Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dear Mr. SUV driver,

When I goto the store, I try to make sure I park between the lines. This time, I had to park way in the back. I amazed that you were able to park your giant, gas guzzling SUV. When I came out to my car, I noticed you had crossed the line in the parking space because you have no idea about how to park that beast, let alone drive it. This proves my point with SUV drivers. If you can not park your SUV, you either need to drive something much smaller or take the bus. It always makes me wonder if you cry when you goto the gas pump and it costs you over $100 a week to keep that thing on the road?

I have seen a company that sells these cards to where you can leave drivers little messages. I would love to make some up on my own. Perhaps maybe that would give some SUV drivers a clue that if they are going to drive a monster truck like they do, they need to make sure they can park between the lines. Apparently, this guy did not have anyone riding with them in the passenger seat because they would have had a hard time getting out.

So Mr. inconsiderate SUV driver, I would hope you would be a tad bit more courteous to those people who drive cars much smaller than you.

HEB Thanksgiving Day

I realized that I had forgotten french fried onions for the green bean casserole. I also needed some saline solution for my contacts. I knew the HEB Plus in my neighborhood was open till 2pm, so I hurriedly went over. The HEB Plus was not as busy as I have normally seen it. I was amazed that this store looked like folks were gearing up for bad weather. There was hardly any eggs, milk, the bread isle was barren. They had tea in a 1 gallon container which was no where to be found. I did manage to see some folks getting a jump on their Christmas Shopping buying Nintendo Wii's and a portable DVD player with 8 inch screen. As I made my way around the store, I realized why I enjoy going shopping late at night. I was amazed at people who were not paying attention and rudely cutting people off. You would also find some people blocking lanes and would glare at you when you would try to get by them by saying, "Excuse me." My big question is, have we really gone so far to forget why we are celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving? I understand as people we lead busy lives. I decided to have Thanksgiving at my house. It was nice but even after buying a ham and making green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and rolls, I was dead tired after all that. My parents came as well as my great aunt who is living with them. After we ate lunch, we all lounged on the sofa watching some show about castles and fancy lake homes.

I have learned that it is better to be prepared and ready to go before Thanksgiving. If I had forgotten anything, I should have went to Walmart last night late, instead of waiting till today thinking I could just run in, get what I needed to and get out. I keep seeing the commercials for Black Friday sales and I do not plan to go anywhere near those sales, especially seeing how impatient and inconsiderate shoppers can be at the grocery store the day of Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CompUSA - Not a computer superstore.

I just ordered a Pioneer Inno portable XM radio. I have a car kit for my Delphi unit but the units are not interchangeable. The regular price is $80 for the kit. I checked my local stores like Target, Walmart, Best Buy Circuit City and CompUSA. CompUSA had it for $29.98 but you could not get it delivered. I called my local CompUSA to see if they could order it store to store and I could pick it up. The lady who answered the phone could barely speak english. She tells me she could not order it; but, I could call the store directly. I checked online and there was a store in Madison, WI that says there are In Stock. The other stores they list says limited quantities. I call the Madison, WI store and once again the lady who answered the phone could hardly speak english. If you have someone that has problems with the english language, why put them on the phone to deal with customers? I am sure that just adds to the frustration. This lady tells me that this Car Kit I am looking for is is not in stock. When I explain their website shows they have them in stock, she tells me that they do have 3 of them. I then ask if I can order one and she tells me I could speak to the manager to see if he will let me order the item.

First of all, this is NOT the first time I have had this issue where the website says they have an item in stock and they either have none or tell me the website is incorrect. One guy told me, "Yeah, we have one, but it is probably on a pallet somewhere in the back." This guy made no effort to go find this unit. Secondly, Walmart and Autozone allows me to order items from other stores and they will send them to my store within 24 to 48 hours. CompUSA should also follow suit. I am amazed that the lady wanted me to talk to the store manager to order a $29.99 car kit. I am sure the store manager has better things to do than talk to me about a car kit.

I will end up probably going to Fry's to buy a car kit, or just suck it up and buy one at Circuit City for $80. I am going to store going to CompUSA for anything. They seriously need to change the way they do business or they might end up losing even more customers. If your shopping trip includes CompUSA, skip them. You should goto Best Buy or Circuit City.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I really need to stay off eBay.

I just bought a new guitar. I wanted to go back to something simple, with no Floyd Rose tremolo. I bought this cool Ibanez guitar that is red and has 2 humbuckers in it. It sounds ok. I have already ordered new pickups for it which should be here today. I am also going back to an all tube amp. I have a Peavey Valveking 112. It is a great amp. You can switch between Class A and Class B amp types. I had been using this Digitech GNX 3000 which is an all digital effects unit. It was cool but I missed glowing tubes and the feel of analog pedals. I have an old DOD Grunge pedal which is a bit much over the top. It is real gritty. There are a few mods you can do to it to clean it up. I would consider trying one or two out.

I am on eBay and I found a Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-9 pedal on eBay. I start bidding on it with another guy. I end up snagging it for about $70. They normally go for $99 new. I do not really need a new overdrive pedal; but, I figure what the heck? It finally shows up today around 2pm. I plug in my guitar, fire up my tube up and try it first on the clean channel. The overdrive is a little weak for my tastes. I like things a little meatier. I had seen in Guitar Magazines where guitar players have this pedal in their pedal board. Many folks like to use this pedal as a clean boost. I move over to the overdrive section of my tube amp. I put the distortion on about 50% and start playing some riffs. I fire up the Tube Screamer and there is a poof and a little grittier distortion. It is not "in your face/over the top" but still nice. I can hear the notes I am playing instead of hearing a bunch of fuzz. I did toy around with the gain, level and tone controls. I got a great sound with the knobs all at 12 0'clock. You could max the level and gain and would still get useable tone. I even tried it with the gain set at zero. I got a great clean boost. I am definitely starting to see what all the range is with these Tube Screamers. I may not mod this one. I would consider IndyGuitarist's "Tube Screamer on Steroids" mod, especially if I could keep the characteristics of the original pedal and boost it when I need to. I need to spend more time with it to see what kinds of tones I can get. I did manage to score a Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion. The only reason I got that was because in Guitar World Magazine they list a setting for Van Halen's "Somebody get me a doctor" in it and I love Eddie's old tone when it was gritter.

I definately need to stay off eBay because I also picked up a Pioneer INNO to replace my XM Roadie from a guy in Houston that was selling them for like $60. I will probably unload this Jackson Guitar and Kustom Tube 12A amp on eBay to try and recoup some of my costs. I also have some pedals that I need to unload on eBay too. Until the next eBay adventure.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thanksgiving at my house

Both of my brothers have their own homes and have their separate Thanksgiving traditions. Daniel normally works Thanksgiving. He and I think alike because I used to work the holidays as well. I would get time and a half plus get an extra floating holiday. My brother John usually has Thanksgiving at his trailer in La Vernia. He makes Fajitas and invites his in laws and his sister in law and her 6 kids. (4 of the kids have different dads.) He only has a single wide and when you get my parents, my clan, my brother's in laws and his sister in law and her 6 kids, it becomes standing room only. Plus., La Vernia is outside San Antonio and a tad bit far for me to travel. For the past few years, I have told my brother that it is a little too far to be traveling way out there. I have had Thanksgiving once at my house and invited my brother and he never came. I will always invite him and he is always welcome. I love my brother but he is very nosey. The last time he was at my house. I was at the store and when I got home, he had gone up into my spare bedroom, taken out my guitars and plugged them in to play. I have also caught him snagging stuff from my house without even asking. Once, he had my mom's van loaded up with stuff. When he realized he had been caught, he replied, "Can I have this?" If he would have asked, I am sure I would have let go of some of the stuff. He also always wants to borrow my guitar gear. I see him like twice a year. I hate lending him anything because I know I will never see it again.

My house got volunteered this year for Thanksgiving. My mother is going to bring my great aunt which I have yet to go see. We used to see her all the time but its been years since I have seen her. I will buy all the food no problem and have my mom bring a dessert. I will end up with turkey and dressing to eat for about two weeks after all that. I told my brother Daniel he is welcome to come out out. He and I have been close for a few years. He is also in the computer industry. I usually touch base with both brothers at least once a week. I am finding myself as the older, wiser brother that helps point my brothers in the right direction, which is kinda cool. I enjoy being able to jump in and resolve issues when problems arise.

It shall be interesting to see how this Thanksgiving turns out. I am tempted to just goto Bill Millars or HEB and order one of those complete Turkey Dinner meals where all I have to do is open up the package and heat it up.

Treak or Treating in my neighborhood

I went out Trick or Treating with my son who had his plan to hit the neighborhood for Trick or Treating. This was his 2nd year Trick or Treating. (He is 9.) I am on my way home and he is already starting to freak out because I am not home yet. I get home, we eat dinner and he is already in his costume. This year he is a pirate. We start off at my neighbors house. We worked our way around the rest of the houses. My son keeps telling me, "The scarier the house, the better the candy." There are quite a few houses whose lights are off. We work our way around walking for about 2 hours. By that time, Josh's candy bag is full. He tells me he is getting blisters for carrying it.

I am amazed at how many kids are out this year. My A/C repair guy was having a Halloween party for the kids. There was a big screen playing VeggieTales. They had face painting and games. It was pretty cool. There were quite a few high schoolers out. One girl screamed, "I am NEVER too old to trick or treat." Wait till you have kids, you will be out carting them around. There were also parents who were driving their kids around to trick or treat. First of all, that is cheating. That is the whole point of Halloween. You dress up and walk all over the neighborhood to trick or treat. You do not drive. This girl's mom was on the cell phone the whole time. My neighborhood is still being built. It is like 10 years into a 25 year build plan. The Mexican nationals who are working on the houses brought their kids trick or treating. You could hear them speaking Spanish up and down the street screaming, "Ninos!" I was also amazed at my neighbors who were already buzzing from the beer they were drinking who were out with their kids, beer in hand, trick or treating. Hey guys. This is not New Orleans. I realize you are in a neighborhood but you can not walk around with beer or alcohol in you hands thinking this is just some big picnic.

Josh finally made it back to the house and complained the last 20 minutes of our trip about how his hand hurt, his feet hurt and how he had blisters on his feet. It kinda makes me laugh. He will walk like 8 blocks to trick or treat but complains walking a block to school and gets mad when I do not pick him up from school when I work from home. His bag was on the table. He had already started to sort out his loot. I was amazed that some folks gave pencils. There was lots of sweet and sour sugary goodness. There was not much in terms of chocolate. Perhaps that might be a good thing. If I am up late one night, craving something sweet, you might find me raiding that container of chocolate.