Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Congrats Are In Order...

Tonight, a 27 year old NFL record was broken.

Dan Marino set the record for passing yards in a single season in 1984 at 5,084 yards.

Tonight, Drew Brees threw a 9 yard TD pass with 2:51 seconds left to put him at 5,087 yards...with a game to go.



So, congratulations to Drew Brees. A guy that nobody ever though would be an NFL quarterback. Then nobody ever though he'd be an NFL Champion. He just keeps proving everyone wrong. And all the while, he just continues to be one of the most team oriented and humble players I've ever seen.

Seriously, it couldn't have happened to a better guy!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Good Christmas...

So Christmas is pretty much over for Cathy and me.

We've been to her dad's house and to my parents house.

We got a lot of good stuff. We gave a lot of good stuff, as well. We had a couple of really great dinners.

But most importantly, we had a lot of fun. Hanging out at Cathy's dad's was a blast, even though we were tired because we went there after work. We had a lot of fun at my parents' house, today, as well. We also had a lot of fun exchanging gifts with each other.

Now we look forward to the New Year. It's time to start thinking about resolutions!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

To The Playoffs!!!!!


Today the Lions put together what many would say was their most complete game of the season. They beat a good team, albeit a good team that hasn't played that well this season. But that doesn't matter. The Lions looked like a hungry team today. A team that knew if they win, they were in.

And win they did.

They will now be going to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They still have no idea who their opponent is, but right now that doesn't matter.

Schwartz's post game comments summed it up perfectly, as he sent the players onto the field to celebrate with the fans: "There will be a time we won't celebrate making the playoffs. That won't be tonight."

Congratulations to the Detroit Lions. You're making your fans, and your City, proud!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It Has Been Brought to My Attention...

...by my lovely wife that my post the other day about our bad luck had something incorrect in it.

I posted that the stove cost us $400.

Actually, the stove cost us $600.

So that extra $200 puts our total cost of Bad Luck up to $1400 instead of $1200.

Either way, seems like a lot of money!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fantasy League Updates...

So, I made the playoffs in both of my leagues.

In one, I went in as the number one seed. In the other, I went in as the number four seed.
In both games, I absolutely dominated my opponent, to punch my ticket to two Championship games!!

The game that I was the number four seed in is probably my most impressive victory that I can remember in fantasy football. It was over last year's champion in that league, and he had a 13-1 record going into the game. I sat at 9-5. That one loss he had?? To me. My five losses?? Four of them by a total of about 15 points. So my team was a lot better than my record indicated, and I knew he was beatable. And something about this week just made me think it was his time to lose again.

So next week I'll battle in two different championship games...and I'm guaranteed to add two more trophies to my Online Trophy Case!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spending Some of My Bonus Money...

So I've been wanting to spend some of my bonus money when I get it on something fun that I otherwise would probably never buy.

So I've figured out what I'm going to get.

This.


That's a Stand Up Paddle Board.

Now, why, oh why, would I want something like this?? Easy. They are supposed to be spectacular workouts, and they seem like they would be a blast on some of the lakes around here.

There's something that I'll be getting to go with it, of course.


That's a Whiskey Jack hand made paddle. Why hand made?? Because it's better than anything a machine could put together.

The paddle is hand made in Montana. The board is actually made here in Michigan. See, stand up paddling has become pretty popular on flat lakes here on the mainland, and it's definitely popular anywhere that there's waves that you can even remotely come close to surfing on.

Of course, you may be wondering why I would really want any of this stuff. Well, there's a goal to all of this.

And that, is this...


The Traverse City TC Waterman SUP Challenge. This, of course, is the 2011 logo and design. However, in October of this year, the challenge got "annual" status from the Traverse City City Council, so it will be going every year. This year the challenge is on August 18th.

Now, what is the challenge?? Simple. It's a 9 mile paddle in Grand Traverse Bay that is basically a race.

I know I can't win it. I know I won't win it. I just want to enter it, and FINISH. I've set it as a goal, and I really...REALLY...want to stick to the goal. I think if I work hard and exercise and practice, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to finish the paddle and have accomplished something that I think is pretty great.

So, it's going to cost a few hundred bucks...but I've shopped and shopped and found deals. Basically, I'm getting a bunch of good stuff for not anywhere near what they should cost, so I'm spending money but saving at the same time.

And hopefully, I can get my training going and actually complete the TC Waterman Challenge!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If It Wasn't For Bad Luck...

...I think that Cathy and I would have no luck.

Going back a couple of weeks, this is the list of things that have gone wrong, and approximate values that they have cost us to fix.

First, it was a tire went flat on Cathy's car. It got a hole in the sidewall, and that required a new tire. Well, of course, you can't get just one tire without replacing at least one more, so two tires were purchased. Cost: $200

Next, it was a spring on the garage door snapped. I couldn't figure out how to fix it myself, so we had to call someone in to take care of it. Of course, like a tire, when you replace one of them you pretty much have to replace the other one. Cost: $200

After that, it was the graphics card on the computer went bad. We couldn't get it to work at all, so we had to replace that. Cost: $100. Unfortunately, that $100 card didn't work either. So we had to go back to the store and get ANOTHER one. Luckily, this one cost a bit less. Cost: $50

Next, we had the stove go out. The heating element in it went bad, and after doing some research it was going to cost us at least around $200 to get that fixed, and the stove was pretty old, so we decided that instead of putting several hundred into a dying appliance, we should probably just get a new one. Cost: $400

Last, we came home from work tonight and it was cold in our house. Luckily, it was pretty warm outside for Michigan in the middle of December. So I looked and sure enough it wasn't lighting at all. We ended up calling Aspen's 24 hour emergency service, and they sent a technician out at around 10:00 PM. It was only an extra $50 for the emergency service, and it was probably worth it because otherwise we'd have had to take some time off of work. After checking a bunch of stuff, the tech told us that it MIGHT be a transformer, but he didn't think it would fix the issue. The problem?? If it was the thing he was pretty sure it was, it was going to be a $900 repair. So we opted to try the transformer and see. LUCKILY, the transformer fixed the problem. We are still working with a 22 year old furnace, and we may think about having someone come out to give us some options on replacing it soon. Anyways, we had to pay for the service and the part. Cost: $350

So that puts our luck lately at a total cost of $1200.

Nothing like spending $1200 on things that aren't any fun at all to spend money on in the month before Christmas, and the three months before the trip to Hawai'i.

Oh, and just to finish up on the bad luck part...when the guy was fixing the furnace, he managed to turn the hot water heater all the way to it's lowest setting...so this morning?? Yah, I got to take a shower in 40 degree water. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Shopping Nearly Done...

I've got most of my Christmas shopping done, with quite a bit of time to spare this year!!!

The only thing I've got left to do is get something for my Grandma...who is apparently the most difficult person in the world to find something for. Well, I guess it would be easy to find something for her, but it's been difficult trying to come up with something that she'll actually enjoy.

I'm going to have to give my mom a call to see if there's anything that she can suggest. As soon as I get my Grandma done, though, I'm done with everything.

Shoot. I forgot that I will still need to get some stocking stuffers for Cathy, but that shouldn't be too hard!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yearly Bonus...Part II...

We found out what our yearly bonus is going to be this year.

I managed to get the maximum possible bonus, which means I'll get a total of $4500. Not too shabby. I was HOPING it would be a bit more, but I can't complain with what amounts about a 10% increase to my salary for the year.

Of course, after taxes it will probably come out to around $2700.

I'm planning on immediately putting $2000 of it away for the trip to Hawai'i, and then MAYBE trying to find myself something fun to spend the other couple of hundred on.

Cathy also made out pretty well. She's going to be getting $3750. I'm HOPING that she will put away about $1500 for the trip and then spend about $700 on something cool for herself, as well. That way we'd have a total of $3500 spending money for the time in Hawai'i, which would pretty much put us at the point where we could buy pretty much whatever we want and do whatever we want while we're there.

We'll also be getting a tax return in a month. I'm hoping that will be enough to cover the dog's boarding while we are gone and our small share of the extra nights worth of accommodations while we're there.

Either way, it's a pretty nice year end bonus...and I'm happy to have it coming!!!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lions Pull One Out...

...and guarantee themselves of a non-losing season for the first time in a long time.

Sure, they could still end up at 8-8, but that's a vast improvement from the 0-16 from a couple of seasons ago.

At 8-5, many people are a bit disappointed by them after a 5-0 start...but I was hoping that this season would end up at .500 or maybe a game better, so the 5-0 start excited me, but I thought it was a bit misleading.

What has happened over the last 8 games is we have seen a team that has shown it's age. They're young. They all need to mature a little bit. Stupid penalties have really hurt them, and it didn't help that Stafford hurt his finger and started throwing some pretty wobbly passes.

I'm still hopeful that they can win another game or two and MAYBE make an appearance in the post season. But what I'm really hopeful for is that they can continue to build on the success they've had this season and keep building. They're getting better...now they just need to become good.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Night Out with Friends...

So Cathy and I don't get much time to hang out with friends from work. The drive to and from home to work always seems like it's so long, and it makes staying in Lansing late to hang out seem like such a chore.

But tonight we ended up staying. We were going to go bowling with a bunch of people from work from 7-9, but when we got there the bowling alley didn't have any lanes open. So we quickly came up with a backup plan and headed to Frank's Press Box, a sports bar in town, to just hang out and play some pool.

I spent my time there just talking with friends and one of our new girl's husband. It was a really good time.

Makes me want to actually do it more often!!! Maybe after the holidays we can start making it kind of a regular type of thing. Who knows.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fantasy Football...

This year I haven't done much updating on my FFL teams. That's because I didn't seem to be as into it this year as I have been in the past. Not really sure why. Normally I do at least five teams and two pick 'em leagues. This year I did two teams and the pick 'em leagues.

So, as the seasons get to the playoffs soon, I figured I'd at least mention where I stand.

In the "survival pick 'em," I was out in the like fifth week. This was mainly because I forgot that there was a game that very first Thursday evening, and when I hadn't made my pick by then it automatically became a loss.

In the standard pick 'em, I'm in second place, about 25 points behind the leader. This is mainly due to my stubbornness, and the fact that I have picked the Lions to win EVERY week and put the maximum number of points on them. Let's put it this way, had I just picked the Packers and the Saints, like I would normally have done, with high points on them, I would currently be leading the league by at least 5 points. Oh well, sometimes you have to be a fan first, right??

Finally, in my two leagues...I am making the playoffs in both of them. I currently sit at 11-2 and I'm in first place going into the last week of the season in my SBN league. That league is crazy...I'm at 11-2, the guy in second is at 10-3...then we have FOUR people at 7-6 for the last two playoff spots.

In my work league, we once again had two guys quit...but that's alright. I'm at 8-5 and currently have the fourth place playoff spot locked up. I can move up to third depending on what happens this week. Oddly enough, I managed to salvage a playoff spot with that team despite going on a four game losing streak that just ended this past weekend.

So, I have some chances to get some more trophies to my profile...here's hoping for the best!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Comics...

So, I've been using my Kindle Fire to read a comic collection. I've never really read a comic book before. Sure, I've read EVERY strip of "Calvin and Hobbes." In fact, I own one complete limited edition collection of "Calvin and Hobbes."

But this is an actual comic that was released as comic books for years.

It's called "Bone."



It's a story about these three guys that live in Boneville. They get run out of town, lost in a valley, and then an adventure awaits them. So far, they've found a girl and her grandmother, a town, and a dragon. Not to mention they are being chased by these really vicious looking rat things.

Overall, it's been REALLY entertaining. I've enjoyed the first volume, which was about six books total, so much that the moment I was done with it I bought the second volume, and started on that tonight.

It's nearly 60 books long, so I look forward to reading it all the way through. It's been great so far, and every "issue" just seems to get better!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Time to Play the Music...

...it's time to light the lights.

It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet show tonight!!!!


Today, Cathy and I FINALLY got around to going to see "The Muppets."

I'm going to save a lot of typing and just say this...awesome.

I really liked it a lot. It was self aware, which made it that much more funny to me. The characters were good, the events leading up to the actual "Muppet Show" were good...but the show itself was just amazing.

It really makes me think that "The Muppet Show" would still thrive today if it were on weekly...probably even more than it did when it ran 30 years ago. They're owned by Disney now, who owns ABC...so who knows, maybe one day we'll see them back on TV.

Until then, I highly suggest going to check this one out. It's one of the better movies I've seen in a while!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yearly Bonus...

I'm really anxious to find out what kind of dollar amounts they have for the year end bonuses at work this year. Even though they are trying to make some budget cuts, the money for the bonuses is always set at the beginning of the year, so they SHOULD still be fairly significant.

I'm hoping to have a BUNCH of money to take to Hawai'i with me...and I was thinking about maybe trying to get myself a new computer if I get enough. I'm thinking about going with a nice little gaming laptop, like an Alien M11 or something, but that will only be in the cards if I manage to get enough to take the amount that I want to take to Hawai'i with me.

Hopefully they'll be able to let us know a little bit about dollar amounts this coming week. They normally give them to us in the paycheck that comes right after Christmas, so we should be finding out sooner rather than later!!!

Movie Trailer Time...

Looks cool!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Love it!!!!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Long Time, No Post...

It's been several days since I posted on the blog...but let me just say that this month hasn't been kind to Cathy and me.

First, our garage door spring broke. $200 later that was fixed.
Then, the stove broke. $300 later, that was taken care of.
Next, Cathy's computer took a dive on us. Turned out it needed a new graphics card. She went with a fairly inexpensive one, and it worked out pretty well for her. Still, that was $50 that she hadn't planned on spending.

Of course, all of this has to happen right around Christmas...

To top this off, it's currently snowing...and has been for hours. There's about four inches on the ground right now, and there's supposed to be about seven when we get up. Great. Figures that we would skip the couple of one inch snowfalls and go directly to this.

Well, tomorrow is December...hopefully it's a better month than November!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First Time...


This Thanksgiving, three new movies are being released.

"The Muppets," "Arthur Christmas," and "Hugo" all come out within the next couple of days.

I pay a lot of attention to movie reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Here is where the "first time" part of the title of this post comes into play. ALL three of the movies have at least a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is simply insane.

"Arthur Christmas" is the "worst" of the bunch, coming in at 94%, which is still an insanely high aggregate rating. "Hugo" is at 96%.

And another first, after over 50 reviews (58 at this point in time), "The Muppets" is at 100%.

I've NEVER seen a movie have over 50 reviews and still be at 100%. It's simply crazy.

Everything says that the movie is one of the best of the year, and that it's a must see for any movie lover.

So now, the question is, when are Cathy and I going to get a chance to go see it????

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fire...


We've had our Kindle Fires for about a week now, so I think I can give my early impressions of the device.

I really like the interface. I was a bit worried that the highly modified Android operating system would be a pain with me being more used to the standard Android atmosphere, but the Fire's OS is just so easy to use there's no way that anyone could call it a pain.

I like how smooth the device runs. It seems like it might not be quite as powerful as it could be, but those are probably issues that could be remedied with a firmware update. I'm guessing Amazon rushed this device just a tad to make sure they got it out when they wanted to, and I'm thinking that updates will come for it often to make sure that users are getting the most out of it.

I'm really impressed by the display. Videos look amazing, and so do the games that I have for it. I also think the sound is pretty good. The only downside for me about the sound is that the device has both of it's speakers on what would be the top of it if you were holding it like a book. That isn't a big deal when you're holding it like that, but when you are holding it in landscape mode the sound only comes out of the left of the device, so the stereo sound of the two speakers is a bit lost when watching videos. But that's okay, because with headphones the Fire sounds simply amazing.

The apps for it seem to be coming out pretty constantly, as well. I downloaded the Comics app for it and bought my first comic book ever. I've been reading it when I don't have anything else to do, and the Fire seems to be a perfect device for reading digital comics. It's easy to read them, and they look great.

I'm also pretty impressed with the games I've got for it. I've only got a few, but all of them run amazingly well. The graphics are impressive and I've found only one issue with one of the games, and even that's an easy work around.

It's also nice to have so many things stored in the cloud. I have several gigabytes of music that I can listen to, but they aren't stored on the device. They are just streamed to it through our Wi-Fi connection in the house. Awesome.

The other thing I like is how seamless it is to buy content. When you're listening to music, just a click and you're in the Amazon MP3 store to buy more. Same with when you're using apps.

The battery life has been pretty impressive so far, as well. Definitely getting some long life out of that. This is probably due to the device lacking some things like a microphone and cameras.

Speaking of the things it's lacking, none of those things bother me. The microphone and camera are two things that I never used on the Archos tablet, and I very rarely use them on my phone, so I don't think I'm really missing out by not having them.

The last thing I would like to comment on is the web browser. It actually does seem to get faster as you use it, which is what Amazon said it would do. It's basically like a cloud computing system for browsing. When you go to ESPN, the device is automatically loading the links that it THINKS you will click on, so that they will load faster. It's cool. The other great thing about the browser is that it runs Flash...so websites actually show up like they are supposed to!!!

So far, I'm really liking the device. I think there is a bit of room for a few small improvements, but overall I feel that the device is a home run!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birds...

My grandmother got Cathy and me a bird feeder for Christmas this past year.

This past spring, I hung it up on the front of the house...and birds never even noticed it. This fall, though, I moved it to the back of the house. It's hanging just outside of our sliding glass door...and let's just say that "the birds finally found it" is an understatement.

We're going through two of the squares of bird seed every week, and there's birds on it at all times of the day.

Presto really likes watching them. They're on it, on the deck, and all over the deck several times during the day. We also have noticed several squirrels out there, some chipmunks, and even a little field mouse getting the seeds that the birds knock off of it.

I'm really thinking about getting a bigger feeder to hang out there...one that we can fill with loose seed instead of the blocks. It costs about $6 for the two blocks, but we could get 10 pounds of seed for about $7, so we would probably be a bit better off money wise by just buying the bigger feeder now and filling it with loose seed. I would hope that if we did that, the birds wouldn't be scared of the new feeder or anything, and would continue coming back to it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Clinched...

Today, Michigan State clinched a spot in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.

The Spartans throttled Indiana 55-3 to clinch the chance to play for the title, and a BCS Bowl Game.

They will end up playing the winner of the Wisconsin-Penn State game next week. I'm really hoping that Penn State beats Wisconsin, because I don't think the Spartans want to go up against the Badgers again...but either way, it's cool that they get to play for the championship.

If they win, they'll end up going to the Rose Bowl to probably play Stanford or Oregon, whichever of those teams ends up winning the PAC-12 Championship. It would be the Spartans first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1988.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Knife...

Today my new knife arrived from Amazon.

It's a Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife. It's pretty wicked. It's got a nice sheath, a fire starting steel, a sharpener, a whistle, the knife itself, and a pocket survival guide.

Why did I get this knife?? Well, really because it looked cool. But I also will throw it in my backpack for whenever I'm doing any hiking, which I hope to start doing this next summer. I also plan on taking it to Hawai'i and throwing it in my backpack there, just in case we do any hiking out in any of the big forests or anything like that.

Basically, with something like that, I figure it's better to be a bit safe than sorry. Besides, you can use it for a lot more than just stabbing stuff...mainly like cutting rope and things like that. I'm also going to get a bit of paracord to go with it, because that's cheap and could come in handy as well.

Here's a picture of my awesome new knife.


Oh yah...I forgot to mention. Those two holes on the handle near the blade?? Those are so that you can wrap the cord around the knife and a stick, and turn it into a spear!!! How cool is that?? I mean, I'm sure most people have been in a situation where they were like "Man, I wish I had a knife to hook to a stick so I could make a spear." It seems only logical that one have this.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tickets!!!!

My mom got the tickets to Hawai'i tonight.

We leave on March 6th at about 7:45 in the morning. We have a 90 minute layover in Chicago, before heading to San Francisco for another 90 minute layover, which is where I imagine we'll pick up my sister, and then head on to Maui. We should arrive there at right around 6:00 PM their time, which means we'll be at the condo by I'm guessing 7:00. That's great, because even though it's a long day, the fact that I'm nocturnal means I'll still have a few hours to go before I need any kind of sleep...so I'm hoping to get to check out the immediate vicinity right away.

We'll be coming back on the 15th, but not until 10:00 PM. That means we don't get back until the early morning on Friday the 16th, which is alright, because we'll have Saturday through Tuesday to get back into the swing of being back in the (not very) great state of Michigan!!!

This is all coming up so fast. A friend of mine mentioned that he reads the blog every now and again (I'm talking to you, Jeff!!!) and he said I seem a bit "geeked" about the trip. Thing is, that's an understatement. Honestly, if I could go to sleep right now and wake up on March 5th, I'd be good to go!!!!! This can't get here soon enough!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When It Rains...

...it pours.

Today we discovered that our oven no longer works. It looks like it's got a bad igniter. I might be able to fix it, but for some reason Cathy doesn't like the idea of me messing with something that starts a fire around something that gas runs through. I think her hesitations are misguided...I've never blown up a house before, so I can't imagine what would go wrong here!!!!

But anyways...that's just the next step in a long line of "you've got to be kidding me" repairs. We're going to need to pay to have the oven fixed, or maybe just buy a new one. Either way, we're looking at at least $150 or so in parts and labor...this all coming after Cathy got a flat tire last week and had to get a new pair of tires, for around $200...and also coming after our garage door tension spring broke which cost us right around $200 to get fixed.

Now, keep in mind it's not like these aren't things that we can't afford...but with Christmas right around the corner, and then the trip to Hawai'i right after that, spending $600 on things that you'd really rather not spend $600 isn't very fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kindle Fire's Are Here!!!

Today Cathy and I got our Kindle Fire's in the mail.

We quickly cracked them open and started fooling with them. To my surprise, the case that I have for my Archos fit on it pretty well. With that said, I'll probably still order another case for it just to have one for each of the tablets. I may try to see if anyone is interested in the Archos, so having a case for it would be a good selling point.

My first impressions of the device are extremely positive. The screen looks amazing. It's very "snappy" in how it runs. I like that it doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles. Other people have complained about the lack of a camera and other things like that, but to me those are useless add ons that just use up the battery and memory resources. I NEVER used the camera on my Archos, and I don't know anyone that I would ever want to video chat with, so that's not a big deal either.

I downloaded a few apps, and they run great. I really like the Comicxology app. It allows you to download and read comic books on the device, and they look great.

Overall, I think I'm really going to like it...and judging by the way Cathy has been using her Fire, I'm sure she's going to like it as well!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fire Keeper's!!!!!

For the first time in a long time, Cathy and I went to the Fire Keeper's Casino buffet for dinner tonight.

We really like it, and it's not that far away. I don't know why we don't go there a bit more often.

Anyways...tonight they had some absolutely amazing grilled chicken breasts. I had a lot of those, and they also had some really good mashed potatoes.

Cathy had her usual...

I had planned on going to the Nibi Lounge afterwards because they make some pretty good Mojitos, but they apparently aren't opened on Monday. Oh well. I guess that just gives me a good reason to go back soon!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Revenge...

The Spartans got a bit of revenge for a really horrible loss last season when they headed to Iowa for the second straight year...only this time the end result was different.

The Spartans pretty much dominated the Hawkeyes from the beginning of the game to the end, with only a small momentum shift for Iowa in the third quarter where they scored two straight touchdowns.

The Spartans now sit at 8-2 with games that SHOULD be winnable to finish the season, with Indiana coming to East Lansing and then they finish up on the road against Northwestern.

Indiana is currently 1-9, 0-6 in conference. Northwestern is 5-5, 2-4 in conference.

Both of those games should be wins for the Spartans, which would put them at 10-2 on the season, and give them a berth in the first ever Big 10 Championship game, which right now looks like it would be against Penn State.

Go State!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some Puppets to Make...and Finish...

So it's time to start getting back to making some puppets.

I am just about ready to ship one to the guy in California that buys many of them from me. It should be going out on Tuesday.

I then have to get a couple together for the lady that runs the cafe at work, and then a couple more for another girl that I work with.

I also have a few that I need to make for myself, still. I need to work on another Yeti, Jr for myself and I definitely want to make myself one of the dinosaur puppets. I then need to make another Yeti puppet to finish out the "Yeti Family." I also really want to make a couple of other dog puppets, mainly because I simply can't find a suitable material to continue making the Dalmation looking puppet.

So yes, I've got my work pretty much cut out for me with puppets for right now!!! I'm hoping to have that one shipped by Tuesday, and then I am thinking about having one of the puppets for the girl at work be one that I have already made that I am not really interested in adding to the site, because the eyes are very difficult to source. So I may only really have to make two more, which would be great!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Okay...

...what an end to the day.

It was kind of hailing when we got to work. It snowed while we were at work. When we left it was freezing and the car was covered in ice. That sucks.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, the car was feeling weird.

Flat tire.

That double sucks.

We call AAA and they send a tow truck out, just a few minutes later (literally, it only took five minutes, kudos to North Side Towing on that) we were back on the road.

As we got closer to home, I suddenly noticed something.

There was white stuff all over the ground. White stuff that hadn't been on the ground in Lansing. Yes, the snow somehow managed to stick to the ground here. We've got about an inch of it on the ground.

It seems like it's still way to early for there to be an inch of snow on the ground.

Hopefully it will all melt by tomorrow!!!

Cooper Had a Seizure...


Tonight Cathy and I were just sitting there watching TV, and suddenly Cooper jumped up and ran over to us.

We knew right away that he was going to have a seizure, so we got him off of the couch and onto his dog bed. Cathy then got the cold pack ready to put on his neck. He went into the seizure and we got the cold pack on his neck.

Surprisingly, this one only lasted about two minutes...which is quite a bit shorter than his last couple. He also wasn't overly hot afterwards. So I'm thinking that the cold pack did the trick that I have read about, and really helped shorten the duration of the attack.

He climbed himself back up onto the couch after a few minutes, and he's been laying there fast asleep ever since.

Luckily, although he has these every once in a while, they don't seem to be too common. He's also, in my opinion, learning that they are coming, which is why he seeks us out, which is a good thing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Snorkel Issue Solved...

Thanks to my mom, and the fact that she sometimes reads my blog, my dilemma regarding a mask for use in Hawai'i has been solved.

She pointed me towards Snorkel Bob's to rent the prescription mask. You can get a mask, fins, snorkel, and bag for right around $45 for rent for an entire week. That's significantly less money than just the mask was going to cost me to buy, so I'll definitely be going that route.

She says that they are like Walgreen's with how common they are on the islands, so you can rent them from one shop and return them to another if need be.

So, needless to say, that will be one of the first things we do is get those rented, that way we can have them for pretty much the entire time we're there.

Good call on Snorkel Bob's, mom!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Continuing to Plan...

...and coming up with some dilemmas.

First of all, I can't decide if I want to take a surf lesson, or if I would rather take some stand up paddle boarding lessons. I've always wanted to learn to surf, but the SUP seems to be a good compromise in that you can still ride on waves, but you also can ride on flat water. The nice thing about learning the SUP skills would be you can actually do that here in Michigan, on pretty much any body of water. So that's a definite point in this decision, is that I would be able to continue doing one of them when I come back home.

Second of all, I'm not sure what to do about swim masks for snorkeling or spearfishing or whatever. I've never had any real issues just wearing a normal mask, but the last time I really used one I didn't have any desire to actually LOOK at what was going on under the water. I think that will be a different case in Hawai'i. So right now I'm not sure if I should buy myself a normal mask, or if I should pony up the cash to get a prescription mask so that I wouldn't have to worry about not seeing. The problem with the prescription masks that I have read about but didn't even think about is that as soon as you remove them, if you have really bad eye sight (like I do) you are basically blind. So that brings ANOTHER option to the table...do I dare risk maybe trying out some contact lenses?? I've thought about contact lenses in the past, mainly for the fact that I could start buying some awesome sunglasses, but I've never really had a reason to do so. So those three options are really holding me up. The OTHER option is that I would GUESS that there is probably a place near where we'll be staying that I could probably rent a prescription mask from, which might be ideal. If I could rent one for the whole week for like $20, that would be better than buying one for over $100 and then never really using it for anything else.

The other things that I'm starting to work on are some things for what I hope are some awesome hikes and exploring while we're there. First, I would need a nice backpack that would work for hiking. I have a LOT of backpacks, but one is an actual "backpacking" pack, and it's entirely too large for just hiking. The others are all more for just general carrying of things, think backpacks you'd wear to school. So right now I've told Cathy that for Christmas I would like a Columbia Mobex hiking pack. I saw one for the first time at the airport a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how it looked, so I asked the lady about it. I was then even more amazed by how light it was. It literally felt like I was holding nothing at all in my hand. I've found the color that I want for a good price at Amazon, so hopefully she gets it for me!!




The next thing on my list of gear is a nice set of boots. I've never had a really nice set of hiking boots, and as I have been wanting to get into some better shape, some good boots might be a nice thing to have. I would LOVE to be able to do some hiking around home next summer, but the stuff I've got to go hiking are not really very good. I know, I know, I've posted all about the things I want to do to get into better shape, and I didn't do very well with my bike riding this past summer, but I figure if I can do some hiking I may be able to get myself in good enough shape that I actually COULD do some great bike riding.

So anyways, these are the boots I'm looking at. They are Vasque Breeze boots and they seem to be really nice, for not a ridiculous price. They go for about $110 at Amazon, and have an MSRP of $120.




So these will more than likely be the two pieces of gear that I actually purchase to take with me to Hawai'i. Both of them will have use around home, as well, so it's not like I'll be spending money on something that I won't be able to use in the future.

The mask thing is the part that's got me the most tripped up right now. I'm really leaning towards just trying to rent one when I get there, because that would probably be the most cost effective way to do it. But the problem is, I haven't been able to find anywhere that lists that they rent the prescription masks. I have not looked at a bunch of options, but just quick searches are coming up empty. Maybe if I call a couple of the dive shops out there I will have better luck finding what I am looking for.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Starting to Plan...

...some things to do in Hawai'i.

Right now I have two things that I really want to do. One is to take some surfing lessons, the other is to go spearfishing.

The surfing lessons will probably come really early in the trip, because I have found that you can rent boards for a week at a time, so if I do the lessons right away I can rent a board and then whenever we don't have anything else to do, I can go out and try to surf.

The spearfishing, on the other hand, can come pretty much any time during the trip. It's a bit expensive, but I think it's going to be really fun. I doubt I'll even be able to spear anything...it'll more than likely be just a snorkeling trip!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family Portrait...

Here is the family picture that Cathy had made for me for our anniversary.


It's nice because it makes us look thin and all of the dogs look like puppies!!!!

We've got it in a pretty cool frame and it's on the mantle above the fireplace right now.

I really like it. It's fun!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Pet...

My mom and dad gave Cathy a new Betta fish in a really cool little Aquablock aquarium thing for her birthday.

We put him on the mantle, which is nice because our last couple of fish have ended up spending all of their time locked up in a bedroom that we didn't go into much because we were worried about Presto getting to them.

So this one being right in the living room will be cool!!!

I'll try to get a picture of the setup when there's better light. It's late now, and the camera won't work for it right now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Game!!!


After playing through "Batman Arkham City" in only a few short days, I have gotten another new game.

"Lord of the Rings: War in the North."

"Lord of the Rings" is one of my favorite movie series, and book series, of all time. And this game is one of the few that seems like it actually has the "look" of what I imagined the world to be, and then what I saw that world to be, down.

The game is a three player co-op game that takes place separately from the story told in all of Tolkien's books.

Alex and I played it for a bit the other night, and it was pretty fun. It's definitely tougher than I thought it would be, but that's all good.

Looking forward to playing through it!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time for This Again...

Really??

November!!!???

Already??

It seems like it was just yesterday that it was 70 degrees outside and slowly turning into summer.

Now it's chilly and slowly turning into winter.

I know that I do this every month...but again, it's really hard to believe how quickly this year has been going by!! Crazy!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Garage Fixed!!!

Today the guy from Sears was able to come out and take a look at our garage door.

About an hour and a half later, we had new springs, the cables recoiled, and the lift attached to the door again and everything is working great!!

In fact, I seem to notice that the door opener seems quieter now, which makes me think that the springs were pretty close to going for a while.

It cost about $200 to get it all taken care of, which was a bit more than we had hoped...but to be able to park in the garage again, it seems like money well spent!!!

I'm glad we were able to get it taken care of as quickly as we did. It would have sucked to have the cars outside when it starts to snow, which I'm sure will be pretty soon!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Today was me and Cathy's Three Year Anniversary!!!

We ended up going to Lansing to go to Chili's for dinner, and then we went to the couple of stores in the Meridian Mall that we don't have by us to look around.

After that we came home and watched a movie..."Gamera vs Mystery Science Theater 3000." It was pretty funny.

I think that Cathy had a good day, and I know that I did. We also exchanged a couple of gifts. Cathy got me a Perplexus Epic, which is a cool maze game that is inside of a ball. She also got me a really cool "family portrait" of her, me, and all the pets. She also gave me "Batman Arkham City" as an early gift last week. I gave her a dancing game for her Xbox, and two big LEGO sets that she has wanted.

Tomorrow is Cathy's birthday, and we might end up going to Applebee's for dinner, but I'm not sure what we'll do.

It's been a pretty great three years. Looking forward to many more!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Skylanders Update...

Today I purchased the last Skylander that Cathy and I needed to have all of them that have currently been released, other than the one that is only available with the Nintendo DS version of the game.


Drill Sergeant is the Walmart Exclusive that wasn't sent to stores very well, and therefore is really rare and hard to find.

I've been checking on Ebay for over a week, and the prices on this particular Skylander just kept going up...so when I found a decent deal on one, I went ahead and purchased one for us.

It shipped out today, and it should be here early next week!!!

Garage Door Disaster...

Today I didn't go to work because I didn't feel good.

When Cathy was leaving, however, I heard a huge crash from inside the garage. I thought that the door had come down on her car or something...when I saw that the garage seemed fine, I thought maybe something had fallen on my car, like one of my bicycles or something.

On closer inspection, it turned out one of the tension springs had broken in two. It was broken so that I couldn't get my car out, so I went ahead and cut the broken part and wound the good part back on so that I could at least get the garage up to get my car out.

The problem was when I finally got it out, the cables that actually hook the door to the bar with the tension springs somehow had come completely unraveled from their spools.

My dad thinks that maybe we can put the new spring on ourselves and get it up and running again, but I'm thinking about maybe just getting a new door opener and having it installed and having the technicians fix whatever has gone wrong with the door at the same time. I found some pretty nice openers for around $200, and the installation wasn't too expensive. It looks like to have Sears do the new springs would be $139 for the labor and the parts. I'm hoping that maybe if we got the springs, labor for that, a new opener, and labor for that they would go ahead and just rewind those cables for me.

Hopefully it doesn't end up costing us an arm and a leg, though.

It's Time...

I have to start doing something to get into better shape.

I'm feeling like I don't have much energy and I definitely could stand to lose the weight.

The other night I saw an infomercial (yah, I know) for a new Tae Bo system. I've always thought that Billy Blanks was a pretty good motivator when it came to working out, so I decided to give the system a try.

It's called PT247, and it looks like it will be pretty fun to do. Hopefully it's fun enough that it keeps my attention long enough for me to actually use it.

It should be here in a couple of weeks, because these things take like years to process, but hopefully by the middle of November I'll be able to start giving it a try.

I'm hoping to be able to not feel like a fat manatee when it comes time to go to Hawai'i next year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

9 years, 2 months, 10 days...

...is all it took for me to FINALLY receiver the Employee of the Quarter award at work.

I had started to think a long time ago that I'd never get it, but I was caught completely off guard when my name was announced for it today at the quarterly meeting.

To add to that, I managed to get the maximum possible number of points on our performance evaluation system, so that means that I should get the highest possible bonus at the end of the year. I'm hoping to bring home at least $2,000 for Cathy and I to use as a primary form of "have a super fun do whatever we want" time in Hawai'i.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Batman...


A couple of years ago I played a pretty amazing video game called "Batman: Arkham Asylum." It, obviously, was a Batman game and it was one of the better games I've played in recent memory.

So I was pretty glad that they made a sequel, "Batman: Arkham City."

I was planning on getting it, but Cathy surprised me by getting it for me as an early Anniversary gift!!!

I've played through a bit of it, and the story and gameplay has been absolutely amazing so far. It lives up to "Arkham Asylum" in every way, and surpasses it in every way.

I'm planning on trying to get as close to 100% completion as I can in it, which means I'll have hours and hours of game time when I'm finally done with it!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Skylanders....


Cathy and I got "Skylanders" for the Xbox 360 the day after it came out. We got it home and gave it a try and found it to be really fun, if not a bit on the easy side.

Either way, it was an enjoyable game. Part of the fun of the game is collecting the figures that go with the game. The figures are really cool looking, but the best part is when you put them on the Portal, they come to life in the game within about two seconds.

So anyways, in the little bit of time that has passed since we got the game, Cathy and I have managed to collect ALL of the available figures for the game right now. We have every one that has been released so far, with the exception of the Limited Edition Spyro that only comes with the Nintendo DS version of the game, and the one that was exclusive to Walmart...which I will be trying to find over the next week or so.

There are still a bunch more characters that are supposed to be released before Christmas, so we've still got plenty of them to collect, but for now we're pretty much complete!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Flexing Muscle!!!!


Spot the number six team in the country and their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback a 14 point lead?? Check.

Start comeback. Check.

Lead by 14 in the second half. Check.

Let that Heisman QB bring his team back after multiple three and outs in the fourth quarter?? Check.

Hail Marry pass to a quarterback turned wide receiver from 44 yards out for a touchdown with no time left, that has to be reviewed, for the win?? Check.


Un-fricken-believable!!!!!

For the second straight year, the Badgers head back to Madison from East Lansing with their first loss of the season!!!

Go Green!!!

Go White!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good Customer Service...

Just wanted to give a shout out to HobbyShack, Hobby People, and Team XTM.

I bought the $400 1/8th scale buggy a few weeks back, and last week the ESC and motor in it stopped working. I contacted Team XTM (who happens to be part of the Hobby People/HobbyShack network) about it and they asked me to send it back.

About one week later (today) I got a brand new motor and ESC in the mail!!

So basically, in one week they got my product, checked it to see if it could be fixed, found out it couldn't be fixed, sent me a new one, and got it to me.

All the while, Kyle from Hobby People was keeping me up to date on what was going on.

Definitely a good customer service system they've got in place there!! Kudos!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Closer to Fire Time!!!!

It's still a few weeks away, but I'm starting to look more and more forward to getting the Kindle Fire.

It won't come out until the middle of November, but I've already got big plans for it.

I've got all of my music uploaded to my Cloud Drive player now, so I can listen to all of my music on it. I've been getting a few books here and there, so I'll have some stuff to read, and I've been getting Android Apps from the Amazon App Store, so I'll have some cool games to play on it.

So basically, as soon as it gets here it's poised to take over as my go to gadget.

Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Good TV...


Tonight Cathy and I watched the series premiere of "Man Up!" on ABC.

I have to say, I don't think I've laughed that hard at a TV show in a while. I can definitely see how it might not be for everyone, but I thought it was hilarious.

Great stuff.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Leaves Falling...


So the leaves are starting to fall, which means it's time to start raking...

...unless...

You have a mulching kit on your 20 horsepower riding mower!!!!

I went out and just mowed all the leaves this afternoon, and you could barely tell that there were ever any there in the first place. I really can't believe how great of a job the mower does at chewing up leaves.

It's really nice to not actually have to worry about raking. Raking leaves is probably one of the worst chores that I can possibly imagine...so having a mower that will do it for you is great!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Team's Back Together...


After a rough couple of weeks for Officer Kono Kalakaua, things finally got back on track and Five-0 is back together.

I'm wondering what they'll end up doing with the new girl, Lori Weston, but judging by the end of this episode they may end up just keeping all five of the members of the team together, based on the way that the camera angle was showing the entire team together after the bank robbery.

I'm glad that Kono is back...I think she's a pretty good character, and having her be a bad guy just didn't seem to fit the character at all.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My First Muppet...

Well, as you all know I love puppets.

I haven't been doing very well at making my own lately, largely feeling that I have lacked any kind of creativity. But I have a couple of ideas for a couple of new ones, one in particular that I think is going to be cool. I have also been planning on cutting back on the "hard to build" puppets, and focusing more on the easy to make ones because they are simply more enjoyable to put together. I also have an order for a puppet right now, so I'll be working on him later this week. It's also a good order, and by that I mean a cool character...so that alone has got me a bit excited about working on them again. I also need to finish a couple of characters that I have had "almost done" for months. I also need to STILL finish another Yeti, Jr puppet for myself, and make a dinosaur for myself. So basically, I have to finish two, start and finish two more, make the new character I have in mind, and build the new order puppet. So that's a LOT of puppet making that I'll be doing...but it's alright, because it's getting a bit colder out and that's when it's good to stay inside and make puppets.

But anyways.

Moving on.

Tonight Cathy and I were at Toys R Us looking at some stuff, and I came across a VERY cool thing. FAO Schwarz is a well known toy store that has been pretty much absorbed by Toys R Us. While we were there, I found a Muppet Whatnot...which is something that FAO started a while ago. It's basically a generic Muppet character. The cool part?? They are the ACTUAL Muppets used in the background of Muppets movies and shows. IT comes in a cool box with a bunch of eyes, hair, and other accessories so you can basically make it your own character.

They sell for $40 less than what they sell for on the FAO website, so I went ahead and picked one up.

So now, even though it's not a well known Muppet, I actually have my very first official Muppet. And it's AWESOME!!!!



Thursday, October 13, 2011

iHobby...



On October 23rd Cathy and I will be heading to Chicago for the day.

We'll be going to the 2011 iHobby Expo.

I'm not sure exactly why, but I actually got invited to the show as a guest of the guy that's in charge of Horizon Hobby's product development, Mark Reed.

He contacted me on UltimateRC after posting a few times in some of the threads. Maybe it was my love of all things Electrix that caught his attention, or maybe it was the couple of "fixes" that I've managed to work out for some of the weak points of their trucks.

Either way, it should be fun. He said he would like me to meet the Electrix team, and that's pretty awesome.

Electrix has a couple of new trucks coming out this fall. I'm hoping that maybe...just maybe...at the show they have a few of them for sale, so that I might be able to get one before they go on sale to the rest of the country.

That would be awesome!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Night Football...Welcome BACK to Detroit!!!!!!


At Jefferson Avenue and Woodward in Detroit, this sculpture has stood since 1986. It's called "Fist of a Champion." It was built as a tribute to the boxer Joe Louis, who doesn't really need much of an introduction.

But the sculpture has come to stand for something else...the heart of a city that has been beaten down, yet continued to fight back, and always...ALWAYS...gets back up.

Joe Louis had 25 successful title defenses during his amazing career. A record that still stands to this day, and one that probably won't ever be eclipsed. That means that he got knocked down, but always...ALWAYS...got back up.

Detroit has taken a beating in recent years. The economic downturn hit The Motor City harder than it did most other cities. Times were tough. Jobs were scarce. And the industry that built this town into what it is, was floundering and largely asking the government to make sure they didn't fail.

So Detroit was down...but remember...Detroit ALWAYS gets back up.

Largely, the Detroit Lions football organization has been a microcosm of what Detroit has been going through. As the economy was falling apart in 2008, the Detroit Lions were mirroring this failure by stumbling to an 0-16 season...the first ever of it's kind in the NFL. Yes, the Lions were the worst team the NFL had ever seen.

Near the end of 2008, the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick served his last day as mayor. Kilpatrick had failed the City on numerous counts.

Again, mirroring the City, near the end of 2008 the Lions fired their head coach Rod Marinelli. Marinelli had failed the Lions on numerous counts.

The City was at what may have been the worst time in it's history, and likewise, the Lions were in fact at the worst time in their history.

But remember...Detroit ALWAYS gets back up. And like the mirror I've already presented, so do the Detroit Lions.

A rebuilding process began. The automakers were bailed out or made plans to rejuvenate their businesses. The jobs started to slowly creep back, even if they still today aren't anywhere near where they were before the City got knocked down last.

Likewise, the Lions began rebuilding. It started with the hiring of a coach. A coach like the Motor City hadn't seen in a very long time, if ever. A hard nosed, defensive minded coach who seems to love the game as much as anyone and who is animated and celebrates on the sidelines like a player himself. Jim Schwartz started the turn around by saying all the right things.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the automakers were busy getting themselves back on track. Ford ended up not taking any money from the government. General Motors paid their loans back early. And each company ended up making cars that were making a lot of noise in the industry.

At the same time, the Lions continued their resurrection under the new coach. They drafted the stud quarterback from Georgia, Matthew Stafford. They followed that up with a solid tight end, Brandon Pettigrew. Then the next year they added the biggest key in Ndamukong Suh. They also added some help on offense with Jahvid Best.

So the keys to the City getting back up were in place. The auto industry was getting back on track. The corrupt mayor had been removed from power. New businesses were starting to pop up. And the City was starting to get back up.

Again, while this was going on, the Lions were putting their keys in place as well. The stud quarterback missed a lot of games in his first two seasons as injuries took their toll, but the other players were fitting into their positions well and things were starting to look up. 0-16 in 2008 turned to 2-14 in 2009. Not much of an improvement, but the team was different. That turned into 6-10 in 2010. A solid improvement and a foundation to build upon.

So now we make it to today. The City is steadily moving forward. The automakers have cars that are hot sellers and are on the cutting edge of technology. The overall feel of the City is that it's trying it's best to get back onto it's feet, and if you ask people around Detroit they will tell you that things are turning around. The City is getting back up.

And in that mirror, we have the Detroit Lions. Tonight they beat the Chicago Bears at home in what was the first Monday Night Football game in over a decade. They improved to 5-0, which is their best start in 55 years. Those players that were put in place?? All of them are looking like superstars right now. The Lions are getting back up.

So tonight, the City and the Lions can celebrate. They took the "Fist of a Champion" and punched the Bears in their collective faces, and in a way showed the entire country on national television what the City is all about.

The count may have been all the way to 9 on this City.

The count may also have been all the way to 9 on this Lions franchise.

But remember.

The City of Detroit always...ALWAYS...gets back up.

Now?? It would appear that the Lions are learning something from that never say die attitude that this City has...an attitude that has been learned from hard work over countless years...an attitude that is summed up perfectly with that sculpture. So right now, the Lions are trying to get back up...because like the City, they HAVE to get up.

And right now...they're doing a damn fine job getting back into this fight.

Go.
Lions.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saving a Few Bucks...


Tonight I went to HSN, which is where I bought my headphones from to see if anyone had reviewed them, and of course, they were on sale for $20 less than I paid for them.

This seems to always happen to me.

So I started looking around and found out that HSN has a Low Price Guarantee. Any time you buy something, if it goes on sale within 30 days, you get the difference back.

So I called them to ask about this, and within literally 30 seconds I had $20 back to get me the headphones at the sale price.

Now, I thought these were awesome headphones for $150. For $130 they are amazing!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Schedule...

So our new schedule starts tomorrow.

That means that starting on Monday, Cathy and I have Mondays and Tuesdays off.

We'll be celebrating a bit by having a Monday Night Football get together at Rocky Top for the Lions-Bears game.

Actually...that reminds me...I need to go set up some rosters!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Short Course Truck...


Electrix has recently announced a new short course truck, called the Torment.

It's pretty standard Electrix fare, but it's got one huge difference...and that is it comes with a really nice 2.4ghz radio and receiver.

It's going to come in at about $40 more than the other Electrix trucks, but that price is basically for the nicer radio.

I really like the looks of it. I'll be selling my Slash to my friend Jeff this coming week, so maybe I'll start looking for a Torment for a Christmas gift!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To the ALCS!!!!!


Tonight the Tigers took down the Yankees in what was a fantastic series.

Next up?? The Texas Rangers.

I doubt a few weeks ago many people thought that would be the ALCS match up!!!!

Lions...


Great article in Sports Illustrated this week about the Lions...in fact, they are on the cover.

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw them on the cover of any magazine that wasn't from Detroit.

There is a line in it that I love...

"Who saw this coming? The Lions have swagger. The city of Detroit has belief. The NFL may never be the same again."

And there's a reason for that...and his name is Suh.

Earlier this week ESPN named Ndamukong Suh the most important Lions draft pick ever...yes, even over a certain #20 named Sanders (who IS the best running back the NFL has ever seen).

Their reasoning was simple. Sanders was great...electrifying...fantastic...but he was quiet and wasn't the leader that the team needed. Suh, on the other hand, is all of those things and more. he has come to Detroit and instantly made the Lions HIS team.

Sitting at 4-0 and one of only two teams in the NFL without a loss, I am optimistic about them for the first time in a long time. And here's the kicker...I think they will only get better as they get more experience.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Buggy...

So, after building my B4...and spending way more than I had originally planned on it...I just kind of had a sour taste in my mouth for it. It wasn't what I really wanted when I first started looking for a buggy, and again, the fact that I spent so much time and money on it just kind of put me off to it.

So tomorrow I'm selling it to my friend Alex.

With the money that I get from it, I'll be buying the buggy that I wanted all along...and keeping myself in the family of vehicles that I am most comfortable with.

An Electrix Boost.



It will immediately get some adjustable camber links, some VXL drive shafts, and a 2.4ghz receiver.

I will then probably be looking to upgrade to a 13.5t or a 10.5t sensored motor to power it.

I will also be adding the new Electrix all metal gears for the transmission.

I'm happy that I'm getting the buggy I really wanted all along. I had originally gone with the B4 because I thought it would be easier to get race ready...but then it ended up needing a bunch of parts to get itself road ready...let alone race ready.

The Boost will be fun to get into the swing of driving buggies, and it also puts me more in my comfort zone with products that I like to work on.

It should be here next week.

Headphones Arrived...

I got my headphones today. They came packaged in a cool box with a nice case inside it. The only "not nice" thing about the packaging/instruction materials is the little booklet that came with them could have used a bit more proof reading. Lots of little spelling errors and such, which is too bad because the history of Koss and his interactions with Tony Bennett are actually kind of interesting.

I got them plugged in, and with the iPod they SEEMED a bit quiet. I let Cathy listen, and she said they didn't seem very quiet at all. This is when I realized that they seemed quiet because they sounded so good.

When I used to work in car audio, it was a well known fact that loudness doesn't generally "hurt" your ears (I'm not talking about damaging them, but making you think "This hurts my ears!!"), distortion does. When you built a really loud car audio system, it would actually sound a bit quieter than some other systems because it lacked distortion.

That's what I realized about 15 minutes into using the headphones. There is virtually zero distortion in them, which belies how loud they actually are. They seem a bit quiet, but in fact they are easily just as loud as anything I've ever used...they simply sound so much better.

I'm happy with them, they seem like a nice set of headphones. They are definitely for travel and home use, though. I won't be using these bad boys when I'm out mowing the lawn!!!

Now, I just need that Kindle Fire to show up so that I have something to really use them with!!!!

Looking Forward to the Kindle Fire...

The more I think about it, the more I am really looking forward to the Kindle Fire that Cathy and I have preordered.

I've been transferring as much music as I can to my Amazon Cloud Drive, and I've been buying a few books here and there for the Kindle. I'm going to see about possibly getting a Fire Magazine Subscription when it gets here, and I may even try a couple of comic books just to see what those are like on the device.

I'm also looking forward to being able to watch movies from the Amazon Instant Video store. All of this doesn't even mention some of the games that I'm sure are going to be coming out for the device.

I've really liked my Archos tablet, but I don't use it that often any more because it became apparent that it was a little bit lower end after I started using it a lot.

I don't think that will be the case with this Kindle Fire, though. It seems that Amazon is going to be REALLY supporting it, so it will probably work very well with the services that it is going to use.

Only about 5 more weeks before it arrives.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

LiPo Fire...

Got to drive this thing on a small track today. It's WAY too fast for the track it was on.

I did get some good bashing in with it, though, and it seems REALLY tough. The only thing I managed to damage was the wing. Got a small crack in it, but that's not really a big deal.

I did, however, managed to kill two of my LiPo packs with it.

Both batteries were on the right side of the buggy and both of them had the right side bullet connection come unsoldered from the pack...basically, it cracked the solder in half. I traced the issue to the harness I had made. The way I had the wiring run it was causing some unnecessary pressure on that exact input, so I'm going to say that was the issue.

Only problem, now, though is that I'm down to only one LiPo, and it's a smaller one for my other trucks.

I had three...two that got damaged and another one. Get this...when I went to crack open the LiPo packs to see what was wrong, I got one cracked open and saw the issue. So I went to crack the other one open and punctured the cell...POOF...LiPo fire.

Now, you might be wondering what happened to the third one...well, as I looked at the pack on the ground that was all melted, I glanced up and...what do you know, the one that I punctured was the GOOD battery. I had mistakenly grabbed it instead of the one that had stopped working.

So I fried my one good pack.

Yay!!!

Now I've got to buy two new ones just to get the XTM back up and running.

Man, this hobby is costing me a fortune!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Again???


First team ever to come back from a 20 point deficit in back to back weeks.

The 24 point comeback is the largest ever for a road team in NFL history.

The Lions are 4-0.

Amazing.


New Headphones...

I have never had a really good set of headphones. Sure, I've had some that cost like $50, but those aren't even considered remotely expensive when it comes to headphones.

Now, I don't listen to a lot of music...but I've been listening to a bit more later at night while I'm messing around on the internet. But I DO play quite a few portable games on my iPod Touch and I have a Nintendo 3DS that there are some awesome games coming out for.

I also just preordered that awesome Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which is going to be a great way to watch videos and movies and listen to music from anywhere that there is a WiFi connection.

So I figured it was time to get some nice headphones...and I went with these...



They are Koss Tony Bennett Signature Series metal headphones. They are basically Koss DJ100 headphones that have been tweaked to have the vocals sound a bit better. I got them for a pretty good price and think that they'll be pretty nice for what I want to use them for.

The only catch is they are supposed to work a lot better with a portable headphone amplifier, so I also got one of those on the way. I got an Fiio E5 headphone amplifier which is about the size of an old iPod Shuffle and should boost the sound to about twice the volume that most portable devices can produce, which should make the headphones sound fuller and more complete.

I'm looking forward to getting them and seeing how good they sound, and if I can even tell a difference between them and my $30 Panasonic headphones!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

For the First Time...

...in a dozen years, the Spartans beat the Ohio State Buckeyes today.

Despite shooting themselves in the foot on offense several times, the defense held the Buckeyes to less than 200 total yards, and a bunch of those came on the final drive of the game. The Bucks had 178 yards, 62 of which came on the final drive of the game. In fact, the Spartans pitched a shutout until there were only 10 seconds left in the game.

The defense playing like it did today makes you wonder how good they would be if the offense could hold up it's end of the deal a bit more often.

The Spartans are idle next week and then host the Wolverines the week after that...I'm hoping that maybe in the off week they can get their act together on offense and manage to send Michigan packing with their first loss of the season.

It's About That Time Again...



Like is customary about this time of the month...I can't believe it's already October!!!!

There's a few things that will be going on this month for me.

First of all, on the 9th we switch days off from Tuesday and Wednesday to Monday and Tuesday. That means, that I now have Mondays off for Monday Night Football!! To kind of celebrate that, on the 10th a bunch of us will be meeting up to go to Rocky Top to watch the game and play MNF Bingo, a game that they play there during the game.

After that, it's smooth sailing until the 31st...which is both Halloween, and our Anniversary!!!

I've got a few gifts planned for Cathy, and to follow that up the next day (November 1st) is her birthday...so I'll have some things going on for that as well. Lucky for us, we have both of those days off already!!! So we don't even need any leave to enjoy the days without work!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

To The Track!!!!

Today Alex, Jason, and I made plans to go to the race track with our trucks this next week.

We'll be going on Tuesday, and we'll either be heading to the track in Lansing if the weather is good, or to Dirt Burners in Livonia if the weather is bad.

I basically told them that I would rather go to the free track as long as the weather allows...because we'll be able to go to Dirt Burners indoor track all winter long when we want, so we may as well take advantage of the other track while it's still nice enough outside to do so.

I think I'll be taking my new buggy and my monster truck with me, along with the 4 wheel drive Tamiya buggy.

My 1/10th buggy and my stadium truck are both set up to run on the clay at Dirt Burners, so I'd rather not put them out on the different type of surface to make sure the tires are still in good shape when I do eventually make it to Dirt Burners.

I'm really wanting to run the new 1/8th scale truck to see what it can do. I know it's fast, and I know it's quick...but I really want to see it do some jumping!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet...

As anyone that's read my blog for a while knows, I have an Android tablet...an Archos A70.

I got it because I wanted something more portable than my laptop but with a bigger screen than my phone. The A70 worked well, but it never seemed to be as powerful as I had hoped.

So I have been on the constant lookout for a new tablet, but I simply didn't want to spend $500 or more to get an Android 3.0 tablet like a Xoom or an Acer Iconia.

A while back I had heard rumors that Amazon was working on a tablet of their own. These rumors really heated up about three weeks ago, and I began checking for news about it daily.

I found out that it was real, a guy at TechCrunch had actually used it. I found out that September 28th Amazon had scheduled a media event in New York...supposedly to announce the tablet. I found out that it was supposed to be a fairly powerful device (compared to my A70) for less than $300.

So, if you're paying attention...today is September 28th...and this is what was announced...


This is the Kindle Fire. It's an Android powered tablet that's not really using Android. Make sense?? Of course not. It runs a version of Android, but it's been so modified that you can't even tell it's Android. It's got a 1.2ghz dual core processor in it (compared to the 250mhz processor in the A70). It's got a 7" screen, which I find to be better for tablets than a 10" screen. It seamlessly integrates with all things Amazon...the book store, the video store, and the app store. So basically, it's a powerful Amazon device that will give you all things Amazon at the touch of a button.

Best part??

$199.

That's right. Less than $200.

Cathy went ahead and preordered one for each of us. They are supposed to ship on November 15th, and we should get them a day or two after that.

I'm looking forward to it. It looks pretty awesome!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Building a Hybrid Buggy/Truck Thing...

I have pretty much everything done to all of my RC trucks and buggies that I want to have done to them. I need to do one more thing to the Backslash...and that's get some hardened shock shafts to replace the ones I bent. I also would like to get a new body for the Ruckus, but that's not really necessary...just something that I would like to do.

That means that the only truck that isn't really done is CircuitTWO. I had originally bought CircuitTWO as a parts truck, but then I managed to get everything on CircuitONE fixed without using many parts from the other truck.

So I basically have an "extra" stadium truck that really only needs a few things to get it running. It needs some transmission gears, because I took the gears out of it to put into the Ruckus when i smashed the gears in it. It needs some shock spacers because I robbed them off of it for some other trucks, but that's not an issue because I just got some new aluminum shocks for the other Circuit, so those spacers can be put back on right away.

Other than that, it just needs a motor combo for it because it's only got stock electronics in it.

But I don't really NEED another stadium truck...so what to do??

I got it...I'll make it into some crazy hybrid buggy thing.

Like this...


Or this...from another angle...


It's basically the stock Circuit chassis, with a hacked up body that I wasn't going to be using from a B4.

It actually looks pretty sweet...like a standard 1/10th buggy with a really wide wheel set and big wheels.

Now the only thing I really need to decide is what type of motor combo I want to go with for it. I had thought about getting another 380 combo like I have for the B4, but then I kind of thought about going insane...with like a 5700kv motor and a 120a ESC to get this thing up into the 60-65 MPH range.

Of course, I could always just go with another Castle system and call it a day.

Either way I decide to go, I think it's going to be a really cool little project. I've got a wing mount on the way for it, but I'm not sure if I'm going to use it. I kind of like the looks of the vehicle with just the body on it.

Happy Birthday Google!!!

A while back I made a post about Drinking the Google Kool-Aid.

Well, with that in mind, I would like to wish Google a Happy 13th Birthday!!!

I don't remember exactly when I discovered Google, but I know it's been my homepage on every PC that I have owned for years now. I also use a Google powered phone, Google for my mail, and Google for just about everything that I can.

Here's to many more great years!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Look Now...


...but the Lions just did something that GOOD teams do.

Down 20-0 at halftime, the Lions of the last few seasons would have probably just gotten ready for the plane ride home. But not THIS Lions team. THIS Lions team came back out punching.

And ended up getting on that plane to come home with their first 3-0 start since 1980.

Impressive?? Absolutely.

They have all the makings of a decent football team...but the thing that seems to impress me the most is the fact that they look like they are having fun.

Now, let's just hope they can keep this good season on track. I'm not hoping for 14 or 15 wins...but I would like to see them just keep playing well.

Detroit deserves it!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My First Custom Body...

So, I got the graphics and the paint done on my first really custom body. I painted the body on the B4, but that was just a quick and ugly job to get it a different color. This one I spent a bit of time on and I think it came out great.

I did learn a few things, though. I need to be a bit more patient and I definitely need to do a bit better job of cleaning up the body before laying the paint down.

Overall, though, I think it looks great.

Here's some pictures.