January 2005 Archives

At the laundry mat! Monica has taken to peeing on our bed the past few days... she's obviously upset about something, we only have to figure out what it is. :-)

We got back from the gym around 8:00pm this evening to find our "spare" set of sheets and comforter soaked with dog pee... so, it was off to the laundromat (our washer can't handle our new comforter - it's too big). Imagine my surprise when I found out that there are 4 misconfigured wireless networks here (from stores in the strip mall), and that I have access to free, high-speed wireless internet. It's a geek's dream come true!

This might actually make doing laundry tolerable!

Whew... what a week.

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What a week. Busy, busy, busy. Pretty much worked from 8am - midnight every day, save for Thursday night, when we took a few hours off to play some Playstation 2.

And now, it's snowing...heavily.

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... we're trying to get motivated to head back to work... we'll see how that goes.

And I'm Off Again

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Well, I made it out of Detriot...finally... and then spent 3 days at home.

I'm now at the airport, on my way to Washington DC for a 14-day trip. Let's hope there's some interesting stuff to talk about in DC... otherwise the blog might get a little stale. :-)

My Life Is So Glamorous...

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Stuck in Detroit, in the worst terminal of the entire airport ("the dungeon"). There's a big common seating area, and then the gates are nothing but a door in a long, narrow hallway. You can't sit near your gate because: (a) there are no seats, (b) there are no display screens showing departure/arrival info, (c) temperature control doesn't appear to be working, (d) the floor is wet, (e) the people working the gates appear to be on some sort of work release program.

So, yeah... I've got such a great job... :-) I get to sit in this dump until who knows when. Heavy fog has cancelled every single inbound and 90% of the outbound flights. Visibility is 1/16th of a mile with a 100-foot ceiling, so we're pretty much gonna be stuck here indefinitely.

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"The Pit" where everyone is waiting... notice the line in back? That's the line for the customer service counter where you have to go to get rescheduled.

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There's another "wing" of terminals out there...somewhere...

I decided to leave the pit/dungeon and find a place to sit upstairs in concourse "B." Thankfully they have a (weak) wireless signal, so things aren't too bad. We'll see if my now-rescheduled 7:25pm flight is a go. And thanks to the airlines refusal to tell you anything useful until the very last possible second, I'll be waiting in limbo until at least 7:25. Yay!

All Done in Detroit

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Today was the third and final day of the press days for the Detroit Auto Show, and it was probably the most enjoyable day. There were a lot less people there, so it was easier to get photos and to talk with the manufacturers. There also weren't any "important" press conferences, so we didn't have to sprint from conference to conference, while fighting thousands of people for a good spot to stand.

For lunch, we ate at the BMW booth. I enjoyed: applewood-smoked honey-maple-glazed turkey breast, blackened tenderloin, julienned winter vegetables in a carmelized reduction, wild mushrooms with black truffle, a diet coke and an espresso (I was really tired today).


Lunch is served!

Then after that, we headed over to Range Rover for dessert, as the rumor 'round the show was that Range Rover had the best lounge and the best food... so we couldn't pass that up. The lounge was located behind a waterfall that you could see through, so you sat in the lounge and looked out at the cars, through this wall of water. The photos don't really capture the water, but:


Looking out of the lounge at the 2006 Range Rover.


Looking in to the lounge from the Range Rover booth.

We chatted with a few of the Range Rover higher-ups while enjoying some lovely: bread pudding, chocolate mousse-filled eau claire "fingers," apple tarts, raspberry "well breads," and strawberry shortcakes.

We're headed back home tomorrow, so until then, here are a few final car shots to enjoy:

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The new Dodge Viper

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The Aston Martin DB9 Race Car - this thing was so sweet

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Ferrari knows how to do brakes - those are from the F430... massive.

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And speaking of Ferrari: The Superamerica

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All new Cadillac STS-V: 440hp, 0-60 in under 5 seconds...

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BMW M5 in blue, for Greg

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View of the show from the Audi booth at around 4:30pm today.

Detroit Day 2

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Oh...My...Gawd... I think my feet are going to fall off. We were on the show floor for a solid 12 hours, taking only a 20 minute break to eat lunch. We ate at the Audi booth today, so I enjoyed a wonderful beef tenderloin, a lovely potato dish, a mushroom risotto, and one heckuva slice of cheesecake. No photos - my compact flash cards were full, and I ran back to the hotel to offload them immediately after lunch.

Shot about 1300 pictures today... been sorting through them since about 8:00pm when we got in from the show. Whew. Had pizza tonight at a place called Pizza Papalias. It was really good.

Highlights:

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2006 Corvette Z06 introduction. 0-60 in sub 4.0 seconds, 1/4-mile in 11.5 seconds, tops speed 187mph, cost: $65,000. Adios, BMW M5.


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We were leaving the Mercedes-Benz booth when we spotted Paulie Sr. from Orange County Choppers (American Choppers on Discovery Channel).


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Paulie Jr. wasn't far behind... a massive crowd soon gathered.


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It's (L-R): Mikey, Paulie Jr., Paulie Sr., on a bike that they built for Lincoln to help with the launch of the Lincoln Mark LT truck. They posed for about 30 seconds, then ran out of the place, surrounded by bodyguards. No autographs, no talking, nothing - just in, pose, out!


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And last but not least, a teaser for Greg. More to follow in a few days.

Detroit, Detroit

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We're at the Detroit Auto Show - the largest international auto show in existence. Some 15,000 journalists from every corner of the globe attend this 3-day press preview, complete with freebie gifts, food, entertainment and more.

Today was the first day of the show - we hit about 10 press conferences and took more than 700 photos. It was a busy day, to say the least. Here are some of the highlights:

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Detroit's bomb detecting police dogs had to sniff everyone and their bags before you could enter the show.

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Here are a few of the people gathering 2 hours before the Chrysler Group was scheduled to host a press conference.

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Ford had their awesome Shelby GR-1 concept car at their first press conference (conference #2 is tomorrow at 7:00am). The lighting was blue, which is why the photo looks weird.

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We had a quick lunch at Porsche's booth. I wanted to eat at Audi's booth, where they had rack of lamb, prime rib, sword fish, all prepared by world famous chefs, but Charlie "just wanted a sandwich."

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I guess when you're the lead designer at Ferrari, you can lean on a $250k car and not get yelled at...

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The Jeep Hurricane features two Hemi engines (one front, one rear), and was by far the most radical looking concept of the day.

We just got back from a big Chrysler Group dinner party, held at the Detroit Firehouse restaurant. It's an old converted firehouse... they had a free open bar and open menu for more than 2500 journalists. I can't even imagine what that tab had to ring up to... Anyway, it's off to bed now - we've got an early (and long) day tomorrow.

Phoneless in Detroit

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Argh. I'm at the airport, getting ready for my flight to Detroit, and I just realized that I left my phone at home. Nice...

5 days with no cell phone... that'll be interesting.

So the rest of the home theater system arrived yesterday: receiver, speakers, and cables. But I needed some speaker wire... no biggie, I'll just run to Radio Shack and buy some 16 gauge speaker wire. Hop in the car, run down to Radio Shack and check out the store. No speaker wire. None. I ask the guy behind the counter if they have any 16 gauge speaker wire, and he points me to a rack that has 4 packages of speaker wire, 12-feet in length, with some funky connector on the end. No dice...

So, I hoof it over to Lowes and find that they have tons of speaker wire. Jackpot! Only problem is, all of the wire is on 250-foot spools, and I don't really need 250 feet... maybe 100 feet at the most. So, I walk around looking for someone to cut me some wire. Hmm... everyone must be busy.

I spy a little button that says, "Press For Assistance with Bulk Wire." So I press it, and an automated voice comes over the speakers and says, "Customer needs assistance in the wire cutting aisle." A few minutes go by... no help. Long story short, I pressed the button at least 10 times - no help.

Realizing that I'm wasting time, I decide to buy the whole roll... it's just $42.50. I get in line for check out, and realize I've selected a line that's being run by a trainee, and not just any trainee - an "Operations Manager Trainee." Great. The guy is fumbling with everything - he couldn't figure out how to run a gift card, then he couldn't ring up a saw blade, and then he had problems with a package of batteries.

My turn. He scans the spool, and it comes up as $57.50. I questioned him, and he starts fumbling through a book, looking for a phone number to call. He calls the wiring department, and surprise, there's no answer. I told him about my long wait for assistance. So, he calls another number and the guy tells him that the cut price for wire is $0.23 per foot, so for 250 feet it would be $57.50. I explain that this wasn't cut - it's an entire spool, and the tag says it's $42. We go back and forth for about a minute, and he sends me back to the wire area. UGH!

Instead, I walk over to customer assistance and get a "plain 'ole cashier." She rings it up, clicks the thing that says "spool" and viola - $42. I told her about my experience in check out lane #11, and she says, "Oh, that's the manager trainee, isn't it?" I said, "Yep." She just rolled her eyes and said, "Sorry about that... the manager tag should say it all." I said, "It sure does... I'll bet he's got himself a couple of fancy business degrees and maybe even a MBA?" She laughs, and goes, "You know he does."

So, 1 hour and 30 minutes after my initial trek to get some speaker wire, I left Lowes, $42 poorer, but at least I had my speaker wire. Amy and I watched Spiderman 2 last night (fantastic in surround sound), and then she went to bed while I watched Gladiator. Surround Sound rules.

And now it begins...

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That's 12" of 600-watt Klipsch Subwoofer my friends...

Thanks to some great Christmas gift money, we've decided to get a decent home stereo/home theater again. I used to have a decent stereo system, but sold it when I took my job with Identikey in Australia - I figured I wouldn't use it for a few years, so I thought it would be best to liquidate my old stuff.

Pictured above is our new Klipsch Reference 12" subwoofer, complete with a built-in 600-watt amplifier. Receiver and speakers are on their way... shouldn't be too much longer.

In other news, the weather has been fantastic (well, a bit rainy). It was 70+ on Saturday, 70 on Sunday and in the mid-sixties today. Here's the temperature at about 9:00 last night:

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