see ya soon

Maybe I’ll have Internet access over there, maybe not. So, I might not be back on until next week!

Tonight, we’re going to LAX to spend the night. Our plane leaves tomorrow morning and then we’ll spend the next, well, relatively the next 15 or so hours on the plane before we arrive in Germany on Saturday morning.

Goodbye USA, Hello Germany.

Napoleon Dynamite’s Top 10

As read by Napoleon Dynamite, the top 10 reasons you’re not the most popular kid in school

the dollar vs. the euro

The reality of leaving the country hits me more and more everyday. I am pretty frightened, excited, intimidated, anxious, and all at the same time. It’s great to finally be able to say I’ve traveled around the world, and it sure as heck took me long enough!

the Dollar vs. the EuroOne of the issues that I’d like to put a nail into already is the currency exchange rate. First, I didn’t realize how horrible the the rate of exchange from the dollar to the euro really was. Then I started researching.

$1.30 for every dollar??!

The crazy thing is that when we arrive, it might be back up to $1.32 or even the record $1.36/euro. Let me put it this way. If I decide to bring $100, that would exchange for 77.05 Euro. I lose $22 in the exchange!! How’s that for living in a time where the US dollar is at an all time low!

How frustrating! I now have to figure out how to get the best exchange rate. After calling the banks at which I keep my money, I find out that one bank will exchange a euro for $1.37 and the other at $1.36. What? But the dollar is being traded for as low as $1.29! Well, I was told that to receive that kind of rate, you have to be trading hundreds and thousands of dollars. It seems that the average schmo has to suck it up. I then try to find out about charging. One bank will allow you to charge for the regular exchange rate + 2% and the other will allow you to charge at normal rate with no fee. This is even worse because it limits any purchases I make to my debit card only. I must have some euro in hand while I’m in that country!

Luckily, one of us has a bank which can be used at ATMs in Germany and it won’t incur any additional fees! So, I’m putting most of my money in that account. As for the rest, I’m going to have to see what the conversion rates are over there and if it beats what I will pay here, I’m definitely just bringing cash with me and exchanging it over there.

Anyone have any better ideas?

Germany

Wuerzburg, Germany

In one week, I will be on an airplane. This airplane will leave from LAX on the morning of Friday and arrive at JFK airport in NYC. From there, we will change planes and fly east. Once we land, I will for the first time in my life have left the continent of America to arrive in Europe. That’s right, I’m on my way to Germany!

I’ve never been across the seas in my life and I figure this is just as good a time as any to take my first world wide trip. The opportunity was presented to me a few weeks ago and after some thought and a little discussion, I thought the price was right and it was hard to turn down such an opportunity. So, I didn’t! And it’s going to be awesome!!

The course of the trip will include just a few cities, the main of which will be Wuerzburg. Wuerzburg is located in the middle of Germany, about 120km/72m from Frankfurt, where our plane lands. We will probably spend 80% of the week we’re staying in Germany in this town walking around the city, visiting the historical structures and taking in the night life.

This being my first visit to a foreign place, I believe this will be a nice change of pace from the majority of my long distance trips I’ve taken in the states. Most of them have involved the interior of a car for long hours during the day or night, with stays in major cities lasting only hours or days. I look forward to spending a major amount of time in one place getting to know the culture. And, the fact that this country is foreign in almost every way to me is going to definitely put everything in some kind of perspective.

Sprechen sie Deutsch? Well, I certainly don’t, not even just a little. How did I write the previous phrase in German? I had to look it up on the Internet! lol… Yeah, I’m pathetic. The fact that almost everyone I will hear will speak German is definitely going to be a shock to my system. Since I have been a student, I was forced in one way or another to study foreign languages. And, to be completely honest, I hate it. I have no interest in picking up any textbook French or Spanish… or I guess German for that matter. But, I’ve always known that relocating myself in a different culture with a different tongue would force me to take an interest. I also think that would be the most entertaining way to learn as well because of the fact that I would have no choice. Studying a textbook bores me. It always has.

6 more days until I begin my new journey!

Family Guy, May 1st, 9/8c- BE THERE

I’m a huge fan, I admit it. I’m probably even obsessed a little, I’ll admit that as well. But my joy is well worth the excitement. Ya see, my favorite cartoon family is making a come back to Fox this spring. That’s right, Family Guy is officially back on May 1st.

Starting this past Sunday, Fox began a five week broadcast of Family Guy Episodes at the 9/8 o’clock spot as a little teaser to whet your appetite. Since I own the DVD set, it won’t really upset me if I miss any episodes since I’ve seen all of them at least 5 times each. But, I highly recommend to you if you’re a fan of the Simpsons, Futurama, or South Park, you should give Family Guy a chance if you haven’t already. It’s rude, it’s crude, and it’s sometimes nude, but it’s absolutely hilarious!

It’s sad when you come across censorship in a very sad form. I understand why the FCC has to do what it does, it’s not totally lost. However, when it’s completely ambiguous for Fox to have to guess what’s appropriate to show and what’s not, there’s definitely something wrong. Five years ago, when an episode of the Family Guy broadcast, the episode was shown in its entirety. Yesterday, when they rebroadcast the episode, “Fox electronically blurred a character’s posterior, even though the image was seen…when the episode originally aired.” Sounds like a double standard to me.

For more info on Family Guy, you can check out these websites:

Family Guy on Fox.com
Planet Family Guy
Family Guy Reference Files

as the world turns

I have no news. Nothing new to say. No original thoughts. I could sit here and type a bunch of dribble for you to read, but I think just by reading it, I will have made you dumber. In fact, I could sit here and talk about the break-up of Brad and Jen, or as I like to call them, Bradifer. Bradifer are a married couple, been together for many years, and now are separated, not divorced. But ya know what? Who gives a crap. Why is the media so freakin’ obsessed over their marriage? I’ve read crap like “If they can’t make it, everyone else is doomed”. Leave ’em alone!

Wanna know more important news?

The tsunami death toll has reached 162,000 people already and is expected to go even higher. Have you donated any money to the relief effort? That’s much more news worthy than a private relationship.

You hear about the army spc. who was court martialed and sentenced to 10 years in prison? It’s sickening that he’d done it, and it’s even more sickening that he was ordered to do it. Was this a fair trial? Yup. He was ordered by his superiors, but he knew that he was going against Geneva Convention yet he didn’t stick up for himself. He wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t under any false state of mind, he was just following orders. This guy has no regrets, he took his orders and did what he was told. Just goes to show you how screwed up the military can be. I don’t feel sorry for him, I mean he doesn’t feel sorry for himself.

And have you read that the US might be attacking Iran? Yup, some journalist reported that the administration has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions in Iran in preparation for a possible strike. A lot of what the journalist said was speculation, and this sounds very familiar to me. I wasn’t very happy to know that we attacked Iraq a couple of year ago, so we most certainly better not be doing the same crap twice.

So now that you realize the world is still turning and that more important issues need to be dealt with, so forget about the celebrity relationships. Let them do what they’re gonna do, give them some peace.

more design work

Wow, the more I get into this web design and learning how to code more, the more fascinated I become. The worst part about it is that I’m staying up until 4am in the morning doing this, but the fun part is that I’m really starting to get the hang of it. I’ve almost got my website updated to be completely xhtml compliant. It’s a fascinating adventure and I’m also in the middle of reading designing with web standards. It’s one of a few books that I plan on reading to improve my knowledge of the latest in web design.

I better get all of this out of my system now while I have some time on my hands.

design changes

You might notice some minor changes recently. I’ve had some time to do little cosmetic changes to my site, which I needed to do long ago. However, life happens and I never decide to make the time. I hope to continue with some more changes through the rest of the week. Who knows, but hopefully I’ll eventually make some major design changes in the next few weeks. What I’ve done so far:

  • Font changes in a few places
  • Layout changes in a couple of places
  • Code cleanup on many pages
  • Finally got rid of that eye… I really liked it, but I know it was really stupid

And a little list of things to do:

  • Trial use of sIFR for my headlines
  • Figure out how to use my category and monthly archive system
  • Try to integrate more phpBB on my index page
  • Clean up more of the design
  • Look for different options in my bulletin board style and look
  • Upload more photos
  • Figure out how to use RSS, Atom, etc as forms of syndicated news

I am a huge fan of phpBB, which is what I use for my community link! Ever since I’ve been online, I’ve used phpBB on my site and plan to continue it. It’s highly customizable and it excites me at the options! However, with the lack of time and effort, my bulletin board has gone nowhere. I’d like to change the look, but I’ve installed so many different style changes already that it would take a huge chunk of my time to change it. I know I’ll eventually have to invest more time in it, but I need to do more research to calm my fears.

Because of my support for phpBB, I have found a wonderful way to integrate the system I use for this blog, Moveable Type, with phpBB. Written by fluffy, Using phpBB as your MovableType comment engine in 23847392 easy steps is a God send. It’s highly controllable for a few reasons as explained on this link, but foremost for me, I can use it to control spammers on the site as well as MUCH easier administration capabilities. Both of those by themselves make this tutorial totally worth the effort and time I spend on it.

Thank you for reading and here’s to a new year of big changes for my site!

suck my…

Sweet… You gotta love it when high powered, multi-billion dollar company heads get right to the point. It seems that when Steve Ballmer was talking to the former head of Nintendo, he was somewhat lost in translation at one point, until Yamaushi directly said it in English.

it’s so wet!!

What a lazy weekend. I have barely done a thing, and there’s so much to do. But, I’m not totally upset. I’m sorta treasuring this downtime because it doesn’t come too often. It’s been raining non-stop in LA since about Thursday night. Yes, you read correctly. I can honestly say that even Houston doesn’t experience this kind of longevity all that often. But, I’m not complaining either. It’s been nice to just sit around, watch movies, play on the Internet, and catch up with old friends. I did have to drive through some really heavy wind and rain on Saturday evening and that was NOT fun. It was really strange, too, because as many times as I’ve driven these freeways for one reason or another, I couldn’t even see past 10 feet in front of my car it was coming down so hard at one point. You would never expect this kind of weather here. But, I think it’s probably a much needed rainfall knowing how little it had rained before winter season started.

I feel so bad for the Astros. It looks like they’re losing a reeeeally good thing in Carlos Beltran. I was so hoping somehow he would be back, but darn him for wanting so much money. Now they have to convince Roger Clemens to make it back, but I’m pretty doubtful at his return. And now that I’m living in LA, might I ask what the heck the Dodgers are thinking in trading away just about every star player who was on their roster? Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre? Come on, I know Green is 32, but he’s really good. I just hope that the Astros doesn’t give away Craig Biggio for some reason. I’m alright with them letting go of Jeff Kent, but I’m starting to worry for their future without Beltran.

I must also add, now, that I’m officially rooting for the Colts for this year’s Superbowl. Peyton has impressed me enough that I think he just needs to go all the way. So, starting right now, Go Colts!

Do you know what’s the best, more versatile fruit for you? At least, in my opinion, that fruit is called the blueberry. It’s not that cheap, not like apples are, but gosh darn it, they are soooo good. They can put in just about every meal and they’re super rich in antioxidants, those superheros which fight the evil free radicals floating around in your body. So what are you waiting for? Go buy and eat more blueberries!!

I decided to donate a nice little sum of money to aid the effort for Tsunami relief. I have waaaay overspent this past couple of months for one reason or another and will be suffering financially because of it, but I believe my money really has much better use over there than it does here. It’s been a while since I’ve given my money to a good cause and I believe this was probably the best cause out there right now. Anything to help those suffering across the world. Part of me even has thought about wanting to fly out there and help. A little part of me. Probably not big enough to actually do anything about it. But at least I have given money.