June 30, 2008

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As I posted here, with another update posted here, our pool turned on me. A once sparkling pool turns to muck. Most of the sand in the sand filter got spit out onto the bottom. The cause seemed unique to me. As, none of the "pool experts" could help me. To refresh, I let the water level get way too low. And then, coincidentally, the kid from next door tossed a toy over the fence which managed to get lodged into the skimmer just right. It jammed the flap into a closed position. Which means that the pump started sucking air. Which means the sand, in the sand filter got agitated and worked it's way up into the outlet hose for the pool.

So, I drained the pool down below the level of the skimmer and took the sand filter apart. Dumped what sand was left and used the shop vac' to get the rest. Then Mike and I went to Lowe's and got some more sand for pool filters. We put that in and I tried to wash it the best I could. Then, I backwashed the pump, rinsed it and closed it. Then, I added water to the pool to get the level back up the the filter. When I had drained it down, I had put the cover back on. When I filled it, to the proper level, I checked the water itself. The water was clear, but I could see a lot of green on the side. I held off running the pump until I received the Spring Start-up Kit from In the Swim. I had a box of one pound shock packages from Leslie's Pools kicking around, but none of the other chemicals, like algaecide and clarifier, that come with the kit. When I removed the cover, I was shocked to see that the water, in a matter of a couple of days, had gone from being clear to a dark muddy green. And, it stunk. It smelled like raw sewage. So, I did a big no-no and threw in three packs of the Leslie's shocker. It took that much to get rid of the smell. The first picture is the way the water looked after it got shocked. It's a much lighter green, than it was when I first took the cover off. The In the Swim Spring Start-up package arrived and I followed the directions. Shock, algaecide, clarifier. I got rid of the green, but the water was still cloudy. So, I repeated the steps. A little more clear, but still slightly cloudy. So, I put in my trusty Miraclear, and it came out sparkling clean. Keep your fingers crossed that it at least lasts through the summer.

Posted by Valkyre at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2008

Why I Love Jack Russell Terriers

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

These are images that were published in the Los Angeles Times, showcasing the Loews Surfdog Competition. All kinds of dogs participated. I noticed, that out of nine photos, the guy from the Los Angeles Times took seven pictures of Jack Russell Terriers. The Russell pictured here seem to really enjoy it. The first 6 pictures are of a male Jack named Buddy. The last picture is a female Jack named Zoe.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2008

An Update to A Story

Robert Casillas/Staff Photographer

I posted here about our local city councilman, Oscar Medrano, who was arrested for child molestation. He pleaded no contest, and will go to prison for 8 years.

Article here

Medrano gets prison

By Denise Nix and Sandy Mazza Staff Writers

Article Launched: 06/27/2008 11:42:48 PM PDT

Former Gardena City Councilman Oscar Medrano pleaded no contest Friday to two child sex-abuse charges and was immediately sentenced to eight years in state prison.

Medrano, 47, accepted a deal offered by prosecutors in which he pleaded no contest to one count of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a minor and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14.

Torrance Superior Court Judge William Hollingsworth also ordered Medrano to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The plea caps a brief legal saga for the man who once enjoyed successes in business, local politics and his family - but is now called "heinous" by some of his former colleagues.

"When you commit an act that is so heinous, then the penalties cannot be harsh enough," Mayor Paul Tanaka said.

Tanaka and others said they are struggling to understand how the man the community respected for his generosity and kindness committed such crimes.

"I guess you can't judge everyone's character correctly," Councilwoman Rachel Johnson said. "I'm sad for the victim, the young lady. I feel bad for Oscar's family, for his children and his wife.

"But if you do the crime, you do the time," Johnson added. "I don't feel bad for him. It's heinous."

Medrano was scheduled for
a preliminary hearing earlier this week, but the proceeding was rescheduled for next week, then moved to Friday.

None of Medrano's supporters, including his wife, were on hand for the short hearing. Medrano showed no emotion as he repeatedly replied, "Yes ma'am," to Deputy District Attorney Beatriz Dieringer's questions regarding his decision to plead no contest, which is tantamount to a guilty plea in criminal court.

Both convictions count as strikes against Medrano - meaning if he is ever convicted of another felony he could face 25 years to life in prison, according to Dieringer.

Medrano must serve 80 percent of the term before he can be released. With credit for time served, that means he will be eligible for parole after six years behind bars.

Had Medrano gone to trial and been convicted of the 12 counts against him, he could have faced a maximum of 34 years in state prison.

Medrano's attorney, Anthony Robusto, declined to discuss anything about the case, his client or the deal.

Because the plea deal was reached before a preliminary hearing, details of Medrano's crimes have never been disclosed publicly.

According to prosecutors, Medrano began sexually abusing the female relative in 1999, when she was 9 years old.

The abuse escalated from touching to sex during the next eight years. It ended when the girl confided in a friend, who then reported Medrano to a community college instructor. The teacher then called police.

A source close to the girl previously told the Daily Breeze that the abuse occurred almost every week, sometimes in the shower and sometimes at a motel.

Medrano was arrested March 13, just two days after he resigned his seat on the City Council, citing health concerns.

Before Medrano's arrest, Dieringer said, a detective listened in as the victim called Medrano on the telephone to confront him about the abuse.

Dieringer declined to discuss exactly what was said during the call. However, she said if the call was made to someone who was innocent, that person "would've said different things."

Medrano did not deny the victim's allegations and he apologized, and he questioned what she expected him to do about it now, according to Dieringer.

Dieringer said she thought the plea would make the victim relieved, especially since it means she won't have to testify.

"She loved Mr. Medrano. This has been hard on her," Dieringer said. "She's been definitely traumatized by what's happened to her."

To avoid any conflicts of interest, the case was investigated jointly by the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's Office because Gardena's police chief, Ed Medrano, is a cousin of Medrano and because Tanaka is a high-ranking sheriff's official.

"It's a tragic ending to this situation," said Ed Medrano. "But, at the same time, I'm a firm believer in the rule of law and the justice system. There's just no excuse for treating children inappropriately."

Some expressed shock and surprise at Medrano's admission - especially in light of his reputation as a churchgoing family man.

"You're kidding? Wow," said Dan Medina, Medrano's former campaign manager, upon hearing about the plea deal and sentence.

"It's a shame. You think you know someone and you don't," Medina said. "I was hoping that he wouldn't be guilty because you want to believe that people are good."

A special election will be held Nov. 4 to fill Medrano's City Council seat. Candidates can begin registering July 18 for the race.

Several people have already expressed interest, including former City Council candidates Medina and Tasha Cerda, and two planning commissioners.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2008

Hiking in the Local Mountains Again

As posted previously, the Angeles Crest National Forest is not too far from where we leave. A one hour car trip gets you up into the local mountains. Drive the Angeles Crest Highway and you will find a lot of hiking trails. My sister and I went again today. With it being a weekday, there was hardly anyone there. We hiked up our favorite trail. I didn't want to haul the Fuji up, since after about an hour of hiking, it starts to feel like it weighs 100 pounds. So, I snapped this picture with my cell.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2008

Grass Hog - 1; Giant Weed - 0

In this entry, I posted about the battle with the giant weed in my neglected backyard. It was the death knell for our ancient weed whacker. Mike and I went to Lowe's to buy a new one. They had one almost identical to the one that just died. However, the space underneath the display was empty. Next to that one, was the Grass Hog. I liked the image. I liked how powerful it looked. It looked evil. It wouldn't take any shit from the Weed from Hell. It was $10 to $15 bucks more than the one we were looking at. But, I looked at it this way. In 22 years of marriage, we have been through two weed whackers. That averages out to 11 years each. And that's with abuse. So, if this beastie lasts 11 years or more, I figured it would be worth it. So, we bought it. Flash forward, about two weeks later, and I finally get around to using it. It has dual strings as opposed to the single string of the old one. As I fire it up, I thought I saw the massive weed shudder. The Grass Hog made short work of Satan's weed. With more of it exposed, I hit it with the 1 year grass killer. Eventually, I want to dig this area up, remove about 6 inches and soil and rototill. I want to plant a new lawn eventually.

This is what remains after the Grass Hog went at it:

Posted by Valkyre at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

Big Brown May Have Had Loose Shoe During Belmont

By Richard Drew, AP

This may explain why Big Brown did so poorly in the Belmont. And lost his chance of the Triple Crown.

Big Brown had loose shoe during Belmont Stakes

Tribune wire reports

12:44 PM CDT, June 23, 2008

The photograph of a dislodged shoe on Big Brown's right hind hoof in the June 21 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine might explain the colt's stunning meltdown June 7 in the Belmont Stakes. An extreme close-up shows the hoof about 200 yards into the 1-mile race, in which the Triple Crown hopeful was eased and finished last.

IEAH Stables co-president Michael Iavarone said Sunday that he found copies of two photos by free-lancer Russ Milton in his e-mail late Saturday night.

"The picture shocked me," Iavarone said. "When the shoe spread, a nail could have been pinching him. Or he could have been stepping on a hot nail, which would have been worse. I'm guessing the nail went back in but not in the same spot. Or it could have been a loose shoe, which would be like trying to run with a wobbly cleat."

"Any of those things would be significant for a horse running a mile and a half. The track was my original explanation. But now I'm thinking the shoe was dislodged during the race and incorrectly reset while he was running."

It was widely reported the next day that Big Brown's left hind shoe was loose, but Iavarone said that was a miscommunication. For nearly two weeks before the race, much attention was paid to a quarter crack on the colt's left front hoof.

Post-race examinations found no punctures or blood in the right hind hoof. Dr. Greg Bennett is the primary veterinarian for Rick Dutrow, Big Brown's trainer. Sunday night Bennett said the horse had "no lameness issues" afterward but agreed the loose shoe could have hindered him.

"When a shoe comes off, it does throw a horse out of balance, but it depends how traumatically it happens and at what stage of the race," Bennett said. "A couple nails can loosen up, which can cause a lot of problems and affect a horse's performance.

"I'm not sure how much of an issue it was with Big Brown. Sometimes horses feel it after the race and are sore, but I'm not aware of that with Big Brown."

Iavarone said Big Brown returned to the track "two or three days" after the race. He's been jogging daily at Aqueduct to prepare for the Haskell Invitational Aug. 3 at Monmouth Park.

So was it the extreme heat, the loose shoe or the track that brought down Big Brown? It's a moot point, because no excuse can ease the emotional or financial pain. Iavarone said not sweeping the Triple Crown cost IEAH "$60 million plus" in potential income from book and movie deals and licensed merchandise. It also impacted the colt's fee per mating when he begins his stud career next year in Kentucky.

"We only sold a minor portion of his breeding rights," Iavarone said, "and there would have been huge bonuses if he had won."

Posted by Valkyre at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2008

George Carlin 1937-2008

Article here

Another one of the good ones. Rest in Peace George.

George Carlin, 71; comedian tested limits of speech and society

He gained notoriety for his 'seven dirty words,' but his incisive commentaries were as clever as they were vulgar.

By Rich Connell and Jason Song, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

June 23, 2008

George Carlin, the acerbic, Grammy-winning comedian whose career spanned more than 50 years, died of heart failure Sunday evening after being admitted to the hospital complaining of chest pains, his spokesman said. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart problems, died at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica shortly before 6 p.m., said his publicist Jeff Abraham.

The comedian, who toured college campuses for years and made a name for himself using dirty language and delivering biting social commentaries, had released 22 solo albums and three bestselling books.

He finished a show at the Orleans casino in Las Vegas last week and was planning to take the month off to relax and work on a new book of essays and musings, Abraham said.

Carlin normally took summers off and was scheduled to tour again beginning with a July 20 performance at Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. He had dates lined up through December, Abraham said.

"He was looking forward to it."

Carlin went to the hospital Sunday afternoon because "his heart just didn't feel right," the publicist said.

Carlin starred in a variety of TV and movie roles and gained fame for a routine about the seven dirty words that could not be uttered on television.

"There are three ingredients in my comedy," he said in a 1991 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Those three things which wax and wane in importance are English language and wordplay; secondly, mundane, everyday observational comedy -- dogs, cats and all that stuff; and thirdly, sociopolitical attitude comedy."

He earned several gold comedy albums and five Emmy nominations.

Carlin was arrested in 1972 in Milwaukee for using indecent language. In a separate case in 1973, a radio listener complained after a station played part of his album. That case went the Supreme Court, which in 1978 ruled in favor of the FCC, saying the radio station could not broadcast those words at times when children could be listening.

Of the Surpeme Court ruling, Carlin said, "So my name is a footnote in American history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of."

Carlin first appeared on radio in 1956 at age 19, while serving in the Air Force.

In 1960, he and Jack Burns began appearing together in nightclubs as "Burns and Carlin." The duo made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar before splitting up in 1962.

Carlin became a hit on the college circuit. He survived cocaine dependency in the 1970s and a heart attack and two open-heart surgeries in the 1980s.

In the 1990s he added acting to his schedule, appearing in the Barbra Streisand-Nick Nolte movie "Prince of Tides." Other film roles came in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Dogma," with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

He was the first host of "Saturday Night Live" and appeared some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."

He authored three books, including "Brain Droppings," a collection of essays and routines, and "Napalm and Silly Putty," a collection of his stand-up material. Both won Grammy awards. His third book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" was nominated for a Grammy.

The death of his wife of more than 30 years, Brenda Hosbrook Carlin, on Mother's Day 1997 was particularly hard for Carlin. "See ya Dink," he wrote on his website. "Miss you a lot."

Last year, he said a highlight of his career was a 1992 HBO special titled "Jamming in New York."

"That was the point where I probably became more of a writer who performed his own material.

"The material became more like essays, they became more socially conscious, and it was just a major jump from being what I think of as only an entertainer to being an artist-entertainer," he said in a 2007 Times interview.

Last year, Carlin released "George Carlin: All My Stuff," a 14-DVD collection of his HBO specials from 1977 to 2005.

He had shown no signs of slowing down.

Just last week, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Carlin would be awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The center is scheduled to honor Carlin at a tribute performance by former colleagues on Nov. 10, which will be broadcast later on PBS.

Carlin was born May 12, 1937 and grew up in New York.

He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; older brother Patrick Carlin; and longtime manager, business partner and best friend Jerold Hamza.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2008

Yet Another Addiction

I'm addicted to another one of those hidden artifact games from Big Fish games. This one is based in the Amazon Jungle. It's a little different from the Titanic game I am also addicted to. I'm stuck in the damn thing right now, so I've taken a break. I'm hoping that if I clear my head a little bit, I can solve the level I am on.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Mike and I caught this, this afternoon. The trailers made it look pretty good and it got a fresh over on RottenTomatoes. com. It was great! It was really original. Not a rehash of some old plot. I got so caught up in it, that it seemed like it was really, really short. There were times that I teared up. We'll definitely be getting it when it comes out on DVD. Here's a summary of the movie from the website:

Po's an apprentice noodlemaker who daydreams of fighting alongside the stars of the Kung Fu world. Through a twist of fate, Po is unexpectedly picked to do just that and save the valley from the vicious Tai Lung in the process. Even though Po is just a beginner, he isn't about to give up, and he sets about to prove the naysayers wrong... In the process he finds that his greatest weaknesses may be his greatest strengths.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2008

FireFox Download Day - June 17th, 2008

Got an e-mail today from Mozilla. The official FireFox 3 download day is going to be Tuesday, June 17th, 2008. I'll be there.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:34 PM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2008

I'll Stick to Earthquake Country

This was on the front page of the website of our local rag. There was a caption with it:

A huge tornado funnel cloud touches down in Orchard, Iowa, Tuesday at 9:04 p.m. The Globe Gazette and Mitchell County Press News reported that Lori Mehmen of Orchard, took the photo from outside her front door.

Can you imagine that bearing down on you? I would rather have my occasional earthquakes, thank you.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2008

Puppy Throwing Marine Removed From Corps

Some good news. That jackass, serving in Iraq, who threw the puppy off a cliff got booted from the Marines. It's bad enough he did it, but to record it and put it on You Tube!? What was he thinking?

Article here:

Puppy-throwing Marine is removed from Corps

Hawaii-based Lance Cpl. David Motari is being "processed for separation"

Motari was seen on video tossing a puppy off a cliff while on patrol in Iraq

Second Marine, who filmed the incident, was also disciplined

From Mike Mount
CNN Pentagon Producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine videotaped throwing a puppy over a cliff while on patrol in Iraq has been kicked out of the Corps, and a second Marine involved has been disciplined, according to a statement released by the Marines.

YouTube.com removed the video for violating the Web site's terms of use.

Lance Cpl. David Motari, based in Hawaii with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, is being "processed for separation" and received non-judicial punishment, officials said in the statement Wednesday night. The Marine Corps would not specify what that punishment was because of privacy regulations.

The statement said Motari received the punishment for his role in the "episode which generated international attention."

The incident appeared on the Internet web site YouTube in March, sparking outrage from animal rights groups around the world.

In the video, Motari is seen throwing the dog off a cliff as it yelps.

A second Marine, San Diego-based Sgt. Crismarvin Banez Encarnacion, received non-judicial punishment as well.

Janice Hagar, a spokeswoman for the Marines in San Diego, said Encarnacion shot the video.

Marine officials at the Pentagon would not disclose the severity of the disciplinary action against Encarnacion, also because of privacy regulations.

CNN did not receive a response from the Marine Corps in San Diego to questions about the case.

The statement said the Marines conducted an investigation as soon as the YouTube video came to the attention of commanders.

"The actions seen in the Internet video are contrary to the high standards we expect of every Marine and will not be tolerated," according to the statement.

On the video, Motari smiles as he is holding the puppy and then hurls the dog over a cliff. An unknown person operating the video cameras is heard laughing and another voice saying "that's mean, Motari."

In a statement, the Humane Society of the United States applauded the actions.

"The bad actors in this case have been dealt with by the Marine Corps, which rightly recognizes that harming animals is unacceptable conduct," said Dale Bartlett, the group's deputy manager for animal cruelty issues. "Now, the Department of Defense and the Congress must step up protection from cruelty for all animals under the law governing military conduct."

Posted by Valkyre at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

I Will Never Eat These Again

I have nothing against these. They are actually pretty good. It was my timing that ruined them for me. I was running errands for my dad yesterday afternoon. Was checking out, at the local Walgreen's, when the cashier asked me if I was interested in the Cakesters. He gestured towards the display. It was filled with "3-packs" of the 'Nilla Wafers and Oreo Cakesters. They were marked .79 each. The cashier told me they were having a special. 3 packs for $2.00. Normally, I would have turned them down. But, having skipped lunch, I was hungry. I grabbed one package of the "Nilla and two of the Oreos. When I got to the car, I snarfed down all three "Nilla" Cakesters in the one pack. I forgot to pack water. Dumb. I couldn't have really used some at that moment. A couple of hours later, I snarfed down one of the three pack of the Oreo Cakesters. And washed them down with water. When I got home, I was nauseated. I gave the last pack to my daughters and told them that I will probably never be able to eat them again. They were really good, but not in so much quantity and on an empty stomach. They're a little too rich and are probably better eaten one at a time, abd slowly to savor the flavor.

Posted by Valkyre at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

It Was Only A Matter Of Time

AP Photo/Stephen Cherwin

Before trainer Rick Dutrow blamed jockey Kent Desormeaux for Big Brown's loss in the Belmont Stakes. I think Kent made the right decision. What if there really was something wrong with the horse? If Kent had ran him and won, only to have him collapse like Eight Belles at the end of the Kentucky Derby, you would still be hearing about it. Who knows why Big Brown didn't win. Maybe it was too hot. Maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he was sick of Rick Dutrow's big mouth and wanted to shut him up.

Article here:

Big Brown trainer blames jockey

By Rachel Cohen The Associated Press

Article Launched: 06/10/2008 11:33:17 AM PDT

NEW YORK - Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. still blames Kent Desormeaux for Big Brown's stunning last-place finish in the Belmont Stakes, but he wouldn't object to the jockey riding the horse in his next race.

The decision of whether to change jockeys is up to co-owner Michael Iavarone, Dutrow said.

"I don't want to hurt anyone, especially Kent," Dutrow told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning in his barn at Aqueduct. "But I still don't understand what happened. I don't see the horse with a problem, so I have to direct my attention toward the ride. That's all I can come up with."

With Big Brown trying to become the first Triple Crown champion in 30 years after dominant wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Desormeaux eased up the unbeaten colt with a quarter-mile remaining in the Belmont on Saturday.

"I had no horse. He was empty," Desormeaux said after the race.

Dutrow insisted Tuesday he had found nothing wrong with Big Brown.

"Maybe next week if something starts going wrong with the horse, then I'll understand everything," he said.

Dutrow added: "As long as the horse stays the way that I see him right now, then things are just going to keep building up for me to know that it was the ride that did him in."

He said he hadn't spoken to Desormeaux, but "if he calls me I'll talk to him, sure."

If Big Brown is healthy, the plan is for him to run next in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Dutrow had no regrets about his bombastic proclamation that Big Brown clinching the Triple Crown was a "foregone conclusion."

"It's not like I'm going to go and cry in the corner," he said as he prepared for several of his horses to run Wednesday at Aqueduct. "I've got plenty to do here."

Posted by Valkyre at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2008

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

150 pounds of new sand. Filled the water up a little higher than normal. Backwashed the filter and then rinsed for 30 seconds. Now the pump is running on filter. I put my hand across the outlet and there was no sand spitting out. Now I am waiting for a another Spring opening kit to come from intheswim.com so I can start all over again. I think my theory was correct. The water was too low and the toy jamming the flap closed caused the system to suck in air, instead of water. It got the sand agitating inside the filter and it was getting sucked up into the outlet hose. When the kit gets here, I am going to take the cover off, vacuum up the sand that's on the bottom, to waste. I don't want to uncover it right now. I can see, by peaking under the cover, that the water looks pretty nasty right now.

Posted by Valkyre at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2008

Maybe Next Year

Denis Paquin / AP

What a big disappointment. Big Brown just didn't seem to have it today. He was pulled up by his jockey and finished last. I hope that he isn't injured.

Article here

Da' Tara wins Belmont Stakes

By Larry Stewart, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:08 PM PDT, June 7, 2008
BELMONT, N.Y. -- He didn't do it.

Trying to become the horse racing's Triple Crown winner in 30 years, Big Brown on Saturday instead became just another horse to win the first two legs and then lose in the third, the Belmont Stakes.

Big Brown, running steroid free for the first time, ran third throughout much of Saturday's $1 million race at Belmont Park but was pulled up by jockey Kent Desormeaux going around the far turn. Big Brown then galloped out to finish a distant 10th and last.

Da' Tara, winning for only the second time in eight races, defeated runnerup Denis of Cork by 5 lengths to pull off the huge upset. Da' Tara paid $79 to win. Anak Nakal and Ready's Echo finished in a dead heat for third.

Desormeaux said Big Brown just didn't have it today. "I had no horse."

And why was that?

"I have no idea," he said immediately after the race. He said he pulled him up because "I knew he wouldn't be fifth."

Affirmed, who did it in 1978, remains the 11th and last Triple Crown winner. Big Brown is now 6-1.

There had been some speculation that the quarter crack that recently developed on Big Brown's left front hoof was more signifcant than trainer Rick Dutrow and others connected to the horse were saying.

However, Big Brown had been training well.

And up until Saturday, he appeared to be a super horse. He had won his first race by a whopping 11 lengths -- on the turf at Saratoga in upstate New York last Sept. 3 for trainer Pat Reynolds. When Paul Pompa, who named the horse, sold 75% interest in the colt to IEAH Stables, he was turned over to Dutrow.

Because of continuous hoof problems, Big Brown didn't start again until March 5, running in a turf race at Gulfstream Park in Florida and winning by 12 lengths.

After that race, Dutrow became calling Big Brown "a freak" of nature.

Victories in the Florida Derby by five lengths, the Kentucky Derby by 4, and the Preakness by 5 proved Dutrow right. And last week he said it was a "foregone conclusion" he would win the Triple Crown.

Saturday's race proved Dutrow very, very wrong.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

It's Hardly Worth It

Went to go shopping at Costco yesterday. When I started the car, the gas gauge beeped at me to let me know my car was thirsty. Hit the local Valero and threw in $20 worth of regular to $4.37 a gallon. When I got to Costco, I could see a ton of cars lined up at their gas pumps. Their regular was at $4.27 a gallon. I took a picture of the lines. You can see the station in the background. The lines were almost to the main aisle for the store parking. In fact, if you look close enough, you can see the side of a black SUV who would make a half turn into one of the lines and block the aisle somewhat. To me, it's hardly worth waiting in lines like that. I would have saved a whomping 40 cents. At Valero, I pulled right up to the pump, paid the clerk cash and pumped the gas. For Costco, I would have had to wait in line. Let's see..... Let's figure that each car takes 5 minutes to pump their gas. So, I would be there about 20 minutes minimum to save 40 cents. My time is worth more than that. Even if I filled the tank, I would have saved $1.20. Still not worth it. I watched as people got impatient and started honking their horns, if the car in front of them didn't move ahead fast enough. I was in and out of the store while some of the same people waited in line. Not worth it.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2008

Giant Weed - 1, Weed Whacker - 0

Hmmm..... Seems I forgot to mention that I quit my job about a week and a half ago. 5 years of 6 day work weeks were taking their toll. That, and another reason I won't get into right now. That's for a future entry. Even though I had Sunday off, I really couldn't find the time to do everything that needed to be done around the house. So, the backyard fell into neglect. It was starting to look like the neighborhood nightmare. You know, the one that devalues the houses around it. Gravel paths were overrun with weeds. Along with the decorative rock ring around the above ground pool. So, I've spent the past week and a half pulling weeds. I've already filled two city trash barrels and am working towards a third. I decided to tackle this gigantic weed thing near my rose bushes. I don't know what these damn things are called. But, the one in the above picture, is about five feet across. Yes, that's one plant. And, you can't casually just yank it out by it's roots. So, I decided to weed whack it down, then hit what's left with weed killer and dig it up by it's roots when it's dead. I want to remove about 5-6 inches of topsoil anyway. My goal is to plant a new lawn. So, I start whacking at it. The weed whacker was struggling a little bit. Never had this problem before. I thought I could smell burning plastic, but I attributed it to the new plastic line that was installed. However, the motor started to struggle. I pull it up to look at it and notice that there is some grass tangled around the spool. I've never run into this problem before. I chalked it up to the weed from hell. Pull all of it out. Start again. Motor is still struggling. Look again, more grass. Pull it out. Struggle. Look at the motor again and now I see smoke. I think it's burned out. I guess I can't complain too much. This is our second weed whacker in almost 22 years. And, I have a tendency to abuse them by leaving them outside exposed to the elements. So, I will be getting a new one this weekend. Giant weed hasn't got the best of me yet!!!!

Posted by Valkyre at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2008

Not Bad For a Cell Phone Picture

Took a picture of my Dad's Bird of Paradise with the camera in my Sony Ericsson cell phone. I think it came out great.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2008

Firefox 3 Download Day

Download Day 2008

Caught this on Lynne's site. I wasn't even aware of it until I read her blog. So I pledged and will wait for them to get back to me via e-mail, to find out when the offical download day is.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:20 AM | Comments (0)