Friday, July 31, 2009

So It's...

...the last day of July already. That seems crazy. It seems like just a couple of weeks ago it was still only highs in the 40s here in Michigan, and it seems like the last snow melted about a month ago.

I guess they say time flies when you're having fun, so maybe I've been having fun for the most part this year.

The fact that it's the end of July means a few things are coming up relatively quickly, as well.

First off, there are only THIRTY-EIGHT more days until we are headed to Vegas. We really need to get on top of finding some tickets as soon as possible.

Second off, there are only two months (August and September) left in the fiscal year at work. So far so good for me. I've got the highest possible rating that I can get, so basically as long as nothing crazy happens in the next 8 weeks or so, I'll get the maximum possible end of the year bonus...which last year was about $4,000 before taxes. I've been trying really hard to get the maximum bonus this year, I want to use the money to buy something cool next spring. Maybe I'll sell my two bikes and use the cash to buy a different bike. I also have a few other things in mind, but I'll post about those later.

Third off, there's only three months until our Anniversary and Cathy's birthday. Right now I'm thinking that maybe we'll take a day off or so and head to Grand Rapids for some fun and then stay the night at the cottage. Should be a pretty nice time of year for us to do that.

Yup...the year has flown by, but now that I look at it, there's quite a few things coming up in the last five months of 2009!!!


So I've been in contact with Dave who sold me my Pintail longboard. He's got a new board that he's selling and it looks amazing. Freaky, but amazing.

I'm guessing by the pictures that's called "The Ultimate." It's 14.25" wide, 47" long, and has wheel cutouts not on the sides of the board, but actually in the middle.

From looking at it, I think that it would make a PERFECT board for land paddling. There's plenty of room on it for you to set your feed pretty much however you want. It's probably even wide enough for my feet to be right next to each other.

I'm thinking I might pick it up to use primarily while paddling. Then I would use the Pintail primarily when I push. The two boards would be suited well for these two tasks.

I just really like the way that the thing's AWESOME!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not a Kid's Movie...

So tonight Cathy and I watched "Coraline."

It was pretty good, in a strangely demented kind of way. It's an animated movie, but if I were a parent, I'd probably want to watch this movie before I let my kids watch it. There are a few parts in it that seem downright scary. It's definitely got a creepy vibe throughout the entire thing.

I guess this just goes to show you, not every animated movie that gets released to theaters is really designed to be watched by lots of children!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today Was a Good Day...

A very awesome commercial by Nike Skateboarding.

Paul Rodriguez is the skater. In the version that is shown on TV, when he skates up to the stairs that the kids are sitting on, he actually skates past Kobe Bryant.

This is one of the better commercials I've seen in a LONG time. Ice Cube's look is classic. I love Ice Cube. He's a talented musician and I actually enjoy him as an actor.

Here's the commercial, another one of my favorite videos...

A Reason to Turn The Wii On...

So today Cathy picked up a game that she had been waiting on. It is "Wii Sports Resort," and it's effectively the sequel to the game that came packed with the Wii originally "Wii Sports."

To play this one, you must use Nintendo's latest add-on, the Wii Motion Plus accessory. This thing plugs into the bottom of the Wii Remote and gives the controller added accuracy when it comes to sensing movements and such. I'm not 100% sure how it works, but after playing "Sports Resort" I can tell you with 100% assurance that it DOES work. The games in "Resort" would not have been able to be played with just the standard remote.

The game that Cathy and I seemed to enjoy the most, so far, was the sword games. It's like an American Gladiators style fencing game. Your characters fight on an elevated circle that has edges you can fall off of. When you fall off you plummet down into the water below. The controls of the swords works amazingly well. It's actually really fun to play.

The other awesome thing about this game?? Both Cathy and I worked up a pretty good sweat while we were playing, so it obviously is actually a pretty decent workout!!

If you have a Wii, I highly recommend picking up this title...especially if you liked "Wii Sports" to begin with!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Cool Video...

This is another cool animal one.

This story might seem a bit unbelievable, but it's true. You can check it's validity at various sites around the web, and the one that you ALWAYS check says it's true, too. Snopes says the story is true...and if there's one entity on the web that you can trust about urban legends and such, it's Snopes.

Christian the Lion...This first one is a brief video showing the highlights of the first part of the reunion.

This second video shows a bit more of it, and is a bit more professional in quality as far as the production is concerned.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One of My Favorite Videos...

So over the next few days I'm going to be posting some of my favorite videos on YouTube.

This first one is a video from a CBS News story. It's about an elephant sanctuary where one of the female elephants has a very special friend. It's things like this that make animals so amazing to me...who'd have ever thought these two would be such special friends?? But they are!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So This is Just Ridiculous...

So I have been wanting to go to a Lions game ever since they moved to the new Ford Field. Even though the Lions are a pretty pathetic football team, I am still a fan of them.

So I thought that maybe a good idea, mainly just to check out the stadium, was to go and catch a preseason game. On August 29th they are playing one of the other teams I follow, the Indianapolis Colts. So I thought I could get a few things taken care of...I could see the Lions, see the Colts, and see the new stadium all for less than what a regular season game would cost.

The surprise???

The cheapest tickets to go see a Lions preseason game still come in at $50 a piece. The lower bowl tickets were like $75 each. I don't know, but for a preseason game this seems a bit insane. I mean, you want me to spend $50 to go and watch a game where the "best" players are going to play for maybe two quarters at most??? I don't know, it just doesn't really seem worth it to me. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to check the prices of regular season tickets, because they haven't gone on sale yet.

The one thing that I did think was cool...they have a ticket package that comes with the $75 ticket and a voucher for all you can eat food. It costs about $95, but I'm SURE that I could pack in more than $20 worth of food during the course of a football game. That seemed like a pretty good deal, but it's still a ton of money!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Three Miles with the Big Stick...

So tonight I ended up going out for my first major paddle with the Big Stick. I ended up heading out and going in a big circle that I had originally planned as being a good 3 mile bicycle ride.

The Stick preformed admirably. On the flat ground it works really well and allows me to maintain some pretty good speed. On the hills it allows me to effectively push myself faster. Going downhill I'm not really comfortable (or able to) push with my foot, so I'm basically limited to how fast gravity will allow me to go. But with the Big Stick I can continue to push, and thus make myself go even faster. It also allows me to brake a bit on hills, which is nice. Especially when I was coming up to some railroad tracks at a fairly decent speed. The only part that the Stick doesn't do well is going up hills. I found that most of the time going up I needed to start to push with my foot, or a few times I even just got off of the board and walked.

When I got back, my arms were burning and felt like they were going to fall off. So I take it that's a sign that it was a fairly good workout. My shoulders and chest felt a little painful as well, so I'm thinking that I got a pretty awesome upper body workout. My paddling technique needs some work, so I'm sure that as I get more practice I'll get an even better workout.

The three mile trip was a good mix of up hills, down hills, and flat travelling. I did it all in probably about 40 minutes, which isn't too bad. One thing that I found was that it's a bit of a pain to carry the board AND the stick at the same time, so I may start trying to find some way to carry the board more easily. I have a strap system in mind that will allow me to carry the board like a bit of a duffel bag.

All in all, I'm seriously happy with the Stick. It works great, is fun, and seems to be a great workout. Now I just need to start looking for a longer board that soaks up the bumps a bit better!!!

Used the Big Stick Today...

So it was supposed to storm all day today, but instead it only rained for a few minutes. So I got a chance to give the Kahuna Big Stick a try.

It works exactly like advertised...but man, is it ever a great workout!! I found out relatively quickly that the muscles that are needed to use it need some definite exercise.

The stick helps me keep my balance when going pretty well. I was able to get going pretty quickly with it when on flat land, and it helps go even faster when going downhill. However, going uphill was incredibly difficult, and I found myself having to kick with my foot to go uphills. I'm sure that as I continue to use the stick, I'll get stronger and better at it and maybe be able to use it to go up some hills...but for now I'll pretty much plan on kicking up the hills that I come across.

In my 15 minutes or so using it, I can tell that it works wonderfully. I can tell that it's a great workout. I can tell I'm going to really enjoy it!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Found a Helmet!!!

So I had been looking for a helmet to wear while I was out longboarding, and so far hadn't had any luck at all. Meijer, Wally World, Target, Dunahm's...nobody had anything that was decent quality, let alone actually fit my head.

I had checked at MC Sports before and didn't see anything when I was there. But today I figured I'd look around in MC because I didn't have anything better to do. When I was looking at shoes, I thought I saw the top of some helmets out of the corner of my eye. I checked it out, and sure enough, there on an end cap was a bunch of helmets. I was a bit confused at first, because I was sure that I had checked on that same end cap when I was in there before, and there was nothing there...not to mention, I had ASKED someone that worked at MC the other time I was in there and they assured me that they didn't have any skate helmets. So either that person didn't know what they were talking about, or these were new items in the store.

They were Bell helmets, which are a pretty good brand. Maybe not professional level, but a good brand regardless. They also were all "Tony Hawk" branded helmets. I like Tony Hawk. I think he's an awesome guy, and I have a few articles of clothing that bear his name and signature Bird logo. So I started checking the sizes on the helmets...and to my surprise, the size large fit me VERY well.

There were a few different models with different graphics, so I picked out one that I liked and found it in my size. Paid for it and out I went. I now have a nice helmet to wear when I'm out riding. I like wearing pads and stuff when I am riding the board, it gives me more confidence. I'm sure the helmet will do the same.

This is the one that I got here. It's flat black with nothing on the front, but these graphics on the back...

The First Rule...

...about "Fight Club" do not talk about Fight Club.

The second rule of "Fight Club" DO NOT talk about Fight Club.

So "Fight Club" was on tonight, and I realized that it is one of my all time favorite movies. I first saw "Fight Club" the day it came out back in 1999 with a couple of friends. The first time I saw it, I was like "What the heck just happened??" I honestly didn't particularly care for it.

Then I watched it again. And it made sense.

Since then, every single time I watch this movie, I like it more and more. It's just so absolutely insane and intense that I can't help but watch every second of it whenever it's on.

When I finished playing "Red Faction" tonight I noticed that it was on. I instantly settled into the theater chair and cranked it up as loud as I dared...Cathy was already asleep...and once again, enjoyed every second of this awesome, awesome film!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Got the Big Stick Today...

So when I got home from work the Kahuna Big Stick was waiting for me. The only problem?? It started raining the minute we walked out of work. And it's supposed to continue to rain for the next few days. So I don't know when I'll get a chance to try it out.

However, I can give some initial here goes!!!

First, the shipping was pretty quick. Less than a week to get to me isn't bad, and it didn't cost me anything. So Kahuna Creations gets a good mark in that department.

Second, packaging was nice. I wondered how a 66 inch long "stick" would ship. But they have a nice box that is made obviously for them and it was sealed up nice and tight. Shipping materials were good enough to keep the stick from bouncing around in the box, which is all that's really necessary.

Third, the stick itself. It was slightly different than what I thought I was getting. The handle was different. But that's okay, because it was different in a way that I would have rather had than the stick I ordered. The one I bought had a handle that was basically just a slightly rounded end of the stick. The one I got had the handle that's on the more expensive sticks. It's a T shape that fits into your hand easily. The stick is light weight, but heavy where it feels like it should be...if that makes any sense. Basically, it feels like I think it should. It's well put together and looks GORGEOUS. I can't say enough good things about the stick. Of course, I haven't used it yet...but having it in my hands makes me REALLY want to get out and use it!!!

Fourth, the shirt that I bought. Good quality T-shirt with nice printing on it and a cool design. It's a heavy t-shirt and I think a good value at $14.

Lastly, the extras. The stick came with a catalog of all of the other KC products. Amazing. The quality of the catalog is second to none. It's very nicely put together and is awesome to look at. This catalog alone has basically convinced me that I want to get a KC as my next board. It also came with a few "Kahuna Creations Land Paddler" stickers. Nice additions for no charge.

All in all, so far I think the thing is awesome. I'll post about it again when I get a chance to use it!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Yard Work Fun!!!!

To start this posting...this is the 500th post on my blog!!! In the 301 days that my blog has been active, I've hit 500 posts. Not too shabby!!!

Now, on to the real thoughts!!!

So, how do you take a yard full of large weeds and make dealing with them fun??

Simple. You buy one of these!!!!

I had been thinking for a while about getting a nice machete to take on the weeds that had grown in the circle garden out back. They are tall weeds that are hollow in the center, so cutting them down is really easy. But they are also prickly, so grabbing them to cut them down can be a bit of a pain in the butt.

So I found a machete at a local store today for $7. 00. I found it in the camping section, which is right where I thought that it should be.

So when I got home from the store I decided I'd see what it could do. I got it out of it's packaging and started hacking at stuff. I started by hacking at some of the limbs that are hanging a bit low on the tree near the driveway. It took them down in no time. I then decided I'd go ahead and hack away some of the low hanging limbs on the tree on the north side of the house. It did the job with ease. I then worked around to the back to the weeds...

Let's just say that the weeds are literally no match at all for the machete. There are a ton of weeds, though, so the machete does take some work to get them out of the way. I hacked away at them for about 20 minutes or so and got rid of quite a few of them.

The sad part of all of this?? There's still probably about two more hours worth of hacking out there!!! least I found a way of getting rid of them that is a bit fun!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Having Some Trouble Sleeping...

So the last two nights I've been having some trouble sleeping. I don't know if it's because I got so much rest while I was on vacation or what. But I've been sleeping for about 10 or 15 minutes then waking up for a few minutes each night.

I don't think that I got to sleep for real until after 3AM each of the last two nights. It seemed like every little sound or movement by Dillon or Cathy woke me right up.

I was dead tired at work today. So tired that I felt a bit "off" for most of the day. When I got home I took a nap for about an hour or so and I felt quite a bit better after that.

Hopefully after a few days back to work I'll get back into a bit more normal sleep routine...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kahuna Creations Big Stick...

So I've been using the longboard pretty regularly. I like it quite a bit. It seems to be a pretty good workout, which is nice, but I actually enjoy just getting out and going around the neighborhood.

I like the workout that it gives me, but I started wondering if there was anything that I could do to get any kind of workout for my arms and upper body while I'm doing it?? I ended up looking around for only a few minutes before I found something. It's like a giant paddle with some rubber wheels on the end that are stationary. You use it basically like you would use a paddle on a canoe or on a stand up paddle board (which I also, by the way, think would be awesome to have). You basically put it out in front of you and then "pull" it back like you were paddling a canoe to make yourself go forward. It's supposed to be an excellent workout for your core and your arms...and coupled with the pushing that you can do with the board it's apparently a pretty awesome full body workout.

So I watched some videos of it and thought it might be worth a shot. I ordered one the other day and it should be here in the middle of next week. It's something that is apparently fairly Hawai'ian in nature and from what I am reading most people anywhere outside of California have no clue what it is. So I'm sure I'll get some questions about it.

I plan on using it in conjunction with pushing so that I can get a full body workout while using the longboard. If I find that I'm using more of the stick than I am pushing, I may try to do different things on different, one day do the stick only then the next day do pushing only.

To get an idea of what the Kahuna Big Stick is like...take a look at the video above!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Vacation Day Five: Mini Golf and Some Rain...

So today was, unfortunately, the last day of our vacation. We got up and just hung out for a while. We ended up going out and playing a round of mini golf at our local course. The course is nice...but it's in pretty bad repair. I guess I can see why they only charge $2 per person. It's the kind of mini golf course that if someone that cared bought it they could probably make it pretty nice for not much money...but that's another post I would guess.

After we did the mini golf we ran to the store to get some things for around the house after we get back to work. It started to rain just a little bit while we were in the store, which gave us a good excuse to do...well...nothing!!

We ended up going out for some hamburgers for dinner. After that we came home and watched some TV shows on the DVR. Pretty much, all day long we did a whole lot of nothing.

If you ask me, it was the perfect ending to our vacation!!!!

Now, there's only 52 days until Las Vegas!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vacation Day Four: Detroit Science Center and Frankenmuth

So today was the one big "trip" day that we had planned for our five day break. We got up early (well, earlier than normal) and hit the road right around 10:00. We got to the science center at probably around 11:15 or so. It was pretty easy to find. Just a straight shot down I-94 to exit 215c and we were right there. So there wasn't any trouble finding the place at all.

We went in and got our tickets. To our surprise, the tickets were cheaper than we had expected. Tickets to the Star Trek Exhibition were supposed to be $19 and to get into the rest of the museum was another $6. But they had changed it so that the $19 entrance to Star Trek got you into the entire museum. So we opted to spend that extra $6 each on the Star Trek ride that they had there. So we spent $50 bucks and then went on our way.

We went and did the ride thing first. It was one of those 3d motion rides that you sit in and they close the screen so that you can watch a movie that the machine moves around while you're watching. I had never been in one before, and Cathy hadn't either. So it was pretty cool for us to do. The thing actually flipped you upside down completely several times during the ride. Good thing we were strapped in with roller coaster type shoulder harness things. It lasted about 5 minutes, and for $6 each I'd say it was worth it. It was fun and interesting.

We then made our way back to the Star Trek Exhibition. We were greeted by a guy dressed like a character from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first thing he told us?? Paramount doesn't allow photography of the Exhibition. So, needless to say, I didn't get any pictures of any of the stuff that they had on display. I thought it a bit odd that Paramount would charge people to come see their exhibit but not allow personal photos. What are people going to do, sell the photo that they take of a model of the Enterprise on Ebay?? I guess maybe that's a possibility...but really, come on.

So we spent about an hour wandering around the Exhibition. There was some pretty cool stuff there. They had costumes from each of the series, models of various different vehicles from the series, props like weapons and Tribbles and such, biographies of all of the major characters during the run of each series, along with small biographies of the actors who played the parts, and lots of different information about the show.

Some of the things that I thought were cool were seeing how some of the things that they dreamed up in Star Trek back then are things that we do in fact use to some extent today. They showed an ear piece that was used for communications that looks exactly like most BlueTooth things look today. It had a bit of information about how the original Enterprise was designed and how terms that were used in the show are used in real life today when talking about designs for things like the International Space Station.

One other thing that I thought was really cool was a timeline. They had a timeline that showed where every movie and TV series fit in with the others. It was cool to be able to read a little bit about every series and eveyr movie and see how it all fit in with the other established shows. The only thing off about it was that they had the newest movie listed at the end of the timeline...but it should have been very near the beginning.

All in all, I thought the exhbition was pretty cool. I was a bit let down by the "No Pictures" p0licy, but that didn't take any of the enjoyment out of the whole thing.

So we then headed out to the Science Center itself...and man, what a disaster. It looks like they would have some nice science exhibits there, but almost everything in the place was broken or just not working in some fashion. Things that were supposed to be interactive weren't interactive. Buttons that were supposed to start something didn't work. It's obvious that the place needs a bit of maintenance done to get it back up to par. I can't really say too many bad things about it because it was free, but had we paid the extra money like we thought we had to in order to get into the regular museum, I'd have been pretty unamused. We probably only spent about 20 minutes in the rest of the museum, then we headed out for our trip to Frankenmuth...

Now, Frankenmuth isn't exactly NEAR Detroit. It's about 90 miles or so from Detroit, and Detroit is about 80 miles or so from our house. So the trip was basically a big triangle. So we started heading out towards Frankenmuth up I-75. We found I-75 just like our directions said we would, and about 10 minutes up the was closed. Not just a lane, but the whole thing. And the best part?? It funnelled us off of the highway into a fairly dangerous looking area with NO SIGNS ON WHERE TO GET BACK TO THE HIGHWAY. Of course, we had left the GPS behind because it looked like the directions were pretty straight forward and Cathy had checked the Michigan Department of Transportation Construction Information site and there was nothing listed for I-75. So we drove around for a little while and finally grabbed the map and figured a different way there. We would take I-75 back to I-94, head on 94 west until we got to 23, then take 23 all the way up to where it merges with 75 and we'd be back on track. It took longer, but it worked. We got to Frankenmuth at about 4:00.

I had never been to Frankenmuth, but Cathy had. We were planning on having dinner at the Bavarian Inn and doing some shopping at the boutique style shops that are there. Frankenmuth is a German Style village that has all kinds of small shops and places to eat.

So we parked and headed to the shops. We had to drive across a really cool covered bridge to get to the shops, and we had to walk along the oustide of it to get back to where we needed to be. It was made of wood and was actually pretty nice looking. I got a couple of photos of it.

After crossing back into the village, we started our browsing of the shops. They were all kinds of neat little shops that you wouldn't really find many other places. Stores for things like pewter figures, and Native American goods, and things like that. We spent maybe an hour or so looking in the shops then headed across the street to hit a few other shops before going to dinner. On the way out of the shopping area we saw a nice model of the bridge that we had crossed just a few minutes earlier. It was pretty detailed.

We then went to dinner at The Bavarian Inn. We got the family chicken dinner for two. Holy cow, what a load of food it was. It cost $21 per person and consisted of the following: A bowl of soup for each person and two different types of bread to start. Then a salad (which we actually opted out of). Then the main course came. It was six pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and gravy, sauerkraut, butter noodles, and squash. These all came in pretty large bowls...more than enough for two people. Then after the main course there was ice cream. The dinner was awesome, and left both of us fairly stuffed. So we left the restaurant and headed back to the shops to make a few last purchases before we headed home.

Cathy bought quite a few things. A stuffed monkey, a bunch of candy, some baked goods, and some popcorn. I got a walking stick. After we had made our last purchases we figured it was time to head home.

We made our way back to the car and headed out. We got home a little bit after 10:00 PM. Both of us were pretty tired. It had been a pretty long day. Oh well, at least we have one more day off before we have to go back to work!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vacation Day Three: Relaxing, a Tune Up, and Mowing

So today was the third day of our mini vacation. We didn't do an awful lot. It was SUPPOSED to rain today so we set the trip to Detroit back by a day. Instead, it was warm and muggy all day long without a drop of rain. Oh well, it's supposed to be nice tomorrow anyways so we'll make it to Detroit tomorrow.

So basically all we did today was hang out. We got up and then went and did a bit of shopping. We went to Best Buy and the Westwood Mall. Cathy got a DVD set at Best Buy and some makeup at the mall. We then went to Walmart and wandered around there for a bit. I luckily ended up finding some more Pepsi Throwback, so that alone made the trip to Walmart worth it.

On the way back we stopped at Advanced Auto because I wanted to get some new spark plugs for my car. It's been idling a bit funny lately, and I figured I might as well try some new plugs and wires before I spend any other money on it. I figure it needed those anyways. So I got the plugs and the wires and when we got home I threw them in the car. Only took about 15 minutes. The car is idling quite a bit better now, but I still think it might need some work. I'm wondering if I need a new alternator belt, because the electric stuff in the car seems to be taxing the engine quite a bit. Maybe I'll have Jeff at work take a look at it and see what he thinks.

After I got done working on the car we cooked some hot dogs on the grill for dinner and then I went and mowed the back yard. It wasn't too bad, because most of the grass seems like it's dead because it's been so hot and there hasn't been much rain. The grass was hard and brittle and the mower chopped through it with ease, even in the spots where it had grown a bit more.

After mowing I settled in for some "Red Faction" for an hour or so while Cathy played around on the computer.

All in all it was a relaxing and peaceful day. Tomorrow is going to be pretty full. We are going to Detroit to the Star Trek Exhibit at the Science Center and then to Frankenmuth for dinner and to shop in the little shops that they have there. We're going to be leaving at about 9:30 or so in the morning and probably won't get home till pretty late. I don't really know how long we'll be at the Science Center, so we may be back earlier than we're thinking. I'm going to take the camera and the camcorder, so hopefully I'll get some good pics and video to post up!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vacation Day Two: Kayaking and Outback

So today was the second day of our mini vacation. I slept in because I was up pretty late last night, but when I got up Cathy and I decided to go out to Clark Lake and get some kayaking in.

So we packed up the car and headed out. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that the last time I took my kayak out, I forgot to bring my seat with me. So I made absolutely sure this time that I had everything that I needed for both of the kayaks.

We got to the lake and got started inflating the boats. Inflation of both of them took about a total of 10 minutes. We then packed the stuff we had with us into them and I set Cathy afloat. She had never been out on hers before, so I had her sit in it while I pushed her out a little ways because her skeg was digging into the sand. So I pushed her out then went and grabbed all my stuff and headed out myself.

It only took Cathy a few minutes to get the hang of paddling. I was pretty impressed by how fast she picked it up. Her little Sevylor Bali also tracked REALLY well with the skeg on it. She could stop paddling and still just float forward for a good amount of distance before finally stopping and then starting to turn. My TK-1, on the other hand, starts to turn almost as soon as I stop I'll be ordering that skeg for it really soon.

Here's a few pictures that we got on the trip. This first one is of Cathy after we were pretty much just starting out. If you look towards the left of the picture at the shore line, that's just about where we put the boats in at.

This is another one of Cathy that I took just a few minutes after that first one. I like the way that this picture turned out quite a bit.
And this last one is just a couple of swans and their baby that we saw once we had made it quite a way from where we started out. They came out of the weeds right after we passed them, but I had already put the camera back into the dry bag.
We both had a lot of fun. By my estimates from looking at the map, we probably paddled about two miles altogether before we got back out of the water. Cathy took to it really well, and seemed to have a really good time.

While we were there a few other people were out on kayaks. They had some pretty nice hardshell kayaks that looked really nice. That got Cathy and I started discussing the possibility of getting some hardshell kayaks sometime in the future. For now we're just going to stick with the inflatables. But the option of moving to hardshells at some point in time might be doable...but the inflatables still have so many positives in my opinion.

After kayaking we headed home and then went to Outback for dinner. We both had really good meals. On the way home from dinner we stopped at Dunham's Sporting Goods and Cathy finally bought her own life vest. So now she doesn't have to try and use the crappy uncomfy orange vest.

Day two of our mini vacation was really great. Tomorrow we are probably just going to hang out. Maybe go do some shopping. It's supposed to storm tomorrow, so our original plan of going to the Science Center has been changed. We'll probably be doing that on Thursday now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation Day One: Some Chores Done and Free Money...

So today was day one of our mini-vacation. We got the two cleanup chores that we were planning on doing done. Cathy did the bathroom and I got the laundry room done. It wasn't really as time consuming as we thought it would be. Cathy had the bathroom done in about an hour, and I had the laundry room done in about an hour as well.

We also had my mom, grandma, and grandpa down for dinner for my grandma's birthday. We went to Hudson's. My grandma got a whole glass of iced tea spilled in her lap.

But the best part of the evening was the free money. They have lottery pull tabs at Hudson's. My grandma got a couple and didn't win anything. I went and got five for me and Cathy. Cathy got her's done and didn't win anything. I won $2 on my first one. Then on my second one I won $50!!

So all in all, today was productive...and free money is always cool!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Badly Needed Time Off...

So today was the last day that I have to work until next Saturday.

That's right, we have five whole days off. I think it's a perfect time to take the small vacation, too, because things at work had been pretty negative lately and it was really just a good time to not have to go there for a few days.

We aren't really going to do a whole lot of stuff. We are going to go to the Detroit Science Museum and to Frankenmuth on Wednesday. That's really going to be the only "day trip" that we really have planned. We ae also going to do some kayaking. Cathy is going to go and get a life vest in the next day or two so that we can get out and do that. It's supposed to be a pretty nice couple of days, so I think that maybe we'll try to get the kayaking done on Tuesday. We'll just be going to the lake that I've done it at a few times, and probably not going to far out into the lake seeing as it's Cathy's first time in hers.

Other than that, we'll be doing some cleaning up around the house. I have decided that my project is going to be organizing and cleaning the laundry room in the basement. There's a ton of stuff just shoved in there, and it would be nice to be able to get in there and not have to step over things in order to get to the washer or dryer. Cathy is going to be doing some heavy duty cleaning in the bathroom. We've had an exhaust fan in there that hasn't been working very well, so there are a few spots of mildew that she wants to get cleaned up.

Oh yah, I can't forget that I'll also be mowing the lawn. It wouldn't be a vacation without some lawn work, would it?? I MAY...and this is a HUGE may...try to clean out the circle garden in the back. Cathy and I have finally decided what we want to do with that area, and it's pretty much just take all of the plants and weeds out and put down some mulch and turn it into a nice big campfire area. But I don't know if that's something that I really want to tackle on my week off.

So it's probably going to be a pretty good mix of relaxation and work around the house...but it will still be better than going TO work!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

One Last Taste of Greatness...

So tonight while I was at Meijer (a large local department store, much like a Walmart) I was in line to checkout with the dog food that I was purchasing and I figured I'd grab a 20 ounce drink for the UFC Fights tonight.

I looked into the Pepsi cooler, and what did I see?? One more more strange more chance to taste the greatness that is Pepsi Throwback.

See, this drink was a "Limited Time Only" thing and a few weeks ago it got harder to find. Over that time, it has basically been removed from stores and is now pretty much impossible to find.

I have no idea why there was ONE left in this cooler at the front of this large store...but I wasn't going to complain. I grabbed the last one and threw it in the cart. Hopefully this drink will be back next summer. I really don't want this to be the last chance I ever get to taste this wonderful soda!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

So Longboarding...

...has so far been a blast. I haven't gone anywhere other than my neighborhood, but I have a pretty good time going down the small hill that our house sits on. There are two really steep hills right around the corner, but at the bottom of them is a railroad I haven't been willing to try them yet. I have these horrible images of myself hitting the tracks and flying off of the board. Not fun.

But, if you've been following my blog or if you know me at all, I of course have already started planning to upgrade my current equipment. I don't really need to, but it gives me something to do with my spare time. I spend a lot of time on the web looking at reviews and pictures and such of various things out there...and when I find a new hobby that I'm enjoying I figure I might as well spend some time finding new things that I like in my new hobby. I did it with the kayaks before and I still have in mind what kayak I will get when I eventually buy a new one...if I ever do.

So, let me show you a couple of pictures of the boards that I am looking at.

The first is a board called the Fat Daddy by a company called Flexdex. At 60 inches long it's about as long as you can get a longboard...which is what I really am interested in. Big and heavy for cruising. The next deck is a deck by a company called Lonboard Larry. It is called Adam's Old School Dancer. It's 59" long. This is what it looks like.
The primary difference between these two boards is the width. The Old School Dancer is only 8.5" wide, where the Fat Daddy is over 10" wide. I like the idea of the extra width because I feel that on my current 9" wide deck I think my feet are a bit too big.

The other difference is in the overall company. Flexdex seems like a relatively large company that does big business. Longboard Larry on the other hand is a small company that builds all of it's boards by hand after they are ordered. I like the idea of the smaller company, but the bad side of that is the fact that the LBL decks are MUCH more expensive. The Fat Daddy can be purchased as a complete for right around $150 if you get a "blemished" deck. The LBL OSD on the other hand will cost almost $300 in a similar setup.

Both of them get pretty good reviews. I think I like the looks of the OSD a bit better, but the Fat Daddy wins in every other aspect.

Either way, I have some good options for an upgrade!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


So there is one game in the history of video games that changed the way that I played...forever.

Was it "Goldeneye" on the Nintendo 64?? Excellent multiplayer, but no.
Was it the sequel to that game, "Perfect Dark" on the Nintendo 64 as well?? Again, excellent game, but no.
Was it the "Halo" series?? One of my favorites, but again, no.

What game could it be, you ask??

The game that changed games for me forever was "Mechwarrior 3" on the PC. I got the game in 2000 and instantly installed it onto my PC. It worked pretty well on my PC and it was a fun game. But then something happened...something that made it more than just a game...

...I found out that you could go onto the internet and play this game with other people all over the world. I tried it, and forever games were changed for me. No more would sitting next to another person on the couch trying to play on a TV screen that's been split in half be sufficient. No more would playing games alone be sufficient. No, this game introduced me to the wonderful world of online gaming, and in a single statement, it is the most influential game that I have ever played. No other game has ever literally changed the way that I view video games the way that "Mechwarrior 3" did.

Now, you may be wondering what this is all about...and that's what I'll get to right now. In exactly 20 minutes, IGN is going to be releasing the world exclusive trailer for the newest Mechwarrior game..."Mechwarrior 5." See, I played "MW4," but it wasn't nearly as huge for me as "MW3" was because my PC wasn't really up to the task...but this "MW5" announcement has really got my interest, because we just happen to have a brand new gaming PC sitting in this house that's just begging to be run it's hardest while a modified Thor armor slams railgun rounds through the cockpit of a MadCat.

I'm actually extremely excited about this announcement...I have always wanted another "MW" game, and it's finally going to happen. You may wonder why this is so exciting...well, a few years back Microsoft bought the company responsible for the Mech games, FASA. After a few years and a few pretty good games, something happened and the partnership disolved. When that happened, FASA effectively ceased to exist, and the game licenses that it had were kind of lost in the rubble of the partnership falling apart. But the guy that owned FASA to begin with has formed his own company and that company is heading this new game it will more than likely be a true "Mechwarrior" game, not some rehashed effort by some company that doesn't know this IP...

This is gonna be awesome!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


So Cathy and I are taking a few days off next week. We'll be taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, which means we will have Monday through Friday off.
We haven't really got a ton of stuff planned. Basically this is just more of a "we're sick of going to work" vacation...but we do have a few things in mind.
We might go with some co-workers on Tuesday to a place that has really great breakfasts. I guess they go there quite often on Tuesdays, and normally we work so we can't go, but this time we might.
We also are planning on going to the Detroit Science Center. It's a science museum that we've heard is pretty cool, but the best part about it is that it's got a "Star Trek" exhibit right now with all kinds of cool stuff from the movies and TV shows.
We might end up trying to get out in the kayaks one of the days that we're off, but I'm not sure where we'll go for that.
And we MIGHT try to go to the cottage for a night. But that will really depend on if we decide to do the breakfast or not. We don't want to do all of this stuff on those days off, so this one will only happen if we don't do the breakfast.
Either way, it's going to be a nice break from work, and it should keep us relatively sane until Labor Day when we head for Vegas!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Work Schedule...

So the schedule at work has been pretty brutal on our shift lately. We've been at the minimum staffing level everyday for probably about two weeks now.

What happened was that training class really put us between a rock and a hard place. We had to get the class done, but we rushed it together and got it set up on either side of the 4th of July Holiday. Well, I don't know if it's like this everywhere in the country, but 4th of July in Michigan is a huge holiday for people to take time off on. So basically, we were at minimum numbers all week BEFORE the 4th weekend because of the training class, then we were BELOW minimum numbers all weekend of the 4th, and now this week we're at minimums again because of the second week of classes.

It's been pretty annoying going in to work everyday and having there only be about three people for the start of our shift, then looking at the roster and realizing that there will only be about five more coming in.

Oh well, hopefully it'll all be back on track soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Some Changes to My Blog...

So, even though I really liked the look of the blog before, I was having some trouble with it when it came to videos. Basically, the page wasn't wide enough for a lot of the videos that I have tried to link to recently...and the page wasn't something that would appear that I could easily edit, so I had to pick a new layout. I don't think this was too much of an issue on any widescreen monitor setups, but on my laptop I noticed it quite regularly. I'm sure on anything that wasn't a widescreen, it was an issue. So I figured I might as well just avoid any issues altogether...if it works on my laptop, then it will work on pretty much anything!!

I went with this one because it still gets me the header picture that I want, but it also gets me a space for posts wide enough to post pretty much any video that I would ever want to. It actually is large enough for me to post a video that is 853 pixels wide, which as best I can tell is about as large as they come on Youtube.

So tonight I changed the template on the blog. I didn't really like the new look, but it was working from a functional standpoint, so that was good enough for me.

But then as I was messing with Blogger's Dashboard, I noticed that you can change preferences for I started messing with the colors, and ended up with what I have right now.

I actually really like the way it looks not only is it still as functional as I want it to be, but now it also has a style that I really like!!!

Funny Pet Trick...

So I was looking around on Youtube today for a video I saw the other day with a beagle in it. I wanted to show it to Cathy because I thought the beagle looked just like Dillon.

Well, I couldn't find that video, but I found another one that's really awesome. I think this dog's trick is pretty funny!!!


So I've had Google as my home page for as long as I can remember. I use Google for EVERYTHING. I don't use Google Toolbars. I don't use Search Boxes. I use Google. I hit home on my browser and then type what I want in the Google page itself.

For as long as I can remember I've had Google set as my homepage...but it's always been a pretty boring homepage. Just a white screen with a search bar right in the middle of it.

Well, the other day I was messing around with Google and I found something called iGoogle. It's like Google, but it throws everything that you want onto that homepage.

So now my Google page has my Gmail right on the page when I get there. A direct link to Youtube. A direct link to Blogger. A weather tracker. A calendar. The works.

It's pretty awesome. It makes Google just that much more useful. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend giving it a shot!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Using the Longboard...

So I've been using the longboard a little bit.

It's actually really fun. I'm already getting a bit better at keeping my balance on it...and it's getting broken in better so it actually turns now. I'm still losing my balance a bit in turns, so I need to get smoother at that...but I'm doing pretty well carving back and forth while generally going in a straight line.

I've gone up and down the street several times, and around the block tonight. What's really cool is that our street is JUST a steep enough hill that at the top of it I can push off once or twice, then just gain speed and glide all the way to the end of the street. It's pretty cool.

I MAY try to get the camcorder out tomorrow and try to rig it up somehow so that I can post up a "first person view" of the board...but I'm not really sure how I'll go about doing that...but it might be worth a try!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Devil Sticks...

So the other day Cathy and I stopped at The Toy House. It's one of the largest privately owned toy stores in the country, if not the largest. They have all kinds of really cool stuff in there.

I was browsing the area where they have things like boomerangs and things like that, and something caught my eye. They were called "SpinSticks." I had seen them before, but under a different name...Devil Sticks. I'm assuming that they don't call them Devil Sticks for a mass marketed product because of the word "Devil" in the name. Either way, they are exactly Devil Sticks...and a pretty nice set at that.

This set cost $15 and was covered in a soft rubbery covering that makes it easier to "catch" the stick with the two handheld sticks. I started giving them a try yesterday, and I actually was able to do it pretty easily. I was able to put together a volley of over 50 passes without dropping the stick. I can't do any tricks yet, but I was getting better and better as I continued to just pass it back and forth. I was able to do one complete spin and catch, but then instantly dropped the stick right after that.

Either way, it was a fun way to kill about 30 minutes or so of my time on a nice afternoon. I will continue trying to get better with them and hopefully I'll be able to have a video like the one at the beginning of this post some day!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Got the Longboard Today...

So today I got the longboard. It took about five days to arrive after I ordered it.

When I opened it, I was immediately impressed by the way it looked. The wheels also really turned easily and seemed to be really smooth.

I tried it out right away. I quickly crashed. Going down the driveway I kept my balance, but I didn't manage to turn enough so I went careening into the grass of the house across the street. A quick ninja roll and I hopped back to my feet...if anyone were watching, it may have even seemed like I meant to do it!!! So I grabbed the board and started heading down the street. Now, my street has a bit of a hill, so I was going down the hill. I didn't really notice it, but I got going at a pretty good clip. When I got to the end of the street, I started running into the same problems that I had going down the driveway...a dead end was coming up and I wasn't turning enough!!! I crashed again...this time literally flying through the air before rolling and bouncing back up.

I started to get a bit better as I messed with it some more. It's actually pretty fun to ride. And I was right about the exercise thing...when I was done tonight, my whole body was pretty sore...but sore in the way that feels good after you've gotten a bit of a workout.

I'll probably try and do it for a little while quite often. It's a blast!! I'm glad I got it...even if I'm not very good at it.

Here is a quick video I made of the board.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Got My Hat...

So when I got home from work on Wednesday, the hat was on the doorstep. Well, not the hat was of course in a nice box. But anyways, it was here.

I got it in the house and opened it up. At first I was a bit disappointed, because I thought that they had sent me the wrong color. But a close look at the tag showed that I had in fact got exactly what I had ordered. I guess the pictures on the internet show it to be a bit lighter in color. But that doesn't really matter, because I actually quickly grew to like the darker look of the hat that I had received.

I grabbed it and messed with it a little bit. It certainly is very pliable. It folds and bends extremely easily, then quickly snaps back to the shape it's supposed to be. I guess kangaroo leather is pretty nice!!!

So I tried it on, and...perfect fit!!! I'm glad I e-mailed the company before I ordered it. Had I gone with the size I was originally planning on using, it wouldn't have fit me very well. It would have been way to snug. This one fits like a glove.

I then tried my hand at folding it up just like the instructions on the bag show. I was again a bit disappointed because it didn't seem to be folding up as small as I thought it should have been. Cathy suggested that maybe it just needed to be broken in a little bit. So I wore the hat around for a while, folding and bending it whenever I was just sitting there. After a bit of this, it turned out she was right!! The hat was folding down smaller and smaller everytime I tried...and everytime I folded it, it instantly sprang back to life!!!

I actually like the hat quite a bit. I like the way it looks on me. I found myself thinking that it wouldn't be too bad to wear it a lot more often than just when I'm in the sun in Vegas, or kayaking, or working in the yard. I ended up wearing it around all day today and didn't really seem to notice anyone giving me funny looks or anything, despite the fact that I looked like I should be out hunting crocs or something!!!

I'm really happy with the purchase. The hat looks good, seems to be great quality, and I think it's going to come in super handy when I originally intended to use Vegas in 100 degree weather!!! But until then, I'll be wearing it around here quite a bit!!!