Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Good Video...

My mom sent me this video in an e-mail, and I thought it was pretty great. That dog looks an awful lot like a bluetick coonhound with maybe a bit of muttley in him. Reminds me of my two idiots.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cooper Had An Episode...

Tonight Cooper had an episode. I'm not sure if it was two different seizures or one really long one. It lasted a good long while, but in the middle he seemed to snap out of it and was fine, but then went right back to acting odd.

He's laying next to me in the chair sound asleep right now, which is usually what he does when he's done having them for the time being.

This is the first time he's had one, that we know of, since December of 2009. So it's been a good long time since he had one. Of course, it's possible that he has them sometimes at night or during the day in his crate, but he's usually so tired after they happen that I'm sure we would have noticed it.

I'm really only mentioning this because a long time ago when I took him to the vet for this and all his test came back clean, the vet told me to keep a log of when they happened so that if they became more frequent we would have a record of them.

I'm glad he's okay, though. It's pretty scary when he starts having them.

3DS Consoles Are Here...

Today our two 3DS units arrived.

We got them set up and one thing immediately set them apart from the old DS consoles. They connected to our home wireless network. The old DS Lite that Cathy had been using didn't like the newer security on our router, so it wouldn't connect to the network here. That's not an issue with the 3DS, thankfully.

We only played with them for a few minutes, but I think both of us were pretty impressed with them from a "just toying around with it" standpoint. The real test will be in the next few days when all of our games start arriving.

Cathy got one game, "Monkey Ball 3D," but she didn't play it tonight. I'm sure she'll give it a try tomorrow night.

My "Steel Diver" game should arrive tomorrow as well, and I'm excited to give it a try.

Our other two games, "Pilot Wings" and "Street Fighter" won't be here until Wednesday, but that's alright.

The one other thing I wanted to note about the 3DS. It actually seems like a high tech gadget when you're just looking at it now. I always kind of thought that the old DS handhelds...all of them, from the original all the way through the DSi XL...seemed to look more like toys than high tech gadgets. The 3DS looks more like a high tech gadget. I can't really put my finger on what it is that makes it seem that way, but it's definitely noticeable.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Tournament Ever???

So I've been watching quite a bit of this March Madness...and I have to say, it truly has been madness this year.

After the Final Four was set, with VCU, Butler, Kentucky, and UConn, I was reading on that they had over 6 MILLION brackets filled out...and how many of them had these four teams picked??


Two out of six million people managed to pick these four teams, and I have to imagine that they were some kind of odd picks, not really people thinking these would be the teams.

This is also the first time ever that zero #1 or #2 seeds have made the Final Four. It is also, by far, the highest total seeding for any Final Four ever.

I had one team picked in my bracket, and that was UConn. I had Kansas picked to win it all, but even I have to say that today I was pulling for VCU.

I would like to see Butler or VCU win it. Butler probably has a pretty good chance. After going to the National Final last year, they know what it takes to win.

Overall, though, I think it's been the best tournament in a LOOOOONG time. All kinds of great games. Exactly what March Madness is supposed to be about.

Now...tell me again...why does NCAA Division IA football not have a tournament???

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Steel Diver...

I ended up going with "Steel Diver" for my first 3DS game.

It's an action-simulation submarine game. It looks like it takes a lot of elements of the new hardware and puts it all to use in some way, so I figured it would be a good game to start off with to see what the new device is capable of.

Then we found out that when Cathy purchased the 3DS consoles for us, she got a BUNCH of incentives. She ended up getting us two more games for a total of $20, so she got herself "Pilot Wings" and me "Street Fighter IV 3D."

We should have it all by Tuesday, but the consoles themselves should show up tomorrow.

I'm excited to get a chance to give it a try!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To My Surprise...

...I woke up today and found an e-mail from someone that wanted to buy a puppet that I've had listed on Etsy for a while.

The reason she didn't just buy it from the Etsy store is that she wanted to make sure I could ship to Canada. She also wanted me to add legs to the puppet because he normally doesn't have legs on him.

I haven't sold a puppet in a little while, so I cut her a pretty good deal on it and she ended up sending me the money tonight.

I'm glad to have finally sold another puppet. I had gotten a bit down about them because I hadn't had much luck selling them recently, but this is definitely a pick me up.

I'll end up putting him together on my days off this week and getting him sent out later this week. I hope she likes him!

An Early B-Day Present...

A few years ago...May of 2009 to be Ultimate Edition DVD set of "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" was released. It came out on Blu-Ray in a six disc collection that was actually stored inside a T-800 Endo Skull.

It was VERY expensive, and as such I didn't end up getting it. However, it has always been on my list of "if I could get it, I would" DVD collections. But time hasn't done it well, as it was rare enough that over the last 22 months it has actually gone UP in price. Upwards of $200 if you can find one now.

The other day when I was showing people at work that I had just gotten the "Bender" set of "Futurama," someone asked me what other stuff I had. I was showing everyone the cool sets I have, and in the process managed to show a few people the "T2" edition that I wanted.

Well, my friend Alex (really probably best friend other than Cathy, he was the best man at our wedding) was in there and was listening in from the other side of the break room. I didn't know it at the time, but as soon as I mentioned it he found it on Amazon and ordered one.

He gave it to me today.

It's an absolutely EPIC DVD collection. The skull itself is absolutely amazing. The discs look great. It also has a version of the film that has never been released before that must be accessed with a special code entered at a certain time in the menus.

It's a pretty awesome gift!!!

The eyes actually light up and it plays sounds from the movie when you press the button on the side of it's base.

It's going to be a great, and probably center, piece to have in my DVD collection.

The only problem?? Now I have to get myself a new DVD shelf JUST to have my special editions on!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Operation: Box Removal Expanded...

Yesterday I worked on Operation Box Removal.

Well, Cathy went out to dinner with her godmother, and when she did that, Operation Box Removal changed into Operation Clean Living Room.

I took EVERYTHING out of the living room that wasn't supposed to be there.

When Cathy got home she was really surprised. The only thing left out there that really shouldn't be there is our old computer, but we'll be working on getting that out of there soon. I'm planning on asking around if anyone can use a computer, and if they can we'll just give it to them.

It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would, so that was a good thing. I'm now looking ahead to possibly cleaning out the office area in the basement. I would like to get that cleaned out really good and then move my puppets into that room and turn it into what is effectively a puppet factory!!!

Either way, it's nice to have the living room nice and clean. It hasn't looked like that in AGES!!!

3DS on the Way...

I've been keeping up with the 3DS game reviews, and all of them are getting pretty solid marks.

That prompted me to go ahead and get a 3DS ordered for myself. I went with the black one because Cathy is getting the blue one. Should be here in about a week.

Then I'll have to go get a game or two. Right now I'm thinking Street Fighter IV 3D. It's got great reviews and looks like it's a pretty cool game.

Of course there is always Pilotwings Resort, as well, which is the game that we actually played at Best Buy. I thought it seemed really cool, and the reviews are saying it's pretty fun.

I'm a bit disappointed that the games are now up to $40 for this handheld, but I guess that's something that should be expected when the device actually costs more than Nintendo's Wii console.

I'm really excited about getting it. I'm hoping that they continue to have awesome games for it just like they have for the DS. It really does address every issue I had with the last set of handhelds. The analog control stick is what I liked about the PSP, but the game library is what I liked about the DS. The 3DS looks like it's taken the best of both of those and shoved them into one awesome device.

Droid Really Does...

Today I got some new rear surround sound speakers set up. They were the last part of my home theater system that hadn't been replaced. Well, they WERE the last part, next is probably a bit higher end subwoofer, but that's another story.

Anyways, I got the same rear speakers as I have front left and right speakers now, some Sony SSB-1000 bookshelf speakers. I got them through a strange coincidence that is a long story, so I'll just leave that for another day.

So, now that I had the entire system set up, I wanted to make sure everything was set up correctly. To do that, a sound meter was necessary. I had already picked one out that I wanted from Radio Shack. It had great reviews and even better was on sale!!

I headed to the closest Shack and when I got there they only had the display model left. The guy really wanted me to get it, I think, but it didn't have all of the parts and I wasn't going to pay full price for something that was incomplete, even if it would have still worked. The guy at the store helped me out by checking to see that the other store in town still had them as well, so I headed to the other side of town.

When I got there, they also only had the display model left. Even though that one was in good shape and worked, I still didn't want to spend $40 on a display model, and they weren't really receptive to discounting the price.

I decided I would just go home and order a new one from the Radio Shack website. But then I started thinking, I wonder if there's an App for my Droid R2-D2 that would work as a decibel meter?? I mean, there are apps for just about everything else, right??

So I quickly checked and found that, sure enough, there are quite a few sound meters available on the Android Market. I found one that looked promising, paid my 99 cents, and about 20 seconds later had a sound meter on my phone.

When I got home I did some more research on it. It seems that the device's microphone is really the deciding factor on how accurate the app is. But I didn't need it to tell me how many dBs the speakers were creating, I just needed it to tell me that they were all making the same level of sound. So even if something is ACTUALLY 55 dB and the phone is only saying it's 48 dB, that didn't matter. All I needed was the device to be able to tell me that everything is putting out the same amount of sound.

I followed the instructions for setting up a sound meter test and got to work. When everything was all said and done, I had all 5 of the speakers in the room within .5 dB of each other, which was about the best that I was going to get. What I did was set up the app to give me an average, then let it listen to each speaker for 30 seconds. I then made any adjustments and did the same thing again.

I'm guessing that being within .5 db is going to be something that can't even be noticed. It also is something probably will have to be "good enough" no matter what due to the way my room is set up. The fronts are at an angle so one is slightly farther away from the listener than the other, and the rears are the same way. The fact that the center channel is a different brand is probably another determining factor.

We set in to watch some TV after I got it all set up, and I immediately noticed a more balanced and complete sound. The voices sounded more smooth and even, and when music kicked in you really got a good "fully enveloped" sound effect going on.

I'm surprised that a 99 cent app was able to get me to the point where I think it sounds much better. Saved $40 in the process. Would the $40 one be better?? Possibly, but seeing as my home theater is pretty budget oriented, I think that the $40 one may have gotten me better overall readings, but I wouldn't have been able to adjust the system any better than I have it now.

So, the Droid saved me $40 tonight. That's nearly half the price of the phone itself. Maybe this thing was a good investment after all????

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Operation: Box Removal

Today I undertook a half hour job. Operation Box Removal.

Over the last year and a half, I don't think that Cathy and I have thrown away hardly any boxes. We kept all of the boxes from our speakers, receiver, and new TV. We had the box from the new TV we bought for the bedroom like two years ago.

Today I took a few minutes and broke all of those boxes down and shoved them all inside one giant box in order to take them out to the trash on Monday.

It wasn't a very long or difficult job, but it made a huge difference in the living room especially. It seems that the living room had become the collecting space for the boxes.

Now that the boxes are all gone, we can focus on actually getting that living room nice and clean. That will be just one of several rooms that needs to be really cleaned up this spring and summer.

I'm hoping to have a garage sale with a bunch of the junk we've collected, but I'm not sure when we'll be able to do that.

Either way, it's nice to finally have that area cleaned up a bit.

Summer of the Tablet...

So it looks like this summer is going to be the launching point for a tablet revolution.

Tablets from major companies like Motorola, Samsung, and LG are all primed for trying to grab their share of the iPad market.

It started with the Xoom, which has been getting pretty good reviews since it released earlier this month.

In June, however, there are a slew of them coming out. Starting with the next versions of Samsung's Galaxy Tabs in 8.9 and 10.1 inch versions. Both of those will be running Android 3.0 which is Google's tablet specific OS.

After that, the LG Slate will release which boasts two cameras on the back that can take 3D video.

It seems that every manufacture out there wants to get in on this tablet business, as you can see in this link.

I don't know whether tablets will be the wave of the future or not. I certainly like mine. It works pretty well and provides a fairly streamlined experience for checking e-mail and surfing the web. I doubt they'll replace laptops as most people's portable computing preference, but I could definitely see them putting a dent in the "netbook" market. It seems most people that have a Netbook are using it primarily for web browsing and e-mail, which is what these tablets will probably excell at, but the tablets will be smaller in form and will have the added benefit of faster boot times and ease of use.

For me, the tablets offer a new platform for games. I like my Archos A7o, but I am kind of wondering if I should have waited to get one until all of these Android 3.0 devices started coming out. Supposedly this summer Archos is supposed to release several 3.0 devices, so maybe when those come out I'll take a serious look at upgrading.

1,000 Posts...

I've made it past 1,000 posts now.

When I made it to 900, I said that I would probably break 1,000 before my birthday. Well, my birthday is only 15 days away, so I made it...but I cut it a bit closer than I thought I would.

Had I not made so many posts so far this month, I may not have made it.

I can't believe that I've already made 1,000 posts on the blog. It seems like I only started it a while ago, but it's going on 2 and a half years now. Pretty amazing that I've stuck with it this long!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Alright, it's March 23rd.

That's way too late in the year for it to be snowing, right??

Apparently not. Tonight it snowed at the house...enough that it actually covered the driveway.

I'm sick of winter. It hasn't been a particularly rough winter, but it seems like these last two months have been nothing but nasty weather, and I'm tired of it.

I'm ready for spring. No, I take that back. I'm ready for summer. Let's just go ahead and skip the rain and 50 degree days and get right to sunny and 75. Yah, that will work.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Cathy and I took the day off of work today. My foot has been bothering me. I managed to somehow hurt it when I was putting the ladder away from fixing the siding last week.

So anyways, it was a crappy day so we figured we'd go check out a movie. We went to see "Paul" with Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Seth Rogan.

I have to say that I was really impressed with the movie. I've read that people have said it's not quite as funny as Pegg and Frost's other work, but I didn't think that was the case. It didn't garner as many laughs, but I didn't think it was supposed to. I think it was supposed to be more of an adventure movie that had some funny elements.

I also liked all the references to other alien movies that have been made. I won't go into them, but if you see the movie I'm sure you'll notice a bunch of them, too.

I'm glad I went to see it in theaters. It's definitely a movie I'll be picking up on DVD when it comes out.

Another Android Post...

Today I got an e-mail from Amazon.

They have opened their own Android App Store. It's going to be competing with Google's own Android Market, but Amazon has a few features that Google's Market doesn't.

First of all, Amazon's new store is going to be a bit more strict on what types of Apps it sells. Currently, Google relies on customer reviews and flags to determine if an App is offensive or something else that shouldn't be there. Amazon, however, will take a stance a bit more like Apple has with their App Store and will review every piece of software that is available on the store and if it feels that something shouldn't be sold, it won't be sold.

Second, Amazon's store will support devices that aren't currently supported by Google's Market. From what I've been able to determine, there is some sort of cooperative that has been set up by Google and many manufacturers are a part of it. If a company is a part of it, then their device is officially supported by the Market...however, if a company is using the Android OS but isn't part of the co-op, then they have no official support for Google's Market. This is the case with my Archos A70. It is not officially supported by Google so the Market doesn't work correctly on it. There are ways around this, however, with a hacked Market Fix or owning an Android powered phone and connecting both devices to the same account. However, neither of those is really an ideal solution, so Amazon has gone around it completely by just saying that ANY Android powered device will be fully supported by the Amazon App Store. That's a cool feature that makes my tablet seem much easier to use.

Third, Amazon will be giving away one free app that normally costs something every single day. Today, the initial launch day, they are giving away "Angry Birds Rio" for free. Sure, it normally only costs 99 cents, but anything that's free is cool. Especially when it's such a popular game like "Angry Birds." Amazon says that every day there will be a new free app, so it's definitely worth checking everyday to see if it's something you're interested in.

Overall, I think that Amazon may have just become my vendor of choice for Apps for my two Android powered devices. I look forward to seeing how this all goes.

New Headphones...

I was in FYE, a music store in the mall, on my days off last week.

While I was in there, they had a bunch of their Skullcandy headphones on sale. I found a style that I really liked, some Skullcrushers. They were normally $70 but were on sale for $50. That was still a bit more than I wanted to spend at the time, and I already have a pretty nice pair of over-ear headphones, some Panasonic RP-HTX7 phones. They're really nice and look really cool.

These Skullcrushers are cool, though. They have a built in amplified subwoofer, so they produce really great low end tones.

Sometimes things work out in strange ways, though. Today when I checked my e-mail, I found that Ebay's "E-mail Only Deal of the Day" was these exact headphones...for $34!!!

So I snatched some up, in a color scheme that I liked even better than what they had at FYE. It's called "Classic" and they look pretty cool.

I'll probably use them while mowing the lawn and doing other things outside, and leave my Panasonics for using while I'm in the house.

Here's what they look like.

The Beach Cruiser and Me...

On our days off last week I was able to get Cathy to get a pretty good picture of the Beach Cruiser with me. From this picture, you can tell what I was talking about when I mentioned that the seat is quite a bit off the ground.

I think this is a pretty good picture. I didn't get a chance to get it off of the camera until just tonight, so here it is on the blog!!

Nintendo 3DS...

The new Nintendo handheld game machine comes out next week. Cathy pre-ordered one from Amazon after we got a chance to play with it at Best Buy the other night.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the machine. I'm on the fence on if I want one for myself or not. I do, but I don't want to spend $250 on one. I'll probably end up getting one anyways. I enjoy handheld gaming, but the problem I've had with the two current devices (the DS and the PSP) are different for each one. On the DS, I didn't like that there was no analog control stick. That is fixed on the 3DS. On the PSP, I didn't like that there were about 4 games for it. That should also not be an issue for the 3DS.
The one here is obviously the black version, Cathy ordered the blue version of the device which I actually think is the better looking product.
It should be here early next week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Been Posting a Lot on the Blog...

So, I've been posting an awful lot on the blog this month. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've made more posts this month than I have in nearly a year.

I don't really know why. I guess working on the Beach Cruiser gave me something really interesting to post about and led to quite a few posts.

Those posts led to me wanting to post even more.

I also got the new phone this month, so that has caused me to spend a lot of time working with Android, which has also led to a few posts.

I'm glad I'm getting back to blogging more. For a while it almost felt like a chore...which is why I got down to only 15 or so posts per month. It's fun again, so I look forward to posting more and more!!!

A Great Android Game...

So I mentioned the other day that I wasn't as impressed with the games for Android, but that they were getting better.

I found one that is superb. It's called "Abduction." There are currently three versions, with the first version, just "Abduction" being free. But there are two other versions that are paid apps, and they are both worth the money.

"Abduction" is a game where you are a cow. Your job is to do what every cow apparently wants to do, and that's get abducted by aliens. To do this, your cow constantly bounces, and you must tilt your device to make sure that he is bouncing off of platforms to constantly get higher and higher, until you get to the UFO.

I have on my iPod Touch, and the ones that I always find myself going back to are the ones that have a simple yet very addictive play style. Games like "Tiny Wings," "Cut the Rope," and "Ninjump" have been amongst my favorites, and they are also some of the more simple games in the App Store. Now, don't get me wrong, some of the big budget titles, like "Dead Space," "Infinity Blade," and "Madden" are good...but when you start trying to make a portable game too much like a console game, I start to lose interest. I don't want to have to play a complex game with the touchscreen on a device.

It's this reason that makes "Abduction" such a hit for me. It takes a simple concept and pushes it to the point of "I have to play just one more time." It's awesome and fun.

I highly recommend anyone with an Android Powered phone give the free version a download, I think you might like it!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Exciting Tournament So Far...

If the first weekend is any indication, we're in for a GREAT two more weeks of college hoops. Games have been coming down to the absolute wire. Great upsets. A few VERY high seeds are gone.

And we're only past the first four days!!!

I'm hoping the excitement continues this coming week. If it's even have as good as this past week, it'll be great!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cool New DVD Set...

Today I ordered a complete DVD set for the first time in a good long time.

Amazon had "Futurama The Complete Collection" as a Gold Box Deal and I got it for $80. It's normally $130, so it was a pretty good deal.

It's the ENTIRE "Futurama" collection. Every episode, every movie, and a bunch of extras. The best part, though?? It comes in the head of Bender the Robot.

It's a set that I've wanted ever since I first saw it posted on IGN a while back. IGN is where this image is actually taken from. But I didn't really want to spend the $150 or more on it at the time, mainly because I liked "Futurama," but I didn't love "Futurama."

But for $80?? That's a price I can swallow for a cool DVD collection.

It should be here on Monday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Want One...

The more I see it, the more I want it.

A Motorola Xoom. The first Honeycomb Android Powered Tablet. It's getting pretty good reviews, and is supposed to be the first tablet that comes even close to possibly dethroning the iPad.

The only problem?? It's pretty ridiculously expensive, which means I probably won't be getting one anytime soon.

But it's always good to dream, right?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


So, I am beginning to really like the Android operating system. I'm now running it on both the tablet and my new phone.

The phone has caused me to start to truly see the advantages of the system. The reason for that is the Android online market. Once I go the phone suddenly the market recognized the tablet as an Android device, so the tablet now can run all of the applications much more intuitively which makes it easier to use.

The other thing I really like about the operating system are widgets. They are nice features that look as good as they function. The widgets alone make me feel that Android might be a bit better than Apple's system. I like that on Android the widget for weather shows you the current weather, where on iOS you must go into the application to see that same type of information.

The only thing that I do not particularly like is the game support. The games on Android aren't nearly as good of quality as on the iPod. But I have found some great ones though, so there is still hope in that department.

All in all, I'm really happy with my new phone and it's made my tablet seem even better. I'm glad I got it instead of the iPhone.

Doug, if you read this, what do you think of your Droid 2 Global? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Nice Day...

...of the year!!!

It's currently 53 degrees and sunny outside!!! It's supposed to be even warmer tomorrow, but then it's supposed to rain in the evening. That's alright, though, I would rather it be 63 and rainy than 30 and not rainy.

I got up today and quickly did some work on the house. The other day when I was snapping the shots of the Huffy bicycle from the shed, I noticed that a part of our siding had fallen off of the house over the winter. It probably got blown off a couple of weeks ago when we had the really bad wind. So I got some nails, my hammer, and climbed up onto the roof and got the siding back on. I didn't do the best job in the world...but hey, I've never tried to hang siding on the eave of a house while sitting on the roof. So even though it's not the best, it's still a helluva lot better than it was.

I think tonight we're going to fire up the grill and use that.

Man, I love it when it starts to get nice outside!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Bike Project...

So, I mentioned that there was an old bike out in the shed that could be a good project to work on once I got my Beach Cruiser done. I went out and checked it out and it seems like a solid start.

It's a Huffy Regatta. I'm probably going to do about the same types of things that I did to my bike to it. New seat, bars, grips, and tires. I might just end up putting the wheels that I took off of my old Murray onto it. The wheels on it are REALLY rusted out, so the ones that came off of the Murray will be an instant improvement.

The Regatta is a three speed, so putting the other wheels on it will make it into just a single speed, but that's alright because then I can lose most of that cabling and have the bike look quite a bit cleaner.

Right now I'm thinking of going with a Nirve Paul Frank Julius seat, Paul Frank grips, and Nirve Clean Sweep bars.

Here's a picture of the bike as it is right now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Finally Some GOOD Beach Cruiser Pictures...

Today it was nice and bright out, so I figured it'd be a good chance to get some good pictures of the Beach Cruiser in natural light, instead of with the lights in the house or the flash from the camera.

Here's the bike from the side, what it looks like entirely.

Here's the chain guard on the bike. You can get a good look at the tribal graphics on it and you can see the back wheel and tire a little bit.

Here's the front wheel. You get a good idea of how closely matched the colors of the wheel and tire are here, and you can see the custom valve stem cap that it has on it.

Another picture of the Nirve Switchblade seat. You can see how it says "Nirve" on the back of it in the same design type as the tribal graphics on the top.

Here's a really good close up of the Nirve Switchblade grips and the Crane Suzu bell. You can see how the grips match the seat's design really well with the above picture and this one.

Last but not least is the same photo from the other post. It's the Coo Coo Nuts drink holder, but I like this picture. Shows the handlebars, bell, seat, rear tire, and grips really well, so I figured I'd just post it again.

Last, I got another video of it during the day, so the video is MUCH better quality. You can check it out here.

I have really, REALLY, enjoyed working on this bike. It's coming to an end, though, and I'm a bit sad about that. But I'm sure I'll have fun riding it around. It rides like a dream!!! Nice and smooth!!

Beach Cruiser Update 6...

My final part that I had ordered arrived for the Beach Cruiser today. It's a Cruiser Candy Coo Coo Nuts drink holder.

Basically, it's a hollowed out coconut that has a face carved and painted on it that holds cans of pop or 20 ounce bottles. It took it a bit to get here, but when it arrived I was pretty impressed.

It goes well with the "beach" part of the bike because coconuts go hand in hand with the beach. It also goes well with the tribal aspect of the bike because it clearly looks like something that some native tribe on some pacific island would have made.

I think it fits the theme of the bike really well and looks good in the process. I'm glad it finally arrived!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Forward... come we turned the clocks forward, usually a sign of spring being on it's way, and on my way home from work tonight it was snowing??

Shouldn't it be doing something OTHER than snowing when you're turning clocks forward??

Man, I'm sick of winter.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 5...

Today the other tire for the Beach Cruiser showed up. I got it installed on the wheel and got the wheel on the bike this evening.

I ended up removing the fenders, even after spending all that time getting the front one to work. The back one was rubbing pretty bad, too, so I figured to just remove them both. Maybe I'll think about going with another solution one of these days, but for the time being I really like the way it turned out.

Here's a picture. The flash really emphasizes the reflective stripes on the Fat Frank tires.

I also took a quick video of the bike, but the quality is really horrible. I'll post it here anyways, but I'll definitely be getting another video of the bike when it's light out and not so cold.

So far I am still loving this thing. It's been great fun putting it all together. I'm actually kind of sad that I'm running out of things to do to it. I'll get some new pedals, probably find a fender solution (maybe some of those wooden ones, but in the "half" size that only goes from the top of the tire to the seat post, and I've got the cup holder on the way. But after that, there won't be much else to do to it other than maybe a new custom chain. Either way, most of it is already done.

One thing I learned, though...doing this is easy, fun, and quite a bit less expensive that working on motorcycles. It's also easy to drag a bicycle into the basement to work on it indoors when the weather isn't cooperating. Try doing that with a motorcycle. So what does all of this mean?? Maybe I will start building something different after I'm completely done with this one. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be selling the Bianche road bike this summer, so maybe I'll put a lowered/stretched beach cruiser in it's place in the garage. I also have an old three speed woman's bicycle in the shed that could probably be a great place to start working on another Beach Cruiser. Either way, it was great fun and not a ton of maybe I'll do one, but maybe I won't.

I've always wanted a Beach Cruiser...and now I've got a proper one.

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Schedule at Work...

Starting on April 10th, Cathy and I will officially have new days off at work. We do a shift bid once every six months, and our days off seem to move around a little each time.

We like days in the middle of the week off, so for a long time we had Tuesday and Wednesday off. I liked that because, as odd as it sounds, new DVDs and games come out on Tuesday and it was always nice to be able to pick them up as soon as they came out if we wanted to.

Then those days off weren't available, so we switched to Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn't bad, and we have gotten used to them.

Well, now we're back to Tuesday and Wednesday again. It's cool because when we change we'll have a short work week. We also share days off with a lot of our friends, so that makes the possibilities of actually doing stuff on our days off with friends a much more realistic possibility. I've already got Scott interested in the idea of coming down to our house to hit the mountain bike trails.

We also will be going in an hour earlier and getting out an hour earlier. I don't really know how I feel about that. I won't mind getting home earlier, but I also won't like getting up earlier. Oh well, it is what it is I guess.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Quick Beach Cruiser Post...

So I spent about an hour tonight working on the fender of the beach cruiser.

The good news is that the fender now fits.

The bad news is that I don't know if i want it on there now.

I honestly think that the bicycle looks a bit better with the new wheels and tires without the fenders on it. I'm going to wait until I get the other tire before I decide to go either way.

Beach Cruiser Update 4...

Well, I got some more work done to the Beach Cruiser today. Here's a picture of the new wheel style with the new tire style on it, up close.

The tire and wheel combo, in my opinion, look fantastic!!! The wheel and the tire are virtually the exact same color, so it looks like it's all one piece which is awesome. Unfortunately, there were a couple of issues.

First, you'll notice that the bike doesn't have it's front fender on it. I was a bit worried about this happening with the Fat Frank tires, but the fender doesn't fit on the bike correctly with those tires. The supports for it rub just a little bit on the tire, which isn't a good thing. But there's a solution for that, more on that later.

The other issue?? Well, I think you'll be able to tell from this next picture...

Yup. Notice how there's two different colored tires on there right now?? Why would that be?? Well, Amazon sent me two tires, one Fat Frank, and then one other tire that wasn't even remotely close to what I ordered. It was a Delta Cruiser tire for a 700c sized there's no way it would have fit. I contacted them and they sent out another tire. It should be here on Saturday, so I should be able to get it on there on Saturday night after I get home from work.

The other issue that came up with installing the new wheel on the front was I noticed a few spots on the paint that need to be touched up. Not a big deal, but something that I hadn't even noticed at all before.

Now...I mentioned earlier in this post that there may be a solution to the fact that the fenders don't fit with the new tires. I found a guy online that make some really awesome looking wooden fenders. They are custom made and come with all of the mounting brackets and such to get them to fit on the bike. I'm looking at a set of Leopard Wood with curved maple stripes going through it. It looks like this.

They look pretty great on bikes, but I'm not sure that I want to spend the money on them. They are fairly pricey, at about $100 for the pair. But they are definitely custom, definitely different, and would probably work really well on the beach cruiser.

The other option, of course, is to just leave the fenders off of it, which is a very viable option. In fact, I'll have to wait until I get the other tire and wheel on the bike before I even decide if I want to try and go with fenders or not. But if I do, it will probably end up being these wooden fenders. To go with them, they also make wooden chain guards and wooden rear racks. Both of which would look great with the wooden fenders on the bike.

Overall, even though I wasn't able to get the entire bike finished today, I really like the way that they tires and wheels are going to look. I'll be looking forward to getting the other new tire in a few days so that I can get it on there.

Finally Did the Unthinkable...

I finally joined Twitter. Not to actually post, or Tweet, or whatever, anything...but to follow some celebrities that I find hilarious.

Mainly, the WWE wrestler Zack Ryder. The guy is hilarious on his YouTube, and I've read a bunch of his Tweets online. So I signed up for Twitter pretty much to follow Zack Ryder. How lame is that??


My new phone came today, and I got it activated and up and running this afternoon.

It's taking me a bit of getting used to the operating system, but so far I really like it. It runs smoothly and looks great.

It's really similar to the tablet, so I am a bit familiar with it. But it's got a lot of different features that have been a bit confusing. I'm not sure why Android is on two different devices and it seems to run quite a bit differently on each of them. Oh well, I guess that's because it's such an open sourced operating system.

The phone is pretty cool, though. I'm definitely glad I went with it. I look forward to getting used to it and learning about everything that it can do.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hawai'i...Here We Come...

...well, almost.

My mom reserved the condo in Hawai'i for March 6th to March 17th 2012. That's less than a year away!!! Now it's time to start SERIOUSLY dreaming about this trip.

Here's a view from the condo.

I seriously can't wait. This summer I'm going to take some stand up paddleboarding lessons or some surfing lessons so that the first thing I do when we get out there is go and look into renting a board for maybe the whole time we're there. That way whenever we don't have anything planned, I can just hit the water. I'm leaning towards stand up paddleboarding for the lessons here in Michigan, but Third Coast Surf Shop's surf lessons are supposed to be pretty good. There are places in Hawai'i to take lessons, and most of them guarantee that you will ride a wave or you get your money back, but if I can get the lessons here and just know how to do it when I get there, then that would be awesome.

Either way, March 6th 2012 can't get here soon enough!!

Wheels and Tires...

I know I've been posting an awful lot about the Beach Cruiser, but it's been what I've been spending most of my time doing these last few days, so it's really about all that I have to post about.

I got the new bell on tonight, but I didn't get any good pictures of it. It looks and sounds great, though.

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the wheels and tires that I'll be getting for the bike. Cathy actually ordered the wheels for me as a birthday gift today. My birthday is a month away, but Amazon was running low on the wheels that I wanted, so she went ahead and ordered them. She said that if I want them early, she will give them to me so that I can get them on the bike whenever I want. I haven't yet decided if I want to get them early, but I'm leaning towards going ahead and getting them whenever they get here.

I ended up going with Nirve wheels, because the other Nirve products have been pretty good stuff. I was originally going to go with black, but I wasn't sure that black would look right with the chrome and red that the bike has going on. I then thought about maybe going with just aluminum, but that didn't seem like the best either. Nirve makes a bright red wheel, which would have worked, but the red would have probably been just different enough from the paint on the bike that it might not have looked right.

So, what did I end up going with?? How about CREAM!!!!

The cream colored rims should look great with the red color of the bike. It's also just different enough to really stand out, but not look completely insane like the red wheels would have.

To go with them, I'm going to have to get some new tires. So, what kind of tire would possibly look just great on a cream wheel?? How about a cream tire??

That's a Fat Frank style tire by Schwalbe. It's a bit wider than most Beach Cruiser tires, but not enough to require any kind of different hardware. I believe that the fenders will not need to be adjusted at all in order to fit with the Fat Frank tires. They will be basically the exact same color as the wheels, so that should look really slick. They also have an added advantage, as well. They have a reflective strip around the entire circumference of the tire. So that means you can remove the reflectors from the wheels and still have the safety of having reflectors at night.

I'm thinking that this combination is going to look great on the bike. I can't wait to get it all on there!!

It's the Weekend...

So, it's our weekend. This week seemed really long. I don't really know why, but I have been exhausted all week long.

So what do we plan on doing this weekend??

Absolutely nothing. It's a good weekend to do that, too, because the weather is (surprise) supposed to be pretty crappy.

I'm planning on maybe playing "Bulletstorm" which is an Xbox game that I got last week and getting done with that so that I can trade it back in. Other than that, maybe we'll try watching some movies and playing some other games.

Either way, it's good to know that we won't be having to go to work for a couple of days.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Before and After...

I decided to make another quick post to show how far the Beach Cruiser has come in just a few days.

This is what it looked like when I got it.

That's a picture of it from the day that I got it home. Dirty, square bars, black seat, flat tires.

Now here's what it looks like as it sits in the garage today.

I think it's a definite improvement. The bars, grips, and seat all look great. It's really coming together well.

The wheels that I've got planned for it, along with the tires, are going to look amazing!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 3...

Well, the laid back seat post for the Beach Cruiser arrived today. I installed it pretty quickly, and I like the way it looks and feels.

I ended up flipping the mounting hardware for the seat over, as well, which allowed the seat to sit down about another half inch or so, which I think makes it look better than it did with just the new seat post.

I know that these pictures are from different angles, but I think you can get the basic difference between the old and new seat posts.

Here's the bike with it's old seat post.

And here's the bike with the new seat post.

Notice how the seat is several inches farther back and a couple of inches higher?? It makes for a much more comfortable and natural riding position. With the old seat post, the handlebars almost felt like they were too close to you when riding. Now with the new seat, they feel like they are a perfect distance away.

Here's a picture of me on the bike with the old seat post...don't mind my look, it's freezing in the garage and I was trying to get done as quick as possible!!

And here's one of me on the bike after I put the new seat post on.

Notice how much farther back it looks like I am with just this simple modification??

Overall, I'm really pleased with the seat post. It looks great AND provides great comfort, so that's win-win in my book.

I'm also really happy with the way this whole project continues to move along. Awesome.

New Phone...

My Samsung Intensity has served me very well, but lately it's been doing some funny things. First off, it's keypad lock no longer works. It's constantly making calls and sending text messages while it's in my pocket, which can be irritating. It made over two hours of random calls to nobody one day last week, and has sent about 100 text messages to nobody. The calls don't really matter, because we never come anywhere near our allotted minutes, but the texts take away from my already limited text package. The worst part, however, is that it kills the phone's battery pretty quickly. The other problem seems to be it's reaction times. It's gotten slower and slower at doing the normal things that I do with it. Today I got the "You've Had Too Many Text Messages" alert on it, and it took it over five minutes to purge my messages.

I've really liked the Intensity, and would have gone with a new one of those because they have an Intensity II now, but even the Intensity II requires a $15 data plan now. It seems that almost EVERY phone that is even remotely close to being cool offered by Verizon right now requires at least the $15 data plan. They claim it's to "make up for the low initial purchase prices" of the phones. I think it's because they know they can gouge their customers and there isn't really much that they can do about it.

But anyways, it was time for a new phone. I was planning on waiting for the HTC Trophy to arrive at Verizon with the new Windows 7 Phone operating system. But after reading up on that operating system quite a bit, I'm not really sure if it's for me. It's got lots of cool integration with things like Twitter and FaceBook, both things that I know of and look at but don't really use often enough to have them updated constantly on my phone. It's also supposedly really cool for music, but I have my iPod Touch for music, so that's not really necessary...and I wouldn't use it for music anyways because of the fact that most of the music I own is copy protected because I bought it from iTunes, so it wouldn't work on the Windows device anyways. The things that I found that weren't so great about the Windows Phone?? It doesn't do multitasking well, and I am constantly going from one app to another with my iPod and my tablet, and with those devices being able to multitask it makes it so that switching is easy and quick. Apparently on the Windows Phone it ends up stopping to load all the time when you're doing things like that. The other thing that I wasn't very happy with is something that's kind of petty, but it means a lot to me. The Windows Phone doesn't allow you to have any custom ring tones or add any of your own ring tones. Now, I generally have my ringer turned off, but when I want it on, I want to be able to have whatever I want as a ring to be honest, that was a really big turn off for the Windows Phone.

Oh yah, the other thing is nobody has any idea when it's going to show up in stores. It was supposed to be out at the beginning of March, then that turned to the end of March, then that turned to end of June, and even that is tentative. So that means that going with that would have meant waiting at least another few months with a phone that has been slowly starting to not work so well.

So I thought a little bit about getting an iPhone 4 from Verizon. That would have given me everything that I love about my iPod and added the phone to it. But I didn't really want to spend the $300 to get the version that would be similar in capacity to my iPod Touch. The other problem with that?? What would I do with my iPod Touch? I suppose I could have sold it, but I've grown pretty attached to it.

I then realized that if I went with an Android phone, I could get ALL of the apps that I'm having trouble getting for my tablet. See, the Archos Tablet that I have isn't part of the Android Marketplace Consortium...what that means is that it can't easily download apps from the Android Market. I have it hacked so that it works, but it still doesn't find every app very easily. Google recently put the Android Market online, so you can just go there from any internet connected device and download apps, and that seemed to fix the issue with the Market on the tablet temporarily, but it soon seemed to stop working and I was again stuck with using the hack for the Market to get apps on the tablet.

This would all be fixed if I had an Android phone. See, the Android Market online will let you download anything you long as there is a recognized device attached to the account. So if I had an Android phone, I could download anything to the phone OR the tablet because the account would have a recognized device attached to it. So that would make the tablet SOOO much easier to get apps onto. It's also cool because any app you purchase for the Android phone can be installed on the tablet without purchasing it again.

So, even though I had originally set out with the Android as my third option for an operating system for a phone, it had slowly but surely moved up to the top spot. So I started looking at Android phones.

My criteria were pretty simple. I wanted an Android powered Verizon phone that was cool and would cost me less than $100 out of pocket. An added bonus would be a phone that had a slide out keyboard. I really like having the physical keyboard when it comes to typing on a small device. The on screen ones are cool, but they just don't seem to work as quickly for sending messages and typing things.

I found the answer very quickly after looking at Verizon's site.

My new phone:

It's a Motorola Droid R2D2. And yes, it looks just like that.

Now, let me get this out there right off the bat. I'm not a huge "Star Wars" fan at all. I like the original films, but I would definitely not count them among my favorite films. I do NOT like the newer films, and in fact have never seen the third one. However, that doesn't change the fact that this R2D2 phone just has a coolness factor to it that is pretty hard to match.

It's basically just a Droid 2 with a fancy paint scheme and a few extra bells and whistles on the software side. It's got a 1.2 ghz Snapdragon processor, 512mb of RAM, and a 3.7 inch screen. It also has a slide out keyboard, so that's cool. The Droid 2 got great reviews, and the R2D2 version of it got slightly lower reviews, but that was mainly due to cost. This phone was $249.99 out of pocket just a few weeks ago, but it's been lowered to $99.99 right now.

So basically, it fit all of my criteria for a looks cool, came in under $100, runs Android, and has a slide out keyboard.

What's a really cool bonus, about it though, is that it also comes with an Android Dock for no extra charge, which normally costs about $60 for a person to purchase. It's a special edition dock with R2D2 and the "Star Wars" logo on it.

The dock basically charges the device, but also makes it do some other interesting things. It's almost like turning it into a really cool internet connected clock that tells you the weather and other news feeds and such.

The device also comes in Limited Edition packaging that makes it look like the carbonite that Han Solo was encased in after being captured by Boba Fett. So basically, it's got all kinds of geekishly cool things going on.

Did I mention that it's got custom ringtones and alerts that sound like R2D2?? Yup, you can have the charming whistles and beeps as your text message alerts, alarms, whatever you want.

It should be here in a couple of days...I'm guessing Wednesday. I'm excited to get it and start playing around with it.

Now, all of this does come at a bit of a cost. I had to go with the higher priced data plan to get the phone...but I did some jockeying with my other services and the overall cost will only be about $20 more per month than I'm paying now. I'm working on something that might get it down to only $15 more. Basically, I dropped my $10 text package back down to the $5 package, and my government discount gets me the $30 data plan for only $25 to begin with. So the $5 savings on my text package drops me to only $20 more per month. What I'm working on is finding an app that will accept text messages for free, which would mean I could drop my text package all together.

Overall, I think I'll be happy with the phone. It's got the Verizon tethering on it, too, so that means that when I'm not at home I can hook the phone up to the 3G internet and then connect my laptop or my tablet to it in order to get on the internet. That will work really well for traveling. It also should work great as a GPS device, and Cathy and I need a new one of those, so that's a plus.

I'll post some pictures of it when it arrives later this week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More Beach Cruiser Parts...

I've ordered a few more beach cruiser parts in the last two days.

I went ahead and ordered the laid back seatpost so that I can finish the overall look that I'm going for. I also went ahead and ordered my Tiki Head cup holder. I decided to get that now because there weren't many of them left at the Ebay store that was selling them.

I also ordered a bell for it. But it's not a cheap crappy bell that you would find at Walmart. It's a classic styled bell that will look GREAT on the bike. It's a Crane Suzu bell with a lever strike mechanism. It looks like this.

So basically, the ONLY thing left to do really is the wheels and tires. I'm thinking about asking Cathy to purchase the wheels for me for my birthday which is coming up soon. Then the bike will be complete. The only other thing that I might be interested in putting on it would be a light, and there is a pretty cool classic style light that Nirve sells, but I'm not sure if I want it to have a light on it or not.

Either way, these parts should be here in the next few days and I'll be getting them on early next week hopefully. Too bad there's another two inches of new snow on the ground, so I won't be riding it any time soon...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dinner with Friends...

Tonight Cathy and I went to our friend Becky's house for dinner. She had been trying to get a bunch of the people that went to UFC together to hang out, so she cooked some really awesome bourbon turkey and a bunch of other fixings and had us all over to her house.

It was really fun. They've got a pretty awesome game room in the basement with air hockey, pool, darts, and a bunch of other stuff to do. I played some games of pool and a few games of air hockey and had a good time.

Cathy didn't really want to go, because we've been spending so much spare time in Lansing lately, but after we were done I think she was glad that she went.

I would like to eventually have friends come down to our house for dinner, but we'd have to do some MASSIVE cleaning before we did that.

Might Try a New Fitness Class Out...

Cathy and I are always looking for something to do to get fit. The difference?? She's MUCH better at sticking to things than I am. I generally do something for a few weeks then get bored with it.

However, I started looking for information about Zumba online after seeing it on TV. On TV, much like many other infomercial type things, I simply couldn't stop watching. It was amazing, and actually looked like it might be fun.

Instead of just ordering the home DVD set from Amazon, I decided to look into actually taking a class to give it a try. Cathy actually seemed interested in that idea, and we found that the local rollerskating rink offers Zumba classes. The best part?? A single class is only $6 per person so you can see if you think it's for you. If you like it, a 10 class set costs $45. That's really not very bad for something that looks like fun, and I think if it were an actual class I'd be MUCH more likely to stick with it.

We're thinking about swinging by on one of our days off and checking it out just to see what it's all about. Hopefully it looks fun, because I would REALLY like to do better losing some weight. With that, the bike riding (road, mountain, cruising, paths, etc) and my land paddling, I would have a ton of options to do to get off my butt and get active.

Friday, March 4, 2011


After helping my grandma move on Thursday, I came home and took a short nap. About an hour of sleep, but it must've been pretty deep sleep because I couldn't get to sleep last night. I ended up just laying there awake until about 5 in the morning before finally getting to bed.

Then today at work?? I was absolutely exhausted. I haven't been this tired in a LOOOOONG time. Luckily tonight is the early bed time night because we have to go to work early in the morning tomorrow...but the problem?? We have a get together that some friends want us to come to tomorrow after work, but right now I don't feel like going at all. I am so tired that I think tomorrow I will just want to come home from work and be lazy.

Hopefully I get some good sleep tonight. I definitely need it!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beach Cruiser Update 2...

After helping my grandmother move into her new apartment today, I came home and did a bit more work to the beach cruiser. I had thought I was going to have to sand and paint the chain guard, but it turns out those ugly graphics were just a sticker and they weren't under the clear coat, so a quick removal of the guard, some heat, and some Goo-Gone and the thing was clean with no decals.

I had gone to the store to get the Goo-Gone because we were all out, and while I was there I found some graphics that I thought might look good on the chain guard. They are just some tribal decals that were in the junk in the automotive department, but they go well with the design on the seat and the handlebars, and will go well with the Tiki head cup holder when I get it.

This is what the chain guard looks like all cleaned up with the tribal graphics on it.

Doesn't it look all nice and pretty??

And here's what it looks like on the bike...don't mind how dirty the bike looks in this picture, I still haven't had a chance to take it to the car wash and actually wash it off. I think you can get the idea of what it will look like, though.

I also added one more tribal decal to the front of the steering tube, but that wouldn't come out very well in pictures in the dark garage. I also added a new and nicer kickstand that does a better job of holding the bike up, and some red anodized valve stem caps to the tires. About $20 worth of stuff makes a world of difference.

Next up?? I have to order a laid back seat post. That's a seat post that effectively moves the seat back about 6 inches to open up the cockpit and give you a more stretched out riding stance. They look like this, and pretty much every beach cruiser that's this style of bike has one.

That should complete the overall look that I'm going for. Other than these items, the rest of the parts will be replacing things that already work but just don't look so great, like the wheels and tires. On closer inspection tonight, I don't know if I'll be able to get the wheels to the point that I want them to be, so they may end up having to be changed out after all. Not a big deal, and I still might be able to get them cleaned up enough, but it will be a bit more work than I had initially thought. The tires will probably be changed out just because they're ugly.

Other than that, the only other thing I'll probably be replacing anytime soon are the pedals. I'll probably be looking into getting some barefoot pedals. They are covered on both sides with rubber to help with grip when wearing sandals, flat skateboard shoes, or no shoes at all. They also look kinda cool.

Overall, I'm really happy with the way this project is turning out so far. I didn't think it would be quite as much fun as it has been, but I'm having a blast finding the stuff and then putting it on. I even took the bike for a quick spin around the block today even though it was only like 25 degrees outside. It rides really smooth and comfortably. It's actually a bit of a workout pedaling it uphill as well, probably because it doesn't have any gears.

I'm looking forward to getting it done, getting some warm weather, and then riding it up to the ice cream place. Good times.