Monday, June 30, 2008

Truck's in the Shop

The air conditioner in the brand-new truck hasn't been very cold lately, so I resolved to get it looked at under warranty at the dealer tomorrow. Exactly 30 minutes after coming to that decision, I started it up and the "Check Engine" light came on. Nice timing, truck!

I asked Bernie if she'd mind following me to the dealer in her car tomorrow, then dropping me off at work. Then I thought about it some more and decided we'd take it over tonight and fill out the "Late Owl" paperwork so they could work on it first thing in the morning and we wouldn't have to lose any sleep. Then I thought about it some more and realized they don't close until 7pm, and I could drop it off while they were still open and explain in full what's wrong. So that's what we did.

With luck, the truck will be back in tip-top condition and we can take it to the beach this weekend. I'm going for comfort over gas mileage, cost be damned. Plus, it needs some highway miles put on it - it's only got 4800 miles on it in 6 months of ownership, and I'm paying for 12,000 a year on the lease.

I hope they have plug-in hybrid trucks when the lease is up in 2010.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We Won The Lottery!

We won $12 and spent $10 to get it. Then we didn't get the Sunday newspaper we paid for at Bi-Lo later on, so it's a wash.

On another note, what is it about Jon & Kate + 8 that is so entrancing? Last year, I was addicted to Deadliest Catch. There must be something about TLC.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lucky Seven Samurai

I finally got through The Seven Samurai tonight, thanks to Turner Classic Movies.

I know that a bunch of us guys got together years ago at my place to watch this movie, but somehow, I don't think we got more than 1/4 of the way through it. I remember making jokes about the fatalism of the villagers at the beginning of the movie.

Of course, this brings together a few observations about this movie that pretty much apply to any Japanese or Hong Kong movie involving swords:

  • Any Asian girl who cuts her hair short will be universally mistaken for a boy.
  • Asian firewood burns like it's been soaked in gasoline, even if it's raining.
  • Houses in villages burn like they're made from aforementioned Asian firewood. Simply speaking the word "fire" around them is usually enough to set them ablaze.
  • Wrapping armor around the shins is mandatory, but shoes are optional.
  • Wearing short robes with sumo thongs underneath is apparently fashionable.
  • Villagers and Samurai alike tend to be angry and yell a lot. I attribute this to the sumo thongs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekends Go By So Fast

We accomplished a lot of stuff this weekend, but it flew by so fast that I'm bummed out.

One invention, instant curry laksa mix (just add water!), has been vacuum-packed in individual pouches for tasting by our beta-testers. That's an accomplishment in itself because we had to learn how to use our vacuum sealer for the first time. The mix is pretty darn tasty, but it's got a lot of red chili in it, as that's the way I like it. We may have to make a 'mild' variety with less chili after we get the results back from the testers.

My prototype invention has been assembled and will be tested tonight while I sleep. The air pump may need to be upgraded, as the effects are subtle at best right now.

We got rid of the last of the charity donation junk, bought some yard materials, washed all the laundry, changed the air filters, and still found some time for a father's day lunch at the parents' place. Good weekend, but far too short.

Oh yeah, and tomorrow, I start drinking whey protein drinks for breakfast instead of going to McDonalds. This is the first step towards some serious dietary changes in my future. More on that later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We Are Experiencing a Lull

Still not much of entertainment value going on in this household...

Dad had his surgery and recovery is going reasonably well - the issues he normally has with anesthesia are progressing...normally, and the actual results of the surgery seem to be very encouraging. He's got better strength in his legs already and his pain from the shoulder seems to be gone. The numbness in his hands is better, too. We're hoping he's at least pain-free in the arm forever from this operation.

For those of you who haven't heard, Dad has spinal stenosis in his cervical spine. This means that bone spurs are growing inside the spinal column and are pinching the cord, causing pain and partial paralysis which will worsen if not corrected. He had one surgery before I got married 3 years ago, and the surgeon botched it, leaving a fragment of bone embedded in the nerve to his left arm, which caused him a lot of pain and he lost a lot of use of the arm. A second surgery removed the splinter and relieved some of the problem, but not all. This year, he noticed his legs getting weaker and numbness in his hands and he went to another surgeon who decided he needed to have two more vertebrae operated on. As I said above, it looks like it went well.

We've had a week free of cat puke after banning the dry food. The automatic feeder seems to be working reasonably well and has cut down on Trouble bugging us for food all day, though you can never completely stop a cat from complaining. Trouble still likes to sleep on the concrete patio in the heat of the day. We put the canvas back up on the gazebo to try to prevent him from frying.

I might get to the assembly phase of my invention this weekend, as I now have an acceptably powerful air pump and the radioactive isotopes have arrived (just kidding on the last part).

There is a little yard work on the agenda - I have to spray the crape myrtles before the japanese beetles arrive, and we need to remove the old weed-infested mulch from the garden and then replace it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend Update

Not much going on here lately. Mostly looking for a new creative outlet.

Picked up the guitar again, practiced for a week and then went on vacation and haven't followed up with it since.

Thinking about finally doing the built-in bookcases for my computer room. It's been so hot here, that I'm not sure I could stand working in the garage, though.

Today, I had an idea for an invention. I went out and got some parts to put a prototype together, and if it works like I expect, I might look into a patent. I searched for a product like this because I wanted to buy one, but the internet has nothing like it being advertised for sale. So, maybe I'm the first guy with this idea! (and, no, I'm not telling what it is).

We're going to my sister's place for dinner tomorrow with the rest of the family, and I'm cooking beans in the crock pot, which is making the house smell really good. Ingredients: White great northern beans (dry), 24 oz of beer, water, tomato paste, dehydrated onion, salt, liquid smoke, and kecap manis (sweet thick soy sauce). I might add a little hot sauce tomorrow if it needs a kick. For the record, beans are great cooked with only beer and salt, but I decided to make it more like baked beans for the little nephews.

I bought an automatic cat feeder this week on amazon, and the cat boycotted the food for two days (Bernie was feeding him treats and giving him dry food, so he held out longer than he should have been able to). I stopped Bernie from spoiling him and he's eating from the new bowl now. It's a covered lazy susan with five compartments and a digital timer, and it rotates to a fresh compartment at each mealtime. This should solve the annoying "waking us up begging for breakfast at 5 am" problem. We hope.

All use of dry cat food has been banned in the house - the cat loves it, but can't keep it down.

That's about it - told you - nothing's going on down here!

Clicky Web Analytics