Now with real, smoke flavor!!

Eye-watering, lung choking goodness has arrived in Apple Valley. The Santa Ana winds are gone and now the smoke lays down perfectly in our valley. Visibility was less than a mile when I left the house today. Mountains, who needs to see mountains when you can enjoy life inside a smoker. I know the lack of winds is great for the guys fighting the fires and I do wish them the best at the difficult work they do. However, the inundation of smoke in the valley is something I don’t wish to continue for too long. Our towns new motto: “Apple Valley, now with real smoke flavor!

SoCal is burning!

What do you get when you combine the driest year on record with strong Santa Ana winds? Southern California on fire. When we went to bed last night, there were 10 reported fires in the LA area alone. The canyon where we went to Cornerstone music festival is ablaze near Irvine. Driving in this morning I could see the smoke just over the mountains from our place in Lake Arrowhead. We have avoided being inundated with smoke as the winds are blowing from the deserts into the LA basin, but that can all change before they extinguish all the blazes. I guess we will just pray and see where it goes. It’s always interesting in Southern California. I imagine we will see torrential rains now since these fires are usually followed by mudslides in the burn areas. Such is life in Southern California.

Pardon the banging noise!

That is the sound of me hitting my head after the disgraceful play of my Chargers last night. After the first two games, I have a “it’s one of those years” feelings. I will remain a fan regardless, but if they continue to look as poorly as they did last night, I will certainly be banging my head more. At least the Angels are looking good for post-season play.

RANT WARNING!! – Ok, so it wasn’t as easy as I thought…

It turned out it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to get DSL up and going at our place. I had to spend 2 1/2 hours on the phone with Verizon tech support in Manila trying to get the DSL modem to communicate with their servers. It had been shipped in the wrong configuration to communicate with their network. My next challenge was trying to get Jesse’s PC to connect. It took two days of my uninstalling and reinstalling drivers and updates on his PC before his PSP helped me discover that the problem was the modem. I rebooted it and viola it works. Lastly, there was the issue of canceling my dial-up service with Verizon. When I called, I made sure to tell them my e-mail address would remain with my DSL, but it was canceled anyway. I then spent 1 1/2 hours arguing with their tech support in India that the problem was on their end. The idiot “tech”(using the term very loosely) kept wanting to screen share and I had to explain to him it was an issue with their database and that I was only using a web client to access my e-mail. I literally had to walk him through what needed to happen before he was able to fix it. Then the guy had the nerve to say “if you had told me this in the beginning” after I repeatedly stated what the issue was over a dozen times. I am glad I have DSL, but I really dread ever having to call Verizon tech support as they are not the best. Like all other major companies, they farm out their tech support to guys with binders who cannot deviate from what is in front of them and engage logic to solve a problem. Ok, I now return you to your rant free lives.

Time is ticking away

Today is the last day of summer vacation for Jesse. Tomorrow he starts high school. It’s hard to believe, but true. We have a high school student living with us. We were looking through a DVD photo album I put together using all the digital imagery we had on the computer. From his sonagram through his most recent birthday, it was all there. The whole time Renee was saying, “see he hasn’t changed” and we would laugh. Now the adventure that is high school begins and we watch as this young man begins to flap his wings and take flight. Still a few years left with us, but now the boy is disappearing and the man is emerging. Thanks to the Lord for the young man he has allowed us to raise.

Video Editing!

I used to edit video for our church in Kentucky and I had forgotten what a tedious and time consuming process it is. I picked up a convenient USB interface that let’s me connect the VHS to the PC and capture video. Spent most of yesterday slicing up clips and edit points. Honestly made me want a new PC that could handle the rigors of editing. Maybe someday soon as amazingly our PC is three years old and that is a decade in regular years. So my new hobby until I can get all the tapes done is video editing. Fortunately, the new camcorder has a firewire hook-up that makes VHS obsolete. Goodbye VHS, say hello to cassettes and 8-tracks for me.

Another one down…

Seems like the summer months just pass faster than the winter ones. July 31st and another summer is waning. Not much going on other than work and video games. Work on my part and video games on Jesse’s. Though I must admit to playing a classic game at night. They opened a Gamestop here in AV and we were among the first to visit. Pretty amazing to see the place with all games in Alphabetical order and with titles that are hard to find. So I coughed up the money for the Ocarina of Time on Gamecube which contained the unreleased MasterQuest version. Nothing like wandering around Hyrule and killing skulltulas to pass the time. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Rant about!

Okay I finally had enough and yanked my account from It’s a scam I just don’t want my name associated with. For one, I am tired of the tons of pop-ups they generate on the web. For two, you can’t get anymore info on old classsmates for free than if I just walk to the shelf and open my yearbook. If you really want to find out about me, Google my name and find me that way. Classmates gets you to sign-up in a peer pressure way by listing the names of everyone else that is on it already. After you sign-up, you get a boatload of e-mails and cannot find a single thing out unless you agree to pay their “Gold Member” access fee. I for one am fed up with them. Just because they have my info doesn’t mean I am ok with using it to pry a buck out of someone else who wants to find out about me. If you really want to find out about me, visit my website or better yet, send me an e-mail. For Free!! No Gold Memebership needed!

Random thoughts in July!

Not much going on other than the daily grind and heat. Got a watermelon on Tuesday for donating blood and ran into one of my classmates from high school. Her dad was one of my teachers and her parents owned the local music store. It was good to catch up with her and walk down memory lane. Got a funny spam-mail in my work e-mail today. The sender was Jesus and the subject was blank. Needless to say I had a good laugh at the gibberish that followed as it was the typical spam mail utilizing random phrases and words in no coherent order. The Lord knows where I live and can speak directly to my heart wihtout the need of e-mail. Made me laugh anyway. If you have a broadband connection and want to waste a few minutes got to and get to know Mr. Fastfinger. Take the Mountian of the Tapping Dwarves section. Have fun and a laugh while ripping some major riffs on your keyboard. Well, that’s all for now. Riggety, Riggety, Roll or Rock, Rock On whichever floats your boat.