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Quit That...damn it, I'm tryin' to watch the game!

Friday, February 28, 2003 8:07:56 PM EDT

Wow, I had a rough week. Today was the worst by far though. Fridays are always bad, but this one took the cake. I was doing tech support all day (my least favorite part of the job) and I was on the phone almost the entire day. My company has offices scattered around the country and I support all of them. We have somewhere around 100-125 PCs and several servers. Lately though, my bosses (I have 4) have all begun some weird love affair with Apple Powerbooks and iMacs. They are all telling me how wonderful they are and how they are ready to dump their PCs and laptops. That's all fine and well, but they expect ME to support them and I have absolutely no Apple experience whatsoever. You would think that I'd be pretty nervous about the security of my job at this point, but in reality I'm not. Not at all. In fact, I'm getting a bit peeved that they expect me to support them when I've made it absolutely clear that I know nothing about these Apples.

I told them that they've got to buy me one if they expect me to be able to support theirs. I can't tell them how to fix something I know nothing about after all. You see, all day long I was trying to troubleshoot why two of these new Powerbooks loaded with OS X could not play nice with one of our secure servers. They couldn't log on to our system. Hmmm, I thought, I thought these were supposed to be trouble free wonder toys! Whattup? Well, not knowing anything about them, I had to do some extensive googling and think I finally found out what the problem is. It seems that several people have reported that OS X doesn't like to talk to a self signed secure server, which is what I have. You don't really need to know what that means at all, because I'll give you an analogy. It would be like an American going to France planning to spend a boatload of money having the vacation of a lifetime only to find that the locals (who could really use the infusion) get snooty because the stupid American can't speak the language. To which the American says, "well piss on you then, I'll take my money elsewhere."

The server (PC) has boatloads of data, but the Mac doesn't trust it...go figure.

At least I convinced them that it's time to buy me a Mac...and I'll put some english on it.

Posted by: Marc  

Hey Kids!  
Thursday, February 27, 2003 8:43:49 PM EDT

We all know how hard it is to choose the perfect sidearm. But it's especially tricky if your only a 5 year old and you're looking for something that you won't out grow. Well, never fear, help is here with the shiny new Side Arm Pick-O-Matic.

Just remember kids, have fun, but don't go puttin' your buddy's eye out with it.

Posted by: Marc  

How Much Is Inside?  
Thursday, February 27, 2003 8:17:27 PM EDT

Ahhh, the question mankind has been asking himself since he first crawled out of the primordial soup. Well, maybe not quite that far back, but nevertheless, you've probably asked yourself at some point or another "How much is in a Chevy Trailblazer?", and no, the answer is not 1 yuppie and a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada. Or how about how much is in a million dollars? Am I Right? Sure I am.

Well, you can find the definitive answer to those and many more perplexing questions of quantifiable objects if you look here.

Posted by: Marc  

Finally, a reasonable alternative  
Thursday, February 27, 2003 7:47:21 PM EDT

PETA members always strike me as people that are completely off their rockers, but this story almost gives me hope that I might have jumped to conclusions. Here, they actually offer up a plausible alternative to that which they rail against.

Posted by: Marc  

It's a very sad day in the neighborhood...  
Thursday, February 27, 2003 12:47:09 PM EDT

Mr. Rogers has died. Goodbye and thank you Mr. Rogers, you were a wonderful role model for millions of young Americans and you will always be remembered.

Posted by: Marc  

Jim Hinde  
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 9:38:31 PM EDT

I linked an old friend of mine's website to the Music links tonight. I didn't know he even had one until a mutual friend told me last week. He's a genuine Seattle troubador, with a long history picking a guitar, standing in front of the Starbucks at Pike Place Market plying his trade.

I met Jim Hinde back in my horse shit shoveling days, working a job in a stable while still in high school. I worked with his wonderful wife Janet at the time (actually, they were still dating then). He's quite a character and is a talented storyteller, with or without music. Above all he's a thinking man's man, and always entertaining.

How can you not tap your toe to something like this? Go check out Jim Hinde.

"if it's brown flush it down. If it's yellow, let it mellow" - sign over Jim's toilet years ago.

Posted by: Marc  

Some Young Guy  
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 7:53:46 PM EDT

My name in Chinese. I might have it tattooed on my forehead.

What's yours?

Posted by: Marc  

Wednesday, February 26, 2003 7:50:26 PM EDT

I made some progress on the commenting system last night. It's going to be a little trickier than I thought though because my ISP for will only allow me to use PHP and MySQL (same thing MT uses). I don't really want to go that route, since I'm not all that proficient with PHP yet (one of these days *sigh*). So I'm thinking of hosting my comments on another server (the one that hosts SimCat). If I do, it'll open up even more possibilities for adding some dynamic content to the blog in addition to the comments. I'm kind of excited about it actually, but the comments are the most important thing for the moment. Haloscan is still down...ugh.

Posted by: Marc  

Tuesday, February 25, 2003 8:03:36 PM EDT

Once again, my comments have been down for most of the day (Thank you Haloscan). I'm getting pretty tired of it and decided that tonight I'm going to start work on my own commenting system. SimCat needs that feature anyway. Until that's ready, I'll leave Haloscan in place and I apologize if the comments aren't available from time to time (or every friggin day). There's not much else I can do about it for the time being.

By the way, I noticed Haloscan is getting under the skin of The Bitch Girls too...heh, I'm sure were not the only ones.

Update: Apparently, I'm also not the only one contemplating writing my own commenting system.

Posted by: Marc  

When will it end?  
Monday, February 24, 2003 8:07:15 PM EDT

I don't know about you, but I'd say this pathetic and annoying posturing by a wannabe Hitler is just another attempt to buy more time.

So let's all syncronize our watches and give him the time. Do we all agree on what time it is?

Posted by: Marc  

Puritan Police  
Monday, February 24, 2003 5:42:20 PM EDT

KENT, Ohio -- A woman in northeastern Ohio may have done too thorough of a job with her snowman -- or snow woman, to be exact.

Crystal Lynn says police in the town of Kent told her she had to remove the breasts from her snow woman after someone complained. She says she didn't want to do that, so instead she draped a tablecloth around the shoulders.

The snow woman was too busty to be covered by a shirt. Lynn says the police officer made her feel as if she'd be arrested if she didn't cover up her creation.

But police say that's not true. They say it was simply a neighborhood dispute, and that no charges were necessary.
Now I realize that people have all kinds of differing perspectives on the whole public nudity issue, but come on folks, get a grip already! (Did I ever mention that we have psychos living right here in Ohio?)

UPDATE: Oh wait, they've got 'em at Harvard too!

Posted by: Marc  

I liked the movie...  
Monday, February 24, 2003 12:26:10 PM EDT

Which Trainspotting Character Are You?

Posted by: Marc  

That old trick never works...  
Friday, February 21, 2003 5:22:28 PM EDT

The incident occurred Monday afternoon on Nash Road. The driver of a red-and-black van pulled up to a group of four or five Amish girls walking home after class and asked the girls to come over, Hiscox said. The girls started toward the vehicle after seeing what appeared to be an Amish girl sitting in the passenger seat.

As the girls got closer, they realized the passenger was actually a man dressed as an Amish girl, Hiscox said.

The girls fled and the van took off. An Amish man on the street chased the van but could not get a license plate number, Hiscox said. It was described as an older-model van.

Yep, we've even got our very own psychos right here in Ohio.

Full story here.

Posted by: Marc  

Search engine queries  
Friday, February 21, 2003 08:54:04 AM EDT

From the logs...

Ok, whoever came here looking for buckeye illegal national championship dvd was either a disgruntled Hurricane fan or he was looking for bootleg of that awesome game. Fess up, which one was it?

And what's up with blogs demonstrating underwear? I'd like to oblige, but it seems to me that if you need a demonstration of how underwear works, you've got much bigger problems than you know.

Perky Nipple? Ok, I did say that one.

I Quit...frenchman?

french war record...I'm flattered to be the #3 authority according to google for that one.

Posted by: Marc  

Be Afwaid  
Thursday, February 20, 2003 7:50:16 PM EDT

...vewy, vewy afwaid.

Posted by: Marc  

Poor Shelley the blogger  
Thursday, February 20, 2003 7:33:19 PM EDT

Something fell "threw" her internet experience.

Posted by: Marc  

Office Linebacker  
Wednesday, February 19, 2003 7:45:48 PM EDT

I've just been surfin' around on the new computer and came across this video which knocked me straight to the floor laughing, unlike most of the characters in the story. We need one of these guys in my office sometimes.

"Terry Tate - Office Linebacker"

I'd recommend a broadband connection, it's about 4 minutes long and great quality.

(Linked from Web-Shite)

Posted by: Marc  

Well it's about damn time...  
Tuesday, February 18, 2003 8:07:49 PM EDT

I just hope this doesn't turn out to be another Saudi PR stunt.

Posted by: Marc  

SUVS, Global warming and BIG snow.  
Tuesday, February 18, 2003 7:35:37 PM EDT

So we got pretty much dumped on big time with snow here in central Ohio over the weekend. It was so bad at my place that my brother and I struggled to even get out of the driveway with 4 wheel drive SUVs. I didn't have to work yesterday though (office called in a snow day) and went to work plowing the driveway with the Bobcat. Screw snowblowers and tractors, this is the proper tool for moving big snow in a hurry.

It's times like this that I think those global warming nutjobs are just that. And it's also times like this that I'm very glad that I drive an SUV too.

Posted by: Marc  

New Computer oh yeah  
Monday, February 17, 2003 6:47:00 PM EDT

You may recall that my computer crashed awhile back. I fixed that one, but I thought it was also time to upgrade, so I bought a new Dell, nicely equipped. I'm setting it up right now.

This will make about the 12th or 13th computer I've owned, and I still have most of them, stretching all the way back to 1983. I was rooting around in my attic and stumbled across one of my very first computers yesterday. My very first though, was lost in a fire, but here's a picture of one just like it. Columbia built the very first truly IBM compatable and my Dad and I were selling these to insurance agents. I ran a bulletin board out of my bedroom on this one called The Columbia Connection that had file patches, games etc. Served fresh from a 300 baud modem. I still can't believe how much stuff I used to cram on it's 2 measly 360K floppies. That's right, no hard drive. Amazingly, it worked great and it was one of the first portables (transportable is more like it, it weighed 30 lbs.) My mom thinks I should just toss them out or give them away, but I built a career around those things and spent hours and hours working on them. They're kind of like your favorite pair of worn out sneakers. You know that pair you still keep around but never wear anymore? Yeah, same thing. But geez, whose got 13 pairs of worn out sneakers?

Posted by: Marc  

I just cinged my wings  
Sunday, February 16, 2003 2:42:53 PM EDT

The moth don't care when he sees the flame
He might get burned, but he's in the game
And once he's in, he can't go back
He'll beat his wings till he burns them black
No, the moth don't care when he sees the flame
No,the moth don't care when he sees the flame

The moth don't care if the flame is real
cause moth and flame got a sweetheart deal
And nothing fuels a good flirtation
like need and anger and desperation
No, the moth don't care if the flame is real
No, the moth don't care if the flame is real

So come on let's go -- ready or not
Cause there's a flame I know, hotter than hot
and with a fuse that's so thoroughly shot away

The moth don't care if the flame burns low
Cause moth believes in an afterglow
And flames are never doused completely
All you really need is the love of heat
No, the moth don't care if the flame burns low
No, the moth don't care if the flame burns low

So come on, let's go -- ready or not
cause there's a flame I know, hotter than hot
And with a fuse that's so thoroughly shot away.

-- Aimee Mann

Posted by: The Moth  

V Day thoughts  
Friday, February 14, 2003 6:08:57 PM EDT

Posted by: Marc  

Don't ya just love hockey?  
Thursday, February 13, 2003 8:22:35 PM EDT

It's so entertaining to watch! (warning: video stream)

Posted by: Marc  

Inspirational Posters  
Thursday, February 13, 2003 8:09:18 PM EDT

Posted by: Marc  

The French War Record  
Thursday, February 13, 2003 7:12:38 PM EDT

No wonder they want to avoid a war

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion." -- Donald Rumsfeld

"France has neither winter, nor summer, nor morals. France is miserable because it is filled with Frenchmen, and Frenchmen are miserable because they live in France." -Mark Twain

A friend of mine sent me this in my email today...I'm still laughing. Thanks Lake!

Gallic Wars - Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000
years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian.

Hundred Years War - Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; "France's armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman."

Italian Wars - Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion - France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots.

Thirty Years War - France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Devolution - Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War - Tied.

War of the Augsburg League/King William's War/French and Indian War - Lost, but claimed as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession - Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved every since.

American Revolution - In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as "de Gaulle Syndrome", and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; "France only wins when America does most of the fighting."

French Revolution - Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars - Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War - Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France's ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night. World War I - Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States. Thousands of French women find out what it's like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn't call her "Fraulein." Sadly,
widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the
French bloodline.

World War II - Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song. War in Indochina - Lost. French forces plead sickness, take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu.

Algerian Rebellion - Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; "We can always beat the French." This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism - France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald's.

Posted by: Marc  

A Double Whammy  
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 00:07:59 AM EDT

So I came home this evening from work. It was snowing pretty good, about 4 inches on the ground and the wind was blowing hard which made it a little tricky to drive because there was quite a bit of drifting on the roads. The road crews hadn't made it out my way yet. I didn't have too much problem, but I did have to be careful driving. I made it home and put my truck in the garage. When I got out and closed the door though, I heard a strange hissing sound. I thought there must be a lot of snow under the truck dripping onto the muffler and walked around it to make sure that was in fact the culprit. I was disheartened though, because as soon as I came around the back right side, I immediately noticed a pretty good sized gash in the side wall of my right rear tire. That was the source of the hissing sound. Of course, this was a big let down, because I'd have to fix it if I wanted to go anywhere else and I do have to go to work in the morning. I thought Damn, that sucks, but at the same time, I was glad it got me home and it was safe in my garage. If I've gotta change a tire in the middle of winter, there's nowhere I'd rather do it than in my garage. Once again, my truck SUV impressed me. I went inside to change my clothes so that I could come back out and fix it. I went and put some jeans and an old sweatshirt on. Before I went back to the garage though I went to check my answering machine, which I keep down in the utility room of my basement.

HOLY SHIT! The utility room had about a half inch of water in it! What the hell is going on here!

My house is about 5 years old now and I've never had a water problem in my basement anywhere. It's been perfect. I was in total shock. The utility room houses my furnace, two 40 gallon water heaters and my answering machine plus some miscellaneous things like recyclables (newspapers and aluminum cans, mostly beer cans). I almost fainted, because 90% of my basement is finished (drywall, trim etc.). That is all but the mechanicals room and the sump pump room, which are at opposite ends of the basement from each other. I immediately ran to the sump pump room (in my stocking feet) to see what was going on there. It too was full of water. I noticed that just outside of it, in one of the finished rooms that I use for storage that the carpet was wet under my feet. I was really starting to become unglued by now. I went out to the garage and grabbed my boots and put them on. I came back down to the sump room and threw the cover off of the sump pit (where the sump pump resides). As soon as I did that, the pump kicked on. In five years, I've never seen the pump ever work. It's never needed to to. The sump pit has always been dry. But now, Just when it needed to work it didn't. The little float device that triggers the sump had become trapped under a small lip in the sump pit, causing it to not start. The moment I threw the cover back however, it freed itself and started running. I could see the water begin to recede immediately. I was relieved, but it seemed to be taking forever to move water. The reason was that an incredible amount of water had accumulated under the house and had just started to seep into the basement. the drainage pipe that brings water from the entire perimeter of the house was completely full and it was discharging as fast as the sump could handle it. Even as I type this, I'm still babysitting the thing, with the float valve tied up so that it won't stop until it's job is done. That drain pipe is a 4" pipe and it's been discharging at about 75% capacity for 5 hours now. There was a HUGE amount of water sitting under my house. Now I have a creek running out the back of the house towards my pond which will probably be an icycle rink by tomorrow, but that's ok, because the water is going where it belongs and there was no real damage done. All of the finsished area, except for a small amount of carpeting, was untouched by the water. I consider it a very fortunate thing that I caught it when I did. In fact, the concrete areas that did get wet are already dry again....I dodged another bullet...thank God. But dammit, I've still gotta change a tire in the morning...

This image of my sump pit was shot a full 12 hours after I discovered the problem. It's running at about 25% capacity now.

The other bummer...

Posted by: Marc  

Cuttin' it close  
Monday, February 10, 2003 8:38:42 PM EDT

I had a high pressure trip to New York City on Thursady and Friday. My company has an office there and I go there fairly frequently to do computer work. This was supposed to be an easy 2 day trip for me to set up a few new PCs on our network there for some of our employees. Everything went great on Thursday and by the end of the day, which is almost always when the building closes for me (9:00 pm) I was well ahead of schedule. I thought to myself, finally I get a cake walk trip.

I shouldn't have thought that, because I woke up Friday morning to a fairly severe snowstorm. Now, as anyone who's been in Manhattan during bad weather knows, getting a cab is impossible at these times. Our office is 15 blocks from where I stay and I was going to have to walk there. This is usually not a problem for me, and I always walk unless I'm in a desperate hurry or have some gear to move. Then I'll take a cab. I looked out my window and saw all the people on the street heading to work using umbrellas to protect themselves from the snowfall, which was really coming down. The ones that didn't have umbrellas were wearing hats. Most of them were also wearing golashes or boots too. I of course had brought none of these things, as I like to travel light and certainly wasn't expecting this sort of weather. Fortunately though, I did have a good pair of gloves and a decent enough coat, so I slipped them and headed for the office. By the time I got there, I looked like the abominable snowman. I was literally covered in snow. Luckily, it was about 28 degrees out, which was rather balmy I thought, so I wasn't cold, but trying to step off of all those curbs that were full of slush and water had soaked my shoes and my hair was drenched. I wasn't in the best of moods as I walked in the door. I was the third one there, and the two secretaries administrative assistants that were there before me immediately seized me as I came in. They were frantic. They said the whole network was down. I couldn't imagine why, but I went into troubleshooting mode right away. I didn't even have time to get a coffee.

It took about 15 minutes for me to discover the problem. We have several network switches (hubs) in the office and one of them it appeared to have blown a circuit. I went to the breaker box and discovered that there were no blown circuits. This was odd I thought, so I went back to the problem switch and much to my surprise I noticed that it's transformer had actually melted internally. Why it didn't blow the circuit I don't know, but fortunately it simply melted inside it's little enclosure and only slightly warped it. If it had been any worse, it could have possibly started a fire. At any rate, I knew that I was going to have to go back out in that damn snowstorm, walk about 8 blocks to the computer super store and get another one. I was pretty bummed about it to say the least. So off I went, this time at least armed with an umbrella and found a replacement. I had the thing fixed in under an hour total and the assistants were quite appreciative to be back up and running again.

This slowed me down a bit, but I was still ahead of schedule and wasn't too concerned about getting my job done, but I was to fly out that day and didn't want to cut it to the wire either. I went back to setting up the new computers. My boss called about then to say that his DSL line was down at his house. Oh crap I thought, that's about 25 blocks away! I was not getting any breaks whatsoever. I decided that I'd finish up my work at the office first, then go down and take care of his problem. All the while I was wondering though if my plane would even be leaving New York that evening as the airport already had 6 inches of snow and they were expecting 3-6 inches more. LaGuardia is a very busy airport even on a good day, so I knew it was likely that I'd get out either very late or not at all that night. I started monitoring Delta's website to see if my flight was cancelled or not as a lot of the flights out of there were. My flight was showing "on time" all day long, but that doesn't mean much until shortly before you have to leave. Still, I wasn't worried about having enough time to get everything done, I was sure it would be cancelled or delayed. The only problem was that I had non-refundable tickets and if it really was on time, I'd have to be on it, or buy another ticket. I went into full scale hussle mode now. Somehow, I managed to get all of my scheduled work completed and even got the boss's PC working again (I managed to actually catch a cab to his place) and once I did, I checked the airline once more at the point I should be heading for the airport. It still said "on time". By now, there was a lot of snow on the ground, but at least it had stopped snowing. I walked the 5 blocks or so back to get my suitcase and once again (very fortunately) managed to hail a cab. I was slightly behind schedule by now, but I knew I could still make it, hoping my plane might be a little delayed too. When I got there, I noticed the place was absolutely packed. There were people everywhere, sitting up against the walls all over the place because the seats were all full, from cancelled flights and missed connections. At the ticket counter, I asked the attendant what the day had been like for him. He said "it's been pure hell here today". I wasn't surprised. He said that a LOT of flights had cancelled and that they were totally full. I asked him about my flight and he looked at his monitor with surprise and said "it looks like you're one of the lucky ones. Yours is on time." I had about 20 minutes before takeoff so I hussled over to the security checkpoint and put all my stuff on the machine. I walked through the X-ray and "beep beep beep" promptly set it off. I had to spend the next five minutes doing the security point shakedown (shoes off, arms outstretched, patted down) before I was allowed to proceed. When I got the gate, they said the plane was there, but since the terminal was full of grounded planes, they had to push it out towards the tarmack. We'd have to be bused out to it. I thought "cool", I'm on time. We left Laguardia with very little traffic just 15 minutes late. Way to go Delta! Now, it actually would have been better for me if I'd have had more time, as I really prefer not to work under so much pressure, but things worked out pretty well in the end for that trip. Knock on wood.

Posted by: Marc  

Weekend in Cracker County  
Wednesday, February  5, 2003 8:26:21 PM EDT

I took an odd trip this past weekend. I have an old friend that was moving back to Ohio, from Effingham county Georgia. She called me up last week to ask if I could help her move back to Ohio over the weekend. She said she'd pay for a ticket to fly me down there and that all I had to do was to drive this truck,

full of her worldy possessions back. As an extra incentive, she said that if I came down, it might be possible for me to hook up with Acidman, whom she knows is one of my favorite bloggers (and one of her regular reads as well). She knows that Acidman lives in Effingham county, just as she does. Well, she knew just what to say I guess, because I agreed to come and help her out.

Gimme Back My Bullet

At the airport, as I was going through the security checkpoint, I put all of my keys, coins and other miscellaneous pocket stuff into one of those little plastic bins. I had one carry on briefcase and put it and my coat and the plastic bin into the x-ray machine. I walked through the metal detector and passed just fine. As I waited there at the end of the machine for my stuff, I noticed several security officers staring at the screen and my stuff wasn't moving on the conveyor. "Ruht Row", I thought. They then started the conveyor back up and sent my stuff out. One of them immediatly went for the little plastic bin that my pocket stuff was in. He grabbed my keys and held them up for closer inspection. I have a key fob, pictured above, that is a fake silver bullet (with a big hole in it) that I got in some NRA newsletter a while back. It's monogrammed with Charlton Heston's name and "Silver Bullet Brigade" on it. Anybody that actually has seen a real bullet, would immediately recognize this one as bogus. It kind of caught me off guard, because I hadn't ever given that thing a second thought and was a little surprised by their (security's) reaction to it. It's a fake bullet, firmly attached to a glob of keys afterall. But I was not going to be allowed to take it. It was no big deal to me really, but at the same time I didn't like the idea of them taking something away from me either. I asked them what my options were and they said I could either mail it to myself or have them confiscate it. I said I'd mail it back and one of the guards escorted me back into the terminal. He was a pretty cool guy about it, but he said one thing that really demonstrated the intensity of paranoia at the airport. He said "the problem is, you hold that thing up in front of a flight attendant and the next thing you know you've got an F-16 flying next to ya." BWAAAHAAAA...I ask you, would YOU be afraid if I pulled out my keys and tried to hijack the plane with them?

Flying these days is getting to be such a pain in the ass....

I had sent Acidman an email the night before, telling him that I was going to be in his town county the following day and that I'd like to take him out for a drink or two if possible. On Friday morning, just before leaving for the airport, I checked my email and Acidman had left a message with his phone number, saying to give him a call once I got there. I flew to Jacksonville, FL, rented a car and drove to my friend Hope's place in Guyton, GA, arriving around 6:00 on Friday night. I called the Acidman and we set up a dinner date for 8:00 at Wisenbacker's restaurant in Rincon. I told him that I was bringing two women with me, my friend Hope and her friend Joan. Unfortunately, Joan decided that she really didn't look good enough (she was wrong) to go out on such short notice and bowed out just before we left to meet Acidman.

Acidman and I have never met before, so he said to look for a guy wearing a camouflage hat. When we got to the restaurant, wouldn't you know there were five guys wearing camo hats (hey Goddess, can you send me the picture that's supposed to go here)? Still, it was easy to pick out Acidman. It's a well known fact in the blogosphere that he looks a lot like this guy. He was sitting at the bar, talking to one of the locals. Hope and I introduced ourselves and sat down at the bar. We all had a few beers and some good conversation, mostly about blogging of course, before ordering dinner.

Although Acidman tells a different story, we had a real good time and ended up closing the bar down, being the last ones to get kicked out leave. I was quite impressed too that he insisted on picking up the tab, demonstrating his gracious southern hospitality in spades. I owe him one for that. Hope and I said goodbye to Acidman in the parking lot around 11:00 or so I guess.

A trip to River Street

Hope wanted to show me River Street in Savannah, which was just a short drive away. So we hopped in my little rental car and drove into Savannah. Now I've never been to River street before and I was pretty impressed. It's a quaint little cobblestone street along the Savannah river full of shops, restaurants and taverns. It even has a set of old trolley tracks running down the middle. I made the remark that Savannah sure does have a lot of cops, as they were everywhere it seemed. There were quite a few people on the street, mostly young folks going from pub to pub and I suppose that's why there were so many officers out and about. Hope directed me as I drove, but something just didn't seem right to me. I told her that the street was way too narrow and that it seemed like it should be a one way street. She assured me that it was not and we continued on. I was becoming more and more uncomfortable as I had to really be careful to stay clear of the traffic going the other way on the street and I was proceeding along slowly. The next thing I know, there is one of Savannah's finest standing in front of the car, pointing a flashlight in my eyes. I stopped and he approached me with a look of disgust on his face. He said "Sir, you are going the wrong way on a one way street, please turn around." Needless to say, Hope was a bit embarrased by this turn of events, but the cop was cool and we just turned around and went back the way we came. It was getting kind of late, so we didn't do the walking tour and instead decided to head back to Guyton.

Another run in with the Jawja law

As we were leaving Savannah, I came to a stop light and as I approached the car in front of me I realized that my headlights weren't on. My rental car had a set of those fog lights on the bottom and I had them on, but not the headlights. I switched them on and happened to look in my rear view mirror and noticed that a police car was right behind me. I was hoping that he hadn't noticed that my headlights had been off. The light turned green and as soon as I cleared the intersection the blue lights came on behind me. I was being pulled over by another one of Savannah's finest. I immediately pulled over and parked on the shoulder. I put both hands on the steering wheel (a lesson learned from a cop friend of mine) as two cops approached the car. It was a man and a woman. They approached VERY cautiously and stayed just behind the driver side door, shining a flashlight in my face (again). They looked kind of nervous, especially the female cop. She asked me for my driver's license, registration and proof of insurance. I had the license and proof of insurance, but since I was driving a rental car, I didn't have a registration and told her as much. I gave her what I had. As I handed her my documentation, the male officer said "please step out of the car, sir". This immediately sent up a red flag in my mind, as this is not the usual technique employed by the cops where I come from. That is, unless there is something much more sinister going on than just your headlights being off. By now, I myself was becoming nervous.

As I got out of the car, the male officer directed me to the back of the car. The female cop stayed right there too, holding my license and insurance card. The man told me that he had pulled me over because I was driving without headlights. I informed him that it was a rental car and that I was still a bit unfamiliar with it, but that I hadn't noticed the headlights were off until moments before he pulled me over and that the light from the fog lamps had been apparently more than enough for me to see while driving through the well lit city streets. I said that it was an honest mistake. He asked me if I had had anything to drink that evening. Of course I had spent most of the evening at a bar with Acidman and had (from my calculations) four draft beers with him. I had also had two or three before I even met up with him and I told the officer that yes, I had a few beers. He asked me how many and I said "three", all the while hoping beyond hope that it would all be over right then and there. Alas, this was not going to be the case of course and he asked me if I would mind doing some stupid human tricks (AKA a field sobriety test). I said that I would comply. In Georgia, there are apparently three different tests used to determine a driver's probability of being beyond the .08 BAC allowed by Georgia state law. The officer asked me if I wore contacts or glasses and I said that I did not. In my case, the officer only used one of several tests, which was the "Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test". You know it as the one where the cop holds a pen in the air and asks you to follow it with your eyes as he moves it from side to side. Before starting the test, the officer held his pen in the air and held a flashlight on it, asking me if I could see the top of the pen. I said that I could. He asked me to put my index finger on the top of it, which I did without hesitation and I touched it with what I considered to be excellent precision. He then told me to keep my head facing directly towards him and to follow the pen as he moved it with only my eyes. He moved that stupid pen back and forth for what seemed like eternity and I only barely moved my head once, but caught myself immediately and continued following the pen with my gaze. When he finished, I again felt like I had completed the test successfully. The officer then asked me to wait there by the car, as he went back to his. His partner, the female cop, was standing there watching me and as I leaned against the back of my car to wait for the other cop, I put my hands in my pockets. This visibly agitated the female cop and she instructed me to take my hands out my pockets, which I did. I then crossed my arms, and that was apparently ok. About this time, I noticed two more cops, lights ablazin', arriving on the scene. This was starting to become quite a show for people driving through that busy intersection, because I noticed a lot of rubber neckers as I stood there waiting. Finally, the male cop came back with something in his hand. I figured that it was probably a breathalizer, which turned out to be correct. The officer asked me if I would mind taking this test as well. Now, as I said before, I had already done some calculations in my head as to the number of beers that I had had that evening over the course of about 5 hours. I'm still pretty sure that number was 7, which I was certain would exceed whatever Georgia's blood alcohol limit is for a person of my puny size (160 lbs.). Not to mention, I could tell that these people were intent on busting me. I did NOT want to take this test. I told the officer that I was confused because I thought that I had passed his previous test without a problem and asked if this was not the case. He said that no, I did not pass the first test, but he refused to tell me at what point I failed insisting that the breathalyzer would help him to make a more definitive conclusion as to my sobriety. I told him that I was unfamiliar with Georgia's DUI laws and asked what would happen if I refused to take the breathalyzer test. He informed me that that would be fine, but that we would have to "go back to his office" and take the test there. At this point, I was feeling a little bit cornered, given the circumstances and I reluctantly agreed to take the breathalyzer test. He held up the device and instructed me to take a deep breath and blow hard into it. He said that he'd be able to tell if I was blowing hard enough by holding his hand on the other side of the blow tube. As I began to blow, he told me to blow harder, repeating it the entire time as I exhaled. When I was nearly depleted of breath, I gave one final hard blow and he said "ok, that's good". I was shaking from nervousness by now and very concerned as to what that little meter might say as he looked down at it. He was careful not to allow me to see it though. He began to tell me something about why it was an unfortunate part of his job to make DUI arrests and how it is a common thing for them to do on a Friday or Saturday night. I'm not really sure what he was getting at and I didn't care, I wanted to know what that meter said and at the same time trying not to think about being some bubba's bitch in a Savannah jail cell that night. The cop then told me that in Georgia, the legal limit for drunk driving was .08 blood alchohol content (oh great I thought, it's even lower than Ohio's .10 limit. I'm a goner). Then he looked at me and said, "fortunately for you, you fell well short of that number". "Wha?" I thought to myself, "that can't possibly be correct!". I was shocked and elated of course, though I acted as though I had fully expected that result. The officer then stated the obvious, which was to be more careful about driving around without my headlights on at night (I think I learned that one the moment the flashing blue lights appeared in my rear view mirror) and then, finally, he said that I was free to go back to my car and be on my way.

After I got back home, I took a look at this chart, which shows you how to calculate your blood alcohol content. Based on this chart, I calculated that my BAC should have actually been .089 (7 beers for a 160lb. person=.164 - (.015 x 5 hours)), which was just slightly over the Georgia limit, but it may have swung in my favor as I had not had any alcohol for at least an hour prior to being stopped. I'll never know, but I'm certainly grateful for whatever the reason was that I dodged that bullet. whew!

All in all though, it was a successful trip. We made it back to Ohio without incident and I gained some good memories along the way. I've always liked a good road trip.

I'm off to Manhattan tomorrow morning for the next 2 days, so no blog for you until the weekend...

Posted by: Marc  

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