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Beep! (TRL Style)

Ok, so at lunch my boss and I head to Panera for something to eat.

After we eat we hop in his Hyundai and head back to the office.

Beep!

Very faint… just loud enough to annoy you. What the hell is that? I dunno.

Mike starts to wonder if his wife has something in the car tracking him. LOL. Wonder what HE’S been up to? :)

Its very annoying. Every 30 seconds. About 10 minutes later he says its driving him crazy so I tell him to pull into a side street and we’ll find it.

I start searching my side. He searches his. Beep! I’m convinced it is a battery going dead on something. Maybe one of his kids toys. Maybe on a tracking device (LOL). It sounds like its coming from the dash. I’m looking. I tell him to shut the car off and see if it continues. He does. It does. :(

I look under the seat. Beep! Nothing. I walk near the front of the car outside the windshield. He tells me he doesn’t hear it but I do. Nope, its louder INSIDE the car. I pop the hood. I can still hear it but faint. I move to his side and tell him I hear it over there too so maybe the sound is bouncing around in there. Finally we give up and get in the car. He’s almost ready to stop at a garage on the way back to see if they can figure it out.

It sounds loudest on top of the dash on the passenger side… like where the airbag is.

We get back in and drive back to work. I swear it may be in the door. We pull in and he’s ready to tear the car apart. I tell him to park where there is an empty spot next to us so I can open the door. I get on my knees and have my ear next to the door. Nope, doesn’t sound louder there.

Wait! There is a remote control to open the gate on his driveway. I bet the battery is going dead. I hold it to my ear. Beep! Not louder.

This goes on and on for thirty minutes. Its hot. I’m sweaty.

I finally take the remote and walk away from the car with it.

Beep!

I look at him and ask if he heard the beep in the car. Nope. Not since you walked off.

It IS this remote! I pull the battery. Beep! I tell him there’s probably a capacitor in it so it’ll take awhile for the juice to run out.

We go back inside work laughing. I try to get him to put it in the directors office somewhere to drive her crazy. I head back to my desk. Beep!

I reach in my pocket…

My Map Of States I have “Visited”

I’ve been traveling (standby) a lot the last month.  In fact the last three weekends.

Weekend 1: MEM-LAX-LAS-DTW-MEM
Weekend 2: MEM-TPA-MEM
Weekend 3: MEM-DTW-ERI-DTW-MEM

It all depends on the time of year.  Getting in and out of Florida during the couple ‘Spring Break’ months each year is tough.  Winter is tough to Florida.  Summer is easier but then the number of flights is cut back because not many people travel to Florida in the summer.

Weather has a lot to do with it as some bad weather in a completely different area of the country than where I want to go can just clog the entire system.

It’s best to travel on the flights that leave earliest in the day.  The customers who miss those flights get put on the next flight.  Those who end up missing THAT one to an even later flight.  By the end of the day – if there are weather delays about the country – things get tough.  So I try to get up really early and take the first flight of the day if I can.

I do travel alone most of the time which makes it a lot easier.

Anyway, I broke out my US map the other day.  The one that I have that I color in red – the states I’ve been to in my life.  I don’t know how long I’ll have the benefit of standby travel but I think I’ll try to fill in some more of these states just for something to do. :)

I have a rule though.  In order for it to ‘count’ you have to actually EXIT the airport property.  The point is that just connecting to LA in Minneapolis doesn’t count as a visit to Minnesota. 

I’ve flown through Dallas a bunch of times but I’ve never set foot on Dallas soil outside of the airport terminal.  Though I’m just talking ‘states’ and I’ve been to Texas a number of times.

I mean I’ve flown THROUGH Detroit a bunch of times – even spent a night sleeping in the terminal, but I’ve never technically BEEN to Michigan.

On my way to Bali in 1991 for a skydiving meet I got off the plane in Hawaii while they boarded some surfers and refueled.  But we were technically an international flight at that point and could not leave the gate area.  So I’ve never really ‘been’ to Hawaii.

Hawaii should be fun though.  But unlike the rest of the country, Hawaii would probably requires a day or two of vacation.  Who wants to go to Hawaii and then just turn around and come back home? :(

I’m retired from the Marines and the military has a resort somewhere in Hawaii… right on the beach.  The rooms are pretty cheap so maybe I’ll take a couple days off and go there sometime.

I also am aquainted with quite a few people online that I’ve never met.  Nothing like meeting up with one of them for lunch on a Saturday afternoon huh? :)

Just looking at the map a few things jump out…

I’d like to knock off Iowa by visiting the “Field Of Dreams”.
I’d like to knock off Wyoming by visiting Yellowstone.
I’d like to knock off Oregon by visiting – getting as close to as I can – Mt. Rainer
I’d like to knock off Washington but taking a pic in front of Microsoft and/or seeing Mt. St Helens.
I’d like to go to Oklahoma and get a really good steak.
I’d like to go to Arizona and see Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon

Of course I’d go anywhere to watch a minor league baseball game with someone who wanted to go.  Or even by myself.

Oh well.  Maybe some of you have some other ideas.

Here’s my current map.

Weight, Weekend, Class

Weight.  My weight.  I’ve always had problems being overweight.  I’m a pretty big guy.  I don’t even know what it’s like to be skinny.  I really don’t think I’d like it.  When I was in the Marines I was about 185lbs… 5’11” tall.  I ran 3 miles a day.  Over the years I put weight back on.  Different times I’d be huge… then back down.  But never to Marine Corps weight.  I think I wore 36″ waist pants then.  I actually kept wearing 36’s almost up til I moved to Alabama from Delaware in 1998.  Before I left Delaware I used to run a lot at lunch time.  This girl Kathy I worked with used to go out and run with me.  Tim, another friend, would run sometimes too.  I ran every day.  3-4 miles.  I hated every second of it… unless Kathy was running with me… running behind Kathy kept my mind off the pain… but that’s another story. :)

Anyway, after moving to Alabama I kept in decent shape because the NASA space center I worked at was on an Army base.  I am retired from the Marines so I can use the workout facilities on bases and did.  When I left Huntsville for Memphis I was checking in at about 222lbs.  I didn’t look too bad.  I met my ex-wife the following year.  I was working on a big project at Thomas & Betts where I worked.  We worked huge amounts of hours.  I was a contractor so I got paid hourly and made a good living.  BUT… the project kept me from working out, running… and kept me eating garbage.  They had cookies all over in there.  And people would bring in bags of M&Ms and other junk.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I have no self discipline.  I ballooned up to like 270 or something.  I went from 222 when I moved to Memphis to 270 on my wedding day… all within a year.  I’m surprised my ex-wife didn’t just leave me standing at the alter… lol.

Anyway… I was living in a house with two kids and there were lots of cookies and stuff around… I really never gained MORE weight, but I never really lost any either.

I think around 2001 my cholesteral was kind or high.  My doc told me to start watching what I ate.  I said OK.  My wife asked me if he put me on some medication and I said ‘No, he just told me to watch what I eat’.  She made a face and the next day when she went to the same doctor she told him to write me a perscription for cholestoral medication.

I didn’t like that I was basically being reminded that I couldn’t be responsible for myself… but she was probably right. :)

The medication was called Zocor.  It is a ‘statin’.  It is used to control cholesteral levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zocor

A lot of studies were done and they showed that statins could help people from a preventive point of view even if they did not HAVE high cholesteral.

“It has now become apparent that patients with one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease (such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension or a positive family history) can benefit from statins—even if they do not have substantially elevated cholesterol levels.”

The only reason doctors didn’t just perscribe it like asprin is that it cost a lot.  Like three bucks a pill.  Now it is available in generic form and the price of it has dropped.  Even in the UK it is available over the counter.  Neat stuff.

Anyway, back to the weight.  I guess a couple years ago my doc wanted to put me on some blood pressure medication.  It wasn’t WAY high but it was up above normal.  I knew if I brought my weight down it would drop too.  Of course I didn’t.

Anyway I was looking the other day.  Everytime I tried to lose weight I used to keep track in a spreadsheet.  I took those spreadsheets and pulled out a few dates from each.  You can see how my weight has changed over the years from 1999 when I moved to Memphis until now.  We recently started a ‘Biggest Loser’ contest at work.  So far I’m down like 13 lbs almost.  If I can keep it up I hope to get down to 240 or even less by July.  240 might sound like a lot of weight to you, but I’d look great.  Trust me on that.   That’s the goal.

Ok.  This weekend.  This past weekend I flew down to Fort Lauderdale to meet my friend Eddy.  I ‘met’ Eddy on an internet forum that has to do with Tivo.  Actually there is a huge group of people on there that just are very good friends.  They get together and plan vacations together and meet one another all the time.  Literally hundreds of people.  I met a large group of them in Columbus, OH last October and we all had a great time.  That is where I first actually ‘met’ Eddy.  This weekend the plan was for me to come to FLL, meet Eddy’s wife and two boys… then in the late afternoon drive cross state to Naples to meet a few other people from the forum for dinner.  Then come back to Eddy’s place and go home Sunday afternoon.

When I got to Florida Eddy picked me up.  We went direct to the Muvico and bought tickets to see “Iron Man” and waited for Eddy’s wife Susan to show up with the boys.  We went in and watched the movie.  I don’t go to the movies much.  Maybe twice in the last year.  But I had a great time.  “Iron Man” was a very enjoyable flick.  Go see it.  We went back to Eddy’s house which is in a beautiful gated community in the area.   I was shown to the guest room, got changed and we headed across Alligator Alley to Naples where we met TL, Roy and Roy’s wife Tracey for dinner.  We ate at a place in Naples called Michelbobs – www.michelbobs.com.  It was ok.  Not as good as the ribs they have at Corky’s in Memphis – www.corkysbbq.com – I really like “dry” ribs – but they’re babyback ribs were pretty good.  Here is a photo of the crew while at MichelBobs.  That’s Eddy, TL, Tracey, Roy & me.

When we finished no one really wanted to go home, but we had to leave because people were waiting for our table.  So what’s the next best thing to do?  That’s right.  Hooters!

A quick drive to the new Naples Hooters and we were sitting down watching the Flyers beat the Canadians while having a desert of chicken wings.

Afterward we said our goodbyes and Eddy & I headed back to Fort Lauderdale.  The next morning I got up and got ready and Eddy took me to a Cuban restaurant that he meets his Godmother and her friends from the retirement community… and his brother Emilio for breakfast each week.

Eddy sat me at the English speaking end of the table.  Next to an elderly Jewish woman named Lydia (I think).  We had a great conversation while I ate my scrambled huevos and drank about 3 or 4 cups of real expresso… the good stuff.

I totally enjoyed my weekend with Eddy and his family.  I hope they’ll let me visit again one day.  The Tivo Community Forum is one great group of people.  You’ll be hearing more about them later… trust me.