Monday, April 21, 2008

The 2lb Double Face Sledge Hammer

I was feeling sort of down. My rental house that, until just a few weeks ago, had been occupied by a "family" was vacant. The tenants moved back to their home country and left $16,000 worth of damage to the house. (Apparently the phrase single-family home in English doesn't translate to the same thing in other languages.)

I left early Saturday morning, just after breakfast and protests from all of my children to try my hand at some repairs. The list is long and just reviewing it makes me unsettled.

After some bone jarring gravel shoveling on the driveway to try to smooth out the ruts, I started removing all the carpet. My hands were blistered and cramped up. I could hardly open them. I was beginning to get in a really foul mood.

But then it happened.

I was getting a knife from the toolbox and when I lifted the top tray, I saw it down in the bottom. There it was, beckoning like some sort of Tool Time Excalibur. It had been hiding down there, just adding dead weight but at that moment it was clamoring to be wielded by an angry soul.

The 2 LB Double Faced Sledge Hammer.

With fervor, I obliged.

First to go was the makeshift door frame they had installed to close off the family room in order to make it another bedroom.
Next was the makeshift closet in the same room.
And finally, the downstairs shower, damaged by the upstairs shower being used without a curtain, was the last resister.

I came down full force on the tiles. Crack. They easily busted into dozens of pieces. It was almost too easy. Then I hit it. The big block in the center. It was solid brick covered in steel reinforced concrete. A worthy adversary.

With every blow, the block barrier gave small but satisfying results. Chips and flecks, chunks and steel mesh loosening and crumbling. The sound in the small shower enclosure was deafening.

My ears were ringing but I couldn't stop until the whole thing lay in a heap of rubble on the floor.


  • 16" Length

  • Double face

  • Polished face

  • Hickory handle

  • Forged steel head

  • Used for general sledging operations in staking wood, concrete, metal and stone

  • Common uses are drifting timbers and striking spikes, star drills, hardened nails and home security

  • No toolbox complete without one

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why Some People Hate Computers

Allow Me to Whine A Little

I have a new Dell Latitude XT Tablet with Vista. As configured, it costs around $4000. I say that not to brag but rather to help make a point. (Dell gave it to me.)

This computer is the latest and greatest technology and no expense has been spared. So you would think that everything should work. But you would only think that if you were an end user, a commoner, a man on the street, or a CEO.

As a tech guy, I know that stuff just doesn't work, and no, I don't have the answer as to why it does not work and there is a good chance that I can't "fix" it. Again, as a commoner, you might (wrongly) say I'm incompetent at my job.

Let me give you an example.

I use Microsoft OneNote. It is a program for taking notes and it uses tabs to navigate around the interface. I loaded OneNote 2007, the latest and greatest version on my new XT (which we have already established is the best of the best.)

Right away I noticed a problem. When I left clicked a tab, nothing happened. A small problem, an annoyance at worst but it did not work like it was supposed to. I downloaded the latest patches to OneNote and no change.

I figured out a work around that I have been using for a couple of months. I've searched for solutions but I could not find anyone having the same issue. If this were a client's computer, they would be all over me to fix it. By now, I would have put in about 10 hours troubleshooting. The drive would have been wiped clean, the OS re-installed, drivers, software and all personalized settings put back in place. The problem would still exist.

Well I checked the web again this morning and a fix was just released yesterday. See the progression here. It is a Dell issue but Microsoft figured the problem out. There is no way I could have been able to fix this issue.

If you are not technical, just skip the next paragraph or I'll lose you as a reader for life. If you are technical, you'll find this interesting.

Click Start, Run, type regedit, and click ok (acknowledge the Vista UAC prompt if it comes up). In the registry editor, navigate to "Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop" Locate the DragHeight and DragWidth values in the right hand pane Select the DragHeight value, click the Edit menu, and select Modify (you can double click as well to modify) In the Value Data field, type 4 and click ok. IMPORTANT! You need to do this step even if the registry editor already shows the value as 4! Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the DragWidth field. Logoff or reboot your computer.

The really cool part is the IMPORTANT point. My registry fields already showed a value of 4.
Even if I had known what the problem is I would not have changed a registry to the value it already stated.

My wife finally understands. Her iPhone malfunctioned (is that even possible?) and she exclaimed, "You are supposed to fix everything technical all the time. You're in computers." She saw it in other people as well and started to realize that it's not my fault. You wouldn't blame your doctor for a drug manufacturer's mistake.

Suffice to say, I love technology and I love solving problems. If you are lucky enough to be my client and are having a problem with your technology, I will find a solution if one exists. I'm not a programmer, a debugger, hardware manufacturer, or electrical engineer so I have to let those people do their jobs first.

If you want to impress your friends with bleeding edge technology, expect to be a Guinea pig for bug fixes. You'll pay more for stuff that doesn't work. If you want technology that works, try something that has been tested true. (No dad, you can't keep using Windows 95!)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Why I Hate Country Music

How to Make a Man's Man Bawl like a Baby

A Shoutout to my Father-In-Law

Why There should be Gun Control by 2020

If you have been following my posts, you know that I just got back from a trip to Statesboro, GA. If not, maybe you've saved yourself some valuable time. I told my wife that a trip to south Georgia would definitely yield some post fodder. This is the one you've been waiting on.

I forgot my iPod. The only disks in my car are Veggie Tales. I won't get XM radio until they take the commercials off. (Wasn't that the whole idea, you pay for no commercials?) AM reception, aka Talk Radio, is non-existent south of Macon. I was left with 1 sleepy gospel station, 1 head bangers ball, and half a dozen country stations.

I'm sure the country stations were different formats. But don't ask me to tell one from another. I'm doing well when I can tell the difference between Hip-hop and Rap.

All I know is every time I'm driving by myself in south Georgia, listening to the country music, some song will come on that tears my heart out and stomps it flat by the side of the road.

Last time it was Tim McGraw's Don't Take the Girl.

This time it was Chuck Wicks' Stealing Cinderella

Maybe it's just where I am in life right now. Maybe Chuck Wicks is a country music pop star genius and wrote the song to specifically elicit a response from a certain demographic. What I do know is that it started with a choke and then my eyes welled up and I let a single tear fall. I mean what the heck, I was by myself. If you can't be real with yourself, who are you?

But it doesn't stop there. The song was long over and the images kept flooding my thoughts. Here is a song about someone looking back to where I am now. Those memories that he has are what I am living every day. The thought of them being just memories... (Hold on, I need a minute.)

(I'm back) Is it bragging to say that I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world? I have two Cinderellas, one sweet little boy who is healthy and laughs all the time and another little girl on the way.

We joke about how tough parenting is and about needing a break from our kids but the reality is I'd trade all the wealth in the world for one of them and not have to think about it 1 second. Any of you DINKY couples considering a childless existence, I beg you, forget anything your have heard me say about the difficulties of parenthood, forget about seeing my children melt down at 9PM after a full day and a 2 hour meal at some stuffy restaurant.

Instead, peek in on my morning routine as one of my daughters rises early and snuggles with me in the quiet of the morning for a Bible reading. Ride home with me after work and see my reception. Arms up in the air, everyone screaming "Daddy's home, Daddy's home!" Watch as I put my children to bed and they pray for others and then ask as I'm leaving their bedroom, "Daddy, will you always be my daddy?"

I might be a mediocre business man at best. As a Christian, thank God Jesus is a friend of sinners. But to these children, I'm the greatest dad in the world and they make me feel that way. I'd do anything for them.

Which brings me to my final two points.
1. Thanks John Borg for giving me your blessing to marry your daughter. These past 10 years have been the best ones of my life and I know that they were at your expense. You had to give up your princess and I hope I have done right by her.
2. Any young punk who comes snooping around my house in about 10-15 years better have the best and purest intentions because you have no idea what you just have no idea.

And speaking of sleepy gospel music, this one says it all.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Trilding

Trilding [tril-ding] -noun
1. a relatively permanent enclosed construction around any of various forms of vehicle for carrying goods and materials, usually consisting of a single, no longer functioning self-propelled unit, used for any of a wide variety of activities, as living, entertaining, or manufacturing while having a roof and usually windows.
2. South Georgia storage shed

3. The 8th wonder of Modern Day Redneck Construction

It's okay. Go ahead and click on the photo for an enlargement. I'll wait. Yes, you are seeing correctly. They backed the truck up, salvaged the wheels and bricked it in.

I saw this very unusual building addition on a previous trip to Statesboro. I was determined to hunt it down and get a picture this trip because I didn't think anyone would believe me. The picture speaks for itself.

After taking the picture, I wondered, "what type of establishment is this anyway?"

Well if you must know, it's Gnat's Landing. Seems to be quite popular with the locals.

Tonight: Barefoot Booyak

Friday: Do Good DJ's

Saturday: Triple Shock

Anyone know of other trildings? Post a link to a photo.

I Frequent "The Beaver House"

Anytime I get south of Macon, GA (some call it the gnat line) I start looking for South GA Sweet Tea. It's thick like syrup and served ice cold. I usually drink about 6 glasses in a sitting, the first one before the waitress leaves the table.

My company has a client in Statesboro, GA. We find ourselves down there about 2 times a year.

A couple of years ago I was down there with Mike Cowan, a graduate of GA Southern, and he introduced me to the Beaver House. Back in his day they served a meal plan for college students and they didn't keep track of how many times you had eaten during the week. Needless to say, Mike did not go hungry while in college.

These days he has quite a devotion to the place. I'm not sure if it's because the food is so good or just plain guilt from his former life, but I can't go down there with Mike and not eat at the Beaver House. He says, "I wake up at night in a cold sweat thinking about their fried chicken. I love that chicken."

Now that's all well and good until we get into a monthly financial review at the office and my other partners see charges on the company Amex for The Beaver House. Of course they are thinking what you were thinking when you read the heading of this post. (Which is probably the only reason you're reading this.)

So just to prove it's not some seedy truck stop off I-85 South, here is The Beaver House.

The sign inside says, "Seconds are a compliment. Thirds will cost you $1.00."

I recommend the sweet tea; Mike, the fried chicken.

Make sure you get your Prom reservations in on time.