Monday, March 26, 2012

Music Monday-Night Ranger "(You Can Still) Rock in America"

Sunday afternoon, I sat down to watch the Nascar race from California.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the band Night Ranger perform the National Anthem.  Even more pleasantly surprised was the fact that they did a very straight forward rendition of the Anthem with no theatrics, just some nice harmonies.  That is rare for most rock performers.  So in tribute to their performance, my Music Monday selection is (You Can Still) Rock in America by Night Ranger.

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!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Used to Have Money One Time

I have not always had to live pay check to paycheck watching every single penny that came in and out of my hands.  Don't get me wrong, I have never been wealthy, but I had enough money coming in that I could have the latest and greatest technological doohickey and to buy nice presents for the family.  One year for our anniversary, I bought my wife a custom made anniversary band that contained alternating diamonds and sapphires encircling the entire band.  I mention that particular ring for a very specific reason because at some point it became lost, never to be seen again.

We have no proof that the following events are related, but we have our suspicions.  One day, we were sitting around the house and had some laundry going in the basement.  Suddenly, I smelled something burning and opened the door to go down to the basement and was greeted by massive amounts of smoke.  I rushed the wife and son out the door and called the fire department.  Somehow, the exhaust hose of our dryer had come off of the back of the dryer and there was a build up of dryer lint that had build up behind the dryer that ignited.

Thankfully, we all made it out with no problem and there was no major damage.  The dryer, of course was toast, along with the clothes in the dryer.  The house itself, suffered no structural damage, just a couple of burn marks on a couple of beams in the unfinished part of our laundry room.  The fire burned itself out very quickly and produced a lot of smoke.  Aside from needing a new washer and dryer, we had to have a professional cleaning service clean our ducts to get rid of the smoke damage.  That is where the mystery of the missing ring begins.

It was right after the cleaning service came through the house that my wife discovered that the ring was missing.  She had left the ring in a jewelry box on top of her dresser.  We tried to stay with the crew as they were cleaning, especially in any place where we had some valuables.  Obviously, we didn't see anybody take anything, nor would we have expected it from a company that has a very positive reputation.  It is times like this that make me regret that we did not have some place to store our valuables, like a personal safe like the ones from Safes AtoZ.

Once we discovered the ring was missing, we called the service, and of course they knew nothing of it.  We called our insurance company to see if we could file a claim for the ring.  They told us that we would have to file a police report.  We ended up not filing a police report because we had no evidence that somebody had taken it rather than it just being lost as nothing else was missing.  Looking back, we probably should have at least file a report with the police.  Another lesson learned.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maryland Primary

The Maryland primaries are scheduled for April 3rd.  The political ads have started on both television and radio, but thankfully we have not been inundated with them yet.  So far, I have only seen or heard ads from a couple of the SuperPACS out there.  I have heard radio advertising put out by Winning Our Future, touting the credentials of Newt Gingrich for President.  The other ad is from Restoring Our Future, the pro-Romney SuperPAC.  It is a negative attack ad against Rick Santorum.

This is one of the things that bugs me about Romney and his supporters.  It has been their method of operation this entire campaign.  Whenever there has been another candidate that has risen in the polls to challenge Romney's status as front runner to become the Republican nominee for President, he and his surrogates release a barrage of negative ads to tear down their opponent.  They do little in their ads to point towards anything positive about Romney and his qualifications.

Thus far, that strategy has worked for Romney.  By far, his campaign and his SuperPAC have far outspent the opposition during the primary season.  In the initial Iowa caucus, Newt Gingrich was ahead of Romney in the polls and they attacked Gingrich relentlessly.  When Gingrich won South Carolina and was rising again in the polls, the blasted him in Florida.  The vast majority of ads in that race were negative ads against Gingrich run by Romney's campaign and the SuperPAC.

Now, the recipient of the Romney attack machine is Rick Santorum.  There have been a number of states where Santorum had sizable leads in the polls leading up to the primary only to eventually lose the primary vote after being attacked and out spent by a sizable margin.  Looking back, it would not surprise me if it was a Romney supporter who ended releasing the information that eventually led to Herman Cain, who was on top of the polls when the news leaked, that leaked that information.

My intention is to support whoever ends up being the Republican nominee for President.  All of them have their flaws, but I like all of them better than Barack Obama.  My concern is that Romney's strategy, if this will be his strategy in the general election, will fail against Obama.  It is one thing to launch attacks and outspend campaigns that are strapped for cash.  It is quite another to try to outspend the well funded Obama campaign.

On another note, Maryland has early voting, which began today.  When the state first passed early voting, I was against the idea.  I felt like there was a set day for voting, and that should be it.  However, today I decided to take advantage of early voting to cast my vote for Rick Santorum.  I was torn between him and Gingrich.  Part of the reason that I decided to do it today is that I had about an hour to kill before my wife and I were to go to the Bowie Baysox fun fest and figured it would be better than feeling rushed to vote on April 3rd.  Still not sure I fully like the idea of early voting, but that could change.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

San Francisco Bay Coffee

Back in January, I took advantage of some gift cards and cash Christmas present to purchase myself a Keurig coffee maker to replace my little Mr. Coffee 4-cup drip coffee maker.  I really do love the convenience of being able to pop a single K-cup into the brewer to make one cup at a time.  Each cup is brewed fresh, and there is none of that burnt taste that sometimes accompanies a cup of coffee that has been sitting on the heating element of my old Mr. Coffee machine.  Some of my favorite varieties are Tully's Kona Blend, Green Mountain Nantucket Blend, and Dunkin Donuts brand coffee.

The one thing that I do not like about the Keurig coffee maker is the cost of making a cup of coffee.  I usually go to Target to pick up my K-cups.  They have 18 count boxes that usually sell for around $11 or $12 per box.  So, a cup of coffee ends up costing me 60-65 cents per cup.  My local Giant grocery store sells 12 count boxes for around $9 per box, or 75 cents per cup.  So, you can see why I usually go to Target.  I am considering buying a box of 80 from BJ's Club Warehouse for $40 to get my cost down to 50 cents but that is just too much to lay out at one time.

As I mentioned on Sunday, my wife and I drove out to visit our son for a bit.  After our visit, we needed to stop at the grocery store to pick up our weekly groceries.  Since hitting the Giant was going to be much later than my usual grocery shopping trip, I did not want to make two stops by going to Target to pick up my coffee supplies.  I decided to bite the bullet and get a box at Giant by paying a bit more per cup for the convenience of making just one stop for shopping.

During my trip down the coffee aisle, I saw a variety of coffee that I had not seen before, San Francisco Bay Fog Chaser.  They had a 12 pack box for only $6.49, or a little more that 50 cents for a cup.  I figured it was a small price to pay to take a chance on something new for my coffee fix.  I brewed my first cup of it this morning for my commute into work.  I have to say I was quite satisfied.  It is a rich, deep brown brew with a full bodied taste.  Just the way I like it.

There was one other thing that I noticed about the San Francisco Bay coffee.  When I opened the box, I noticed that this was not your ordinary K-cup.  If you are not familiar with K-cups, they are a small shot sized plastic cup of ground coffee with a built in filter.  When you put it into the brewer, a hole is punctured in the top and and bottom.  Water is forced through the top hole and empties out through the bottom for your cup of coffee.

The San Francisco Bay coffee did not have the plastic cup.  Instead, it had the familiar lid and in place of a cup was a sealed filter pouch containing the coffee.  You can see the difference in the picture above.  Upon closer examination of the box, I noticed that the company, The Rogers Family, is very concerned about environmental issues.  They have listed on the box a number of their projects to help improve the environment when it comes to the making and processing of their coffee.

I do not go out of my way to purchase "environmentally friendly" products.  The reason is simple.  Those things usually end up being more expensive.  The San Francisco Bay coffee is an item that is both environmental friendly, and in this case is actually less expensive.  Plus it is a great cup of coffee.  It is going to be one brew that I will be buying on a regular basis.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Monday-Bad English "Best of What I Got"

The late 1980's was a time for the Supergroup in rock and roll. There was Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent forming Damn Yankees. Another supergroup was Bad English formed when Jonathan Cain and Neil Schon from Journey joined forces with John Waite of The Babys and a few solo projects. Here is one of my favorite songs from them.
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 18, 2012

A Sunday Visit

Today, my wife and I got up fairly early and made the 60 mile drive to our son's school on the Eastern Shore.  Our purpose of going out to the school was twofold; one to have a little visit, and more importantly to take some medication out to the school for him.

Back in December, in conjunction with his psychiatrist and the school, we decided to take him off of one of his medications.  The medication he was on was an extended release tablet.  Since he has to have his medication crushed, he was getting the whole dose at once.  He was falling asleep in class in the mornings, so we decided to try him being off of the medication.

The first couple months off of the medication, he did a great job.  He was more cooperative, attended class regularly, and was more focused on his tasks.  He even was doing a lot better in the dorm area, which had been his biggest area of opportunity.

On Monday of this past week, my wife had to go out to the school to take out a refill of one of his prescriptions.  Our son's teacher showed my wife a video of my son acting out and told her that he had been regressing in recent weeks.  He had also been demonstrating a lot more aggression towards others. The video was reminiscent of how he had behaved prior to going on medications.

On Tuesday, I called the dorm to check in to see how he was doing.  It is hit or miss when talking to the dorm about getting decent information.  I got lucky and spoke to somebody who could give me a more detailed report.  She informed me that he had not been doing very well, and had even stopped wanting to go to activities that he had enjoyed like the weekly social dances.  That was definitely reminiscent of how he acted before going on medication.

Thankfully, I had a follow up appointment with his psychiatrist on Thursday afternoon.  I was to show him the video of him acting out.  I shared with him how he had stopped participating in activities that he loved.  We all decided to put him back on the medication that he had been on, but this time we decided on the regular form of the drug rather than the extended release.

When we got out to the school this morning, we were told that he was in his room.  He had thrown two cups of water on the floor and refused to clean it up.  He was very upset and still crying when we walked into his room.  Thankfully, once we got in there he settled down and we had a real nice visit with him.  I took him back out into the dorm rec room and had his clean up the mess he made.  We walked around the campus and I let him watch YouTube videos on my phone.

After a couple hours, it was time for him to have lunch.  He had been asking for chicken the whole time we were there.  I was very impressed to see him trying to cut his chicken into smaller bites with his fork, and with a plastic knife.  That is something that he has never done at home, so that was some definite progress.  After lunch, we decided to head home.

While we had a nice visit with our son, there were a couple of things about it that concerned me.  While I agree that it is necessary to discipline my son when he acts out, sometimes I think that they exacerbate the situation.  When he gets upset, he sometimes continues to slide down that slope during the discipline.  Some times, it is better to just ignore him until he settles down.

The other thing that bothered me was in regards to some of his personal property.  I took a couple of DVDs out to him since he has had a portable DVD player at school for watching those videos.  We were informed that they did not know where his DVD player was and that they had not seen it in some time.  They also informed us that he had broken or lost his portable CD player.

It is not the fact that these things are broken or missing that bothers me.  It bothers me that they did not communicate these things to us prior to our visit.  I call the dorm several times a week, and my wife goes out there every couple of weeks to take things for him.  Both of those devices are things that he needs to make his life easier away from home.  Had we known, at the very least, we could have taken him a new CD player so he could listen to music.

I will be sending an email out to his teacher and to the person who heads up his dorm.  The highest priority is to get feedback on how he is doing with the new medication.  Second, I want to talk to them to see if any of them have any idea as to where his DVD player is and to ask for more complete information from them on how he is doing.  Hopefully, he will react well to the new medication and get back to his old self soon.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cruising Music

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

I have been driving now for 35 years.  I remember when I got my first car.  It was a used 1968 Ford Mustang that I bought for $800.  My friends and I would drive around town with the windows down listening to music and looking for fun.   

There is something quintessentially American about cruising around in your car and listening to music.  Movies like American Graffititi glamorized cruising with your friends.  The Beach Boys sang about it in their song "Fun, Fun, Fun."

Now that I am older, most of my driving is for practical purposes; going to and from work, running errands, and doing my part time pizza delivery gig on the weekends.  Still, every now and then when I am driving around I will hear a song come on the radio that makes me want to roll down the windows, open the sunroof and turn up the volume.

Kia Rio and Spotify have joined together to develop the "Best Songs with your Windows Down" playlist.  When you get there, you can search for and submit your favorite song for driving around with the windows down.  You will need a Spotify account if to submit a song for the list or to view the playlist.

I had a hard time narrowing down which song I wanted to submit as my favorite song.  At different times in my life, there were different songs that did it for me.  In the 80's, there were a lot of Journey songs that I would turn up loud.  Of course you can't go wrong with Freebird or Sweet Home Alabama by Skynyrd.  In the end, I picked my favorite rock song of all time, Layla.


You can go to the Facebook page by clicking the link above where you can submit your favorite song or click a link to view the playlist.  You will need a free Spotify account to see the list.  If you have an account, you can open Spotify and search for the playlist directly in the application.  Why don't you submit your favorite song and leave a comment for which song you submitted and why?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, March 16, 2012

Go for the Green

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

Last week, I told you how I had finally raked the leaves out of my front yard while looking for a ring that my wife had lost.  Thankfully, I was able to find the ring without too much difficulty.  Unfortunately, I am a bit concerned that because of my tardiness that the grass in that part of our yard will be negatively impacted when the grass starts to grow this spring.

To be perfectly honest, we have always had trouble growing a lush green lawn in that part of the yard.  We get very little sunlight on that side of the house and the grass has a difficult time.  Our back yard has a lot of direct sunlight and we always manage to get a lot of thick green grass back there, along with the occasional dandelion.

I have tried a number of different things to try to get positive results in our yard.  I have tried several different types of grass seeds and also tried spreading fertilizer to try to help it grow.  My results have been mixed, but mostly poor.  I always have a hard time when spreading out seed and fertilizer and am never sure if I have put down the correct amount.

The Scotts® Snap® Spreader System helps to take the guess work out of caring for your lawn.  It has a unique package design that easily snaps into the spreader system that allows you to put down the perfect amount of fertilizer, weed control, or grass seed that your yard needs.

The best part is that there are specific blends of snap-pacs for your specific needs.  Just go to their website, put in your zip code, and you can see how often you should feed your lawn.  They also have grass seed, weed control, and even blends for killing bugs.  It is something I will have to check out the next time I am at my local home improvement store.

Like most companies these days, Scotts has a presence on social media.  By liking Snap perks on Facebook, you can win great prizes.  Some of the prizes they are giving away include a new riding mower, something I wouldn't need in my little townhouse, or a trip for two the MLB All-Star game.  Now that's something I could use.

Check out the video below for a testimonial for the Scotts® Snap® Spreader System


Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Eric Crozier
Image via Wikipedia
It is mid-March and temperatures today were getting awfully close to 80 degrees.  That is unusually warm for this time of year here in Maryland, about 20-25 degrees more than average.  It is definitely giving me a little bit of spring fever.  We have picnic tables outside of our office building so I took my lunch and Kindle outside with me to enjoy the nice weather.

The other I start thinking about when the weather starts to get a little warmer is baseball.  It is only three weeks until my Bowie Baysox start their 20th season in Bowie.  Now that my son is away at school, one of the first things that I do when the Baysox release their schedule is to compare their home schedule with his scheduled breaks home.  This year, unlike last year, every weekend he comes home the Baysox have games scheduled.

His next break happens to coincide with the opening week of the season.  It also happens to coincide with his 18th birthday. The Baysox have a game that day, and one of our friends with the team has arranged to let him throw out a ceremonial first pitch.  Naturally for this big event, we want to let our extended family know in case they want to come out to the park to help us celebrate and to cheer on our son as he throws his first pitch.

It was while investigating the schedule and looking for tickets to that game that I discovered a new ticket pricing policy that the team has implemented this season.  First, they have raised the price of all tickets by $1 per seat.  In these tight times, I am not happy about that, but it is also to be somewhat expected.  The price of everything is going up these days.

The other thing that the team did with ticket prices is something I really think is a bad move.  In addition to raising the base ticket price by a $1, they have now added a premium of $2 to the price of a ticket if you decide to purchase the ticket the day of the game.  So, if you wake up one morning and decide it would be a great day to go to a game, that ticket will cost you $3 more than last year, and $2 more than if you bought the tickets in advance.

I wrote an email to the club to complain about the new policy.  The general manager of the team emailed me and gave me a call to discuss different options for our family.  That is one of the great things about the team.  They really do go out of their way to reach out to the fans.  He sent me info about their flex ticket plans that will save us $5-$7 per ticket.  Today, I placed my order for a 16 ticket plan for the upcoming season.  As we use these, I will probably end up buying a couple of additional plans as needed. 

In addition to ordering my tickets, I also took a look at the Baysox upcoming promotional schedule.  As usual, there are a lot of great events scheduled, with the best fireworks show in the area.  One particular promotion that I am looking forward to is in June for Country Day featuring the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, where monkeys dressed like cowboys ride dogs like horses.  It looks like that will be a fun day to be at the park. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Test Post

English: This icon, known as the "feed ic...
Image via Wikipedia
I seem to be having an issue with my RSS feed.  This is a test post to see if I have been able to clear up the issue.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Never Ending Nanny State

The No Smoking sign, designed by one of the me...
Image via Wikipedia
Let me begin this post by saying that I firmly believe there is a place for laws in our civil society.  However, the government has a tendency to overdo it when it comes to creating new laws.  Legislators seem to think that they have to right a new law for every conceivable possibility out there in the world.  Even if existing laws to cover a wrong, they have to create new laws to specifically call out certain behaviors.

One of my favorite laws that I like to rail against are the laws against using a cell phone while driving.  It is not that I don't believe that some drivers have their driving skills impaired while talking on the phone.  I see it every day when I pass drivers that are going 10 mph under the speed limit with no traffic around.  It is the signalling out of cell phone usage when there are other forms of distracted driving just as likely to cause an accident.  Besides, existing laws would have punished a driver causing an accident due to cell phone use if it caused the accident.

My state, Maryland, looks like they are going to soon be enacting another law that would allow police to issue a citation to certain motorists.  The proposed new law has already passed the state Senate.  Given that I live in one of the bluest states in the country, I would not be surprised to see the law pass.  The new law would prohibit the use of a legal substance in an automobile under certain circumstances.  It would be illegal to smoke cigarettes in the car if there was a child 8 years of age or less in the vehicle.

Personally, I do not smoke.  I think it is a vile habit, and I do not want to be around anybody while they are smoking.  I also think it is stupid and reprehensible for anybody to smoke in an enclosed vehicle with a kid in the car.  I remember my wife and I walking down the boardwalk in Ocean City while my wife's sister pushed a stroller with our nephew in it while smoking.  The burning cigarette was in her hand, inches away from his face as we strolled down the boardwalk.  Stupid, yes, criminal, I don't think so.

There is no doubt that second hand smoke is a potential health hazard.  I guess my biggest concern is where does it end?  First, a ban on smoking in your car.  Next, a ban on smoking in your own home.  Then, does it end with smoking?  With all of the emphasis on the diet police, will the next thing be to write you a ticket if you take your kid to a fast food restaurant? 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music Monday-Journey "Anyway You Want It"

There is a new State Farm commercial where a guy is on the phone with a State Farm agent. As they are talking, they end up quoting lines from the Journey song "Anyway You Want It." At the end, one guy says, "We just had a Journey moment." I don't like the commercial, but I love the song. So here is a little Journey moment for everyone.
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 11, 2012

The Last Place You Look

Man with metal detector on the Brighton Beach.
Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday, I did the first bit of yard work for the spring season.  Actually, if I were to be completely truthful, I did the last bit of yard work from last fall.  I finally raked the leaves in the front yard.  It was not my intention to let the task of raking the leaves wait until March.  I honestly wanted to do it as soon as they finished falling, but with my schedule, the best days for me to do yard work is Sunday's, and it just seemed as if it rained most Sundays during the fall.

So, what prompted me to get out early on a Saturday morning and finally rake the yard.  I would like to say that my motives were simply to get the job done so that the grass could pop through in the next few weeks.  I suppose that in a small way that did play a part in the decision, but I did have other less altruistic motives for raking the yard.

You see, on Friday I received an email from my wife while I was at work.  Somehow, her gold band slipped out of her hand while on the front porch, and she could not find it.  It is just a plain gold band, and it didn't cost a lot to purchase, but with the price of gold these days it would be kind of expensive to replace it.  My primary goal was to find that ring.  Raking the yard was a means to that end.

My brother in law runs a College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise, and he often gets things while on the job.  I texted him on Friday evening as I was heading to my part time job to see if he might have picked up a metal detector along the way.  As luck would have it, he did have one, so after I finished delivering pizza on Friday night, I went by his place to pick it up.

It was dark when I finally got home from work, but I wandered around the front yard with a flashlight and the metal detector to see if I could find anything and perhaps get a glint from the flashlight hitting the gold band.  I really didn't expect to find it in the dark, but I did find a nail and a wire coat hanger.  I decided to try again in the morning.

Early Saturday morning, I headed outside with a rake and the metal detector.  I was running the detector over a pile of leaves and not picking up any readings.  I decided at that point, that I would go ahead and start raking.  As I went back to the place the metal detector on the front porch, sitting there on the porch was the gold band.  I found it in 5 minutes.  Like the old saying goes, when you are looking for something it is always in the last place you look.  Since I was already outside with all of my gardening tools, I went ahead and finished the raking.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Public Speaking

Today was one of those tough days at the office.  We had an all day meeting today with several of our field managers and the senior management of my department.  All day meetings tend to be pretty draining for me.  Today's meeting was particularly stressful because I had to make a presentation of my new responsibilities to a groupd of close to 100 people.

I have a great deal of confidence in my knowledge of my job responsibilities.  Whenever I am sitting in a meeting room, I have no difficulty in discussing what is happening in my area of responsibility.  I know what I am talking about, and I feel confident that I will be able to answer any question that may arise no matter the title of the people in the meeting.

Standing up in front of a group of people, however, is another matter entirely.  Whenever you look at a list of the top fears of people, always near the top is the fear of public speaking.  With me, I can pinpoint with the utmost confidence the exact moment in time when public speaking started becoming an issue with me.

It happened in junior high school.  Our civics class was broken up into groups of 3 or 4 students.  My group was discussing contributions of immigrants in American society.  We had to research and make an oral presentation of our report.  At one point during my presentation, I said the following, "Samuel Gompers, who was also in labor..."

Gompers was the founder of the American Federation of Labor, one of the first major trade unions in this country.  While technically what I said was correct, Gompers was in the Labor movement, I immediately thought of a woman being in labor with child.  I was terribly embarrassed.  Since that moment, I have been terrified of standing in front of a group and making a presentation.

I was told that I did a really good job today during my presentation.  One person told me that I presented some interesting, informative, and exciting information and that I did a better job than most of the other presenters.  I felt as if my voice was cracking and that I was losing track of what I was trying to say.  Thank goodness it is over for this go round. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, March 5, 2012

Music Monday-U2 "Beautiful Day"

I am a big fan of Blake Shelton.  Since I was not finding anything good on TV tonight, I decided to switch over to NBC to watch "The Voice."  The first performance of the night was a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day."  I have always liked U2 because of their unique sound, and since it had been a while since I had heard the song decided to make it my Music Monday pick this week.

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 4, 2012

HOA and Parking

Last week, I alluded to a new parking policy that was put into place by our homeowners association.  As of March 1st, we were required to have parking permits in order to park in our townhouse complex or else face the possibility that our car could be towed.  The reason that we were given for having to begin using the permits is that they were trying to reduce the number of people that were delinquent in paying the HOA dues.

We had a couple meetings scheduled last week so I took a day off and picked up our permits that morning.  The new parking permits are placards that hang from our rearview mirrors.  We were glad they were not stickers because my wife and I really do not like the idea of placing stickers or decals on our cars.  You will never see a bumper sticker on one of our cars. 

Since the new parking regulations went into effect last week, we have noticed a lot fewer cars parked in our parking lot.  Now, there are a whole lot more people parked on the main road near the street to enter the complex.  The problem with that is that the street is on a hill and a curve.  Now, when we are trying to leave the complex, we have a difficult time seeing whether or not there is any traffic approaching because of all the cars now parked on the main road.

It is hard to say exactly the reason for the number of cars now parking on the road instead of the lot.  It would be surprising to see that we would have that many people delinquent in paying the association dues.  When we first moved in, the dues were always due in April.  I always paid it after I got my tax refund.  The new management company now asks for the first payment by January 1st and the second in June.  I usually pay the whole thing in February.

The other possible reason for the increased number of cars parking on the street could be with the manor in which the parking permits were distributed.  The management company required that people pick up the permits at the HOA meeting the evening of Febuary 22nd or to come by the management office after that date.  They would not mail the permits.  The office is only open Monday-Friday from 8am-4pm.  Most people are working during those times so it would be difficult to pick up.

The number of cars parked in the parking lot really does not impact us in anyway.  Each house has two clearly marked assigned parking spaces.  So, the only way parking in the lot impacts us is if somebody is an inconsiderate ass and parks in our assigned space.  The increased number of people parking out on the road, however, is a concern due to the obstructed view of approaching traffic.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Visit to Goodwill

Goodwill Industries
Image via Wikipedia
These days, I am all about saving money wherever I can.  What with the price of gasoline rapidly heading towards $4 per gallon or more and food prices also on the rise, I need to save on expenses wherever I can.

I was visiting with the in-laws recently, and my brother-in-law was telling me how he recently found some khaki pants for about $5 at the Goodwill store in Crofton, MD just a few miles away from where I live.  A couple weeks ago, I was in the area and decided to stop by and check it out.  It was a small little store, but they did have a wide variety of clothes and other items to choose from.

It had been quite a long time since I had entered into a thrift store of any kind.  The last time was well over 20 years ago when a buddy of mine and I went into one with the sole purpose of trying to find inexpensive clothes that we could use to create Halloween costumes.  We were going to dress like heavy metal rock gods.  I found a burgundy velvet jacket with lace cuffs that worked great for me.

I have to confess that I felt a little bad going into the thrift store 20 years ago for the purpose of finding clothes for a Halloween costume.  In the back of my mind, I was thinking that a lot of people were relying on the shop for their daily needs, and here we were with the stated goal of finding clothes that we would normally consider tacky.

This morning, I headed back out to the local Goodwill store in Crofton.  I have been in desperate need of some shirts for work because a few of my shirts have holes worn through on the elbows.  Unfortunately I have not had the money (due to a car repair) nor the desire to pay full price on clothing for me at other stores.  I was very happy with my purchases today.

Finding shirts was fairly easy to do.  I found several that I liked, but eventually settled on four shirts that were in pretty good condition and were a style that I liked.  On the other hand, finding pants that I liked and that fit were more of a challenge.  Eventually, I did find a pair of black pants that were actually brand new and not used.

It takes a good bit of effort to find what you are looking for at the Goodwill store.  The clothes are not in order by sizes, nor are they tagged in any way other than the original tag inside the clothes.  It is a lot easier to find the size on shirts as opposed to pants.  I walked out of the store with 4 shirts and a pair of pants.  The total bill for my efforts, just under $23.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bridesmaid Dresses

This guest post from Lewis Beck

I used my 4g internet Oviedo to order my bridesmaid’s dress for one of my really good friends weddings today. She picked a dress from It was actually pretty nice to order from there, because it is suppose to come to my house in only one week. Usually, when you order bridesmaids dresses through boutiques they take up to three months to come in. When you get them in and they don’t fit right, you are kind of stuck. You have to spend a ton of money on alterations. Now, when I get my dress in, if I need another size I just simply send it back and get another one quickly. I’m really happy about this, I wish that more of my friends that are brides would hop on this train. It is just makes the whole bridesmaid thing much easier. You don’t have to stress about your dress being to small or not fitting well. I know that I am going to look better in pictures in this dress, that’s for sure!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gay Marriage Passes in Maryland

English: This protester was on his own and let...
Image via Wikipedia
Today, the governor of my home state of Maryland signed a bill into law that would legalize same sex marriage.  I hesitate to call him "my governor" as my loathing for Governor O'Malley may actually exceed my disdain for the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The two of them are virtual clones of one another in terms of leftist policy.  If you saw where O'Malley and Obama stand on issues listed on a piece of paper, you would be hard pressed to tell which was which.

Last year, the state legislature attempted to pass a similar bill but it failed to get out of the legislature.  Since that failure, O'Malley has been actively pushing for a bill to be passed this year, vowing to sign the legislation into law.  One of the provisions that was added to the bill that I think allowed it to pass this time was a provision that the law would not go into effect until January 1st, 2013, rather than October 1st, which would allow the opportunity for opponents to get the initiative on a referendum in November.

I have stated here in the past that I do not have strong feelings one way or the other on the issue of gay marriage.  I do not feel that it would impact me that much.  I can be empathetic and can see the merits on both sides of the discussion.  On the one hand, I understand the religious and social arguments against same sex marriage.  Still, there are certain rights that married couples have that I think could be extended to same sex couples.

I fully expect that opponents of the law will gather enough signatures on petitions to have the measure brought to referendum.  As of right now, I have not made up my mind how I would vote on this legislation. Thus far, when these matters have been brought to a vote of the people, they have failed to pass.  There is another measure that will be on the ballot that I feel more strongly about, and that is Maryland's version of the Dream Act giving in state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.  I will most definitely vote against that one. 

While I have not fully made up my mind regarding how I will vote if it makes the ballot, there are things that could sway me one way or the other.  One such thing that could have an impact on my decision is the video below of State Attorney General Douglas Ganzler.  In the video, Ganzler talks of the steps the governor has taken to ensure that the measure passes, even if it is voted down by the citizens.  Particularly disturbing are his comments about "voting machines not working."  Sounds kinda fishy to me.

 Hat tip to the Maryland Republican Party who posted it to their Facebook timeline which is how I learned of this video.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Related Posts with Thumbnails