March 29, 2004

Mr Clean AutoDry Carwash

I had heard nothing but good things about this. And, me being lazy, I liked the idea that I wouldn't have to wipe the car down after washing it. This takes care of that with an auto dry filter that removes water impurities which causes spots. So, when I saw a bunch of these stacked on an endcap at Sam's Club, I grabbed one. My car desperately needed washing as you can see by the following:

So, I followed the basic directions. Here are the components. The filter has already been inserted:

First, I rinsed down the car thoroughly. Then, that is followed by the Mr Clean soap. With the soap on it, I washed it with a sponge. I didn't have the proper sponge, though. I bought one that was made specifically for washing cars, but I couldn't find it. So, I used a household type cleaning sponge, which wasn't as good.

Anyway, then you rinse again, taking care to make sure that you clean off all the soap. Then, you set the dial to the Mr. Clean AutoDry and rinse. At first, no water came out and there was an odd grinding noise. I thought it was broken! But then, the water started to come out in a gentle spray. I could see it working just like they said it would. And, the water dried without leaving spots. This is the end results:

There are some dirt smears that really can't be seen in these pictures. These are more my fault than anything else. If I had read the instructions thoroughly, they suggest on hot days that you wash the car in sections, so the soap doesn't dry. I also found out later, that the hose I was using had a bad leak, which means I wasn't getting all the water pressure I needed. And, the hose wasn't long enough for me to do the driver's side as well as I could. This really works though. I will do a better job next weekend, when I have the proper equipment.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2004

The Big Four Oh!

Well, today is my birthday. I was born on March 17th, 1964. So, obviously, this is my 40th. I seem to be doing okay. But, I've suddenly got this urge to by a little red convertible sports car and start dating 18 year old guys.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:10 PM | Comments (5)

March 15, 2004

I Ache All Over

Last week, the owner told me that there would be a large delivery of dog food today. And, I guess since today was the day, no one was around when the driver pulled up to the kennel. That left it to me and him to unload the truck. I found about 3 hand trucks and put them near the truck. He loaded one with about 7, 41 pound bags of dog food. I took it back to the shed and piled the bags inside while he started stacking onto the other hand trucks. When we almost had the truck completely unloaded, one of the owner's of the kennel and her daughter pulled up. They felt bad that I ended up doing most of the work myself. They did help with the last few bags, though. I lifted and stack about 70, 41 pound bags of dog food in the shed. That works out to about 2,870 pounds. Almost a ton and a half. After I was done, my arms felt like they were made of rubber. And, now, hours later, my shoulders and back aches. And, I may have thrown out my shoulder on the right. It really hurts. I will probably rub some Icy/Hot into it before I go to bed.

Ah! I almost forgot! The guy who delivered the food was kind of nice looking. So, at least I had some nice eye candy while I was hefting those bags around.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2004

Some Surprise Visitors

I was getting ready to go to work, when I happened to glance out the kitchen window towards the pool. I don't know if something caught my eye, or what. But, I noticed the drake floating on the pool. We used to have a plastic chlorine tablet dispenser that floated on the pool. It looked like a drake. But, after several years of weathering, it developed cracks and I took it out of the pool. It's actually in my garden in the front yard. So, when I saw the drake, I figured that someone had removed the float from the front garden, and went through the trouble a painting it. And, whoever did it, did a damn good job too! It looks so real!!!! And then, I saw the female. Shit! Real mallards! In our pool! I watched them for quite a while. I took a ton of pictures. I made myself late for work yesterday, because I wanted to see what they would do. Both male and female were in the pool when I first saw them, but the male got out and stood sentry for awhile while the female continued swimming. After about 45 minutes, the male must have felt secure and he dropped back into the pool and joined his mate. About that time, Pepper got out and ran onto the deck and started barking at them. They seemed to realize that she wouldn't go into the water, so they swam as far away from her as they could get. They really didn't seem too afraid, they stuck around. After Pepper got fed up and came back into the house, both mallards settled down and went to sleep:

I finally left for work, about 1 1/2 hours late. My daughter, Helena, sent me a tect message later in the afternoon, telling me that they flew off. I guess they just wanted to rest awhile.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2004

Big Mean Valkyre!!!

As far as Cory is concerned, I had something unspeakable done to him today. In his eyes, I am evil incarnate. Yes, I must confess.... Today.... I had Cory..... NEUTERED!!!!! I hope he forgives me. I took him to the vet at around 8:00am this morning. The surgery was to be performed around noon. while he was under anesthesia, they cleaned his teeth, clipped his nails and checked his ears. Turns out he has some kind of infection in both ears. So, we have some medicine to treat the infection in his ears. I also had a microchip implanted in his ear, just in case he ever gets lost and Animal Control finds him. Then, they can just scan his chip. So, this is a picture of Cory, taken about when we brought him home from the vet. He is still trying to come out of the anesthesia and is really groggy. It's been a few hours now, and he is more awake, somewhat. But now, he is up to date on all his shots. He's had a comprehensive physical examination. And, except for the infected ears, everything checked out okay. Hopefully, someday, he will forgive me for this.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:31 PM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2004

One of Those Mornings

Teresa has been absent for the past three days, due to a nasty head cold. So, we needed to start out a little earlier for her school so she could check in early and get an absence excuse. So, of course, there were two major logjams on the way there. Every morning, that I take her to school, we encounter a bottleneck on the freeway. This particular freeway is called the Harbor Freeway, (or the 110 to Southern Californians). The 110 is five lanes wide where I first get on. But, I immediately have to move over three lanes, if I want to continue south. That's because, if you stay in the two right lanes, they merge off to the San Diego Freeway, (405). Now then, the three lanes, that are left of the 110, now have to take on the the people who are northbound on the 405 and want to merge onto the 110. So, two lanes from the 405 merge down to two, just before the 110, and then that one lane has about 250 feet before it merges into our three lanes. Then, you creep along until the southbound 405 freeway merges onto the 110. When that happens, we now pick up two more lanes and are up to five again. Once that happens, the trucks and slower traffic move over to the right and traffic speed picks up again. So, usually, when we hit the bottleneck, it will take 3 to 4 minutes to move about a quarter mile. Except this morning. As soon as I got on the freeway, I had trouble moving over into the southbound 110 lanes. Traffic was bumper to bumper and moving slowly. I knew right away that there had been an accident. The way traffic was moving, I expected a 10 car pile-up that would be blocking all five lanes.

But no..... After it took us 10 minutes to run the bottleneck, at the very, very end, just before we pick up the two lanes that would bring us up to five. There had been a minor fender bender between a late model Cadillac and a Nissan truck. The Caddy had smashed into the back of the truck. The Highway Patrol had already arrived and had the two vehicles moved over to the side, into the breakdown lane, and out of the way of traffic. But, that didn't stop people from slowing down to gawk. So, we get past that, and the freeway starts moving again. But, our early lead is now gone. As we approach the offramp, that I need to take to get to Teresa's school, I noticed that the cars are backed up onto the freeway. This is not normal. Usually, I can cruise off and there may be 5 cars backed up from the stop sign. But no, this morning, a rather large truck was unable to negotiate the tight right turn from the freeway onto the street and was now stuck. Not only was he stuck, he was blocking all four streets that fed into the intersection. No one could move, until he got out of the way. If he continued forward, he would have had to drive up onto the curb. While that was all well and good, he would, however, have taken out a street sign, a power pole and a light pole which were planted extremely close to the curb. So, everyone sat and watched as this truck backed up a few inches, drove forward a few inches, backed up, etc. Meanwhile, I am watching the time tick away. And then, I started laughing. Hysterically! I couldn't believe this. It was rather amusing. Teresa was a little worried about me, I think. But seriously!? What could I do!? Nothing!!!! If she were late, she would have some good excuses. But, after several attempts at backing up and pulling forward, the truck managed to squeeze by the curb and continue on his way. I got Teresa to school, 5 minutes before the bell was supposed to ring. It was enough time for her to get her absence note. So, everything came out okay.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2004

Who Left The Bloody Furnace On!?

Geez! It's been hot! Last week, it was cold and rainy. Now, it's hot enough to cook eggs on the sidewalk. I was out shopping around 6:45 and it was still about 72 degrees outside. Here it was night time and I had the A/C on low inside the car. There is absolutely no breeze, so having the windows and doors open throughout the house isn't helping. About the only thing that seems to help are the ceiling fans throughout the house. They are all on high and just having the air being moved around is enough to where it doesn't feel too stuff. It's hard to believe that it's still winter here.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2004

My! How She's Grown!

I posted back on April 26th, 2003 about my Grand Niece, Berlyn, who was born premature. My niece was visiting my Mom and Dad's house today from St. Louis. She had Berlyn with her and I took a bunch of pictures of her. I especially liked this one. You can see how much she has grown. It's hard to believe that she was a premie. But, I am posting some of the other pictures I have here, so you can compare:

This is one of the first pictures taken of her. Her faher, Jason, is holding her in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care ward. Look at how large that hat looks on her.

This is when I got to see her and hold her for the first time. This was back in July of 2003. She is a real cutie! I just love her blue eyes.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:20 PM | Comments (2)

March 06, 2004

Ahhh... The Good Old Days When There Were Webmasters!

Way back when, in the dawn of time, (actually 1995), when we first got our internet access here, there were these people called "Webmasters", or in some cases, "Webmistresses". These were the people who you would look to if you found an error, or had any problems with a particular site. For example, let's say you encountered a problem at "www.yourbankhere.com". You would just send an e-mail to "webmaster@yourbankhere.com" with the nature of the problem. Most of the time, you would get a response pretty rapidly. And, it would be a real person on the other side, not a robot. Most likely, if you were to do something similar today, you will get an e-mail stating that no such person exists, etc. It has been really difficult to find out who to write to, on a few sites, when you encounter errors with the site itself.

Today, I went to CHASE to sign up for online bill paying. Even though I pay my Chase bill through, mycheckfree.com, I wanted to also be able to do it through Chase's site itself. Just in the off chance that I may want to make a same day payment. This also would allow me to view my bills online and stop the paper bills coming to the house. After going through 4 pages of filling in information and agreeing to their terms, etc., I get to the final page and click, "submit". I get an error. In bold red letters, it tells me that I do not have permission to access this page and it gives me an error number. So, I highlighted all the error info, and then tried to find where you complain about problems with the website itself. So, I clicked on good old, "Contact Us". There was a list of FAQ's they wanted you to look through before you sent an e-mail. None of the FAQ's covered anything to do with errors on the website. So, then they had a list of various problems and the e-mail addresses of where you send inquiries for these particular problems. Again, none of them had to do with any errors you encounter on the site itself. If your problem didn't fit any of those categories, they had a "General" e-mail address that you could send any questions or problems to. So, I wrote to that, and told them exactly what I had been doing, and I pasted the error message in the message too. First, I got the robot response, thanking me for the inquiry. Then, I got a human response telling me that if I encounter any problems with the web site, I must call their 800#. Yeah right..... Doesn't matter anyway, it seems that my application went through. I received a confirmation e-mail from them just a few minutes ago.

I had a similar problem with the website of the dealership where I bought my car. I tried to make an appointment online to bring my car in for an oil change. After typing in all my information, including the VIN#, mileage, model, etc., and picking the date and time, I got an error message. So, I again, clicked on contact us. I got a page asking me for all my information. At the bottom was a comments box. So, I wrote about the error I encountered. About 15 minutes later, my phone rang. It was a salesman from the dealership wanting to know what type of car I was interested in buying. "I just bought a car!!!! I was trying to let you know you have an error on your page. I didn't contact you to buy a car!" He wasn't too happy about that. Neither were the salesmen who sent me e-mails, wanting to know which model I was interested in. After I explained to them what happened, one of them told me that he would have it looked into. (It's still not fixed). *sigh*

Posted by Valkyre at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2004

Martha Stewart: GUILTY!

Damn! When I heard that they had reached a verdict today, I figured she would be exonerated. Maybe it was because I was listen to the newscasters on the TV during lunch. They hadn't announced the verdict yet, only that the jury had reached verdicts. So, imagine my surprise when I read the following by the Associated Press:

Martha Stewart Guilty On All Counts

By The Associated Press

Martha Stewart was convicted today of obstructing justice and lying to the government about a superbly timed stock sale a devastating verdict that probably means prison for the woman who epitomizes meticulous homemaking and gracious living.


Stewart was found guilty in New York of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison, but she will most certainly get much less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

Her ex-stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, 41, was convicted of conspiracy, perjury, making a false statement and obstruction of justice, but was acquitted of submitting a false document.

Stewart grimaced upon hearing the verdict, and her eyes widened.

The jury of eight women and four men reached the verdicts on the third day of deliberations in the case.

Sentencing was set for June 17.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2004

17 Years Later.....

....I finally got around to changing the name on my Social Security card from my maiden name to my married name. And, the only reason I finally got around to doing it was because of the good ol' IRS. They had updated their software, allegedly to catch tax cheats. It caught the fact that the name on my SS# card was different from my married name. This time, I couldn't just sign anything swearing that that was my number. I had to go get it changed. However, just for last year, the nice guy at the IRS would let it go through and we did get our whole refund. So!? Did I go out and get my new Social Security card last year? Nope...... I waited until just now. And, the only reason I went and did it today, is because I wanted to file our income tax return. I actually was going to do it last weekend, but I realized that we would have to go through all that nonsense again. So, I went down today. The nice gent behind the counter asked for my "Certificate of Marriage". I handed it to him and commented, "I'm the world's worse procrastinator. I got married 17 years ago, and I am just now getting around to changing my name." He smiled at me and said, "I've seen worse. A lot worse. This is nothing." That made me feel a little better.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:36 PM | Comments (1)

March 02, 2004

Boy! Was I Off!

I made my Oscar predictions here. As you can see, I wasn't even close:

Best picture

Lord of the Rings

Best Director

Peter Jackson - Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Actor in a leading role

Sean Pean - Mystic River

Actress in a leading role

Charlize Theron - Monster

Actor in a supporting role

Tim Robbins - Mystic River

Actress in a supporting role

Renee Zellweger - Cold Mountain

At least I got the supporting actor/actresses right. Lord of the Rings swept the Oscars, winning every category that is was nominated for. It was a good movie, I'm not sure if it is deserving of all the accolades. But, that's just my opinion. I was hoping that Sofia Coppola would get the "best director" nod. She at least got an Oscar for "best original screenplay", for Lost in Translation. I was also hoping that Bill Murray would get "best actor" for Lost in Translation. (Even though that would mean that Johnny Depp would lose out too. *sigh* I was hoping that they would both win somehow).

Posted by Valkyre at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)