Thursday, April 29, 2010

Back in '03

I'm somewhat looking forward to next month. I won't be forced into working 6AM-2PM everyday. I've been tired and cranky all month with this schedule.

Mother in law coming next week with an open ended ticket. Swear I just saw her.

Seems every month some drop side baby crib is being recalled. I'm going to use an old car tire and pillow for the fooderator.

Netbook is back in order. I'm glad I bought a "business" netbook versus a consumer netbook. The difference? I got next day shipping for my replacement hard drive. I called HP support Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning a new hard drive was dropped off. The reason I bought this model was it has an metal casing which protects the screen better than plastic as well a 7200 RPM hard drive.

Pondering a Macbook Pro 13 inch model as my next computer. Lots of pondering left too do.

Got bored yesterday. If I want to buy my Mazda5 next March I can do so for $12,337.

I miss playing Flight Simulator. One day I will build up a basic rig again.

Stumbled upon Kellis' blog from back in 2003 by using the Internet Archive. Pretty interesting looking back on when she bought her FIRST dog and traded in her Corolla for a SUV. Good stuff. Her archived site is here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Glad I backed up

Nice long weekend in New York. I realized I only want one kid. My nieces are great...but three No thanks.

My brother and sister in law work long hours...longer than me. Think my brother in law takes the cake with 17 hour long shifts. The most I can do is 16 hours...which I've done, but it's not the norm. My brother in law got screwed into a long shift because he arrested a guy and had to do the whole take them to jail and court thing. His being able to function on so little sleep is amazing. All that and he is thinking of getting a part time job?!?!??!?! Holy grey hairs Batman! Would make much more sense for his wife to get a part time job. He has a lot on his plate....and needs to let someone else eat a little.

Took Kelli, my mother in law Peggy, sister in law Jami and her girlfriend Kelly to the Engadget Show while in New York. Told them it's geeky/techy. They actually enjoyed it! The video is posted here

On the way back I was nice and comfy in the exact same First Class seat I had on the way there when my netbook froze and displayed a Blue Screen Of Death. It had been acting a little funny over the weekend. Hard drive is now dead. A looong call to HP Support and they are shipping me a new hard drive. Glad I backed it all up on my Windows Home Server. On the next trip to Oregon I need to get a backup system going for my mother in law and brother in law. Same for trips to Sacramento for my sister in law. Should have done it for my brother in law while in New York. With all of them storing photos on their hard drives....they need a backup. Once I get the new hard drive in my netbook I can use the Windows Home Server to be up and running in under 30 minutes as it can restore the entire had drive.

Still wanting the Venza. Going to do my best too wait.

My label maker saved the day again. Kelli left her Kindle DX on the plane in her seat. We were sitting right up front. Thankfully none of the exiting passengers noticed it and grabbed it. Some how the cleaning crew didn't find it nor did the previous or next flight attendants. The plane sat for 3 hours. The next passenger found it, pulled it out and saw Kellis' name and number on the back and called it. Only then did Kelli remember she forgot it. We rushed back to the airport. Thankfully I can get thru security without a ticket and we live close. If we lived further away or were "normal" people it could have been dicey. When things are left on planes its turned over to the flight attendant, who gives it to a gate agent who gives it to an airport volunteer (who are old people and honest for the most part!) OR one of the wheelchair pushers (who have a VERY high turn over rate and as a group not trustworthy) to bring to a small office in Terminal B. From there they attempt to locate the owner. With a name and number odds are high. The hardest part is getting the item to that office. I love my label maker!

No Ipad for me. Played with it again while in New York. Just an expensive toy. I think I'm going to wait and buy a new Macbook Pro instead.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Screw rational thought

Screw rational thought. At least that's what my thought process is now.

I've spent much of our time in New York thinking about cars. As much as I am content with my Mazda5.....I'm not happy with it. So I began mentally going through what I want in a car that I could seriously keep for 7 years.

Style, power, gas mileage and roominess.

The previous GMC Terrain that was on my short list was taken off.....too small a cargo area.

Now it's the Toyota Venza or Toyota Prius. The Venza is a crossover SUVish wagon vehicle. It's based off the Toyota Highlander. A loaded Venza with a very powerful V6, leather, 20 in wheels (standard on V6 models)  and panoramic sunroofs (plural!!!) can be had for around $30K....which is my absolute hard limit for a car.

I've seen a few Venzas on the roads here.....very stylish....semi SUV looking and even with a V6 averages 23MPG...which is my low point. I won't buy a car with anything lower than 23MPG average. A 4-cylinder Venza gets better gas mileage...might be enough power. All Wheel Drive isn't terribly expensive, but I could live without it.

If I totally hate the Venza (not likely as I've been reading about it for 4 days) then I will likely head to a Prius. The new one's are smaller than our 2004 model. We're only having one kid and likely won't be driving more than 2 hours at a time, but having extra space for bulky objects is nice.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hope we have it as easy

Hanging out in Tomkins Cove, New York. My newest niece, Rene, is amazingly pleasant to be around. She is just 6 months old but sleeps through the night without a fuss. Never cries. Well not never. She was quiet the first 2 days...literally not a single wimper. On day 3 while stuck in New York traffic she went ballastic. Crying like she was dying.  This was only after spending all day in Central Park. Since then she has been absolutely quiet. I hope we are so lucky.

My brother in law lives in a pretty small town in New York, yet has better Internet than I have. He has Verizon Fios is 20Mbps up AND down! I only have 20Mbps down and 2Mbps up. Ugh. I have run out of stuff to download.

Our Nexus One phones are proving very helpful. Well not so much the phones as much the Android software. The Google Navigation brought us from the Newark Airport to Tomkins Cove without paying a toll or getting stuck in bad traffic. All automatic....and free. Every time my brother in law brought us from the airport to his house we always paid a bunch of tolls.

My other nieces Haley, age almost 3, and Gianna, 4, are having a good time. Haley is just as tall as Gianna.....I think she's on roids.

Walked thru Central's huge. We parked on the wrong side from where we wanted to be. Almost two miles of walking later we reached the carosel. The kids had fun. We then walked another mile to a very quaint pizza place. Just one table, enough for the 9 of us. The owner didn't seem too enthused about putting pepperoni on his pizzas...but he did. All of the pizzas he had ready were uber fancy.

Today we are heading back into the city. Hoping to hit the Engadget show tonight at 6PM....that's if the others can last that long.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Long day

Yesterday was a long day.  I was assigned just one flight from Bentonville, Arkansas to Dallas. Being my last leg I wanted to fly fast....and I did. Also being my last leg I didn't care too much about how nice the landing was....just get'r done. Lucky for the passengers the landing was nice. After parking the plane at 9:15AM, I hopped in the awaiting Prius and was sped away at 9:30AM.

Walked in the front door at 9:50AM and began unpacking and then repacking my bag for the trip to New York. At 10:05AM we were headed back to the airport.

Parked my car in the employee lot and we were on the employee bus at 10:35AM.

The security line was somewhat long. Because I was not on duty I had to go through regular security. I stayed in uniform so I could bring all my liquids through.

Once clear of security I changed into "normal clothes". I had not eaten all morning....bought a fajita taco and coffee. We boarded the plane at 11:15 AM and took our seats in First.

Lunch was a Salmon salad for me and Chicken Parmesan for Kelli. A few cocktails later and we landed in Newark.

We rented a car for the first time ever in New York. A minivan from National. While at the counter  I saw a Suburban out back. I asked how much more it would be. The agent said, "oh it shouldn't be much more."

Our minivan was $300 for 5 day all in. The Suburban would have been $540. Not much more my ass.

After mounting the Nexus One car dock I set up the phone for GPS and to be a wifi hotspot for my netbook. Away we went.

Should be fun. My sister in law Jami, her girlfriend Kelly and my niece Haley flew in from New York.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rational thought

The older I get....the more rational I get. Which really sucks because I am capable of some seriously irrational thoughts.

The new car bug is all over me....but the rational part of me is killing the bug. There is nothing really wrong with my Mazda5. The stock tires are crappy....some chips in the paint on the hood....that's about it. The car gets 27MPG consistently, cheap to insure, can hold an IKEA run, and is somewhat stylish.

Right now I can get a lease buyout loan and have the Mazda paid off in 3 years. That would be equivalent to a 5 year auto loan. Bank of America has a lease buyout loan for 5.49%....which is low for lease buyouts. Alternatively I could buy a new car with 0 percent interest next year and have it paid off at worst in 2016. Hmm 2013 or 2016. Rational thought says 2013. Gonna sleep on the idea. Would be nice to not have a car payment. Kelli hasn't had a car payment in over 2 years. Hmmm...rational thought sucks.

Oh what too do

About 11 months left on my lease. Of course I've already started the replacement process in my head.

GMC Terrain, Prius, Toyota Highlander or keep the Mazda5.

The Bridges scored a hell of a deal on a Honda Pilot. They got a 2009 Touring model with only 6000 miles for a steal. This got me thinking into maybe a slightly used car. They are hard to find. Maybe.

Priorities are style, hatchback, MPG and MPG. Time will tell. Got lots of it.

Stopped by the dealer yesterday to get the Prius fixed. Three hours later it was "fixed". Drove 6 miles home. Hours later I drove 3 miles and the check engine light tripped back on. The car is back at the dealer.

They gave us a free rental car from Enterprise. Enterprise has the crappiest cars. They had to give us a Toyota. We got a smoked out Toyota RAV4 that has body damage and a stained passenger seat. WTF?!?!? Hopefully it will be fixed today.

While at the dealer I walked around a 2010 Prius. Salesman came out. I asked a few questions. Once again I knew more than a salesman. I would love to be a car salesman. No one would ever top me.

The negatives of a new Prius are:

Back seat has less legroom (so a baby seat would fit tighter)

Cargo area is smaller (less room for crap)

That's about it. I will likely do what I did with my last lease and see if I can trade it in early and "make money". I traded in my Acura 4 months early and even with the early termination fee, came out $1000 or so ahead. Seeing as the Mazda5 has less than 17K miles on it now, by the end of the year it will likely have around 21K miles...not bad for a 2 1/2 year old car.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Screw the kid

Taxes are done. I love OMFGAKAC (OMFG + Kick A Cat!). The site is made for flight crews (i.e. Easy!). After reading the basic directions and following the step by step guide for Tax Cut...our refund amount changed for the better. I wish I would have used this last year, we would have gotten back a lot more. I know I could refile. Eh.

Kelli would have none of this "save the money for the baby" stuff. She wants that money spent and fast. She wants to use the money to pay off our ZERO percent interest TV. Hmm....I will follow orders...she wears the pants...and I iron them.

Seems we have no idea where we stored our taxes from last year. We have 2007 and 2008. Thankfully H&R Block allowed me to download them for free. I am going to store them on the homeserver as well as in long as Kelli doesn't delete it. I did the same for the 2009 taxes.

The flights to New York look like a go. We have cars rented at both Newark and La Guardia as we don't know which we will be flying in to. This will be the first time for us to ever drive in New York.....yeah about that. Should be interesting.

As of now I work on the 21st until 2PM. We are going to hop on a 4PMish flight, arriving around 9PM. Not sure when we are flying back yet.

I've been using the Mac side of my Macbook Pro more lately. Sure wish there were more games for Mac. I' been playing MLB2K10 a lot on the Windows side. I know Steam is coming to Mac. Eh.

Sitting at the Toyota dealer. They are insisting on doing the "unintended acceleration pedal fix". Whatever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Almost done with the taxes

In my 17 years of filing taxes (17 years?!?!?! I'm Fing OLD!), I have never waited this long to file. Never. The reason? Mostly dealing with deductions associated with traveling for a living.

Getting back just enough to buy an IPad. Kelli said that it's fine to use it for an IPad which shocked me. Of course now I don't want one as much. Eh. My other idea is establishing a fund for the baby (First time I used that term in referring to what is growing in Kelli's uterus was last sister in law Jessi noticed).

We have an ING account for "house stuff". We each put $20 a month into it. Not a lot, but there's a little more than $600 in there now. The money is too be used for house repairs and such. The baby account would be along the same ideas. Whenever the baby needs a new fence or duct work...yeah.

The new Macbook Pro's are out. Sexy and fast. Not buying one now. Maybe in August when we go to Oregon. Tax free + my employee discount is major savings!

Every  new Toyota....EVERY  NEW TOYOTA, that's sold in Texas comes from Gulf States Toyota. No matter which dealer, it's one distributor....Gulf States Toyota.

Gulf States Toyota is evil for the most part. They are notorious for slapping on dealer add-on's to nearly every car they bring in to Texas. All the Prius models I looked at had one of the following "Owner Rewards Packages"

The $600 "package" includes:

Rear Bumper Protector

Floor Mats

Trunk Mat

Wheel Locks

Premium Carpet Mat Set (Another one?!?!?!?)

Door Sill Enhancements

The $1800 "package" includes the above plus:

Leather seats

Now all that crap in the $600 package can be purchased separately online for under $240. Gulf States window stickers are very tricky. They make their own and at first glance it looks like all the "Owners Reward Package" stuff is from Toyota....not Gulf States. Ugh.

So how do I get around this? Don't buy from Gulf States Toyota. In order to not buy from them I have to travel outside of the states they control: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

It's not uncommon to fly to a different state and buy a car. Some dealers specialize in it. Seeing as we get cheap's doable. The Bridges are looking for a new car right now. They could do the same thing!

Where did this rant come from? Well I was browsing cars yesterday and stopped by I found out the Prius model IV has everything I want. Leather seats, bluetooth, nice stereo, all the safety features for just $26K. However all the cars around are loaded up with Gulf States Crap.

Kelli and I talked a bit about our vehicle needs. We don't need anything big. Very doubtful we will be driving anywhere further than Wylie. The Mazda5 that I have now is a bit of overkill. Gets good gas mileage though....and can make Ikea runs. The Bridges keep bad talking my FJ Cruiser desire....damn people with kids speaking the truth. Bleh! Keep the Mazda5, Prius, GMC Terrain (4 cylinder) or maybe a 4-Cylinder Toyota Highlander.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tablet! Tablet! Tablet!

No secret I like toys. He who dies with the most toys wins. Kelli doesn't like this game. I have appeased her by reducing my computers in use from 15 to around 6 on any given day.

I travel...comes with the job. I'm sure you've seen the large bags and luggage flights crews lug through airports. We live out of these bags for up to 4 days at a time in my case. Space is at a premium.

Right now as far as gadgets/toys I carry a laptop/netbook (Macbook Pro or HP 5101 depending on how long I'll be gone), Zune HD and my Nexus One Cellphone. Not a lot. But when I have my Macbook Pro I have a hard time bringing my lunch bag as the Macbook Pro takes up a lot of space. My netbook is fine for the most part and I could likely not get a tablet, but golly darn it's so Star Trek future like.

Which tablet to get. All the eyes are on the Apple Ipad. It's nice....I like it, but I'm going to try and wait for the Google Android Tablet on the way. I've been using Android from the first day it was available when the T-Mobile G1 was released. I used Google Gmail, Google Calendar (makes it super easy for Kelli and I to share events/things too do) and Google Navigation. I also recently signed up for Google Adsense to get a couple of bucks by placing ad's on my pilot blog. But when's it coming out? eh.

A tablet would be great as it would be slimmer than a netbook. It would fit in coach just fine....and it would up my geek cred. Just sayin.

I'm currently hanging out at Don Davis Toyota. Kellis Prius had a check engine light yesterday morning. I brought up the idea of swapping cars since I would likely get off early in the morning. Which I did. The swap didn't go as smoothly as I thought.

We swapped cars north of the airport yesterday. The swap went fine...but I forgot my parking pass. Currently I don't have the bluetooth in each of our cars registered to both phones. I tried calling Kelli (she left before I did), but she didn't hear her phone. I take responsibility as I handle the tech in the house. I'm going to register both phones to both cars. Problem should be long as we have bluetooth turned on.

Need to get on the ball with a backyard camera.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Just another boring Monday

Worked a lot lately. Worked the first 6 days in a row this month. Off one day. Worked Friday. Went to Houston Saturday morning. Dinner with Eric, Angela and Marin Bridges Saturday evening. Back at work Sunday morning at 6AM. Work thru Thursday.

Kelli is very happy with her new phone so far. Better battery life, more snappy...and it's just hip. Did have a slight issue with it yesterday. Hope it's solved.

New Macbook Pro's are supposed to be out tomorrow. Likely not getting one. Still burning desire for a tablet computer.

I gave up a lot of salt months ago. Gave up sugar/high fructose corn syrup and the like two weeks ago.

I go through headphones kids go through clothes. I never spend more than $20. Why? Because I lose or break them about every other month or so. It happens. is best for me. Decent/nice headphones for under $10 shipped. Nice.

I've had a decent linux box running for a while. It did what I wanted....basically download Torrents. With the death of my Time Capsule I wanted to turn it into a print server. After three days I gave up. Threw on Windows. Maybe next time Ubuntu.

Kelli is having a case of the Mondays. Her Zune decided to empty itself of everything this morning. I set it up to reload this morning. Then her phone wouldn't make any phone calls. Then her check engine light went on during the drive to work. Then her political views changed to wait...she's always been a Democrat.

Till next time...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I won't miss it anyway

Right now I am paying a set amount every month paying off our TV's. They are all from Best Buy on no interest plans. Kelli and I love free money. We've done SEVERAL no interest deals. The TV's will be paid off soon. I decided when they are done being paid off, the money will be deposited into an ING account for use for the offspring. There will surely be events that come up where we need money for something. Be it ballet lessons, computer programming classes, flight lessons (what I'm a Flight!) or whatever. By rerouting the money I will never miss it.

Kelli and I have been putting money into a house fund for a while. We are moving and figured it would be a good idea to save up money for a down payment for the next house. Kelli applied for a DNA job in Japan a few months ago. The thinking being I could easily get on with a Japanese airline as they are all hiring and pay $80K a year to start. She was called last night from the company stating the job was hers if she wanted it. She did. Starts June 14th. Moving late May.

I picked up some overtime for tomorrow. Headed to Columbia South Carolina and back. Never been. Something different. Flying with a Captain that also has a Nexus One.

We have rearranged the bedroom. Much more open. Mounted a LCD monitor on the wall on my side of the bed. The monitor is on a moveable arm so  it can be pushed out of the way.

Gas prices going up. Ugh.

Progressive is estimating Kelli and I will save about $180 a year by using Myrate. I'm going to stop by T-Mobile today or tomorrow as I think I can lower our phone bill by $10 a month while gaining more minutes with no contract extension. Here are my savings to date:

Progressive Car Insurance with Myrate vs our old Geico: $210 a year

OOma home phone service vs Vonage: $300 a year

Using Zune's instead of XM radio (previously had both!): $260 a year

Cancelling premium cable (we can watch the shows later via Netflix streaming): $180 a year

Playing an April Fools joke by saying we're going to Japan: $Priceless

T-Mobile new billing plan I plan on getting: $120 a year

All told a little over $1000 a year with barely a hit on quality of life.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Buy something nice for yourself

Kelli finally spent some money on herself. She's been saving money for a while. I think she's been dosing my coffee for a while to condition me to have an offspring. The amount that she's saved up is too size able to have been saved in the last year or so. Hmmm well I guess I first brought up the idea of increasing the intelligence of the gene pool back in May 2007 when I registered Hmmm. Bleh.

Kelli got a nice bonus at work yesterday. Previously she was going to buy me a Nexus One or Ipad for my birthday. I ended up spending my own birthday money on a Nexus One.

We stopped by the Apple Store and I test drove an I-Pad. In the scheme of Marble Slab....I liked it.....didn't love it....don't gotta have it. The biggest "Doh!" was it couldn't load up my company scheduling software as there is no full java support. Fail. Maybe I-pad 2.0.

Kelli is a saver. She wanted to save the money for Fluffy. Leaving the Apple Store I told Kelli she should spend her bonus money on something she really wanted. She wants to ride the new Harry Potter ride out in Florida. Preggo my eggo means she can't. So instead I convinced her to buy a new phone. It took some prodding but she finally ordered a Nexus One of her own. It should arrive Thursday.

I'm still very happy with my Nexus One. Snappy...runs all my apps. It's great. I am sure Kelli will be happy. Our former T-Mobile G1's were never super devices. They did things just fast enough to be useful. The Nexus One is light years ahead. Everything just works. Better than an I-Don't for sure.

For my birthday Kelli bought me something much more sensible and less expensive than an Ipad or Nexus One. She bought me a car dock for my Nexus One. Being sensible she didn't buy one for herself. Eh.

Monday, April 5, 2010

No pad yet

Here I sit for 2 hours in the Abilene Regional Airport. This part of the job sucks.

Wanted to try out the Ipad over the weekend. I had to work overnight Saturday. Sunday Kelli and I went to the Apple store in Southlake.....closed for Easter. Boo. Still not sure if I really want one. Don't need one.

Think we are close to a name. Thinkin' Natali....not a typo. Why? Well I like the name thanks to the witty, intelligent and nice on the eyes Natali Del Conte. She is a very popular tech reporter.... go here for more.

The plane  I fly will soon have a First Class section. Saw the very first plane today. New car smell. Pretty exciting.

My geeky buddy Kerry lent us a Doppler machine. Kelli can now listen to the heart beat whenever she wants...when she can find it that is.

Making progress in preparing for both my mother in law next month and Fluffy in August.

Today was a long day. Left the house at 5:15PM...might be back by 8PM. Was kinda fun...flew an empty airplane from Abilene to Dallas. Being empty means it acceleartes and climbs like a rocket...literally. Screw your 0-60 times. We went o-150MPH in under 12 seconds. I hand flew it from 1800 feet to 12000 there in under 3 minutes....better than a rollercoaster. My Captain flew the next empty plane back from Dallas to Abilene...we were even lighter...reached 17,000 feet in 4 minutes. Most of the time we climb at 2000 feet per minute with people on board. We easily doubled that.

Here I sit for 2 hours in the Abilene Regional Airport. This part of the job sucks.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Time to go Shotgun shopping

I already have a shovel. I need to read up on shotguns. With 42 now deemed female....I need a shotgun to ward off the boys.

During the ultrasound yesterday the tech scanned all around. I kept looking for "it". She didn't get to "it" until almost the end. Seeesh. She was positive it's a girl.

They allowed for us to bring in a DVD  for the session. It stated DVD. I thought it would be a video of the entire session plus photos. Nope...6 photos....less than 1MB. Are you kidding me? A DVD holds 4700 MB! A CD would have been fine....hell a USB key. Eh. Neat tech I guess.

Eventually there will be an Amazon Baby Registry. I started one (click here)...please don't buy anything on it...well the I-Mac I guess....ha!

Gonna do the taxes today.

Our homeowners insurance is down to $925 a year. New policy from State Farm written for people with newer homes. Nice savings.

Wingstreet "burnin hot" wing sauce is no Fing joke. It's really hot. Taste awesome...but really F'ing hot. A pleasurable pain for sure...but it's really F'ing hot.

Photos of my daughter (which is damn odd to type) is over at