This is the archive for September 2008

Beta, Beta, Beta, live...

cost to driveGas reached an all time high in June $4.15 national avg, much higher down here. Despite making a decent salary, even I disliked opening my wallet for gas. Economy isn't looking too good either, so every little tool that helps cut prices is good, here's an interesting one for you.

A trip from Reston, Va to Manhattan, NY costs $59 in a Hummer H3 and $19 in a Toyota Prius a third of the cost!!!
The same trip would cost $28 in my Scion XB

A new website called has just launched, providing you
with the ability to look up how much it will cost you to drive from Point A to Point B.
Using close to real time gas prices, it calculates where you need to stop, and finds the cheapest gas stations on the way!

It's funky, it's beta, and you know you love beta, check it out at

p.s. shhh, it's a private beta ;-)

From pet food to babies, Alaska to Moscow....

Am I the only one who's going WTF?
Last year there was a major pet food recall in March because of Melamine, beloved pets
were eating contaminated food. Melamine was used to either act as fertilizer for wheat, or
as suspected added directly to the pet food ingredients to falsify protein measurements.

Ever since I review the ingredient list of food I buy my dog, and refuse to get him anything made in
China.... Over kill?

Fast forward to today, 6 babies dead, nearly 200 are in critical condition, more than 6,000 hospitalized after ingesting dairy products contaminated with Melamine...
How the hell could this happen?
If it can kill a pet, what the hell do you think it will do to a babies body?
Is this what happens when communism begins to loose control to capitalism?

Now there's the US election, McCain / Palin, wow, Palin can't debate, so the VP debate is being changed to a pre-structured, emm conversation? Ehhh WTF? so when she goes to the middle east or Russia to negotiate peace she's gonna do what exactly? Bring cookies?
When asked to cite examples of McCain leading the way on placing regulations on Wall st. she replied we'll let me go off dig them out and get back to you. Emm, hmm,,,, right...
Oh also, the republican party has refused press access to Palin, weird that...

Now McCain wants to call off or at least postpone the candidate debate to sort out the finical crisis.
A little late mate...

So with such a piss poor transparent facade, is the motive for voting republican purely a greed thing?
Because I can't see how anyone can be so blind sighted with ignorance when it comes to this.

Definition of the GOP (republicans for those who don't know)
"The Republicans are conservative, favor reducing the size and role of the government, and they support the rights of the individual."

The rights of the individual, not what's best for the whole... I've got a problem with that, so does the rest of the world....

So to the elephants out there, here's something that may be easy for you to understand:
"All those hurricanes and storms dooownnnn south,like umm Katrina, Ike, Hanna, and Gustav is just God's way of punishing you for voting republican"

Are you kidding me?

What has happened to good service?
This week Sam and I went to the Outback restaurant near us, I've had some issues
there with food quality in the past, namely under cooked steak, or just food that wasn't great.
Now the steak the time I had a problem I had to return it twice, honestly it just looked like it
was just sitting around, as it was gray and had pooled blood on it, not a medium to well steak.

Well we returned again, this time Sam ordered a trout and rice dish, her rice had some form
of grit in it. So we told the waitress and the manager came over.
What did the manager do? He stood there and looked at us, like, I don't believe you...
Then made excuses that it could be something from mushrooms, or caramelized sugar
or something like that, but couldn't be a contaminate.
We pointed out that it was solid, and clear, like glass, not it did not dissolve in liquid, didn't crush
under pressure, so no, not what he was saying.
Well, finally he apologized took Sam's dish off the bill, Sam was disgusted and didn't want a replacement meal, I certainly wasn't going to stay and eat. So we left paying $33 for the meal and a tip. I later stopped at the super market to pick some thing up to eat as I was starving.....
Outback your facility in Reston seriously needs to get a shake up.

Tonight I felt like pizza, had a long tiring day, got back from the park with scooter, and decided to I'd order some pizza hut, I haven't had any in ages. Ordered it online, and after about 3 minutes my confirmation page came up, saying my delivery would be here at 8:26pm... It's just gone 7pm.....
So I called to confirm the time, and was told uhhh yes, we're really that busy, told them cancel it, I'm not waiting an hour and half for pizza, so he asked would I mind waiting and he'll just confirm the status in case it left. Returnd to the phone telling me they just canceled it, no apology, just hung up right there and then.
Really an hour and a half for pizza?

Papa Johns 30 mins estimated delivery, lets see how long it will take.
p.s you might detect I'm in a bad mood already

Next week perhaps?

Maybe,,, almost ready, it's come very soon....

Spore !

Finally played with Spore Universe last night, bought it the day it came out, and was really looking
forward to it. I just didn't have a chance to try it till last night.

Verdict: Nice game, fun to play, easy enough that I didn't screw it up completely.
But a little over hyped, this was was 10 years of work?? and supposed to be worth $75??

It's not that AI intensive, graphics are a little dull,
I don't know maybe 10 years ago it would have rocked the world, today not so much.

Still it was kind of fun.

I survived New Orleans

As you can see from my previous post I made it to New Orleans.
I'll be honest I went there somewhat naive, hoping and expecting an old fashioned
southern style place. With men dressed like Colonel Sanders, drinking ment julip, on baloneys
and ladies talking with southern accents calling you 'cherie' every second sentence.

Instead I found damn near everything in my guide books pointed towards Bourbon Street, probably
the most hedonistic street in the US. It was one block from my hotel, impossible to miss, despite how
much you try. There is a city ordnance that requires Bourbon Street to be sterilized every morning.
Not washed, but sterilized! So a truck with disinfectant lightly sprays it's contents over the street
to at least relieve it of some of it's YUCK-iness. I've seen worse, I've been to worse, but not in the US.

Anyway, despite the guide books there is a lot more to New Orleans than Bourbon Street, but it's hard to find. I stayed in the French Quarter, which is an 8 x 13 block district full of multiple 18th century buildings. Most of which looked closed, but you have to take a second look.

A lot of the buildings are despite the name are Spanish in design, several hand overs, colonial purchases,
and city fires have forced diversion upon the architectural styles. Spanish houses at the time were designed in reverse, the back of the house faces the street, which the front of the house faces a well kept modest court yard. So the majority of the buildings you see are the backs of the buildings.
With flaking paint, darkened windows and hardly a sign of life, its easy to mistake somewhere for being closed.

Do read the guide books but don't rely on them.
Things you've got to do:

paddle boat on the mississippi1) Take a paddle boat ride on the Mississippi!
-- If you look it up on line, the likely hood is you'll find the Creole Queen, avoid it. It's a small boat, and has been on limited service for ages. I had booked it, and went down to the dock at boarding time, to be told it wasn't running. Left me a little pissed, as the alternative had just left at the same boarding time.
The alternative, and one I recommend it the Natchez boat, available from Gray Line Tours. I know it's gray line, but despite being a big company, they've outsourced their tours to local dependable operators ! You will not be disappointed, and they have selected the best operators to manage your experience. Also their prices are competitive.

new orleans swamp2) Take a swamp tour !

-- Again go with gray line, it's a quick pick up at the dock, avoid air boat tours, they may look like fun, but they cost more, and you see less... Why? well it uses more fuel thus the cost, and because your flying all over the place at high speeds, with a loud engine behind you, most of the wild life avoid the boats. So you actually see very little. A simple tour boat, with a good local skipper, can't be beaten, and the one offered by gray lines is pretty good.

6ft alligatorOh yeah bring marshmallows for the alligators ! Or simply anything that floats, the skipper on our boat had marshmallows and the alligators liked it. Who am I to judge, majority of alligators were average to small, about 5-6 feet, however there was one big sucker who was probably 12 feet in length. A huge son-a-bitch.

New Orleans, Aug 16, 20083) Cafe du Monde, and benigets.
-- You just have to, dear god these things leave you craving for them every night. Even though I've been back a couple of weeks, I still crave them. A beniget is a doughnut style pastry deep fried and doused in confectioners sugar, served here with cafe au lait, is just so damn good !

While these are just a handful of the things a I got up to, they are certainly the best. August is both the most humid and stormy time of year to go there, another thing I didn't actually check on before I booked my ticket, the heat isn't so bad, but damn the humidity is a killer. It was so humid, my lens on my camera fogged up every time I took the lens cap off during the morning.

But morning especially Sunday / Monday morning is the best time to walk around the Bourbon Street blocks, little to no chance of bumping into drunks. Evening time is the best time to go down around the shore or moon walk pier. And night time is the best time for Cafe du Monde, no queues, and it's perfect for people watching.