Friday, September 30, 2005

So where the hell have I been?

Some of you may not have seen me on Xbox Live lately, and I apologize. I've been sick this week, and just haven't been up to playing. Also, with the new TV season starting, and some DVD box sets, I've had some catching up to do.

So...what am I watching?

(9pm on Wednesdays on ABC)
I've been an addict since it debuted last year. I bought the Season 1 box set to pour over the show in more detail than I could when it aired on TV, and I've been picking lots of things up from re-watching the DVDs. There's a reason why this show won Best Drama. It's great. Watch it. This season is going as strong as last.

Battlestar Galactica
(10pm on Fridays on Sci-Fi)
Love this...the production value and writing is incredible on this show. I missed the original mini-series, but since the box-set of Season 1 was just re-released with the mini-series, I picked it up and have been catching the parts that I missed. No new episodes until January, tho.

(8pm on Thursdays on CBS)
Not many people know this, but I did apply to appear back in Season 3 of the show. No, I didn't get to try out. Go figure. Love the show.

P.S. The tribe I'm rooting for is pictured above. Go Stephanie!

The Amazing Race
(9pm on Tuesdays on CBS)
I just watched the season premiere. I'm not too hot on the family angle...but I am pulling for the family with the little boy and girl. That family seems to be really tight, and understands what needs to happen, and the kids are great.

(9pm on Wednesdays on Discovery Channel)
No new episodes right now...but fun to watch in re-runs.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
(11pm Monday-Thursday on Comedy Central)
Do I really need to say why this show is incredible? No. Watch it. And read the book.

NOTE: The Colbert Report will be debuting in October! Awesome!

Stargate SG1
Stargate Atlantis

8pm and 9pm (respectively) on Fridays on Sci-Fi
These, like Battlestar, are in re-runs until January. I'm not as attached to them as others...but still a fun show to pass time with.

That's what I've been doing while I've been sick. Upper respiratory/asthma-type thing. Not pretty, lots of hacking up stuff.

I'll be back. I promise.


Okay, this morning, the gas price was unchanged from yesterday:When I drove home yesterday, the Hess and BP stations about 1 mile east of this were at $2.87 for a gallon of regular. Why did this particular price go up so much? This is gouging, plain and simple. There's a BP across the street from this Chevron station with the same price. One of them raised their price, and the other felt compelled to do the same...because they COULD. There's no reason why these two stations should be this high, when everyone else around them is lower. Even Headline News this morning reported the nationwide average is $2.84, and South Florida usually is about 3 cents per gallon over the national average.

I'm pissed.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

And today's gas price is...WTF?!?!

Okay, this is just wrong.What justifies an overnight 28 cent hike in the price? 28 FREAKING CENTS!!!! I may begin boycotting Chevron, but I need to do some research on what other gas prices in the area are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Taking advantage

Sometimes, you just have to marvel at nature's beauty. This was served up tonight behind my house.

Gas price BURP! (Excuse me)

Yesterday and today...a comparison...

On the left, 9/26's price.
On the right, 9/27's price.
Note that the price was $2.87 in the days before 9/ it's interesting to think about what caused the $.02 spike for one day...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Testing 1, 2, 3

Can you see me now? Good...

Testing the macro mode on my new digital camera...the lens was only about 3 inches away from these flowers...
...and a few inches away from the writhing snake/worm (I'm inclined to think this was a worm...).

A face off...with the ducks

It was mean, it was nasty, and they sure pushed themselves around, but in the end, they backed off.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Like Momma always said...

"Beware of men wearing grass skirts."

(A belated "Happy Birthday, Dude!" goes out to ya as well!)


Coming out this week: Roger Waters' Ca Ira

Don't miss it!

Quiet lately...

I've been rather quiet lately. After coming off a stressful week with my father's surgery, hop into a hurricane...I just decided to pull back a bit. One of the things I've been messing around with is this thing, which is supremely cool. Being able to consolidate ourlarge DVD collection, and make them available with the push of a couple buttons, and look sooooo good in up-sampled high definition...sweeeeet. I've nicknamed it HAL (after the HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey). It does take some time to load the DVDs in it, tho, and then subsequently label them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita

*sigh* Here we go again.

Please, everyone, if you're anywhere near the projected path of this storm, just GET OUT OF THE WAY! Don't be stupid and think you can ride this thing out. Just get out of town, in a direction that takes you out of the path of the storm. Do it, for your own safety. Now. We do NOT need to have a repeat of Katrina.

And, after the storm passes, everyone around the country will be there for you, as we have been for victims of Katrina. Have faith, and be safe.

The people I work with...

Let me just say that
...awww...fergit it.

(Happy Birthday, dude!)

Today's Gas Price

If you ever wanted to know what the price of gas at my nearby Chevron station was at 8:00am this morning, when photographed through a dirty van windshield while passing it at nearly 20 mph with a new 7.2 megapixel camera, which then was edited down to a mere 800 pixels in height, and was color and sharpness enhanced.... you know.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rita: Not really that much of a storm

Atleast, it isn't that much of a storm for us up here in north Miami-Dade County. The shutters have barely made any noise (they normally rattle throughout a storm; we have 'accordion' style shutters which are meant to have a little 'give' to them, so they normally flex a little when wind hits them. The winds up here haven't been that strong, so they have made little noise. Based on that, I can give you my Expert Weather Opinion™ that this hasn't been a big event for us.

We're still under a hurricane warning nonetheless, and I expect that to be lifted soon. The quesiton is when do I need to return to work? I think today's a wash. We'll see.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Rain, rain, go away already...sheesh!

The house is almost completely shuttered up now. Got out of work just after noon (hurricane warning came in at 11:00am, but the wonderful NHC didn't specify if the warning extended inland or not...), and began my preparations.
- Go to bank and get money (check)
- Go to Target and buy some extra supplies (including...get ready folks...a Coleman cooler that keeps ice up to 5 days in 90 degree heat!)
- Shutter up house
- Etc.

I'm not too clear on the 'Etc' part myself, but it's whatever I normally do when a storm comes, but don't recall it until it's time to do it. Maybe I should make a list...

Hurricane warning!


This is eerie

Okay, the storm is most likely not going to direct hit/significantly impact us (us = anyone not in the Florida Keys). Good. is perfectly still out this morning. I'm looking at the top branches of an Australian Pine tree that towers a good 80+ feet in the air, and not a branch is moving. The lake is a mirror. Why is this significant? We live on a coastline where the temperature has never been recorded higher than 99 degrees, due to the constant sea breeze. There should be SOME trickle of wind, but there isn't any. Very spooky.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It just doesn't get any better, does it?


Guess what we're under now?
a) A tropical storm warning
b) A hurricane watch
c) The threat of imminent destruction
d) All of the above

The correct answer, of course, is "d) All of the above".

9/18/05 11pm NHC Forecrast Path for Tropical Storm Rita

Okay, okay. I'm being overly dramatic. We're not about to be smited, especially by a storm this close (wait, didn't Andrew rapidly intensify when it was this close to South Florida?) to us, but it does make life rather stressful, if not interesting. They really just get to be a big pain in the ass.

Owel, here we go again...

Saturday, September 17, 2005 THIS one appears to be coming!

Just what I need after a long week...

My father is finally out of the hospital

He's out...finally! The doctor took awhile to show up today, which delayed him getting out until this evening...but atleast he'll be sleeping in his own bed tonight, and won't have someone coming in every couple hours to wake him up. You did good, Dad! Now get healthy and strong again so that you don't have to go through that again, and can play with your grandkids!

Again, thanks to all of you for wishing my father well throughout this. I have no doubt that your thoughts and prayers helped him get through this and recover quickly!

It's almost like camping...

Last night I was able to sleep through the entire night on the cot in my father's room because he was finally able to rest as well. The hardest part of the stay for him appeared to be over.

When I got to the room, the blinds were completely open so that you could see the rather nice view outside (looking west-southwest at the 836 expressway, across Little Havana and into Coral Gables). I asked my father if he wanted me to close the blinds before we went to sleep, but he said no, leave 'em open.

The view from room 824

In the middle of the night, I woke up, and since the cot was next to the window, I was looking up at the night sky. Just outside the window, high in the sky, was the near-full moon. It was a very beautiful, and it recalled the times I used to go camping. Well, that and the cold air in the room. (Jeez, hospitals like to keep it near freezing!)

The 'new' sleeping arrangements
(Note the blogging device on the bed next to the backpack)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Night shift, day 3

Started my 3rd night shift at the hospital about an hour ago. My father is now in a private room, so I can stay with him throughout. His pain comes and goes, but that's about the worst of it. He's doing real well, overall.

I only had about 5 hours sleep today, and I was tired when I got here, but I seem to have my second wind now.
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

...continuing that LAST thought...

Jeez...just got a wrong number on my cell 3am...from what sounded like a kid asking for 'Katie'. Go to sleep, people!

Atleast I wasn't asleep...yet...

I hate Katie...and her friends...

Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

TV schedule de jour

Let's see, I re-watched the Lost season finale earlier (premiere is next week!), spoke to my sister for a bit, spent a little over an hour with my father (just before midnight-just after 1am) who's doing well (fighting mild nausea and occassional pain), watched Mythbusters, the end to the Arizona-Milwaukee baseball game (Arizona won in the 12th), two episodes of Cops, and now Magnum PI.

I ate a sub for 'breakfast' when I got here at 9pm, and just ate my lunch (another sub...Subway had 'em at 2 for $9). I think, however, I will get some rest now. *yawn* I really hope my father is in a private room tomorrow...

Y'know, there's this neat show on TV...

They have camera people follow police officers around oin their beats. They go to different calls, with people getting in fights, domestic issues, robberies, etc. Boy, these COPS really deserve our respect...why do they only air this show in the middle of the night instead of, say, primetime on Fox?

Ooooooh! Magnum PI is starting now! When will the fun ever stop?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cedar's oustide smoking lounge vs. Alcatraz

I report, you decide.

The outside smoking lounge (with bolted down chairs):

Any questions?

My sleeping arrangements for last night...and tonight

I found that if you slid the two sets of chairs together, positioned the pillow in one chair so that my back was in it and the end of the pillow was under my neck, my butt was in the other chair and my legs hanging over the edge...was still uncomfortable.
I think I'm going to make my chiropractor appointment NOW rather than later...

Hey, but I've got all the creature comforts of home....oh...heck...who am I fooling?

Happy, happy! Joy, joy!

That still never gets old...

(Here's coincidence for you...I took that photo a couple weeks ago. Note the time on the radio. The time is exactly the same as when I finally got around to blogging this. Weird!)

Even though I live in a big city...

This can still be found a mere couple miles from my house...

This is just wrong...

...if you ever wanted to know why today's youth acts the way they's because of their drinking...
(Please note, that's non-alcoholic beer...)

Doing some blog catch-ups...

You're going to see some items I haven't blogged the day they happened. So sue me.

(Well, don't...I really wouldn't appreciate it...)

Another long night awaits...

Just got back from the hospital, and I'm going to get some more rest before I go back to the hospital. I saw the doctor before I left, and he said my father would be staying in SCCU again tonight, which means another night of the waiting lounge.


Hockey season can't get here soon enough...

They're having a rodeo at the Office Depot Center. This weekend.


P.S. My apologies, it's now the "Bank Atlantic Center". Great. Ugh.

WAIT! Don't press CTRL-ALT-DEL! That's my Dad!

Yesterday, when I first saw my father in SCCU after his surgery (he was still unconscious), I was amazed at all the monitors that were hooked up to him. One was a Windows-based PC running a DOS application. Becoming alarmed that a Windows/DOS system was being left to the life-critical monitoring of my father, I asked the nurse what that system monitored.

"Oh, that's our pharmacuetical ordering system."

Well, THAT was a relief!

(Order me some meds then...)

It's all worthwhile

Since my father is in SCCU (Surgical Coronary Care Unit) for a day or so immediately after his surgery, they do not allow visitors to stay in the room with him.

So many people told me that staying overnight in the waiting room was pointless. Visiting hours were every two hours or so for 15 minutes, starting at 9am until 9pm, and the nurses said they would not allow me back during the night. "I don't care, I'm staying," I told them. "If he wants to see me if he's awake later or if you need to get me, I'll be right outside."

I settled in for the night, pulling the sets of chairs together, taking 2 Advil and getting comfortable as best I could. People came in every hour or so to go outside to the hospital's best replica of Alcatraz's rec-yard (photos later) outside smoking area...which was annoying, but couldn't be stopped. I got probably 4-5 hours of sleep.

Around 5:50am, a nurse came and got me, saying that my father was awake and wanted to see me. There's no better way to start your day. :) I'm glad I didn't listen to the nurses and go home.

My father looks good, as best as he can under the conditions. I think he's going to recover well.

3 hours to go until my shift ends...phew!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My father is out, and he's fine!

More later.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. Please keep him in your thoughts while he recovers.

Still no updates yet.

No updates yet on my father

Still about 1 hour to go. He's having heart-valve replacement surgery, which we've known he's needed for about a year, so we've had time to prepare ourselves for this day.

Although nothing prepared me for seeing him in the bed before they wheeled him to the OR. You just have to put your trust in the doctor and the hospital that things will be fine.

My father's been in surgery now for 90 minutes....

....for reference, this was a planned surgery. I'll update the blog when he's out...hopefully in another 2 1/2 hours.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Oh, ANOTHER one coming..?

From the National Hurricane Center's tropical outlook this morning:
Sounds exactly like how Katrina formed...just a little over a week ago...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Trading one rat for another

So, here I sit at Chuck E. Cheese's, spending the time with the kids running around having a good time....I'd rather be at Disney.

As I sit here, I listen to reports that the death toll from Katrina is going to be in the thousands. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said he is estimating somewhere from 5% to 20% of the people that didn't make it out of town or reach a shelter...approximately 60,000 fall into that category...are likely dead. That means 3,000 to 12,000 died, based on those guesstimates.

In the meantime, I went to a friend's house last night for dinner, down in Homestead, which was ravaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. They live about 25 miles south of me, and were not impacted by Katrina, except for some downed trees. Know what a gallon of regular gas costs there? $3.55. By my house, it's $2.93. Why is there a 62 cent price difference? Each place is off an expressway, and each has no limitations on getting to it (i.e. No road debris, etc.). Why? This is nuts. There is definately gouging going on.

Awhile back...earlier this year...I heard a news report which said that $3.75 per gallon was the point at which our economy would suffer major set-backs. Looks like we're just about there.

And now we have thousands dead from a hurricane, mostly due to lack of recovery planning from all government agencies (local, state and federal).

Happy Labor Day. :(

Saturday, September 03, 2005

And today's gas price is...

As an old boss of mine used to say on the days where nothing seemed to ever go right, in his best radio personality voice:
"And the hits just keep on coming..."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Gas price update...

I didn't update the gas price yesterday, as it hadn't changed since 8/31.