Sunday, June 29, 2014

On the Interstate

Why so many vasectomy advertisements on the road?  That's the last thing I'm thinking about driving for hours on the interstate.

And why all of a sudden are there so many day spa's that advertise "trucker friendly", or "truck parking"?  I didn't realize that truckers were so into getting massages.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Running Out of Gas

The gas gauge in my car doesn't work anymore.  I realized that a while back when it started bouncing from completely full to completely empty and back within a fifteen minute drive.  The first thing I did was went and filled up.  The second thing I did was reset the trip odometer. 

After a little bit of math I decided on a comfortable number that I would need to watch on my trip meter.  My comfortable number is 300 miles.   That's not a number that would run me out of gas, but a number that should keep me from being stranded on the side of the road.  

I've been doing that for a few months now and it is a great system.  It is a great system as long as you pay attention. 

Earlier this week I was headed to a meeting for work.  I had just entered the on-ramp to the interstate and I glanced down at my odometer.  317.  

I admit that I began to panic for a minute.  I was over my comfort number and the comfort was gone. It was 6:30am and I started doing some math.   My exit for the meeting was probably fifteen miles down the road.  The car would probably make it to the meeting and I could just get gas later.  

Wait... did the revs just drop?  Two exits later I saw a sign for a gas station and I stopped to fill up.  

After filling up, about four gallons short of a full tank, I felt foolish for panicking.  My comfort number was set intentionally low but at 6:30 in the morning the only thing I knew was that I was headed toward disaster and I didn't have any empty can to walk up the road with.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Do you obsess about logistics?  Do you like finding raw materials and processing them into a multitude of intermediate and finished products?  Do you enjoy killing aliens?

Then I know the game for you!

On one of my daily strolls through the internet I accidentally found the above trailer for the game Factorio.   I was instantly hooked.  I found the demo, played it, went back to their website, purchased the game, and have loved playing it.

It's still pretty early in development but this game has me hooked.   You are this one guy running around on an alien planet developing a spot that is safe for development.  There is a lot going on here and the trailer is a fully developed scenario.  You start out with NOTHING and slowly build to this monster of a factory full of robots and conveyor belts to build more and more complex items from the raw materials.

I would love to tell you more, but I have to go mine some more coal to keep my boilers going to run the steam engines powering my entire base.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Florida: The hot state

Florida. Is. Soooooo. Hot.

Good thing that my parents have a pool.  The kids would eat breakfast, change into their swimsuits, and swim until bed time.  

Cari wasn't too interested in swimming the first few days but as Randy and I cornered her on the patio she took the satisfaction of pushing her in away from us and decided to jump in.  Fully clothed.

Our daughter loved swimming, but she also hunting lizards running around the patio.

After several days of non-stop swimming it was time to head home.  You can imagine how quiet the drive home was with three completely tired kids in the back.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Florida: The Disney Adventure!

Once we got into the state of Florida we made a straight line over to Disney.  We would soon realize that every other car that was entering the state had the same idea that we had.  

My biggest tip for enjoying Disney is to stay at a Disney hotel.  Once I parked my car at the hotel I didn't move it until we were leaving a few days later.  Disney bused us from the hotel to the park and made everything super easy for us.  

It's also easier to spend all of your money in the park as you charge things to your room and don't even think about what you are doing.  

We spent our first day in the Magic Kingdom.  Even with large crowds we rarely waited in a line more than 30 minutes.  Waiting wasn't that bad because often, we were happy to get out of the sun for a while.  

We were able to see all of the things we wanted to see and our youngest was so proud after she braved her first roller coaster on Thunder Mountain. 

I'm not sure if riding the roller coaster was more exciting to her or if meeting Cinderella was. 

As the sun started to go down, people gathered along the parade route.

One of my favorite things of the day came just before the fireworks.   Disney puts on a light show that is projected onto the castle and creates effects that make the castle become animated.  
Here is someone else's video of this show so you can get an idea of what it is:

The next day provided no time for recovery as we had to head over to Epcot.  Epcot is one of my favorite Disney parks and is beautiful to walk around.  There aren't as many thrill rides, but it has some interesting rides and exhibits.

After a full day on our feet in Epcot we headed back to the hotel just twenty minutes before heavy rains hit the area.  We found our car and started to our next Florida destination. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Phil Hendrie

Years and years ago I heard a radio show unlike any other.  It was the Phil Hendie show. At that time Phil was mostly on AM stations having crazy conversations with crazy characters and then bringing along unsuspecting callers.

After I moved, I lost access to this show and never heard another like it.  Phil and the other characters on his show are all played by Phil.  On the fly, Phil is interrupting himself, changing voices, and using sound effects.  You have to hear it to really appreciate it.

Recently, I was searching for a new Podcast and searched for Phil Hendie to see if he had anything out there.  I was surprised when I found one and I started listening again.

Since then, Phil has left the radio waves and has moved his program to the internet.  This gives him full control over the program and full rights to anything he does.  No middleman.  Mon-Fri you can tune in live using the Tune-In radio app or you can download his daily Podcast for free and listen to the show whenever you like.

I'll warn you, this isn't a show to listen to with children listening or while at work if others can hear it.  Being on the internet means there is no censorship.  The show probably isn't for everyone, but it is unlike any other talk radio you've heard.

Check out the website where you can listen to the last five days of podcasts for free and decide if this is something for you.

It's exciting to see artists moving into other mediums and away from traditional ones.  Instead of being stuck on late night on a handful of stations, now an artist can produce a show anytime they like and broadcast it to the world.  This takes some of the power away from the traditional power holders and reminds me of self publishing books electronically and allowing smaller artists a larger audience.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oh Brother!

We returned from vacation this past weekend and I'm still sorting through photos and putting together some blogs about our adventures.

First up, let me introduce you to my brother.  Keep in mind that all of these photos were taken during a two hour visit at his house.

Here he is photo-bombing a photo of our wives.

And here is a photo of him sitting on his son's head.  You can clearly see my nephew's hand reaching out for help.

In this last photo, my brother is just off camera.   Encouraging my kids to beat his son with cushions filled with rocks.
Ok, the cushions weren't really filled with rocks.

Now I'm going to go dig up some photos of my mom from vacation.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Groundhog Feeding Grounds

There is nothing unusual about seeing a groundhog burrow in the hillsides as you drive around the Upstate.  Normally these homes are off of the road and are only recognizable by the black hole in the side of the hill.

What makes me curious is why these creatures choose to eat their meals on the shoulder of the road.

These creatures are primarily herbivorous and I would think that a better meal could be had further off of the road in a field.

Is it that they collect their meals in the field and bring it to the side of the road to people watch?  It's like sitting down in front of the television for a meal. Do you think groundhogs have a favorite car?  These are the questions that scientists should be working on.

Monday, June 09, 2014

My Love

Yesterday marked 18 years of being happily married to my best friend.

It won't be long before we have been married for half of our lives.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Too Complicated?

Putting a lid on the bathroom garbage is adding a level of complexity that I'm not sure we are ready for.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Wayne's World! Wayne's World!

At my daughter's end of the year band concert they played Bohemian Rhapsody.  I leaned over and asked Cari what movie I was thinking of and she said, "Wayne's World".

When we got home I pulled up the video on YouTube and showed the kids.

After a minute of the video, my daughter looked at me with a concerned look and asked, "Where did you find this?"  Clearly she didn't appreciate the greatness of Wayne's World.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Pergola - Planning

Our summer home project this year is to make our back deck more comfortable.  The deck gets afternoon sun and during the late spring and summer it is often too hot to sit out there.   Cari started talking about getting a roof structure over the deck to block out some of the sun coming in. 

We started talking about some different ideas and looking at some Google images (or Pinterest in Cari's case) and decided to build a pergola style structure.     

Here are some rough drawings that I put together as we were coming up with a plan.

The final design has been adjusted a bit but the overall look is the same.   I will be posting some before and after photos once this project is complete.   

We also have long-term plans to add an electrical outlet to the back porch allowing for lights to be added, an outdoor ceiling fan, or some outdoor speakers.  

Sunday, June 01, 2014