Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I sometimes find myself yawning as I drive home from work or after the gym. I don't feel drowsy, yet I can't help yawn. YAWN! Excuse me. (I bet I made you yawn too.)

There might be an explanation to yawning. According to a study led by Andrew Gallup from Princeton University, yawning helps cool down our bodies--particularly, our brain.

Gez, all these years I've thought there was an odorless gas filling the interior of my car slowing killing me.  In reality, it's just my hotheadedness.

Sources: "Does Yawning Cool the Brain?" Austin Awakenings, February 2012, Pg. 12;

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My old cellular phone and my ear

I recall how excited I was about getting my first cellular phone.  I had been using a slick looking Motorola pager throughout high school and college, so the cell phone was perhaps the mark of adulthood for me.

I had been debating months and months as to whether I needed a cell phone. Back then service was a bit pricey and coverage was sparse, so it was hard to make that commitment to pay for something that only works in certain areas.  Roaming... Roaming...

I think who encouraged me to finally commit to a cell phone was my friends and "girlfriend." The only way they could get a hold of me was by sending me number messages to my pager-- my girlfriend, who use to work as a police dispatcher and had a great way to communicate using only numbers. At times I miss the old days when it was easy to escape and not be found.

Anyways, after class I rushed to the local Sprint store and chose my phone which was probably a few inches longer than my current cell phone but three times heavy.

With my new phone, I found myself talking to my girlfriend at night extensively--unlimited calling after 7 pm. What would we talk about? I have no clue. I think there was a lot of "I miss you" and "I love you." Oh god, young love can be so pathetic.

Well, after using my cell phone for long periods of time and years, I began noticing ear aches and pressure on the right side of my head. Then I noticed the media health study reports of the correlation of cell phone use and brain cancer.

It's common now to google "cell phone and health risks" and find a report or article regarding the effects of radiation emitted from cell phones and the increased risk of glioma, a type of tumor that starts in the brain and spine. One such article I came across is from the November/December 2011 issue of Energy Times titled "Calling on Caution."

Is society going to turn their cell phones in?  I doubt it. The cell phone was once considered a luxury that everyone wanted (similar to today's iPad). Now I think the cell phone has become somewhat a necessity as people are dumping their landlines. 

As presented in the article, a few suggestions to limit your exposure to cell phone radiation is to use a landline phone when possible, a headset, or the speakerphone. Since practicing those suggestions, I haven't noticed any ear aches or head pain. Knock on wood.


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Friday, February 24, 2012

My boy, the Yankee

Taken on April 13, 2008
Almost four years ago, I took this picture of my son with a Yankee jersey.

The jersey was given to him by his Grandpa John and Grammy who live in New York State. Since then, its become somewhat expected for us to be Yankees fans--a thing that is hard for other Texans to fathom.

Last fall, my son played little league. His team was the Pirates.  He took the sport seriously, and was torn when his team lost the final tournament. At the end, he vowed to redeem himself and lead his team to win. 

On Wednesday, we received notice that his new team would be the Yankees. Instinctively, I jumped for joy. I was so excited that reading the email made my day.

So, Sunday he starts practice and we will probably have a schedule of his future games. Expect me to post the videos of his games on this blog. Also, expect me to brag about how great he played.

Photo was taken with a Canon PowerShot A400.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Confessions of a Gym Dweeb Part 14


I think I might have found Sasquatch, and he works out at my gym. Really. I sketched what I remember seeing. So, if you are looking for him, this is what he looks like.

Since encountering this huge hairy ape-like creature, I have since avoided dressing in the men's locker room. It was terrifying when I walked into the locker room and caught the aweful sight of this beast bending over to pick up his shoes. I think the other fella that walked in with me was just as scared.

To this day, the vision is still haunting.
So if you are a bigfoot hunter, and have been unsuccessful in your search, go to your nearest gym and more than likely, you'll find him there.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

3.459 cents a gallon?

Yesterday morning I noticed that the price of gasoline was going back up.  The news reports that gas prices is expected to reach $4.50 before summer travel starts.

I guess I should begin making plans on taking the 935

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keep your child's brain healthy

I came across a helpful article in January 2012 issue of Austin Family magazine that offered some suggestions as to how to help our children grow cognitively. 

The author, a former science teacher, for example, suggested finding real-life applications to help explain a problem your child is having difficulty conceptualizing.

Recently, I used that strategy with my seven year old boy. He was having a hard time understanding fractions. The interesting thing was that he could describe distance or value in decimal and percentage format, but couldn't grasp fractions.

Recognizing that he understood decimals and percentages, I decided to work backwards and explain to him the concept of decimals and percentages and show its relationship with fractions.

I wrote ".5" on a whiteboard I took from work and asked him what this means in terms of the whole number "1."  He replied correctly, "half of one."  I then wrote "1/2" on the board and asked what this represents in decimal format. He responded, ".5." I continued on with several other examples, until he saw the Maxtrix and understood how it all worked.

The article also talks about the importance of sleep. I've written recently of my son waking up at odd hours of the night to play video games or watch TV.  We've been struggling with his lack of sleep. Sleep helps the brain learn. I can attest to that by watching my son's behavior and performance in school diminishing when he didn't get enough rest and sleep.

You can read the complete article HERE.

Source: VanBuren, Jennifer, "Inside the Brain: How research is improving your child's success in school," Austin Family, January 2012, Pg. 24-25.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Bronze U.S.S. Enterprise

It's amazing how easy it is to find the value of a collectable. For example, a few weeks ago, I went on the Internet to find out some information regarding a purchase I made 17 years ago--the bronze cast of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek The Original Series.

NCC 1701 1993 PAR-PIC

I found a great website,, posted my question, and the following day I received a response to my inquiry.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sell my U.S.S. Enterprise ship. It has sentimental value. Let me explain.

When I was 17 years old, my parents and I traveled to Pasadena, California for the Star Trek Grand Slam Convention. Yes, this Trekker (not Trekkie), begged and begged my parents to take me to California as my last trip before high school graduation.

I'll keep this entry focused on this ship and not digress. Perhaps I'll elaborate further on my experience at this convention in a later post.

Anyways, I recall walking into the showroom and being intimidated by all the vendors and the tchotchkes each were selling. I quickly began purchasing hologram key chains, bookmarks, and other little trinket. Then I came across a kiosk where a gentleman was selling bronze cast U.S.S. Enterprises. I think he was selling each for $20 and only had the this version of the U.S.S. Enterprise left.

I debated whether to purchase it since I wasn't really a TOS fan. I was more of a Trekker and a fan of TNG and DS9. Something just told me I needed to purchase this ship and I did. 

I remember walking around the convention center with this 3 1/2 pound desktop statue. I even stood in line for two hours waiting for the autograph of actress Robin Curtis (Vulcan Lieutenant Saavik), who was delayed because of a small earthquake.

After getting Robin Curtis' autograph, I noticed my dad walking through the crowd towards me.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

I was confused since I really didn't know what I heard was an earthquake. Yes, the ground moved, but I thought it was a diesel truck moving above the ground. Nope, it was an earthquake and I was in it.

I then noticed the stack of headshot photos in my dad's hands. One of them being of Majel Barret-Roddenberry--yes, Gene Roddenberry's wife.

My dad had presented himself as a concerned parent looking for his son who was just in an earthquake.  Naturally, they let him in. And like my father, he was able to obtain autographs of actors in his attempt to find his 17 year old son.

Ah... see, I went on a tangent. Anyways, my question was posted on, and my question was answered within hours:
When it comes to Star Trek collectibles, I’m something of an oldschool collector. Many were the hours I wiled away while looking at the pages upon pages of black and white ads for unusual Star Trek collectibles, and I even stumbled into some official Roddenberry Archives slides once… but I digress.
This Enterprise was released by Paramount Pictures in 1993, as part of a small series of the various iterations of the legendary Star Trek ship. “How much is this worth?” is a question which only has one answer : “How much would someone pay for this thing?” The answer can be found by diving deep into the Internet.

As of August of 2011, this particular ship sold for about $50 bucks. There are a few floating around out there (including the Next Generation Enterprise, which is having a hard time selling for $40 bucks), so unfortunately, it’s not an exceptionally rare collectible, but collecting Enterprises is like collecting Batmobiles : you can never collect just one. You just need to find the right Enterpeise enthusiast and you’ll be set. 
So, my bronze Enterprise is worth about $50.  Cool, huh.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Picking up trash

I came across this picture from 1998 of me and Rubi picking up trash at the corner of Nolana and 23rd Street in McAllen, Texas. We were doing this as part of our community outreach for a college student organization called Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). 

Rubi and I cleaning McAllen
Circa 1996
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Broderick brings back Ferris Bueller in new Honda CR-V Commercial

Can you believe it has been 26 years since Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Gez, I was 10 years old.

Via YouTube

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