Showing posts from February, 2008

More Politics

I can understand alot of the criticism about Russia's upcoming election. Basically, Putin has 'chosen' who will be elected: Medvedev. Putin will then become Prime Minister. Other candidates have not gotten press coverage, and it is widely known that no only does the Kremlin want Medvedev elected, but wants a large turnout to solidify the validity of the elections. This is clearly not entirely a democratic election, but it raises some questions about our own US election process.

Instead of only having one clear choice to vote for, we do get, well, double the choice of 2. Yeah, there are independents, but they have as much chance as the opposition to Medvedev. And we only get 2 real choices. Right now, we're having mini elections for the Democratic nominee, but that process eliminates either Obama or Clinton....both cannot run, since the Dem vote may be split against a unified Republican candidate. Really, to give us a true choice, I think we need 2 candidates fro…


God is not a Republican....

....or a Democrat.
Just finished Republic Commando: Triple Zero, the 2nd book in the series (thanks for the gift, Dad!). Turned into a great read, with lots of Mando culture, subterfuge, and new great characters. Sometimes it was hard to follow all the names involved, and since all clones look the same, it was hard to keep them straight in my head. But I am eager to continue the story in True Colors, and the finale, Order 66 later this year.

I emailed Del Ray earlier this year to inquire about a hardback collection of the Republic Commando novels, but they never replied. I think with Order 66 coming out in hardcover in August, it would be a perfect time to collect the other 3 into a nice volume. I own the PBs and would definitely add the hardcover...and while we're wishing, do a limited edition with a slipcover and collection of all the covers. and release a signed edition, Del Ray at:

Yesterday we had quite the big busy day...up early then worked out, tanned a f…


Book: Republic Commando: Triple Zero

Beer: Samuel Adams Honey Porter

Drink: Jim Beam Black Label & Sour Mix

Song: All The Same - Sick Puppies

Movie: Across the Universe

GPS: Garmin NUVI 200

Icon on GPS: Tank Commander

Location: Fayetteville, NC

CD: Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace - Foo Fighters

Cologne: Kenneth Cole Reaction
I've been listening to alot of NPR (well NCPR) this week in the car...BBC Worldnews, The Story, All Things Considered...very facinating stuff. I really liked today's The Story, A Birthday In Combat (right click to download).

So Castro is officially stepping down as President of Cuba. Big deal. Raul's been acting president for the past year, and though Parliament is expected to select a new President over the weekend, I doubt it'll be anyone but Raul. The only way Cuba will experience any real change is when the Castro line is gone and younger leadership is in place. Even when both Castros are gone, it'll take a long time for all their loyalists placed in government positions to actually make any changes. Bush didn't have much to say on the subject, but he rarely has much to say of consequence these days anyways.

For Valentine's Day, we ordered some Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries from Edible Arrangements. We ordered on monday for a Thurs 9am pickup.…
There are a few things we've noticed about Fayetteville. Being an Army town brings lots of pawn shops & strip clubs. You can only buy liquor at liquor stores; grocery stores stock the beer & wine. The beer selection is mediocre. Most of the outskirts of the city are deserted, occupied by the seediest of pawn shops & strip clubs & abandoned buildings. The traffic lights are very very long. The drivers are very very fast.

Being in the South somehow makes people fatter and gives them the desire to (don't get mad Hillary) 'pimp out' their cars, be it a big pickup, sporty Toyota, or--my favorite--the Dodge Neon.

Bringing the Hatch, Back

So yeah, we got a new car! We're going to be on the road for 8 months a year, for the next two years. Why waste money renting a car for nearly $1ooo/month plus pay for gas? The IRS mileage reimbursement is $.505/mile, which pays for gas and wear and tear.

And we don't have to spend much on gasoline since we now have a diesel. Yes, diesel is about 10% more expensive than unleaded, but our 2006 Volkswagen Golf TDI gets 44.1 mpg highway, nearly double our Honda's mileage!

Its a pretty hard car to find, so we had to jump on it in Kansas City. That whole ordeal (test driving, negotiating, & financing) set us back a day, but it was worth it. It handles very well, lots of zip, and is loaded with features: moon roof, heated seats, & monster mats. The 1.9L engine only puts out about 100hp, but with how tiny the car is (plus the turbo) you'd never know. And with 500+ miles per tank--Yowza!
It took nearly a week, but we finally made it to Fayetteville, NC!

Between buying a used car out-of-state and visiting with my grandparents in Virginia, the trip did take a little longer than expected, but all the detours were worth it.

We're getting settled into (and learning alot about) a corporate rental. Kings Crossing was the only place in town we could find, and though a slight hassle above a normal extended stay hotel, it is much much cheaper and a little more home-like. Our place is a furnished apartment, but we did have to go out and, in addition to expected groceries, had to buy towels and sheets/blankets. Linens were provided with the corporate housing, but neither of us could spend a month sleeping on that floral print. Thank goodness for Target.

So far so good. It is very weird moving from a house to an apartment and everything that comes with that....3 flights of stairs, scuffs on the walls, weird layouts, and normal apartment gripes like thin paint on the walls th…


We drove to Denver yesterday to meet up with Sarah & Tobi for her 27th birthday. The timing was perfect, since we leave tomorrow for 2+ months on the road. One last hurrah started at the Denver Science & Nature Museum. While not the Field, the Denver Museum had lots to look at, including a very interesting Mining/Geology Exhibit, including a lot of local stuff, from the largest gold nugget found in CO, to the aquamarine found on Mount Antero, and the Silver Rush in the late 1800s.

The stuffed animals were impressive and we placed in some of the best dioramas I've seen. The two record Alaskan Grizzlies were HUGE. Life Matters or whatever was entertaining, but some of the exhibits that measure personal height/weight, blood pressure, etc were broken, including the print-out at the end.

On our way to dinner, we stopped for an hour at Starbucks to get some coffee, sit, and talk.

Dinner was at the humble looking Cafe Berlin, which Tobi found for us. We started out with 2 Kartoffelp…
Do not rent Resident Evil: Extinction. Third movie in the franchise. We should've known better. This third one is a dud. The opening sequence made no sense in context with the rest of the movie and the entire thing seemed too drawn out. There were several plot holes, like why didn't the zombies just take down the chain link fence? There was no overall point to the movie, just an extended intro into a possible 4th chapter.

We did rent The Devil Wears Prada last night, and though mildly predictable, still delivered star performances by Streep and Hathaway. Thankfully the movie didn't focus on the 'fish out of water' aspect too much in regards to Hathaway's Andrea character working for the top fashion magazine when she clearly knew nothing of fashion. The love interest was wrapped up nicely and not schmaltzy at all.

I normally don't find anything at Plato's Closet, being that 7/8 of the store is for females, but on our last trip there, I got a Like New pair …