Monday, March 31, 2008

Huh?



To quote a famous Missourian, rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. Annie and I both spotted this at the same time. While simultaneously predicting our economic demise, the same paper has a front-page contest/advertisement for a goods from a successful American company. The story is linked here. Either they don't believe their own reporter or they're full of crap or both. Could it be that your average European is delighted that the world's most successful economy is having a downturn? Laugh it up, jerks.

You know it may just be that Apple is trying to sabotage the EU. Maybe I should send them my video iPod in some sort of contest. Then they can deal with the iTunes PC issues and the various lock-ups that require resetting. That's if they can get over the sub-par audio quality. In the meantime I'll find a better solution from another domestic company. And I'll somehow be able to do this while buying cans of generic lima beans for dinner. Times are tough.

I'm full of sarcasm today.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Speed Racer



Yeah, he's back. The countdown is over as some have noticed. I now have a one-ticket wide buffer before getting another letter from the state. Really though, I've been speeding for a while now, just not as much as before. I've been regularly doing 10 over on I-135 instead of 15. That makes this deadline less dramatic I suppose.

I'm still eyeing that Valentine V1 radar detector in the window. It's consistently the best unit on the market. At $399 it should be. So far there are other things I'd rather spend the money on. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Year of the Nyquil


Wow, what a year. I'm sick again (another cold virus - Now with new and improved feverishness!). I've almost spent more time sick in '08 than well. How is that possible? I was sick with a nagging cold most of January, the stomach flu hit in early February, and now I have this horrible feverish cold.

I'm finishing up my 3rd bottle of Nyquil. I'm surprised the stuff even works anymore. Surely I've built up a tolerance for it. We're lucky I don't drink alcohol (another post, another time - not a moral stand) or I'd have to drink buckets of the stuff to get to sleep.

The thing is, I was only sick once in the winter of '06/'07. Bella was in preschool then as now, so it's not the kids-in-school factor. I think I do know what it is though...

...Red Bull



Yes, that Red Bull. This is going to sound strange (maybe not to you regulars) but I used to drink 1-2 Red Bulls per day. In my defense, it was purely for the taste and to keep the caffeine headaches away. I actually like the stuff. At first sip it's like a sugary Strawberry soda but quickly changes into a bitter but pleasant taste. It's honestly a bit of an acquired taste. There's nothing else like it. None of the other energy drinks come close, even when they tempt me with 2-4 times the fluid quantity per can. A coworker friend of mine was into it the same time as me. We were like drug buddies. Either one of us could smell a freshly opened can all the way across the room. We used to buy pallets in bulk at Sam's Club to save 50 cents per can. It has that certain something.

I had to shake the Red Bull in late January when my back started getting really bad. I didn't need the calories (it's actually slightly less than regular cola per volume) and the caffeine Jonesing was another excuse for calories in general, so I quit cold turkey. It's not that hard when you're in the kind of pain I was. Also it was costing $2-$4 per day which ads up to $1100/year on average. Yikes.

Anyway, my original point: does a Red Bull a day keep the doctor away? It's not just caffeine. There are different herbal energy ingredients too. Maybe one of them is it. Maybe Taurine maintains your immune system. Maybe I should do a study and write a book.

Or maybe I should save my $3/day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Tanker Deal



Okay, I know I'm going to catch heck for this, but here goes.

I'm going to speak my mind about this whole fuel tanker deal. I know Boeing is *sort of* the home team here, so yeah, it is a big deal to Wichita, but was it the correct decision for the Air Force to choose the Airbus / Northrup Grumman design over "ours"? Before anyone answers, I would say there's almost no way to know for sure. None of us has read the technical proposals or financial contracts. This huge negative reaction is entirely emotional. All we know is Boeing is good for Wichita and it didn't work out so something criminal must have gone on and Tiahrt/Roberts/Brownback need to see who could possibly have screwed this up.

In the big picture here, I would argue that what matters most is that the armed forces get a tanker that's the right technical solution and they get the best price for it. The US Government is not a jobs program via military contracts. The end product matters the most when the rubber meets the road and the tanker is in service. It's not like we're buying a MIG from the Russians or Chinese here either. France is a NATO ally and Northrup Grumman is an American company. What might be a bummer for Wichita may well be a boon to Northrup Grumman's hometown and the US military. And before you poop on the French realize that they just elected a government that's intent on patching up US relations. In other words, a majority of the voting French public rejected Jacques Chirac's actions and actually have a pro-US stance on several matters.

Tiahrt/Roberts/Brownback will continue to hunt down a bogey man for this but the fact is they are local politicians concerned about protecting their home district. This is the kind of thing that gets them reelected. If they were from another district we wouldn't be hearing from them, most likely. Don't fool yourself. Of course I'll continue to vote for these guys for other reasons but the point of this post is to encourage us all not to get wrapped up in this for purely emotional reasons.

Red Meat Comics

Am I the only one that thinks these cartoons are funny? It's not always hysterical but sometimes it hits me just right. The Marlboro man is probably my favorite recurring character.

Monday, March 17, 2008

AC and Me



Man, is it neat to have a common hobby with your spouse. This is a picture of Annie and I freezing our rears off last Sunday at an autocross race with our Mazda stationwagon. The site is Strother Field in Winfield for you aviation buffs (which is probably no one). Annie's gracious parents agreed to take the kids for the day and even volunteered to keep the overnight to save us time in the morning. That was probably worth 30-60 minutes of extra sleep. Thanks T&L!

Annie improved a lot over the course of our heat, dropping 6 seconds off her first time and getting smoother and better almost every run. She already reads the courses better than most; this is a really important component to autocrossing, BTW. An autocross (aka 'solo') is like a miniature road race. It's mostly turns with short straightaways and you have to 'read the cones' to know where to go AND figure out the best way to get through it. Some people just don't have the visual and motor skills to get the first part correct. Annie has picked that up really quickly and will eventually be a very quick driver if she wants to.

Even though this hobby is about like a college major in terms of interest for me and a community college night course for Annie, we have a lot of fun together and I hope it's something we can continue to do.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Don't Funk with the Colonel!

It's Friday (almost). Time for some another edition of Neg's Urban Sports. A reminder: No one curses like the English.



There are several more new posts in my head this week. Just haven't had time to post them lately. Stay tuned.