Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve


So tonight is New Year's Eve.

I've never really been very big on New Year's Eve. It's always just seemed like another day to me. Tomorrow will be a different year. Big Deal. It's really just going to be the same as waking up any other day of the week.

Cathy and I will be going to Outback to meet her dad for our belated Christmas celebration...but other than that we probably really won't be doing much of anything else.

Wood Burning...Again.

So I got my first wood burning completely done. I got some varnish from Michael's yesterday and finished the project up completely.

I think it turned out pretty nice. The varnish does an excellent job of making the whole thing look "finished." Before it was just bare wood with some burned lines on it. Now it looks like an actual art project of some kind.

I also got a few other things from Michael's yesterday. I got another piece of nice wood to work with, and I got a piece of wood that comes with all the necessary parts to make it a clock. I've got an idea for a clock that I think is going to be pretty cool. I also got a project box to keep the burner and all the tools in. It's made out of wood itself, so I'll be decorating it as well.

Trebuchet


I have decided to go with the trebuchet to start.

The idea of having to tune the ballista literally every time you want to fire it is a bit daunting to me. I don't want to fire something, then have to basically rebuild the firing arm just to fire it again.

I have found some smaller ballista models that I might give a try first. That way I'll know a bit more about what I'm getting into with the ballista before I build the bigger one.

Trebuchet...or Ballista???

So I really would like to order another kit to make a trebuchet...but since I've been looking at them, I've really taken a liking to the ballista kits that I have found.

The ballista is basically an ancient Greek siege weapon that resembles a crossbow to an extent. Of course, it is larger as it was designed to destroy castle walls...so the model that I have found obviously is to scale. But even at scale it is more than likely larger than most modern crossbows.

The ballista claims to be able to hurl golf balls nearly as far as the trebuchet kit that I am interested in...but it just looks so damn cool.

More than likely I will end up with both of them...so really this is just me trying to decide which one to order first. From what I can tell, the ballista is a bit more time consuming to build AND to operate. It's tension based skeins need almost constant adjustment, and if they aren't almost exactly matching one another, the projectile will not launch correctly. That's not that big of a deal to me, as I would probably want to mess with it all the time anyways.

For now, here's a quick picture of what it looks like:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chicago...or Niagara Falls...

Well, Cathy and I are planning on taking a small trip sometime this late spring. We want to go back to Chicago, or go back to Niagara Falls.

We went to both of those places last year and each one we had a blast at. The cost of going to both will be pretty much the same, as the hotels are very similar in price.

Both have lots of things to do, but Cathy seems interested in an exhibit at the Science and Industry Museum in Chicago...it's a Harry Potter exhibit of some kind. I think that could be pretty cool.

But we both like the idea of going back to Niagara to go to the arcade thing there at the Midway that we had so much fun in for hours when we were there before. It would also be nice to go there when it was warmer...it was late fall when we went before.

Either way, it'll be nice to go to either!!!!

The Lion King


The Lion King is coming to Wharton Center in April. I wanted to go see it when it was in East Lansing before, but never had the opportunity. Cathy has seen it before and really enjoyed it. She got us tickets to go see it for my birthday!!! I'm looking forward to it quite a bit, as I've heard nothing but good stuff about it.

TGIF!!!!

Thank god it's Friday...that's right.

Cathy and I somehow managed to survive this week from hell at work. People were in bad moods...it was busy...nothing went as planned. Basically, it was a really horrible week at work. But we made it, and now we have two days off to recover before hopefully going back to a much more normal situation at work.

We've got a few things planned for our weekend...we've got to go to her dad's on New Year's Eve to do Christmas. We're actually going to Outback for that, so I guess it's not really to her dad's...but that's okay, I'm obsessed with Outback's bread. We also have a little bit of shopping to do. I want to go to Michael's to look at the stuff for the wood burner, and we also may go to the Toy House because Cathy saw some wood burning stuff there as well.

Cathy is planning on going to the Secretary of State to start getting her license changed, and I MAY try to put the new exhaust fan into the bathroom...but we'll see about that. I really would like to just basically sit around doing nothing important the next couple of days. I think we deserve it!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Update on Wood Burning...

So I got out the pen again tonight and switched the tip. I put in a more pinpoint type tip. I then did most of the same things that I did on the first picture tonight.

Both of the objects, to me, seem to look better with the more accurate tip. The lines look better and the curves look better. The curves I still need to work on, but the lines themselves to me look better with the sharper tip.

So I think for most of the drawings I'll be using that sharper tip...at least until I get better at it. For now the tip makes better pictures, so that's what I'll be using!!!!

Finished Another Wood Burning...

So I finished my second wood burning tonight. This one was more of an entire picture than the first one, and it came out pretty decent, in my opinion.

I'm still not really good at getting good consistent color when drawing one line, so I've got to work on that. I also had a bit of a hard time getting the smaller lines to differentiate themselves from each other...probably because I was using the wrong tip. But the picture turned out pretty well and I look forward to trying another one pretty soon.

I think that I will do another one fairly similar to what I did tonight, but try it with a different tip and see if the results are a little bit more what I'm going for. I got a couple of cheap pieces of wood to use at Meijer tonight, so I'll just use the other piece to try a nearly identical picture and see if the different tip makes any difference, or if it's more just me that needs to practice. Either way, the more of them I do the more practice I get, and hopefully the better I'll get.

I'm going to go to Michael's Craft store on Tuesday and get some more supplies. The pen that I got for doing the burning seems pretty nice, but I would like to have a small storage case for it. Right now I've just been setting it on the dryer in the basement to cool off overnight...but I'd like to have something a bit better to store it in. I also will buy a few different pieces of wood from Michaels, as the ones I got at Meijer seemed to be a little bit softer than what is recommended, and I'm sure that doesn't help the process very much.

Either way, I'm still pretty excited about this stuff...it's fun. I've got an idea for a future project that will work with how we're planning on doing our bathroom...but we'll see...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Trebuchet

So the trebuchet that Cathy got me for Christmas is really cool. It's so simple in design yet so effective. As soon as I got it completed I started looking for another trebuchet kit to build...preferably one that would be a bit larger and end up getting used outside.

The idea of building the things is what appeals to me the most...but the idea of having one that fires things a long distance makes them even more appealing. I found one for a relatively good price on a website. It's called a "Floating Arm Trebuchet" or a "Guillotine Catapult." It stands 34 inches high, 18 inches long, and 7 inches wide. That's pretty small when you think about it. BUT...it hurls a golf ball over 200 feet. More if you add extra weight to the guillotine.

I picture setting it up in the driveway and sending snowballs hurling at the people down the streets cars. Those people are annoying...but in reality, I would like to be able to hurl stuff into the field out back...that would be pretty awesome. I think I might try to order it pretty soon, as the quantity seems pretty limited.

This is a picture of it here.

The Wood Burning Kit.

So the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of this woodburning thing. It was really fun, and it's got my creativity going. I'm thinking of just cool little designs and such that I can do that would look really good as actual things hanging on the wall in the house. We're getting ready to remodel some things in the house...well, I guess remodel isn't so much the word, as is repaint and such. No major changes, just color changes and maybe some new light fixtures and such. I've been thinking of wood burnings that I could put into those rooms that would fit.

I think that on my days off this week I may run into the craft store Michaels and see what they have for this hobby. I would like to find a place that sells pre-cut and edged pieces of wood for me to do it on, that way each one will look finished when I'm done with it without me having to find some way to put custom moldings and such on it.

If I can get a couple of pieces of wood, I will probably make a drawing or two on my days off. This could end up being a pretty good winter hobby for me, as it gives me something to do inside that also seems really fun.

Getting Sick of Work This Week...

So this week has been absolute hell at work. People have been rude...there have been delays...basically a giant cluster of crap.

It's really made me wish I had taken some time off for the holidays this year. Oh well, the extra pay should be nice when that paycheck comes in a few weeks.

Hopefully in the next few days the traffic will go back to normal and things will calm down.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Kayaking...


So this winter has really had me down a bit. I don't particularly care for the winter. I've been biding my time by playing video games, watching football, and building Lego sets. Lately, I've gotten a few other things that will occupy some of my time...the wood burning kit and the trebuchet kit.

I also have a new thing to occupy some time in the summer with my unicycle.

But getting the nice life vest for Christmas from my parents has really got me hyped up about getting out in the kayak again this spring. I, of course, was looking at kayaks online yesterday, and something popped up that really made me feel better about keeping the TK-1 around. It's now sold at several of the Big Box stores...like Dick's Sporting Goods and MC Sports. Now, I know that doesn't mean that it's a super high quality awesome kayak...but it DOES make me feel a bit better about the overall quality of the product as I don't think that Dick's and MC would sell things that are absolute junk. So seeing the TK-1 on those sites made me feel more comfortable about having this as my main boat for a few seasons.

Now I've just got to think about getting Cathy her own life vest and getting the skeg for the TK-1. After that, I'll just need to start trying to figure out where the best place for us to go for the first time together will be. I'm leaning a bit towards that Sleepy Hollow State Park that I didn't get to make it to this past fall. It seems to be a good sized lake for starting, and the fact that power boats aren't allowed there will be nice for Cathy's first time out.

I'm still leaning towards going with the Sea Eagle boat as my next kayak...when and if I eventually upgrade. Probably a 340x, but maybe the 380x. Either way, those are both good boats from the reviews that I've read. I still don't think that I'll be upgrading to a hardshell anytime soon, as the cost of them isn't that bad...but the cost of the things to transport them is pretty high. About the only way I would think of upgrading to a hardshell would be if I got a great deal on a used one. Granted, the Sea Eagle is quite a bit more expensive than even a decent small hardshell, but when you throw all of the extras that come with the Sea Eagle along with the three year warranty and the fact that you don't need any kinds of racks or anything to haul it around it seems like it's still a pretty good deal. Who knows though...but that's neither here nor there right now, for I look forward to getting back out on the TK-1 this coming spring...

...now, if only this stupid snow and ice would go away...

My First Wood Burning

So I made my first wood burning with my kit tonight.

It was actually pretty cool. I did basically a single line drawing of a tall bird...like a flamingo or a heron. It's basically a single line for the body, neck, head, and feet. Then a single small spot for the beak. Then the feathers and wings are made from two single lines. I thought the finished product came out really well.

It was fun, and I hope that I can get better at it. The picture I made tonight wasn't exactly the greatest quality...but for a very first attempt I don't think it turned out too bad.

Here is a fairly low quality picture of the project taken with my cell phone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Small Bonus at Work

So I'm getting a small end of the year bonus from work. After taxes it will probably be about $600. I figure I'm going to put most of it towards some bills that I have. But I will probably keep a little bit out to get a few interesting things.

I may think about ordering that bigger trebuchet that I found...I think that thing would be really cool to have. I also will probably finally order the skeg for my kayak. I've been putting that off for a while, but it's time to maybe just get it out of the way. It's pretty inexpensive, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it's something that I really want.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas...

So Christmas has came and gone...and Cathy and I both got stuck working on it.

That's alright though. We had dinner with my parents and grandparents at my parents house on Wednesday. It was a good time. Both of us got some really awesome gifts. My mom must have read my mind, because literally the day before I had gone into the room where I keep the kayaks and told myself that I needed to get a good life vest pretty soon. Well, I opened a box from Dick's Sporting Goods, and I knew as soon as I saw the logo that it was a vest. She got me a really nice looking, good fitting, high end life vest for taking out with me when I kayak. It's so comfortable that I'm sure I'll WANT to wear it...which is a good thing. Cathy got a couple of really cool sock monkeys that are dressed like we were at the wedding. They're really cool looking.

I also got from my mom something that I wasn't expecting again...it's a wood burning kit. It's basically a kit to make pictures on wood by burning the wood slightly. It seems pretty cool, and looks like it could be a lot of fun. I just hope my limited art skills will be good enough to make some interesting pictures other than the tracings it came with.

For Cathy I got her some random stuff. Her big gift was a Sirius Satellite Radio and home docking station. She likes it a lot, even though it was a bit of a pain for her to get activated. I also got her a puzzle and a board game type thing. Of course, I got her a bunch of stocking stuffers, too.

Cathy got me some really cool gifts. She got me some Lego sets to go with my castle stuff, so now I've got a TON of Lego castle stuff. She got me seasons 1 and 2 of "Robot Chicken," which is an awesome TV show. She got me some "Cubes" which are these little action figures that basically are like "workers" for a giant corporation. They are pretty funny...like mini figures from the movie "Office Space."

She also got me my model trebuchet. It's REALLY cool. I built it tonight and it works excellently. It throws the little ball of clay that it's got about 20 feet...and that's not even with all the weight that can go in it. I'm sure I can get at least another 10 feet if I work it well enough. It's really interesting and VERY cool looking. It makes me want to get more of them...or make my own from scratch. But it's a really cool gift, and I like it a lot!!! Here's a picture of it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter Weather...and Our New Snowblower...

So the winter has hit us pretty hard over the last few days. We've got a TON of snow on the ground, and it's drifting really bad. It's been so cold that the snow hasn't really melted to itself so that it stays in one place. Instead, it's just blowing all over the place with no rhyme or reason.

So the other day I got out the snow blower to try and clear it off, and the thing wouldn't start. I was tired of messing with it so Cathy and I went out and bought a new one. It's an electric one, called a Toro Powercurve 1800. It plugs into the wall, and as such it doesn't need any gas, no pulls, no oil. It just starts as soon as you pull the handle. I've used it a few times now, and I REALLY like it. It throws snow just as well as our small gas one did when it was working, and it's REALLY light. I can carry it around with just one hand. Of course, the cord gets into the way just a little bit...but it's something that you get used to really quick and can work around with no issues. I'm pretty impressed by it.
Of course, I let my father take the gas one to see if he could get it working. He put new gas in it and cleaned the spark plug up and the dumb thing started right up. Oh well, I like the electric one and we'll use it more often because it's less of a hassle...that, and my dad said he'd buy the gas one for $100 from us...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rock Band 2


So Cathy and I had been looking the last few days for Rock Band 2 for the Wii. It had shipped on December 18th, but there wasn't anything in any of the ads about it...and they didn't have it at Meijer or Walmart in Jackson. In fact, Walmart didn't even know it was coming out.

So yesterday on the way home from work we figured we'd stop and check the Meijer in Mason. What do you know?? They had it!! So we used some "Santa Bucks" and got the game for $10 off of it's original price.

We played it for a few hours last night, and it's quite a bit more fun than the first one. For starters, the song selection seems to be better. So far we haven't played any songs that just REALLY sucked. There have been a couple that weren't as good as others, but overall the song selection has been better. The graphics are also slightly improved, as is the customization of the game. Where in the first one you only named your band...now you name it and create the characters.

It's pretty cool, and with downloadable content available soon, it should have quite a bit more replayability than the first game did. I'm sure it will give us plenty of entertainment!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I AM THE CHAMPION!!!!


So today came and went...and in the SBN CBS Fantasy Football league I laid another absolute beat down on my opponent...

...but this time it was different. This time it was for the Championship of the league. I faced off against another guy from my division, a guy I had beaten twice already, and a guy that I didn't think I stood much of a chance against in the Championship game.

Luckily for me, however, I had some guys come through with some BIG time points today. Marques Colston and DeAngelo Williams both had stellar performances...and between the two of them and two other players (a total of 4) I beat my opponent's nine guys. So the rest of the guys on my team just contributed to the beating. I beat him 125-78...an absolute pounding in fantasy football terms.

Best part about it is the fact that it was the league that I REALLY wanted to win. It comes with some pretty good bragging rights.

So for the season, I ended up:
12-2-2 in the SBN CBS league, with a Championship Trophy
8-8 in the SBN Yahoo league, good for 5th out of 12 and a winner in the Consolation Round
6-8-2 in a Yahoo Public league, good for 6th out of 12 and a runner up in the Consolation Round
12-4 in a Yahoo Public league, good for 2nd out of 12 and a Runner Up Trophy

So overall this year I was:
38-22-4 which is good for a .625 winning percentage. That's pretty good all things considered. One more win in that first Yahoo Public league and I would have been at least .500 in all of my leagues. That .625 winning percentage would be EXACTLY equal to going 10-6 in the NFL. And this year it looks like there will be several teams in the playoffs at 10-6...and last year's Super Bowl Champion was a 10-6 regular season club.

All in all, I believe it was a very sucessful season...and I look forward to playing again next year!!!!

It's Almost Christmas...

...and all of my shopping is done. I think I got some good gifts for people this year. Original AND useful. The only thing that I have left to do is to get just a couple of small items for Cathy's stocking...but that will be done on Tuesday and then I will be completely done.

Even though I got what I think were good gifts for people, picking things out this year was difficult. It just seems like everyone that I need to get things for pretty much just get whatever they want.

But oh well, I think they'll enjoy the stuff.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So I've Been Working on Some Card Tricks.


So I got a couple of decks of cards and have been working on a few tricks. I have two of them down pat, and they are pretty good. One of them I like a bunch. The other, I love. Cathy likes the one that I love the best, too. It uses a normal deck of cards and someone picking from that deck. It's pretty good.

The other one I really like to, as there are TONS of variation that you can do with it. I haven't gotten really crazy with the trick yet, as I'm still trying to figure out what way I like to do it the best...but I'm pretty sure when I get a couple of variations of it that work really well down, I'll start using it a bit more often.

So far almost everyone that I have shown really likes the tricks...most people have no idea how they are done. One person knew and ruined the trick while I was trying to do it...mainly because he knew what needed to be done to make the trick work and made sure that it didn't work.

Either way, I'm still learning, and so far it's worked out pretty well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It Snowed...Yay.

So Cathy and I took today off because there was supposed to be quite the snowstorm last night. We stayed up playing video games until pretty late...almost 5:30.

Well, at about 3am, both of us noticed that it hadn't started snowing and were worried that we had wasted the leave time. It was supposed to start snowing at about midnight and go an inch an hour until about 6am. Well, at 4:30 I noticed it had been snowing, and then Cathy mentioned to look outside. You could barely see the road from our house it was snowing so hard. I took the dogs outside to go to the bathroom, and in the span of about that hour it had snowed nearly 3 inches.

We woke up shortly before noon and there was a good 10 inches or so on the ground...drifted up higher in a few places. Luckily we had gone out just the other day and purchased a new snow blower. It came in handy and I had the drive cleared out in about 30 minutes.

This was, obviously, the first big snow fall of the winter, and I can't say that I'm pleased. I'm not exactly a winter person. I can deal with the cold, but I don't particularly like the snow. It just really annoys me. I don't have any outdoor hobbies in the winter. I've thought about getting some snowshoes in the past, but the snow fall doesn't seem to be even remotely consistent enough to actually spend the money on it, so I've never really gotten around to doing it.

Oh well, I guess it's just time to accept that it's winter...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Awesome Trip I Found Today.

So today while browsing around on the internet, I found an awesome trip that I would like to take one day. It's through a company called "Incredible Adventures." They basically do what appears to be all kinds of just totally insane things that people would do for a "once in a lifetime" type thing. They do things like let you fly a Russian MiG 29 Fulcrum (one of the baddest ass fighter jets on the planet...yes, even more amazing that most of the United States fighter jets) over Moscow. They do submarine trips. They do trips where you fly a jet all the way to over 60,000 feet called "Edge of Space.

But the trip that I found that I liked was their "Key West Shark Adventure." What they do is take you out for a 7 day cruise aboard a 63 foot long luxury "research vessel." It looks to me like it's just a big ass yacht...but it's registered with the USCG as a research ship. They take you out and all your meals and such are included. They take you to Key West and other Florida Keys and do some things on land, like visit tourist attractions and things. They even take you on a few kayak trips, which make it that much better. But the cool part about the whole thing is that you actually get to help a few research divers capture, tag, document, and release nurse sharks and turtles. You can do it in one of two ways: by SCUBA diving or just by snorkeling. The site says they have you basically help them spot the animals, then they capture them and you help with all the documenting of the animals.

I've always...ALWAYS...wanted to swim with sharks. I would like to SCUBA dive with them, but I think it would be a bit too expensive for me to learn how, so I wouldn't mind just doing the snorkeling with them. I've had a few opportunities to do it...mainly on the cruise a few years back...but never actually did it. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think that swimming with the wonderful creatures would be one of the coolest things that I could ever possibly do...and actually doing it while helping with research on the animals would make it all that much better.

One problem...the trip is $3,250 per person...not including any airfare. It covers the meals and your lodging on the ship, but that's about it. Pretty steep in the price department...but maybe someday!!!

Here's a picture of the Tiburon Research Ship...
And here's a picture of a whale shark that they encountered on one of their trips...at least it looks like a whale shark. I may be a bit off, but either way, here it is:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Papa John's...

So tonight my parents came to visit Cathy and I at the house in Jackson. We ordered pizza from our usual spot, Papa John's.

Now, we've never had any REAL problems ordering from there before. One time our pizza took about an hour to get to us, and a few days later in the mail we got a coupon for a free pizza. So tonight we ordered with the online ordering system at 6:49 PM. It said we should have the pizzas in 30-40 minutes.

Well, at about 7:50 PM we still hadn't received the pizzas, so I decided to give them a call. When I called they asked me for the address and I told them, then they said that our pizzas had just come out of the oven. The guy on the phone said that the online system is always wrong, and he's been telling people on the phone to expect their pizzas within 45-60 minutes. I explained to him that even if we had called the order in, it had STILL been 60 minutes already. He apologized. I asked how much longer and he said that the driver was leaving right then so it would be about 20 minutes.

Well, at 8:30 PM we still hadn't gotten the pizzas. So that's 40 more minutes. We have now waited 1 hour and 40 minutes for these pizzas. Just then the phone rang and it was the delivery girl. She was asking me if we lived in a certain sub-division which we do NOT live in. I told her I had no idea where she was, and asked how long the pizzas would take?? She said she would get them to us as soon as she could find the house, and that she had already been told by 3 people that we did in fact live in this subdivision...which we actually do not. This girl had apparently been driving around in 20 degree weather with our pizzas for about 40 minutes. So the pizzas were probably cold by then. I had had it at that point in time, and just told her to take the pizzas back to the store and we would get food elsewhere. I then called the store to make sure I wouldn't be charged for the pizzas. The manager apologized and gave me some excuses, but I really didn't care. I was just hungry.

We decided to go to Pizza Hut and ended up getting a TON of food. When we got home, there was a message on our machine from Papa John's. The manager wanted to let us know that he had canceled the order out so I wouldn't get charged, and he had also put a credit on our account for two free pizzas. So the next time we order, just call and we'll get those for free...

...now, hopefully the free ones don't take nearly two hours to get to us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To the Championship!!!!!

So my domination in the semi-final round was complete today.

I actually won all four of my games this weekend. Two semi-finals and two consolation games. So basically, next week I'll be playing for two Championships and two 5th place finishes. All four games are important to me, because of course the championships are awesome...but in the other two leagues if I can win the consolation matches I'll end up 8-8 in one league and 7-7-2 in the other...meaning that I'll have been at least .500 in every one of my leagues this year, which is pretty damn good!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coonhound Fight Update.

So today, Cooper's swelling is nearly gone. He's looking much more like his normal obnoxious self.

He's also acting quite a bit more like his normal obnoxious self. He was barking today and running around like he normally does, so I think he's doing fine. I'm glad I won't have to take him to the vet because I don't know how much it would have cost, and I've spent quite a bit of money on vet bills this year really for nothing...because each time I took them in I paid for things basically just to find out that nothing was wrong with any of the dogs.

With that said, I still need to get Cooper in sooner or later to have his tooth looked at. For a while it started looking better again, but then it started to look bad again...but I don't think it's an issue that needs immediate attention, as it doesn't seem to bother him at all.

Fantasy Football

So the two leagues that I made it to the championship in...

...in the Yahoo Public league, I won the semi-final game 110-73. I will be playing a guy that I beat pretty handily in the regular season in the Championship game. Granted, that means absolutely nothing when it comes to Fantasy Football, but the good news is I'm assured of getting at least another trophy for my mantle because I can finish no worse than second in that league.

But now, in the CBS league that was important to me...

...I'm currently leading the game 92-50. The guy I'm playing has Brian Westbrook and David Akers still to play. That's the Eagles running back and the Eagles kicker. I have McNabb to play. That's the Eagles quarterback. So basically, I have a 42 point cushion with a pretty solid player left to play, and he's got a GREAT running back to play. Let's put it this way, Westbrook has gotten 70 points in the last two weeks...38 one week and 32 the other week. I would like to say that I'm sitting pretty good, but with a running back like that you never know. But I like my chances right now...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Coon Dog Fight!!!

So last night Cathy and I went to a bar with some coworkers after work. We were there pretty late.

We got home at about 1:30 or so in the morning and I promptly let all three dogs out to eat and go to the bathroom. As Cooper was eating, I went over to pet him like I normally do and I noticed his neck felt pretty funny on his underside, near his chin. I grabbed his head and looked at it in the light, and he had about 4 cuts that were obviously from Gordon's teeth. The blood had caked up his fur pretty bad, and that's what I was feeling when I pet him. Luckily, he wasn't bleeding anymore and he still ate and drank and went to the bathroom just fine. However, he has been acting very melancholy since then...I think his pride is a little bit hurt. He's also got a pretty puffy look on his face near the bits, so I'm assuming that he is a bit swollen up. I gave him some aspirin today and we went to get a new crate for them so they all have their own crates. When we got back he seemed a bit better. He looks better too. I'm thinking the aspirin might have helped the swelling a bit.

I don't know why Gordon did it. Cooper has been bothering Gordon's ear lately, so maybe Cooper bothered him a bit too much and when Gordon snapped at him Cooper didn't have anywhere to go. It looks like he was only bit maybe 2 or 3 times, so Gordon obviously didn't really try to hurt him badly...but he did quite a bit of damage with just those two bites.

Maybe Cooper needs to learn some new fighting skills. He's always been a bit of a wussy. He needs to train with this dog...

Friday, December 12, 2008

This is a Big Question...

Are we human??






Or are we dancer???



Fantasy Football

So it's playoff time in Fantasy Football, and in two of my four leagues I went into the playoffs riding pretty high.

In one league I ended up with the best overall record of 11-3. I beat out the second place guy by a single game. The first three places in that league are all separated by only 17 points on the season, so any of us would give the others a pretty even match. I'm hoping to AT LEAST get past this first week in that league so I can get a trophy.

In the other league...the CBS league...the most important league to me because bragging rights are high on SBN...I went into the playoffs as the #2 seed. I had a 10-2-2 record, which is effectively 11-3 considering that ties are worth half a point each. The only guy ahead of me 11-2-1...or effectively 11.5-3.5. So he was literally a half a game ahead of me. The thing is, the division he played in had two guys that quit, and one guy that had about the worst fantasy team I've ever seen. So he basically had 6 free wins in his division. To put it another way, had he been in my division, he'd have had the least points in the division and probably ended up about 6-8. But he wasn't, so that's not a big deal. I'm really hoping to win something in that league, because that league is basically filled with guys that I "talk" to on the sportbikes message forum everyday...so bragging rights are going to be pretty high.

In my other two leagues I didn't fare too well. 6-8 in one and 5-7-2 in the other. Sad thing is, in the league that I was 5-7-2 in, I actually had the third most points...so basically, guys just seemed to have their best game against me each and every week. Oh well, there's always four teams to run again next year!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lego

I built the Lego set that I bought last week. It's pretty cool. It's got lots of features on it that I didn't really expect, like an actual working pulley system to pull the drawbridge up.

The dragon that comes with it is also really cool, as are all of the figures. The wizard is especially cool because he's got this really nifty cape.

One thing about Legos though. They are different than they were when I was younger. When I was younger you had to build the walls of things entirely out of Lego bricks. Now, many of those larger pieces are molded into a single piece. It's nice when putting the thing together because it eliminates steps...but it also cuts down on the amount of pieces that come with a set.

In sticking with the Castle theme, I got my second set tonight with a coupon at Toys R Us. It's the Lego Troll Battle Wheel. It's an exclusive item that is found only at Toys R Us. It's pretty cool.

Man It's Cold...Again.

Wow. It's 14 degrees outside right now. The good thing?? There's no wind, so there's no windchill!!!! If you want to call that a good thing.

It's so cold that the dogs don't even really want to be outside long enough to go to the bathroom. I can't really blame them, I don't think it would feel very good for me to be outside walking around in just my bare feet on the ground that they are walking on.

It's one of those really crappy colds, too, because there's not even any nice snow on the ground. It's just thin snow with a layer of ice crusting over it.

I can't wait for summer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Unicycle Got Here...

Well, it arrived today just as it was supposed to.

I expected to have to put it together a bit, but out of the box all that I had to do was put the seat on and pump up the tire. I got it all set and tried messing with it in the basement of the house because it was raining outside.

I'm going to blame my ineptness on the carpet in the basement. Man, it's tougher than I had anticipated. Even though I'm relatively out of shape, I believe that I have fairly good balance...but on that thing I couldn't stay up for the life of me.

The seat is a bit uncomfortable, but I'm sure I can get used to it. I had fun while messing around on it though, so hopefully I can actually get good at it this summer. I think it will be a really interesting outdoor pastime.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is Anybody Even Reading???

Is anyone even actually reading these posts?? I know that Cathy does every now and again...but it sure doesn't really seem like anyone else is looking at them at all.

Oh well, I guess I'll keep posting anyways...I don't really have much better to do.

It Will Be Here This Afternoon!!!

My unicycle will be here this afternoon.

Unfortunately, as I thought, it's going to be way too crappy outside for me to actually give it a try. However, depending on how tall it is, I might be able to actually try sitting on it in the basement of the house.

At the very least I will put it together and get some pictures of it!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Dark Knight

So "The Dark Knight" comes out on DVD this coming Tuesday.

I'm pretty upset about it actually. There's a really cool edition that comes with a model of the Batpod motorcycle, but it's ONLY being released with the Blu-Ray version of the movie. That's lame.

Worse than that is the fact that NOTHING cool comes with the movie at any of the other stores. I would have imagined that a movie that made nearly half a billion dollars and was hailed as one of the best movies in recent memory would have come with SOMETHING cool with the DVD.

The coolest set is at Target, I think, and it's basically Batman's mask as the DVD case. I'll probably get that one...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Unicycle...

So last night I went back to look at the unicycle on Amazon again, and for whatever reason, it was a LOWER PRICE!!!!!

So I went ahead and ordered it. It should be here on Tuesday. Unfortunately it's still so insanely cold out that I won't get to try it at all. But I think it could be a fun pastime when it gets warm out.

I imagine that as soon as it gets warm out, you'll be seeing a lot of pictures of me doing this:

Okay, maybe not quite like that...but you get the picture.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gift Card to Amazon.

So I have a gift card to Amazon.com. I got it for spending money, basically. With my bank, National City, they have a program where you get points for using your debit card and writing checks and such. With those points you can get things like gift cards and other gifts.

I have spent enough money over the last year that I was able to get $50 worth of Amazon.com gift cards through the Points. I also have a $10 gift card from a broken product that Amazon shipped me.

So basically, I have $60 worth of gift cards and I have no clue what to use it for. I was going to use it to buy some games for the Wii, but I have plenty of those right now and one on the way that's supposed to take a while to finish. I don't really have any Xbox games I want to buy right now, or DS games. There aren't any DVD sets that I'm interested in, and the only couple of other gifts for Christmas that I need to buy I already have all picked out and they are cheaper to buy at the store because you don't have to pay for shipping.

So that leaves me with $60 to the world's largest warehouse and nothing that I really NEED to spend it on. So while browsing around on there just randomly, I came across this:



I find it to be quite insanely awesome. It's a unicycle with a set of training wheels so that you can learn to ride without any help from any other people. Surprisingly, it fits right into the budget that I have with the gift cards. From what I've read online, it seems to be a pretty good beginners unicycle.

Now, do I NEED a unicycle?? Absolutely not. But for basically free, it seems like a pretty entertaining way to spend the gift cards. I had kind of resigned myself to getting something that I would be able to use outside in the spring, summer, and fall. I have the kayak, but I won't be able to go kayaking everyday...and believe it or not I'm going to seriously TRY to get into better shape this year, so something entertaining to do outside that is also a physical thing would be a good idea for me.

That, and the idea of learning how to do something that I've never even thought that I would be able to do is pretty appealing.

I know what you're thinking..."Jeff, you're an idiot." But imagine how much fun you'll have watching videos of me hurt myself while trying to learn!!!!

Man...It's Cold.

It is currently 15 degrees outside...


...with a windchill of 2.

Yes. That's 2 degrees.

This is horrible. I don't really HATE the winter, but I do HATE it when it's 30 degrees below freezing outside. Seriously...is there really ANY reason for anything to ever be this cold???

I can't wait for summer.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Those Winter Hobbies...

...if you've been keeping up on my blog (that means you Cathy...and you Mom...) then you'll know that I have been trying to find something to do in my spare time during the winter.

Well, I finally got it figured out...and it's not something incredibly insane like a train set. Well, I guess it's kind of like a train set, but not quite as expensive...and by not quite I mean not nearly.

I've actually picked out two things.

The first is going to be building LEGO kits. Cathy and I both really like LEGO kits, but they are a bit pricey to just buy all the time. So I've decided that I'm going to work on getting and building "Castle" LEGO sets. I got my first Castle set the other day. It's the "Skeleton Tower" set. I'd been looking for a set that had a dragon with it for a while, and this set was the least expensive that actually came with the dragon. It's a good start for a castle setting.
It's also a good choice for a starting kit in a setup because it was midrange as far as price goes, but it seems to have a lot going for it. You get a wizard dragon keeper, the dragon, some skeletons, and a knight. Of course, there are much larger and more expensive sets that maybe I will try to eventually get...but there are also a TON of smaller and cheaper sets that will add to the collection very well.

I know, LEGOs are toys and meant for children...but so are models...and radio controlled things...and pretty much anything else that most adults consider "hobbies."

My other thing that I've been doing is something that I've dabbled in on and off for YEARS.

Magic card tricks.

I dug out my card trick books the other day and ordered a new Svengali deck. I've been showing the Svengali trick to people at work and they get a kick out of it. I haven't picked out a great trick to show with a standard deck of cards yet, but I've been working on it. I've also picked out a couple of other trick decks that I'll be ordering soon. Ebay is a godsend for things like this...the Svengali deck that I remembered buying in Myrtle Beach years ago cost me $20 or so dollars. I got it shipped from Ebay for like $8 total.

Either way, they will be good things to pass the time with...

Car All Fixed...

So last fall my car's exhaust malfunctioned. It basically sprung a leak in a flexible pipe that caused it to be really loud when accelerating but pretty normal when driving one speed. I took it to a local repair shop and they welded in a piece of pipe for me and it had been fine...until late in October.

Late in October apparently that weld broke. The car was basically running off of an open header and it sounded like the largest, angriest lawn mower in the world.

After a few attempts to fix it myself and trying to get the local car guy at work to fix it for me, I finally grabbed my dad's reciprocating saw and went to town. I hooked in a piece of flex pipe and now the car is MUCH better. It's still not 100% as quiet as I would like, but it's good to go. Gonna start driving it to work again tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Enough Pictures???

So as I look back at the blog, I realized that it doesn't have many pictures in the last week or so. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

I think that my thoughts are pretty random and sporadic, and I use the blog basically just as a journal. I put pictures in when I think that they will fit, but does the blog have enough pictures?? Is it boring with just the text and not so many photos??

Granted, some of the things really have no need for a picture, and I guess that I've just had about a week that didn't warrant any photos at all. Some posts, obviously, will have many more pictures. Like the ones about the kayak trips. Those will have plenty. But others just don't seem to need any.

Either way, I think it looks a bit bland without and colorful awesome pictures. To combat that, here's a picture of one of my favorite paintings!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shopping Pretty Much Done

So I got most of my Christmas shopping done already. Not bad considering I only started it today.

I got Georgie taken care of. I got my Grandparents taken care of. I got my parents taken care of. I got Cathy pretty much taken care of. All I need now is to grab something for Keri and George...but that's still a bit dependent on if my parents are going to Phoenix or not. If they are, I might try to get them an actual gift. If they aren't, then I'll get a gift card to send to them.

I tried to get things that people will actually use, so they might not be the most creative or fun, but I'm sure that everyone will like them.

I'll get the last little bit of it done in the next week or so...that way I won't have to be looking for anything at all in those last few days before Christmas!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Shopping

So this pay period I am going to try to get most of my Christmas shopping done.

I've got a present for my parents all picked out. I've got one for my grandparents all picked out. I've got one for Keri, George, and Georgie all set. I've got one picked out for Cathy, but I need to get her a few other small things.

All in all I think I've got some good gifts lined up for people. I'm trying to get good things that are still economical for me, seeing as I really don't have any money regardless.

Hopefully the paycheck hits my account tomorrow and I can start getting these things taken care of as soon as possible!!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Still Trying to Find a Good Cold Weather Hobby...

So I've still had very little luck trying to figure out something other than browsing the net and playing video games to occupy my time in the winter.

I had thought long and hard about setting up a train, but they are absurdly expensive. I also thought a bit about doing some more modeling, but I really don't want to start building a ton of models just to have them take up space in the house. We've got enough random stuff laying around the house without having to worry about setting more things on shelves and such.

Oddly enough, I have also been looking at things like hydroponic herb gardens. The ones that grow inside the house. I've been trying to do a bit better at cooking, and I thought it would be interesting to grow my own herbs and such.

Either way, I'm still looking for something to take up some of my time. Still looking for some suggestions!!!!

Sold the Pitbike.

So I sold the pitbike to a gentleman from Indiana. He's on his way to pick it up tomorrow morning.

I regret making the purchase. I had thought I would ride it at the local racetrack, but the switch to the PM shift really put a damper on that...seeing as now I had to work EVERY time that the track was open.

So it's basically just sat in the garage for the last several months. I've started it every now and then, but not really ridden it at all. I'm not getting much for it, about half what I paid for it, but that's alright. I'll use the money for some Christmas presents for family.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hamster Found!!!

So I was up pretty late the other night. Really right after I posted about the hamster being missing.

So I figured I'd just go sit in the room that the hamster was probably in. I sat for about 15 minutes, and right when I was getting ready to call it quits, I heard something. So I went and got Cathy up...keep in mind it's about 4:15am at this point.

We both went into the room and I started moving things around where I had heard the sound. After getting everything moved, I hadn't found him. Then Cathy yelled "There he is!!!" He scurried under the bed.

We cornered him underneath the dresser, and then finally got the dresser all moved and captured the little guy. He's safely back in his cage now. I'm glad we found him, I really didn't like the idea of finding his lifeless carcass several months down the road.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

So Cathy and I were up really late last night. We decided to just stay up and hit Kohl's for the sales. When we got there, there were probably about 300 or so people in front of us. The line wrapped around the store.

When 4am hit, the store opened. We got in pretty quickly, and got the stuff we wanted. I bought a projector and Cathy bought a bed spread set. The bed spread set is really nice and was a great deal. It was normally $99.99, and she got it for $30.00. The projector that I bought was a good price too, but it turns out it was too good to be true. I took it back later on in the day because it just wasn't working very well. The picture was way too dark.

After Kohl's, we went to Toys R Us and Cathy got a couple of Wii games that she had been looking at. We then went to McDonald's and got some breakfast. We were home and ready for bed by about 6:00am. So we got all of that stuff taken care of in less than 2 hours.

That was the first time that I've ever gone out early on Black Friday. It was amusing, but I don't know if I would go again. I guess if I wanted a really good deal.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Missing Hamster

So today I was changing clothes, and I noticed that the top of the cage that the hamster lives in had come off.

Of course, the hamster was nowhere to be found. We figure there's no way he got out of the room he was in, but wouldn't you figure the room he's in is the one room in the house that seriously has just been used for us to pile random stuff in. So there's probably about 1,000 places he could be hiding.

We've got the cage on the floor with some good treats leading up to it, to try and get him to come back in. Hopefully he will...I don't really want to find him in 3 months when we're doing spring cleaning...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So Rock Band...

...is pretty fricken awesome.

Cathy and I played through probably 40 0r so songs today, and I must say I'm pretty impressed with the game.

The ONLY thing that let me down was during initial setup, I realized the stock guitar doesn't come with a neck strap. Lame. So we ran to Best Buy and bought a neck strap so that I could hold the guitar more easily.

Cathy loves the singing part of the game. I love the guitar part, but even more fun are the drums. However, I'm not very good at the drums at all. I was consistently getting about 90% of the notes, but that's not REALLY that good. Especially on easy.

I think with more practice I'll get better at the drums.

But the bottom line. Rock Band rocks.

I'm already thinking about what I can get to make it more fun to play. I'd like a custom guitar, and a drum kit stool, and maybe the wireless microphone for it. And the two discs worth of track packs will be a must.

This game is awesome.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rock Band for Wii


So last night I had gone to Meijer to get some quick groceries to make dinner. While I was there I was checking out the video games. Cathy and I had been talking about picking up "Rock Band" for one of the consoles. She likes singing games ("Singstar" and "American Idol") and I like the guitar games. So I figured that "Rock Band" would allow us to do both at the same time...not to mention give us a drum set to actually try playing!!!

So anyways, I checked it out and Meijer had the cheapest price of all on the original "Rock Band Special Edition." Other stores are still selling the Wii version for $110, but Meijer had it for $99. So tonight we went back and picked it up.

We got the "Special Edition" of the game which comes with the game with 63 songs, the guitar, the microphone, and the drum set. So basically the ONLY thing you could add would be another guitar to use as a bass.

I didn't get a chance to set it up tonight, but definitely will get it up tomorrow so we can try it out!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Presents

So I'm starting to think about things that I will be getting people for Christmas. I have a few ideas for things for Cathy. A couple that she has mentioned in the past that I'm sure she's forgotten about. But a few good ones in my opinion.

My parents are the other people that I buy gifts for, and I have NO idea what to get them right now. My mom reads the blog so I won't post any of the ideas out there...mainly because they aren't very good ones just yet!!! I have one idea in mind, but I've been having trouble finding it, so I may have to abandon that idea for the time being.

As far as what I've asked for...well, nothing really. I really don't know what I want at all this year. I've asked Cathy for a couple of random odds and ends...including one really cool model of a working trebuchet (ancient catapult).

I've also asked for an RC boat, but the one I wanted isn't at the store anymore so I don't know if that's something that I'm interested in. I had originally intended to take it out on the kayak with me to have some extra fun while I was out on the boat. I might end up asking for some accessories or games or something for some of the many game consoles we have laying around the house. One other thing that I could use is a nice life vest for the kayak. But I think I'd like to try those things on instead of just buying from the web, and seeing as it's winter now, it would probably be difficult to go and try them on. So basically, I really have no idea what I want for Christmas. I'll try to come up with some things in the next few days. I've been looking through some of the numerous catalogs that we've gotten recently to find some cool things that I don't normally see in stores...and I've got a couple of things in mind to at the very least go back and check out again.

As far as what Cathy AND I want (in case you're reading mom!!!) is the same type of thing you've done for the last few years. We like the idea of having a small trip somewhere. Chicago, Niagara Falls again (we had an absolute blast there), or just about anywhere. We really like that type of gift because it allows us to get out of Dodge for a few days without having to break the bank ourselves!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Samba De Amigo


So I got "Samba de Amigo" for the Wii tonight. It's a game where you use the Wii remotes as maracas and move them around to the beat of the music.

It's pretty entertaining, but I find that it doesn't really register the movements very well. It seems that it would be a really fun party game...something that you can just start messing around with and having a good time when you've got some friends over.

All in all, even though it frustrates me, it seems to be a pretty good time. And Cathy seems to really enjoy it, so that's cool!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cathy Got a Wii.

So Cathy had been wanting a Wii for a while. I personally am not a huge fan of the Wii. I don't have anything really against it. I got one on launch day with HUGE expectations. Six months later and not a game purchased in 4 of those months, I sold mine for more than I paid for it. It simply didn't seem to be coming with games that a player like me would be interested in.

But with that said, I can see the appeal of the system. It is fun. It's not hardcore like my beloved Xbox 360. It doesn't have amazing HD graphics like my beloved Xbox 360. But what it has are fun, interesting, niche games for people to play.

She bought the Wii with some of the bonus money that she got from work. She also got a game, which unfortunately she wishes she didn't get. It's "Animal Crossing" for the Wii...and although more than likely a good game, she has it for the DS and didn't realize when buying it that it is virtually the same game.

She will probably get the "Rayman" game soon, as she seemed interested in that. I think that both of us are interested in "Wii Fit" and there's a few games that I'm interested in...but the main one is Rapalla Fishing...but it seems to get just okay reviews.

All in all I'm glad she got it. She has been talking about one for a long time, and I knew she wanted one. So I'm glad she treated herself to it...I didn't think that she would.

Friday, November 21, 2008

SCA Combat


So this spring my buddy Alex and I might be interested in getting involved in some SCA armored combat.

SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism. They are basically a relatively large group that are a living history group. They put on renaissance festivals, study the medieval times, and teach and participate in medieval "combat."

The armored combat is basically exactly what it says. You put on some armor that you have purchased or made and grab a sword and shield that you have made and basically just whack away at each other. Of course, there is much more to it than that if you actually put the time and effort into learning some techniques. Alex and I would probably both be interested in BOTH parts of that combat...just whacking with sticks would be fun, but so would actually studying and learning some real techniques.

Of course, all of this is just speculation right now. I know I'm interested, and Alex has said he is. But I'm not sure if he's really ready to put some money down to start up. From what I can tell armor alone can cost a pretty penny. Of course, like many hobbies, you can put a lot more money into it than you need to. I am planning on purchasing my first set of armor and then making my own sword and shield. The armor I've found ranges in price for full sets from around $150 all the way up to about $5,000. Of course, I'd be on the lower end of that spectrum.

Either way, I look forward to having some fun trying this out this coming summer. It will give me something to do when I don't want to take the kayak out!!!!

Black Friday

So next Friday is Black Friday.

From looking at the early ads, it looks like there might be a couple of good deals to be had...on Blu-Ray DVD players specifically. Meijer has a player by Sylvania for less than $150, which as far as I can tell is going to be about the best price that you will be able to get one for at all for a while.

Another store, maybe Target, has a Sony player for $199.99. That's another good deal, but I'm not a huge fan of Sony.

Either way, I don't really know if that's what we'll be interested in or not. Cathy is getting a pretty good sized bonus for doing well at work this past year...a bit more than I am getting at least...and she's planning on using some of that to maybe get herself a Wii. I haven't seen any deals on Wiis in any of the ads I've looked at so far, but who knows.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fantasy Football.

So Fantasy Football has been pretty up and down this year. In two different leagues, I've got the best overall record...but I'm only assured a playoff spot in one of those leagues. In the other one I need like one guy to lose, or a win or a tie for myself, and then I'm good to go.

In my third league, I'm currently in third place...but I've got a HORRIBLE record. I'm 5-4-2 which is good for third overall in that league...but the entire league seems to just be pretty bad, save for the guy in first place who is 11-0.

And in my last league, I'm 4-7 and really only assured of one thing...and that's not having the worst record in the league. However, the worst record in the league belongs to a guy that isn't playing, that the commish went in and put his entire team to benched so that he couldn't possibly get any kind of win.

So my overall records are as follows:
4-7 and in 7th place in the Sportbikes.net Yahoo league
5-4-2 and in 3rd place in my first Public Yahoo league
9-2 and in 1st place in my second Public Yahoo league (this is the league that I'm already in the playoffs.
8-1-2 and in 1st place in the CBS Sportsline Sportbikes.net league

That makes me overall in all leagues for the season:
26-14-4 which is actually a pretty good overall record for four different leagues. That's a .636 winning percentage, which would equate to about a 10-6 record in the NFL for the season...and I seem to remember a certain team that won a certain Championship over a certain undefeated team last year who finished the season with a 10-6 record...

I'm trying right now to pick up some guys that might be difference makers over the next couple of weeks. I especially want to get the playoff spot sealed up in the CBS league...that league has been the most active on SBN and with it comes some pretty major bragging rights!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So "Left 4 Dead" is...


...everything that I could have hoped for and more. It's an absolute blast, whether you're playing by yourself or with other people.

But the fun really kicks into high gear when you're playing with other people. See, the game is designed almost primarily as a 4 player co-op adventure. So when you get three other humans with you, the game really, REALLY starts to shine.

I seriously haven't had this much fun with 3 random players in a game EVER. Usually in a 4 player game, if you're not playing with "friends" you get a bunch of idiots running around doing whatever they want to do. But in "L4D," if you try to do that, you WILL die. And the funny thing is...if you go off on your own all the time, your team mates will eventually stop trying to heal you and help you. So basically, the game FORCES you to play as a team.

I've never played a 4 player game with 3 random others where we actually communicated like a team. However, in "L4D" I found that both times when I was with 3 randoms tonight, we all communicated as best we could to help each other get through the levels. Things like "Ammo is over here," "Do you need some health, because there's a few packs here," "Watch out to your right," and "I need some assistance here" were very common place.

I can only imagine how much more fun it's going to be when I get to play with 3 friends. This game has seriously earned a spot in my heart after only one day. It's an absolute blast, and probably exactly what I was looking for in a game lately. I think this one is going to have legs...it'll be in my Xbox for quite some time!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow and Ice...

So tonight on the way home from work I probably averaged about 45 miles per hour. It was snowing and the roads were already starting to get bad.

I saw several cars in the ditch, and on the other side of highway US-127 (heading north) there was one spot where there were several fire trucks, a bunch of police cars, and at least three regular cars that were really mangled. I don't have any idea what happened, but from the looks of it, it probably wasn't very good.

I'm not looking forward to the winter. I'm more of a 70 degrees outside kind of guy. But I guess I better get used to it, this is probably just the start of things to come...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fresh Bread

So Cathy and I got a bread maker from her father. It's pretty cool.

I had a bread maker once before, but this one seems a bit nicer. She made a 2lb loaf the other night and it was excellent!!! I had a grilled cheese sandwich with the bread...it was really good. The slices were huge and it tasted awesome.

She is making a 1lb loaf right now. It's smelling pretty good. She thought it would be better to make the 1lb size because the slices might not be quite as big.

Either way, it's a pretty awesome gift and I'm glad we got it. Hopefully we'll use it at least once or twice a week, because fresh bread is really good.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Selling on Ebay.


So I've got several items up for sale on Ebay right now. I don't enjoy selling on Ebay as much anymore as I used to. I've been a member for nearly eight years now, and when I first started selling things were easier and the sales went a lot faster.


I always, ALWAYS sell with a Buy it Now, and it seems like back then things got snatched up right away with Buy it Now. But anymore, people don't seem to like to use that.


Also, Ebay seems to be over run with businesses that are using it as basically a digital store front. That makes it quite a bit harder for just an everyday average Joe (like me) to sell things. I sell high quality used products, usually video games, for what I think are competitive prices...but I don't want to spend the extra money for gallery images and bold titles...so I think that sometimes my auctions get just kind of lost in the shuffle.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Shift???

At work the other day they started talking about a new shift that might be an option for Cathy and I. We have been working the night shift, 12:30pm to 9:00pm for the most of the last year or so. But they have started some talk about a possible 11:00am to 7:30pm shift for a small number of people.

I'm not sure if we would really be interested in it or not, but it is an enticing option. It would get us out and home in time to actually go to stores and restaurants that aren't open all the time, but we would still get to sleep in.

We're not sure if we will take it. We aren't taking it very seriously until management says they want it...because things like this at work have a tendency to come about but then never actually get done...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Appletini...

So while I was in Las Vegas I had the two best drinks I've ever had in my life. Two appletinis at the Aurora Bar inside the Luxor hotel and casino.

I think I've become addicted. I got some stuff to make some at home myself. I like the mix quite a bit, but I think I need a bit higher quality vodka to make the mix work the best.

Any good recipes for them?? Share if you've got them!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More Video Game News...

So that "Gears of War" collector set that I got from Amazon.com for $149.99...I ended up selling the stuff already. The game itself was put on Ebay and sold within about 2 hours. I got $63 for it. I had a Buy it Now for $60, figuring that would get it sold quickly. The Lancer rifle took a bit longer to sell, but it still sold. Total price including the shipping was about $165. So that means that I got $228 for the package...not bad really. That's a $78 profit for really not doing anything at all.

I shipped out the game today, and the rifle will be getting shipped out on Friday more than likely. I'll have to hit the UPS counter inside Office Depot to ship that, but that's not that big of deal.

So with the $78 profit that I've made from the game package (more like $65 or so after shipping of the Lancer) I'll be purchasing another game...one that I'm more interested in actually owning...


"Left 4 Dead" is the newest game from Valve...yah, the guys that did "Half Life" and it's family. It's a first person shooter, but it's a bit different. It's very specifically designed to be played as a co-op game. You play as one of the four characters, and you're basically fighting against an endless mob of zombies that want to kill you. Everything I've read says that IF you DO NOT work together, you will die. From playing the demo last night, I can safely say that this seems correct. I was playing by myself, and anytime that I got separated from the group, I was instantly in a world of hurt. The demo of this one has really made me want to have it.

Like I've said before...I've still got to beat "Fallout 3" and "Deadspace." Both of those games are absolutely awesome...but I've been itching for some online play with other people. Both of those games are single player only...so I haven't actually played a game online with others in a while. I think "Left 4 Dead" will be the answer to that!!!

Got The Chairs...Got Some Other Stuff...

So we got the chairs put into the house tonight. They look great!!! I think they're pretty comfortable...Cathy thinks they're a bit taller than what she is used to, but thinks she'll be able to grow accustomed to them. They look really good though, and with the furniture rearranged a bit, the living room looks a LOT bigger than it did before. That's a nice side effect of basically only having two love seats in the room now instead of one love seat and one giant couch. The two chairs, when hooked together, are smaller than our love seat was. The ONLY issue with the chairs is that they recline too far backwards, so we set them up so that only one can be reclined. That doesn't matter that much, because Cathy doesn't particularly like to recline...but I do, so it works out pretty well!!!!

We also got some other small things for around the house. We got a ring to hang our hand towels on in the kitchen. We got a coat rack type thing that's pretty small...and we'll use it to hang dog leashes from. That allowed us to take one of the tables out of the room. We also got a nice little shelf to put our phone on, which will allow us to remove another one of the end table type things from the room.

Tonight, Cathy also made her first loaf of bread in the new breadmaker. It's almost done right now, and it smells really good!!!!

She also got herself some new games for the PS2. She got "Sing Star 80s" and "Sing Star 90s" which are both karaoke type games. I like them quite a bit more than the karaoke game we used to have for the Xbox. They just seem to be better all around games.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First Day Off...

Today was my first complete day off of everything in a LONG time.

It was nice.

I slept until almost 2 o'clock, then I watched a movie in bed until 4. I basically didn't make it to reality until almost 5pm.

Then we went to Pizza Hut for dinner and hit up Target and a few other places to spend some giftcard money that we got for our wedding. Unfortunately we didn't find anything at Target to actually buy. We had been thinking of getting a microwave, but we didn't find one that we really liked...and it's hard to decide to buy something when the one you have still WORKS just fine, just LOOKS a bit out of date.

Tomorrow we should be going to get the chairs...so that will be fun!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Furniture for Living Room

So Cathy and I have decided to use a little bit of the money we got for the wedding for some new furniture for the living room.

Currently we have a love seat and a couch in the living room, but the animals (all of them...maybe not so much the cat) have done a good job of pretty much ruining the couch. The love seat is still pretty serviceable, but the couch is just bad.

So we have decided that we are going to get a couple of theater chairs to replace the couch.

The nice thing about them is, one of them has two arms like the one in the picture, but the other one has only one arm. So the two chairs go right next to each other and share an arm in the middle, just like a movie theater!!! Only a bit more plush.

We will move the love seat to where our couch currently is and put the chairs where the love seat currently is. That's probably the best setup for our home theater setup in the TV room right now.

Hopefully we'll be going to pick them up on Tuesday or Wednesday. I really want to see what they look like in the house!!!!

We'll be saving most of the rest of the money we got for this spring...then we'll be installing a fence in the backyard so a certain set of coons and a beagle can run rampant without bothering us!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Remember Those Special Edition Games...

Well, I ordered the Amazon.com limited edition of "Gears of War 2" for the Xbox 360. It came with a replica of the "Lancer" which is the assault rifle in the game and the limited edition of the game. The total price for it was $149.99.

Here's the game

And here's the limited edition replica of the "Lancer" rifle from the game (that's the one on the cover of the game shown above)
That Lancer replica is 36" long, made out of weapons grade plastic (the same stuff that M-16s are made out of), and has a motor and speaker in it that make it shake and sound like a chainsaw when the trigger is pulled.

Like I said, the total cost of the package was $149.99. The game retails for $69.99, and that Lancer sells on Amazon.com for $139.99. So basically I got $210 worth of products for $150. Like I stated before, I'll be selling them on Ebay. I don't really particularly care too much for the "Gears of War" series, but the idea of being able to turn a bit of a profit on these items was pretty enticing.

I currently have the game up on Ebay for $60, and when the Lancer gets here I'll probably put that up on Ebay for $140 plus shipping. So hopefully I'll end up getting $200 for the two items, which will be a $50 profit for doing practically nothing. Not bad.

I see the Lancer going for quite a bit more than that on Ebay...same with the limited edition of the game. The average sale price of the game is $82, and the Lancer is going for about $175. But I have priced mine for quick sales...which is important to me to get the product moved.

If they end up going for more than my Buy it Now prices on Ebay, then heck, awesome...but if not, I'll still make enough money to buy another game or something basically for no out of pocket money...not bad!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Looking for a New Hobby...

So with the winter months quickly approaching, I'm thinking of taking on a new hobby. I would like it to be something interactive...i.e. not collecting things. I would like it to be something that can last a long time. I want it to be something inside.

I have a few hobbies during the summer...motorcycles, the kayaks, and I'm going to be taking up SCA heavy weapon fighting with my wife's father's partner. Seems pretty cool.

But I need a winter hobby. I play a lot of video games, but recently I've been getting a bit disinterested in them. I enjoy playing video games online much more than playing by myself, but unfortunately there aren't any good online games out right now...nor are there any good ones coming out anytime soon.

So I'm trying to come up with some other things to do during the cold winter months. I've come up with a couple of ideas...build models, build model rockets, set up a train set. The train set is the most intriguing to me, but it's also the most expensive which is a hinderance.

Any ideas???

Saturday, November 8, 2008

We're Back!!!

Well, after not having any internet connection at The Luxor, I didn't get any chance to post to the blog while we were on vacation...and I've been pretty tired since we got home, so this is the first chance I've gotten to talk about the trip.

What can I say?? It was awesome. The plane ride there was smooth and uneventful. The room was nice. The weather was great. The shows were fun. The shopping was wonderful. The food was great.

Everything about the trip was really fun...and Cathy and I will definitely be going back. We are planning on trying to go back for our one year anniversary next October. We'll be looking to stay at possibly the Planet Hollywood hotel and casino, as it is a bit more centrally located on the strip.

That was really about the only thing that we really miscalculated when planning our trip. Staying at The Luxor was nice, but it was at the end of the strip and we ended up doing a TON of walking. So staying at someplace a bit more centrally located on the strip would be nice...so we're thinking PH would be good...or NYNY...or possibly The Mirage.

Either way, I'll try to get some videos and photos posted soon, but right now they aren't loaded on this PC. I have a few videos to upload to YouTube so that I can get them on the blog...but that's all for another day!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On Our Way!!!

In about 12 hours we will be sitting on a plane heading to Sin City. It's going to be GREAT!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Wedding!!!

Well, we got back from the wedding, and by all accounts it was quite a success!!!

The ceremony itself was quite a bit shorter than we had thought...our officiant had told us that she could stretch it out to about 15 minutes or so...I guess that meant she could stretch it out to about 7 minutes. It was literally one of the shortest wedding ceremonies that I have ever seen.

We then took a bunch of pictures which seemed to go pretty well. The photographer wasn't too bad, and his assistant seemed to be REALLY good. I'm interested to see some of the shots that she came up with. They seemed to be really interesting ideas.

We then came in for the reception...it started out pretty badly because the DJ HAD the song that we wanted to use as entrance music, but the file was corrupted so it wouldn't work. Luckily some quick work and an iPod allowed him to get the song going, and then we were good to go.

The reception was a blast. The food was pretty good, and the atmosphere was excellent. The masks all went over really well. So did the pumpkin center pieces. The DJ was awesome. His name was Matt and his company is T2. Simply awesome. Really good work on his part.

We just got back, and I'll try to post up some pictures at a later date...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food Poisoning, Updated...

Well, I started to feel better...but Cathy still doesn't really seem to be feeling that great. Hopefully she'll be back to all good before tomorrow...otherwise the wedding might be a bit difficult to get through!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Food Poisoning!!!

So Cathy and I went to get some Chinese food last night...and today we both woke up sicker than dogs. Upset stomachs, headaches, muscle aches. I'm assuming that it was something that we ate...because it's just too odd that we both have the same symptoms show up at the exact same time.

Luckily we're both starting to feel a bit better now...and hopefully by tomorrow we'll be fine.

Wish us luck!!!

Special and Limited Edition Video Games

So most of the time when I buy a game...if it has a special editon, or a limited edition, or an extended edition, or whatever...I buy that special edition. I don't know why. I usually end up selling games after I'm done with them anyways, but the special editions always are so appealing. For only an extra $10 or $20 usually you get some pretty cool stuff.

With that said, I've passed on a few very special editions of games recently, due to their price. There was a limited edition of "Dead Space" sold only on Electronic Arts' website for $149.99. There was also a special "Survival Edition" of "Fallout 3" sold only on Amazon.com for $129.99. Both of these special editions came with some really cool swag, but I passed on them because of their high price point.

Boy, was that ever a mistake. Checking around on Ebay, it seems that these games are selling for ridiculous dollar amounts. That limited "Dead Space?" Had I bought it, I could turn around and sell it on Ebay for $450 or more. That's $300 profit, if you're counting. "Survival Edition" of "Fallout 3?" $300 or so on Ebay. That's an extra $180 profit.

Maybe it's time I start paying for and pre-ordering these ultra special editions JUST to turn around and sell them...then purchase the standard game for my own use. Had I done that with "Dead Space" and "Fallout 3," I would've spent $280 for the two special editions...then sold them for $750 total. That would have been a $470 profit. Then take another $120 away from that to pay for the standard editions of the games, and that still leaves me with $350 more than what I would have initially spent.

Seems like easy money, to me.

Fallout 3...Owns My Soul...


So "Fallout 3" came out today. I had been planning on waiting until I got back from vacation to pick it up, even though I had it pre-ordered for a few months now. I had second thoughts today and traded some things in so that I could pick up my copy.

I hate intentions to just start it out to do the character creation system...I still haven't finished "Dead Space" and I only wanted to get started on "Fallout" then go back to finish "Dead Space." Big mistake. I started the game, and it literally sucked me in. Absolutely fantastic. I haven't been this excited about a video game since "Bioshock" came out...and that's saying something.

I've been reading that the straight through quest in the game will take at least 30 hours to complete...but there are over 100 hours worth of gameplay in the game. I'm having a feeling that this game is going to be occupying the Xbox 360 disc tray for a good long time...oh, I'll still go back and finish "Dead Space," but "Fallout" has come on strong...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cooper Had a Seizure

Well, one of my blueticks has had a few seizures over the last year and a half or so, and tonight he had another one.

It's really scary when he has them. It seems as if he's completely losing his ability to stay alive. He breathes deeply but won't pant. He gets really warm then really cold. He also almost always has two right in a row, and tonight was no different.

I'm a bit used to seizures and epilepsy because my sister Keri had epilepsy her whole life...but that doesn't make it any less scary when Cooper has one.

The worst problem is, from what I can tell, there aren't really any tests that can be done to determine if he's epileptic or if he's having seizures from something else. A few months back he had bloodwork done and that came back completely normal...so I would believe that none of the other causes of seizures are present because they should have shown up during that test.

So the best I can really do for him is just remain calm when he has them. But that doesn't make it any easier.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last Day of Work...


Well, today (Monday) is going to be Cathy and my last day of work for TEN whole days!!! The wedding is on Friday, and then on Saturday we'll be jetting off to Las Vegas, Nevada courtesy of my mother and father.

We haven't had a lot of time off of work in a row in a LONG time. Even when we went to Costa Rica in January we were only gone from work for like 5 or 6 days...so this is going to be our first real vacation together.

The plans for the wedding are pretty much complete now. We don't really have anything left to do, which is nice because it gives us a few days to relax before the wedding. We have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off before the wedding. We get married on Friday. Then Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we'll be in Vegas. We come home on Wednesday. We then have Thursday off as well to get back into the swing of being at home. Then it's back to work.