Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle

I just pre-ordered an Xbox 360 bundle from EBgames. The bundle comes complete with the premium system, an extra wireless controller with charger, media remote, hard drive, HDTV video cable, one month of Xbox Live Gold with headset, and four sweet launch day games. Add to that one-day shipping and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I won’t have to stand in line at a store with stinky pimply ass kids in order to get my game on. Historically EBgames ships with enough lead time to ensure that you get the stuff on launch date or better. They made sure that I got my copy Halo 2 on the day of its release last year. If you haven’t pre-ordered already, I suggest you hook it up!

Hurricane Katrina killed at least 50 people, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and 2 million without power in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In the aftermath of the storm, looting, shootings, and attempted carjackings have been reported in New Orleans as tensions and floodwaters rise due to a broken levee.

After seeing the destruction, I am quite happy living in earthquake zone. True, an earthquake strikes without warning but the moments of terror are brief, a few seconds, in comparison to a hurricane which can unleash hours of devastation on its victims. FEMA is going to have their hands full for many months to come after this storm, and sadly there are more storms on their way. Now, New Orleans is mostly underwater and it may take years to rebuild the city.

The Linz Family, Amazing Race 8 Team

I just went on the Amazing Race 8 website and realized that the teams for the race have been revealed. There will be only ten teams of four in this edition. Team members range in age from 8, the youngest member of the Black family, which is the last name of the only African-American family, to 57, the oldest member of the Aiello family. Oddly enough, there are no California teams in the race, probably for the first time since its inception.

There is one team, the Linz family (pictured here), which appears to have an unfair advantage over the other teams, they range from 19 to 22 years of age. It is the team with the smallest age disparity. Add the fact that they all appear to be in perfect shape and have only one female member and they appear to be in the lead before the start. They are my current pick to win. Sadly, there is rumor that this race does not leave North America, but I can’t wait to see it nonetheless. Be sure to tune in to the premiere on Septmeber 27th.

Merck was held liable for the death of a 59-year-old marathon runner that was taking the drug Vioxx to treat arthritis. He died of a heart attack. Today, a Texas jury awarded $253.4 million in damages to his widow and opened the floodgates for future litigation against Merck and other pharmaceutical companies. It’s not just Merck, all of the drug companies are in a world of hurt because of this. If you own pharma stocks you should sell them all right now!

San Francisco Fog at Sunrise

While the rest of the nation is seeing record high temperatures and basking in summer splendor, San Francisco sits nestled in a blanket of fog from the evening to after sunrise every summer day. The sunrise temperature in San Francisco today was 52°F, 3 degrees colder than the sunrise temperature in Anchorage, Alaska. The Chronicle ran a story on the summer fog today that, although informative, was not a surprise to longtime San Francisco residents. Nevertheless, the map of common fog formations was cool to see. Now, if the sun would only burn off the fog over downtown for a few hours today that would be really nice.

There was an underground explosion in downtown San Francisco a few blocks from my office. Apparently the explosion caused a manhole cover to fly several feet into the air and spew flames out of the ground. A woman walking past the manhole cover at the time of the explosion was badly burned in her head and neck by the spewing flames. That’s what I call being at the wrong place at the wrong time–what are the chances? Alas, the explosion was deemed to be electrical in nature and not an act of terrorism.

Tiger Threat

A seventeen-year-old girl was attacked and killed by a seven-year-old bengal tiger while posing for a senior photograph at an animal sanctuary in Kansas. Damn, that sentence is strange, because, well, who the hell poses for senior pictures with a freakin’ tiger!? Unless you joined the circus, work in a zoo, or personally know Siegfried and Roy you shouldn’t be taking pictures with tigers. It’s just not a good idea. The tiger pictured here isn’t the one that killed the girl, but this trainer certainly looks like he has a death wish. Stop the insanity people!

There have been a lot of plane crashes lately. Just today, a crash in Venezuela kills 160, on Sunday a crash in Greece kills 121, a week before that a crash off the coast of Sicily kills 15, and two weeks ago a plane crashes in Toronto and all passengers survive. Damn, that’s four commercial plane crashes worldwide in a two week period! That seems like a lot to me.

A couple of nights ago, I was chillin’ on the Inter-nizzle, when I discovered Konfabulator. Konfabulator is a little program that runs widgets on your desktop. What kind of widgets, you ask? Just about any kind under the sun and there are new ones everyday. The default installation comes with some fly widgets like a picture viewer, analog clock, and weather widget. But if you visit the Widget Gallery, you can hit up hundreds of cool things to put on your desktop. What are you waiting for?!?!?!

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Apparently, If you like to drive, the best place to live is Caracas, Venezuela where gas prices are about 12 cents per gallon. Unfortunately, if you like to breathe it’s not the best place to live, since civil unrest, crime, and a tyrannical dictatorship may get your ass killed. San Francisco gas prices are hovering at around $3.10 per gallon, but it is nothing to the $6.48 per gallon you would pay in Amsterdam, or $5.96 per gallon in Milan. And these were the prices there in March, 2005, according to a CNN global gas prices story. I bet it is even more expensive now! Still, even knowing how much more expensive gas is around the rest of world, it’s not going to feel good to go to the gas station tomorrow.

I was watching a rerun of the Amazing Race 3 on GSN and was surprised to see that the team that won the Fast Forward was still eliminated. I didn’t think that this was possible, but apparently a team could be so far behind the pack that the Fast Forward does not help them reach the finish line ahead of the other teams. Sad but true. I think that AR3 EP03 is the only time that this has happened. Does anybody else recall this happening on any of the other races?

The Amazing Race 8 premiere date has been set for Tuesday, September 27th. Still, there are rumors abound that it will not even see the light of day.

A growing number of people are hacking their hybrid cars to increase their gas mileage from the stock 45 mpg to about 80 mpg. An electrical engineer in San Francisco hacked his Toyota Prius with $3,000 worth of parts to allow him to plug it into his AC wall outlet at home. This allows him to drive about 20 to 40 miles on the charge using a 50-50 mix of electrical power and gas. The best part of this is that the cost of this nightly battery charge is only about a quarter.

If you think that’s good, a company called Energy CS has converted two Priuses to get up to 230 mpg by using powerful lithium ion batteries. It is forming a new company, EDrive Systems, that will convert hybrids to plug-ins for about $12,000 starting next year. Damn, I seriously may consider getting a Prius and hacking it to get 200 mpg. Kick ass!

San Francisco gas prices currently average $2.79 per gallon, a full 38 cents per gallon higher than the national average of $2.41. In some gas stations the prices are as high as $3.10 per gallon. This means that at the $2.79 average it costs me more than $33 to fill up my little 12 gallon tank! At $3.10 per gallon it would be more than $37 to fill up! It makes me think fondly of the price of gas when I started driving in 1988, a mere 79 cents per gallon–less than a third, and almost a fourth, the price of gas now. Crazy!

Surveillance video identified a young man in his 20s driving over ten ducks at a car wash in Campbell. The ducks were all descendants from a pair of ducks that were given to the car wash back in 1972 by a loyal customer. The culprit even went as far as going into the bushes to scare the ducks out into the open so that he could run them over with his car.

What a sick fuck! What kind of person would hurt innocent animals for no apparent reason? Even if the guy had a beef with the owner of the car wash, fucking with someone’s pets is just insane, in that Fatal Attraction kind of way. I hope they catch this guy and put him away for a long time.

Anyone with information should call the Campbell police at (408) 866-2101.

I got a chance to hang out with Jimmy Norton, a fellow ex-iminder and a contributor to The Daily Nugget. We drove from my hotel in Miami Beach to Coconut Grove and ate empanadas and croquetas at a small Cuban restaurant called the Mambo Cafe. After going to La Carreta Restaurant in Little Havana last night, I now feel that I’ve finally gotten my Cuban food fix for the trip.

After the meal we drove on Highway A-1A all the way to Golden Beach and the Miami-Dade and Broward county line. We saw all the resorts and hotels, including the newly built Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort. It’s amazing how many more condos and resorts are currently being built on the shoreline, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. All in all, a nice lunch and good catching up with an old friend. I think I’ll go rent a jet ski now.

Tomorrow I am heading off to Miami Beach for the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) National Convention which is going to be held at the Fontainebleau Resort this year. Hopefully the convention schedule won’t be too hectic and I’ll get a chance to spend some time in the sun.

Charlie Murphy confirmed yesterday that Chappelle’s Show is officially over. Murphy told TV Guide that he disappointed but not angry at the end of the show that helped make him a bonafide star. Charlie Murphy was the writer of the famous “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” sketches that featured Dave Chappelle playing Prince and the late Rick James.

I really hope that Charlie Murphy is wrong. Comedy Central and Dave Chappelle have not spoken about the show since early June and the possibility of the show returning is more unlikely with every passing day. Say it ain’t so, Dave!

According to Reality Blurred, The Amazing Race 8 may be canned before it airs. This installment of the race features teams of four with kids in tow as young as eight. Apparently, in order to accomodate the kids, the race hasn’t left North America and has been spotted in New Jersey, Alabama, and Canada recently. This “watered-down” race format may not play well with die hard fans of the show.

According to a former cast member, Hera McLeod, “they are having a lot of problems with [the race] and it may actually not be a rumor that it all gets canned (see Survivor Sucks post).” So, with rumored production problems and a softened race, this race could be over before it even starts.

Good, since I am also a believer that the race just isn’t meant for kids. I mean look at how physically and emotionally exhausting the race is for adults. Can you imagine a small child in an airport dealing with all the stress, politics, and straight-out backstabbing involved in getting the fastest flight to a destination? Uncontrollable crying may be the production problem du jour. Well, maybe they’ll release the canned season on DVD for a laugh in a year or two.

Damn, I was searching through Wikipedia reading random entries when the entry for Frank Chu came up. I was shocked that my boy Frank was on Wikipedia. Even more shocking was the fact that the entry pointed to the pictures that I took of Frank four years ago. Talk about random.