Saturday, January 12, 2013

Feeling Stupid

“Did you do something with the girl’s bikes?” “No, are they gone?”

I didn’t even need to wait for the response from my wife, I knew. Anger. Distress. Sadness. A desperate hope in vain that there’s an explanation. There is not. They are gone.

Somebody had stolen my daughters bikes sometime in the past few days. That evening and the evenings since, I cruise around the neighborhood on my way home from work. I hope to see them…I don’t. I filed a police report knowing it was in vain. I told the officer that took the report, “I know I’m never going to see them again.” To which he responds, “I’m not supposed to say this, but you’re never going to see them again.” I know, but I hope. I love bikes, I watch for bikes things on Craigslist and Ebay all the time. I now read the Craigslist entries and my heart jumps every time I see “girls” or “Trek” in the subject. I hope it’s them. It’s not, nor will it ever be.

And then I’m crushed. Anyone that knows me, knows I LOVE bikes. I’m sad for my girls, but more than anything I feel stupid. Stupid for buying them nice bikes and not the crappy $100 ones from some dirty Wal-Mart like most parents. They deserve better and I want them to love bikes like I do. There’s a big difference between junk bikes and what I call “real bikes”. Stupid for not locking them up like I always knew they should be. But I couldn’t keep them in the basement like I do with mine. The girls, nor my wife can or will carry them in and out everyday or whenever we’re not going to be home for a bit. I thought about bringing them in for the winter, but the weather has largely been nice enough that they were still using them. So instead they were stored conveniently for them in the sun porch off the garage. It’s behind my house at the back of the lot. It can’t be seen from the street and you couldn’t see the bikes inside it. But still, I always looked at it and knew they should be locked up. It was an invitation for what I got. Stupid. How could I be so stupid? It wouldn’t have been hard to secure them to the wall of the sun porch to prevent the casual theft that this appears to be —nothing else was taken. Even locked, if someone wanted them bad enough they were going to get them. But leaving them unlocked was an invitation for them to be stolen. I know better, but apparently I didn’t. Stupid. And I’ve always preached to them to not leave them unattended out in front of their friends houses. That’s easy picking.

I’ll continue to look. To hope. But they are gone and they aren’t coming back. I don’t believe this was random, but rather someone who knows the girls or at least someone who knows of them. They had seen the girls on them, they know where they lived and possibly where they were stored. At this point they could show up for sale, but I don’t believe they will. More likely they were taken, abused and abandoned somewhere. Or as I told my wife, if you want to find them, go dredge the bottom of the (Erie) Canal. It’s only 3-4 blocks away from our home. She didn’t understand this, “Why would someone steal them and throw them in the canal?” Because young boys —the most likely suspects, can’t just show up at home with two rather nice girls bikes. Even the shittiest of parents are likely to question that. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit. But after beating around on them they get dumped out in the woods or in the canal. Nobody ever sees them again and they are no longer connected to them. Case closed…for them anyway.

But now I’m out several hundred dollars. It’s enough to hurt, but likely not enough to make claiming it on my homeowners policy worthwhile. I haven’t looked into it yet and I don’t remember if my deductible is $500 or $1000, I believe the later. If it’s $500 I might be able to recover some of the loss, but is it worth it? And now I also have two daughters that are going to need new bikes. What do I do about that? Do I buy the cheap crappy ones that I hate so much? Do I buy replacements and actually lock them up as the others should have been? Maybe I can find a couple of decent replacements on Craigslist. I don’t know. Stupid.
January 12, 2013 @ 08:39 am | Category:
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dusting off the Blog

So it's been nearly a year since I've actually published anything here. Pretty sad considering I used to do so regularly at one time. There was even real content before I got lazy and started mostly publishing Beer, Wine and the occasional PhotoBlog pics. And those will likely return once I automate them somewhat. I've got a HUGE backlog, particularly beers that need to be posted. And automating it is the only way I'm every going to come close to clearing them out. Perhaps I'll even find time to write something pithy, you never know.  Read more…
March 31, 2012 @ 10:18 pm | Category:
Thursday, May 13, 2010

Isn’t that always the case?

My wife and I bought a bird book —A Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern and Central North America a couple of years ago.  My girls also liked to look at it and occasionally would wander off with it.  Thus when it disappeared last Fall I presumed they had "put it somewhere" which had turned into "never to be found".  One plausible explanation was that it wound up mixed with the recycling and went out with that months ago.  We've talked of replacing it to which Mary Lou always replies "You know as soon as we buy one, we'll find the old one."

Knowing she's missed having it, particularly in the Winter, I decided to buy her (OK, us) a new one for Mother's Day.  Being slow to get around to ordering it, and being unwilling to spend $10 to have it shipped before last weekend —which she agrees with for the record, it came yesterday.

Being the creative guy I am, I not only bought the replacement book, but I also bought The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.  So now we have two very good bird books.

I got a delivery notice from TrackThis so I called to see if she had gotten the mail.  She had, but didn't see the box which was on the front porch.  After retrieving and opening it she was very happy and added "You know, now we'll find the old one you know."  Yeah, yeah, whatever.

My phone rings an hour later.  It's my wife.  She's laughing hysterically.  She finally calms down enough to tell me —you guessed it, she found the original book!  It was in a magazine bin not more than 2 feet from where the book was previously located.  My response was simply "Good, now you've got two."  She's OK with that as she said we can just put the old one in the car.

And just to rub some more salt into the wound for me, while looking for the book links above I find there is also a newer Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Eastern and Central North America, Sixth Edition available.  I just can't win.
May 13, 2010 @ 12:59 pm | Category:
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Vending Machine Challenge!

Update below the vending machine…

Are you a hearty soul?  Are you capable of completing The Vending Machine Challenge!?  Personally I can't imagine even trying it.  But I've got $10 ($50 total) riding on a coworker that started an attempt at 9am this morning.

So what do you have to do to win the bet?  Eat one of each item, left to right, top to bottom (less the gum and hard-candy row at the bottom). This amounts to 35-items in 8-hours, that’s more than 1-item every 15-minutes.

He's about 4 hours in and is currently eating a bag of Act II Butter Microwave Popcorn at the beginning of row 3.  Basically he's got 4 more hours to eat 4 more rows.  I've pegged him to give up at row 4, item 4 Jack Link's Beef Jerky.

I'll update this with the outcome and some statistics tomorrow.  Until then, here's what he's up against.  :)

The Vending Machine Challenge!

So Eric started with a fury  and did well with the first nine items.  But then there was the Andy Capp Hot Fries.  Those nearly proved to be his undoing shortly after 11am and only a mere two hours into the challenge.  Eric managed to keep it all down, but took a long break to recover.  Then is was to the popcorn that he was hoping to get through by 11am and then take a break:

The Vending Machine Challenge! - Eric Zarko eats the popcorn

Eric plowed on through the afternoon, but it was becoming increasingly clear there was very little chance he would make it to the end of the challenge by the 5pm deadline.  And so it was that he made it through the Welch's Fruit Snacks just before 5pm, well short of the end of the machine.

The Vending Machine Challenge! - Eric Zarko finishes gummies

Being Eric didn't make it to the end, there was no reimbursement for his vending costs ($4.50), nor would there be a $50 prize.  But there was a consolation prize for him this morning…more Hot Fries and Fruit Snacks!

The Vending Machine Challenge! -  - The Consolation Prize

And a few statistics for you…

Total Calories:4562
Fat Calories:4562
Total Fat:230g 353% RDA
Cholesterol:4mg 4% RDA
Salt (NaCl):6489mg 244.5% RDA
Carbohydrates:635g 200% RDA
Fiber:39g 130% RDA

And so it is, Vending Machine - 1, Man - 0

But for how long?  We have another hearty soul who claims they will take up the challenge in a couple of weeks.
May 11, 2010 @ 12:53 pm | Category:
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Four Things for Colin

Found in an old export from my Palm III somewhere between 2001 and 2005.  It was labeled "Colin" —my son, and as I recall it was from when he was struggling in school.  OK, one of the many times he struggled in school…much like his father unfortunately ;) Specifically this was in regard to his fairly regular inability to stay on top of doing a good job on his school work and turning it in…on time.  He would have been 9 to 13 at the time, but I still think these are valid today not only for him, but for all of us.
April 28, 2010 @ 08:36 pm | Category:
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pluto is a Planet!

A while back at work one of our daily "Fact or Crap in Spaaaaaaaaace" questions, the question I believe was "How many planets are there?"  I viewed this as a trick question —not terribly uncommon in FoC.  I knew the answer was going to come back as "8", but I, as the curmudgeonly old man at work, answered "9" which is the correct answer…at least when I learned about the planets.  But for FoC I was incorrect because it's answer is based on the current —and incorrect in my mind, definition of what is a "planet".  So, who's right?

Well, it depends who you ask.  From February 18, 1930 until August 24, 2006 the answer was an equivocal "9".  But after that, the answer became "8".  What?  Well, you see, back in 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly voted on a number of resolutions including numbers 5A, 5B, 6A and 6B.  The passage of these resolutions changed everything by formally defining what is a "planet".  So resolution 5A became a deathblow to our dear friend Pluto.  To be a "planet" by this definition you now have to meet three criteria:
  1. It must orbit the sun.
  2. It must have significant enough mass to become a round(ish) object.
  3. It must have cleared the neighborhood of it's orbit.
So what's the problem for Pluto?  Well it's got #1 and #2 covered, but unfortunately it hasn't cleared its neighborhood of other objects.  So by the new IAU definition, Pluto was deemed to no longer be a planet.  Here's a short article on How Many Planets are in the Solar System? (Which is clearly incorrect!)

Anyhow, resolution 5B deemed the other 8 planets to now be "classical planets."  6A deemed Pluto a "dwarf planet" and then 6B seems to be Pluto's consolation prize (or should that be constellation? yuk, yuk) by deeming that dwarf planets shall be categorized as "plutonian objects."  Gee thanks.  76 years as a planet all gone, just like that.

So what brought this all up in my head again?  A couple of weeks ago there was an episode of Nova called The Pluto Files that discusses the whole thing.

And so, if for no other reason than "I learned it that way", Pluto should at the very least be grandfathered in as a planet.  It always hase been and always will be a planet in my mind.  Nine planets, just as I was always taught.  So I'm okay with the IAU's definition as long as my Pluto gets to still be a planet!
March 14, 2010 @ 04:06 pm | Category:
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Droid Does: Kevin

So it's been 6 months since I said GoodBiPhone and it certainly was a major adjustment going from an iPhone to no phone at all.  But that all changed as of 7pm tonight.

I'm now the proud and happy owner of a Motorola Droid on Verizon Wireless!  I've wait a long time for a new phone and once I learned about the Droid and my wife's desire to stay on Verizon it was just a matter of time.

At some point I'll elaborate on why I'm happier with this than an iPhone, but I need to get it setup and play with it a bit first.  Suffice to say I've been researching it since it was announced in October and have been lusting for this day to finally come.

And last but not least, thanks to my Mom and Dad for this wonderful Christmas gift.  It might even be better than My New Cars! from them. ;)
December 30, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Category:
Saturday, December 26, 2009

My New Cars!

So Christmas has brought me two really cool items from my parents.  The first is my new family sedan, a Maserati Quattroporte in bluegrey metallic finish:

Maserati Quattroporte

The family will surely be traveling in style now!

And secondly my new commuter car, a bright red Chevrolet C6 Corvette:

Chevrolet C6 Corvette

I'm so looking forward to racing this against Frank!  I sure hope he's spending his time off getting his Vette ready for a serious challenge.

Now that I look at them, they seem a lot bigger in the pictures.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the "Hot Wheels" stamp on the bottom.  ;)
December 26, 2009 @ 11:16 am | Category:
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