Finding Adventure...

If I were president...

No, this isn't some commentary on how much better a president I'd be than everyone else. That would take too long. *gulp* Nope, this is about the things outside of all that in my life that would have to change if I were president.

First, there's basketball. My favorite hoops spot is near home in Chapel Hill, so that ain't happening. But apparently Obama intends to put his own court in the White House, so I could do that, too, and still play. It would be a different crowd, or I could just sneak my crowd back and forth on Air Force One two times a week.

Next is the car racing thing. This is a big problem. I'm pretty sure that you folks out there in taxpayer-land wouldn't appreciate me taking 20 weekends off per year to go race cars. So what to do here? Well it's obvious. I'd simply have to figure a way to race under a pseudonym with a disguise maybe only ten weekends per year.

Then there's all the blogging, facebook, and forum stuff I do. This part is very hard. I'm a big believer in being yourself online. I try to never engage in debates online with people who obviously maintain their anonymity online. I am me, no matter where I go for discussion, and I prefer to interact with like-minded folks (like-minded in that they don't care to be anonymous...if I only talked to folks who were like-minded about everything else I'd stay pretty bored trying to find someone to talk to!). They tend to only say things that they'd say in person and not "keyboard-commando" that way. The one true answer here is to just create an alternate name and still just "be me" and chalk it up to "dammit, I'm the POTUS I can do what I want." So I'd be Onnie Arnes online. Sure, people might draw a link, but then they'd be like "nah, couldn't be." Especially if I occasionally used some broken english.

Then there are my kids. Can the kids of the POTUS be in Boy Scouts? Can they play youth league basketball? I don't think we've had a president in modern times with kids younger than teenagers, anyway. And that was Chelsea and I don't think she got out and did much. I know I could show them the world from Air Force One, and I could say cool things like "because I'm the president!" instead of just "because I said so!" But would having them shadowed for like the rest of their lives by secret service be worth it? Eh, sure. I'm the POTUS.

I don't even want to think about what this would do to my wife. She won't let people cook or shop for her at home, and she'd get awful tired of aggravating the secret service guys to go with her every time she needed to run to Michaels. She'd be miserable. Plus I'd say stupid things like "we can have a chef and a shopper so quit whining to me about not having a Lowes Foods nearby...I've got to save the world AGAIN." On the plus side if I did have a race car accident and needed a reason why I was beat up I could just tell the world I said that to my wife and she did it. Poof, instant alibi.

I love me some college basketball and football. This one is a toss up. On the one hand, I wouldn't get to go to a lot of my favorite games. On the other, I could have some shlep of a staffer whose job it was to record every game I liked and then edit them down to skip the commercials. I'd be so busy that I wouldn't mind watching them a little after they actually happened if I could watch the condensed versions like that. Heck, I might get a high end enough shlep that he could put in replays for me automatically of plays I'd like to see again. But then there's the real plus side of being the POTUS when it comes to seats for all the biggest events! I know what you're saying..."but Presidents generally don't do that." HAHAHAHA. Sure they do. They just do it behind some one-way glass and make sure nobody KNOWS they are there. I'm the POTUS and nothing is stopping me from attending the SuperBowl, World Series, Final Four, and whatever else I want to go to!

On another plus side, I'm currently banned from buying a helicopter of my own. With being POTUS and all I wouldn't have to buy one BUT I'd still get to put a heliport in at the ranch so that helicopter the Marines have could fly me in. Then after I wasn't president any more I'd have to buy a helicopter. Wouldn't make any sense to have a heliport and no helicopter, now would it?

Hmm, I think it might just be too much. I know I could win if I ran, but I'm just not sure it's worth it...
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Life is Good.

It's no secret to those who see me on a regular basis that I like Life is Good clothing. But that's not what this is about, even though I stole the title and logo for this post. This post is about technical stuff, but technical stuff for everyone. Ever visit a web page (particularly maybe an eBay product page) and want to email a link to the page you're on to someone? You can drag and drop or cut and paste the URL directly into an email, but you end up with a really ugly long mess sometimes.

There are several sites that reduce URLs for you, but my favorite is (and it's easy to remember once you know the creators think of it as "is good"). You copy the URL you want to send to your clipboard, visit, and paste it in the box. You'll have a new tiny URL returned to your clipboard. Paste that URL in your email and when someone clicks it, they'll get your intended page. Seem like a pain? Well, it is a little. So if you use Firefox, streamline it the process using this plugin. Now when you're in Firefox viewing a page you want to make a shorter link to, you just click the "is" button to the left of the URL in the top of your window. You'll have a new shorter URL put in your clipboard automatically that you can just "paste" into your email (or whatever).

Very handy.
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Movie Review

Growing up, I loved to catch reruns of the TV show Get Smart. There was just something great about it that I can't really explain. I was apprehensive, however, that the movie might be yet another over-the-top remake that turned something good to something incredibly stupid (like Dukes of Hazzard...ugh!). Mel Brooks was the creator of the original series, so I should have checked to see if he was involved in this one. Fortunately he was, which likely played a part in it being true to original.

All in all I thought it was a fun movie. True to the original with the addition of a few more modern fight scenes. Be warned that it isn't for small kids as people are killed as well, which I don't think was true of the TV show. But the violence isn't terribly graphic. I thought Dwayne Johnson (still perhaps better known as "The Rock" from wrestling circles) was really good, too. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway were perfect in their roles.

If you like Mel Brooks movies, you'll like this one. Oh, and some folks might know that I own a Smart car. I got a personalized plate for it...KAOS. Really, it couldn't be helped.

Wow. Just Wow.

So the voters of California voted to ban same-sex marriage and now some gay rights groups are advocating everyone sympathetic to their cause should boycott the entire state of Utah. Unbelievable. I'm sincerely doubting very many people within the state of Utah put in any hours on this election. It was likely Mormons who live in California who put in most of the hours on this. Add to that the fact that Mormons are not near 100% of the population of Utah, and you have something really silly brewing. And pathetic at the same time.

I understand protesting at Mormon churches and temples if the gays want to. As long as they do it lawfully, they have that right. Just like what the Mormons did in fighting same-sex marriage. But to potentially punish both non-Mormons in Utah as well as Mormons in Utah who had nothing to do with this is wrong on so many levels, especially when there's no outcry to do anything to punish California or the movement against it THERE. Sheesh.

For those wondering, as of 2004 the state of Utah was about 62% Mormon with the percentage on the decline. Projections show if the current trends continue that the percentage will drop below 50% by 2030.
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Things I wonder...

So what happens now for Obama? I mean in the time between getting elected and taking office. It's kind of a long time when you think about it. I know he's got a lot to do what with appointing a staff and such, but how and where does he do all that from? I'd guess his secret service protection is stepped up, but is he just going to be around the house working from some office he already had? Or is there some "president elect" space somewhere? And we know the White House is pretty much furnished, so what does he do with his own house and "stuff"? Do you just pack your clothes and leave it like it is for four (or eight) years? We know you can have pets at the White House (hopefully the security deposit is high)...does he have pets? If not, will he get a dog or maybe a cat? If he does, will that animal have its own secret service agent?

And on the secret service, just how does that work? I know they can't tell me, but I still are they staffed? Is there two months where the current president (or POTUS as is so en vogue to call him now) just gets sort of half his normal security? Or do they bring in some secret service agents from some temp secret service agency? Surely in DC there's like some temp firm you just call when you need large bald men (bald because they obviously shaved it, not because they lost their hair) in dark suits and earpieces with several large hidden guns.

Will Obama be allowed to play basketball now? And if so, who does he play with? I mean I'm sure he had some group of buddies that played with him before, but do those guys now get to play with the POTUS? Or does he have to make the bald dudes in the suits drop a couple of their weapons and get their sweat on? Or does he just call up Michael Jordan and say "hey, MJ, this POTUS...Air Force One is in your area, wanna hop on and meet me for some one on one?" I'll bet MJ would go just so he could say "I schooled the POTUS." Well, I've seen POTUS-elect play and I could school him, too, so maybe he wouldn't.
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Why do we allow straight party tickets?

I know the presidential election isn't part of it, but other important elections are. Why do we allow ballots to be done that way? What possible rationale is there for it? Can people who truly want to do that not fill in a few extra bubbles? Seems like allowing elections to swing simply because of convenience is silly.

Now we have a governor who is chastising her own crowd for being rowdy because she "used to be a teacher" and looking like a twit doing it. It's entirely possible that had there been no straight party ticket on the ballot she would NOT be the governor. Amazing.
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Katie Couric is just plain bad.

I rarely watch any of the big network news shows, but when I do I tend toward CBS. I know Couric has been on the job for a while, and things were shaky when she started, but I thought you had to give her time to settle into the new job. She's had plenty of time and she's still bad at it. Just tonight during election coverage they talked to a reporter in the stands at the stadium at FSU where folks went a little nuts when the cameras came on. She said something very close to "well, young people love to be on TV, no matter how foolish they look doing it."

Why would you say that? I just don't get her. She's a constant stream of mis-speaks and errors and just plain poor questions. How does she still have this job?

My body is a pretzel.

So over the last couple months I've noticed that my left hip has gotten tighter and tighter and the area middle to the lower part of my back on the right side has gotten tighter. It's gotten to the point it's caused some back pain and strangeness. Massage has helped, but with my racing schedule and with trying to get some workouts in, I just haven't been able to get but like one massage per month.

But what I've finally started to notice is what I think is the cause, and it's driving. Both competitive and on the road. The way I sit so that I have maximum foot control combined with all the "work" my right leg gets doing gas and brake seems to be aiding this "condition." In the race car, the brake pedal requires a good bit of force, but it must also be VERY controlled force. The clutch pedal, on the other hand, just requires occasional quick hits and little "control." Combine all that with the fact that I've done a LOT of driving in the last three months or so (both competitive and street) and we have a problem.

In racing circles, I do what is called "right foot braking" only. If you're going to downshift while braking, you have to use your right foot on the brake. But many racers also use "left foot braking" when they aren't downshifting, and that is exactly what it sounds like...using your left foot only to brake. I think it's time I started using left foot braking on the street everywhere I can to see if that helps this condition. Of course, I'm also stretching a lot more, doing hot-cold tub therapy, pool workouts, and won't be in a race car much for the next few months. We'll see how all that plays out.

What is "hot-cold tub therapy", you might ask? Well, that's the practice of spending two minutes in a hot tub (around 100F, maybe a bit more) and going immediately into a cold tub (about 45F) for one minute. Repeat three times (though it's okay to add one more hot tub trip at the end to warm back up). What does that do? The heat causes blood vessels and such to dilate (expand) and the cold causes everything to contract. So you get a pumping effect that helps free up and flush out the inflammation (and contaminants that cause it). It's a terribly annoying thing to do, but seems to work and work well. Tiny booties for your toes help, though I've found the biggest problem is an inability to breathe well in 45F water.
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Did you know?

In the past 12 months, more US Marines were killed in motorcycle accidents than in the war in Iraq. This doesn't trivialize the war or the need to end it, but it is shockingly significant. I'm certainly in favor of having the freedom to ride a motorcycle if one desires, but there's clearly a problem here.

(That logo you see is for the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club.)
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The kid got what he deserved, and his parents are lying.

This could be one of my favorite news stories ever. Some guy in Chapel Hill kept having his McCain signs stolen out of his yard, so he wired them up to an electric fence charger AND put up small warning signs that he had done so. He also (obviously) puts a video camera in a nearby tree and captures not just this kid, but YET ANOTHER NEIGHBOR trying to steal his signs!

I don't care which side of the, err, fence you're on in this election, this kind of thing is despicable and wrong (unless, of course, you know the owner of the sign, are friends with the owner, and it's a SMALL joke). What's worse, I think, is that the parents of the kid just plain lied when they said he "just wanted to see how the sign was put together" or whatever. HE HAD AN OBAMA SIGN IN HIS HANDS! Sheesh. What a crock. At least own up to what your kid was doing! It's not enough they're teaching the kid to steal or deface the property of others, they're teaching him that it's okay to lie about it in a public medium. All I can say is WOW.

Check out the kid getting zapped for yourself. It's obvious that it was pretty harmless (and yes, I've been zapped by those and it's annoying, but the kid isn't burnt or scarred for life or anything).

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