Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Maybe it is because I stopped taking the pain pills last night, but I have had one killer of a head ache and waves of nausea. Around 4:00 today, I gave up at work and said I needed to leave. Bummer of a day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Black Coffee is a Clear Liquid

Yesterday, I had a lipoma removed from my back at the Virginia Beach Ambulatory Surgical Center. The process was fairly quick, and I did not require General Anesthesia, but they did give me something that schnocked me out. I when I say schnocked, I mean that was the official term that the Anesthesiologist Doctor gave me. One side effect has been that my wife, who has been accusing me of snoring, was finally justified: the doctor and nurses all confirmed that I was sawing some major logs.

How embarrassing!

But, more importantly, I learned that when they tell you "only clear liquids" in the morning, they should be more specific and say no opaque liquids. In preparation, the nurse listed off a number of clear liquids: water, sprite or apple juice, but not orange juice. So, I am thinking that, besides the apple juice, these other items have no color so therefore, those must be clear liquids. And since black coffee has a distinctly black color (hence the name) and is not a juice, it must not be a clear liquid.

There you go folks, a quick look at the rats that run around the wheel that powers my brain.

I had a quick call with my mom after the time of "no liquids at all" and she informed me that black coffee is just fine, just no creamers. This was confirmed with my check in nurse at the VBASC – turns out.


Friday, July 25, 2008

My 02 Grand Am

I have to confess. Right now, I am listening to the Prince Batman album. Sure, last night I was asking how I missed U2's Joshua Tree. It is obvious: I was listening to stuff like this.

Listening to Prince, and paying bills. More fun than a forty year old should be allowed to have. Tonight's Pizza Movie Night, Danny Devito's Matilda (1996), was sponsored by Little Caesar (Pizza Pizza). It was cute, but, after awhile, I found myself wondering how much was left. I believe the Late Night movie will be Will Farrell's Anchorman (as long as I finish this post).

I like salesmen. They are very honest. Especially if you realize that there is only one reason for your relationship with them: they honestly want to sell to you. This generates within me a healthy dose of cynicism, as I naturally distrust them, looking for "the hook." It has served me well, and has kept me out of trouble (mostly).

So, today I dropped off my Grand Am with my Dealer for a Va State Inspection (and oil change). I told my sales associate that I look forward to "the call, but please, break it to me gently."

The only reason my car failed was because of the driver's side window would not roll down. All of the other windows could be kaput, but, the driver's side has to work. And, oh yea, the manifold intake gaskets are leaking pretty bad. And, the mechanic recommends a brake fluid flush, fuel injector flush, radiator flush and a new air filter.

It then hit me: the reason that car dealerships are willing to give away a $20 dollar state inspection and a $15 dollar oil change is because they know they can plant the $2300 doubt in your mind (the price of my repairs).

Call it intervention, but my wife had just been speaking with a friend the day before and had recommended a mechanic, whom I called. Turns out, he used to work for the same place I had worked for and had named one of the sales peeps that I knew. I told him that I am only concerned about the window and the gaskets. He said he could beat $2300 by a country mile.

Peeps at work told me that, at this point, they would begin thinking about a "new" car. That stunned me. Payments on a new car would be, what, $450? So, even if I paid the dealer's price the break even would be something like five months? So, after five months I would still be paying for the next four and a half years.

The beauty is (and if you know me, you knew this was coming), because of my budget, I was able to cash flow the repairs that I needed without hitting the emergency fund. It just delays the next baby step, but, I have learned patience.

Ok, Batdance is on, and I gotta roll.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where was I?

Some things you miss the first time around.

U2's The Joshua Tree is one of those things.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Road Home

I am tired. Really, really tired. The kind of tired that occurs when you drive from Buffalo, New York back to Chesapeake, Virginia. The ride back is always more difficult than the ride up.

This year's trip was extra fun: I wish I lived closer. I got to go to Darien Lake (Mike and Ginger, thanks that was really great!), saw three movies (I think I liked Hellboy the best), got to introduce the "Mysterious Ticking Noise" to my two favorite nieces (my only two favorite nieces), along with their fabulous mom (love ya Michelle, I don't say it enough), got to play D&D with my pal Lorne (thanks for introducing the game to Katie) and had some great ziti at Tina's and even better conversation with Lorne and his wife Jill (I will call you after Cindy and I read chapter six).

Already, I am looking forward to the trip up next year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Anakin Skywalker, Marlboro Man

I saw the trailer for Clone Wars in front of Hellboy. The thing that struck me was the reason for the PG Rating.
Sci-Fi action violence throughout: Check. This should go without saying. I mean, after all, this is Star Wars, right?
Brief Language: Check. Even Han Solo threw out a few curse words when evading the Empire.
Momentary Smoking: Check. Woe, wait a second. Momentary Smoking? Does Anakin light up after some Sci-Fi violoence, spewing forth some brief language? But, when did momentary smoking become an influencer to the PG rating? I wonder what full on smoking would have garnered?
Could you imagine Casablance getting a PG-13?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rolling D20 with my Girl

Yesterday, I returned to my adventure. My party was attacked by a goblin hexer, a couple of goblin warriors and a host of goblin minions.

For whatever reason, none of my Elf's spells connected. None. But, luckily Logan, our rogue with a Cockney accent, was hitting them hard with his crossbow and our Paladin and Dwarf were holding the bridge. But the problem was that the Goblin Hexer had casted a cloud that hung over the encounter and really made it harder to hit.

Last night, I had another opportunity to return to the world, but this time time, Katie went along with me. She took up the Paladin character, changing him to a her and renaming her Bella. It was actually easy to explain the idea of the game to a child because kids roleplay naturally with their friends.

We came upon the area where the merchant train had been attacked. Right on the eaves of the Cloakwood. Some of the bodies of the men at arms had been dragged over and Logan went to "investigate" the pockets of the deceased. Bella found what look liked a path leading in to the woods, which we followed. That was when a giant spider leaped onto me and then bounded back into the trees, scaring me, but leaving me unharmed. Once again, Logan was on the mark with his crossbow, but the spider gave him a poisonous bite. Neverminding Logan's dubious occupation, Bella made her way over to the wounded man and placed a hand upon him - energy flowed between the two and Logan's wounds closed. However, the effects of the bite still slowed him down. One spider on the ground between several heroes was no match. Soon, Bella delivered the killing blow.

Continuing, we came upon the ruins of a manor house. Logan scouted and killed a guard standing in front of a stair case going down. This was the most likely destination of the raiders that had been harrying the trade route, and it looked like this is where we were going. In the first room was a bit of glowing ooze. Striking a sun rod to produce more light, an arrow flew past Bella - the goblins were once more upon us...

Ok. Let's roll for initiative. Ready yourselves!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Funny Picture

Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition

One small bonus of coming to Buffalo each year is that I get to hang out with my buddy Lorne. Lorne is a master story teller, all around good guy, and loves all kinds of games. Last year he introduced me to Carcassonne which I was given as a birthday gift this year. Cindy and I have really enjoyed that game.

This year, Wizards of the Coast, who now owns the Dungeons and Dragons games, released version four of the rule system. I can remember running games during lunch break in Mr. Sandifer's (aka Roscoe) back at Airport High School. And that was probably the last time I played the game. What I do recall from that first version of the Advanced Rules is that it was very, very complicated. You had tables for just about every mechanic of the game - from attacks, to savings throws and health regeneration.

For me, the best part of the game was rolling up a character and coming up with a back story for the guy. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why was he here? Since each character started off at first level, I would almost always pick a fighter character because he seemed more likely to survive. He could wear armor, use bladed weapons and had 1d8 of hit points. However, a wizard started of with a measly 1d4, could wear no armor, not use a bladed weapon other than a dagger - but he had magic. Well, he had one spell. That he could use once a day. Not much fun.

The fourth edition changed alot of that. The emphasis is more on creating characters that have a chance to survive and level up at a steady rate. In the v1 of AD&D, once you got to a certain level (say level six), you might have to gain double the amount of experience points before as levels one through six just to get to seven.

So Lorne is running me through a small game this week. He has created a neat first level game where my elven magic user is seeking out a band of goblin raiders attacking merchants along a trade route. Yesterday, I sought out to find my party and am about to leave the protection of the city. Also, I am sure that I am about to experience the new mechanics of the combat system that no longer rely on tables.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Day at Darien Lake

This year, instead of fishing in Tonnawanda, we went to the Darien Lake Theme Park. We had a blast, and the temperature was just right. We capped the evening off with dinner at Jacobi's, were, unfortunately, the waitress dropped one of the pizza's that we had ordered. It is sooo hard not to laugh at that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shuffling off to Buffalo

As I had gotten home late the night before, my wife really out did herself by packing my suitcase. Honestly, she's more than a woman to me. What a friend! She will not know how much that helped out.

There were other things that I wanted to do but did not get a chance to complete. I programmed the Sansa player with Dave and Car Talk, alternating between the two. Podcasts always make the time go by quicker.

I did have to make one big decision - I did not get enough time to prepare to go to the Monroeville Mall outside of Pittsburgh. When I woke up, I plugged in the movie Dawn of the Dead and fast forwarded to several scenes of areas that I wanted to see. But, I came to the realization that, if I am not prepared, then I will simply walk around the mall and then go. No, I wanted this trek to be something more. Besides, how often do you get to visit a movie set of one of your favorite horror flicks?

When I passed exit 57, Cindy asked if I was sure. I said that I could prepare this week for the visit and maybe on the way back.

We made it to her parents house 11 1/2 hours after we left. I promptly turned my cell phone off and refuse to check work email this year. It's my vacation after all.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Unfortunately, due to a client issue, my feet did not hit the pavement until 7:30.

Yabba Dabba Poo.

Una dia mas

Today is going to be one of those mixed bag of nuts kind of day.

On one hand, I start my vacation at 5:00. I will be just like Fred Flintstone when Mr. Slate pulls that bird's tail (even now, I can hear Ty Pennington saying "Mr Slate…Pull that bird's tail"): sliding down the tail and out to my car. Yabba Dabba Doo.

The downside is that today is also the last day at work for a very good friend and mentor of mine. Roy is leaving the company after four years, and I felt like we made some great software together when we worked really close on the Keystone and Solar projects. I fondly call those the fun years. He is going back to work for himself and I wish him the best of luck.

So, if you are in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake around 5:00 today, watch out for two very fast movie feet powered cars!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Se Habla


First, I have to admit. I am almost neutral on the whole election thing. If life has taught me anything, I might not always be right. And, that's ok. Really.

But. I have to consider the contender for the Democratic Nomination. Because, really, McCain could announce a cure for cancer and nobody (honestly) would care. Would they?

Obama campainged that all Americans should speak Spanish, and that rubs some people wrong.

And, I would agree with them. After all, should we not be encouraging Spanish speaking people to learn english?

But, in a knee jerk reaction, did I miss a subtle point? Did I miss something that, honestly, is a reality? When a local fast food establishment is announcing open jobs in Spanish, am I fooling myself that we don't need to be able to communicate in another language?

Fundamentally, I agree with him, but, I just don't think this needs to be a political issue.

This guy really intrigues me. I don't think that I can vote for him, but, if he gets elected, is that the worst thing that could happen?

Perhaps not.

So. Here is my joke. I made it up myself, and I am very proud of it. Tonight I was sitting in Patient's First with my Daughter watch Lou on CNN.

According to a poll, 83% of the polled said that English should be declared the official language of the United States.

The remaining 17% said "Que?"

Thank you. I am here all week. Tip your staff.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

"The Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of
America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations,
as the great anniversary Festival."

John Adams

I have just recently learned something new: the Continental Congress declared independence on July 2, 1776. The document was adopted two days later.

You can find this, and a few more "myths" about the fourth over at the History News Network.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Raising Hulu!

In case you have not found Hulu yet, I present to you, with limited commercial interruptions, Raising Arizona.