Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In car GPS does NOT negate using your in head BRAINS!!!!

"It's hard to understand how these things can happen," said Maximilian Maurer, spokesman for the German motoring club ADAC.

"It's not as if people are driving in a tank with only a small slit to see out. You'd think they have their own eyes and brains engaged to make decisions and not rely on the satnav. I used to think satnavs were 'idiot-proof', but perhaps not."

I've had GPS in my car for over 2 years now. I don't know that I will ever get a car without NAV again. That said though, common sense is still required. My GPS is not 100% accurate - never has been. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE exercise common sense and thought when using a NAV system.

Drivers obeying directions given by a sultry satnav voice have crashed into rivers, construction sites and roadside toilets in Germany, and had similar accidents in Britain.

In October a 53-year-old German, obeying his satnav's command "Turn right now!" jerked the wheel over and crashed into a roadside toilet hut 30 metres (yards) before the crossing he was meant to take, causing 2,000 euros ($2,600) damage.

A few weeks earlier, an 80-year-old motorist also followed his satnav instead of common sense and ignored a "closed for construction" sign on a Hamburg motorway. He hit a pile of sand at high speed but was not hurt.

"I just thought the navigation system knew a shortcut," Volker Heinemann was quoted as telling a local newspaper. His car had to be towed away.

In southern England a 29-year-old woman survived unscathed after misreading her satnav and driving the wrong way on a motorway near Portsmouth at nearly 120 km (75 miles) per hour, according to a local newspaper.

When stopped after 22 km of dodging oncoming traffic, she told police she had only followed the satnav orders.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The joy of a casual drive

Today I got up and decided to go and take a leisurely drive. I enjoy driving and generally do drive pretty often - even living in the city. Admittedly, I get lazy sometimes and drive sometimes when I should walk or take public transportation, but having a garage space makes it so easy to drive sometimes. Plus, I really enjoy driving my car.

Driving alone is different than when I'm with Lori. So today, I drove to Lake Shore Drive - or LSD (little less than 2 miles from our house) and headed North. I had no point of destination. I simply wanted to take advantage of the quiet roads - being the Holiday weekend - as well as the very unseasonably warm weather. So I just drove casually North on LSD to Sheridan Road along Chicago and the nearby suburbs North Shore - along Lake Michigan.

This took me into the suburbs like Evanston, Winnetka and Highland Park. I ultimately turned and headed back home upon entering Highland Park as I was right in the middle of the shopping district. Being the Eve of Christmas Eve, I did not want to be anywhere near a ton of people and cars - kind of defeats the purpose.

Sheridan Road had some fantastic "twisties" - which I enjoyed thoroughly. That is definitely one of the biggest differences going driving by myself - being able to take twists and turns at maximum speed and not have to worry about the passenger holding on tight and getting ready to vomit. :o) For those of your who are unaware, the MINI Cooper is among the best handling cars in the world, period. Fastest? No. Most precise? Definitely. That is not to say the MINI is not fast - it is plenty fast; but it isn't marketed as the obnoxiously fast car. So in addition to driving with complete disregard for a passenger (not present) I also listened to my music very loud - something I don't get to do with a passenger.

All in all it was about an hour 'round trip and I enjoyed it. It's been a while since I've gone out for a drive simply for the sake of doing so. But I will be doing it again soon as I had fun pushing each of my cars 6 gears to their limit and then downshifting only to accelerate even harder on the next twist. Don't know when - or if - I'll ever get to drive 318 curves in 11 miles though.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Whirleyball is fun....But I'm SORE!!!!!!

Went and played Whirleyball yesterday afternoon. This was my second time going to play. It is a ton of fun. I definitely recommend it. However, I will warn you that you will be sore. Whirleyball is a cross between La Cross and Bumper Cars. I played every game - I think around 8 - and gave it my all. So now I'm paying the price this morning sulking in pain with my bruises and sore joints.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dancing Cup of Soup

Justin Timberlake from Saturday Night Live. I haven't watched the show for some time, hard to watch for 90 minutes to catch a couple of mildly ammusing skits.

This skit is not much different, mildly ammusing at best - but seeing someone that can dance while in a ridiculous cup of soup costume is pretty funny. So watch this for the dancing scenes which are funny to watch. The rest, an excuse for a grown man to dance in a cup of soup costume.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bruce Wolf with Dennis DeYoung

This is from HOB (House of Blues) in Chicago. If you know Bruce, for the most part - what you see on TV or hear on the radio of Bruce - Bruce is the same guy in person. It is not a persona. He's quick witted and sarcastic normally.

Motoringfile Reviews the MINI JCW GP

The MINI JCW GP is the ultimate expression of factory performance for the first generation MINI.
One of my most visited web sites/Blog's - - review's the JCW GP. For those of you who know me well, you know I love my MINI. This is the MINI of all MINI's - the GP I mean. Great review.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


MSNBC is not the first to use the term McMansion. It's been around for quite a while. Some homes in general are obnoxiously large - much larger than most people could actually use. I can understand needing or wanting more space than what many 50 to 100 year old homes offer. Either they are too small or they use space very poorly.

What irks me though are many of the "tear-downs" in wonderful neighborhoods where the charm of the street and/or the neighborhood is not taken into consideration when building or re-building. Real Estate is more and more expensive and when you buy a home simply to tear it down and re-build, that gets more expensive. So people try to save money by building a "cookie-cutter" home rather than customize the look - inside and out. Sometimes, it isn't a cost savings feature, it is simply that they are building what they like with complete disregard for how it may or may not fit into the street, neighborhood, etc. On one hand, it's their money and they can do with it what they please; however at the same time, it's the charm of the architecture in many areas that makes the area they are choosing to re-build in what it is. So to completely disregard that is very counter productive.

Sometimes it is way beyond obnoxious - some people will buy two or three lots, get re-zoned and build a home 2 to 4 times larger than anything else on the block. It looks ridiculous. Okay, great, you have more money than most of your neighbors, congratulations. You're ruining the look and feel though!!

When Lori and I were looking nearly two years ago, it got to a point that we knew exactly what most of the homes and condos we were about to enter would look like. The floor plan's were rarely unique. It was annoying.

I'm all for re-building if that's necessary, but it is not that difficult to build something aesthetically attractive and appropriate while at the same time giving the owner more space, etc.

I've seen some great examples and some poor examples. Okay, venting session over.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

$16.5 billion in Bonuses!!!!!

Note below... Average emloyee will get $622,000. $622,000!!!!! I don't know if every employee qualifies; Receptionists? Mail Room? If so, there's going to be a lot of money being spent shortly. Even if it's more select than that, that's a ton of cash for someone not expecting it. It's a crap-ton of cash for someone who is expecting it. It's an appauling number on one hand, but mostly because none of it comes to me. If I were getting that bonus, it would of course not be appauling - it would be most appropriate. :o)

From ABC NY - A big, big bonus at Goldman Sachs

(New York - WABC, December 13, 2006) - Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs will set a record this year when it comes to paying bonuses.
It is giving out $16.5 billion. Some top executives are expected to get a whopping $100 million dollars.

They are the highest paid people in one of the world's richest cities, and they're about to make even more.

After a year of record profits on Wall Street, investment banks are dividing up the winnings. Goldman Sachs is reportedly leading the way:
  • Average worker at Goldman will take home $622,000 this year
  • Senior administrators will get $5 to 10 million dollars
  • Senior executives and traders get $10 to 20 million each
  • Company CEO and department heads get $25 million
  • Top traders will get $50 million and more

"The reason they're making so much money for themselves is because they're making so much money for their firms ... You can debate all day whether it's fair or unfair but they're being compensated as a portion of what they're making," Neil Weinberg, of Forbes Magazine, said.

The bonuses help fuel the city's economy through income taxes and sales taxes. Everyone from luxury car dealers to jewelers will feel it.
But economists say Wall Street's richest drive up the cost of living in New York and widen the gap between the rich and everyone else.

Star Wars Cantina By Richard Cheese!

This guy Richard Cheese is quickly becoming my hero. This stuff is awesome!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Two kinds enjoyment/relaxation...

Feline enjoyment - taking a nap on daddy... And daddy enjoying some HDTV while kitty naps on him.


Richard Cheese has definitely put a new spin on this old "hip hop" tune. Depeche Mode will never sound the same again either.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Serenity NOW!!!

From MSNBC and The Today Show is what looks like a ridiculous phone. I've not seen it in person, so I can't say if I would even want one - aside from its $1,275 price - but it looks interesting to say the least. It's a cell phone from Bang & Olufsen in conjunction with Samsung.

Nonetheless, as a "gadget guy", this is definitely something I want to see in person. Buy? Unlikely. Touch and feel? Definitely.

Bang & Olufsen “Serene” Phone
The Danish company Bang & Olufsen has become famous for its electronics design, but not in the way many might assume — the sound of their stereos and phones is excellent, but the design of the box the tech comes in is even more distinctive. The new collaboration between B&O and the huge Korean cell phone maker Samsung is designed to go against the recent trend toward complexity. The pricey but beautiful “Serene” has clean lines which are meant to remind users of the ancient rooflines of Asian farm houses. Some truly novel features — the phone opens with a smooth, relaxing, battery assisted motor around an aluminum hinge and closes softly, too. A simple, uncomplicated trackwheel helps you navigate through the phone’s features. B&O claims “the best sound and speech recognition ever heard in a cell phone.” ($1,275 at

Not a care in the world!

She's a master of finding the sunlight in the house. We have three floors and she's mastered all of them!

Thursday, December 7, 2006


Today Lori and I went to see the "King Tut" Exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. The older I get the more fascinated I find myself when it comes to historic artifacts, news data, etc. The older and more mysterious (or unknown), the more fascinated I am.

Lori has had the benefit of seeing the real thing when she visited Egypt with her family when she was younger - which is also when her brother tried to accept the offer posed to him to buy his sister for a camel. Obviously, one camel wasn't enough, so the offer was declined. :o) In any event, it was cool to see it with her as she offered some additional perspective to me talking about entire rooms covered floor to cieling with the artifacts we were viewing. It was cool.

I'm not doing a great job of putting it into words. That is partially due to the fact that I was actually someone let down by the exhibit. I was hoping it would be a larger exhibit, more historic data, more artifacts, more knowledge. It was still cool to see what was there, but I hoped to see more.

The exhibit is coming to an end, so if you're interested in seeing it, order tickets ASAP. I also recommend a weekday visit to minimize crowds.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Mom has son arrested for allegedly playing with present before Christmas

Okay, so while I don't agree with her actions to teach her son a lesson of responsibility, I have to at least applaud her intentions. Too many parents, in my humble opinion (IMHO), let their kids get away with too much just fluffing it off as "a phase" or "part of growing up". While there is some validity to that, too many parents, again, IMHO, fall back on that excuse because it is easier than following through on what is often harder - not always letting yours kids do what they want.

I admit, we don't have kids - one day we hope to - so it is easy for me to comment since I don't have the task/joy of raising a child or children everyday. So I do admit it is easy for me to comment looking through my rose colored glasses. Even still, I found this interesting.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A fed-up mother had her 12-year-old son arrested for allegedly rummaging through his great-grandmother's things and playing with his Christmas present early.......

Monday, December 4, 2006

Way too cute and she knows it!

So the Hannukah festivities went off very well. Great time had by all. It was a blast watching the kids open their presents. Nicole, my youngest niece, was most excited by her new talking, singing and I think dancing, "Dora" doll. She wouldn't let it out of her hands the rest of the night. Way too cute!!!!

Friday, December 1, 2006

Hanukkah. Chanukah. Huh??

So Lori and I are hosting Hanukkah, Chanukah - there are various spellings, pick your favorite - for my immediate family this year. We're actually hosting it tomorrow. We're not very religious, but we do recognize the holiday's and our faith. That said, based on the calendar's of both sets of my siblings as well as Lori and me and my parents, tomorrow was the date that worked best.

This is the first holiday we're hosting. When we first moved in together, it wasn't really brought up. Once we got married a year-and-a-half ago, our living space didn't really accommodate hosting when it was brought up. But now, we've got significantly more space - more than enough to host. So I was shopping for the last minute items today and found this beer. I thought it would be an appropriate beer to have for those interested considering the occasion. Plus, I thought it was pretty funny. "The Chosen Beer". That's good. :o)

A little snow and.....

The Satellite signal went out. Fortunately, our "Dish" is easily accessible so we could follow Dish Network's instructions to gently brush excess snow off the dish itself. Literally within 60 seconds of doing so, the signal came back to its normal perfect state.
This is not a slam per se against dish - I love Dish Network. It's just amazing how such a sophisticated technology can be affected by such a simple problem - and just as easily rectified.