Sunday, April 20, 2008

All packed, but can't sleep

Well, we finally got all the suitcases packed. All are under the 50lb limit, but they are bulging! Ric, who usually stays up til 1 or 2am after working, fell asleep on the loveseat around 9p. I finally took a shower, woke Ric up enough to go to bed and I crawled into bed with him. I was bone tired, but couldn't get to sleep. I got out of bed after 30min or so and had something to munch on and came to check email and such.

Weather in Venice when we get there is suppose to be around 60degrees and rainy. We should get rid of the rain by the time we get to Florence. We plan on having fun even in the rain and cold.

We will be off line until May 9th. Catch you all later.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Done with work!

Yeah ha! I got out about an hour early today and am done with work for three weeks! Ric has to work tonite at the restaurant and then tomorrow at the bakery and then he is off.

Time now to wash the all the clothes and then throw a bunch of things in suitcases.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ABC Demonstrates Its Irrelevancy

When the networks can't even do a passable job of a primary debate, why would anyone bother to watch them? Other than such riveting fare as Dancing with the Stars, of course.

...And Still More Records

Oil up, gas up. But you already knew that. At least now that spring is here and we don't need it, natural gas and home heating oil pulled back a bit.

And Wired joins the growing chorus: Biofuels won't save us; hydrogen won't save us. We will be burning dead dinosaurs for a long time to come.

Food riots are starting. Maybe we will quit burning food in time. Or not.

Change happens when people have no other choice. Given that I work with people who live closer to work than I do and are still driving to work, we are obviously not there yet. Will we be when gas is $4/gallon? $5? $10? Remember that unless the energy sector is taken over by the government (in which case all bets are off) we will never run out of oil. It will just keep getting more expensive until demand tapers to zero.

Posted Without Comment

After that, what more is there to say?

She Was Beautiful

OK, here's the deal. We were watching Dancing with the Stars earlier (yea, yea, just save it, alright?) and James Blunt was on there. I Google him up and the first or second hit was his music video of She Was Beautiful on YouTube:

Pretty standard stuff and I realized that I had heard him somewhere. But over in the Related Videos box, we have this:

I love the internet. Absolutely hilarious.

AAA Prescott picnic

Last Saturday was our first (and hopefully, annual) AAA Prescott office picnic. It was held at a ramada (in Michigan we call them pavillions) at Watson Lake. This ramada was at the top of a hill and had views all around. Ric will post a link later once he "cleans up" my pictures. I forgot about suntan lotion or a hat and got a bad sunburn on my forehead. I'm sure it will be peeling just as we have to leave for our trip.

Watson Lake is a few miles away from us. It is someplace I have to go back again with Ric. It is definitely worth it. We could spend most of the day there --- walking around, hiking, finding quiet spots and relaxing, taking pictures and such. I didn't take too many pictures before the battery gave out. More later of the place itself.

Going slow

Is it just me, or is this week going by slow?! I can't believe it is only Wednesday. Though, I"m sure Friday night and all day Saturday will go by really fast.

We finally got an answer back from a friend that was in our Arcosanti workshop that lives in Italy. He will definitely be in Venice when we are there. We hope to connect one of the two nights we are there. He promises to take us to a GREAT pizzeria.

Hmmm... Italy and pizza ... who would've thunk?! Ric tells me pizza in Italy is not like American pizza. We pile on the toppings. I thought that was what pizza was -- all the toppings and cheese --- just a crust to help shovel it in your mouth. LOL I will let you know what I think about the pizza in Italy. Though, the one thing I want to try there is the gelato. I tried this for the first time in Phoenix last month and loved it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cool Video

A recording of a water balloon popping at 2,000 fps:


Why Western Culture is doomed:
Why should a black person with an IQ of 100 go to a university that is off-limits to a white person with the same 100 IQ just because the average black person has a lower score than the average white person? Shouldn't the two people with the same IQ be treated the same way?
Because we are no longer a civilization that makes logical decisions. I guarantee the Chinese do. They may have fewer geniuses, but they are not wasting them with No Child Gets Ahead.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Few Questions

Fred has a few questions for our generals. Don't hold your breath waiting for a stampede to the nearest TV camera crew.

Bill Clinton's Madness

I'd forgotten about Bill Clinton's bypass surgery. If this guy is correct, it would explain a great deal. Clinton had many negative qualities for a president, but an inability to handle a crowd was never one of them. I had assumed it was age combined with the pressure of seeing Hillary getting pounded on. It's one thing to take a beating yourself; it's quite another to watch someone else take one. But post bypass surgery cognitive dysfunction sounds reasonable as well.


Another record for oil prices. Gasoline at record prices. Home heating oil up. Diesel is in the stratosphere, meaning everything else will be going up as well.

But Uncle Al says everything will be fine as long as everyone burns food in their Prius.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Forbes on Utopia has an entire section on Utopia. Arcosanti is mentioned. Anyone interested in improving their living arrangements could do worse than taking the time to read through the half-dozen links in this section.

Guys and Gadgets

Women will never understand. It's a guy thing.

Evolution in Action

"...not everyone deserves trust."

Really? Who knew?

Oh, yea. Everyone over age 5 and with a greater-than-room-temp IQ.

Losing Ground

Universal Music is reverting to type:
The music industry seems to be taking one step forward, and then promptly taking one thousand steps backward.

Listen to me and you can have more money than God. Or keep it up and become irrelevant as buggy whip makers.

Fred on Immigration. Again.

Some things need to be repeated:
To grasp American immigration policy, to the extent that it can be grasped, one need only remember that the United States forbids smoking while subsidizing tobacco growers.
That pretty much says everything that needs to be said. But read the whole thing.

Hey, Jerrica!

If you're ever in England, here's a traffic circle you can enjoy:

They call it the Magic Roundabout.

Follow the Money

Jerry Pournelle on the climate "consensus:"
EVERYONE but the stupid enviro dolts can agree that burning energy to make fertilizer to grow food to burn for less energy is stupid; but then Gore and company get rich out of this, the UN scientists get their grants, the consensus scientists get tenure and travel and conferences in Rio and Kyoto, and what the hell do they care what the consequences of their actions are?

My father makes cheap prophylactics,
He punctures each head with a pin,
While grandma grows rich from abortions,
My God how the money rolls in.

There are those elements to the "consensus" theories. Follow the money.

And the Country Club Republicans clean up as well. Everyone benefits! Well, everyone who actually matters...

Perhaps I am overly tired and thus overly bitter today.
I'd say just being factual rather than bitter, but what to I know? I just scrub pots for a living....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One week away!

It is getting closer and closer to when we leave our apartment by town car transfer for our cruise tour! We got all the luggage out today and trying to decide what all to take. I laid out the maximum we can take and if we can get rid of one small bag, great. I don't think we will be buying too many souvenirs to bring home since the dollar is doing so bad.

We also have started talking about the next cruise already. Well, maybe not the next, but one we definitely are going to try to plan on. In 2010 cruise3sixty will be having their event in Vancouver in June. thinking is to sign up for the cruise3sixty event and while we are in the area...take an Alaskan cruise! Usually the cruise3sixty event is Thurs thru Sun, so hopefully our choices of cruises leaving from Vancouver on Sunday are good. When working on my ECC (Elite Cruise Counselor) status, I need to cruise on two different cruise lines that I haven't used for my ACC or MCC. That limits my choices to the expensive cruise lines and NCL. I'm hoping NCL has one that leaves on Sundays from Vancouver. Everyone is welcome to join us! The other cruise we both really want to do is a river cruise --- in Europe or China. and friends start saving those dollars and join us when we go. Or, save the dollars and I'll plan a short 4-5 day cruise from Florida for our 25th anniversary in five years and we can all have a blast together.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I haven't spent much time blogging lately due to a number of distractions. The primary one is work, of course. I'm still working both jobs. The bakery job that was supposed to be two or three hours a day is running more like four to six. The restaurant is still slow, but going in for cleanup means that I'm up late at night even though I'm only working two to four hours. I'm still in a wait-and-see mode, but I don't think the restaurant can afford me. We'll see what happens in May.

Of course, the second distraction is trying to get ready for The Big Trip. This weekend will be the big push to get everything in a pile, then toss half of it out when it doesn't fit in our suitcases; making to-do lists, last-minute-pack lists, and the master list of all the other lists so that no list is forgotten. After all that, we will still walk into the airport and one of us will say, "Oh crap! We forgot to bring X!"

The third distraction has been Babylon 5. I bought the Amazon Unbox version of the first season. There are some very obvious artifacts watching the episodes on our laptop, especially the CGI sequences. They're not too bad, but enough to be annoying. Anyway, it was fun getting back into the B5 universe. Unfortunately, 22 45-minute episodes took up a lot of time that wasn't spent here.

So I head out through the InterTubes to see what has been happening in my absence:

Security experts hack into the control systems for the power grid in a day.
Electronic voting machines are even easier to break into.
The Euro hit a new record.
Oil hit a new record.
Consumer confidence is in the toilet.

Maybe I'll buy season two of B5 where the biggest problem is a presidential assassination.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Getting Ready

We went out yesterday and spent a bunch of money getting ready for our little trip. We don't have enough clothes to last the three weeks we will be gone and there isn't any sort of coin laundry on the ship we will be on, so we bought more of... well... certain things. We also picked up a lot of odds and ends like an umbrella, sunscreen, small bottles of shampoo and such, etc. Throw in some munchies for on the plane and you have a big pile of stuff that is somehow supposed to fit into our one-suitcase-per-person limit. Yea. Right.

Work is still work. I've arranged a replacement for my bakery job, but I'm not bothering with the restaurant. I only worked about 15 hours last week. Maybe the three weeks I'm gone will make the owner realize that she has too many employees. And for me, leaving the house at 8:30pm to put in a couple hours or so is simply ridiculous.

I can smell dinner, so gotta scoot.

The Dollar Declines

Our vacation in Europe is getting more expensive by the day. Iran is urging OPEC to stop pricing oil in US dollars due to its depreciation. And, as we all know, gas prices continue to climb.

The fun never stops.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Two weeks

Two weeks from today and we will be flying to Venice, Italy to start our trip. We have two nights in Venice and Florence, one night in Rome and then start our 12 night cruise. (Any suggestions of MUST DO/SEE while there?)

Today we spent running around to stores and spending money for this month and next month. I think we have everything we need for the trip now. (Except razors for me -- didn't make it on the list) We even got several cans of Pringles, some granola type bars, and snack size candy bars to take on the plane with us. (I wonder if when the airline attendants offer "their" small can of Pringles for $2, if I could stand up and make some money off my full size can of Pringles for $2?!)


John McCain made a stop in Prescott trying to claim the cause of Barry Goldwater. I didn't get to see anything as I was working. His campaign did manage to drop some cash into the bakery. In fact, it was a record day for them. We didn't think the people would ever stop flooding into the place. I probably washed the plate that someone that works for McCain ate off of.

Almost famous.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Romper Room

Work was a joke. I arrived to find 4 extra people crammed into a kitchen already too small for the staff working there. I did a lot of nothing for the first hour or so, then finally got to work around 9:30pm. We finally got out of the plaza around 12:30am or so. It is now going on 3:00am and I have to be up at 9:30 to get to the bakery on time.

Then just to top things off, some employees were told not to cash their paycheck before Monday. I get a strange feeling I won't have to worry about making changes when we get back from vacation; they will be made for me. I'll be cashing my check tomorrow morning so I should know by Monday or Tuesday how high it bounces.

Time to get a few hours of sleep.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More Randomness

I'm home again blogging rather than working. Once we are back from the cruise, there will be some changes. Last night, the restaurant was busy, but I wasn't called in. I just had to show up to clean. Tonight, the owner has family from out of town that want to work in the restaurant, so here I sit. Of course, they don't want to clean, so I'll be walking down tonight at 8:30 to handle that. I have no idea what I'll be doing tomorrow. Like I said; after the cruise. For now, status quo and grab every hour where ever I can get it.

Along the same lines, I talked to the owner of the bakery today about picking up Mondays. That means I will be working six days a week, but only four hours or so and I'm done by 3pm. Much easier on the rest of my life. If I can pick up even an extra hour a day, I can dump the restaurant job and get my evenings back. I might even be able to go back to normal sleep patterns. It was nice going to bed at a decent time and getting up in the morning. It would be great to get back to that.

Not much else going on with us other than making lists of all the stuff we need to do to get ready for being out of the country for three weeks. I need to get the taxes done this weekend so we can send in our life savings to the IRS. You gotta love the tax code: cut annual income by 60% and end up owing hundreds instead of getting a refund of hundreds. This year should be better; we won't have any extraordinary events although working multiple part-time jobs will probably screw things up a little. We shouldn't owe anywhere near what we do this year, but I would be surprised if we didn't end up paying in a small amount. That I can live with.

Well, I'm going to go read for a bit before I have to scrub pots and floors.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just Quick Note

I have just a couple minutes before I have to go to the restaurant and put in my 2 hours or so scrubbing pots and cleaning floors. The bakery was busy today, but the restaurant must have had another bad night. Normally, I go in at 6pm and work until close. The new arrangement is that I go in at 8:30pm unless the owner calls. I didn't get called. obviously, because I'm sitting here making a pointless blog post at 7:51pm.

This is just nuts. It isn't so bad for me because a) we have two incomes in our household, b) I have the bakery job to keep food on the table, and c) we have a fairly healthy emergency fund is things really go into the crapper. There are people I work with at the restaurant that are the sole household income. I keep having these conversations about people choosing between food and credit payments, which makes me think Bernanke is a complete idiot. I mean, a recession is "possible?" Maybe in your little fortress up on capitol hill, you pencil-necked jackass. Meanwhile the people who pay taxes are looking on-line for 1,000 exciting recipes featuring Ramen.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Finally; Some Good News

A little good news in all the doom.

And the moral defectives in congress are grilling US oil companies about world oil prices. I didn't see any congress critters grilling anyone when oil was $10 a barrel and the entire state of Texas was essentially bankrupt. "...Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. 'The anger level is rising significantly.'" Must not be rising too significantly as there are still a lot of cars on the road. Maybe instead of getting angry, people should take a little responsibility for themselves and cut back on gas usage.

Naw. Why do something stupid like that? Blame the oil companies instead. Yea. That's the ticket.

Not Working

I'm at home again instead of at work at the restaurant. If I didn't have the bakery job, I would be working about 10 hours a week. This cannot continue if for no other reason than it simply isn't worth my time to walk downtown to scrub a few pots and help clean the floor. I'm sure I could pick up a few more hours a day at the bakery and be home in the evenings. I have my doubts that the restaurant is going to make it. We'll see. Our cruise is in less than three weeks so there isn't any need to do anything at this point, but when we get back, there will be some changes. Working even six days a week at the bakery (which closes at 5pm) would be easier than working five days a week at the restaurant (where I go to work at 6pm, unless it's slow; then I go to work at 8:30pm). Right now, it is the worst of all possible worlds working until 11pm or midnight (meaning I usually get to bed around 1 or 2am), then having to get up for work in the morning.