Sunday, March 22, 2009

Going Wireless

I took the laptop over to Best Buy yesterday morning to have the Geak Squad check out the wireless capabilities. I've never attempted a wireless connection. Turns out that with the laptop being about 5 years old, the internal network card wasn't working so I had to buy a card. My original purpose for doing this is so that we have the laptop available next month while TMann is in the hospital. I know that my Sis will be spending a good deal of time there for a few days. So I decided to make sure that she (and I) could use the laptop with their Wi-Fi network while she's there if she wants to do so.

When I got home and got the card installed, I opened up a whole new world! I've temporarily hooked into a neighbor's wireless network (thank you whoever you may be!) and am really enjoying it. I can hang out in the livingroom and play around on the Internet. I don't have to park myself in the office and work at the desktop computer. However, because I don't know where the wireless connection is coming from, the signal is not real strong and therefore not real reliable. Also, because the signal is pretty weak, I don't have all of the same capabilities. I can't do download or instant messaging and Internet pages are slow to load.

The bottom line here is I've nearly convinced myself that I better see about setting up my own network setup. It might force me to get more use out of the laptop. It's just been sitting around gathering dust for the last couple of years except for any occassional use once in a while. Besides, the couch is much more comfortable than the diningroom chair in the office.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thomas & Friends - Live! On Stage

TMann's favorite character (yes... even before Lightning McQueen) is THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE. ANYTHING Thomas he just loves. So imagine his delight when his Mama decided that we all needed to go see THOMAS & FRIENDS - LIVE! ON STAGE. Last Saturday the 5 of us (Mama, Trevor, Mimi, Papa & Auntie Roo) made the 90 minute drive to see this show. I have to admit, it was pretty cute and TMann absolutely loved it. It was well worth the drive and the company was great!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Pet-Peeve

Why do the businesses that install these toilet paper dispensers insist on mounting them below knee level when you're seated? It's fine when there is a new roll in the dispenser, but when the roll starts to run out, it's nearly impossible to get a hold of the end of the roll from that angle!!! I'm just saying...

Are They Really to Blame?

Recently there is a lot of talk in Colorado about making talking on your cell phone and driving illegal unless you're using a hands-free device. From my own personal observations I have to wonder, ARE CELL PHONES REALLY TO BLAME? Ok... in some cases yes, but read on.

I drive about 17 miles one way twice a day to get to work and home again. I drive quite a bit around town for extra curricular activities as well. All in all I drive about 250+/- miles a week. It has been my observation that people have forgotten how to drive; they've forgotten the rules of the road (myself included sometimes!!!).

Here are a few examples:

1. When I leave my home and go to the main thoroughfare, I am entering a 3-lane roadway from a 4-way intersection. The other day, I was making my usual right tun on to the roadway. The traffic from the opposite direction had the green light and arrow. To go the same direction I was going there is a double left turn. I went ahead and made my right turn into the nearest lane on the right. One of the drivers making a left proceeded to make his turn and turn in to MY LANE and then proceeded to shout at me and throw hands and fingers at me indicating I was in the wrong. Hello Fellow Driver... YOU WERE WRONG. You should have been in the MIDDLE lane not the right lane. As far as I know there was no reason that I should not have been making my right turn while the oncoming traffic was making their left turns... 3 lanes, 3 cars. Anyone disagree?

2. What are those sticks/knobs on the left side of the steering column? HELLO! They are TURN SIGNAL INDICATORS!!! USE THEM!!! I see so many people on the highways and byways continually changing lanes and never using their turn signals or not using them long enough. Here is what the COLORADO DMV DRIVER HANDBOOK says about how long you should signal:
  • In urban or metropolitan areas, you must signal
    continuously for 100 feet before making a turn or a
    lane change.
  • At speeds above 40 m.p.h. you must signal
    continuously for 200 feet before making a turn or
    lane change.

What people don't realize is if they would use their turn signals they may have an easier time of making those lane changes. I for one do watch for those signals and (if I the person hasn't already ticked me off!) if possible I will try to back off and let them pull over in front of me.

3. When someone in front of you is trying to make a lane change or turn, don't ride up on their tail end. Not only does it make people mad, but you're risking an accident if the person in front has to stop suddenly. Just this morning someone did this to me. I was making a lane change and because traffic was slow, I had to slow down to get over. The person in the other lane was kind enough to let me over, but the person behind me was right on my bumper. As I finished the lane change, the person behind me went zipping around and did his own lane change two cars ahead of me. Funny thing is we both continued down the highway and he ended up behind me by the time I exited anyway. So... how far did your little race get ya Bud?

4. The really big one is... what do you do when an emergency is approaching? So many people just don't even pay attention. Here is what the COLORADO DMV DRIVER HANDBOOK says:

You must yield the right-of-way to all emergency vehicles using a siren, air horn, and/or flashing red, blue or white lights. Where possible, you must pull over to the right edge of the road. If you are in an intersection, drive through the intersection before you pull over. On a roadway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, if you are approaching an emergency vehicle that has stopped along the side of the road, when possible you must leave at least one lane between your vehicle and the emergency vehicle by changing lanes, unless directed otherwise by a police officer or emergency personnel or conditions prohibit the lane change. If the road only has one lane on your side, or you cannot change lanes, slow down to a safe speed and use due care and caution as you pass.

So, back to cell phones and driving... I'm sorry but there are some people that should not do anything but drive when they are in the driver's seat... don't talk to passengers, don't mess with the radio, don't discipline your child, don't even scratch your nose! They just are not capable of multi-tasking even in the simplest of forms. YES, I do agree that the cell phones can be distracting (and I admit that I do drive and talk on the cell phone), but use good judgement people. For instance, if the drive is treacherous... bad weather, horrible traffic, whatever, HANG UP AND DRIVE!!! People need to take responsibility for themselves and their abilities, or lack their of. Again, use good judgement.

It will be interesting to see what happens with this law. One point that I do agree with is that teen drivers will not be allowed to drive and talk on the cell phones at all, hands-free or not. They do not have enough experience to be able to handle that. Tackle one thing at a time. One point that I'm have a hard time with is the fact that on-duty law enforcement and safety personnel will be exempt from this law. How do we know that they are not on personal calls as they are driving down the road in their patrol vehicles and/or other emergency vehicles? I realize they use the cell phones as part of their job, but it just sticks in my "craw."

And one last thing... how is a hands-free device any safer than just talking on the phone itself? You're still talking and not focusing all of your attention on driving, you're just not holding it in your hand...

So get out there and BE SAFE!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Florida Update

Ok.. so in my original rant about the rental home in Florida, I indicated that I was considering contacting the BBB of Central Florida. I did send them an email on February 11. Until this week I hadn't heard anything so I figured they were blowing me off. Well I did get a response this week. It doesn't say a whole lot, but at least it will be on file and if anyone else should have problems in the future they'll have more than one complaint.

re: Elite Florida Vacation Homes, Inc., case #9E20-8F3%
Dear Rhonda Rankin:
We have received your correspondence concerning your experience with the company. It is unfortunate you have had this experience. We regret the necessity of your letter, but appreciate that you have taken the time to bring this matter to our attention.
Your letter will remain in our files as a matter of record. If you care to advise the BBB of the final outcome of this matter, we will be glad to include it in our file. The information you have provided will be maintained in the Better Business Bureau's file for a three (3) year period.
We appreciate your using the services of the Better Business Bureau. Remember, our complaint and inquiry services are available 24/7 by calling our automated phone system or by visiting our web site at To use our automated phone system, please have the telephone number of the company available when calling, including the area code or toll free prefix.
Phyllis Coleman
Consumer Affairs, ext. 332

I also contacted the Florida Department of Health. They responded that this did not fall under their umbrella, however, I should contact the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. I filed a complaint via their web site and received this response:

The Division of Consumer Services, Bureau of Mediation and Enforcement, has received your complaint concerning the above referenced business. Thank you for filing your complaint with this office. Often it is only through correspondence from concerned and responsible citizens that we become aware of consumer issues.
I have mailed a copy of your complaint to the business and have asked the business to respond to the allegations. I will review the response and contact you with a status update. Please be aware that this process may take between 30 and 60 days.
If you have any additional documentation to support your allegations that you did not include with your initial mailing, I would appreciate you forwarding that information to my attention as soon as possible. Please include the reference number displayed above on future correspondence and address any questions or concerns to my attention. Examples include, but may not be limited to proof of payment to the business, receipts, estimates (front and back), advertisements, copy of a contract (front and back), or any correspondence with the business you think might assist in understanding your complaint.
Richard Otway
Regulatory Consultant
Fax: 850-410-3801

I'll update as or if I hear more.