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Archive for the “Ramblings” Category

How do you give yourself whiplash in one easy step?  Why, you simply step on the “clutch” of the loaner 2013 MINI Cooper S Step-tronic AUTOMATIC whilst driving at 35mph!!  Seriously that simple.

The rest of the story is that Kelly and Nyssa had Maggie out on a shopping run on a Friday afternoon when a red warning indicator came on the dash.  According to the MINI manual, it was an ABS/DTC failure and we were to contact our MINI Dealership as “your journey is over.”!!!  Wonderful quote.  MINI road-side assistance worked very well and the tow truck was right on time.  Only problem was I’d taken the tow hook out of Maggie (for whatever reason) and had to drive her up onto the truck myself.  Once we got to the dealership, it was too late for them to look into it, so they gave me a loaner for the weekend.  An automatic!!

The following Sunday, whilst drive about and pulling away from a stop light, I “shifted” the paddles and hit the “clutch” for second gear!!  Scared me at the time and didn’t start hurting until Monday night.  Neck was completely locked up all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday.  By Thursday night, started feeling better.  Up to the point where I pinched a nerve in my shoulder!!  Wasn’t ’til Saturday that everything was back to “normal”.

So, what did I learn from this?  The Footwell Body Control Modual of a 2010 JCW just doesn’t just fail and BMW was happy to split the costs.  Jolly decent of them.  Also, there is no clutch on a Step-tronic!!  And I won’t make that mistake ever again.

Cheers!!

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We went and saw “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” last night.  Let’s just say that we saw all three LOTR films, and own them now, however, we won’t see this film again.  It wasn’t good enough to make me want to see it again, let alone dish out the sheckles to see it over and over again at home.  What bothers me is that Peter Jackson has about 9 hours to tell the story of one book, whereas he did the three LOTR books in the same time, and still screws up the story.  CNN has an article that talks about these changes; though it’s not complete, it does point out the tip of the iceberg.

There were some technical questions brought up by the media which effected our movie experience.  For example, the controversy about the cinematic effects Jackson uses wasn’t too bad an issue.  There was some loss of focus across panoramic shots and the color depth seemed darker, I didn’t think it was too bad. Martin Freeman did a good job as Bilbo, given the limits of the screenplay.

The real problem, as is always the case, is that those of us who read and know these stories are often disappointed, to some degree, with the movies.  Just like the Harry Potter series where, as the story goes along, the screenwriters had to modify the story.  What?  Wasn’t J.K. Rowlings a good enough writer for ya’ll?  In The Hobbit, Jackson tries to roll in all the appendix notes from LOTR to round out The Hobbit story.  What he completely misses are the details already in The Hobbit.  For example, when Bilbo is introduced to the dwarves in the book, he acts as the gracious host entertaining his guests as the random dwarves show up at his door.  However, Freeman has to play it as the befuddled home owner as the dwarves take over his house and the as the put upon host as the dwarves go about their business.  Eventually, Freeman is able to own the character once they are past Rivendell.  I can understand taking some commercial/literary license by expounding the party’s involvement in the stone giant’s fight but to bend the established stories is almost intolerable.

Thus, we, too, are disappointed with this movie.  Sure, we’ll watch each as it’s released but we won’t be buying the DVDs or BRs as they’re released.  Which is too bad for their loss of residuals.

Cheers!!

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Last week, I sent emails to my US Senators and US Representative about DoD’s stance that the Fort Hood Shootings were an act of workplace violence, rather than an act of terrorism.  Today, I got a call from my Congressman’s office, Larry Kissell.  Imagine that.  Of course, the gentleman making the call was, most likely, just ticking the box but at least they called.  Haven’t heard from Richard Burr or Kay Hagan yet.  Perhaps they just don’t care.

Cheers!!

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Whilst driving me to Womack for yet another kidney stone, Kelly “allegedly” ran two red lights.  Though we stopped at both intersections (one being on Bragg) and made sure there were no cars coming, we proceeded through.  Thus, my diligently law-abiding, upstanding citizen put these on her trust in the fact that if a police officer had pulled us over, he would have then led the parade to the hospital after just one look at me.

Just two years ago, I drove myself to Womack but this bout, unlike its three predecessors, gave me no warning and just staggered me with its “Hello!”  So, instead of a quick ride to Parkton and then church, Kelly and I spent about 7 1/2 hours waiting this thing out.  During that time, Kelly just about read her latest book and I pretty much slept from all the durgs I needed for the pain.  I took four liters of Lactated Ringer’s solution (and only threw up twice), but surprisingly, I have yet to return these contributions.  Of course, the doctor told me to drink more often whilst riding my bike; I always take my Camelbak and then just about plough through a gallon of decaf Sweet Tea post-ride.  Hmmm…

Regardless, 68 days after my last trip to Womack was too soon, by far, for a return.  FWIW, this is now my new level 10 in pain on the 1 to 10 scale the docs ask you to compare to.  This hurt so bad I was fighting back the tears, not gonna lie.  But to hear the woman a couple of beds over screaming and crying about getting a simple shot in the arm made me feel that I wasn’t quite the wuss I thought I was when I left the house this morning.  And who takes their healthy toddler to the ER to visit?!?  A germ factory visiting the replenishment farm?!?  ‘Merica is in trouble if this is our future.

In any case, I’m have and well.  I felt so sick having not eaten anything since dinner last night, I settled for a McD’s strawberry shake and some bread, just to be sure I don’t violently reject this offering.  The yards NEED to be cut but that’ll just wait until tomorrow because I am now D-U-N.  Like a turkey dinner at Christmas, stick a fork in me.

Cheers!!

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So I gave Kelly a ride to work this morning and we get behind some go-faster Mustang which was red in color and had two broad, white racing stripes.  Naturally, I smugly call out “Poser!”, to which my loving bride responds with “I like that.”  WTF?!?!  Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!?  She goes on to say how it’s a Mustang, so it has to be cool and that she likes it better than a MINI.  Choking back my innate response of “Get the hell out!!”, I point out to here that I’d just seen no less than FOUR Mustangs at the intersection, they’re so COMMON.  To which she responds, “Yeah but it’s a Mustang, so it’s cool.”

Later, she asks “What are you doing going for Starbucks?”

My response: “Well, after that Mustang remark, I had to do >something< to get that bad taste out of my mind!!!

Cheers!!

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As some of you may know, I had an appendectomy last week and I’ve recovered enough to share the rest of the story.  In hindsight, there were indicators this was coming, however, as with all good stories, you don’t know what you’re getting into until after it’s started! Read the rest of this entry »

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I found this clip over on Wimp and I’ve gotta say that this is what my life is all about:  I have lived for my kids.  The Number 1 highlight of my life was when Kelly said she’d marry me.  Number 2 is when all of my kids were blessed with their fingers and toes and everything else in the right spot.  With that, my kids have become Eagle / Gold Award Scouts, very active in school sports, participated in other school activities, had good grades and the opportunity for a college education.  Even so, Patrick Henry Hughes has said that though he doesn’t have eyes and can’t walk, so what?  “God has given me the gift of music!”  For me, I see the dedication his family, especially his father, has given to support Patrick to find his way in the world and it warms my heart to see that Kelly and I aren’t the only ones living for our family.

Any man can be a father, however, there’s a lot of work required to be Dad.

Cheers!!

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And, we’re d-u-n!!  The Great Flooring Project of 2011 is complete and the Snaps are posted; AAR to be posted later!  Just to give a sense of the transformation, here’s a before and after of the hallway.  Cheers!!

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Yesterday, I bought an APC UPS BX1300G to protect Kelly’s new TV as I felt that it was expensive enough to warrant the protection.  Well, about an hour and a half ago, we took a series of power outages and have been without power for the last hour.  Since then, we’ve been on the Intarwebz using the UPS to keep the network up and running.  Yeah!!  Gotta have those Intartubz.  So, I’ve taken the time to upload a bunch of snaps on the Gallery that I’ve been meaning to get ’round tuit.  The first set is my surprise gift to Glenn-o, a subscription to our favorite PC Flight Sim magazine, Computer Pilot.  The second set are of our friend Kevin Archer, with his daughter Madelynn and son Patrick, who took his kids and Miss Niss over to Paraclete for some fun.  They got videos and I’ll try linking those in later.  Now, back to my new book!!

Cheers!!

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Yup, as soon as it was announced, I bought the Bentley PublishersMINI Cooper Service Manual and it was delivered yesterday!!  I was so excited to read this that I didn’t take time to post as I was reading all the letters off the page!!  This massive tome is the only non-BMW published source of MINI knowledge, as neither Chilton’s nor Haynes has anything for the MINI.  Though it doesn’t cost as much as the BMW Service Manual, it wasn’t cheap but is excellent value for the price as this is a Service Manual vice Repair Manual.  The difference is that a repair manual takes you through typical, common automotive repairs, whereas a Service Manual pretty much shows you how to completely disassemble a car.  This lists all of the torque values as well as the special tools required for those finicky jobs, like compressing the pistons into the calipers for changing the brakes.  So, now I need to decide whether it is more cost effective for me to get the MINI Extended Maintenance Plan or do all of it myself.  Decisions, decisions.

Cheers!!

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