Monday, June 30, 2008
I love the way my Macbook handles wifi hotspots. It's simple. Once I have used one it remembers it. When I open my computer the Macbook connects to the wifi hotspot in less than 5 seconds. Windows never did that. Windows XP and Vista would take a good 20 seconds to really come back from sleep then another 30 seconds to figure out where it was.
Priceline.com. Back in the 2000 they offered a "Name Your Own Price For Gas" feature. I could go online, pick a local gas station and bid for gas. I would normally save $0.10-0.25 a gallon! I would buy $40 worth at a time. It was very easy. I think I used either a set credit card or they sent me a special card. I am surprised they haven't brought the idea back. Here is a link to an article about the Priceline.com service.
There is a new website where you can "lock" in today's gas prices for a set amount of fuel. MyGallons.com allows you to prebuy how ever much fuel you want at Today's prices. There is a $30-$40 membership fee. Buying in is like being an oil speculator. If gas prices fall and you bought 1000 gallons at $4 a gallon....you lose!
Finally. I flew to the Bahamas yesterday. While boarding up I saw a lady with a crazy large hat. I couldn't resist snapping a photo. Wow.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I flew to Syracuse, New York today. Long flight. The flight there was 2 1/2 hours...back was 3 1/2 hours. Why the difference??? Winds. We had a tailwind there....headwind back. Tomorrow I go to Nassau Bahamas and back....another 6 1/2 hour day. Before you say "oh you have to work a whole 6 1/2 hours. I will fly for and be paid for 6 1/2 hours. I will be on duty for 8 hours 15 minutes. I will leave home at 9:35 AM and will walk back in the door at 7:10PM. Long day.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Is my glass half full or half empty? I dunno. If I were an airline manager I would say buy several much much smaller magazines and pour the water in them making them appear full...even though it's just an illusion. Think about that one for a while.
Friday, June 27, 2008
So the new pets are here. Hermit Crabs! I spent several days and hours researching a pet that was low maintenance, interesting and fun. Once I decided what I wanted I spent even more time researching proper care, habitat, food and types. I then started looking at where to buy them. There is a hermit crab distributor in Plano....but they don't sell to the public! BOO!! I visited 4 pet stores in the area....none had small crabs (small crabs are young and are easier to "tame" than older ones) or the habitats weren't cared for. Today I traveled all the way over to east Dallas to a pet store recommended to me by the hermit crab distributor. Well I walked in and was impressed by the fish selection. I then found a small tank for the hermit crabs. Not great conditions. I asked an employee for help and was brushed off. I left. I stopped by a Petco but all they had were large crabs. Yadda yadda yadda 3 more pet stores later I own 3 hermit crabs.
The crabs are set up in a 20 gallon fish tank. Why so big? My crabs live large! I bought 50 pounds of play sand to line the bottom. I also bought a heater for 1/2 the tank, sponges, fake leaves, a few fake trees for them to hide in and more for the tank. They have plenty of room. The thing I still need is a lid. I thought...plexiglass! I stopped by a Lowes as they can cut it for me in house. Well the cutter was broken. This old man was going to do it by hand. This had bad written all over it as his line wasn't straight and his first few cuts didn't go very deep. I left. Home Depot doesn't cut plexi-glass. I bought a cutter. Now I am the idiot who can't cut a straight line and can't cut deep. For now I have a large piece of cardboard on top. Hermit crabs need 80% humidity and 70-80 degrees for a comfy home. I just checked and right now I am at 80 degrees and 78% humidity..not bad. They don't have names yet. I will likely end up with 5-6 crabs. Owners groups for hermit crabs (there are several!) state 1 -2 crabs per gallon size of tank. I am very selective on my crabs. Two of the three are very active so far...not sure about the third one. I feel better having pets of my own.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I will not buy fish this time. Just can't do that yet. I am researching several low maintenance pets. I have my eye on one. I spent over 4 hours today reading up on proper care and habitats. I shopped a few pet stores and was not happy with the conditions the pets were kept in. It doesn't make sense to buy a pet that has been living in crap conditions as it might not make it long. I am going to take a trip to Plano tomorrow to visit a pet store I found on line.
Macbook is still kicking strong. I am learning a bit each day about the Mac OS. I have spent 21 years in the Microsoft world. I started with a flashing cursor and DOS. I was a DOS king! Actually before DOS I had a U.S. Videotel unit.
The US Videotel was a very early America Online type service. I begged my mom to get one when I was 11 years old. It hooked up to the phone line. It was a black and white screen that had some basic blocky graphics. You could read news, shop, look up movie times...basically everything you can do online now...just really basic. The best part was the chat feature called Yak. I used this terminal for a little more than a year before I bought an external modem for my personal computer and connected using it. Now I had color blocky graphics! Where was I going with this? Oh yeah so Mac OS is slowly growing on me.
My job might be safe. Who knows. I think I will be ok. The worst case scenario is I get transferred to a new plane or base. If I get transferred to a new base (like Chicago) they have to pay for my move. Would I actually move? I dunno. I might at least get an apartment or something. I don't want a new plane. I like the CRJ700. I think I would be bumped down to the ATR. The ATR is a turboprop that requires much more piloting skills than my current plane. Booo to having to work!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Kelli and I enjoyed a true New Orleans Hurricane. They were quite strong hitting Kelli more than me.
Every time we visit a city I take an arm out-stretched photo. This one was taken at the New Orleans Aqaurium.
A new addition to the many tours one can get is a "Post Katrina Tour". I can't imagine what this entails...."this was here"...."this used to be this way".....kinda sad really.
Finally there was a group of women on a balcony taking off their shirts and throwing beads down. This is the opposite of what normally happens. They got started quite early in the day as it was very much still daylight outside. Good times. The photo is thankfully censored by the rails of the balcony.
Our next stop was the hotel. They let us check in early. We then went to explore the French Quarter. New Orleans is still showing scars from Katrina. Going one block off Bourbon street shows quite a bit of decay. Bourbon street is back to the way it was the last time we came which was three years ago June 2005. We made our way down an ended up eating lunch at the same place we ate lunch at last time, Pat Obrian's. Good food in a nice outdoor setting. Kelli and I each downed a Hurricane. The alcohol hit Kelli more than me. I'll upload photos when we get home....still wondering what application (if I even have on installed) I can use to shrink the photos down with on the Macbook.
After lunch we walked around for a bit and then went to the New Orleans Aquarium. The Aquarium was heavily damaged after Katrina. The exhibits are all back, but not as big. I distinctly remember seeing a huge frog exhibit last time, very small this time. The aquarium was nice, but was better last time. After waling around for almost 2 hours we headed to the hotel for a nap.
Once refreshed we hit Harrah's. Every other casino in Louisiana is on a boat on water. You might not be able to tell you are on water but you are. Harrah's is landlocked and not on water. I was once told there were a lot of bribes and under the table money passed around to get the casino built where it is. We both had a good night. At one point I was up $80. I left even with the same $100 I started with at Boomtown. Kelli was up $250 at one point but left up $150. Still not bad. We then headed to Bourbon street again. We ate a small snack on a balcony of some random restaurant. The street was mildly busy. A few women displaying their chest to earn cheap plastic beads. Good times. I kept drinking as we walked up and down the street a few times. As the hour approached 11PM we headed to the hotel.
With our super super discounted airline tickets we have switched our credit cards from airline miles to hotel points. The hotel and valet parking (one bill) are covered with Kelli's credit card. The only charge outside of our meals we will have to eat (pun intended) is the $33 rental car charge. Cheap weekend mini-cation...just the way we like them.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Vacation. Getting away. We do it often. Mini-vacations anyways. We went to Sacramento the last two times. I toyed with the idea of going to San Francisco this weekend, but with only Friday and Saturday off we would spend too much time traveling. If I had 3 days there it would be doable. Instead we will travel east to the big easy. We are using our travel points to get a free hotel. The biggest expense will be the rental car at $38 all in. Good times. I'm still looking forward to the day when we go somewhere international. We went to Canada....but Canada isn't really international.
Still no word on if I will keep my job or not. Things are looking better...who knows. The good thing is that if I do get furloughed and I get a new job...my pay can only go up!
I've had my car almost three months. So far I am averaging 26.5 MPG. I have driven just over 1600 miles. The gas mileage should go up as this current tank has the new tires with a slightly higher inflation rate. I take tire pressure very seriously checking it every week. Did you know more than 70% of the tires on the road are under inflated? Wasting gas away.
Macbook still kicking. Took me a month to figure out the built in firewall was blocking me from adding the network printer. No where through any setup info does it say to check the firewall settings. Annoying. I am still loving the 10 second boot up to useable computer speed, long battery life and very light weight.
Monday, June 16, 2008
My fish. I loved my fish. I don't talk about them often. They were my ghetto fish. They all had the same name. Well the tank needed to be cleaned. I set up a spare tank with water and let it sit for more than the required 24 hours to make sure it was safe. I moved them over today and then quickly began cleaning the old tank. This is where I screwed up. I should have let the old tank and water sit for a bit to make sure the new tank was ok. It wasn't. After washing out the old tank in the backyard I could tell the fish were under stress. I was helpless. I tried adding some water treatment but it was too late. I was totally helpless and had to watch my fish...my pets slowly go to sleep. I can't imagine getting more fish......not any time soon.
So Kelli and I are rationally irrational. We don't make big purchases on a whim. Well we do....but not often. About 5 years ago we were walking around the mall and stopped by the Sleep Number store. We liked the bed, but spending $1600 on a bed was silly. The same day we purchased a $1500 full leather Lazyboy recliner from the Lazyboy store. A chair only one of us can use (and it's Kelli 99% of the time). Three years ago we were looking for a car for me. Instead we traded in Kelli's perfectly good 2 year old Saturn Vue for a Prius. Where am I going with this?
We need an XBOX. I thought we could get by with the cheaper Arcade version at $280. Nope. Although we can use our hard drive, it has not Ethernet port. We have to buy the $349 version. We don't have $349 just laying around. So we almost, and I mean add it all up and get ready to sign almost, bought a new 50 inch Panasonic Plasma TV AND the Xbox 360 in order to get 3 years no interest! Do we need a TV? Well arguments can be made yes. Our current one is large, bulky and 3 years old. We would move it to our spare bedroom, black out the walls and make our own private theatre room. We never use that room. I figure we can roll out the air mattress when we have company over. I guess we could make Kelli's office a home theatre room. Bleh. Anyway move the current TV out and the new thin one in. We almost did it....but backed out. We are gonna buy an Xbox 360 at some point. Just not sure how.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I started looking online. Apparently the first batch of XBOX 360's had heating issues. The CPU and GPU (computer parts for most folks) would overheat and kickoff a hardware failure. Boo. Assuming we had just a one year warranty (I have since learned Microsoft has extended the warranty to 3 years for this issue!) I went online for a fix. Somehow applying new thermal paste fixes the issue. Odd. Whatever. There are several Youtube videos explaining how. I went to Fry's and bought a new tube of Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste. I took apart the XBOX after watching a few how to videos. I put it back together...and still saw red lights. I then ran a diagnostic....which appeared to have cleared the red lights. I won't know for sure until I connect the cables back up. since we use the 360 for a DVD player and it was down, I had to dig out a DVD player to use. Once its over I hope the 360 works...if not...gotta think of a plan B.
I have earned over $60 answering questions on ChaCha.com (text 24242 to try it out...again IT'S FREE!). I get about 20% of the questions being dumb or immature (should I break up with my boyfriend/what the longest penis in the world), 40% phone number and addresses and 40% trivia questions. I am learning quite a bit.
For now we are watching Dream a Little Dream, Kelli had never seen this 80's gem. Kelli is incredibly smart....but she just now figured out what SAT stands for as in the SAT test. Odd.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Original Story Here
MAZDA5 Earns Ward's AutoWorld's Interior of the Year Award
June 4, 2008
The 2008 MAZDA5 has been named Ward's AutoWorld's "Interior of the Year" in the "Popular Priced Truck" category. Thirty-six outstanding vehicle interiors representing 13 manufacturers competed for top honors in the annual competition.
Over four weeks, members of the editorial staff of Ward's AutoWorld spent time with each finalist vehicle to evaluate its interior. Winners were decided by overall points earned. To be eligible for the competition, the vehicle or its interior had to be new for 2008. The MAZDA5 triumphed over competition from Nissan Murano, Saturn Vue, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Dodge Journey and Toyota Highlander, among others.
"We're honored to have won Ward's AutoWorld's 'Interior of the Year' award," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "The MAZDA5 is proving to be exactly what consumers want -- a versatile, fuel-efficient vehicle that combines the functionality of an SUV with the ride and handling of a car. This is a great vehicle that hits right at the heart of the market, and promises to grow in popularity as fuel prices soar."
The three-row, six-passenger MAZDA5 is a multi-activity sports vehicle infused with sports car inspiration. The interior brags spaciousness and comfort. The stepped floor allows for more legroom for all especially those sitting in rows two and three. The second row has separate individual seats that slide, recline and fold flat, providing maximum versatility for passengers and cargo. The third row seats are split 50/50 and can be tilted forward individually and folded flat to create a flat load area. With the rear-most seats folded flat, carrying capacity is an enormous 44.4 cubic feet.
Interior storage is spacious and thoughtful, with multiple open and covered compartments. Flip the center-row seat cushions forward to access the under-seat storage or fold the tray down from the front-passenger-seat-back. Hide the things that make life more convenient in the center armrest or in a covered flip-out storage bin under the center-right captain's chair cushion. There's also an illuminated glovebox and half-liter bottle holders in each front door pocket, and even covered storage under the floor behind the third-row seat.
MAZDA5 is powered by a 153-horsepower 2.3-liter four cylinder engine and can be fitted with either a five-speed manual or five-speed sport-shift Sport AT automatic transmission. Priced from $17,995, the MAZDA5 is available in three trim levels -- Sport, Touring and Grand Touring.
Source: Mazda North American Operations
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I am very conservative in many of my opinions. One that is in the news in California is Gay Marriage. Prior to being part of The Richmonds, I was firmly against it. No way no how. "God said Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve," was how I rolled. Well my sister in law is a lesbian. All of the thoughts I had on how lesbians and gay men acted turned out to be mostly false. They are quite normal people. OK they are normal people. At my niece's first birthday party this weekend there were several lesbian and gay couples there. I didn't feel uncomfortable or freaked out like I would have if I had not joined The Richmonds. The topic of gay marriage came up and I politely stated my opinion that I fully support gay couples to have all of the rights and benefits of marriage....but they can't have the word. I am not terribly religious but believe that the word marriage is a Christian concept of one man and one woman joining to become one. That's just the way I feel. Jami and Priscilla have a wonderful relationship and will do great raising my niece Haley (although they refuse to adopt my concept of giving a child Vodka when they are teething or crying!).
I have finally completed my car stereo installation. I know I said I was done before, but I damaged an interior panel that I had to order. Crutchfield.com picked up the part cost as their instructions were flawed. I installed the part today and now all is well. Finally.
This week for work will be no work. I don't think so anyway. There is a a 4 day trip that opens tomorrow. I am pondering picking it up. Below is the schedule. It has flights to places I haven't been before. First night in Harrisburg, PA, second in Cleveland, third day has trips through Chicago (I hate the O'hare airport) and Nashville, TN (never been there) then an overnight in Little Rock, Arkansas followed by an early morning finish Saturday in Dallas. I will ponder it. Otherwise I will get the whole week off paid if I want it. Oh the worries of an airline pilot :-) .
DT EQ FLT STA DEP STA ARR AC FLY GTR GRD ACT
SKD 04 E7 3847 DFW 1725 MDT 2125 3.00
D/P SKD 3.00 P/C 0.00 TL 3.00
HALF DAY COUNT MDT 2
SKD TL 3.00 ACT TL 0.00
SKD ONDUTY 4.00 ODL 9.05
SKD 05 E7 3604 MDT 0730 DFW 0935 3.05 1.50
SKD 05 E7 3635 DFW 1125 CLE 1505 2.40
D/P SKD 5.45 P/C 0.00 TL 5.45
HALF DAY COUNT CLE 2
SKD TL 5.45 ACT TL 0.00
SKD ONDUTY 8.35 ODL 14.25
SKD 06 E7 4382 CLE 0630 ORD 0700 1.30 0.55
SKD 06 E7 4166 ORD 0755 BNA 0920 1.25 0.35
SKD 06 E7 4026 BNA 0955 ORD 1130 1.35 1.50
SKD 06 E7 4037 ORD 1320 LIT 1505 1.45
D/P SKD 6.15 P/C 0.00 TL 6.15
HALF DAY COUNT LIT 2
SKD TL 6.15 ACT TL 0.00
SKD ONDUTY 10.35 ODL 13.35
SKD 07 E7 3746 LIT 0540 DFW 0645 1.05 0.35 ‡
Monday, June 2, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
I bought Haley a fake MP3 player and a baby American Eagle Baby shirt. She loved the MP3 player...best gift ever!
I think Haley wants to be a pilot. She loved playing with Kelli's necklace and the sterling silver airplane.
Alan, the donor for Haley, made an amazing birthday cake. Below is Priscilla, Haley and Jami just prior to Haley digging into the cake.
Finally Haley digs into the cake. She had to be persuaded quite a bit to dig in.
Finally Haley realized she was the center of attention and would give quick smiles for a few photos. Here is on of the best.