Wednesday, June 30, 2010


No, not for Cathy and I.

Today we went to the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek to see the animals. What we really wanted to see were the baby giraffes. They were there, by the observation deck, eating.

I actually fed them a few pieces of lettuce. To get them to the smallest one you had to toss them on the ground...and it was incredibly amusing to watch him have to spread his legs really wide so that he could get his head all the way down to the ground to pick it up. After a few minutes the two babies wandered over to a place where they could easily eat some grass.

Here are some pictures of them.

We had a really good time at the zoo. Unfortunately, the camera wasn't charged very well so we didn't get many more pictures. The only other one I got was of some kangaroos. I thought they looked silly just laying around.

After the zoo, Cathy and I headed to Firekeeper's Casino. We wanted to go to the buffet there. We got there quite a bit before the dinner buffet started, so we wandered around a little bit. We gambled $10 each and about 5 minutes. I had heard that the payouts weren't the greatest, but I do think the casino is nice. It's really modern looking inside it, and is much more "Vegas" than Soaring Eagle is.

After we gambled, we went to one of their lounges to get a drink. The drinks were good, and definitely Vegas priced. Some of the stuff on their menu even seemed MORE expensive than Vegas.

After the drinks, we hit the buffet. We had signed up for the Player's Club card at the casino, and that got us a discount on the buffet. We went in at 4:56 PM, and still ended up getting charged the lunch rate, minus $3 each. So we ended up with a total of about $25 for the two of us. Not bad.

And the food was GREAT!!! I ended up eating WAY too much...but heck, it's a buffet, and we don't do it very 5 pieces of chicken, some BBQ ribs, turkey, two ears of corn, a roll, some fried catfish, two strawberry shortcakes and some chocolate dipped Oreos won't kill me.

At least I hope...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Losing Rings...

So I lost my wedding band the other day when I was working in the lawn. I found it though, as everyone that read that post knows.

Today at work while I was moving a passenger's bag, my other ring that I wear on my other hand just fell off and into the bag. I realized that it had fallen off a moment later, and wasn't absolutely sure it was in the bag...but I told the passenger "I need to look in your bag." When he got to the search table he asked what I was looking for and I told him "You're going to think I'm crazy, but when I was holding onto your bag I think my ring fell off into it." I looked for just a moment and found it, sure enough, in his bag.

I am going to have to stop wearing that other ring, because I was moving my hand around and found out it fits me VERY loosely now.

I guess it's a bit of a good thing...rings falling off is a good sign that I'm still losing weight. But it's also a bad thing, because it means that I'm could end up losing one permanently.

I think I may start thinking about replacing the one that I wear that's not my wedding band...I can take that one and put it on a chain and use it as a necklace.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Got the Pattern for the Puppet...

I went ahead and purchased the pattern for the puppet that I was planning on making. It wasn't too expensive, and I think I can get the materials for right around $25 or so.

From reading the instructions and looking at the pattern, I don't think it will be too difficult to do. I will probably be able to pull it off relatively easily.

I'll be hand sewing the seams on the first one since I don't have a sewing machine. If it ends up working out, I may try to make a few more and see if I can sell them on Ebay.

I have an idea for a character for this first one as well. He's going to have long hair, a bandanna, and a tie-dyed shirt. He's going to be a hippie!!!!!

Here are some of the puppets that were made by modifying the pattern that I got. I won't be modifying it at all for this first build, but who knows what I might do in the future.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The other day I was at my parents house and they told me that for their 35th Wedding Anniversary in early 2012 they were taking me, Cathy, my sister, my brother in law, and my nephew to Hawai'i for a week...on them.

Needless to say, my mind is swimming with possibilities right now. I mean, how many people get what is effectively a FREE trip to Hawai'i in their lifetime?? My mom said they'd be paying for airfare and one week's worth of hotel/condo/lodging...but that we were welcome to stay for longer if we wanted.

Right now I'm wanting to stay for another week. My mom and dad want to go to Maui, which I think would be awesome, and I'm thinking if we stay for another week that I would want to go to Oahu.

Anyways...I've already been looking at things to do. Most of them involve the ocean. Snorkeling, surfing lessons, shark seems like the sky is the limit.

This is going to be awesome.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Make a Puppet???

I've been getting puppets lately. I love them. They are cool and unique things to collect.

But making one?? I would've never thought that was something that I would think about doing.

But I've found a place that sells some patterns that you can use to make a basic puppet.

They seem like they would be pretty simple to make. The pattern that I am looking at ends up making a puppet that would be really similar to a Fraggle from "Fraggle Rock."

Something like this.

They also sell patterns to make more advanced puppets, but I'm not sure if that's something that I want to try and tackle for the first puppet that I ever try to make.

I also have found a couple of online resources with some cool ideas for how to make a puppet.

I might go ahead and give this a shot. Seems like it could be some fun!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting Tired of the Weather...

It seems like it's been nothing but thunderstorms lately around here. I can't tell you how many days in the last two weeks we've had some kind of rain storm. It's getting pretty old.

Fortunately for us, we've have decent weather on our days off. Unfortunately, the storms are happening while we're at work which is causing delays and cancellations of flights which makes work days seem to drag on.

Hopefully in the next week or so the weather will start to get better. I'd like to go take the kayaks out one of these days, but I'd like to have a couple of nice sunny days first so that the water won't be cold.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All the Storms...

...lately have been causing Gordon to find some interesting places for shelter.

I built him this cozy cave for one a few weeks ago, and he seemed to enjoy it.

But lately he's been taking to finding his own caves...mainly, he manages to jam himself underneath the new couch that we have in the living room. Keep in mind, the thing isn't really big enough for a dog to go under.

Anyways, I watched him shove himself under it on one side the other night, and when I looked under there I realized he had actually gone all the way to the other side of the couch while underneath it. I snapped these pictures of it, because I think it's funny. He barely fits, and he can't really get out. When he gets out, he ends up just standing up and moving the whole thing. The whole process is pretty amusing.

800 Posts...

Today I made my 800th post on my blog.

I never really thought I'd make it to 800 posts. I don't know why, I just didn't think that I would continue to post to the blog.

Anyways, here's to my 800th post!!!!

Brakes All Done...

Today I went out and finished the brake project on the Bianchi.

I had to go over to On 2 Wheels to get some new brake cable housing and brake cables, but it only cost about $10 so that's not too bad. I then redid the front that I had done the other day and then finished up the rear.

I got it all tuned up so that they work the way I want them to and then rewrapped the handlebars with new black bar tape. I think the finished product looks really good!!!

The bike looks a lot more modern now, and it's much cleaner than it was before. The aero brake levers that I got have the cable on the inside of them so the cable isn't sticking off the top of the brakes like it was before.

The new bar tape and the aero levers make hand positions a lot more comfortable than before as well.

Best of all?? The brakes function AMAZINGLY now. Before it seemed like the bike was barely stopping. Now?? The rear tire actually skids.

I think for a total cost of less than $90, this was a very worthwhile upgrade. The nice thing about the brakes and brake levers is that if I ever upgrade to another bike, I can take these off and put them on the new bike if I want to.

The last thing that I'll be doing to the Bianchi is a new seat. I'll probably be ordering one of those pretty soon.

What a Day...

Last night as I was getting ready to go to sleep, I noticed that the tree in front of our house was looking kind of odd. It was storming, so I waited a while to go and check it out.

Turns out one of the large main branches had cracked. I think it got hit by lightning. The whole thing was sagging to the ground.

I called work and let them know I had to take care of it. Cathy went ahead and went in.

I got the ladder and the chainsaw out and set to work. First I cut as much of the END of the branch off as I could, to make it so that the whole thing was a bit lighter. Next, I cut the branch off the tree at it's base. This is when the fun really began. The branch landed on my ladder. Luckily, I was actually IN the tree while cutting it. However, it made it so that I couldn't get down the ladder, so I had to jump out of the tree. I landed with my right foot right on one of the roots, and it hurt like Hell for a good long while. My neighbor came over and helped me push the branch off of the ladder. Go figure...the ladder is completely fine. It had a several hundred pound branch fall on it and nothing happened to it at all.

After I got it down, I set to chopping it up. I got it all chopped up and started moving it into the backyard. This is when my neighbor's wife mentioned that she was looking at plat maps and our shed and other parts of our yard aren't technically on our property. She only mentioned it because she knows the lot behind us just sold, and she didn't want me moving all the heavy branches there only to have to move them again in a few weeks when the new owner of the lot starts clearing it. I ran up to the assessor's office, and I'm not 100% sure if my neighbor is correct. The "street" is supposed to be 66 feet across. It's not, but that's what the city considers it. It's really only 21 feet across. That means that there is 45 feet unaccounted for, which is on each side of the actual road. So our property technically doesn't start until 22 feet away from the road. If that's the case, then all of our stuff is in fact on our property. If that's not the case, then our property goes back 150 feet from the street, and our stuff is not on our property. I'm not going to worry about it too much until the guy clears out the lot. If he comes and claims it's his property, we'll deal with it then.

So I got back and continued carrying logs and branches to the back yard. I hauled them all back there and got them situated. I was ready to be done. So I went back into the house.

When I got in, I realized that my wedding band wasn't on my finger. Apparently it had fallen off when I removed my work gloves. Problem? I couldn't remember for the life of me WHERE I had removed the gloves.

I wandered around the back yard for probably a total of 3 hours today...and didn't have any luck. I was convinced that I was going to have to buy another one.

My friend Alex told me he was coming over after he got out of work to help me look for it, and then Cathy was going to help when she got home as well. I went out one last time right before Alex got there to look, and what do you know...I FOUND IT!!

It was in a spot that I KNOW I had looked before. The only difference was it wasn't in direct sunlight now. I'm guessing that the sunlight must've been reflecting off of the ring just right so that I didn't see the first 73 times I walked past it. I said...what a day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Brakes on the Bianchi...

My brakes for the Bianchi showed up today.

I got the new lever on relatively quickly, then quickly became a bit disappointed when I found out that the new calipers wouldn't fit. I was ready to give up on them and just sell them on Ebay when I found a website that explained how to make new calipers fit on older bikes.

I went out and tried out the suggestion, and it worked perfectly!!!

I can't really tell if they work any better...I didn't really have much time to give them an actual test and it was dark and late...but they sure do look quite a bit better.

Tonight I only had time to finish the front brake setup. I'll be getting the rear ones set up in the next few days, then hopefully I'll have time to test it out!!!

BETA Testing...

I enjoy BETA testing for games. I've been involved in a few, the most notable one being "Red Faction: Guerrilla" for the Xbox 360.

But I recently was selected to be in another BETA...for a PC game. It's an MMO, which means that millions of people could be playing at once. Think "World of Warcraft."

The catch?? It's a LEGO game. It's called "LEGO Universe," and it looks surprisingly cool. I've been going through getting my account set up the last few days. LOTS of stuff to download, but it finally got done tonight. Just in time for me to find out I can't play it until the weekends!!!

Oh well, I'll have to check it out this coming weekend and see what it's all about. I don't normally like MMOs, but this one might be different.

Here's a picture to go along with the post...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Arrival...

After what seemed like a very long time, the mail man had a delivery for me today.

That's right, Medium Pip FINALLY arrived. He came packaged very nicely in a nice box and wrapped in plastic. I got him out and was just amazed at his awesomeness.

The quality of the craftsmanship is amazing. He's really nice looking. The eyes really seal the deal. This is something that's hard to notice in pictures, but Medium Pip has some red fur glued to his eyes in a very fascinating way that makes it look like his eyes have some small blood veins in them near the back...just like a real eye!!

I'm trying to learn how to use the eye blinking mechanism. It works really well, but my hand doesn't want to work with it. I e-mailed Kevin at Luna's about it, and he suggested a way to hold my hand that he uses. I've been doing that, and it seems to be working...I need to practice some more to build up some strength and flexibility in my fingers so that it looks flawless.

The ONLY issue I have with Medium Pip is my hands are a bit of a tight fit in his hands. I don't know if that is something that would be because he's a "medium" puppet instead of a large. It's not a huge deal, because I can still get them in and use them just fine. It's just a tad snug. I think when I order another puppet from Luna's, I will probably end up asking Kevin if there's any way that he could adjust the pattern slightly to make the hands just a tad bit larger.

Speaking of ordering another one...I think that I may end up ordering another one some time this fall...I'm thinking either of these two...

The WereWolf


The WereWolf is more expensive, but he has blinking eyes, teeth, AND his lips curl up for him to snarl!! He also has that cool jacket!!!

Dreyko is less expensive, but I really like the way he looks. He's got really cool horns that you can see just a bit of in the picture.

I'm not sure if either of these is a full body puppet or not. I like full body puppets better than half body puppets, so if they are available as full body figures I would definitely go that way.

Anyways...I'm really happy that Medium Pip finally arrived...and I believe that Medium Pip is happy that he's arrived!!!!

The Cove...

Every once in a while I will watch a documentary that just makes me angry and sad at the same time.

A while ago, it was "Sharkwater." That was an excellent film about the shark finning industry in Costa Rica.

Tonight I watched another one..."The Cove."

"The Cove" is about a small town in Japan, Taiji, that captures and slaughters dolphins everyday from September to March. They scare the dolphins with noise on their boats and trap them in a cove. They then let dolphin trainers pick out dolphins to send to aquariums around the world. The ones that don't get picked?? They get dragged around the corner of the cove to another smaller cove that is completely blocked from view by large cliffs.

They don't let anyone see what happens over there. If anyone tries to take pictures, they make them leave. If you try to go out there, they will chase you away.

So the makers of the movie set up to get footage of what goes on in that other, smaller cove. They placed lots of hidden cameras. They couldn't get out there to do this any easy way, so they had freedivers dive under water into the small cove and placed them that way.

What the footage revealed was just sickening. The fisherman drag the dolphins into the smaller cove and then just spear them over and over again until they die. Often, the dolphins will try to swim away, bleeding profusely as they swim, and then drown as they go into shock.

It was absolutely revolting watching these images on my TV. The water was soaked in blood worse than any "Jaws" film could try to show. The sea was literally red.

I've long thought that the Japanese need to be reigned in when it comes to their treatment of the animals in the ocean and the ocean in general. This film just continues to reinforce that sentiment of mine. It was horrible watching these creatures...which many scientists believe may be the most intelligent animals on the planet...being slaughtered in the way that they were.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You, Tom...

...for making the right decision.

You ARE a Spartan.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Few Updates...

Just a few things to mention since I haven't mentioned them recently.

The weight loss is still coming along, even though I haven't been as diligent with my workouts. I'm down to 214 pounds right now, which is 28 pounds lost since I started. Not too bad, I don't think. I kind of got off track with working out when I got sick a couple of weeks ago, but I will be getting started again soon.

Second, I added a cheap cycling computer to the Bianchi today. It tells me how far I've gone, what speed I'm currently at, and what my average speed was for the trip. I was surprised when I got it on there that I am able to pedal the bike at a brisk 28 MPH on flat ground.

That's all, for now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Please Tom, Don't Go...

You are one of the premier coaches in the NCAA. Everyone that pays any attention to college basketball at all knows who you are.

You are the most beloved coach in the state of Michigan. Fans of the Spartans love you. Fans of every other team in the state respect you.

You ARE Michigan State University Basketball.

Do you really think that any of these things will be the same coaching an NBA team?? Coaches in the NBA are a dime a dozen. They aren't remembered for being great coaches, they are remembered for having great players. Does anyone really care about Phil Jackson?? Or do they care about Jordan and Kobe and Shaq??

I don't know how you can think you're unappreciated, but I read things quite often that say that you feel that way. I'm here to tell you, WE APPRECIATE YOU!!! We more than appreciate you...we love you and can't imagine Spartan Basketball without you.

I know that you'll never read this, and even if you did, it wouldn't push you in any direction at all...but know this for a fact...I'm saying what every other Spartan fan out there is thinking. We want you to stay. We have more Final Fours and more Championships in us...and we know you have them in you!!!

Luna's Puppets...

Kevin from Luna's Puppets has been really good about the time it's taking for Medium Pip to arrive. He has responded quickly (usually within a few hours, not more than one day at all) to every question that I have had about the item, and given me all of the information I have requested from him. He has been good to do business with and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another product from Luna's.

I think that the Post Office has really dropped the ball on this one. Medium Pip was sent out about 10 days ago and he still hasn't gotten here yet. Other items that I have had sent "Package Services" have arrived quicker than that from the West Coast (specifically from Penguin Magic), so it really makes me wonder what the deal with Medium Pip is. I'm thinking it might have something to do with the size of the box that he is in.

Oh well. I'm still anxiously awaiting his arrival. Hopefully now it will be soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lawn Mowing...

I forgot to mention...I got a hold of the people that own the house across the street from us and we worked out a deal for me to mow their lawn. I will be getting paid $20 per mow, so probably about $20 per week.

I mowed it for the second time today, and it only took me about 40 minutes. So that's not too bad of a price. I'm actually kind of hoping to be able to do it all summer...because it would probably end up getting me a couple of hundred bucks!!

They also mentioned that if there is nobody that has bought the house by the fall, they make work something out with me for dealing with the leaves. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because I really hate dealing with leaves. But we'll see!!

New Blog Header...

So, tonight I took a little bit of time and made a new header for my blog.

It takes the original picture that was there and adds a few things that I really thought looked cool.

What do you think?? Vote in the boxes at the bottom of this post!!


For the last six days, every time I tried to post something on Blogger it told me the site was down for service. Odd, because I was still able to look at my blog, and look at other blogs, and navigate everything else on the site.

It ONLY said it wasn't working when I went to post something.

Oh well, it seems to be working again now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just a Couple of Thoughts...

Today I adjusted everything on the Bianchi. I adjusted the seat height, adjusted the angle of the handlebars, and adjusted the brakes so that they are dialed in. I really enjoy riding it. It seems like a really nice bike. I will probably end up ordering a new seat for it soon, as the one that's on it seems a bit worn out.

Also today, I mowed the lawn...and then I mowed the lawn of the house across the street. It's been for sale for a long time now, and the girl that had apparently been renting there moved out the other day. The lawn was like a jungle, and I figured nobody else was going to cut it so I just did a quick job of it. While I was doing it, a guy that lives down the street from me walked by and noticed. He came up and mentioned that the people that own the house are looking for someone to mow, and they told him they would pay him to do it but his mower is too big to fit in the backyard through the gate. Luckily, my mower fits perfectly. So he gave me the home owners phone number and told me to give them a call...because they would probably gladly pay me to keep the lawn under control. I'm thinking I might just do it, because it only took about 40 minutes of my time and I actually dont' mind mowing now that I have the new riding mower. I'm thinking if they'll pay me like $50 a month or something like that I might as well go ahead and do it. I would probably end up mowing three or four times a month over there, so that would be about $12 each time which I think is more than fair for them. But who knows, maybe I'll just ASK what he's willing to pay...who knows, maybe it will be a lot more than $50 a month!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Got the Bianchi Back...

Today I went and picked up the Bianchi. It cost $65 to get the tires and tubes and have them installed. Not too bad, I guess. The tires and tubes alone would have cost about $50, and that's what I found the same brand and model on Ebay for, so I don't think I got gouged on the price at all.

I then brought the bike home and took it to the car wash to wash it. I sprayed it off with degreaser and cleaned it all up. It actually cleaned up REALLY nicely. The bike is very classy looking.

Next I got a chance to take a quick ride. Wow. It's pretty amazing that a bike that is nearly 25 years old still rides as well as it does. It's smooth and quiet and pretty fast. It shifts great and everything on it functions as you would expect. I will probably try to adjust the brakes a bit, because they seemed a BIT weak...but that could also be because the pads and rims were still wet from washing it.

I had been planning on getting some new stuff for, cables, handlebars. Then I decided I would just leave it alone. But after riding it today, I definitely will be keeping it around for a while so I think I will go for the seat and the handlebar foam at the very least. I might try to find some new covers for the brakes as well, because they look a bit ratty. I'm thinking that those things will make the bike perfect for me and it will last me a good long time.