May 2006 Archives

My achy breaky heart

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I've been having some pretty strong chest pains for the past few weeks, so I went to the doctor today. Did a blood test, had an EKG, some chest X-rays, and all that fun stuff.

Doctor wanted me to stay overnight in the hospital and have a "nuclear stress test" done tomorrow morning - I guess they put some dye in your blood, throw you on the treadmill, and see what happens... only my wonderful insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, fought it and wouldn't allow it.

Thanks, Blue Cross! GOD #&$^%!!*&#^$!!! I HATE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES. They can build these multi-million dollar buildings, with lakes, golf courses, and underground parking. They profit billions of dollars and pay their CEO's tens of millions of dollars each year, but they cry and scream that they "don't make any money," and as such, they lie and steal and deprive you (their customer) of required health care procedures. (come to think of it, this sounds a lot like the airline industry...hmmm)

Each year, they increase my premiums, while they subtract from my benefits. And in the past 5 years, I've "used" at most, $800 of the $10,000+ I've paid in premiums. And now, I feel like I really need to "use" my insurance, and those morons deny my doctor's advice? Like some bean counter in some building in the middle of nowhere knows better than a doctor who's talking directly with me, seeing my symptoms, and forming an educated opinion. He's not looking at a chart and going, "83% of the people that are our customers only require ____, and by denying this claim, we'll save ourselves $____."

I love it that when I go in for a routine visit, of which my Blue Cross Blue Shield brochure promises is covered at "100%, after copay" that I still get a bill from Blue Cross Blue Shield for additional money because the "care" exceeded the allowable limit (for example, a routine physical costs $145 at my doctor's office... Blue Cross Blue Shield allows about half of that, so I pick-up the difference... Great! I pay you $2000+ a year in premiums, and you can't fork out $150 for a physcial? I already pay $20 of that $150 in "copay," and then you ding me another $60... your total out-of-pocket expense for my "well being" is a whopping $70, even though I paid you 300% of that in "premiums." Tell me how that isn't: (a) stealing, or (b) ridiculous. I guess owning an insurance company is akin to having a license to steal and print money, while not having any conscience.


I'd love to rant more (with lots of four-letter words and un-niceities) about Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I know my parents read this, so I won't. But... suffice it to say... I hate Blue Cross Blue Shield, and I truly wish nothing but the very worst of things upon them, their partners, and their employees. May you all be hit by drunken drivers and/or die in a fire, and then I hope your insurance doesn't cover your expenses. Idiots. I hate them.

Dog park

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Even though it was 90+ today, we decided to go to the dog park - we did wait until after 5pm to go, though, so that the sun wouldn't be quite as harsh. We all had a good time - Monica acted like a nut, Regis peed on everything, and Big Boy just walked around, sniffing everything he could find. Here's some photos:

Big Boy checks out things...

Regis takes a quick breather.

Monica, with crazy ears; only one thing could follow...

...a chase!!

Monica wins... and keeps running (she ran for about 20 minutes straight)

He's such a good boy (even with drool on his nose).

Back home, the cats were enjoying themselves:

Kramer and Ernie, in the office.

Ernie stretches out... he loves to lay flat on his back, with his arms and legs outstretched. He does it all the time, and this time, I was lucky enough to catch a photo of him doing it...

$440,000 please

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We went to a Razorback baseball game the other night, and on our way out, I spied this beauty just sitting there in the parking lot:


That photo may be one of the worst photos you'll ever see, thanks to my craptacular cell phone's horrible camera feature. I didn't have any other camera available...

Here's what the Porsche Carrera GT (MSRP: $440,000 + taxes) looks like in real life:


I was shocked to see a half-a-million-dollar car sitting outside of a college baseball stadium... So I did some quick math to calculate the monthly payment, after luxury tax and sales tax... it would only be $9,880.20 per month for 5 years, assuming an interest rate of 4.9%. Hmm... I may have to pick-up 3-4 more jobs - then I could probably park one in my garage.

Painted into a corner

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Raise your hand if "back in the day" you said something like, "A 4GB hard drive? I'll never use that much space!"

I remember back in the days when my neighbor had a Vic20, and he had a cassette tape drive, and I thought that was sooo cool - a device that could store 'data' - wow. Then I got my Apple //c, and it had 128K of memory and dual 5.25" floppies (a hand-me-down from the Apple //e) and I thought, "Wow, this is as good as it gets.")

Fast forward a few years, and those new-fangled 3.5" floppy drives came out... They could fit 1.44 megabytes on them! Holy cats!! And there was this thing called "a hard drive" and it could hold 20 megabytes -- who in their right mind would ever use so much space?! (Mind you, this was in 1992 or so)

And then I got a 386-33 with a 100MB hard drive, and I thought I was king of the world. Windows 3.1 came on 10 floppy disks, and after you installed it, you were left to ask, "So, ok... now what? What do I do?"

Fast forward to today...

I've got 500GB available in the G5, and I'm freaking out. Video takes a lot of space - so much so that it's caught me off guard... I have one SATA drive as my OS/application drive, and it's 140GB full -- Final Cut Pro Studio takes up 50GB of space alone (it's 9 DVDs worth of space). I've got Photoshop Creative Suite 2 on it, along with iLife '06, Microsoft Office 2004, and about 20GB of music. I've also got old files from past jobs, and my freelance work.

The other drive is a scratch drive - it's where I do the video editing, and where I store clips, etc. for video work. It's SATA as well, and it's a smoking fast drive, so that's really nice... but it's over 50% full already, and I'm just getting started with video (DV uses 13GB per five minutes of video in compressed format, and about 40GB per five minutes of uncompressed... HD is ridiculous beyond that).

I've got a 500GB firewire drive that I use for weekly backups. But now I'm thinking about archiving my drives and taking a spare offsite, in the event of some type of localized disaster - I have so much stuff on the drives, that if I ever lost them, I'd have a hard time recovering everything...

So, I need to buy another 500GB drive for that. And then I got to thinking, "Should I buy another 500GB drive for video work? A FW800?" Or, am I doing things completely wrong? Is there a better way to do this?

Anyone got any ideas?

I see myself using:

250GB for OS and applications/everyday files/music/etc.
500GB for video scratch work/editing/etc.
500GB for longer-term video archiving (saving old projects, clips, footage, music, etc)
???GB for off-site storage of data - would be backed-up once every 4-5 months or so.

I've even considered buying a LTO2 tape drive to backup to, but the tapes can only hold 400GB, so I'd need at least 3-4, and a $2500 tape drive... ugh. I thought about storing data online in a data vault, but I don't fully trust those places... I could get a network drive, but I don't think it would be fast enough (AVID is out of my price range, thank you), and it wouldn't solve the "offsite" issue.

My brain hurts.

... I want my 5.25" floppies back ... that was much easier to manage.

(I posted this to one of my daily-visit message boards, and then thought it might be worth posting here, just in case anyone has any ideas)

Too awesome.

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Final Cut Pro came in yesterday, and I spent most of last night filming some content for what may be my first short film. Brian lent me his Canon GL2 digital video camera, and I filmed about 20 minutes of clips. I'm hoping I can make a 2-3 minute short film. When I got home last night from filming my sample stuff, I installed Final Cut Pro - it took about 2 hours, and when it was all installed, I used about 47 GB of disk space. WOW!

Anyway, here's Final Cut Pro, in all of its glory. In this picture, I'm importing video from the camera:


The program is complicated - really complicated. But I can tell it's going to allow me to do some awesome stuff. There'll be a learning curve, that's for sure, but wow. Wow.

Weekend Work

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It rained pretty much all day Saturday, but we managed to get a few major things done today.


I got my Sirius antenna installed on the roof - wow - what a difference that made. My office window faces to the southwest, and Sirius suggests that for best reception, you point your antenna to the North. Despite my less than optimal set-up, I was able to get a slight signal by aiming the antenna out my window, but the signal would cut out frequently. So today, I mounted the antenna (it's about the size of a book of matches) on the roof and ran the cable down to the junction box for our cable TV, and then ran it inside the house.

While I was doing that, I decided to treat myself to some cable TV in the office as well (I was, afterall, right there, working in the junction box), so I ran a second coax cable up to the office. For some reason, our house only had four cable outlets installed when we bought it... there was an outlet in the office, but I've been using it for my cable modem, so TV wasn't an option. Well, after a few minutes with the drill, a few more minutes with the drywall saw, and a $0.18 electrical box, and we had not only a 100% satellite radio signal but another cable TV outlet in the office. That makes a total of 7 outlets now, which is about right.


Now I can work on my dual monitor set-up, while watching TV, and listening to satellite radio. Ahh, this is nice!

It took about an hour to install all of the new stuff, so it wasn't too bad. I splurged on the cables and went with compression, weather-proof cables, so the total cost for both projects was about $45. I also bought a new fire extinguisher for the basement - I figured I should have one down there. It's a 5-lb Kidee ABC basement/garage extinguisher. I mounted it near the water heater.

Other news? That's about it - I can't think of anything else... I can't wait for my Final Cut Pro to come - with any luck, it'll be here tomorrow.

Neat idea

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My friend Brian told me about a guy who published a book called, "What I ate" - apparently, the guy photographed *everything* that he ate over the period of a year and then made a book about it. I'm afraid to see how much (and what) I ate over the period of a year, but it's piqued my curiosity...

I'm thinking about starting a section on the blog called "what I ate and drank" - I could track if for a few months or so... let me see...

Today, I:

Drank 1 cup of coffee
Drank 2 Diet Dr. Peppers
Drank 1 Diet Mt. Dew
Drank 5 Diet Cokes
Drank 4 glasses of water (25-28oz each)
Am drinking 1 Warsteiner (wow - great stuff - those Germans know their beer)
Ate 1 cheese quesadilla
Ate some nachos
Ate 1 medium order of french fries from McDonalds

Hmm... not the best start... and I don't have any pictures, but it could be interesting.

I mentioned that Warsteiner... my friend, Karl, is a beer expert - he's got great taste in beer, so he shared a Warsteiner with me a few months ago, and I liked it. So while we were in Joplin last weekend, we found a store that had "build your own 6-packs" of various imported beers, so I built one and I included a Warsteiner. Wow, wow, wow. I'm not a huge beer drinker (one every month or so is plenty), but this stuff is fantastic - it's a real treat. I wish I would have filled the whole six pack with it... but then again, the other five might be just as good - Karl helped me pick them out, so we'll see.

Oh, and Brian - glad to have you "back." The Steveco is open any time - just give a shout.