Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug. Do you ever have a period of time in your life where you feel that nothing can go right? I am in one of those funks right now. I wouldn't really call it a Funk, but I just did...I am generally in a good mood except for the aforementioned not being able to do things correctly.

I will start with the hot water heater. Two weeks ago, I returned home from Blacksburg to find the overflow pipe of my hot water heater leaking from the top between the heater and the fastener. After countless Google searches as to what this would entail...it was determined that a new heater would be necessary. $1400 down the tubes or put another way, another flat screen for the bedroom...or to stay in savings for these lean economic times. The following week I return home only to find that my electric disconnect for my HVAC system is bad. $250 down the drain. I knew this was coming from last winter when the fuse blew a couple times. The heat must use more power than the AC because this only happens in the winter. And the final house item happened at 3:30 AM last Wednesday night. The damn smoke alarm starts beeping. EVERY MINUTE. This of course means that the battery is dieing. I went looking for a 9 volt and found one in the freezer. With hope, this would do the trick. It did not. That battery must be dead too (although licking the end still gave me a jolt). So, with the alarm still beeping, I grabbed the wire cutters. Cut the sucker off from the house's electric system. I will now have to re-connect it and get a new battery, but at least I could sleep.

Now with all of the household nightmares, I don't seem to be doing much better at work. It seems that every decision I make is not in accordance with my bosses thoughts on the topic. I know this will pass, but what can I say...I'm trying to make too many people happy right now. Trying to please clients so that we may get some work sent our way and at the same time not trying to spend too much money doing so. It is a tricky balancing act.

Should I dress as Waldo (From "Where's Waldo? fame) or Bret (From Flight of the Conchords fame)? Waldo may be easier, but Bret seems more obscure. HMMMMM. Decisions.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LEED AP and UK part 2

I passed my LEED exam today. It feels like a million bucks. I know that it is only a certification, but I have been studying pretty hard for it lately and off and on for 8 months now. It is a monkey off my back. I am now the only LEED AP in my office and most importantly can now get back to reading my book, Agent Zigzag. With some intense studying the past few weeks (2 months really) I haven't wanted to waste any time not studying. Spending two entire nights in the car after work eliminated most free time during the week.

So...I think we left it with our trip up to the British country side for Kate and Joe's wedding...we had a blast. I don't feel like getting in to it too much, but suffice it to say it was very nice and the setting was great. The day after the exam we caught a train in Evesham on our way to Edinburgh. We changed trains twice, once in...well, I don't really remember, and once again in Birmingham? It is getting fuzzy now. The second change we actually had to walk to a totally different station. Once in Edinburgh you come out of the train station right in the middle of the city, between New City and Old City. We were staying in New and headed to find our room. We rented a room during Fringe Festival at a ladies flat in a very nice old building. Her spot was quite nice. Fringe fest was fun as we saw 2 comedy plays. We also visited the Edinburgh Castle and wandered around most of the center area of Edinburgh. After a night, a full day, and another half day we headed on the train to St. Andrews. St. Andrews is home to the Old Course, the oldest golf course in the world. I wanted to hit this up and the British Golf Museum for sure. It is situated on the Ocean or Sea and quite pretty. We toured an old castle that was in ruins as well as the old cathedral which also was in ruins. Only it was now a cemetery...very cool. Having a couple friends that studied at St. Andrews, we were adept at the watering holes to pass the evening along until our night train back to London Euston. The night train was nice, picked us up in Leuchars, the train station about 15 minutes from St. Andrews and rode straight through the night to London. Our berth had 2 beds, a sink, and a desk. We got into London around 7 and then caught the tube back to Holland Park where while walking to our friends townhouse we ran into Petra...our friend with whom we were staying. I of course saw her right away and my wife with her ever lasting tunnel vision nearly blew right by her. Petra is Michelle's best friend so this was quite funny. Petra was on her way to work...saw our visit was short. Our last day in London was spent mostly wandering around with Gemma. We rode the double decker bus and went to the Arsenal stadium where I picked up my rad Arsenal Polo. That evening we met up with Sorrel, who with Gemma, visited us in the US a few years ago and Petra for dinner. We then parted ways and went home to visit with Petra and finish up the laundry so that we were prepared to head out the next morning. A whirlwind of a trip and a good time as well.

Oh...get out and vote. Unless you are voting for McCain. While it is your right to do so, I would prefer you don't. His beliefs are that of an idiot in my opinion and can't see how any one with half a brain would think that is the way we need to head. For instance, while discussing abortion and selecting someone for the US Supreme Court stated (paraphrasing here) "I don't have specific things that I look for in a justice as long as they are qualified. But if they believe in abortion, I don't think they are qualified." Uh...John...That means exactly that you do have specific things that you require. Just saying. Now, I am not so naive that I blindly think Mr. Obama can accomplish what he hopes to. Very rarely does a President actually get to do such do to dealing with congress. Well, if the President follows the Constitution anyway.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hello non followers....Innit.

Have I lost all that read? Not that there really were any readers. So how has everybody been? Is the stock market low enough for you? What else will the government buy? Will the Rays beat the sawx?

So...I've been pretty busy here at work and at life in general. I've been studying every Tuesday and Wednesday with Jacob for our LEED AP exam which we are going to take on Thursday. Tuesdays are spent at the Starbucks in Oakton where I have had a girl somehow figure out that my wife is in Vet School (Shout out to Michelle...love you babe!) and ask if she knows any horse researchers that can work on her friends horse and I have had a girl try to flirt with me (I think) by discussing my rad USSR jacket and how she also has one. On Wednesday we study at St. Elmos Coffee in Alexandria, Del Ray to be exact. Sometimes there is a performance and sometimes it is quiet, but it is always different. Occassionally, my dad is in there, and as King of Del Ray, he introduces me to everyone that works there. What does this get me? Free coffee...well, nope. It gets me nothing but short term conversation. 3 of the last 4 weekends I have studied LEED in Newman Library at Virginia Tech while my wife studies something having to do with animals. I spend generally 3 hours there on Sunday and up to 6 on Saturday. Did I mention that I had better pass this damn exam?

I went to the VT vs. Nebraska game a few weeks ago. That was a lot of fun. I also got to see my Grandparents that are not getting any younger and I don't get the chance to see that often. The Nebraska game experience is a great one. They support their team loudly during the game, but shake your hand and congratulate you after. Never seen anything like it. I've seen people nice to each other before the game, but to seek out any opposing fan and congratulate them after losing is amazing. And strange. This must have happened 5 or more times to me alone.

Back in August, Michelle and I went to the UK. It seems like a different life ago, but in reality is only about 2 months ago. First we flew into London and rode the Green Tomato (Highly recommended by this writer) Car service to our place of residence in Holland Park. Green Tomato uses only Toyota Priuses as my way to save a bit of petrol. We were staying at our friends place in London for the first leg of our trip. Petra and Adrian live in London now. They were not there while we were here, but were very gracious to lend us their town house. It was about 3 blocks to the Holland Park tube stop and in a very nice neighborhood. Hello Ferraris parked on the street. We arrived in London around 6 am and were at the house by 7. Michelle and I napped until about 11. We then got up and walked up the road for a quick sandwhich. After our sandwhich we headed up to Hyde Park for some walking around and free art gallery viewing. We went to Harrods, Princess Di's memorial and then the grocery for some food. After dinner at home the first night we went to the local pub around the corner. A good first day in London. The next day we went to St. Pauls Cathedral (did not go inside b/c of the 12 pound fee), across the Millenium bridge to the Tate Modern, down the Thames to the Tower Bridge and then to the Tower of London. Had some Indian a couple stops away on the Tube and met up with Michelle's study abroad friends for some drinks a bit later...Day three in London (Friday for those scoring at home) we wanted to see the changing of the guard...which we did. Ehh. Did it. Don't need to again. Immediately got in line for Buckingham Palace tickets (word up 2 hour line!). Walked to Parliament and Big Ben for a bit of a bite to eat and then back to BP for the tour. Afterwards we walked to Trafalgar Square...what up NO PIGEONS! They had olympic boxing on the big TV. My camera died at that point, so there were no more pictures for the day. Met up w/ Gemma that night for some drinks somewhere...Angel? Yep. That's it. Angel. Saturday we went to the country for Borat and Kate's wedding. Well, Joe and Kate...we learned at the reception that Joe is fond of wearing a MANKINI...so I will now call him Borat. Very Nice. Can I say that Gemma is a crazy driver? She indicated that we would be in a bus, but by bus, she meant the smallest mini-van i've seen since those little Toyota's in the 80's. No curb went unchallenged and somehow, immediately after telling us that if you go over 100 you get your license revoked, you guessed it....we were going 105. You may think km, but no, Brits are a bit confused as they have MPH in speed limit and long distance but measure rooms by square meters. You figure it out.....

Part 2 of the UK Vacation will have to wait, we will pick up with the wedding and follow through to Edinburgh and the fringe festival, up to St. Andrews, the night train back to London and one final day in London...