Thursday, October 27, 2005

Acura troubles again

The trouble with my Acura TL is it now has had THREE Transmissions in under 62,000 miles. THREE! Acura extended all the warranties of all TL owners to seven years, for 2002 and 2003 awhile back. Well, I'm getting full use out of that warranty extension, except...well, I purchased the standard extended warranty when I bought my car back in 2002. Well, with all the little and moderate thangs that have gone wrong with my car, I'm glad I did get the extended warranty. Anyone that doesn't buy the extended warranty for their car are facing higher costs than they may realize. Even on the luxury cars, issues come up. All of my issues are covered, as long as I keep up with the maintenance schedule. Without the extended warranty, I would've had to spend an addition $1500 or so by now. I think I paid that for the warranty, but I don't remember exactly. I know I'm breaking even. It's not to be able to take a car in for repairs and not hafta pay out hundreds of dollars, except for schedule maintenance.
Anyways, three transmissions. I'm told that even my previous transmission was known to have problems, so the dealership expected to hafta replace it again. Supposedly, this new transmission will not have the same issue and last longer than 30,0000 miles.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus/America Myths 1 and 2

Christopher Columbus/America Myth 1: Christopher Columbus discovered America. This is actually false in many ways. America has been visited, had trade routes with and even colonized by both Asian and European powers long before Columbus. Ancient Celtic writing found in a cave in the southern Atlantic Seaboard region shows that European visitors had some contact with North America perhaps centuries before Columbus’ voyage. Before even that, Vikings had colonized the region from Newfoundland to New England over 1000 years ago. Some evidence even suggests that there may have been Mediterranean contact in Roman Republic times. From Asia, Chinese records describe contact with the American West Coast decades before Columbus sailed his first voyages. Of course, the ancestors of the Native American peoples arrived thousands of years before everyone else. All of this leads to the conclusion that there is no true discovery date for the Americas.

Christopher Columbus/America Myth 2: America is named for Amerigo Vespucci. The falsehood about the discovery of America is even evident in the name “America” itself. Since America wasn’t discovered by Columbus, it wasn’t named after him. Nor was it named for a Saint or Monarch. This is very telling. So, the myth says that the name America is derived from Mr. Vespucci’s first name. However, this makes no sense in two ways. First, he is a minor historical footnote, which means it was very unlikely he would have received such an honor before the Queen or the Church. Second, despite perceived similarities in spelling, the names are completely different. If Mr. Vespucci’s name was used, it should have been his full first name or his full first name with some variation last syllable, something like Amerigosa. This would have lead to America’s name having different translations in different languages. Yet in Spanish and English, America is spelled the same even though both languages use much different naming conventions. So, it is much more likely that the name America is derived from another name or term that was already in use (though perhaps not common use) by the time Columbus set sail. The main source that qualifies for this criterion is the “Merica”, which was in use by some prior to Columbus’ first voyage to represent a promised land across the Atlantic Ocean. However, even this supposed origin is suspect. Personally, I think that the name America has its source in some mythology, whether it be from the tales about Merica or some other forgotten myth. The origin of the name America has yet to be discovered verifiably, but serves as its own massive clue that the New World wasn’t named for any of its European explorers.

More mythbusting to come.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Well, ever since my company put in the food vending machines, my cost of living has dropped a bit. With the exception of Tuesday (when I meet up with Miriam for a mid-day movie - saw 40 Year Old Virgin for the second time), I’ve spend less than 10 dollars for lunch this week. It’s packaged food, so it’s not the best in the world, but it’s not overly fattening or anything. The reason I stopped going to McDonalds years ago is cuz of the fat and sodium in their food. These items are not nearly as bad and even a lot cheaper. Plus, I'm saving money cuz I'm not out driving around to the local places. Ok, now’s time for lunch.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Leave my jamas alone, you llamas!

So, I’ve learned a tiny tiny bit of Spanish many many years ago. I know enough to at least be able to recognize the sounds that each letter makes, and a few phrases. So today, a Spanish speaking co-worker of mine was asked how to pronounce her name. Her name has the Spanish double-L (LL) in it. But the sound she made for the LL was very confusing to me. She was using a sound similar to an English J. Now, as any student of Spanish as a second language is taught, the LL makes a Y sound, as in the word YOU. Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but generally, it is an equivalent to an English Y sound with some variation in stress, depending on the region.

So, I wasn’t able to let this go. I've been around Spanish speaking individuals my whole life, and never heard the LL pronounced so strongly as J.  I jumped in and asked her to repeat it to make sure I was hearing her right. Again, she pronounced the LL in her name as a J. So, now I’m even more confused. Normally a person knows how to pronounce their own name. After several attempts to get her to say it, I started up with, “Doesn’t the LL make a Y sound?” She agreed, but then said it as a J again, this time only the letter itself. Ok, so now I’m even more confused than before. I asked her to say the common Spanish question “COMO SE LLAMAS?” and it came out of her mouth as “Como say jamas”. I said, “Como say yamas”, and she corrected me, “Como se jamas.”

Needless to say, my main confusion now is how a native Spanish speaker doesn’t know how to say letters in her own language. So, we started into a rather flavorful and light argument about this. It lasted long enough to entertain a few nearby co-workers. She was all, “How are you going to teach a native Spanish speaker my own language. Let me teach you English.” So, I printed a pronunciation chart of Spanish letters with their English equivalents. She was still not convinced. She even mentioned that she spoke Castilian version of Spanish. I wasn’t buying that.

The funny thing is, I know she speaks Spanish as a first language all the time. We live in California, where one can find peoples representative of many Spanish speaking regions. I know she has had to have talked to other Spanish speakers before. But she’s convinced that everyone says the LL as a J. I’m kinda starting to think there are a lot of Latin American’s that say the LL as a J without realizing it, as an accent. I’m not sure that she (or many Latin American people) can even hear the difference between the Y (you) and J (jam) sounds. Very strange. Either way, she still insists on pronouncing as a J. After all, that’s how she’s been saying it all her life. If this is how a lot of people are talking, Latin American television must be impossible for Spaniards to understand.

Ok, so later in the evening, I met up with my friend Dave, who was raised in Spain and has a significant European background. I told him and his Latina girlfriend this story and gave the example of the J sound. He immediate laughed. But his girlfriend said, "Yes, you said it right!" I looked at her oddly. (My co-worker and Dave's girlfriend are from two completely different regions.) Dave looked at his girlfriend funny too and pointed out her error. She wasn't even aware that she was saying the J sound herself. We were both pretty amazed.

Monday, October 03, 2005

President knows how to pick 'em

The President refuses to learn the lesson of error of choosing the wrong people for the job. With his latest Supreme Court nomination, he has shown the same lack of skill for finding the right people to fill posts in government as he did in choosing Rumsfeld and Brown (head of FEMA). He's a very poor just of skill and character. I'm pretty sure he's also very poor understanding the responsibilities of the positions for which he hires or nominates people. His cronyism has hurt and weakened America in so many diverse ways that it is past the point of being a humiliation. He is an embarrassment. Those who blindly follow him are an embarrassment. How can someone continue to blunter so openly and still have an ounce of respect from anyone? Now, it's beyond outright foolishness.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Last Night's Party

sample picture

Last night's birthday party for Kate was fairly tame as house parties go, but it was a lot of fun. This picture shows Jaime's first ever Keg Stand! Just turn your head 90 degrees to see her Keg Stand properly vertical . :) There was also a permanent batting cage in the backyard. The ball hurling machine wasn't working (or at least their drunk asses couldn't get it to work), so some of the guys switched between batting and pitching. Not smart. I watched as one line drive drove right into the ribs of the pitcher. Funny thang, and funnier that he keep pitching afterwards! lol My buddy Nate randomly meet a girl (Keg Stand Jaime, actually!) who he's only talked to through Myspace and emails before. Must be fate. lol Even with all of this going on, Miriam and I still took off by midnight. I was the double-d, though I don't think either of us had any possibility of getting too drunk.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Teaching Bible in Public School

As a matter of literature and religious studies, elective courses on the bible (covering Jewish, Christian, and secular perspectives) should be available to High School students. Learning about the bible allows people to understand the origin of much of Western Civilization's art and history. The only danger to teaching about the bible is when it is taken as undeniable fact. As long as this isn't happening, education about the bible is beneficial.
I mention this cuz I just read a news article about this topic. The only contrarian point I can bring up is the fact the most High School kids never remember what they learn in High School besides basic skills they end up using in real life. Knowledge about history, art and pretty much any other pursuit is usually forgotten soon after the final exam (if even committed to memory in the first place). This is a different issue though.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Green Day in SF

I kick ass because I was at the Green Day concert in San Francisco. It was awesome. The show was very well produced. SBC Park was totally packed. Green Day had four massive screens that allowed everyone to see the action. Allie and I had a great time! Music was great from both Jimmy Eat World and Green. Green Day put up a great proformance overall too. This is prolly one of the best concerts I've been to.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another quicky today...

Check this out...Engrish as it's best, only the other way around.

Oh, and yes, I am actually doing my laundry, as I threatened to do in the earlier entry. lol

Time and bedsheets

Trouble with time is that you never have enough to do what you need if you spend it doing what you like. I need to spend a little time pick up around the house, doing laundry, cleaning out the trunk of my car, re-organizing my bedroom, etc. But am I doing any of that right now. No, I'm typing in this blog and chatting online right now. Ok, maybe I can do the laundry, but the problem there is that I always forget that I started and leave thangs in the washer all day, or even leave thangs in the dryer for days on end. Very annoying that I do this. I think I will start a load right now.

Friday, September 16, 2005


The Garbage concert last week was great. The opening act was called The Start. They were pretty good. Shirley owned the stage once Garbage come on! Allie and I had a great time. I hope Garbage is able to put on bigger concerts by next year. It would be great to see how big of a show they can produce.

Next week, GREEN DAY! ::que insane cheering::

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Miserable response to disasters

Our government’s miserable response to the recent hurricane disaster is a clear condemnation upon neocon ideologies and cronyism which is currently gripping our country’s leadership. Neocon ideologies depend too heavily on the concept of free market without regard for reality. Our system is based on free market principles, but our system is not an unchecked free market. These neocons try to pretend that it is an unchecked free market (or that uncheck free markets work best). These ideologies have crippled our government from being able to respond to domestic threats outside the realm of security. Neocon ideologies also promote that government take as little of a role in our lives as possible, without regard for the needs of the individual people that make up our nation. The belief is that the free market left unchecked will make any necessary corrections to provide for the populous needs. This, of course, is complete nonsense. The government has a responsibility to provide for its people regardless which economic system is in place.

Unchecked free market leads to instability if centralized forces work to abuse the system for personal gain, as in case of Enron’s manipulation of western U.S. electricity supplies at the turn of the 21st Century. Uncheck free market leads to too many people being hurt in recessions, and not enough people benefiting from booms. This is why America does not have an unchecked free market anymore. We have a Mixed Economy, which is free market based, but utilizes beneficial methods from all forms of economies. We use what works well for the individual, balanced with what is best for the population on the whole. Too much pull by one side or the other in the past has led our nation down roads we should not want to journey again.

Neocons live in a fantasy realm of 100% happy people, perfect conditions always persist, where up-trends never end, and everyone gets at least enough money for participating in the system at any level. They pick and choose events and quotes from American past to justify radical economic experiments. These experiments are ultimately victimizing our modern day populous for the gain of only a few fat cats.

Those fat cats are openly applying cronyism from the White House right now. They put ideological friends in charge of government agencies instead of looking for the best qualified person. This is the other reason for the failure of our government right now. Leadership positions are full of unqualified cronies, putting our country at risk and making dangerous situations much worse.

The current government is arrogant and haughty, bolstered by willful blinders preventing them from seeing their errors and making adjustments to account for imperfections in the system. This has led to a blind faith in an ideology, rather than acceptance of reality. Anything from reality that contradicts their notions is called a fluke, or even blamed on some other factor which they should’ve accounted for but pretend they can’t.

Our inability to take preventive and aftermath action at the federal level in the recent national disaster is a direct result of these flaws in our country’s leadership. This blind belief in disproved ideologies and the cronyism supporting it have led America to repeat the mistakes of our past on a monumentally grander scale. The time to correct these mistakes is soon at hand. I’m not going to say specifically who to vote for in the next elections. I will directly say who not to vote for. Do not vote for neocons or anyone that supports the neocon movement. If you are Republican, take back your party from these lunatics. If you are Democrat, vote for Democrats that have a proven record of taking on these lunatics. If you are an independent like me, vote in a way that stops the neocons from staying in power. Sometimes, this means not voting for the best person, but the best person given the circumstances.

Thank god

Well, thankfully, the number of dead in the Gulf region from Katrina isn't up around the numbers previously suggested. A lot of people may have survived the onslaught. Even still, the behaviour of the State and Federal governments is deplorable. Even though many survived, they lived through something they shouldn't have had to first hand.

Even though the number lost is not as high, the President's lack action early on crossed over the line of what is acceptable for a President to do and not to do. He failed to protect Americans from harm. Yes, the storm is uncontrollable, but how we act if fully in our control. It is dishonorable behavior to not act to protect America. The homeland was under attack, and the very man and agency that the President set up to protect American acted like it wasn't their job to do anything and the President accepted this and tried to defend it. Basically, he failed to carry out his duties as President when it was most important for him to step up. He failed to act when it counted, even though they was creditable warnings up to one year ago about this kind of disaster. Katrina itself posed a threat for days before it hit. Days in which the President needed to ack to make sure everything was in place. Days that he instead spend running around the country trying to collect campaign money. What was he collecting campaign money for anyway? He's not going to be re-elected. In fact, this lack of action to protect American is cause for impeachment.

Ok, enough of that for now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Garbage concert this Sat. I'm excited. Then, the big event at the end of the month, GREEN DAY!!!