Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why Ask Why Ask Rick?

Kids ask why.  I've never been fond of the "because I told you so" answer.  It grates.

Yesterday, my eldest missed school because she was sick.  My rule is, "you write the note and I'll sign it".  I just can't let them be sick for nothing.

She was typing the note in on the computer while I stood over her shoulder with my trusty bull whip and I noticed she was single spacing after periods.  I told her she needed to double space after periods.  She said, "why do you have to do that?"

At first I was kind of concerned about the quality of education in schools these days.  Then I said, "I don't know, that's just the way they do it."  Whoever "they" are.

I immediately regretted it.  Okay, 12 hours later I regretted it.  Why do they double space after periods?  Is it for readability?  It creates better delineation between sentences so you can easily tell where one sentence starts and another stops?  I could have had an entire dialog.  It's not just periods, it's any ending to a sentence, but I didn't do any of that.  I behaved like Rick.

We should be appreciative when youngsters ask why.  And when you answer, they should ask why again.  You'll be grooming a mind to not vote for people like Rick Santorum.

edit: I have been shown the error of my ways. It seems to be, in fact, wrong to double space at the end of a sentence. It has something to do with fixed-width and old typewriters. And you should note how blogging can be good for you. And keep asking why.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behind The Wheel of the Gar Car

I had an epiphany the other day while I was driving to work.  And, because my blogging ideas have become muddled and unsatisfying, I've decided to share with you, the unforgiving public, my discovery.

But, before I start, I need to remind the unenlightened public that Rick Santorum might be the root of all evil.  Having him for President would be like inviting one of those television evangelists into my home for dinner.  It won't be pretty.  At this point, I don't care who you vote for; just don't vote for him.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled blogging.

I don't like people coming up behind me.  It's part of my neurosis.  When I go to a restaurant and am offered a seat, I try to pick the seat that gives me a view of the front door and preferably one in the corner where no one can sit or walk behind me.

While driving to work the other day, I was horrified to discover that this impacts my driving.  I remember taking driver's education back when I was 16 and being told that the most important rule of driving is to always be looking in the direction you are moving.  You try and follow that rule when you are terrified of people coming up behind you.  Now, put those terrifying people behind the wheel of tons of death dealing metal.  Coming up behind me... coming faster... talking on their phones... putting on their make up.  It's frightening I tell you.

I have been practicing keeping my eyes looking ahead while driving forward.  I'm at my worst when making right turns.  I have to wipe the sweat dripping from my forehead into my eyes to make a right turn without looking to the left to make sure no one is going to shoot out from the side and hit me.

I don't think you understand.  I mean everyone has to look, but ordinary people can look, then go.  I look, then go, then try to look while I'm going (it's a complete violation of rule #1).  I'm scared to admit how many tires I've ruined running over the curb trying to turn right while looking to the left.

The last wreck I had there was a girl in the car behind me talking on the phone and applying mascara.  I thought for sure she was going to ram me.  When the light turned green, I took off and rear ended the car in front of me.  It was embarrassing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Furniture Purchasing Nightmares

This has been a long time coming.  I've debated whether to tell the whole story or keep it short and sweet.  I've decided to open with the short and sweet advice and follow it up with a lengthy whiny dialog to appease the morbidly curious.

Don't ever buy furniture at Rooms To Go!  If you see the perfect leather couch at Rooms To Go for $300 and see the exact same model across the street for $900, go across the street and happily spend the extra money. 

The amount of stress Rooms To Go has caused me has probably knocked 10 years off my life expectancy.  Here's how it happened.

Back in July of 2010, I bought about $4,000 worth of living room furniture because Rooms To Go was offering a good deal and gave me four years no interest and a 42 inch LCD television.  I was concerned about spending that kind of money, but the sales people are really good.

You should hear about their warranty, "it covers everything".  You spill acid on the couch, they'll fix it for you.  You get a hole in the armchair, they'll fix it for you.  As long as you believe what they say and don't read what they write, you'll be golden.

I had the furniture for about 4 months when they call and offer me the upgraded warranty that will cover even more defects and last longer and for only $200!  Wow, says gullible me, sign me up.  They did.

8 months into my furniture ownership the center seat in my sectional lost it's padding.  You sit in the seat and feel like you're headed to the floor.  "What's up with that?"  I ponder.  I called Rooms To Go and they are very nice and send out a customer courtesy van within a week to come have a look at the couch.

The guy in the van is real polite and comes in and turns the couch over and looks up underneath it.  Then he says, "I don't have the tools to fix this, but let me show you what's happening."  Underneath the chair is a canvas type fabric holding the cushion up.  It's ripped so the cushion is falling through the fabric. He takes some pictures and says he'll have to send it in to let Rooms To Go warranty department decide how to handle it.

This all sounds rather normal.  Then the bitch from Rooms To Go warranty department calls me and says, "This type of thing is not covered under warranty.  It's considered consumer damage and as far as Rooms To Go is concerned this matter is closed."  Click, buzz.  I swear to god I almost blew a gasket.

After I cooled off a bit, I called Rooms To Go customer care and talked politely to a lady who sounded like she was too nice to be working in the "customer service from hell" department.  She looked up my purchase and said, "Well, I see you bought the extended warranty protection.  You should contact them directly."  I asked for the contact information to give it a shot.

I called them and was told to submit a ticket online.  I went to their website and submitted the ticket.  Part of the ticket was indicating when the damage was noticed.  Eventually, they contact me and say that since the damage occurred within the first year, I was still covered by Rooms To Go warranty and needed to contact their warranty department directly.

I'd already suffered that trauma and didn't feel like doing it again.  Now that I've had the furniture for almost 2 years I'm thinking about submitting another trouble ticket and fudging the numbers.  If they can be dishonest and manipulative then that's the way they want to be treated right?  I've also thought that maybe I could fix it myself, but where's the fun in that?

I'm curious how Rooms To Go stays in business.  I can't even walk near a store now.  When I drive by one, thoughts of hurling my car like a guided missile into the glass doors go fondly swimming through my head.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Sometimes it worries me immensely that the media has chosen to give Americans only two options for President.  This is one of those times.  Chiefly because Republicans seems to have been hit with a giant 2x4 of dumb assedness.

I don't like the government telling me what drugs I can take.  I don't like the government telling me how much I can drink.  I don't like the government telling me if I can kill myself.  And I don't like the government telling me who I can marry.

The government should get out of the drug business.  The government should get out of the protecting me from myself business.  And the government should get out of the marriage business.

Republican candidate extraordinaire (heightened sarcasm alert) Rick Santorum seems to have made a leap in the polls brought on by, something I can only attribute to, Stupid Ass Republican syndrome.  Of all the people I could possibly vote for, he is so far down the list it's not even funny.

He wants to fix up the constitution to make marriage a federal issue?  Do we really want the federal government doing this kind of thing?  What happened to separation of church and state?  If not for religion, then what's his excuse for wanting to modify the constitution to tell us who we can marry?

Catholics were/are in a an uproar because Obama wants employers to pay for contraception.  They say it's the government making them do something that is against their religion, but they are probably all lining up to vote for Stupid Ass Republicans.  Tell the Catholics to go do business elsewhere then.  Quit using your religion to squash people's freedoms.  In religion versus freedom I say freedom wins out.  Forcing businesses to follow healthcare standards is arguable.  Trying to get out of it because of religion is ludicrous.

How much further can you shove religion down someone's throat than by telling them who they can marry?  Stupid Ass Republicans need to find their own stupid country where they can try and force people to live by their stupid morals.  And get out of mine.  This is still the Land of the Free.  Take yourselves to the Land of the Don't Do Anything that Might be Morally Offensive to My Religion Loving Stupid Ass Mind.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend Notes and Future Promises and Experiments

How is that for a title?  I learn stuff like that from Durango.  Sometimes his titles are so lengthy, you don't have to read the post.  He doesn't call them titles.  He calls them Cliff's Notes.

I have a friend who is getting married who is in a contest.  I'm not normally one to help people win money, but she's promised me $10 for every person I get to vote for her.  And I promise to give everyone who votes from my link $2.  So follow this link and "like" her picture.  I hope that's her fiance she's with, else this whole thing is a scam.  And, you are correct, I'm completely joking about the pay per click thing.  How could I possibly know if you clicked on the link or not?  I blogged about her once before.  You can go here if you are interested.  It's an old post so the story is kind of sad now that I reread it, but I feel the same about my friends.  It's her birthday today.  Happy Birthday!  I hope both the people who read my blog like your picture!  The contest ends sometime around Valentines Day 2012.  If you're reading this in 2013, don't bother.

It's really an experiment for my future Presidential campaign so I'd really like it if you liked it.

Tonight I'm going to Vegas.  I'm leaving at 11 PM.  I've heard before that late night flights to Vegas are lots of fun.  I don't know why they are supposed to be lots of fun, but I plan to find out!  I'm celebrating another beautiful woman's birthday tomorrow.  I'll be back on Monday.

Speaking of birthdays and women, I've recently discovered (because of Facebook), that I've been in relationships (and I use that term broadly -- heheh), with several women born in February.  Perhaps in the future I'll expound upon it in an eye opening blog posting filled with tons of freaky coincidences.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rhinovirus Gar

During my aging process, I have, upon occasion, lived with several people. 

Upon reaching the wise old age of 30, I began to cause people living with me to get sick. 

It all started after my divorce.  I moved in with a friend of mine, who was also recently divorced.  I remember it like it was 12 years ago.  He sniffled and coughed the whole 6 months we lived together.  He was constantly complaining about the worst cold he ever had.  He also smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day so I didn't think too much of it.

I left him behind to start living in sin with a girl I met on the Internet.  Not long after we started living together, she suddenly came down with a cold and I thought, for a while, she was going to require hospitalization.  I finally felt sorry enough for her to kick her out of the house.

Then, I got married.  She seemed healthy most of the time, but when she got a cold, it lasted for weeks.  She'd get all stuffy headed and complain to me for weeks at a time.  It was during one of these cold induced sufferings that she decided it was time to go look for greener pastures.  And she did.

I've met another woman who likes to sit around and play video games with me and make fun of Durango.  We have lived together now for almost a year and in the last month she's gotten the worst cold she's ever had.  She blames it on just one more detriment to aging, but my neurosis has set in.

I've decided I'm the next Typhoid Mary, only with the Rhinovirus.  They'll call me Rhinovirus Gar and hopefully not shorten it to Rhino Gar.  I'm not sure I could live with the stigma.  I'm also looking to find a more tropical island once they hunt me down and force me to live in isolation.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The New Google Jewel

It's interesting that Google hosts my blog and then I write posts about Google.  I'm sure they have 100% permission to remove my account so I try to be nice...Most of the time.

First a little history for the ignorant.  Google is responsible for the Android OS which is found on millions of smart phones and various tablet computer type devices.  Yay Google!

I've had Type I Diabetes since just before my 12th birthday.  I'd tell you how many years I've had it, but then I'd give away my age and everyone who reads this assumes I'm a studly 19 year old.  I've had it longer than 10 years.  I'll even really get crazy and say I've had it for more than 20 years.  But, that's as crazy as I get.

I worry sometimes that Diabetes already has a cure, but it would put too many people out of work and impact the multimillion dollar payouts of several top CEO's who make their money selling products for Diabetes Management.  But, I'm neurotic.

Having said that I'm a fan of making diabetes easier to live with.  I currently wear an Animas Ping insulin pump.  It looks like the one pictured here, except that's not me.  I usually hide my pump in my pocket and wear long shirts that hide the tubing.  You never know I have one unless you see me eat (then I have to program it a bit).

I have tried 3 pumps in the 30 years I've had diabetes.  The first one was big and bulky and had a metal cannula that was jabbed in and left in 24/7.  It lasted about 24 hours before I threw it out and went back to daily injections.  That was back in 1984 or so.

The next one was better.  It had a plastic or soft cannula.  You have to use a needle to initially get the cannula in place, but once there, it's just a little flexible piece of plastic left behind.  Much more comfortable than the metal ones.  This one I tried in 1997 or so.  It was manufactured by a company called Medtronic and I blame it's failure on the salesman.  Not enough time spent in the setting up of the device.  My blood sugar was erratic and it kept giving me errors about occlusions which they "fixed" by arming me with longer much more painful cannulas.  I finally sent it back and went back to injections (after about 3 weeks).

Now, I've got the Animas Ping.  It's small, doesn't give me errors and the cannula is a little 6 mm piece of flexible plastic.  They spent 6 weeks calling me every day telling me to fast for 8 hours at a time to get the base insulin rate setup correctly.  This was in 2008.  After my fiasco with Medtronics I was pleasantly surprised.  The biggest bonus to me with the insulin pump (now that it's programmed correctly) is the freedom.  I was so used to eating every 5 hours whether I wanted to or not that the shear enjoyment of skipping meals was enormous.

I wasn't really going to go into all that when I started writing, but it felt right.  Insulin Pump manufacturers have to go through rigorous FDA testing to make their devices available to the (American) public.  Who knows how many millions of dollars it costs just to get Uncle Sam to approve the device and then they still have to ramp up production to meet the demands.  And this includes training the staff to, hopefully, spend 6 weeks with each patient customer to get everything programmed correctly.

Someone told me one time that the FDA kills more people every year than they save because of life saving medications that get delayed in the bureaucratic struggle of approval.  I don't know if it's true or not, but judging by how far behind the technology is in things like Insulin Pumps, I'd say it has at least a hint of truth.

Every time I have to program my pump to give myself some insulin, I'm thinking, "I could have written better code than this when I was in junior high."  It's clumsy, prone to errors, slow and super unfriendly.  To give myself a 5 units of insulin the correct way, it takes a whole lot of button presses (so many, I don't bother counting).  I can send someone a 50 word essay, using Swype, on my Android Phone, quicker than I can give myself a 5 unit bolus of insulin.

Enter Debiotech.  They're a company in Switzerland doing nano technology in the medical industry.

They've developed a tubeless insulin pump called the JewelPump.  It was shown at various shows in 2010.  I'm not sure when it was actually "developed".  It's still not FDA approved.  One of the largest hurdles to getting it approved seems to be its unique interface.  It can be programmed via Bluetooth and an application that runs on Android Devices.

That's right.  With this device I could free up one pocket because the Android Phone (which I carry around anyway) could be used to program my insulin pump.

I'm thinking this is a win-win for Google.  They've got deep pockets.  They front the money to get the pump marketed in the USA.  They get the name recognition of helping out Diabetics everywhere by helping to get this thing approved and delivered to my house.  And, because it had to go through FDA approval, it's not their fault that it will only run on Android devices.

I wouldn't even mind seeing the ads for blood testers while programming my pump.

Friday, February 3, 2012

They Might Be Insane

To further accelerate my road to insanity I went to a "They Might Be Giants" concert last night in Dallas.  I went with two hot women in an attempt to appease my Spartacus desires.  I would post pictures, but you'd be jealous and green is so ugly on you.

It occurred to me during the concert that Durango is always bugging me about my severe lack of a good knowledge of history.  Once, I tried to read a History of the World book.  I made it about halfway through.  He recommended a book to me called "Burr" which I may have made it a little over halfway through.  Why did all of this occur to me whilst watching They Might Be Giants?  Because they did this song...

It was really quite the geeky concert and there I was with a luscious babe on each arm.

I got bored and learned how to tweet with my phone. My first tweet was "My tweeter's broken". No one laughed. They were putting the tweets on the big screen at the concert.

Since I can now tweet I've added a link to the right for Random Tweets! I encourage you to follow me. It'll keep you entertained in a pinch. What does it mean to follow a tweeter? Does that make you a tweetee? I'm sure someone has already figured all of this out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Roman Mind of Gar

The other day I was at the dentist having my sensitivity problem corrected (with a drill) and my dentist started talking about the show, "Spartacus".  My new dentist is very entertaining.  He talks to his assistant the whole time he's working and his topics of conversation remind me of this blog which I'm so proud of.  As in, they are random and a bit crazy.

Anyway, his assistant apparently doesn't watch TV because she had never heard of this Spartacus show of which he spoke.

Why was he suddenly talking about Spartacus you ask?  I'm glad you did.

It all started with allergies.  The assistant was sniffling during the whole procedure.  This lead the good dentist to comment on her drainage problem, which lead to a discussion about nose cancer.

How did we get to nose cancer?  Well, the dentist is a curious person and decided to stick one of those devices up his nose to try and discern what was causing his allergy induced stuffiness.  I think this involved the usage of a mirror. 

And what should appear up his plugged orifice except some kind of strange growth which he convinced himself could be some sort of nasal cancer.

His assistant, of course, commented on how young and healthy the good dentist was and he takes care of himself so there is no way he could be suffering from some strange nostril cancer. 

And just like that, we're talking about Spartacus.  Well, they are talking about Spartacus because my mouth is full of various instruments and all I can do is make strange grunting giggling noises occasionally.

The lead actor in Spartacus, buff and healthy as he appears, recently died from lymphoma at the age of 39.  And, in this particular dentist's chair, he became an example of how healthy people can possibly go wrong and get an allergy induced rare form of nasal cancer.  I hope you're still with me.

But, when our assistant asked the dentist about Spartacus (not knowing what type of show it was), he asked her if she'd ever seen the movie Gladiator.  She had and he explained to her how Spartacus was like Gladiator except much bloodier and well, more, adult.

Having watched both Gladiator and Spartacus myself I knew exactly what he was beating around the bush about (pun intended).  Spartacus is as close to a porn as you can get on cable television.

This lead me down the path of how historically accurate shows like Spartacus are.  And if they are historically accurate how much someone like Gar might enjoy living back in the Roman times. 

I could have a house full of hot slaves and not get much sleep.  Then, eventually, there would be dozens of little Gar Spawn running around and I'd have to step over them to get any work done.  Eventually my old age would find me decrepit and gentle and I'd pick each Gar Spawn up one at a time and ask them kindly, "Who was your momma again?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Smartphone USB Connectivity Issues

I've got an Android phone which is classified, in the increasingly misleading realm, as a smartphone.  I wonder if there is a definition for smartphones.  In case you are curious, I've got a Motorola Atrix 2.  I like it.  It's a sturdy phone and I haven't had too many issues with it.  Until Monday.

On Monday, of this week, my computer at work quit recognizing my phone.  In case you've been living under a rock, I'm a geek.  I set my phone on my desk beside me and keep it plugged in.  I tether it (via USB) for Internet access.  Our work Internet access is old-fashioned DSL and is often quite slow considering it's shared amongst 50 people.  I use it to take pictures and then copy the pictures (via USB) to my computer.  It also charges (via USB) so I always have plenty of battery left.

On Monday, this all quit working.  I did a quick Internet search and apparently I'm not the only one.  There are a whole host of complaints about various "smartphone" devices losing USB connectivity to their computers.  I even saw some (shudder) iPhone complainers.

I won't lie.  I worked on it for a couple of days off and on.  It worked sporadically.  I have 10 USB ports on my computer.  One of which worked about 20% of the time.  I probably looked like a monkey in a cage participating in some kind of odd scientific experiment moving the plug from one port to another anticipating different results.

I plugged it into my server computer across the hall and it worked immediately -- same cable, same phone, same OS.  Therefore, I figured, it was the computer.  But, was it hardware of software?  Was there something wrong with the phone drivers causing the computer to misbehave?  Or were the internal USB hubs actually causing this disaster?

I tried several troubleshooting techniques including removing old USB drivers, re-installing the USB hub software for my motherboard, and doing multiple reboots.  All were fruitless.

Well, today, I finally fixed it.  Once again, I can tether, charge, and share from my Android phone via USB to my Windows 7 PC.

The trick was so simple it's almost silly.  I plugged an old USB hub into one of my 10 USB ports (so now I've got 13 ports) and plugged my phone into the hub.  Now, once again, it works flawlessly.  I'm still kind of mystified as to why it quit working.  But, I'm happy that it works again.  You can get USB hubs for less than $5 which is far less than the pain it was causing me.

I guess I should mention that I used a powered USB hub.  Not sure if the power made a difference or not.  Let me unplug it and I'll let you know.  It doesn't appear to matter.