Saturday, April 30, 2005

Welcome Home, Zoe!

We have a new member of our family:

The Need, the Prayer, and the Answer

Yesterday Jennie called me at work. A family in our church was moving, and they were not able to take their cat Zoe with them. The family was moving today (Saturday), and they urgently needed to find a good home for their cat.

I said okay. I've never been a cat person, but I think that God has been changing my heart lately. Besides, Keisha has been praying for a cat for some time, and what a great opportunity this was to see her prayers being answered.

We got directions to their place - just across the Ohio River in Kentucky. When we called later that evening to see if we could pick her up last night, the owners said that they couldn't find her. It was obvious that Zoe knew something was going on. We agreed to call back later to see if they found her. They did, and we drove last night to get Zoe. The owners gave us her litter box, toys, food supplies, and carrying crate.

Jake, Meet Zoe
As soon as we arrived home, Jake knew something was going on. He was just curious about what was in the carrying crate, but Zoe, who is normally shy, was terrified - as evidenced by her repeated hissing.

We sent Jake to his bed, and Keisha and I brought Zoe into her (Keisha's) bedroom. We let her out, and she looked around. Then, when we opened Keisha's bedroom door, Zoe raced out and hid under our bed.

Gone Into Hiding - For Now

That's where she's been for most of her short time at our place. Except for at 3 AM this morning. I was asleep, but all of a sudden I heard some meowing, and I looked over to see that Zoe had crawled out from under our bed to look around. I tapped my chest to see if she would hop on the bed, which she did. I petted her for a little while, and then she hopped back down and crawled back under the bed.

We Still Love Our Jake

In one sense we are glad that Jake is bigger than he was when he was a puppy. He used to be able to crawl under the bed, too. Now, he can only fit his head under the bed, which he's done here and there, to check on the new animal that is in our home. This also has meant that he's a bit more eager for our affection. The slightest hint that we want him to come over yields a flurry of exuberance.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Happy Belated Birthday to the Official Iowan

Mark C. Morris, the Official Iowan of 'Journey Inside My Mind', recently celebrated his birthday:

Thanks for doing all that you do, Mark!

Exclamation Mark: No Place Like Home

Cincinnati To You

Mom sent me the link to Cincinnati To You via e-mail. I added it to my del.icio.us page and am including it here:

It's a great one-stop shopping website to get the favorite things you miss from Cincinnati, or to send Cincinnati favorites as gift to someone.

You also find on the website a page that says, "You know you live (or lived) in Cincinnati if..."

Take Your Child To Work Day

Yesterday was "Take Your Child To Work" Day. I had forgotten about it until, when I arrived at work, I saw all the kids. Those parents who had brought their kids put them to work: putting together employee handbooks, copying, and so forth.

Maybe next year I'll bring Keisha.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

What's Up, Doc?

The folks at the U.S. Census Bureau have reminded us that on this date, in 1938, Bugs Bunny was unleashed on an unsuspecting America:

The name "bugs" came from the nickname of Ben Hardaway who directed that first cartoon. Over several years, Bugs Bunny was refined into the maddening character we all know, by the team of Chuck Jones and Tex Avery; and the flippant "What's Up, Doc?" was voiced by Mel Blanc. The rabbit's noisy carrot munching was based on a scene in the movie It Happened One Night, with Clark Gable leaning on a fence and chewing a carrot. When Bugs Bunny first appeared, the average American spent $5 a year going to the movies. Now, that figure is $41.
via U.S. Newswire : Releases : "U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for April 29: 'What's Up, Doc?'"

Tooth Fairy Questions

Mood: upbeat
Listening to: The Best of Second City (on cassette)
Reading: Visual Basic 6 Object-Oriented Programming
Eating: cereal, milk, and a 23.6 oz can of Monster energy drink
Watching: too much late night television


If a child happens to lose a tooth and subsequently swallows it, does the tooth fairy leave the money in the toilet?

Or, do you need to get the collander out?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cardiologist's Funeral - JOKE ALERT!

A cardiologist died and was given an elaborate funeral:

A HUGE heart, covered in flowers, stood behind the casket during the service.

Following the eulogy, the Heart opened, and the casket rolled inside.

The Heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful Heart 'forever'. At that point, one of the mourners burst into laughter.

When all eyes stared at him, he said, "I'm sorry, I was just thinking of my own funeral.........I'm a gynecologist."

The proctologist fainted.

via e-mail from Mom

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

This is just too funny! Darth Vader's blog: The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Richter Scale

Those folks at the US Census Bureau have been busy compiling the useful information for our enjoyment, and today is no exception:

Whenever there's an earthquake or its resulting tsunami the Richter Scale is always mentioned to gauge its severity. The index is the work of Charles Francis Richter, born on this day in 1900 near Hamilton, Ohio. The scale increases exponentially by the power of 10 so, a 6.5 reading is 10 times as powerful as a 5.5 reading. The devastating tsunami that hit nations ringing the Indian Ocean was caused by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra registering 8.9 on the Richter Scale the largest since 1964, and the fifth largest since 1900. To better understand such natural phenomena, the U.S. funds more than 9-billion dollars a year in physical and environmental scientific research.
When they say that Charles Richter was born "near" Hamilton, Ohio, they are being approximate, as if to say that he was born in Hamilton, Ohio, but because the landscape has shifted, it is now "near" Hamilton. No? Just a thought.

via U.S. Newswire : Releases : "U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for April 26: The Richter Scale"

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bathroom Advice for Men

Gentlemen: when sitting down at the toilet to "make a major transaction", please remember to point your "member" downward so as to not make a mess on your pants while relaxing your bladder.

Safety Pin

The busy bunch of folks at the US Census Bureau have reminded us that the safety pin was patented on this date:

A debt of $15 led to one of the most useful inventions, patented on this day in 1849. New York mechanic Walter Hunt owed the debt. A creative man, he had already invented many things, including America's first sewing machine. While he thought about how to raise the money, he fiddled with a small piece of wire. Finally, he bent the wire with a twist in the middle, creating a spring and formed a clasp at the other end, which guarded the point of the wire. He had invented the safety pin and sold his rights to it for $400 dollars, little realizing that its utility would last for centuries. His safety pin patent was number 6,281. Now, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants 187-thousand patents a year.
One hundred twenty-one years later, my Mom would be reminded that the safety pin has a point as she accidentally stuck me while changing my diaper.

via U.S. Newswire : Releases : "U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for April 25: Safety Pin Patented"

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blogthings - Your Linguistic Profile



Your Linguistic Profile:



70% General American English

15% Dixie

10% Yankee

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern


When he says... he means...

Saw this on the website for The Bob and Tom Show:

When Tom Griswold speaks, he often uses phrases that can be confusing to most people. Here we attempt to shed some light on what it is he's actually trying to communicate.
For example, when Tom says, "Big Donut Thing You Pull With a Boat," he means "Inner Tube." That's just one of the nearly 100 examples you will find at Tom Griswold: When he says... he means...

Driving Me Car Crazy

Background

Last October, some friends from church gave us a '94 Chevy Corsica. Shortly after we'd gotten it, we noticed that it had this odd way about it. The right front tire area would wobble and "bounce," creating a lot of noise and shaking the car.

It wasn't bad enough for us to really do a lot about it, so we just lived with it. Over time, we noticed that the wobble only occurred between 30 and 55 miles per hour. Below and above, the car behaved almost normally.

Attempting to Leave

This past Thursday morning, when my wife came home from work, she said that the car was sounding really bad. A little concerned, I prepared to go to work anyway.

As I began to drive, I could understand what Jennie had meant. Instead of heading toward the highway, I headed for one of the nearby auto repair places. I saw a Midas, and I took the car there.

Beating Around the Bushings

I handed the owner/manager the keys, and he had a mechanic pull it into a repair bay. After he lifted the car a bit, he checked the right front wheel and called the manager over. After a brief moment, the manager called me over to take a look. The wheel was close to snapping off, and the car was definitely unsafe to drive in its current condition.

It turned out that it needed something called "sway bushings", which are somehow related to the steering assembly; they had broken and were no longer useful. I told for them to go ahead with the repair and called my work to tell them I would be late by a few hours.

I decided to wait in their lobby, watching television, and thinking about the application I've been developing at work.

License to Pay

After the repair was completed, the owner/manager gave me the total cost, and I gave him my driver's license so that I could use the car to go to the ATM to get the money. We don't have a credit card, and the Midas didn't take personal checks.

Attempting to Leave, part 2

I withdrew the $240 needed from the ATM, returned to Midas, and paid my bill. As I started driving toward the expressway, I noticed that the wobble was still there. I could tell that something was fixed because it sounded a bit different.

I stopped to get me some breakfast/lunch, and then I returned to the Midas. After I told the owner that the car still sounded bad, he had the mechanic who'd worked on the car earlier go for a short ride with me. He had test-driven the car earlier, but only in the Target parking lot. As I got up to normal driving speed, he heard and felt the wobble. We returned to Midas.

Let Me Axle You About Your Hub

He pulled the wheel off, and took a closer look. The manager returned to the waiting area and told me it looked like it could be a problem with the axle or the wheel hub.

I knew from an experience several years ago that replacing the axle was not cheap at all. The manager and mechanic later deduced that it was probably the wheel hub.

Take Me Home

After giving me the estimate, I told the manager to go ahead with the work and asked for them to take me home, since I didn't feel like waiting around. The mechanic said he would take the car on the highway to test it out this time. I called work and told them I wasn't going to make it in after all.

The driver and I started toward our apartment, and, about two-thirds of the way there, I realized that the apartment keys were still with the car at the shop. As we turned around to head back to the shop, I chuckled at how silly that was. I'm glad I had a sense of humor about it. I left the ignition key with the mechanic, and the driver took me home.

Pick Me Up

I went inside and went to bed for a nap. Jennie returned home from some training at her work, having gotten a ride from a friend. After a few hours, Keisha came home, and I was able to meet her when she got off the bus. We were home for a short while when Midas called to tell me that the car was ready. I told them to send the driver to come pick me up.

License to Pay, part 2

When we got back to the shop, the assistant manager gave me the total. I left my license again, needing the car to head to the ATM to get the money, approximately $200.

Exceeding the Recommended Daily Limit

I returned to the credit union I'd gone to before. They are not affiliated with our credit union, except for the fact that they have the same type of ATM, and we don't have to pay a fee when we use it.

I drove up to the ATM, and tried to withdraw the $200. I got a message stating that I needed to contact my institution because the transaction could not be completed. I went inside the credit union, and the teller told me that, since they are not in any way affiliated with my credit union, there was really nothing he could do.

I drove home and called the credit union's toll-free number, and I told the representative about the situation, including my needing the money for a car repair, leaving my license, and so forth. He said that the additional $200 would put me over my daily limit of $300, yet he would set the account up to authorize it for this occasion.

I hung up and returned to the ATM to try again. This time I the message on the ATM slip stated that the "Amount Requested Exceeds Daily Limit". Perturbed, I returned home and called the toll-free number again.

The rep I spoke with the second time said that it was probably because they didn't set up the addditional amount on my wife's ATM card as well. I gave the woman that number and she said I should be okay.

Since we needed to get some groceries, Jennie and Keisha climbed in with me. We drove back to the ATM, and I tried with Jennie's card, but the ATM wouldn't even read it. I tried with my card, and I got the same message as before.

Seriously frustrated, I went inside to talk with the teller. I told him that my credit union had supposedly authorized me to get the additional money. He told me again that they were not affiliated with my credit union and that it usually takes some sort of nightly update for something like that to take effect.

Isn't Science Wonderful

Deflated, I returned to our car, and we drove to Midas. I went inside and spoke with the assistant manager. I told him that I had a handful of ATM slips telling me that, despite my credit union telling me the contrary, I was unable to get the money at that time.

My biggest concern was that they would think I was trying to steal from them. Since they had my license, all they'd have to do is call the sheriff, and I could get arrested.

I asked them to hold my license until Friday morning, when I could get the money to them on my way to work. They agreed.

On Friday morning, I was able to get the $200 cash, pay for the repair, and get my license back. Isn't science wonderful?

Isn't God Wonderful

As I've reflected on this series of events, I've been able to see how God was blessing me through it all:
  • I was able to get to a repair facility before the car broke down. I could have been on the highway when the right front wheel snapped off. Then I would have been in a much worse situation.
  • We had the money to pay for the repairs.
  • The repair facility was very understanding in letting me leave my license while I drove the car to get the money.
  • These events took place during a slow part of my work week. Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday are the days when I'm most needed at work.
And I know there are other ways that God took care of me that I haven't mentioned.

It's nice to drive the car without the nasty wobble. It's gotten so that I've nearly forgotten it was there at all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Man Who Started Kindergarten

From the "Because You Just Had to Know Department":

Profile America Thursday, April 21st. Today marks the birthday of a German educator most Americans have never heard of, but whose ideas about how young children learn have had a profound effect on many generations. His name was Friedrich Froebel, born in 1782. He believed that directed play was an important part of each child's education a theory that led to the establishment of the first kindergarten literally, "Children's Garden." The first kindergarten in a U.S. public school opened in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1873. Today, underlining the acceptance of Froebel's ideas across the country, more than 2.5-million youngsters go to public school kindergarten each day. Another half-million attend private kindergartens.
And now you know. They say that knowing is half the battle.

Make it a great day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Cure for Traffic Jams

Last night highway maintenance blocked off the northbound and southbound right-hand lanes of Interstate 75 at Dryden Road in Dayton. Three lanes are down to two in both directions. As expected this has turned the northbound area from Dryden Road south to Interstate 675 into a virtual parking lot.

I've been commuting back and forth from Cincinnati to Dayton for about three weeks now, and I have realized that I may need to spend some time reading Musings of a Traffic Psychologist.

There is one simple thing my fellow travellers and I can do to help alleviate these traffic jams and prevent accidents from happening. Not only is this a great idea for improving traffic flow, but it's the LAW. Here it is:MAINTAIN AN ASSURED CLEAR DISTANCE BY NOT FOLLOWING THE VEHICLE IN FRONT OF YOU TOO CLOSELY.

If that seems too banal, then look at it this way:

A single solitary driver, if they stop "competing" and instead adopt some unusual driving habits, can actually wipe away some of the frustrating traffic patterns on a highway. That "nice" noncompetitive driver can erase traffic waves. I suspect that the opposite is also true: normal competitive behavior CREATES the traffic waves.

Suppose we push constantly ahead, change lanes to grab a bit of headway, and always eliminate our forward space in order to prevent other drivers from "cutting us off". If tiny traffic waves appear, we will rush ahead and then brake hard, leaving larger waves behind us. Repeated action causes the waves to grow. Ironic that the angry people who push ahead as fast as possible might unwittingly participate in "amplifying" the very conditions that they hate so much. The solution seems obvious: drivers with a smooth "calm" style will tend to damp out the waves and produce a uniform flow... and the few drivers who intentionally drive at a single constant speed will wipe out the waves entirely.
Read more from Traffic Wave Experiments and a Cure for Waves and Jams.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

On This Day I Complete My 35th Year

First, Some Small Print

Mood: elated
Listening to: Other people on the PCs (at the library)
Reading: VB 6: Object-oriented programming
Eating: leftover cheeseburger pizza
Watching: nothing in particular


Today is My Birthday

I was born 0416 in 1970. My mom has a lot to say about what that day meant to her.

Here's a letter I just wrote to God:

Dear God,

I've heard of teenagers who have decided to have abortions, yet I am so grateful that my Mom and Dad decided to let me be born. I know that my wife and daughter are, too! As are so many others, too numerous to count.

I am struck by how many lives one person can touch. It's truly amazing and inspiring, almost to much to take in.

Before I was born, you knitted me together inside my Mom. While I was hidden inside, your eyes saw me and took care of me. I praise you because truly I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

You have been with me throughout my entire life, and, now that I've chosen to live for you, my life continues to be even more wonderful.

One of these days I will pass away and be with you, but until then, let me continue to live steadfastly for you, my Lord and my God!

Love, your son,
Danny

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Your Birthdate: April 16

Your Birthdate: April 16
Your birth on the 16th day of the month gives a sense of loneliness and generally the desire to work alone.

You are relatively inflexible, and insist on your being independent.

You need a good deal of time to rest and to meditate.

You are introspective and a little stubborn.

Because of this, it may not be easy for you to maintain permanent relationships, but you probably will as you are very much into home and family.

This birth day inclines to interests in the technical, the scientific, and to the religious or the unknown realm of spiritual explorations.

The date gives you a tendency to seek unusual approaches and makes your style seem a little different and unique to those around you.

Your intuition is aided by the day of your birth, but most of your actions are bedded in logic, responsibility, and the rational approach.

You may be emotional, but have a hard time expressing these emotions.

Because of this, there may be some difficulty in giving or receiving affection.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Talking in the Men's Room

My boss and I were having a conversation, and we recently found ourselves needing to go to the men's room at the same time. We each took a spot behind our own urinals: Having had a lot of coffee, water, and pop beforehand, I really needed to go badly.

I guess it was rather obvious because, not missing a beat, my boss said: "You doin' okay, Dan? You sound peed off."

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Spies - JOKE ALERT!

During the most intensive days of the cold war, the Central Intelligence Agency undertook a recruitment drive to booster its ranks and try to rectify the Soviet intelligence advantages:

During the initial interviews, two candidates appeared particularly promising. Wayne and Amber were a brother and sister team. Although their fervor and patriotism could not be denied and their aptitude for spying was peerless, their one flaw was their inability to get along with each other. Rarely did a moment go by when they weren't arguing, bickering or insulting each other.

As unorthodox as this behavior may have been, they were admitted to the CIA's training program and both excelled in all of their training. However, throughout their training they were constantly arguing and screaming at each other.

Their first assignment was to infiltrate a groop of Soviet agents who were using Washington's nightclubs and restaurants as meeting places to plan their activities.

Wayne and Amber had to become familiar with the coming and going of these restaurant patrons.

One night they had to visit five restaurants in a row. In order to protect their covers, they had to fit in with the restaurant crowd; that meant drinking and dining as legitimate patrons at these elegant eating establishments.

As they went from restaurant to restaurant, they argued, bickered and screamed at each other, all the while eating full meals and drinking their fill.

Because this was their first assignment, they were observed by a couple of CIA veterans. The observers were amazed by their huge appetites but did witness their arguing.

One observer turned to the other and said, "They're dutiful, voracious spies, but Amber raves at Wayne."

via

Thoughts on Hosiery and Making a "Major Transaction"

Karen shares some thoughts about pantyhose. I've decided to stop wearing them myself (*grin*).

Also, there's a guide to making that "major transaction" at work. Very helpful indeed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Getting Ready for the Big Day

Getting Ready for the Small Print

Mood: deliberate
Listening to: K-Love
Reading: Visual Basic 6 Object-Oriented Programming
Eating: McDonald's Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel; hash brown; 16 oz coffee with three creams and one packet of sugar; one Granny Smith apple


Getting Ready for the Big Day

Last night after dinner we went to the Super Laundry to do laundry, of course. Also, I brought along some stuff with which we could do our taxes. Federal and state income tax returns for 2004 must be filed by this coming Friday, April 15th.

Getting Ready for the OTHER Big Day

My birthday is this coming Saturday, April 16th. I share it with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , a woman from church, and a co-worker. Lately it's been hard to look forward to my birthday until we've filed our tax returns, but since we're getting very close, I'm glad to share about a card that my daughter Keisha, who is almost 8 years old, made me yesterday:

On an 8-1/2 by 11 sheet of notebook paper folded in half, she had drawn on all four sides of the card with crayons and pencil. The front has a blue background, and a card in red, blue, and black stripes on it, with the words "I Love You Dad".

I open it up, and the inside left reads as follows:

Happy Birthday!

Dear Birthday -
Dad have a great
BirthDay Day 35 will be
great! your Love is
so sweat you know
you are so, so, so, handsome
true Love. from Dad and Mom
to: Dad
from Keisha
The 'g' in great (both times) is written backwards as is the 'y' in "you know you are". The "i" in Keisha has a heart for the dot.

On the facing page - i.e., the inside right side - is a picture of a girl looking at the words on the left side. This girl is wearing a black turtleneck with a purple-beaded necklace. Her hair is black, straight, and in five brown bows. Keisha told me that it's her. Inside the face is written:
how old are you?   35.
Turning the card over to the back, I see on another blue background, a red plate with a spatula, a knife, and a lit birthday caked colored in black, blue, green, and red stripes.

But that's not all! Keisha had found all the paper money Jennie had left on our dresser, and, with some tokens from an arcade we went to a long while back, put it all inside this card! I gave the money back to Jennie, of course, and put the tokens away, but the heart behind what Keisha did just made me feel so special.

My daughter is AWESOME!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Me, Myself and I: Charmilla!

My mom has uncovered one of the newest buzzwords to hit our pop culture: Charmilla

Think of it as the new Bennifer.

Making a Major Purchase - Gasoline

I did it. I finally broke down and made a major purchase. But it wasn't without its inherent difficulties.

I'm talking about buying some gas for our car, naturally. Here's what happened:

Shopping Around - The Internet

Yesterday, as I pulled into work, I noticed that our car was going to need some gas soon. In the afternoon, I went online to GasPriceWatch.com to check the prices at filling stations around here. I found a station that was on the way back to Cincinnati (I still work in Dayton).

Thursday Afternoon Reality

As I headed home, I saw that the price for a gallon of gas at the station was actually much higher than I'd seen online. Gas stations always raise their prices on Thursdays. I glanced at the fuel gauge and decided to continue on, hoping to find a better price as I continued home.

At Home, Unfuelled

Arriving home, I had not found a better price for gas, so I didn't buy any. The fuel gauge still said that it was okay. Perhaps we'd get some as we went out for the evening to go to the store and the library (see "Mind Change Needed").

As we returned home last night, Jennie and I remembered that we'd forgotten to get gas. "No problem," I said, "I'll just get some on the way to work tomorrow morning."

The Next Day

This morning I was late in leaving, but determined to get some gas. I decided to forego the shortcut that would bypass the commercial area that is Colerain Avenue and, instead, made the trip north on Colerain, checking the prices at gas stations along the way.

By the time I reached the entrance ramp for I-275 eastbound, I still had not gotten any gas. I'll pull off somewhere off I-75 and get some, I said to myself.

Listening to a Book

I mentioned earlier that I've been listening to the audiobook on cassette of Jeffrey Deaver's "The Vanished Man," (see "Aunt Nominated for Award")and I guess I got really into what I was listening to because I'd stopped looking at gas station prices.

That Familiar Shudder

Until, of course, the car began that familiar shudder that indicates it's close to conking out. I've ran out of gas with this car two other times since friends from church gave it to us last October. Fortunately, I was able to get on the Ohio 73 Springboro exit ramp.

Come on, I said to the car, trying to keep the car going. I spotted a Sunoco gas station sign just off the exit ramp. Just a little further...

Then, right as I made the turn onto Ohio 73, the car conked out. I turned on the hazard lights, put the car in neutral, tried to start it, but to no avail. I opened the door, got out, and began to push the car toward the Sunoco station entrance.

Not What I'd Expected

It was then that I noticed that the sign indicating the prices for the different grade of gas was blank. Sure enough, the station was closed - out of business or something. Great, I thought, slowly inching the car toward the entrance anyway, as I glanced around for other nearby gas stations.

The Good Samaritan and a Near-Miss

Just then a red SUV pulled around into the Sunoco station, and a man came out to help me push the car into the lot. "Hop in," he said, "I'll take you to the Speedway down the road."

The man - I never got his name - pulled his SUV next to a pump, and I went toward the store entrance. As I got closer to the door to the store, I stepped on what I think was a small oil slick, almost losing my balance. Close call.

A Confused Clerk

I asked the manager where the gas cans were, and he directed me to them. I picked one up and went to the cashier. "I'd like to buy one gallon of gas and this gas can," I said.

She seemed a little confused, as though she'd never had a customer pre-pay for one gallon of gas. "87 octane on pump 5, please," I added, giving her some money.

The Cost of Procrastinating

After I filled up the gas can, the good samaritan drove me back to my car at the vacant Sunoco station. "Thank you so much," I told him. "I could have saved a lot of money and time if I'd just stopped somewhere sooner to get some gas."

"Just be sure to do this for someone else who may be stranded on the road," he replied.

"Like in that movie "Pay It Forward" with Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment," I said. As he dropped me off, I thanked him again, added the gallon to my tank, and drove back to the Speedway.

Finally Fueling

Walking back to the store entrance, I slid on the same oil slick, nearly losing my balance again. I went inside, got a drink from their cooler, and returned to the same cashier I'd had just minutes before. "We meet again," I said. Handing her a $20 bill, I said, "I'd like to pay for this drink and use the remainder for gas."

Before I left the store, I made sure to mention the oil slick to the manager. Then I went to the pump, fueled the car, and drank my energy drink. After that, I got back in the car and continued my journey to work.

The Only Legitimate Place to Get Free Credit Reports

Clark Howard, the consumer warrior who hosts a syndicated radio talk show, recently mentioned that there is only one place to get free credit reports:

Entering the term “free credit report” into Google’s search function returns more than 22 million hits. This is a hot entrepreneurial area right now and that is not necessarily a good thing.

Tons of criminal outfits are claiming they will give you a free credit report, as long as you enter your information first. These scam artists then use that information to steal your identity. You need to know that there is only one legitimate Web site that offers you a free credit report with no strings attached.

The Web site, annualcreditreport.com is not directly accessible so there is no need to get confused. People in the West and Midwest can now get their reports for free. The entire country will have access by September of this year. For more details, visit the site – and only that site! And do not give out your personal information to anyone you don't know.

Extending Daylight Savings Time Saves Fuel

This just in from the AP wire:

WASHINGTON - If Congress passes an energy bill, Americans may see more daylight-saving time.

Lawmakers crafting energy legislation approved an amendment Wednesday to extend daylight-saving time by two months, having it start on the last Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in November.

"Extending daylight-saving time makes sense, especially with skyrocketing energy costs," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who along with Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., co-sponsored the measure.

The amendment was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that is putting together major parts of energy legislation likely to come up for a vote in the full House in the coming weeks.

"The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use," said Markey, who cited Transportation Department estimates that showed the two-month extension would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

The country uses about 20 million barrels of oil a day.
8 April 2005 Update: I saw this on the AP wire:
WASHINGTON - In an April 6 story about Congress considering a measure to extend daylight-saving time, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the time change would be extended to cover from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in November. Instead, the measure would cover the period from the first Sunday in March to the last Sunday in November. Daylight-saving time now runs from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
What do you all think about this?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mind Change Needed

I'm at the Groesbeck Library. I just dropped Jennie and Keisha off at the store while I stopped here to return some DVDs, renew those that we hadn't watched yet, and pick up a book I'd reserved.

I decided to get on the Internet here so that I could type up a letter to God about how I'm feeling (see "My Well Is Bone-Dry").

I look forward to some changes in our circumstances happening soon:

  • Keisha to be back in school
  • Jennie's orientation for her new job to be over
  • I to have a PC, internet connection, etc., to be able to work from home
  • Keisha to have her other hearing aid
  • Our car to have its right front tire assembly to stop wobbling
  • Our stuff to be unpacked and stored away where needed
Yet as I look at this list, it seems that it's really my perspective that needs to be changed the most. I can change the way I perceive these things, and dealing with them will be easier.

Well, it's time for me to head back to the store to be with Jennie and Keisha. I look forward to apologizing to them. Thank you, God, for mercy and forgiveness!

Aunt Nominated for Award

Listening to: The Vanished Man, by Jeffrey Deaver (on cassette)
Watching:Dodgeball and Daredevil


Mom forwarded me this e-mail about my aunt, her younger sister:

Your little sister has been nominated for the Florence Nightengale Nursing Excellence Award, given yearly to 2 nurses in Cincinnati from the University of Cincinnati School of Nursing.

I also was nominated for an award by the clinic that I work near for the "Residential Services" award, given to an agency or individual who has furthered the health of the community residents.

I don't think I won the Florence Nightengale award since one of our Parish Nurses won last year, and I don't know anything about the other one, but it was an honor to be nominated either way.

I'm also moving forward with my community health worker program that I've been trying to get off the ground for 5 years. My boss has taken up my cause with the higherups and she snuck me a note with some really good news today.
11 April 2005 Update:Mom posted some more encouraging words: read "My Sister, Mary"

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Talk Therapy Is Sometimes Best for Depression

One drawback in seeking treatment for depression may be the thought of having to take medication. According to this WebMD article, new research challenges the widely accepted idea that drugs are the only effective, initial treatment for major depression.

Friday, April 01, 2005