Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blogging about... bloggging

So my good friend John forwarded some humor to me today, that turns out to be somewhat self deprecating.

Since that's my specialty in the humor department here it is, from the DNRC newsletter:

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through athought process much like this:

  1. The world sure needs more of ME.
  2. Maybe I'll shout more often so that people nearby can experience thejoy of knowing my thoughts.
  3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
  4. I know - I'll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to readthem.
  5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn't involvethe words egomaniac or unnecessary.
  6. What? It's called a blog? I'm there!

And also from the same source:

Dogbert's New Ruling Class boasts 475,000 members. Each of you is
sointelligently designed that you can survive a Category 5 hurricane via
aprocess known as running away.

Wow, a whole post without using the word "Pimpmobile"!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dear Mr. Pimpmobile, thanks for the memories.


What is Big Brother without Goldstien? Or Superman without Lex Luthor? Huey Lewis without The News?

What is Andy without Mr. Pimpmobile?

Probably better off than Huey Lewis without The News!

I came home from church later than I expected yesterday. I had forgotten the date of the harvest festival, for which I was supposedly in charge of a pumpkin carving contest. Fortunately bad weather and everybody else’s poor planning was on my side so the harvest festival was canceled and we roasted hotdogs on in the fireplace in the back of the church.

Now I was a little anxious as I was blackening wieners over hot coals (Boy does that sound like the punch line to a dirty joke) because the longer I stayed the more of the Steelers Bengals game I missed. And with the Steelers on regular tv, I needed to use my perfect Steeler setup to watch the game properly as Steeler fans should.

But I didn’t immediately jump out of my car and into my condo to set up all the proper electronics for the game. I took a lap around the parking lot because there was a moving van in front of Mr. Pimpmobile’s house.

Now I’m really not a jerk to this guy, but he thinks I’m a jerk. And people typically ascribe attributes of themselves to people they don’t know very well when describing them. So Mr. P. had parked the U-haul diagonally across three parking spaces in order to not be in my space. What was I going to do? Have him evicted?

Believe me I’d have quite willingly parked someplace else to provide easier access for him and his moving van.

It’s not that I wasn’t willing to help, it’s that… well I doubt my help would have been welcomed. (see the note abut being a jerk above) So I stayed in and watched the Steelers make a statement to the AFC North. Normally I get annoyed with the banging, stair stomping and door slamming that has come from next door for the past 2 years. But this day, it was music. They were loading the U-haul.

I sat through 2 loadings of that vehicle and a 37 – 13 win for Pittsburgh. It was a very good day.

Now no story is complete without a second act in which our protagonist (me) is in danger of not coming out triumphantly. This story has such a part. Upon getting ready for bed I looked out my office window to see the Pimpmobile and Mrs. Pimpmobile’s Sebring in their normal parking spots.

I’m not sure why people would load a U-haul at least twice in one day then spend the night in the emptier of two dwellings. Yet it would be one more night with these neighbors.

I got up for work the next day and took what would likely be my last gaze upon the Pimpmobile. For when I came home from work today, I was greeted by a pile of trash in the alley behind the condos.

Yep, that’s all that’s left of Mr. Pimpmobile... well that and one very oily parking space.

As you can see there is a child’s bicycle. I took that out of the pile and I’ll be giving that to my church in hopes of a deserving child getting the best end of that deal. Also those look like the original seats of the pimpmobile (I recently noticed they were replaced by black leather seats embroidered with flames).

Well, This is probably the last post for Mr. Pimpmobile. Thanks for the memories. We hardly knew ye…

Saturday, October 22, 2005

In The News...

I've been sitting on some prime comedy for a while... so here it is...

In The News

John Roberts confirmed as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

You know, I was watching his confirmation and noticed something. Roberts looks a hell of a lot like Ohio State football coach, Jim Tressel.

Now with Harriett Meiers as the next judicial nominee there’s a lot of conservatives upset with the nomination. Let me make the case for Jim Tressel… beyond looks. He is a conservative. I can prove this by the way he constantly sticks to the run despite having two of the best wide receivers in college football.

Justice Tressel? Sure I think it could work… but I don’t know if they’d let him wear the sweater vest over his robes!

Minnesota Vikings Sex Scandal.

Reportedly several Minnesota Viking football players were involved in a sex party involving hookers. Now how bad of a season are Vikings having when they have to start paying women for sex? Of course by this logic a brothel is a good investment in any NFC North city!

No word on if quarterback Dante Cullpepper was involved. But I doubt it since he hasn’t been able to find a receiver all season!

Weatherman blames Japan for Katrina.

An Idaho weatherman is putting forth the theory that a large electromagnetic device was used by the Japanese mafia to cause Hurricane Katrina in retaliation for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

If this is the kind of technology they’re working on in Japan then Sony’s Playstation 3 is going to kick some SERIOUS ASS!

It’s about time I mentioned Birttany Spears’ baby But is it really news when an uneducated 20-something boozer who’s somewhere on the fence between looking pretty and pretty slutty has a kid with a looser guy whose girlfriend had a kid just 6 months ago?

Speaking of which, Fashionhound reports that Tom Cruse and Katie Holms are now expecting too.... whooopty-shit!

David Lee Roth to Replace Howard Stern

Former Van Halen Frontman “Diamond” David Lee Roth will be replacing Howard Stern when he moves to Sirius Satellite Radio in January. Does this mean that Sammy Hagar will be guest hosting for Rush Limbaugh? Heaven help me if I ever see Eddie Van Halen sitting in on the O’Reilly Factor.

I guess having nobody pay attention to him in New York is slightly more important than nobody paying attention to his solo career.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How many electronic devices does it take to watch Monday Night Football?

The answer will surprise you.

Yes I know this is Wednesday and Monday Night Football was two nights ago, but with the grandmanator in the hospital, working on a church slideshow and having to fend for my own food, I’m a little behind. Which is bad because I have some great jokes about Jim Tressle, the Supreme Court and hurricanes caused by PlayStation 3!

But back to the subject at hand.

I got the idea for building my own Digital Video Recorder from an article on Cnet some time ago, but that article has gone AWOL so I found this article via a Google search.

Free TiVo: Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC

I have several reasons for doing this.

  1. TiVo requires a phone line to download channel listings and program titles. I do not have this in my condo
  2. Microsoft’s ReplayTV will run over a home network, but still costs $12.95 a month.
  3. For my birthday I got Sirius Satellite Radio which broadcasts every NFL Game (of course I’m only interested in the Steelers) unfortunately with a 30 second delay due to the amount of time it takes for a signal to bounce back to Earth. Therefore the audio does not sync with the tv.

I suppose you are asking, why not just get a DVR from your cable provider? Well, where’s the fun in that?

So now my living room looks like this!

  1. TV
  2. Sirius Satellite Radio
  3. Bose Stereo
  4. VCR (no longer used)
  5. Compaq DeskPro EN – DVR
  6. X-Box (useless without enough TV inputs)

Officially I’m still in the prof of concept stages, but the DVR works. Here’s the setup. It’s a small PC, a few years old that I got on ebay. It’s pretty much as-is. I loaded Windows 2000 on there and then had to find some video, network and audio drivers on Compaq’s website.

Next the video card. I chose the Hauppauge PVR-350. It’s all hardware encoding feature offered the best quality video, plus it includes a remote control so it works just like a made-for-the-TV device. Plus the built-in S-Video and audio out port makes it a great all-in-one solution for the PC-PVR. It also includes all the software needed for recording, playback and even DVD burning.

Eventually I’ll add a much bigger hard drive, and a DVD burner so I can save things I record for future viewing.

So, here’s the setup for football, Fire up the Sirius radio to channel 124, outputting through the Bose, turn on the TV, set the video input to S-Video, wait for kickoff, hit Pause on the DVR remote, wait for Bill Hillgrove, voice of the Steelers, so say the word “Kickoff”, press play and there you have it! Audio, and video in perfect harmony on Monday night football!

Is it perfect? Well it's good enough. There's no on-screen display for playing recorded video, and changing the channel through the DVR is like playing russian rulette but the concept is there. Since I keep a laptop in the living room I will probably do a PC Anwywher type solution to do some of the less intuitive functions instead of using the remote.

It works and it was kind fun to get workging!

Used PC: $88 on ebay
TV card: $130 on Amazon.com
Sirius Satellite radio:
$120 yearly feeNot having to listen to John Madden be repetitively obvious for
three hours: PRICELESS!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The adventures of Andy and grandma

Miss me? I’m back!

Well, it was last Wednesday when I was working on my DVR Project (update coming soon). I was upstairs listening to the web broadcast from Sirius.com so I didn’t hear my phone. After significant time went by I checked my hotmail. Mom had sent me an urgent message and wanted me to call her cell phone.

I called and she told me that Grandma was hallucinating. We thought she took the wrong pills and that was the cause of her confusion and seeing things. Being the only relative in town I needed to go over and check things out.

So I turned on the VCR to tape Lost (Later on you’ll find out exactly why I need to finish this DVR project).

I get to Grandma’s house and she’s counting her pills. Three of these, one of these, two of this… Lost count, and starting over. For the next hour I watched her struggle through “Thursday” while keeping in touch with mom via phone.

Then came my first experience with the hallucinations. “Run your finger behind those papers… Do you see that? That’s the net from my book.” Apparently she was seeing “nets” webs and other such tactile objects. Earlier on the phone she had told my mom that she saw “a little girl in rollers.”

So I called 911.

The paramedics arrived at about the point Grandma was insistent that I take her to pick up a prescription. They arrived, took a look at her vitals and only found that her heart rate was low and she should see a doctor. They offered to take her, but she declined. Apparently if someone says no the paramedics would be guilty of kidnapping… Damn lawyers!

Back to the story. Grandma was a little more calm, or at least knew how to show she’s not insane. I told her that I’d come by tomorrow and take her to see her doctor.
I left her for the evening, called mom and got home around midnight.

I tried watching my Taped episode of Lost while eating my dinner of 4 Oreo cookies, but my tape wasn’t at the right point so I missed the final few minutes… Another reason for the DVR project to be accelerated.

I tried sleeping but was so upset by the evening’s events that the wind blowing outside caused me a night of restlessness.

The next morning I got up, took my time, emailed a supervisor about my situation and said I will be in only part of the day. Grandma called me over breakfast and told me that she called her doctor. She said “nobody wants to talk to me” I told her I’d see what I could find out and called the doctor’s office myself. After navigating the automated voicemail system I got a nurse and was able to schedule an appointment for the afternoon. I called Grandma back and told her that I’d be by this afternoon to pick her up.

Now at this point, Grandma’s voice is pretty strong, she’s upbeat and alert. Hasn’t mentioned anyone that wasn’t there and otherwise doing well from my vantage point.

Well after a rather unproductive morning at work I head to Grandma’s. I was in touch with mom and one of Grandma’s friends during the morning and told them about our appointment at 3:45. I decided to go by early and spend some time getting a feel for her condition before going to the doctor.

I get to Grandma’s apartment around 1:50. She was still in her nightgown. Her voice was soft, her head hung low, she barely lifted her head to look me in the eye.
She admitted to not feeling well.

We went to sit in the guest room, I was on the couch, she at the desk chair. I asked her how she felt, and she said maybe we shouldn’t wait to go to the doctor. This is a 180 turnaround from last night. I told her I’d drive her to the ER… but as she was getting ready she asked me to call an ambulance.

Once again I called 911. I explained the situation. I then called the nurse at her doctor’s office to explain the situation, and even though they can’t give medical advice on the phone she said that was the right thing to do.

If this were Vegas the smart money would have been on stroke. All the signs were there, slurred speech, confusion, seeing thing. Glad I don’t gamble though.

The paramedics arrived and Grandma was still alert. She seemed to perk up at the attention from lots of people.

I’d like to take this moment to commend the emergency service of Columbus Ohio, and extend my complement to all first responders. In my two instances of calling 911 I was met with courteous professionals, dedicated to helping others who gave a genuine sense of professionalism. Never underestimate the ability of your 911 responders!

After strapping her into a wheelchair we drove to the hospital. There I met her in the ER room and gave the nurses on duty all the information I had about the situation. She quickly fell asleep and they told me her carbon dioxide levels were very high and they were going to put her on a pressurized breathing mask to help her oxygen levels rise.

So it wasn't a stroke. So the smart money lost at Ceaser's Palace. However "Resperatory alement" was paying out 21:1.

After an hour or so of this she was sound asleep… well she was pretty disoriented when we got there, but shouldn’t have been so sleepy without sedation.

I had been on the phone with mom, and even a couple friends called. Mom got there about the time they had finally started admitting her to the hospital. The male nurse told me she’d be in room 4126 to which I immediately said “Alan Fannica, Rod Woodson”

Now I don’t want to say anything about this male nurse who was doing a genuinely great job, but he looked at me funny when I said that.

“Alan Fannica is number 41 for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Rod Woodson is number 26” I explained. (It turns out she was going to room 4129 which would be Dewayne Washington, I believe)

That’s when I noticed the Hello Kitty stickers on his ID badge. He must not be much of a sports fan.

Mom and I got to ride in the service elevator up to the ICU room. We talked with the nurse on duty and waited for a doctor. By now we were a little tired, I’d been at the hospital for over 7 hours and had nothing to eat… basically I was going on adrenaline still.

Mom bought me some of the leftovers they still serve at 10:00 in the hospital cafeteria and we went home. Me to my condo (speaking of which, I’ll need to post some Mr. Pimpmobile updates soon) and mom to Grandma’s apartment.

That was a very long day.

I allowed myself to sleep in a bit on Friday, but made it to work for a full day. Immediately after work I went back to the hospital and met up with mom. She took me to Max & Erma’s and insisted I have a beer with dinner. She kept telling me how grateful she was that I was able to step in and handle an emergency with my aunt out of town. To be honest, when waiting for the ambulance on Thursday I had to give myself a pep talk to keep from loosing it back there.
I waited around at the hospital until my Aunt and cousin were able to get there. I also had a chance to meet with my pastor.

She’s been in the ICU since Thursday. Mostly on a respirator, she was off of it on Monday, but her CO2 levels went back up and they had to put her back on.

She’s still very sleepy and quite annoyed at the tube in her mouth.

She’s survived several hospital stays where we were about to make funeral arrangements, she may very well survive this.

So I guess this kind of makes her like the Terminator… except instead of shooting people she sends birthday cards with twelve dollars in them.