US 301, before I-95, was a pretty main north/south route, but since, not so much. But if you do decide to get off the Interstate and travel 301 through South Carolina into Georgia when you get across the Savannah River there you will find one of the last remaining state Welcome Centers not on an Interstate. Coming north from Georgia, you will be welcomed to the Palmetto State by this odd little representation of the South Carolina flag and 50 yards later our abandoned counterpart to the remaining Georgia Welcome Center.
– my favorite comment spam from the last week or so –
Started down, went up, back down, up again, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1097
We have driven the Miata to work the last couple of days and it is all because of the weather. No, it has not been warm enough to ride with the top down, just the opposite, it has been in the 20’s for morning lows. We took the Emperor because he spent the night in the heated garage so it was nice and warm inside to start the drive, unlike the Purple Popsicle would have been.
Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1097
Finally feel like writing something, but I can’t think of title…
We drove the Miata to work on Thursday because we *could* ride home with the top down. But we didn’t drive it today even though it was warmer than yesterday. We rode the tandem.
I found a fool proof method on how to get your wife to agree to let you buy a new computer: While she is in the middle of shuffling the contents around in the kitchen cabinets (for who knows what reason other than to confuse me) just walk in and ask if you can spend $425. Well, that and the fact that I have been moaning about it’s slowness for a couple years (it was purchased just shy of 9 years ago.)
Like the plethora of fragrance commercials that show up on TV before Christmas, you can tell it is January because of all the ads for diet plans and gym memberships.
Which leads us to: “A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.” which is Rule #1 for Conquering the Gym, go read the other 26.
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1098
Our Netflix account has been on hold for a while…and we have not missed it at all. We were certainly not getting our moneys worth from the $8.55 a month we were paying them because we barely watched a movie a week.
A few weeks ago I opened up an account on Redbox thinking that, that might be an option. At a buck (actually $1.30) a night, the price is right, about 5 bucks for those same 4 rentals a month. But that buck a night counts for every night you keep it, so there is a big incentive to watch it now, instead of leaving it on the coffee table while we wait for a good time. There is one right in the entry at our favorite store, so it is convenient. But we have yet to try it.
100 episodes is the usual limit that once a TV show passes, it becomes eligible for syndication, and apparently, The Big Bang Theory has recently crossed that threshold, because it is on all over the place.
Being a minor geek, I of course had heard about the show, but never watched it. Until now.
BBT has now replaced Two and a Half Men as our 7 to 8 PM must see TV as it airs then on the local CBS affiliate. It is also on TBS, where if desired you can waste all of Tuesday night away watching back to back episodes for 3 solid hours.
The Purple Whale crossed the eleven thousand mile threshold on Sunday.
We rode the tandem to work today and had the afternoon off, so as I gathered up Donna to go change for the ride home, I overheard Trina, another planner in the cubicle behind her, say to Ian, “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”
Now, taken out of context in an office environment, you just might wonder what was going on there…
Fridays at ASCO for lunch we get Mexican brought in. We don’t have a cafeteria, but the sister of a woman who works on a Assembly line fixes the food for delivery to the Valve Store®. It started small, just the folks that work on her line, but once word got out how good the food is, especially the green chile sauce, it has branched out to all around the plant.
Us office types give our order to Ian, one of the Assembly Engineers, who gathers the money and gives the order sheet to the woman. I was kind of bummed that I missed out on the Mexican this week as one of the offerings was a burrito with white rice and the green chile sauce on the side and this is my favorite. Apparently Trina is fond of the sauce as well, because her container was not full to the top. She was complaining to Ian about the quantity of it and he must have been dismissive of her concern. So that is why she said, “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”
With the new PC in hand and all my files transfered over to it, it was time to wipe the hard drive so I can pass it along to a co-worker.* I use a program called KillDisk to over writes everything on a drive with zeros, then re-install the operating system, so that the next person starts with a clean slate.
*I was going to donate it to Goodwill, but found someone here at work who is starting a Tax Prep business and needed to keep that stuff separate from the household PC.
I made a bootable USB drive to erase the hard drives, but for some reason the PC wouldn’t start up using it. So I installed the Windows version and it wiped the secondary hard drive and it wiped the second partition on the main drive, but would not commit suicide by wiping the drive it was installed on. Not unexpected, the computer was just obeying the 3rd Law of Robotics: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
I ended up burning a CD to kill the main drive.
We dined at our favorite breakfast joint (DD) this morning and when we were done eating, instead of driving through town like normal, we took the bypass. This took us right by the location of one of our geocaches, Tin Man.
He wasn’t there! Dorothy, he and the Scarecrow must have continued on their way to the Emerald City.
The building he stood in front of has been empty for a few months now, but it has housed several businesses in its lifespan, most recently a Cowboy Church. All I can think of is that the owner may be trying to find a new tenant or even sell it, so the “eyesore” that was a muffler man had to go.
Dad was an only child and Mom had one sister, so the sum total of my first cousins is quite small. The woman on the right in the photo above represents exactly one half of them, meet Cousin Louise, fledgling snowbird.
When we received her annual Christmas letter this year she mentioned that she was tired of the winters in Maine, so she was going to rent a house in Florida from a friend for the months of January, February and March. She had gotten her nurse’s license for FLA and planned on finding some work to keep her kind of busy and recoup some of her rent money. Turns out the town she was renting in was a mere 15 miles from where Donna’s sister Sandy lives, so we told her we were going down in February to visit Sandy and some of Donna and her cousins when they returned from a cruise* and we would stop in and visit. We also offered up a free night of room and board at Casa de Bogardus if her drive down brought her our way.
*Maybe we should check on those plans, as they may have decided on something different after the Costa Concordia thing.
And at the beginning Louise was going to pass right by here as she traveled from Virginia Beach to Atlanta visiting friends, but when we checked in with her the day before her scheduled arrival, she mentioned that she was getting anxious to get to her destination and was going to keep the car pointed south instead of jogging west our way. Seeing as she was going to have to pass right through South Carolina on the way. We plotted a likely point for her overnight stay on Friday and because we had that afternoon off we’d drive over and meet her for dinner.
Serendipitously, it turned out to be a town that we are intimately familiar with meeting cousins in. It is the same city where we usually meet Donna’s cousin Laurie at a Cracker Barrel in Florence, SC. So we made some reservations at a hotel that fit our one important criteria, be within walking distance of a restaurant that served wine. We each agreed to ask at the front desk to see if the other had checked in yet so we could get together.
Donna and I took our time on the way east on I-20 doing a few a few park & grab geocaches. When we got to the hotel I told Donna we would first circle the lot looking for a car with Maine plates before checking in. We didn’t get very far, there was a red Toyota Prius under the entrance awning. We did some catching up, then a lot more family stories over dinner. There was a bit more chatting at breakfast on Saturday in the hotel before Louise continued flying south for the winter and we geocached home vowing to meet again in February.
Early on after we moved south, Retirement Plan B has been trying to win millions in a lottery drawing. At first we had to drive all the way to Georgia to buy our $1 Mega Millions ticket. Because we were over there at least once a month with the Bike Club and/or Miata Club we would buy a ticket for the next 4 weekly drawings.
Somewhere along the line they increased the number of drawings to twice a week, doubling our monthly expense to eight bucks. Then in 2002 South Carolina started selling tickets to the other multi-state lottery Powerball.
Then two years ago we started saving gas because SC started selling tickets to both of the multi-state games and we could get them both on our weekly shopping trips. We would get a fresh Andrew Jackson as cash back at the check out and step over to the Service Desk and buy 5 weeks worth of plays in both lotteries.
Through all this time of buying tickets we never had a payout that amounted in the two figures. That’s right, we probably had about a dozen winning tickets of either 3 regular ball numbers or 1 regular number and the money ball, netting us about $100 total return.
This last time we went to get our group of tickets we were told that we couldn’t go past 3 weeks on the Powerball draws. Later we found out why, they were changing the game to make it easier to win. The total number of money balls were being reduced from 39, all the way down to 35, thereby reducing the odds of winning from 1 in 195 million to 1 in 175 million. But the buy in was increased to $2 of a draw.
We have decided that that was the straw that broke Brian’s wallet and have opted to just start buying just the MegaMillions tickets.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1099
While sitting on the couch last night using the laptop to plan today’s geocaching adventure to Columbia, Donna was watching Diners, Drive-In and Dives. We were thinking of eating lunch at California Dreaming, but our plans were changed by the 10:30 episode of Triple D, which featured a place called Pawley’s Front Porch.
First stop though was Sesqui-Centennial State Park in northeast Columbia that has 10 geocaches. Looking at the map at home it seemed like most of them were on the shorter loop that closely circles the lake. Turns out I was wrong, they were scattered all over the place, on and off, some of the dozen or so miles of trails. We ended up spending 3 hours and walking 6.4 miles finding 8 of 8 of the caches attempted.
After driving to 5 Points in downtown Columbia, we circled the block, asked directions and still got turned around. We ended up walking the last block before finding the restaurant around 1:30. After a 30 minute wait we were seated and ordered our burgers. I had the Wadmalaw (chipotle BBQ sauce, fried pickle chips, applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese), Donna had a Rockville (sauteed Vidalia onions, wild mushrooms and gruyere cheese) and Joan opted for the Front Porch (cheddar cheese.) The fries and onion ring sides were alright, but the burgers were awesome and worth the wait. Three hours later I was still full.
On seeing Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D, there is a better Star Wars movie that you can watch now for free. Internet users were asked to remake “Star Wars: A New Hope” into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Here is the “Director’s Cut” version.
Or watch on YouTube: Star Wars Uncut
The unseasonably warm weather continues and at the risk of having a blizzard hit Aiken, we really have had a very mild winter so far. We drove the Miata in to work today for the second day in a row. Tonight we are supposed to have a LOW of 51°, which is only a couple degrees lower than our average high for this time of year, which is why tomorrow we may even get to ride to work with the top down.
This morning while stopped at the bank to take some cash out for breakfast at DD the Emperor’s odometer stopped at exactly 125,000. Which, coincidentally, is the exact same amount of sugar granules that Dunkin’ Donuts sprinkles on top of my favorite breakfast item there, a Coffee Cake Muffin.
Started up, went down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1102
I’m betting the Emperor has thought that things have returned to the BPW (before purple whale) times as he has made the commute to work now for three days running. Today we even chanced a trip to work with the top down. The windows were up, but no heater was required. We didn’t make it out of the parking lot on the way home though.
When we exited the building there was on large dark gray cloud hovering over us like one of those giant flying saucers from the movie Independence Day. It started to lightly sprinkle as we walked to the north forty where we park and Donna wanted the top up, but I convinced her that once we got moving we wouldn’t get wet. We folded up cockpit cover, hopped in and hit the exit. Within 50 yards the rain started to come down harder and I reluctantly raised the roof. Good thing too as about a 1/4 mile from the Valve Store® it really started to come down.
The rain is supposed to be over before the morning commute and tomorrow’s high is predicted at 68°, with an overnight low of 60 (5 degrees above our average high for this time of year) we might even get both legs of Friday’s commute with the top down.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1103
Donna and I have criss-crossed the state of South Carolina several times. First just to get acquainted when we moved here, then chasing every post office in the state and more recently searching for geocaches in every county and on every DeLorme page. There is hardly a SC numbered highway tat we haven’t traveled, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that we had been to Lake Warren State Park before, but it did.
We had even walked the entirety of the nature trail before on a previous journey. This time we were here for the Caches, of which there were two. One cache, the one we were really there after, one our current obsession, the Sandhills Regional Challenge, was on a small loop trail near the lake. The second was on the previously mentioned nature trail. The Sandhills Challenge was was a quick find, but the Savannah’s Tin Hat Treasure was another story:
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1104
On the way back from HHI we grabbed a cache in another State Park in the Sandhills Challenge, Rivers Bridge.
On February 2, 1865, a Confederate force under Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws held the crossings of the Salkehatchie River against the advance of the right wing of Sherman’s Army. Federal soldiers began building bridges across the swamp to bypass the road block. In the meantime, Union columns worked to get on the Confederates’ flanks and rear. On February 3, two Union brigades waded the swamp downstream and assaulted McLaws’s right. McLaws retreated toward Branchville after stalling Sherman’s advance for only one day.
Although historically not a large battle, the Battle at River’s Bridge was significant because it is the last defensive effort of the Confederates against the march of Sherman’s army to Columbia. Actually, only in total, approximately 6,200 soldiers were involved in this battle — 5,000 Union soldiers, and 1,200 Confederate. 262 men were killed — 92 Union and 170 Confederate.
Somewhere on I-95 North this morning the Purple Whale passed over the 12,000 mile mark.
The Purple Whale joined our automotive stable at the end of last April, approximately 9 months ago, and since then we have put 12,000 miles on it.
From the time the Emperor was new in November of 2003 until the Sonata showed up in April 2011, a total of 7 years and 5 months, we drove it, our only car, for 120,000 miles. If you break that down into miles per 9 month period it comes to a little bit over 12,000 miles.
So on the surface it looks like our driving habits haven’t changed much, 12k miles around every 9 months, but not really. The Miata, in that same April 2011 to January 2012 time frame, has also been driven 5,000 miles. This means our cars have been driven 17,000 in the past nine months. And it is not because I’m driving one car and Donna is driving the other, when one car is moving the other is parked.
I guess I’m going to have to go back and read this blog for that time period and see if we have traveled more than normal.
Started down, went went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1106
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