Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tracking My Carbs

Image representing MyFitnessPal as depicted in...Image via CrunchBaseOne week ago, I had posted about using The Carbohydrate Curve as outlined in "The Primal Blueprint" as a guide for losing weight.  At the time, I had come to the realization that some food products that I thought would be better for me in my weight lost quest, actually were hindering my progress.  I immediately cut those products out of my eating and began concentrating more on the number of carbs in the foods that I was eating.

I switched from drinking my 100% juice drink that contained 52gr of carbohydrates to drinking Vitamin Water Zero or other drinks that contained little or no carbohydrate.   Over the next few days, my stalled weight loss had started up again.  In the week since I made that switch, I have already lost another 3 pounds.  I have now become a true believer in the idea of limiting my carb intake in order to lose weight. 

In the past, I have never been one to read nutritional labels, but it is now becoming an obsession with me.  After discovering that the juice I was drinking contained 52 grams of carbs, I decided to see if there were other things that I was eating that would add unnecessary carbs.  There have been a couple other products that I had been using that I have found that I can change and further reduce my carb intake each day.

One of the things that I have been eating consistently at work has been a salad with a little bit of baked chicken in it.  In my new zealousness of reading labels, I found that the light versions of the salad dressings that I had been using contained more carbs than the regular variety.  For instance a serving of regular bleu cheese dressing has 1gr of carbs while the light has 6gr.  One of the light salad dressings that I was using had 8gr of carbs per serving.  It is no longer on my shopping list.

Right now, I am becoming more dedicated to keeping my carbs in the 50-100gr per day as recommended in The Carbohydrate Curve.  I downloaded a cool app for my android operated phone from  It has a pretty cool feature where I can scan a UPC bar on a product and it will pull in all of the nutritional information and add it to my daily food diary.  You can also search thousands of products to easily track and add foods to my daily food diary.

Currently, I am down to about 210lbs.  I have lost between 15-20 pounds since I started to change my eating habits.  According to a lot of the weight charts, my ideal body weight should be around 170 pounds.  I am not sure I want to lose that much weight, but I would like to get down to 180 pounds eventually.  I have a formal affair to attend for my son's school.  I had hoped to hit 200 pounds before it, but since it is just two weeks away, I don't think that will happen.  However, I think I can definitely get there by Memorial Day.
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Monday, March 28, 2011

Music Monday-Matchbox Twenty "Bent"

I was sitting at my desk at work today listening to some random songs on my iPod.  Most of the time, I barely notice the music as I keep the volume down on my docking station so as not to disturb others around me.  Let's face it, you really can't rock out if you are in a group of cubicles.  Anyway, a song came on from Matchbox Twenty.  I hadn't heard them recently, and thought one of their songs would be a good change of pace this week for Music Monday.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Promote Your Blog or Organization

As a pizza delivery driver, I tend to lose a lot of pens.  I can't tell you how many times I have handed a pen to a customer to sign a credit card slip and ended up not getting my pen back or having to ask to get it back.  Around the house, I never seem to be able to find a pen when I need one.  That is one of the reasons I like when banks or other businesses have promotional pens available for their customers.

Businesses are not the only organizations that can benefit from having promotional items.  Charities can help build awareness of their cause with a wide variety of promotional items like magnets, tote bags, coffee mugs and just about anything else imaginable.  Schools can get personalized pencils printed up for their students and teachers.  My fellow bloggers can even promote their blogs with various promotional items for every budget.

The promotional products business has changed a lot over the years.  It used to be you could only get a basic pen or pencil with just the name of your organization stamped on it.  Now, companies like Amsterdam Printing can provide much more elaborate items with graphics on more upscale items.  You can find a lot of graphic resources for backgrounds on line.  This month, Amsterdam Printing has a promotion to give you 20% off of your order.  Check them out today. 
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The Ugly Truth About Sin Taxes

wine & cigarImage by ColumbusCameraOp via FlickrOur governmental leaders (usually Democrats) like to tell us that sin taxes are for our own good.  They tell us that the reason that they are putting taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol is that they want to deter us from consuming products that are bad for us.  It is for our own good, after all.  The truth of the matter is that it is just another way for the government to line their coffers so they can spend, spend, spend.

States and the federal government have been raising taxes on tobacco consistently over the years.  In most jurisdictions, the majority of the cost of a pack of cigarette goes to the government, not the tobacco companies.  This morning I was going through some emails at my office.  I receive a lot of email news letters pertaining to the convenience store and retail food industry.  One of the articles that I read today further solidified for me the truth about sin taxes.

CSP is a magazine pertaining to the Convenience Store and Petroleum Industry.  On their website today, they had posted an article about three states (New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) that are considering lowering their cigarette taxes.  Their reason for going against all the national trends of raising cigarette taxes?  Their hope is that by lowering their cigarette taxes that they will draw consumers from other states over state lines to buy cigarettes, increasing sales and revenue.  Now I ask you, do you really think cigarette taxes are to deter you from smoking?  I think not. 

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Carbohydrate Curve

For the past few weeks, I have talked a bit about my weight loss goals and eating according to The Primal Blueprint.  For the first three weeks of following the blueprint, I was doing pretty well, losing about 15 pounds.  However, over the last few weeks I have hit a plateau and have been pretty stagnant.

The sudden plateau has been a bit perplexing for me.  I have really not changed the way that I have been eating since I started the program.  In fact, I actually thought that I had been eating better than when I first started.  About the main thing that I have been doing differently is that I had pretty much given up diet sodas because they really don't have any nutritional value.

Today, I think I finally figured out what has been causing the slow down in my weight loss, but first I want to talk about the Carbohydrate Curve as outlined in The Primal Blueprint.  According to the Carbohydrate Curve, to maintain your weight, you would need to consume an average of 100-150 grams of carbohydrates per day.  Anything more than that would put you at risk for gaining weight.

To lose weight, the Primal Blueprint recommends that you consume on average 50-100 grams of carbohydrates per day.  Eating within that range on a consistent basis puts you in the "sweet spot" for weight loss.  Eating less than 50 grams of carbs per day would put your body into ketosis.  This would be the carb goal on diets such as the Atkins Diet, but then you would not be able to enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables that are a big part of eating primaly.

Now with this background of the Carbohydrate Curve, I can address my "eureka" moment as to why I believe my weight loss has stalled.  As I said, I had given up drinking diet sodas at lunch.  Instead, I was drinking small bottles of 100% juice thinking that it would have better nutritional value than the soda.  Unfortunately I had not read the nutritional labels on the juice.  That is, until today.

Today at lunch, I happened to turn the bottle of juice that I had in my lunch around and read the label.  While the juice had no added sugar, it still contained 52 grams of carbohydrates, more than half of the daily limit of carbohydrates if I want to remain in the weight loss zone of the carbohydrate curve.  Needless to say, the juice stayed in the lunch bag.  I am going to see if cutting out the juice and switching to something lower in carbs to see if it helps kick start the weight loss again. 

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another Weekend Home

Toy StoryImage via WikipediaAnother long weekend home from school has come and gone.  We picked up our son from school last Wednesday.  During the long weekend home, we had a lot of things that we wanted to try to get accomplished while he was home.  Thankfully, our son was cooperative enough to get them all accomplished.

On the drive home Wednesday, we stopped for a scheduled eye glass appointment for new glasses.  I was worried that he wouldn't cooperate for the eye exam so when I made the appointment, I had told them of his special needs.  We have had other eye doctors who have been able to get a reading for a prescription.  He didn't do well for the exam, but they were able to get enough of a reading to get a new prescription. 

Normally, when he is home, our son doesn't like to leave the house.  Thursday, we were able to take him to the MVA to get a new photo ID made.  Then we were able to get him a bank account so he can cash his paychecks at the bank. Friday, we had an appointment with the Developmental Disabilities Association to discuss transition plans for when he ages out of the school system.  He did very well on both of these days.

The rest of the weekend, we really did not have any plans to go anywhere.  It turns out that was probably a good thing, as early Saturday morning he came down with a bad case of diarrhea.  I will spare you all of the gory details, but suffice to say I had to throw one love seat out and do a few extra loads of laundry.  It seems, however that when he comes home, he has had these bouts of diarrhea.

Monday we were scheduled to try to get him back to school.   I stayed home from work on a mini-vacation in the hopes that if I was home the whole time he was home that he would not be suspicious when I stayed home on Monday to take him back to school.  We wanted to take him to the barber for a haircut and then head off to school.  He was too smart for us and we could not get him to leave the house.

Yesterday,  I had to go back to work, and my wife was going to try to get him to school on her own.  She was able to get him in the car and back to school.  He was not happy with her until she gave him a Toy Story DVD that he had been asking for.  Unfortunately, in her haste to get him to school, she had to drive back out there today because she forgot the charger to his portable DVD player. 

Just about the time she was nearly to the school today, she received an email from the school nurse.  It turns out that our pharmacy had dispensed the wrong form of one of his medications.  His doctor had prescribed an extended release version of the medication, but the pharmacy dispensed the regular version.  So tomorrow, my wife has to make the long trek across the bay bridge for the third day in a row to take the correct medication out to the nurse.

The trips back to school get harder each time.  As soon as he gets home for one of these long weekends, he starts with telling us he does not want to go to school.  We are running out of ideas on how to convince him to get in the car on those days he is supposed to return to school.  Once he get back to school, he is fine.  It's just getting him there that is the problem.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Music Monday-Darius Rucker "This"

I believe that everything that has happened to us in the past, helps shape who we are today.  The latest from Darius Rucker echoes that sentiment.  Happy Music Monday!

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Joy of Technology & Dating

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of luvfree for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  As things progress, we find so many areas in our lives where we no longer perform various activities the way we used to. Take for instance my Kindle that I have talked about here in in recent weeks. It has forever changed the way that I read books. I can not say that I will never read another physical book instead of an ebook, but I can say that I will usually opt to download books to my Kindle in the future.

The same can be said for finding people to have a dating relationship, especially if you are like me.  When I was single, I really did not want to date anybody in the office.  Truth be told, when I first started working in an office, most of the women were older and married.  Still an office dating could work, but if it doesn't work out it could create an awkward situation.  While I used to enjoy going to bars, I never really was there to try to meet anybody for a relationship.

I read recently that as many as 1 in 5 relationships now begin online.  If I were on the dating scene, I would probably be using online sites to try to find a match.  Since money is tight for me, I would probably opt for one of the many free sites out there, but which one?  A lot of the free sites out there tease you with free memberships, but when you poke around the site, there are all these different additional charges to send messages or look at photos other than a thumbnail.

One site that is absolutely free, is  Once your profile is approved at, you can search the site for other singles near you.  If you find somebody that interests you, you can send them a message, with no additional fees.  You can also rate profiles and photos and send little flirts.  If you upload a photo, which let's face it those get the most views, then they also have a chat feature you can use.  So if you happen to be looking for a free dating site, luvfree is one to check out.


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Friday, March 18, 2011

Digging My Kindle

Amazon Kindle 2Image by goXunuReviews via FlickrIt has been a little more than a month since I bought my new Kindle.  I have to say that I am definitely digging the Kindle.  I had debated for a long time, at least a year, on whether or not I should spend the money for a Kindle or other ebook reader.  I'm sorry I waited so long.

One of the reasons that I was hesitant to buy an ebook reader was that over the past few years is that I have become very reluctant to spend much money on myself on extravagances.  We usually do not have a lot of extra money in my household.  My son, with his special needs, has a tendency to not take care of some of his possessions very well.  He is pretty rough on his CDs, DVDs, and portable devices.  Consequently, a lot of our discretionary income goes to replacing those things he breaks.

Another reason that I was hesitant was that I was afraid that I was going to go crazy downloading books, and spending even more money.  Thankfully, Amazon has a lot of low priced books available for download.  You can get a lot of classic literature free or at a buck or two.  One of the things that I have recently discovered when perusing the Kindle store at is that occasionally you can find some recent books for free.  For that reason, I try to regularly visit the website to see if anything new is available.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded for free a book called "Imaginary Jesus" by Matt Mikalatos published in March of last year.  Currently, "Imaginary Jesus" is selling for $8.59 for the Kindle version.  It was a humorous story about one man's search for the authentic Jesus rather than the imaginary Jesus that we tend to create in our own minds to meet our own needs.  Along his journey he encounters the multiple stereotypical version of Jesus.  It was definitely an enjoyable read.

It also came in very handy during my recent trip to Anaheim.  I was nearly finished reading Mark Sisson's "The Primal Blueprint."  I finished it early in the first leg of my trip.  I then had my choice of 4 or 5 books that I had downloaded onto the Kindle before heading out for my trip.  This allowed me to be able to pack very lightly so that I could bring home a few samples and brochures from the show.  I definitely wish I had taken the plunge earlier.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Protect Your Baby

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

When my son was born, there was nothing that I would not do for him.  From that moment on, my priorities took a completely different perspective.  His needs became more important than my needs.  It became my job to provide for him, protect him, and keep him safe and healthy.  I think that most parents would feel the same way.
My son was born nearly 17 years ago.  In 1994 when we were going to the child birth classes and meeting with my wife's doctor, nobody mentioned the idea of banking our baby's umbilical cord blood to prevent against potential future diseases.
These days, I think the option is being presented to more parents.  I was on a business trip last weekend with a coworker.  We were talking about banking cord blood, and she told me that when her daughter was born three years ago that they asked her and her husband if they wanted to save the cord blood.
The umbilical cord blood is rich in your baby's stem cells.  By banking those cells, you can help to insure your child's future health against diseases that may require bone marrow transplants.  Stem cells are much less invasive.  You can get a lot more detail about the benefits of banking cord blood stem cells at
We never know what the future holds for our kids.  Medical breakthroughs through stem cell research hold the potential to help in unlimited ways.  I do not know if the future holds any breakthroughs for autism but you never know.  Had it been offered to me at the time, I would have looked into banking the cord blood of my son.
Thankfully these days, the option is out there for parents.  If you are expecting a little one in your future, you should try to get as much info as you can at  Right now, if you request free info at their site, they will also give you a free belly bag tote bag. 

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy but Busy Days

Today is one of those happy days.  I took the day off from work to go pick up my son for his scheduled long weekend home.  When I stuck my head in the door, the smile on his face lit up the room.  It looks like he has trimmed down a bit since being at school.  His teacher says he has been eating three meals per day plus snacks.  It is just that he has been a lot more active at school than he has been at home.

Work has been hectic for quite a while, and it has been well over a year since I have taken any significant time off for something besides the office being closed for a blizzard or last year when I had the flu for a week.  So, during this long weekend, I will be taking off work the whole time he is home.  I am thinking about getting a basketball so he and I can shoot some hoops while he is home.  We also will try to go to Dave & Buster's for skee ball and maybe a visit to Hooters while he is home.  However, it will not be all relaxation while he is home because we have a lot of errands to do with him. 

Today, we scheduled an eye doctor appointment for him to get new eyeglasses.  As usual, he didn't want to cooperate with the exam, but the doctor was able to get enough of a reading to adjust his prescription.  With his job at school, he receives a paycheck.  We have opened a bank account for him, but he needs a photo ID card.  Tomorrow we are taking him to the MVA to get that.  Friday morning, we have an appointment with the DDA (Developmental Disabilities Administration) to discuss benefits and transition services for when he gets older.

On a personal note, I am still doing pretty well with my dietary goals.  Yesterday, I had an appointment with a sales rep who I had not seen in several months.  He said I was looking good and that he needed to do what I was doing.  When I told him that I had pretty much quit drinking alcohol and eating junk food, he replied "never mind."  Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment to discuss my blood pressure medication and I guess to talk about a colonoscopy.  I checked my blood pressure a couple times in the last week, and it has been running 115/75 so he should be pleased.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What a Way to Go!

What do you get when you cross a large snake with a hot fashion model?  In most cases you get the possibility of a fairly erotic set of photographs.  In the case of this boa constrictor and surgically enhanced model Orit Fox you get a case of hotness gone wrong.

Any time you are working with animals, you run the risk of not getting what you want.  In fact, you have the opportunity to get the opposite.  The snake apparently didn't like the way he was being handled by Ms. Fox.  It took exception and bit her on her enhanced bosoms.  Ms. Fox was treated with a tetanus shot.  Sadly, the snake died from silicone poisoning, but what a way to go!

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Music Monday-John Denver "Back Home Again"

In the mid-70's when I was first learning to play guitar, John Denver was one of the more popular performers around.  I learned to play a lot of his songs.  Given that I got home last night from a business trip, and we are scheduled to pick up our son from school on Wednesday, then I thought this particular song by him would be appropriate for Music Monday.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Trip to Expo West

Side exterior view of the Anaheim Convention C...Image via WikipediaOn Thursday morning, I boarded a plane at BWI Airport and headed west to Anaheim, CA to attend the 2011 Natural Products Expo West trade show for work.  The trade shows that I attend a couple of times per year are a great opportunity to see what is out there in the food industry. 

While it may sound fun and glamorous to walk around tasting all of the new food offerings out there, it really is a lot of work.  I went to this show with one coworker, and we got to the convention center around 9:30 on Friday morning and walked the show until it ended at 6:00pm.  Over 8 hours of walking at the show, then we walked a half mile to dinner then back to the hotel afterwards.  Saturday, we walked the floor from 9:30 until about 4:00pm and picked a closer restaurant for dinner.

Needless to say, after two days of heavy walking, my feet, legs, and back are killing me.  However, I think we saw a lot of neat products that have some potential.  While there was a lot of work, there were a couple of opportunities for a little levity.  I arrived in Anaheim on Thursday evening at just about dinner time.  I had emailed an old high school classmate that lived near there and we met me at the hotel.  We then had dinner together at The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  While walking the show, I ran into two old coworkers that I had not seen in nearly 20 years.  At one booth, I was able to pick up an autographed copy of "The Inflammation Syndrome" by Jack Challem.

As is usually the case with me, I found a few things that struck me as somewhat humorous or ironic.  One of the things that I noticed was that there were an awful lot of folks outside of the convention that were smoking.  I thought that somewhat odd given that so much of the show is about natural and healthy living.  There was one booth that struck me as particularly humorous.  They were promoting some sort of supplement called "Six Pack Abs."  The gentleman manning the booth was a middle aged man with a rather large stomach.  Seriously, is this the person that should be selling that product? 
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Going Primal

Cover of "The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram...Cover via AmazonI just finished reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.  About a month ago, I made the decision to start eating better.  Then when I got my Kindle I was browsing for some books when I came The Primal Blueprint.  Since I was in the mindset for weight loss, and it looked interesting, I decided to download the book.

The Primal Blueprint is more than just a "diet" book.  It is a lifestyle guide.  We live in a world where we supposedly know so much more than our ancestors in regards to health and fitness, yet we are fatter than we have ever been.  Mark takes a look at the Conventional Wisdom on diet and nutrition and shows how it is mistaken.  He compares the lifestyles of modern society with those of pre-agricultural society and shows how our predecessors were stronger and healthier.

When I made the decision to start eating better and to try to lose some weight, I decided that I was going to stop eating junk food and eat more fruits and vegetables.  The Primal Blueprint espouses doing just that, but also stresses cutting out grains.  It could be considered a low carb diet, but unlike Atkins, encourages you to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Sisson also gives you the leeway to "fail" once in a while in your eating.  He stresses that you try to eat primal at least 80% of the time.

On the subject of exercise, Sisson also takes shots at conventional wisdom.  He says that the current recommendations for cardio, which he calls chronic cardio, and long weight lifting exercises are actually counterproductive to health.  He says that these workouts actually stimulate you to end up eating more food and inhibits your fat burning.  I have never been a cardio guy, but have done a lot of weight training programs.  I usually found that when on those programs, I was a lot more hungry after than if I wasn't exercising.

There are so many other things that Mark writes about that seem to just make sense intuitively.  He wrote in the book how excessive digital entertainment, ie computers and television, late in the evening interrupts and makes it difficult to get the proper rest.  Shortly after reading that, a news story came out that said that people who watch TV late at night tend to be more prone to insomnia.  I have been wanting to cut down some on the amount of time I spend on the laptop and in front of the tube.  Now maybe I have a reason to actually try to cut back.

The Primal Blueprint basically has 10 Primal Blueprint Laws to use as a guideline for living.  Maybe we could even call them the new 10 commandments for nutrition and exercise.  They are listed below.

1. Eat lots of plants and animals
2. Avoid poisonous things
3. Move frequently at a slow pace
4. Lift heavy things
5. Sprint once in a while
6. Get adequate sleep
7. Play
8. Get adequate sunlight
9. Avoid stupid mistakes
10. Use your brain

My goal is to try to implement these laws in my life on a daily basis.  Some I know will be easier than others.  One of the things that Mark espouses is the idea of intermittent fasting.  It is OK to skip meals or go without food. Yesterday, I was traveling, and had nothing to eat until I met an old friend for dinner last night.  I did not feel stressed the whole day by not eating.  The other thing that I have noticed as a bit of a benefit to my new eating routine is that the arthritis that I have been suffering in my hands is much less noticeable.  I won't say it is completely gone, or will go away forever, but it is a lot better than it was.

I encourage you to try The Primal Blueprint.  You can find more info at Mark's Daily Apple. Go Primal!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cowboy Poetry

Thomas Jefferson said in his inaugural address that the purpose of government was fivefold:
  1. Acknowledge and adore God
  2. Exercise frugality
  3. Restrain the infliction of injury (keep people safe)
  4. Encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise
  5. Protect property, earnings of the citizens
Currently, our government is running a deficit of $1.5 trillion, so it is obviously not exercising frugality.  With the possible exception of #3, you could easily make the argument that they aren't performing any of their primary roles effectively.

The deficit is the object of much of the current debate in DC these days.  Rightfully so.  Sadly, the Republicans proposed cuts are merely a drop in the proverbial bucket.  Worse, the Democrats think that even that small percentage of the budget should be untouchable and is too draconian.

Nobody better exemplifies the lunacy of the budget debate than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  (Hat tip to Jason Mattera at Human Events for posting this on their site.)  Reid has called the Republicans "mean spirited" in their attempts to cut funding for the National Endowment of Humanities which helps fund Nevada's annual Cowboy Poetry Festival.

Now I have nothing against cowboys, unless they are Dallas Cowboys.  Nor do I have anything against poetry.  The fact that cowboys write poetry would be a good thing in my mind.  However, government funding  of poetry festivals do not seem to fit in the role of government as defined by Thomas Jefferson, especially when the government is operating at such a godawful deficit.

Now, while this seems to be like a perfectly lovely event, and I am sure that a splendid time is had by all that attend, is this really what are tax dollars should be going towards?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Music Monday-Muddy Waters "Hoochie Coochie Man"

I have mentioned here before that Eric Clapton is one of my all time favorite guitar players.  It was through Clapton that I came to appreciate the blues.  Muddy Waters was one of the early bluesmen that influenced Clapton.  I had the pleasure of seeing Muddy as the opening act for Clapton at the Capital Centre in Landover MD.  It remains one of the best shows that I have ever seen.  My choice for Music Monday this week is Muddy Waters performing one of his greatest hits.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. Rules are simple. Leave ONLY the ACTUAL LINK POST here and grab the code below and place it at your blog entry. You can grab this code at LadyJava's Lounge Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Nice Visit & Some Random Thoughts

Danica PatrickImage by Vitodens via FlickrIt has been a few weeks since I posted anything specifically about my son and his adjustment to the school.  I guess the old adage is true, "no news is good news."  That would be the case here.  He has been doing very well the past three or four weeks.

One of the more difficult aspects of his going away to school has been not being able to see him.  During the transition period we were told that we would not be able to visit him for five weeks.  Due to the some of the early struggles and the holidays, he never spent more than a couple weeks at the school until recently.

With the progress he has made the last few weeks, we were finally able to drive out to have a visit with him.  When we got to his dorm, he was taking a nap on one of the couches in the recreation room.  We woke him up gently by talking to him.  It took him awhile to fully wake from his slumber, but once he did we had a great visit.

Speaking of driving out to his school, that brings me to random thought #1.  When you are driving and see a speed limit sign, does the speed limit start at the point of the sign or when you are able to see it?  The reason I ask is that there is a road we drive on that is 50 mph.  It drops from 50 mph to 40 mph and then drops to 30 mph within a quarter mile of the 40 mph sign. 

My son really enjoys watching NASCAR races, so one of the things we took out to him was a DVD of the Nationwide Series race at Daytona.  He was extremely excited to get it, and he ran to his room to get his DVD player so he could watch parts of the race.  He likes when Danica Patrick races so that they say "drivers start your engines," instead of "gentlemen."

After we had been there for a while, it was time to go to lunch.  He put his coat on and we headed down to the cafeteria for lunch.  He ate a lot of food while we were there.  That had been one of our major concerns when he started because he wouldn't eat much at all.  Lately, though, he has been eating three times a day.  He still isn't eating a lot of variety, but we will take eating regularly.  Hopefully the variety will come too.

After lunch, he and his dorm mates went to the gym for a little exercise.  We walked around the gym for a couple laps until somebody broke out the basketballs.  My son and I grabbed one of the basketballs and shot a few baskets.  His one handed dribbling looks a lot better than it had been.  We were able to work up a little bit of a sweat (which reminds me that I need to do a post soon about how my new eating habits are doing.)

Now a brief aside for my second random thought.  When we drive out to his school, we always pass some signs for Tuckahoe State Park.  I guess it says something about me when every time I pass by a sign that says "Tuckahoe" I have the same thought.  If you change one letter it could be the lyric of a rap song.  Think about it.

After about a three hour visit, we decided to head home for the day.  Saying goodbye was not traumatic at all.  At first, especially when he saw me, he thought he was going home, but we explained that he had to stay and we would pick him up in 10 days for his next long weekend home.  He seemed fine with it.  All in all, a very pleasant day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How do You TV?

For years we had cable television.  I used to hate my cable company.  For the longest time though they were the only choice we had unless we wanted to break out the old rabbit ears or climb up on the roof and put a standard antenna up.  They were the only game in town, knew it, and acted like it.

The cable company that we were using had a lot of service outages.  Whenever you would call to report an outage, their customer service department was horrible.  If you happened to be the first person to call in the outage, they assumed that the problem was within your house and wanted to set up a service call, usually several days out.  If the service came back on, it was your responsibility to cancel the service call.

As time passed, more options started to become available to us; not more cable choices but satellite TV.  Even though satellite was becoming an option for us, I never seriously looked into it right away.  However, after one particularly bad service week with the cable company I called to complain.  I told them I was sick of their sporadic service and I was going to switch to Direct TV.  To give you an idea of how arrogant the cable customer service was, I was told, "Well that is your choice."

Needless to say, that really ticked me off.  I went out the next day to one of the local retailers who sold and set up Direct TV service.  I was surprised to find out that the service was actually a little bit cheaper than our cable company.  They came out within a couple of days and had us set up in no time at all.  Fortunately for us, the satellite dish could be mounted on the same side of the house as our old cable, so there was no need to run new wires through the house.

As soon as the installation was completed, I called the cable company to cancel my service.  You probably wouldn't be surprised to hear that when I did, I was given all sorts of special offers to keep my cable service.  I passed and never looked back.  At that point in time I swore that I would never have cable television again.

That is not to say that we have never had a service outage with Direct TV.  Occasionally, during very heavy rainstorms, we would lose our satellite reception.  However, we used to get those same kind of outages with our cable company.  The main difference though was that the weather cleared a bit, my reception always comes back with Direct TV without a service call and always faster than cable.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Good Birthday

I was going to let yesterday's Music Monday post be the last I mentioned of my birthday yesterday, but there were a couple of really cool things, at least to me, that happened yesterday.  Generally, I usually do not make a big deal about birthdays, not even milestone birthdays, or holidays.  Due to the fact that I don't usually make a big deal about these things, I am usually not taken by surprise.  I got a couple good ones yesterday.

See the picture in the post?  That was my birthday cake made by my sister-in-law; my wife's sister.  The bottles, including the big one in the middle of what looks like an ice bucket, are chocolate.  The ice bucket is four layers of red velvet cake covered in fondant.  The "ice" in the ice bucket are pieces of rock candy.  I was stunned when they pulled that cake out after dinner.

While the cake was impressive, my wife pulled off the biggest surprise of evening.  As she and I were walking into the restaurant to meet her family for dinner, I saw one of my best friends from high school and college in the restaurant talking with my mother-in-law.  She had looked in my cell phone while I was sleeping and looked up my friend's number and invited him to join us for the evening. 

The restaurant we went to was a local brew pub named DuClaw's.  I knew I would have a couple of beers, but for my meal I was debating whether or not to stick with my new eating plan or splurge.  I decided to go ahead and splurge by having one of their new menu items, a French Onion Kobe Beef Burger.  It was well worth it.  Of course I had to have a slice of the cake after dinner as it would have been impolite to do otherwise.

The evening ended with me calling the school to check on how my son has been doing.  He has been back at the school for two weeks.  His last week before his last break, and the two weeks since he has been back have been going well, which is a welcome relief. When I spoke to the person in the dorm, I was informed that he has been doing great.  Unfortunately, he had a small incident today where he threw his glasses and they broke.  He is due to get a new pair soon, but we found an old pair that my wife will take out to him tomorrow.
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