Yes, believe it or not, but I just finished reading the first Harry Potter book.
Go ahead and laugh now so you can get it out of your system.
<Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha>
Feel better? Okay, let’s go.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past ten or so years, the Harry Potter books have been flying off the shelves and the movies have been smash hits in the theaters. The main plot lines involve a young boy and his classmates as they attend a special school for witches and wizards somewhere in England. The first year in the school involves everything from mischievous classmates and a sinister professor or two to owls delivering the mail and a sporting event involving teams of students flying around an arena on broomsticks while trying to score goals.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a fantastic look into the world of magic and witchcraft. Reading the story is addictive, and the cast of characters and magic spells are entertaining as well. And of course, who would know that purchasing a magic wand was as easy as going to the store just around the corner? Read more…
Today’s outing involved a stop at a local Wendy’s for lunch.
The food and service were both good, but that’s not the point of this article. It was something that was observed that made me cringe and wonder if the future of our society is doomed for failure.
Upon entering the restaurant I saw a teenage girl and her father sitting at one of the front tables. The girl had her back to the front counter and an extremely unhappy look on her face. I mean, she looked pissed. On the table in front of her was a completed Wendy’s job application.
My dad and I were placing our lunch order when said teenage girl AND HER FATHER approached the counter and spoke with the manager of the restaurant. Sure enough, the girl was there for a job. I couldn’t hear everything, but the manager looked pleased and basically told the girl to come back later that day to talk about the positions currently available. I didn’t notice if her father said anything to the store’s manager, but he stood right beside his daughter the whole time when she handed the manager her job application. Read more…
This past weekend I had a travel opportunity to once again visit the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Well, it was more of a pack-an-apartment-and-move-the-contents-back-to-Georgia-type trip rather than traveling for business or pleasure. Come to think of it, we really didn’t have any free time at all on this trip.
The journey began bright and very early as my friend and I flew from Atlanta to Pittsburgh on a CRJ200. The aircraft itself was pretty sweet, but when it comes to riding on the regional aircraft, I definitely prefer turboprops. I flew on a Dash 8 this past November, and that was definitely a lot more fun.
One of the benefits to traveling first thing in the morning is that in addition to shorter lines going through security, the wait for takeoff is kept to a minimum. In our case the pilot told us that we were first in line for takeoff. We cruised along the taxiway, made the turn onto the runway, and then went to full power for takeoff. We were airborne within a short moment and on our way north to Pittsburgh.
Well, folks, in a few hours I’ll be heading down to Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport for a non-stop flight to Pittsburgh, PA.
It’s simple. My friend’s sister had a successful dual-lung transplant, and now it’s time to move everything in the temporary apartment back down here to Atlanta. We moved her up there at the end of November. The fact that someone can have a major operation like that and then be essentially dismissed and allowed to move back home in such a short time frame is amazing.
This time my flight will be aboard a CRJ200 regional airliner. It’s not as glorious as riding in a turboprop, but cruising with a pair of jet engines will still make this an entertaining flight. I’m already looking forward to the acceleration of takeoff and the thrill of a (hopefully) smooth landing. This is going to be a sweet ride.
The fact that snow is in Pittsburgh’s weather forecast this Sunday is an added bonus. I’m sick of this extreme pollen here in Atlanta, and the breath of cold, fresh air is going to be great.
In the meantime, it’s time to sleep for a couple of hours before heading down to the airport.
Warmer temperatures are here, the flowers and trees are blooming, and as usual, the pollen count is soaring.
And just how high is the pollen count in Atlanta, GA today?
Ahhhhhhhh! Actually, it’ll probably be more than double that as we approach the peak of the pollen season.
The streets and sidewalks already have a little bit of a yellow tint as the allergy particles continue to fall from the vegetation. When we reach the peak of the season, the pollen will be so thick that cars passing in the street will leave yellow clouds of dust. You can wash your car in the morning, and by early afternoon it’ll be covered in another layer of dust. Walking through grass will cover your shoes and legs with pollen. Nasty.
As for me, I already have a bit of a sore throat and stuffed nose.
At least tonight will involve lots of chicken wings soaked in different sauces, all while being entertained by one of the greatest guitarists in the country. Good times for all.
Just yesterday I finished reading the classic science fiction tale, Ender’s Game.
Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of the sci-fi genre. Well, at least in books. I love a good science fiction movie, whether it’s a sci-fi/horror film like Event Horizon, an action-oriented movie like The Fifth Element, or just an interesting tale such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. But when it comes to actually reading science fiction books, that’s normally where I fall a bit short.
I guess the main reason why I normally turn away from science fiction books is that it’s just too difficult for me to imagine the scenarios, whether it’s aboard a super advanced spaceship or involving a weird alien creature or strange world. That’s a big reason why I have yet to really sit back and start reading fantasy novels.
Ender’s Game has changed my outlook on science fiction literature.
Ender’s Game follows along as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is selected to become part of the I.F., the International Fleet. His fighting and decision skills have been noted and the six-year-old boy has been selected to attend the elite Battle School, where graduation could ultimately lead to commanding not only a starship but an entire fleet of them. But first he has to survive Battle School and earn the respect of his fellow classmates, all while avoiding being killed by a bully. Read more…
It’s that time of the year again, sports fans!
Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far. I know that there’s a huge craze for college basketball, but I’m not one of those fans. So far this year I’ve seen all of one game and half of another. That’s it. But I still like March Madness because every game counts and anything can happen.
This year I filled out two brackets. The first bracket is a continuation of picking every game by the flip of a coin. The coin is a 1987 $1 gaming token from the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. For those of you keeping track, that is the same exact coin that was used in last year’s coin-flipping tournament bracket. Yeah, exciting stuff.
The coin is predicting a tournament victory for Purdue University. Highlights include Ohio State and Duke losing in the first round, and UTSA and Richmond both advancing to the Elite Eight. Wouldn’t that be entertaining? Read more…
The other day I finally switched my cell phone company from TracFone to Virgin Mobile.
TracFone was an okay and fairly inexpensive company, and for the most part it met my expectations. It took me a little while to active my phone when I switched to them from AT&T this past summer, but I believe the main cause was user error. After that little issue the (very) cheap phone worked when I needed it to.
But times have changed and I felt that it was finally time to join the rest of the world and get a better cell phone and service provider. My main focus was looking for an inexpensive plan that offered unlimited text/data/web. As you can probably guess, the answer was Virgin Mobile.
And my new toy? It’s the Samsung Intercept.
Switching from TracFone to Virgin Mobile took a little bit longer than I expected. I’m not talking about the stuff that happens in the background, but rather calling Virgin Mobile and trying to set up a new account that would have my old cell phone number. Read more…
Earlier today the Space Shuttle Discovery (OV-103) touched down at Kennedy Space Center, concluding its 39th and final mission into Earth orbit.
I was fortunate enough to be in central Florida during the launch of Discovery. The Florida trip was a planned family vacation to theme park land, and the launching of the space shuttle was just a bonus.
So the big question — Can you really see a rocket launch from central Florida?
Just don’t expect to see any details. It’s basically a tiny black dot cruising high into the sky and leaving behind a massive exhaust plume in its wake. It’ll look quite a bit different than the normal airliner contrails that sometimes cover the sky.
I was in Epcot on the day of the launch, and (as predicted because I tend to have bad luck) the sky was mostly cloudy that afternoon. We had nice and sunny skies for most of the week, but that afternoon was mostly cloudy with only a few pockets of blue sky. In other words, you just had to keep scanning the few holes in the cloud and hope to be looking at the right one at the right angle during the launch.
I wasn’t so lucky.
The camera was ready, but I picked the wrong hole in the clouds. Shouts were heard as the rocket suddenly climbed high into the sky. By the time I spotted it there was nothing but an exhaust plume. Oh well. Read more…
A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit a local Arby’s, and I returned one more time today.
It’s been a few months since my previous visit to Arby’s (Hey, they’re expensive without good coupons!), and several changes have been noted. Only the change to a new sandwich seems to be worthwhile.
First of all, Arby’s is now running what they call a Good Mood Pledge. Each of the trays has one of these small fliers telling you about how they want you to be feeling good when you walk out of the restaurant.
Is this really necessary? Shouldn’t a pledge like this already be expected at these higher end fast food restaurants such as Arby’s and Chick-fil-A?
I know that the economy is tough on everybody ($&#*ing gas prices!) and right now each of the fast food places is trying to find a slight edge over the other one. But going for the good customer service angle? Wasn’t Arby’s already known for good customer service?
Issuing a statement about good customer service wouldn’t be that big of a deal. For Arby’s it’s expected anyway. But issuing a pledge like this gives the impression that you’re really, really concerned about making the customers happy through customer service. It can easily be taken negatively and give an impression that the restaurant has had complaints in the recent past, whether that’s true or not. Read more…