The Glass is Half Empty

Zebulon’s ticked because we’re about to leave our period of slow business. It’ll start picking up again in March, get busier through the summer, drop off a bit, but remain constant through the fall and early winter.

“I’m going to get paid the same to do three times the work,” he complained to me last night.

Wrong way to look at it – a better way is: over the last two months, you have been getting paid the same to do 1/3rd the work.

A Yellow Neon, Too

The Tard Neighbor’s buddy showed up in an identically stupid yellow Neon (Tard Neighbor’s is blue). I like how they’ve got like five tailpipes and make a lot of noise, yet my dirty, uncleaned, unshiny, quiet Celica could outrun ‘em without breaking a sweat. Heck, just parked the Celica looks like its going fifty miles an hour (remember that ad campaign?).

God I’d love to meet those Neons on some country backroad — otherwise, how could I literally have dust for them to consume?

Hopin’ for a Waiver

So I only spent about an hour and a half at the service department. They diagnosed the problem as – ready for it? – two sensors. So I’m taking the car back in next Tuesday to get them installed.

That’ll be five-hundred bucks. And if that doesn’t work, it might mean my catalytic converter needs fixin’ — that’ll be thirteen hundred bucks. Oh, and did you know you needed new tires? Four Michelin for eight hundred. How much of a rube do I look like?*

I had those sensors replaced over the summer, unfortunatly, what I didn’t know was that if I had them replaced more than thirty days before I got my emissions test, I wouldn’t qualify for the waiver. So, while I’m kicking myself for being stupid last summer, I also know that if I replace these sensors (again) and get the car tested, I’ve probably got a pretty good chance at getting an MVA emissions repair waiver. I hope so, anyway.

As for the catalytic converter — fuck it. If I can get my car through emissions without fixing it, that’s what I’ll do. As best as I can tell, the only thing fixing the converter is going to do will be to turn off the stupid ‘check engine light.’ I’ve been driving with that light on for most of the time I’ve had the car – I think I’ll live, particularly if it’s going to cost thirteen hundred bucks to turn off.

(More and more, I kind of wish my insurance company had totalled my car last October. Then I wouldn’t be worrying about this right now, y’know?)

And as for the tires? One thing I expect about doing what I do is that I go through stuff rather quick — I’ll run through a set of tires in about a year, and I think it’s been a little over that (maybe by as much as three or four months) since I last outfitted my car with new “shoes”, so it isn’t an expense I wasn’t expecting. But I spent $600 on tires in my Jeep. For 30″ off-road tires. I’m not spending $800 for 14″. I already stopped by the Padonia Road Goodyear and they’re going to call me when the non-name-brand stuff gets in.

*Rhetorical question, I’m a huge rube, but I’m still not spending eight-hundred bucks on tiny ass tires.

Hopin' for a Waiver

So I only spent about an hour and a half at the service department. They diagnosed the problem as – ready for it? – two sensors. So I’m taking the car back in next Tuesday to get them installed.

That’ll be five-hundred bucks. And if that doesn’t work, it might mean my catalytic converter needs fixin’ — that’ll be thirteen hundred bucks. Oh, and did you know you needed new tires? Four Michelin for eight hundred. How much of a rube do I look like?*

I had those sensors replaced over the summer, unfortunatly, what I didn’t know was that if I had them replaced more than thirty days before I got my emissions test, I wouldn’t qualify for the waiver. So, while I’m kicking myself for being stupid last summer, I also know that if I replace these sensors (again) and get the car tested, I’ve probably got a pretty good chance at getting an MVA emissions repair waiver. I hope so, anyway.

As for the catalytic converter — fuck it. If I can get my car through emissions without fixing it, that’s what I’ll do. As best as I can tell, the only thing fixing the converter is going to do will be to turn off the stupid ‘check engine light.’ I’ve been driving with that light on for most of the time I’ve had the car – I think I’ll live, particularly if it’s going to cost thirteen hundred bucks to turn off.

(More and more, I kind of wish my insurance company had totalled my car last October. Then I wouldn’t be worrying about this right now, y’know?)

And as for the tires? One thing I expect about doing what I do is that I go through stuff rather quick — I’ll run through a set of tires in about a year, and I think it’s been a little over that (maybe by as much as three or four months) since I last outfitted my car with new “shoes”, so it isn’t an expense I wasn’t expecting. But I spent $600 on tires in my Jeep. For 30″ off-road tires. I’m not spending $800 for 14″. I already stopped by the Padonia Road Goodyear and they’re going to call me when the non-name-brand stuff gets in.

*Rhetorical question, I’m a huge rube, but I’m still not spending eight-hundred bucks on tiny ass tires.

Weight Nine

Two hundred and twenty-six and a half pounds, a total loss of three and a half pounds over the last two weeks and a total loss of twenty-one and a half pounds since beginning the diet.

It blows my mind how much weight I’ve lost or how easy its been. I’ve totally neglected most of my excercise goals — remember when I was talking about doing fifty jumping jacks a day? I’m lucky to do fifty a week. I’m not even all that good about sticking to my point-per-day-goals.

I’m going to make a real effort this next week — not to exceed my point rations, and to do fifty jumping jacks a day. I’d really like to be down to two-twenty by March 7th. I think it might even be doable, if I make a serious, concerted effort like I did the first week I dieted.

Too Early To Be Awake

By the time you read this, one of two things has happened.

1. I have just arrived at the service department of the local Toyota dealership, hoping they can correctly diagnose and fix my emission-related errors which, if not corrected in the next three weeks, will result in my car’s registration being suspended.

2. I am peacefully asleep, having failed to either heed my alarm, and possibly having failed to set it.

I hope the dealership has a courtesy shuttle. Maybe I can be back in bed by eight.

Assuming I wake up on time.

THE DAVINCI CODE with stolen research

Dan Brown is finally in court over the lawsuit filed against him claiming he plagarized Holy Blood, Holy Grail, by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.

I’ve read Holy Blood, Holy Grail — before it got in the MSM again — and its a really fascinating book.

This summary I’m doing from a nearly two year old memory, so forgive me some base inaccuracies: The authors were documentary makers who stumbled on the story by accident — doing research for another project, they stumbled across this crazy tale. They had footage of a crypt entrance in southern France, with a Latin inscription. But they couldn’t translate it — it was gibberish. Anyway, the footage made it into one of their documentaries, and a few months later they got a letter from an American who had once been employed by the NSA. He knew what the inscription said, and he knew why it translated into gibberish — it was written in a cipher. Translated and decoded, it said “Beware! For within are contained the secrets of God.”

This intrigued these documentary makers, and they began doing research — they learned the tale of a priest in France, who fell out of favor with the Bishop, and was sent to a desolate, isolated parish in the south of France. He didn’t earn much money — something like two francs a month — but he was very dedicated to the people of the local village. After a few years, he decided to start repairing the damaged chapel, and while undertaking repairs, he accidently shattered a wall, and found something within. No one is quite certain what he found, but his faith was quite shattered — the chapel became quickly decorated with pagan imagery and slogans. Long story short, the guy quickly became favored in Paris, and recieved a massive amount of money from Rome (through a third party), all of which was to keep his trap shut.

The short of it is that these documentary makers did this research, wrote a book about what they learned, and now they’re pretty certain Dan Brown read their book, stole their research, and made a shitload of cash on the poorly written The DaVinci Code.

(You might remember I blogged about this waaay back in December 2004.)

“Don’t even talk to me!”

I took a delivery to the Jeep dealership today.

I was walking back to my car (parked on the side, in between rows of Jeep Wranglers), and maybe I slightly, just a little, took a glance at the sticker on the windshield.

This salesman, leaning up against the door of the showroom smoking a cigarette, coughed, and started walking over, asking, “Hey, you lookin’ for one of those?”

I said something along the lines of, “Holy crap, don’t even talk to me”, jumped in my car, and damn near ran him over in my hurry to get out of the parking lot and away from temptation.

Speaking of Jeep Wranglers, Jeep.com has posted an image of the redesigned 2007 Wrangler. I think I just pooped and wet myself.

"Don't even talk to me!"

I took a delivery to the Jeep dealership today.

I was walking back to my car (parked on the side, in between rows of Jeep Wranglers), and maybe I slightly, just a little, took a glance at the sticker on the windshield.

This salesman, leaning up against the door of the showroom smoking a cigarette, coughed, and started walking over, asking, “Hey, you lookin’ for one of those?”

I said something along the lines of, “Holy crap, don’t even talk to me”, jumped in my car, and damn near ran him over in my hurry to get out of the parking lot and away from temptation.

Speaking of Jeep Wranglers, Jeep.com has posted an image of the redesigned 2007 Wrangler. I think I just pooped and wet myself.

I Ain’t Drinkin’ the Water

Not that I want to bash on Exxon or anything … actually, I’m taking issue with a notice sent to the franchise by Obrecht Properties, which manages the strip-mall. You may have read or seen about the gas leak at an Exxon station in Northern Baltimore County. Somehow, thousands of pounds of gasoline leaked out of an underground storage tank. That station, located at Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill/Sweet Air Roads, is directly across the road from the franchise.

Note in the article when it says the gas leak may have begun. Here, I’ll quote it for you:

…said records showed that the gasoline leak at the Exxon station near the intersection of Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill and Sweet Air roads, appeared to have begun Jan 12.

“It was pretty clear to MDE upon our review of the inventory records at the Exxon station that there was a period of time when you could see the station operating normally,” Meade said. “And then there was a date where problems started.”

Maryland Department of the Environment was notified of the leak February 16th — just over a month at the time they believed the leak to have begun.

How did the leak begin?

Meade said the leak appears to have begun after a contractor performed maintenance on an underground storage tank system. He said a contractor, believed to have been drilling a hole into the wall of the storage system’s sump, drilled a hole, about the diameter of a pencil, into an underground pipe.

So, a pencil-sized hole, leaking a total of 25,000 gallons, or, roughly 700 gallons per day from Jan. 12th until Feb. 16th. Sound about right?

Let me quote you from the Obrecht Properties Memo, dated 2/22/06, second paragraph:

“Please be advised we are required by the Maryland Department of The Environment (“MDE”) to have quarterly testing of the drinking water performed by a certified laboratory. The water was most recently tested on January 16, 2006; the results determined the water to be safe and in compliance with the MDE’s requirements, and feel there is no need to be alarmed at this time.”

Assuming the leak began on January 12th when MDE believes it did, and the water was tested by Obrecht last on January 16th, there was, what, twenty-eight hundred gallons of gasoline in the ground, a number that by the time the situation was discovered, would have increased nearly ten times. Sure the drinking water might’ve been okay on the 16th, but considering how much more gasoline leaked by the 16th of the next month, do you really think its proper to still say that the water is “safe and in compliance” regarding its status a month later?

C’mon, Obrecht. You didn’t cause this situation, I get that, but I sure as hell wouldn’t put out a memo in this situation telling people that everything was a-okay when in fact all the safety data I put in the memo was a MONTH OLD.

I Ain't Drinkin' the Water

Not that I want to bash on Exxon or anything … actually, I’m taking issue with a notice sent to the franchise by Obrecht Properties, which manages the strip-mall. You may have read or seen about the gas leak at an Exxon station in Northern Baltimore County. Somehow, thousands of pounds of gasoline leaked out of an underground storage tank. That station, located at Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill/Sweet Air Roads, is directly across the road from the franchise.

Note in the article when it says the gas leak may have begun. Here, I’ll quote it for you:

…said records showed that the gasoline leak at the Exxon station near the intersection of Jarrettsville Pike and Paper Mill and Sweet Air roads, appeared to have begun Jan 12.

“It was pretty clear to MDE upon our review of the inventory records at the Exxon station that there was a period of time when you could see the station operating normally,” Meade said. “And then there was a date where problems started.”

Maryland Department of the Environment was notified of the leak February 16th — just over a month at the time they believed the leak to have begun.

How did the leak begin?

Meade said the leak appears to have begun after a contractor performed maintenance on an underground storage tank system. He said a contractor, believed to have been drilling a hole into the wall of the storage system’s sump, drilled a hole, about the diameter of a pencil, into an underground pipe.

So, a pencil-sized hole, leaking a total of 25,000 gallons, or, roughly 700 gallons per day from Jan. 12th until Feb. 16th. Sound about right?

Let me quote you from the Obrecht Properties Memo, dated 2/22/06, second paragraph:

“Please be advised we are required by the Maryland Department of The Environment (“MDE”) to have quarterly testing of the drinking water performed by a certified laboratory. The water was most recently tested on January 16, 2006; the results determined the water to be safe and in compliance with the MDE’s requirements, and feel there is no need to be alarmed at this time.”

Assuming the leak began on January 12th when MDE believes it did, and the water was tested by Obrecht last on January 16th, there was, what, twenty-eight hundred gallons of gasoline in the ground, a number that by the time the situation was discovered, would have increased nearly ten times. Sure the drinking water might’ve been okay on the 16th, but considering how much more gasoline leaked by the 16th of the next month, do you really think its proper to still say that the water is “safe and in compliance” regarding its status a month later?

C’mon, Obrecht. You didn’t cause this situation, I get that, but I sure as hell wouldn’t put out a memo in this situation telling people that everything was a-okay when in fact all the safety data I put in the memo was a MONTH OLD.