Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Microsoft's Settlement Refund...umm, wow

This is turning about to be one strange turn-of-the-century. First, we start getting tax refund checks in the middle of the year without file taxes yet. Now, Microsoft is throwing money at us too.

Basically, you get a settlement for any eligible Microsoft purchases you made during 1995 thru 2001. No proof of purchase is necessary if the total reimbursement is does not exceed $100. Microsoft even had two of my purchases already listed. The really really scary part about all this is that somehow, they knew to send the reimbursement form to my current work address. I've been working at the same company all along, mind you, but we've moved a couple of times since then. Well, it's a refund that I'm sure I deserve. :) Anyone else wanna give me some money? LOL

Updated Post, September 15, 2016
Microsoft Settlement Refund...umm, wow Part 2

Monday, September 29, 2003

My Vote

Besides the recall vote, there's two other items on the California 2003 special election: proposition 53 and Proposition 54. I've stated before that I'm a political centralist. So here I am, faced with two highly political propositions. What's a centralist to do?
My viewpoint on Proposition 53 is that the last thing we need is more planned state government spending that takes money out of the budget. This proposition is giving our elected leaders no room to move when balancing the budget. I was very surprised to find that the Republican party of California is supporting this thing. Aren't these guys supposed to be against wild government spending? When I read the pros and cons, it just left a bad taste in my mouth to think this was even on the ballot. Yuk.
My viewpoint on Proposition 54 is that it is about time this issue is being addressed. I classify my race as American. Ethically, that is what I am. It would be nuts to break down my family lines to choose just one of my origin races as my own. The truth is that I represent none of these origin races, or maybe I represent all of them. I am walking proof of the stupidity of claiming ethnicity. Right now, I can legally claim status as a Philipino American. Look at my picture at the top left of this Blog. Do I remotely look Philipino? In a color blind society, it wouldn't even matter. I am tired of being asked about my ethnicity by the government. I want this practice stopped. I read in the cons that this proposition will hinder health care collection of data. Well, it doesn't. Even if there is some loophole where this might occur, it would be fixed by the legislature next year anyway, so this is a moot point.

Economy starting to look to 1930's

Our country is running out of Economic Options. The policies of our government are running our economy the ground. Thangs are starting to look like the beginning of the Great Depression. I don't think we will have one, but we are being pushed in that direction more than we should because of some of the policies the current administration is perusing. This story by the USAToday says it well.

It is a myth that the U.S. has a Free Market Economy. We've never really have had a pure Free Market Economy. I'll rant more about this some other time though.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

End of the Sailboating twilight Series

...And we lost Friday evening. We had a good start in the race, and were in the lead. Then another boat ran into us. No damage to the Spitfire, but it cost us 30 seconds. Our best competitor in the series caught up with us because of this incident with another boat. We did finish the race first, but with handicapping time, we still got second place by 19 seconds. That incident with the other boat cost us the race, and the series. Arg. Second place. Oh well. We finished the series with one 3rd place, three 2nd places and one first place finish. We got the winning gun three times but lost two of those races because our main competitor finished quickly enough behind us to over take us with handicapping.
It came down to the wire, so it was a fun series. Next time, first will be ours! :)

Friday, September 26, 2003

Rest needed

This is one busy week. This whole month has been busy, with the camping, Napa Valley trip, sailing, etc. Almost every non-working, non-sleeping period of time has been spent doing something or being with one friend or another in one way or another. It’s been great, but I’m going need a break. I’m just going to hibernate this weekend, I think. Maybe go for a drive somewhere. No wait, that’s doing something LOL.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Review of Chateau Hotel, Napa, CA

El Sh*t-toe is the term I overheard another guess use to describe the Chateau Hotel. It fits. The hotel looks good at first glance when you arrive, but in fact it is not well maintained. The rooms are old, outdated and not maintained. The dresser had one handle missing. The bathrooms were extremely simple. The beds mattresses squeaked loudly. The pillows were worn out. The bedspreads looked as though they had been in the room since the hotel was first built, decades ago. The A/C unit was horribly inadequate, and again looked to be as old as the hotel, yet added on as an after thought years later. The hot tub was a mess and its jets did not work in any useful manner. The carpets are dirty and old. The hallways where not cooled. The vending machines where out of stock for three days straight on the weekend during a busy season. The T.V. was small, appeared to be decades old, and buzzed very loudly every time a bright light was in the background of the T.V. show. The T.V. only had local channels and HBO, with no movie selections. The hotel is farther from Napa’s downtown area than suggested in the hotel’s description. On the plus side, they had a working ice machine. Oh, the staff was courteous, but seemed fully aware of the hotels issues.
Even at my discounted rate, the hotel is way way over priced. However, you couldn’t lower the price far enough to convince me to stay there again. In Napa Valley, I’ve spent much less on a room and received better, newer rooms and more services.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Napa Valley

Man, it was beautiful there this weekend. The weather was hot and clear. The only downside was the hotel. More like a glorified motel. Anyways, it was a lot of fun. Went to V.Sottui, Berenger, Copola, etc. Don't ask me to spell them right. LOL They are all on highway 29. Also, had a great lunch on Saturday at Fumé. Came back with prolly more wine than needed for the year to come. LOL

Monday, September 22, 2003

"Continue on 29"

::Driving on the highway up to Napa Valley from the Bay Area::
Miriam is driving her hot red Mustang, and I'm navigating. After we get past the bridge over the delta waterway on highway 80, our Mapquest instructions tell us to take the highway 37 exit, but we know we need to be on highway 29. She's not trusting my navigating skills (based on experience and the Mapquest map) so decides to hit the earlier 29 exit. She cuts across the whole freeway and just manages to get on the exit by the graces of a fellow traveller who waved us in. Now, 29 goes thru a city called Vallejo. It's been said that Vallejo is the armpit of California. On the plus side, we are on highway 29, so the route is easy to follow. Umm, well, not quite. As anyone who knows 29 in Vallejo, there is one confusing 5-way intersection. She hits that intersection and instinctively goes the wrong way. I forgot about the intersection, so wasn't able to direct her in the correct direction in time. We are forced to make a mid-street u-turn. We get back to that intersection, only to find it does not allow us to turn in the direction we need to go. So, we go straight thru again, and make another u-turn. Finally, we can turn the right way. After all of this, she asks, "Which way now?" I innocently look at my map for reference (though we are not following the route laid out). I reply, "Just continue on 29".
Some time passes, and we finally get thru the city streets. The intersection with highway 37 is ahead. Hmmm, we really shoulda gone that way. Oh well. She asks, "Is this the right way?" Again, I innocently look at my map. We are now following the path on the map again. The directions read, Continue on 29 so, I say, "Continue on 29".
Some more time passes. We are driving down 29. Now she asks again, "Is this the right way?" At this point, it is starting to be a running gag to me. I slyly look at the map, smiling, and just read what it says, "Continue on 29".
No more than 15 minutes later, "Matt, what's the next road we take?" she asks. "Let me look at the map. Oh right, it says 'Continue on 29'!" LOL She finally gets it. So finally, we get to the hotel. It was just off of highway 29.
The next day, we head up 29 to hit up some of the wineries. "Continue on 29" as again uttered several times, but mostly in jest. All of the wineries we were interested in are on highway 29, of course.

New KFC Popcorn Chicken (fwd)

Mmmm The new KFC Popcorn chicken is great. Damn really improved. I was
so surprized I'm entering this blog in from the road. It's like a
little slice of heaven. Mmmm


--- end forwarded text

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Napa Getaway

Miriam and I are going for the weekend to Napa Valley to just relax. Take the wine train, sit by the pool, and just all around do nufin...after hitting up a bunch of wineries along highway 29.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Monday, September 15, 2003

Weekend Camping

Went camping this weekend with some friends. We didn't have a plan other than to drive to the coast and find a place. We lucked out and found something north of Santa Cruz. It was more a resort with a campground attached. The camp sites were even powered with AC outlets! Very nice. It almost didn't fill like roughing it. The beach there was great. The weather was perfect. While the inland was scorching, we were on the beach in the sun and temp in the low 80's with a gentle cooling breeze. Of course the water was chilly! Turned out to be a great weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Phone Bill

Ok, I've got my house phone bill rate down to under $5.85 on a measured rate plan. I dumped my long distance completely. So with taxes and other services, my total home phone bill is going to be prolly under $12.00 total.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Music Recording Industry has lost its way

The music recording industry seems to have lost track of who makes them rich. From the outset in the 50's, the allowances and paychecks of kids 10 to 24 have been efficiently ending up in pockets of the recording industry. Now that sales are finally rapidly dropping off, they figure there must be a culprit! They are right...but they are wrong about who that culprit is.
Culprit one: Their own greed has keep CD prices artificially high for a very long time. CDs cheaper to make than tapes! Why do tapes cost less? hmmm.
Culprit two: Times are changing. The old brick-and-mortar way of doing business isn't as effective as it use to be. The consumer is looking for an easier and cheaper way of making purchases. From some items, like music, that is over the internet. So why did it take so long for the recording industry to evolve. They did before. 8-Tracks, Records, Tape, air play, etc have all come from their evolution. What's different this time? Truthfully, I can't imagine. Maybe the industry thought it had matured and wasn't going to see anymore major changes? Well, they missed the boat. The vacuum created by their inaction was filled with many individuals seeking to utilize the new medium.
Solution is not to sue 12 year old catholic school honor roll student girls. Instead, the industry needs to create a new business model. One that utilizes the inexpensive nature of the internet to their advantage, and to the benefit of the end user. I do not believe the current business models created for online music are viable in the long term. $1.00 per song, or month charges are too expensive, limiting and cumbersome to the user, especially minors, who cannot use the credit cards needed to make these kinds of transactions work.
So, to the music recording industry: GET A CLUE. Find a new working business model and make your money in new ways!

Monday, September 08, 2003

Mvys

I saw Jason Vs Freddy (or is that Freddy Vs Jason) last week. Pretty good slasher. I don't watch many, but this one is worth the time. Entertaining. Not good enough to show up in my DVD collection though.

I saw Pirates of the Caribbean this weekend. Good movie. It was enjoyable to watch. It knows it's an action/adventure movie, and it revels in it. I do recommend this film. It will go into my DVD collection.

I saw Johnny English this weekend as well. It is funny, but not really hilarious, which a movie like this needs to be. Not a waste of my time, but it is definitely not going to show up in my DVD collection.

If you haven't notices already, my criteria for judging movies is whether or not is will end up in my DVD collection. This is a slightly higher bar than "thumbs up" or "hot or not". It means even a marginally good movie will not get a passing mark. It needs to actually be a good movie to end up in my DVD collection. Doesn't have to be really good. It just needs to have redeeming qualities if it is marginal.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Meteor

Last night, in the north (from Campbell, CA) I saw this bright greenish white glowing ball streaking down from the sky. At first, I thought it was fireworks or a burning plane. It was staying bright too long to be fireworks. It was moving down too fast and glowing to consistently to be a burning plane. It was so bright, I was able to clearly see it thru the city light pollution near the horizon. The glow suddenly faded as it approached the ground. The only thang I can figure is that it was a meteor that made it pretty far into the atmosphere. I've seen plenty of shooting stars, but never seen a meteor this close before. It was over so quick.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

eBay Auctions

Ok, I've done something I haven't done in years, I'm actually selling on eBay! See the new link on the right. It's the icon "My Auctions eBay". Or click that link here too. :)

Updating the week

It looks like I'm done ranting for now. LOL So, here's a layout of my bus-i-ness instead, just for me. Monday, hung out with a friend in the day, and another friend in the evening. Tuesday, had pizza with Miriam and tried not to pay too much attention to reality TV she was watching, but damn that shit is so lame and it bugs me to see ... ok... umm... next topic. Weds, hung out Dave in the evening. (Please note, I never refer to work as busy time...it is just lost time, period). Tonight, I'm going to the movies with a friend. Tomorrow, Miriam and I are going to see Ronie up in the Delta. There's personal reasons for this. I bailed out on a sailboat race for this nite to go see her. Prolly going to play mini-golf just for the hell of it. On Sat, I'm going to catch a couple of matinee movies by myself, then meet up with another friend in the evening for drinks. It also looks like I'm covering the booth at the Campbell Farmers Market on Sunday, then going to take it easy for a breather that evening. My weeks have pretty much been like this for a few months now. blah blah blah...now I remember why I don't post these kinds of post very much. Just doing this to remind myself of what I'm doing. :)