It is a Halloween….

Posted in Michael's thoughts on October 31st, 2008 by Michael

So my top 25 things I find scary

  1. The ACLU
  2. People who have faith in the TSA.
  3. Knowing that the Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster dish at Capitol Grill is worse for you calorie and fat wise, than most supersized value meals at Burger King.
  4. What happens in the CEO office of most American corporations
  5. The thought of more reality TV.
  6. HOAs
  7. Stupid people voting
  8. Jim Carvel and Mary Matalin in the same house.
  9. The age between 2 and 4
  10. Phone calls
  11. A 6 foot putt for par.
  12. The time between when you take medical tests and you get that call from the Doctor.
  13. The idea of an unfettered government run by socialists wanna bees.
  14. Snakes
  15. The thought I would be doing what I am doing in a couple of more years.
  16. Flying in thunderstorms
  17. When people like Doctors or worse yet, mechanics, say “hmmmm….”
  18. The tax code
  19. The amount of crap that we flush out into the ocean
  20. McDonald’s secret sauce
  21. A small Dallas Cowboy lead in a big game.
  22. Spandex on women > size 6
  23. Speedos on men
  24. Opening the bill from Verizon knowing that is appears to be categorically impossible for them to do it correctly.
  25. It will be 17 more years before the kids are out of the house………….

So goes another blog

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 30th, 2008 by Michael

I think some are reading this based on the “you da man” comments back on my spreading the truth around fiscal policy but even if this is just for me, it will serve as a record of events nevertheless.

Halloween is quickly approaching. As everyone knows, it is my second least favorite holiday. Having kids does move the needle a little to the right but not much. It appears that Texans do take this a little more seriously than some other communities but that doesn’t surprise me. Texans, I have noticed, tend to be pretty straightforward folks, unabashedly so in their actions, views and convictions. That is a good thing to me. I generally like to know where people stand, right or wrong. Of course, I prefer that people 1) have an open mind and 2) do not feel the need to assimilate me into their views, but you can not have everything.

The kids, of course, love this holiday. Not only is it a time to dress up, but they get candy. And candy to them is a good thing. To those over 30, it is a nightmare when mixed with the hyperactive and out of control elements that dominate the child psyche. Sad to say, but the best behaved one of the bunch is the only one that can’t walk or talk or eat candy (yet) – must be a guy thing. With those that have slipped out of the angel phase, there are the constant challenges in establishing boundaries (and my unwavering opinion that the keeper of truth around right or wrong on this matter is me) and of course, the strong desire NOT to enter any sort of sleep regiment, albeit naps or normal nighttime slumber. This is a vicious cycle as less sleep means more obnoxious conduct. And for those in the grandparent arena, no it isn’t cute. It is annoying and I very much hope temporary behavior.

Maxwell, of course, is very good natured about it all. As long as there is food on the table when he sits down, he is a happy camper. Of course, he does have a bad habit on wanting to stand near things he should not, go up stairs and of course, crash into things but those are minor annoyances.

Speaking on annoyances, I hope no one bothered to watch Obama’s factually light commercial yesterday (I really think he thinks he is a celebrity). For a guy who wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, he could have made a personal contribution of about $50 million and saved the all of us the airwave pollution. Plus, thankfully, we have Netflix (and “IronMan” on blu-ray just arrived to back up “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”).

Anyway, I am very pleased to see gas now around $2.05. Of course, that is still 20 cents more than it should be based on oil prices. I am NOT pleased at the arrogance of certain companies that have not reversed or dropped their ‘fuel surcharges’. They are punks and deserve scorn.

After 500 shots, our little LX3 camera is doing pretty well though I still confess it is too complicated to use as a P&S. If we could find the manual, it would serve us well to read. A normally reasonable website reviewed the new Canon 50D to less than glowing returns today. It still garnered their “highest recommendation” but barely. Additionally, it appears that they have finally caved to pressure and as such are a little more bias than they should be. Sad, really. What happened to just the facts?

Related, after contemplating horribly bad possibilities, I finally have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to take a look at my right arm/shoulder. Lots of self diagnosis has occurred to increase my stress level in light of the gloom and doom on the Internet (remember back in the days when that was just jokes of the day and porn? Geez. It is as depressing as the evening news now). Anyway, now, I am off to increase his bank account. Though I am not holding out a lot of hope, I would like a reasonable outcome to not include surgery especially if it includes the word “fuse”.

Contemplating some changes at the office too but more on that later (maybe).

Our landscaping exercise is nearing completion. MA has been slapping up the last of the stain. The holes were dug and most of the grass removed — in weakened state – last weekend. I think it looks okay-dokay. Now, to the front but of course, we have to get permission again from the hostility unit known as the HOA. They currently are not pleased with us because I have chosen not to edge the flower bed. Hmmm. They can bite me. Anyway, it is the flowerbed that I want to redo though I do not welcome the idea of schlepping block after block and mortaring them together. Of course, I do like it better than paying someone $800 to do it. Then our work will be done. However, given it is still 80 outside, we could do more but probably should turn our attention inside.

We have a garage that we can not fit a car in and an office that is overrun with assorted crap. Not to mention we have a junk room that is… full of junk and a toy room overflowing with – you guessed it, toys. Of course, that will likely be getting worse here in the near term but we have planted the seed that some toys will need to be given away. Of course, not sure that will germinate within the 2 and 3 year old cerebral field (as little does). I know it has been a challenge for us older ones too though we DO try and get rid of something during every acquisition (as long as you do not include cameras, cookie jars, etc.)

Not sure what else is upon us… Holidays. For those that have asked, we will be here for Christmas. The kid’s lists continues to be slowly populated on Amazon so you don’t have to bug us about individual sizes or items. Mackenzie still wants a baby doll and with every new mail delivery of catalogs, she has a new “favorite”. Inevitably, with all of the planning in the world, they will end up fighting over the same toy or not playing with whatever we thought was great and instead invest their time in an empty box. So goes being young. I predict that Maxwell will spit up on or droll all over any outfit he receives. Have expectations set accordingly.

The work continues

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts on October 24th, 2008 by Michael

Yes, I understand that not all want to read about the grim realities facing our country today… so here is me, doing some manual labor, which I detest. It goes without saying that if I were in the 250K tax bracket, I would be paying someone to do this…. Oh, you can see the handy dandy red elm that I planted after digging a hole nearly the size of the trade deficit (note, the first hole was fine until it was discovered that it is directly on top of our sprinkler pipes…). For those who wonder about such things, the stain is a “redwood” version from the Behr ‘premium’ collection at Home Depot. The damn stuff is 1) expensive and 2) prone to splatter all over you. Given how hard it is get off, I have no doubt that this was a sane investment for the beleaguered wood fence. They say it is ‘weatherproof’ not just ‘waterproof’ with an expected protection period of 4-6 years. I think it looks nice too. Next project is to get something in the planter box and the put in the border around the front tress and flower beds. More manual labor. More suckage from my bank account.

There was some pumpkin decorating too that has happened but more on that in the very near future. It might have been the picture of the week but alas, the big Ohio State Penn State game is on this weekend and that trumps most in this household.

The election and exploitation of America

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

Okay, I have made some decisions. I just can not find myself voting for Barack Obama. Here is why:

  1. First, the guy has no practical experience and in tough times, I want someone who has been through hell to lead the way. He may be capable but Harvard nor his short tenure in congress is a battleground of reality.
  2. He doesn’t have a plan. Not that this is a requirement since frankly most do not have a plan but they have a vision and Barack’s vision is fatally flawed.
  3. He has no clout within his own party and he will be ram-roaded by them (think Redford in “the Candidate”). Afterall, he (“oh, I am for change”) did use his one pick to select a party insider like Biden who hasn’t changed a thing besides hair spray in the last 30 years. Why was that?
  4. Related, we need some checks and balances and with a Pelosi/Reid congress. If left unchallenged, bad bad things will happen. The men in wings back in the day even had the forethought to build in checks and balances into our system.

On the other side, I’m not sure McCain has a plan either. I see what he has put forth as vision and it is pretty much half baked too. So, you can see my vote is less a pro-McCain as it is an anti-Barack and anti-Pelosi vote. I will state for the record today that I think the country would be better off with an Obama-non Pelosi government than a McCain-Pelosi one. That is how strongly I feel the congress has missed the boat and been an absolute failure to the American people. For those of you who want to simply blame Bush, go ahead. It is short sighted and frankly you will all be surprised when you find out that the President doesn’t run the show outside of foreign policy (to which Obama knows nothing).

Finally, I did want to speak out on what I have seen around this so called Obama plan. First and foremost, this is America. And in generally, we want to tap into whatever spirit there is to be successful. At the heart of his plan is to tax the ‘rich’ to death. He likes to say that 90% of small businesses will get benefits, etc. He plays to the populous vote. He wants to buy votes so he goes after the bigger crowd. Makes sense given that is his end game. However, I read this a different way. You own a small business. You work your ass off. After years of toil, you finally make it. Good news. Barack is there to punish you for your success. Now, that is not something we should be proud of. Secondly, he has this great idea that we should tax the hell out of businesses that outsource. Hmmm . First, thanks Barack for putting me out of work since that is what I do for a living. Secondly, thanks for tripling the price of every good we buy from Hamburgers up. Oh yeah, also thanks for putting the country into a depression by ignoring that there is a global economy at play, not an American one. I mean, who is this guy’s leading economist? Mr. Magoo?

I want to build on that for a minute. I guess someone has mentioned to him that there is a credit crunch since he keeps talking about it on the stoop. What do you think is going to happen when he starts taxing all of the rich? They are going to stop investing. It is these folks that make the money available to other folks to start companies, to grow companies ,etc. Is JP Morgan causing this crash of the market? Their predatory practices and greed have contributed but it is all of the investors out there taking their money out that is causing it to free fall. So, tax the hell out of the rich and watch the 401Ks of those that you are “helping” dwindle to nothingness.

It is a fact: lower capital gains, increase investment, increase growth and this will increase the market’s valuation. Rich people are rich for a reason. They put their money where it will do the most good for them. Outside of movie stars and athletes or folks that can pass their losses on to others (e.g. raise prices), those that have money do not in any way shape or form want to give it away. When the government tries to come after it, they will move it, hide it or whatever. Personally, I like the idea of them making it available for the rest of us to use versus sitting in Cayman Islands somewhere… Of course that is just me.

I say all of this not because I am in this class about to be taxed to hell. Far from it however I do recognize sound economic levers. Of course, most of Americans don’t. Lots of Americans will thrive in Barack’s plan because it is an entitlement program at the low end, and frankly what works out to be a pretty pathetic buy off of many in the middle class. Of course, that is a recipe for votes since those that get rarely ask how gave. Not planning ahead and thinking about the consequences… isn’t that how come we have all of the foreclosures today?

I will say this regardless of who you like or want to vote for: supporting the basic covenants of the published Obama economic vision is stupid. Plain and simple – almost as stupid as letting those in prison vote (which two states do). Good thing we are letting them vote for judges, etc. Arsenio Hall is “hmmmmmmmmmm”ing himself silly right now, somewhere.

Finally, just because I am cheesed off about the economic plan of the presumptive new President (as well as this utterly stupid idea to float yet another stimulus package – note, how did the first two work out? Idiots. ). I just am appalled about Biden’s comments around paying taxes is patriotic. I guess that is true only if you are not getting your taxes raised to give it away to someone else. Worse yet is the person who spoke these words. Biden is someone who since graduating college has NEVER had a job or source of income (outside of lobbyists) that has not come from taxpayers. Think about that when you think about his credibility on the subject.

Anyway, vote your conscious and for whoever is unfortunate enough to win, may they do what is best for all of us, as Americans and people alike.

I’ll get to it…

Posted in Michael's thoughts on October 21st, 2008 by Michael

Got some staining to do on the fence before the rain comes on Wednesday.  Patience, grasshopper.

Progress and bump in the night

Posted in Housing Woes, Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 15th, 2008 by Michael

Well, the work on the house continues with our ‘guy’. The fence is up (PT wood) so that means I have a staining effort to tackle at some point. I am not a staining fan on fences because it is frankly a pain in the butt. Rollers suck. The pressure wand approach is good but can get all over the place and then you have to deal with the disposal. Brushes? Forget about it.

The concrete additions have been dug out but thanks to the first rain in several weeks, they are micro-lakes now. Therefore, we have at least several more days before they can get back in, lay out the iron supports and get this bad boy poured. Then days after that until they get this flower bed made in the back. We might put bamboo there as a screening material.

Anyway, it should make a difference in parking back there and certainly shall make the little people happy with a place to chalk draw and ride their bikes. The patio edition (see right) will finally provide a home for grill, which has been subjugated to the garage these past months.

The gate guy has come by as well getting that measured, etc. He thinks that is about a week out with powder coating and all to do. It is going to be weird having a gated yard. I mean, I’ll be like Paris Hilton without the great body or the eight 0s in the bank account ledger (or being a blond woman, of course). I could get to blond for $6.99 but I digress. In any event, this will provide some peace of mind to MA and I guess that was worth the three thousand pints of plasma I’ll have to donate…

Speaking of Paris and things that go bump in the night… wait this is family website. If you didn’t get that – good. You are spending your time on something useful versus tabloid trash. Anyway, Meghan – as she likes to do – was out of bed. Upon our arrival, she dashes back to bed because in a 2year old brain, we would not ever know she was out of bed. Anyway, this time she feel down and whacked her face on the metal support frame. Playing smack daddy with furniture is really a good idea.  Yes, there was a great deal of crying  and it looked like it hurt, but then again, she feel asleep while getting iced down.  Youth is a good thing.

Here is a day 2 picture – yes, that is Meghan and not a Nick Nolte mug shot. Save it now as it is not likely to be the picture of the week…

As if the world was not small enough, we watched “Good Luck Chuck” from Netflix this week (if you know the movie, you see the tie in to the Meghan story). Of course Jessica Alba is well, Jessica Alba but the movie itself was much better than expected. Yes, we did have LOW expectations. Anyway good vehicle for her which is nice since she is regarded as one of the nicest around in Hollywood (and she was great in Dark Angel – at least season one before it jumped the shark). Of course, co-star in that show was none other than Michael Weatherly of current NCIS fame. Another Netflix movie previewed was Redbelt. Not a fast mover but not one that you thought sucked either. It was a David Mamut film if that means anything to you.

Guess that is all for now.

Just a blog…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 14th, 2008 by Michael

Okay, I have read the tea leaves of the American population and decided that Bush is the greatest president ever. I mean, when the stock market fell 800 points, they said he was the worst. So, when it had a 900 point rise – the largest in history – it must mean he is great. Again, I just report the facts. Personally, he had little to do with the fall or the rise, so he get no credit from me.

Now, to important stuff.

Sleeping Beauty has been released and on blu-ray it is in the ORGINALLY filmed aspect ratio. Therefore, people will be seeing it for the first time. There is an excellent technical review out there somewhere that I read (okay, here is the link: It talks about how it was filmed and recorded. Interesting stuff. Anyway, this was done in 2.55:1. What? Okay, it is WIDE WIDE screen. Most movies are shot in 2.35 to one, though some are 2.05 or 1.85:1 (especially if digital). This latter is what you are getting if you have a newer widescreen TV (e.g. 16:9). However, originally movies were wider (hence the black bars) – you can do some special squeezing, but it is what it is. Older TVs are in 1.33:1 (e.g. 4:3). When you “crop” these movies, you loose some of the action. Most “standard” movies “pan and scan” the wider version to include most of the action. However, you are only getting part of the picture at any one time. Anyway, even for those who watched SB in theater did not see it all since by the time it was released, the industry had ‘standardized’ on 2.35:1 so it was cropped. Not a huge amount of difference, but I did want to show all of the potential versions. First is 2.55:1 (note the blog space is not wide enough to show it all but you can save the image and compare), the second is 2.35:1 (what we could call widescreen), the third is 1.85:1 (home widescreen) and the fourth is the 1.33: 1 version. Wow.

This important thing here is to notice all of the detail that is not seen in the cropped versions. Who would have known? They did some interesting things with the sound too but that is too technical to get into. Anyway. I find this very cool, even if it is not my favorite movie. Note: Lawrence of Arabia was also done in 2.55:1 as was Lady and the Tramp (Which I think it coming to blu-ray in 2009 or 2010).

What else… work has started on our house. We have the fence and concrete guy out now – right before rain is setting in (of course). I wrote up a nice contract for him. I am not a lawyer, but I do love the internet. He just mentioned he wants a deposit so he can purchase materials. I kind of figured he would — this looks like a just in time operation — but then again, he didn’t ask before hand. I do not like surprises but gave in anyway since it actually is reasonable. Just to be legal, according to the contract, he acknowledges that he is meets all government imposed requirements (e.g. entitled to work in this country and will pay appropriate taxes). That is my position and am sticking to it. The gate guy did ask for money up front and has an established business which even advertises in our local paper. He too got the sign the contract. I know most of his cost is equipment so I don’t have an issue with it. I lament over the fund depletion but it is for the kids. Kids, argh, sometimes.

Speaking of fund depletion. I got two new cameras. I did go with the 50D since I only have two kidneys and I did not want to sell one off for the awesome 5D Mark II. Interestingly, the camera is not perfect but I did align most of my lens (one was +6, the other +8). The ones lens I wanted to align – a driver for this camera – was too far off to get aligned so it is off to Canon…Pisses me off. Both of these lens were spot on with my previous camera (hence I know it is the camera that is off a little). The second camera is an enthusiast, pocket cam. I went to Lumix for this one and grabbed the LX3. It is retro in styling but full of features. Maybe too many features. Most think that smaller means point and shoot, but not here. It even has manual focus as an option! Anyway, once we figured out how to use it last night, I can say, it takes a nice picture for something that small. It will be our travel camera. The neck band is already attached to keep it from meeting the same fate as its [much] cheaper and smaller predecessor. Plus, I am getting some cash back from Microsoft….

Okay, sometimes you do stupid things. I know I have done MANY in my life. For those that involved a state of sobriety, I would suggest that going to the State Fair at the same time as the Texas-Oklahoma football game ranks up there. In my defense, there were some unknowns here. Anyway, for those not awake in this century, the Texas-OU game probably is the biggest game in the country (though Midwestern folks may argue that this is really Ohio State vs. Michigan). I might agree if Texas didn’t officially recognize football as a religion and the fact that it is so big, they have to have it at a neutral site (e.g. the Cotton Bowl). Of course, it was the first time that both teams were ranked in the top 5 in the country too. Alright, so what. Well, what I did not know was that the Cotton Bowl and the State Fair are in the SAME complex, share the same parking, etc. So you take a weekend at the fair (crowded) and add in 100K fans and…ugly. You knew it was going to be bad when it took 45 minutes to move that last 3 miles. Of course, all of the parking spots were full. All of the remote parking spots full. It was a madhouse of orange shirts. After a few concentric circle searches for parking, we decided today was not the day for the Corny Dog (or the chicken friend bacon treat – really. It actually won “best of fair.”). It was a tough call but I could not see spending $20 to park in the front yard of what certainly was an outstanding citizen – even if he only had a few of his teeth – deep inside of the hood. BTW, given that 90% of the menu at the State Fair starts with the word “fried”, I am not surprised we have an epidemic in this country. I mean, do we really need a friend dinner roll? I mean, really….

Therefore we went to the Dallas Arboretum which was celebrating Pumpkins. This place is a photographer’s dream – well, if you like landscape, flowers or have kids that will look at the camera. Interestingly, there were some professionals there taking shots of families. Lighting was tough (bright sun) but I did knock out a couple of shots. The pros had helpers holding reflectors…. So jealous. Note – these photos were done before I calibrated the camera so I would say they are a little less sharp that I would have liked but still okay – well, the ones where they were not horribly overexposed or that the kids were looking somewhat in my direction. The collage says much of it. Probably a picture of the week forthcoming. Anyway, great place.

Yes, it was also our 5th wedding anniversary (amazing, yes?). Given that the themed gift is wood, the arboretum was a most appropriate venue. Maybe there is reason in this world.

MA continues to exercise diligently. I still get up and walk a mile every other day or so. Another week and I will try and kick it up a little to get some weight reduction versus cardio health. I just didn’t want to keel over from exercise. The irony would have been missed by most and I like to think enjoyed by few (except maybe some of those chirpies at the office that I want to strangle). Indeed, without customers, the job would be easier…

Meghan continues to exert some resistance to parental control. Z goes back and forth from princess to punk. Everyone’s favorite word is no. Max just crawls around everywhere and screams when his dinner is not ready on time. I kid you not. If there is not some sort of strained crap waiting for him when his butt hits the chair, he lets you know, big time. Given that I am usually the last to eat, I am not sure where he gets that from.

Maybe a short blog today

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on October 5th, 2008 by Michael

First, I didn’t watch the debate because if I wanted fiction, I would pay my $9 and see a movie. This specific theater is costing me $800 million (after Congress porked it up a bit).

Off on a short trip next week. It will be the first in a long time. I am so going to miss KC now where the commute was 8 minutes and the lines to the gate were never more than 5 minutes long. I’m betting this is a 2 hour ordeal. As some of you know, I hate waiting.

First, I think I decided on the whole camera thing. The 50D is in my future. Note because it is what I want but because that is what there is. I hear it is about the same IQ as my current model but that the back display is awesome (you can really check focus accurately). That is of value but the AF micro-adjustment is what I am excited about. I have this [expensive] lens that everyone raves about but my copy slightly front focuses. I’ve have it calibrated but as I think I mentioned, the tolerance is 5% or something. That is for both the camera and the lens. Hence if you camera is +5 and your lens is -5, you are off 10%. That is something. It is not that it takes bad images now, it is just that they appear a little “soft”. With this new beast, my previous investment is secured.

Also, for those buying stuff online, you really should look at the Microsoft live cashback option (go to I know I mentioned it before but it is a pretty smart way to go even if I hate the idea of helping that particular company out…. In most cases, it is only 5% or something, but they have some at 10% and they actually had ebay at 30% (the action has to be a “buy it now” and you have to pay via paypal and the max savings per deal is $200). Anyway, that is some good stuff. It is how I got the camera. They sold it for $50 more than list (there is no discounting right now) but I got $200 back. So, the camera ended up being around 15% off. Lots of stores out there in the program:, newegg, B&H, etc (not amazon). This will not last forever…. I wish I would have thought about this when I bought my ‘white’ lens.

What else… fall is here I guess. You can’t tell except that your AC bill goes from mid triple digits to low triple digits. It is actually nice today. A breeze is blowing as a cold front is due tomorrow. Of course, I love flying in storms… not. At least I have a good seat out. I get the back of the bus, middle seat, toilet jockey on the 3 hour ride back.

Scotty Cameron released the semi-limited edition button back putters. I’m going to get Max one since SC doesn’t do an otherwise special edition for boys (like he does with the My Girl line). They are Newports (which I collect) and pretty nice looking. All good.

The kids have had a rough week. This whole “no” business is alive and well. It is not sitting well with the power structure in place. Bedtime is a nightmare. We finally got back to a couple of naps but that is not seeming to help much. Good thing Costco sells good but cheap wine.

I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night and then not able to go back to sleep given stress or some other crap. Really irks me as when I do fall asleep 2 hours later, it is not enough before the idiot alarm pounds me to conscious. Today I just got up at 4 and started doing some things I needed to get done. Shoulder still hurts but not as bad. Really think it has to do with not only natural causes but also what I do all day. Bad posture with the arms, etc. I’m starting to like the smell of that icy-hot stuff though.

The charity golf event was pretty nice. The club I played was pretty exclusive (nice club house!) though the course was nothing super special. It was nice enough, just not something I would pay $500/mo to play on. I don’t think there was an American car in the entire lot. Anyway, we were 17 under and missed out by 0.4 points due to handicapping. Easy come, easy go. It was not about the golf but about the cause. Still, that pisses you off just a little.

I’m continuing trying to walk around the block a couple of times every other day. MA is doing a little better than I in sticking with it. Oh well, it is a start.

Watched Charlie Wilson’s War. I thought it was fine even though I am not a fan of Julia Roberts. Also, it just seemed to end, like it was missing a last act. Maybe that was just me… MA has some chick flicks from netflix to get through before I get back. Lots of good ones in queue…Looking forward to the new Sleeping Beauty (not my fav Disney movie but…). That has never been released in a 2.40:1 ratio. Amazing when you see comparisons and what was missing all of these years. ON a more somber note, I finally watched Knight Rider – I know, why? Well, it was the only thing on really. Is it me or is this Miami Vice with a car? I am definitely not the demographic they are looking for. It will not last.

We THINK we have a concrete guy lined up. More money going into the economy (not sure if ours or Mexico’s however). We are still negotiating a detail or two (e.g. we might have him do the fence too to save me the hassle – convenience is not cheap though). We also have to see if he will sign our work order (just in case I run for politics later – don’t want some vetting monkey to puke over this). Gate folks are still a little more iffy. Met with a welder and that was promising. Waiting for the estimate to arrive. It is not fun – think of Animal House — “thank you sir, may I have another”. Pretty much where they have us given it is a skill I do not possess. BTW, I saw that the Oregon Ducks (where Animal House was filmed) got pounded into the ground yesterday by USC.

I am a big Apple fan, but my goodness. Get a better software update tool, please. These 80M mandatory updates for iTunes suck. Good thing that bandwidth is cheap.

That is all for now.