had to reverse down the hill into oncoming traffic lanes because the other lanes were filled with slush. I made it across a slushy section, though there was some difficulty doing even that, and managed to get into the parking lot without sliding into anyone else.

Then after work I picked it back up with the winter wheels and tires on it and it was just fine to drive. Of course, now it looks like crap because I just have steel wheels for the winter, but at least I can drive it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Friday so you know what that means... we're heading out of town. Again. Let the traveling circus renew it's course across the country.

This time we're going to Maryland. We'll be back on Sunday.

At least I'll be gone during the Purdue loss. Err, game.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I just got done watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What a huge disappointment! It was easily the worst of the 4 movies. Even worse than Temple of Doom, if you can believe that.

There was very little of the trademark humor, and what there was seemed very forced.

The acting seemed stiff. The "fun" of the movie just wasn't there. Combine all that with a crappy story and you've got a bad movie.
So the nation elected Obama as President last night. How did he do it? By following the tried and true Democratic election script. Promise everything, commit to nothing.

No one, including his supporters, really know what Obama thinks or stands for. He's avoided most of the tough issues and has done his best to not take any firm stances on anything.

The other night there was a show about Obama and McCain on Frontline. They where interviewing one of Obama's strategists. Essentially the guy said that their strategy during the campaign was to not take a stance on anything. That way he would never have to defend it later. Their campaign bet right that experience and really knowing where someone stood on an issue apparently doesn't matter to Americans as long as you talk about change and issue vague promises of giving stuff to people.

What it really amounts to is that people don't care about anything except "change." We want "change." Well, is that change for the good? We don't care. We just want "change."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's election day and as citizens of the United States of America, it is our responsibility to make informed decisions as to who to vote for.

Voting down the party line (either one) like an ignorant lemming is one of the greatest disservices you could do to yourself.

The "Get Out and Vote" saying should be changed to "Get Out and Learn, then Vote."

There should be a test before you're allowed to vote. If you don't know anything about the candidates then you shouldn't be allowed to vote. I guarantee you that most Americans know more about Angelina Jolie's kids than they do about the specific politics of the presidential candidates.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We got our new mattress (again) this weekend. We hated the first new mattress we had, so we took it back. Due to a very good return policy, there were no problems doing so. We like our new mattress significantly better. It's firm, but still comfortable. That's what she said.

I also had fun cleaning out the gutters. Thankfully it had been dry for a few days in a row, so the leaves were very easy to get out. It rained all day today, but it's supposed to be dry for most of the rest of the week, so that's good, considering that we get at least 30 lawn bags full of leaves in our yard every year. Dry leaves are much easier to work with. Especially since I have to keep the new seeded lawn clear of debris as much as possible.

I watched V for Vendetta tonight. I liked it quite a bit. I thought it was a good political commentary of the slippery slope that the world is headed down.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I thought this was very funny.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the 6 days prior to yesterday my stock had lost $13.41 per share. In the past two days so far it's up $12.25. Did we do something spectacularly bad last week and something spectacularly good this week? No. The crazy market just continues to swing wildly in opposing directions.

I hope that it will level out soon, though I have no expectation of that. My solution is to reinstate the short sell up-tick rule, regulate the crap out of hedge funds, and reinstate the 1933 law that bans investment banks from owning "regular" banking institutions. If those things are done, then normalcy will return to the market. Otherwise, it's like the freaking wild west out there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today is going to be a BRUTAL day on the stock market. I'm predicting a drop of between 5 and 8% just today on the DOW.

It seems as if everything that can possibly go wrong is going wrong.

As my company is primarily an aerospace driven company, the Boeing strike is hitting us hard (my plant alone is losing 650K per week due to the strike). On top of that, the panic on the market is ridiculous. Warren Buffets favorite saying is "Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful." I have no doubt that now is the time that fortunes can be made. It'll just take some courage and a long term outlook.

If you've got 20K to invest, within 5 years you'll be sitting on 100K. I have no doubt whatsoever. The problem is, no matter now much I believe that, going against the grain when all you're being told is that the end is neigh is still tough to do.

The good news is that our backyard is now going to cost more thousands of dollars to fix and we also need to buy a new mattress because the dog peed all over our old one (no stain, but it saturate the interior fibers, so there's odor). Well, we actually did buy a new mattress, but it's just not comfortable (not firm enough -- that's what she said), so we need ANOTHER new mattress. The actual good news is that we can return the king bed and box springs we bought, but the next bed we buy can't be returned. So here's hoping we pick a winner.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Work began on our back yard yesterday. To combat the water problems that we've had over the past 2 years (that the previous owner claimed never happened to them in ~30 years of ownership) we're completely redoing our backyard. We're burying the downspouts and having them empty into a french drain. That same drain will go diagonally across our backyard and then into the front yard where it will empty into the drainage ditch. The back and front yards will be re-graded to run into the drain and away from the house. The back yard will be completely re-seeded and the front will be seeded where necessary. Lastly, a pavers patio is going in and replaces the wood deck that we had.

Now for the bad news. The previous owners have once more completely screwed us. The guy did a lot of work himself, and in some cases it was good work and in others it wasn't. In the back yard he had a gas line just laying on top of the ground under the deck. We had a plumber out today to try to extend the line so that it could be buried. He said that a lot of the pipes and things were rotting as well as the line being completely out of code. As such, he just cut it off so that the pavers could go in. Now we'll have to have a gas line re-run from the meter to our gas fireplace, our gas grill, and the gas furnace that's in the garage. I'm sure that will be cheap too.

In the process of digging a trench they also came across the handiwork of the electrical cable run about 4 inches under ground from the house to the shed. Not only that, but it's not even in conduit! It's just outside electrical cable laying in the ground. A shovel in the wrong place would've electrocuted us. Great job jack hole. So we'll also have to get that fixed, but we've got a problem of having a huge drain in the ground now so we'll either have to go below that (which will cost extra cash) or above it (any it may not be deep enough then). This sucks!

On top of the back yard already being really expensive to fix, now we have to fix the other guys shoddy workmanship. Also, we apparently don't even have a legal case simply because the previous owner denies any problems. Well that's just great. What's to stop a murderer from just saying "No officer, I didn't kill that guy" and getting off.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

If there was anything I learned about the Red Sox last year it's that you need to put them away when you have the opportunity. If you let them hang around they can pull some crap out of their butts and win the series.

Please Tampa, don't be the 2007 Indians.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I went to bed last night thinking that the Tampa Bay Rays were in the World Series. I woke up today shocked that they lost the game. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive about the rest of the series. Obviously I'm no fan of either team, but I 100% want the Rays to win the series.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One thing that's really irritating me lately is the use of the word "terrorist." When people are called terrorists it greatly diminishes the word. When people call McCain or Obama terrorists they are really just exposing themselves as idiots. It's the same as when someone with different beliefs is compared to Hitler. The argument holds no water whatsoever and is meaningless once that comparison is made -- regardless of how valid your other points may be.

To call someone a terrorist simply because they believe something different than you not only makes you look foolish and ignorant, but is an insult to anyone whose lives have been affected by a real terrorist.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Browns - 35
Giants - 14

I didn't see that coming. In my head I predicted it would be about 30 - 12 with NY on top. The Browns actually looked good last night. They looked like they could actually play offense instead of just play 3 and out. They still had stupid penalties, but they really looked like an actual football team.

I was shocked.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I wish it were possible to make magazines and TV shows just disappear and never come back.

What's the featured article on Yahoo? It's how HUGE Eva Longoria has become. Wow. She's really fat now. She gained 7 pounds. She's still a size 0 though, so I guess there's hope yet that she can turn it around and stop being so fat.

Give me a break.

Why is this news? Why does most of America know more about Eva Longoria than about John McCain?

It drives me crazy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Let's take a look at the way back machine. I said this a few short weeks ago.

Doesn't anyone ever think for just one freaking minute that when the ban is finished on October 2nd that those very same stocks are going to plummet? It's going to be a blood bath that day. How short sided can people possibly be? The government has intruded for a few weeks of "normalcy" and has leveraged the future as payment.

Since then, the Fed extended the short sale ban a week. It expired today. Hmm. What happened today? Oh that's right, the DJI plummeted over 7%. In the past week it's dropped over 20%. In a week! Fear, uncertainly, and doubt rule the current financial landscape. Ever since the government stepped in and bought Bear Stearns, no one has known what the gov't will or will not do. That's never good. If they had merely kept their noses out of the private sectors business maybe we wouldn't have this problem.

The feds likes to say that some institutions are just too big to fail. What the crap does that mean? In my opinion there's no such thing as too large to fail. If a company is poorly run, then why rescue it? It's obvious that rescuing poor companies isn't exactly instilling confidence in people. Pull the plug. Let's start over. Whichever banks survive the fall are the ones that deserve to stick around.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Last night we watched the "town hall" debate. I'm not sure whose town hall looks like that, but I know ours doesn't.

There were lots of gaffes on both parts. McCain got way too close to people when talking to them and made some poor assumptions (like that a young black guy had never heard of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before the recent troubles). Obama turned his back to the audience several times and used some snide remarks that made him appear bitter.

Overall, I don't really care because I already know who I'm voting for.

For that bit of info, you'll have to wait though.

Lindsay is convinced that I'm voting for neither of them. Is she right? Like I said, you'll have to wait.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm back from a fun weekend and a terrible game in Indiana. We didn't do anything of particular interest yesterday. We visited my grandparents, made dinner, watched a movie, watched about 20 minutes of TV and went to bed.

We watched Bucket List, which I was hesitant about viewing given the current situation within my family. I thought it was pretty good though. Somewhere around 6/10.

Last week we saw My Super Ex-Girlfriend, which was beyond super terrible. It was really awful. Not funny. Not well acted. Not well written. Not well anything. If I could give it a 0 out of 10 I would. Because I can't, it gets a solid and well deserved 1 out of 10. If you have the choice of watching that movie or stabbing yourself in the chins with forks then you should choose the forks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lots of stuff has been going on this week, and I've been too busy to talk about any of it.

The bailout plan was shot down on Monday and the market tanked. Then on Tuesday the market rebounded. Now we have new talk of a revised bailout taking shape. Regardless of what happens, it appears that my companies stock will continue to erode and plummet even though there's talk of yet another record profit this quarter. So far we're only down about 60% over the past year and have only grown our profits by 25%. Usually when you make more money, your stock price goes up. Not us. Welcome to the exception. It's great, let me tell you.

CC Sabathia almost single handedly pitched the Brewers into the playoffs. Good for him. I like seeing him feast on the inferior NL.

The Browns are still terrible. They struggled to beat one of the worst teams in the NFL and therefore have shown themselves to merely be a shadow of their expected selves. Of course, having a ridiculous schedule doesn't help either.

My grandmother was moved to the hospice care center last Friday. She's due to come home today, but all signs point to her passing not being far away. Her spirits are as high as can be expected, and it seems like we've come to grips with the near future, but it's still going to be very rough on all of us.

We tore out our deck this past weekend in preparation for repairing our back yard and hopefully ridding ourselves of the water problems that have plagued us the past two years. Within the next few weeks the rest of the work will be finished and we'll have a new french (aw-haw-hawn) drain taking water away, a re-graded backyard that funnels to the french drain, newly seeded grass in the back, a new patio with pavers, a filled in front swale, re-seeded grass in the front, and buried downspouts. I'm pretty excited about seeing the finished product. I'll be more excited if we get through a 20 inch snow storm followed by a week of rain and don't have a single drop of water in our ducts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's my brief take on the debate tonight.

Obama was not nearly as polished as I expected.

I agreed with McCain more than I expected.

The biggest thing for me was when McCain said that we need to cut our dependence on foreign energy by installing new nuclear reactors (amen!) and we need to cut our spending (double amen!).

Nuclear power is the best answer to our energy needs. Not our 30 year old reactor technology, but the new stuff that's been happening since our last reactor was approved in the 1970's. Pebble bed reactors are great. Let's do it. He said 45 reactors. Where do I sign?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So it looks like it's going to be another bloody day on Wall Street tomorrow. Washington Mutual just got seized by the feds and sold off to JP Morgan Chase for less than a penny on the dollar. This marks the second huge institution that JP has bought in the last six months.

WaMu is the largest bank failure ever in the US... only by about 10 times the previous record. WaMu had $310 billion (with a large B) in assets. The previous record was a bank with $40 billion (will a small b) in assets.

Hooray for uncertainty!

I noticed today that everywhere I looked I saw "stocks surge, stocks rocket upwards, stocks take off" but my companies stock continues to plummet as it continues to produce record earnings and record quarter after record quarter. It's now down almost 50% in the last year. Talk about throwing the good eggs out with the bad.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So I read an interesting article today about some changes that the Pittsburgh city schools are making. Because there are some many kids that are failing in the district, the district is changing the minimum grade that a child can receive from a 0% to a 50%. That means even if you get every question wrong, you're still graded as half right.

What a great idea! Not only can we encourage laziness in our kids, but we can finally get right down to it and reward poor performance. Hooray! We wouldn't want anyone to have to actually succeed. After all, don't we all just want to feel good about ourselves? Isn't that why we give kids trophies for finishing in last place?

Give me a freaking break. Where's the incentive for the kid that needs to bust his butt to get a D in a class? He can do absolutely nothing and get only 10% lower. What does this teach kids about real life? Does your boss tell you "hey, you haven't done anything this year, so we're only giving you half of your salary." I don't think so. I believe the answer is that you'd be out on the street faster than you can say "why won't anyone save me from my mediocrity?"

If kids earn failing grades, then fail them. It's pretty simple. Personal accountability.

Oh sorry. I forgot. That's a bad word now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

So the Indians are out of it and are playing their best baseball. That's somewhat expected.

The Browns had high expectations placed on them by some, and will be lucky to win 6 games. Their secondary is among the worst in the league, and they still cannot stop the run. The defense is really just horrible. Combine with with a suddenly horrible offense, and it doesn't look good.

ESPN continues to run stories about how they can't wait for LeBron to play in New York. Or Chicago. Or Los Angeles. Or Olympiakos. Or anywhere but Cleveland really. Even though he can't leave for at least 2 years. Will he leave then? Probably. But at least let us enjoy it for goodness sake.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So the government has once again intruded into the free market and has outlawed short selling of stocks. A short sale is when you borrow stocks that you don't actually own, sell them betting that the stock is going to go down, and then purchase them, hopefully at a lower price, in the future.

Well, you can rightly guess that all financial stocks were getting pounding by short sellers, and causing the price to go down down down. Now that it's banned, the prices are going up up up.

Doesn't anyone ever think for just one freaking minute that when the ban is finished on October 2nd that those very same stocks are going to plummet? It's going to be a blood bath that day. How short sided can people possibly be? The government has intruded for a few weeks of "normalcy" and has leveraged the future as payment.

Enjoy the gains now, because it's going to really be messy in October.
Are you kidding me? There was a poll released today that more people would rather watch a football game with Barack Obama than with John McCain, 50% - 47%. Don't these people have anything better to do with their time?

What's next? A poll showing that more men would rather have sex with Hillary Clinton than John McCain? Sadly, I think that actually is true...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is anyone else around here getting tired of all these government bailouts? First Bear Sterns, then Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, now AIG. Here's an idea. We have a free market. Let the companies fail. When weak companies fail, better companies get stronger. That's how it works. Or rather, that's how it should work.

Instead, the government is taking my money and your money and giving it to companies who made bad decisions. Does that sound like something that you'd have the opportunity to to do? If you went bankrupt, would the banks be fighting amongst themselves to give you loans? I don't think so.

Let the companies fail. If it has to get worse before it gets better, then so be it. As it is, it's just staying bad with no end in sight. If the weak companies fall away, then it will get better.

It's time to take our collective medicine for all the bad choices made in the last 10 years. Buy a house with no money down? Only pay the interest in the loan? Sometimes don't even pay that much? What could go wrong? Everything! Just as anyone with any sense knew.

Monday, September 15, 2008

So it looks like my hurricane driven gas price increase was just one hurricane early. Although, this increase is also for no reason. The oil infrastructure is fine. Oil prices are tanking. The price of gasoline on the market was down by $.22 today. That means that gas prices at the station are roughly $.77 higher than the market price of gasoline.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And that's what it's like to be a Purdue fan... they get you to believe, and then they crush your spirit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This really pisses me off. I'm reading an article about the Boeing strike and came across the following:
"Boeing blitzed the Seattle radio waves with ads making the case for the deal and urged workers to read the details about its offer on the company Web site. But such tactics, union leaders charged, amounted to improperly going over the heads of the union bargainers. The communications, they bristled, were nothing more than a bid to bargain directly with workers."
What, may I ask, is wrong with directly informing the workers? They're not lemmings -- well, they're not supposed to be anyway. In fact, however, that's exactly what they are and exactly what the union wants. The union doesn't want people that are capable of thinking for themselves. They want people to do what's good for the union and not necessarily good for the workers.

The union is so terrified that the workers will find out for themselves that the offer they received is far beyond what other companies would've offered. They're terrified that if the workers find out that it's not a right for them to work, it's a privilege, that they'll be concerned for their jobs -- as they should be in the current environment.

Reading about the bureaucratic mess that is the union at Boeing (and anywhere really) really makes me angry. Do you really need a whole bunch of people to sit around and wait for supplies to get their and then have those people take those supplies to other workers? Why can't the suppliers just take the materials directly where they need to go? Oh. That's right. They can -- or at least they should be able to -- but the union won't allow it because it's "unfair labor practices." Yeah. Really freaking unfair. Get off your fat union asses and do some real work for a change.

You do realize that no where else in the world will you get paid $34 per hour to hold a flashlight or drive a fork lift right? You do realize that any idiot without even a high school diploma would be extremely happy to do that job for less than half what they pay you.

I'm REALLY hoping that Boeing completely breaks the IAM. I'm talking like Ivan Drago. Crush them. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm leaving, on a jet plane. I do know when I'll be back again.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Baltimore. Lindsay will pick me up at the airport, and we'll be at her parents for the weekend. Then we come home on Sunday. Then next Friday we get to do it all over again, except we're driving out there with another couple to go to her high school reunion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hey, it's time for the weekly gas rant. Gasoline on the market was down $.12 per gallon yesterday. At the local stations here, it was up from $.15 per gallon to $.22 per gallon.

There's now a $.37 per gallon difference between what gas costs the station and what they are selling it for. How the heck does that get explained? Oh that's right. Supply and demand. Wrong.

Demand is down between 5-7% year over year. Oil is now $43 cheaper per barrel or approximately 30% cheaper than its all time high. Gas however is only down 9%. Well, at the stations it's only down 9%. On the market it's down 26%. Last time I checked, 9% wasn't even close to 26%. So it proves that gasoline prices have very little to do with supply and demand, but everything to do with perception.

Even though hurricane Ike is going to miss the important oil infrastructure of the gulf, the perception among the public is that "this is bad, now oil will go up." Well, in fact, oil on the market has gone done. To a cheat, perception is reality though. So because the perception among the public is that oil should go up, it goes up at the stations. Ignoring the fact that demand is way down. Ignoring the fact that it's far cheaper on the market than it has been. Ignoring reality.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In a show of just how amazing some of the things that NASA does, comes this story of the Phoenix Lander on Mars.

The Mars Phoenix Lander has been Twittering away its mission details since landing on Mars in May. But lately, you can see a sense of impending doom starting to creep in, slowly: "It's noon, Sol 81. I've spotted frost around my landing site in AM," tweeted Phoenix a few weeks ago. "Seasons are longer here...I'll be surrounded by ice & don't expect to survive til Spring," comes a few days later. But unlike other eerie autobiographical accounts of impending death, the wildly successful Mars Phoenix Lander has a trick up its sleeve for a potential reincarnation after the thaw.

"But as I've said before, I'm programmed with a 'Lazarus mode' so I'll call up to the Mars orbiters if I re-awaken in the Spring," said Phoenix last week, probably in response to tearful return Tweets lamenting his/her/its grim disposition. If its solar panels collect enough juice come springtime, the first auto-function will be to contact the Mars Orbiter above with the good news of its reincarnation.

The folks at NASA are proud to be operating Phoenix at all at this point, having said anything beyond the intended 90-day mission (now officially extended to 120 days after water was officially collected for the first time) is a gift to be savored.

--Courtesy of Gizmodo

Monday, September 8, 2008

I've been pretty busy this past week. I know that's no consolation to the people that don't read this blog.

I've also not really had anything that I've wanted to say.

That combines for no updates and no less-than-insightful comments.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 2 of the air show down, lots of sunburn on my neck and nose, but otherwise okay. Going today too, even though I don't really feel like it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 1 of the air show yesterday was a rousing success. It was jam packed full of jets, one right after the other. TS-11, L-29, BAC-167, F-15, F-16, F/A 18 Super Hornet, and last but not least the 6 F-18's of the Blue Angels.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why do I have the feeling of impending doom in regards to gas prices? Oh, it could be because there's a hurricane heading right for center of oil territory in the gulf, and the last time that happened gas prices went up by $.75 per gallon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ESPN.com has an article up about how a little league pitcher has been told that he is too good to play.

It really makes me want to punch people in the face. I guess a lot of things do that as I move into my cranky old age. Hey! Get off my lawn!

Anyway, this really does speak volumes about how politically correct our culture has gotten. This player is "too good" because he's better than the other players. Guess what you useless new-age parents? Your kid isn't great at everything. Your neighbors kids aren't great at everything. Not everyone is a winner. Sports by definition have a single winner or a single winning team. The team that goes 0-18 in little league should NOT get a freaking trophy. What do you think you're teaching your kids when you do that? You're teaching them that mediocrity is rewarded. It's okay to suck because you're still number 1 to me. Well kid, you're not number 1 to anyone else. You may be a great kid, but you're just a steaming pile of number 2 at sports. Suck it up. Not everyone is Alex Rodriguez.

The parents of the opposing team pulled their kids off the field, and in turn somehow got the good team (the one that wanted to play) to forfeit. Now, of course, there are politics involved. Speculation is that because the good pitcher didn't want to play for the defending champs (who are sponsored by the league administrators employer no less) that he is now not allowed to play at the pitching position.

Being good at something used to be rewarded. Now in our politically correct bull crap world it's punished. Give me a break. This stuff makes me want to scream, and also punch Hillary Clinton in the face (just for the fun of it), but also scream.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our internet connection just blows tonight. I don't know what is going on, but hopefully this won't continue. It reminds me of the days of dial-up, except slower, because it doesn't even successfully get to some web pages.

Makes me realize how dependent we are on the tubes of the interwebnet now.

We pay our bills that way. We do our banking that way. A large chunk of our communication is done via the tubes. It's amazing really.

Friday, August 22, 2008

In an exclusive breaking news story, I'm proud to report to you that China's gymnasts are all in fact far older than I expected when I began this investigation.

From left to right, He Xing Wang, aged 38. Yi Jiang Ling, aged 33. Xe Che Ming, aged 39. And the eldest of the group, the fine Te Chung Win, a mindblowing 44 years old. You'd never have guessed it. They look like they're 8, but they're really all adults, and have been for many years, and you can't prove otherwise.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So we're on our way to dinner last night and are about 3 blocks from our house, waiting to turn onto the main street, when what drives by? A freaking Aston Martin DB9.

I made Lindsay speed up to "catch" it, since it was doing maybe 40 MPH. I just wanted to look at it. Then it dawned on me that no one would believe me, so I tried to take a picture of it... battery was dead.

I feel like the guys taking pictures of big foot, except of course, that we really did see it. And it was fantastic looking.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lindsay and I have been watching Heroes lately. We're just about finished watching season 2. So far, I have to say that I like it. It has a unique perspective on the whole super-hero area, so it still feels fresh. We're both looking forward to season 3. The only reason we even started watching it was because she got season 1 for me for Christmas. We didn't even start watching that until June though. Now we're hooked and don't want to wait for season 3 to begin at the end of September.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The main player returning to the Indians in the CC Sabathia trade now lies in a hospital in China after being intentionally drilled in the back of the head by a Chinese pitcher. Apparently the Chinese were angry that their starting catcher (Wang Wei) had been bowled over and had to leave the game and then their backup catcher (Yang Yang) was also bowled over. So it makes perfect sense then to throw at someones head... Sure. Great idea. Five US players hit. One still in the hospital. This just days after another US player was also hit in the head and is still recovering from that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lindsay and I watched Phelps win his 7th gold medal tonight. To be honest, I'm still a little skeptical. With 25M left, I thought he had lost. He had a ton of ground to make up and not much time to do it. Even at the end, in real time, I thought he had lost. What was that other guy doing? It looked like he came to a complete stop about 6 inches away from winning. In the time that it took that guy to go 6 inches, Phelps went 4 feet. Still, under water it looked to me like the other guy touched first. Well, Lindsay told me the rules are that both of your hands have to touch in order to stop the time. So maybe (and apparently) Phelps did get both his hands in there before the other guy.

Wow. I still want to see a replay of the 4 X 100 relay from earlier, because I haven't seen it. I'm not really one to like to watch swimming, but these races have been very cool to watch.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apparently I'm on the once a week plan. I don't really feel like I've got anything to say, so why waste the time of all zero people that read this?

I saw the Incredible Hulk on Monday night. I don't think I'd go that far. Maybe Slightly Better Than Average Hulk. The Pretty Good Hulk, I guess. Incredible must draw in more people I guess.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rain, rain. Go away. Come again some other day. But not tomorrow. Or Saturday. And not Labor Day weekend. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Four US cyclists who wore masks over their nose and mouths over pollution fears when arriving in Beijing apologized Wednesday to Olympic organizers, the city of Beijing, and the people of China.

Let me get this straight and go over some of the facts here.

1. The US Olympic Committee issued all athletes these masks.
2. Beijing's air is horribly polluted.
3. Olympians are world class athletes.
4. Breathing hazardous air may impair your performance as a world class athlete.
5. You are trying win a gold medal in said Olympics.
6. You, as an athlete, want to prevent any impairment of your performance.

So because you don't want to give yourself immediate lung cancer you're seen as embarrassing the host country. Well you know what? El screw-o you-o. Let me flip you the bird there China. You know what should be more embarrassing to you? The fact that your air is so horrible that the average Beijing citizen wears a mask every day as they walk around your city.

If you had clean air then you wouldn't have athletes walking around wearing masks. I personally hope that 90% of the athletes walking in the opening ceremony are wearing masks. Who cares what China thinks about that. Your first priority as an athlete is to make sure that you're prepared for the games. If that means you don't want to breath soup, then I'm all for you protecting yourself.

A writer for the Seattle Times said it perfectly. "Apparently in the eyes of the U.S. Olympic Committee, winning at these Olympics comes secondary -- to honoring the Benevolent and Protective Host City of Beijing and people of China."

So ask yourself this question. Would you really want to breath this air?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More news of my grandmothers steady decline today... She had a doctors appointment to see if there was anything they could do to make her more comfortable. She has two large (multiple inches) spots where the cancer has broken through the skin, effectively creating ulcers on the skin. There are many more that are close to breaking through now. They wanted to see if they could at least do targeted radiation on those, so that she could be more comfortable. Right now it's swelled to probably twice its normal size. She wears a compression sleeve almost constantly, but it's still swelling quite a bit. She's also quite tired most of the time now. She seems to get a little energy boost in the afternoon that lasts for about 5 hours, but only if she's been resting in the morning. Her spirits are high though, or at least as high as can be expected at this point. It could all be a show though. I don't really know what's going on inside, because she doesn't share that really. At this point, she's aiming for the highest quality of life possible, and if that means calling her pain merely discomfort, that's what she does. She says she's hanging in there and taking it one day at a time. Really, that's all any of us are doing...

Monday, August 4, 2008

On Friday night \ Saturday morning we had the mother of all thunder storms. Without exaggeration, there were periods of 100 flashes of lightning per minute. The rain was coming down like it was being poured from buckets. It was really an awesome (and terrifying) display. It lasted for 45 minutes and then literally as fast as it appeared, it was gone.

I saw The Dark Knight yesterday. I thought it was good. I liked it much more than Batman Begins. Despite the hype, I didn't think it was darker than the first one. I actually thought it wasn't as dark. Scarecrow and all that psychoticism gave way to the Jokers "plain jane" chaos and mayhem.

There were two women sitting about 6 rows behind us that were apparently intoxicated, deaf, and recently escaped from a home. They were talking quite loudly (aka yelling). They were telling the projectionist (as if he could her them) that the movie was too loud. Then at the end they proclaimed that it was the worst movie that either of them had ever seen, that they preferred mysteries to Batman movies, and wondering why the producers destroyed all of those cars when there are plenty of people that need new cars, including them.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quite honestly, I really don't feel like I have much to say.

We went to our favorite pizza place on the west side of town.

On Saturday we're going to the West Side Market.

On Sunday, Lindsay is leaving for Nags Head. She'll be back Wednesday night.

My grandmother seems to be fading. The hospice nurse came today and said "she is slipping." What that means, I can only guess. My mom is in town, effectively until my grandmother passes, and today said "my feeling is that she is weakening kind of quickly, and wants to just let go."

Selfishly, I want her to hold on, but ultimately, if she feels she's ready to go, who am I to ask her to stay. It sucks.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So you may have noticed a distinct lack of posting lately. There are a few reasons for that. First, with all of the traveling that we’ve been doing, I haven’t really been home long enough to post. Secondly, my brother and mom have been in town the past few days, so that’s been soaking up my time also.

That brings me to the most important reason. You may remember when I was talking about my grandmother’s situation with her breast cancer. Last week we had a family meeting with her Hospice nurse. Naturally, one of the questions we had was “how long do we have left?” The answer was surprising. The nurse said realistically 2 – 3 months. It could be as little as 1 month or as many as 6 months though. This was surprising because she doesn’t really seem much different than she was 6 months ago. She has less energy in the morning now, but it picks back up in the early afternoon. She’s also on constant pain medication (a Vicadin every 8 hours wasn’t controlling the pain, so you can imagine how bad it must be.) Now she’s on a NS Contin every 12 hours, with Vicadin as a backup in case pain still gets through.

The cancer is active in her body, and has manifested itself in two open wounds where it has broken through the skin. One is on her chest and the other in her armpit. She has a lot of swelling in her right arm, but can somewhat contain that with a compression sleeve.

At this point, Hospice is helping to manage the symptoms. That’s all they can do, and all she wants. She stopped having treatment about 18 months ago. She could have gotten rid of the cancer, but it would have meant losing the functionality of her right arm. She opted to maximize the quality of her life, however long that might last. She maintains that she’s had a good full life and has no regrets. I suppose we could all be so blessed to be able to say that when facing her situation. In treating the systems, they’re giving her the best quality of life that they can.

That of course doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. She may be my grandmother, but I’ve always called her mom. She has helped to raise me my whole life. I grew up in a house two doors down from her, and when my parents got divorced and my dad was working nights, I would stay down there, eat down there, go to school from down there, etc.

Reflecting on that has made me want to take advantage of any remaining time we might have. Lindsay has helped me with that, because she lost her grandmother suddenly to cancer a few years ago. As such, I’ve been able to make some lasting memories and do things that I’ve always wanted to do with her. One of the things that she’s going to try to do for us mimics what was done in the movie My Life. She’s going to record messages for events that haven’t happened yet. Things like my cousin’s graduations, or her great-grandchildren being born. Milestone birthdays and things like that. Frankly, it’s hard to even think about that because it means that she won’t be here with us to celebrate, but they’ll definitely be treasured by us.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been posting much at all lately. I haven’t really been home to do so…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let me ask you a question. Can you explain what the freak is going on with the stock market? Look at these two companies. They both announced earnings on Tuesday.

Company 1

Lost $4.20 per share in previous quarter
Projected losses of 3-4 Billion in next quarter.
Stock goes up 47%

Company 2

Earned $1.96 per share, above projections
Record earnings.
Stock goes down by 15%

Company 1 is Wachovia, WB
Company 2 is Precision Castparts, PCP

I own stock in PCP. Naturally I would like to earn money on said stock. Naturally when a company does well, you'd expect the stock price to increase. Instead, it's tanking like theirs no tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Once again, Lindsay is leaving town. She's headed to Florida tomorrow morning. She'll be back Saturday afternoon. She'll be home for an entire week after that before leaving again... that time for Nags Head.

Confucius say "When the cat's away, don't forget to feed the fish."

Monday, July 21, 2008

We got back from my brother's Little League game (game 1 of the Pony League championship series) and what did we find in our neighbors yard? A deer. Just chilling out. It was laying down by a tree, about 8 feet from our driveway.

Just last week we looked out our window and there was a deer walking right down the middle of our street.

Go away deer! We don't like your kind around here!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lindsay's out of town for the weekend. She's going to visit her sister at Marshall and help work on her sisters sorority house. That leaves me and the dog to fend for ourselves. Well, until tomorrow anyway. My father-in-law is coming to town tomorrow. My brother-in-law lives in Cleveland during the summers, and I guess we're going to hang out and go to dinner or something. I don't think there are any solid plans at the moment.

Confucius say, "When your wife is out of town, consider eating cereal for dinner."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When the moonlight serenades you, don't be afraid to dance the funky chicken.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So the price of gasoline on the market has dropped nearly 30 cents in the past two days. Any chance that we'll see that reflected in the prices we pay at the pump? Nope. The reason?

"The gas that we've purchased in our tanks is still the same price. We won't purchase cheaper gas for a few weeks. At that time, the prices will come down."

Well, isn't that interesting? It's amazing how quickly they must purchase new gas when the price of fuel goes up on the market. It goes up by 20 cents on the market in the morning and by noon it's up at the gas station. Wow.

Silly me. That must just be a coincidence. It's all in my head that prices seem to rise with the market, but not fall with the market...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Here it is, the night of the mid summer classic, and I've got nothing to say.

What else is new lately?

Yeah, I could rail against the speculative oil prices, or the panicked stock market. All it does is get me irritated though, and I doubt anyone else actually even reads the stuff.

So all I'll say is "Someone will invite you to a karaoke party."

Monday, July 14, 2008

All of my stocks (all two of them) are tanking. Oh how I wish for the glory days of November.

That's hindsight for you though. Sometimes it's 20/20 and sometimes it's 20/200.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

As you may or may not be aware, Monday was our one year anniversary. Tonight, Lindsay had arranged a special something for my present. I had no clue what it was. Well, at 6:00 a limo pulled up to our house and whisked us away to downtown.

We had dinner at Brasa, otherwise known by us as "Meat On A Stick." It was really good, and in the end, we both surrendered to the meat. We couldn't eat any more. Except of course for dessert.

They had a total of 16 different kinds of skewered meat, including but not limited to bacon wrapped filet mignon, lamb chops, pork ribs, sausages, pork loin, top sirloin, parmesan encrusted filet, prime rib, bacon wrapped turkey breast, leg of lamb, beef short ribs, and others that we didn't even get to try because we had to turn them away. On top of that they had a "salad" bar that contained far more non lettuce items, like shrimp, cod, and pasta.

Needless to say, we were stuffed. On the ride back we went through Bratenahl and saw were Kenny Lofton used to live. We also saw RIDICULOUSLY sized estates. I commented to Lindsay that you'd not only need a butler and a maid, but their entire families also.

When we got home, we still had some time left on our limo, so we took our neighbors out for a ride.

Living the life. Oh yeah. We're high rollers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

You know what? It doesn't even bother me that the Indians traded Sabathia. I guess I'm getting numb to it to some degree. Why not trade your stars and get something for them before they just walk away to the higher dollars of free agency. No matter how much they say that they want to stay in Cleveland, they never do.

Looking back in time, there's also the Bartolo Colon trade as precedent. At the time I was upset that they were trading their ace. It certainly worked out in the end though. I mean they got Lee Stevens after all, and where would they be without him? Oh, they also got some dudes named Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Cliff Lee. Maybe you've heard of them. It's because of that that I have some faith in the general manager and the scouts. It looks like 2-3 of the guys they traded for (i.e. everyone except Zach Jackson.)

Depending on the player to be named later, it's possible that they've netted a power corner outfielder, their future closer, and a possible all-star second baseman. All definite needs for the Tribe. Granted, those players are all at AA or lower, so a lot can happen, but Sizemore was at high A when they traded for him...

At this point, the season might as well be over. They're done. Stick a fork in them. They can't handle the expectations of winning. That of course means they are about 2 years away from competing again, because there will be expectations again next year that they'll turn it around.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I saw this from the AP today.

Poll: Obama leads McCain among people who don't have pets

Are you kidding me? Is that really worthy of the front page? Geez, talk about a slow news day.

What's next? Poll shows that McCain leads Obama among people that only eat fish on the third Wednesday of every other month.

Stats can be made to show anything you want if you get specific enough. Hence the phrase "Lies, damned lies, and statistics." Those types of stats are meaningless...

Monday, July 7, 2008

We're back from Hawaii and today is our one year anniversary.

Hooray for us.

I'll post about Hawaii tomorrow. For now though, it's sleepy time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

T - 10 and counting.

We leave for Hawaii at 7:50 AM. We are trying one last ditch effort to upgrade to first class. We've tried everything else, but now we're hoping for last minute cancellations. We're going to get to the airport at 5:30 AM in hopes of upgrading.

We're flying from Cleveland to Phoenix and then on to Honolulu. We arrive at 2:40 Hawaii time, or 7:40 Cleveland time tomorrow night.

We're there for a week. It should be a great trip.

We'll be back on July 6th, the day before our anniversary.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What the crap!?!?! Seriously. This is a freaking self-fulfilling prophecy.

The president of OPEC said "it looks like it's possible that oil will break $150 per barrel."

Then what what oil do? It flippin' skyrockets. After another period of declines. It's literally driving me crazy. The last time this happened there was a week period where oil declined by $10 per barrel then Goldman sucks predicted $200 per barrel and it skyrocketed. The people with huge oil investments want it to go up, so they predict that it will go up.

Well guess what you jack holes? I think it looks like oil will go to $8. What are you going to do now?

Market. F. Ing. Manipulation!
I've been quite busy. Between work, getting Lindsay's car fixed, preparing for Hawaii, trying to get our back yard situation handled, and tonight going to the Indians game, there's not been much time for anything else. Even the "days" when I'm not doing anything, it's only for about 2 hours actually.

There's stuff that no one really knows about too, and that's been a large time sink. Sooner, rather than later though, it'll be all done and behind us. Won't that be nice?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I had the house all to myself tonight. Lindsay went to a teacher "party" tonight. What did I do in my alone time? I watched Pardon the Interruption, ate cereal for dinner, and went to bed at 8:30. I got back up at 10. Lindsay's still not home, so I'm going back to bed.

Exciting, isn't it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

We dropped off Lindsay's car at the auto shop on Wednesday night. Yesterday morning she got a call that Mitsubishi didn't deliver all of the parts necessary to fix the problems, so they needed to keep it another day. Not really a big deal since we were going to drive my car to WV anyway, but it'd still be nice to have it and to not have to stop and get it on Monday. Ah well, such is life.

On another note, the lawyers are drawing up a letter that we'll send to the previous owners of our house. Hopefully they'll agree to pay for the repair costs in the back yard, since it is almost certainly a pre-existing condition that they did not disclose. Every contractor that we've had look at it has said that they must've had the same problems. Unfortunately, we don't have 100% proof that they did, but we certainly believe that if it's happened to us at least 3 times in 2 years, that it had to have happened to them in the 20 years they lived there. I say at least 3 times because the only way we knew about it was the "washing machine" sound coming from the ducts because the heat or air was on. When the heat or air is not on then we have no reason to even notice the ducts. So it's possible that it's happened to us more than 3 times, but we have no real way of knowing that.

The moral of the story is "Where's my money?"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our world travels continue tomorrow and through the weekend. We're headed down to West Virginia.

We're making our own moonshine. Oh yeah.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So more about Toronto.

While we were there we checked out the Kensington Market. It's one of the oldest markets in the world. It's quite a bit different from the West Side Market in Cleveland because it's got a lot more options to eat while there. In fact, it seems to me that about 50% of the market "stalls\booths" were actually places to eat. Contrast that with Cleveland, where only about 15% of the stalls are places to eat. Truth be told, I like the West Side Market better. There seemed to be some a larger variety of items available in Toronto, but it was overly crowded because of all the people eating. The practicality of a lot of the items is questionable too. How often are you going to make deer head stew for example? How about using those birds nests for bird nest soup? I don't think so...

On the way to and from the market we stumbled into a street festival called Woof-stock. It was basically a bring your dog downtown type event. They had tons of merchants, etc.

After that we walked over to the SkyDome. On the way we passed the Air Canada Centre. At that point I really realized how little parking there is for events, and that everywhere charges $20-$30 to park for the day. That includes the hotels. Canada's parking situation is quite a bit different than ours.

The SkyDome was just okay. The view is really great. The location is very convenient. The park itself is kind of blah though. There are some obstructed view seats in the upper deck. They segregate you based on where you're sitting, so that if you have an upper deck seat they don't even allow you to walk around on the lower level. This is both good and bad. It's good for those on the lower level because it reduces traffic at the concession stands. It's bad for those in the upper deck that just want to walk around and check out the stadium. Regardless though, we did check it out, but got some grief from the ushers for it.

After the game we went over to the ridiculously huge CN Tower. It's still the tallest completed building in the world. It's tall. Really tall. When you're walking next to it and you look up, you'd swear that it's swaying. In fact, it makes you a little queasy to look up at it. We bought our tickets and headed to the elevator. It's a pretty quick ride, and my ears popped twice on the way up. Once you get up there the views are amazing. It was a little overcast the day we went up, so we couldn't see over to Niagara Falls, but supposedly on a clear day you can. Toronto has a very impressive skyline. It's far bigger than I thought it would be. Even though Toronto and it's suburbs have only 1 million more people than Cleveland and it's suburbs (5.5 mill vs 4.5 mill), the skyline of Toronto beats the pants off of Cleveland's. I'd wager that you could combine Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh and still not even come close to Toronto. The amount of construction going on is amazing too. They're building something like 25 buildings per year that are over 50 stories.

Another interesting note that we learned is that over 50% of people living in Toronto are not native Canadians. Think about that for a minute. That's crazy talk. That sounds like New York in the 20's.

Saturday night we hung around the trendy area and watched an outdoor concert and also watched this street performer \ artist make a painting using only spray paint. When I first saw his finished pieces I thought that there was no way he was creating them from scratch. I thought he was using stencils or something and just filling in the areas. In fact, he did everything from scratch. Sometimes he'd use pieces of cardboard to help make straight lines, or pieces of crumpled newspaper as a type of brush, but other than that, he only used cans of spray paint. It was really cool to watch. We also had a sucky dinner that night. We just went to a local place that looked popular and therefore must be good. It was a Chinese restaurant, and in fact, it was terrible. It's really too bad, because if we had only walked a little further, we would've run into what was called the best Chinese place in the city. Oh well.

On Sunday we took a double decker bus tour of the city and got to see a lot of the places that we never would've known about otherwise. Yes, it's a toursity thing to do, but I'd still do it again. On top of that, we were able to ask the guides where we should eat, etc. If only we had known where to go on Saturday night. We went to a local pub on Sunday, and even though they were out of fish and chips, the hamburgers there were quite excellent.

All in all, it was a good (if exhausting) trip. Toronto is a cool place, and we barely scratched the top of the iceberg.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You may have noticed the distinct lack of many posts last week. Here's why that happened.

On Monday Lindsay was driving to Maryland to visit her family. Since school's out now, it seems as good a time as ever. Well about 1 hour away from her parents house, the service engine soon light came on. Now we need to back up a little, to when we were traveling to and from Toronto. The air conditioner in her car failed to provide constant cool air. I thought it may have happened because it was so hot and we had it on high, the car was struggling to keep the air cool. This seemed to make sense, as when it rained and cooled down some, the air had no trouble staying cold. Back to Maryland. One of the problems she was having was with the accelerator. She would press the gas and nothing would happen. Then all of a sudden (up to 10 seconds later) it would accelerate up to the right speed. I (being hundreds of miles away at this time) had diagnosed this as a problem with the fuel-pump. In fact it later turned out to be a problem with the O2 sensor.

She managed to arrive in her parents town and dropped the car off at the service station. The diagnosed the air conditioning problem as a clogged expansion valve. It's an easy fix... once you conveniently take the entire dashboard off. They didn't do any work on the air other than the diagnosis of the problem. That's something we could fix in Ohio. They did fix the O2 sensor though. $541 later, she was good to go. Or so we thought. She got 10 minutes into the return trip home and the service engine soon light came back on. Initially I thought this could be because they had failed to reset it. Unfortunately that was not the case. The now checked out the code and it was a clogged catalytic converter. No problem. A few hundred bucks and she can be on her way. Wrong. Her car is a partially zero emissions vehicle. How can you be partially zero? I don't know, but that's beside the point here. The shop called Mitsubishi and the part itself they said was $1000. To get it installed would be about $200. She asked if she could drive it home to get it fixed here, and they said she most likely could.

To be on the safe side, I told her I would meet her halfway home and follow her the rest of the way. So Thursday after work, I drove to Allegheny Valley Pennsylvania and met up with her and drove back home. We arrived home on Friday morning. I say that to be more dramatic. It was about 12:30 AM when we got home.

She called the Mitsubishi dealer here and they said that the replacement catalytic converter was $1500 plus 2 hours of labor. I want to know what makes this freaking thing so expensive. Regular cats run about $150. Why is this ten times more expensive? Is it made of gold? Anyway, after calling around it looks like we can get it for $925 + tax, installed, so that's what we're going to do.

The air conditioning requires a new expansion valve for $80, 1.5 hours of labor for $80, and a recharge of the system for $80.

Also, she needed a new tire because we ran over a S-hook on the highway and it went through the sidewall. That's thankfully only $125. So $1875 later, her car will be repaired. This comes on top of the $1200 that we spent on my brakes, my tune up, and replacing her serpentine belt just two months ago.

What's the moral of the story? Take public transportation. It's far less convenient, but also much cheaper. Oh, and it doesn't run anywhere near your house, so you get lots of exercise walking to it. And it doesn't run to where you work, unless you opt for the 3 hour tour to go 10 miles. So yeah. It's pretty great.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I saw Iron Man tonight. It was pretty good. Surprisingly, the "super hero" parts of it were the weakest points I thought. For example, the last battle just didn't do a whole lot for me. The other parts were good though.

I thought Robert Downey Jr. played a really good role and came off quite believably as the arrogant, brilliant, playboy type. There's probably a sequel in the works and there's definitely an Avengers movie in the works. They're probably waiting for the latest Hulk movie to fade away, and then the Captain America movie after that. Once those come out, they can all team up and have an Avengers movie.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Since none of you are waiting with baited breath, here are some details of our Toronto trip.

We got there on Saturday morning around 10:30. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel, parked the car, and headed out to explore.

The end.

No. More later. I'm just really lazy right now, so you'll have to enjoy (or not) some pictures.

What's up with the faces of the Jays players in this picture? They look quite.... surprised. You'll either have to click on the picture to make it bigger or take my word for it.

Welcome to Toronto. Our players love to choke each other and sucker punch them. Oh wait. That's just our managers.

As always, here's the ever present panoramic shot from our seats. Plenty of good ones still available.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's 4:45 AM and it's 78 degrees. A few weeks ago (literally) the high temperatures were in the 40's. Now' they're in the 90's.


I said it's so damn how I saw one of those little guys in the orange robes burst into flames.

Friday, June 6, 2008

This really pisses me off.

"Oil prices have shot up more than $10 to a new record above $138 a barrel after a Morgan Stanley analyst predicted prices could hit $150 by the Fourth of July."

No one else sees market manipulation going on here? Morgan Stanley has tons of money in the oil commodity market. One of their analysts says "$150 by July 4" and the price of oil goes up by $16 per barrel in two freaking days. This follows what had been strong weakness in oil as it had dropped by $10 per barrel in under a week.

If that's not manipulating the market then I don't know what is.
Lindsay and I are heading to Toronto bright and early tomorrow morning. Another couple is coming with us also. We're leaving at 5:00 AM tomorrow and will be watching the Jays - Orioles game at Rogers Centre. For some reason Google still calls it SkyDome and doesn't even know what Rogers Centre is, even though it's clearly labeled on their map.

Anyway, the whole point is that we'll be out of the country starting tomorrow morning, but we'll be back on Sunday afternoon.

Another stadium visit bites the dust. That leaves both Chicago's, Minnesota, Florida, Washington, Anaheim, Seattle, and Colorado.

I also need to see the new San Diego and new St. Louis but have seen both of their old stadiums. I guess technically I've already seen "Washington" since I went to Montreal when they were still the Expos.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to
leave because I'd go berserk?? Well...
You left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see
I've gone completely out of my mind.. And..

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be
happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!

You thought it was a joke and so you laughed, you laughed when I had said
that loosing you would make me flip my lid.. RIGHT???
I know you laughed, I heard you laugh, you laughed you laughed and
laughed and then you left, but now you know I'm utterly mad... And..

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa,
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!

I cooked your food, I cleaned your house, and this is how you pay me back
for all my kind unselfish loving deeds.. Huh??
Well you just wait, they'll find you yet and when they do they'll put you
in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt!!! And...

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy
to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming
to take me away, ha-haaa!!!
To the happy home, with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haa!!!
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time...

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Indians suck. The end.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We're going to the Lake County Captains game tonight. They're the low class A affiliate of the Indians. Every Friday and Saturday they have fireworks nights, so it should be fun.

A friend of ours is the corporate sales manager there and he gets 8 free tickets to each and every game. On top of free seats tonight, we also get free parking. I think he also gets a food allowance per game, but sadly I think it's only about $10. Not the $800 that would be preferred.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lindsay bought me a pressure washer for my birthday. I'm really looking forward to using it tonight to wash my car. It's SO dirty now. Covered in pollen and bird poop... poor car.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Matt aka Mookie is coming to town today. Should be a good time. It'll be nice to see him on his worldwind tour of America because heading back to China.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So over the weekend there were three movies I wanted to see, in this order:

Iron Man
Indiana Jones
Chronicles of Narnia

We went to see Narnia. What follows are some spoilers, so don't read if you don't want to.

It wasn't nearly as good as the first one. I have huge problems with the storyline, or lack thereof. I think the movie could've used another 30 minutes or so to give some sort of reasoning as to why they'd go fight with Prince Caspian to restore his claim to the throne. Granted, we missed about the first 3 minutes of the movie, so maybe something really insightful happened then, but I doubt it. We arrived shortly before news of Miraz's son was proclaimed by the professor. It seemed like this movie was all about the battle, but no thought was provided as to why they'd so willingly go to battle. The dwarf Narnian could've been used as a plot point and could've explained more thoroughly what was going on, but they chose not to do that.

The best part of the movie was the one on won fight of the kings. Everything else was kind of meh. I disliked the blatant Lord of the Rings ripoff with the attacking trees. Bleh.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy birthday to me.

We're back from South Carolina and it finally got warm here in Cleveland while we were gone. It's supposed to be in the 60's or 70's all week.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I got a birthday card last night (my birthday is Monday by the way, for those sending gifts). On the front of the card it had a caricature of Hillary Clinton sitting behind a sign that said President Hillary Clinton.

On the inside of the card it said "There are worse things than turning a year older."

How true. Seeing her beady little caricature eyes staring back at me filled me with rage. Everything was made better though when I opened my gift and it was Mario Kart for the Wii. Yippee!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

You know what I'm tired of hearing? "Oil prices rise to new record on supply worries."

You know why I'm tired of hearing that? Because there are no freaking supply worries. Supply has been as steady as ever. There are no disruptions anywhere. The headline really should read "Oil prices rise because they can and there's nothing you can do about it so just bend over and take it." Yes there are artificial constraints on supply, but existing supply is not going anywhere.

There's a whole confluence of issues driving prices higher. Among them include price caps in China. Essentially that means that the Chinese (you know, those driving demand supposedly) don't actually pay what it really costs for oil. Their government subsidizes it. China also has windfall taxes when suppliers there sell oil above $40 per barrel. That means that the suppliers have no incentive to increase their supply. Thus China is artificially inflating the prices that we pay because they're constraining their own suppliers.

Another is that the oil companies are recording huge profits but are not using them on new development. Instead they're returning that money to the shareholders. In general that's a pretty good idea, but they're doing it way too much. Instead of returning $30 Billion in profits to the shareholders, how about using $20 Billion of that to build a new refinery? You know what that would do? Give us more supply and them more profit. Instead of that, the oil companies themselves are now constraining supply. Effectively, the oil companies are living it up right now and will be paying for it later. Sounds just like our government and the typical consumer. Let's spend all of our money now and worry about how we'll buy food next month later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We beat Super Mario Galaxy tonight. Now we just have 14 more stars to get. We've been playing it periodically for a while and both have enjoyed it. Lindsays job is not quite as difficult as mine, but it's nice that we can both play at the same time.

Next up we'll probably play through it again as Luigi. Actually, Lindsay said she'd play through it again as Luigi. My next game is Legend of Zelda. I've played it for about an hour even though I've owned it for a year.

Now that I think of it, I've got about 4 games that I've owned for a while that I've never played... Adulthood. It stinks.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So the NFL, the cash cow of all sports leagues, claim that every owner is losing money.

Sure they are.

They're losing money because they're only getting $21.4 Billion per year in TV contracts. That means each of the 32 owners only gets $668,750,000. From TV alone. Before they sell a ticket, or a hot dog, or a t-shirt. How can they feed their kids?

If the owners can manage to lose money when their payrolls are about $100 million and they're getting almost 7 times that amount just from TV, then something tells me they're really bad business men. Or they're lying. *GASP* The NFL? Lie? Sacrilegious! Everyone loves the NFL. They'd never do anything to hurt us. I can sleep soundly at night knowing that the NFL is protecting my house from burglars.

Give me a break. The NFL is full of crap and if the owners want to kill their golden goose then I can only hope that no one ever watches a game again.

Monday, May 19, 2008

So now that the Cavs are again out of the playoffs, what do they need to do in order to get to the promised land?

Do they need new players? Maybe, but let's start with other types of changes.

First they need to run the offense through the point guard and not through LeBron James. When LeBron brings the ball up the court then the rest of the team just stands around and doesn't know what to do. When the point guard brings it up, suddenly the team springs to life and there's movement.

Second, they need to practice their free throws. If they could hit 80% instead of 70% they'd average 4 more points per game. That's huge, and is easy enough to do.

Third, LeBron needs to realize the type of player that he is. He's the guy that needs to attack, attack, attack. He needs to go hard to the rim. Too often he settles for fall away jumpers and out of control three pointers. Someone with his kind of physical abilities needs to be going to the hoop about 15 times per game.

Finally, they need to address the roster. They have adequate depth, but they don't have a guy that can take a double team and take some pressure off of LeBron.

Look at yesterday's game. LeBron scored 44 points, but what do you remember? You remember the misses. The bad three pointer at the end of the game. The missed layup. The missed free throws. The failure to stop the Celtics at critical times.

It's unfortunate too because LeBron hit 50% of his shots, but you don't remember that. You remember the misses early in the series and not the makes at the end of the series.

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're going to one of our favorite pizza places tonight... Angelo's in Lakewood.

The pizza is great. Whenever we go to the west side (west siiiiiiiiiiiiide) of Cleveland we eat there. I'm really looking forward to it.

We're heading to that side of town to renew the leases for the tenants living in Lindsay's old house. It's a duplex and up and down are both renewing, so that was a nice load off of our mind. They take really good care of the place too so we're happy that they're staying.

Hopefully the Cavs don't spoil the night. Come on! Play a whole game. I want to enjoy my pizza!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Cavs blew it last night, but the Indians pitchers are playing out of their mind. Today the Indians pitcher gave up an unearned run. It was the first run of any kind that a starter had given up in over 5 games.

Now the offense just needs to get on track and it appears that the team could live up to their potential. Travis Hafner is struggling mightily. Sizemore has been solid. Jhonny Peralta needs to hit better. David Delucci has been a pleasant surprise and may have locked up a starting spot in left field. Victor Martinez has hitting well, but where has his power gone?

Of course, the pitchers aren't going to go throughout the remainder of the season with an ERA of 1.0. It just seems like they've turned a corner. Hopefully the Tigers continue to struggle and the Indians can run away with the division. It usually doesn't work out that way for the Tribe, but we'll see...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cavs have a big lead. Check.

LeBron off to a good start. Check.

Cavs blow a big lead. Check.

Rarely are they able to put together a complete game. They have no idea how to step on a teams throat when they have them down. How can you have a 14 point lead and end up losing by 20? Granted, they're only down 12 (84-72) as I write this, but it's just a little prediction of mine.
Ah... I feel refreshed. I finally got a bunch of sleep that I've been missing. Yes, It's 5:41 AM, but I've already been up for about a hour. I guess that's what happens when you go to bed at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

One of the most exciting nights of my life is about to conclude...

I got home from work and had some cereal for dinner -- it was awesome.

After "dinner" I helped Lindsay mulch some trees.

I've kept my eyes open for long enough now... it's almost 7:00 and I'm going to bed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So much to say. So little motivation to say it.

Here's a quick run down of thoughts...

The Indians are playing like poop and are only a game out. That's good.

The Cavs finally put together a complete game and whipped the Celtics. LeBron is not shooting well though. That's bad.

We transplanted the trees that were along the fence line to be along the driveway. That will help hide our neighbors unkempt lawn. That's good.

We saw Juno over the weekend. It has some laugh out loud moments and overall was pretty good. I saw Cars too. It was also pretty good.

Max is on two more pills. If there is a pill out there for a disease \ infection \ allergy, then Max is on it. I'm beginning to think that the best option out there is to have the worlds first bubble dog.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Cavs blew it big time last night. They had the perfect opportunity to go up 1-0 on the Celtics in the East Semi's. Even though they lost, it's possible to take some positive things away from it. They stayed close, and still could've pulled it out in the end, with LeBron having one of the worst games of his career. If he can get back on a more normal track, they could win. The down side of that though is that they're not going to be able to hold Ray Allen scoreless again and Paul Pierce to another game like the had.

So the question is this: will LeBron's increase more than offset Pierce's and Allen's increases? I'm not so sure, but that's why they play the games.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Our stock (PCP) was up over $11 per share today at some point. It finished up $8.20. I'll take it.

It's close to where it needs to be for us to sell again, and let me tell you, that would be great.

How great? Well, I'd finally be able to build Palm Tim (kind of like this) on Lake Erie.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Indians have an off day today. At this point in the season they were supposed to be rolling along. This reminds me of 2005 all over again. They're digging themselves a hole and then they'll make a mad dash to get out of it, only to falter at the end. Whenever they have high expectations they seem to collapse under the weight of them.

But, you might say, they're only a couple of games out of first. That's true, but they're playing like poop. Inconsistent poop at that.

The only reason they're within striking distance still is because of how poorly the Tigers have played. I don't expect that to continue all year. The only way the Indians will make the playoffs this year is to win their division. Fortunately for them, no AL Central team seems to want to start to run away with it. It's only a matter of time before that happens though.

Friday, May 2, 2008

So the Cavs wrapped up their series with the Wiz. It wasn't even close in the clincher.

More interestingly though is the Hawks - Celtics game that's got 8.7 seconds left in the 4th quarter at this point. The Hawks, amazingly enough, are up by 2 on the team that won the most games of any team in the NBA this year. Should the Hawks push to a game 7, it's good new for the Cavs. Given a game 7 in this series, the Cavs will have a few extra days of rest that are critical at this point in the season.

Let's see what happens.

Bibby misses 1 of 2 foul shots, so now the Hawks are up by 3. What the freak? Raging Rajon Rondo just basically dribbled out the clock. Good move. He had 10 seconds and the only thing he could do was put up a 25 footer. Nice

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Second straight inning for the Indians with the bases loaded and one out.

Let's see what happens here. Two strike outs in the bottom of the ninth was last inning. Now, Franklin Gutierrez is up.

I predict a weak blooper or a double play. A little pessimistic I suppose.

We'll see as I report "live."

Strike 1.

Swing and a miss, strike 2.

Weak sissy swing. Of course.

Sit down.

Here comes Asdrubal Cabrera.

Yippee! Their first hit of the home stand with runners in scoring position.

Indians win it. Hallelujah.

Now as you know we were in Tampa last weekend, but I never posted any pictures. I've got a few choice ones... I'll post more from the carnival later.

Here's a panorama from our seats. If you click on it, it's much bigger. That's what she said.

Here's me and Ted Williams (yes, they have the Ted Williams museum in Tampa, where they happen to love their Red Sox.) You may have noticed that Ted just got done fishing...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It looks like the only fix for our garage roof is to tear it off and replace it. The roofer today said that it's too bad too, because the shingles themselves are in great shape. The problem is that the previous handy man home owner installed them himself and did it incorrectly. He placed the nail holes right in the seams of the shingles, so any rain or snow now can leak into the garage. We really noticed the problem about a month ago when we had 18 inches of snow and it backed up into the inside of the garage.

What's that thing that I say? It's always something...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We got our new over the range microwave hood vent installed tonight. It fought us every step of the way. I'm glad that it's in and all done though. It's one less thing that we need to do. Hooray for that!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Tampa we go.

Since none of you are interested, here's an update on the house projects:

Backyard re-grading \ landscaping : not done
Leaking garage roof : not fixed
Update on status of enclosing front drainage ditch : non-existant
New microwave \ hood vent installed : false
Installation of lattice work on Lakewood deck : negatory
Attachment of Lakewood deck to house : no thank you
Creation of hand rails going down Lakewood steps : you need what now?

It would generally be great if contractors could be bothered to call back people that desire to give them money.