Thursday, February 28, 2008

Now that's funny...

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  Now that's funny.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perfect Day!!!

Today was probably one of my favorite weather days of the year.  It was sunny, nice blue sky, and a high of 70.  The only problem is I have been sitting at my desk the entire day (minus a short meeting at church and a 20 min lunch).  My puppy laid under my desk for much of the day starring at me.  I could read his eyes:
"Hey fatty, it is perfect outside.  Why don't you get away from your computer, go to get my leash, and let's cruise the town."  
I don't care how busy I am tomorrow.  I am taking 30 minutes to go take an afternoon walk with Miles!!!
Yes I am still working, but I needed to turn my brain off for 5 minutes!


This is the time of year where I need at least 40 hours in the day.  I have over 50 tax returns piled up, and they seem to be coming in as fast as I can complete them.  Then I still have my other duties that require my time throughout the week.  It is a short hard season, and it will be over soon.  But if you see me and I don't look like a "chip off the old block" you will know why.  
On a fun note this is a picture of our new Movado watches.  I have always loved the classy and simple look of Movados, and wanted one (want a Rolex too, but a Movado I can afford without selling my car first).  We bought them at Diamond's International while in Cozumel.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back to Reality

Sitting in the airport getting ready to come home.  It was a great trip.  Did some good diving, lounged around, shopped (bought some really cool stuff will post some later), and ate some good grub.  Just pondering a little something.  I had about 381 conversations this week that were all basically this (Person A and Person B):
A: So where ya from?
B: _________
A: Wow, you must be enjoying the weather down here.  What's it like back home?
B:  Yeah sure is nice here.  So what do you do?
A: ___________
B: Wow that is interesting...

Now these conversations can take 45 seconds while waiting for your margarita, or they can last hours.  Always the same, whether the person is from Norway, Arkansas, Michigan, always the same.  Why is this?  Are most people not good conversationalists?  After knowing what the climate is at home and what they do for a living, is there nothing else to learn about someone?  Or are these just safe and polite topics so you are courteous and friendly.  I am sure there were interesting people that probably had great things to say that I would have found fascinating this week.  However, I am going home with knowledge of global climate in February and several different professions.  Next vacation I am going to make it a point not to discuss weather or work.  I don't know how this became the default conversation, but I am going to change it.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Great Debate!!!

I am in Mexico...No, I am at the beach.  Wait, I am both.  You can see why this presents a problem.  When I am in Mexico I love to eat authentic Mexican Food (I love getting grandma style fajitas and fresh guacamole).  When I am at the beach, I love to get fresh caught lobster.  This has been a huge dilemma all week long.  I have managed well though.  I have gone mexican for lunch, steak and seafood for dinner.  I think I have consumed over 3 pounds of guacamole, and more than 3 pounds of lobster (probably around 4lbs of lobster).  Best Fajitas and guacamole goes to La Choza.  Big chunky flavorful guac and amazing fajitas!!!
Two lobster awards.  This was Pepe's.  Great view of the water and he flambayed my 12 oz lobster tail with fresh garlic, brandy, orange and lime.  Usually I am a purist and just have fresh boiled or grilled lobster with butter.  This was amazing and will start branching out and trying more interesting creations.  
The Lobster House (no website) was another experience.  There is no menu.  You are seated in a hut like structure.  You get to pick your drink and if you want soup or not.  Everything else is the same for everyone.  Lobster, potatoes and carrots, and rice.  This is the purists way.  You go select your lobster, and pay by the weight.  It is a fun little place.  Our lobster was over a Kilo.  The only thing was that they don't take cards.  Everyone on the island takes cards, but not this place.  People go in there paying $50-75 a person and they are cash only.  So I had to get a cab and go to the ATM and come back with cash.  But the lobster was great!!! 
I don't know which place I would want to go back to.  Pepe's, the Lobster House, and La Choza were all must eats in Cozumel.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When Diving is not Fun!!!

My frst three days of diving here in Cozumel were quite nice. We chose Aldora divers to dive with for the week. They cost a little more, but what you get in return is definitely well worth it. Everyday when the boat gets to the dock of my hotel, my gear is set up and ready to go (and rinsed and put away at night). They use Steel 120's instead of Aluminum 80's. This gives us nice 80-90 minute dives (depending on who you are with). They also use fast boats and limit groups to 6 (no cattle boats with 20 divers getting in your way). We had different divers in our group the first three days. They went through their gas much faster than myself so we ended the dives based on their limitation, but it wasn't too bad (and they were all very nice friendly people).
Then came today. There were two pople in our group that were absolutely disasters in the water. Now remeber, with tip, I am paying $100 per trip to dive. On the first dive, I could not really enojoy myself because I was making sure another diver was going to live through the dive. She was using air (21% O2) and had her computer set at 50% 02. This will do two things to your computer: 1) think you are going to convulse because of your PO2 level 2) Give you way more bottom time than you actually have. Her dive buddy was on air and was using the exact same computer. He started to ascend 10-15 minutes before she did. I was curious so I went to check her computer. I knew she had flown by the No Decompression Limit so I stayed with her and had her ascend with me and made sure she did a 15 minute stop at 15-20 feet. She still had no clue what was going on, which confirms my point. Wasn't this the job of the dive master??? You would think so, but he was too busy attending to the other disaster in the water. We came up about 30 minutes before I was ready (bottom time and air comsuption).
The second dive should have been 80-90 minutes. We started our ascent at 50 minutes. The other disaster I mentioned before got in trouble for basically trying to ride a turtle. The divemaster told us 3 or 4 times we are in a protected marine park. We pay for the priveledge of diving in the area and are not to touch anything. However, this diver didn't seem to ever pay attention to any authority or any one else for that matter. I started my ascent with 2000psi (which I like to get to at least 800 before calling it quits). We were at the safety stop BECAUSE OF HER, and THEN SHE DESCENDS TO 45 FEET AGAIN TO LOOK AT A NURSE SHARK. So selfish and clueless.
So the dives were not relaxing and I kept my head on a swivel. I was not the divemaster, and they are certified divers and responsible for themselves, but being a responsible diver I knew it was my duty to help ensure safety.
"Hey Chad, aren't you in the middle of the divemaster class and want to become an instructor?" Yes!!! I love assisting divers that are struggling or want to learn. However, you get paid for that. I was paying $100 for a relaxing nice recreational dive. I don't mind helping out others for free that are willing to learn, but these two showed that they have no interest in improving their water skills.
So Aldora does their best to match up divers of like experience and skill. My first day,they didn't care of what I said, they wanted to see me in the water. It was a little frustrating. However, now I understand. People go into their office and feed them a bunch of B.S that no where close represents their water skills. So, rough diving day, but still receiving great service from Aldora.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rough Day!!!

Today we woke up and started diving at 7:45am. Our first dive was Devil's Throat on Punta Sur. The second was Cedral Reef. Here are a few fun pics of some friends I made at Cedral Reef:

I took a shower, got a deep tissue massage, went into town had some kickin authentic mexican food from a family operated restaraunt, came back to the resort, sang some Karaoke, now gonna go to bed. Anyone feeling sorry for me, feel free to post your comments.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I have heard many people use the saying: "That is the greatest thing since scliced bread" or "that is the greatest invention since the wheel." This comparison is severely flawed. After five hours of diving, before having to go to the hotel to shower, the swim up bar seems to be much more of a technological advancement than the wheel!!!!!!!!

All Aboard???

We had some great dives today in cozumel. Problem!!! I didn't take my slate down so I couldn't white balance the camera. There wasn't a abundace of sand bottom so it was difficult. We saw some great aquatic life. Some of the biggest French and Queen Angles I have seen. I set a record for most turtles seen on a dive. I saw over a dozen. Here is a pic of a turtle grubbin with some French Angels. The current was kicking strong!!!!!!!! I couldn't settle in to get a good pic....always in motion...and at a quick speed at that. I saw a great shark, and tried to chase it. The only problem is he was naturally equipped with the ability to swin against the curent much better than my consumer bought equipment. Here is a nice pic of a turtle munchin on some dinner with a few French Angel Fish. I hope to get better stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Coz

The bad news, this isn't a stress and work free week. The good news is I am working from here:

I should not do any more than an hour a day, so it will still be a nice vacation. I will post some diving pics here, hopefully some decent ones.

Funny thing, blogger must recognize my location, because blogger opened in Espanol. Good thing I took 3 years in high school. I knew just enough to change the language back to Ingles.


Lets make an airport. How about it be one terminal, and just one really long narrow terminal. Let's create 50 or so gates and space them out 75-100 yards a part. Lets save money and not build any trams or people movers!!! Then when someone flys into gate 47, and their connection flys from gate 4, they can walk 84 miles to their connecting flight!!!

Wait this has already been done. It is in Mexico City.

I do not mind red-eye flights, but this time I had two connections, and didn't get any sleep. I tried to save a buck by flying Mexicana instead of AA or Continental. The good news, when Mexicana says the flight leaves at 11:15am, you are in the air by 11:10am. When AA says 11:15am, you are in the air by...ohhhh 11:40ish. The airline wasn't bad, no luxury by any means, but the airport in Mexico City is a nightmare. I think they make it so long so you have to walk past the seemingly 862 duty free shops before your next flight. It may not have been as bad as I remember it, and maybe I am grouchy and tired, but whoever designed the airport is a moron.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Best Ever???

Tonight I had one of the best meals of my life. From the quality, uniqueness, service, experience factors, it was a 10!!! I ate at Oliveto's in Oakland. Everyone must eat here!!! The theme of the menu was "Wild Boar." They have their staples, but every course had a few options of selections the chef created featuring the fresh boar.

First Course:
Charcoal Grilled Sierra Mackerel with WaterCress and Old balsamico.

Second Course:
Warm antipasto of Pork Tongue, Artichokes, and Black Truffles

Pairing for first two courses:
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre “La Mousiere” 2006

Third Course:
Spaghetti with Cauliflower, Calabrian Hot Peppers, Breadcrumbs, and Oregano

Fourth Course:
Pappardelle di sangue with Pork Heart Ragu and Cahnterelle Mushrooms

Pairing for 3rd and 4th courses:
Les Cretes, Petite Arvine, Valle d'Aosta, 2006

Pork Bacon Chop with ceci beans and salsa rustica (this is the formal way to say, the whole frickin pig with goodness on top, the three of us didn't even put a dent in it)

Pairing for Main Course:
Eraldo Viberti, Nebbiolo Langhe, 2005

I can not describe how good this experience is. You have to go there and experience it for yourself. Sorry the pics suck, it is candle lit and took them with my phone.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I took my first train today. It was a short trip from Fresno to Martinez. It was supposed to be 3 hours, but was 3 1/2 because one of the switcher thingeys wasn't working so guys had to stop the train, get out and manually switch the track. Overall it was nice. Relaxing! I read my wreck diver magazine the whole way.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Point of No Return???

I did it.  I bought a Mac.  After purchasing a new PC in October with Vista, I have done nothing but curse it.  I hate it.  I have always wondered about the easy to use fun audio, video, and photo side of mac, but could never justify buying one.  I need a PC for all of my "business stuff".  I can't run my tax and accounting software on Mac.  
Because I hate Vista so much, and couldn't go 2 seconds without a "I know you double clicked this program, but come on now, do you really want to open it???" I installed VM Ware Workstation.  Basically I run my old computer on it with XP.  I just have the luxury of the latest processors and memory with the new computer.  
I took my wife to the apple store last night and bought her a Mac Book Pro.  We were there for over two hours.  I learned so much about Macs.  Imagine a store where the employees actually know their products (and their competitors and sometimes aren't afraid to admit, "yeah that is better than what we can provide").  That was the Apple Store in Fashion Fair mall.  Whenever I go to bestbuy or CompUSA I get someone who has no clue about any of the products.  I always know more about what I am trying to buy then the person selling it.  Apple impressed me with their service and knowledge (The greeters don't know much, but are quick to refer you to someone that does).  
When we came home, I began to wonder.  If I use a virtual machine to run windows anyway, why don't I just get a Mac.  I have all of my windows work stuff, and also have the fun cool stuff.  I bought my PC from Sam's Club in October.  Within 6 months you can return it for a full refund.  So I went into the Apple store today with the intent to buy a Mac Pro Desktop and order a 30inch Dell screen (the Apple screen is $1800 and the Dell is only $1200).  After talking to the same associate about my needs, he talked me down (how often do you have a sales person talk you down).  The 8 processor coolness is awesome on the Mac Pro, but for what I do it would be like using a cannon to kill a mosquito.  So I type now on my top of the line imac.  Buying the Mac Pro and the dell monitor would have run $4500.  I was out the door with the imac ($2299), protection plan, and VM software for Mac for $2500.  I only have a 24 inch screen instead of 30, but I think I can use my old monitor as a second display and survive (did I really say that, I used to be content with my 15inch VGA display).  

Thursday, February 07, 2008


My wife and I went to Gigi's Cucina tonight in the Fort Washington area. This was our second time there. The first time I was conservative and went with the Lobster Ravioli. It was great as was the overall service, presentation, and quality of product for the price. It is not inexpensive, but very reasonable for what you get in return. This time I tried something new, filet mignon. OK Cow is not exactly new to me, but the way they make it is.
What he had:
Filet Al Cafe
Filet Mignon served with coffee bean, kaluha and bailey's irish cream reduction sauce. I am not exactly sure what else was in the sauce, but it was amazing. Very unique sauce that was creative and complemented the beautiful piece of meat.

What She had:

Duck with blackcherry grappa sauce. I snuck a bite of this and it was also amazing. I will be getting this next time I go so I can enjoy an entire portion of it.

I brought a bottle of Westbrook Wine Farm, Fait Acompli, 2005. Since I was drinking alone I didn't want to spend money on a nice bottle only to drink two glasses. I enjoyed the Fait as always, and let the entire staff have the rest of the bottle (which they seemed to enjoy). It paired nicely with the Filet.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hawaii Time

I love Mike and Mike in the morning. However, you know there is something wrong when, as you lay in bed and turn on the tv to wind down before sleeping, Mike and Mike is already on. Gotta love tax season.

Then the quote of the day comes from my beloved puppy, Miles (pic here) (yes he can talk, and you have to read this with his voice):
"Ummm Dad, I know you were up til 4am working, but I hope you don't mind if I just lay here and play with my squeaky toy. I know its 7am, but its all good."

Monday, February 04, 2008


What a game. I really wanted to see Favre against Brady, but this turned out to be one of the best Super Bowl's in many years. I love to listen to Dan Patrick, and today they were talking about what the Manning to Tyree play should be called for the rest of eternity. We have "The Catch", "The Drive", "The Immaculate Reception (or deception as I like to call it)", and now??? It is funny that Dan was talking about this today. Before the game was even over I was talking about it to my friend that was over. "What are they going to call this? "The Escape"" is what I first thought of. However, that gives Eli most of the credit for escaping the grasp of the D-line. It needs to be something that can give credit to both Eli and Tyree for their amazing parts in the play. The best I have heard so far is "The clutch." Any suggestions?