Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In the Words of Homer Simpson...

"Urge to kill... growing." That just about how I feel after my latest bout with my former phone/internet provider, Grande Communications. Im normally calm and civilized when it comes to dealing with their customer service. But thats about to change. Allow me to back-track a bit.

Back in April, I was fed up with their horrible service, lack of technical knowledge and inability to provide my new home with the products I had ordered. So I canceled my account with them. You'd think that would be the end of it. Wrong. Two months go by and I find out, they are STILL auto-billing my account!! They've now withdrawn $109 from my bank account!! So I call their customer service to put a stop to this and get my cash back. I get their residential support on the line and begin explaining the problem. He looks up my records and tells me Im listed as a business account and he cannot help me. I'll have to call the business accounts department. What?! I ask him what business could I possibly be listed as?! He reads it back. The company name, is my employer! Somehow they have mistaken my employer as my residence. Idiots. So, I call the business accounts department and explain... all over again. To my disbelief, the guy tells me, "Im sorry sir but to get this fixed you'll have to call up residential services and have them change your account". I tell him, oh no... they just sent me to this number! So he puts me on hold for a bit, then comes back and tells me, "Ok, sorry for the inconvenience. Its fixed now". He then tells me that they can get me a refund check and I should have it in 6 to 8 weeks. Uuggg... longer than I wanted to wait, but at least thats fixed. My blood pressure begins to return to normal.

So I wait. Seven weeks goes by and 2 days ago I get my check in the mail. Im relieved I get to put that money back in the bank. I mean, who can't use $109!? I open the envelope, pull out the check to look it over. I look at the check. I cant believe my eyes. They made the check payable to my employer!!! Its useless to me. Back to square one with these dorks. I used to be a nice guy when calling customer serice. Thats out the window, with my patience. It will take full restraint not vent my anger on the first phone chump who takes my call. Will this hell-hole of a company ever be out of my life?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Prepare for Liftoff

Its been awhile since I talked about my jetskiing fun I have each summer weekend. Well, I had a particularly fun ride this past Sunday out on the lake. My buddy Jimmy and I hit the lake about 2:30pm. There was a light breeze but nothing that would make riding too rough. We got our jetskis in the water and cruised out to our normal haunts to check things out. Not much going on so we headed out to the large open area of the lake, the "high-seas" as we sometimes call it. We call it that because this is the large, deep area of the lake where the huge yachts and boats pass thru on their way from the marina's to various areas of the lake. So we are cruising along, when all of a sudden we start to hit HUGE swells. My first thought is, where did these come from!? I look around and see a large 35 foot yacht rolling by about 200 yards to our right. We were getting caught in its large wake waves that were being created. I looked at Jimmy and he had the same idea I did. We quickly whipped the jetskis around and headed back into the oncoming waves. At first I was a little hesitant. I mean, these waves were big. When I rode down the first one, so I could launch myself off the second wave... I couldnt see the horizon. Which means the wave was around 6 feet high! Me and my jetski shot off the top of that wave like a bullet. It felt like I was in the air for 30 seconds. Although it was only a couple. I look over to see Jimmy launching himself off the same wave. His jetski got about 4 feet off the water! We followed this yacht for about a mile, jumping waves back and forth like a couple of dolphins. It was a blast!

The large yacht and us ended up at the area called "Party Cove". This is where all the boats link up and well... party. On this day there were probably 40 to 50 boats already tied together. Music was blasting from stereo's on the boats, people were floating everywhere in the water throwing footballs, drinking beer and swimming. Jimmy and I found a corner out of the high traffic area and shut down the engines and jumped into the water to relax. As soon as we did, the sheriffs water patrol came through. We always try to avoid them because they stop jetskiers quite often for random safety checks. We keep our registrations and equipment up to requirements, but its just a major hassle getting stopped and digging it all out to show them. Lucky for us, they just kept rolling on by. I think they were concerned with all the boats and people.

By 5pm we were worn out, hungery and ready to head home. The wind had picked up and the ride back to the ramp was choppy and rough. But I was home by 5:30, relaxing and eating. Now, thats a fun Sunday! :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

"True" Reality TV!

For the most part, I dread reality TV shows. Not the ones on the Discovery Health channel where you get to watch a real face lift or lipo-suction procedure. Thats real and all. What I dread is the half scripted "reality" shows where people have to live together in any form or fasion.

Well, yesterday my buddy EVP and I were talking about a documentary show he saw about the battle in Fallujah last fall. This event facinated me because, as a fan of military stuff, this was one of the U.S. military's largest combat sitations they'd faced in a long time. That, and I'm facinated about what really happens that crappy CNN and MSNBC wont show. Heavens forbid, they may show what real war looks like or how tough it is for the soldiers fighting in it. So... I decided to do some net searching of my own. I figured someone, somewhere out there took along their video camera into this hell hole. I was right. I came across a site where some guy had posted many video's submitted to him from soldiers. Video showing actual combat and the soldiers daily lives. This video is the most gripping, facinating reality TV ive ever seen. What amazed me the most, was despite explosions going off, bullets buzzing through the air and all the kaos, some of the soldiers not only remain calm and cool but show a slight sense of humor in some situations! In one scene, soldiers are trying to blow open a steel gate with C-4 explosives to get into a compound where insurgents may be hiding. The charge goes off, but the gate isnt damaged enough to open. They kick and push on it, but it doesnt budge. You can hear voices off camera laugh and say "re-do!" and "C-4 is so overrated!". So they slap another charge to the gate and blow off the hinges this time. A loud cheer goes up and they storm into the compound. The guy with the camera zooms in on the blow up steel gate and says "yeah, take that!". You can't help but chuckle.

Some of the video seems to be shot by "embedded" news cameramen. But clearly this isnt the stuff that passed the censors and made it to the evening news. This footage shows the more gruesome stuff. Dead bodies in the streets, insurgents scrambling for cover as US soldiers pepper them with bullets. In one interesting scene, they had an insurgent cornered in a garage. The camera turns and does a quick interview with a soldier, asking him what was happening. He says, with a slight smile on his face, "We were patrolling when they opened fire on us. Then they threw a frag (grenade) at us. I turned to run for cover, tripped over a dead of theirs, then made it back to here. Now we're trying to get them." This clearly showed me how they have adapted to this situation. I would have dropped a brick in my shorts and probably just called in a bomb to blast the entire area, once im gone! But this guy was just calm, cool and... smiling. Wow.

Another interesting video on the site was a camera not following US troops, but following insurgents. Of course it was made with a home video camera, using its limited night vision abilities. They were setting up a nightime ambush on a US convoy. They walked along a trail and all lined up behind a dirt embankment waiting for the convoy to cross their field of fire on the distant road in the dark. The entire time every one of them is chanting "Allah Akbar!!", over and over. It was really strange, like they were a bunch of programmed zombies. So, the convoy rolls by and they open fire with machine guns and RPG's. I swear these guys must have the most un-accurate weapons or be the worst shots... or a combo. It seemed like they hit nothing as the convoy just rolls by.

Very interesting site! I plan on downloading the videos so i can watch them more thoroughly. There's about 2 hours worth!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Genius of George Carlin

Here are some quotes from one of the best and most intelligent comics in my opinion. Tell'em George!!!

"Religion convinced the world that there's an invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do. And there's 10 things he doesn't want you to do or else you'll go to a burning place with a lake of fire until the end of eternity. But he loves you! ...And he needs money! He's all powerful, but he can't handle money!"

"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? "

"Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong."

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

Downward Spiral

Yikes!! Say Nope to Dope kiddies! --> 15 Years of Drug Abuse!

Friday, July 15, 2005

33Mhz of Blazing Speed!

I recently upgraded my home pc to keep it up with modern times. Also so I can play the latest games and other goodies. Not to mention, i HATE waiting for a pc to load up a program or start up. It should be fast and efficient! As I was upgrading the hardware, I thought back to my families first PC we used. It was 1985 and my dad brought home an IBM X386 model office pc. I dont remember the official name of it or anything. I just remember it laid down flat and was beige. It had a 20MB hard drive, a 5-1/4 inch floppy drive and a 13 inch green text monitor. The poor thing must have had MAYBE 20kb of onboard RAM. But we were so excited when he brought it home, we actually had a PC!! When you powered it up, the fan was so loud you almost had to raise your voice to talk over it. Average boot up time was about 8 minutes. I remember this because I used to hit the power switch (and it actually was a red flip switch) and then go get my drink and sandwhich to snack on while at the pc.

The operating system was only an early version of DOS. Which meant the system booted up to a blank screen with a blinking C:\_ . Oh, the fun. Ha! The first program I got for it was Wheel of Fortune. The graphics were, in all terms... pathetic. But since I had never really seen computer graphics before, they were cool. A choppy, green animated Vanna White would walk across the screen to reveal the letters during play. Hours of excitement I tell you. I later found and loaded up some type of spread sheet software, I believe it was a Lotus office product. I thought this was really cool because I could track my current soccer teams wins, losses and stats. I would create a roster spread sheet and track everyone's goals and assists. I was now, a "computer guy"! hahaha

I often think back, comparing what I use now to what we had then. That little pc ran at a blazing fast 33mhz. My current home pc runs at 3Ghz, or, roughly 3000mhz. The old IBM, as I mentioned, had 20kb (kilobytes) of on board RAM. My current machine packs a mere 1.75 GB (gigabites) of RAM. The IBM's hard drive was a whopping 20mb, large for current 1985 standards. Currently at home, I have 200GB of hard drive storage space. There is no way I could have fathomed those specs on a home computer back then. It really amazes me. But, im sure one day i'll re-read this post and laugh at the puny specs I had in my home computer back in 2005. Man i love computer stuff.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Whats This?!

I just heard a rumble outside my office building. I walk outside to see the sky looking very dark and this strange liquid falling from above. What.... rain? Its been so long since we've had any, I forgot what it looked like! We need it bad here.

Yeah, im bored so im blogging more today. :)

Playing Catch-Up

Ive been so busy latley I almost forgot to post this past week! What is this world coming to? I'll rewind a bit and start with the 4th of July weekend. Emily and I took another drive out to the remote city known as Odessa to spend the holiday with her family. It was a fun trip, the only daunting part of it is the drive. Once there, all is good. The night before the 4th we all drove out to her fathers shop just outside the city limits and shot off a bunch of fireworks. That was pretty fun. Everyone brought some, so it seemed like we had a ton waiting to launch. Shooting everything off took a good 2 hours. While we were out there we checked out the new "War of the Worlds" movie. I'll have to say it was pretty good. Great special effects and very tense and suspenseful through many parts. There were a couple plot holes, but I let those slide because it was good overall as a movie.

The past couple weeks, both my soccer teams have been at low points. My tuesday night team has the worst record we've ever had. 2 wins, 3 losses and a tie have put us in 4th place. We have to win our last game to even have a chance of making the playoffs and playing for 3rd place. We play tonight at 11:15pm. I hate these late games.

Gotta get some work done. More to come later....