Saturday, August 04, 2007

Five Hours Later...

The Truck's Gone

Al and his guys have already came and raised a dust cloud, and when they pulled out of the driveway we were three hundred and twenty five dollars richer than if we had worked with our original asshole mover that stood us up.

Time to grab a bite to eat and head back over to pick up the scraps.

I'm tired.

T-Minus Eight Hours...

And Counting

Didn't I mention earlier that I HATE moving?

Yeah...I believe that I did.

Right now I wish that I could just leave town for 24 hours and come back to find everything moved from the condo to the new house here on our little island.

Instead, I'm still looking at filling another dozen or so boxes with last minute stuff and packing both vehicles full of things like plants and lamp shades before our truck and crew shows up at 8 AM this morning.

Missy the Turbo Pup has taken things quite well thus far--getting used to negotiating a maze of boxes here and wandering around her new yard at the other place when we go over to work or deliver stuff.

Since it's rained about four inches over the past 48 hours here, I'm really hoping that God gives us a break tomorrow for a few hours so that that our furniture and boxes don't get soggy in the process.

In the mean time the media has apparently discovered all of the facts about the condition of our nation's bridges that I mentioned earlier, the democrats and other usual suspects are already blaming President Bush for spending all of the bridge repair money in Iraq and the Global Warming Moonbats are barking about the hot weather causing the collapse.

I guess that I don't have it so bad down here after all, so I believe that I'll go back to packing now.

Wish us luck...If you will.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Global Warming Sucks...

I have a truck coming at 8 AM tomorrow morning, having fired Mr. Moving Guy #1 and hiring Mr. Moving Guy #2 a couple of days ago.

In the mean time, the condo swimming pool is overflowing and all my outside plants are about to float away, the Weather Channel says that there is a flash flood watch in effect for our area, but things will improve later today.

Maybe a nice slow drizzle rather than a steady downpour?

I've got to go paint the foyer of the new house now.



Thursday, August 02, 2007

Progress (Or The Lack Thereof)

Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands

I'm sitting here this morning watching the FOX News reporters spazzing out about the I-35 West bridge collapse which occurred during last evening's during rush hour, and as is usual I'm having to wince and avert my eyes from the stupidity on display by the media in the aftermath of an engineering disaster.

One of the reporters was interviewing some "bridge engineer" live on the telephone and came up with the question "do you think that this situation amounts to 'criminal negligence'?"

The self described "expert" replied..."NO."

Thank God that for once an "Expert" managed to hold his emotions and tongue in check while talking in front of TV cameras and not evoke FEMA or some other knee jerk reaction so early in the process when virtually nothing is known about the event or it's actual physical causes.

Being a fairly well educated competent mechanical engineer, and also having a great deal of practical experience working in the fields of steel and concrete structural engineering, I happen to know something about bridge design and further, about the condition of highway bridges here in the US.

My forensic engineering consulting experience has caused me to spend time reading about the history of engineering disasters, and one thing I've learned in the process is that we are all in big trouble when it comes to the condition of our nation's bridges, and your Government knows about the problem and is doing virtually nothing about it.

Here's the situation in a nutshell.

If it were up to me, I'd never drive across another bridge without first knowing that the bridge had been inspected and/or repaired by competent personnel.

By "competent personnel," I'm basically excluding the government at all levels and the associated government contractors usually employed by the "departments of transportation."

(Yes, I agree that there are a lot of good engineers and many well intended people involved in the bureaucratic process, but I'm afraid that the outcome isn't what was intended much of the don't start E-mailing me saying your Uncle or cousin or mother works for the State DOT and you're coming to my new front door with a load of hot asphalt to repave my butt with...)

That said, I also admit that I cross six bridges every time I drive between our little island and the mainland, and I do this at least three days each week.

So you can feel free to call me a hypocrite because I know about and complain about the problem, but I also insist on ignoring it on a daily basis.

You see, our governments have been taking our tax money--stuff like gas taxes and car tag taxes originally designated for road and bridge construction and maintenance--and instead of fixing old bridges they're focused on building new bridges and widening existing bridges on a wholesale basis in order to meet traffic demands, when they should be spending the majority of our money REPLACING existing bridges that are in crappy, unsafe condition.

They also steal a good deal of the money intended for transportation infrastructure and spend it on "social programs"--things like providing cheese food products and diapers for un-wed mothers living on WIC and "Earned Income Tax Credits."

If you want to give yourself a good scare, go to US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Website and look at the number of bridges that are identified as "structurally deficient" and "functionally inadequate."

I just did a spreadsheet to do my own calculations, and according to the data on that website 12.35% of the bridges (73,694 out of 596,808 bridges) are structurally deficient and 13.43% (80,177 out of 596,808 bridges) are "functionally inadequate"...whatever that means.

It's not like I sit around at night re-packing my parachute or stuffing my car full of life preservers each morning before I drive across the causeway over the water and marshes to the mainland, but believe me when I say that I do worry a little about the condition of things under my tires each day. I also believe that the moron's that I witness whizzing past me at 60 MPH in a 35 MPH speed zone that the government allows to keep their driving privileges represent a greater danger to me than than falling steel and concrete beams.

So any can look for this story to fester and swirl for another few days, then things will go back to the status quo with the media's Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton cheer leading party and the Global Warming Hysteria Show.

In closing, just remember that we kill over 40,000 people each year in auto accidents without bridges falling on peoples heads and from under their tires. Then there is also still the risks poised by lightening and shark attacks, not to mention angry, misguided, wild-eyed, towel headed, middle eastern Muslims intent on imposing Allah's will on all of us infidels.

Y'all have a nice day now...If you will...I've got to go finish packing up my belongings...


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm An Incompentence Magnet

Intelligent, Qualified, Conscientious Persons Need Not Apply...

I have a few questions to ask this morning:

#1. How can you run a City government when no one is there to answer the telephone?

#2. How can you run a Cable/Internet company when the person on the other end of your 1-800 telephone number doesn't know where St. Simons Island is and can't make decisions about installation schedules and costs?

#3. How can you run a moving company when you won't answer the telephone or return phone calls?

#4. Finally, how can you run a moving company and not tell your customers when you will pick up their stuff? (See #3 above)

Regardless, we'll be taking possession of the new house today, but our August 2nd through 4th moving window is now somewhere out the window later than planned (maybe the 6th or 7th?)

Mr. Moving Guy will hopefully be getting back with us sometime between now and then.

In the mean time, I think that it's time to go clean my guns now...


I Was Robbed

Police Department Useless...Again

I've mentioned here on the blog in the past that, although I still believe in the idea of public law enforcement and harbor a basic respect for law enforcement personnel in general, I find that the implementation of law enforcement to be quite lacking in reality.

Let's face the facts folks: The Police, being human, tend to focus their efforts on high profile crimes like murder, unpopular things like DUI, and violations which are easy to catch like speeding, while letting the majority of daily infractions go undeterred and unprevented.

I see more bullshit driving in one trip to Brunswick from our little island than should ever be tolerated--things like following too closely, weaving from lane to lane, running yellow and red traffic lights--but the police are content to sit by the side of the road smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee while their radar unit does their job for them.

I have a looooooonnnnnnnnggggg history of being a victim of crime, and only once have the police managed to actually catch anyone or do anything about what the vermin of society elected to do to me and my property.

For instance, in my life to date, I've survived:

1. A robbery in a Pizza Hut in Atlanta in 1979 where one of the assholes doing the robbery beat me in the head with a pistol (he broke the barrel off the piece-of-shit gun in the process.)

2. I lost a 1956 Chevy Belair that my Grandfather left me and that I was in the process of restoring. Some idiots drug it from the shed on our family farm on flat tires, onto a trailer, and delivered it to a junkyard where it was crushed for scrap.

It only had about 60,000 miles on it in 1978.

3. I've had my home broken into while in college, losing my class rings and other possessions like a TV and stereo.

4. I've had my S-10 Blazer broken into in Atlanta while attending a Georgia Tech basketball game, losing a stereo and a car phone and a $300 passenger side window.

5. I've had my Suburban broken into while sitting in the driveway of my Atlanta home, losing about $1000 worth of CD's and a neat little telescope (and a $500 side window.)

6. I've had my home broken into and the damaged contents ransacked twice after the building was basically destroyed by fire. Things like my coin collection and and antique radio were taken, even though they were black with smoke and wet with water.

7. I've had my car sitting in the driveway of the burned house vandalized in a theft attempt ($3,000 damage to a car worth $2,500.)

8. Had my rental property in Brunswick broken into three times to date, resulting in the THEFT OF MY PORCELAIN KITCHEN SINK in 2006.

The thing that each of these events had in common, with the exception of the Pizza Hut robbery, was that I had to personally FORCE the respective police/police department to even get excited enough to file a report.

Many if not most of the time I had to go to the Police Station to file the report because the police were supposedly too busy to come out and even try to look for evidence or dust for fingerprints.

Only once has anyone actually been caught and convicted (the car vandals) of the crimes which I have endured.

It was frightening how bored the police acted while taking our statements after the Pizza Hut robbery, and although I said that I could identify the robbers, I never heard another word from the Atlanta police after the incident.

The imbecile prosecutor on the car vandalization case sent me an incorrect court date via mail, and when I was unable to drive on one day notice from Florida to Atlanta to attend the hearing (after previously driving to Atlanta and filing a deposition regarding the cost of the vandalism), then the court refused, because of my absence, to award me any financial compensation from my teen aged black perpetrators.

The little bastards are probably bouncing between jail and the street today, if someone hasn't already put a bullet into the back of their miserable heads.

Now fast forward to Yesterday...

When I walked into my construction project, as usual, I was armed with tools, a couple of gallons of Gatoraid, and breakfast from McDonalds.

So far so good.

Then I decided to wash out a plastic cup and have myself a drink of Gatoraid with my bacon, egg, and cheese bagel.

What, no water pressure?

I paid the bill (I think), but I had no water.

Being the astute, prepared engineer and rocket scientist that I am, I grabbed my "tee handle" water valve tool and wandered out to the street.

Sure enough, the water was turned off.

"Certainally there is some clerical error", I thought, and with a quick ninety degree twist of the "tee handle" I'd have water again to wash my cup with.

Wrong...Mr. Sawdust breath...

I heard a gushing sound, and when I turned to look over my shoulder I saw water shooting out of the side of my building, into the air, twenty feet onto the adjacent vacant property.

Just Damn...


I'm just lucky that the routing of the stolen piping allowed the water to excape outside of the building rather than inside the building, because the water meter says that about SIX THOUSAND GALLONS of water flowed out into the dirt before someone noticed the leak and turned off the valve.

I assume that by "someone", I mean that "someone" with the City of Brunswick turned the water off.


Today, in attempting to communicate with the city by leaving a "voicemail" and finally talking to a human about 4:55 PM, I learned that they claim no knowledge of the leak and I'm now facing the daunting task of convincing them not to charge me for the water.

When I called the Brunswick Police's non-emergency number, I was invited to come down to the station to file a report else wait a few weeks sit around all day die of boredom waiting for an officer to actually show up at my property to make a report of the incident.

Six feet of 1/2" copper tubing is probably worth about $0.25 at the recycler, and I hope they can afford to buy fries with their final meal before the grim reaper comes and puts them out of their misery.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fix One Problem

Two More Appear...

Well, I'm back online at full speed again as of about noon yesterday. The resolution wasted about twelve hours, involved two calls to Comcast Technical Support (and at least a half dozen other "attempted calls,) and one trip over to Office Depot to buy a new cable modem.

I guess that the good news is that we are no longer renting our cable modem from Adelphia/Comcast to the tune of $5.00 a month, and I guess the $90 price tag for the new Linksys Modem is a bargain compared to the $239 we've spent thus far on the rental unit.

Of course Comcast would have replaced our old modem for free, but I managed to resist taking them up on their generous offer of sitting here in the Internet dark ages until sometime late Wednesday when a technician could stop by.

In renovation/construction news, nothing at all has happened in my absence.

Imagine that?

I've been waiting for three weeks for the City of Brunswick to pick up two giant piles of leaves and tree limbs which I placed on the curb on each side of the property.

The Sanitation Department is in theory supposed to pick up lawn debris every Friday, but three Fridays have passed and I'm getting tired of picking beer cans, discarded lottery tickets, and other trash conveniently deposited on top of my edifices by passers by. In the spirit of being neighborly, it seems that any time you build anything resembling a trash heap the locals feel obligated to assist you by adding their own contributions to the assemblage. I fill at least half my curbside trashcan each week with their generous donations.

My hired man James is appearing to be either a scoundrel else he is in Jail or something because when I left town I paid him in advance for a half day of work clearing overgrown vegetation off of the rear of my property. I also left him in possession of a cheep new digital wristwatch and over a $100 of tools like a sling blade, a machete, pruning shears, and "loppers" for his use.

From the looks of things yesterday morning, neither he, his watch, nor any of my tools had been anywhere near the place since last Monday.

Just Damn...

He was supposed to work at least the five hours I prepaid him for in my absence, and we had a deal that the entire job was worth fifteen hours of time which he could work and be paid for Monday morning upon my return from Alabama.

I'm afraid that I am about to learn a cruel lesson about human nature and the rewards of trying to assist the "downtrodden." Jessie Jackson and the bleeding heart "homeless advocates" can cry all they want to, but I've bent over backwards to give James every chance to earn as much money as he can (at $10 per hour) and he continues to waste my time and challenge my goodwill as I've rearranged my own schedule countless times to make work hours available to him--only to have him show up late or in this case not at all.

I hope that he'll show up today with some reasonable explanation and get caught up on things, but our relationship has gone backwards at least a couple of months as it appears that I cannot trust him to get anything done without employing direct supervision.

The new house is finally vacant as of last Saturday, about three weeks later than first scheduled so we're getting screwed out of a new interior paint job. We went by last evening and most of the walls didn't look too bad, but the entry foyer and the bedroom hallway will definitely need a coat of paint once we move in because of the wear and tear of the moving process.

Speaking of moving, our moving company rep managed to dodge my three phone calls yesterday and not return my request to tell me whether his truck and three gorillas would be here on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of this week. He better call today or I'm buying another machete and driving down to Tampa for a face to face discussion on Wednesday.

I'm already virtually paralyzed in the Kitchen because almost everything relating to cooking and eating is sitting in boxes waiting to be taped closed. We're over half way through the packing process, but we've got to LIVE HERE for at least one other day beyond today, and it would be nice to know the move schedule so I don't sit around eating peanut butter sandwiches and wearing dirty clothes because we were ready on Thursday and the truck didn't show up until Saturday.

It also costs us an additional $34 per day plus utility costs to sit here beyond Wednesday, but that expense was incidental to the process--I just hate to do all of this planning and have some moron that has already cashed our $350 deposit check jplay immature games and jerk me around at the last minute.

Needless to say that my other professional endeavors are festering in nearly finished but not quite complete piles on the coffee table. If I could put the time I've put into fixing Internet related computer problems I'd be finished by now.

Now I have to go get organized to spend another half day making sawdust, praying that my hired help shows up, and that the now daily thunderstorms abate for the rest of the week so when we move the furniture doesn't warp and have the veneer fly off of it into outer space.

It is, after all, tough being me...Isn't it?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Running At A Crawl

Comcast Isn't My Friend Right Now...

We made it back home to our little Island in record time today--about five and one half hours--just in time to let Missy the Turbo Pup run around in the rain to do her "business" and get everything unloaded and put away.

The rain kept coming, and it was a good thing we weren't an hour later on the road or the last segment of the trip from Waycross to home would have been very soggy. Thunderstorms lined up the entire length of US Highway 82.

Once Turbo Pup was settled in we snuck out to dinner at Bubba Garcias Mexican Restaurant, then came back home in time for my date with the sofa for a nap.

When I awoke about 11:30 PM I found that I had no VoIP phone service and no Internet,

Modem power off...reset...stand on my head...try as I might nothing worked.

Then I spent a half hour trying to call Comcast's "24 hour customer service on the back up land phone line and every time I got to the part where I could talk to an actual person in English the stupid phone system cut me off.

I finally dug around on my computer and found an unused three month free subscription to AOL that I hadn't used, so now at least I'm on line although it's at about 40 Kbaud dial up.

The real pisser is that Comcast's Website is set up for use with their cable modem service so all of the screens are HUGE and take forever to load and now I'm having trouble getting through their "chat" troubleshooting process to see if someone can help me without having to schedule a service call for sometime probably in the year 2010.

If comcast doesn't get their rental modem fixed pronto they are guaranteeing Bellsouth our DSL business at the new house.

I guess that you could say that High speed Internet is sorta like women...

Can't live with them...

Can't live without them.



Sunday, July 29, 2007


How Do You Say "Hangover" On Maui?

Well, after so many months of anticipation, it was all over with in what seemed like a flash last evening.

My reunion, that is.

Our flower Leis were a big hit, and a LARGE time seemed to be had by all.

As is usual, there were some notable absentees that live within ten miles of the country club and always manage to come up with some excuse not to attend.

One girl came all the way from Alaska for the event, and several more like me made trips over three hundred miles.

There were also fourteen souls that had no other choice in the matter as they had left this Earth sometime since graduation. I guess that isn't that high of a number of deaths when you consider that our class had 270 members.

Once again our reunion committee outdid themselves in the planning and preparation, and I look forward to the next opportunity to see friends I've known practically since the day I was born.

Time to get on the road back toward our little island now...

See Y'all again in about six hours.