in the cold morning light

ramblings 2 Comments »

DLee broken controller boardboy it was chilly getting up this morning. especially being downstairs for breakfast. you see, our 1st floor heating unit conked out on us last night. the upstairs unit was fine so we were fairly warm while sleeping. but with no heat for the 1st floor of our house, you can imagine how cold it got by morning. fortunately the service guy responded quickly and came by this morning to fix the heating unit. apparently the controller board on the unit burnt out. but, the repair bill ..ugh. that sure did put a dent in this month’s budget. … I just have to stay positive about stuff like this. think positive, think positive. for instance… I should be THANKFUL that the faulty board in the heater didn’t burst into flames and burn down the house, right? I should be THANKFUL that I have heat in the house again. I should be thankful that it wasn’t -10 degrees outside when the heater broke down last night. ..I SHOULD be thankful….

The Song of the Day:

Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back by Meatloaf

There’s always something, There’s always something going wrong.
That’s the only guarantee, that’s what this is all about.
It’s a never ending attack. Everything’s a lie and that’s a fact.
Life is a lemon and I want my money back!!!

better sound off your PC

internet buzz No Comments »

like most people nowadays, I have a vast library of mp3s stored on my hard drive. and sometimes I want to enjoy my favorite playlists of songs on something other than my thin-sounding computer speakers. I just want to crank up some of my favorite tunes and shake the walls a bit, you know what I mean? If only I could somehow hook up my computer to my home stereo system, I’d be onto something. and don’t even mention the “audio out” from the computer’s built in sound card, OK? there’s simply too much extraneous noise that comes off the average computer sound card that becomes sorely apparent when played through a decent home audio system. luckily Firestone Audio offers a solution for those that want more from their digital audio library. They have specialized USB interfaces that let audio enthusiasts enjoy listening to their favorite mp3s through their home stereo. Their FUBAR III model is just what I’ve been looking for. It’s an interface for your stereo and it also works as a high-end headphone amp. the FUBAR III has been custom built to convert digital audio into a clear audio signal that can then be sent to your home stereo amplifier. It only takes one quick listen to tell the difference from a noisy sound card compared to the dynamically clean sound coming from one of these Firestone audio converters. It’s a bit sad to see that the general public don’t seem to know any better about playing their music through generic computer speakers. they don’t know what they’re missing. great music deserves better. head on over to for more details.

Shure E3c

music, reviews No Comments »

I’ve had my trusty ol’Shure E3c Sound Isolating Earphones for a couple years now. I’m on my second pair. the first pair got ruined after heavy use during my days in the worship band. Now, I mainly use these in-ears for listening to my portable music player. these Shure earphones sound fantastic. The only thing I don’t like about them are the yellow foam inserts that I’ve been using with the E3c phones. they get worn out and look a bit unappealing especially since they’re yellow which may appear to some as earwax buildup unfortunately. I recently ordered some Shure Triple Flange replacement inserts to see if these would work better with my E3c earphones. they look a bit funky but at least they can’t be mistaken for yellow earwax. after testing them out the other day, I had some difficulty getting them to fit properly in my ears. you see, these Shure in-ears work best when they fit tightly inside the ear canal. if they don’t seal properly, the sound is very tinny with absolutely no bass. but once they are in the ear good and snug, the sound is probably the best you can buy (within the $100-200 range). after researching these Triple Flange sleeves, I found out that you can cut the flange at the tip with some scissors to get them to fit better. and after doing just that, the new sleeves work perfectly. So I guess these Triple Flange replacement sleeves aren’t exactly one size fits all. thankfully there was someone out there that shared that little tidbit about cutting the last flange or I suppose these inserts would have ended up in the trash.

a taste of chicago

miscellaneous No Comments »

if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I’ve lived in the “south” for a long time now. but you may not know that I actually grew up in Chicago. In fact, that probably explains why I don’t have a heavy southern accent (thank God!!). I still have fond memories of growing up in Chicago. I remember watching my first baseball game at Wrigley Field, hanging out with my friends at the Lincoln Park Zoo and riding my bike all the way to WGN studios to get a glimpse of Bozo the Clown. I’m planning on taking my kids to the windy city sometime soon so that they can get to see first hand where I grew up. I know my kids would absolutely love visiting Shedd Aquarium as well as Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum. I remember spending so much time there at the museums when I was little. for the trip, I’m considering using Trusted Tours & Attractions to help me schedule some sightseeing tours around town. Their “Hop-On Hop-off Trolley Tour” makes it very convenient to get to all the major attractions without having to worry about transportation. The pass gives you access to their trolley buses for most of the day so that you can check out the various museums and other destinations at your own leisure. not having to worry about your rental car or paying for cabs makes it ideal for families taking in the sights. oh, and the Trusted Tours website is even offering a chance to win a handheld GPS for simply signing up for their newsletter. Now, a handheld GPS would definitely come in handy when visiting Chicago with the family. I’m definitely signing up. I’m looking forward to giving the kids a tour of Chicago. plus, they need to experience an authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza. There’s absolutely nothing like it and it’s to die for. my mouth is watering just thinking about it…

drivers with no common sense

ramblings 4 Comments »

the traffic accidents due to icy conditions this morning doesn’t at all surprise me after seeing all the inconsiderate speeders on the interstate while driving to work today. It really pisses me off seeing these other drivers tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes and driving over the speed limit when driving conditions aren’t all that great to begin with. I mean, what are these people thinking??? Do they all have special tires that prevent them from slipping on icy patches?? Even on the infamous I-540/I-40 exit ramp, people were still trying to “cut-in” at the very last minute making those of us in line hit the brakes to avoid plowing into the guy in front of us. who are these idiots?? if you were in one of the accidents this morning due to excessive speeding, it serves YOU right!!
idiot drivers around here
WRAL - Icy Roads Lead to 50+ Accidents
Raleigh — Icy roads Tuesday morning lead to more than 50 accidents across the Triangle, most of which were fender-benders that caused no serious injuries, according to authorities. Cars could be seen sliding on the road at N.C. Highways 540 and 54, where previous accidents were blocking some lanes. Glenwood Avenue at Interstate 540 was also backed up due to slippery roads.
“The cars were spinning around, striking each other, striking the guardrails, striking the Jersey walls,” said Trooper Beckley Vaughan, of the state Highway Patrol. “One of the worst things you can do, of course, is hit the brakes, and most of those people, when they started losing control, were applying the brakes.”
Mark Bitleris drove his sport utility vehicle into the median guardrail cable on N.C. 540 at N.C. 54.
“I was going across the bridge, just hit a patch of ice and started going sideways,” Bitleris said. “About five minutes later, another car hit the wall on the other side. The ice seemed to creep up on people.”
Robin Griffo was involved in a three-vehicle wreck at I-540 and Glenwood Avenue.
“I actually hit a van first, and then it threw me into the wall,” Griffo said. “Then I hit (another car), and then I rode up the side of the wall and stopped right here at the end.”
The National Weather Service in Raleigh warned that patchy freezing drizzle or light freezing rain would develop across sections of the Piedmont between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Temperatures were forecast to be between 25 and 30 degrees at the onset of rain, but were expected to warm up a little later in the day. Ground temperatures were considerably colder than Saturday night, when parts of the state saw some snowfall.
Another shot of cold weather is expected late Thursday, with temperatures in the mid-20s and then dropping down to about 15 degrees on Friday.

searching for snow

kidbits 1 Comment »

no big surprise here. we got shortchanged yet again in the snow department. it rained for most of saturday with the change over to snow occurring late afternoon. the temperature didn’t drop below the freezing point ’til after sun down so not a lot of it stuck around. so, here are some photos of the kids sunday morning making the most of what lil’ snow remained in the backyard…



some like it hot

miscellaneous No Comments »

heatingwith the massive cold front sweeping through the nation this week, folks are bundling up and turning up the heat. unfortunately, our offices are a bit drafty especially for those sitting near large windows. We’re in an old building that’s been nicely renovated but the heating/cooling of our offices have always been an issue. at some spots on our floor, it’s extremely warm while at other part of the building (again, especially where it’s drafty) it’s just plain cold. to compensate for the lack of heat, some of my coworkers have resorted to space heaters. the gas infrared heaters that we got recently from desatech have been pretty effective. the gas heaters needed professional installation but once they were set up, my co-workers definitely noticed a big difference. the heaters are easy to operate with little to no fuss and keep the office space nice and toasty.

forecast for snow

ramblings 1 Comment »

snowflake DLeeOK, the kids are getting excited again. the local meteorologists are calling for some snow on saturday. Hopefully they’ll be right this time. Folks up north just don’t seem to understand us all down south that are so snow-deprived. We get *so excited* just seeing a glimpse of the white stuff. any sign of snow turns out to be a big event around these parts!!

WRAL - 2-4 Inches of Snow Possible Saturday
Raleigh — After a rainy morning, the Triangle could see 2 to 4 inches of snow Saturday afternoon, according to Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner.
The snow is expected to begin around noon in the Triangle and last until about 8 p.m., according to WRAL’s WeatherScope computer model. Heavier snow amounts are likely to occur north and east of the Triangle, WRAL meteorologists said. “This looks like it’s really developing into something that could be a major issue for us tomorrow,” she said. “If we get that measurable snow, it’s going to stick around.” Saturday’s weather will begin with rain around daybreak that will later turn into snow, from west to east, as colder air filters into the region.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, if you’re an early riser, if you don’t see anything happening,” Gardner said. “We could have some interesting conditions, and kids could end up having a ball.”

save on online purchases

internet buzz No Comments »

I’m posting this on my blog simply as a reminder to myself as well as anyone else who’s as forgetful as I am. as you may know, Valentine’s Day is coming up pretty soon and so it’s a good time to place your orders for flowers and other gifts for your loved ones. But as always, I recommend checking Coupon Chief for online coupons that can save you some serious cash on your purchases. The obvious choice for most men is to order flowers on Valentine’s. And as it so happens, 1800Flowers coupon codes are available on Coupon Chief. check out the deal where you can get an additional two dozen roses free on top of your purchase of two dozen Sweetheart Roses. I also saw some Avon deals on the website that are pretty good including a link for free shipping and another one where you buy one lipstick and get another one for just a dollar more. So it’s definitely smart to check coupon chief before purchasing anything online. Who doesn’t want to save money on their purchases, right?

the white stuff

ramblings No Comments »

the kids and I were a bit disappointed this morning. Chance for snow was predicted for this morning but the temperature didn’t dip below the freezing point and all that fell was just cold, wet rain. we just can’t catch a break here. come on, all we ask is just a little bit of the white stuff to brighten up the kids’ day!!! the folks up north have ALL the fun!

WRAL News: Snow Turns to Rain Across Triangle

Raleigh — Snow and ice fell across parts of the Triangle this morning, but quickly turned to rain. The National Weather Service canceled a Winter Weather Advisory for several counties south and east of Raleigh after temperatures crept into the mid-30s.
WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner predicted the area could get about a half-inch of rain by the time the storm passes. Schools in Wake, Johnston, Durham, Orange, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Warren, Lee and Harnett counties decided to open two hours late as a precaution against slippery roads when their buses would normally have been out.
N.C. State University decided to open at 10 a.m. For a complete list of delays and closings, check the WRAL closing list. Light snow, sleet and freezing rain were expected to cause travel difficulties this morning, but state Highway Patrol troopers reported mostly wet roads.
North Carolina Department of Transportation crews pre-treated some highways, bridges and overpasses Wednesday afternoon to help keep them from freezing. Elevated roads freeze more quickly because they are surrounded by cold air, even if the ground near them doesn’t allow freezing. The DOT primarily uses salt brine, a mixture of water and 23 percent salt that can be applied to road surfaces before a storm to keep ice from bonding to the road.
Throughout the Triangle, crews were on stand-by, ready to use salt brine trucks as soon as any roads got icy.
“We are flexible and ready to respond to tomorrow’s predicted winter weather,” Katie Kalb, director of Durham’s Department of Public Works, said Wednesday in a news release. “We are following weather reports carefully and we will be ready to immediately respond if necessary.”
The state still needs a lot of rain, so the anticipated precipitation should help drought conditions. Raleigh’s rainfall deficit was 9.12 inches on Wednesday afternoon. Ed Buchan, with the City of Raleigh, said the city has about 116 days of drinking water left. Surface temperatures were predicted to rise into the upper 30s in the afternoon. The rain should clear out by the evening commute. Friday is expected to be warm, with temperatures in the mid-50s.
Folks should be prepared for bitter cold temperatures to arrive for the weekend. Sunday morning’s predicted low is 16 in Raleigh and Monday’s is 14, with the high Sunday only 32..


miscellaneous No Comments »

In a world full of pain and sorrow, how can we be happy? It’s an age old question that continually comes to mind whenever we see all the suffering in the world reported on the news and in the papers. and even in our personal lives, with the stress and pressure from deadlines, bills, the kids and the everyday demands of life, it’s sometimes a bit difficult to find some happiness. What’s the key to happiness? well, my standard answer has always been: “Just hand me a couple million dollars and I’ll make sure to buy me some happiness!!” But is money REALLY the key to happiness? Are the lives of the rich and wealthy actually filled with joy and happiness? With the countless rich and famous celebrities going through some difficult personal issues, it doesn’t seem so. I’ve recently been hearing a lot of buzz lately about the Sedona Method. Millions of lives have been changed for the better because of the Sedona Method including finding a way to achieve happiness in their lives. There’s even a new book by Marci Shimoff called Happy For No Reason that incorporates the Sedona Method and boils it all down to 7 simple steps. I tend to focus on the negatives that occur each and every day but the Method teaches a way to let go of the negativity and to tune into the good. Mariel Hemingway has even spoken about how this method has brought her out of her depression. Happiness is the one thing that we all are looking for in our lives. and I think it’s high time for me to seek out this method and change my own way of thinking. and If you’re interested, be sure to check out their website for information on how to receive their DVD and CD for free.

coffee roundup

food, ramblings 5 Comments »

like a lot of folks, I’m addicted to coffee. I’m not totally sure if it’s out of habit or some sort of physical dependence but it just doesn’t feel right without beginning the day with a hot cup of coffee in my hands. now I’m no where near a coffee connoisseur and I simply get my morning brew using my trusty lil’ 4-cup coffeemaker. I’ve tried out various brands over the past year and I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of them. the following are the pre-ground kind that you can get at your local supermarket (well, except for the “Fresh Market Kona Blend” which is available only at “Fresh Market”).
coffee roundup
Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend - My current favorite. and now that it’s available at my local Super-Target, it’s more convenient to get than it used to be. More flavorful and smooth than the other brands in this round-up.

StarBucks House Blend - good flavor and my old standby. just not as good as the Dunkin’ Donuts brand.

Eight O’Clock Colombian - adequate. not that bad. I rank this high because it’s cheaper than the others in this group. if the price of coffee continue to rise, I might end up going back to this brand.

Fresh Market Kona Blend - surprisingly bland. I was expecting something more robust and flavorful. ain’t worth the premium price.

Millstone Hazelnut Blend - ugh. I totally disliked this one. tasted like old socks. avoid this one at all cost.

yes, I know purchasing whole beans and then grinding them right before brewing is best but I’m lazy and I tend to go down the path of least resistance!! .. so anyway, what’s your favorite?

best of 2007

general, ramblings 3 Comments »

Since all the networks, magazines, NPR and even other blogs do this sort of thing every January, I thought I’d give it a whirl. So here’s a list of my favorite blog posts from the past year. (in no particular order…)

- I’m Not Tired!: a video clip on my youngest trying his darnedest not to fall asleep.

- a little pick me up: the same little guy singing you are my sunshine.

- I’m the bestest Dad, ever! Not.

- Chicken Curry: Our quick and easy korean style chicken curry recipe.

- Thomas and Friends Live: I continually get quite a lot of search engine visitors wanting to know about this live show. It’s a big thumbs down from two out of my three boys.

- the time is NOW. grow up already! sheesh.

- April Snow: I couldn’t get Michael and Nabbi to stop commenting on this one. just get a room you two and be done with it, alright?

- a list of some of my all time favorite korean movies (with youtube clips!)

- my ever popular (via search engines) VEOHTV mini-review.

- and finally, my pissed off post about how I’m never going to eat at Champps ever again.

…and there you have it. The best of 2007.

..let’s hope I find new and more interesting things to post about in 2008!!! :P

upload to stardom

miscellaneous No Comments »

it’s simply amazing to see how much impact viral videos have made in the last several years. What was once thought of as office time-wasters have somehow become a legitimate form of entertainment and a stepping stone for those seeking fame. yes, online videos have made internet stars out of the “star wars kid” and “Miss Teen South Carolina” but there have also been countless others that actually got JOBS out of their online videos. One recent example is a regular joe named Arnel Pineda. Video clips of him singing Journey covers caught the attention of Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon. And Schon was so impressed with how Pineda sounded on the videos, he ended up hiring Pineda as the official LEAD SINGER of Journey. Sounds like a fairy tale but it’s becoming more and more common. that’s why it’s high time to get yourself on online video sharing sites like YawpBox and show the world how talented YOU are. beginning in March, the masterminds behind YawpBox will debut their very own TV show featuring the best videos from their website. with the ongoing writers’ strike, television viewers are hungry for something fresh and new, and I think YawpBox TV will catch on fast. So as you can see, your fun and unique video clip will not only gain an audience online, it could possibly get even more exposure through their television show. how cool is that? currently they’re running a promotion called “The Lex & Terry Challenge” where you can enter your video for voting and maybe even wind up on their radio show. So, upload your video onto yawpbox get on the road to fame and fortune!!

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