Friday, February 29, 2008
In some ways, this is a pretty good thriller with terrorist plots to kill the US President in front of tv cameras and there are explosions, firearms and a wild car chase through the streets of a Spanish city in the midst of a panic. There's a Secret Service agent back on the president's detail after being shot in the line of duty that now needs to prove to himself that he's ready to be on duty. There are crosses and double-crosses and the story itself is fast paced and smart.
Except- for that vantage point part of the movie... That I didn't like so much. Basically, you see the same opening scene of a plaza filled with people watching the president arrive, be greeted and then shot, before explosions begin causing chaos, over and over again; 6 times in all, each time from the viewpoint of a different character in the story. The repetion is confusing and doesn't really add to the telling of the story. Instead, its a movie-making technique that gives the movie its title and a different method of story telling but I didn't love it and I was glad when the story got past the first portion of the tale so that the remainder of the story could be played out.
So there are some pretty good parts played by Dennis Quaid as the Secret Service agent determined to prove his readiness for duty and Forrest Whitacre as a tourist who is determined to videotape what turns out to be the most exciting day in his life. I just didn't love the repetitive opening scene. I think there could have been a better way to show those multiple vantage points without making me dizzy from the repeated scenes.
Within the hour, he called my phone to ensure that I had received his, (and Comcast's) apology and to promise that action to prevent the circumstances from reoccuring wowuld be reviewed and implemented. He was concerned and polite and promised to forward my email to the customer service department for Comcast in Utah.
And within the next hour, I heard from that Customer Service person who was also very concerned that I didn't get great service yesterday and also promised to consider my suggestions for implementation by their service staff.
So I don't know how Comcast found my simple blog post yesterday but somehow they did and they not only contacted me but took action to ensure my continued satisfaction with their service. I thought that was pretty neat that they went to so much trouble and I appreciate the personal contact.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
That's right, on my way home tonight I passed the high school and there were a dozen guys out there on the diamond pushing snow shovels making room for some warm-up stretching and catch.
So I had to fix it myself, tonight, and reinstall my router software and now connectivity has been restored. Hurray!
Thanks for nothing, Comcast!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
So- antibiotics for the treatment and some heavy duty cough medicine for my little cough problem. I've been in my recliner all afternoon and I'm not planning to get out of this chair until bedtime.
Sadly, the BSU is suffering through the same aches, pains, coughing, sniffling and wheezing that has been kicking my butt.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
We did get the boy safely delivered to his new job (and temporary home) at Pitco Total Automotive Service in Aspen, Colorado. We met his new boss, John Guenther and he seemed really pleased to have Noah onboard as part of his team. John's been in business in Aspen for 32 years and he seems to have a booming business going on, so I'm hoping his work ethic and experience rubs off on Noah.
Noah's also living above the shop in a small bedroom/apartment that John also uses as his office. Housing in Aspen runs between unaffordable and unavailable and so Noah is bunking in the shop for the time until he finds his own place.
Just as an example of how expensive housing is in Aspen, I read a story in the daily paper about the arrest of a suspected cocaine dealer, 26 years old and living in a basement bedroom at his mom's house! If a cocaine dealer can't afford his own place, how does a simple auto mechanic afford a place? But on the other hand, there is an unused bedroom right now that might be available...
But we got him unloaded and tucked in and returned home safely last night. I managed to keep my flu symptoms regulated with meds and the trip home was uneventful and pleasant.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sit here in front of the boob tube and try not to hurt myself coughing.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Noah's taken a job with an independent garage that has been owned by the same guy for 32 years. He's promised Noah what seems like a dandy wage but I think its going to be mighty expensive in swanky Aspen so he'll have to figure it out for himself.
Here's a picture of the trailer we loaded yesterday up in Logan. We have all his earthy possessions loaded into this car, the bed and back seat of the truck and his tool box, on the back of the trailer. As always, click on the little picture for the bigger version.
I guess Ogden's big quake is still pending. I really need to build a bug-out box!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Curt explains it pretty well but fails ot mention that he did the work, at my request, back in December. He was a little nervous about working on someone else's gun instead of his own but I was certain he was the right guy for the job and so he agreed to the repairs.
My SKS is a new rifle compared to the way it was with the stock trigger action! Even Kenny was impressed by the improvements when he shot it on Sunday. I wish I could tell you how bad the trigger used to be but it was so bad that when I began shooting the rifle I thought maybe the trigger assembly was broken!
Now the trigger releases like a modern rifle and the accuracy has been improved dramatically as a result. We were able to routinely hit a hot water tank at 245 yards from a held rest from a table, even using the iron sights. That was never possible before Curt's improvements.
If you have an SKS that you just don't love because of the lousy trigger, get in touch with Curt. He will hook you up in short order and you will be helping him fund a new computer!
A couple weekends back, the BSU and I went to see what all the Academy nomination hoopla is all about for the movie, There Will be Blood.
Let’s be clear, this movie was not made for blockbuster ticket sales but for the sake of story telling and movie making. It is a blustering story about an oilman- Daniel Plainview, played by Daniel Day-Lewis who discovers that he has a penchant for digging oil out of the ground in the beginning of the 20th century and finds his big strike on a dusty patch of California dirt outside a tiny village called New Boston. The movie is based upon the story, Oil by Upton Sinclair. Plainview insinuates himself into New Boston using his cash, his soft-spoken promises and intimidations and buys up all the land where oil seemingly seeps out of the hillsides. His efforts and wealth are continually roughly scraped against a young religious zealot and preacher of the only church in town and their conflict escalates throughout the tale.
This is a big story of a frontier era in America’s past with panoramic vistas, gritty individuals with a hunger for success and wealth and the steely determination to get what they want, at whatever the cost. Plainview runs over everyone that stands in his way of his ever-increasing wealth; the man-boy preacher played by Paul Dane, other oilmen, landowners and politicians, strangers and family alike with seemingly little pleasure in either the wealth or the results. He does seem to enjoy the process of extracting oil out of the ground but he appears to have no pleasure from the results of his labors. Instead he takes what he wants, bends the rules and arms of those that stall him and alienates his son and everyone that might have befriended him.
This is an exciting movie and I really enjoyed it. The spouse didn’t hate it but it will never make her “10 Best” list. It is violent in places, sad and tragic too but ultimately it’s a story of hard work in a gritty period of American industrial history and the men that created the oil industry. It is intense both in story and scenery and you should expect that it will win at least some of the 8 Oscars that it has been nominated for, including Best Picture. Looking at the list of Best Picture nominated movies, it appears that I have seen all of them except Atonement and There Will be Blood is the most memorable and remarkable of the choices, so that’s my choice for Best Picture. If American Gangster was in this list, which I think it should be, then my choice would almost be a toss-up between the two films.
Here’s a movie, Fool's Gold that won’t be receiving any Academy Award nominations unless there is a new category instituted for “Best Hairless, Hunky Chest”. (Ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote that!) We saw it this past weekend. This one is a mighty light movie.
Matthew McConaughey plays Finnegan, a down-on-his luck, sun bleached and clueless treasure hunter, searching for valuables in the sands underwater off the Florida Keys. He looses his boat to an inconvenient fire, (is there any other kind?), spends a night adrift and makes it to the judge’s chambers just minutes too late to speak his part at the divorce proceedings separating him maritally from Tess Finnegan, played by Kate Hudson.
Finnegan charms his way onto the luxury yacht that Kate works on as a steward, and convinces the globe-trotting owner, Nigel Honeycutt, played by Donald Sutherland, to take up the treasure hunt based upon the latest piece of a plate that he has found and Kate’s knowledge from research they did during their honeymoon.
So a search ensues and along the way, Finn’s old treasure hunting teacher shows up, hired by the bumbling bad guys that own the island where the search is centered. There are explosions, Scooby-Doo type clues and bikini shots throughout. There’s even a Vespa motorscooter that plays a critical role by providing a headlight that must be powered by the Energizer Bunny for its ability to provide clue digging and reading light for an entire night.
Its all fun and games after that and eventually ends up with all the lost Spanish gold and jewelry found where it was hidden in the most unlikely and dangerous place on the island but it is recovered and placed on display for the world to see and admire. Finn and Tess rediscover their love for each other and treasure hunting, the ditzy, socialite daughter, Gemma figures out that her daddy, Nigel really does love her and the bad guys get sent packing from the island.
How is it as a movie? Well, think Scooby-Doo with prettier people and scenery. Its light and painless and “better than she expected” according to the spouse. I found a terrific quote researching this post; A golden-hued film populated by a bunch of fools”“, that is pretty accurate. I did feel bad for Donald Sutherland as he seemed to be playing the globe-trotting senior character without much enthusiasm. He seemed like the aging All-Star player that gets sent to the minors to stay active while the rookies get all the playing time. In particular, Alexis Dziena, (who?) as Gemma seems to tax Sutherland’s decades of acting tolerance and I couldn’t help but feeling that he had been roped into the only adult role in a cast full of youngsters that he wouldn’t normally associate with. It seemed like he got roped into role he didn’t really want to play.
The rest of the cast is pretty but not winning any Academy Awards for their skills. McConaughey is handsome and charming, (I suppose) and seemingly made for the glib, male role in the modern romantic comedy that brings people’s dollars into the box office. Kate Hudson is pretty enough but seems to me to be made of cotton candy- sweet but not much substance. And Alexis Dziena, who the heck is she? I have to say that the spoiled, bratty, not very smart socialite part she plays doesn’t seem like much of a stretch so I don’t see any Oscars in her immediate future.
So go see it for the scenery and the silly tale and enjoy your popcorn. Its no classic but its not too bad and the warm Caribbean scenery will warm up your winter chilled spirit.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Unfortunately, my gun cleaning bench in my workshop is under water from the leaking roof just above it. It's a major inconvenience right now with water dripping all the east wall of my shop.
Monday, February 18, 2008
We had a great time. The new revolvers, in spite of their labor intensity, are great fun to shoot. I neglected to bring the target cardboard so it was difficult to see where the bullets were going but I did manage to shoot both guns several times and they were a (literal) blast to shoot.
After the black powder was put away we shot all the other guns that we had brought along with great effect. I finally got to shoot my SKS with the Sailor Curt improved trigger group and its so good now it is almost like a different rifle. I was able to hit the water tank that is 245 yards away, with open sights and from a sitting rest time after time, which I never could have done before the modifications.
And then it was time to drive home... We decided to stay off the paved road and to return to the highway down an unmarked, dirt county road- just for fun. And it was fun, splashing through the snowdrifts and mud puddles with no real care for 5 or 6 miles, using the 4WD just the way Ford intended. But then we came to a snowdrift, a big snowdrift that completely covered the road...
It seems the snowdrift was much deeper than it appeared through the windshield of the truck! After 40 yards or so, we were stuck! The truck was buried, stuck on snow completely filling the bottom side of the truck and with a bow wave of snow in front of the bumper that was taller than the bumper. On the sides, the snow was deeper than the running boards!
We got out. We used 2 2"X2" posts for the target stand to try to dig out the snow that was holding us up. We tried pushing and rocking, all to no avail. Kenny had a little bit of cell phone connectivity, so he called home. His spouse began trying to contact their roadside breakdown service but they wanted an address and zip code before they could send out a wrecker. I decided to walk to the magnesium plant, that I thought was just 2-3 miles away, figuring I could find a wired phone connection to call for a wrecker.
Turns out the plant was really 5 or 6 miles away... It was a long walk! But I found a security guard and he found a supervisor and he rounded up his big truck and a tow strap and took me back to the buried truck. Just as we arrived back at the stuck truck, a friend of Kenny's who had been summoned by Susie also arrived with his truck. It took only a few minutes to unroll a tow strap and to back the truck out of the deep snow and up onto the dry ground and safety.
After sincere thanks all around for the long distance assistance we headed out, still with 5 or 6 miles of slippery mud to slop through before we reached the paved road and real safety.
Needless to say, we were very late getting home! Its going to take a whole bunch of quarters tomorrow night at the car wash to get all the mud off my truck!
Kenny has pictures, no doubt he will be posting them over at his blog, Coffee in the Morning so check him out for the pictures of our big adventure.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
But here's the point of my thoughts- its time for college students to change something really important, that is, the responsibility for personal protection. Obviously my thoughts on this subject are a result of the tragedy at Northwestern Illinois University last week.
So, I have more research to do and thoughts to assemble into a coherent piece and then I'll write the entire thing. But not tonight. I've got to sleep on it for a while.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I'm expecting the tank to begin leaking prematurely any day now...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There were school buses stranded, stuck and broken down. Nearly 100 kids
had to spend the night in their elementary school. The winds were reported at 70 mph and the blowing snow piled up on the roads faster than the road crews could keep things clear. There are roads closed and schools closed all across northern Utah county just south of Point of the Mountain.
And I need a new B1-RD fueling station for my backyard as my old, plastic tower station was broken off its post by the high winds. The plastic base was just wrecked and there's no fixing it so my fueling capability has been reduced by about 2/3. Maybe after dinner tonight I can get to the store for a new one.
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In other words, my ass is dragging today.
Its only Tuesday and I'm already tired. If I can avoid shorting out my keyboard today with a drooling, unintentional nap, maybe I can get an early bedtime tonight.
Monday, February 11, 2008
If you've never suffered through this process, let me explain it to you. First, you appear at the appointed time at some professional office complex someplace, at an hour when you should be settling into your favorite chair at home. Or your own bed, at home. A pleasant young man checks you in, runs through the paperwork you filled out earlier in the day, then gives you more paperwork to complete. Then you are led into a small bedroom to get ready for the test.
The bed is a little intimidating since it is covered from one side to the other with enough wire to to rebuild a space shuttle, and you know those wires are all going to be very shortly attached to your body. But first, time for your pajamas. You brought your pjs, right? Well now its time to switch into your sleep clothes.
Now the friendly tech will begin the wiring job. Two leads go down your pants leg on each side. Two more go on each side of your chest. Then the tape measure and Sharpie comes out and the tech marks your head for 6 or 8 or 10 more electrical leads and then installs them using some kind of sticky wax on your head and scalp. Wires connect behind your ears, over each eye, in the center of your forehead, over each jaw bone and a speaker gets taped to your throat. And two belts get wrapped around you, one over your chest and one over your belly. Got all that? You are wired for sound and ready to transmit data from just about every part of your body, after the tech plugs youo into a complicated box on the wall.
Now its time for the ops checks of all the wiring! The tech leaves you laying on the bed, goes into the command center and proceeds to give you directions over a speaker- "Move your left leg", "move your right leg", "look up", "look down", "snore 3 times", "hold your breath". There's more, but you get the idea.
Finally its "Lights out" and time for you to try to get to sleep for the night. Good luck! You might get some sleep all wired up but if you're like me you probably won't really get a good night's sleep- especially when the tech wakes you at 3 AM to hook a air mask to your face! That's right, you are going to wear a CPAP mask for a couple hours! This thing fits over your face and blows air down your throat whether you want it or not! Or the strap slips off your head letting the mask slide around and you end up trying to sleep while holding this stupid mask to your face until 5 AM when the tech finally comes in to tell you its time to wake up- as if!
Once you get unplugged from the wall the tech leaves you alone to figure out where all the leads are attached to your body and cranium and to pull them off yourself. Then, there's more paperwork and some orange juice and you can be out of there by 6 AM and headed home. And you'll have to go home to wash out the junk off your hair!
At the least, that's what happened to me, last night. It wasn't the worst night of sleep I ever got, that was last year after my surgery when I was supposed to be sleeeping on a sheet over a plastic matteress cover and my feet trapped in compression boots and nurses pestering me every hour or so, but it was a pretty lousy experience. I just hope the results of my test encourages the VA to pay me some disability!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I think they will be great fun!
So, yes, its beautiful outside. I should be going out to shoot my 2 new pistols, but as they are black powder guns, I first have to travel to Sportsmans Warehouse and spend even more money for all the neccesary bits and pieces required to make them go bang. That trip will be later today, maybe next! Friday night I purchased 2 used, 1851 Navy Colt replicas from a fellow advertising on KSL. I need to take a couple photos, but these are nickel plated guns with grey micarta grips, and boy-oh-boy, are they pretty! Not totally period correct, but they are pretty!
Yesterday was a day of ticket-checking at Powder Mountain Ski Resort, as usual. What was unusual was that I didn't spend the day freezing! All the other days I've worked, I just haven't been able to keep warm, unlike all the other years. But yesterday was mild, I stayed warm and worked pretty dang hard keeping the crowds moving along in an orderly fashion, boarding the Hidden Lake high-speed quad lift. We did have capacity crowds yesterday and while that increases my workload somewhat, it is what makes the resort successful and fun and keeps visitors returning year after year. Mind, when I tell you we had lift lines yesterday, we never had a lift line that exceeded 5 or 6 minutes to get on the lift. Travel to some of those big name resorts in Colorado and spend 3 times that many minutes getting loaded for a trip to the top again.
My "rich f*cking Texan", Jerry and his lovely wife Cathy were back to Powder Mountain yesterday! They had been to Canada skiing since he last visited Powder Mountain and they were on their way to Tahoe on Monday! What a life! Jerry says he skies 70 days per year and isn't interested in any other hobbies while there is snow on the ground!
I got home after being on the mountain all day to a hot water tank that for the 2nd time had apparently overheated and was venting through the Temperature/Pressure relief valve. The 1st time this happened was a couple weeks ago and after shutting everything off, it seemed to be ok upon startup. But this time, even with the house water shut off, it continued to vent and the BSU didn't know how to turn off the flames keeping everything hot. And it was continuing to heat even when there was no water requirement.
So, last night I replaced the gas valve and thermostat control on the hot water tank. And so far, everything seems well.
Tonight I'm traveling to Salt Lake City to spend the night, sleeping in a sleep diagnostic center, wired up to a computer and tucked in until morning. I'm having a sleep study accomplished, paid for by the VA, to determine how severe my sleep apnea is and whether I might qualify for some disability benefits, ($$) for my condition. So I'll be spending the night without the BSU and getting into work late tomorrow after my test. And I intend to sleep on my back and snoring as hard as its possible so I can blow their test norms right off the page!
Now- I must get outside! And then to the sporting goods store!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
|What military aircraft are you?|
You're a B-52. You are old and wise, and you absolutely love destruction. You believe in the principle of "peace through deterrence" and aren`t afraid to throw your weight around.
|Click Here to Take This Quiz|
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
As I mentioned previously, Blogger offers the ability to make blog posts through email, which is what I am doing right now. But my information and that email address has apparently been found by the scammers tools and so I'm getting those unwanted posts showing up on Wasted Electrons. I guess tonight I will have to change my info and get a new address to prevent the scammers from having access to my humble blog.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
I also did not vote for John McCain. Click the link to read the best list of reasons why I couldn't vote for John.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
So how did I celebrate my birthday this year? Well I worked most of the day to make up for missing most of Thursday. And when I went home from work- I shoveled snow. I think there was about 8" in the drive then. Afterwards we went to the movies and then went out for coffee and pie before tucking into bed.
Saturday was a ticket checking day at Powder Mountain and, believe it or not, I got snowed on all day! When I got home we headed out and went to see a Utah Grizzlies hockey game. That turned out pretty special as we had free tickets handed to us while we headed into the arena. The seats turned out to be pretty good ones and we had food from the vendors before the first faceoff. Sadly, the Grizzlies skated like a pick-up team that had never played together and lost 4-2 to the Alaska Aces.
So that's what I did for my birthday. In between all the shoveling and snowblowing!
And there's more snow coming!
I've already spent a couple hours removing a foot of snow from my driveway and its still snowing! Sorry, but OwlGore just can't convince me of the terror of global warming after seeing just how much snow is piled up in my yard. The pile of snow on the corner between my house and Roger's next door is over 7 feet high! I told the BSU today that I expect to be mowing around snow piles in the grass as late as July this year!
The weather guessers are calling for more snow through Tuesday! Good grief.