Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Birds Birds Birds...

It's a lot more fun watching birds when you got a camera that will zoom up pretty close on them. I've been having fun taking pics of em with my new camera. The Olympus yahoo group I belong to has a monthly photo contest that I usually particpate in and this month one of the categories is birds and I'm trying to decide which of my birdy pics to submit. I just can't decide so I need your help. Please take a look at my birdy page and tell me which one you like best to help me decide which one to submit. I've only won the contest once with my Seattle pic that I submitted last year.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Inventory Manager position update

Application sent and interviews scheduled for May 31st. I say interviews because it's not just one. I'm spending almost all day in interviews. 4 of them actually. They must be highly considering me if they are going to spend that much time interviewing me. I've almost decided that I'm going to stay where I'm at and not take the position but I want to at least go to the interview(s) to check it out it's possible I may change my mind. It would have to be a real good offer for me to take it I think. The promotion that was waiting for approval on my current position from Eng IV to Eng V finally got approved last week after waiting for 3 months. Promotions have a minimum 5% raise along with them so I was pretty much expecting that. What I didn't know is that my manager requested 8%. He told me not only did the 8% get approved but the VP of our department added on another 2% for a total of 10% and it would get backdated to April 1st. My manager told me that kind of raise is pretty much unheard of in the company so there's no denying that they don't want me to leave. The upper managment knows that I'm applying for this other job and they are trying to get me to stay. The promo isn't official until my manager sends it off to HR and he is waiting for that last step until I make my decision about this manager job. If he sends it to HR I supposedly can't change jobs for a year so I wouldn't be able to take this other job if it went through.

If I don't get the manager job there is also supposedly going to be an opening in that group which I've been trying to get into for a while now. I think I would almost rather work in that group as an engineer instead of the manager. I just don't think I will be able to get my manager to wait that long since that job isn't even posted yet.

So many decisions to make...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

hanging baskets - edited

I added updated pics. I added a Lobelia to the 2nd basket and my Nasurtium has a couple blooms that were open that I wanted to get a pic of.

Geez I can't believe how expensive hanging baskets are. I usually get them when they're on sale. Apparently now is not the time of year when they are on sale. They're like $30 for get that. I'll make my own. I still have the baskets that I've bought from years past so this year I decided to make my own gosh darn it. It's way cheaper to buy the flowers and soil and do it yourself. I don't think I've actually done this before but I saw Ciscoe do it once. I decided to do a pot pourri of flowers and viney plants I've never heard of. I filled two baskets.

Basket #1
Banana Split Nasturium
Bridal Showers Bacopa
Wojo's Jem Vinca Vine
Illumination Vinca Vine
Variegated Vinca Vine

Basket #2
Beacon Silver Lamium
Paper Cascade Rhodanthe
Fan Flower Scaevola
Solaire Yellow Bidens
Lobelia added

Boy are there a lot of flowers out there. Actually now that I look at the names of these flowers I have heard of Nasturiums but that's the only one. I still haven't really found a place to hang them. The robin nest is kind of blocking the area where I normally hang them and also scaring off all of the hummingbirds. I should have taken the nest down when I had a chance. It's a huge inconvenience but now that she has babies I don't want to disturb her too much. It's also going to put a damper on my bbqing. Those babies better grow fast.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Me: 2 Squirrel: 4

I've got a war going on with the squirrel from hell in my backyard. Once in a while I see him in my birdfeeder eating up all the birdfood the little bastard. He really pigs out too. right now he's kicking my ass but I think I've got him this time. I think the war may be over but we will see.

Point #1 went to squirrel
I have a wooden birdfeeder on a wooden pole in my back made with plexiglass on the sides. Mr. squirrel broke the plexiglass on one side to get to the birdfood. I tried taping it up but it didn't last. I've had this birdfeeder since I moved in so I bought another similar one to put in it's place. Bad Idea.

Point #2 went to squirrel
He tore apart the wood on the new bird feeder. Good news is he didn't break the plexiglass.

Point #3 went to squirrel
I bought a seuet feeder. I've never had one before and who knew squirrels like suet too. Squirrels should just be birds all they eat is my bird food. So I hung the suet feeder in my tree the birds ate a little but not a whole lot so it should have lasted a long time. Well over night I noticed the suet feeder no longer in the tree. I found it about 10 yards across the yard almost completely gone. I'll give you one guess who done it. Good news is he didn't break it. Well he broke the chain off but I was able to fix it.

Point #4 went to squirrel again
putting suet feeder back in the tree was mistake #2 by me. Next thing I know the suet feeder is completely gone no where to be found the rascal took off with it and didn't even bring it back for me to refill. Not that I would have made that mistake. I did find the remains of the chain of which he took apart every single link of it and left it laying in the grass. I'm sure he was laughing at me as I picked up all the pieces. I have a feeling I will never see my suet feeder again.

Point #5 and 6 went to me! RAWR
I paid a visit to the Wild Birds Unlimited store telling them of my issues. They gave me some good suggestions and I went with it. I bought this metal cylinder thing to put around my post. The squirrel should not be able to climb up this thing therefore making my wood bird feeder safe. I ended up putting tape all around it to hold the plexiglass in place. I also bought a new bird feeder called "The Eliminator" does that sound scarey or what. It has a perch around the bottom and when more than 5 ounces of weight is put on it it closes up the feeding holes. It's made of really hard plastic for the tube and has a metal perch so he shouldn't be able to eat his way around this one. So far I havne't seen him getting any of the food out so I think I may be the winner this time. Here's a few pics of the eliminator and the old bird feeder with the metal cylinder around the base.

And yes there's a butt load of blackberry bushes in my backyard I need to get rid of them before they take over my entire backyard.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Seattle beats Minneapolis

for top city in the US for video games. Go Seattle! I don't know where they come up with these things but I came across this in a post on a Seattle blog.

A survey conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces, a web site based on the "Best Places to Live" series of articles that started twenty years ago in Money Magazine, has identified Seattle as the top city in the United States for video gamers.

The study looked at the number of game systems (including PCs, game consoles, and handheld devices) owned in the household, the number of games purchased and/or rented, the frequency of online game play, and other factors. All these factors were combined to form a single score, which then allowed various cities to be ranked. The top 15 U.S. gaming cities were as follows:

1. Seattle
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul
3. Atlanta
4. Detroit
5. Phoenix-Mesa

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jamaica Trip Report

ok so you want to hear the details? If not then read no further.

We left SEATAC late Thursday night like 11:30 PM or something. We flew to Cincinnati and it was already morning there by the time we got there. Had a 2 hour layover there before our trip to Jamaica. Got to Jamaica around noon (they're on eastern time but don't observe daylight savings so they're actually on central time). Airport was packed with people and it seemed to take forever to get through customs. We had someone waiting for us that we had prearraged so he was ready to drive us to Negril which was about an hour and a half drive.

We arrive at our hotel in Negril called the Seastar Inn It wasn't our first choice but it got rave reviews on tripadvisor so we gave it a shot. It was a nice little place not too far from the main road and the most popular bar in Jamaica and supposedly one of the top 10 bars in the world. It was walking distance and we went there a couple of times during our stay for drinks and a bite to eat. The place is crazy busy with people before and during sunset, but after that it becomes a ghost bar. It's not all that busy during the day either. We also visited the Negril Lighthouse which was a bit of a long walk from the hotel but doable. The place ended up being closed when we decided to go but I got a few good pics. We met the owners and received a little welcome package from them, which we didn't bring back home with us. We did some snorkeling at Xtabi. It's a hotel/restaurant/bar on the cliffs and they have some caves down by the water you can explore and the snorkeling isn't too bad there. We saw some long skinny piper fish and a bunch of tiny little fish and some claimed to have seen some big tuna and a turtle but I didn't see those. We spent 3 nights in Negril.

We caught a ride to our next destination in Treasure Beach from a gal we met that is actually from Minnesota and has been living there for 6 months or something like that. We met her at the bar at our hotel and she offered to give us a ride. It turned out not to be the best decision. We ended up having to get the tire changed before we even started the drive. She doesn't own the car so she had to call someone to pay for the tire change. It took a lot of time away from our trip that we could have been spent doing something more fun. Eventually we end up at our hotel, Jake's, at Treasure Beach. I'm not sure how but we did. Treasure Beach turned out to be the best place for relaxation and laying out. It was a lot quieter than the other places we had been so far. A lot less touristy and not as many beggars in the streets. We spent some time at Dougie's Bar at Jake's. We met a bunch of people on our first night there and were invited to a little party at one of the cottages. Unfortunately all the people there were leaving the next day. We went on a Safari trip to Black River and saw crocodiles and had drinks and ate at the Pelican Bar which is out in the ocean and can only be gotten to by boat. The bad thing about this places is the mosquitos were the worst. We got eaten alive. We arranged for a taxi to come pick us up and drive us to Montego Bay for the last stretch of our trip. Two traveling nurses recommended him.

The drive from Treasure Beach to Montego Bay was the worst drive evar. It went through the mountains and there were switchbacks and bumpy roads the whole way. For the first time in a long time without being hungover, I got carsick. It was a 2 hour drive but it was a very bad one. We stayed at an All Inclusive Holiday Inn. This is the first all inclusive place I had ever been to. It was almost just like being on a cruise. There wasn't much different about it. It was the least favorite part of our trip. The views outside of the window were pretty great though. And the AC was real nice. The food was mediocre and the Jerk Hut was closed the whole time we were there, we had to wear wrist bands to get the free food/drinks, most of the people there were snooty. I don't think we really talked to anyone the whole time we were there. There were lots of kids though there was an adult only pool with a swimup bar that was nice. We were leaving to get a ride to the airport and they wanted an outrageous amount to get packed in a vanpool of people to go to the airport. We said screw that and left out of the resort locked gates and found our own ride to the airport for half the cost they were asking at the resort. Luckily the airport was not as busy on the way out as it was on the way in.

All in all it was a good trip. If we go again I think I'd rather spend the whole time in Treasure Beach.

You can check out the rest of my pics here: http://agape1.net/Gallery/jamaica

how much $ to get to work?

I found this gas calculator online that can calculate how much you pay in gas to get to work.

Me: $6.60 r/t
However I ride the vanpool twice a week and work from home once a week. But still that's a lot of dough. I should move closer to work!