Sunday, February 26, 2006

Back from Striper Fishing

Over the weekend, I went on a striper fishing trip at Lake Texoma. My stepdad hired a fishing guide named "Moe", and he was really good. The weather, however, was not that good. It rained on us most of the morning, which made for a very miserable start. But once we started catching fish, I didn't pay the rain any attention. Toward the end, I probably caught 5 fish in a 10 minute period. I've never been striper fishing before, but I will definitely want to do it again.

On a side note, the fishing guide's buddy "Termite" turned out to be the father of a guy I used to work with at MCI WorldCom. I guess it really is a small world.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Why I Hate Chase Manhattan Bank

Recently, my credit card number was stolen. It's a Chase credit card. And so far, my experience with them in resolving the charges placed on it has not been positive.

Now, I've been with Chase since I was in college, over 10 years ago, and as long as you don't need to talk to anyone on the phone, it's a pretty good card. But as soon as you need to talk to a representative, get ready for frustration! Their automated system is terrible. It took me 10 minutes to figure out how to talk to someone, after going down two dead-end paths that forced me to hang up and call back. The third time, I was put on hold and the automated voice actually said, " continue holding, please press 2..." Now that makes me wonder if I were to lay the phone down for a second, would they drop my call?

Next, I received a threatening letter in the mail from Chase the other day stating they were not going to remove the disputed charge at this time (it's less than $55--chump change to them), and that I should get reimbursed from the company the charge went to. It went on to say that if the charge was not resolved that way, to inform them in writing by March 1st or they would consider the matter closed. That's less than a week away, and I've yet to be able to get Virgin Mobile to call me back. Virgin Mobile should be my next rant!

Finally, the last thing that is aggravating is that when I reported the fraudelent charge, Chase said they would issue a new card. I haven't received it. When I finally did speak to someone today, they told me they would not issue a new card until the dispute is resolved. In the meantime, the current card has been suspended, so I guess it's a good thing I don't need a credit card right now!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What a BAD Idea!

Once again, the Oklahoma legislature is working on a bad piece of legislation. A bill is in the works to extend the time it takes a divorce to become final by a whole three months. My first reaction was that people in abusive situations will have to endure them just that much longer, but at least there is an exception for those people.

The whole point of the bill it seems is to reduce Oklahoma's divorce rate, but I see it as a way to force unhappy people to be unhappy just that much longer. I find it to be an unnecessarily cruel government intervention. By the time two people get to the point where they want to divorce, I don't think an extended waiting period is going to be an effective deterent. Indeed, it could actually raise the level of domestic violence. Another side effect is that it could reduce the number of new weddings.

On the surface, a high divorce rate seems to indicate some major failing of societal values, but maybe it just means that Oklahomans are more independent than most and are not willing to give in to societal pressure to keep up appearances when they are unhappy. I think it's great when two people decide they want to share a life together, but I also think it's admirable for someone to assert that the marriage isn't working out for him and it's time to move on. Divorce is a means for two adults to admit they've made a mistake, and they no longer want to be legally bound. In the same way that the government should not decide which two consenting adults can get married (yes, I support the idea of gay marriage), it should not be sticking its nose into the divorces of two consenting adults, either.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

When is Torture Acceptable?

Last night's episode of Lost was even more thought-provoking that usual. In the episode Sayid tortured a man that was captured in the jungle (thinking he is one of the Others), and it made me question my own ideas about when it is and is not acceptable to use torture as an intelligence gathering technique. On one hand, the amount of torture is wholly dependent on the person being tortured. If he doesn't want to be tortured, he has the option of telling what he knows, and the torture should stop. On the other hand, if the person is innocent, then he has no information to tell, and he's probably going to get a severe beating. At the very minimum, I think you need to have some evidence that the guy is withholding, rather than mere suspicion.

Cell Phone Lives!

After the phone dried out, I put the battery in and it worked just fine. And it's a lot cleaner now.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cell Phone Drowns

Before I washed my coat last night, I checked all the pockets as I always do, and there was nothing in them...or so I thought. Apparently, I forgot to check the inside pocket. When I removed the clothes from the washer, I found my cell phone at the very bottom of the tub. I immediately took it out, opened it up, removed the battery, etc., so it could dry overnight. But as of this morning, I don't think it can be revived.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Death Penalty for Child Molesters

If Democratic Senator Jay Paul Gumm of Durant has his way, Oklahoma will begin executing repeat child molesters sometime in the near future. I don't have any children, or I might feel differently about this, but I strongly disagree with this measure. I prefer locking a person up for life with no chance of parole to the death penalty. At one time, it was cheaper to keep a person in prison than it was to execute them. And the news said that as soon as your second offense could result in the death penalty.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bottled Water Problems

There was an interesting articule on Yahoo! this morning about bottled water. You can read the original article here.

Basically it talks about how bottled water is mistakenly believed to have all these health benefits when the majority of it isn't any better than tap water. The added minerals don't have any known health benefits. Bottling the water is causing the water tables to drop in places where people depend on the water for their businesses. To produce the plastic bottles uses a lot of petroleum. Most discarded bottles wind up in the landfill and plastic doesn't biodegrade. Those that are recycled are shipped to China, which uses even more petroleum. It's definitely an eye-opener.

Having said that, I love the taste of Deja Blue, Aquafina, and Fiji water.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fraudulent Charges

I have a co-worker who has the worst luck I've ever seen. I think some of her misfortune is starting to rub off on me.

Tonight, I logged onto the website of a credit card I use, only to find that there was a charge on it from Virgin Mobile, which I have never used. So I called Virgin Mobile and they said the charge came from the Washington, D.C. area. Sweet. Then I called the credit card company, and they showed not only this charge but several other pending charges that had not cleared yet. I seems the computer flagged them as fradulent and was blocking them or something. So I'm safe on those, but there is a small amount already on the card that I now have to dispute. Nice.

Welcome to the world of identity theft!

Senate Panel Passes Picketing Bill

An Oklahoma State Senate committee passed a bill today to restrict demonstrations at funerals, particularly at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The demonstrations come not from anti-war protesters, but from members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas led by pastor Fred Phelps (pictured above). Yes, you heard me right. If you've never heard of this group, they've been demonstrating at gay pride events and gay funerals all over the country for years. They operate two lovely websites, one called and the other called, the later of which now proudly proclaims that "Coretta Scott-King is in HELL!!!!".

Not content to just direct their hate-speech at gays, they've now moved on to soldier funerals, stating that the soldiers were killed in combat because God hates America for tolerating homosexuals. This new movement has so outraged veterans' groups, that recently motorcyclists have started showing up at the same funerals just so they can rev their engines over the voices of the demonstrators.

Now, I'm a big supporter of the First Amendment, but I personally think that hate speech demonstrations should be outlawed the same way that shouting "FIRE!" into a crowded building is illegal. Hopefully this bill will be passed into law, and the impact of these disrespectful demonstrations will at least be minimized.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bowl XL

You'd think with the moniker "XL", the Super Bowl would have been extra large this year. Well, it wasn't. The game itself was good, but the entertainment and commercials were a disappointment for the most part. It was a severe case of has-beens and never-was's.

I never really liked Aaron Neville or Aretha Franklin when they were in their prime. Now they are WAY beyond their prime, and you could barely hear both of them when they sang the National Anthem. I wish Simon Cowell could have been there to critique it.

And the Rolling Stones really need to go back to England. They are past their prime, too. Mick Jagger looks like Jack Skellington with those long bony legs of his. I was afraid he was gonna break a hip or something.

There were a few funny commercials. I liked the one with the revolving wall in which this guy stocks his refrigerator with beer on a revolving wall to hide it from his guests. Little does he know that when the wall rotates, it rotates into his neighbor's apartment and they start stealing his beer. And there was a good one with a Godzilla-like creature who falls in love with a giant robot. They have a H3 Hummer.

Janet Jackson may have forever ruined the Super Bowl. I like the risque commercials of past, but ever since the wardrobe malfunction, advertisers have been playing it cautious. There were a couple suggestive ones this year. One had a guy trying to take his Sierra Mist through the airport metal detector, and they were threatening to give him a body cavity search if he didn't hand it over. And another where a woman was on an airplane trying to climb over a guy when they hit turbulence. She sat down in his lap and it looked very much like they were trying to join the mile-high club.

See you next year, same bat time, same bat place.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Eve Online Update

I gave up on Eve Online. I don't know if it is my firewall or what, but I can't seem to stay connected to the game for more than 10 minutes at a time. It was a cool game, too. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The President Turns Green

I just read this morning that George Bush has outlined a plan to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East by as much as 75% by the year 2025. While the details of his strategy are sketchy at this point, I hope the meat of his plan isn't drilling in Alaska. Instead, I hope it will include research into more fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative fuel sources.