Monday, April 30, 2007

Mysterious Happenings in the Back Yard

Yesterday we were selectively cutting branches off our weeping willow
tree to allow for easier climbing up by the girls, and we discovered
that one branch actually grew into another branch!

It is sort of like two branches growing out of the main trunk that look
like "F" and a branch comes out of the bottom branch and up to the top
branch to make a "P" except the original branches from the "F" keep on
going out, too!

I'm going to twist some more branches together to see if they'll hook up

So thanks to our selective cutting the girls can, with a little boost
from a step stool, climb up two levels of branches in the weeping willow

Today I will show them how to get back down. They have been stuck there
all night!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tank 113 - April 25, 2007

Filled up with 11.003 gallons after travelling 409.7 miles in 8 days.
37.24 miles per gallon. Gas was $2.649 per gallon at Costco today.

This was the fifth tank in a row that I was able to go more than 400
miles. I think my new job, although farther away from home, is a good
distance to allow enough round trips to crack 400 miles just as the
"empty light" comes on.

I am on track to use 42 tanks of gas this year, down from 46 in 2006,
and 48 in 2005. However, I am also using more gallons per tank, so
total gallons may turn out to be higher.

There's a new Costco opening up near my office next week. This should
help me to push the envelope and perhaps start hitting close to 440
miles per tank on a regular basis.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It's all in how you say it

I am a member of Peerflix, which is sort of like Napster used to be
except instead of downloading songs you mail actual DVDs to people. You
can offer up a DVD you bought but don't like, and when someone else
wants it, you mail it to him and get credits towards getting a different
one mailed to you.

Peerflix is also sort of like Netflix, except not quite as fast, but way
less expensive.

I stopped sending and requesting movies when I found myself happy with
my inventory of Donnie Darko and Ferris Bueller. I'd love to trade
Bounce, but fear nobody else wants it, either.

Last week I saw I had 11 credits left, so rather than let them sit
unused I requested a girl movie to watch with my wife. It came in the
mail yesterday, and my wife saw it but left it unopened.

When we talked about the delivery, she asked what movie it was. I
summoned up my deepest, most sinister voice and quietly rumbled, "The
Devil. Wears. PRADA!"

She leaned back and said "eww! You're watching that one alone!"

Now I am not sure she believes me when I told her it really is a girl
movie, and Meryl Streep was nominated for an Academy Award for her part
in it! I showed her the DVD has a picture of a high-heeled shoe on it,
too, but she remains skeptical.

Perhaps we will have the opportunity this week to watch it. At this
point, it may turn out to be a movie that neither of us like: me because
it's a girl movie, and my wife because at first she thought it was about

Monday, April 23, 2007


Two weeks ago I read an article about these new basketball shoes called
Starburys. Stephon Marbury, of the NY Knicks, started the brand in
response to the high prices of other brand name basketball shoes.

There's a line of sneakers, shorts, shirts, and jackets with the
"Starbury" brand, and nothing is more than $14.98. Marbury himself
allegedly wears these shoes when he plays.

So I Googled the name "Starbury" and see these can only be bought at a
store called "Steve & Barry's." And it turns out there's one of these
stores right near my work!

After two trips to check them out, I bought a pair last Friday. There
was a severe shortage of size 12 sneakers, so I bought a pair of low
tops that probably would have been my third pick had the shelves been
fully stocked. That being said, these new sneakers certainly are the
most stylish shoes I have bought in a long time, maybe ever.

Although my opinion might change after a couple days of wearing them,
for now I remain proud of my purchase and am excited that a famous
athlete has started this line of truly affordable sneakers.

So this morning all I can think of is this silly video I saw on youtube
yesterday, "Charles has a licking problem." It has a suggestive title,
but is an innocent clip with an addictive little tune.

I walk around my office humming it, and am worried that I may have to
explain the origin of the tune.

Maybe it'd just be better to send the link to my coworkers.

But probably not.....

Tank 112 statistics (from 17 April 2007)

406.8 miles on 10.732 gallons = 37.91 MPG.

11 days between tanks.

I am now over 40,000 miles on the mighty Corolla, with an overall
average fuel economy of 36.20 MPG.

This is the fourth tank in a row that I was able to drive more than 400
miles before refilling, and the fifth tank out of six.

Fuel economy for the year so far is 36.50 MPG, vice 35.80 MPG for my
first 13 tanks of 2006.

Earth Day 2007

Yesterday was Earth Day, although I didn't know it at the time. I had
not made any other special plans so we went to church as usual.

After the sermon, there was a special guest, a member who works for the
state conservation department. He talked about how other congregations
across the country are active in environmental causes in their own way.

He then talked about how our church can do the same, and as a first
step, he had arranged for each family to receive a small tree to take
home and plant.

There was a Jamestown Cherry Oak sapling available for each family that
wanted one. After the service, it was clear that there would be many
extras, so we were able to take four saplings, which we planted in our
back yard in strategic locations.

What is very interesting about this turn of events is that earlier this
year I was talking with my wife, and mentioned that it'd be cool if we
could plant five trees in out back yard this year.

A few weeks ago we planted a cedar tree in the back yard, and these four
new ones allowed us to achieve that goal.

Coincidence? Perhaps not.

I keep my fingers crossed that these four new saplings will grow and
fluorish in my back yard in the upcoming years. And I am happy that my
three children were excited about our small part we took in planting
these new trees for Earth Day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hokie Hope Day

Today I am wearing my maroon button-up shirt with an orange undershirt. I've seen several of my coworkers also wearing Virginia Tech colors.

I hope we are all doing more than just wearing colors to show support. There's also the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund that has been set up as well, to help offset expenses associated with grief counseling, travel and other expenses, including memorials.

If everyone wearing Hokie colors today contributed just $5 towards the fund, that would be another amazing show of support for the families and others affected by this tragic event.

Thank you. I will now step off my soapbox.