I Must Be Adopted

I am truly hopeful that I am adopted, and thus not as messed up as the rest of my family.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The "What If...?" Game

Every guy's least favorite game... Because 1) there is no way to win, 2) we have no idea when it's over (there's no game clock) and 3) sooner or later, we will give a wrong answer. This is typically the only way the game ends.

It all started not innocently enough...

We love our neighborhood. We have no problems with any of our neighbors. We're not buddy-buddy with many of them, but we are at least cordial/social with all of them. There is, however, one butthole in the neighborhood -- Doug (maybe it's the name, because every Doug I know is a jerk).

Thankfully for us, Doug lives around the block and down the street. We are unaffected in a direct manner by Doug. We do, however, get to hear about Doug, because often those directly affected will call Traci to see what they should do. People know she is a lawyer, and either did at the time, or (now) used to work at the DA's office. The answer is always the same -- call the police and file a complaint.

Several months ago, Doug threatened to shove a wiffle ball bat up a 12 year-old's a-s because the the 12 year-old hit a wiffle ball into Doug's yard. We believe the 12 year-old did nothing else wrong, because among other things, Doug admitted it to the police when the time came.

Last night, while walking his dog in front of another house that has a dog, that said dog came running out into the street barking at Doug and his dog. Keyser, the dog in question, is 11 years-old and all of 15 pounds when wet -- it's a small poodle type dog. Turns out the family who lives at this home is trying to get Keyser used to the invisible fence. Keyser was able to slip out the door without his collar, but with the female owner right behind him.

Admittedly, Keyser has done the exact same thing to me while walking Bailey -- though this was some time ago, and before the invisible fence. I just put myself between Bailey and Keyser, and held Keyser at bay until the woman -- apoligizing profusely -- got there. No big deal. I'm not a fan of Keyser, but he's 15 pounds... he's not going to hurt you.

Doug took a different tack. He kicked Keyser; hard from what the witnesses say. When the owner got there, remember she was right behind Keyser, Doug proceded to tell her that he was "going home to get his gun." He was then going to "shoot your f--king dog, and then you, you f--king c-nt!"

This all happened about the same time that people arrive home from work, so there were a handful of people who were either just getting home, or who had come out because of hearing the screaming. A small handful of people witnessed the entire thing from beginning to end. These people confronted Doug and said he should go home. We then got the call from Jen who got the call from Amy (Keyser's owner) because it was Jen's 12 year-old who Doug had threatened with a wiffle ball bat.

Every call began and ended with "Call the police." Traci's happy to talk to the people and explain best/worst case scenarios, but in the end, calling the police on this type of behavior (especially in light of past incidents) should not be a questioin.

After the calls, and after the dinner, my game began.

"What would you have done if Doug kicked Bailey?" Legit question.
"What would you do if he hit me?" Here we go...
"What would you do if someone threatened me?" I skipped some of the questions, and this might not have even been the last one, but I ended the game by saying:

"I would beat the crap out of that person. Then I would track down his father, and beat the crap out of him. Then I would beat the crap out of any of his sons. Then the male cousins. Followed by male second-cousins, then third cousins. I would leave those who are related via the whole twice-removed thing alone. Mostly, because I honestly don't understand that twice-removed thing, and how close can somebody really be, if the word "removed" is part of the legal description of your relationship, let alone twice removed."

"Well, now your just saying things." No kidding.

I explained that sooner or later, I would mis-step and she'd get mad. I then proceded to head off the "No I wouldn't" comment, by pointing out that in the past, she's woken up mad at me for something I did in her dreams.

Thanks Doug.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oh Snap!

This was the response I got when I explained to someone here that Comcast transferred the susucom.net domain name away from our (Suscom DNS) servers to their own AND did not create any records other than:


So, as of right now most everything is broken in the suscom.net world (mail, tech support tools, Guide data for cable customers, etc...)

They did not bother to ask anybody if anything would break upon doing so... they just did it.

But, hey... everything is just Comcastic!



1) Had my bachelor party in Atlantic City this weekend. Yes, it was post-wedding, but since you asked (for those who did ask in their head), my grandmother went into a coma 3 days before my originally scheduled one and was given 48 hours. She lasted nearly 72. I cancelled the original one. As it turns out, she died on that day.

2) The posting is late, because I was ill yesterday... very ill. Nothing to do with the weekend, just something I ate. Still kinda ill.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Trash Day - No Rain

Well, it would seem that complaining here has a positive affect on somethings... lets try some more.


Complaint 1 - Salaries

We have received Traci's W2 from work, and are just waiting on mine, so that I can complete our taxes for the 2006 calendar year -- I've got access to everything else.

I use TurboTax, so it's relatively easy to do multiple tax return scenarios, simply by changing what you want... total time invested last night was 15 minutes.

The other good thing about TurboTax, is if you've used it in the previous year, you can import your tax file. When working through the process, at different stages, it will show you your current tax situation as compared to the previous year's (I'm sure all tax software does this.)

This is where my compliant comes in. In 2005 Traci worked in private practice. She hated it. Hated the firm, hated the type of law, hated tracking her time in 15 minute increments, hated (how should I say this) the pressure to spend more time completeing a task for a weathly client than was necessary -- spending 30 minutes filling out a form that should only take 5~10 minutes, etc...

In 2006, she went back working for local government, where the pressures are reversed... Get as much done in as little time as possible. She likes this environment. She feels she's working more for the client's true interest (getting the correct outcome with respect to justice), than her employer's pocketbook. Nothing is a perfect system, but she likes where she's at.

Problem is she took a 20% pay-cut to go from private practice to public service. We knew this going in. However, the county lawyers (they are members of a Teamster's Union) were supposed to get a new contract at the beginning of 2006 and a pay increase to go with that new contract. While we didn't know what that increase would be, we figured, anything would help offset the initial pay reduction.

It is now January of 2007, and no contract or pay increase yet. Staring in July of 2006, we heard "anytime now..."

Comcast asked me to take a similar pay decrease, along with other de-incentives for the new job.

My compliant. We both do good work... somebody pony up the money. We BOTH can't take a 20% pay decrease. Not going to happen.

We've committed/promised the County, Traci would work there for 2 years. We are both people of our word. She will work there for 1 more year, and then she's going to find something in the private sector. She gets asked once or twice a month by different attorneys/firms if she is interested in leaving the public sector. She'll just have to find something that she likes or at least can tolerate in the private sectore. I'm pretty sure she has a standing offer from a local firm (fairly large for our area)... She's just never investigated it.


Compliant 2 - Student Loan Interest

Another reason I was interested in playing with Traci's taxes, was that I was trying to figure out exactly how much of the money we pay in student loan interest we get back.

I was, however, dismayed to learn that there is still a cap of $2,500 that you can claim in interest paid on student loans.

I pay more than $2,500, why can't I claim more? I'll give my arguments.

The government employs/contracts social scientists and economists to study certain problems and help devise ways to incentivize people to do what the government wants -- Yes, for right or wrong, we are manipulated by the government.

For example, mortgage interest. It's a proven fact (many, many times over), that home ownership promotes a productive society -- increased productivity, lower crime rates, better educated populace, etc... Therefore, we are allowed to deduct our interest mortgage to help offset the cost of our home.

In the same vein, they also allow us to deduct interest paid on student loans, because a better educated populace helps decrease the crime rate (even more so in the area of violent crime than other areas), promotes productivity, raises GDP, increases the tax base, etc...

Here's my argument. The better educated the populace, the more positive an affect there is in the areas mentioned above. Higher educations cost more money -- a law degree is considered a doctoral degree (Juris Doctorate means doctor of law). Everywhere you read about post-high school education, costs are constantly increasing. Help offset these costs by letting us deduct all of our student loan interest.

For the past 4 years (I've only been paying these loans for 4 years), I've only been allowed to deduct the maximum of $2,500. At that level, it will be several more years before I'm under that cap.

Mr. Bush (I know you read my mail and my blog, thankfully you now need permission from the FISA court to tap my phone), either eliminate the cap, or raise the cap.

P.S. You will get 15% of what you pay in student loan interest back in taxes


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Desperately Seeking South Carolina

Talked to Laura (sister) last night.

She plans to put her house on the market in 30~45 days. She wants to move to South Carolina; specifically the Myrtle Beach area. She has interviewed for a job down there (just a week ago), and had her resume in at a couple of other places down in that area.

Though she will not admit it yet, Shanon will be moving with her.

I wish her luck... I know she's wanted to move for a while now.


Monday, January 15, 2007


In honor of all the NFL playoff losers.
Both of Traci's teams won this weekend (Saints and Patriots). Maybe they'll meet in 3 weeks.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Insurance Update

As an update -- Liberty Mutual (at least in my area) provides discounts for graduates of York College and Penn State.

pretty good discounts too -- couple hundred dollars less than:

Erie (Reptile Haters) -- I already had my car insurance with them
Geico - (Reptile Haters)

Global Warming

Read an article this morning, stating that Exxon Mobile has started to distance themselves from organizations who are skeptical about Global Warming...

Wonder if that means they are going to distance themselves from the Republican party?

Rainy Trash Days

It's my blog, so I can complain about anything I want...

For the past 11 weeks, every time I sit the trash out come Friday morning, I do so in either rain or a light drizzle.

I'm tired of rain on Friday morning trash days!!!

Now for those of you who want to verify my claim, you will discover that the Friday after Turkey Day was clear and bright (or at least not raining) and it falls in this 11 week window claim.

The problem with that is the Friday after Turkey day, there was no trash collection -- it happened on Saturday for me.

So, again, for the past 11 weeks, every time I sit the trash out come Friday morning, I do so in either rain or a light drizzle.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm a victim...

Well, actually my snake, is a victim of "Reptilian Discrimination", and I wonder if the Geico Gecko knows what kind of company he is endorsing!

I am working on consolidating all of Traci and I's insurance needs under one policy/company.

So far Erie and Geico (a Reptilian Represented company), will not insure my home because I own a 4', non-venomous ball python that is kept in a locked terrarium. It would seem that reptiles are considered an exotic animal and thus disqualify a homeonwer from being insured.

They don't seem to have a problem with my 130+ lb. dog (which of course is extremely friendly).

My dog stands a greater chance of maming/killing you -- because of his sheer size and exuberance upon greeting people -- than my snake. Other than mice, the snake has never hurt a living thing, and I've had it drapped around the necks of several 2~3 year old children.

Sean's daughter has even requested that she be driven to my house a couple of times, simply to visit with the snake.

What a crock of "snake".


No idea what team showed up last night.

Bottom line -- Florida showed up ready to play, and Ohio State did not.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Loans, and the interest we pay on them.

Anybody ever look at their payments on loans and see what amount goes towards interest and what goes toward principle?

Most people who have a mortgage do this on annual basis. Yesterday I was looking into the specifics of Traci's law school loans (preparing for the 2006 tax filing.).

I know all the details of her loans, but I never really looked at the details of the monthly payments -- what went towards interest vs. principle.

Let me first tell you that on her Federally subsidized student loans, the interest rate we pay is ridiculously low -- savings account type interest rate low.

Turns out, we pay more in interest in 3 days than we pay on the principle for the month.

Before those with mortgages say "So what", bear in mind that a GREAT mortgage rate is in the neighborhood of %6. I'm paying less than half that (well less.).

If you are reading this and are thinking about going to law school (or any other school requiring large loans), borrow as LITTLE as possible. Traci did, and I'm very thankful for that. I know some of her friends/co-workers borrowed the maximum at times and took trips, bought new cars, etc... Good luck paying all that back.


After Ohio State wins tonight, I will post another to honor Florida.

Go Buckeyes!!!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Traci accident update

Nothing yet, but just this morning she informed me she swerved to avoid a mailbox yesterday morning... The incident was a little too close for even her comfort.

This may have been the wake-up call she needed.

Have I mentioned her car is only 5 months old?!?!?!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Update on Josh

This one is mainly for Todd.

Last I heard (mid-November), he was about to start for the LIU. Some tech/pc support position, or something like that.

I don't think he was really excited about it, but I suppose the "roommate" was tired of supporting him, and gave him an ultimatium -- either get busy working, or get busy (insert ending here)...

Can't wait for the comments on this one... :-)

Josh, if you really want my PS3, let me know. I'll sell it to you for exactly what I paid; nothing more.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Game Console Hell

This very moment, I have 3 game consoles sitting in my living room:

- Nintendo Wii (unopened)
- Microsoft Xbox 360
- Sony Playstation 3

Here's how it happened, and which one I'm going to keep -- the answer may surprise you.

For my MBA Graduation, I told myself "Self, I'm going to buy you a Playstation 3 and Madden '07." -- Madden '07 is the only game I REALLY want to play. Anything else is just a bonus.

However, I'm sure all of you know just how difficult these little puppies (PS3's) are to find. Needless to say, I did not purchase a Playstation 3 the minute they came out, nor did I purchase one in the calendar year of 2006.

As it turns out, I had vacation the week between Xmas and New Years, so after much hem-hawing, I went out in search of a game console -- figured I would end up with an Xbox 360, but that I would try them all (all that were available) and pick the one I wanted. Deep down, I figured I would get the PS2 or the Wii (spend as little as possible) and just wait till summertime and pick-up a PS3 when they became commonplace.

Stopped into Target @ 9:30am on a Wednesday. They had just gotten 23 Wii's in @ 9am, and only had 5 left. While I stood and stared at the Wii display (5 minutes) 2 of these 5 were sold. Figured I would pick one up, and at the very least sell on eBay or return to store if that didn't work out. That is still the plan, and you can purchase my Wii off of eBay if you would like.

At the same time, I picked up my XBox 360 Premium, Madden '07, and an extra wireless controller. Got home, setup the XBox and played some Madden. VERY good!! 1080i HD graphics on a 65" HD screen.

When I arrive back into work today, I discover that our local GameStop has a supply of Playstation 3's in stock. I'm told they have "tons". Short version of this is that at 1pm, I bought the last one. Also purchased Madden '07. My plan was either return the XBox to Target if they would accept it, or sell it to friend/eBay -- knew I would take a loss, but I got what I wanted -- Playstation 3.

Got home after work, and setup it up. Took some time -- downloaded an update, created account on Sony Store, etc...

Booted Madden '07. At this point, my heart sank. Madden '07 on PS3 only supports 480i/480p/720p -- no 1080i. My TV does not support 720p as a native resolution. When I watch ABC (ESPN included) or CBS the cable box converts their 720p broadcasts into 1080i for my TV, so I get to watch the content in HD -- NBC and other stations broadcast in 1080i natively... Right now, there is a split between which format the broadcasters use. Those who broadcast fast moving pictures (sports) generally choose 720p -- less pixalization. The rest seem to choose 1080i -- crisper picture.

Madden booted to the best resolution that both the game and my TV support -- 480p. Don't know if you've ever seen 480 on a large screen, but it's not pretty. Not when you are used to High-Def content.

Even had Traci compare the video (she is NOT a video gamer in the least -- not even technologically inclined). The XBox blew the PS3 away in graphics... Solely because of the 1080i v. 480p resolution, but that's what I have, so that's what I have to compare.

Bottom line, out of all the game consoles sitting down stairs now, I could have saved myself a lot of grief/time/trouble and just purchased the XBox from the beginning. The problems with that are:

1) I HATE Microsoft, and loathe giving them money.
2) I wouldn't have known what I was missing with the PS3, until I got it home. In stores, they always have the console attached to a TV screen that can support 720p and 1080i, so you get the best possible resolution for the game you are watching/demoing.

Anybody want to buy a very slightly used PS3 and Madden '07 combo?

Monday, January 01, 2007


The New Year is always full of so much potential...