Friday, January 30, 2009

Niether Rain Nor Sleet. Debt on the Other Hand

So, I saw a brief news snippet running across the bottom of Fox News the other day saying that the Post Office is considering cutting out one day of delivery to cut expenses.

Frankly, this news doesn't bother me too much. When I am expecting packages, it would obviously be a problem. But other then that, I get bills and junk. Yeah, I can wait an extra day with them.

And I've always wondered why they delivered mail on Saturday. It meant that mail carriers only got one day off a week. And since the rest of the working world was off, it seemed like it wouldn't matter that much. I've always figured that some day they'd stop delivery on that day.

However, they are targeting a day that is light on delivery. Like possibly Tuesday.

Does that make sense to anyone?

First of all, Tuesday-Thursday are the days I get the most mail because of the weekly ads that are mailed to all residence whether we want them or not.

And let's think about how it would pay out. Every single business would get mail four of their five work days. Saturday's mail would just sit there until Monday rolled around, when people would have two days worth of mail to process.

Furthermore, how hard would it be to pay bills via the mail, or mail someone a present or even plan on anything. Let's see, mail runs today, but not tomorrow. Then it runs four days and takes a day off again.

Really, this is the best they can do?

No wonder I don't have faith in the government to handle the big things like health care.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Booksignings are Moving (or Something Like That)

Saturday was a busy day for me. Frankly, the entire weekend was fairly busy. Anyway, it started early Saturday morning (okay, 9AM). I helped my friends Jason and Ashley Cooper move from an upstairs condo to a house on my side of town. They had a very good sized crew there. I had planned to leave around 1, but we had everything moved by then.

So from there I went down to The Mystery Bookstore. Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin were there signing their latest tie ins. I'd never met Bill before. The two of them were highly entertaining as they shared stories of their career in Hollywood and the process of writing these books. I've already read the latest Monk novel, but I did get the Psych tie in. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm really enjoying it.

But my day wasn't over yet. From there, I went to Sears and bought a dishwasher. Believe it or not, after one evening of shopping, I knew what I wanted. And they had them on sale 20% off. So I couldn't afford not to buy it.

Sunday morning I was up early for church. Then I came home and crashed. Almost literally. I took a two hour nap. It felt so good. But I was up and back to church again that night. This Hope was doing a concert, and I really enjoy their music. That means it's probably no surprise to learn that I enjoyed that evening service.

In other news, I finally have Gold trophies in all the races of the 100cc level in Mario Kart. I have trophies in all the 150cc levels as well. Now I just need to upgrade them to Gold.

I've taken a couple of days off working out, partially because I am being lazy (yes, I admit it) and partically to see if it will help my shoulder. Actually, what I think is helping it more is the fact that I am really moving it all around at various times throughout the day. I feel funny walking around work swining my shoulder, but it if helps it heal, I'll do it.

I'm home right now waiting for them to install my new dishwasher. They'll be here sometime between now and 5PM. Naturally, I hope it is sooner rather then later. Either way, I took the entire afternoon off.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's on My Nightstand - January 2009 Edition

Due to the holidays, I've missed the last couple of What's on Your Nightstand community events hosted by 5 Minutes for Books, but it's a new year, so it's time to get back in to it.

I currently 100 pages from the end of William Rabkins's first Psych tie-in: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read. I think it captures the show pretty well, although it does focus a tad too much on Shawn and Gus. Still, I am literally laughing out loud, making me glad I haven't tried to read it in the library on my lunch hours.

Up next will be either Merciless by Robin Parrish or Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian. It seems to change hourly which book I want to read first. But it really doesn't matter because I plan to read one and then the other.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Of New Roommates and Dishwashers

Before we get to this week, let's talk about something from last weekend I completely forgot to mention, shall we? I got to spend some time with Stephen and Natalie. They were in town for the Truth and Life Conference. Talked to them for a while on Friday night (I actually went to a session this year!) and again Saturday morning at the alumni brunch/sports hall of fame induction. It was really nice to seem them and their kids.

So, what's the big news around here this week?

I have a new roommate. The down side is he won't be moving in for another month or so. But I got to meet him last night, and he seems like a really great guy. I'm looking forward to it.

Now, if only my roommate moving out would, oh I don't know, come by, pay me the money he owes me, get the rest of his stuff, and return the key he has.

And I am going to break down and get a new dishwasher. The one I have leaks on the kitchen floor just about every time we run it any more instead of just on occasion. It also doesn't seem to be getting the dishes all that clean any more. And the water spots are getting horrid. Of course, that one probably won't go away unless I start buying a rinse aid.

Anyway, I did some shopping for them Wednesday night, and I think I know which one I am going to buy. Probably go buy in on Monday night, which means it will be installed some time next week.

It's actually cooling off down here these days. And we've had rain showers off and on the last couple of days. I guess it really is winter after all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wow, Things Sure Are Different

So, it's been something like 30 hours since Barak Obama finally became the 44th President of the United States. I saw finally because with every election, I hate the transition period. Just get it over with already.

Anyway, I've found the last couple of days highly amusing. I've seen comments and posts and all kinds of things about how much better people feel because he is now Preisdent Obama.

Frankly, I feel just the same. He hasn't turned the world upside down in the first 24 hours. (Sounds like there is something big coming tomorrow, but it's frankly a laughable token jesture.) There's been no big changes from our country's policies from Monday.

At the same time, I am also speaking to my conservative brethern. The world hasn't ended. Heck, the sun still came up today.

Okay, I know I am expecting too much in the first day. It's the first few weeks that will show how things will go for the next four years. But really, people on both sides have just been making me laugh. The dire predictions haven't come true yet. The wild dancing that Bush has finally left office haven't made a big change either.

Our country is in need of strong leadership. President Obama has a lot of challenges ahead of him. Some of those are left over from Bush 43, some from Clinton, some from Bush 41. There is a huge cause and effect that have crashed on our country in the last couple of years. I don't envy him his job. And, for the sake of our country, I hope he succeeds in sorting things out. I'm sure I won't agree with him often, but I didn't agree with Bush the entire time either. That's the nature of having someone other then me running the country. (Although I probably wouldn't agree with myself all the time either.)

As I said the day after the election, the next four years will certainly be interesting. It will be interesting to watch the Democratic party react to President Obama. It will be interesting to watch the Republican party figure out how and when to be a good opposition party. And it will be interesting to watch what President Obama does with his power.

But you know what? God is ultimately the one in control of everything. And that gives me great comfort. No matter how bad things get and no matter how much I agree or disagree with any politian, none of this is a surprise to Him. And He is orchestrating all things for His glory.

That's certainly how I am able to sleep tonight or any night of my life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Six Days. I Can Do Better Than That!

Wow, I guess I decided not to blog for almost a week there. Let's see if I can fix that.

In my last post about my thrilling life, I had finished talking about my vacation. Unfortunately, that means it's back to the real world and the boring real world of work and what not.

Work has been a real struggle (especially this week). My mind still wants to let me do whatever I feel like doing all day every day. So to actually sit down and get some work done is a chore. Especially right now when I am supposed to be figuring out how to balance some impossible to balance deposits from the end of last year for a bank reconcilitation. Or should I say bank wreck because that's what it is. I am going to go crazy figuring this out.

So let's talk about anything else.

How about the weather? As I said last week, it's actually been nice here. That's why a week and a half ago or so, I went and played ultimate Frisbee on a Sunday afternoon. Weather in the 80's, no wind. Unfortunately, it has been pretty windy around here. The one thing I hate about living in Southern California is the Santa Anna winds, and we've been fighting them again right now. But they seem to be dying down. Of course, that means cooler weather and rain. But I guess I can't complain since it is winter.

My shoulder was getting better until I tried to do some pull ups. I've been paying for it ever since. Of course, playing ultimate the next day didn't help. It's beginning to feel better, but I have agreed to help some friends move this weekend, so that's not going to help. The good news is, so far I haven't really gained any weight back. I think my focus on running and sit ups - basically doing something every day, has really helped.

The 10th, I got to hang out with Nick and Kurt while their wives were at the baby shower for the Newman baby. Played some Wii and went for a walk, during which I tried the above mentioned pull ups. Other then that, however, it was a fun time.

And I've been going over the Kenny and Katherine's to watch 24 the last two weeks. It's a lot of fun to watch it with someone. Unfortunately, I'm going to ahve to give that up once I start blogging Dancing with the Stars for The Disney Blog again.

Speaking of 24, I am missing the "big changes" they promised. True, the setting is DC and CTU has been dismantled, but it is still the same basic formula. So far, however, they haven't gone the way of the dismal season six, so I am hopeful I will enjoy it overall.

And I think that pretty much brings you up to date on the big things in my life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why I Had to Laugh Tonight

So, I don't think I have mentioned it on my blog before, but I get a kick out of all the descriptions of Southern California weather on TV and in the Movies. Usually because they show us as sunny with warm weather even in the winter. I find that especially funny since most of those are filmed here, so they know better. I mean, the 50's or 60's are cold man. Any time something like this comes up, I have to roll my eyes.

So tonight I sat down to watch last night's 90210. (I know, I know. Let's just leave that alone, okay?) And what do we learn in the first few minutes? That the characters are experiencing a heat wave brought on by the Santa Anna winds while the rest of the country is dealing with blizzards. Instead of rolling my eyes, I started laughing. Why? Because we are beginning to cool after a heat wave brought on by the Santa Anna's. And, from what I hear, the rest of the country has been very cold. Granted, it think it was supposed to be over 90, possibly 100 on the show and it's only hitting the 80's here. But still, the timing was just way too perfect.

Who knew TV writers could predict the weather so accurately.

Trixie Belden: Maybe Not a Classic but Wonderful

So I'm a day late blogging for this month's Children's Classics Carnival over at 5 Minutes for Books.

And, while I don't think anyone would consider them classics, I am going to talk about Trixie Belden. I had to work it in sometime, right?

Now, regular readers of the blog might have figured out by now that I love these books just a little bit. Okay, quite a bit. On the surface, they aren't anything special. The series stars 13-year-old Trixie Belden as she solves mysteries with the help of her two older brothers and their friends. The series started in 1948, making it one of many series from that era with a similar concept. The final book in the series was written in 1986. While the first six were written by creator Julie Campbell, she sold the rights to the characters after that and the rest were written by various ghost writers under the pen name Katheryn Kenny.

So, what makes these books so incredibly special to me all these years later? The characters. Honestly, if you jump into the series with a random book, it will be fairly confusing since there are so many main and minor characters who continue through the series. Yet once you've read enough books, they become second nature. And they create a rich tapistry.

Trixie has three brothers, Oldest Brian, Mart who is just 11 months older, and Bobby who is six. They live in a farm about an hour from New York City outside a village called Sleepyside on the Hudson. Next door live the Wheelers. While the Beldens are poor, the Wheelers are rich. Yet Trixie and Honey have become best friends. Honey's parents have also adopted Jim Frayne. Rounding out the main cast of teens are Diana Lynch, a friend of Trixie's who has suddenly become rich as well, and Dan Mangan, a former gang member who lives with the Wheeler's gamekeeper in their preserve.

The quality of the books varies from volume to volume. But even when the characters aren't behaving properly and the plot is weak, I still enjoy spending time with these friends.

And these characters work hard. Starting after Julie Campbell left the series, they regularly put on fundraisers to help various charities. They even give away any rewards they get for solving their cases. True, there is the sneaking around to solve the case at hand (a standard device of most books I read as a kid and still read today), but other then that, these are moral, upstanding characters.

These books have really impacted my life as an adult. I'm a member of two message boards devoted to the series. I have made many wonderful friends over the course of the last decade thanks to them. I've been able to go to many of the conventions we hold, basically an excuse to hang out together somewhere in the country. And yes, this is even the group I joined for Disney World last September. And it is how I met my friend Angelique.

Random House owns the rights to the characters these days, and they rereleased the first 15 of the books, but those seem to have stopped due to poor sales. Still, you can often find these books in your library or bookstore.

Now I seriously doubt anyone would look at them and seriously call them classics, but they had a huge impact on my life and continue to do so. And I just can't pass up an opportunity to plug them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Rest of My Break

So, I came back from break with plans for stuff to watch and reviews to write. Yes, I know, I am cutting back on my reviews (3 at Amazon and 5 at Epinions is all so far.) But I have several movies on my DVR from this summer and recorded several more over the week I was gone. I wanted to get through several of those before I started back to work.

I didn't.

The 31st I knew wouldn't be a good movie watching day. I went into work for an hour or so to print some stuff off I knew my boss would need, then I headed to Pasadena for an ultimate Frisbee game. The weather was in the high 70's and sunny. I played for about three hours. It was great.

I had planned to go to a party that night, but that fell through for multiple reasons. So I wound up at home. Did I watch any of those movies? Nope. I watched the bonus features from Pushing Daisies and Chuck Seasons 1. At least I did stay up until midnight, unlike some people I could name. (And they gave some poor excuses about having a baby at home or having pnemonia.)

New Years Day, I went over and hung out with Kurt and Kellie for a while. I had intended to stay a couple of hours, but it turned out to be for a late lunch and dinner. Kurt and I played some of his new games for Wii will Kellie pre-prepared dinners for after their baby is born. It was a great day.

Friday, I went to see Bedtime Stories, which I enjoyed, and stopped by Kenny and Katherine's to get my key back. I had targetted that day to go down to Santa Monica and run on the beach, but I just didn't feel like it. Of course, it helped that a cold front came in and the tempurture dropped 20 degrees.

Saturday was shaping up to be another quiet day at home. I was still in bed reading at 11:30 AM when Kurt and I started talking on the phone. (And I don't remember who called whom). Jenny was throwing a surprise 25th birthday party for Nick that afternoon. Naturally, I couldn't pass that up. So I headed over there. We went down to the same eletric cart racing place where I had been two weeks before. Never heard of the place and suddenly I was there twice. Anyway, it was a good time. We went back to Kurt and Kellie's for pizza and an ice cream cake afterward.

Sunday found me at church then back at home doing laundry. You know, those pesky things you need to finish up before going back to work after two weeks off.

And it's a week and a half later and I still wish I were off. I really found the lazing around not doing much of anything freeing. It's been a struggle to work and at night I haven't done much productive. But it is also very freeing. For too long, I've been a slave to a pre-planned agenda. It's nice to be a little freer with my time.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Reporting on Christmas

Okay, shall we start playing a little catch up?

I did indeed leave to head north not too long after I made that last post in December. Plenty of traffic, but all of it flowing, so it was a nice trip up. On the way, I stopped off to see Donald and Heather. Unfortunately, I succumed to temptation and Donald and I played The Stock Market Game. Remember how I beat him pretty soundly last time we played in September? (Which is why I wasn't going to play it any more.) He beat me even more soundly. It wasn't even a fair fight.

Must have rematch. And must find people to play it with down here. I absolutely love that game!

My brother and sister in law made it to town on Christmas Eve. Almost didn't since my brother was late getting back with the youth group kids so they almost missed their flight. Something about the storm in Colorado and the bus breaking down. You know, minor things like that.

Christmas day was the normal opening presents with the family and then going down to my uncle and aunts. It may have been "normal," but it was great just spending time together. I made a peach cobbler for dessert which was a huge hit.

Bro and SiL left the next afternoon to start spending time with her side of the family. But I spent another few days with Mom and Dad. We played games, but never Rummikub or Settlers, both of which I expected us to play at some point. We hung out with some good friends of the family. That included a trip to play miniture golf in Sonoma at this really cool and creative course. I did horribly. I must practice my golfing skills more often.

I headed south again on the 30th. And I took my own sweet time getting back down here, too. First, I stopped off for lunch with Donald. Then I met up with some friends outside of Bakersfield for dinner. Very fun day, but a long one. It took me 11 hours to get home. The only other time it's taken me somewhere near that long was when I got caught in traffic the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Do Hereby Resolve

New Year's Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. -- Mark Twain

Honestly, that quote sums up my rather cynical take on New Years Resolutions. I've seen too many times how I was going to do X, Y, and Z in a year and by the end of January you'd never know that anything changed.

Of course, this last year was the year I actually started loosing weight thanks to the Fit Quest Work Outs. I was already formulating some fitness goals before I hurt my shoulder last month. I am still healing from that, so it has slowed down some of what I was planning.

But this year? Well, I'm going to put them out here for everyone to see. And I'm am asking all my friends to gentlely harass me about them.

So, are you ready?

1. I will read a minimum of 1 chapter in the Bible a day.

2. I will go to the dentist and the eye doctor at least once each this year.

3. I will build stronger relationships with my friends here in town.

4. I will make new friends.

5. I will go on at least one date.

6. I will start going to bed by 11 PM with the light out by 11:20.

7. While I will keep reviewing, it will not run my free time. I will write no more than 200 reviews at either Epinions or Amazon this year.

8. I will get up to date on Carolyn Hart's Henrie O. series and Parnell Hall's Puzzle Lady series.

9. I will improve my posture, especially when at my desk at work and at my computer at home.

10. I will arrive at work on time.

11. I will focus on work while on the clock and not be distracted by everything that comes along.

12. I will be able to do 100 push ups without stopping on Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanskgiving.

13. I will not gain back the weight I lost this last year and work toward loosing even more.

14. I will play ultimate Frisbee at least once a month weather permitting.

15. I will still be doing the Fit Quest Workouts at the end of the year.

Wow. It looks like I am going to be busy this year.