What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday cheer

Christmas has been a marathon day today. Fortunately we were able to get all preparations out of the way and be in bed ourselves before midnight. We were awakened promptly at about 7:30am and have been unwrapping, building, projecting, and playing since. The kids are thrilled with their toys and being able to fire right into playing with them. I think we went a bit overboard, but we figured that there would be a few Christmas checks in the mail so it would even out.

Pictures on the day:

Some videos up on youtube: search for "brummett"
(I may still be uploading, it takes a while...
Okay, that's all for now. YouTube uploads are terribly slow this evening. I am going to bed.

happy dog:

Faith in her new chair:

Faith's new piano:

Faith likes her tea set:

Austin Rocks:

Another happy dog:

We didn't get our presents to the family out yet. We have a pile of gifts wrapped, but will need to get them off in the mail in the next day or two. Sorry for the delay, but life has a way of making you busy during the holidays and we were taking care of the little one who we have to see face to face Christmas morning first.

In contrast Thank You to those who got presents in the mail to us. Shannon & Family, Steve & Tony, Nancy, and Sue your presents arrived in good order and were accepted in good spirits. You all have done too much. The kids loved it and we feel very thankful for our gifts as well.

Merry Christmas to all!

We love you and are missing your company this Holiday season.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blazing into the Holidays

Time is counting down to Christmas. As stated earlier the brunt of shopping is out of the way. We are about to head out and brave the mall and Target once again for the last of stocking stuffers, Santa pictures, and a haircut for Austin. We will also need to get stocked up for Christmas meals. Just one of the nice things about the family gatherings is that the burden of food preparation falls a little on everyone. I picked up fixings for a green bean casserole the other day and have stocked up on sparkling cider, but otherwise we haven't shopped food yet. Not a big deal as we aren't planning on making cooking a major focus on the day. Neither of us are into cooking a turkey or anything that requires hours of supervision. I think a canned ham, turkey breast, or something along the throw it in the oven for an hour level is where we are at this year.

The closets are stacked with presents. Still need to find time to get the kitchen put together, but that will be a tomorrow afternoon project. Hopefully all of the parts are there.

We will be taking video and hopefully distributing or posting some of it up for family and friends to see. It would be nice to actually put some of that video to good use. As it is most of our video it sitting on miniDV in the cabinet and we haven't been very good about using the camcorder. I think being so far from the family it will be more important to capture some of the holiday fun.

Okay, I am that much of a dork

I am really enjoying having the larger monitor, but Erin can't get used to it. She is still clinging to the laptop. I think I will get a wall mount for it to put it a bit farther back from the user and also a little higher. The computer itself is running well and looks like it is up to the task of 1:supporting the higher resolution monitor and 2:dealing with streaming web and flash content.

Time will tell, but the Windows 2000 OS may not have been the best choice. It works, but most of the new hardware is leaving it unsupported. The Roxio DVD decompressor that I use on the laptop is not backwards compatible with W2K. Most sounds cards also leave W2K behind in favor of XP/Vista. I will say one thing, not having to worry about authorizing the system has been convenient. Not a big deal as I can upgrade to XP later without too much hassle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

T'is the season

Hello all. It has been hard for me to get around to the updates lately. Not really sure why. This has just kind of been a back burner project anyhow. Well, here is the updated scoop.

Erin and I have been scurrying around to do our Christmas shopping. It is a bit of a different atmosphere here in Huntsville. Most people are long done shopping, the shelves are a bit slim, and there isn't a crazy rush at the mall. Weird. Normally we are just getting rolling on the shopping front instead of finishing up. The house is decorated, but not to extremes. The tree does look a bit silly since decorations start about 3" out of Faith's reach. We have some lights strung outside, but again pretty easy display. Christmas should be interesting without all of the running around to family gatherings. Of course we will have to entertain at a higher level to make up for the lacking business.

Erin and the kids have all been fighting one thing or another for the last few weeks. Austin is looking like he does still have some asthma issues due to his preemie arrival, but he is doing a lot better now that he is on some medication targeting it. Faith has been a snot nosed little kid for the last week. She is super cute, but boy is she a stinker. Recently she has taken to arguing and yelling. Good times there. I will have to take some video of that to share.

What have I been up to?
I have crammed in a couple of rides since my flat fiasco a couple of weeks back. I finally got around to checking out some of the trails out on the Arsenal. They are low traffic and a bit of a mess with the Fall leaves and downed trees. Definitely going to require some more scout work, but it does look like lunch rides will be an option again. This weekend I got a short ride in at Monte Sano. I am feeling the effects of not riding much. I am going to have to work on that more. Surprisingly I made a couple of switchbacks and a climb that I have not previously been able to clean. Guess my slower pace was saving energy that is usefull for those sections. The Sultan is still kicking ass. I love that bike. The Raleigh on the other hand is not nearly as much fun as I remember. Guess getting back onto longer travel and suspension has made me soft.

I am just completing some home computer upgrades. With the increased demands of web browsing and streaming content the 10 year old Pentium II 450MHz just couldn't keep up. The Diamond Viper V770 AGP card that Eddie gave has been beyond support for years. The Sony Viao that Rebecca gave us never did work quite right. After many attempts at getting the correct drivers for the proprietary motherboard I tore it apart and yanked the CPU, RAM, and HDD out of it. I took these components and dove into a crash course in computer updating. It was a lot of reading and searching for what would be compatible and what wouldn't. The upgrade required a new motherboard and a new video card. I decided to replace the ATX mid case and monitor while I was at it. The old case has been around since 1997 and the monitor since 2001. Again compatibility was watched as close as possible. Add in some new speakers, keyboard, an extra stick of RAM, and it is a done deal for now.

Here is the outcome:
CPU: P4 2.8GHZ, 533MHz FSB, 512 L2 Cache
Motherboard: MSI 848P Neo-V motherboard, SATA, USB2.0, IDE 133/100/66, socket 478, 800/533MHz FSB, LAN & Audio onboard
ATX mid Case: Antec Sonata III with 500w power supply
Graphics Card: XFX GeForce 6200 256mb, AGP 8X
RAM: 2 x 512MB, PC2700, DDR333
HDD: Maxtor 40GB, don't know where I got it but it works
OS: Windows 2K SP4, I didn't feel like fighting XP authorization any more
Monitor: Acer 22in widescreen LCD, 1680x1050 native
I may snap a picture, but that might just be off the charts for geek points.

Not screaming fast or ultra whistles and bells, but it should get us by for a while. It didn't break the bank and has many features to aid in transition to newer hardware like SATA. The MB is capable of clocking the CPU a bit faster too. The new case is much quieter and cooler. I don't hardly know what to do with all the extra room on the monitor. I would call it a success. I could also blame it somewhat for my distraction from riding and obsessing on bikes. Heck, it is Christmas and I don't even have any bike parts on my wish list. Weird.

I may not post again before Christmas. So if I don't talk to you, have a Merry Christmas. I wish you all the best for the Holiday season.

Oh, and for those who read through all of the MB's and GHz's thanks for reading this far. Eddie is probably the only person who might even care about that stuff. But since I have to claim a success somewhere you guys have to suffer through it ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

More extreme

Yep, that's right. Getting my extreme dose of Dew on right here. Just got back from the soda machine. Saw that they had Mountain Dew MDX. Figured what the heck. Wow, it is like they bottled a lime flavored otter pop. Kind of good and kind of not so good. 47g of caffeine and 80g of sugar. If that doesn't get you moving nothing will. Throw in some ginseng, guarana, and other herbals to throw one in the face of redbull.

Okay, enough of that. It's a soda. Big deal.

Weekend riding:
Got out for a quick spin on Sunday. 3 flats, 2 tubes, and 5 patches later I got back to my truck. One more flat and I would have found myself walking out. Sometimes when it rains it pours. I can't remember ever running into this much fuss in a single 2 hour stretch though. I rode about the rockiest sections of trail we have here and I guess that is what I get for it. First flat could be attributed to my new pump. I picked up a new floor pump on the way to ride since I left mine at the shelter Saturday night. Any rate, that one happened about a mile from the trail head. I tossed in a new tube and carried on. Lots of rock crawling and winding around at the Land Trust. I turned and headed down towards 3 caves loop and got my second flat. Another pinch, but with the added bonus of a simultaneous sidewall tear/puncture. So since I know where the flat is I only take part of the tire off and patch the tube. On with the show. I bomb down water line trail and do a loop around three caves. Apparently there are caves and tunnels all under Huntsville. I will have to see what the history is on these. They are big though.

From here I climbed out Alms House trail. It is a very technical climb. Not steep, just rock crawling and careful line selection. I made more of it than last time, but am realizing that some of it just may not be rideable. For my efforts I was rewarded with one over the bars experience, a scratch on the lowers of my new fork, and a ding to the top side of my rim from wedging it in between a couple of boulders. I am going to have to find some newbie rider and torment them with this trail. Up and out I climbed and then I started up Toll Gate trail. Kerplow! Gunshot and instant flat. Guess my hast fixing the last flat just bit me in the ass. Tube number 2 now is split beyond repair. Back to tube number one and some more patches. Fortunately this held back to the truck. Moral of the story, tubeless is good.

Rain threatened, but I got little more than a few droplets sprinkled. The rain/storm weather has been welcome in some respects as it has brought the temperature back up. I didn't need to bust out my new thermal knee or leg warmers. I think it was hovering at about 65deg. Not bad for the beginning of December.

I will post up a family entry later. There is a picture I wanted to post up.

Work is finally starting to pick up to a real world level. Yippee, let the rocket science begin. I am not doing anything too glorious. Mostly updating existing structures for new tests. Trial by fire on structural steel assembly practices. So far so good.