Thursday, September 28, 2006


I drove past a gas station last night that was selling regular unleaded gasoline for $1.989. One month ago it was $2.789. That is an 80 cent drop in 31 days, which seems rather remarkable to me. Could it be that the price from one month ago wasn't really justified? Could it be that all of the oil companies are in league with Evil RepublicansTM and gas is only cheaper because of the upcoming elections? Or could it be that St. Louis, MO simply rocks that hard? Oh, yes, we can rock <$2 gas very hard, indeed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


In many ways this was not a banner weekend. I have been fighting some sort of minor malady all weekend, and it has really sapped my energy badly. I was even running a minor fever this morning so I didn't go to church. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow so I can go to work, as I have a lot to do. A whole lot to do, actually. I did get some stuff accomplished this weekend, just not everything I had planned. I got a lot of cleaning done, which is good as I was behind on that (this is what happens when you are out of town for 5 weeks). Still, I didn't get everything done, as I was just too tired. I also really haven't been hungry, which is a bad sign, as that usually means I am sick. So, yeah, let's just say I'm sick and leave it at that.

In other news, two of my buddies that I game with have picked up Guild Wars, so I installed my game on my new computer and I have played that a bit. Really good game, and not having played it for about 7 months means that I am getting to enjoy it all over again, as it has been long enough that it doesn't feel boring anymore. I was supposed to play with Roy tonight, but he never showed up. Ah, well, he does have two kids so maybe they are being ornery and he is punishing them or something. I know his son, and that is most definitely a possibility.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The NHL pre-season has started, just a few weeks until the regular season begins. Let's see if St. Louis still sucks this year, eh?

The greatest uniting element is a common foe

Republicans and Democrats like to fight over everything, but they sure seem to circle the wagons when an outsider begins taking shots, as CNN reports. Yeah, we've got our problems, but at least we aren't destroying our economy and economic infrastructure in the name of "fairness."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Travel Too Much

So I got back this morning from LA. Yes, you read that right, "this morning." I got to bed at 1:30 AM and then woke up at 5:10 AM to go to work. I also didn't sleep that well. Ah, nothing like 3 hours of sleep to prep you for your day. I was out in LA for a couple days to help get that audit off ot a good start, but I am now back home in St. Louis working on the part of the project that is in town. After this job is done, I think my next project is local, as well. If so, then I probably won't have to travel through the end of the year. Considering how crazy air travel rules have become, that is probably a good thing.

A Bright Idea

The recent issue of Fast Company magazine had an article about flourescent lightbulbs that I found very interesting. Specifically, the fact that WalMart was really pushing them, and thereby driving down prices on flourescent bulbs, was very interesting. In fact, it was interesting enough that last weekend I drove to WalMart and dropped $30+ on some flourescent bulbs, which I have used to replace 8 of the bulbs in my house, including all of the living room lights and the lights in the guest bedroom. In the process, I have learned some things.

1. Flourescent bulbs are not exactly the same size as regular filament bulbs, and therefore you need to make sure that what you are buying actually fits the space you have. The larger wattage flourescent bulbs are larger than the lower wattage bulbs, whereas with standard bulbs they are all the same size whatever the wattage.
2. Flourescent bulbs are rated by their equivalent wattage, such that a "40" bulb is actually a 10 watt bulb, but gives the equivalent light of a standard 40 watt bulb. According to GE, anyway. My experience is that it is not equivalent to a 40, but is lighter, probably a 30 to 35. Since the actual wattage is so low, you could just buy the next rating up without any fire hazard, to get the equivalent light as your old bulbs.
3. Due to the difference in technology involved, flourescent bulbs take a few seconds to light up after you flip the switch, rather than than the instant on of traditional bulbs.

I still can't believe that they actually got me into a WalMart to buy something. I haven't done that in almost 3 years.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Bountiful Savings

One of my favorite anime distributors is The Right Stuf, a large mail-order operation out of Iowa that also produces and distributes a select few anime titles on their own. Interestingly enough, I first became aware of them when I lived in Arlington, VA and they would send me catalogs addressed to a previous occupant of the apartment. Anyway, they are being positively insane this month, and are offering a deal where you can get 10 Geneon titles for $50, or 25 titles for $100. Yes, you can get DVDs for as little as $4 a pop. Needless to say, I took advantage of the offer, and am now eagerly awaiting my 25 shiny new discs. This is a great way for me to check out series that I otherwise wouldn't be viewing, as some things are interesting, but not worth the cover price the company is asking for. But $4? That is as much as a rental at the local Blockbuster, so my risk is essentially nil, especially when you consider that I can always recoup some cost on a title I don't like by moving it on eBay. I really don't know how anyone is making money off this deal, though.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stuck in Sacramento

Well, I have screwed up. When I booked my travel about 3 weeks ago for this trip, I booked myself on a flight out tomorrow afternoon, because I wanted to have plenty of time for our work here. Well, our work is done, and it is Thursday afternoon, so I could have flown out on Friday morning, or even tonight, but I can't actually find a flight with availability. So, since I can't properly estimate the time it will take to do our work, I am stuck in Sacramento without much to do. Maybe I can find a museum to go to in the morning or something. At least I have a 400 page book with me to keep me entertained!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Twelve Kingdoms soundtrack review

My review of four soundtracks for the anime Twelve Kingdoms is up at Anime Dream. It was a lot of work, so check it out.

Sitting in the Sun

I am in Sacramento, CA this week, auditing another lockbox. My colleague and I add a full third to the population of the room the lockbox operates in, so we have been quite cramped. And we have been tired, as well. Yesterday I got up before 4PM, got cleaned up and dressed, and then drove to the airport, fromwhich we embarked on a 7 hour journey from Missouri to California. Interestingly enough, this guy on the flight to Sacramento had a bunch of us take roses and then give them to his girlfriend at the airport in Sacramento, after which he was going to propose. In the airport. With a bunch of strangers around. Maybe I'm just the most un-romantic man in America, but that seemed a little weird to me. Original, yes. Creative, sure. But not something I would do. Actually, the hilarious thing was that the young lady in question got confused and went to the wrong terminal, so 30+ of us were standing around with roses with nobody to give them to. I'm sure the guy felt like a moron, but it all worked out OK.

After that, my colleague Matt and I were completely wiped out. We made it until 3PM local time (5PM St. Louis time) and then headed to the hotel, where I promptly fell asleep for an hour. Then dinner, then back to bed before 9PM. At least I didn't miss much in the football game, as the Raiders sucked hard, which warms the cockles of my cold, dark heart. :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Eat this Book

Eat this Book by Eugene H. Peterson, 2006, Eerdmans

For the second topic in Eugune Peterson's overview of spiritual theology, he touches on the practice of spiritual reading, or reading the Bible in the proper way, a way that brings you into God's presence and God's work in the world. In comparison to the first book in the series, this book is rather short, clocking in at less than 200 pages. Still, it's quality, not quantity, that counts. Luckily, the quality here is high.

The book is divided into three sections. First, the author gets at Bible reading in general, why it is important, what our real goal should be in reading the Bible, that kind of thing. It was good, but not groundbreaking. Just basic, common sense stuff that I suspect many people need a refresher (or original expsorure) on. The second section gets deeper, beginning with the warning to "let the reader beware" and some cautions about reading too much or too little into scripture, or for taking it out of context. This is good stuff, but once again, not ground breaking. What was ground breaking for me was the last part, the discussion about translations of the Bible. Knowing that the author did most of the work on The Message, a modern-English translation of the Bible, I feared that it would turn into an info-mercial of sorts. Luckily, this turned out to be the best part of the book, with some really great stories of translation, what it means for us that the Bible we read is not the original text, and some warnings about improperly handled translations.

The last section is probably worth the price of the book by itself, but since you get the whole thing for the same price, I highly recommend picking this little guy up. It isn't long, but it will have you thinking long and hard about your Bible before you are done with it.

Busy Days

Wow, that was a busy week. On Monday I painted the guest bathroom and did other cleaning and organizing stuff. On Tuesday I flew back to detroit and ended up working a lot. I even put in one day where I worked over 13 straight hours. Crazy stuff. At least I got done everything that I could. It is one of those projects where a dozen different people roll on and then roll back off two or three weeks later, so I can't feel too much ownership of the work. My next project has lots of ownership, though, as I have been on it since inception and I know it just as well as anybody.

I also had an international experience this week, as I was working with a fellow who is from South Africa. He was in the States for Detroit to learn some American accounting rules and help out on an audit this fall. He was literally two days off the plane when I met him, and we got to talk about all sorts of stuff I take for granted, like how huge our pickup trucks are. Care, too, but Chris was really weirded out by the huge trucks. We also pointed him towards some different grocery stores, and he commented that Whole Foods is "like a traditional South African market." I'm not sure what that really means, never having been in a South African market, but he seemed to be happy with the fact that he could buy foods without all of the sugar we add to everything. Chris' main goal was to not gain weight while he was in America. We all wished him luck on that one, as we make it rather hard to be healthy, sometimes.

Today I finally decided on the paint for the master bathroom in my house and bought some, so now I am ready to paint the final room in my house and be done with it. Lord willing and the creek don't rise, that will happen next weekend. I also bagged and boarded the last couple months' worth of comics and got them organized in my storage boxes. As part of this, I identified about 10 books that I am missing from various series, and a quick trip to Mile High Comics got that problem dealt with. As a collector, let me tell you, it feels really good to plug holes in my collection.

And tomorrow is the Andrew Peterson/Michael Card concert! I'm going with my bro Christopher. We actually do stuff together like maybe 3 times a year so it's pretty cool that he can go. I haven't seen Andy in probably 4 years, so it should be a real good time. Square Peg powers... activate!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day

Well, I got back from Detroit just fine, and things are going okay on my project there. We're not ahead of schedule (based on what schedule there is, which isn't much), but we're not behind schedule, either. I'll take it. This weekend has been pretty good, actually, if somewhat busy. After wrapping up an epic game of Galactic Civilizations II in time to let my dad borrow the game, I have done some window washing and other such house-related chores, and I'm going to paint the guest bathroom tomorrow. I've lived here about 22 months now, so it is time to actually get the final rooms painted, I think.

For the windows I bought that special spray bottle of Windex that you attach to your garden hose. It actually did reach the second floor windows, which was impressive. Sometimes you can't trust the TV ads for those products, but it did get the job done for me. Actually, I had let the windows go so long before cleaning them that I think I need to give them all another go around on the outside. Maybe once the painting is done.

I have also watched a couple anime movies this weekend, Crusher Joe and Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. Both were enjoyable, though I think I liked Lupin a little better. Joe definitely had its moments but it was rather weird at times, as well. Lupin was just straight-up action, and tons of fun. Even though it was a Lupin III film, it has Hayao Miyazaki's fingerprints all over it, as many of the characters totally look like his designs. Good times.