Thursday, April 30, 2009

Much to My Surprise...


...the Sony eReader showed up today!!

It wasn't supposed to be delivered until May 6th, but it arrived on my doorstep today via UPS. That's awesomely fast shipping. I just ordered it at midnight on Tuesday night...so basically it took only one day to get to me.

I got it out of the package and was instantly impressed. It's small and light, and looks really sleek. It's made out of what appears to be aluminum and it weighs only about 9 ounces or so.

It comes in a nifty little leather binder type thing to keep it protected. I have to say, the screen is absolutely amazing. If you've never gotten a chance to look at one of these reader devices, you need to check one out when you get a chance. It literally looks just like a books page.

Luckily, last night I downloaded the Sony Ebook software and got my first book. They had a few books listed for free on there, and I picked one of them up and downloaded it. I easily transferred it to the PRS-505 today in only seconds. The software and moving of the books is remarkably similar to putting songs on an iPod.

So far I'm pretty impressed by the device...

Lots of Rain Lately...


So it seems like it's been raining nonstop here in Michigan for about the last two weeks.

My lawn has needed to be mowed for a good 10 days now, and every time I have time to do it, it seems like it's raining. I guess maybe the rain means it's finally spring, but I wish it would knock it off for just a few days. Or at least, knock it off on one of my days off!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bicycle...

So I have decided that I'm going to start riding the bicycle a bit more this year. I want to try and get in a little bit better shape and maybe lose some weight, but I don't really want to diet, so I figure maybe if I get a bit more active I'll be able to accomplish a bit of mild weight loss and get in better shape without having to significantly change what I eat.

So anyways, I've had my Giant brand Suede bicycle for just about a year now, and I finally got around to putting a few things on it. It's had a Blackburn light system on it since I got it, but I added a nice mesh basket to the front and a rack to the back. Both of these things will come in handy if I decide to take the bike up to the store to grab something or if I need to carry some extra things with me. They also fit the style of the bicycle pretty well. I don't know why, but ever since I got the bike I really wanted to add a basket to the front of it...

I also added some Tireflys to the wheels. These are lights that light up when the bike starts rolling...but they aren't just the standard ones, they look like spiders. So basically, the "spider" grips onto the spokes of the bike and when it spins it glows. It looks like the spider is on a web. I actually think they look pretty cool.I also plan on ordering up a cycling computer pretty soon. The one I want costs $14 from Amazon but gets really amazing reviews, so I figure it's a great buy. I will also be finding a bell to put on it...because bells are cool!!

Ordered the PC...

So I went ahead and ordered the PC. I just put it on my Dell card, which worked out because it has a 0% interest deal on XPS computers right now for 18 months. So I won't get charged any interest at all on the computer as long as I get it paid off in that time.

It works out pretty well, because Cathy had put the Suzuki on her credit card when I got it, and I owed her money for the bike. The PC is about the same price as the bike, so we're going to just have me pay the card and now I don't owe her anything for the Suzuki.

I ended up souping it up a little bit, because that's just what I do. I can't leave well enough alone. I ended up going with the upgraded graphics card...the ATI Radeon HD4850. It's a 512mb graphics card. It got really good reviews from everything that I found, so it should last us quite a while. It also makes it so that the PC can play literally ANY game on the market right now...which means it should absolutely smoke Diablo 3's requirements when it comes out. That, and the card just looks cool...I also ended up going with a nice 2.1 sound system for the computer. It's a Dell A525 system that comes with two satellite speakers and a nice large subwoofer to round out the sound. Oddly enough, it was less expensive to purchase the speakers separately as an item than to add them in as a bundle with the PC purchase. They also got good reviews and were a great price. They also look pretty cool. In a rather lame turn of events, Dell doesn't ship "gaming PCs" with keyboards or a mouse. Well, I guess it has a mouse, but it looks to be the cheapest mouse ever. I decided NOT to add any keyboard or mouse at this time because I figured Cathy would want to go and play with some of them at Best Buy or whatever before deciding on a model. I don't really think she'll want a "gaming keyboard" or a "gaming mouse," but she might want something a little bit nicer than the standard stuff we've got now. Who knows though, the stuff we have now should work perfectly with it, so maybe we'll just use that. I guess I just figured since it's going to be a nice shiney new computer and monitor and speakers, that maybe a nice shiney new mouse and keyboard should go with it.

Lastly, with the purcahse, for myself I ordered the Sony eReader PRS-505. It's like the Amazon Kindle that I had been looking at, but by Sony. It's a bit smaller, sleeker looking, and was less expensive to begin with. Couple that with the fact that Dell had a good deal on it and I figured I might as well throw it in the package.

The shipping dates on the things range from May 6th for the read to May 11th for the PC. So hopefully we should have everything within the next two weeks!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stitches Out!!!

So Cathy got her stitches out today. The lady that took them out mentioned that they seemed like they were really tight. She had been having a little bit of soreness the whole time she had them, so I think that maybe the fact that they were too tight is what was causing the soreness.

The cut looks like it might still have a little ways to heal, but it looks pretty good. Cathy says that her finger feels really stiff, but the lady at the doctor's office told her that would be normal. She's got to "work out" the finger a little bit to get it so that it's back to normal.

She was really worried that she was going to have to keep them in...but I didn't think that would be the case.

Picked Out the Computer...


So Cathy was able to decide which computer she wants. It looks like she wants to go with the Dell XPS 430 system. That's the less expensive one, but it still looks like it will be a really great computer.

We might try to order it with a few extras, but it's pretty loaded up already. It's got a nice Intel multi-core processor, six gigs of ram, a 500 gig hard drive, and a nice video card. It also uses the new DDR3 RAM that allows for faster speeds.

The best part is that it's on sale right now. It also comes with a really nice 21.5" widescreen monitor and all of this for less than the cost of the other PC that we were looking at.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Brian Hoyer and Javon Ringer...

So the two Spartans that everyone thought would be headed to the NFL got jobs today.

Ringer got drafted in the fifth round and signed with the Titans today.

Hoyer went undrafted, but signed with the Patriots right after the draft.

I think that Ringer will be a good player for the Titans. He's a strong runner who doesn't quit and works very hard. He will fit right in with Jeff Fisher's running plans.

Hoyer will compete for the backup job to Tom Brady. If he gets it, it will be a bit odd...a Spartan backing up a Wolverine.

Here's to hoping that they both have long and prosperous NFL careers.

Got Some Cool Pictures of the Ninja...

So today I decided to go and try to find a cool place to get some pictures of my Ninja.

I was just out riding around and I found this thing by the airport. Figured it would be a pretty good spot to grab some shots.




Sunday, April 26, 2009


Well, here it is. The Lions new logo. It shouldn't come as any surprise that they have a new logo...

Afterall, they have a new manager. A new coach. A new outlook on the future. A new game plan. A new quarterback. A new tight end. A new free safety.

I like the way the Lions went with the draft. They picked players that they needed but also picked guys that were the best at their positions. They didn't go offensive line, which I thought maybe they would, but let's put it this way: if you're an offensive lineman in the NFL, then you are one of the 100 or so best players at your position IN THE WORLD. What that means, is that any offensive line in the NFL can be better if it's coached better.

Take the Falcons for instance. In 2008 their front line unit gave up 17 sacks. Not bad at all. That EXACT same unit, with the exact same players in 2007?? 47 sacks. Now, you can't even begin to tell me that the players suddenly got physically better. They didn't. What they did suddenly get was much better coaching and personnel management. The Lions have that same type of mentality now. They have better coaching, a better game plan, and more than likely better player management.

Now let's take a quick look at WHO the Lions drafted in the first and second round.

First of all, is obviously Matt Stafford. I've been sold on Stafford for a while, and I think he's a good pick. Especially with Culpepper getting into shape. You can effectively let Stafford play the backup role for this entire season. Get him some game time when you're winning (or more than likely losing) and get him a season to learn the game. Here's what some experts had to say about Stafford, like you haven't already heard all of this:

"If you coach (Stafford) properly -- I'm not saying he's Hall of Fame -- he should be a very good starting quarterback in this league and should be good enough for the Detroit Lions." -- Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.“What a great step for the Detroit Lions. They got a long way to go. This is the first step. … This is a great pick.” -- Jon Gruden, NFL Network.

This is about how I feel about Stafford. I think he's a great pick, and I think he'll be a good solid QB for the Lions...as long as they keep building around him. He might not end up being a Hall of Famer, but not every QB that has a successful career necessarily ends up in The Hall.


The second pick went with a tight end, Brando Pettigrew out of Oklahoma State. I was a bit confused by this pick at the time, especially with the lineman that were still available in the draft. However, the more I thought about it, the more this guy makes sense. He provides a good set of hands for whoever is throwing the ball to go to. He is a solid pass catcher that is AMAZING when it comes to blocking out defenders with his body. He should be an excellent tight end to go to whenever CJ isn't available. But other than this, the guy LOVES to block. I have a feeling he's the type of guy that WANTED to be a lineman but didn't get to be the right size. He puts a body on guys anywhere on the field. He should do an EXCELLENT job of bolstering the running game. The fact that he's such a solid blocker will also help when it comes to the passing game as far as him getting a block in, then moving down field. Like I said, the more I thought about it, the more I liked this pick.

Here's what some experts had to say about Pettigrew:

"What they've done is gotten the best tight end in the draft. He's an old-school tight end. Think Jason Witten when you think about this kid. He's not a blazer. But at the point of attack as a blocker, I think he's special. He ran a 4.8. He can accerlerate. He's got soft hands. He's a tremendous in-line blocker. He's a monster inside."-- Mike Mayock, NFL Network.With the first pick in the third round, the Lions put some money and a choice into a position that they really needed. They picked up a safety to bolster their defesive backfield. This means that this off season has pretty seriously addressed the defensive backfield. I don't know, but I don't think the Lions will be giving up record amounts of points again this coming season. Anyways...They drafted the highest rated safety in the draft with the first pick in the second round. Louis Delmas out of Western Michigan. This kid is absolutely amazing. He's one of those guys that hits everything that moves. He's not insanely fast, but he LOVES to hit. This love of hitting causes him to get out of positing every once in a while, but I think that's something he'll learn in the NFL as he's got better coaching. A lot of people questioned the guy's abilities because he comes from a small school, but his Senior Bowl performance was stellar. I'm a pretty big Colts fan, and honestly, Delmas reminds me an awful lot of Bob Sanders...

Here's a quick highlight film of Delmas from this past season against Rice...


Here's what an expert had to say about the Delmas pick:
“Delmas is the heat-seeking missile at free safety, most aggressive free safety I’ve seen. Good tackler. He's got average man-to-man skills, but when you talk about running that alley, he does it better than any free safety I've seen in a while. He hustles from sideline to sideline. Occasionally gets beat in play-action. Whenever you see Louis Delmas on a football field, typically a collision follows. And I like what Schwartz is doing here. They got the quarterback. Then they get a tight end who can block his tail off.” -- Mayock again


All in all, I was pretty impressed by the Lions draft. They drafted like they actually care for a change. They drafted some good players. They drafted quality positions that they needed. They drafted like they are actually trying to rebuild.

I look forward to seeing these three guys on the field this next season. I get a better and better feeling about this team the more and more I see what they are doing. They just keep doing more and more to impress me. I know it won't be a turn around in 09 like the Falcons had last year, but they are putting keys in place to get some quality wins in the next few seasons.

Cathy's Getting Her Stitches Out...

So Cathy's finger seems to be getting better. On Tuesday she's going to get her stitches out. That's a good thing. She also gets to miss one more day of work...lucky.

I, on the other hand, have been noticing more and more that my bruise is still causing me some pain. I don't know if it's just that I aggravated it or what, but today it was really bothering me. Just sore and not really right.

I went out tonight and got a compression bandage for it, which is what the information that I was able to find online said that I should do. When I put it on, I immediately felt quite a bit better.

Hopefully I'll continue getting better and not really have to worry about anything. On the plus side, one of the things it says I should do is just rest...so that means I get to sit around and do nothing all day tomorrow!!! Oh wait, that's probably what I was going to do anyways...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So Far, So Good...

So, since the run of horrible things that happened last week, this week has been quite a bit more relaxing and normal.

On our three days off this week, nothing bad happened...at all. So that's definitely a step forward from the everything that was going wrong last week.

We made it to the Conchords show without much of a problem. We got turned around for just a moment, but that wasn't really bad at all. So basically, this week so far has been the opposite of last week.

We go back to work tomorrow for a day, then have a day off again. On that day off I think I'm going to mow the lawn...so that will be interesting...we'll see if the lawn mower decides that it wants to start or not. I haven't had much trouble with it the last few years, so I'm hoping that this year will be the same.

Hopefully we don't end up having another week like that for a good long time!!!

Looking for a New Computer...

So Cathy has been really psyched ever since she read that Diablo 3 was finally being released...sometime in the future. She was a really big fan of Diablo 2 and when she heard about Diablo 3 decided that she would have to get a new computer when it got closer.

Well, I've read a bit and it seems that Diablo 3 will be running off of the same engine that World of Warcraft runs on right now, so basically, any PC that runs WoW well will run D3 pretty well. At least, that's what all the signs are pointing to.
So we've been looking a little bit at some of the newer computers that are out right now, trying to find a good buy on one. I think we've decided to go with a Dell, because we both have had good luck with Dell PCs in the past. We're basically right now just waiting on a really good deal on one.

We've found a few that would work, all of them being XPS computers. One is the XPS 430, one is the XPS 625, and one is the XPS 630. All of them would work pretty well, according to the specs that they have. The 430 obviously is the lowest end one, but it still seems to be a pretty darn good PC for gaming. It's specs show that it will run Crysis...and if it will run Crysis, it will run anything...ANYTHING.

The nice thing about the 430 is that for the same price as the 625, you get a 21.5" widescreen LCD monitor. Now, we have an LCD monitor right now, but it's nowhere near 21.5 inches, and it's not widescreen either.

But, the XPS 625 is really cool looking...it's got lots of awesome lights and stuff. And the case is just attractive!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Matt Stafford is a Lion...


So the Lions agreed to a deal with Matt Stafford tonight...

...but not just any deal. The largest deal in the history of the draft.

The baseline of the deal is 6 years at $72 million. However, with incentives it could be worth as much as $78 million. The biggest part of the deal?? $41.7 million of it is guaranteed money. That's a lot. A LOT.

So I guess we're now going to see what this Lions team is all about. That's a lot of money to pay some guy that you say is going to sit the bench and learn the game for a while. But if they do it the right way, I think that this kid can be the guy that they can use as the face of the franchise. He's physically talented and he seems to make pretty good decisions. He also seems to be fairly immune to negative criticism.

We'll see though. I hope that they let him sit the bench for a while just to get a feel for the speed of the NFL game. Not many guys can do what Matt Ryan did last year, and I think Stafford is one that will need a while to adjust to the differences between the two different games. But if they let him sit for a while, he'll be alright.

Hell, with Calvin Johnson out there catching anything within 30 yards of him, how can he not be at least alright???

Gotta Love Michigan...

So it was 83 degrees here in Michigan today. Gotta love it. We went from a chance of snow and 35 degrees on Tuesday to sunny and 83 on Friday.

I kinda hate that we never have spring and fall. It's just freezing...and hot. I guess it's supposed to cool down a little in the next few days and feel a bit like spring. It's supposed to be in the 60s and 50s for much of the next week.

I really wish that it would just be like 74 for a week straight. That would be great. Warm enough to go outside but not so hot you just want to stay inside.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback Editions...

So this post is going to go hand in hand with one I made a while ago about sodas with REAL sugar being so much better than sodas that use high fructose corn syrup.

Pepsi has released two new drinks for a limited time. I hear it's supposed to be about eight weeks. They are Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback. They are packaged in 20 ounce bottles and cans that have retro looking logos on them.

The Pepsi logo looks like an old school Pepsi logo, but with maybe a HINT of modern twists. The Mountain Dew One looks noticeably more old school than the current EXTREME Mountain Dew logos. The hook for these two drinks?? They are made with 100% natural sugar. That's right, no fake sweet syrup in these two drinks.

The Pepsi, to me, tastes NOTICEABLY better than Pepsi made with HFCS. I really, really like the way the drink tastes.

The Mountain Dew, on the other hand, tastes noticeably DIFFERENT than Mountain Dew made with HFCS. I wouldn't say it's better or worse, but it's definitely different. I don't really remember what Mountain Dew tasted like way back in the day, but I'm sure this new drink tastes just like it.

These drinks are being labeled as "Limited Time Only" things, but I have a feeling that if they sell well that Pepsi will make them full time drinks...maybe for like 10 cents more per container or something. I really hope they do, because these two drinks are great!!

Conchords...


So we have taken this coming Saturday off. Why?? Because this Friday night is our concert...our "Flight of the Conchords" concert. It starts pretty late at night, because it's actually a second added show. It should be pretty entertaining. I'm looking forward to it!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

House Hunters International...


So tonight we were watching "House Hunters International" on HGTV, and they were doing Costa Rica.

Not only were they doing Costa Rica, but they were doing Tamarindo Beach. That's the same place that Cathy and I went for her brother's wedding back in January of 2008.

At the time it was a really packed trip...we had a lot of stuff to do and not really a ton of time to do it in. It made the trip seem a bit exhausting, and I don't think we enjoyed it as much as we could have because of that fact.

We stayed here..

As I look back, Tamarindo is a place that I would really like to go back to. A place that I would like to go and maybe spend a week when we don't have to participate in wedding things...just do whatever we want to do.

I guess I'll add it to my list of tropical places that I need to go to or go back to. Included in that list are, but this is of course not entirely complete:
Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste Costa Rica
Grand Cayman Island
Roatan, Honduras
Hawai'i (yes, I use the traditional spelling of the Kingdom of Hawai'i)
American Virgin Islands
Fiji
Cozumel, Mexico

These places are all also places that I would love to go SCUBA diving at...of course, I'd need to learn SCUBA to do that!!!

Happy Earth Day...


So today is Earth Day.

I'm not really a huge "green" person, but I like to think that I try to do my part. I mean, I guess I don't go out of my way to do things like recycle, but I try my best not to do things that will negatively impact the environment. I think I'm pretty similar to most other Americans.

Maybe I should try to do a little bit more to pitch in...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Hits Keep Coming...Part II...

So let's take that $650...and make it $850.

The part that was replaced didn't fix the problem entirely. It was working better, but still not working right.

So I called again and they sent another tech out who came and basically cleaned the entire system. That cost $200...

...I guess this has a plus side, though. The fee for cleaning the furnace includes a cleaning of the AC and the furnace again this fall.

The Hits Keep Coming...


So this has been a pretty bad week. I'm actually really surprised that I'm in as good of a mood as I am.

So let's get this all sorted out.

Starting with my first day off last week, Thursday.

Thursday, the carbs on the Suzuki refused to cooperate so I wasn't able to get the bike up and running. In fact, I ended up having to order ANOTHER set of parts and I am going to have to order ANOTHER set in a few weeks. Basically, the GS won't be running for the better part of another month...and that's if my finances cooperate enough for me to order the jet kit.

Friday, a routine bicycle ride turned into me falling through the ceiling of the garage.

Saturday, Cathy ended up getting three stitches for the cut she suffered when I fell through the ceiling of the garage.

Sunday, while at work my mom shows up to tell me that my grandmother isn't doing well. We end up going to the nursing home basically to say goodbye.

Monday, during the evening Cathy turned the heat on. After a while we noticed that it was still cold and went to check the thermostat. It was still at the temperature it was before. So I started checking the furnace. It wasn't working right. Seemed like some motor had gone out on it.

Tuesday (today), call the furnace place and find out they can have a guy come today or not till next week. I figure if we wait till next week we might as well wait till next winter...besides, it's 57 degrees in the house. So I leave work to come home and meet the guy. He gets here and takes a look. Sure enough, the motor thing I had thought was bad was in fact bad. So he tells me he can replace it for...



....get ready...




$650




That's right...$650 to replace this little motor thing that I had already determined was the cause of the problem. I went ahead and paid it...I mean, what else could I really do?? The thing needed to be fixed, and I had no idea how to get the part that was bad. Even if I could find it, I imagine it was probably like a $450 part anyways.

So now I'm sitting here waiting for him to show back up with the part. He also suggested that we think about getting a new furnace because ours is 19 years old. Nevermind the fact that it's been working fine up until this week, it's 19 so it needs to be replaced. I guess maybe that's something we'll think about in the next year or so.

But for now, I sit here wondering what other things can possibly happen today or tomorrow...because this has been one Helluva week, and I'm sure it's not over yet...

Monday, April 20, 2009

So I've Decided...

I've decided that my next bike will be a Kawasaki KLR-650.

I've always loved the KLR due to it's design and the fact that not a single person that I've ever talked to that has actually owned one has anything negative to say about the bike. In fact, several people that I have talked to who own NUMEROUS bikes have all said that the KLR is their favorite. One individual even owns SIXTEEN different motorcycles ranging from a 1940s Harley to a 2007 Ducati, and he says that his 2009 KLR is the best bike in his collection. That's saying a lot.

The KLR is a 651cc single cylinder motorcycle that is designed as a dual sport motorcycle. To describe a dual sport is a bit difficult, so the easiest way to do so is to compare it to another four wheeled vehicle. Think of a Jeep...no, not a Grand Cherokee...a Wrangler. Then think of that Jeep doing what it's DESIGNED to be doing. That's right, going down dirt roads, down trails, out in the woods. Then driving home on the highway. That is exactly what the KLR is supposed to do. It's effectively a go anywhere do anything type of motorcycle. It's equally at home on dirt roads as it is on interstates. It's as effective on a trail as it is in a suburb.

The KLR is a motorcyle that, to me, just screams "adventure." It looks like the type of bike that when driving down a 55mph two lane road, when you see a trail crossing the road you can just go down that trail.

The bike is a workhorse, and of course the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I love the way it looks. It looks useful...if that makes any sense.

Best part about the KLR?? It's one of the most reasonably priced motorcycles out there for a brand new bike. A brand new one more than likely can be taken off the lot for $5500 out the door...which in this day and age of $9k 600cc supersport motorcycles being the norm is a steal. Heck, even a new Ninja 250 costs $4k these days. So at $5500 for what is effectively an SUV motorcycle, that's a steal.

The only thing that makes the idea of trying to get one of these in the next few years difficult is trying to decide which STYLE to get. You see, the KLR stayed the EXACT same other than color differences for the better part of two decades. For nearly 20 years every KLR looked like this:
I like the design a lot. That, to me, is the epitome of a useful looking motorcycle.

HOWEVER.

In 2008, Kawasaki shocked the world when it actually released a redesigned version of the KLR. It's still not exactly pretty, but it could be viewed as slightly prettier than the older version. It's got better wind protection, which is good for riding on the roads, but it's said to be a bit lower on power, which is not good for riding on the highway. Here's what the new models look like:
As you can see, it's obviously an evolution of the design, and it still shares many similarities to the first generation. But like I said, the hard part for me will be deciding whether to go for the new body style or to try and find a nice clean example of the old body style.

Decsions, decisions...

No News=Good News??

So I haven't heard anything from my parents today, which I would imagine means that nothing drastic in either direction has happened regarding my grandmother.

I am planning on giving them a call in about an hour or so to see if there is any update as to what is going on.

My mom said that she would call the cell and the house if she needed to get a hold of me. My cell has been charging all afternoon so it's in another room, but the home phone hasn't made a sound all afternoon.

I guess no news is good news...right??

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grandma is in Rough Shape...

So my mom came up to work today and found me.

She told me that my grandmother is dying. This wasn't exactly very specific, because I knew that both of my grandmothers weren't doing 100% in the health department right now, so I asked and found out it was my dad's mom.

So I left work with Cathy to head to the nursing home where she's been living for a while. They apparently say she's not doing very well right now, that she's had pneumonia for a while and they aren't giving a very good outlook.

They give a slight chance that she can pull through, and she's been tough the last few years, so I'm holding onto some hope that she'll pull through.

I've been pretty fortunate in my life. I've reached the age of 30 without losing a single close relative. I still have my parents, both sets of grandparents, all aunts and uncles, and all cousins still with me.

I don't think many people can say they've been so lucky.

If you read this, keep her in your prayers.

Thanks.

Going to Start Trying to Read Some More.

So I like reading, but I don't do nearly enough of it. I guess maybe it's because I'm a fairly slow reader. I read very thoroughly, but I'm not the type of individual that can get through a 700 page book in a weekend.

I really would like to get an Amazon Kindle. I think they are great. But I can't really justify the cost of it because I'm just not reading all that much. But if I start reading a bit more, then I might be able to convince myself that it's a good purchase.

Either way, I think it will be a good way to pass some time when there's nothing good on TV, no good movies, and no games really worth playing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Internet Message Forums...

So I would say the majority of my time online is spent on message forums. If you don't know what a message forum is, it's basically like an interactive bulletin board. You post a message, and then others can respond to it. Likewise, if others post a message, you can respond to them. I have been a member on various message boards for literally years. I even ran one on my own that was quite successful for a few years before selling my portion of it to the other guy that was running it with me.

As of now, I spend a good amount of time on several different message boards.

Sportbikes.net--I am a very active member of the SBN community. I have over 10,000 posts and have been a member for nearly 8 years now. I have met a few people on there that I communicate with in other ways outside of the forum, primarily playing games with them on Xbox LIVE! I love the site and it's very comprehensive. The Off Topic sections are always alive with content and there's never a dull moment. It's the forum that I spend most of my time online on. Oh yah, it's also the forum that I actively participate in fantasy football leagues on.

TheGSResources--I joined GSR shortly after I got the Suzuki. I'm not nearly as active on that site as I am on SBN, but that's because I primarily use it for finding information about the GS. With the site I've been able to buy a few parts, find places to buy other parts, and find very good how-to articles on various different things that needed (and still need to be) done to the Suzuki. It's a good forum, but not quite as entertaining as SBN.

Paddling.net--I started using Paddling.net when I was looking for the kayaks last year. I utilized it for reviews primarily. It has an EXCELLENT section for reviews on all kinds of products related to canoes and kayaks. This includes reviews of gear, boats themselves, and even different lakes and rivers and such. It's a very basic site, but it's very informative. The forums are also full of very knowledgeable seasoned veterans in the hobby, and they are all very friendly when it comes to answering the many questions that a newbie like me has.


klr650.net--I joined KLR650.net a few years ago, but never actually posted anything there until just the other day. I've used the site to gather information about the KLR, as it is one of my all time favorite bikes. It is also probably the bike that I will buy whenever I end up buying a brand new bike. It's price point is right, it's looks are cool, and it's utilitarian nature is perfect in my opinion for a motorcycle. I browse the forums to find reviews of the bike, to find trip reports and see the gorgeous pictures that people take while out on these do anything bikes.

Geocaching.com--I signed up for Geocaching.com back in like 2001. I remember doing it, but I never posted there until a couple of weeks ago. I remember actually wanting to get into geocaching back before I started working for the Government, but I never got around to it. As I've decided that I want to go and start doing some more things outside this summer, I figured that this would be a good time to start actually using the site. I purchased a cheap GPS unit and started using the site a bit more. It's a great site for this sport, and there is more information there than I think I will ever be able to use. Not only are there informative and great forums, there is also a list of caches that is sorted out geographically that you can browse or search through. The list says many things about each cache, including how difficult the terrain is, how long it should take to do it, and what type of cache it is.


So as you can see, I actively use and participate in a few different forums out there on the web. SBN is still my mainstay, but the others are very useful for more specific things. SBN's broader subject range is appealing to me, and that's probably why I use it more than any of the others.

Cathy Has Stitches...

So after the debacle that was the bicycle ride yesterday, we thought we had the cut on Cathy's hand taken care of.

But in the middle of the night she woke me up (or maybe just said something to me, I can't really remember if I was sleeping or not) to tell me that the liquid bandage stuff we had put on the cut had come off. She said it was bleeding a little bit again.

So at 3:00 in the morning we decided that we would go to the clinic today to have it looked at. We called work and let them know that we wouldn't be in, and then she went and found a clinic that was open on Saturday.

Seeing as we weren't going to work, we slept in a little bit and then went to the clinic in the early afternoon. They got her in pretty quickly and she was in there for what seemed like quite a while.

When she got out her finger was all wrapped in gauze and she had three stitches. This is the first time she's ever had stitches. She says that they hurt a little bit, but I think that's probably normal. I've only had stitches myself once, and it was so long ago that I don't remember much about them.

Either way, we got the cut taken care of. She has to go back in like 10 days to have the stitches removed, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bicycle Ride Ends Horribly...


So Cathy and I went for a short bicycle ride today. I got the bikes down and got the tires inflated and off we went.

So we went around the neighborhood a little bit. We were only gone about 20 minutes or so then we headed home. When we left we had closed the garage. So I entered the code to the garage and we parked the bikes.

We went to go into the house, and that's when the disaster started to happen.

Dillon does this thing when he hears the garage open where he starts jumping up on the door. Sometimes he manages to actually lock the door when he does this.

So this was one of those times when he locked the door. Normally it's not that big of a deal, we just grab the keys and go in the front door. But this time, it was a bit different, because we didn't HAVE the keys to the door.

So I spent a few minutes trying to get the door unlocked with just some random keys...but it was to no avail. So I got an idea, and in retrospect it was probably a pretty horrible idea.

I grabbed the ladder and went into the attic access that is in the garage. My plan was to travel along the beams in the top of the ceilings and go down into the house through the attic access that's in the bedroom. This idea was a good idea...in theory.

I ended up getting up into the attic without much of a problem. But as soon as I stepped on the first beam, it turned out to not actually be a beam at all. It was actually just a 2 by 4 that was sitting in the attic in the exact same direction as the beams. So of course half of my weight has now been placed on a 2 by 4 that is on top of nothing but dry wall, and hooked to nothing at all.

Can you guess what happened?? You're right, I went right through the ceiling of the garage. Luckily, I actually landed ON a support beam...but I landed on it with my legs on opposite sides of it. Yah, it hurt. Fortunately I managed to land with most of my weight on the inside of my left leg, and I now have a huge bruise to show for it.

Well, while all that was occurring, the biggest piece of drywall that came crashing down managed to land right on Cathy's hand while she was holding the ladder. It cut her pretty good, and it was pretty deep. I think she's fine though, because the cut looks like it's just a giant paper cut. We got some of that liquid bandage stuff...it's like glue...for it and it seems to be doing better.

When I realized that she was cut pretty bad, I decided that we had to get into the house. I grabbed my rubber mallet and hit the window on the door. Amazingly, it didn't break. I pounded on the window a couple more times to no luck. I guess it's made out of bullet proof glass or something. I then got a new idea. I started beating the door knob with the mallet. After about 10 whacks it finally came off enough for me to get the door opened. Cathy then went and cleaned up her cut.

After all of this, I ended up having to buy a new doorknob. It cost $15. Hindsight, of course is 20/20, but that $15 would have been the easiest way to get into the house. I should've just pounded it off in the first place. But instead, now, I spent the $15 on the doorknob and I also need to fix the drywall in the ceiling of the garage. I guess the only good thing about the ceiling is the fact that the drywall broke pretty cleanly, so I'm probably going to be able to just nail it back up there and then patch it up and it'll be good to go.

So, the moral of this story is: Don't climb through a ceiling when you can just beat a doorknob to death.

Old Faithful...


So after my debacle with the GS yesterday, I was reluctant to go out and try to get the Ninja started today.

But it was B-E-A-Utiful outside and I felt that it just had to be done.

The Ninja has been tucked in a corner of the garage since about October of last year, just sitting there, patiently waiting for me to fire her up.

I pulled her out of the corner and she squeakily rolled along the garage floor, telling me that maybe she needs new brakes this summer. But she only whined about that for a minute.

I got the key in and hit the starter. She tried her hardest, but after 6 months of just sitting, her heart wasn't into it. I knew the answer though. I got the jumper cables and gave her a lifeline to the Civic.

Hit the starter again...after about 10 seconds she fired right up...yelling loudly through her Kerker straight through race pipe that she wasn't upset about "the other woman" that's sitting in the garage right next to her.

A little throttle caused her to die again...but that's normal for her, she's a bit cold blooded. Another click on the starter sent her into a rage as she raced to about 8k RPM...time to lay off the choke, I guess.

I let her sit and idle while I went in and got my gear together. When I came back out I shut her down and poured a can of fuel system cleaner into her tank. She started right back up for me after that.

I turned her around and started down the driveway, and we went for a quick spin. She gladly took me up to 90 as we raced down the backroads near the house. She hugged the road on one of the sharp turns I know of. She purred like a kitten at idle...albeit a very large, angry kitten.

Yup. The Ninja made me not hate motorcycles today. She started and ran as if she thought she had something to prove...never even asking me why there was another bike in the garage.

When I got home, I noticed a scratch on her side that I had never noticed before. Probably a stone thrown up by the snowblower this winter, or maybe something that she had thrown up on her during the ride today. So I grabbed a sticker and bandaged her up...I like putting stickers on the Ninja, makes it feel more like a race bike than it already does.

At least now I know that when the Suzuki's not cooperating, the Ninja is always there for me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Frustrated...

So today I was working on the GS.

It was pretty frustrating.

I started off by ripping the carbs and the airbox out of the bike. I then pulled off the cam chain tensioner and had at that. It was going pretty well until I got to a point with the tensioner that I needed to remove a 30mm nut. I had a wrench that would work, but I didn't have a vice to hold the thing. So to Lansing I went to use my dad's vice.

I should've turned around and came home when I got onto I-96 and the cars were all travelling at 48 MPH instead of the speed limit of 70. But I pressed on and got to my mom and dad's to use the vice.

The process went really quickly at that point in time. I got the cam chain tensioner all rebuilt and everything seemed to be going smoothly. So I drove home to put that on the bike.

I got it on pretty quickly and it clicked into place just like my how-to suggested it would. Success!!!

So I move onto the carb bank...and this is where the frustration begins. I needed to break the four carbs apart to continue on with the cleaning. Of course, this was something that I figured would be very easy...

...boy I couldn't have been more wrong. The screws that were holding the carb rack together must be Lock Tited into place, because of the 8 of them that are holding the bank together, I managed to get a whopping ZERO of them to move AT ALL. I even grabbed my screw removal kit, and couldn't even get any of them to move with THAT. I did manage to completely destroy one, but even that didn't get it out. Amazing. The engineers at Suzuki back in 1980 must've REALLY not wanted the carb bank to fall apart while the bike was running.

So after a slew of swearing and hurling tools around the garage, I decided to move on to the intake boots and o-rings. I open the four that I have and realize something horrible...I have three right ones and one left one. Amazing. Of course I need two of each. So I get a bit upset because I figured that the parts that I ordered that took like three years to get to me were actually wrong, but on the package the parts numbers are right...so this was not the fault of the parts guy I ordered from, but rather the fault of Suzuki itself.

So there is another slew of swearing and hurling of tools, after which I put the old intake boots back on and try to get the carb bank back on. I figure since nothing is going right I'm just going to put it all back together and start it. So I get the carb bank in place and go to grab the airbox...

...which is when it dawns on me that the airbox is literally falling apart. The rubber parts are all dry rotted and cracked. The plastic is cracked and broken. Basically, there is no way that it is going back on the bike.

So with this I stopped working and came inside to clean up. I figure I'll order some pod filters and some new jets then have at the carbs again in a week or so. Oh yah, I might as well order the CORRECT intake boot so that I can get that taken care of.

So I hit Ebay and got myself some pod filters. I like the way pods look, but I HATE tuning pods. They are horrible, horrible gremlins when it comes to getting a correct air-fuel ratio.

I have half a mind to just go ahead and order a pipe for the bike, too, but I don't want to spend that kind of money.

Luckily, the jets are only $1.20 each from a distributor that I have found. I'm currently waiting for some advice on what size jets to start out with for working this out.

So yah, instead of having the bike running today like I had planned, it's in pieces and I'm now waiting for MORE parts to show up...ugh.

Great Halo 3 Games Last Night...


So last night, for the first time in literally months, I hopped onto "Halo 3" on my Xbox with my friend Alex and a kid that I work with, Elon.

We played quite a few games and it was a blast. The problem that I generally have with Halo is that Alex and I are pretty good at it, so it gets really frustrating when we're not playing well. Some of the fits that I throw make T.O. on the sidelines after an errant pass look tame!!!

But anyways, we played basically just messing around, and it was an absolute blast. I look forward to hitting the game up again really soon!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So the First Few Days of Ten Hour Shifts are Done...

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous and skeptical that this would work out well for us at work. But after my first three days of 10 hour shifts, I have to say that I think I enjoy it.

Yah, I don't like being there for ten hours straight, but the extra day off is nice. Yah, I don't like getting up 4 hours earlier than I was before, but getting out earlier is nice. Yah, I don't like the fact that there are like 25 people standing around all the time, but once they get that worked out that won't be a problem.

Overall I think it's a pleasant change, and although I've only been doing it for a few days, I think I'm going to like it!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stanley Cup Playoffs...


So the NHL playoffs are about to get under way.

The Red Wings have a first round matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Wings have a pretty good record against Columbus over the last few years, and from what I remember it will be the Blue Jackets' first trip to the playoffs ever, so they may be a bit jumpy to start the series out.

I'm looking forward to the Sharks-Ducks series. Two good teams from opposite sides of the same state. They match up pretty well against each other, too.

I would love to see the Wings win another Cup again this year...

The Lion King

So tonight we went to see "The Lion King" at the Wharton Center on Michigan State's campus.

It was really, really cool. I really like the costumes that the performers used, and some of the other "special effects" that were used during the show. The part where Simba sees his father in the stars was just absolutely amazing.

Another thing that I really liked about the effects was the fact that I have no clue how they did some of them. The father in the stars, the moving masks, some of the other costumes...they were just so amazingly done that they defied logic...and I was honestly trying to figure some of them out, and just couldn't.

We had great seats, too. Fourth row from the stage, on the left side of the stage (as the performers looked out) and about 15 feet from one of the bongo drummers.

All in all, it was an awesome show!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finally Got to Work on the GS...

So today I finally got to work on the GS. I ran to Grove's Motorsports in Mason, Michigan and picked up the couple of things that I would need: case sealer and some grip glue.

Then I came home and figured I'd have at it. I was planning on just doing the tachometer seal fix because it was a bit chilly outside.

However, I got the tach fixed in about 15 minutes. So I figured that I might as well go ahead and tackle the valve cover gasket.

Total time took about two hours on both project, I would say. The valve cover gasket was actually a pretty easy install. So I guess even if I didn't do it right, I know how to take it all back apart to do it again if I need to. But I'm pretty sure I got it right. I replaced the gasket per the directions that I found online and replaced the end cap seals the same way. I also found out that the case sealer can be used as a gasket in emergencies, so if it is leaking at all still I might be able to make a quick fix with some sealer. Not the best way to do it, but it should work in a pinch.

After I got the valve cover gasket back together I put the tail end of the bike back together. The reflectors had been off of it since I painted it and the tail hadn't been actually hooked to the bike at all. So I got that back together, then I went ahead and installed my new grips for the handle bars.

After all of this was done, I rolled it out into the driveway to get some proper pictures.Here's a nice shot of the back end of the bike. That tire will be swapped out sometime this summer. It's a bit flat in the center, and probably won't handle as well as I would like.
Here is a picture that shows the new headlight in position. I think it looks pretty good, considering it was a cheap part for a cheap price. You can also see the new red grips in this picture.
Here is a picture of the side of the bike. In this picture you can really see how the black bed liner actually looks on the bike. You can see that it's not quite as textured as it appeared in the other pictures. You can also see the lines of the bike without the unnecessary things on it, like the ugly stock mirrors or the turn signals. Please note, I did not forget to paint the front fender, it's going to be slightly modified before it gets painted, and that will probably happen in the next two weeks.

So for now that's what I've got done. In the next few days I will be tackling the carb rebuild and the cam chain tensioner seals. I will also pull the starter out and throw a new o-ring in there just to be on the safe side. I also will have the bar end mirrors to put on.

I'm at a loss right now as to what to do for turn signals, if I do anything at all. I don't NEED to have them, because I can technically use hand signals. But I have an idea for a front set that I really like...which means I'll have to come up with something for a rear set.

Other plans for the future include some red highlights...maybe a stripe?? But definitely doing the calipers in red, the plug wires in red, and I'll be looking for a newer brake master cylinder that might be red. I may paint those cam covers red, as well, but I'm not sure. I'm also still searching for a good deal on a replacement exhaust. I'm thinking right now that I might just go with some exhaust wrap and call it all good until I can find a great deal this winter.

GPS Came Today...


So the Magellan GPS got here today. It's in really good condition, and it got my location almost instantly.

I can now start researching some of the caches in the area that I want to try and plunder. I like that the geocaching site shows them by difficulty, so I can make my first few attempts at this go as easily as possible.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Ten Hour Day Down...

So today was the first day of our new ten hour days.

Boy, was it ever a long one.

I don't think it would have been too bad had it not been for a few things:
1. None of the supervisors really had any idea how to handle things like breaks and lunches
2. It was absolutely DEAD at work today
3. The climate in the airport seemed to be wonky...hot, then cold, then hot, then cold

I think it will end up being alright by doing this, but it's definitely going to take a few days to get used to. I hope that as the weather continues getting better, the heat and air in the building will get a bit more stable and we won't have to worry about the temperature getting us sleepy and groggy.

The other things I think will work themselves out as we go along. Hopefully the weekdays won't be as bad as this weekend day was, too. As far as being dead goes, I think it will be a bit busier during the week, so that should help a bit, too.

Bar End Mirrors for the GS...

So I bought some bar end mirrors for the GS from a guy on the GSResources website.

Got them for $20 including shipping, which is about half what they would cost. He's only had them on his bike for a few weeks. He ended up buying a different brand that he liked better.

They'll end up looking like this:I had bar end mirrors on my old Yamaha Radian a few years ago and really liked the way they looked. They also did a pretty good job of actually allowing you to see behind you. I've found that most stock mirrors on most bikes end up giving me a view of nothing other than my own shoulders. The bar ends give me a much better view of what's behind me, provided I move just a little bit.

They should be here in the next few days, and then I'll get them thrown on the bike. I'm still hoping to be able to get to work on those seals this coming week so that maybe I'll have the GS out on the road in the next 10 days or so.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fencing...


So tonight at work while we were just waiting to go home, I was browsing the internet looking for options to put a fence in the back yard to keep the mongrels from running away but also allowing us to put them out back without having to have them on a leash.

I did a google search for "Jackson Michigan Fencing" and what popped up?? A fencing club...but not the kind of fencing you put in your yard, the kind you do with epees and sabers and such.

I browsed around the site for a little while, it's not anything super spectacular, but what caught my eye was the fact that they offer classes for beginners for a pretty low fee.

I thought that maybe it would be something that Cathy and I might be interested in...if for nothing other than the fact that it would give us something to do on one of our days off.

I haven't really talked to her about it, but I think it would be fun. I guess even if we didn't like it, we could just quit and not really be out a ton of money. But if we did like it they offer a slew of other classes, too.

I think I might drop them an e-mail to see exactly where they are located and if you have to have any equipment yourself.

New Schedule Starts on Sunday

So on Sunday I have to report to work at 9am.

That seems really early compared to the fact that right now I don't have to be there until 12:30pm. Basically, on my days off there are times when I am UP until 9 o'clock in the morning.

But I'm trying to look at the bright side. I'll have three days off every week. But I don't really know 100% if that's an equal positive to the negative which is having to be at work for 10 hours straight.

Maybe I'm just a little bit nervous about it because it's something new. I don't know. I'm not really looking forward to being there that early though, that's for sure!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ribiero's Shootout Winnter...

What a goal. No question about it, this is amazing. I don't care if it's got a little back spin on it that caused it to get across the line, it's absolutely amazing.


Wow...Is This Ever Uncharacterstic of Me...

So browsing through the latest issue of Motorcyclist magazine I realized something. I kept going back to a picture of something that I shouldn't be going to. I kept going back to a picture of a cruiser.

That's not really that horrible, I guess, considering that the GS-1000 is kind of like a cross between a standard and a cruiser, and the style really works for me.

The really horrible part was exactly WHAT cruiser it was. A Sportster 883. Yes, that's right, a Harley Davidson. For as long as I've been interested in motorcycles, Harleys have literally done nothing for me. I have always liked sportier bikes. I wouldn't say that I've liked pure sportbikes, like Gixxers and such, but I really have liked bikes that have a sportier stance and are geared more towards performance than anything else. I've alwasy been keen on naked bikes. Things like a Suzuki SV-650. The SV-650 is a pure sportbike, but without the fairings, so it doesn't really LOOK like a sportbike. I have also had a soft spot for dual sport motorcycles. Things like a KLR-650 or a KLR-250. Those are Kawasaki bikes that are perfect for lots of types of riding. On road. Off road. Dirt road. Whatever you want, a KLR can go there and do it with relative ease. And I've heard that they provide nothing but smiles. I have also really liked the idea of a SuMo the last couple of years. That's Super Motard for those of you that don't pay attention to the latest fads in the two wheeled world. What a SuMo is, basically, is a pure dirtbike with some 17" street wheels glued onto it. So it's got dirtbike style acceleration and handling, but on the street. They also look really cool to me. For just pure fun, I imagine that it doesn't get any better than a SuMo. This is a Suzuki DRZ-400SM. A bike made by Suzuki and from the factory as a street legal SuMo.But man, the more and more I look at it, the more and more I like that Harley. Maybe it's the chrome. Maybe it's the fact that it's just a pure and absolute no thrills motorcycle. Maybe it's the fact that it's a status symbol. Maybe it's just the fact that my tastes in bikes is changing.

I'm writing it off to the fact that I just turned 30...yah, that's it, I'm getting old and things like Harleys are becoming more appealing to me.

But man, is it ever pretty...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

GS Updates...

So I have been really liking the brown seat on the black bike recently. It has started to look better as I've been working on cleaning the engine up a little bit. Slowly but surely I think that maybe the brown seat wasn't the worst part about the bike right now.

I'm trying to work out a deal to get a new exhaust for the bike, too. A guy on GSR has one for $50, and he's getting pictures of it for me this weekend. I think if it's in good shape I might buy it from him and have him ship it to me. The exhaust on the bike right now is probably the worst part of the bike.

I also went out tonight and hacked off the rear fender. I HATE the way that fenders look on the back of bikes. I don't really see any point to having them on a bike, either. So I hacked it off and it really cleaned up the way the back of the bike looks.

Unfortunately, the camera that I have takes horrible pictures of the bike when it's not in the sunlight...so right now I don't have any good pictures to post of it.

I plan on getting the engine apart this coming week. Hopefully I'll be able to get the carbs cleaned and those seals replaced so that I can start getting the bike out on the road. I've really been wanting to ride it lately!!!

My Birthday. Yay.


So today I turned 30.

I don't particularly get that excited about birthdays anymore. It's really just another day to me. I didn't even take the day off.

I guess it's good to celebrate the fact that I managed to survive another year. Yay!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ruined a B-Day Presnet for Myself...


So Cathy got me a few birthday gifts. The first are tickets to "The Lion King" this coming week. The second was the complete series of "That 70s Show."

I knew about "The Lion King" obviously because she had to tell me she was getting them so that we could both get the time off. I also found out about the DVD set by accident. I always check Amazon.com for their Deal of the Day and a few weeks ago it was this DVD set, and I noticed it. But then when I woke up in the morning, Cathy told me "Don't look at the deal of the day today." I told her that I already had, and she was a bit bummed. She had ordered it for me for my birthday.

So anyways, she still wanted to get me a surprise, so the other day she went to Target and got me a kite. It's a Tie Fighter from Star Wars. I had noticed it in the store a few weeks ago and really liked it. Well, she went and got it, and then decided to leave it in her trunk until she could sneak it into the house. Well, we went to the store later that day and I got a bag of dog food and put it in the trunk. When I opened the trunk I saw the kite, and effectively ruined my last surprise.

I was still surprised that she went and got it, but she was sad that all the surprises had been ruined. Oh well though, they were still really good presents!!!

The Secretary of State Just Got a Little Bit Less Crappy...

So, for those of you that don't know, tomorrow is my birthday. I will be turning 30. Yay.

One of the things that this means is that it's time to get license plates renewed. My car and one of my bikes both need to be renewed on my birthday. I'm sure the other bike will be renewed on my birthday, too, but it's not registered yet since it's not road worthy yet.

Well, anyways, I MEANT to send off my renewal thing when I got it in the mail several weeks ago, but of course my procrastination took over and I forgot to do it until it was too late. So I decided I'd just go and visit the SOS today on my day off.

When I got there they weren't too busy...but what was this thing in the corner?? It looked like a gigantic ATM and it said "Renew Your Plates Yourself" on it. I thought I'd give it a try. I grabbed a number though, just in case it didn't work. So I followed the instructions, and what do you know, I had new stickers for both my plates in a total of about 3 minutes. Amazing.

I don't know why they haven't thought of these things before. I think I saw one at another SOS once, but it was out of order and covered up, so I didn't even really look at it.

A machine like this really makes what is normally a dreadful trip into a rather pleasant experience.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Used the Fire Place Tonight...

So, for the first time since I moved to Jackson, Cathy and I fired up the fire place tonight.

We just used some of those pre-made burning logs. I think that they are made with some kind of mild accelerant because they start to burn quickly and stay lit until they are pretty much gone. We got two of them for $3 each at a local department store.

When I got the fire place open, which keep in mind I haven't done since I moved to this house. As soon as I opened the fire place I realized that the chimney had been open...all along. So I'm sure that was possibly contributing to our insanely high energy costs this past winter. But we got the logs in and all set up and lit them.

The fire burned for about three hours or so and for the first two hours did a really good job of keeping the living room warm. While we had the fire we watched "Marley and Me."

It was a nice and relaxing night, even if the movie was pretty sad...

Geocaching...

So there's this thing that I had read about long ago that sounded interesting, but I never followed through with checking it out.

It's called geocaching, and basically it's a high tech treasure hunt that uses a GPS receiver and coordinates to find some kind of little cache. Sometimes the cache has a prize in it, other times it's just a log book, but it's always got something in it.

Well, I figured that with some of the other hobbies that I've got, and the fact that I'm going to try to spend more time outdoors this summer, that maybe it was time to look into it again. I figure that geocaching goes naturally with bike riding, motorcycling, and kayaking. That, and the price of a GPS receiver that is accurate enough to actually work with this hobby is to the point where anyone can afford it now.

So I started seeking out information and found a website: Geocaching

I tried to sign up there, but it said my username was already taken. Now, I've been using Gimpdiggity as a username on websites, video game consoles, and other things for YEARS, and I have never once come across this problem. So after thinking for a second what other name I could use, I tried logging in to the site with the username and a password that would have been something I used back then. Success!!! Apparently I signed up for the website back in August of 2001...but I had never actually used it at all. So it's kind of funny now, because I made a post there and all the people that replied have thousands of posts, but none of them had been around since before my join date. It was a bit confusing for most of them, I think.

Well, anyways, I started looking around for good beginning units, and I stumbled across a web site that did some reviewing of a unit by Magellan called the "SporTrak Pro." This web site was from a few years ago, but was basically claiming that the Magellan was the end-all when it comes to starting out with geocaching. It also claimed that you could get them on Ebay for well under $100. So I hit up Ebay and found one that was ending soon. For $44, with free shipping. I started a bid war and ended up getting it for like $47 and change. Not bad considering it will be shipped for free and it looks brand new.

I also found on the Geocaching.com site that they have a database of caches that you can search for by zip code. I plugged in my zip code and found literally tons of them within about 45 minutes drive of me. It rates them by difficulty of terrain and by how much time it takes to complete them.

I'm looking forward to getting out and making my first find. I even found a few that say that the only way to get to them is by canoe or kayak, which will give me a perfect reason to go spend a day out on the kayak. Another cool think about the site is that you can place your own cache and track it's status as far as what people think of it.

I also like the idea of this as a hobby because you can take the GPS anywhere, and if you have a laptop with you as well you could easily get coordinates from anywhere that you are to go out and find a cache near there. For example, when Cathy and I go back to Vegas this fall, I can take the GPS with us and we can take an hour or so to head out of town and find a cache out in the dessert or something like that. Or when I go over to the cottage, I can take it there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'll Take A Second Place Finish...


The Spartans did quite a bit to defeat themselves tonight, especially in the first half. Too many turnovers. Too many missed shots. Too many mistakes.

With that said, there are 332 other teams in the country that would do just about anything to trade places with the Spartans tonight.

So with that said, I'm still really proud of the team. They did an excellent job this season, battling through some injuries and some bad losses. They made an excellent run through the tournament, maybe facing the toughest road that I've ever seen. USC was a #10 seed that was as talented as most Top 10 teams. If it wasn't for a few injuries that led to a string of losses midseason for the Trojans, they would have been a #4 seed, at least. Kansas was the defending National Champion. Louisville was the Number One Number One Seed. UConn was a beast.

Maybe the Spartans got tired. Maybe they got nervous. Maybe they just got beat by a better team.

Whatever it was, they did the state and the fans proud, and for that, I say "THANK YOU!!!"

With that said, this is a relatively young Spartan team, and I look for them to move forward from this.

Go State!!!!

Go State...



So the Spartans play for the National Championship tonight.

Win or lose, they've done all the Spartan fans out there proud. Nobody thought they would beat Kansas, and down 13 in the first half that seemed to be coming true. But a comeback win brought them to Louisville. Nobody thought that they could beat Louisville. But a gameplan that literally stopped the Cardinals in their tracks brought them to UConn. Nobody thought they could beat UConn. But a gameplan that kept UConn running the court much more than they wanted to brought them to North Carolina.

Nobody thinks they can beat the Heels. I think the Spartans are really enjoying this underdog role, though, so we'll just see.

But like I said, win or lose, they've made us proud. Not many teams have been to five Final Fours in eleven seasons. That's an accomplishment that any team would be proud of.

Go State!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Got the Trebuchet Built...

So I got the trebuchet all built and ready to go. The kit was nice, but the instructions were pretty hard to follow. Regardless, I got it built.

I need to do some test firings to get it all setup, as right now it wants to throw things almost directly into the ground, which isn't cool. Granted, I wasn't throwing anything of any substance, so it's possible the tiny ball was just getting tangled up in the sling, but either way I need to get it outside and start tossing a tennis ball around or something.

It's pretty cool looking. I'll try to get a picture or two of it tomorrow or the next day.

All together it took me about two hours to build it. I may still need to adjust a couple small parts, but it's pretty good the way it is now.

Snow way...

This is insane. There's four inches of the white crap on the ground right now.

In a span of about an hour tonight we got two inches. Since then it's just been piling on. It's wet and heavy snow, too. The trees are all sagging down to the ground. The roads are HORRIBLE. I ran to the store to renew my Xbox LIVE! subscription and I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever been on roads that were worse than they were today.

Hopefully it gets back up into the 50s in the next few days and it all melts away. I'm really sick of winter.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Snow...WHAT??!!??

So I guess it's supposed to snow Sunday and Monday and maybe into Tuesday.

This is ridiculous. It's April. It's time for there to be NO SNOW in the forecast. I tried this past winter to embrace the snow, to welcome it, to like it. I even went as far as spending money on something that I would use outside in the snow, the snowshoes. But I still hate it. I don't like the snow.

I definitely don't want any more of it before "next" winter (August or so I would imagine is when it will start next winter).

The worst part?? They are saying that we are going to get between 3 and 6 inches of it. So, it's not just going to snow, it's going to accumulate. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if it were to just snow but not stick to anything, but for it to accumulate, that's just unacceptable.

I really need to move away from Michigan...

UConn, You Can...

...go home now.
Big East, best conference in the NCAA?? I'd have to say that right now the Spartans are hoping for a Villanova smack down of the Tar Heels, because Sparty has had absolutely no trouble dealing with these so called Beasts from the Big East.

UConn is the latest victim, falling in a game that was effectively dominated by Michigan State's backups. MSU got 32 points from it's reserves...the Huskies got 7...yes, that's correct, seven. Add to that 21 points by Kalin Lucas and 18 from the Masked Avenger, Raymar Morgan.
Morgan played stellar basketball tonight, getting those 18 points in 30 minutes of time. That nearly triples his total of points in the last 3 games against Kansas, USC, and Louisville. Morgan finally looked like the player he was early in the season, before getting mono and pneumonia.

Michigan State once again controlled the flow of the game, especially in the second half. The Spartans are showing themselves to be a very powerful second half team so far in this tournament. For a minute it got dicey near the end, thanks in total to some really poor officiating. But the Spartans put it together when they needed to and sent a UConn team home to plan their next recruiting scandal.

I Like This Flight Attendant's Instructions...

So a guy I work with got this e-mailed to him the other day, and I thought it was pretty good. Every time I've ever flown the attendants seem like they are bored to death with the instructions that they are giving. This guy at least is having fun while he's doing it. Not to mention, it's actually pretty impressive!!!

My Trebuchet Finally Arrived!!!


So, after literally MONTHS of waiting, my trebuchet finally showed up the other day. It got here pretty early in the morning via FedEx, but we had to go to work so I didn't even get around to opening it.

As soon as I got home, however, I tore into the box to see what it looked like. The "burned" wood actually looks really cool. The kit seems pretty well made, and the hardware that came with it to put it together looks to be top notch.

I'm hoping to be able to put it together in the next few weeks. It LOOKS like it's going to be relatively easy to put together, but who knows. I've got a few other things on my plate still before I get to the trebuchet, but at least it finally arrived.

Let's Go State!!!


So the (next) Big Game for the Spartans is tonight!!!

Hopefully they can give UConn the type of game that they gave Louisville last weekend!!!