Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How I look on Simpsons

I watched a show last night about Burger King and how they have some aggressive marketing going on. They're partnering with the Simpson's movie and showed a website where you can "Simpsonize" yourself.

I went ahead and tried that. The picture uploading is very picky. It needs to be fairly large and a straight on head shot. No less than 640x480, but not too large. I used this photo.

After "simpsonizing" me, and making a few changes to some details, I ended up like this:
They wouldn't let you customize the head shape which I think they were rather kind about. I think the rendering could have been much less flattering. But pretty entertaining nonetheless.

Here is Cathi's likeness:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cabin Trip

Friday I was all ready for my outpatient surgery vasectomy but when I presented them with my new Insurance card they said they don't take Aetna. I was very annoyed. I had taken work off for this, I even shaved for this! So now I have to go find another Urologist who will make me wait another three months for the procedure. I was quite angry at the whole situation, but went ahead with the plan to go to the cabin.

The good news is that I won't just sit on my backside at the cabin as I was expecting. We did some fishing, went down the Canal twice, went in the hot tub, ate some good food and enjoyed the scenery.

We had a fun time and enjoyed the trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Defcon 4

Yesterday just before dinner Cathi mentioned that she bought her own Birthday Present. I didn't think much about it but asked how much she spent. She hesitated. "OK. Let's play the Hi Lo game from Price is Right.", I thought. "$300", I said, "Lower", $200, Lower, $100?, higher, $150?, nope $160".

Ok. What'd you get? "Some kids software." Huh? Cathi is usually complaining about how much time the kids are spending on the computer and she buys some kids games? Well these were supposed to be educational. I asked where she got it and this is where the Star Trek Red Alert sounded throughout the house.

"Sulu, raise shields!" I thought after she said "from some door to door sales people". I asked her if she already paid, "Yes", "OK - where's the software then?". "They'll deliver it here in a few weeks". My blood was starting to heat up quickly at this point. Defcon 4 had been reached.

Bill Gephardt would have probably agreed that a spanking was in order. But my anger management counseler's image appeared in my head telling me to just cool off and go on a walk. I took some deep breaths and asked for the receipt. The software was 10 CD's full of crap games. What I mean is games that was probably a Computer Science major's summer project and looked good on paper, but without the software in hand, installed and tried, made the $160 seem way over priced.

During the next 10-15 minutes I voiced my displeasure, but did so without causing a huge family crisis. I told Cathi that she needed to contact the sales people and get the money back. She agreed and apologized which was good, but very unsatisfying as she didn't really try to argue her case. I was also unsatisfied because I wanted the solution NOW and I also wanted to know with complete certainty this wouldn't happen again and was concerned that her turn to my line of thinking was so quick that she was just trying to avoid an argument rather than really understand my reasoning.

By the time dinner was over I was back to normal and Defcon 5 was reestablished.

After dinner I went upstairs and started helping Cathi fold clothes when I heard the doorbell ring and Jacob running upstairs smiling and saying "Mom, I found them for you down the street and said you wanted to talk to them". The sales girls were back. I can see why they smoothed Cathi over. Pretty Irish college girls trying to earn money over the summer. They gave me their 5 minute spiel including pictures and short descriptions of each game. But I wasn't budging. They gave us back the check and asked us to go through the cancellation process on the receipt.

So some lessons that hopefully were learned:

  1. Don't let door to door sales people in - unless its a neighbor kid doing a fund raising project. That's OK - cause it's more like charity rather than buying something you need

  2. Communicate before buying something over $100

  3. Don't pay for something from a stranger unless you get the goods in hand.

  4. Software, especially simple kids games doesn't (or shouldn't) cost that much!

  5. I'm going to buy a "No Soliciting" sign for our door

I'll buy some flowers for Cathi though since the incident was disarmed so nicely, and she didn't get angry at me even though I was pretty hot. Afterall, it was HER birthday present which I made her return. Maybe she can get something for herself that she really wants.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Low Reunion 2007

Sunday I finally got around to downloading the pictures from the Camera an putting them into this webpage.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hot Water Heater Expansion Tank Failure/Replacement

Yesterday when I got home and just when we started to eat, Jacob said "Dad, its a good thing you gave us that Family Home Evening lesson on how to turn off the electricity, gas and water in case of emergency. In the basement where the soft water tank is there was water spraying out of a pipe and water was everywhere, so I turned off the water to the house."

What the heck! I was home for probably 15 minutes and it comes up just as we start eating? I went down and turned the valve to the house back on see a spray of water coming from the top of a blue tank that was labeled "Potable Water Expansion Tank - Watts Regulator". Didn't have a clue what it was or its purpose. I did see that the stream of water was hitting some studs and floor joists. It hadn't been damaged too long, probably half a day or so and the leak while small, was pressurized and spraying about 12 inches away on to the wood.

I looked at the leak and it was due to some corrosion near the opening. I called Roto Rooter to see if they could come out and fix. Got an appointment for the next morning. I filled up two tubs with water and got a pitcher of ice water for drinking put into the fridge. Turned off the water and still the stream was happening. I unscrewed a cap on the bottom and noticed a valve that looked like a air valve on a tire. I got a pencil and pushed on the center pin and air came out and the pressure dropped and the water stream stopped.

In the morning I thought I would just stop at Home Depot to see how much a replacement tank was. I found a tank that was blue but it was much bigger and was fed from the bottom. I asked a guy there and he explained to me what the purpose of the tank was.

Many residential meters allow water in, but not back. When water is heated up it expands and builds pressure. Hot water heaters aren't designed to handle this pressure and since the water flow can't go back into the street there needs to be a mechanism to handle that excess pressure of water coming from the water heater. This tank adjusts and regulates that pressure. He took me the location of a replacement tank and it was only $49. Here is the model I bought. It was still only 7:15 am so I figured I would just go home and replace it myself.

On the way home I asked Cathi to call Roto-Rooter (who called her and postponed the appointment to 9:00) and cancel. Going without running water in your house even for a few hours is a huge pain! I can't imagine the inconvenience that people must go through who don't have running water.

Replacing the tank was easy. I turned off the water heaters the night before and drained the house line completely. I removed the tank, put teflon tape on the threads of the new tank and screwed it back on. Turned the water back on, relit the hot water heaters and that was it! Only cost me $50. Wish I would have gotten an estimate to see how much Roto Rooter would have charged me for the part and for labor. It took me about 20 minutes in labor and $49 in parts. I bet I saved at least $100.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My quest to 220

For the past 10 years I have loomed around 240 pounds. Well the time has come to lower that to 220. Then once that milestone has been reached, go for 200. So in order for this to happen I have resolved to do the following:

  1. No more Mountain Dew (or any soda for that matter)

  2. Eat breakfast, medium lunch, light dinner (no eating after dinner)

  3. No deserts

  4. More fruit

  5. Drink lots of water

  6. Bike with Cathi in the evenings (5 days a week)

  7. Play more intense table tennis

  8. I will add more techniques to this list as time goes on

I'm hoping that I can be down to 220 by September, and then 200 by Christmas. I'll update how things go.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Another reason why President Bush is lame

I could go on and on why I think President Bush is a complete doofus, but when he allows a colleague to go unpunished (at least for jail time) for his crimes, it demonstrates his disregard for the justice system. I'm not claiming to be a scholar on the situation, but it appears that President Bush is letting the same crime that caused President Clinton to be impeached, to go unpunished. Why the hypocrisy?

He, and many other politicians (not just Republicans) are making me lose faith that we can really have honorable and righteous men represent us in our Government. Maybe we should consider a woman?