Thursday, December 31, 2009

Less than a month

Less than a month until I am trapped   on a cruise ship with my in laws. Looking forward to it.

Been playing a lot of Need For Speed Shift on XBOX Live. Really fun to play with 70 year old geezers from Iowa and 10 year old punks in the same time. The voice chat is useful sometimes...other times truly annoying.

Last day of 2009. Great things will come next year.

I get a $0.30 an hour raise tomorrow.

Loving the new home theater receiver. Everything sounds better. I know it's good when even Kelli says "wow".

The new thermostat keeps the house at 65 during the night, 70 during the morning,  67 during the day (I'm home during the day) and 70 during the evening. On weekends the heater waits an extra hour to turn it up to 70. Kelli is always cold. Eh.

Bought my dad a Sony Blueray player and a few Blueray movies for Christmas. The prices have dropped big time. We paid $250 for ours (that was AFTER a 25% discount thru Amazon) just a year ago. I only paid $120 for his. His is just as good as ours. I made sure to get a profile 2.0 player so he can watch Netflix streaming movies and more. My mother in law should get a Blueray many TV shows and movies I am sure she would watch via Netflix streaming. Maybe next time Kelli and I go to Oregon we will upgrade her tech again.

Excited about the next Google phone....the Nexus One.

Kelli's dogs have started to be more annoying lately. Vegas and Doogie are pissing all over their area....which is just behind the couch...which makes the living room smell.

Headed to Des Moines, Iowa today on overtime. This is my cruise fun money. I will work for 5 hours 10 minutes but only be paid for 3 hours 40 minutes. Flight crews are only paid for the time the plane is moving (really when the main door is closed and parking brake is released). The time before the flight, in Des Moines and after the flight in Dallas I am paid a whole $1.75 an hour per diem. Still This overtime trip will net me about $150....more than I earn sitting on the couch.

We've decided to stay with Progressive for car insurance. The biggest reason is the MyRate program giving us an extra $46 off. That equates to 14% off. The most one can save is 25%. I wonder how much LESS I need to drive to get that big of a discount.

As of right now I drive an average of 23.1 miles a day for 45 minutes and never hit the brakes hard. Hitting the brakes "hard" is slowing down faster than 7 MPH per second. Kelli would get nailed with hard brakes if her car were eligible. My trip to work is 9.7 miles there and 10.4 miles home. Pretty boring.

Big stuff happenin' in 2010. We are gonna drop it likes it's hot!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm done with snow

It snows 3 inches in Dallas last week. Most of it melted. I was happy. Then Sunday night I was assigned to fly to Cleveland, Ohio....where it was snowing non-stop. It's going to snow again in Dallas today. I'm done with it.

Above is a view from my office. Taken at 36,000 feet coming in from the north east. Dallas is in the upper left. I could see the airport even though I was more than 100 miles away. A huge high pressure system was over the area yesterday. Very nice day.

Less than a month till the cruise. I moved my work days around next month to have off from the 22nd thru the end of the month while only "using" 6 days of vacation. Of course I pay for it by working my ass off the 1st thru 21st.

I plan on going to Detroit next month for the North American International Autoshow. Kelli has no desire to go.

I've been an XBOX live member for over a year. I only joined to watch Netflix on the XBOX 360. Only recently I started playing games online. Right now I am playing Need For Speed Shift. Pretty fun.

Yesterday I landed a 63,000 pound plane with 53 other souls on board at 12:36PM. At 12:45PM we pulled into the gate. By 12:59PM I was sitting in Kelli's car on the way to have lunch. We were meeting with Kelli's cousin Julie, her husband Bill and their daughter Katelyn. They were in town as Bill has family in Colleyville. It's all about timing.

While eating it became very apparent to me that a lot of people have no idea what goes on in the cockpit of airplanes. Bill though there were still 3 people up there. Interesting. Bill is a very intelligent guy who works in the financial industry. He does VERY well as Julie is a stay at home mother with a Porsche Cheyenne SUV and a huge house complete with a maid . That got me thinking (dangerous I know) that I will never earn as much as he does. Yeah.....

I have a new ROM on my G1. The developer at Cyanaogenmod has ported lots of bits from Android 2.0 to the G1. It's much snappier and useful now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making the world that much better

I've been blogging since before I knew what blogging was. I bought this domain name back in 2001. It's had several designs and formats. After about a year of resisting I finally switched to blogging software after using good old Frontpage and HTML for years.

I have most of the old bogs. A few that I foolishly did in Flash are gone. One thing I really like about blogging is that I can look back at any of hundreds of days in the past and see exactly what I was doing or how I felt.

Back in 1995 I fell in love with photography. I was a quiet kid. Shocking I know. But I was. Kept to myself for the most part.

I found this amazing power inside of a Canon AE-1 camera. Suddenly I could stop time and record it forever. A photograph can be so much more than pulp and chemicals (or 1's and 0's now a days). A photograph is a moment of time that has been frozen that will never exist again.

Lately I don't spend enough time behind a camera. I still take a least 20 photographs a week. Every now and then I manage to take one that I can stare at for hours.

We watched Away We Go tonight. Very funny movie about an interracial couple John Krasinski. Very good movie. I found a clip of a very funny scene on Youtube. It is an illegal post taken with a camcorder...but it works. Fast forward to 30 seconds in.


31 days till the cruise.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Glad I don't throw stuff away

The new receiver is installed. I didn't think there would be a huge difference in sound....but more so in convenience. I was wrong. The sound is amazing. Even watching  just regular TV. Main reason is the sound is all now digital.

Previously our sound was digital from the device (Uverse, Xbox Blueray) to the TV but then turned to analog as the TV sent the audio down to the old receiver. No more.

Now all content is digital from the device (Uverse, Xbox, Blueray) to the receiver and then the receiver passes the video and audio (for those extreme cases where I don't want surround sound) digitally to the TV. I did run into two problems.

Our Samsung 750 series TV can control our Samsung BD2500 Blueray player thru the HDMI cable. This is working very nicely. Well the new Onkyo HT-RC160 has the same functionality (known as CEC). But I ran into an unexpected issue.

When I connected the Uverse box to the HT-RC160 it worked initially. When I switched to the Blueray it worked fine. Then when I went back to Uverse the screen just blinked on and off. If I pulled the power on the Uverse and plugged it back in....everything was fine. Hmm.

An hour later I figured out the CEC functionality of the HT-RC160 was the issue. The Uverse box and HT-RC160 were not able to "shake hands" when switching video. Once I turned the CEC off in the HT-RC160...all was well. Kinda.

The Xbox 360 was connected via PC/VGA cable to the TV previously. Not an option with the new HT-RC160. No issue...I have a ton of cables! I dug out a set of component cables for the Xbox 360. Once connected (I used optical audio initially) the screen was scrambled. A quick Google search found another issue.

Lucky for us we have TWO Xbox 360's (Don't judge...Eric & Angela have two as well)! The new one has built in HDMI. After a simple swap all was well.

I am very happy. We will soon go from 4 remotes down to just 2. Sweet. Maybe one day I will get a Logitech Harmony remote and go down to just one remote.

Last night Kelli was having a good time watching me scramble around the house trying to get it all running. All of the synergy I try to set up has a lot of craziness to get setup.

For example. Kelli's phone is setup to allow her to look at all four cameras in the house no matter where she is. Now she only really does this when we are on vacation. I can do it as well. Getting that to work took a good amount work on my part.

Kelli appreciates it. Years ago she lead such a simple life. Basic phone. Toyota Corolla. Simple Dell computer.

Now she has a high tech Google Smartphone, Prius, Macbook, Zune HD and a house full of LCD TVs, computers and cabling. Only downside? Well she wears contacts now....didn't when I met her. All in the name of progress.

Today is my brother in law's birthday. Kelli thought it would be funny to call him at 12:01 AM and wish him Happy Birthday. Well not her call...just a message.

I found one website that allows you to setup an automated callback at a preset time. The site is as in Get Me Out Of Here. The concept is to have your phone ring at a set time to get out of a social situation. Like a date. I tried to set it up but the timing mechanism sucks.

I then found . Very easy. It can be set to call and then have a computer voice remind you of something. I had it say, "Happy Birthday Bryan from Darren and Kelli. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Don't call us back." at 12:02 AM in Oregon. Not sure if it worked as MY phone wrong at 2:02AM. Hmmm. Damn technology.

Norwegian Cruise Line has an online check in program for cruises. I emailed out directions to all who are going. Everyone at least started to process. I will check back 2 weeks out too make sure it's done.

For the cruise I am going to buy walkie talkies for everyone to stay in touch. New ones can go 20+ miles. This will come in handy staying in touch on the ship as well as in port. Especially since we won't have cell phones.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas by Amazon

Cruise is booked. I was going to book through I emailed all the details and was ready to book...then I saw the contract. They initially quoted a "booking" fee of $10 per person. On the contract they had $25 per cabin. There are 7 people going in 3 cabins. The difference was just $5....but it irked me.

I then read through the contract and saw all kinds of fees. There is a $10 fee to call and ask a question about airline ID verification. A $20 fee to call and ask about charges. Lots of fees. That really irked me.

Of course the rooms I wanted were put on hold by so I couldn't book them if I went with someone else. No big deal, I used to book 3 rooms on the same deck but the opposite side of the ship. Two rooms are together while one is just down the hall.

I still have to fax/email in a copy of my employee ID.

Each cruise line has a different policy on friends and family bookings. really breaks it down so it's easy to understand. On Norwegian only my Dad, Parents in law, kids and Kelli qualify by themselves. In order for anyone else to go they must be booked in a cabin with a qualifying person. Thus I am booked with my sister in laws girlfriend Kelly. While Kelli (notice the I) is booked in the room with my sister in law Jami and my niece Haley. Peggy and John, my parents in law, are in their own cabin.

I sold my old radio on eBay. The final value was $412. This is perfect as I was charged $12 in paypal fees so I got he $400 I wanted in the first place. Even better is that I didn't include my backup camera in the sale.

The money will go toward a Christmas gift for Kelli and I to enjoy. Our current home theater receiver is over 7 years old. Adequate...but old. I am going to replace it with an Onkyo HT-RC160. It's a very nice 7.2 surround sound receiver. Initially I will have just 5.1 setup. Maybe for my birthday I will get 7.2 speakers. The Onkyo has 5 HDMI ports and can do HDMI audio pass thru as well as switching. The old receiver will move down the hall to my man cave.

For Christmas my dad bought Kelli a 3 position Crockpot slow cooker. She can now prepare three meals at the same time. My idea was too cook three meals one night versus one meal each night. Eh. He bought me a nice laptop bag that I can easily store a weekend of clothes in. The bag will fit under the seat in front of me, perfect for our getaways.

I will post what I got him after he gets it.

For my nieces I bought each of them the brand new Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure DVD. I love! Two day shipping AND gift wrapping free. I was going to buy them cotton candy....but I will save that for Birthdays.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Switched to oatmeal. Not froo froo sugar laden packets...good old fashion plain oatmeal. It's cheaper than grits. I had 1 1/2 servings yesterday and was full all day. Wow.

Lost BOTH chargers for our cameras......$40 for a new Canon charger....$4 for an off brand....yeah.

Ever since we got a new dishwasher we haven't had a way to show clean or dirty dishes. We had a dry erase board on the old dishwasher. Kelli and I have talked about getting a new dry erase board. Never did. Yesterday we got "clean" and "dirty" magnets from our sister in law Jessi Richmond (I guess Byran is involved since he is married to her). Problem solved.

Found  a huge puddle of dried dog pee yesterday.

The need to "own" music is no longer with me. The need to "own" a movie is fading as well. With Netflix mail service, Netflix on demand streaming and Redbox...who needs to "own" movies ? How often do you watch the movies you "own" now?

Finally booking the cruise! My sister in law finally got the word she was approved for vacation. A few of the "cheap" rooms are gone. Will be slightly more expensive now. Tis okay.....we might get a room with a window now.

Coffee. I love it. I love good coffee. Dunkin Donuts is my favorite. The home brew stuff from them is crazy expensive. Cost more than Starbucks home brew! For a while I was sucking down 8 o'clock coffee....then it was some mexican brand of coffee. Today I switched to Community Coffee. Community Coffee is what I grew up on. Literally. It's what my parents drank. Puts hair on your chest. Sad really...I was the only 8 year old who had to have my back shaved.

Paper Heart...good movie. sister in law Jami is doing an amazing job raising her daughter Haley. The two are quite funny. Jami posted something on Facebook that had me laughing for a long time. I still chuckle when I read it:

Great idea, start training for a short triathlon. Another great idea spend time with Haley while training! Not so great idea, take Haley on a bike ride at 8:30am, in 43 deg weather. 15 mins in with teeth chattering she says "mommy my eyes are cold". Guess I need to train by myself until it gets warmer :-)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There is less of me to adore

Fatsecret is workin for me. Down 5 pounds so far. Nothing secret about it really. Limiting salt and calories....exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Some days I exercise for over an hour. Having a treadmill with a laptop holder helps pass the time.

Gastric bypass surgery. Some need it. Some don't. Some who get it annoy me when they gloat about how much weight they have lost and have great they are. Eh. They didn't do anything but pay a bunch of money and lay on a table. In all of my life I have only known one person with a thyroid issue. This lady exercises and eats better than I ever will, but is still large due to a thyroid issue. Beyond her I know quite a few people who struggle with their weight and do fine when they do the old fashioned diet and exercise.

My dad is the opposite of me when it comes to technology. For years he had a crappy Compaq computer. Four years ago I built him a new computer and brought it down to him. Last year I built another computer and mailed it down to him. He goes online just for email and a few other things. He has never purchased anything online (to my knowledge).

Earlier this week he was having a problem finding this certain Christmas gift for Kelli. It wasn't in the local store. He called me to see if I could find it online and then he would give me his information to buy it. The next day he ended up finding it at a store and will ship it too us. The item is available online...with free shipping. Eh. Different generations.

On the same idea.....a certain lady who gave birth to my wife (I don't want to use names to keep her identity private), has a fancy new touchscreen phone with a full keyboard, data plan and more. I was taken back yesterday when I found out she doesn't have email on the phone. That's like having a Ferrari to deliver pizza in. Sure it does the job....but take that bad boy out on the track!

Trying to sell my old radio on craigs list. I paid over $1100 for all of it last year. I am asking just $400. People on Craigslist are so fickle. No matter what I list people ask "will you take $250?" or "how about $300". I had a gentleman yesterday really tick me off.

He lives in California. Emailed to ask if I will ship it and that he will pay via paypal. I pondered it and agreed. I simply added $12 shipping and $12.09 to cover my paypal fees. He balked and said $400 max. WTF?!?!?!

I love my Zune HD. Kelli is getting to know hers.

Plug in Prius coming fall 2011. I turn my car in March 2011. Hmm what to do?

Making the dogs disappear

I installed the new thermostat yesterday. Very straightforward physical installation. The programming is a little tricky as given evidence by the dogs all disappearing this morning.

I had the temp set at 70 until 10:30PM at which point it was to drop to 65 degrees. At 5AM it was to rise back to 70 degrees. Well I screwed up a bit. The temp was set at 62 degrees....the house dropped and 65 degrees. Temp outside was 29 degrees. This does show the house is pretty insulated that it can hold 65 degrees on it's own against 29 degrees outside!

When Kelli woke up at 5AM to let the dogs out, they were all burrowed under their blankets...not wanting to come out. Before she left for work they went back to bed. When I came out it appeared there were no dogs visible. Normally they can't wait to get out. I opened all of their movement. Eventually Vegas the tard came out like he normally does. For all I know Doogie and Lilo are in a movement at all.

I love coffee.

Tomorrow I go back to work for 5 two...on 5 more days. Hmmm I guess that's how "normal" people do it. Bleh.

I non-rev'd my best friend of 16 years (damn I'm old) to Houston yesterday. Still have 20 passes to burn before the end of the year!

The vacation policy at my job kinda blows. I have to bid on vacation a WEEK at a time. Now I rarely work more than 4 to 5 days in a row. I legally can't work more than 6 days in a row.

For January I bid and was awarded January 23rd thru January 29th. I am pretty sure my work days for next month for that time period will only include January 24th-January 27th. I will only get paid for January 24th thru January 27th. So January 23rd, January 28th and January 29th are "wasted" as I would have had the day off anyway. Really chaps my hide. At other jobs if you take a week of get paid for all of those days. Boo.

I love Kelli is an Amazon lover as well. I was able to share my Prime membership with her. We can now both order anything we want and get it in two shipping...NO MINIMUM order! If we want it the next day its $4. This works great for sending stuff to family and friends as whatever we order gets there fast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas came early

Network repair was literally an all day affair.

It all started with two needs:

1)One of the network jacks in the master bedroom wasn't working

2)I wanted my new router to control Internet access fully

That's it....not a lot to ask for.

I started around 8AM. By 9:45AM I was ready to start drinking and smoking. Everything was down.

Over the course of the day I had internet access....but no TV. Then I had TV but then no HDTV. By the time Kelli got home from work at 3:45PM I had TV...HDTV....most of the Internet....and still a network jack to fix.

Finally around 5PM I had the network jack fixed but the new router was pulled out of the loop. Done.

I released my stress with an hour on the treadmill.

Part of my network extravaganza was spent installing and setting up Tversity. With TVersity I can watch videos from Hulu and other web sources on our TV directly or thru the Xbox 360.

Hulu has a ton of content. The problem is, it's not convenient to watch on a laptop at home. Still playing with it. If I can get the quality a smidge higher I could convince Kelli to dump the premium cable channels.

Kelli and I exchanged Christmas gifts. Don't judge.

She bought me the wonderful Sleepphones as first seen by me by Leo Laporte on Twit. They are awesome. Very comfortable to sleep with. I sleep better and longer than before. As an added plus I can pull the band down and user them to block light as well. Very happy.

I also got a Uflymike setup for flying. This allows me to use either my Bose QC2 or QC15 headphones in the cockpit.....legally. Very nice and very excited to try them out later this week.

For Kelli I bought her a Zune HD 32 gig (mostly so I could get my 8 gig Zune back) and a special edition AC/DC CD and DVD collection. There are a few more small gifts coming as well.

New thermostat is coming today. Hopefully I won't kill the heater installing it. I installed on in our old apartment just fine.

I'm very excited about the Google phone coming out. Even more anxious that it will be compatible with the T-Mobile 3G network.

My Macbook pro battery is going out. Not happy. My original battery went out 11 1/2 months after I bought my computer. I had it replaced under warranty in April. Now 8 months later it holds less than 80% charge. Grrrrr. I'm going to just deal with it. I don't use it unplugged much....just on the treadmill and at the airport every now and then. Hopefully by April I can save up enough to buy the next generation Macbook Pro. At that point this one will be two years old.

Finally...this family has a member who used to work in special effects for Dreamworks (I think). They set up their Christmas lights to sync up to music....not just any music...but Guitar Hero. The garage door has a sync'd and PLAYABLE Guitar Hero screen. Amazing. The kid wears glasses because they lights are so bright.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Fixing the network

Long day yesterday. Eleven hour work day. Flew to Norfolk, VA and back...7 hours out and back. The landing in Norfolk was very bumpy and windy. One of the top 3 most stressful landings ever.

Track lighting is up. Will make my mother in law happy as the living room won't be so dark.

2009-12-12 14.25.21

Booking the cruise tomorrow.

My home network cabling is a mess. Used to be color coded and organized. No longer. Going to take the whole thing down today and redo it.

2009-12-14 08.33.53

Went to Kelli's Christmas party for her work. I had to work the next day so I couldn't drink. It was at the nicest place I have been too since she moved here. I think we've been to 7 parties. Eh.

When I sell my old car stereo I am going to possibly buy a audio package for the man cave. Need better sound. Would also like to paint the walls black. Kelli might object though.

Off to break the network.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thermostat going out

Out thermostat is going out. House is almost 5 years old. Eh. Time to buy a new one.

Me being me wanted a super cool internet connected thermostat. I found one!

The ecobee is a wifi enabled thermostat. It is designed to be controlled through a computer. It was a fancy full color touchscreen and more. Then I saw the price....$499. Yeah about that.

Looking at something in the $50-$75 range. Found a few on Amazon.

Gonna go look at track lighting today. We have two chandiliers that are totally out of place in our house. I want to remove them. Actually there are 3 total chandeliers. The one by the front door will stay.

Haven't booked the cabins for the cruise yet. Waiting on my sister in law to get approval for the vacation. She should have the word on Monday Tuesday. I thought I had the most difficult scheduling system....nope....Jami has it worse.

I really enjoy my job. As of November I have flown more than 1500 hours. Of that over 1000 of those hours are in the Canadair Regional Jet. I am pretty sure I have more time in the cockpit than I do behind the wheel of my Mazda 5.

Speaking of my Mazda5....I still like it. If we had a bunch of offspring around it would be a great vehicle. Since we are only having one offspring. It is a bit much. Think a Suburban would make more sense. Ha!

During the LA Auto Show I was feeling Kelli out for the next family truckster. She still hates the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Surprisingly she liked the Mini Cooper Clubman (extended Mini Cooper). The Ford Mustang got no emotion from her. Still have 14 months to decide. The most sense would be to take Kelli's Prius and have her get a new car. Problem is she doesn't want a new car until there is some super smug electric car on the market.  The Nissan Leaf comes to mind.

Haven't posted a photo in a while.

waiting for my friend2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Only took 7 1/2 years

Kelli prepared a meal last night that was worthy of a Texan. She prepared a brisket in her slow cooker that had the most kick (spice) of anything she has prepared/cooked before.

I don't blame her for the bland foods she has made in the past. Growing up in the north freezes people taste buds and causes them too lose taste. This causes them to accept bland foods as great because they don't know any better.

The brisket meal she prepared was very good. Wonderful flavor and spice.

Heater went down when we got back. I tried basic troubleshooting. Nothing. Repairman came. Apparently the thermostat on the wall was bumped just enough for the heater contact to not make contact. Fifty dollars later we are all fixed.

My Xbox 360 games look better on our 42 inch 720P Plasma than our 52 inch 1080P 120Hz LCD. I can only imagine it's the 600Hz refresh rate of the Plasma vs the 120Hz refresh rate of the LCD.

My geek buddy made it back from Portland just fine last night. She and her boy kid had a row to themselves. Checked two bags (smart woman) which normally would have cost $50 (each way!) but was free using my buddy passes. Thus the the baggage fees saved almost paid for the travel cost using my passes.

Christmas. Kelli and I are getting each other gifts. We already know what we are getting. Might not wait till Christmas.

Major meltdown for the network yesterday. Not sure what happened. Still not back up and running 100%.

One day soon I'm going to add up all the miles Kelli and I have flown over the last two years. I know how much we have spent....just over $3K in two years. That's a lot of travel for people buying real tickets. That's a hellofalotta tickets for us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

LA weekend

Trip to Los Angeles was nice. Google Navigation preformed flawlessly. I think I will name the offspring Google as Google is such a part of our lives.

The hotel free. It tried to be nice...but the chair in the room was clearly well worn. It was free though. We love Starwood Preferred Guest.

Throughout my travels as part of my job I have learned being nice and talkative can get you more than you a good way. When I approached the Hertz counter the lady greeted me by saying the normal, "Good Morning, How are you doing?" I almost always reply with, "great and you?" Waiters do the same routine...I try to ask as well. Just being courteous.

We then began chit chatting about weather and what not. When I handed over my license we talked about the crazy big smile I wore. After literally a few minutes (we were the only ones there), we began talking about cars.

I had reserved a mid-size for $26 all in. I had a great employee discount and a coupon. The only mid-size was a Toyota Corolla. I really wanted a Ford (for the Ford SYNC system). No Fords. She did offer a Lincoln Navigator for $10 more a day. Nah. We went through several more cars. Kelli was getting a little annoyed. Again just chit chatting. She finally came upon a brand new Toyota Camry Hyrbid. I asked how much and she said"....oh $8." I agreed. She then began going through my rate and discounts. Somehow my $20 off coupon DOUBLED and my total rate for a full size hybrid....ALL IN....was $20....Somehow I was paying less...for a lot more. I can only assume it was because of all the chit chat. Nice.

I do enjoy driving hybrids. I get way more involved than Kelli (who has a Prius) or my mother in law (who has a Camry Hybrid). Getting top MPG is a challenge too me. I had 40.4 MPG on the way to the convention center. Due to crazy LA traffic (we hit a lot of it!) it dropped to 38.6 MPG when I turned the car in.

The auto show was very nice. Very spread out. Afterwards we walked down to LA Live which is an entertainment/social complex with restaurants, clubs and what not. After finding Traders Vicks closed we headed to The Yard House.

We each enjoyed a beer. I had a Strong Arrogant Bastard...Kelli had something like a Blue Moon. We both had crazy high calorie meals. Kelli a turkey a seafood pasta. That's all we ate.

After visiting the auto show one more time (we missed....I missed a section), we left and headed to the hotel and then off to explore Hollywood.

We were going to see a movie but the tickets...even for a matinee...were $13 a piece! More than triple what we pay in Texas!

Instead we drove down Sunset Blvd and gawked. I attempted to drive up to the Hollywood sign, but the roads were ridiculously steep, curved and narrow. This was along a street with non-stop townhouses! I chickened out.

We cruises Hollywood Boulevard for a bit before heading back to the hotel. On the way back I began searching for a Pinkberry. There is allegedly one on Hollywood Boulevard (there are a TON of Pinkberry LIKE places). Never found it.

Close to the hotel we drove by where a Pinkberry MIGHT have been (again using Google Navigation). Less than a mile away we finally found one.

I love yogurt. Kelli not so much. We both had plain yogurt. Kelli topped hers with just peppermint. I topped mine with mango, kiwi, strawberry andmochi. In Kelli's defense...the yogurt is not very sweet. Not supposed to be really. Kelli does have ice cream in her blood. Her father and ALL of her siblings go nuts over ice cream. Word is there are ice cream parlors up in Oregon that Richmonds have been banned from. Just sayin.

Monday morning we headed to the La Brae Tarpits .I voted for Disneyland. Tar pits are cheaper. The weather Sunday was beautiful. Monday was cold and very rainy. The tar pits were.....well they were. We were both a bit underwhelmed. Afterwards we headed back to walk Hollywood Boulevard.

We just happened to walk upon Robert Downey Jr's ceremony for placing his hands and footprints into cement in front of the Chinese theatre. We stood in the rain and listened as the ceremony was blocked by all the TV cameras setup on risers. There was a clear canopy over the ceremony that allowed us to see....the cameras.

[singlepic id=1595 w=640 h=480 float=center]

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After the ceremony Robert Downey Jr did walk across the street and sign autographs and thank the fans. Very nice.

After walking down Hollywood Boulevard we stopped by a In-N-Out burger (again that was our meal for the day) before heading back to Santa Ana.

One VERY annoying thing about Orange County...very few gas stations!

We used Google Navigation and found a Shell gas station.....all the pumps were blocked off. The next Chevron wouldn't approve my card. The Mobil across the street had the pumps blocked off. Finally another station 2 miles away worked. Booo.

The flight back was nearly as empty as the flight there. Nice weekend.

I found a travel agent that can book any number of cruise cabins under my travel industry discount. Nice. Just waiting on my sister in law to get the final word that she has the time off.

For many of the photos from the weekend [nggallery id=36].

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Google Navigation.....I love it

Navigation. Ten years ago most people used paper maps. Five years ago many people used portable navigation systems.....some still used paper. they still sell paper maps?

Google recently released Google Navigation for the Android operating system. This is what Kelli and I have on our phones.


This weekend we flew to Los Angeles (Santa Ana....but eh). This was the acid test for Google Navigation. It passed flawlessly.

We already use Google for searching for things nearby. Now it's even easier. Example. While walking to the rental car I spoke into my phone "Los Angeles Convention Center". The phone recognized what I said and searched for it. I then clicked on the address and clicked navigate. Done.

The phone screen turned into a turn by turn navigation system with text to speech. No "left turn ahead". Instead it said , " Turn left on Santa Monica Boulevard". Every street name was pronounced.

In addition there was traffic overlay, meaning it showed where the traffic slow downs were. It gives live traffic data not only from the local traffic authority but by also using how fast OTHER phones in the area are moving. Nice.

The only negative is the power consumption. Wow. I brought along a cigarette USB power adapter. It charged the entire time and never topped off.

Beyond that I have no problems at all.

Getting to hotel was a snap. I opened the email of the reservation. The address was in simple text format...not a link. I put my thumb on the address and held....a box popped up and I selected 'Map'. It then opened Google Maps. I then clicked on the location and clicked navigate. I love Google Navigation.

Lots of perks. Free upgrades...always up too date....

I now have one less gadget to carry along.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My first buddy pass!

So I have had buddy passes since the end of October. Last night I had my first taker.

Kerry of , wanted to fly to Portland. Ironic don't ya think? I told her in the past that getting to Portland can be hard. The non revenue gods were watching her as the last flight out last night was barely half full. She didn't decide on going until 6:45PM. The flight left at 9:10PM!

No biggie. I had her listed and ticketed (for non-rev anyway) within a minute. People who use my buddy passes get a few perks. They pay the same price for first or coach and can check two bags per person for free!

After I checked her in I emailed her boarding documents to get through security. She then was off to the airport. I thought she might need a little help...but she got out just fine (like Kelli, Kerry also holds a Masters degree...damn smart women!). She checked her bag curbside and breezed through security.

She would have had First class EASY except for the fact that she was traveling with her offspring. Since the flight was so empty she did get her own row.

I have 22 more one way passes to use before December 31st.....any takers?


I don't like cold. I hate it actually. I need more long underwear...and soon.

Kelli is in Los Angeles. I am in Euless. Haven't flown the last two days I worked. Today I have airport standby and tomorrow I have reserve. I am sure I will fly somewhere tonight. Always works out that way. If I don't fly, then tomorrow I am on a 2 hour call out...which 90% of the time equates to a day off since I am off on Sunday.

Thinking about getting a Roku box.....or a Dell Zinio. Would like more streaming TV options. Windows Media Center can do somethings, but Roku does more...faster....and easier.

Sliding back down the scale again. Pretty sure I can stick with this diet....for a while.

Really love my Zune HD.

No idea what I am getting Kelli for Christmas.

I've been radiated by computers for almost 21 years. I got my first computer type device (A US Vidotel terminal) when I was 11 years old. My first real computer came along for Christmas when I was 13 years old. I never used Windows on my own computer (Windows 95 by then) until I was 18. Prior to Windows 95 I did everything by the command line.

Gave up on Linux today. I had Ubuntu running on the computer next to the bedroom for a few months. I got tired of having issues with java websites. Tried to install java, got an error. Tried many more times. Never worked. Windows 7 it is. Too bad...Ubuntu booted fast and worked great....except for java.

Looking forward to the Los Angeles auto show Sunday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The First Snow is Here

2009-12-02 08.05.57

The first snow of the year is here. There will be a ton of car accidents today. Texans freak out when it rains. They go clinically nuts when it snows. Many will assume any SUV can go 80 MPH on the highway because it's a SUV. They can also take corners at full speed....because it's a SUV. God Bless Texas. No really God Bless Texas.

Flew to Little Rock, Arkansas and back yesterday on overtime. The Captain walked on board and said, "isn't this great overtime, $300 for a quick 2 1/2 hours." I replied...."$300 for you, $100 for me." Okay so it's $108 for me. Eh. One day I will make "big money". Enough that I can pickup a simple 4 hours and earn enough for a car payment/TV/bad ass toy for the offspring.

I kind want a Nook instead of a Kindle. The Nook however is being severely delayed. Hmmm.

I sleep with headphones on EVERY night at home. Not comfy. I found Sleep Phones. Either getting them for Christmas for for myself. Heard a review of them yesterday from Leo Laporte (part of my TWIT podcast). He loved them. Sold.

Kelli is going to be a road warrior...kinda. She's flying to Burbank, CA tomorrow to testify. She then flies back Friday evening. Sunday we fly to Santa Ana, CA.

Almost done putting my car stereo back together.

Liking my new diet program. Able to eat low salt and low calories. Right now I am eating 28 Weight Watchers points a day. Not hungry and it's easy to use.

Off to find long underwear on Amazon. I bought my current sets in Chicago 2 years ago. Hard to find around DFW.