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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hello Summer!

Hello all, obviously I am not a dedicated blogger, I could simply blame my busy schedule, or perhaps something fancy like so much time spent studying leaves me brain weary, but the truth is I just kind of moved the blog to the back burner and forgot it was there. BUT I DIGRESS. Summer is in Full swing here in KC, lots of grilling, and working on the lawn, but so far I have been so busy I really haven’t had much time to enjoy it. Busy doing what you say? Well I am taking Statistics during the 4-week summer session, that means 2 hours a day 5 days a week spent in a classroom from 1-3 PM, right smack dab in the middle of my day. I admit I was dreading taking statistics, and so many people talking about how much they hated it, but I actually like it! All the manipulating numbers, analyzing data, graphing and quantifying actually has a calming effect on me. I think its because with math there is one answer, and as long as you follow the equation you will always get that answer, and so much of my schooling has been the exact opposite! You see Urban Studies is one of those Cross-Disciplinary fields, we learn Economics, Political Science, History (lots of history), and Sociology and blend them all into a Science of trying to determine the best way for humans to live. I think of myself as a master of Systems. Everything you encounter in a city we think about and how changing one effects the others i.e. if you allow for bigger lot sizes, then it takes more roads to connect those lots, which requires funding for upkeep, and means people living in those lots have to drive farther, which means they emit more exhaust which then effects our environment and on and on and on. There are no right answers, everything is subjective in my world, a world of cost vs/ benefit. A world that was like math would be nice, but unfortunately I am limited to basic algebra, as anything beyond forming parabolas I find impossible. I also am doing an internship (unpaid) with a local suburban Property Owners Association. This community is Huge it has two lakes, both large enough for boating, 2 clubhouses, 1 regular pool, and one pool that may as well be a small waterpark, and a Golf Course. There are a dozen other amenities but listing them would be….boring. I have developed a Survey for their +2000 homes to do three things. Collect Demographic information, discover which amenities are the most popular, and last to get some general feedback from the population on how good of a job the Board of Directors is doing. After we get our results I will have just a few weeks (while my fall semester starts) to give them a quick analysis, and will probably spend the next month really crunching the data. I am enjoying it immensely, but I have to admit you get to see the real petty side of people when working in such a “rich” community. It can be amusing and sometimes a little terrifying, but am almost getting two separate experiences. I am learning a lot about quantitative research, big thanks to my friend Phil who has +30 years of experience in this area. I am also the “in’s and Out’s” of political maneuvering from my Coordinator Steve, he manages to ride the political tide, while not taking it all too seriously. He is a consummate professional and makes keeping your cool look easy, even when people are arguing over something as ridiculous as the color of roofing tile you can use. The rest of my summer I hope to be spending time at the pool, doing some reading, and studying for the GRE. AND BLOGGING! I think I’ll probably sit down and change my site, and maybe start actually joining the Blog-ster Community.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 in Repose

Much has happened since my last venture into the blogsphere. I have decided to do a year in review to catch us all up. Lets start with School, I took an enormous class load (18 hours) It was rough going, especially the last 1½ months, but I powered through and gathered the amenable scores of A, A-, A-, A-, B, C. Not too shabby, especially since I worked quite a bit.

As the semester came to a close, I made a trip to San Antonio to see Miss Kelly and Noland (Godson). We had a terrific time, Kelly Graduated from Kelly that Saturday after finals (WOOHOO!) and we spent lots of quality time with Her sisters and Aunt Stevie. We did get a day to spoil Noland a little we took him to the Alamo (he loves it), walked up and down the riverwalk, went to “Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not’ odditorium and the 4-D Interactive Movie. Finished by a trip to an authentic German Deli and finished with a stop to the Mercádo. After Returning from Texas, I worked a ton and did Christmas (Family, Family, Family!) and survived New Years (drinks, drinks, drinks).

In other news there have been some changes on the home front, My dear sweet Cousin and Roommate Janna has moved in with her man, leaving me in the house alone, its taken some getting used to, but so far I think I am going to really enjoy this. Its been a few days of tough work but I think I’ve gotten the house all put together, at least the pieces visible to the world I have some touches to do to the office, and the Dining room, and I want to do some minor changes to the kitchen, then get the back porches cleaned and tools put back where they belong.

I do have a new project in mind concerning the kitchen, but have not gotten to it yet, though it seems inevitable. I have had some issues with the patching of the walls from the patching of the holes from the previous wall hangings. I painted the wrong green in the living room- which was easily fixable, as I just got out the other can of paint and re-did it. But when fixing the dining room I realized I used the paint from my bedroom, but had forgotten I mixed the dining room from leftovers and was out, so I have some discolored spots. Not sure what the next step will be, but we shall just see.

With only two more semesters of school left, I am finishing up this part of my life, next is it a Masters Degree? Or a Job? We will just see. 2012 here we come!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato!

FINALLY ! the most amazing part of the summer has arrived, I like to think of it as “the Sweet Spot of Summer”. For those of you foodies and gardeners out their I am sure you know what I am talking about, the 6-8 weeks of the summer when Heirloom Tomatoes show up on shelves and markets across the Midwest! I did not plant any Tomatoes this year, I have yet been able to grow a decent Tomato and gave up years ago, so I rely heavily on my local Farmers Market to provide for me the tastiest of treats!

Even my work, the dreaded Tuscan Slave Market, is celebrating the season with our annual Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad! Our chef has a great relationship with Kurlbaum farms, a local Organic, Heirloom Tomato Farm. Last year, the chef and I really bonded over these sweet treats, he apparently is almost as obsessed with them as I am. I will now be spending the new few weeks, concocting, vinaigrettes, and reductions to drizzle over these most heavenly of fruits and looking for new and better ways to serve them up as accompaniments to every meal I create.

A little background on this odd little fruit, yes it is botanically a fruit (however for cooking purposes only it is often classified as a veggie), is likely in order for us to fully appreciate them for what they are. Tomatoes originated in South America and were spread throughout the natives of these lands to as far away as Florida and Arizona, after Cortes arrived the tomato was quickly spread and propagated by Spanish colonizers and is now grown across the world. Tomatoes come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and flavors, and the most sought after these days are the precious Heirloom Varietals. The definition of an heirloom tomato is vague, but unlike commercial hybrids, all are self-pollinators who have bred true for 40 years or more.

I recently listened to a radio program that described the cultivation methods of the many farms in places like Florida that bring us those tasteless red things for most of the year, and let me tell you you are deffinately better off finding a local farmer and eating what he is growing, they taste amazing and have many times the nutrients of the standard tomato. * The More You Know *

As for me I will be in a Tomato Coma by the end of next month, come join me!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucky Bamboo

Many years ago I was given two different “lucky bamboo” plants. One came from my dear cousin Gundy when I moved into a loft in downtown KC, the other one I think I got at the Vietnamese Grocer in the River Market of KC several years ago also. When I moved to Hawaii I left my plants in the care of my mom, and considering that some of them were her plants to begin with, I think she was happy to get them. Over the five years I was away, the two plants grew and a few stalks died and eventually they ended up in one pot, filled with rocks and sand, it looked amazing.

When I moved to my new home here in Waldo my plant had begun looking Wan, leaves turning yellow, roots looking brown, so I decided it was time to propagate these suckers. I got help from a You tube video, and split the plant into three different vases. I found two great vases at Big lots, clear glass, and found the filler at Target. The process is relatively easy, you cut the outgrowth off, strip some leaves from the stalk, and place in water. To get the Alpha stalk to grow, you chop off the top, right below the outgrowth and seal that end with wax. The process is relatively simple, and already the stocks and leaves are looking healthier.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A tale of woe-ful incompetance

I have a tale of a company that has completely lost understanding of the term customer service. I will begin my tale with tonight’s happenings. I have a Samsung Blu Ray model BD-C6500. A few days ago when logging into my Netflix app I had to re-activate my device on the Netflix homepage. I shrugged and thought ‘no biggie’. Unfortunately I have had to do this every time I opened the app for the last few days. So I tried resetting the device then took the plunge and contacted Customer Care—via chat.

Now I have had a run-in with Samsung and their moderately incapable staff a few times already- I just got my BRP back from them a few months ago after the main control board fried (while there is a story to this, the gist is the unit was defective from day 1 and it took 7 months to convince them of this). U.S. Customer Service for Samsung has unfortunately been outsourced to a different outfit somewhere else in the world, they only seem to have the barest understanding of the product, and are probably getting their answer via an index of FAQ, I say this due to the kind of responses I receive and the way they always tell you to do the same thing first. Reset the device. Now I have been resetting this device for almost a year, so the first thing I do is rest the device, which coincidentally is one of the most arduous tasks requiring a full two hours worth of pressing ok, and accept, and restart, and restart, and restart, then downloading the entire application suite, and resetting All of the settings. That is the only answer they ever can give, they don’t even ask if you had already tried this, they just tell you to reset the device and give you instructions.

The best however was the actual discussion. I have provided a transcipt for your reading pleasure, I have to admit I got kind of nasty at the end, but it felt kinda good, and I figure this was chat at least I did not say this to his face? Right?

Please wait for a Samsung Agent to respond.
All Samsung Agents are currently assisting others. Thanks for your patience. A Samsung Agent will be with you shortly.
You are now chatting with 'Stanford'
Stanford: Hi, thanks for reaching out to Samsung tech support. How can I help you today?
Aaron: is the netflix app on my blu ray considered a samsung app or a third party app? I am having login refresh issues.
Stanford: Could you give me the model number of the unit?
Aaron: bd 6500
Aaron: bd C6500
Stanford: The Netflix is a list of recommended apps.
Aaron: corrct it downloads automatically
Stanford: It is considered as a Samsung apps.
Aaron: any idea why everytime i login to the app i have to go to netflix and reauthorize the device?
Stanford: Yes, the netflix app will be downloaded automatically.
Aaron: i know it will be downloaded automatically. I just told you that, I will repeat my question for a third time
Aaron: I am having to login to netflix and reauthorize the device each time i log into the app
Stanford: There is no need to reauthorize the device each and every time you turn ON.
Aaron: i know that, but I am having to do exactly that, this started a few days ago
Aaron: can i talk to someone else, you dont seem to understand what i am saying
Stanford: I recommend you reset the unit and check the issue.
Stanford: To reset your 2010 BD player, with the power one and with no disc in the player, press and hold the STOP button on the front panel for five seconds. The initial setup screen is displayed, follow the prompts to setup your Blu-ray player.
Aaron: you have got to be kidding me, of course I have done that, that was the first thing I did to fix the issue. I have had this player for 1 year and have reset the unit more times than i can count.
Aaron: thanks for nothing Stanford you are a real credit to our race.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Oatmeal. It’s warm, gooey, tasty, and delightfully healthy. I remember waking up in the mornings for school when I was a little boy, and there was always oatmeal. The oatmeal was not required, but my parents loved it so it was always ready. I often declined the oatmeal and went for a sugary cereal like Cocoa Pebbles, or Frosted Flakes. A few weeks ago I decided that oatmeal was going to be the key to my new years resolution. You see my resolution is multi faceted, it is also simple, it’s the same ever year, and its one I attain. Every year I resolve to better myself in many was such as Intellectualy and emotionally. To better my health, to better my soul, to better my sense of peace, and to feel accomplishment in as many days as possible. I have done big things like moving to and from Hawaii, gone back to school, paid off debts, been more involved with my nieces even moved into a new place, all to follow this annual pact to better myself. So how does oatmeal help?

Every morning I wake up and make myself a bowl of oatmeal, I have done, blueberries, strawberries, dried apricots, cinnamon, raisins, apple, maple syrup, and honey! Of course I don’t put all that in one bowl, today it was blue berries and honey, yesterday was raisins and brown sugar, tomorrow is going to be dried apricots and either white sugar or honey. The meal is filling, healthy (oatmeal is great for heart and cholesterol), and all the good memories I have had over oatmeal come to mind and it brings me calmness, peace and focus for the day. I do eat other things for breakfast sometimes, waffles, cereal, but since I’ve been on the oatmeal kick I just feel, harmonized. It’s a wonder full feeling. I am not stressed out (yet) I try to do my homework early, make a healthy dinner or lunch instead of going out to eat, I get to bed early, do a little house work every day, and even try to give myself time to simply do nothing. I am looking for more ideas for oatmeal, feel free to send me ideas, I have been thinking granola on top, or using an egg somehow…

Monday, January 10, 2011

Return to Blogsphere

It has been sometime since I have taken the time to update my life on the World Wide Blogsphere. In an effort to boil down everything that has happened since my last update I think I will go for a Whitman-esque list.

August- Moved to e new house in Waldo. New Roomie is my Sweet Cousin Janna. The house belongs to my awesome cousin Jesse who lives in Cali. Janna is Jesse’s baby sister. My baby brother lived here for several years, but he went away to college. I am working on things like painting on my days off. Fall Semester began.

Skip forward in time- Classes are hard, took an English Lit Class, History of Urban Planning and Design, Spanish 1, and Geology Lab. Worked real hard all semester, until finals weeks when I realized I did not need to have an A+ in every class. Still got 2 A’s and 2 B+’s ☺

Christmas was beautiful! Tree and decorations and food and family. Figured out my spring class schedule and was released form Academic probation carrying a 2.9 GPA huge achievement considering it was like .5 when I first went back to school.

Lots of moves watched, lots of books read, tons of meals cooked and and meals in restaurants. Had lots of friends visit, Heather, Kelly, Joe & Phil, Angie, Summer all made appearances at one time or another, and spent several afternoons/evenings in Lawrence with Dear friends Meryl and Blaine and their soon to be born Pea-Pod (he got the most excellent Little Giraffe Blanket from his “Uncle Aaron”

The nieces are growing up fast, so fast I can hardly believe it, my godson is also growing at an exponential rate- cant barely believe how big he is, we are still best buds, but he has a new buddy named Bobby who he totally adores and who loves him and his momma a bunch. I had a great time getting to know him and hope he sticks around for a bit.

What else---This semester started with a bang! First day of classes was today and there was like 7” of snow on the ground, resulting in school closing for the first time in forever. So on Wednesday we will try again! This semester is a full one, 14 hours of classes but not working as much.

SO there is the last few months in review, Soon I hope to be back on a regular blogging schedule. *Fingers crossed *.