Ramblings

Usually drunken.

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E85

Sep 9, 2008, 12:48 pm by John

So I passed by HEB down here in Houston this weekend and noticed that they were selling E85 for about $2.80 and that got me to thinking about whether or not E85 was worth it or not. The only thing I could come up with is that it is renewable...atleast in a short term sense. However, it has LOTS of problems.

First of all i'd like to say that i am all for helping out the farmers and ranchers of america. That being said the only person who benefits from this product is the corn farmer, again, only in the short term. he grows oodles of corn and is now able to sell it because everyone wants it for E85 manufacturing. however, this means that the national price of corn increases because the demand increases.

so the price of corn goes up a few cents...so what? well i'll tell you what. every domestic animal in this country also enjoys corn as much as you and i, except they eat it almost every day. so mr. rancher's feed gets more expensive. so of course the price of beef, pork, and chicken increases, either because they have to charge more, or because ranchers are forced out of business by increasing prices and the supply drops. every cow, pig, chicken, horse, dog, cat, and turkey in the country eats this stuff. so not only does the price of corn go up, but so does the price of milk, eggs, butter, pork, beef, chicken, leather, cosmetics, glue...etc.

but this is okay because the environment is better off. wrong.

being the engineer that i am, i know that the amount of energy out of anything has to equal the amount of energy in. so this means, unless the process is 100% efficient, which, obviously, nothing is, we have to put more power into the system to get e85 out for our cars. this means that more coal and natural gas has to be burned to make energy to power the e85 plant. so we end up with even more polution then if we had just stuck with gasoline.

for those of you who buy kroger gasoline because it's cheaper, don't forget that little sign that says "may contain up to 15% e85". they are basically putting a thinner in their gas that makes your car less efficient, yet you pay around the same amount per gallon. i will say i haven't tested this yet, but i do know that e85 is less efficient, so if you are paying the same price for this slight blend, it can't be worth it.

finally, let's just say that growing e85 is unstoppable because we run out of oil. then, all of the big companies will take over all of the little corn farms and will put the farmer out of business. this means that the farmers and the ranchers are out of work, we have no beef, we pay $10 per ear of corn, a gallon of milk cost 5 times what a gallon of gas does, and our dog's food is more expensive then ours.....well maybe not quite that extreme but you get my point.

rant over. have a great day :)

Drunken Stuper

Aug 25, 2008, 1:02 pm by John

I made it up to College Station this past weekend and had a great time. All of my friends, who are still in school, are back in town and I got to see quite a few of them. Two of these people are contributers to this blog and we went out to our favorite hangout, the texas hall of fame, on saturday evening.

Highspeed Hayride was on the bill and they weren't bad at all. most of their songs sounded very similar but they were pretty good and they played covers well. they are a band that plays some purely country songs but even these have a rock influence. Anyway, after 3 lonestars, part of a pitcher of shiner, and several swigs from 2 young ladies' whiskey and cokes, i was feeling pretty good. just to point of slight dance floor stumbling but not even close to "oh crap i need to go to the bathr....". i was sitting in my chair, right off of the floor, slouching quite a bit, listening to the middle of some song i don't remember with the stage lights change colors from blue, to yellow, to pink and back to blue again. it was at this point, that i realized that i had been in this exact situation many times before and it was like Déjà vu all over again. there have been several times listening to this type of band, with this much alcohol in my system, that i begin to think about all of the concerts i had seen here and all of the people i had met and all the good times i've had. it was relaxing and surreal and amazing all at the same time. maybe it's just that i've graduated and realized that my good times at the hall may be fewer and further between, but it was one of my favorite nights surrounded by most of the people that made those memories happen.

My New Truck

Aug 20, 2008, 9:14 am by John

http://images.dealer.com/jato/us/photo400/FORD/F-1This last weekend I bought a new truck. It is awesome and so far I wish I could drive it more...if someone else picked up the gas bill. Not that it's a gas guzzler, it's just that all cars use gas (yes Paul there are some electric cars out there but I call the golf carts not cars) and to go down the road you must purchase some. Unlike the typical Texan, redneck, diesel driving daddy, I bought a half-ton, 4.6L V8, regular cab that gets about 20mpg (before you ask, it gets the same gas milage as the V6). And unlike the typical Texan, I have already used it to tow a trailer and it only has 500 miles on it.

Before my purchase everyone wanted me to get an extended cab, or four-door or the biggest V8 engine...but this all seems like a waste of money and resources. I don't need an extra 800lbs added to my 2 ton truck. I also don't plan on carrying more then 1 or 2 people. If 10 people need a ride...there's a bed. In an emergency, I can get 15 people where ever they need to go. Finally, for those of you who worried about me driving a 95 Ford Probe (feel free to chuckle) from Dallas to Houston and being stranded somewhere between Corsicana and Buffalo...WORRY NO MORE! :)

    Olympic Protests

    Aug 8, 2008, 11:39 am by John

    what are the olympics? well i thought it was a time when the best athletes from around the world to get together at one place and compete against each other to see which country is the best in different events. Boy was I wrong. Appearently it's the the time of year when everyone and their mother decides that they want to protest whatever their mind feels like. Having been an athlete for the majority of my life I know what it is like to train for hours a day, everyday of the year. Of course I was never close to Olympic calliber but it gives me a good idea and great respect for all of the work that these athletes put in. Now when these athletes get to show the world their talent and share it with their countrymen, in what should be an event that the entire world gets together and watches, people who don't have anything better to do take to the streets and try to stop one of the greatest world traditions, in the running of the olympic torch.

    exactly how will stopping the torch fix all of the world's problems? i'm pretty sure it won't. people say things like, the olympics shouldn't be held in china because they are communist. well i'm sorry, i didn't know that being communist had anything to do with athletic ability. in that case, why aren't all athletes communist? maybe they are....hmmm.

    why can't people put away their differences for 2 weeks and just stay at home and watch the Olympics? The Olympics are about sports. For those of you who didn't catch it the first time...the Olympics are about sports. if you and your ego feel that you are so important that you need to show the entire world how you feel, use other means. i'm all for getting together and voicing your opinion and marching up and down the streets with signs. I don't want to take anyone's rights away but I can gaurantee you that when an american goes into a gold medal match, for whatever sport, he doesn't care about the person on the other side's political views...he just wants to beat the snot out of them.

    a quick note, the iraqi athletes were nearly disqualified from the olympics because their olympic body was disperessed...like it was their fault. i don't see why anyone shouldn't be allowed to compete despite what their government does.

    let's talk politics in a few weeks. get out of the streets, go inside, watch the games on tv and for now, sit back and enjoy an amazing display of athletic talent.

    tropical storms II

    Aug 6, 2008, 7:05 am by John

    so the storm of the century came through yesterday and somehow i managed to survive.

    on my way out the door at 6:20 i could see it coming. it was on the horizon and looked like a big gray blanket about to sweep over the entire area. it was coming from the east so the sun rising behind it made it look pretty spectacular. the roads were deserted. there must have been about a quarter of the normal traffic load. it was the best drive to work i've had in the 2 months i've been here. as i got to work the clouds started to sweep over northwest houston.

    the rain started around 9am. i walked over to a window to see this storm i'd been hearing about for, going on, 3 days now. when i walked over to the window i noticed that the sky was a light shade of grey and it was sprinkling. i thought to myself "there must be some mistake. this storm should be bending trees over and dumping rain down so hard i shouldn't be able to see more then 50ft." if only i hadn't listened to the media's hype i might have thought it was nothing more then a spring time shower.

    i checked back with the storm every hour or so and at one point the wind might have been gusting up to 20mph. it did rain hard at times but nothing to worry about. as i checked the radar in the early afternoon i noticed that instead of turning north like the meteorologists had guessed the storm came right through downtown houston. i work just northwest of downtown so this had me a little worried...worried that i might get wet on the way out to my car in the afternoon.

    as 3:45pm came through i left my post and headed out to the parking lot. it was sunny. i lugged my umbrella around just knowing that i would have to use it for this tropical storm, alas, it stayed dry. no rain coming into work, no rain leaving work. how disappointing. the best part about the entire day was the drive home. when i reached my car the temperature outside was 80°, instead of the usual 100, so just getting in my car was more pleasurable. then, when i got on the road it became appearent that the hundreds of thousands of people who didn't go to work in the morning were still at home and the roads were clear again. finally, to sum up the whole day...the roads were dry.

    i've decided we should have a tropical storms more often. people will stay off the road, my car will stay cooler, and since everyone will have already filled their cars up with gas i will be able to go to the gas station and not have to wait for 10 minutes to get a spot. thanks for a great day edouard.

    ps. i laughed my ass off when i got home, looked down the street, and saw that the house on the corner had all its windows covered in plywood. hilarious.

    Tropical Storms

    Aug 5, 2008, 11:39 am by John

    Preface: As mentioned before I am from Dallas and we don't get tropical storms or hurricanes up there.

    So my only previous tropical storm/hurricane experience is with Rita when everyone in College Station freaked out and school was canceled. Then the storm turned north and absolutely nothing happened. Once again, Mr. Stiverson will correct me if I'm wrong but tropical storms and class 1 maybe 2 hurricanes seem like big thunderstorms, atleast when you are more than 50 miles inland. If you are on the coast it might be a different story, I don't know, but it sure doesn't seem like something to freak out over.

    Yesterday I went to Kroger to fill up with gas. Big mistake! I did not go because I fear evacuation or gas price increases but because my gauge was near E. When I got there it looked like they were giving the stuff away. People were lined up 3 and 4 deep! The same story at the Exxon across street.

    Today they were talking on the radio about how people were buying up all the water and supplies at grocery stores. While I was passing up Kroger, I came back later for my gas, I noticed that the grocery store was packed as well. I don't get it. We'll see here in a few hours, when this storm hits, but I think it's going to be a lot like when a line of thunderstorms sweeps across North Texas, except it will last all day. Down here I don't even have to look out for tornadoes! What's all the fuss about? I don't want to knock people around here for getting ready for a hurricane but Edouard (or however the hell you spell it...what kind of name is that anyway!?) is a tropical storm... S-T-O-R-M. So maybe I'm wrong but 35-50mph wind sounds like good kite flying whether to me. This thing doesn't even seem to have lightening to worry about.

    More to come after the storm of the century passes

    Fantasy Football

    Aug 4, 2008, 6:40 pm by John

    Preface: I consider my self a big sports fan. I watch at least an hour of ESPN everyday and I check their website a few times a day. I'm not a HUGE fan of any given team or sport but I am a big fan of all of the Dallas teams and could probably tell you more than you want to know about any of them.

    Fantasy Football is about to, and in some places has, kicked off and I wanted to give everyone my thoughts on the subject. I don't like it because I find myself having to root for other teams and, sometimes, against my own in order to have a good fantasy week. I am from Dallas, I am a Cowboys fan. But if I have a fantasy football team I have to become a Ravens, Giants, 49ers, Lions, Browns, Texans, Packers, Patriots fan so I can cheer for my players to have a good week. Of course you don't have to root for the team just 1 or 2 players, but hopefully these players are on your fantasy team because their team turns to them when they are down and gives them the ball in hopes they will produce a victory. Dilemma.

    I have decided that fantasy sports are just a way for professional organizations to get more people to watch their broadcasts and serve no other purpose besides bragging rights. I have not taken part in a fantasy league of any kind since then. I only want to cheer, and will only cheer for the Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, and Mavericks. I don't care about how any other team or player in the game does. Take all that time you spend messing with the fantasy team and apply it to playing that sport. Then we might get somewhere.

    Stop Lights

    Aug 1, 2008, 7:34 pm by John

    Since this is my first post on here I feel that I should put up something that I feel passionate about...stop lights. As Mr. Stiverson will atest, I despise the people who program stop lights, or forget to, in every town except my hometown (Plano, TX). Is it really that difficult to spend 30 minutes at a traffic light at 3 or 4 different times during any given day and figure out how to time the light? Or heaven forbid, get in a car and drive from 1 light to another to determine the time it takes to get there!? There is no reason I should hit every single stop light when traveling with heavy traffic in the same direction. Also, its 2 AM and I am the only car in the entire area and I have to wait 3 minutes at every single light. Are you kidding me!? I know all of the intersections now have sensors in the ground to detect if there is a car sitting there. After 11 PM I shouldn't have to sit for more then 15 seconds at any given light. Also, why am I waiting at a light when I am at an intersection where a 6 lane road crosses a 2 lane road? Why aren't the lights flashing yellow on the big road and red on the small one? This is better for all parties involved. I don't have to wait on a car who has been sitting at this light for 5 minutes and he wouldn't have to waste 5 minutes of his time waiting on this stupid signal. You might say if it's the middle of the night just run the red light...but I know that as soon as I do the 1 car I am sharing the road with is a cop.

    Plano has figured this out and driving around most of the time is a breeze. At night all of the small intersections have flashing lights and when you pull up to a big intersection the light immediately changes. It's not that difficult. The part I also enjoy is knowing what a particular light will be when I get there. If I know I take this turn on this street, on this day, at this time, the light will ALWAYS do the same thing. Then I know what to expect. This may be a lot to ask of College Station, but I'm in a highly populated section of north-east Houston. Let's get it together!

    I'll save my rant about left turn only lights for another day.

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