Sunday, December 26, 2010

Gas Leak?

A few weeks ago I smelled a strong gas smell on the back porch.  The only I could figure was the grill.  I checked and it was off.  I turned off the tank in case it was leaking.  The next time I went out the smell was gone.  A few days ago I was at the fridge and smelled a little bit again.  Since all of our kitchen appliances are electric I blew it off after a little bit of investigating.

After doing all the stuff with the kids on Christmas I showered around 1 or 2.  When I walked out of the bathroom, I smelled the gas smell again.  The bathroom is across the hall from the furnace room. I sniffed around the furnace room and it was a little here and there, but I could find nothing and it went away quickly.

I crowd sourced the problem a little by posting the problem on Twitter and Facebook.  I also texted a couple of friends.  I didn’t know if you called the fire department or the gas company or what.  One friend said to try soapy water on the joints of the gas pipes, but I didn’t know what I was doing and it all just looked like soapy water.  Others said crack two windows for cross ventilation.  Others said call the gas company, but had no idea of charges or if they could do anything about it.

I finally called the gas company to find out what to do.  They sent a guy out.  Neither the lady on the phone or the guy that came out mentioned a charge, so we will see.  Why does this stuff seem to generally happen on weekends and holidays?

The guy came out and was very nice.  He found no leaks.  He said the water heater vent was loose and he tightened that.  It looks like that is an open hole with a dome over it that leads to the outside pipe.  I wonder how that isn’t always leaking exhaust into the house.

He said that the chimney looked in bad shape and I should maybe have it inspected and cleaned.  I didn’t figure with gas heat their would be anything to clean, but he said dirt and stuff get in there.  He opened a little door at the bottom of the chimney and it was packed with dirt.  He put a mirror in the door and could not see up the chimney.  Does that mean it is clogged or that they sealed around the gas exhaust pipe when they put it in?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Free Shipping

Will we ever get to a point where there will just be a cost for a product and shipping charges will go away?

I remember a time where folks would either charge you extra to use a credit card or not take credit cards at all because of the fees credit card companies charge the vendor.  I also seem to recall certain vendors only allowing credit cards if you purchased a minimum amount.

This rings very similar to the model we have now where vendors charge the shipping charges back to their customer.  When I go to a brick and mortar store there is obviously a cost to them to move the product between the manufacturer and the warehouse and the store, but I never see a separate charge on my receipt for those shipping charges.

We are to the point with credit cards where I can spend a few cents on my credit card at a store and have no penalty.  Certainly it is possible to have shipping be a cost of business, spread across everything a vendor sells.

On the subject of reducing those costs, some of it might could be done by shipping to the customer directly from the manufacturer.  Another thing could be to have a shipping co-op where multiple vendors can leverage lower shipping charges.  If I order something from Amazon and Tiger Direct and some other place and somehow the shipping co-op can group things going to the same address together.

Even if none of these cost reductions are possible, I don't believe a vendor should hide the total cost of the product by splitting it into separate charges.  Then again the phone companies do it all the time with all the various fees and taxes.  Even stores do this with a separate line for sales tax.  It seems like that should be a cost of business too.  Tax is going to be charged, so account for it in the cost of the product without hiding it from the customer at the bottom line.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Who Says Facebook Can't Make a Difference

I saw this post on Facebook come through, apparently commenting on the ridiculousness of copy other people's statuses into your own to cure the world's problems, while not doing anything more.

"Copy this text and put it in your status if you know someone or have heard of someone who knows someone. If you don't know anyone or even if you've just heard of someone who doesn't know anyone then do still copy this. It's important to spread the message. And the hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥ For goodness sake, don't forget the hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥"

I am actually considering posting this, even though I don't generally do the copy status thing.  Additionally I am considering adding my own commentary, included below.

"You may think this is absolutely worthless, since I did nothing more than copy this from someone else's status and not a thing more.  What you don't realize is that if I get a bunch of others to post this, it makes me feel like I am a good person and that people like me.  It is all about me anyway."

Friday, December 03, 2010

Facebook Eliminates Violence Against Children.

I have started to see the following being posted to "friends" statuses on Facebook.

"Change your facebook profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday, there should be no human faces on facebook, but a stash of memories. This is for eliminating violence against children."

Well if it will eliminate violence again children, of course I will change my Facebook profile picture to a cartoon character.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Can't the Most Influential Woman Wear Pant to the Office?

I was watching This Week in Tech episode 274 today.  They were talking about some list of the most influential people.  Leo Laporte threw it over to Xeni Jardin to give her opinion of the list.  At first she just blew the list off as unimportant and then she started commenting about the female representation on the list.  She was disputing why the female representation on the list were Sarah Palin and Lady Gaga.  I agree with her to that point.  There are tons of women that are better influences than them, but just as the panel talked about earlier in the episode it isn't about being a good or positive influence, just most influential.

The thing that struck me was that Xeni made this comment, "Why can't we have one woman that wears pants to the office and does something interesting with science and technology."

Why does a woman have to wear pants, as opposed to a dress, to be influential.  I agree that there needs to be more to a woman than her body, but wearing a dress does not make a woman less competent, nor does wearing a dress have to be flaunting.  There are plenty of women wearing pants who try to use their femininity rather than their talent to advance themselves.

Why does a woman have to go to the office to be influential?  I think Mother Teresa wore a dress and did not go to the office and is often referred to as one of the more important women ever.  Women do more influential and important thing when they don't have to go to the office and chase power and money all day long and work for the interests of some corporation.

Why does working in science and technology make a woman more influential than other pursuits?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness

I have been very concerned over the years on the focus on Breast Cancer "Awareness".  I think the amount of talking about it and the way it is being talked about is making people aware, but it is making them aware that they are annoyed, offended, or wearied by the conversation.

I'm not sure what raising awareness means.  I think most people we very aware of breast cancer and that it kills people or make it necessary to remove a breast surgically.  This is likely because it is widespread and they likely know or have heard of someone who has had it.

Because of the over publicizing of it and the vulgar way that breast cancer awareness is being promoted, I am less likely to contribute to the cause or participate in events the cause is organizing.

Perhaps everyone passionate about curing brain cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, or cancer anywhere in the body should unite their resources, rather than having their own private battles.

Our Bodies and Sexuality are Sacred
Even if a good cause is being promoted, doing it by speaking irreverently about our body and sexuality is inappropriate.  

Focusing on Our Bodies Diminishes Our Self Worth
This is likely why many are so devastated after a mastectomy.  They have tied a too much of who they are to their breasts.  It is also likely why many girls and women or so self conscious about their breasts being "too big" or "too small".  When our "sex appeal" is what defines or is our biggest too to stay ahead in life then we are devaluing ourselves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hey Joe. What Do You Mean Joe? I Don't Even Know You.

When did it become acceptable for service people to call you by your first name rather than by Mr. Lastname?  It appears that this is even part of the training by the business owners or managers.  I seem to recall, years ago, when I worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart that they instructed up that if the customer used a check or credit card we were to address them by first name.

I admit, I have allowed my children to be much more informal with adults in their life than I think is healthy.

How have we come to this point.  I think that kids are much more well behaved when adults are treated as not just another one of the kids in there class at school or whatever.  I have noticed neighborhood kids that don't even know me being very surly with me.  I have also noticed kids that I teach using phrases like, "You're not my dad.  You can't tell me what to do."

I recognize that there are adults that have done horrible things to kids and kids should be educated and protected on how to deal with those situations.  Kids can be cautious and yet still be respectful.

Service workers can show me respect without being familiar.

Utahans and Crosswalks

I have commented on the obliviousness I have noticed with regard to traffic since I have moved to Utah.  Both from drivers and pedestrians.

Quite often pedestrians will just walk out into a crosswalk, without looking.  Today there was a mother with a new born in a stroller with kids following behind her.  A car is approaching and she steps out and the children follow her out.  When the driver notices that they have stepped out he slams on his brakes, almost hitting them.  He begins yelling at her.  She begins yelling back that she is in the crosswalk.

It should be noted that this was not a crosswalk at a stop light or even a stop sign.  It was just a crosswalk in the middle of a road where driver's would not normally stop and where they likely will be traveling at non-neighborhood speeds.

I couldn't help but wonder if the fact that you had the right of way is a consolation when you are holding your dead baby in you arms because a car, that was unable to stop, smashed into you stroller.

I have seen billboard frequently that put the responsibility on the drivers and guilt them into not running over pedestrians.  Where's the billboard for, "Stop, look, and listen before you cross the street"?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

She's Not in the Refrigerator

I was watching the movie What Women Want with my wife the other day.  The character being played by Mel Gibson is fretting over his behavior and trying to make it right, but he can't get in contact with the woman he is enamored with to continue to try to do so.

At one point he is pacing around his apartment trying to figure out what to do.  He then opens the refrigerator door and does the refrigerator gaze, not knowing what he he wants to eat.  He comes to the conclusion that he isn't looking for something to eat at all.  He closes the door and says, "What am I doing? She's not in the refrigerator."

I have seen the movie a time or two before, but this time this line struck me as profound.  How often have we done the refrigerator stare not knowing what we wanted to eat, but in reality we didn't want anything.  We were either bored, stressed, or antsy.

How many other things in life do we do that are little more that the refrigerator stare?  What are we doing?  What we are looking for is not in the refrigerator.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I keep seeing this idea of pitting two things against each other that are not mutually exclusive as if they are.

Republicans vs Democrats
As far as I can see, we do not have a two party system.  We are to believe the two parties are in disagreement and that there is a big difference between the two.  I believe that the differences are concocted to distract from the acts of greed both parties perpetrate together.

This is not to say that we shouldn't be involved in our government and that we shouldn't vote.  We should be aware that there are bipartisan things happening, but they are generally not seen by the public and they have to do with greed.

When bills are produced and one party opposes it and they debate pieces of it, I wonder about the pieces that are in it that are no good that they are not talking about.  Are the debates on certain issues just a distraction so we don't notice the rest of the garbage that is in it?

Church vs State
Our government was founded on religion by Christians.  "In God We Trust"  "One Nation Under God"  This nation thrives when both work together.

Religion vs Science
This infers that there is not thought in religion.  Yes there are those that seem to just move through their religion with no thought, but I would argue that religion is a branch of science.  It is something you study to understand how the world works.  You don't do this without science.  You use the two to understand each of them.

Government vs Business
There is this theater that goes on trying to pit business and government against each other.  All the while the two are working together to get rich by draining the people.  When I hear a debate that pits business against government I have to look for what else is going on.  There is generally something they are trying to cover up or push through and make it look like there is a choice in the matter cause you can choose business or government. The people lose either way.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Get It Done

I heard something while watching The Amazing Race the other day that I thought was one of those catching sayings about how to live life that people like so much.

They had a task to perform where they had to put together a huge puzzle with great big pieces.  A member of the team with two models on it and a member of the brothers/cowboys team had a good bit of their puzzles done.  The wind picked up and tossed the pieces all over.  The model guy started stomping around and pitching a fit and behaving like he might quit, as he did several times during the race when things went badly for them.  The cowboy used his clothing and some folding chairs that were in the lower spectator level of the stadium and kept working.  In one of the shots where they ask the player to comment on the tasks they were doing after the fact, Cord McCoy, the cowboy, said, “throwing a fit and kicking and screaming wudn’t goin’ to help get my puzzle done.”

As we run into things where life hands us a trial, perhaps it might be useful to consider that throwing a fit and kicking and screaming likely won't help us get our puzzle done.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Temporarily Blinded by Smoking

Early in the pre-dawn hours I'm cruising down I-15 at 70 or so and see the flash of sparks and ash bounce off my windshield. Startling me and momentarily blinding me, which are both great at highway speeds.

I have often seen sparks bounce under my gas tank from a careless cigarette, smoke fill my car from someone smoking next to me at a stop light, and the piles of littered cigarette butts in the median, but a flaming cig bouncing off my windshield is a new one for me.

The world is your ash tray.

Rafiki Wisdom

Rafiki Wisdom.  I love that monkey.  "It means you are a baboon and I am not."  "You don't even know who you are."

Yes, the past hurts.  It is to remind us that we don't want to go there again.

So long as we hang out with wart hogs and let them convince us that eating bugs is the way to be happy, we will never find true happiness.  Once we stop eating bugs and embrace who we are, we will find that we will find what we have been seeking.

We must leave the party and pay attention to what is important.  We are royalty and we must act like it and stop trying to find happiness in filth.

We are children of a king, our Heavenly Father.  We can embrace our heritage and be happy or we can live below our potential and keep trying to find something else that will forever be escaping us.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Facebook Status "I got Nothing"

I find that there are a lot of people on Facebook that feel that they have to come up with something to say in their status every day.  If they happen to be home sick from the urge seems to jump to hourly.

Frequently I will see a status update  that says, "I got nothing" or something relatively equivalent.  If a person has nothing to say I think I would figure it that out if they don't post a status.

I generally add people as my Facebook "friends" because I want a quick way to keep up with what has been happening in their life since I last saw them or spoke to them.  Filling up my Facebook page with drivel doesn't help me.  It just wastes my time sorting through nothing to get to something.  The flip of this is that when they do post something meaningful I have to wade through other people's nothing to get to their something.

Some would say just stop using Facebook or remove those people that do this from my friend list.  The problem is not that I don't want those people in my life and that I don't care about them.  The problem is that it is like having a kid sit next to your and say "Dad.  Dad.  Dad.  Dad.  Dad.  Dad.  Dad." while you are trying to do something else.  You can't finish what you are doing because of the extra chatter.

A similar problem is with sympathy bait posts.  Post like, "Oh no" or "Not again" or "I'm so sad".  These posts tell us nothing and just bait people to pity the poster.  If you have something to say, say it.  Don't bait me send you flowers when I have no clue what the problem is.

Also, don't post things like, "It is so sad when people..." and then jump down my throat when I don't realize that you were talking about something in your life and not just fretting about some condition of society unrelated to you personally.  Again, if you have something to say, spit it out.  Don't make me guess.  Don't make me think that something horrible has happened when it has not.  Don't make me read "nothing".

Monday, January 25, 2010

When Did Slander Become Acceptible

Over the last few months I have seen the number of cut and paste Facebook statuses of "send this to all your friends" spam spike.  Lately I have seen several of these come around, "DO NOT ACCEPT THESE 4 AS FRIENDS, _______, _______, ______ AND _______ THEY ARE HACKERS, TELL EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST BECAUSE IF SOMEBODY ADDSTHEM, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE HACKED TOO. COPY THIS TEXT TO YOURPROFILE... DO NOT BE LAZY, PLEASE POST TO YOUR WALL"

Several things make no sense about this:

  1. Why would you give strangers access to your personal information?  That is one reason people started using Facebook was become it was private and only people you choose can see your stuff.
  2. If someone tells me that one of my neighbors is a pediphile with no substantiating evidence other than someone told me and told said to tell everyone I know,is it now okay for me to spread it around?
  3. By labeling the person as a hacker can they really get into your computer by adding them as a friend on Facebook?