Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tired of bias in the news

I majored in Communications. I took several journalism classes and sociology classes. I have a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Photojournalism with a dual major in Sociology. I love studying people....and talking about it. The bias in the news is at an all time high. I learned early on it is impossible to not be biased when reporting on a news event. The choices in adjectives, verbs and pronouns is biased. CNN and other major media outlets have taken bias to an all new level. It seems to be the "in" thing to slam McCain and Palin. This morning....at the bright eyed bushy tail time of 4:15AM...I turned on CNN Headline news to watch as the host slammed McCain and Palin. The host had 4 guest. Two supported McCain and two Obama. The topic was how crazy the McCain camp has gotten and that Palin is a loose cannon. Whenever a McCain guest spoke they were quickly interuppted and quieted down. The Obama camp was allowed to speak at will. The segment wasn't newsworthy or fair. I understand freedom of speech but a news organization has a duty to report the news.....afterall the name CNN stands for Cable Network NEWS. I think a better name would be Cable Network Shit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Getting High

Who would have thought that exercising makes me feel better....gives me a sort of high. I bought a Wii Fit over the weekend. I have done an hour on it so far. The exercises are no joke! I also found out that I have center of balance issues. I lean a lot to my left. The Wii Fit shows this quite well. Hopefully I can fix it. I do enjoy using the Wii Fit. I plan on using the Wii Fit for 30 minute a day followed by a two mile stint on the treadmill. Right now I am walking at a good clip of 4.4 MPH without breathing hard. If I get up to 4.8 MPH I kinda stumble along. I need at least 5.6 MPH for a decent jogging rate. I have found that exercising before going to bed allows me to sleep a full night. I am on the road right now and just did 2 miles and feel wonderful.

Kelli and I have both been regularly exercising for about a month now. We haven't lot a ton of weight...but we can tell our clothes fit better.

The T-Mobile G1 can do almost everything I need a laptop for. The one big thing it can't do is log on to the American Eagle computer system. I need to log on daily to check email and schedules. The American Eagle system is the same one used by American Airlines that was literally designed in the later 1950's. It has been only slighly updated over the years. Still all text based. One typo and the command is ignored. There is a java version but the Google browser isn't compatible. My hope is Citrix will have a client out for the G1 operating system (Android) and then I truly have a laptop replacement (for my needs) in the palm of my hand.

Kelli is enjoying her phone so far. I keep showing up all the stuff it can do...but she seems content with the full keyboard for texting...and that's about it. I am sure she will do more over time. One application I like is the Weather Channel application. On one screen I have several cities listed. Next to each city is the current weather that is updated continually. Also useful is a Shop Savvy application. Using the camera I can "scan" a barcode. The phone instantly goes online and finds stores that sell the product along with the cost. The software also searches local stores and list the price. If I want the item locally I click on the store and am given the phone number and address. One more click and I am given driving directions from wherever I am. I love this thing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stunning Change of Events!

So T-Mobile sent two G1's here. I called tonight and asked about my next bill. This was my way of seeing if they knew they sent two. The agent paused...and said I was sent two at the upgrade price ($179)  and that the upgrade on the second line (Kelli's phone) wasn't affected and is still eligible in December! I was going to sell the second one on eBay for an easy $400. Kelli gave me the "but I want it" look. I was shocked. She played with my phone for about 5 minutes and then ripped open the box and went to town. Kelli now has a smart phone!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Low Carb

My diet is going very well. I went very low carb for the first 2 weeks. I started exercising daily. At least 5 days a week I do at least 2 miles on the treadmill. Doing so I lost 8 pounds in about 3 weeks. I am now having low carb items. I do take in "high" carb items such as bread a few times a week, but the exercise more than compensates. I have a small fraction of the amount of sugar I used to intake. In the begining I ate full fat bacon, eggs and sausage. I have now switched to egg beaters and turkey bacon. The last time I did low carb I was miserable after a few weeks. With my exercise routine and taking in real carbs every now and then....I am much better this time. The Wii-Fit might be in our near future....variety to exercise. Right now I exercise on treadmills. Each hotel has a different type. My favorite treadmill is the unit at The Hyatt Place. They have built in TVs with headphones (and a bag of new headphone ear pads for each user!), alcohol wipes for the equipment, soft towels and the treadmill is really soft on my knees. Generally the nicer the hotel...the better the treadmill. Comfort Inn has the worst. Squeaky, wobbly and gritty.

My new phone. I am still in the honeymoon period with it. I am still finding neat stuff. I love the shopping program. Scan a barcode with the scanner or type in the description and the prices online and NEARBY stores pop up. Pick a store online and you are brought to the product page. Pick a local store...and you get turn by turn directions along with the phone number. Amazing. The camera is very nice. I enabled GPS tagging to the photos. For now on when a photo is uploaded to my Flickr account there will be a link that will show on a map where I was when I took the photo. I have gone back and manually placed a few photos...this will be much easier. I do hope that in a future software update the camera can me made to focus faster, zoom...and shoot video.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I now have my new phone. All I can say is..wow. The software is much much faster than my old Windows Mobile 6.0. The only issue I have had so far is importing the contacts from my SIM card. Some imported...many didn't. I had to put them all in by hand. There are only a handful of applications available right now. Reason being they all must be free for the rest of the year. After that then developers can charge. Many owners believe when apps can be charged the number of apps will go up. One application...the only one under the financial section...is by Bank of America. The application uses the built in GPS to show you the nearest ATMs and Banking Centers. The built in GPS is very accurate. The GPS combined with Google maps makes finding nearby places a breeze! The phone fits in my old Blackberry 7100 holster I have had for years. I like this holster as its made of nylon (holds up to wear) and allows easy stowing and grabbing of the phone.

Gripes? Well texting is a different process than before...better...but takes an extra step compared to Windows Mobile. The camera is a higher quality and even auto-focuses....but its slower to snap a picture.

One nifty thing with the camera though is the ability to "scan" a barcode...ANY barcode on ANY product and a ShopSavvy application will look online for the best price. Easy to comparison shop while walking around a store. It's very quick. I think I will use it often.

Life after Windows. First my Macbook Pro...now my G1 powered by Google.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cut Off!!!

This morning at 4:56AM...yes I was awake...woke up at 4:15....part of my job....my phone got the last email I would get for..well...ever. Why? Well T-Mobile apparently has an issue with the new G1 phone. Once my phone was delivered my account was set up for the G1. Problem is I don't have the G1. I now have no access to data. I live on my phone. I use it for email, internet on the phone and internet on my laptop using the phone as a modem. When I try to get data I am asked for a user name, password and domain. I have never been asked for this info. I thought it was a glitch. I started my day in Bentonville, Arkansas. When I arrived in Chicago...same issue. I tried turning it off and on. Nada. I tried it again in Columbus, Ohio...same thing...again in Chicago...same thing. I am back in Bentonville. Same thing. I called T-Mobile support 3 times. I stressed I have had the phone almost 2 years and have made no changes in over a month. The first two phone calls had me turning it off and on....taking out the SIM card and clicking my heels three times. Nada. The last call I again stressed I had NEVER called them before today. Not once. I don't believe it's my phone...or the local network (as I tried it in 3 different states!). They wanted me to find a stranger and pop my SIM card in their phone...uhh..not an option. Then they wanted me to go to a T-Mobile store. The nearest one is in Missouri. It all came down to they know there is an issue...but they can't fix it. I am sure you are thinking "so what". I live on my phone!!! I am now sitting in one of my two favorite hotels, The Hyatt Place, so I am relaxed a bit. If you EVER have a chance to stay in a Hyatt Place I sugget you try it.

The hotel has a huge 42 inch HDTV.....L-shaped couch...warm colors....just comfy. I love this hotel and the Hampton Inn.


Monday, October 20, 2008

My new phone is there!

My new phone is there! In my house....I...well I am in Bentonville, Arkansas....in a hotel. I was hoping the phone would arrive in time for Kelli to rush it up to the airport before I took off for Bentonville....didn't happen. My phone will now sit in the house until Wednesday afternoon when I return. Boo. In theory Kelli could bring it to me tomorrow if I was doing "normal" flying in which I fly through Dallas all day. Tomorrow I fly through damn Chicago all day. I hate Chicago. Well I hate flying through the airport. The controllers are very good but so much is going on that it takes all of my being to catch what they are saying. The radio is non-stop communication and you just have to listen for your flight number and respond right away. If you miss a call it jams everything up. When talking to the ground controllers...well YOU don't talk to them...they talk to you. If you don't get an instruction you just keep moving around the airport until they get back to you. Nuts. I want my phone!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New phone is a coming

My new phone is coming! It will arrive tomorrow.

I almost hit another plane today. Twice. Niether my fault. First one was during takeoff out of Shreveport. I was assigned to climb to 4000 feet. My plane was very light, just 20 passengers out of 70 seats, today so the initial climb was very fast. On take off I was climbing at more than 4500 feet per minute. Somewhere around 1600 feet they told us to stop at 2000 feet. At 4500 feet per minute I am climbing at 75 feet per second. After the second it took to process the information I had 3 seconds to react. I pushed the nose over, causing everyone onboard to go weightless) and pulled the power back as I was already traveling at 240 MPH. Why the quick altitude change? Well there was a small plane coming toward us at 3000 feet. The other plane was about a mile away. Not too close...but it could have been handled better. The second issue happened coming into Dallas. I was level at 5000 feet. Air Traffic Control advised us there was a small plane at 4500 feet coming right toward us. The computer announces "traffic, traffic". We look out...see nothing. I then see a spec coming at us. Then the computer announces "adjust vertical speed"....only we are only slightly descending. Associated with this are red and green lights on my screen. The green is a target for me for my vertical speed. The next thing is a "climb, climb now" annoucement. This means if I do nothing...we could collide. I disconnected the autopilot and started climbing. I look out my window to see the small plane passing underneath. That pilot was flying by hand and was not holding his altitude. Nice.

Well the point of fast decisions. I gotta get Kelli to think faster. When I ask her to make a decision it seems like eternity passes before she speaks. Gotta love though...she's my sugar momma.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Deep Fried Bacon and My New Phone

Yesterday we visited the State Fair of Texas. We have gone every year for the past 3 or 4 years. Our trips are not for the rides or the exhibits. We....more I....like the weird fried foods and we both enjoy people watching.

This year the winner of the fried food contest was Chicken Fried Bacon (pictured below). The product is just as it sounds. The taste was okay. Not great. I will not buy it next year if its around.


After the chicken fried bacon I/we had corn dogs, deep fried jelly belly jelly beans, deep fried snickers, deep fried snowball (pictured below) and deep fried potates (twisted up using a drill....aka french fries).


Another part of the state fair we enjoy is the autoshow. Well I enjoy it more than Kelli. While walking thru I did find what might be my next car. Yes I know I have 2 1/2 years left. Kelli was against the idea of what I wanted. A Bitch'n Camaro!


I reminded her the main reason I bought the Mazda5 was the offspring possibility (offspring...baby...bleh). Anyways before I bought it I said if we didn't have a product (product....baby..bleh) by March 31, 2011.....away goes practicality. So by my basic math if a Zygote (Zygote...baby...bleh) is not progress by June 2010....I'm gonna be playing Bitch'n Camaro everyday. With how little I drive...again 500-600 miles a month....gas mileage doesn't really matter.

Speaking...errr...typing of gas mileage. Something funny happened on the way to Pittsburgh this week. On the displays in my plane I can display all kinds of information. While flying through the skies I normally have airports depicted on the screens as it gives me something to do while flying. Having airports displayed on the screens also helps me figure out where I am in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I did all my flight training aound here. I know where the airports are...but have no idea where all the various points/fixes are. Contrary to what many people think, pilots often have no clue where they are. We put everything into the computer and it guides us along the way. When pilots make annoucements we have Rand McNally maps made for pilots that make it easy to compare the screens to what we see outside. Makes us sound smart. Anyways on the way to Pittsburgh I passed an airport with the identifier KGAS.....then a few minutes later....KMPG. I think they are related.

kgas1.jpg    kmpg.jpg

Kelli has updated her website 3 times in the past week. She might be back on the wagon for updating.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mini....and I mean mini.....celebrity

I get recognized a lot more than I think I would. My Youtube video has almost 5000 views. Every now and then...about 3 to 4 times a month someone I don't know says they know me....from Youtube. Today it happened at the Alliance Airshow. I was walking through a Military AWAC plane when a crew member gave me an odd look and asked if I went to ATP. I said I did. He then said he saw me on Youtube. Odd.

Kelli's laptop blows. Well Windows Vista blows. Her computer has a Dual Core Intel Core 2 Duo, 3 gigs of RAM, plenty of unused hard drive space....but its saddled with Windows Vista. I turned off all the pretty eye candy stuff of Vista and it's still slow. Sad. Her next laptop will be a Mac.

Less than two weeks until I get my new phone. Can't wait.

I have been using Airline Pilot Daily Logbook to keep track of my logbook for about a month. I love it. No more manual log book entires and a calculator. I load my schedule into the PDA and then simply input the flight times from the computer in the airplane. I only wish my phone or my next phone was supported by the logbook software. I would rather not carry around so many devices.

Kelli bought tickets for ACDC this morning. The tickets went on sale at 10AM. The airshow started at 10AM. She brought her laptop and used my cellphone to connect to the internet. She slowly went thru the motions. She was given decent seats. I told her maybe I should try calling as the internet and the website were painfully slow. When I called in the automated system offered much better seats...floor seats...5 rows back! The phone call started more than 5 minutes after she was first offered seats online. Odd. She bought the phones I secured on the phone.

I bought more hemit crabs. 5 total.

Oh yeah Kelli updated her website. Better check the temp in hell.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Changing my opinions

I have had my Mac for 6 months now. Still loving it. Very...very few things that annoy me. The annoyances are no where near as great as my annoyances with Windows Vista.

With my new found of heart with Mac I will no longer sway people to PCs. Mac all the way. The extreme majority of Viruses are for PCs. The pop up ads that install all kinds of crap are mostly aimed at PCs. Mac is safe....for now.

My sister in law (bless her heart) has had another computer die...well on life support. Her previous computer lasted a few years before dying a long painful death. In May of this year (just 5 months ago!) I sold her my trusty laptop. I formatted the hard drive and made it like a brand new computer. I installed Norton Antivirus (free with our AT&T Uverse!) and nailed down as many possible "holes" as I could. She notified me tonight that it won't boot up. Safe mode won't even load! Windows is corrupt. I am going to FedEx her the restore CD's (with instructions to place the CD's in a super safe place) and get her up and running again. While talking to her I mentioned she should start a new computer fund with plans on buying a Mac next time. My wife's side of the family all have computer issues. Well my mother in law does ok...except when my brother in law uses it. Maybe it's everyone in the world who is not a geek or married to a geek has issues.

Only problem I have with Mac is I can't easily build one. Building computers saves me ooodles of money as I can piece them together. There are ways around it, but nothing I can build and faithfully hand off to someone feeling it will be 100% good to go.

Once you go Mac you won't go back. Wait...it's supposed to be...ah nevermind.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My time in the spotlight

Seems as though the photos of our lawn have spread around the interent. A couple with differing political views is rare. There is a grassroots effort to get ME on the ballot!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Ever leave something behind at the airport?

Today DFW airport had a sale. No tickets were sold....heck the highest dollar item was $40. The sale was for items left behind in the airport over the last 6 months. There were lots of clothes, sunglasses, cell phones, car remotes (and keys), strollers, umbrellas...you name it. All for sale...cheap! I decided to go around 11AM. This was a mistake! Lots of good stuff was already gone. They did have some stuff left. I bought 7 smart key remotes for various cars (BMW, Lexus, Mercedes etc) for $1 a piece. I bought a Mogo PCMICA slot bluetooth mouse for $1. I lost my bluetooth headset a few months ago. I paid $35 for it. I bought an exact model....$1. While talking with an employee the good stuff went fast. They had SEVERAL MP3 players, cell phones, laptops and more that went fast and cheap. Near new baby strollers and car seats also went quickly. The sale goes on every 6 months. Next time I will go early. Why did I buy all the remotes? eBay. They will go for at least $10-$40 a piece easy. The Mogo mouse I was going to keep....but my laptop has an Expresscard slot and Kelli's doesn't even have a PCMCIA slot...which I was shocked by.

I got a flu shot today....lots of sick people around.

I also got an oil change...apparently the first one for a Mazda is free.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This whole crappy economy didn't start with Bush

I am annoyed by all the articles and comments that this economy is all Bush's fault. The truth is the Fannie Mae situation happened due to Clinton not Bush. This is from a New York Times Article from September 30,1999. The link is here or just read below.

Why elect another Democrat who will just put the country into another tailspin or lead it right down the recession hole?

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.

In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.