Thursday, April 30, 2009

DC and Traffic

The DC area consistently ranks as one of the most highly congested areas for road traffic. There are certain parts of the highway system around here that no matter what time you hit those spots, you are bound to experience delays.

I was fortunate enough to avoid having to deal with Beltway traffic on a regular basis. I had a job for 21 years at a location that was only 10 minutes away from my home, and I never had to hit a highway. Unfortunately, that position was eliminated a few years ago.

My new position requires that I hit the Beltway every day. There are a couple spots on my commute where I can expect to hit delays. Most of the time, it isn't a problem because you account for those daily delays.

Most of the time, my commute takes me about an hour, whether I am heading to work in the morning or home in the evening. Sure, if it rains or snows, people around here forget how to drive and it takes a little longer.

Lately though, it seems inevitable, that when I have someplace I need to be, the traffic gods conspire against me. One Friday night when I needed to get to my part time job, my usual one hour commute took two hours. Earlier this week, I needed to meet my family to take my son to a doctor's appointment. I left the office at 3pm when traffic should be light, and sure enough there were multiple accidents on a clear spring day. I think the reason is that most of the people in this area are Democrats and clearly they are conspiring against me and my conservative values.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, April 27, 2009

Music Monday-Phil Collins "Through These Walls"

I was a big fan of Phil Collins when he was with Genesis and his first few solo efforts. This song was on his first solo album. It is a rather dark tune about a man obsessed with his neighbor. Obsessed to the point that he becomes rather voyeuristic, listening to their lovemaking though the wall and fantasizing that he is a part of their world. I rather like it. Especially this live version with props (ladies lingerie and a trenchcoat.) Enjoy

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reynolds Handi-Vac

I have a lot of pet peaves. For instance, the grocery store is often a source of aggravation for me. Nothing major mind you, just a few petty annoyances. One of my aggravations is not having enough check stands open for checking out. I don't mind using the self checkout, after all I earned my college tuition working in grocery stores, but it annoys me when I go to the self checkout and can not complete my transaction because of some previously unknown store policy. Some examples of transactions I was unable to do at self checkout are; purchase a gift card, purchase cough medicine, and use an in-store instant coupon on a package of meat.

Another thing that bothers me is when the stores put only larger packages of product on sale. My son eats a separate diet from Mrs. Dickster and myself, so when I buy meat products I only buy for the two of us. I do not need a 4-pound package of 10 pork chops when a 1-pound package of 3 or 4 will do. I don't expect the smaller package to be promoted at the same price as the larger packages, but some reduction in price would be nice. I have a large freezer in the basement, and I could freeze the extra pieces. However, sometimes we forget what we have down there and with conventional freezer bags you can ruin a good piece of meat from freezer burn.

Lately though, I have been thinking more and more about saving cash whenever possible. Sometimes those large deals are too good to pass up. My father in law has one of those expensive vacuum sealers for when he goes fishing, but those are a bit too big and too expensive for my budget. Several months ago, I saw the Reynolds Handi-Vac vacuum sealer. Today, when doing my weekly grocery shopping, my local grocer had it on sale for nearly half off. Normally a $10 purchase but today it was only $6 so I took the plunge. The timing was perfect because they also had a few really good big buy meat deals.

When I got home, I decided to see how well the Handi-Vac worked. I probably should have bought some gallon sized bags in addition to the quart sized bags I bought, but I was able to separate the meat into separate bags to test the product. The Handi-Vac has a small suction tip that you place over an air valve in the bag. It takes a few seconds for you to notice the air leaving the bag, but after about 30 seconds I had a nice vacuum sealed package to put down in the freezer. The best part is, this device is small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer and not take up a lot of counter space.

When I go out to do my grocery shopping, I try to keep my center of the plate purchases at about $5 per meal or less. You won't normally see me buying NY Strip Steaks at $8 or $9 per pound. Usually it is more like top round steak. Today, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of a big buys on sirloin steak, center cut pork chops, and boneless chicken breasts. All told, I purchase enough meat for 8 meals for a total of $27, or $3.38 per meal. All in all, a successful trip. Thanks to the Handi-Vac, I hope to take advantage of these big deals more often. These days, you gotta save where you can.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My New Blog

I have decided to start a second blog. The current blog that you are reading will continue to be my main vehicle in the blogging world. It covers a much wider range of subject matter than my new blog.

My new blog, Libertarian Dad, will be more focused on news and politics. I hope that you will visit it and leave some comments.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Black Socks & Shorts

I am of an age where I don't yet think of myself as old. I am also no longer under illusion that I am a young man. While I am not exactly an example of sartorial elegance, there are certain things that I never thought I would consider wearing. For instance, even when I was in the best shape of my life, I would have never considered wearing a speedo.

As a teenager, I remember watching the older men in the neighborhood mowing their lawns in their Bermuda shorts and black socks. My friends and I would laugh and joke about such fashion statements. We could not understand how anybody could be that "uncool" to dress that way.

Several years ago, I was playing second base on a church soft ball team. At the time, I was in pretty good shape. I lifted weights, played sports, and was a solid 200 pounds. During one game, I was attempting to turn a double play and was slid into by a fairly large guy.

It seemed like no big deal at the time, but the next day my knee was pretty sore, so I went to see the doctor. A week later, at a follow up, the doc had me go to the emergency room to get a venogram done. I spent the next ten days in the hospital with a blood clot in my leg. A few years later, I was hospitalized a second time with another blood clot.

So what does my health history have to do with wearing black socks with shorts? One of the things that my doctor suggested was that I should wear compression stockings to prevent further clotting episodes. I have always resisted doing so for two reasons; one is that I do not like constricting clothes and two is that they are rather expensive.

Recently, though, I have started having some problems with my legs. By the end of the day, my legs get very tired and swell a little bit. So over the weekend I bought a pair of compression dress socks to try. I wore then all day today, and they seemed to help with the swelling.

Now, I am thinking that I may have to wear them from now on. So far, I have only been able to find the socks in black (did I mention that they come up to the knees?) It is going to start getting warm soon, so I will have to make a decision. When I wear my shorts, do I wear my usual ankle high socks that do not provide the compression I apparently need, or do I wear the knee high, black socks that do? One thing for sure, I will never look at a man with black socks and shorts with the same mocking disdain I did before.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Music Monday-Santana "The Game of Love"

It occurred to me that most of my Music Monday posts had been older songs. This week I decided to be a little bit more contemporary. Carlos Santana featuring Michelle Branch with "The Game of Love."

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Love T-Shirts

I got my first job when I was 15 years old.  The thing about working is, with a few exceptions, your employer dictates what type of clothing you have to wear at work.  So for the past 33 years, I have had somebody telling me how to dress and how to look.  I have had jobs where I could not have any facial hair at all and jobs where I have had to wear a shirt and tie everyday.  Things have eased up some in recent years (I no longer have to wear a tie and nobody says I have to shave my goatee) but I still am restricted in what I can wear on the job.

So, from Monday through Friday, my wardrobe belongs to "The Man" (for lack of a better term) but on the weekends I get to dress how I want to dress.  Since I am a pretty casual and laid back type of guy, that usually consists of t-shirts and jeans.  One of my favorite t-shirts was a Seinfeld t-shirt that featured the Kramer painting pictured here.  That t-shirt wore out years ago, but I found it again at a website called Tees for All.

The thing I love about t-shirts is that you can find a t-shirt to express anything you want.  You can make a political statement or they can be outrageous and offensive.  Tees for all has an outstanding assortment of products available.  To be honest, I could use a little extra money because I always have a hard time deciding what to limit myself to.  I am thinking about going a little retro and picking out a Johnny Cash t-shirt.  Anyway, for comfort and individual expression, you just can't beat a t-shirt.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feeling Old

The first time that I ever felt "old" was the first time that I looked at a Playboy Centerfold and noticed that her data sheet showed that she was born after I graduated from high school.

Well tonight was another one of those "feel old" moments. Tonight was opening night of the 2009 season for my Bowie Baysox. My family was in attendance and fortunately the Baysox were victorious.

The great thing about minor league baseball (or at least as far as the Baysox are concerned) is that they give us free programs at each game. While looking through tonight's program, I noticed that nearly half of the players on the Baysox roster were born after I graduated from college.

Unfortunately those "feeling old" moments seem to occur with a lot more frequency these day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Am a Right Wing Extremist

At least according to Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security.  In a document released by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to law enforcement agencies warning of a rise in white power militias.  The document went on to define the "right wing extremists" as not just racist hate groups, but also individuals who "are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority" or "may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as abortion or immigration."

While I have no problem with the Department of Homeland Security warning law enforcement about the dangers of "hate groups," there are a lot of everyday Americans that fall under the rest of their definition of "right wing extremists."  Ironically (not) their definition would include any group or person that does not agree with the politics of the current administration.  Let me address how I fall into their definition.

First, I squarely would fall into the group that "reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority."  The tenth ammendment to the Bill of Rights states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohimbited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."  Though I would never personally own a gun, I fully support the Constitutional right for the people to keep and bear arms as promised by the second ammendment.  I guess people like myself, who honor and believe in our Constitution, would classify as "right wing extremists."

They also identify individuals that are dedicated to individual causes such as abortion or immigration as extremists.  Let's see, I think abortion is morally wrong and people should be held responsible for their actions.  Check.  Also, I firmly believe in securing our borders and stemming the tide of illegal immigration.  Check #2.  I guess since I also support the FairTax that would be another check in the extremist category for me.  I wish I could have participated in the Tea Parties that took place across the country today, because all of those that did participate would probably be considered an extremist.

So clearly, I must be a right wing extremist based on the Department of Homeland Security.  I guess I will need to keep an eye out for Big Brother keeping an eye on my activities.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Music Monday-Linda Ronstadt "You're No Good"

When I was in high school, this is one of the posters that I had hanging up in my room.  This one and the famous Farrah Fawcette poster that I think every guy in the 70's had.  Anyway, I had a major crush on Linda back in the day.  I mean, just look at that face.

Besides being a major babe, she was quite the versatile singer.  She was big in the California/Country Rock vein of the Eagles and Jackson Browne in the late 60's and 70's.  That was my personal favorite era for her.  She also changed her style with the times.  In the 80's she had a few hits with a more New Wave style and later won Grammy's in the 90's for Spanish language vocals.

Here she is with one of my favorites of hers from the 70's, "You're No Good" with an introduction from Jose Feliciano. 

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Day at the Track

Horse racing used to be a thriving enterprise here in Maryland. Thoroughbred racing used to take place 6-7 days per week and rotated between 3 different tracks. Now, there are only two active tracks, Laurel and Pimlico, and they only run 4 days per week. I have been off of work all week on vacation during my son's spring break. Today, I spent a couple hours at the Laurel track for the purpose of taking a few pictures.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gay Marriage

Yesterday, the legislature of the state of Vermont overrode a gubernatorial veto of legislation that would allow gay marriage in the state. Vermont became the fourth state in the USA to allow same sex marriages. More importantly, they became the first state to allow the practice through legislative rather than through a court action.

So how do I, a self proclaimed conservative and a former member of a fundamentalist Christian church feel about this turn of events? To be honest, I don't feel strongly one way or the other. I mean, with nearly half of heterosexual marriages ending in divorce, it isn't like we have gotten it entirely right ourselves. Plus, I don't feel like it is going to diminish my own marriage any. With all of the problems in the world, I am all for two people committing to each other out of love.

One of the main reasons I do not have that much of a problem with the state of affairs in Vermont is that it was done through the legislature. The previous states that have allowed gay marriage have done so through the courts. That is where I have had issues with those states. I do not feel it is the place of the courts to legislate from the bench, which is what the California Supreme Court did when they allowed same sex marriages to take place.

On a completely unrelated note, during the last presidential election, there were several liberals who would proclaim that any white person that would not have voted for Barack Obama must be a racist. I was just wondering if I were to proclaim that Barney Frank is a blithering idiot, would that make me a homophobe? I'm just asking.

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Exercise Video

A couple months ago, during President Obama's first address to Congress and the American people, I expressed my annoyance with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's constant jumping to her feet to applaud everything the messiah had to say. Well, I personally could stand to lose a few pounds, so I was happy to see some good come out of her idiocy; a brand new exercise video "Sweatin' to the Socialists." Not since Richard Simmon's "Sweating to the Oldies" has there been a more effective way to lose weight.

Music Monday-Bob Marley "No Woman No Cry"

Last week, my choice for Music Monday was Eric Clapton and "Layla." As Clapton got me hooked on traditional blues, he also introduced me to the music of Nesta Robert Marley with his version of "I Shot the Sheriff."

Marley brought reggae out of Jamaica and developed a world wide following. His greatest hits collection "Legend" remains the best selling reggae album of all time, having sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

Sadly, Marley left the world too soon, passing away from cancer at the age of 36. More sadly, his death could have been avoided were it not for Marley's Rastafarian religious beliefs. He developed cancer from an infected wound in his toe from playing soccer. Had he undergone amputation surgery, the cancer would not have spread to brain and other organs.

Timothy White wrote one of the best and most complete biographies of Bob Marley. I highly recommend his book "Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley" to anyone who wants to learn more about the life of Bob Marley.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.


Related Posts with Thumbnails