Really Expensive Pedometer
Wednesday the 14th
Over the years to keep track of how far she walks Donna has tried umpteen different pedometers. We started cheap (because how technical can they be?), like six bucks. Well those puppies aren’t too accurate, it really seemed to matter that it was on a certain point of your waist to get a decent reading, but a lot of times even if you put it right where it was yesterday, it wouldn’t work. We tried doubling our price point with no improvement. We have even tried one that was like $25 and the results were just as disappointing.
She has tried them while at work, walking around the block and hiking in the woods. Occasionally the mileage recorded seemed like it might be close, but mostly it was way, way, off. The work tally would be interesting because she really does do a lot of traveling around the plant in her job. The after work mileage is easily computed because we can use the bicycle computer to replicate the route, but the woods walks are harder. The map we use is marked with a grid and the lines are 1000′ apart, so she has been estimating the mileage by approximating the windy trails to the grids covered and dividing by 5280. Not too accurate.
The other day when we came out from our walk in the woods she said, “I wish there was a better way to see how far we have walked.” I said, “I know one sure way.” “What?” “A GPS,” I replied.
Our Garmin eTrex Venture HC arrived today.
Monday the 2nd
Although originating in Star Trek, the term “redshirt” has been used in commentary on other action adventure stories, particularly serialized television. As a plot device, redshirts are most commonly used on shows which focus on characters who are prominent members of a larger group. In terms of plot function, redshirts serve to highlight the danger of a situation without forcing writers to sacrifice lead characters.
February is National Heart Month and this coming Friday is Wear Red Day 2009 to support the fight against heart disease in women.
For whatever convoluted reason our company nurse decided to pass around a memo last week to try and get everyone to wear red today, Monday, February 2nd and in spite of what happened to Frogurt while wearing a red shirt in last week’s episode of TDTVS I took my life into my hands and wore a red sweater to work today. Obviously because I am home sitting on the couch in a yellow shirt, nothing bad happened to me on today’s “away mission.”
Giant Metal Squirrels
Thursday the 12th
On our little tour of Daufuskie Island there were several historic sites and a couple of art “galleries” that were highlighted for us to stop at.
When we left the General Store and Cart Rental place we started out following the recommended tour route. The first stop was a spot that held two historic places, an old church and an old school. Of course there were two other golf carts stopped there too, so we hung around until they left and instead of continuing on the “tour” we took the first left we could. From then on we almost never saw any of our ferry mates again. Hey we came here to get away from people.
We eventually rode on most of the tour route just backwards or coming at it sideways. There were a couple of historic cemeteries that we wanted to check out and in spite of traveling down the roads they were on, never did see any. We did find one of the artist galleries, The Iron Fish, and parked our golf cart under the tree in the side yard. It is a 100 year-old original island house that has a front porch that serves as the gallery and the front wall is covered with funky, yet appealing schools of metal fish. The are also metal crabs and mermaids mixed in. There was a note on the front door with purchase instructions: If you see something you like take it and slip your money under the door. For credit card purchases, leave a note saying what you bought and your phone number. A nice school of four small fish would be an awesome decoration on a living room or bed room wall, but at $85 per fish they were a bit rich for our blood.
As we got back into the cart to leave we both noticed several large metal squirrels stuck to the trunk of the tree and both of us went, “Coool.” I checked the price and they were $45 a piece and both of us went, “Naaah.” Just before turning the key to start the cart Donna said, “You sure?” I hesitated and then said, “Why not?” Chase, the artist, was in his backyard, so I walked over and gave him the cash. He offered to wrap it up, but we declined just sticking it in the bottom of our black travel bag.
Monday the 13th
1365 miles from home.
We have been as far away from Aiken as we will be on this trip and also the farthest north, both of which occurred today. Now we start to work our way south. Up until this afternoon it has been cloudy or rainy or cold or some combination of all three, but around midday blue sky started to show up, so now we are just down to cold, but just at night the days should be pleasant (about like early February for Aiken.)
Speeding north on I-25 in Wyoming yesterday there was a large quantity of black animals off to the west, at first we thought they were cows, but then realized they were buffalo. At the posted speed limit of 70 MPH they were gone from view before my synapses could register that maybe I should take a picture.
Speeding east on Wyoming 24 this morning they was a large quantity of small black animals not far off the road to our right, at first we thought they were goats, but then realized that they were wild turkeys. At the posted speed limit of 65 MPH they were gone from view before my synapses, etc.
The deer up here are fearless. They stand along the side of the road grazing and pretty much ignore us. That ignoring thing works both ways though, as there are quite a lot of dead ones along the road too.
So far I am 0 for 2 when asking for Coke in a restaurant, they have had Pepsi, which I have politely declined.
Devils Tower is awesome. On the way up the rain was sporadic and occasionally the clouds would thin out enough that we would almost need sunglasses, but mostly the skies were gray. I told Donna that I thought it would be cool if I could get a shot of the thing with the top half shrouded in clouds. She didn’t want that at all, she was hoping for a nice blue sky. Turned out we both got our wish.
Friday the 15th
I was just out in the garage giving the Emperor a little sponge bath in preparation for tomorrow’s MMC event when I spotted a cricket watching me. I’m not even positive crickets have eyes, but this one sure seemed like it was giving me the once over. There were several large splats on the nose of the car that I was Quick Detailing off and maybe this cricket felt I was being disrespectful of a dead relative or something.
It was no ordinary cricket either, it was big one, about the size my friend Mark might use as bait while fishing for kayak sized catfish. Well, all that staring kind of unnerved me a little, so I slipped off my sneaker and moved slowly that direction to flatten Jiminy out.
In some places it is believed if you kill a cricket it is bad luck, but with the way my luck is running recently, who would notice. I’ve also heard that if kill a cricket it’ll rain, but with the weather we’ve had, and are predicted to have, who would notice.
As I swung my Nike with deadly intent at our giant cricket, it leaped out of the way at the last minute. Did he jump away from me, no, he jumped AT me!
I am proud to say that I didn’t squeal like a little girl as it bounced off my arm, then my chest and then who knows where. I did however flail my arms and upper body around in a pathetic attempt to get away like an uncoordinated spaz who just stepped on a banana peel.
When The Going Gets Tough…
Friday the 19th
…the tough go shopping.
The FRS were on TV tonight because they were playing the Braves and if you live in the south every Braves game is on TV. The Red Sox had their 13 Trillion Yen Man (Daisuke Matsuzaka) pitching and there was much excitement in the Land of the Rising Sun because he was facing off against the Brave’s Japanese starter Kenshin Kawakami. Both guys have had rough starts to the season, but tonight’s rough start award went to Boston’s Dice-K as his first pitch of the game was belted into the bullpen for a home run. Then it went downhill from there. By the end of the 5th inning the Sox were down 6–0, so we went out to do our weekly grocery shopping.
For the second time in seven days we have left a store leaving our selected purchases behind.
I got in a checkout line behind what I thought was a woman who was nearly finished as she had a full cart and about a dozen items left on the belt. After unloading 2/3rds of the cart onto the nearly empty belt I realized it hadn’t moved and there were now two cashiers fiddling around at the scanner. I think they were trying to take an item off the woman’s order, they’d swipe something and the machine would boop and they’d both look up at the screen in unison, shake the heads, repeat. After the forth time I think it worked because one cashier left and the remaining one scanned another item and then immediately starting asking for the first cashier to come back. It was now becoming clear that she didn’t know what she was doing. And it also became clear that the shopper was separating the final 10 items into 2 separate orders and she had a paycheck to cash or maybe a substance check and that we were going to standing here awhile. There was one other check out line open, but there was no way that I was off loading the belt to put it in my cart to move over two slots. We looked at each other, shrugged and headed for the door.
We drove a mile down the street to another store, probably spent $25 more dollars than we would have at the first store, but we were in and out and on the way home like we should have been at Store #1.
The game was mercifully over by the time we got back, both teams each scored 2 uneventful runs, so they FRS lost by a score of 8–2. They play each other twice more over the weekend, so it is not too late to save face.
Wednesday the 22nd
A couple weeks ago I had an unauthorized charge show up on my PayPal account. I only had a little over $10 in there, the charge amounted to about $35 and because my checking account was linked, they took the overage from it. I disputed the charge with both PayPal and the merchant and they both agreed I was wronged, so my money was returned with in a couple days.
I basically only use PayPal for an occasional eBay purchase, but in the past I’ve used it for snap deals found on the net, so a credit card is also linked. After digging through the PayPal help pages I discovered that they could do an instant transfer from my checking because I had that CC listed as a back-up source. Wanting to ensure that they couldn’t just yank money out of my checking account again, I removed the credit card.
Well, because someone had used my account without permission PayPal had me do a couple of things before they would let me access my money again. One of which was change my password and another was to change my security questions. Both were no brainers and easy to do.
The third thing they wanted was to confirm my address. This was the sticky one. The easy way to confirm my address was to link a charge card to my account. Nah, don’t want to do that, that’s what got me in this mess in the first place. There is another way, PayPal could mail a code to my snail mail address that I could, when received, enter into their site. Trouble was I didn’t meet the requirements for this option, because I had a dispute within the last 3 months.
I stewed for a week figuring out what I should do.There were no worries about anyone getting any money out of the account during this time because it was frozen while we confirmed my address. The plan I came up with was to confirm with a credit card and then once I had access to my money, pull it all out and close the PayPal account.
To make sure that the card, and consequently my address, were good they were going to charge the card $1.95 and then promptly refund it. I forgot all about the whole thing until about 5 days later when I got an email from PayPal saying they were giving me a bonus. I thought, wow, that’s nice, must be to make up for the hassle I’ve been through, they added a dollar ninety five into my account.
Hey, wait a minute!
I checked my CC online and sure enough they had no trouble withdrawing money, but they never refunded the card. They turned around and credited my money into my PayPal account and called it a bonus.
That cinched it, I transferred my measly $60 back into my bank and I’m shutting down my PayPal account.
I Know It When I See It
Wednesday the 5th
Let’s talk porn, in honor of my two recent posts on the subject thanks to io9, the scifi (not syfy) site I read every day. They are part of network of sites that cover various subjects, one of which is about the biggest money maker on the net, porn. So every time there is anything remotely about science fiction over on Fleshbot it gets cross posted on io9.
At my age pornography has lost a lot of its luster. Notice I didn’t say all of it, I’m not above checking out some of the posts on Fleshbot when io9 links them, but I don’t have the site bookmarked or anything. There is nothing like that first thrill of finding your dad’s Playboy at 12 or several years later a friend discovers some black and white 8mm stag films in his basement. When I was in the Navy there was a co-worker who knew where you could get XXX on VHS. On Saturdays I would carry my VCR over to his house and we would both make a copy a movie. He was trying to amass a collection, I was just using the same tape and copying over last weeks movie.
It was the last six months in the Navy that removed most of the luster off of porn for me. My final duty station was aboard the U.S.S. Iwo Jima as an E6, or Petty Officer First Class. We had a 1st Class Mess, which was basically a small room on the Mess Deck, where we could eat our meals, take a coffee/smoke break or just spend our downtime reading or playing Acey Duecy. There was a TV mounted in high up in one corner of the room, so we could watch Armed Forces TV. The TV also had a VCR attached so we could watch movies. There was a selection of current releases if you were interested, but by far the largest collection of tapes were of the XXX variety.
Who ever the guy was that was in charge of movies really liked the hard core stuff. Every, and any, time you went into the mess that corner of the room was filled with incessant moaning and close ups of genitalia. Try to eat eggs over easy and sausage links at 5 AM or hot dogs at lunch with that going on in the background, it sort of takes the pleasure out of both activities…
Covey of Cachers
Friday the 4th
I mean that not in a avian way, but in a Deadhead or Phish Followers way. These are a few of ingredients that were stirring around in my subconscious leading to last night’s final dream:
1. Attending the June CSRA Geocachers meeting where there were 60–70 people.
2. Reading the logs of caches where it seems like some folks travel in packs from 6 to 12 or more and do big quantities of finds in a day.
3. A brief conversation with a cache owner when I returned his banished from SCDNR land ammo can.
4. A short scene from the last movie we watched, Invisible Circus.
5. I ate too much junk from the Ryan’s Mega Bar the night before.
6. Waking a 4AM to go to the bathroom, thus leaving enough time to get back into deep REM sleep before…
7. …being jolted awake mid dream so the last snippets were fresh in my brain.
We were out caching on a South Carolina back road and had just logged a find. Donna was sitting in the car planning our next destination and I was walking the short distance into the woods to replace the ammo can. Donna shouted, with a slight bit of alarm in her voice, “Brian!” I hastily tossed some pine straw over the cache and started out of the woods. I can see what caused her state. There parked on the other side of the road from where we were was a bus that looked like it came from a scene in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. And out of the bus piled dozens of people aged from 8 to 80 in odd dress that looked like it was borrowed from J.F. Sebastian’s manufactured companions in Blade Runner. There was juggling, a unicycle rider, tambourine playing, etc. As I got closer I recognized the faces, they belonged to geocachers from the local Club. Just as I was crossing the street to introduce myself to one of these characters with a Cyrano de Bergerac nose when the alarm went off.
Friday the 23rd
1. This morning we stopped on the way to work to take some cash out of the ATM. Donna sat in the car, I walked up to the building and inserted my card into the machine. For every button I push on the ATM it emits a pleasant little beep.
Donna could hear some birds off to the right in a lie of hedges between the bank and a home. She also heard what she thought was a different bird coming from the big tree near the ATM where I stood.
Donna heard the birds on her right move over towards me and the other bird. At the same time, as I wound down my transaction, I heard a couple of very noisy birds so close that it sounded like they were in the ATM alcove with me.
The birds I heard were in the tree not the ATM alcove and the different bird she heard in the tree was my ATM button presses. So, did the beeping ATM talk those birds into moving from the hedge into the tree?
2. On our lunch time walk as we passed the car we could hear a crow in a tree in the pasture next to the plant, “Caw, caw. Caw, Caw.”
The Weather Channel was calling for a 30% chance of evening showers, so we had left the top down with the cockpit cover on, but the skies were now looking kind of dicey. As we walked, we discussed whether or not to just put the top up. I thought that it was probably going to be OK with it down as the clouds didn’t like like big rain producers, but I was not real certain.
As we neared the car on the way back, that same crow was still speaking loudly, “Caw Caw! Caw Caw!” It seemed like he was talking to us and it sounded like he was saying, “Top up! Top up!” So we put it up.
How Was Your Day Dear?
Monday the 16th
Can you say root canal?
I did not watch this evening’s episode of House. I will plan on downloading the torrent, so I can watch it in HD tomorrow. I understand tonight’s episode has something to do with a sick porn star and absolutely nothing to do with her having a root canal.
Same deal for Castle, don’t watch and download the torrent, their first suspect has airtight alibi, turns out he was having a root canal done at the time of the murder.
I need to buy a Nestle’s $100,000 Bar 100 Grand Candy Bar soon as the Emperor currently has 99,864 miles on the odometer. I’ll be careful to chew it up on only the right side as I wouldn’t want the soft, chewy caramel to pull out the temporary filling from my freshly root canaled tooth.
Modern dentistry is awesome, the hardest part of getting a root canal these days is holding your jaw wide open for 45 minutes straight, well maybe the second hardest after you see the bill.
The Spider That Came In From The Cold
Friday the 18th
Just as my wife was was bringing dinner to the table see cried, “Roach!” This as we all know is the man of the house’s call to action. I shout where as I reach for a suitable insect death device. She points down and says, “There, but hurry it is going under that chair.” She spins the big armchair next to the couch out of the way. With no shoes handy, I grab the top magazine from the plethora of them semi-neatly fanned across the coffee table.
By now Donna has her bug tracker radar locked on the intruder and has correctly ascertained that it is a large spider. Like most modern warplanes her radar can track and identify several targets at once, so she orders me to drop the newest Southern Living I had picked up and replace it with last week’s Time.
I’m grateful it is a slow moving spider, I have a chance at that, those palmetto bug/roaches move very fast and I usually end up slapping the floor several times right where the bug used to be before it squeezes under the baseboard making good its escape.
By now the large black, 1–1/2″ long, spider is under one of the end tables which limits my arm travel. I make several ineffective swats at it and I am beginning to think it might get away when I get lucky and it zigs right under where I’m swinging.
I think I need some spider swatting lessons from Garfield.