Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick - or - Treat

Before you can trick-or-treat you have to do the prep work of getting into the spirit of things.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I don't think a preacher should be allowed to talk about a movie or television program without having a [SPOILER] tag in the bulletin.  Especially when he plans to tell you how the movie ends.

Even worse when he goes on to then compare the ending of the movie to the ending of the book.   Really? Now he's ruined the movie AND the book!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Roll

Two bathrooms.  One roll.
I hold in my hand the last remaining roll in the house.
I considered hiding it and then I started thinking, why don't we have some sort of alarm for this situation?

I mean, when you get down to three rolls in a two bathroom house a buzzer should be sounding all over the house and the only way to stop it is to put more paper in the bathrooms.

 I chose not to hide this last roll.  The possible consequences seemed too severe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This Post Not Approved by the Post Master General

approved by the post master general.   I have a thought to challenge that!

I noticed that every mailbox has the words "approved by the post master general" stamped into it.  Is this really a necessary function of the post master?  It's one of those things that got into my head this week and has me wondering.

Maybe I should build my own mailbox.  NOT approved by the post master general.  What then?  Will my mailman even notice?  Will I still get mail?  Oh!  The horror!  No mail!  Maybe I will custom build it to hold the average amount of mail I receive.  Maybe I'll paint the flag on it purple... no, maybe it won't have a physical flag... I'll make a flag out of LED lights.  In fact the whole box is going to be wired up.  Including surveillance cameras.  That way, when the post master general comes to remove my un-approved box, I'll have him on video doing it.

If the USPS is hemorrhaging money like they say it is let's start by letting people build their own mailboxes.  What would yours look like?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Take Pride

The high school marching band decided they wouldn't be attending anymore of the away football games this year.  This was decided recently, after the budget for some of these games had already been approved.   The reason for not going can be debated and answers will vary depending on who you ask.  My feeling is that there are some politics involved between the leadership of the athletics dept and the band leadership.

Last Friday night was an away game not far from town and many of the band kids wanted to go.  The band director was firm on not going.  That's when one of the senior band members took it upon himself to organize a group to go and play.  He rallied many of the band members to join him and they started making arrangements for transportation.

I would estimate that roughly 2/3 of the band made it to the game that night and they sounded great.  The cheerleaders came down to their end of the bleachers and cheered to the songs the band played and everyone had a great time.

Some of the band parents were around the group, but the band was largely leading themselves.  If one person started to get out of line his friends got him back on track.  The students chose when to play and when to take a break.

It was great to see the band take pride in what they do and find a way around the non-sense politics the adults were playing.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Natural Bridge Hike

It was a beautiful fall day and we didn't have time to hit the Pkwy, so we looked up and headed to a new place.  We chose the Keowee-Toxaway State park.   A fairly small park not far from home.  Once I read about the trails in the park I wondered why we hadn't been before now.  

The trail we chose was a 1.5 mile loop.  A loop.  That part seemed to confuse my kids on this day.  "How much farther until we turn around?"  We hiked the Natural Bridge trail.  The natural bridge was kind of interesting.  It is a large rock formation with a creek flowing underneath it.  Unfortunately, the natural bridge itself is not very photogenic.  So you won't be seeing a picture of it on this blog.

We let the youngest lead our group.  She was proud to be the leader and if you even thought about taking a step in front of her she would push you back in line and shout, "I'm the leader!"   When she was ready for a break you took a break.  When she was ready to hike, you hiked.  

Here's some of my photos from the day:

No sweetheart.  The trail does not go up the tree. 

 The first half of this trail was downhill.  We all knew what that meant.

What are you looking at?

A few maple leaves didn't get the message that fall has arrived.

Only five tries to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time.  Success.

 Keowee-Toxaway State Park is on the list to visit again.  Next time we hope to tackle the longer trail which is just over 4 miles.  In case you were worried, it's also a loop.

Friday, October 19, 2012

YouTube of the Week

Just in the rare chance you haven't seen this yet.  Last Sunday Felix Baumgartner took a helium balloon higher than anyone else has ever done.  128,000 ft, approximately 23 miles in the sky.   Then he opened the door, made a cool statement, and jumped out.

After free falling for over four minutes and falling over 800 miles per hour, he opened his chute, and landed on his feet.

We watched it live on Sunday and it was intense.
What did you do last Sunday?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas Prep

Last night at dinner I asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas this year.  Here is most of what I heard:

iPod Touch
a pony
a robot (that makes breakfast)
Kindle Fire (suggested by the 5 year old)
a vacation to Ireland

I quickly stopped this game.  I'm not sure what fantasy land this family lives in and I was a little surprised how there was no hesitation in shouting out these desires. A pony.  Really?   I was thinking more along the lines of some new shoes, some Lego's, or maybe an iTunes gift card.

I'm glad I asked with more than two months of prep work still to go.  I have some work to do on expectations before Christmas morning.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Her Weekend

The baby turning five years old started with us all going into her room and singing her happy birthday.  She pulled the covers over her head and said we were too loud.  Once she got up she declared herself the boss for the day.

The highlight of her gifts was the new bed we built for her.  This started out as a picture Cari saw on Pinterest and ended up as a project that the youngest loves.  

Everyone knows that it's not official until the candles are blown out.  Just be careful that your hair doesn't get caught up in the flames!

Happy fifth birthday. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moment of Truth

After some careful consideration, purchasing, and waiting, all of my computer components arrived. I carefully  assembled them and admired my work.  Everything fit in the metal case!

After sealing the case, I slid it under the desk and spent an hour figuring out how to plug everything into it and find enough outlets for all the pieces to get power. It was during this hour that re-created the nest of tangled wires that I had just un-tangled the day before.

I climbed back into my desk chair and stared at the blank monitor in front of me.  This was the moment of truth.  When I reach my hand down to the power button, will it come on?  I took a breath.  There have been computers in the past that I have built that haven't past this test.

I clicked the button and the screen came to life.  Success!

Now I'll spend three days installing software and 130 updates to Windows 7.  Other wise known as "The fun part".

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Hosting a Marching Band Competition

Having been in marching band and now having a kid in marching means I have been around a lot of marching band competitions.  What I have never done is participate in hosting a marching band competition.  Until now.

There is a lot to keep track of and many months of planning to prepare for this event.  You have to know where each band needs to be at each minute, who's going to guide them around the facility, who the judges are going to be, what food will be sold, how much food you will need, where are you going to park multiple buses for each band, choosing and purchasing trophies, creating programs, selling ads, and even guiding your spectators in parking.  Those are just a few of the surface things you need to consider before you start trying to host your own event.  Thankfully the majority of the planning was handled by the band booster organization and when I showed up I just had to be assigned a job.

I got parking lot duty and was given a team of three students.  And a 5 year old.

Parking lot duty was a slow and boring job for the early part of the afternoon.  I kicked a few ant hills and threw some rocks to occupy the time.  Things got pretty exciting when the mayor showed up, but after we directed him for parking it was back to kicking ant hills.  The parents that were running the competition were all riding around in 4-wheelers keeping things running.  On one stop at my station they dropped off some additional parents to help me with parking.

I didn't think I needed any help to guide the one car every five minutes into an empty parking lot, but I appreciated having the company.  I showed the other dad my handy work on the ant hills and he was pretty impressed.

Near the end of the day, once all the bands had arrived and were headed to the field I was dismissed and made my way to the stadium to enjoy the last part of the show.

It took a lot of people to make this competition come together and in the end it went very well.

Here is a video of the host band - The Liberty Red Devil Regiment Band  *It's a little shaky on my cell phone and I was seated between two kids under 5, but you can still enjoy the show.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Hardware vs Software

Boxes started arriving last week holding components of the new computer but unfortunately not enough boxes arrived before the weekend.  This means the new computer won't be able to be fully built until around midweek and then the time consuming process of installing software starts.

The first step in building the new computer was to gut two old computers.  I'll be re-using the case from the bigger computer and I hated the e-machines so I decided to gut it just to take revenge on the machine.  That, and I want to use the DVD drive from the e-machines.
One of the biggest enemies inside a computer is heat.  Heat will add wear and tear on the circuits inside the metal box.  The computer I'm building now will have more fans inside the case and mounted to the motherboard than any other computer I have built.  And then there is this
This is the heat sink and fan (fan is in my palm) that sits on top of the processor.  Intel looks pretty serious about drawing the heat off of their chip.

Pulling apart and putting back together the hardware is the fun part of this process.  The software that will come next is not as fun.  And not as photogenic either.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Bowl Licking

Immediately after eating the last bite of ice cream she set her spoon down and put the bowl to her face.  Who teaches kids to do this?  I can assure you that my kids never saw me do it.  Is this just natural instinct?

Maybe the ice cream is so delicious that they aren't willing to give up even one drop.  If so, then why don't I see this happen with other foods they like?  I can't recall my kids leaning over their plates at dinner and licking up the last of the mashed potatoes.  After eating a salad do they lick the rest of the ranch dressing out of the bowl?  Forget that last sentence.  It's not realistic because my kids don't eat salad.

What is an age that it is still appropriate to lick your ice cream bowl?  It's cute when a 5 year old does it.  What about a 45 year old?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Nap Time

With all the activities that take place every weekend I ended up having the house to myself last Saturday.  Well.  Almost to myself.  I was sharing it with my daughter.

She demanded We kept a busy schedule for the whole day.

At one point I texted Cari and asked what time this girl takes a nap.   She replied, "You're funny".

Monday, October 01, 2012


Every time I see a funny joke on the internet or an interesting idea I can't wait to share it with Cari.

Every time I share these things with her she looks at me and says, "Yeah, I saw that on Pinterest."
Today I saw a benefit of Pinterest at home.  This awesome wreath hanging next to our door is the result of a Pinterest idea coming to life.

I guess Pinterest isn't all bad.