Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Went Ahead and Finished...

I went ahead and finished the garage off tonight.

I still don't have enough room in the trash to throw the last few things out, but I went ahead and rearranged the tools so that they are easier to get to and easier to keep organized.

I actually had some concerns about the shelf that I was putting the tools on. It's right over my car's hood, and I don't know how strong it I decided to go and get myself a new toolbox. This one is lighter and bigger...and it will actually go on the floor underneath the shelves. That will free up the space on that shelf for things like my drills and other power tools...instead of all of my normal hand tools.

The box that I got is on wheels and is a good size. It's easy to move about and it holds all of my tools excellently. This is it right here, it's a Stanley tool box.
This means that I currently have a metal Craftsman toolbox that I no longer have any use for. The top of it is pretty mashed up, and doesn't really close very well. However, it still has some nice working drawers. I will probably call my dad and see if he wants it. I'd rather someone that can use it take it than throw it away.

But, I'm happy I got a couple of chores out of the way today. Both the garage and the shed look great!!! Not only do they look great, they are much easier to get around in now. I can easily get to everything in the shed and the garage with no issues at all now.

Now, what project will I tackle next??

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Did It...

...and it only took about 2 hours.

I completely gutted the shed. I literally took everything out of it.

There was an old croquet set in there. There was what appeared to be some kind of ancient water pressure machine...something that would hook to a hose and make more pressure than the spigot is putting out. Not a power washer, though. There were two old hedge trimmers. An old weed wacker.

I got everything out of there and put some of it behind the shed and a lot of it my garbage container. I then got to work on the garage.

I pretty much gutted the garage, as well. I threw away a TON of stuff from the garage. So much stuff that my garbage bin is now full...and won't get picked up for a whole week. I actually ended up having to leave a few things IN the garage that I WANT to throw away, only because there literally was no room left in the trash. I'll have to wait and throw those couple of things out next Tuesday. It's only a couple of boxes.

I got my tools up on the wall. Going through those will be a job in an of itself, so probably in a week or so I'll go through and throw away anything that's in those tool boxes that I don't need or want. I know that I have about 50 of every size socket and about 30 screw drivers that are all the same size. I would not be able to find what I needed and go out and buy another one, then find all the ones that were the same later. So I probably have a good amount of tools that can just be pitched. But that will be for another day.

After getting the garage gutted, I started taking things to the shed. I took the snowblower out there, the snow shovels, all the other lawn tools, my motorcycle stands, my bike rack, the power washer, the air compressor, the hedge trimmer, and some other random things. I got them all on the shelf in the shed and everything looks really nice.

So, those are two tasks off of my To-Do list that are now done. The only things really left from these two tasks are the last couple pieces of trash from the garage and straightening out my tools. Those are two things that won't take very long and should be easy to do...

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Gonna Do It...


I'm going to go out and get a few things taken care of on my To-Do List.

I'm going to clean out the garage and clean out the shed. I figure that whatever is IN the shed that I want to get rid of, for the time being I will just stash behind the shed.

It shouldn't take too long, I don't think, and it will make a lot more room in the garage and the shed will be a lot nicer to use.

I have found a way that will work excellently for me to get the mulch/wood chips for the circle garden project. My boss at work was mentioning that you can rent a pickup truck from Home Depot and use it to haul stuff around. So I'll go rent one of those and then use it to pick up a load of mulch from the landscape place I found near our house. I'll then bring that mulch to the house and drop it off back near the circle garden. I'll be able to use it for the circle garden then, and the left over mulch I can cart up to the house and fill in spots around the house that need new mulch.

Then, after I drop the mulch off at the house...I can use the pickup truck to take the stuff that I'm taking out of the garage and the shed and drop it off at the trash disposal place!!!

So, I'll move the stuff out of the garage and into the shed...and I'll move the stuff out of the shed to behind the shed. Then in a couple of weeks I'll get that truck and go drop off the stuff that's behind the shed at the dump.

Either way, I'll end up getting two of the things off of my To-Do List done...and hopefully that will be enough to jump start me towards getting the entire thing done!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Elite Wasn't Enough...

Wow. What a run.

For the second straight year, the Michigan State University Spartans are going to the Final Four.

This might be the most impressive run that I've seen the Spartans make, and I've now watched them go to the Final Four SIX times in the last 12 years.

This one just seems a bit more special. The games have been VERY close. Four wins by a total of 13 points.

70-67 over New Mexico.
85-83 over Maryland. That one came with an extra does of drama...a game winning three pointer as time expired.
59-52 over Northern Iowa. That one was a lot closer than that 7 point margin.
70-69 over Tennessee in an epic game that came down to the last second.

Keep in mind that these wins have come with their Floor General and best player, Kalin Lucas, sidelined with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Delvon Roe is playing with a torn MCL. Chris Allen is playing with a hobbled foot.

All of this...and they have still managed to make it back to the Final Four.

Indianapolis has been good to the Spartans in the past...let's hope it's good to them next weekend.

Go Green!!!!

Go White!!!!

Go State!!!!


Cathy and I have been watching wrestling on Monday nights lately. Mainly because there isn't really anything else on. It's been pretty entertaining.

Tonight is Wrestlemania 26. We were invited to watch it at a coworkers house, and we were planning on going. For whatever reason, though, we didn't. Probably because I don't really enjoy going out after work. Our work day is long enough with the 45 mile drive each way. I also didn't want the dogs to be in their crates for like 14 hours.

So we got home from work, turned on the TV, and went ahead and ordered the pay per view.

Of course, it was more than half over...but luckily it repeats immediately after the live show, so our plan is to watch the second half of the event then DVR the first half when it is repeated.

It is a pretty expensive event...and unfortunately we didn't find the HD version of it until after we had already ordered the normal one, so we are watching it in standard definition, which isn't nearly as nice looking as wrestling in HD.

It's been pretty entertaining so far. I've never watched a Wrestlemania before...I've had some wrestling PPVs in the past, but never the "Big One." So it's a fun thing to be watching right now.

Weight Loss Update...

I'm proud of myself.

I've been doing pretty well at cutting back on junk food, and I've done EXCELLENTLY at the whole cutting back on soda thing.

I've had a few non-diet sodas, but they were Mexican Cokes made with pure cane sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup. So those are more like a tasty treat than a drink, in my opinion.

I've gotten down to about 234 pounds. That's nearly 8 pounds lost in the last 4 weeks...and that's without being able to really get any kind of exercise in. I've ONLY adjusted my eating habits.

I still have some work to do on my eating. Even though I've largely cut back on junk food, I still have a tendency to binge on junk food type stuff about once a week.

I think if I can cut that out, I will start dropping even more weight. Add to that the fact that it's starting to get nicer outside which will lead me to some land paddling, and I'm thinking that I'll be down to 230 before I know it!!

My initial goal was to hit 230 and then reevaluate for my next goal. I'm hoping to get down to about 215 by the end of the summer. It's going to take some hard work, but I CAN do it!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Getting Warmer...

Looks like next week it's going to start getting warmer.

Highs in the high 60s and low 70s. That's the type of weather I've been waiting for!!!

On Tuesday it's supposed to be about 59. That's the last day on the forecast with a high less than 60. I plan on getting a few things done on Tuesday.

First, I am going to clean the garage and the shed and get those two items off of my spring time to-do list. I might get the new mower out and tool around on it in the yard again for a while. I have some more leaves that need to be chopped up.

I am also going to try to get out on my longboard. I want to go to the new trail that I've found, but if I don't end up having the time to do that, I'll just go for my normal paddle around the neighborhood.

On Wednesday, Cathy and I are going into Lansing to watch a Cirque du Soleil show that is playing there. We will probably also try to get some dinner at one of the restaurants that we don't have around here.

But anyways...I'm getting really excited about the weather finally starting to come around!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

So Long, Cindy...

...the Spartans are Elite...again.

After playing, in my opinion, a pretty poor first half, Sparty put it together for the second half and played Big 10 basketball for a change.

Although I thought the Spartans missed out on a few opportunities to ice the game a bit earlier, they still hung on to win and send Cinderella packing.

Now the Spartans will play Tennessee on Sunday for a chance to go to the Final Four.


I like Mojitos.

I mean, I REALLY like Mojitos. They are probably my favorite alcoholic drink of any kind. The ingredients in them make it virtually impossible to actually taste the rum that's in them. This, in turn, makes it so that you can drink several of them without really even realizing that you are drinking alcohol.

Well, I have had drinks that I liked before. Whenever I tried to recreate them at home, however, I never ended up having any luck. They never tasted as good as they did at the place that I got them at. A perfect example of this is the apple martini. I had a SUPERB apple martini at a bar in the Luxor Hotel and Casino is Las Vegas. When I got home, I tried for weeks to recreate it...and never even came close. In fact, I actually gave up on them and don't really even like apple martinis any more.

The other night, however, I started experimenting with a Mojito. I found a couple of recipes for them, and tried each one. They were both pretty good. The first one had me muddle a half a lime in the glass. The second one had me juice a whole lime and just use the juice. The problem was, the first one seemed hard to get mixed up because in the glass with half the lime there wasn't much room to get any stirring or mixing going once I had everything in the glass. The second one, on the other hand, seemed like it was just a BIT too "lime-y" if that's a word.

So I ended up modifying the first recipe just slightly, and came up with absolute perfection!!!! It's basically just the Classic Bacardi Mojito recipe, but instead of muddling half of the lime in the glass, I juice half a lime and use that.

I also found out that the key to the whole thing was filling the glass entirely with ice before adding the rum and the club soda. If you don't add the ice, the whole thing doesn't seem to work. However, with the ice, it quickly tasted just like I thought a Mojito should taste.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Clothes...

When we were in Las Vegas, one night we were planning on going to the bar to hang out.

I had worn my one nice shirt that I took with us to the bar the night before, so I wanted to pick out a new shirt to wear that night. I ended up going into the Quiksilver store that is in the Miracle Mile Shops in the Planet Hollywood hotel.

I ended up getting a button up short sleeved shirt with a t-shirt to go underneath it. I had never purchased anything from Quiksilver before, but I really liked the way that the stuff looked...and it didn't cost too much, either.

Quiksilver is a company that makes clothing for surfers or skateboarders. The stuff has a really laid back casual look, but at the same time is stylish and fun.

Since buying the stuff in Las Vegas, I have been scouring Ebay for deals on clothes by Quiksilver. I have never purchased a used piece of clothing before two weeks ago, but I bought some from a guy in Hawai'i.

I got two $40 shirts for a total of $7 shipped. I then bought a Quiksilver backpack to wear while I longboard. I ended up buying a hat off of Ebay that was new with tags. It would have cost $30 plus shipping new, but I got it for $15 total. I got another shirt off of Ebay for $15 shipped. I got another brand new one off of Ebay, with tags, that retails at $50 for $15.

So all in all, I now have five total short sleeved button up Quiksilver shirts, a nice black hat, and a pretty nice backpack. I also asked Cathy for two other hats for my birthday, and she said she got me something else from their website. I'm not sure what it is, so I'm excited to see what it is!!!

I haven't bought this many articles of clothing in YEARS. I generally wear just t-shirts and jeans, or t-shirts and shorts. I'm enjoying picking out some new items. I like the way they look and it makes me feel a bit more stylish.

No Overtime After All...

Tonight we were asked if we wanted to actually stay for the overtime, and both Cathy and I said no.

As it turns out, a couple of people WANTED to stay that weren't going to be allowed to. I guess our manager decided that if there were some people that DID want to stay and some others that did NOT want to stay, why not let the people who wanted the overtime stay and let the people that wanted to leave go??

So Cathy and I got to go home at our normal scheduled time, and the couple of people that wanted the overtime were able to stay.

I'm glad we were able to leave, but I would still like to see the overall situation addressed and hopefully a formal policy put in place. I discussed this with our managers today and was told that something was being worked on so that this wouldn't be an issue in the future.

Extra Money

So today at work, there is supposedly a charter flight leaving after we normally go home.

Apparently they have decided that everyone that is scheduled to work will have to work two extra hours for overtime.

I'm not really happy about the way that it was handled, but the extra money is going to be nice. Why am I not happy about the way it was handled??

Well, a few months ago we supposedly had a charter flight that was leaving at 11:00 PM. Three hours after we are normally scheduled to get out of work. Instead of giving our shift three hours of OT, or trying to find volunteers to come in and work, they decided to move our shift back an hour and a half, give the morning shift 1.5 hours of overtime and give us 1.5 hours of overtime.

All of this was done, and nobody ever bothered to find out exactly what time the flight was scheduled to depart. Turns out it was 11:00 zulu time, which is what the time used for air traffic control is, and the plane actually left at about 6:00 PM. So we all sat around for a good hour and a half after our normal time to go home for no reason...and didn't even end up getting any overtime out of the deal.

After that the answer that we were given about how the next late charter flight would be handled was "We'll try harder to make sure something works better." Well, they didn't really seem to do anything to try and find a better way to handle it. That's what upsets me. I wish they would have taken this opportunity to try to find a plan that worked better for everyone involved...people who WANT to work overtime and people who don't want to work it.

Oh well, extra money is extra money, I guess. I don't particularly like staying for overtime, but I guess if it's going to be a couple of hours it's actually worth it.

I just hope that eventually they can find a solution that works for everyone and still manages to make sure we have adequate coverage to handle the flight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Time To-Do List...

So I put together my spring time to-do list today. Most of it is centered around cleaning, as most people's spring to-do lists probably are.

Here's just a quick rundown.

1. I want to finally finish painting the big bedroom and get it cleaned out. I also would like to clean out the office in the basement. To go along with that, I would also like to finally get the living room cleaned up. The old computer has been sitting in there for a while and there are a bunch of dolls that need to be categorized and taken care of. While we're on working inside the house, I also need to finally get around to putting up the new heater/fan that we have to go in the bathroom.

2. I want to clean the shed and the garage out. I need to get some of the stuff that's in the shed out of the shed and gone, permanently. There is an old push lawn mower in there that doesn't work, a weed whacker, a hedge trimmer, and what appears to be some kind of power washer. Those items need to be thrown away, given away, or something. After I get those things out of the shed, I can get started on getting some stuff that's in the garage moved into the shed. Things like my motorcycle stands would be better off in the shed, and all of the gardening equipment that's in the garage would definitely be better off in the shed. There are some nice shelves in the shed that would work perfectly for all of the gardening type stuff. After I get those things out of the garage and into the shed, I can then get to work on getting my tools that are in the garage up on the shelves that are in the garage. That will free up some floor space in the garage, and make it look quite a bit tidier.

3. This is probably my most significant project. We have a small circle garden in the back yard that is overgrown with weeds. Cathy's mom used to use it as a garden...but neither of us are into that so our plan for now is to basically just level it. After that we're going to put down some of the weed guard stuff and then put a nice thick layer of wood chips over it. Once we've got that down and on the ground, we'll go about getting ourselves one of those nice outdoor fireplace type of things and have that right in the center of the area. We'll then add a couple of nice chairs to it and have a nice place to sit and have a fire at night if we want to. The last part of this project that I want to do...which will probably be the most getting three 8 foot lengths of some kind of privacy fence up behind the area. The reason for this is because the bushes that are about 5 feet away from this area of the back yard is a place that wasps really like to make nests in. The last thing that I want is to be out trying to enjoy a nice fire only to get attacked by angry wasps. So we'll have to either buy a few 8 foot sections of fencing, or make them ourselves. I would LIKE to make some out of bamboo, but I don't think that's going to be very feasible as far as the cost goes. What more than likely will happen is we'll just find whatever 8 foot section of fencing is the least expensive and then go with that.

So, I know that doesn't look like an awful long but it seems like an awful lot of work to me. I know that I can get the shed and garage cleaned up in one afternoon. That won't be hard at all. I can also get the circle garden taken care of in probably a single day. Hopefully I can find a place that will deliver a truck full of mulch to the house instead of me having to buy like 100 bags from the store. If I have to buy it from the store that will probably end up taking a whole day all by itself.

The hard part is going to be the stuff inside the house. It seems like the four rooms that really need to be cleaned up are literally just full of stuff that needs to be dealt with. Whether we end up having a garage sale or just throwing things away left and right will be something that we need to discuss. I'm kind of guessing that each room would really only take about a day or two to get done completely...but with it being four rooms that's a good several days worth of work.

The nice thing about all of this, however, is that they are things that once I finally just get around to doing them, they won't need to be done at all again. Sure, I may need to add some extra mulch to the circle garden every spring, or move some tools around in the garage, but for the most part they are do-it-and-forget-it projects that won't need any regular care.

So, I'm going to TRY to get around to doing at least one of these things on my next days off. I will probably start with the shed and the garage. The weather is nice for that right now. It would also be nice enough weather to work on the circle garden, but I haven't seen the mulch and things like that available at the store I shop at yet. Of course, it might be there and I just haven't really looked. Either way, right now I'm leaning towards working on the shed and garage first. It is one of the easier projects, and maybe getting one of the easier ones done will jump start me on working towards getting some of the not-so-easy ones out of the way.


So we've been getting our money's worth at Sears in the last week or so.

We stopped in there on a whim to check out the mowers last week. We ended up buying a mower, obviously.

Then I noticed on their website that they had a deal on glasses. So I ended up getting two pairs of glasses and an eye exam the other day.

When we bought the mower I got a coupon for $10 off an oil change. I needed an oil change, so I figured I might as well use the coupon and got my oil changed at the Sears Auto Center.

When I bought the oil change, they gave me a coupon for $5.00 off any purchase in the store. I used that to get $5 off the mulching attachment for the new mower.

So we've bought quite a few things from them in the last few days...but let me just explain how much money we ended up saving.

The mower was on sale for $300 off and we got 0% financing for 12 months on it. So we saved $300 and change on the financing with that.

The glasses were on sale for "Two for $99." The sale said that it included $90 standard scratch resistant lenses and the frames. Both frames that I got were $99. Both sets of lenses would have been $180 total. That's $378 worth of glasses, and about $50 for the eye exam. So that's $450 worth of stuff including tax. I actually paid a total of less than $150 on all of it, so I saved over $300 on that.

The oil change with the coupon plus the sale ended up saving me a total of about $20. Oh yah, I forgot to mention that the oil change service was on sale, plus they still let me use the coupon.

Then the $5 off coupon for the mulching kit.

All of this together is a total savings of over $625. That's some pretty good savings on some things that we really needed.

Maybe we should start shopping at Sears quite a bit more often!!!

Mower Arrived!!!

Sears called on Monday night to let us know the delivery window for the mower was between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Not really a bad window, if you ask me. The other couple of times I've gotten delivery windows given to me, it seems like they were "Your new dryer will arrive between 11:00 AM on July 8th 2005 and 6:00 PM on May 17th 2007."

Well, they arrived at 11:41. I had gotten up around 10:30 to go get the old Toro out of the shed. That proved to be a bit of a task. The transmission was stuck so it wouldn't roll anywhere. I had to push it out of the shed basically like you would push a car with it's brakes stuck in the activated position. I was able to get it out a few feet, then lift it up and drop it on it's side in order to get it over the hump at the entrance to the shed. I then grabbed Cathy's car and hooked a chain around the darn thing and just dragged it out to the driveway.

Of course, the stuck transmission made it a bit of a pain for them to load the old one into the truck. They basically had to just yank on the thing for a while and it finally disengaged so that they could get it into their truck. The whole process took about 20 minutes.

I then headed up to the gas station to fill a gas can up and brought it home to make sure the mower started. It started RIGHT up. It's got an electric start which is nice and easy. I rode it around for a few minutes in the yard to get used to the gas and brake on it. I then took it into the back yard and engaged the mower blades so that I could see how well it cut.

It cut the grass really well...and it chopped up the leaves that were left on the ground from last fall really well.

The only problem is it doesn't have a mulching attachment...yet. I ended up buying one of those from Sears this afternoon. I'll have to see what is necessary to install it, because I think it might come with different blades. If it does, I don't know how comfortable I am changing the blades on the mower. Either way, it should be here next week so I'll go and pick it up then.

All in all, I'm really happy with the purchase. It works great and will make mowing so much easier for me. I look forward to using it this summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad Company 2 Update...

I'm starting to learn my way around this game.

I've been playing really well and I'm really enjoying it. The multiplayer is intense, and fairly realistic. I like the fact that you can't get shot very much or you'll die. It really rewards players that are patient and take good shots, and tends to punish people that typically run around guns blazing.

I think this one is going to end up being in my Xbox for a good long time...I don't see any other games on the horizon that will replace this as my go-to multiplayer game.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Glasses!!!

It's been a good six years or so since I got my last set of new glasses.

I was on the Sears website and noticed that they had a deal going on glasses. Two frames with lenses for $99.

So Cathy and I took the afternoon off today and headed to Sears. I needed an eye exam as well, so we made sure that I could get in for one of those.

When we first got there we were looking around and the frames that they said were on sale and I didn't really find any that I liked. So we decided that we would just get me one pair that was not on sale...because I needed some new ones.

I ended up going in for my eye exam, and I found out that I needed a new prescription. When I got done with the eye exam, I came out to pick out the frames that I wanted and the lady showed me some other frames that were on sale that she had forgot to mention before. I found two of those that I liked quite a bit. They are pretty similar, but slightly different colors. One is just black, the other is kind of a greenish-black color. It's hard to describe.

I ended up picking out those two frames. The total cost of the two frames and the eye exam was $148. Not too bad. I think I'm going to take my old glasses and try to find some way to tint them so that I can have a pair of sunglasses.

The new pairs should be here in about two weeks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Live to Play Another Day!!!!!

Up 16 with 12 minutes to play.
Up 9 with 2 minutes to play.
Down 1 with 4 seconds to play.



Live to play another day, to play another day!!! To the Sweet Sixteen!!!

Go Green!!!! Go White!!!!


The other night while I was in Target, I found these cool little robot bug things.

They're called Hexbugs Nano. I didn't end up getting one, because I wanted to see what they did before I spent $8 on one, or $12 on the little habitat thing for them.

So I went home and started looking around online. Apparently they are little robot things that supposedly act like bugs. I imagine that they aren't actually robots at all, and more just little vibrating motors with rubber legs that cause them to act erratically.

Either way, everything I read about them seemed like they were pretty cool. Most of the reviews online mentioned that kids who got them for gifts quickly lost them to their father, because it seems to be such an interesting little gadget.

So I went back to Target tonight and got a set that came with some spots for them to "run around" in and two of the little bugs. I put it all together, and it's actually pretty entertaining. The bugs run around and move on their own. They turn when they run into a wall or each other, and sometimes just generally turn on their own. They flip themselves back onto their feet if they manage to get knocked on their sides. They run into each other, follow each other around, and just generally act like real bugs. It's pretty cool to watch them interact with each other, even if they aren't really doing anything at all other than moving around.

For the set that I got it was about $30. But you can get just a single bug for $8. I think they'd be a great thing to give to someone that loves gadgets.



My brackets are now completely decimated. I had the Jayhawks playing the Villanova Wildcats in the Championship game.

But you know what?? That's okay. If Kansas and Villanova had to go down...I'm glad they went down to two MAJOR underdogs. That's what tournament hoops is all about!!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today is the first official day of spring.

The season seems like it's been teasing us as of late. It was in the mid 60s on my last two days off, but it's supposed to only be in the high 30s today with lots of rain.

Luckily, our next two days off are supposed to be sunny and up around 60 again. That's pretty perfect weather for us to take delivery of our new mower!!! Maybe I'll use it to go around the yard and try to hack up some of the leaves that didn't end up getting raked up last year because it snowed before I got to them.

It looks like the weather will be staying in the 40s and 50s for the few days after that.

I got out on my new board for a few minutes the other day. It was quickly apparent that I lost any of the muscles that I had built by doing it last year, and I'm going to have to start over.

I know that this post is slightly rambling on...I am just excited that the weather is getting better!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

GREAT First Round!!!!

March Madness is in full effect!!!

Day one carried quite a few upsets.

Day two was the opposite, with most of the higher seeded teams prevailing.

I ended up going 22-10 in the first round games in my bracket...and I lost a couple of Sweet 16 teams and one Elite Eight team. Not too bad...but not too good either.

Fortunately for me, most of the people in the bracket challenge didn't do too much better, and some did quite a bit worse. A lot of us are lumped right in the middle with about the same number of correct picks, and fairly close in the total possible points.

Cathy's actually got the second highest possible points total left!!! She was in first for a while today, but a few losses put her a couple of points behind the leader. I think she's got some pretty good picks though, so maybe she'll be right there at the end!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Our New Toy..

Cathy and I have been meaning to get this taken care of for a while.

We've had a riding mower sitting in the shed for the last several years that doesn't run. It will turn over and run for a few minutes, but as soon as you put it in gear it dies. I'm sure it's some kind of carb issue, but I don't know where to get parts for it, and to be honest I didin't really want to have to deal with it.

So tonight we were talking about how we REALLY have to get it taken care of this spring. Every time I mow in the summer I ALWAYS come in talking about how we really need to get the riding mower fixed. So while we were talking, we decided that we would just maybe look for a new one. We figured that Cathy has a Sears card, so if we could catch Sears on a zero percent financing issue or something, we would go ahead and get one.

Well, we went into Sears just to get an idea on pricing...and what do you know?? 0% Financing for 12 Months on purchases over $250. So we found a couple that we liked, and then with the help of the sales person decided on one.

It cost about $1350 with all of the tax and delivery fee. They will also be taking our old broken one away for us, so we don't have to worry about getting rid of that ourselves.

This is going to make mowing SO much easier for me now. I'm sure that I'll actually be able to finish mowing the entire lawn in the time that it had been taking me to only do the front. Maybe even less. More than that, it's actually going to make me WANT to mow...probably like every day!!!

This is the one that we got right here...
Some of it's features...
20 hp Briggs and Straton Gold Engine
42" cutting surface
18" turning radius
5 MPH speed
Mow in reverse
Automatic Transmission
Electric Start

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


...I've lost about 6 pounds in the last two weeks.

The only thing I've really done is cut out as many drinks with calories as I can. Things like soda, juice, and other drinks that have lots of calories I've been trying to drink as little as possible. I've been drinking water and diet soda primarily, with some Gatorade and lemonade every now and then.

I also have started eating a bit more regularly. Trying to do something for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. I do pretty well with that, but on my days off I still tend to just end up having one large meal. I need to address that.

It's starting to get nice outside, too, so I should be able to start getting out and doing some paddling. I got my new board out for just a minute today and it rides like a dream. I'll probably get the paddle out tomorrow and take it for a spin. It's supposed to be sunny and about 62 degrees.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Days Off...

So the dreaded shift bid has finally arrived at work.

I say dreaded because EVERY six months when there's a shift bid, EVERYBODY is on edge for the month or so that it's in the process of being created, bid on, and implemented. They can't ever seem to just have a schedule stay the same from one six month period to the next, so every time people are worried about getting bumped to another shift, getting days off that they don't want, or just getting generally something horrible.

So Cathy and I have had Tuesdays and Wednesdays off on the PM shift for the last six months. It's actually been a pretty good set of days. Stores aren't too busy on them, restaurants are easy to get into, and it's just generally not busy if we have to go anywhere. So we were hoping to be able to just get those same days off and just be good to go.

Instead, we ended up with Wednesday and Thursday off. Close enough, I guess. It just seems kind of silly that we have to move our days off around by ONE day. Oh well, at least we get to stay on the shift that we like...because it seems like several of our shift workers are going to be getting bumped to the early AM shift.

Oh well...maybe it will be better the NEXT shift if I haven't said that every six months for nearly eight years now!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shutter Island...

Tonight Cathy and I went to see the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, "Shutter Island."

We both really enjoyed it. It was eerie, dramatic, and well acted. I really enjoyed DiCaprio's performance. I don't know if there are many other actors out there that can get into character as well as he can.

I liked the psychological aspects of the film. You are led to believe that DiCaprio is sane and searching for answers to a case on the island, then you are led to believe that maybe he's the one that's actually crazy. All the while, it keeps flipping back and forth between making him seem like each of these options is the correct one.

The end really caught me off guard. I won't talk at all about it, because I don't want to ruin any of it for anyone that might be reading that does plan on seeing it eventually.

I will just finish up by saying that I really liked it, and thought it was a really good movie.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bad Company...

I've been looking for a military type online shooter lately. I still love "Left 4 Dead 2," but I wanted something that was people with guns against people with guns.

Out of nowhere came "Battlefield Bad Company 2." I never played the first one, but I had been playing "Battlefield 1943" on Xbox Live for a while before "Left 4 Dead 2" came out.

So I decided today to go and pick up "Bad Company 2."

Man, I'm glad I did. I didn't even try the single player campaign, which is supposed to be quite good. Instead, I jumped right into the multiplayer and was having a blast. It's got GIANT maps...12 on 12...helicopters, tanks, Hummers, boats, jet-skis,'s got four different character classes, and you can choose between them any time you end up dead.

It's a fantastic online experience, and it's challenging. My kill-death ratio is hovering just above 1...which means I die nearly every time I kill someone...however, I was trying to do some things tonight instead of killing to get some things accomplished for my team. Some kamikaze bomb plants, some flying a helicopter while others were gunning and getting kills.

I'm thinking this one is going to spend a LOT of time in my Xbox...

Monday, March 8, 2010

My First Big Magic Moment...

So, if you've been following this blog for any amount of time, you'll know that recently I have become pretty interested in magic.

I buy at least one effect every two weeks, and I play around with the effects all the time. I'm not really very good, but I enjoy learning how the effects work and showing them off to the select few people that I show them to.

Well, while we were in Las Vegas, I bought a DVD that had a coin in bottle trick on it. To my surprise, when I got it home and was watching it, it also had a version of an effect that I have had on my wish list at Penguin for quite a while.

I then made the effect and have been practicing it quite a bit. I really like it. It's very visual and gets pretty good reactions from the people I've shown it to.

However, tonight, as I was practicing with it a little bit...I had an idea. An idea that would allow me to show the cards more freely both before and after the effect. This method that I thought up also hides the working of the effect quite a bit better than the standard version.

In the version that I got on the DVD, you can cleanly show the cards from the top of them immediately after you have finished the effect, but if you show them from the bottom you would reveal the trick. With my version, you can cleanly show both sides of the cards immediately after the effect without worrying about revealing anything.

I'm not sure that this hasn't been done before, but I'm pretty amazed at myself right now, because I thought up a way to improve an already amazing effect and make it even better. This is the first time that I've actually been able to truly improve an effect. I have changed a few to make them work better for me, but they weren't really improvements. I feel that with this idea, I've made this effect that much more awesome.

Now...if only I could find some way to market it and make some money!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Today at work a couple of my coworkers were doing a security walk and they saw something odd.

Somehow, a bird had gotten into the giant window frame that looks out over the runway, and he was stuck trying to get INTO the airport. He must've come down about 30 feet in the window frame. The only thing we can think of is that he somehow got into the frame on the roof and made his way down.

He was able to get his head out of the frame, but he was stuck there and couldn't get any farther. He was being blocked by a radiator cover. So I slid the cover out of the way, hoping that he would be able to get out then, but he still couldn't quite get out. I think he would have fit, but he didn't have anything to put his feet on to push himself out.

So we put the cover back in place and figured we'd come check on him later. Well, after we were done with all the work there was to do, we came back to check and he seemed like he wasn't in very good shape. He wasn't moving around a lot, he had managed to get his foot stuck in the crack too, and he looked really tired.

At this point in time, I figured out a way to pry some of the metal away from the wall that might let him get out...but I wasn't sure if I should do it...because it could have caused a little bit of damage to the wall behind the cover. So I went and asked one of the Airport Operations guys, and he came and checked it out. He said "If you can get him out, then let's get him out...we don't want him to die in there, not only because we don't want him to die...but because the smell will probably be pretty bad." So I went to work on the wall. I got it to the point where he was able to get about half of his body out, but he couldn't get any farther than that.

We then left him alone, because the Operations guy said that one of the maintenance guys was going to be in soon, and that he would know how to get the wall apart a bit more. So we waited, and made sure that he didn't get his head stuck in the hole that we had made.

As we were waiting, another Airport Operations guy showed up to see what was going on. I showed him where the bird was, and he said "We can get him out. Let's pull this nail out and then we can get this panel off." So John, that was the guy that had showed up, went to get a hammer. He came back a couple of minutes later with a big set of pliers, because he couldn't find a hammer. He then pulled the nail out of the support for the radiator cover, but the support still wouldn't come off. John then pulled on the support a bit and we realized that it was anchored into the wall. He used the pliers to get the anchor out of there, then I removed the support for the cover. As I did that, John bent one last piece of metal...and...VOILA!!!!! We had a bird!!!

He was being really calm in John's hand...he let us pet him on his head and didn't seem scared at all. I think that he knew we were trying to help him, and I think he wasn't scared of us at all. He just looked like he was thankful...if that makes any sense.

We were still a bit worried about him, though, because we weren't sure if he had struggled too much. So John took him out one of the boarding gate doors and set him down on a luggage tug. We expected him just to sit there, but to our surprise he took off immediately and flew as far away from the airport as it seemed like he could!!!

I'm sure he'll probably stay away from the airport from now on...he probably learned the hard way that trees are where he's supposed to be.

Here is the bird in John's hand...the picture isn't very good because I took it with my phone.

We're pretty sure that he was a starling. At least, that's what he looked like to us. He was actually a very nice looking bird...his feathers were a black and dark green that was really pretty. Here is a good picture showing what he actually looked like.

While he was in there, he kept grabbing my finger with his beak. I don't think he was trying to bite, though, I think he was trying to use his beak to grab something to try and pull himself out with. It didn't seem like he was attacking me, but more just trying to get a hold of me.

After we let him go, John and I set about putting the wall back together. We ended up getting the metal supports all back into place pretty well, and then got the cover back onto the wall with no issue. Once the cover was on, you really couldn't even tell that we'd had to do anything!!! The officers at the airport are going to mention to maintenance that there must be some way the bird got in, so hopefully maintenance can find the hole and patch it up so that nothing else gets in there!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I ordered the Bamboo Pintail today. I went with the higher quality trucks and the bigger wheels.

Dave is giving me a good deal on those things because I've bought a few boards from him in the last year. I really like his products, and his service is excellent. He quickly responds to e-mails and questions, and just seems like an all around good guy. I don't hesitate to buy anything at all from him.

The board is gorgeous. Bamboo has a look to it that is quite unique, and the board looks absolutely great.

It's going to be a good board for the paddle. It'll be more comfortable than my 40" pintail because of it's size, and it's going to be faster than the Surfboarder because of the larger wheels that I'm getting on it. It will probably be a bit more carvy than the other Pintail, too, because the trucks are known to be a nice and carvy truck.

I'll address a question that was asked in the other post...what's the difference other than size? Is one easier to handle??

The answers to that question are...the size difference allows you to have more spots to move your feet to, so it can provide a bit more comfort. Add to that the fact that a longer board will flex a bit more, and you will be able to have that flex absorb that will also add to the comfort factor. Basically, it's more about comfort than anything.

I like the speed of the pintail that I have, but there aren't enough spots to move my feet around to so I don't enjoy paddling with it as much as I would a longer board. I like the size of the Surfboarder because it's got so many places to put your feet, but the smaller wheels and the weight of it make it significantly slower than the pintail. So this larger pintail SHOULD be almost a perfect combination of the two. It will have more spots to put my feet, like the Surfboarder, but it will be quicker, like the pintail.

Basically, I will now have three boards for three different things:
I'll use the 40" pintail for when I want to go out and ride without the paddle.
I'll use the Surfboarder for slow cruising with the paddle.
I'll use the 46" Bamboo Pintail for faster, more aerobic paddling.

Three tools, for three different jobs!! It should be here later this week!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


So, a few weeks ago, on February 14th...I made a post about being tired of being generally unhealthy.

Well, here's a quick update to that.

On that day, I said that I wanted to cut back on drinking soda.

Since that day, I have had only ONE regular soda. That was a Mexican Coke while at the Coke Store in Las Vegas. I am down to about two cans of diet soda a day, and I'm pretty sure that I could cut that out at any time if I wanted to. I went about four days without any and had no adverse reactions, so I considered myself broken of the addiction to soda. I started drinking the diet because it was a better choice in Vegas than drinking juice and things like that, because it was less expensive.

So that's one level of success.

I had said that I wanted to cut back on junk food.

Since that day, I have been replacing things like candy and cookies with different fruits. I have been eating mixed fruit bowls, apples, and bananas regularly. I have also started eating more healthy meals, and I've been trying to have a real breakfast (albeit just cereal) in the morning on work days. I've also started taking vitamins and a fiber supplement to make sure I'm getting enough fiber.

So that's another level of success.

I haven't really started the exercising. The trip to Vegas was exercise enough, and since then I've been pretty tired. I have, however, started getting things ready for the spring and my paddle boarding. I found a great trail near the house to paddle on, and I'll be ordering a new board in just a few days.

So that's not quite a whole level of success, but it's getting close.

All in all, I feel quite a bit better about myself even in just this short time. I feel like I'm sleeping better and that I have more energy. My stomach hasn't been bothering me nearly as much, and I just feel all around "good" right now. I'm sure once the weather gets better and I start exercising a bit more, it will just keep getting better.

I'm not going to lie...I have had a few times where I REALLY wanted a fountain soda or something like that...and I HAVE had a few lemonade drinks that were still loaded with calories...but all in all I've really cut back on things like that.

Hopefully I can keep going.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting a New Longboard...

I am getting back into the spirit of getting out on the board...some more land paddling will be done this spring and summer.

I found a GREAT paved trail in my area. Over 10 miles of completely flat paved trail, following an old abandoned railroad line.

Well, I've got two boards...a 40" pintail and my 48" surfboarder...but I want something that's more in between. I want a pintail that is a bit longer than 40".

So I was checking out the site that I got the other two from,, and I found exactly what I'm looking for!!

It's a 46" bamboo inlayed pintail. It's absolutely gorgeous and it's just the size board I'm looking for.

Best part is, I e-mailed Dave, the owner of the company and asked him how much it would cost to upgrade to the larger size wheels that I want on the board...and he got back with me and let me know that in order for them to fit I'd have to get different trucks on the board. He mentioned that if I upgrade the trucks for $15 (they are normally more than that) he would throw in the better wheels (which are twice as much as the ones that are on the board now) for free because I've been a repeat customer!!! Awesome!!!