Monday, April 28, 2008

Honda - Best Bang for the Buck

Most of the time when I travel, I am forced to rent a car as the places my company sends me are remote and rarely have adequate public transportation. As a result, I have been able to test drive a number of different cars, and as a guy who loves cars this really is not a bad thing. My theory on cars has always been“life is too short to drive the same car”.

Personally, I have had a number of different cars and several of them have been Hondas. My favorite to date was the little Honda Del Sol that was just downright fun to drive. With the addition of my daughter, however, I was encouraged to buy a larger family car so I purchased a 2005 Honda Accord with 5 speed and leather interior. This little big car has been great. The 5 speed and nice wheels help give it a sporty look and feel while the leather and the ride also make it nice and comfortable for local travel and long distance trips.

On my last two trips, I have rented VWs. One was a Beetle and the other was a Jetta. Both of them where moderate at best and they just did not compare to my Accord. Over the last few years I have rented a Chrysler SUV, Pontiac G6, Chevy Malibu, Toyota Corrolla, Nissa Maxima, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camery, and a Chevy Impala. Of these, only one came close to comparing to my Accord; the Pontiac G6. Of course the Avalon was nice and comfortable, but it was too big and not sporty enough for me.

I am not really interested in writing a complete review here, but I will say that it will be difficult for me to purchase a car in the future that is not a Honda. I am sure there are nicer cars out there, but for the money you cannot bet a Honda. They make solid, reliable, and fun cars to drive. They may not be the most luxurious, fastest, or coolest, but they are the best car out there for the money. I may have to re-think my mantra.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's Hear it for Potty Training

Life with my three year old daughter is certainly never dull. Almost every day she seems to change and grow up right before my eyes. She is starting to have conversations with me that include part reality and part her fantasy. One of her favorite tactics is to reverse the roles and act like the adult. I know she is just emulating what she witnesses, but it is still very cute. Last night, while I was laying in her bed reading to her, she realized she was missing a couple of her favorite plushes. When I informed her they were downstairs, she got up and looked at me with as serious a look as she could muster and said, “Okay. I go down and get them. You stay here. Don’t get up. Close your eyes,” pointing her finger up right in front of her face the whole time. Of course, she went downstairs, found her toys and mommy, decided she had to go potty and completely forgot about me upstairs. On a positive note, she did go ‘po-po’.

Speaking if potty training, it’s funny the things you find yourself doing as a parent of a toddler. When your daughter poops her panties, she needs help cleaning up; suddenly I am doing things I never pictured myself doing. At the time, it does not seem to be a big deal until you finish and realize what you just did. All you can do is smile, hug your daughter, and tell her you love her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where oh Where has my Old Starbucks Gone?

I am about to say something that will probably throw some of my friends for a loop; I am beginning to hate Starbucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love their coffee, but the place itself is beginning to drive me nuts. It has gotten to the point that the Starbucks I have been frequenting has become busy every time I go in. While this will help make sure the place stays in business, I can’t help but get frustrated with all of the customers in front of me as they order their caramel macchiatos and half-caff lattes. What the hell is a macchiato and who puts caramel in their coffee? I just want a large, black coffee. No cream, no sugar… just bold and black, instead I have to wait in line for all of these people in front of me ordering all of these “coffees”. You are not even ordering coffee; you are ordering 500 calorie desserts.

If anyone from Starbucks is reading this, why don’t you create a regular coffee for normal people line? Yes, I know you move these other folks out of line to let them hover around the ‘barista’ counter, but it would make me happy to be able to walk in, get a coffee and walk out. After all, this blog is all about making me happy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What do We do Now?

Being a father certainly makes me look at the choices I make from a different perspective. Things like the kinds of foods we have in the house, television I let her watch, how I plan for our financial future, as well as the actions I take are just a few examples.

As we approach this November election, I can’t help but wonder what decision I am going to make when it’s time to choose a president. This is the first year I have really felt numb when it comes to the candidates. Being from Florida, I won’t even mention my disappointment in my Republican governor scheduling the Democratic convention early and causing my vote to not count. Despite this travesty, I still don’t know who I am going to choose.

On one hand, we have a 70+ year old candidate who will probably not be able to handle 8 years in office and on the other, we have an unproven Jr. Congressman who all we really know is that he is about hope, or we have another Clinton. Think about it, if she wins, that will be at least 24 years of a Clinton or a Bush in the Whitehouse. I have to sit and wonder; is this the best we can do? Are these the best candidates we can find?

Somewhere down the line, we need to start thinking about making the position of president more attractive so we can attract the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world to apply for the job. It is unreasonable to think that the United States will continue to be a world leader in everything. Even now, there are countries out there that are better than us at a multitude of things; education, R&D, manufacturing, and that’s fine, but we need someone in the office that understands competition and the need to solidify the bottom line. We need a business person in the Whitehouse who will pay down our debts and right the ship. In the meantime, however, we are subject to partisan politics.

John Adams predicted that political parties would be the undoing of the United States; I can’t help but wonder if he was right.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Raise your hand if you do not believe it ghosts.

Admittedly, my wife and I regularly watch Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel and really like the show. Grant and Jason are entertaining and seem sincere in their intentions, but I can’t help but think there are some shenanigans taking place on the show. While I don’t really feel it is necessary to go through and dispute everything they claim, I will say that in general, if you believe in something strong enough, you can always find some evidence to prove what you believe; even if it is something as outrageous as ghosts.

My three year old daughter is the reason I bring this up. She has recently been talking about things like a man in our attic, the pirates downstairs, or monsters in general. Some of this is probably the fault of her parents as we have taken her on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World and we have let her watch the Monsters, Inc. movie. We also have an occasional critter (a filthy little squirrel) decide to make our attic his temporary hang-out and he makes quite a racket when he visits.

I find it interesting that she has already developed a sense of anxiousness surrounding these topics. She is a good example of how powerful a simple suggestion or experience can be if you don’t fully understand. The problem now, of course, is how do I reverse or correct her thinking? Once you have started down this path mentally, it is hard to get it back. I also worry these feelings will impact her when she gets older. While it might not be a fear of ghosts, it would be unfortunate if she was general fearful of things like new ideas or experiences.

Hopefully, these experiences will not be too big of an impact. In the meantime, I suppose all I can do is continue to reassure her there are no monsters and perhaps I will need to spend a few nights sleeping on her floor or next to the closet. If that’s all it will take, it will be worth a stiff back and little sleep.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Middle East Vatican

Great news! The US Embassy in Iraq is finally complete! Man, I thought they were never going to finish. What a place, too. It is as big as the Vatican and costs more than $730 Million. Finally, the Military will be able move out of Sadam's palace and into something more manageable.

Seriously, folks. What the heck? I mean, who moves out of a palace? Did they think it was to pretentious? I don't know what they were thinking?

This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen recently. And remember, the US borrowed money to pay for this thing. We don't have the cash to cover it so we had to borrow money! At some point, our creditors are going to cut us off and call in our markers. If this is not proof positive for implementing term limits in Congress, then I don't know what is...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weight Loss is for Losers

After spending most of my life overweight (sometimes way over and some times just over), I have decided that I need to get control of my life again and it is going to start with my weight. I am going to what ever it takes, even if it means spending my nights watching the 40 year old Magnum PI run around Hawaii over and over again. At almost 41, I am running out of time. I don't want to be 60 and look back and think of all of the things I could have done if I was thin. So here goes nothing; I activated my account and am joining the madness. Here's to being a big loser.