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.