A few fries short of a Happy Meal

I run a popular website, www.HartzVictims.org, that provides information and stories about Hartz Advanced Care Flea and Tick drops. It is an anti Hartz website. I get submissions on a daily basis explaining how someone’s poor cat had to be rushed to the vet’s office to be pumped full of steroids, anti tremor medications and fluids.

Every once in a while, I’ll get an e-mail like this one. And to think, this person is probably out there driving around in a car or voting! What’s better is her e-mail address was a .edu.


Sender’s Name: Megan Castor
Sender’s Email:
Message: I put your Hartz flea drops on my kittens and it is not working. How long do I have to wait to use drops again or another product?

Dell is losing Points with me

I want to know how much it will cost for one (1) Client Access License (CALs). This essentially means that we need to purchase a license so an additional computer can have access to our file and print server at work.

I searched Microsoft’s website. No luck. I found out there are resellers for CALs, Dell being one of them. I called good ol’ Dell, the PC mammoth that’s based out of Round Rock, just half an hour from here. I actually spoke to someone in Bangalore who I could not understand for the life of me. Strike number one.

I have a question. I don’t want to make a purchase. I want to know the price of one Client Access License. Mr. Idontwannatrytopronouncehisname transfers me to another department that I honestly could not understand him say. I’m on hold for 15 minutes. “Jason” answers the phone and starts asking for “Customer ID” numbers. I HAVE A QUESTION!!! I tell this to “Jason” who then tells me he’s just a “Call Manager”. I said “Jason, I want to know the price for a singe Client Access License.”

“Let me transfer you to Sales” says Jason. “Can you tell me the 1-800 phone number you called?”

“What?” I ask.

“What was the 1-800 phone number you called when you called Dell?”

“I don’t know – I called the number off of Dell’s website.” I didn’t bother telling him that I had to traverse a mind-numbing automated answering service, speak to some guy working in Bangalore and 15 minutes holding. I figured he knew that already.

21 minutes and 26 seconds later, I leave a message for “Diana”. I asked Diana to call me back because I want to know the price for a single Client Access License.

An hour later, “Noah” calls me back. I tell him that I want to know the price for a single Client Access License. He can’t answer that question. He sent a request to another department and they’re to call me back.

Technology is a love/hate thing. I’d be pretty happy with an abacus and a slice of watermelon right about now.

DaHeBeGeBees, Computer is in need of resurrection

Elise and I went to Maggie Mae’s on Friday night to watch DaHeBeGeBees. That makes for immediately spirit lifting regardless of how bad a week you’ve had. In our old age, we concurred that there would be no way that we would stay for the whole show. We would be going home early get a good night’s sleep and be bright eyed and refreshed in the morning. We said good night to each other at 4 a.m.

I went over to John and Christine’s late Saturday afternoon. I’m glad I did because we did our standard sit out on the back patio and take in the weather. We sat there and fended off the cold front as long as we could. Despite John and I both being tired, we made our way to some party that someone had invited someone’s someone to go to.

Sunday was sit around and do nothing day. We watched the last few episodes of the fourth season of the Sopranos.

In other news. My computer has been up on blocks for the past week. I got a nice little case of the IE 6 and Outlook Express don’t want to go online. I tried all of the fixes I could find via Google, but to no avail. I decided to reinstall XP. Upon doing that, I installed the OS on the wrong hard drive (I have 3). To make a long story short, I deleted some files off of the boot drive that I should have. I just now got my hands on some XP boot disks (which I should have made long ago), so hopefully I can get my computer working tonight.

John has decided that he’s going to start going to Tae Kwon Do with me. This is good because 1) John will be getting some exercise and 2) I won’t be freezing on the motorcycle on the way to and from class.

I haven’t seen Harold in over a month. He hasn’t returned any of my phone calls. I’m going to call one more time tonight and then I’m going to call Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Jesus, you gotta minute?

Sometimes, you just have to ask for help from the man himself.

We’re at Lisa and Ron’s and will leave for Warner springs in a few minutes and be back Sunday afternoon. Last night Jason finally told his mom he had an itch in his crotch, so Lisa checked it out and didn’t know what to think, so got a relative, Dad to check it out, at Jason’s request. It was jock itch, so the Lanocaine came to the rescue. Later when saying his nightly prayers, he asked Lisa if he could say a little extra in his prayers. He asked Jesus to please make his balls stop itching. Just thought you would get a kick out of that.

Hope you are having a nice day. The smog was horrible her this AM.

Love you

Mom and Dad in California

We are going to Lisa’s to spend the night and visit with her tomorrow since she’s taking off from work. Then later on we’ll be going to Warner Spring. Sat. Ron will BBQ. There will be lots of family and friends there, so plan on being very confused. Might need some quiet time before it’s over. Ha!

Hope to hear from you again while we are still on the road.

Love you

Mom and Dad’s road trip report

Mom and Dad road tripped it west to sunny San Deigo to visit my siblings. They’re slotted to come back to Texas on November 1.

Hi, Just thought I’d check in with you to see how the Houston catering trip went. Knowing you, it went well and you did an excellent job and made lots of money for the company.

Hope you had a nice stay at Cat Spring and it didn’t feel so lonely. I was wondering if you don’t mind letting me know if you got the two packages from UPS.

It is nice to be able to be away from home and still retrieve email messages. I’m sure it was available all these years and I didn’t know. Oh well!

Terri and Craig’s house is BEAUTIFUL. She says to say hello for her. You know Terri has a knack for “fixing” things up with all the extras that make a house a home. The climates is so nice and David is able to breathe again without all his meds and nose wash.

We had Mexican food Monday night, the night we got here. Tuesday, over to Lisa, Ron and Jason’s for lobster and salad. This evening before dark, we’llhave a picnic in the park and Thursday over to Lisa’s to spend the night and Friday off to Warner Springs for the three day weekend to have more fun and enjoy the mineral springs. Then off to Chuck, Lisa and kids place for a nite or two. After all that, we’ll head home and hopefully be back by Nov. 1st.

Oh yeah, forgot to tell about seeing Daddy, Jeanie and Dean in Pahrump, Nv. A lot of sand and cactus. I guess Daddy doesn’t care since he stays inside mostof the time in his PJ’s. He gave us $80.00 to go out and eat the night we got there, but refused to go with us. We brought him some leftovers and he was as happy as anyone. We talked a bit more the next AM and off to have brunch at one of the casinos, again leaving Daddy at home. Then packed up and were on our way to Calif. The traffic was so heavy leaving Vegas that we stopped off for the night in Barstow. Never again will we take that route on a Sun. night with all the people trying to get back for Monday work day.

Well, I didn’t mean to go on and on, but the coffee Terri and Craig have here has got me all hopped up.

Love you guys and am anxious to see you two on Turkey Day.

Love you


I stepped on the scale last night before leaving for Tae Kwon Do. I weighed 150 lbs. with jeans, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. This morning I weighed 148 lbs. with nothing more than my skivvies. I got my leg caught in the tub drain this morning and had to get Riley (8 lb. Rottweiler/Manx cat) to pull me out with a tow rope. I’m going to grab a napkin, hop on a skateboard and windsurf to Kohl’s this afternoon to buy suspenders. My pants keep falling off.

All you have to do is ask…

I was at CompUSA yesterday, shopping for a new sound card as the line in input on mine seems to have pooped out. I walked by the hard drive section and saw a 120GB drive for $59.99. I couldn’t pass that up. I installed it and noticed that the drive had 111GB. I e-mail Seagate’s technical support…


What seems to be missing space on the hard drive is actually the difference between the two numbering systems used in the computer industry.

Decimal vs. Binary

Most Hard drive manufacturers use DECIMAL numbers to show capacity:

(1 KB = 1,000 bytes)
(1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes)
(1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes)

Most Computers (BIOS) and Operating Systems use BINARY numbers to show capacity:

(1 KB = 1024 bytes)
(1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes)
(1 GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes)


Seagate’s Model … ST380021A … total formatted capacity expressed in:

The same drive will show up in Windows expressed in BINARY as approximately:
BINARY = 74.5 GB.

Use this formula to convert the DECIMAL 80 GB to a BINARY number

800,000,000,000 GB … divided by … 1,073,741,824 = 74.5 GB

Your Operating System would show this 80 GB drive as a BINARY number equaling 74.5 GB … minus any space already used.


You are NOT missing any space on your Seagate hard drive.

Your Operating System is converting the DECIMAL number and displaying it as a BINARY NUMBER.

If you care to delve deeper into this subject, there is an excellent article regarding this subject at this link:


Robert H.
Seagate Technical Support

========== Customer’s original message ==========

I purchased a Seagate 120GB Barracuda ATA hard drive at a CompUSA in Austin, TX this morning. PN: 9W2883-337 S/N: 3JT20400. I installed the drive but it says there are only 111GB. Where did the other 9GBs go?

El’s hydrostatic Sunday

I took it easy this past Friday – stayed at home and watched The Matrix. On Saturday, I woke up, did laundry, talked to Mom, got my ears lowered and avoided the temptation to buy a lot of stuff at CompUSA. After that, I watched the UT vs. OU game… I should’ve taken a nap instead.

When Elise got home from work, we went to Bellville for the annual Austin County Fair. I didn’t take too many pictures – I was busy socializing.

Elise and I went back to my parents’ house late that night. We slept in on Sunday. We ate. Ate some more. Ate again. I washed the Jeep. We ate again. Oh yeah, and Elise tested out my Dad’s new hydrostatic transmission-driven riding lawn mower. Sexy!

Angry man on phone

After being at work for an hour or so this morning, I walked across the street to the convenience store for a coke. I rarely drink cokes (or “soda” as some refer to it) because 1) I’m not really a caffeine junky and 2) I try hard to maintain my stick-like physique.

As I approached the facade of the store, I heard a man screaming. I couldn’t make out from where the tantrum was coming and it stopped as I got closer to the store. I bought my coke and headed back toward the office. I heard the screaming again. I turned around and saw the man at the pay phone. He was livid. He was screaming at the person on the other end of the conversation. He screamed and screamed and slammed the phone against its base multiple times. If I had to guess, I’d say his knuckles were probably busted due to his violent outrage. It was an amazing scene. People are weird.

As I continued my trek back to work, I wondered what it could have been that made this man so mad. Was is a cheating girlfriend? An out of stock crack dealer? Corrupt stock broker? Whatever it was, I’m glad that I’m not that dude. My only gripes are that my wife works so much that we rarely get to spend much time together and I’m getting gray hair. I wouldn’t abuse a public pay phone over those things.

In hindsight, I should have stopped in my tracks and danced. That’s what I should have done. I would have performed the hammer and the cabbage patch. I really should have. Life isn’t that bad. Perhaps that angry man would have turned around, seen me dancing and laughed. People driving in their cars would have laughed too. Oh well, hindsight’s 20/20. I just went back to my office and had a coke and a smile.

House savings – almost there!

I just checked our house savings account… this time next week, we’ll be at 75% of our goal for cash savings! This time next month, we’ll be very near our goal. I set our goal to what I thought was enough (although it’s still significantly more than what most people are putting down on a house these days). I’ve come to learn that if we want a “deal” on something we can realistically afford, we’ll need to save a little more. At the rate we’re going, that shouldn’t be a problem. Ideally we should have our Realtor taking us to look at houses now. If we wait until we reach our goal, then have Della take us to look at houses, by the time we find and fall in love with a house we’ll have more than what is expected of us for the loan amount(s) we’re considering. Exciting!

Kiss and Aerosmith, home shopping

I woke up early on Saturday and went for a salubrious 20+ mile bicycle ride. The hills in Austin are pretty rough. That was exhausting. I came home, flopped down on the couch and watched the majority of the Sopranos third season on DVD.

5 p.m. rolled around and Elise called to tell me she was on her way home. Once she got home, we hopped in the Jeep, drove to El Arroyo, picked up her boss’s Suburban and drove to DKR stadium so Clay (bossman) could have his vehicle. That was amazingly frustrating. We got to the stadium just after UT beat Kansas States. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me that the entire world attending that game. We were stuck, in our vehicles for almost half an hour in a mob of burnt orange wearing pedestrians. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people at one time in my life.

Being an hour late already, we finally dropped off Clay’s Suburban and hauled butt to San Antonio for the Kiss and Aerosmith concert. We got to the Verizon Amphitheater just in time to catch the end of Kiss’s first song. Needless to say, the concert was awesome.

We slept in on Sunday, went to Hut’s for lunch and then house shopping for almost four hours. Elise actually pooped out before I did. We’re both getting really excited and nervous about buying a house. It still might be a year before we buy, but we’ve got [financial] blinders on.

TKD update

I’ve been back in Tae Kwon Do for a few months now. I’ve been slowly relearning the traditional colored-belt patterns. In Unified Tae Kwon Do, a student reaches a black belt by beginning with a white belt, you then achieve higher belts by learning and performing your patterns during a test, board breaking, sparring and your overall attitude, devotion and enthusiasm. The test is conducted by either an instructor or Master Park. Master Park was at all of my tests.

You start with a white belt, then you test for a yellow stripe. You then test for yellow belt, then test for green stripe. Green belt, blue stripe, blue belt, red stripe, red belt, black stripe, another black stripe and then black belt.

For each rank you must remember two patterns, one traditional and one free-sparring as well as the patterns from previous belts. It gets pretty rough when you’re getting ready to test for your black belt. I believe it took me three years to reach black belt. I continued going to classes until I graduated from high school and then moved to Austin for college. It was then that I began practicing the fine art of being out of shape.

Nine years later, I’m back in and really enjoying it – wondering why I ever gave it up. I’m in better shape than I’ve been in a long time. I can comfortably perform the white through red stripe traditional patterns as well as one of my four black belt patterns. My self confidence has also grown a lot in the past months. Not that I was really lacking, but confidence can always grow.