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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Home Invasion

Last night was largely a typical night in my household. The kids and my wife went off to bed and I stayed up to watch some old episodes of Emergency on Netflix.  I began to slip off to sleep but was awoken by my wife calling me to turn off the TV and go to sleep.  No big deal, still a very typical evening. The room was somewhat darkened as I made my way to the front door to make sure it was locked.  The only light came from the TV which gave off its typical eerie glow.

As I walked back toward the kitchen, without warning,  I hear a loud bang of kitchen chairs smashing together, then scratches of feet across the kitchen floor.  All of this was followed by more banging against kitchen cabinets.  Now I am half asleep at this point so needless to say I was more than startled by this eruption.  As I neared the dimly lit kitchen I noticed that my dog was causing all this commotion. I could clearly see her gyrating and flopping in all directions.  My first thought was she was having a seizure as this was the same type of behavior I have seen in other dogs we have owned.

So I yelled her name, "Puppy are you OK?"  Now I am right on top of her so I flip on the kitchen light and clearly see her problem.  A grey shadow darts across the floor in front of me followed by puppy in full pursuit.  A mouse!  My dog was chasing a mouse!  Not only was she chasing the mouse but she now has it cornered against the cabinetry. 

She is about to go in for the kill when I grab her collar and yell no!  I didn't want her to eat it because we use poison in the house to control the mice.  So I dragged puppy to my wife by the collar and reenter the kitchen just in time to see the mouse slip under the refrigerator.

Who needs a cat?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why I can't wait to drop AT&T Cellular Service (yeah I blogged about this before - so what)

First, let me say I have been with AT&T since 2007 so that qualifies me to at least make a decent opinion of the company and its services.  It is also my sincere hope that AT&T will provide its customers better options in the future.

For the first two years the service went pretty well.  A few dropped calls from areas where the antennas were not properly aimed, but that is to be expected to some degree.  The real problems began after upgrading to the Blackberry Curve.  I went with the curve upgrade in 2010 mainly because the upgrade was cheap and I was doing some Blackberry development at the time.  It really wasn't a bad phone, although I must admit, it was no IPhone.  Well to make a long story short the phone quit working and was no longer under any warranties so I contacted AT&T to help me.  Yeah I know they were under no obligation to help me but I figure they are sitting on a ton of refurb phones and they make their money off the services.  I have been a customer since 2007 and have always made my payments on time.  Surely they will help me get another refurb to get by with.

Well a year later I still have no phone but I am sitting on a contract I can't get out of.  I ask you, is it worth it to them to keep losing customers?  Apparently so.  I think part of the problem is they are so large that the customer service people cannot make important descisions to keep the customers due to strict rules for employees. One thing I know  is that as soon as this contract is up I am going to another provider and it will most likely be a long time before I come back.

They will offer me some great deal in December 2011 to upgrade my phone to try and keep me, but I am going to have to fight the desire for the phone and move on. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ant Invasion

God has blessed me to live on this earth 38 years and in those years I have never seen an ant invasion such as what I have seen this year in North Carolina.  Our yard has ant hills everywhere, they have invaded the house and yesterday I find about 100 of them swarming under the door of my car.

 The species appears to be "the little black ant"  and they are really a pain in the tail as far as their intrusion factor.  At least they do not bite or one has never bitten me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Politics as Usual

Like many citizens of the US who are looking for change in the government, I watched the Fox News presidential debate on 8/12/2011.  My overall impression of the debate was that most of the candidates were just playing politics as usual and would not engage fully on the issues.  What we need is a no nonsense president who can stand up to the Washington bureaucrats and put and end to the debt/deficit.  Here is my take on the stand out candidates...

Mitt Romney - this guy is old school politics at its best.  He constantly dodges questions and tries to please a larger base of people.  I really don't know why there are so many who think he is the best candidate out there and I am tired of the Republican party trying to push him on the people.  He does have some good ideas but the other candidates also have the same ideas and they don't believe in social medicine.  This guy is out in my opinion.  Perhaps he would make a decent vice president.

Herman Cain - without a doubt one of the best candidates on the platform but he suffers from not having significant name recognition and no political experience.  He is a no nonsense kind of guy and I respect that enough that I would vote for him. I especially like his views on tax reform and social issues, but right now I don't think he can grab the American vote.  A good choice for a VP.

Michele Bachmann - sassy and ready for a fight, but is her fighting spirit too much for America?  I think the answer is no.  We need someone who is sassy and can stand up to other entrenched veteran politicians.  It is sad that during this debate, Fox News intentionally placed her next to her old rival Tim Pawlenty as a ratings boost which was tasteless.  Again a serious contender who could get my vote and I really want to here how she is going to solve the debt crisis.

Newt Gingrich  - Newt is another candidate that knows his way around Washington, is smart and has proven to make some good decisions, but this is also his greatest weakness.  He is from a generation who plays the Washington political game and the time for that game is over.  We are in a terrible financial and moral decline in America and we need someone who is energetic and able to take on the world.  Newt is not someone who would get my vote in most cases.  He is best left to retire as an old tired senator.

The big loser in last nights debate was Fox News.  I was completely embarrassed by many of the questions which were posed.  The questions seemed to attack the candidates at a level other than their policies and Fox should be ashamed for this.  The American people want to know how the candidates stand on the issues not why their campaign doesn't have any money.  I hope that some of the producers got chewed out by their management this morning for that showing. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rude or Right?

I am a huge fan of the southern United States.  Its people, its culture along with a solid belief in God make it a natural choice for someone with my convictions.  One of the problems I have faced after making the move here is what from my background would normally be considered rude behavior.

For example,  I am waiting in a checkout line let's just say at Wal-Mart and I notice that suddenly the line is not moving.  A customer is not only chatting with checkout clerk but hasn't even paid yet.  Growing up in the North, I was always taught that you keep the line moving, don't stop and talk and remember that others are waiting behind you and might need to get somewhere important.  Here in North Carolina there seems to be no thought about the person who is waiting in line behind you or at least it would appear that way to someone with my cultural background.

Another issue that I seem to find here is that people tend to block the aisle in grocery stores talking to other people.  This used to really make my blood boil but now I usually just shake my head and find the next aisle.  I could go on and on with other scenarios similar to these but I think you get the point.

I spoke to my wife about these issues as she is not only a native to NC but her family lived in the mountains for generations.  Her take on this is that the people are not doing this on purpose but it is simply that they move at a slower pace and really don't understand people who are "in a hurry" to do much of anything.  So it never really dawns on them that someone behind them might need to be somewhere. 

In the end I probably would agree with this synopsis but in the back of my mind I still wonder:  is it rude or is it right?