October 2009

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Vacation – Our ten days in Germany and Austria were excellent. I have a million pictures to post later, but for now, here are a few pics and a video from the Dom zu Salzburg in Salzburg, Austria.

Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

You may recognize the background in this next pic from the webcam stills I post every now and then. It was great being there in person.


I’ll have many more pics later after I’ve done some editing and uploading. Below is a video I shot inside the Dom zu Salzburg during a program called LichtNacht (Light Night) on our second night in Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg is an amazing city with history everywhere you turn.

  Weather – Second wettest October in history here. We may even set a new record. So far 19 days of rain this month. 

 Phillies – They took one game in the Bronx. I hope they take all three at home and send the Yankmees off to play golf for the winter.

Sixt Car Rental – We returned our rental car on Tuesday evening. The attendant there walked around the car meticulously inspecting it for damage, even going so far as to wipe off some road grime to check for scratches underneath. He found no damage. Our receipt clearly states there was no damage on the car. But now, several days later, Sixt is claiming there is a dent and scratches on the trunk and bumper. This despite the fact that the attendant and I stood at the rear of the car while he finalized the inspection and neither of us saw any such damage. It should also be noted that upon picking the car up initially, the car was a long walk from the rental desk at the airport and there was no one around to inspect the car with me then. I did, however, look the car over and saw no damage. This is an entirely bogus claim. Still, I checked with Visa services about coverage and they said they’d cover any claims and that this type of claim was not unusual. It seems that Sixt knows they can make a few extra bucks off bogus claims when the car is covered under the credit card insurance. I would advise Americans traveling in Europe to avoid Sixt car rental as it appears that they will make claims after the car is returned despite the client having a receipt verifying no damage.

  Home – Good to be here after a long trip. 

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Vacation – As of today I’m off until Nov. 1st.

  Weather – It’s been a miserable autumn so far. Cold and rainy. The poor farmers couldn’t get their crops in the ground this spring, and now they can’t get harvest going. It’s supposed to warm up this coming week.

 Phillies – I’d love to see them take the World Series again. Talk about a quiet, under-the-radar group of performers.

  Kid-in-the-Balloon – Had to be a hoax. The father is a pathetic attention whore and should be billed for the rescue services.

  No Less Than Victory – Jeff Shaara’s latest novel is another winner. Outstanding novel about the end of WWII in Europe.

  Illinois State Employee Ethics Training – It’s sadly ironic that the crooks at the top of state government want us to take ethics training.

Well, the Sox saw their season end today. This series with the Angels was typical of the way the Sox have been playing the second half of the season. They had no offense until today and then their bullpen gave away the win. Not the first time we’ve seen those two things cost them a series. It’s going to be a long off-season. I hope they patch up some holes in their roster and say a fond farewell to some veterans who just can’t produce like they used to.  And next season, let’s not talk about the depth of the pitching roster until we actually see it in action.

Still, thanks for a good year, Sox. I’ll be here next season and I’ll still…


Making things worse today was watching the Patriots lose to the inferior Denver Broncos. The Patsies had that game and gave it away. Plus it ended in the NFL’s idiotic overtime scenario where the game is essentially determined by a coin toss. Better luck next week, Pats.

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Sarah’s home – She’s been away at a conference. No fun being alone. The kitties didn’t like it either.

  MLB umpires – It’s time to expand instant replay in baseball. Too many totally missed calls by the umps. I’m not talking about balls and strikes, although that’s bad enough. But the missed calls for baserunning and foul/fair is changing the natural progression of the post-season games. If the umps like CB Bucknor continue to badly miss calls, it’s time to bring technology into the game.

 Weekends – Gawd, I need this one.

  Red Sox – Great time for an offensive slump. They look pathetic.

  AAA – Talk about a great deal. For a few bucks a year you get towing, travel advice, and you can walk in and get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in about 10 minutes. Good deal all around.


Yesterday I left work at noon and drove over to Springfield to get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) for our trip to Germany next week. It was a gorgeous fall day, so I took only backroads and grabbed some pictures of central Illinois in Autumn. I had the road to myself. Good fun.

What traffic?

Colorful Farm


Corn and soybeans to the horizon.

My Chariot

Neat viaduct

The commute today was an entirely different story. Still kind of cool, though.

Rainy road

Rainy road

Sadder barn

Ups and Downs of the week.

 Backyard Deer – This little guy has lost his spots and red coat and is beginning to grow his antlers.

Young Buck

 Red Sox - As expected, they grabbed the AL Wild Card slot. Lester looked good last night, but he was facing the Indians, so a grain of salt is needed. All the pitchers will need to be on top of their games for the coming weeks. 

  Weather – Downright blah for the past few days and not looking great for the coming days. The last thing the farmers need is more rain.