N'awlins at heart

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hey, weight for me...

Well, hopefully my 9 hour days this week will pay off tomorrow. I did it so I could have a half day on Friday and get an early start on the road to New Orleans. H2 is back in the hospital from his 3rd surgery. (Simple procedure my ass).

I am looking forward to going back and visiting. It's been a few weeks and I'll admit I miss it. The food, the smell, family (the smell of the family?), everything. And BIL is cooking steaks! I can't wait. One thing I have to say is BIL can cook! I really miss the weekend BBQ's, hangin out havin a few drinks and just BS'n about nothing. I have cut down my beer consumption and switched to diet soda, along with trying to watch what I eat a little better. (We won't talk about the damage I did to that Pizza Buffet at lunch today, everyone falls off the wagon every now and then, plus it was all thin crust pizza. And you can't go wrong with pizza, it has all the necessary food groups. Bread, dairy, meat, what else is there? Give me some anchovies and we're in business.). And I think I can splurge a little with the eats and drinks for one weekend...

It's going to be great to see the kids too. Hopefully they are excited. If I'm in the mood to be depressed I may let Ian school me at some Madden. But I probably won't be in that mood. LOL. Speaking of, I hear he got in a little trouble at school. I'm not going to get into it, but from what I hear it is total BS. And if the teacher is too dumb to clarify what she is asking that's pretty much her own fault. Although it must make her feel really big to pick on an 8th grader. Sounds to me like someone got thrown in the trash can one too many times during her high school years. (Hey, I call em like I see em. Tha bitch!).

I'm sure the trip is gonna fly by as usual, and by the time we get home it will feel like we didn't have a weekend at all. But it's definitely worth it. Visiting with all of the Chias is always a blast. Then BIL's cooking. All I can say is I can't wait!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are you sure?

If you have ever used a Microsoft application you should be VERY famaliar with this question. "Are you sure you want to..." For example, I have finished with a file, so I highlight it and hit "Delete" on my keyboard. Windows kindly asks me "Are you sure you want to send this file to the Recycle Bin?" Of course I am, that's why I hit the "Delete" button. Then I right click on the Recycle Bin and select "Empty Recycle Bin". Once again Windows is kind enough to ask "Are you sure you want to permanently delete..."

Installing and uninstalling software is the same thing. So is browsing through the directories on the C drive. Going into the "Windows" folder gives you a message stating "This folder contains files that keep your system working properly." (Yeah right!) "You should not modify it's contents." Then you have to click on a link stating "Show the contents of this folder". And trust me, it gets even worse with Windows Vista. Hitting the "Windows Key" + "R" to bring up the run option (since it is no longer there in Vista) pops up a security box that you have to hit "continue" before it will do this or whatever other operation you are trying to do. You can run secpol.msc and disable this feature, however you will repeatedly get a "pop up" message saying security has been disabled, and it's nice enough to pop up right where the "Shut Down" option is so you have to hit the red X to close that before shutting down.

All these inconveniences I can deal with. So by now you're wondering where I'm going with all this. Here it is. With all of these security features, why is it that when I am using MSN to chat and I go to drop a file in the chat window (to transfer a picture to the person I'm chatting with) if I am off by a centimeter and "drop" it with my mouse on the background, it makes my chat window background the picture I am trying to send. No "Are you sure?" message pops up. Nothing like that. It just changes the whole background of the chat window to a stupid picture of a walrus with a bucket (or whatever other stupid picture I am poisioning my friends with). Then, when you go to the standard "Tools / Options" you find no way to change it back. The button to change it back is hidden with a bunch of other worthless buttons I'll never use, in the actual chat window. No text, just a tiny picture of a mountain. WTF is that about?

Although I do appreciate the OVERKILL of "Are you sure" pop up messages, lets try putting them where they are needed. I'm just sayin!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Turning it around.

Okay, I'm not posting this for sympathy, I just need to get it off my chest. So it's not necessary to "go there".

Probably close to 17 years ago, when I was in the Navy in school, I had night classes (11-7). You had to walk uphill (both ways in the snow, okay, not really) to get to the building where class was held. It was rainy and kind of chilly, sort of like tonight. One of the guys at the barracks saw me in the hall. (Nobody I really knew, just someone you say "Hi" to in the hall in passing.) He asked if I wanted a ride to the building, and I said sure. So I'm standing in his room waiting for him to finish getting ready, and he left for some reason or another. I was standing there glancing around the room and I noticed a pair of weight lifting gloves sitting on his desk. I remember thinking "God, these types of gloves are always so dirty and beat up".

So, just being a nosy prick I picked one up to get a better look at it. As I was setting it back on the desk he walked back in. Now, at this time in my life I was 6'2" and about 135lbs soaking wet. (I had to get a waiver to join the Navy because I weighed 128lbs and the minimum for my height was around 135lbs). He asked me if I could wait outside for a minute. So I said sure, and walked out the door. About 5 minutes later he walked out of his room and headed the opposite direction without even looking towards me. So I started to follow him. He turned around and told me I should find another ride to school. I was really confused so I asked him what was going on. He turned around and said "I don't trust you around me. I saw you trying to steal my gloves while I was out of the room".

I actually started laughing, explaining to him that I was just being nosy. But he was pissed and would hear none of it. So I started to get defensive. Telling him "Dude, seriously. I'm 6'2" 135lbs, does it really look like I have use for some old, dirty weightlifting gloves? Do I look like the guy you normally run into at the gym?" Now, of course I wasn't going to take a ride after this altercation, so we went our separate ways.

To this day I'm sure that guy probably thought he'd stumbled upon the scene of a crime. But even though I don't remember this guy other than this one encounter it bothers me that he thought I was gonna steal his stuff.

Now, I normally don't think about stuff like that, but today I had a reminder. When I first started in my new department some of my work required booting off of a USB Key. I didn't have one at the time so I borrowed one from a co-worker from time to time. I always made sure to ask before I used it, and I always returned it. After a few weeks someone else got a smaller one for free, but they already had one, so they gave it to me. A little while later the original co-worker couldn't find his USB key and asked if I had borrowed it. And I told him I hadn't seen it but was pretty sure I had returned it. For about a month now, every few days he "jokes" that he doesn't have it because "someone" borrowed it and didn't return it. Then today he asks me (in front of some co-workers and our boss) if I could "look around my house and see if I may have "accidentally" brought it home, or left it in my pocket or something".

I immediately thought of the earlier story, shocked that this guy may think I took his stuff. I've been working late this week so before I left I started looking around the different work areas. Translation: Being the last person at work, I started slowly rooting through everyone's shit being careful not to disturb it, trying to find this dude's USB key). After about 20 minutes I found it. In the lab, on HIS desk. I forgot that he is a little short, and couldn't see if behind his coffee cup on his shelf. For a month now, amidst all the clutter on his desk, it has been hidden. (If I move the milk and the ham isn't behind it, the milk wins).

I can't wait for tomorrow, when I get to dog him for:

A: Being too short to see stuff on his own desk. And...
B: Keeping his work area so filthy that he can lose something he has been actively looking for, for about a month, right in front of his face.

"Today is a good day"...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Show me those baby blues...

That's right, we have the blues. In more way than one. The Saints, my God, what happened? 16-0 starting the 3rd quarter. Then they came back fast and hard, bringing it to 16-14 only to end at 39-14. They tried though. I'll give them credit. Especially watching the snow fall and seeing their breath coming from the line. Way too cold for me, but then I don't make the kind of money they make. I still have to admit, they had an amazing season.

Again with the blues. After a lot of aggravation trying to get the console off, I got Hannah's blue lights in her dash. I tried LED's first which were super bright but got dull on the edges. Then I switched to blue bulbs which weren't as bright, but more even throughout. I finally came to the decision, ask W1. "Happy wife, happy life!" She chose the bulbs over the LED's. I can't get a good picture at night, and it's dark when I get home from work, so I guess everyone will just have to wait and see. :)

I guess I will now try to enjoy the last few hours of my weekend. Love to all!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yo Joe!!!!

Okay, I apologize if this comes out sounding political, because it isn't supposed to be. I went to lunch Thursday with a few guys from work and we were discussing old television shows. I'm not sure how the subject came out but I don't think it really matters.

So we started with the A-Team. Discussing the fact that every time the inevitable went down, there were explosions, gunfire, bombs going off, and anything else imaginable. But no blood. Nobody got hurt, on either side. Good or bad they all came out fine.

Our subject soon moved on to GI-Joe (Caution: Link contains bad language). (General Infantry Joe. You would think they would have named the show after an officer or a medic, someone who stands out. But no, General Infantry Joe it is.) This is where we decided that we have figured out GW's mistake. That's right, the president made a mistake and I'm here to call him out. One word, parachutes. Okay, hear me out. Much like the A-Team, nobody in the GI-Joe cartoon ever dies. They all survive. No blood, no death... And they all have parachutes. Our heroes are cruising along on their motorcycles with side cars, and BOOM, they get hit by a rocket. Luckily they happen to be near a cliff and the explosion throws them. But never fear, they open their parachute and land safely.

This made me think of Afghanistan. They have lots of mountains. If our troops were all equipped with parachutes these wars would be over before we knew it. Lets get moving on this people!

Okay, headlight update. I have emailed the company we bought them from and received a response telling me the blinkers didn't come with the headlights. Which makes me wonder if they even read my email or looked at the pictures I sent. Then when I replied the pictures didn't get sent with the email. So they replied asking that I send the pictures to them. So I responded resending the pictures and noting that they should read the attached previous emails. That was yesterday. Still no word, but I would assume they are closed on the weekends. On the other hand, the blue LED's for W1's dash came in. I think I will attempt to install them tomorrow. Wish me luck.

I'm sure everyone is getting the info on H2 from Taunt Society and Life on the (L)edge so I won't get too much into that. All I want to say is "I Love Ya Bro! Get better soon. We need to ride!!!".

Monday, January 15, 2007

Can't you see my good intentions? *

* "Good Intentions" from "Westbank Mike and the Fisher Project".

"I did my best!" (Dane Cook quote there). Well, anyways, I did. As many of you know W1 (DIL1 to you all) got LED Tail Lights and Halo Head Lights for Christmas. I put the tail lights on before her last trip to NOLA 2 weekends ago. They look great, and were fairly easy to install (once I realized the bulbs weren't in them, and you had to use the ones from the original lights). 2 screws and then plug up the main wire.

So, yesterday I decided to do the head lights. My friend R came by to help. (And in case you don't know that means he did all the work and I handed him tools. I'm not the most mechanically inclined but I do have patience.) We got the bumper off, and the front grill, which is required to get to the screws holding the light housing. This was actually pretty simple. I even went all out and bought the Sylvania Silver Star bulbs and the cool blue High Beams. I did a LOT of reading on different forums and these were suggested by many people who said the bulbs that come with the lights are not very bright. Her stock headlights are extremely bright and even if she didn't notice, the first trip at night to NOLA would have drove me crazy. I bought wire taps to hook the halo's to the parking lights, I bought rocker switches that match the interior perfectly to replace the one for her fog lights and add one for her amp (once we get it). I even bought sharpie's for another modification I read about, and ordered blue bulbs to replace the amber ones that light up the a/c controls. I was totally getting into "pimpin her ride".

But remember people, I am a Herrick, so there's always a snag. A monkey wrench thrown into my plans. I have learned to live with this. After removing the whole assembly we discovered the blinker/running lights were too big. The bulb wouldn't fit in the hole. I tried repeatedly until I started feeling like the kid trying to force the square block through the round hole. But I can promise you I was just as frustrated as that kid was. So, off to Auto Zone again. (This is the 3rd trip in 2 days. The first was looking for the blue bulbs for the a/c, which they didn't carry and the second was to pick up the Silver Stars.) So I look at the new headlight and right below the blinker hole etched in the plastic is the number 1157NA. I grab the current (too big) bulb and head to Auto Zone for trip #3. The Auto Zone is about 15 minutes away from home, not bad but with everything else being 2 blocks away, still a little bit of a disappointment. We arrive at Auto Zone and I track down the 1157NA bulb. Which looks oddly familiar. So I pull out the bulb that was from the original light that didn't fit. Can we guess what the model # on that bulb was kids? I bet we can... It was the 1157NA!!! WTF?

So here is where I decide to head back home and bring the headlight assembly back with me. (How hard would it have been to bring it with me that last time? Well, like the square block round hole kid, I was frustrated and not thinking.)

Another discovery I had was seeing that even without the bulb the socket assembly that the bulb plugs into was also too big. And it has 4 tabs that make a perfect +. The headlight assembly has slots for 4 tabs but they are offset and different sizes. So I head back for trip #4. The ladies working there were no help at all. So that's where I'm stuck. My friend R said they may have changed the blinker and socket on the '06. I think that is where I'll start my research. It seems strange that nobody on the Forums had this problem, but I guarantee the only way that bulb is fitting is with a hammer. This is where the patience comes in, I WILL solve this issue. They do say "It's the thought that counts", and I'm doing a LOT of thinking...

I slept terribly last night so I was going to go to work late, but ended up skipping. I called around one o'clock and found out only 1 guy showed up today so I don't feel as bad. It's raining and it dropped to the 30's so I decided not to deal with it. Instead, you all get a blog post and I get to spend a few hours researching blinkers. Ha Ha. All in a days work.

Oh well, gotta run, I hear something in the living room. It's something calling me. Could it be? Yes, it's Lego Star Wars 2 on PS2. Okay, it's a silly kids game, but it's addictive!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bragging rights!

I'd like to thank my beautiful wife. Without her, none of this would be possible...

Seriously, none of this would. I'm writing my blog on my new laptop. That's right, Christmas gift. I wanted one so bad but there was no way we could get it. So I thought. But she worked it out. I think we all had a pretty good Christmas Day. The rest of the Holiday Season was not too impressive.

But currently I am bragging about my new laptop. It's like I got 2 new computers. When we go out of town, I have my computer with me now. And when I'm home, I hook it to my USB hard drive, and my 20" flat panel (courtesy of H2), using my wireless keyboard and mouse. It's seriously like having 2 computers. God help us when I get it dual booting with Linux. 4 new computers... AMAZING!

This week has been going by slowly. And for some odd reason I have been more tired than normal. I'm sure I'll snap out of it.

I went on the Scion forums today and found all sorts of cool stuff to deck out DIL1's (W1 to me) ride. It's gonna be sweet! The LED tail lights look so good. I can't wait to get the head lights installed. And then there are numerous things that can be done with the dashboard LED's. All I can say is "wait and see". I think I truly need to get before and after pictures, although I started a little late.

The cat. Our little angel. The one who is home all day leaving us fresh vomit to remind us we are needed (to clean it up). We left the Saturday before Christmas to head to New Orleans. We returned on New Years Eve. You would think we had evacuated for Katrina again. Or at least she acts like we expected her too when we got back from evacuating. In all honestly she stayed hidden for days, but when we returned from New Orleans, it was a whole different story. She has been fighting for attention since we walked in the door. Chasing us in the dark and attacking our feet. Moewing NON STOP! If you even catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of your eye she strikes some precious pose and "yells" at you. It's like she's 2 years old again and extremely playful. Apparently we were missed.

Okay then, on that note, this is what you get...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You're paying for the convenience?

Okay, where to begin. The drive to work this morning. I use to make this 25 mile each way drive regularly, twice a day, on the bike. As of lately it's been cold, and so I drive the truck. This consists of taking Beltway 8. One of Houston's fabulous toll roads.

When I headed to work Friday I noticed my usual on ramp was closed for some sort of construction. (Apparently the type of construction that doesn't require anyone to work on it because in the many times I've driven past there I haven't seen anybody). I decided to take the feeder road to the next on ramp. That was a mistake. Houston is constantly doing road work. If you've never lived here, let me tell you, this city makes road maps and GPS absolutely worthless. I got to the I-10 overpass, and more construction made the road 2 lanes. Being in the left lane, I was forced to turn onto I-10 West, which was not where I wanted to be. I had taken a few back roads so I went a different way to get to work. Took longer but I hate to U-turn, it makes me feel like I've made a mistake and I don't want to dwell in the past.

So Saturday, I decided to save a few bucks taking the feeder again (AKA Frontage Rd. everywhere else). (Gotta make that cheddah). Thinking "It's Saturday, shouldn't be too busy". I did learn from my mistake and got into the right lane this time. Success, I continued up the feeder. A few miles down the road I encountered Grandma Cottontop. The name synonomous with safe driving. I, being a respectful driver, was in the far right lane (of 3). The lane to my left has the option of taking a left or going straight. The far left lane must turn left. That's what the big white sign means. I thought nothing of Ms. Cottontop sitting in the far left lane with her left blinker on. And apparently neither did Joe Driver in the middle lane who also had a signal on denoting his intentions to turn left. But everything changed when the light turned green. Joe D headed to the left, while Ms. Cottontop continued her trek forward. She came inches from slamming into the driver side of Joe's car and honked and gave HIM dirty looks. After he pulled away she continued in the left lane, left blinker sparkling like "The Oaks" at Christmas. I wanted nothing to do with her madness, so I took off like a virgin at a Jihad Convention.

Now, on the subject of this left turn only, and turn optional lane. Now mind you this is a hypothetical situation (or is it?). Say I'm in the left turn only lane, and you are in the "can make a left if you want to" lane. This does not give you the right to choose any lane you want when you make that left (without your blinker, which I may add is a $160 ticket here. Don't ask how I know, just trust me.). With all the construction here I often wonder how hard it is to paint the white lines that show "can turn if you want to" guy he needs to turn to the far right lane. Unfortunately, these lines wear out from all the jackasses who don't turn into their proper lane, or cross the line while doing it. Now, considering every intersection like that is this city sends you to the far right lane, even if the lines are hard to see, common sense tells you wher you should go. And don't give me the dirty look because you can't navigate a normal street. I am a firm believe that every 5 years people should be required to retest the written and driving portions of the licensing test. Especially Ms. Cottontop and Mr. Hypothetical. And just as an FYI, if you hit my car because you can't drive, I guarantee when I get out of it, my car isn't the only thing that's going to get hit.

So, along comes today's morning commute. With my mind on a million other things I forgot that my entrance was closed. Having such a successful drive the last 2 times, I decided to go against my best judgement, and make the u-turn for the previous entrance. The next u-turn however was about 2 miles ahead and definitely fun to navigate in rush hour traffic. 20 minutes later I was finally on my way. I had just about enough time to forget about my earlier inconvenience (10 miles up the road or so) when the next one arrived. Usually 4 lanes, they have recently merged an on-ramp immediately into 3 lanes, using concrete barricades. It's another one of the self fixing sections of highway that apparently don't need workers present either. And has been this way for months. Today, for shits and giggles, they used orange cones and made it 2 lanes. As much trouble as these people have driving on the 4 lane highway, 2 lanes was just too much. Traffic came to an immediate halt! It was at this point that I had to laugh realizing, I pay for this inconvenience. I pay $6 a day in tolls to go to work, and apparently I do it to ensure that I am totally stressed, and aggravated before I even get to work...