Distracted Driving

A woman was talking on her cell phone and got on the on-ramp to get on the freeway. The bad thing besides that she wasn't paying attention was that she was only going 30! People behind me were honking and the woman looked in her rear view mirror and flipped me off.

I merged onto the freeway but the guy behind me was still mad, and he honked and held it down. I saw that he and she were having it out with their cars side by side. I guess that's something you have to think about now - Will someone pull out a gun over something like going slow on the freeway?

Chasing the Predator

It's on again - "To catch a predator!" We've seen them get caught, but I want to see the predator run, and have the cops chase him down the street like you see on "COPS."

At least tonight they showed a guy getting Tazered. What a dummy. Was the guy expecting a handwritten invitation to "get on the ground now, and lock your fingers behind your head!?"

The can is empty Sam

My friend was just laughing at me because I was playing my game on-line and I had a soda between me and the keyboard. Well, after I died in the game, I would take a drink. Then, as is no surprise, I finished it, but I kept picking up the can as if some more soda was going to magically appear. It was already empty for sometime and then the can was removed from my space forcefully! "Sam the can is empty!"

That's all. One of those moments that's stupid but funny when it was happening.

Can't take your credit card sir

The post office wouldn't take my credit card because it wasn't signed even though I showed them my driver's license. But they would take a debit card signed or not, and no ID. I just smiled at the lady and didn't give her any grief, but she apologized to me for the rule.

If I sign the back of the card credit and I lose it then the thief has only to practice enough to get their scribble to look something like mine. If I don't have it on there then they have no idea what my signature is and it would be relatively easy to say, "Hey look, that's nothing like my signature," when I disputed the charge.

There are times when the cashier never even looks at me, just the ID and the credit card. I've even signed "Mickey Mouse" on receipts and they have taken that.

But it matters not, since I've seen that even bank tellers don't verify closely. I had written a check to someone and later got the cancelled check back with thick black marker written over the payee name. The bank cashed it, and then had the nerve to charge me the "research" fee to figure out what happened concerning their mistake. Yes, I got my money back but to try to pawn that off on me was pretty annoying.

Fast Food Scam

I had to use my coupon for my free sandwich so I headed to lunch before heading out to do errands.

I sat in the back and was just observing when I saw three people come in. Two went to order and the third sat down. After the two ordered they sat in a different spot than the third person. When their number was ready the third person picked it up and ate by himself while the two others just sat.

After the third person had finished, he left. Now, the two women didn't have their food so one of them goes back up to the cashier and asks when it will be ready. After a few puzzled looks, they make the order again. The two women finally get to eat.

So they got a free meal for their buddy. I could tell that the manager was still trying to figure out what happened.

America's Army 2.8/Battle Field 2142

I played BF2142, a game that my daughter bought as my Christmas gift. It was the first time that I played it on-line, I usually get used to the controls in single play but I still got my booty kicked. It takes me a little bit but then you better be careful! :) The only thing that I didn't like was that my keys kept getting reset to defaults instead of my preferred set.

But back to my current favorite on-line game - Americas Army. I finally got my level "91 honor." I hadn't played in a while, and decided that I would try to get it since I only need a "few" points. Well, three hours later, I finally had it. It was surprising because I also got my best 7 round performance - 21 kills, only 4 deaths.

OK, enough of the games. Back to studying my computer stuff :)

Spaghetti Dinner

Breakfast in the morning, visit some friends, get gas, shopping with a friend, play a new game, and make spaghetti with garlic bread for dinner. It didn't sound like a lot but we were tired by the end of the day.

I finally found a cap that fits my head. With the softball season just about to start, I had been looking for some shade for my head! Like a geek, I wore it out the store so that I could get used to it since I haven't worn anything before. I felt self conscience about it but got used to it really quick. Let's see how much I get teased about it when I hit the softball fields. Oh, also got some thin gloves for running when it's cold.

The spaghetti turned out good and I couldn't tell it was the first attempt. I had made a comment that spaghetti was just glorified top ramen noodles with some meat and sauce. Still hit the spot for the moment. Let the harder experiments begin with the new recipes that I've found.

My Jobs

Today, out of the blue, I get asked, "Do you know any SQL DBAs?" I responded, "Yes - ME!" And then I am offered an opportunity to start as an SQL DBA. My skill set coincides with the job position and I ask for more details. I'm going to pursue this, which leads to how I have gotten my other jobs.

I've only worked for two companies: The US Government, and a national retail software/hardware chain; in the traditional sense. I worked at Dept or Defense as a civil servant at age 17, programming my little fingers off for a meager wage. But I loved it. At the retail level, I was good at customer service and quickly rose to managing my own location and was one of the managers that had taken on some district manager duties.

The opportunity for the first job was given to me as a result of my computer work in high school. My instructor submitted my name for a national fellowship with the government and I interviewed in my blue plaid shirt and navy blue cord pants, and my black shoes. I was nervous because everyone seemed "very mature" age-wise. I got the job and felt completely out of place.

The second job was spotted by my girlfriend at the time as she drove to her bank. I applied and someone else got it. But a month later, the salesperson saw me and directed me to the manager and I started on Monday.

And then the return as a contractor to the government. I started my own company, and was contracted to provide custom programming. It was about to all end, when Sept 11, 2001 occurred. Then I was offered another position dealing with handheld programming.

So, today I'm excited and yet a little anxious about this new position. I best get started on that resume! It's interesting how things work in life. I don't know if I'll get this job but it just made me think of how fortunate I'm been being in the right places at the right times. Even if I didn't know it at the time.

Softball Drafts Finished

This year Heather didn't want to pitch but concentrate on just being a catcher. She also will be playing Volleyball so let's see how things turn out. The draft is always an exciting time for the players because they don't know who will be on their team.

Each team is given a good pitcher, catcher, and some all-stars, and then the rest of the roster is filled at random from the remaining players. Since this is recreational softball at the moment, there are even players that have never played before being placed on the team. They try to balance the teams but somewhere there is always a team that seems - "stacked."

I called Heather after the draft and let her know who was on her team and she seemed more excited this year and I recall from previous years. This year their team color isn't orange - woohoo - It's red!

Well, I hope this season will be a blast...Are you ready for some softball?

Are you sick?

A lot of people are sick lately, except me! I'm not sticking my tongue out or doing the neener, neener dance. My friends just commented that they can't remember me being sick. Yes, I get sick but it may last a day.

I feel the difference in how my body is reacting and tell the tiny warriors that reside inside me to do their thing. Luckily it doesn't last long and they are far apart (years!) But that concerns me. My analogy is like an army that hasn't been put to the test, and gets lethargic and complacent. I hope mine are training in the mean time.

I don't take medication unless it's required or not doing so would be detrimental. I'm not saying that I don't think people should. If that works for you and rids the illness then go for it. I'm just saying that I don't. I try to see if my body can handle it first. If it can't, then give me some of that stuff, quick!!!

No, I don't carry bacteria killer, avoid shaking hands, or anything of that nature, in case you're going to ask! I'm not complaining and hope I'm fortunate in old age, too.


How many surveys have you run across that people send to you via e-mail, myspace, etc? I've never completed one and passed it on. When I was in middle school, the big thing was "slam books."

The books were anonymous and asked questions such as: "Who would you like to kiss?" "What teacher to you hate?" and of course the very personal questions. People would try to guess the survey taker by their handwriting or by the answers. A lot of excitement for the day. Eventually they would be confiscated by a teacher and a new one would start!

Yesterday, I read a survey and after all these years of not playing the game, decided to fill one out and send it off. A little new branch growing off a mature tree. :)

What have you done recently that is not something that you would have normally done?

Coffee and Tea

A friend called me this morning and asked if I wanted to have lunch with her. She mentioned that she had found a new place and wanted to take me there. Sure! A very nice day for a little lunch stroll.

I get down there and park in my usual spot and we walk to the "Brick Yard Coffee and Tea." I've seen it many times as I've walked by during my lunch breaks through out the years but this time we walked in.

I got treated to lunch and we found a little table and chatted for a bit. We were told that our order would be ready in 15 minutes and we looked at the art and enjoyed each others company until the order arrived. It was yummy! I had to rush her back to work so that she wouldn't get in trouble for the "extended" lunch but we've planned to head back there when there aren't time constraints.

So, what place have you passed a million times that you haven't gone into?

Results Not Typical

Everytime I see those commercials that say, "Results Not Typical," I get a weird look on my face. It upsets me that it's legal to advertise something that is not typical when the population follows the program. In this case, I'm referring to weight loss claims. I'd like to see a law that states that commercials would have to show in the same size font that "Average weight loss on this program by participants was: 4 pounds after 8 weeks."

If you've also seen those ads that say, "I lost 60 pounds using XXXX! You can too!" And in tiny, tiny print you see, "Low calorie, extensive exercise program followed six times per week." Uh, well I could lose weight on the M&M diet if I followed that low calorie and extensive program, too!

They also need to ban those ads that have people that had perfect bodies and gained thirty pounds just so they could then say they "lost" weight using this or that program. Ok. I'll shutup now!

Should I have been a consumer adovate instead of a Computer Specialist?

Two Years Today

It's been two years since my mom died. I can still remember that odd feeling that I got when I woke up around 3 a.m or so, the night before. Early in the morning I got out of bed and went into the guest bedroom. Minutes later, I got a call, "Sam, your mom isn't waking up."

I hung up the phone and just didn't move looking out the window. It's not that this was a surprise or out of the realm of possibility but the fact that it just happened was not what I wanted to hear.

After arriving at my mom's apartment, I noticed a couple of police officers in the living room, and they stopped me asking me who I was. "I'm her son..." I went over to my mom and noticed how she appeared to be sleeping all curled up on her side. The police officers interviewed me and they determined that there was no foul play involved but that the medical examiner would be the final word.

I stepped outside onto the balcony and made the family call, call to my daughter's mom notifying her that I wouldn't be picking her up from school, and then a friend. I didn't have experience in this sort of thing and felt overwhelmed.

A grief counselor arrived but I was already in "things need to be done" mode. I may have offended her or so the look on her face seemed to reflect. My Aunt and Uncle said they would be down ASAP from up north. My friend and I drove to the funeral home, and cemetery place. I paid and that was done. I just wanted to get out of there.

Not having my own vehicle was a bummer as I was driving a sebring. It broke down the day before. We went to eat and kind of get my mind off things for a second. It didn't work but I appreciated the gesture.

The whole process after this just didn't go the way it should have, and I did the best that I could based on what I had to work with. It's something that I won't go into detail about since it serves no purpose.

My mom is buried exactly where she wanted - next to my dad, both in a better place. We'll see each other one of these days, sooner or later.

The Repo Man

What would think if you looked out your home window and saw two guys with navy blue wind breakers standing outside your door? Uh, something was up and at the end of the block I see a flatbed tow truck.

The owner doesn't open the door and next thing you know that brand new Nissan Armada is up on the truck ready to go. Four police officers outside filling out some forms and it probably wasn't a good day for the owner.

Tortillas and Gas

Everyday there is a story about how the oil companies are gouging the populace and earning millions on inflated gas (you were thinking other gas, huh?) prices here in the U.S. But check out the problem they have in Mexico where there is a price run on tortillas! As you may or may not know, tortillas are a staple food in this latin country.

Officials hoarding tortillas can be jailed up to 10 years. That's pretty steep in my opinion but it shows how serious the government is.

So, what happens here? Nothing of substance. I believe the oil companies learned from the 'energy crisis' that we had a few years back and saw how much money could be made. Prices go up like a rocket and come back down like a feather.

What penalties should be doled out for gougers?

Shower Routines

Ok! It's really cold at 6:00 a.m. I had happened to fall asleep on the couch last night and noticed that I had gotten up without the alarm, I guess my body knew it had to get up. Shower number one only takes 12 seconds for the water to get warm so the wait wasn't long. For some reason, I was especially alert and was thinking of shower routines. Yes, weird but hey, I think of almost everything at some point.

When was the last time you changed the routine? Rinse first, lather up, scrub, from top to bottom, extra attention to certain spots, shampoo, blow water out of mouth, enjoy warm water, rinse off final time, etc...Is the routine same all the time? Try changing it and see if it feels awkward.

This also reminds me of the survey that I took years ago where the location you choose to wash first, signifies the type of personality you have. I don't believe in these kinds of results but I take them for the curiosity of it all.

Chargers lose to Patriots 24-21

Did you watch the game? It was a nail biter for sure - Let's see what mistake someone will make next. The Chargers have nobody to blame but themselves. They had many opportunities to outright win the game. Dropped interceptions, muffed catches, dropped balls, stupid penalties, bad coaching with respect to the challenge of a call, etc...

It's not the 'Marty Curse.' Should he be fired? Nope. I don't like that they blame the manager because some players made some errors. Of course a sacrificial lamb is expected and heads must roll, and the finger pointing has begun. The Chargers just picked the wrong time to mess up. They had a good season 14-2. But it was a big disappointment and everyone expected more, read "Superbowl" ring. Now, the only thing left is the always favorite - 'Wait 'till next year!"

The unsportsmanlike conduct at the end was not something to be proud by either side. It was unacceptable but understandable given the circumstances.

BTW, I predicted that we would lose by a field goal and that five seconds would be remaining when that happened. I was off by two seconds.

Busy Day

Most of the day was taken up by doing player registrations but then we all went over to Brock's "party house" and watched the play-offs on his gazillion TVs including the wall screen. Pretty cool in that no matter where you are in the place, you can still watch the game. Nobody gets in the way.

We were like a bunch of geeks, five of us brought our laptops and we did some "real" work and enjoyed the food, drink, and the munchies. The Saints won and I/we're looking forward to the Charger game tomorrow. Reminds me of '94 to some extent but I feel they have a better chance this time. We know not what the future holds - either way, I'll live :)

Thanks Brock and Beth for the hospitality!


Have fun tomorrow and enjoy the sushi. Told ya I would post it tonight. :) Hope you like the word!

Know How

If someone asked you if you knew how to speak Spanish; could you answer that you did, if you had to look up words in a dictionary? I think the same goes for programmers. If they tell you they can program and you put them in front of a computer and say, "Ok, create a guestbook in asp.net against an SQL Server and do the layout in CSS without using tables." They should be able to right if of course they know those technologies.

How about someone that says they're a cook but needs to look up every ingredient, cooking times, temperatures, etc...My mom could whip something up and just knew what to do in no time, or so it seemed. Wish I had watched her make those enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos, and everything ranchero.

He said that I should be able to cook if I applied what I know about programming to cooking since they were similar. Following steps, and applying how things relate to each other but that I didn't need to be as exact in cooking. I thought about it for a second and he seemed to have a point.

This all started with a conversation with someone that had a degree in math and needed to look up all the formulas. Geez, I could do that. I gave him a hard time about it but he paid for lunch so I didn't rib him too much.

Give Me Five Hot Sauces

We were out to lunch at a local taco shop and we were discussing customer service and what we expected from a little shop. Just as we finished talking about it; as seems the case with many things I talk about, the following scene occurred...

A lady orders a carne asada burrito and waits patiently and finally has her number called to get her "to go" order. The guy at the counter asks if she would like hot sauce and she says, 'Yes, give me five hot sauces." The guy then says that he has to charge her for the extra three. "Oh? since when? I've been coming here for a long time and they have never said that." He points to the little sign that states the price for a batch of three.

The lady gets upset and says that if she can't have her sauce then she won't be taking the burrito. He promptly refunds her money and tells her to have a nice day. She walks out and that's that.

The interesting part is that if you eat there they give you a bottle of sauce and no additional charge is requested. How would you have handled that situation?

Lottery Winner

The lottery was in the 100 million dollar range so I purchased a whopping two tickets. I checked my tickets and I can say that I'm a lottery winner. Unfortunately, I didn't win the JACKPOT, but I won $6.00.

What's the most you've won in any type of raffle, lottery, etc...

Ohio Loses Big Time

Ohio -v- Florida. I wasn't particularly excited about either of these two teams but I was cheering for Florida State to kick Ohio's booty!

The first play wasn't encouraging for my selection but I was glad that my team won!

You are your memories

Everyone has them. Get a group together on an event and things begin to change about what happened. What's the story behind that, huh?

I have always felt that there is what happened, how you stored the memory, and then how you interpret the memory.

It's all a 'frame of mind.' Here's an example: Alice calls Bob on his cell phone and asks how things are going. Bob responds that things are good and that he'll be going to the gym.

Simple right? Well, if Bob is upset with Alice then the memory is stored as Alice is spying on me and checking up on me. But then again, if she doesn't call, Alice is neglecting him. If things are peachy, then 'Awww. Alice cares about me and is thinking about me. :)'

Sometimes memories are 'replayed' in your brain's photoshop center and saved once again. Why? well, because now it's more interesting and a better story to tell.

I've listened to someone tell a memory that was completely different than what happened. I was the neutral party, so I stored it as an event that a friend had told me. The meat and potatoes of the story was there but things were altered such as how many, day, and who, and meaningless tidbits that didn't need to be changed.

These are just my observations . . . But if you are your memories, then which do you live by? The actual ones or the altered ones?

Softball Registration

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The initial rush of calls and IMs were a little to get used to but after a few I had the pattern down. Mostly calls to verify credit card payments. Tomorrow should be slower, and the final rush on the 13th (last day)


Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst!

Ok, in ten hours walk up registrations starts for the Bonita Valley Girls Softball. We have 520 registered so far and with three weeks until team formations, we're doing well. About 250 more to go or so and were at last years levels.

Gonna go get some sleep so that I'm not a zombie.

I found my memories!!!

I've been taking photos since I was in sixth grade with my little kodak 110 automatic nothing camera. I saved up from cans and bottles to buy the thing on my own for sixth grade camp. My dad had one of those polaroid instant b/w and then later color cameras. I have tons of faded photos in a tote in the garage and in 1997 decided that I would scan them into a digital format.

The process was going smooth and I decided on a naming format that I still use to this day - YYYYMMDDXXX.jpg. I adjust the XXX based on how many of course and place them into a folder matching the date and then add a description to the folder. Then I got into the digital world and started off with my Kodak DC260, DC280, and then stuck with my trusty DC290 for several years until I got my Canon Digital SLR in 2002.

Now, the photos really started to pile up. For some reason I seem to keep the bad photos too. You know - the blurry foot, eyeball, head turning sideways. They were all saved onto my HD and then got transferred on an external drive with blue and pink lights. Looks cool! But it stopped working.

Today I figured since it was broken, that trying to fix it wouldn't do any harm, right? It would turn on and spin. The computer could read it but then a transfer would fail. I looked at the cable and noticed one pin missing. I don't have any replacements so I buy a cable and all my photos and videos appear from 1997-2005. Woohoo. Now to burn them before the drive craps out! lol

My Visit to the Blood Bank

I got my reminder call again and that means they must really need blood! I got there a little early and actually found a spot in the compound and didn't have to go beg for a parking token :) The receptionist checks me in and asks if I have someone in mind for my blood - "Anyone that needs it." My usual answer.

This time they didn't ask as many questions on the form and I was soon shuffled into a 'private' room. I had my vitals taken as usual but this time I didn't really notice the jab into the finger to test my iron. My fingers were cold and the lady asked if I had low iron. "Nope. I don't seem to have that problem."

The little meter showed that I had 18.0 - hmmmm; way out of my range. 120/81 for the blood pressure, 98.2 temp, and 62 heart rate. They now check your cholesterol level and you can see the results of all the tests on-line. Something new that they've added since my last visit, or I wonder if they had it but I didn't ask.

Finding a vein is the hardest part of the procedure for me. Sometimes they search around for a bit before one decides to show itself. A couple of years ago, I got jabbed several times and it just wasn't meant to be and they ended the procedure half way through. This time the lady found a good spot and I didn't see the error, "NO FLOW" on the computer at all as I have in ALL previous donations. But I did hear the ALARM on the computer go off - "AIR IN TUBE!" Beep, Beep, Beep. I turn and look at the computer and the lady is furiously pushing buttons and pulling things. The alarm shuts off. Yes, I was concerned.

There is a part in the procedure where the saline is sent back into your body and it feels cold and a little odd. My face kind of tingled. It does this twice. The second time means you're finished. First time that I didn't get the option of getting the "Blue" tape, just the regular beige.

I was ordered to the cantina for 15 minutes. There is always a T-Shirt and this time it was a Charger "powder" blue with the athletic number on it, emblazoned with "AFC West Champions" on it. Looks cool. I picked up my two cups of OJ and the nutter butters. Memories of my mom getting them for me as a treat immediately popped in. :) I never stay long in the cantina and make my appointment for next time.

Donate Blood!

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone was safe and didn't get hurt by any baddies out there!