Friday, August 31, 2012

August Diary

We finally made it to the shooting range with Sally and her sister.  I must confess that my horrid shooting shone through yet again as Sally, who had never shot before, had way better aim than me.

There was a tea party rally in downtown Cleveland (a couple of near-do-well attendees pictured).  The crowd was decent sized, especially for a union backwater like Northeast Ohio, but the lack of press coverage surprised even my cynical self.  Perhaps the next time it can be a tea party / puppy adoption marathon and the press will be guaranteed to show up!

My brother-in-law kindly purchased these pricey bottles for me at a place in Ann Arbor and I had been neglectful in telling him how the worked: great!  Although the bottles were non-too-cheap, it might amaze him to know that a place with $150/lb ham (no joke) sells this type of bottle for the cheapest price that I've found.  Some microbrews use them, and although they cost a bit more, at least they come filled with beer.  Thanks a bunches for the bottles bro, they're easier than capping!
File this under "do not eat this".  Mrs. Sandmich had brought some blank CDs home from one of her acquaintances, but they had oddly left the clear and black plastic spacers in the sandwich bag.  I guess they had to write on the clear one to keep from using it (which made me wonder if they'd try to use the black spacer when they got to the bottom). 

Cute!  A favorite joke of mine is that some people come over and say that they'd love to have a dog like that, to which I say "how about one exactly like that?"
Some interesting college notes.  Kid Sandmich had taken a math entrance exam for the local community college and did horrible on it.  This, as I theorized, was due to the fact that he rushed through it so as he could get back to screwing around.  I gave hime the benefit of the doubt though, figuring that he was rusty.  Low and behold, his remedial math class starts up and he remarks how bored he is since he already knows it all, to which myself and Mrs. Sandmich both remark that he should have spent more friggin' time on the entrance exam so that he wouldn't have to take that class.  Good thing we're making HIM pay for it, perhaps he'll learn a lesson in patience and frugality, eventually.

As well, Sally had to rearrange her schedule to avoid taking a $440 a credit hour hit if she went over the local college's 16 credit hour limit (this was put in place so that they could build more buildings).  For her trouble she was dumped into an upperclassmen level chemistry class with 170 students (to which she say she has to show up early to avoid sitting in the cheap seats).  I recall a defender of brick and mortar universities saying that STEM fields in particular are immune to online universities and that only computer science-ie stuff works online since those type of students bring their own 'lab' with them.  But what, pray tell, is the difference between an online chemistry class and one that has 170 friggin' people in it?  (I mean, besides the inconvenience of having to crowd into a lecture auditorium).

Finally a congrats to my brother/in-law/sister/in-law on our latest niece and nephew.  Belatedly a little bit on the niece to be sure (do try to be born closer together), but still, the more nieces and nephews the merrier!  BTW, keep nude baby pics to yourself. ;-)

NOT my car

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Colorado Thoughts #2

For #1 from back in February see here.  Otherwise, I was looking at the photos on my old phone and figured I'd finally get around to dumping a LATE post.
Firstly, at the end of the last post I remarked that rental company should let me know when the snow is up to my bumper, hahahahaha! ha......
Anyway, I guess they generally don't get a lot of snow there as I think that there's four salt trucks for the whole state.  This made for some real white knuckle driving at times and I stand corrected as far as failing to rent four wheel drive.
My brother was kind enough to take me out for a brief hike in the mountains, a first for me:

Not pictured: Oxygen, as there isn't any.
All around were these exotic boulders/rocks which Mrs. Sandmich later informed me are something called "granite":
I was going to have a separate post about my Portland trip, but since my posting time is tight I figured I'd post a picture that says it all:
EV station at a Portland area Walgreen's
This brings up a larger point that bounced around in my head in visiting both places.  The cares, concerns, motivations, environment, etc. of the people in both places are all subtly different enough to produce a people that are just different from those of us in northeast Ohio (I begrudgingly include myself for the point of this exercise).  Not 'bad' different or anything like that, but by necessity the lives that they live day to day aren't the same.  Do people in these places know this?  Are they satisfied having a Dennis Kucinich character dictate to them what kind of laws they should live under?  Likewise, why do the people in Ohio tolerate the idea of living under the yoke of bad ideas inevitably churned out by the legislative idiots produced by places like Washington and Oregon?

Federalism is an idea long past revisiting.  People in Ohio, Oregon, Colorado, etc. have their own ideas about how life should be lived and it may well be that those ideas are best for the people in those particular areas, but it's sloppy to try and mix those colors and apply it to everyone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Small Talk

Drudge (and others) note the TSA "chat" downs.  I have to say that I was "subjected" to this on a recent flight and found it amusing that being friendly and talking to people was a strategy that the TSA had to intentionally implement.  I thought so little of it (I even knew what the dude was doing and why) that I didn't think to mention it, perhaps because the TSA guy did most of the talking ("Oh you're going to X?*  Why I...."etc.).  It seemed like the guy was relieved to be assigned to some task other than "be an asshole all day" and I didn't want to spoil it for him.

I can see where some of the controversy is in the latest dust up (the TSA isn't law enforcement and has no business playing pretend police), but along with the 'racial profiling' accusation I'm almost (almost) of a mind that the TSA was starting to get a clue about how to do it's job; but there will be none of THAT in our fine Federal government!

*Sorry, I don't remember which flight it was, but I really want to say it was the January Denver flight.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

July Diary

First, I should note that after blowing off a couple weeks in the early spring, I've found myself way behind where I need to be in pursuit of my economical bachelors degree.  I spent a great deal of my free time in July plowing through assignments and I'm nearly on track with where I need to be, thankfully.
Fit as a Fiddle
Needing more time for school work, I shelved some work out days and unfortun-ate-ly didn't do the whole 'eating less' thing too.  This has resulted in a 10 pound weight gain over the last month and a half (about 5%).  No biggie until you visualize carrying around a 10 pound weight with you where ever you go.  Needless to say, it's protein bars and veggies until I can get back down to my binge weight again.
Along the 'Fit' lines, I had commented to a coworker that Mrs. Sandmich and I would be doing about twenty hours of driving over an extended weekend.  She looked at my Honda Fit and mournfully remarked that "we'd be getting a divorce".   Since the road trip is over, I can say with confidence that divorce was never in the cards; however, whether it was me playing music Mrs. Sandmich didn't like, or Mrs. Sandmich not liking the music that I was playing, I can't completely rule out the possibility of murder.
On a tour on the USS Cod, the guide (an old war horse) mentioned that women would be allowed to serve on submarines and made a (very) weak effort to defend the move, probably to placate the views of those who might be on the tour (which is understandable given the love that wing-nut PC lefties have for war boat tours).  Mrs. Sandmich took a mild, humorous exception to this to which the tour guide replied "you can't think that...".  Can't think that?  I took great exception to this, not caring about making the rest of the tour uncomfortable.  That kind of (not) thinking needs to be stomped out where it is found.
Game of Throes
I incurred a hand injury while trying to get the Platinum trophy in SSX and I've been instead putting the PS3 to work in playing my collection of perfectly legally acquired digital content.  Among these was the HBO series A Game of Thrones.  My hope was for a medieval action series, and instead what I got was a medieval themed soap opera.  I finally gave up on the series after I came to a conclusion that it was never going to settle down into a rut and that the purpose of each new episode was to find some new excuse to display some outrageous amount of violence (especially against women and children) and to portray what can only be described as pornographic levels of smut (only without the same levels of mutual respect and adoration that is in regular porn; so kind of a low brow, snuff house porno).  This series is total crap in hindsight.
There was this not-very-good episode of Futurama that was a glorified campaign commercial for Obama, based around the ideals of his 2008 campaign; only this episode that's full of dated material aired this year.  It is interesting though, to see how Obama believers duped themselves into buying his message.  Only in the case of Futurama writers I should say 'dupe'.
From the PD: Five People Stabbed in Nightclub at Quarter till Four in the Morning
Needless to say, 'comments are now closed for this entry'.
 I'll have to correct myself on something I told my dad and note that the Kentucky 'bourbon run' can now be done in a (cramped) day.  I've been unable to verify, but it looks like some of the lesser brands have pulled out of the cross promotion leaving 'only' six distilleries to visit (though you'll be mildly snookered after taking in samples that are offered at most).  I should point out though that liquor sales are booming so more than half the distilleries have amazing palaces for visiting areas (Four Roses (the weakest, but still nice), Maker's Mark, Heaven Hill (which also has a whiskey museum of sorts), and Woodford Reserve) while the rest (Jim Beam and Wild Turkey) are in the process of aggressively updating.  (I should also note that the stores of those places won't rock the distributor boat and their easier to find wares (Jim Beam Black Label, etc.) can be found cheaper elsewhere, but it's usually still cheaper than Ohio).
Chinese Food
 The aforementioned Sally and I ate at a Chinese restaurant near the Kent campus many months ago.  When we arrived I had forgotten my phone in the car and Sally went on ahead of me and got a table.  When I sat down to eyeball the menu I heard some gringos behind me ordering kung pao chicken, etc., but that stuff wasn't on my menu; the reason being that since Sally is real Chinese, we were given the real Chinese menu (whereas I'm guessing that if I went in, we'd had gotten the kung pao menu).  Skip ahead to last week when we were by Arkansas State and were treated to dinner by Sally's family at a Chinese restaurant close to the university.  When we sat down we were given gringo menus, but then gave permission for Sally's family to order food for us off of the 'real' menu (which was devoid of English).  It would appear that so many East Asian nationals attend our colleges that local Chinese restaurants cater to them and their families with "home cooking".  So a piece of Sandmich advice, if you're at a Chinese restaurant by a university, and you're feeling adventurous, ask for the 'Chinese' menu (there are some iApps that do Chinese OCR if you don't feel like asking what-is-what).

Sniper Tower of Babel
Excepting food, Sally's family, especially her father, was looking for some real American...'stuff'.  One idea I had was that we could go down to the gun range.  I ruled this out for a few reasons though.  Primarily I was concerned with communicating proper firearms procedure to Sally, who would then in turn translate those instructions to her dad.  After seeing some inconsequential things mistranslated using this process, I figured that the gun range was a poor choice of venue to see if the translation kinks had been worked out.  I also figured it would be a let down of sorts since her family lives a cheap plane ticket away from various Southeast Asian venues where they'll let you shoot a full auto 50cal machine gun at live chickens.  I later learned that Sally's dad had never fired a gun and would have loved the experience, and as Mrs. Sandmich pointed out, although he lives close to Southeast Asia, that doesn't mean the guards will let him out of that prison of a country to visit it.  "Maybe next time", I said.