Category Archives: Editorial

The South Carolina DMV

Today’s post is a rant about the glorious South Carolina DMV and how bad it sucks.  I’ve written about the South Carolina DMV is in an earlier post:  Honda S2000 Gets a Tag.  Today I have an even better story.  So quoting from the famous brewery, “If you’ve got the time, we have the err… story!”…  Read on because you are in for a real treat…

The newly redesigned 2017 Honda Ridgeline

You see, one of my buddies at work recently bought a new 2017 Honda Ridgeline like the one in today’s featured picture.  Not exactly the same color, but my friend’s Ridgeline came fully equipped with every possible bell & whistle available.  I am not a truck kinda guy, but this one is something else!

A few days after my friend bought his new pride and joy, we went to lunch and he said “Check this out!”…  He about scared the crap out of me:  he floored the throttle, let go the wheel and as we approached a red light (with a car stopped ahead of us), the Ridgeline immediately came to a controlled halt – it automatically intervened and handled the situation.  I’m like, damn!!!  Amazing what technology can do for you, right?

OK back to the South Carolina DMV…

You see my buddy had to travel out-of-state to buy his truck.  He wanted all the gizmos on it and the only one with such accoutrements was found in a different state.  The deal went according to plan, and included the fee for the tag and transfer which is pretty much a given.  Right?  WRONG!!!  My poor friend has had en experience from hell.

You see, the South Carolina DMV gives you 45 days to display the paper, temporary tag.  During that time (or sooner), one should get a) the tag and b) the title.  In my buddy’s case this went terribly wrong.  As it has turned out, during the process of entering the Ridgeline’s vital statistics into the DMV’s database the person doing the typing fat-fingered the empty weight of the vehicle.  Instead of typing 4,100 lbs, they entered 41,000 lbs.

This is basic “Programming for Dummy’s” stuff:  you would have thought the online system at the DMV would have prevented the data-entry clerk from entering 41,000 lbs as the empty weight of a pickup.  But no.  The system accepted the value and immediately produced a very expensive tag transfer fee.  This in turn, caused a pileup of epic proportions between the DMV, the dealer and the bank.

During this time my buddy is patiently waiting for his new tag.  Instead he gets one of those “oh shit” letters informing him the tag is nowhere near because his Ridgeline has magically morphed into a 41,000 Honda tractor-trailer and he now owes something like $4,500 worth of title transfer fees to the state’s coffers.  Day-um, Nikki Haley – today is NOT a good day in the state of South Carolina!!!!

In case you don’t know, Nikki Haley is South Carolina’s illustrious governess and future ambassador to the United Nations.  And she made it a point when she took office to make all employees answer the phone by saying how great a day it was in South Carolina.  Back to my friend’s story.

For the past week my friend has had to work from home.  The 45 day period has elapsed and if you follow the letter-of-the-law, the vehicle cannot be driven in the state of South Carolina.  My friend has made many trips to the DMV and every time somebody just passes the buck to someone else.  The clerks say they can’t change things; they need a supervisor.  The supervisors can’t seem to get their act together.  Today, my friend told me the clerk said all traces of the case have been lost and they can’t tell him where they are.  Honest!  I’m not making this up.  This is for real.

Seriously the irony in all this is that a mistake by a data-entry clerk has landed in the lap of my buddy.  The DMV has clearly stated the 45 day tag cannot be extended and the car not be driven on public roads.  He has also been told this will be “maybe” solved in the next few days.  And of course, all this from folks we (as tax payers) indirectly pay for in the form of their salaries.

Bureaucracy is a bad thing.  Add ineptitude and you have a disaster.  It is a crying shame that in this age of high technology, vehicles are still given “titles” and rely on all this antiquated paperwork.  Then again, I think I am preaching to the choir.

And as always when it comes to this type of situation, it is the tax payer (us) that get the shaft up the arse.

Hopefully soon, I’ll have an update with a satisfactory resolution.  In the meantime, didn’t I tell you this was an interesting story?

 

Godspeed, John Glenn

It is with a heavy heart I write today’s post.  Today we lost a true hero – the last of the Mercury Seven – John Glenn.

I suppose I am just “old” but the Mercury Seven represent for me a time when we as a nation and society traveled through time’s finest hour.

Godspeed John Glenn…  May you travel well…  Godspeed…

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Just imagine the stories these glorious seven are sharing now…

Astronaut John Glenn photographed in space by an automatic sequence motion picture camera during his flight on “Friendship 7.” Glenn was in a state of weightlessness traveling at 17,500 mph as this picture was taken.

 

Mopeds, Trucks and Mustangs

img_4128My friend Jeff sent me this photo just a few minutes after leaving work yesterday, November 22nd.  I suppose this is as good an example of “necessity being the mother of invention” as any…

Interesting how mopeds are becoming more and more prevalent in our busy streets.  The sad part about this is that these transportation conveyances are so non-regulated.  Then again, this is why they are so easy to acquire and to ride.  Catch 22 for sure.

Don’t take me wrong, I am not scorning folks driving these machines on city streets and highways but some of these folks certainly go to extremes at the expense of their own (and others) safety.  And adding insult to injury with no regard to basic laws and driving conduct; ie., driving in the left lane, hogging the road or hauling a keg of beer, etc.

img_3947While on the subject of mopeds…  I took this photo several weeks ago.  It shows two extremes in transportation – a sign of our times.  On the left a fully loaded $60k Ford pickup and on the right another moped.  Two chariots providing the same basic concept – moving from point “A” to point “B” – but with different levels of safety, comfort, status, and the list goes on.

Finally, a short story on the silver high-dollar truck shown in the picture:  The truck was a “loaner” given to a co-worker by a local Ford dealership  Turns out several months ago my friend had bought one of the new Mustangs with the V6 engine.  Said Mustang developed a voracious “appetite” for engine oil and eventually started making strange noises.  The dealer took the engine apart, put it back together and that yielded more strange noises.  After weeks that turned into months the good folks at FOMOCO did like Tammy Wynette standing by her man and in this case, stood by their steed:  they sent a brand new crate engine replacement.

All is well now after the engine transplant and my friend is back on the road enjoying his Mustang.  I guess this must have been a bad omen though…  FOMOCO has ceased production of the V6 engine Mustang…

So happy Thanksgiving 2016 to you all.  I for one have much to be thankful for and with much optimism that America will be made Great Again.

 

Summer Sabbatical

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Red-hots and habanero peppers from my garden

After a summer sabbatical of sorts, I’m back.  I have not forgotten about my blog, instead for some reason the spark to write has not been there so I decided on some time off.  I know, it’s not like I have a huge following – so who cares, right?

During my time off the F1 boys took their summer break, and have returned to the second half of the season (should be exciting – Lewis or Nico?)…  The whole entity of F1 is in the works of changing ownership…  The English Premier League is back and Manchester City has started a fine season undefeated (so far)…  I just hope the change of leadership for F1 is as good as it has been (so far) for MCFC (time will tell)…

And last but not least… We find ourselves on the eve of the first of the “debates” that will showcase the best that our two major political parties label as “presidential candidates” (yeah right) which incidentally, isn’t much – scary shit indeed.

Goodies from my Garden

Today’s post tells the story of my latest “experiment”:  as you can see in the featured photo it shows just a small sampling of this year’s bumper crop of hot peppers from my little garden.  My garden is not elaborate, just a couple of planter boxes with some good soil and several tomato plants with some habaneros peppers, red-hot’s, Tabasco brand peppers and serranos for good measure.

img_3840 The tomato plants consist of three Roma tomato plants which have produced some awesome tomatoes for pasta sauces (Wifey has made some amazing dishes with the Romas!) and two other plants yielded some great tomatoes suitable for awesome Caprese salads with my own grown basil.

Good times.

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Weapons grade spirits…

So back to the hot peppers…  Many years ago, I lived in Aiken SC.  Not far from Aiken is “The Garden City”, the home of The National: Augusta GA.  One of the specialties of one of my favorite restaurants in Augusta is a “Cajun martini”.  Their trick was to let hot peppers infuse in vodka.  So, I went to Costco and purchased some Kirkland brand vodka – the bottle said it is made in France but the price was good so I figured why not.

Half the bottle of vodka went into a Mason jar and I added the habaneros.  The rest of the vodka remained in the tall bottle (pictured left) and I added the red-hots in there.  After a couple of days, I took a whiff – yikes!  Good stuff!  Today, I poured the liquid in some saved bottles and placed them in the freezer.  I’ll add a post later with taste results.

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Weapons grade pepper flakes…

Finally, my friend Thom was kind enough to take several Ziplock bags full of my hot peppers and prepare them in his food dehydrator.  And of course, I now need to shop for a dehydrator – so if you have any recommendations please let me know in the Comments section at the end of today’s post.  Amazing thing these pepper flakes!

I’ve been adding this extra condiment to pretty much everything!  The heat is not unbearably toxic, instead it is very tasty indeed but not for the faint-of-heart.  One thing though:  even after being dried and chopped the fumes are still there.  I’ve had several episodes of sneezing during dispensation.

Other Stuff

Nest Thermostat Review

Several of my friends at work have been telling me about their Nestthermostats and how much they like them.  I’ve stayed away from the Nest devices because they are a) rather pricey and b) I already had a programmable thermostat.  But, I decided to do some research…

As it turned out, Nest had price reduction this summer and I took the plunge.  Against my better judgement, I ordered a thermostat from the Nest website rather than from Amazon.  Yes, I would have received it free of shipping charges and with 2 day delivery, since I have Prime but I figured I’d order from the factory, and hopefully get a latest version of the thermostat.

This order was doomed from the start.  It appears that there must have been many folks just like me on the fence about the price and they too, ordered thermostats taking advantage of the price reduction.  After a couple of weeks I started calling Nest customer service and as expected the other side of the phone call was answered in some foreign land with reps that have a very poor command of the English language.  Eventually after many attempts, I finally spoke with someone in the continental USA and they explained demand went through the roof and inventory went the opposite direction.  They asked me to be patient and that they would knock off another $25 plus reimburse shipping in return of not cancelling my order.  After a few more days I received my Nest Thermostat.

The device reminded me of unpacking my iPhone and iPad.  The thermostat is exceptionally well made, impeccably packaged and well documented.  It even includes a very nifty screwdriver with a very comfortable handle.  Installation was a breeze and this thing just plain works.   After a “learning” period the thermostat has settled and the one thing that stands out is how constant temperature is maintained.  My old thermostat just did not have this level of accuracy.

The thermostat can be controlled from an iPhone as well as from the device itself.  And I must reiterate the app is very handy.  Now I can control the thermostat away from home and best off all Wifey has the app too – so she can adjust the device.  Happy Wifey, happy life.

Roku Review

And another cool toy purchased lately was a new Roku 3 device.  With all the awesome content available for streaming I figured I’d give one of these a try.  This time I did order from Amazon at a good price and in 2 days I had the device at my doorstep.  The device is really nice and as advertised it powered right up and immediately started working with very little fuss.

Unfortunately due to the way my house is designed the wireless signal did not prove to be strong enough for the Roku.  I don’t have any issues with my other devices (even the Nest thermostat) but for some reason the Roku just could not lock in a strong enough signal.  So, I crawled under the house and ran a physical wire between the router to a switch that allowed me to finally hard wire the TV, the Roku and the DirecTV receiver.  Amazing how well all this works with a wired signal.

Streaming is awesome.  So much available content and all with flawless performance.  A real gem this Roku device has turned out to be.  My favorites so far:

  • Netflix streaming is great.  I changed my DVD subscription and the streaming version is a must-have.
  • Amazon Prime offers video too.  Awesome content there too.
  • FilmOn – this is free and is simply amazing.  Basically you can watch live British TV.  It is soooo nice to be able to watch F1 races on the British feed and not have to put up with Leigh Diffey’s annoying voice and idiotic commentary on the NBCSN broadcast.  Incidentally, the British version of the coverage is superb.  Much more insight and certainly not “dumbed down” as is so much the norm on NBCSN.

And I guess I have tried to cram way too much in today’s post.  Sorry about that…

Hot, Damn Hot…

The last few days here in the Upstate of South Carolina the weather has been HOT, DAMN HOT.  I mean Summer in the South – gotta love it baby!   And it ain’t no “dry heat” so don’t start with that crap.

Add to this,  today the HVAC system at the office had “issues”.  And by this I mean, as I drove up this morning and exited RedRock, in the parking lot I could hear one of the units broadcasting that special sound bearings make when there is no more “bearing” left.  You know, that dreaded sound of metal-against-metal.  From my vantage point, it appears the bearings gave up the ghost several days ago and of course…  Things quickly went down from there.  Reminds me of the day the wheel bearing went bad in bowtie6 but not quite:  the bearings on the AC unit were playing a serious symphony of sorts.  As we say in the South, “bless their heart”…

So the temperature in the office proceeded to get rather “toasty”.  My buddy Jeff felt the “warmth” too and proceeded to pull up that glorious video from “Good Morning Vietnam” on his iPhone, where the sorely missed Robin Williams talks about things being HOT, DAMN HOT.  Yes indeed – today felt exactly like Roosevelt E. Roosevelt said…  HOT, DAMN HOT.  You have to watch the video…

Yes indeed!  HOT, DAMN HOT!!!  And as Martha Reeves and the Vandelas said, “There ain’t no where to run” in this heat.  If you don’t “get it”, watch the video.

Oh, and many thanks Jeff for the video…