Blog Archives

Looking at a Jetta

I spent a lot of my weekend looking at potential cars to repalce my Miata with.  I literally probably looked at hundreds of cars, listings and dealer websites in this area.  I found two Jettas that I really liked which are at a dealer, and several that looked/sounded ok from the ad that were for sale privately.  I am going to look at the better priced Jetta on Monday and see if it is as nice as the pictures and ad say it is.  If it is, I am going to see if they will let me take it home overnight and have it looked at by a local mechanic, since its used.  Hopefully I’ll be taking it home tonight and straight to a shop to be checked out.  If everything is good, I may have found my car!  It is super nice in the ad, the pictures look great, and its the highest end model they made in that year, has all the safety features and leather with tinted windows… I can’t wait to check it out in person.

Advertisements

So busy!

I am normally pretty busy, but lately its just been crazy!  Between some website development I’m doing in my spare time, my full time job and stuff going on with Liz and the kids; its rather hectic. 

We realized the other day that our washing machine was starting to leak, so we jumped on craigslist and found a nice newer set for a great price and the guy even offered to deliver.  They were dropped off yesterday, so after work I installed both a new washer and dryer and tested them out.  Then it was off to web work land for me, which I got carried away with and was up way too late!  I skipped my normal gym night in hopes of going tonight instead.  I don’t like to mess up my schedule, but this won’t be too bad, since Liz and the kinds will be busy on thursday night, so I can go thursday after work and it won’t be a big deal. 

With the web work I’m doing, I am finding all sorts of neat little tricks with flash and other cool tools.  I think I am going to integrate some flash stuff on my personal sites soon, once if things slow down for me. 

My Miata is home sick today

Last night my Miata came down with a fever and a runny nose.  I pulled into the garage to find my temperature gauge all the way to the H and white steam was starting to roll out from the engine compartment.  I immediately checked it out and found a crack in the top of my Radiator.  It was spraying out white steam from the top of the radiator. 

Since my baby was sick, I had to take Sarah to school in the van and then drive the van to work right from her school.  I was only a little late for work which wasn’t too bad. 

I checked around online for some prices for a replacement radiator and found a website radiator.com which I used to contact them about a radiator for my Miata.  They are a direct to consumer distributor, and have price matching and guaranteed lowest prices which was good.  I ended up getting a new radiator, with a lifetime warranty for my Miata for $169 with free same day delivery to my home. 

The miata.net forums have a good garage section with a guide showing step by step how to replace the radiator on your own.  So I will save a little money by doing the replacement myself.  On the way home I have to stop by an auto parts store and pickup some radiator fluid and hoses, but most likely I’ll have it all done tonight or at the latest sometime tomorrow.  I really hope I can get it fixed tonight, because Liz and I are going on a date tomorrow night to celebrate our 9th anniversary.

Gas price record

I set my own personal gas price record today. I had to stop for gas on the way to work this morning and actually paid $3.05 per gallon which is the absolute most I’ve ever paid for gas. I wish we could have the prices we had back in past years, when it was under a dollar a gallon. Its funny how we are as consumers, prices go up and we are shocked, and then we find gas for a couple of cents cheaper and we think its a deal! I’m still of the mindset that this is almost 2008 now, we should getting around with electromagnetism or hover boards and flying cars or something. I mean really, we need to get going here, afterall we have to build the “Enterprise” in just over 200 years, which is not much more than two average lifespans away. 🙂

Free app (MobiTV) today only from Handango

My TILT came pre-loaded with a trial of MobiTV. I got an e-mail today that had an advertisement for the Free App Friday from Handango and they are giving away the full version of MobiTV today only. This is a great little app and a great price! Go here to get it!

Crazy night

Last night was absolutely crazy from the time I got home, until I went to bed. It all started when I walked in the door and found the house to be almost 85 degrees inside. Liz had just left, and so I started checking out the system, resetting breakers, etc. Nothing I did would work, and so I resorted to checking the phone book to find the numbers of a good after hours A/C contractor. I found one of the ads for one of the companies we had out before A-Able. I called and they said someone could be out in a few hours. I gave us messing with it myself, and decided to make myself some dinner. I baked up one of those frozen pizzas from the California Pizza Kitchen. I must say I’m not a fan of frozen pizza, but the ones from the California Pizza Kitchen are really good. They are actually pretty close to the originals you can get at the restaurant. I love the Marguerita pizza, and its really good, even for a frozen pizza.

During all this commotion with the A/C I notice a car parked next door that looked suspicious. I saw some people going through the gate and they were playing with the pool supplies, and opening shed doors and stuff. As far as I knew this house was still vacant, and the kids in the neighborhood have been screwing around with the for sale sign for months, so I did notice it was missing, but it could have also been taken by the kids. So I called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to report something suspicious. I explained what I saw and that I thought the house was supposed to be vacant. About an hour or so later, a deputy finally arrived, and I met him at the garage door of my house, told him what I thought and he went to check it out. A little later he came back by my house and explained that they were the new renters and everything was on the up and up. I was concerned because we’ve had kids breaking into that yard through the fence to swim, and they mess around with the for sale sign, and we are afraid something will happen while they are back there, and no one would know they were there and someone could get hurt. So I assumed it was the same situation here, and was just trying to make sure this wasn’t someone breaking into the house. Especially since I didn’t see anyone use the front door, only the door in the fence (which the lock is broken). I chatted with the officer for a few minutes and then he left. I felt aweful calling the cops on my new neighbors. What a terrible first impression. And they knew it was me I’m sure since I was talking to the officer in my driveway.

Then the A/C guy gets to the house and walks in and I tell him about whats going on, and he says that its nothing but a clogged drain. He pulls out the end of a sensor and empties some built up water, and then we turn the air switch back on and the pump kicks on and the unit starts cooling. I felt like an idiot! At least I know there are two drains now, there is one outside and one inside, I had checked the outside drain, but didn’t know to check the inside one. The system still won’t cool properly, so he came again today and checked it out and agrees with the other two opinions we’ve had. Everyone is telling us we need to replace the pump outside. The bad news is that this is going to cost!!! I got a quote from a guy on craigslist offering to install a 4 ton pump for $1500 everything included. So I am going to follow up with that, make sure he can accept credit card payment, and then see about getting some prices from one other place.

Then Liz’s mom called me and I helped her with some issues with their new computer.

During all of this, I was also running around the house with the hand vac chasing down little winged insects that somehow decided to swarm in my house. I’m not sure what they are, but there were a lot of them and I had to go around the house several times sucking them up with the hand vac. I’d get done going around once, empty the hand vac outside, put it down for a little while, then I’d walk out in the play room and find more, so I’d have to repeat the whole process again. I finally got most of them I guess, and then shortly thereafter Liz and the kids got home. They were late and didn’t get home till after 9pm. We got the kids to bed, and talked about our crazy days for a few minutes, then it was off to get ready for bed. What a day!

Miata's are awesome

I love my Miata. I have had very little negativity as a result of driving it, but I did recently get a “its a girly car” or its “a gay car”. In response to this, I put together a short list of links and quotes from people who would know best….Miata owners. People shouldn’t talk down about what they have no clue about. The quotes below are taken from the Miata.net forums…

“I think the Miata is just about the best kept automotive secret for those who are not car nuts, but a car guy (or gal of course) knows what a Miata is and what it can do, it’s no secret to them.”

“I’d rather have a car that attracts women more than men (not that there’s anything wrong with that ).”

To quote Louis Armstrong, ” If you have to ask what Jazz is, you’ll never know””

http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0e614c
http://www.miata.net/motm/2003/PFN.html
http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=250985&highlight=girly
http://www.miata.net/misc/girlscar.html




I’ve had girls shout their phone numbers to me …my girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did though.

I have had this car for 7 years and absolutely love it! The car is nimble and incredibly responsive-the car takes curves wonderfully. The top is easy to lower – I have taken the top down while sitting at a long red light. Unlatch and drop it behind you. The gas mileage is good. I get up to 33 mph on highway driving. It is a roadster and sounds/feels like one. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, no frills car that is intended for driving enjoyment. When I bought it, the differences between the Miata and the (then) Z3 didn’t justify the $18K difference in price. I am glad I went with the Miata. Fully loaded with all options it was only $24K,

Miata is the most popular sports car in the world with well over 750,000 built to date. What if Mazda had successfully marketed it as a “guy’s car?” Probably would have stopped being built in the mid ’90s and Mazda would no longer exist….

“I have had a lot of friends make fun of the Miata. You know, the whole “it’s a girl’s car” and “gay guys drive them”. A lot of them said that until they rode in it and nearly pissed on them selves. I have thought about it and I have come to a conclusion. My car is black. So, I don’t think that it really falls into either category. The color has a lot to do with the girl or gay appeal. That is just my opinions. But, as you all know. Those are like butt holes everyone has one.”

“Heck, I’ll try to talk anyone into buying one given half a chance. “Oh, man, I LOVE this car! The tight handling, the chunky shifter, the size, the proximity to the ground making you feel like you’re going fast even when you’re not, so you don’t feel tempted to get a ticket – what’s not to love?” Then I get to tell them what a practically new-looking ’97 like mine is going for. (But wait, that doesn’t add to my cachet, does it?) ”

“I never turned a basher to a fan, but I did make some shut up. It was early morning and some of my family car lovers and I were headed out to a classic car show. Well my uncles and cousins have either classic muscle or new, as do I but its in the middle of restoration and not drivable, are all ready to go on our little tour to the show. We always take the back way to miss all the traffic, and have a little fun on the way there. I showed up in my Miata and was ready to go. I get there and get knocked a little for ruining the V8 line. But especially knocked by one of my cousins in a late 90s Z28. On the way there I figured I’d give him a run for his money. I told him to just keep up as the roads are pretty curvy. For most of the trip I sat on my uncles bumper, then at one point I slowed down. well my cousin was ready to go, revving his engine and popping the clutch. So after there was some distance between the front of the group I punched it. I tore through the curves like nuts and watched my cousin disappeared behind me until I caught up to everyone else. He never knocked it again. ”

“I was amazed when I bought my 99 NB by how sleek and attractive the car was and how nice the interior design had become. Not to mention the way it drove – and now with power mods done such as exhaust, CAI, and some other goodies (and working on piecing together a DIY turbo kit) I couldn’t be happier! Now I know to never bash cars without checking out what they can become, not what they are.”

“1 convert to date. Made fun of the car, said they were under powered and lame, I asked him if he’d ever driven one, and the reply was “No.” He then joined me in a car pool of friends driving back to Ohio from North Carolina. I drove the first two hours, then handed him the keys and told him whenever he wanted to switch, let me know. I ended up riding in another friend’s car for the rest of the trip while he drove it, and another girl who wanted to ride in it asked me if she could, so we switched spots.

The next day he asked me to drive it around again, and then started talking about his plans to buy one.”

“Two people come to mind. First, I took a kid with an EG civic with a B20 non vtec in it and took him on a nice easy drive down a twisty road. It was the last time I heard him ask ‘why would you want a Miata?’ ever again.

Secondly, several friends of mine and I autocross and both of them have Trans Am WS6’s. This past weekend, I went to an autocross school and the autocross that followed it. I made good use of the braking and turning exercises, and beat both of them by a fair margin(1 and 3 seconds on an average 55 second course.) They both promptly clammed up, and I haven’t heard either of them mention buying a ‘real’ car all week.”

“I have had numerous friends laugh at my “girly” convertible. Once I take the onramp at 70 mph and have to slow down to merge, though, the ribbing stops. Then after their first time behind the wheel, they keep coming back for more. It’s an addiction”

“Let your car explain it for you – have them drive it.

I have friends that still talk about having driven mine in 1991. I have a friend who restores muscle cars, vintage-races a 200 mph former NASCAR Busch Cup car, and considers 300 hp “almost adequate for a street car,” who drove mine a few times and consequently just bought a ’92 Miata. (He drives the Miata more often than the ’04 Mach 1 lately and calls me to tell me “I found this great road on the way home today.”)

I’ve probably let 75 people drive mine, including friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers who simply ask me about the car. “Here, why don’t you drive it and see for yourself.” I’ve taught probably 20 people to drive a clutch in my car (including my 11-year-old son.) Nobody has ever gotten out of the driver’s seat without a big ol’ smile.”

“I have been driving for 30 years and have never been interested in cars.
They were “transportation” from point A to B, and expensive to boot. In the fall of 1999 one of my co-workers wanted to show me his new-to-him 1996 Montego blue Miata. So one day at lunch I took a look, and then he took me for a drive around town…..3 days later I bought a 93 that I continually upgrade; new top, engine stuff, custom paint, etc. I still can’t explain it, but I will have this car the rest of my life ”

“As soon as I got past the “Miata’s are for chicks” thing, and learned about Mazda’s passion for good sports cars (and the rotary engine – which I know the Miata doesn’t have) all that bias lifted away and now I can’t wait for someone to buy my car so I can move on.”

That’s all I have to say about that…

The long weekend

This is going to be a long post, so be prepared for some reading…

Firday I took a personal day from work to stay home and watch the kids while Liz went to a conference in Orlando. She actually left on Thursday afternoon, but her parents came earlier on Thursday to help with the kids. So I got home on Thursday evening and she was gone 😦 After some settling in, we decided to have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner. This is a simple meal, but very tasty (I make a great grilled-cheese sandwich). I had a bit of a crazy time trying to time everything just right, making soup and sandwiches for so many people at once. It turned out good, which I was a little doubtful about since we were one package of soup short of what I thought we’d have. There was plenty for everyone and it was good.

We got the kids in bed on Thursday night and had some fun beforehand playing the wii. Once the kids were in bed, Liz’s parents played the wii and after a while we shut the wii off and watched a movie. We put on Eragon and stayed up late.

Friday morning, after the kids and I had breakfast, we had a wii tournament. I played a few games with the girls, and then Liz’s parents started a bowling competition. They both achieved pro status and had some very good games. They were beating me and I lost some of my pro points.

Then we decided to run out to a store to try to buy a computer for my brother-in-law’s fiance’ We went to Circuit City in New Tampa and looked around (this was while Sarah was in school). We were there for about 2 hours with Michael and Abby actually being pretty good. We found a computer we all agreed was a good one, for about $400 but it didn’t come with a monitor. They had a package deal with it, but the monitor it came with was a bulky CRT.

Kind of kidding, I said they could buy me one of the nice HP flat panel monitors and I would give them my 19″ dell FP at home and give them some money for the upgrade. They agreed and the rep checked inventory, but found they didn’t have any of the computer we picked out in stock. So my mother-in-law asked if they would sell them the display model. The rep agreed and came back with a price around $330 something. We went to check out and they were going to keep the computer for a few hours and re-image it and then have us come back to pick it up. We were about to leave when Liz’s dad found a problem with the receipt. After probably an hour of waiting and adjusting, they just couldn’t get it right. They ended up getting the computer for about $185 and they got an additional $30 discount on the monitor. All in all, they paid around $460 or so for the computer and monitor, which is an awesome deal!

We went to Wendy’s after that since we are all starving and it was around lunch time anyway. I was in a hurry because I wanted to hook up the new monitor. We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive through line, but the line was moving slow. Liz’s mom suggested it would faster if she just went in and ordered. So I pulled out of line into a parking spot. We waited in the car for what felt like 30 minutes, when finally Liz’s dad went in to check out what was taking so long. Turned out they were out of chicken right at noon (go figure) and had to cook more on the spot. We finally got out of there after 12:35pm and made it home to sit down and eat. I fed Michael and got him down for a nap and started setting up the new monitor on the computer desk. At first, it worked, but was blurry, and didn’t have the software installed for the proper resolution or settings. After installing the right software, the DVI output stopped working. When set to the right resolution, the monitor would go into standby, and the display would just stop. I tried everything, uninstalling, safe mode, new drivers, new ATI software, etc. Nothing worked and I ended up taking the video card out of my multimedia computer and reloading my home computer’s OS. Once reloaded with the other video card, there were no problems and things were fine.

So now my multimedia computer is stripped of its video card and is non functional. I ordered a new video card from TigerDirect online, and it should be here sometime mid-week. I got an HIS Radeon 512MB GDDR3 Pro card, with nice specs and enhanced HD support. This should be a major improvement! I was sad to find out later that my power supply in my multimedia machine is only 250W, meaning that the new video card won’t have enough power in that computer. I may end up for now putting the new card in my main computer and taking the original video card that was in the playback computer and put it back in since I know that works. But ultimately, I want to get new power supplies for both computers, a 500W for the main PC, and a 450 for the multimedia computer.

After spending most of the afternoon working on the computers and getting things setup, I began working on setting up the new computer that my in-laws bought. I managed to re-image the computer to factory, and do all the updates and install needed software. Then I moved all their files and settings off the old computer to the new one. Then I cleaned up the old computer and removed all the clutter and made it like new. (Liz’s mom ran home once we got back from CC and got their existing computer). The arrangement ended up being that they got the new computer, and my monitor. Then my brother-in-law’s fiance’ got their computer and exsting 17″ flat panel monitor. So the arrangement worked out well for everyone.

We had Pizza Hut dippin’ strips pizza for dinner, and I also ordered a large half cheese, half pepperoni pan pizza. It was sooooo good, we love the dippin strips, which is only a seasonal thing from what we can tell. I ordered online and had it delivered.

Friday night, we started watching Spiderman 3 and didn’t finish because it was late and the movie was long. So I went to bed around 12:30 something or close to 1am.

Saturday morning we played more wii, and I finished final touches on the computers. Then we started cleaning up the house in preparation for Liz to get home that evening. We had lunch after Liz’s parents left that morning. We got to play more wii and relax a bit before Liz got home. We had the left over pizza for lunch which was still good, we had just enough left to have enough for lunch.

I was just putting the kids to bed when Liz walked in the door. Must have been after 7:30pm and I had just put Michael to bed. So I went and got him back out of bed to say hi to her. I put him down on the floor in his room, and I think he already knew she was home. He ran out of his door and into her arms and just held her for a while. He is such a sweet little boy!

Got all the kids to bed Saturday night, and Liz and I sat on the couch and chatted about our weekends and relaxed a little. It was nice to catch up and fill each other in on all the goings-on of the weekend. She had a great time at her convention and told me all about it. I told her the long story of the computer work for the weekend.

Sunday we had Amanda and her kids over for lunch and the kids got to play for a while and Lizzie and Lina got to play bowling on the wii. Amanda finished a turn for Lizzie, and said it could definately get addictive.

All weekend I had meant to cut the grass, but never found time, I was busy all weekend and never got around to it. Then I took a sick day on Monday because I was getting over some stomach problems that I seemed to pick up over the weekend. I had thought I could try to at least mow the front yard on Monday, but it kept raining on and off all day. It was a weird weather day, it would be sunny outside, but a rain cloud would be over our house, and it would be raining. Sometimes hard rain would come down and it would get grey outside, but then it would stop and the sun would come back out. All day it was like this, so I didn’t get a chance to cut the grass.

FIOS Update

So now that I’ve had FIOS for several months, I thought I would post an update. Here are my observations so far…

1. I love the ActionTec wireless router that comes with the service. It is a very flexible and fully featured with a firewall, MAC address filtering, port forwarding, and more. I took a little while to adjust to the settings on the router, as you have to click save in more than once place for your settings to be saved and applied, which is a little different, but once you figure out the little neuances of the router, you are good to go! It will do anything and everything I need and more.

2. My only gripe so far, is something that happened when my IP address changed. I had the service for probably over 2 months before my IP changed for the first time. When it did change, my home network lost internet connectivity and my dynamic DNS client was unable to connect to the internet to update my IP. This caused several hours of outage for my home e-mail and internet connectivity. I have not yet had another IP change, so I’m hoping the first time was just a fluke. (NOTE: This won’t be an issue for most people, unless you run DNS for accessing services on your home network like I do).

3. The speeds are consistent and fast, every time I run the Verizon speed test, it comes out over 20MBps down, and nearly 5MBps up, with only slight variations. The bandwidth is exceptional, very fast, and reliable. I have had not real service outages at all and am very pleased with the quality of service I am receiving.

4. In order to optomize the speed your computer will see on the FIOS network, it may be necessary to run the FIOS connection optomizer. This basically changes some TCP/IP settings in the registry to optomize throughput on the FIOS system. These are the same type of settings people have been adjusting since the internet was created, I’ve done it with dialup before, and this is just the most modern way to optomize the connection. Its no big deal, but you will see lower than advertized speeds unless you run the optimizer.

5. The price of the service is comperable to service with other providers in the area, but the speeds are much faster without increasing the cost of the service.

I am overall very pleased with Verizon FIOS service. I highly recommend it to anyone currently using a cable provider. I’ve been a cable user for years, and took a long time to make the decision to switch. I am happy that I did, and will never go back to cable. I would also point out that Verizon offers a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can always give it a try and test it out to see what you think. You can cancel at the service if you don’t want to keep it. Plus then your home will be wired for the service should you decide to use it again in the future.

Finally bought a wii

I broke down today and got a wii from eBay. I really didn’t want to spend the extra money and support the price gouging on eBay, but did it anyway. It would probably have taken weeks for me to track one down at a store, and by the time I did get one, I would have spent lots of time and effort in getting it. I don’t feel too bad, because I only paid about $40 or less over retial for the wii I bought. Its coming from Ohio, and I just got the shipping confirmation, so I should have the wii on Friday or Saturday at the latest. Its coming USPS so I can even get it on Saturday, which is one of the reasons I chose this seller.

I still need to look at getting more games, and an extra controller, as it only comes with one, but in time we should have a nice little setup 🙂