Saturday, March 29, 2008

Whew!

What a week it's been. As I'm sure y'all have noticed, it's been a bit since I've posted. Well, I've been up to my eyeballs at work. The system I'm working on now makes that last church look like a walk in the park. There's so much gear in this house and so much work left to do that I'm literally losing sleep at night over it.

This has to be the most flawless and most beautiful system I have ever installed. Why? Because it is for the four-story house whose resident is the owner of my company. And not only that, but they plan on using the first two floors as a giant demo system. So lots and lots of people will be seeing my handiwork.

Just an idea of what this house has? 24 zones of audio including the surround in the theater, living room, and pool (yes, an OUTDOOR theater w/ projection. Bitchin, huh?), 14 zones of video, 16 touchpanels, full lighting control, and full integration of pool systems, hot tub systems, water features (waterfalls, etc.), and computer network. Additionally, yesterday the boss and I discussed adding in a phone system to the house.

I'm going to start taking my camera over there starting Monday, so y'all can see the type of stuff I'm talking about.

At any rate, my point actually was to let you guys know that I've been quite busy lately. Not only have I not posted anything, but I'm not getting to your comments sections on your blogs, either. Fear not: I will catch up as soon as I can. In the meantime, y'all take it easy and enjoy your weekend. I'll see you soon!



tweaker

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Here We Go... Again?

*Alternate title: "Emotional Legislation: It's Not Just For Anti-Gunners Anymore"

I am, I just realized, about to sound very Hammer-ish. And I mean that as a compliment. The man has a way with rants. So I'm going to sit here and play Megadeth's
The System Has Failed while I write this, as it fits.

Anyhoo, much like the aforementioned rant-artist, I don't always see eye-to-eye with my in-laws. That is putting it politely, by the way. When I first moved to Texas (when I was 20), I used to engage them in what always turned into arguments, where I would lose by default because of the immense age difference betwixt my adversaries and myself. You see, The Wifey is 7.5 years older than I, and she's the youngest of three sisters. The oldest is 10 years older than my wife.

I'z chillrens in that family, and resistance, I learned, is futile.

Eventually, I grew to realize that the easiest means of keeping the relationship with my in-laws from being too rocky was to keep my mouth shut.

Today brought my patience with that practice to a head, and it burst.

I don't discuss religion. Damn-near ever. So, I sat there as I became the target of a "Hey, you should check out our totally hip, contemporary church" campaign. I sat silently, with the exception of the occasional nod or "Yeah, really? Neat," to keep things polite. Someone mentioned an upcoming festival-type thing the church is putting on, and saw fit to point out to me that there would be free food. I thought that would be a good time to interject humor.

"Man, I don't even get out of bed unless it's free beer."

I wish I'd said anything else.

Now, the subject matter quickly shifted to the current state of affairs regarding The Lone Star State's pandemic drunk driving, and what a local zealous asshat
Gustapo-type supreme Fucktard police chief plans to "do" about it.

My family-in-law points out that said police chief wants to make us safer by making it an Official Open Beverage Container to have a six-pack of beer in your car with one bottle missing. He also has vowed to begin utilizing roadblocks, a practice LawDog has already pointed out violates our State Constitution. In true Communist fashion, he plans to fund all of this by taxation; in this case, a $0.10 per bottle tax on suds.

At this, I bid my silence and sanity farewell.

I made it quite clear my Libertarian position (in spite of the fact that I despise labeling myself politically), and then it was on. Before my Mother-in-law could finish rapping off all the statistics on DUI-related deaths, etc., I stood to my feet. I told them that all of their statistics were fine and dandy, and that they could keep them. I then proceeded to tell them that, no matter the issue or intention, the solution is NEVER more laws. Making it more illegal will not reduce DUI's.

And that, of course, was followed by a slew of this happened and that happened and that poor kid died and whatnot. Well, I'm sorry. And that moron that drove his truck the wrong way on the highway and killed that family? He's in prison now; he will be for a long time, and when he comes out, he'll be a convicted felon. I'm sorry people died, but he'll do his time. You think it's not enough? CHANGE THE CONSEQUENCES, THEN, but making MORE STUFF illegal would not have stopped that kid from doing what he did (in this instance, he was up all night getting drinks illegally at a bar, then went to a dude's house and had more drinks illegally, then at sun-up he hit the road: the wrong way. Would a dumb-fuck-concocted Sixpack - 1 = Open Container Law have stopped him?)

You wanna curb DUI's in Texas? Enforce the laws that are already there. Actually, that would work with just about any crime, in my opinion. There are folks running around on their fourth, ninth, seventeenth DUI conviction looming over them, but they are too busy futzing around with their keys on the door to worry about it.

And, nearly as amazing as the Resurrection itself, my in-laws just stopped. No getting in the last word, no cheap shots, nothing. They just dissipated and went on to other things. Thank God, too, because the Spurs were on.

The gunnies among you are probably thinking about how this story could have related to gun control and whatnot. True enough, since that was my last recourse was to make that allusion. Then again, someone else said it much better than me:

Think about it this way. You live on a nice quiet residential street with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour. All night long, gangs of kids drag race down your street at ungodly speeds. If we used the logic of gun control advocates their solution would be to lower the speed limit to 20.

When you're right, I guess you really are right.



tweaker

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Can Has Gauges?

It's been quite some time since I had any accurate indication of how much fuel was in my tank in the Monte Carlo. As I had mentioned before, the instrument cluster went Tango Uniform. When I entered the interstate and looked down to see that I was fast approaching triple digits in speed, I decided that it was time to find a solution. But not before freaking out at the site of 93 M.P.H. and stomping on the Don't Go Pedal, only to realize that at 70 I was getting passed by Grandma, horse-drawn carriages, and the occasional disgruntled tortoise.

Well, mucho kudos to my local Chevy dealer, where I get all my service done anyway. They were quick to jump on the problem. I took the car there last Monday to have it officially diagnosed. They ordered the part then, and told me the part would arrive in around three days. The very next day, they called me and said to bring the car back because they had the part (thank De Gods for consolidated shipping). I brought the car in on Wednesday for the repair, which they completed in record time. When I picked it up, I could positively identify that my ride contained 1/2 a tank of Go-Go Juice.

Huzzah!

The confidence of knowing current fuel levels AND forward velocity is comforting. Especially when you didn't have that information just a week ago. How much did that cost me? Bupkis. And if my buddy at the dealer is reading this, drinks are on me.



tweaker

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ejamuhkashun

I'm currently working on a read, which is a big deal for me. I'm reading the transcripts from D.C. vs. Heller, which is 110 pages long. I'm on page 70 now, and so far I've mostly liked what I've read.

I particularly enjoyed the Solicitor General's reference to the fact that machine guns, while being nearly totally banned on the federal level, would/should fit any interpretation of 2A. Especially if you attach the militia/military interpretation, because "they are the standard-issue weapon for today's armed forces and the State-organized militia." That, to me, is pure poetry.

So, when I get it done, I'll probably have some sort of something or another to say about the whole thing. Til then, just another reminder that I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth.

Oh, and Brandon and Amanda are posting again. It's good stuff. Check it out. Give you something to do whilst waiting for the pics of the Mossberg. I know, Jay. I'm on it.



tweaker

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Big Day

At 10 a.m. Eastern time today, The Supreme Court of the United States will begin hearing oral arguments in case number 07-290, District of Columbia vs. Heller.

It all comes down to this. Let us pray that Dick Heller's team (read: The Good Guys) has their shit together. They've got a lot riding on them.

Deep breath, everyone.



tweaker

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Light Blogging

Blogging will be light for a couple days. Got a huge install in a church I've been on all week that is nigh complete. Unfortunately, I still have to work today and tomorrow (all day in both cases) to finish it. Ugh.

And that's on top of the 17.5 hour day I worked yesterday.

Hope I see y'all soon.



tweaker

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So That's What They Call It Now...

Make no mistake, I do NOT intentionally watch The Today Show. It comes on after my local news in the a.m., which I also only watch to catch current weather/traffic right before I leave the house. But sometimes I catch something that really puts the world out of focus for a couple seconds.

Meredith Vieira comes on first and goes over the list of headlines that will be discussed. One of them, I kid you not, starts out:

"...and the girl who toppled Governor Spitzer..."

I hadn't heard IT referred to as "toppling" before, but I am always open to suggestion.

That said, as far as I can tell, the only person responsible in any way, shape, form, or fashion for the downfall of the now former governor is the former governor himself. That girl, as far as I am aware, did not hold a gun to Eliot "Sticks More Than His Nose Where It Doesn't Belong" Spitzer's head and rape him, then rob him of $4,300US. Had that been the case, he'd still have a job and she'd be locked up. No, he called her, invited her (across state lines, hence the Feebs involvement) to Good Ole D.C. for a roll in the hay, then willfully gave her a significant amount of cash (DAMN I hope it was GOOD...) for her, uh, "services."

So, Senor Spitzer "toppled" himself.

Which he'd better get used to, judging by the look on his wife's face:)



tweaker

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The World Isn't Full of Suck

Really, it isn't always that bad.

I have had an issue with the instrument cluster (the pack o' gauges in the dashboard; speedometer, gas gauge, etc.) in my Monte Carlo for a while now. The gas gauge has gone up over the "F" mark and around to rest on the temp gauge. A surefire sign of a bad cluster. A couple days ago the speedometer started acting all weird, telling me that I was doing 25-40 m.p.h. while standing still.

I left the jobsite today at 120 in a car that's governed at 96. Interesting.

That cluster is 'spensive, y'all. Installed you're looking at $500-600 or so. I talked to a dealer this morning about a possible recall/bulletin/anything that would be free or so. No dice. I called the dealer I bought the car from, and got good news. He said that if the car's under 60K miles, the service manager of any dealer (in this case, Chevy) can, at his sole discretion, perform a "goodwill." A goodwill is basically warranty service on a car that's out of warranty to keep a happy customer, so maybe said customer will come back and buy their next auto.

Course, I bought the Carlo used from a GMC/Pontiac/Buick dealer. They can't do it.

I told The Wifey, who went to the guy at my local Chevy-eria that does all our maintenance. He talked to his service manager, who in turn authorized the goodwill.

Happy am I.

Nice to know there's still good folks out there. Present company included.

;)



tweaker

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Universe Loves Balance

When my friend moved out the other day, we bought their deep freezer. Not a huge job or anything, but it's enough for some meat, etc.

Today, we finally went to the house to pick it up. We had to carry it, unfortunately. We didn't make it a few steps before the people that lived across the street from me popped out.

"You wanna use my two-wheel dolly to move that thing?"

Turns out he's the guy that used to work for the company that built my house. I took him up on his offer, and when I returned his dolly I brought a beer with me. That turned into "Come on in" and from then on it was history. We had a couple brews, a KILLER glass of Don Eduardo silver tequila, and then GUNS!!!!!!!! He's a gunnie, and he lives stumbling distance a hundred yards from me. Life is good.

What, you want icing with that cake? I lost my only HD channel this morning. When I got back from my new buddy's house, I ran a channel scan only to find out that I now get all five local channels in HD for no extra cost.

Life is good.



tweaker

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Can Has TeeVee?

At last.

After waiting for two weeks, one of which shouldn't have happened, my LG 42" LCD has finally arrived. Which, in case you were wondering, doesn't fit in a Monte Carlo. Fortunately for me one of the guys that lives out this way drives a pickup.

Brought it home, took it out of the box (which the cats think is a castle), grabbed brew for me and my buddy from work, and immediately started connecting everything. Had it fired up and scanning for channels before we were halfway into a beer.

Seriously, this thing rocks. I don't see me getting much done this weekend.

Next conquest? An HDTV box from the local robber baron cable company. Hopefully that don't drive the bill through the roof.



tweaker

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ebb and Flow

They say that a good friend will help you move, but a really good friend will help you move a body.

Tuesday night I watched a really good friend (I never actually cashed in on the body part, but I could have) pull up the tent stakes and move on. That was harsh. Kids don't understand when their friends move away. The Little Girl lost a two friends in that move. The Wifey and I did, too. It's hard to accept, but he's moved on. I pray that we keep in touch.

Wednesday I got a couple comments in the brief post I wrote on the subject. One in particular was a sort of invite to get it off my chest. So I took it.

Wednesday night I called a guy that's Stuck in Massachusetts. It did a great deal of good to have a conversation with someone. It was nice to talk to someone who is more than willing to gab about guns without end. It was also comforting to have the company of someone else with as bad a case of Something Shiny Syndrome as I have (oh, look! Something shiny!).

[overheard, likely by the feds]

*ring-ring*

(he) "City Morgue, parts department. You stab 'em, we slab 'em."

(moi) "I'm suprised the call actually went through. I figured Massachusetts filtered out all calls from free-thinking states."

(he) "Hang on, the helicopters are flying low now."

Thanks for your time, Jay. I'll help you with a body anytime.



tweaker

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Light Blogging

Just wanted to let folks know that I don't have much to say right now.

The friend that gave me the shotgun earlier? I just watched him drive away.

I'm not feeling particularly inspired. I'm sorry. I'll try to post up soon.

Never take your friends for granted.



tweaker

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Gun Pr0n To Follow

I have joined the ranks of shotty owners worldwide.

I am the proud new owner of a Mossberg Model 500 ATP. She's just this side of flawless, with the only scratches being internal, indicative of shells being cycled through.

It's a 28" non-ribbed barrel w/ bead sight. It's got a wood "corn cob" fore end and a wood stock. I will acquire an 18.5" barrel as soon as funds are available. I might even get an M-4 style telescoping stock w/ pistol grip (which I know is way tacticool, but I still like the way that stock feels). It's got a 6-rd tube (if you use 2 3/4" shells; -1 round for 3" shells), and I'll be making sure that rod is removed here soon. Tube extensions are cost-prohibitive on the 500; one would likely be better off with the mil-spec 590 if more rounds are preferred.

This gun was a gift. You heard it right, I paid $0.00 to acquire it. Not to say that it was free. Some dear friends of mine are splitting up. He is moving out of state to be closer to his family, and she's following suit to live near the kids. It's a crying damn shame, but they feel it's what's necessary. So he is leaving the shotty behind with me to commemorate an unlikely friendship (long story I'd be happy to tell face-to-face), and my price will be, and I quote, "Something sentimental."

That'll be one expensive shotgun.



tweaker

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Thanks For The Head's Up

I'd like five minutes alone with whoever the asshead is at the credit department of LG Electronics that decided to put my company's account on credit hold.

I guess that statement could use a bit more explanation.

I ordered my fabulous new TV on February 22. Got a confirmed shipping date of February 29. My shipping/receiving guy said that, since the warehouse is in Dallas that those orders often arrive a day or so early. So, each day that's passed I've eagerly awaited news that I'd be taking some extra cargo home with me.

Then the 29th arrived. And the time for trucks came and went. So, I called LG to get a tracking number (it was going via truck, not major parcel carrier) so I can figure out where my TV is. Our sales rep's assistant then informed me that our order was on the dock, ready to go, but awaiting payment as our account had been placed on credit hold.

WTF? We are NOT the type to pay bills late. Actually, this had happened before, though. Sometimes, on particularly large jobs that require literally tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gear, we exceed the credit limit with a particular manufacturer simply because we are ordering so much equipment. Not uncommon amongst custom installers, actually. We don't get accounts with giant credit limits (like Best Buy would have, for instance) because we don't normally order a zillion dollars worth of inventory. We order what we need for a job (hence: CUSTOM) one job at a time.

So when a client comes along and spends seven figures on an installation, our order tallies are higher than usual. We make it a point to get that total paid down as quickly as possible, done usually by billing large amounts at a time to the client so we can bring in the gear.

Our last giganto-install put us in Red Flag Land with a couple different manufacturers, and was quickly paid down. Currently, we don't owe LG a dime. Bupkis.

So why do they have us on credit hold?

...

No, I'm actually asking because I don't know.

I quickly asked the lady on the phone if they are supposed to notify us when we're on credit hold, or if they normally just hold orders and wait for angry clients to call in. She said I'd have to talk to the credit department.

Grrr....

I really don't like the idea that I've forked out a significant sum of money (four figures is a damn sight in this house), and have neither the money nor the TV to show for it. A phone call to the credit department (made by my accountant, Miss Don't Take Shit From Nobody) got my order moved off the dock yesterday.

So it'll be Monday or Tuesday before I see my TV.

DAMMIT!



tweaker