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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Moving up and out

Okay, been a busy week. We started moving and cleaning last Saturday. Since then just about every day has been filled with some sort of task. Hopefully this will make for smooth sailing come tomorrow. There are still a lot of things to move, but we have taken care of a lot already.

A little video on the home workshop side:

The first couple of minutes had me cracking up. Then the salad dressing story hit pretty close to home. I don't know what the statistics are but I am pretty sure most guys at one point or another have been sabotaged by a wife's loose lid habit.

I am still debating on how to arrange stuff in the garage. I would like to get just about everything on mobile base, but there is a complication in that the garage floor has a pretty good slope to the sides. This is great for drainage, but sucks for setting up tools to be wobble free at resting location and also in the middle of the garage. Going to have to think on that one a little. Should have some spare time while setting up the rest of the house to decide.

For now we are back up and running. The phone is plugged in and hooked up. DSL is active (sooner than anticipated). I was quite pleased that dsl relocation was as simple as just moving my modem and router. The home theater computer is hooked up in the entertainment center. I had to spend about 45 minutes last night building a cheap stand to elevate our TV inside the center. Fortunately I found the stand for under $20. I had planned to just throw together a basic mdf holder, but for the $20 I couldn't even get all the materials to build one. Not to mention we would have had to wait to hook up the TV.

So we have TV, toys, and some stuff in the play room to keep the kids happy while we are working our buts off to get everything moved on the weekend. Oh, and then there is also Grandma. My mom flew into Birmingham Wednesday. She is planning to help entertain the kids. Seems to be working so far. Austin was happy to just hang out and talk with her all day. Faith also was happy to see her.

That's about it. No riding this week. Only other toy to mention is our new gps. I came up on a deal that was to sweat to pass on a refurbished Magellan 2200T. It has proven to be very helpful on the 2 trips down south we have made in the last week.
A review of the unit
The device itself is great and the routing engine is one of the best. Original retail was around $500. At under $100 I can't complain. Seems the main complaint people have on this model is that the crossover capability is an upgrade and magellan took about a year to release it. I don't care about that, just got it for road trips and such. Our trip to Deatsville did require me to add a POI. Go figure, Deatsville didn't wasn't completely programmed into the stock map. It turned out to be fairly simple to convert and address to Lat/Long and then use the latitude and longitude numbers to upload to the gps unit.

Okay, take care on the weekend. I will be missing everyone as I am lugging furniture around this weekend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Okay, something new

Well, apparently not too new since it has been around since 1952. Check this out

If that doesn't look like good fun you have no business calling yourself a red-blooded American male.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Okay, another website for you guys

Came up on this one while reading about rotozip tool tips...

No kidding. Just when you were thinking wood working was a bit dangerous for the average Joe these guys go and up the anti by doing it blind. Personally working with sharp cutting tools doesn't sound like the best idea to me, but more power to them.

If you have power point on your computer you can also check out this document
It is a lot more informative and obviously aimed at educating us non blind folks.

I have been reading up and doing some research for the impending home projects. Up front are a new dining table and hutch/server for the dining room. At this point we are thinking that the chairs are not really worth the time to build ourselves. Easier to pick those up at Peir1 or similar. Gotta say I am pretty excited. Last time I got to do any furniture was when we were reefing...
Obviously I will need to step it up a notch on my jointing technique in order to create furniture for the dining room. Should be a bit easier this time around since I will have full access to my workshop. Also the collection of tools has grown, which should eliminate some of the frustration.

Stay tuned for workshop updates. Erin has specifically told me that I have to help setup the house, not just my garage. Yeah, Yeah I know it is terrible. Gotta help around the house before I can play. So updates may be a bit slow until we are settled into the living space.

On Sunday I am going to do a quick road trip down to Deatsville. Yep, just some tiny town down past Birmingham. Got a smoking deal on a tablesaw setup. Yes, already have a table saw (thanks Dad). But the stock fence on mine requires a bit of tinkering to get a good straight rip cut. So the one I picked up has a $450 aftermarket fence system and an extension table that I can drop my router into. Should make for quicker and more accurate cutting on the table saw. It is also on a mobile base, which is a must for our small garage.

The race is officially on. Sounds like tomorrow morning we can start moving into our house. Yeah! So we have some packing planned this weekend. Also on the agenda is cleaning and repair on the house. Nothing major, but Erin wants to paint a couple of places and patch a hole in the drywall. Acceptable terms, I just have to figure out where the heck my painting and spackle tools are. Hopefully I can do a quick digging and organize to get a grip on where the necessary tools are this weekend.

Phone will transfer over on Wednesday, so if you leave a message on our phone it may take a day or two to get back to you. E-mail communication will also be down as dsl will take a couple of days to relocate. The 31st will be the big move day. Up until then will just be getting ready and buffering to make that day a bit easier.

Bike riding?
Yeah, got a little bit of that in this week. I commuted in on Monday and Tuesday. That gets me about 32-34mi on the road bike. Nothing to write home about. I am liking doing the commute by bike. It is a good way to get fired up in the morning. It is also a way to put a bit of exercise into the weeks that are filled with other activities. No plans on the mtb front. Maybe I can eak a ride in over this holiday weekend, but no gaurantee there.

Yep, still present and accounted for. Hopefully everyone out on the West Coast is staying clear of the fires in Santa Cruz county. Erin and Faith have had a random ailment for the last week or so. Seems like every time Erin gets sick lately she loses her voice. I think they are on the up-side now though. Austin officially graduated. Yep, one bona-fied 1st grader heading your way this fall. We are proud of him. Erin should have some photos up on her BLOG before too long.

That's it. Keep the rubber side down and enjoy your holiday weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Down South

Nothing says southern living like bowfishing and airboats
Seriously gotta git me sum of that ther action...
Actually found that site while digging for information for work. Amazing what google dumps into the results pile sometimes.

Bike to work week was a bit of a flop. Got rained out on Wednesday and Thursday. So I commuted in by bike 2 days of that week. Not a bad showing I guess. I think it is about 10mi each way, so it adds up eventually. I rode in today as well after helping Erin drop the Blazer off for service (there goes $1K).

No riding this weekend. My poor mountain bike is just hanging in the corner unloved. I did manage to give the Lobster a bit of love yesterday by picking up a new water bottle and changing out the handlebar wrap. Giving Easton bar wrap a try. Feels about the same as what I was running, but only $10. We will see if it will go as long. I dropped my levers down to a more roadie acceptable level and built up on top to make the transition from bar to hood less abrupt. Gotta say it felt pretty good this morning.

Road riding, atleast on the route to and from work, is pretty low key. Drivers here are indeed proving to be more accomodating at large. I am guessing since there is no bike lane the whole share the road becomes more of a constant instead of just a suggestion.

Moving day is approaching. Sunday marks the day that we can actually start moving stuff in. Utilities, mail, and phone have all been scheduled to change over. Good news is that our phone number will remain unchanged. We have started boxing up some stuff. I sold off our entertainment center. I was happy to get what I had paid for it a couple years back. Getting it cleared off and delivering it pretty much killed my Saturday ride possibilities. Life goes on.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Probably shouldn't follow...

the last post with this. But since I have a near complete lack of tact here goes.

Just when you thought home brewing was too tough.
Check out:
He has a simple beer brew tutorial series that is great. I just watched it. Very simple approach to home brewing. Also much less fuss on the equipment than some claim to need.

In the saddle again

'bout time right...

Apparently this week is bike to work/school week out here in Alabama:
"Monday, May 12 - Friday, May 16: Bike-to-Work/Bike-to-School Week. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the Spring weather and try bicycle commuting whether to school or work. All 4th graders will compete on Friday, May 16 for the homeroom with the most riders and the winner will receive a Pizza Party courtesy of the Auburn Bicycle Committee."

I opted out on Monday since I have no idea where my water bottles are. Today I drove in, but came home for lunch. I decided what the heck and spent 10-15 minutes to get my bike in rideable shape. I hadn't even installed pedals on the road bike since moving here last year. True to form the Lobster just keeps on going despite me treating it so poorly.

Bike lanes are pretty much non-existent here, so I have to ride the edges, gutters, and botch dots to keep out of traffic. Despite the lacking bike lanes most drivers give a wide berth, often changing lanes while passing me. Kind of a weird phenomenon after being nearly taken out on roads like skyline in the Bay Area. Overall it will take some getting used to, but from the sound of it riding here isn't any more dangerous than CA. It is just that you don't have the "safe" bike lanes to keep cars at a distance.

My commute to and from work ended up at just over 30 minutes each way. Takes a little longer to get there since a couple of hills are more directional and I also have to stop and show a badge when entering the base. Honestly it is a perfect distance. Just enough to get a good spin in, but not enough to make me too tired on the way home. It should be about the same time/distance from our new house as well.

Okay, back on the wagon. After recent beer drinking binge stopped and even retarded my new years resolutions I have decided that I just can't be trusted with beer in the house. What can I say, I would rather drink it than collect it. Heaven forbid it go stale in my fridge. Don't get me wrong, I have yet to swear it off as a vile substance. I just decided that keeping it in the fridge is too much temptation for my beer cravings. Oh well, probably better to get in this frame of mind sooner than later.

So I bumped back up to just under 230lb. That is up nearly 8lb from my low. Not a huge setback, but pretty easy to see what had happened when 2 cases of seirra nevada disappeared in 3 weeks. Kind of an eye opener when you buy cases. It isn't much to think about stopping and grabbing a 6-pack when needed. But when you see a large quantity go away in one fell swoop it is kind of an eye opener. Also gotta blame house buying and eating out as prime culprits. No biggie though. Without the excessive beer intake and a bit of bike riding it will drop off quick again.

Okay, bike riding and an update on my semi-failed resolutions. Hope yours are going better :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lazy morning

Just having a lazy morning. Still haven't gotten around to getting dressed. As we were sitting around Faith was being very cute, so I snapped a quick clip.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Another week down

Friday, so gonna have to rock it
This one had me laughing...

Not much news out here. I modified a video capture card to fit into the desktop computer. One of the online stores was blowing them out for under $10, so I figured there wasn't much harm in making it fit despite not having the proper bracket. So in my spare time this week I have been ripping our miniDV footage to the computer. It is great to take inventory and watch some of the videos for the first time since they were recorded. In the tape format they are just not that friendly to watch or locate specific events.

So at any rate, I should have the last 5+ years of home video up in short order. I will load some of the shorter clips up to youtube to share.

No riding this week. It was nagging at me earlier in the week, but the last couple of days the weather hasn't been condusive. So I kind of missed the window of opportunity. Oh well, life goes on. I am surprisingly okay with my lower level of riding craze this year. It just seems a bit less important when there are no planned races or events that I have to be prepared for. I might try to do some racing next year, but this year is wide open.

We also got our next installment of the Avatar series. Austing is into the shows yet they are also pretty fun to watch as an adult. There is fighting, but it is done in a manner that isn't innapropriate for a younger child to watch. We of course devoured the dvd with 5 episodes within 2 days. Okay, I watched all of them in the first night.

Other than that just a bunch of work and a couple of six packs to show for the week. I went up into the Dynamic Test Stand today. It is about a 400ft tall test facility. Up top I was able to see all of Huntsville. On a clear day I imagine you could see to Birmingham. The interior of the stand has about 10 levels of retractable/folding access platforms custom cut to fit around the shuttle and the booster engines. Very cool stuff to see and mind blowing to think of working out and avoiding interference on all these platforms with just a paper drafting board.

A little page about the facility

catch everyone later...

Friday, May 2, 2008

A little bit of spare time?

Well, if you have some spare time check out the AresTV channel over at youtube. Pretty cool stuff, past/present/future, of the Ares program.


Spare time? Me?
Okay, some here and there but I try pretty hard to fill it with meaningless tasks. The last couple of nights I have been fighting with my TV. Turns out if you use an hdmi audio-video cable to connect directly from your PC to the TV there is usually overscan.

Overscan? "What is that?", you say. Basically the TV interprets the signal over sent over the cable and scales it in a manner it thinks is best to match the LCD screen. Well, problem is that this match is usually not perfect and requires you to have to adjust the size and position. Easy ehhh. No, not really. With HDMI the TV expects the device sending the signal to have it in the correct 720P, 1080i, or 1080P format so the tv doesn't give you adjustment options in the on-screen menu. Basically you have to go back to the computer and develop a whacky resolution to compensate for how the TV is scaling the image. Sounds easy enough, but throw in Hexidecimal translation and registry editing and it quickly becomes a big waste of time.

It is nice to have audio and video delivered in one cable, but I wonder if this custom resolution mess is worth it over the standard vga cable (which of course works as soon as you plug it in). The sound quality is way better and it is in one cable, that is what HDMI has going for it.

Okay computer rant off. Nobody really cares about it anyways.

This week has been pretty mellow, but I still feel a bit wiped out by it. No riding. Tomorrow is a trail work day. I would rather be riding, but someone's gotta maintain the trails so I will probably head out in the morning to help out the local SORBA club.

We did manage to score some crusty couches for the house. Craigslist still rules, but it is much lower traffic here in Huntsville. It is catching on. So for a couple of hundred bucks we picked up a set of nice looking couches.

Well, nice looking from a distance. They are a bit crusty and will require a cleaning. The kids were stoked when David and I hauled them into the apartment. They spent about 30 minutes bouncing on them. They will fit the bill and the price was right. Should go well in the upstairs living room.

That's all for me. Hope everyone is doing okay. Drop me an e-mail if you get a chance.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kid stuff

Our kids usually have a song stuck in their heads.


Sharing the spotlight (kind-of):