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


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 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


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 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


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


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 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... 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


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


...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 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'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...




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!!