Posted in The Family, Uncategorized on September 29th, 2008 by Michael

A glass of wine and bad sitcom later, I figured I should post something positive.

We went the to City of Murphy’s 50th anniversary celebration this weekend. Given that MA has a thing for characteratures, we had some made. Here is the one for Max. I’m not thinking it looks like him or captures his essence, but he is not crying, spiting up or making us chase him across the room. In my book, that is A-OK.

We got one of the girls too and I’ll try and post that one once I walk in from the financial ledge.  I guess the world takes off for Jewish holidays — like congress — and so no banking is done.  The market is up almost half of its losses from yesterday.  Hmmm.  Skip the political views below, but do watch the video linked to if you can stand some facts.  Now believe who you want.

What I need is a bail out from the high costs of putting up iron gates.  I am talking IRON not GOLD here.  I am in disbelief over the costs.  That and concrete but actually I assumed that would be a bit more expensive given some of the recovery efforts that are going on in Houston.

You knew it was coming – a regular post tomorrow, I hope.

Posted in Political Opinions on September 29th, 2008 by Michael

Okay. I like to try and be balanced but I think ‘the tipping point’ may just have happened. That bitch Pelosi has to go. She is absolutely a contagious cancer to American politics. Republicans that vote their conscious OR better yet, their constituent’s will, are “unpatriotic” (of course, I guess the Democrats that did the same are okay). This is the same Pelosi that suggested House adjournment two weeks ago, isn’t it? Is this the same Pelosi who is suppose to be the “LEADER” of the democratically controlled House of Representatives where a majority being all that was needed to pass this bill? How is it that her own party, the ones she is suppose to lead, had 80-90 or so members vote against it and they only needed another 12 to pass it, yet this is a failure of the Republicans? Or better yet a symbol of the Republican’s loosing faith in their president? Does that mean that all of the Democratic voting for the bill endorse the President? Please. This monstrosity has to go.

Of course, this is the Democratic party… passage of this bill – which I am challenged with accepting as good – does fall in line with their thoughts that paying higher taxes is Patriotic (Biden’s view, not mine). Of course, everyone will be paying them, not just the ‘rich’ who may have earned them through hard work (e.g. not inherited them, didn’t make a movie or catch a ball to get them). Going to be tough to get the Union vote in four years explaining why their paycheck is smaller than ever without Bush to blame.

And, I decided to take back any good will towards Barney Frank after his decree that this occurred because of “Bush and John McCain”. How did McCain impact the banking rule changes of 2006 in the House, where Barney is its chairman? BTW, McCain is not even on a Banking or Finance committee not that it would have mattered given his spotty voting record over the last couple of years.

About Barney “the savior” of this situation which he and Pelosi say was CAUSED by Republicans (they also forgot the CRA was created under Carter) …  Granted this is on FOX and they choose to interview/highlight who they want, but still, they are not using a standin for Barney Frank or Charles Schumer here: a short video

Ok, in some fairness, McCain should be ashamed of himself for trying to take come credit for the events leading up this as most agree he was a distraction if anything in the negotiations. Of course, Barack also claimed he helped get significant measures added – again to the dismay of those involved who stated he appeared disinterested and aloof at best. Politics! They should both have to stand in front of the class and tell the truth. Give everyone tomatoes to pelt those that lie. Charge $5 a toss – that would erase the deficit in a hurry.

Hump Day it is…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on September 24th, 2008 by Michael

This whole camera decision is kicking my butt. I was off the Nikon wagon, now sort of back on. Plus, you have Leica now trying to make a play back in the market with some pretty freaking hot technology. I fear that they will be acquired in the near term. That would be good and bad. So, I like my new lens so much that I am back in the Canon camp and was looking forward to the 50D (actually to help focus lenses of all things) but then a new HD movie (yes, 1080P) was put up as a demo on the 5D MII’s capabilities (yes, it can shoot movies too). Plus, samples are coming out and they look awesome (the low light ones). So, then I was swinging back to second mortgage territory….

Then the market went south.

And, we started getting back bids on our little outdoor project. Holy crap things are expensive. For what these people want for an iron gate, I can hire a full time bodyguard. Concrete work is only marginally cheaper though they seem to be all over the board on costs. And, for the record, none of the costs are small….

BTW, if you are looking to get a new TV, this season is the one. With the maturing of the market, softness of retail and the pending digital transformation, TVs are going to be the HOT item. Prices are expected to drop dramatically in the coming months (think 42 inch name brand at $700ish). Not so good news for us, but it doesn’t always have to be about me.

Oh, the Planet of the Apes is being released on blur-ray…for those of you who need the monkey.

Other news is that while she is being a total brat, Meghan has started to sleep in her bed – begrudgingly mostly, but we have had almost a week of it. Just to spite us, she has decided to give up taking naps. This leads to her being a royal PITA but without the crown or dowry. During one of her royal rages, she took out the gate protecting her kingdom (really keeping her in captivity). As such, we have a hole in the wall now.

MA and I are going to try and exercise something more than our patients and livers. She did the treadmill this morning and I actually did a quick walk around the neighborhood – in the dark). So, one day down. Can I have another?

Mackenzie seems to be fascinated with fire hydrants. No, I do not know why but she loves to talk about them incessantly in that three year old way. Ironically, there was a fire truck at playgroup today…

What else… ‘Burn Notice’ is done until the next season. It wasn’t quite as good this season as last but they have to evolve the concept. Speaking of which, isn’t “the Mentalist” the same show as “Psych” but with a higher budget and better stylist?

Speaking of new shows. Sarah Conner- Terminator Chronicles has potential. Big Bang was stupid as ever. I was ambivalent on “How I met your mother” though historically it hits or misses (more hits though). The Star Wars theme resonated well (though I am not a psycho fan of that movie. I’m still married to MA and she doesn’t like “The Fifth Element” – shocking I know!). ‘Two and a Half Men’ was lame but looked like an Emmy winner next to ‘worst week’. ‘CSI Miami’ was good but I am still dumbfounded on the computer technology they have in that lab. ‘NCIS’ was typically strong but horribly predictable. I’m assuming everyone else saw it coming too. Again ‘Mentalist’ was okay and I like the concept of the show –like Pysch. Reminds me of a modern ‘Banacek’ (which was an awesome show). I think that is all we have seen on the TV screen…Tonight I look forward to a movie (“be kind, rewind” ) versus subjecting myself to the horrors that is the ‘new Christine’ and whatever that crap is that comes on after that (though I love Paula Marshall and have since “Cupid” – another excellent TV show – and interestingly, not available on DVD). I don’t do CSI NY. All of this assumes a non-traumatic evening with Meghan and bedtime.

Gas went down today. I guess the bloodsucking leaches of gas station owners thought they had to show a little effort. Still, $3.45 is a little much given oil is at $106. And, no don’t start in on any of the supply BS that Shell was trying to shovel as part of IKE. Assuming that there is ZERO slack in supply lines, gas would go up every time there is an ice storm. Plus, it doesn’t go up BEFORE the hurricane and then again that day and then level out…. If there was a supply line problem, it would have continues to escalate… Duh.

Assuming my shoulder allows, I am golfing on Friday. Exciting….

Blogged out for the day.

Some politics today.

Posted in Political Opinions on September 24th, 2008 by Michael

You know, I almost do not even need to say anything since Joe Biden seems to be able to fill up pages and pages himself. I think someone predicted that…

Anyway, today I again fret over the media and the lack of action of our elected officials.

Part 1 of the rant:

First, we have the NY Times (a liberal bastion – self acknowledged potentially) run a headline of “McCain Aide’s Firm Was Paid by Freddie Mac”. Of course, this was true, or more accurately, his aide’s firm was paid on retainer as a consultant by these organizations (had to read page 2 for that). Begrudgingly, they did print his response that earlier dollars were paid to an advocacy group, which hired his firm, versus to him directly. Additionally, they noted in conversations with the FM giants, the only thing ever asked of Mr. Davis by FM was to speak at a 2006 forum (along with Democrat Paul Begala). Interesting contrast the picture being painted. So obviously, Davis was bought off and by inference they are 1) showing McCain’s life long career or trying to pass reform was just a smokescreen or 2) they are actually buying off McCain too!

Of course, they – in the last paragraph – report that the Center for Responsive Politics determined that in the last twelve years, McCain received a total of $22,000 from “employees” of Freddie Mac and Freddie Mae while over the last FOUR years, Obama has received $126,000. Draw your own conclusions, if any, with that fact.

Personally, FM and FM are so freaking big and have been around so freaking long, I would highly doubt that ANY one elected has not received some sort of lobbying effort from them either directly or via these horrendous ‘leadership PACs’ that politicians have. So, I am less interested in Obama taking more money from them that McCain. My issue is not with the PAC (well, it is but again that is ubiquitous within Washington) but with the reporting of the headlines versus the facts. Most American’s don’t read the articles (unless it is Playboy since everyone ONLY reads that for the articles!), they just snag the headlines and this goes to their decision making process. So, when asked how the media shapes the elections, there you have it in black and white.

Part II of the rant:

This whole economic issue is really pissing me off. We have to accept the premise that this is all Bush’ fault – since that seems to be universal fact according to polls published by the media – even if he does not ratify the budgets, set the spending for agencies, empower the agencies to govern, write the laws that allows for these activities to occur or sit on the committees that have oversight to them. All right given all of that, he tries to do something about it by proposing some whopping bailout.

What does congress do? They first say “it is a horrible plan” then many of them go back and bury their head in the sand. Some have even suggested that they will not even vote on a proposal before recess… WTF? My view: First, I got no issue with someone not liking an idea. But to crap on it without an alternative is cowardly. Yes, I said it and Obama did it amongst MANY others as well. And no, this was not just a Democratic laxative but a lot of Republicans refused to get off the pot too. Now, there are those that are trying to take pieces and parts of the proposal and craft together some solutions. It is exactly what they should be doing (well now that they let things get to this point) and I’ll even given Barney Frank some credit for doing so. Of course, this is the same Barney that was responsible for the committee that governed this area, the same one that has been historically in FM’s pocket (read the reports yourself) and the same one that now is calling for “more congressional oversight”. Yes, it is turning to the fox to guard the henhouse but at least he is willing to do something. Sometimes you have to do something. Sometimes you do it wrong. But sitting on the sidelines saying “not my job” is not a leadership position (take notes, Mr. Hoyer). So, I do encourage you all to contact your representatives and tell them that their actions are being noted.

I also want to jump on the typical political BS that causes me no end of consternation. I’m stealing from the MSNBC’s reporting here so go look them up to get the full details. Rep. Joe Courtney (Dem) says that , “The speaker is smart not to be staking out positions.” Wow. Let’s have a poll to make a decision. He also said that a Wall Street bailout passed mostly with Democratic votes “is certainly not the endgame Pelosi wants. They are looking to get Republican fingerprints on a final package.” Ah, okay? The article also went on to say “Some Democrats were insisting that the bill must include features Republicans were bound to find repugnant.” Shocking. That is like adding pork to a Medicare appropriations bill. Damned if you do vote for it, damned if you don’t. Politics suck (note: again, for those that believe I have single party purpose, I am generic here since both parties do this… regularly and it is wrong).

Okay, my view on the proposal? I don’t have one yet. It seems that things may not be as dire as one would be led to believe but then again, there is a lot of complicated things going on within the markets. I certainly do not understand them all but am interested in learning more. I am not even sure this action is required. Could this be a knee jerk reaction? Again, I am not sure and I think some discussion/debate is a healthy thing here. Banking is really weird if you think about it. They are inherently insolvent (debits always outweigh real assets). The stock market is the same. Outside of minor dollars paid via dividends, it is always based on prospects of a new investor. The gold standard was slightly more real but still it assumes value in an entity that really has nominal value outside of aesthetics and conductivity… At any time things can go south and be manipulated (remember “it’s a wonderful life”? Kind of makes you think. I’d be doing the Arsenio Hall “hmmmm” thing here if I were not a middle aged, non-hip, white guy.

So, if this plan (or a variant) is required, do I agree with the premise in curtailing ‘golden parachutes’, Yes, I think I do but surely there would be some legal challenges to it. Do I think judges should be allowed to rewrite mortgages? Hell no. Do I like the government bailing out these folks getting nothing in return. Of course not. Do I like them getting equity positions in some of the companies as an option? Not sure I do…and this is more from an adverse socialism perspective than anything. Let’s face it, lawmakers and administrative agencies are not good business people and I am not sure I see a lot of value in them owning companies. However, I do like the idea of the government getting profits out of these companies as part of the process though. Again, the devil is in the details.

Final point here : a free market economy works… but in it, you have perceived winners and losers. Those that have less are always mad at those that have more (and they want part of it).

Just heard McCain wants to put off some campaigning and some debates to focus on the economy issues. Well, that is interesting. I don’t think the debate should take up too much time but the campaigning can and should end. These guys should be ‘campaigning’ by showing us how they lead in the Senate. That assumes that they remember where it is … it is not like they have been there voting this year.

one last thing

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on September 22nd, 2008 by Michael

Max had his checkup today. 

He continues to be tall and thin in opposition of his dad.  He, of course, was not a fan of the doctor, in alignment of his dad. 

But being a mover and shaker, after her announcement that he might be fussy because of some constipation, he chose to let it all out (a double whammy, if you like) just to mock her medical opinion.  One has to respect that …

On another positive note, Sony will have a $200 blu-ray player out and that are likely to be matched by Samsung and Panasonic before Christmas.  Some BR discs are also starting to fall in price (mostly BD-25 vs BD-50 versions though but all is good).   For those of you who search Amazon, you will see that I have put up a list of BR discs that I personally am looking forward to getting over time (mostly as a reminder to me).  For those that have asked, the omission of  “Dude, where is my car?” was not a mistake.

Happy first day of fall.

I’m back

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on September 22nd, 2008 by Michael

How ‘bout  those Cowboys?  Okay, I really don’t care.  I watched pieces and parts.  Saw this horrible no call, some pretty lousy tackling, etc.  I was impressed with TO.  I know people like to give him a hard time for being a jackass – which he probably is – but I saw him chase down the cornerback from the end zone after a poorly tossed Romo interception.  The other 10 guys didn’t see to have any interest in going after him (or at least tackling him).  Secondly, on that one Jones TD run.  Once Jones busted loose, TO put on the after burners to catch up with him and throw some blocks securing the TD.   That was impressive for a “selfish” guy so I’ll give him his props.  He can go back to being an ass next week.

This camera thing continues to haunt me.  I had decided to go with the 50D since its lens adjustment is something I am keen on as well as the benefit of getting the extra reach in the event one of the kids takes up an organized sport.  However, a couple of cameras are starting to show up in the wild.  The 50D is said to be 1 stop more sensitive than the 40D (which I own).  That would mean, I could shoot at 1600 with some NR applied.  The expensive 5D M2 is said to be 2-2.5 more sensitive than that, or basically useable to iso 6400. That is like shooting in the dark.  Still, not ready to put one year of the college fund on a camera.  Argh…………

balloonThe balloon festival came and went.  Meghan, after another day of no napping, was a terror.  It was not until the end  + a hot dog, did she start to act reasonably.  Mackenzie was a poster child of goodness however (well until we go home…).  She did some art things and really liked the balloons.  She has a thing for balloons though.  I got the chance to use my new professional lens.  With a cropped camera (like mine), I was actually too close to get really good shots but I think a few were worth noting.  Unfortunately, the sun was not in the right place for the family shots though I took some anyway.  I’m really happy with that lens.  The one it is replacing is a sharp one, but going pro is something else.  There were several of the same out in the field taking shots for newspapers, etc.

Even though I hate to pay to park in normally free parking spots to attend an event on public land I already pay for via taxes, I did it anyway.  Of course, if they were to make me pay $5 for Meghan to go in, there would have been a showdown.  The ticket taker was a spry 70, but I think I could have taken her.  Anyway, there was not that much to do but I can imagine life would have been pretty sweet with a couple of chairs and a cooler.  These kind of fairs bring out some good things, including cowboy burritos, funnel cakes, giant corn dogs and limeaide (well, in Texas you also get tea, sweet or not).  Lots of worthless booths too.  Obama people had one and there was a republican booth with balloons and stickers as well (note: Mackenzie was partial to the “sarah” sticker she got – she even wore it to bed).  This being in the South, one was more popular than the other.  Of course, there were also tons of vacations that we passed on trying to “win” as well.  At least it was only in the 80s and not too crowded (note: the Cowboys were going to be on TV…).  Max was pouch carried and didn’t seem to mind one way or another.

Same time next year…

Quick political thought…

Posted in Political Opinions on September 22nd, 2008 by Michael

With the Emmy’s occurring last night (too bad is got horrible numbers due to the Cowboys game), it gives yet another idiot pulpit for celebrities, which they insist on using (yes, like me).  So, by all accounts these folks are the most privileged in society.  They make TONS of money, are able to lawyer out of most criminal activities that we would be thrown in jail for (note: that is just not an actor benefit, but all celebrities – including athletes), etc.  So, why is it that they want to campaign (okay, really just whine, but we will call it campaigning) for change?  What would they want to change?  They have it great and got it that way – one could argue  — by taking advantage of a society that was governed obviously by those that are evil.  

So why do entertainers seem to hate Republicans? 

  • Is it because they are concerned about free speech?  Republicans love free speech – even to the point where it is inclusive of religion (an interesting irony for some ardent democrats). 

  • Is it because they are concerned that they can not continue to be greedy, hold out for large sums of money and force the basis for entertainment to rise for the working class (e.g. while the rich get richer)?  Well, some would argue that Republicans love that too. 

  • Is it because they are concerned about regulation?  Republicans tend to promote smaller government.  Hmmm.  

  • Of course, a lot of entertainers are, say “artsy” and probably did not ‘fit’ into the standardized approach for education, etc. so this may be distasteful for them   — Side note.  FIve years ago educators were decrying that there are no standards.  Now, some are bitching that they have to prepare for tests (NCLB) and will be graded on their performance.  What a horrible concept!  Sorry  to our friends that are teachers.

  • Most entertainers live in California where whack jobs are a dime a dozen so nature could have a play here.  That could be something.   By the way, do we really want folks who approve of and are entrenched in the LA and NY  way of life to represent anyone ?

  • Republicans believe in the notion that there should be law and order everywhere (for those with cable, no pun intended!).  With all of drugs, drunk driving, etc so prevalent, this could be an anti-climatic selling event for those with Betty Ford on speed dial.   Sure there is badness everywhere I’m guessing more so here than say in the ranks of firemen.

Of course, I understand Republicans — well the rich ones.  They have money and don’t want to give it back in Taxes.   Okay.   I get Democrats that might be poor — they are looking for additional services.  These make sense. There is a connection between a need and a perceived benefit or platform of the party.

I just find it interesting that you have such an intense density of democrats in this vertical  industry… Then again, the are not really part of the real world.  Raise their taxes?  They raise their rates and pass it on to us. Sports people the same way.  That is why tickets to pro games are $50-200 and movies are $9.  There is a market but they squeese out a segement of the populus.  Unfortunately, no global economy to deal with here so no competitive pressures.  Usually competition breeds increased value.  Not so in entertainment & sports.  It is an elitiest game..

Of course, for those that really care vs just talk about it on TV, they need to do more than a couple of publicity events and/or token donations to some non-profit, PAC or political campaign.  That said, there are some that do and I do applaud them for that (even if I might disagree with the cause).  Of course, that assumes that they attempt to do so in a civil manner.  Sean Penn, need not apply.  Ed Bagley, Jr, is a superstar in this regard.  Not only do I appreciate what he is trying to do, but truly, he walks the walk.  Of course, his wife is a saint too for putting up with some of those dishes he makes.

A little bloggy today – Cameras

Posted in Michael's thoughts on September 22nd, 2008 by Michael

Probably not too interesting to most since it will be about cameras or more specifically high end digital cameras.  No politics, No kids stories.  Just cameras.

First, Canon released their latest incarnations a couple of dozen hours ago and you would have thought it was Ireland and they were Catholics.  Man.  There is a lot of venom out there.  Some say it is awesome, some say it sucks.  Literally THOUSANDS of posts on some of the more respected photography forums.  Note: this is on a camera that has not been touched by anyone, examples posted by anyone or reviewed by anyone.    Can’t wait for that debate between the fanboys and the trolls.  Ouch.

Personally, I am a little underwhelmed.  I don’t really get their strategy but more importantly, it was not the camera I really wanted… I wanted something that had fast AF, good ISO performance, around 15M, was full frame and less than $2000.  Well, we didn’t get that.  This causes me some doubt now on what to do.  All camera’s are compromises. 

The highly rated D700 and D3s from Nikon are compromises in that they max out at 12M.  That is a lot, don’t get me wrong but when you do a lot of cropping, this can limit you (note: I shoot with a 10MP one now).  Honestly, I would say that I might have had a dozen or two shots out of the last 6-7000 that this was an issue with.  So, one could say, deal with it.  However, you get to deal with “it” at the tune of $3000.  Ouch.  Canon has its own D700 competitor that is fantastic in its own right but that is limited at 10M and comes in at around $3500.  Ouch again.  Of course, THE camera also remains a Canon.  It is full frame, shoots faster than diarrhea out of a two year old and has megapixels to burn.  However, it is also around $7K and weighs almost three pounds.   Not exactly the hobbyist camera…

Of course, Canon released a new 50D that is the next generation of my camera.  Has pretty much every thing I want except it is not full frame.  Dilemmas….

A chart for those playing at home:


Canon 50D

Canon 5D II

Canon 1 MIII

Nikon D300

Nikon D700

Nikon D3
















VG +



VG +




6 fps

3.9 fps

5-10 fps

3-6 fps

5 fps

9 fps
















If all of these were half the price, I would probably have an easier decision.  However, paying more for a camera than my first car is just not something I can wrap my head around yet.  However, it is one of those things that I have to work on… I mean, I can get a small handheld camera for 2-300 bucks that does a nice job.  Yes, does a nice job if you have good light, the subject isn’t moving, you are planning on printing at 8×10 or less, etc.   In essence, I would get 10-20%% of the shots that I get today.  So, some that perspective, I can justify in my head paying 5-10x more for a beast.  Of course, that still hurts worse than a night of reality shows.   My minor investment to date, has convinced me I have to say with Canon.  In the long run, it is not so much the camera, but the lenses that are your major expense (similar to printers and ink).   And I just bought a fantastic new lens… The two flash units are just icing on the cake.

But which Canon?  Obviously, the 1Ds is not an option nor is a new Mark III (until I find those magic 6 numbers).  The 50D is the price range I want but how much better is it to its predecessor (which I use)?  Do I buy something that is not full frame when it is full frame that I really want?  Again, the dilemma.

Why full frame?  Well, most if not all cameras today are cropped, meaning they only use a portion of the lens and multiply out the ‘effective’ magnification of the lens.  Most are 1.5 or 1.6x.  That is all good for distance events since the object appears closer.  However, it is bad for ‘wide’ angle shots.  It is really difficult to get really wide angles on digital cameras because of this magnification (e.g. a 35mm shot becomes a 56mm shot, etc.).  Okay, I’m not Ansel Adams so who cares?  Well, the other thing that full frame cameras give you is increased DOF.  In practical terms, this multiplier, in essence, appears to compress distances.  As such, it is harder to get that 3D look that can make an image go from great to special.  Not to say that you cannot get some of that by limiting your focus DOF with fast lenses –  you can – but it takes a lot more work and skill.  I’m about being easy…

I guess there is a side point to all of this.  As you know , I really like capturing memories.  Actually I want to do more.  I would love to be a professional photographer but I personally  1) lack the talent (vision wise) and 2) still need to have an income.  Bloody details…

Oh, to the question, do I need a new camera?  Of course I do.  Don’t be silly.  After golf, it is the only sanity dividend I have.  The question is what, when and how much of my old junk will I part with to get it….  For those ebay nuts, you just might find a 350D and a telephoto lens, a film camera (Nikon 90s)and an underwater camera (Nikos IV)  appearing there soon.


Posted in The Family on September 16th, 2008 by Michael

Okay, we have the lists started… I have not linked to the web site yet as I am in denial over Canon’s decision to hold their press conference TOMORROW instead of today.  23 hours and 53 minutes and counting….

Mackenzie’s List
My Amazon.com Wish List

Meghan’s List

My Amazon.com Wish List

Maxwell’s List

My Amazon.com Wish List

Please note that the kids already have a house full of crap.  If you insist on getting them things, please do so in as a reasonable and minimalist manner that you can….

MA and I are pretty much self supporting but I also know that you are all ignoring our comments on how we need nothing.  There are lists for us as well but again, practice self control as possible.

Regular Musings

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Uncategorized on September 15th, 2008 by Michael

Okay, normal stuff for today or tomorrow, more specifically. I am excited as Canon will FINALLY release their specs for their new camera. I have zero doubt that I will indeed get a series case of sensor envy when that new 20+ megapixel beast is released. Fortunately, I can temper that with the near immediate sticker shock…. Also, Tuesday is the release of the blu-ray edition of Speed Racer. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the movie but I have no doubt that it will be a visual feast. I also read that the audio is a little lame on this version but hopefully, my newly installed 7.1 set up can mutter through it.

I bought some Synergy speakers for the man room to augment the 5.1 into 7.1 (which my old receiver supports). They are $99/pair and ‘fire’ in three directions. They are wall mounted to the sides of the heavy as a rock couch. And, having watched Fifth Element, I can conclusively say, they sound surprisingly good. Better than I expected actually. I am tempted to replace my NHT which provide the rear surround with another pair. Of course, I don’t have another need for the NHTs right now so that is kind of wasting money and I am trying to avoid doing that these days…

Speaking of that, bonus checks came out. Paltry is the best word I can use. I know, ‘bonuses’ are suppose to be above and beyond but it doesn’t really work that way in my company. Oh well, no new full frame camera. No trip to Australia. No new car. I suppose we can still afford to supersize our value meal next time with go to the ‘happy meal’ place. That’s something I guess. Why my expectations are higher than Jessica Simpson’s IQ after all of these years, I will never know. BTW, those Star Wars bobble-head toys at McD are pretty sweet.

Now that I am back in Texas, I have grown addicted to iced tea again.

The Plano balloon festival is this weekend. Might be taking the kids pending the weather. Sadly, I’ve lost my very cool sunglasses – somewhere in the house – and that too might impact us partaking in the event. Plus, I hate paying to park to walk across the street to the park where it is staged – a PUBLIC park…

October is just a couple of weeks away and that means we will be in full on Holiday Hell. I am sure people will start bugging us about the kids so we are going to try and make things simple by using Amazon’s wish list function. You simply have to go to Amazon.com and search on the names to find it. If you are challenged with that, you can go to the website and click on their names at the top. I’ll put a little button on there that goes to the list. It will look like this: My Amazon.com Wish List . This is Mackenzie’s list. Well, it is the start of it. We decided to get her a camera. She really enjoys playing with some of our older ones but does get distracted about having to wait for the button, etc. Plus, we are assuming that if it is made of plastic, so much the better…. As MA can attest, they do not like to be dropped. You can start looking there in a few days. Note: you do not have to buy from there, or that specific item, it is more of an ‘idea generator’. I have one too but of course “a good night sleep” and “some peace and quiet” were not available.

Max is getting pretty mobile now. I’d say he is about 70% crawling. Still does the caterpillar move from time to time. He is also into climbing. He so wants to but is still challenged. He can hang on to things and stand for a few seconds before he hits bottom. Mackenzie really seems to like to play with him (or more importantly, lay there so he can climb over her). Meghan, I think, is getting classic middle child syndrome. She oscillates between wanting to do thing Mackenzie does and being a baby. She has become clingy. She is a little annoying, actually. That said, she did sleep in her bed last night. Maybe 4th time…now, if we could only get some consistency going so Max could sleep in his crib, we could sleep peacefully in our bed, etc.