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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Day in Manhattan. . .

I started working for a small IT company April 1st and took a quick trip to New York to visit 2 clients. I flew up yesterday and stayed in New Jersey. My hotel room had a great view of the Manhattan skyline looking across the Hudson River. It was 2001 since I was in Manhattan. I had finished a contract August 31st and took pictures of the twin towers the day I left. 11 days later they were no more. So seeing the World Trade Center site today made me remember. My first meetings was in the Wall Street area and the other was mid town. Turned out the 2nd meeting was just across the street from the Empire State building. The client has some kind of view from his office. Click on picture to see the rest from my trip.
Two of the cabs I wrote in were Ford Escape Hybrids. I talked to the driver and they said they notice the improved gas mileage. One driver said it was a bit under powered. As a passenger I didn't notice that. The driver seemed to be able dash from one light to the next.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

If I heard it once I've heard it a thousand times...

Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.

So how many times would be too many times for you?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Well it's just after 9pm and Earth Hour has passed for the eastern US. The central time zone should be dark now. I know the amount of energy I saved during the hour was just equal to about one drop in the ocean. Put I did at least do my small part.

I unplugged everything but the refrigerator. I would have unplugged it but I didn't think about it until I heard it kick on. I did unplug 15 of those power packs. I only plugged back in the ones I really needed.

The UPS keeping the cable modem, the VIOP phone and adapter, and the router died after about 30 minutes. I was please that it lasted that long. Probably the biggest sacrifice was missing an hour of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.

You can read more about Earth Hour here.


It's just after 8pm here in North Carolina. I'm typing this blog entry by the glow of a candle and the light of my laptop screen. The beep beep beep about once a minute of the UPS in the home office (I'm in the dining area/kitchen) is the only sound I hear. It's Earth Hour and I'm doing my part to help. I've unplugged everything I could. All the little power packs. I turned off the Heat Pump. It's in the low 40s outside so the house won't cool much in the next hour. But I'm wearing my heavy flannel shirt as a symbol.

The UPS that is keeping the cable modem and the wireless router going is now beeping non stop. I suspect that means it's about to die, so I best publish this post. I'll post again after 9pm.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Are You a Sunday Driver?

Well it took over $30 to fill up the xB today. I didn't even buy 10 gallons. Last fill up before today was February 29th. 4 fill ups totaling $108 so for this year for the xB. Since I retired I'm happy to say there are many days (4-5 days) in a row that I never drive.

Growing up a Sunday Driver was a driver poking along with all the time in the world and no place in particular to go. Why not, gas was cheap. Never understood why the Sunday was important. Daily Driver would have been more accurate. I was stuck behind plenty of them back then, and they are still out there on the roads today.

I started driving just before the oil embargo of 1973 hit. For a few months I experienced gas when it was cheap. I remember collecting a enough coke bottles to buy almost a gallon of gas. I got a quarters worth. Got me to work and back for a couple days. Anyone know how many bottles per gallon now days? Do they even make returnable bottles?

Since cheap gas didn't last long and money was always tight for a working high school student. Driving less had a positive effect on my wallet. I remember watching all the news stories on how to save gas during the embargo. I learned from the very start to plan my trips, check tire air pressure, and don't carry needless items in the car. After reducing my tool box down to a sack of tools, I could actually feel the difference. 1967 Fiat 850 sedans don't weigh much so removing 50 pounds made a noticeable improvement in mileage (and acceleration) from the 843cc engine (0.843 liter or 52 cu inches - 34 hp - hah). No tools was NOT an option when you drove a Fiat.

Driving around for the fun of it or entertainment was not something I did then or now. I planned my trips back then and I still do. I wonder, are you a daily driver? Just driving when and where you want with no particular reason? Hopefully not. But have you double checked lately to make sure some of your driving is really necessary? Saving one trip a week can make a difference over a month. Have you checked your tire pressure lately? Got any junk in your trunk? At $3.25 a gallon EVERYTHING you do will help and save you money.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Want to be Super Rich and Lose Weight?

As a type 2 diabetic, and one of the lucky ones that was told early, I've been able to manage my diabetes with diet and exercise. I test my blood each morning, but I don't have to take insulin. My 'sugar' is now normal. My A1C is 5.6 for the last two years, down from 6.5 at first. Granted I attended the 'Living with Diabetes' education, I lost 45 pounds by dieting, and started exercising. I still found this Men's Health article interesting. It talks about the obvious - that since carbohydrates raise blood sugar, then don't eat them. Eat a low carb, high fat and protein diet to 'cure' your diabetes. It does explain that the long term effect of a low carb diet is somewhat unknown. It also states that American Diabetes Association (ADA) worries more about heart disease since that is often the big killer of people with diabetes so the ADA is totally against a low carb high fat diet.
So why would the ADA (and the AHA) want you to go the low fat high carb route? Ask yourself why does anyone ever do anything? Money. It costs $2500 a year on average to 'manage' diabetes (I read that somewhere). 10 million Americans at $2500 each is a nice easy 25 BILLION dollar a year just for insulin, test strips, and syringes. Plus they’ve hit the jack pot "What once was 'adult-onset' diabetes -- a condition mostly of overweight, sedentary, middle-aged adults -- is now an epidemic in children under the age of 10." They used to just literally bleed us diabetics for the last 20+ years of our lives as they empty our pockets. With kids they have life long customers. They'll still be able to sell those kids supplies for 50 or 60 years.
I realize my conclusion seems over simple and sounds like a 'big business' conspiracy. But IF the ADA (and AHA) where truly interested in CURING diabetes and heart disease surely they would be objectively running long term studies to find out if a high fat diet low in carbs could help? The fact they are so strongly against it means they probably know something they don't want us to know. Like maybe it's TRUE! The LAST thing they want is to cure heart diseases and or diabetes. They'll be out of a job and will be tossing BILLIONS away. Your local health care professional will gladly prescribe insulin (shots or pills), syringes and test strips, along with pills for your blood pressure - all of which you will have to take the rest of your life. Yes they'll tell you to eat right and get more exercise too. And sadly most people won't or aren't able to follow that advice. So your local health care professional will be equally happy to cut off your foot, put in stints, let you be on kidney dialysis etc for the rest of you life. But they'll never consider telling you a high fat low carb diet might we worth a try. Worst they'll never prescribe a diet pill (amphetamine) because you could get addicted and have to take 'speed' the rest of your now much longer live - since you were able to increase your activity which helped you lose weigh on your high fat low carb diet.
What the ADA doesn't tell you is that a lot of people with diabetes still die of heart disease even with a 'low fat high carb diet'. Those who "Dodge early death and you could still end up impotent, blind, in kidney failure, or, most likely, minus a foot. (A gangrenous limb or digit is amputated every 6 minutes in the United States.)" Hummm. Die of Heart Disease (maybe) eating a high fat low carb diet or (maybe) die of a low fat high high carb diet. Or worse get not so lucky and avoid the early death of heart disease and you get die (poorer) slow death eating low fat foods. I've seen an uncle loose his foot, and a mother on kidney dialysis begging to just let her die. No thank you, I'll risk heart disease, and eat fat.
Oh. Almost forgot to tell you how to get rich. Invent a blood tester that does not use those $1 each test strips. Sell them for a few hundred bucks a piece. New customers are being born every day. Or if you can't do that just figure out how to make test strips for 2 cents each. The US only uses 50 MILLION test strips a day. You'll never have to work a day, or worry about producing them. Because you'll just call the ADA and tell them what you've done, and they'll make you an offer you can't refuse.

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's that time of year again. . .

I know Blogs are suppose to be upbeat and informational. Well this one is strictly informational. We've had a couple perfect sunny 75-80 degree days here in central North Carolina and I've been poking around in my attic and garage. I bet some of you have been doing the same. Getting out the summer stuff and putting away the winter stuff. Not really paying any attention to where I've been putting my hands. Well I got an e-mail from my cousin Mark today that was a graphic reminder that not watching what you are doing as you rummage around can be a real problem. Mark's e-mail warned of problems a Brown Recluse Spider bite can cause. I have a friend who lost her dad to a Brown Recluse Spider bite. I don't like bugs, be they software or the crawling type. So take a good look at the picture to refresh your memory about what a Brown Recluse looks like. Better yet go here to and read all the details.

FYI - I purchased their Brown Recluse Spider First aid kit a couple years ago. I figured it is cheap insurance so I never get bitten. I'm the type that believes that if your spare tire is flat you will get a flat. If your spare tire is in good shape you'll never use it. So if you have a first aid kit you never use it. You don't you'll get a nasty cut, burn, etc. Also I have no financial interest in that company. I'm just a customer. You might want to get a couple friends to go in on the order. You get a $10 discount on each when you order 3 kits.