Friday, July 11, 2008

My New Car

I got a new car!!

If anyone is curious why I got a new car, it's because my old car broke down. It all started about Labor Day of 2006. The car just stopped working. I've been driving my wife's car since then, which works out for the most part because we were on different schedules, but now that I'm starting a new job, I'm going to need my own car.

It's a used 2008 Honda Civic. It had all of 221 miles on it when I bought it, so while it's "new to me" as the saying goes, I'm also the first owner, besides the dealership. I'm not sure I got the best deal in town, but it drives like a dream and is guaranteed for 100,000 miles. New cars, oddly, only have a 60,000 mile guarantee. At least, that's what the salesman kept repeating.

I test drove the Toyota Corolla as well, and my only comment to the sales lady was, "It's so roomy." The Civic, I believe is a bit cozier and a bit more comfortable. Anyways, I love it, and yes, it drives like a dream.

Here are some more pictures of my new car...

This new car owner is wearing his new favorite shirt here.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Dispensing News

Now that I'm sleeping at night, I'm waking up first thing in the morning. This surprises me. I thought I would be sleeping non-stop trying to catch-up for years of missed sleep, instead I'm waking up first thing regardless of what time I go to bed. Last night, I went to bed around 12:30 and I had to force myself to stay in bed until 7.

All this is just to say that now I'm getting to eat one of my favorite foods every single day, cereal. My cereal of choice I stole from my Mom, Cranberry Almond Crunch. It's a pricey one though, which when I was working overnights was okay, because I was sleeping through cereal time most days. To eat it everyday could put a hurting on my trust fund. Plus, it's not a cereal sold in bulk at Costco, so I have to buy a bunch of small boxes at Wal-Mart.

So why am I talking about cereal? Because of something else I got from Wal-Mart, the Cereal Dispenser. I got the idea from a movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where a very naked man proclaims his love for the cereal dispenser. While I'm not naked at the moment, I would like to tell the world that the cereal dispenser is one of the greatest innovations in my lifetime.

Ah, fresh as the day I unpackaged it. Cereal Dispenser, I love you. You make waking up at ungodly hours of the morning manageable.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Converter Box

We bought a converter box yesterday. The national government is requiring a switch to digital TV, which I think means that if you use bunny ears, you have to use a converter box to watch anything. Then they tried to help poor folks like me out by issuing a $40 coupon over the internet to offset the cost.

We have cable right now that costs us $20 a month. It's actually been climbing recently. In the fall, we downgraded to basic cable which reduced our cost from $45 to $19. Every month now it seems to be going up 30 cents or so, and our last bill topped $22. Anyways, the idea that we could watch most of the same channels for a one-time $10 cost sounds pretty good to me. At least it did.

First off, getting it was an adventure. We walked to Wal-Mart and had to search the store for it, and then the cashier, with limited English, didn't understand what to do with our coupon, that admittedly looks and feels like a credit card. In the end though, we walked out only spending the 10 dollars.

So then we hooked it up. I should say that I bypassed the instructions, figuring you attach all the cables to where they look like they belong, but I'm pretty sure that I did it all correctly. I turned it on and went through the set-up menu choosing autoscan, and waited ten minutes as it searched for channels.

The moment of truth came next, and I eagerly pressed the channel up button and was greeted by a digitally broken image of the weather channel. That was okay, it was just the weather channel... I've got the internet, no need for the weather channel. I pressed channel up again, and... a digitally broken infomercial on ABC.

Hmmm... I tried again, and success! We got, in crystal-clear technicolor, MHZnet2, which was currently showing what looked like India's equivalent to the Gospel hour on your community channel. Hey, I thought, at least it was something. I tried again, MHZnet3 came next showing -
I think - a Japanese documentary on Japanese maids. You know the kind all dolled up and taking tiny steps as they serve you tea with their heads down.

This was not looking good. I tried again, MHZnet6 was next. I believe their programming at the time was on global finance. It was being broadcast in Russian. MHZglobe, or something like that, was in english, and it had an elephant documentary. I might actually watch this normally, but I was hoping to find something a little more... tv-like, so I continued on.

The only other two channels we got were the kids' programming channel Qubo and a channel called Worship that had about twenty four-year-olds jumping up and down on a floor mat. No words, just kids jumping up and down in a dark room. I watched it for a minute waiting for something to happen. I couldn't tell what they worshipping, but it clearly demanded a lot of jumping. Perhaps it was symbolic.

Perhaps it was symbolic of what I expected from my converter box - free TV - and what I actually got - free exercise... well, $10 worth of exercise.

I'll have to try again at some point now that I know what to expect, frustration. But until then, twenty dollars for twelve channels doesn't sound so bad.

(Now that I'm getting back to blogging, I'll try to start taking pictures again.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Patriotic Flag Burning

I wish I had pictures for this.

Yesterday, on July 4th, I participated in a flag-burning. Before you get all up in arms let me explain. My flag-burning experience was a ceremony, not a demonstration. It turns out that the proper way to retire a flag is either through burning or burial, so we were doing nothing wrong. We were simply following the directions according to the official Flag Code.

Tiff's family did it all up with on official script; I first explained what was happening, then I called out the thirteen colonies in the order that they, I guess, signed the Declaration of Independence as we tossed each stripe into the flames individually. We even had a veteran approve the flags for retirement. It was a very moving ceremony.

It was also amazing how fast a flag goes up in flames, in the rain none-the-less. It's like it wanted to burn. Anyways, that's all the fireworks we saw yesterday, the rain kept us inside most of the day. Oh well, guess I'll just have to wait until next year's Kentucky Derby.

Oh, we got a video of it. It's twenty minutes long. If we ever figure out how to break it up, I'll post it on YouTube.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy Fourth of July everybody!

I'm celebrating mine with my first day of independence not working at my old job. While it has a touch of sadness, I'm so excited to never have to work all night again that I think I'll get over it. It was harder to leave than I had thought though. I mean, I didn't have to throw any tea overboard, or declare war or anything, but in the past week or so I've realized how much I've grown working at the Shelter.

Anyways, now, like any newly independent nation, on to the role of the taxman.