Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bad News for Race

The Leon County Sheriff's Office informed me yesterday that they can't do the race on November 14th because the fair is in town. I asked how early the fair opens...can't we get the race done before that so the officers could work both? They told me that their officers can only work so many hours in a day. There's absolutely no way that they could do it on that date.

It took them one month to get back to me with that response. I emailed the special events department on July 24th about the race and I got a response on July 29th asking if I was planning on paying for the cops or if I wanted the LCSO to incur the cost. I just assumed that I would pay for the law enforcement. BUT BUT BUT didn't they know about the fair on July 29th? Couldn't they have told me so I didn't pour my heart out into organizing all kinds of stuff for this race? We wouldn't have announced it to people and we wouldn't have wasted the time of the t-shirt vendor, the Rez staff, the timer, ME, other tri club members, the Sports Club Program, etc.

There is one last hope, Obi Wan, and that's the FHP. I called them and haven't heard back yet. This ball needs to get rolling soon. I guess if worst comes to worst, we can reschedule the race for spring.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Friday on Vacation.

We had a pretty good trip from Vero. We stopped for gas in Tamarac and mom realized that you're not supposed to drive trucks with brand new rear ends on the highway until they get broken in. Oh, and you're not supposed to pull a trailer either! We stopped again in Florida City for food. Wendy's. There was a girl with a sign that said the was homeless and I told mom to give her the left over french fries but she didn't! I should have done something about that.

Apparently Sailor got excited when we hit the Card Sound Cutoff and he got really excited when we crossed the toll bridge. Sailor was at the apartment when dad & I were rolling up in the boat (just ahead of a fierce storm) and he spotted the Escapade from way far away. He was so happy to get on the boat. Apparently he wanted to go swimming when I hopped in the water for the first time.

After the fierce (but short lived) storm passed, we decided to go have a look around. I jumped in and saw a bunch of lobsters so small that they weren't even worth tickling. The first decent lobster I saw was a big boy in a hole with other potential keepers. It was shallow enough that I decided he was mine. I waited at the surface to catch my breath and planned my approach. I got one of the smaller ones away from him without disturbing him, then surfaced for air. On the next descent, I tickled him just where I wanted him, got him in the center of the net, tapped him, and I dropped my tickle stick when he swam back into the net so I grab him with my right hand. I didn't have a catch bag since I was just scouting so I had to call the boat over. We threw him in the boat in the net. I was NOT going to risk losing that one. I got a catch bag and dad hopped in the water. We got 6 more (3 each!) before it started getting too dark to see without diving down. I was able to kick myself up into the boat without hurting my wrist. No ladder needed for me this year!

We came back and got a picture of my big lobster. Hopefully that's an omen for how the lobsters are going to be on this trip. I then decided to run. Changed clothes, put on the Green-Layer 100% polyester (recycled??) jersey and went for an hour long run which turned into a 40 minute run due to excessive amounts of lightning mixed with a need to poop. It was a nice run, though at a good pace and taking me places I don't believe I've ever been before.

After the run, I showered and got out just in time for dinner. Ate a big plate of spaghetti & meat sauce with garlic bread. After that, I was pretty tired and ready for bed around 10pm. I had actually told mom goodnight and she asked me to see if Dillon would take Sailor out to do his doggy business. I couldn't find my brother, so I decided I'd do it. Before I went out mom asked me for a flashlight that I brought. She then told me that dad needs it. I took the dog and the flashlight out. Turns out that dad found a CRACK in the HULL of the boat! He was just checking the mooring lines to make sure there was enough slack for low tide and then heard the bilge pump run. Thinking that there's no good reason for it to kick on, he decided to see if something was the matter. Sure enough...crack in the hull. You can see the water trickling in. We waited around to see how long it would take before the pump had to kick on again. It was about 35-40 minutes. During that time I was chewing some gum to use to stick in the crack. That seemed to help it a little tiny bit. We need to patch the fiberglass...but it's in a really inconvenient spot. OK, maybe not the worst spot, but not a great place for a crack in the hull either. At least it's tiny. Assuming that the battery doesn't die and the bilge pump can do its job overnight, we're going to spread Uncle Mark's ashes at the butt crack of dawn. He always used to wake us up at least an hour before we wanted to get up. Sometimes he'd go out with my dad and come back before the rest of us were up. Anyway, after the spreading, we have a special treat planned. My mom wanted to put him (or part of his ashes) in a special place under the sea. She was trying to think of what she could use as a container that wouldn't float and would hold the ashes pretty well. She wanted to use a film container, but I assured her it would float if there was ANY air in there. She said someone told her to drill holes in the container to keep it from floating but I pointed out that the ashes would escape too. I decided that we should put him in a bullet. My dad's got reloading stuff, so we took an empty .303 British shell and filled it with Uncle Mark's ashes instead of black powder then put on the tip. It will sink and hopefully stay in the same spot for a while. Maybe mom can come back and see it in a year or 2. The only thing that could make that a problem is if a curious diver catches a glimpse of it and takes it out of the hole. The spreading ceremony tomorrow will happen one year to the day after part of Uncle Mark was buried up in Virginia.

So much for going to bed early.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Study Your Spanish a Little Bit More

I got a sales call early today. Picked up the phone, said hello, and didn't get a reply. So I said hola. Lady says "Mr. Boyle?" So I respond sí and we have a conversation, her in English and me in Spanish. She didn't know the verb gastar, so I said pagar instead. It lasted about 3 minutes...I told her that I couldn't spend much money right now. At the end of the conversation, she was like "I'm going to let you go. Study your Spanish more."

Ouch. I guess I am out of practice. I really need to make more of an effort to speak it. Writing is even becoming not so easy. ¿Back to Spain? I wish.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


HBF, I just watched a documentary called I.O.U.S.A. and it outlines very clearly one of the biggest problems facing our country: DEBT. It doesn't discuss individual level debt very much, but rather addresses 4 key deficits contributing to our national debt. Those deficits are: 1. budget, 2. trade, 3. savings, and 4. leadership. It goes through in terms that non-economists can understand and tells people quantitatively and qualitatively what each of these deficits are, why they are important, and what can be done about them in the short term as well as the long term.

I RECOMMEND THAT YOU WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY. It didn't infuriate me as much as Who Killed the Electric Car, partially because there's not just one concentrated beam of blame. I guess if I had to pin down one person to blame for our current situation it would be GHWB. Actually, when I say current situation I mean the deficit as of mid-2008. The current bailout has put us further in the hole. There's some crazy amount we owe, averaging out to around $184,000 PER AMERICAN!!! There's no way that could be paid back in a generation.

I know that we can inflate away much of our real debt. However, there are problems with inflation too. There are a lot of costs involved in adapting to new price levels. Also inflation punishes the people who have been saving. That seems like a bad way to start building a new culture of fiscal responsibility at the micro level.

Personally, I've thought that running trade deficits was a good thing. We give pieces of paper to other countries and they give us goods and services. I guess that I was right in the short term. It's pretty awesome to get real goods in exchange for nominal money. What I didn't think too much about in the past is how sustainable such behavior is. Since America is a pretty rich country, we can afford to just keep sending out pieces of paper overseas for quite a while before we run out of paper to send. However, once we get to the point where we don't have any more paper, we don't have any more real goods to sell to get more paper, we're SOL. Warren Buffet wrote an article titled Squanderville versus Thriftville. Admittedly, I watched the animated version but it's a nice and simple way to explain why we can't keep doing what we're doing.

Just like watching Kilowatt Ours moved me to start buying renewable energy credits (I get about 450KWh/month from Sterling Planet), this documentary has moved me to contact my elected officials and demand that they take positions to attenuate this pending crisis. I know that my generation is set up to pay into the social security system and not receive nearly that same level of benefits back. In a few decades, we'll be forced to be way more productive or the government will think that it wants to raise the tax rate to pay for even just the service on our debt (although maybe they should take a look at where we are on the Laffer curve first). If you think that our situation is bad, imagine what life will be like for my children and grandchildren. We can't keep spending this much without making enough to cover our standard of living and start paying down what we owe. This is true on a personal level and a national one too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Theme Parties as Signaling Devices

So, I had an interesting experience late in the spring semester. I was invited to a party at this guy John's house where I'd never been. He's invited me plenty of times & I've always had other stuff to do. This time I was making sure to go. As an added bonus, I knew about 15 other people who had RSVP'd yes on facebook. As luck would have it, none of those 15 people ended up going.

Lucky for me there was a theme to this party. Something about army guys/GI Joes, something. The idea was to come dressed in camouflage attire. I don't have any camo shirts that fit anymore, but I still have some shorts (and a hat). I showed up to a house where I only knew one of the people who lived there and nobody else. I made my way to the keg and grabbed a beer without incident. I mingled for a while then inquired if anyone had seen John. I tracked him down after a while and said hi. A little more random mingling, then headed home (on my bike people...I don't drink & drive).

I'm pretty sure that people would have started asking questions of me if it hadn't been a themed party. Nobody else knew who I was (OK, a few other people had seen me at other parties and we recognized each other's faces but didn't know names or anything). Even though nobody knew me, everyone knew that I belonged. I must have been invited and got the memo that it was a camo party because I was dressed the part.

One of my friends used this themed party signaling device after some people had crashed her parties in Orlando. She started telling people to dress according to the theme and that way they were able to identify the party crashers and get rid of them. It's a brilliant and simple idea. You can identify any interlopers (or bums who don't dress up). At that point, enforcement becomes pretty easy.

That's why your next party should be themed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trendy Ts

This is a post from a while ago, but I've been adding sites to it as I've found them, so there's probably something good on here that you haven't seen before.

I love checking out funny Tshirts on websites. They're normally so expensive, especially after shipping that I never feel willing to shell out the dough for them. Anyway, here's some links to fun T sites, all sure to waste at least a little bit of your time:

Tshirt Hell
Busted Ts
Crack Smokin' T Shirts
Crazy Dog
Tastee Tees
Thread Pit
The Big Rooster
T-shirt Bordello
Cotton Factory
Shirt Woot
6 Dollar Shirts
Headline Shirts

Hopefully there's at least one you haven't seen before.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lending (a Hand)

I started subscribing to my church's newsletter electronically. This month's is available here. The cover page has a nice quote: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full." -Proverbs 19:17.

Obviously this isn't just talking about money. Time spent helping or even conversing and treating people like they're not beneath you is valued. It's nice to hear an assurance that time, money, and effort spent helping those less fortunate will be repaid in full (with interest!...that means that young people should really get on the help train!). However, does that knowledge crowd out some intrinsic value of helping? It's like back in high school where you were required to do volunteer hours...kinda defeats the point of volunteering....however, it's good because it increases volunteerism.

I guess it doesn't atter what someone's motives are for helping those less fortunate. If it's making a spiritual investment to be repaid later or feeling good about yourself or just that you enjoy giving pleasure to other people, who cares. The same good outcome results regardless of the motive. I don't care if people volunteer because they're in NHS or Key Club or need the hours for a scholarship, they're out there volunteering. (Assuming a constant quality of volunteer hours because some people might put more effort into the volunteerism if they believe in the cause).

Anyway, it never hurts to build your bank account a little bit with the Big Guy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bear Paw B.O.

I went "tubing" at Bear Paw for Jamie's birthday today. I didn't bring my own tube this time so I rented one from the Bear Paw people. I'm sure they don't wash those things off after people use them because they smell like body odor. HBF, everyone's raft was stinky. I would recommend using your own raft and launching yourself with your group of friends instead of using Bear Paw.

Jones Storage