Monday, July 28, 2008

Hypermiling Update - Nitrogen Tires

I haven't posted on Hypermiling for a little while, for a couple of reasons. The first is that my telecommuting on Wednesdays has cut down on my weekly fuel efficiency somewhat. 5 long round trips a week grants better average miles per gallon than 4 round trips plus scattered city driving on the off days. The second reason is that my wife filled up my tank, and instead of resetting the trip-ometer, she reset my average mpg gauge. I had to start from scratch on the hypermiling. I think ultimately this was good, as it now only reflects my driving, and not the previous owner. I am almost back into the 25s again, so it seems it was fairly accurate the first time.

I am writing now to tell you about something new I am trying. Ultimately hypermiling is a cumulative thing. It takes a combination of behaviors and tactics to get optimal results. The latest tactic I am trying is the replacement of standard air in my tires.

The Oxygen in a typical tire fillup contributes to a number of problems. One, it is combustible. This means it can explode. Two, it causes oxidation on the metal rims and other parts of the wheel. This means rust. Three, it causes the tires to run at a hotter temperature, which contributes to tire breakdown and pressure loss. The solution? Fill your tires with Nitrogen.

Nitrogen is the most common molecule in the air we breath. It is a larger molecule than Oxygen, so if your tire does leak it is harder for Nitrogen to escape. Nitrogen does not heat up as quickly as Oxygen, and apparently is not as combustible. This means a safer experience all around.

Where Nitrogen fits into the hypermiling mold is the consistency of tire pressure. As a typically-filled tire begins to lose air, the car has to work harder to get from point A to point B. When Nitrogen enters the tire, it leaks 3-4 times less quickly, so you maintain a consistent tire pressure for a longer period of time. The better your tire pressure, the better the mileage per gallon.

Today was my first day of commuting on Nitrogen-filled tires. I will report next week how things go, and if I notice a tangible difference.

Until then, happy hypermiling.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another Crazy Weekend

This weekend was supposed to be my resting weekend. The weekend that made up for all the busy weekends we keep having. I did get quite a bit more sleep this time, but we still managed to pack a lot of stuff in.

We got up early to take my car in to replace a defective tire. This tire apparently was bad the day I bought my car, but my wife didn't tell me she saw a bubble in the side wall of the tire. 3 months later I notice the problem and the dealer, Cars 101 in Oxnard, won't step up. Never buy a car from them. This is only the latest in a series of hassles they heaped upon us. While I was getting my tire done, I thought it was time to try changing the air in my tires to Nitrogen. More on that later.

The tires were supposed to take about an hour, so we walked down the street to the Bed, Bath & Beyond, the Payless Shoes, and Target. We ended up picking something up from all three places. This made quite the trip when my son didn't want to make the walk back. Carrying him, some sodas, shoes, and whatever else we got turned out to be a bigger chore than we had hoped. The car was ready on time though, so we were pretty happy with that.

Next stop was supposed to be home, but it didn't work out. My wife reminded me of the Salsa Festival that was going on this weekend. I love spicy food, so this festival sounded pretty good to me. We ended up spending a couple hours there. I had a lot of fun. Learn more at Surfer J's Grub & Stuff: Oxnard Salsa Festival.

We ended up finally relaxing at around 4:30 last night. My wife had plans with my buddy's wife for lunch today, so I ended up watching the boy for a couple of hours. He still prefers Mommy, so this is sometimes easier said than done. He behaved very well today though. He threw one fit when Mommy left, and cried for about 15 minutes. After that, all was good. He ate most of his lunch, played well, and didn't throw any tantrums. I was pleased with how the day went.

My wife and son went down for a nap, so I am finally able to update my blogs. I had a really good weekend so far. I can't wait to go to the Salsa Festival again next year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Crazy Weekend

I think I have finally recovered enough from my weekend to talk about it. Things picked up speed pretty quickly and only just slowed down. Friday night I saw The Dark Knight. I posted a review on Surfer J's Reviews. This was such an intense movie. I could say more about it here, but this is gonna get long enough as it is. Check out my review (The Dark Knight ). This was only the beginning.

I had been planning my wife's surprise party for over a month. Saturday was the big day, almost exactly a month later than the actual event. She turned 30, so this needed to be a pretty good party. It is almost impossible to surprise my wife. Even when I manage to pull it off, she somehow guesses at the last minute. This is so consistent that I have to try extra hard each time to come up with something that she won't possibly guess. This meant I couldn't buy any supplies until the day of. I had a three hour window to pull it all together. My wife's close friends came over to serve as decoys, and one of them brought her husband with her. He had to get out at the Subway restaurant across the street from my house so my wife wouldn't see him. We had everything planned to the last detail. :)

My son decided it was time to throw an "I need a nap" tantrum seconds before our friend arrives to help. I was cleaning all morning. My wife commented on this to her friends when they arrived, but she still didn't catch on. She told them, "He even vacuumed." I don't vacuum. My wife is a Stay At Home Mom, so she usually has all the vacuuming done before I get home. This was the first time I turned on the vacuum. It feels really weird to say that. Moving on, she didn't know why I was cleaning all morning. I cleaned a little more when our friend arrived, and put him to work. A little cleaning and then babysitting a sleeping toddler were his duties. I had to run to Costco to get the cake.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Costco cake. You go in, with at least 24 hours notice, fill out a sheet of paper and drop it in the slot. You then have faith that the cake will be ready at the time you indicated. My wife loves carrot cake, so I ordered a carrot cake. This cake is HUGE. $18.99 gets you a cake big enough to feed 48 people (in small pieces. A little less with bigger pieces). It came in at half the price the local bakery was going to charge me. The cake was worth it. I am still eating it.

So, cake in hand, it is time to get some more supplies from the grocery store. I ran into one of my friends at the grocery store. He had been buying flowers for my wife. I sent him to the Dollar Tree to pick up balloons and crate paper so we can decorate. He improvised and bought a birthday table cloth (paper). It turned out to be something we needed. We met back at my house, and had 30 minutes until my wife and her friends were due.

The boy woke up during the babysitting. He had already been upset that Mommy went somewhere, so I figured he might not like waking up to find out he was being babysat by a virtual stranger. They haven't seen each other in a long time. I knew how to get around this though. As I left I told our friend that if he wakes up, just turn on Star Wars. It worked like a charm. My son was very pleasant when I got back home. He had his Darth Vader fix.

I found out that my charcoal was a little wet, so I needed to babysit the coals for a bit. This left my friends to finish decorating without me. I got the coals lit, and only needed to re-light them twice.

I grilled up a tri-tip, using a great Guinness Tri-Tip Marinade recipe. My wife came up with the basics, and I made my own version of it for her party. We made some fresh salsa and guacamole, deep fried some flour tortillas to use as chips, and made tacos out of the tri-tip.

My friend bought some noisemakers and distributed them. My wife's friend kept us updated through subtle text messages and seemingly random phone calls to her husband. My son loved the noisemakers, and almost gave the surprise away. He was blowing the "horn" as she was walking up. We got him to quiet down and sent him to open the door. This is not uncommon, so when we shouted surprise and blew the noisemakers, she was taken aback. The surprise worked. She had no clue that we had all conspired to throw the party.

The food and company were great. We had a lot of fun.

Our weekend took a more serious turn with news of an impending divorce among a couple of our friends. This put a dark cloud on the rest of the weekend, and needless to stay it is still hanging around.

We went to the 3rd Annual Pirate Festival in Ventura on Sunday afternoon. My son was in a weird mood, so we didn't stay long. He loves pirates, boats, water, and parrots. He got to see all of it. We watched a guy swallow a sword, walked around a bit, and finally left. There were tons of people around but not much to do. It was still worth checking out, so I am glad we did.

All in all, the weekend provided an intense emotional roller-coaster. Batman is pretty intense. The birthday party brought us up pretty high, and the news from our friends sent us plunging pretty low. We are hoping to plateau for a while. We need to recover a bit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Quick Update

I had an incredibly busy weekend. Be sure to check back for news on my wife's surprise birthday party, the 3rd Annual Pirate Festival, and more. I posted a review on The Dark Knight. Check it out on my blog, Surfer J's Reviews. I posted a new Guinness Tri-Tip Marinade Recipe at Surfer J's Grub & Stuff. Be sure to check it out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tough Week for Obama

I have been somewhat entertained the last week or so by the ills that have befallen Senator Obama. One thinks of the classic line, "With friends like these, who needs enemies?" Not only did Jesse Jackson make a blunder on the Fox network, the New Yorker made a more blatant error.

Let's start with Jesse Jackson. Apparently Jesse doesn't like how Obama talks to black men. This bothers him so much that he wants to "cut his nuts off". Really Jesse? What could he possibly have said to earn that kind of ire? From what I understand, Obama was preaching the same message Bill Cosby has been preaching for years, that men need to be in the home with their kids. This doesn't sound so bad to me. Certainly not bad enough for what Jackson said. I also have come to understand that Jackson's comments were even more crude than the news stories suggested. He reportedly used the same word that he blasts others for using. The one word that we should be beyond by now, if not for Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well as all the rappers and R&B stars out there. You know the word I am talking about, so I will leave it at that.

While Obama was still (theoretically) reeling from the impact of Jackson's attack, the New Yorker hit him even harder. The New Yorker, a liberal magazine if ever there was one, decided to put a satirical image on its cover. This image, completely in jest, depicted every one of the things conservatives fear Obama for. I am sure many of you have seen the image by now, so I will only mention it briefly. The scene shows Obama in the Oval Office, with a portrait of Osama bin Laden on the wall. There is an American Flag in the fire, and Obama's wife is carrying an assault rifle. Obama himself is dressed in Muslim garb. They really walked into it this time. The New Yorker spread the fear of Obama faster than any conservative could.

Has Obama earned this type of treatment? Probably not. For the most part Obama sounds pretty reasonable. He has shown poor judgement in his friends though. From his former pastor, to Jesse Jackson, to the liberals at the New Yorker, Obama is finding himself treading water.

I have still not decided what I feel about his capability to run this nation. I hope that his choice in friends is not an indication of what will happen if he does in fact become President.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Entrecard hits it out of the park with SezWho

I have been using Entrecard for a a while now, and it keeps getting better. I am officially a "Drop Master" on two of my blogs, and will be soon on my third. This has generated a lot of traffic on my blogs. Today Entrecard announced a partnership with SezWho. If you noticed a new post rating near my comments, you have seen SezWho in action.

Entrecard has been great for getting traffic to your page, but a lot of times people just blow through your site, power dropping along the way. This new service encourages people to actually read your blog. You can earn more credits by taking the time to comment on people's blogs.

I already installed SezWho on all of my blogs, so I am looking forward to seeing my comment quantity explode. According to Entrecard's blog, they chose SezWho because it leaves your comments in your hands. Other sites apparently "hijack" your comments, and you no longer own them. SezWho is different, and your comments remain on your own blog.

Entrecard made it easy to sign up for SezWho as well. They also made it easy to find people who enabled SezWho on their blog so you can focus your comments where they will earn you the most credits.

If you haven't signed up for Entrecard yet, I recommend it. Go ahead and add SezWho to your arsenal too. I have been pretty happy with Entrecard so far, and things keep getting better.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Exhausting Day

My son won't stop getting up at 5:30 a.m. What in the world can possibly wake a kid up at 5:30 a.m.? This is Saturday kiddo, let Mommy and Daddy sleep! But no, it is time to get up. Mommy takes first shift and Daddy takes over at 6. Funnily enough, yesterday I wrote a review on my other blog about one of his toys, the Busy Ball Popper. and guess what Daddy was playing with this morning? That's right, the Busy Ball Popper. You can Read The Review Here.

I caught a bit of a nap this morning when he asked to watch Darth, otherwise known as Star Wars. He made it through Empire while I was sleeping, and mostly through A New Hope. This kid is vying for my record of most times watched. I think he has a long road ahead though. :)

Finally he want down for a nap, and peace was restored to our household. The peace was short lived though, as his nap was over quickly. I bought my wife some time by wrestling with him for bit. He is getting stronger each day I think. He definitely can hold his own for a toddler.

We went to a new park today. New to us that is. This one was not designed for parental supervision the way the other ones have been. This meant that Daddy had to contort his body in weird ways to make it into some of the slides. I am not a small man, and this took some doing. We had a lot of fun at the park. The slides were slicker than the ones we are used to, so even I got some speed going down them.

After the park was what is turning into a nightly walk around the neighborhood. He peddles his tricycle while I push it, and my wife just walks along. The weather has been great for walking lately.

After an early dinner and a bath, it sounds like my son is winding down for the day. He will fight bed time again I am sure, but my wife has been getting better at putting him down for the night. I did it for a long time, as only my singing would work for him. Now it seems the playing field is a little more level. She has put him to bed more than me for the last several weeks.

It has been a long day, but bed time is still far away. Blogging, commenting where I can, and doing my Entrecard drops takes a lot of time lately. Hopefully I can get some unsolicited traffic soon. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Son - Loads of Fun

My son had quite the day today. He finally slept in past 5:30 am for the first time since Wednesday. He still woke up before I left the house, so he got ready with Daddy. This involved putting deodorant on, "shaving", and putting gel in his hair for spiking. Daddy is in sore need of a haircut, and hasn't used the gel for a few weeks. This is still the routine though, according to my son, so he got gel.

While I was at work he pulled all the Star Wars DVDs off the bookshelf where we keep our movie collection. He was searching for the box with Darth Vader. He had a 4 in 6 chance of finding one, so sure enough he did. He made my wife put on The Empire Strikes Back for the 5th time this week. He loves that movie, but Mommy is growing weary of it. Too bad he is too spent to watch it by the time I get home.

He is very interested in all things Darth Vader. Varying between "Star Wars" and "Darth", he repeats these words over and over, much to my wife's dismay. Daddy thinks it is great. :)

Tonight after dinner Daddy and son got to wrestle a bit. He is getting interested in rough-housing, so Daddy has volunteered for the job. We both love every minute of it. My son can take quite the wrestling match. Some other kids I know would be crying on the first contact. I won't mention names here, but there are quite a few of them. ;). I am hopefully training my son to be tough when he needs to be, and yet be tender when he needs to be as well. He is too young for me to really teach these lessons, but I am toning things down so he can understand what I am teaching. As he gets older, the wrestling will get more fun. :)

Daddy had something to do tonight, and Mommy was tired, so Daddy made a deal when it was time to come inside. Daddy promised if he was good and came inside nicely, then when Daddy was ready we could go outside again and he could ride his trike. While Daddy was occupied, Mommy, not knowing the deal was made, tried to put him into his pajamas. He firmly told her "Daddy said play!" I am taking her word for it here, but she swears he said it really clearly. He was right. Daddy had made a promise, and my wife waited until I could take him outside.

The weather was really nice outside, so I asked my wife to join us on our walk. My son has a nifty tricycle that was designed for pre-tricycle-ready kids. This means it has a long handle that Daddy can use to push and steer while the boy learns how to peddle. We took a nice long walk around the block, and my son actually went inside without a fight. I was pretty happy about that, since he tends to throw fits when it is time to go inside.

All in all, my son was very well behaved today. He listened fairly well, wrestled, watched Star Wars, rode his tricycle, went to the park with Mommy, and went to bed relatively on time. Tomorrow should be even busier with Daddy home all day. I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Global Warming - Really

Maybe it is because I grew up 30 miles from Palm Springs, but I don't think it is terribly hot outside. Sure Woodland Hills scorched at 113° a couple of weeks ago, but the Valley is supposed to be hot. The Valley used to be a desert.

According to Wikipedia, "Los Angeles is a chaparral-covered desert that was transformed by sprinklers, pipes and Mulholland's public waterworks." All this is to say that it is SUPPOSED to be hot in LA.

Ventura County is another matter however. Here is the forecast for the next couple of days:

Date Conditions High/Low Temp
Fri Jul 11 Partly Cloudy 68°
Sat Jul 12 Partly Cloudy 70°
Sun Jul 13 Partly Cloudy 68°
Mon Jul 14 Sunny 67°
Tue Jul 15 Sunny 68°

I think you get the picture. This is JULY people. July - officially summer weather, right? Why do I have to clean my windshield every morning from the moisture? Why has it looked like it might rain almost every day the last 7 weeks? I do live half a block from the beach, but still. I have never enjoyed such a cold summer. I am loving every minute of this.

If this is global warming, bring it on.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Telecommuting - The Ultimate In Hypermiling

Today I joined the ranks of telecommuters. I am only doing it one day a week for now, on a trial basis, but even so I am pretty stoked. With hypermiling, as much as I do of it at least, it takes just under a quarter tank of gas per day to drive to work. Averaged out, it should save me at least a tank of gas per month, which at the moment costs $65.

Today was my first day, as I mentioned above. Normally I get up at 5:30 a.m. to leave the house between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. I move very slowly in the morning, so I have to set my alarm to 5:00 in order to click snooze for a half hour. This morning I thought I would get up at 7:00 in order to eat breakfast and have a nice casual morning before beginning work at 7:30. My son had other plans. We were awakened at 5:45. Yep, a full 15 minutes later than any other day. What a great start this morning. :)

As a Web Developer, it makes sense for me to telecommute. My company pays for my cell phone and internet access, and provided a laptop for home use (even though it is a Mac), so why shouldn't I use what my company is providing for company business? I am very glad for the chance to test it out.

Telecommuting has been done before in my department, but it failed on each attempt. Some failures were due to misunderstandings, and others through goofing off I understand. All the more pressure on me to prove the system can work. I think today went pretty well.

My office is pretty secluded, so working at home granted me almost the same amount of privacy I usually enjoy. I had to check in with my supervisor more than normal, but that is to be expected for now. Everyone needs to see that it can work before we all breathe easier.

I will keep writing about the progress each week, and let you know how it goes. Until then, happy hypermiling, telecommuting, carpooling, or anything else you do to save gas. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Newest Star Wars Geek

My son has officially joined the ranks of Star Wars geeks out there. No doubt his daddy is to blame. :) The other day he started singing the first few lines of the Imperial March, also known as Vader's theme music. This kid has not put two notes together his whole life, and comes out singing the Imperial March. Daddy was proud.

He can identify Star Wars merchandise on sight now. All my books and toys fascinate him. "Star, Star..." is a constant sentence in this house. Sometimes he goes all the way and says "Star Wars". Other times he says, "Darth". He LOVES Darth Vader. Maybe it has something to do with Daddy telling him, "I am your Father. Search your feelings. You know it to be true" while he was in the womb.

Either way, a Star Wars nerd he is becoming. Daddy is pretty stoked. How bad would it be if one of my kids didn't like Star Wars. That would be a shame. lol. Of course in reality it wouldn't affect my love for him if he didn't like it, but I am happy for the bond we are forming.

Tonight as my wife was putting him to bed he began singing the Imperial March again. Music to Daddy's ears. Now if only I can get him to sit through an entire movie. Two year old kids aren't exactly known for their attention span. The time is coming though. He has been making it further and further into Return of the Jedi.

When R2-D2 launches Luke's lightsaber into the air while Luke does a flip off of the plank he is walking, there is always a cheer of joy. He loves that scene. Any scene with Vader, Chewbacca, or R2-D2 is bound to catch his attention. He is picking out his favorites.

I am looking forward to my future lightsaber battles with him. Only then will he be truly initiated. For now, Darth Tater (Mr. Potato Head) and the Spud Trooper are his pals. Chewbacca and various other Vader toys are rapidly climbing his favorite toy list too. Daddy couldn't be more proud. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July Fun

I went to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to watch the fireworks show on the 4th. I didn't actually go to the bowl itself, but to the hills overlooking the bowl, so we could watch the fireworks without dealing with all the crowds and mayhem below.

As you can see in the above pictures, it was a bit hazy for most of the afternoon. Having not seen the Santa Barbara/Goleta fire's smoke in Ventura or Malibu, I figured the smoke was moving inland, and channeling through the hills toward LA.

If you look in the pic above you may see the mass of vehicles near the Rose Bowl. I hate getting stuck in traffic like that, as it takes 30 minutes just to leave the lot. I really enjoy being above the fray, so to speak. I also enjoy watching fireworks without laying down or craning my neck to see.

My uncle has lived in the hills above the Rose Bowl for 6 years now, and we have watched the fireworks from his house for at least 4 of them. We head out to Pasadena to enjoy a nice afternoon of food and swimming. He always has a lot of great food.

My son got the most enjoyment out of the pool this time. He can't swim yet, but he wants to. He LOVES water. I have been holding him afloat on his stomach lately, and encouraging him to paddle and kick. He usually does, but he added a new trick this time. He started doing a breaststroke. His whole chest and head were coming up out of the water in regular intervals, mimicking a breaststroke almost perfectly. He didn't get his head in the water at all, but he was definitely accomplishing something with his strokes. Later he decided to brave getting his face wet. We encouraged him to put his head under water, mostly by example. He got excited and dipped his face in the water like Daddy did. This was encouraged by lots of applause, so he kept going. I think he will be swimming before he is 3.

The fireworks show was pretty cool. I had heard on the radio earlier in the week that the last minute of the show was going to have 2/3 of the fireworks in it. They narrowed it even further to say something like 1,400 explosions would happen in the final 40 seconds. I was looking forward to this.

Each year they add something new to the fireworks arsenal. A few years back it was those happy faces. This year there were a couple new ones. They made what looked like the planet Saturn. The addition I liked the most reminded me of the video game Centipede. A series of lights snaked up and settled in line with the previous one. It is harder to describe it than it is to appreciate it.

As you can see in one of the pictures, we were watching all the fireworks at eye level. No craning our necks. No laying uncomfortably in the grass. This was my kind of show. We had a lot of fun, and can't wait for next year.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
Text located at

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Georgia: North Carolina: Massachusetts: Pennsylvania: New York: New Hampshire:
Button Gwinnett William Hooper John Hancock Robert Morris William Floyd Josiah Bartlett
Lyman Hall Joseph Hewes Maryland: Benjamin Rush Philip Livingston William Whipple
George Walton John Penn Samuel Chase Benjamin Franklin Francis Lewis Massachusetts:
  South Carolina: William Paca John Morton Lewis Morris Samuel Adams
  Edward Rutledge Thomas Stone George Clymer New Jersey: John Adams
  Thomas Heyward, Jr. Charles Carroll of Carrollton James Smith Richard Stockton Robert Treat Paine
  Thomas Lynch, Jr. Virginia: George Taylor John Witherspoon Elbridge Gerry
  Arthur Middleton George Wythe James Wilson Francis Hopkinson Rhode Island:
    Richard Henry Lee George Ross John Hart Stephen Hopkins
    Thomas Jefferson Delaware: Abraham Clark William Ellery
    Benjamin Harrison Caesar Rodney   Connecticut:
    Thomas Nelson, Jr. George Read   Roger Sherman
    Francis Lightfoot Lee Thomas McKean   Samuel Huntington
    Carter Braxton     William Williams
          Oliver Wolcott
          New Hampshire:
          Matthew Thornton

Today's Ultrasound - 22 Weeks

We went to get an ultrasound done for boy #2 today. Let me tell you that real insurance is better than being on Medi-Cal any day. I wish that all doctors and nurses treated all patients the same, but having been on the losing end of that political game, it is nice being on the other side this time around.

We confirmed that it is indeed a boy. I wanted to be sure that the battle of the names is worthwhile, since we already know what we would name a daughter. We would be happy with either a boy or girl, but we are pretty stoked that he's a boy.

Not much else to say about this, other than the tech thought he looked good. He seems to be developing right on schedule, so we are happy about that.

Poll Results

I know all of you are anxiously awaiting the results of my poll. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, refer to my post, Rude Neighbors for the background story.

Here is the poll question: "At What Time Of Night Is It Time To Call The Police For Your Neighbor's Loud Music's Bass Beat Thumping Your Walls?"

It seems that most of you would be ready to put an end to rude neighbors pretty early on. 10:00 p.m. held the majority vote. Only 1 said it was never okay. I think I am more inclined toward 1:00 am. I have been far more patient than this in practice though. The homeowner's association president may not be so gracious the next time it happens though. Hopefully not.

On a plus note, the neighbors have been laying low since the last incident. I have barely heard a peep out of them. I think they must have received their written warning. My wife was snubbed at the mailbox today, so something must have happened.

Well, without further ado, here are the poll results:

At What Time Of Night Is It Time To Call The Police For Your Neighbor's Loud Music's Bass Beat Thumping Your Walls?
9:30 pm 1 (6%)
10:00 pm 5 (31%)
11:00 pm 4 (25%)
1:00 am 3 (18%)
2:00 am 2 (12%)
Never 1 (6%)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Parks and Big Doggies

My two year old son is fearless. Nothing seems to phase him. This is the park we went to tonight. He is a pro at the kiddie park, so this is the upgrade. Sometimes he slides alone, sometimes with Daddy, but he always has a blast.

Mommy needed a break tonight, since he was being so clingy with her all day. Daddy took him to the park to give Mommy that break. While we were there a man walked up with a fluffy white Standard Poodle. He turned out to be pretty cool. He stopped to let my son play with the dog, and we started talking.

The guy was older, but not too old. His son is only 10 years older than I am, or 8 years older than my wife. ;) We talked about politics, society, Ventura/Oxnard in general, and more. He was pretty interesting and we agreed on quite a bit. He was impressed that someone as young as I was (he assumed I am younger than I am) was just as annoyed at the downgrading of society as he was.

While the man and I talked, my son had a lot of fun with the dog. Standard Poodles are pretty rowdy when they want to be, so she enjoyed being chased by my son. For those of you who don't know, Standard Poodles are full-sized dogs. They are almost waist high, which makes them barely qualify as a man's dog. This man admitted as much, but she turned out to be a pretty good dog. I told him as long as the dog was big it was all good.

It turned out that this would be one of the smaller dogs we saw tonight. There were a couple of big ones, one looked like a Chow/Husky mix, but I am not sure. He enjoyed them all, though the Poodle is the only one he really played with.

It started getting dark, so I told my son it was time to go home. He didn't gripe as much as normal. It seems that I tired him out just enough. I had a lot of fun. Hopefully I will see that man and his dog the next time we go to the park. My son would sure enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

En Garde

When I got home tonight I had a huge headache. I took a nap right after dinner to see if it would help. I woke up a short time later and saw my son, wearing his pirate hat and wielding his sword, approaching me. He proceeded to hack at me with the sword. I had no means of defense but my hands. Fortunately he didn't hurt me. What a thing to wake up to though. :)

A little later I was able to acquire a sword of my own, and the game was on. He is getting better with his sword. I actually have to block most of his shots now. I think tonight's sword fight was inspired by Return of the Jedi,as he watched Vader and Luke battle it out.

Whether from Pirates of the Caribbean or Return of the Jedi,this kid loves a good sword fight. I think we will have plenty of fun once he is old enough for a Force FX Lightsaber.

Top Droppers - June 2008

Thank you to all of my Entrecard droppers. I appreciate your visits. There were a lot of ties this month. Here are June's Top Droppers:

1. Turnip of Power
1. Thailand Land of Smiles
2. Unpredictable Life
3. Odd Vantage
3. Obscure History
3. E-business Ideas
4. Juliana's World
4. The Journey

My top droppers will be:
  • Added to my StumbleUpon favorites
  • Added to my Technorati favorites
  • Followed on Twitter
  • Bookmarked in

Thanks again everyone.