Monday, April 29, 2013

This is too big?

I'm in the process of trying to decide what my next phone will be.   This is an important decision as it will be the device I use everyday for two years (thanks to service contracts).  I'll be staying with Verizon since they offer far superior coverage in my area - especially when I travel around for work.

I am looking at some of the latest Android phones and have narrowed down to two.  It will either be the Galaxy Note 2 or the Galaxy S4.  Both very large phones, but I'm kinda past that point.  The Note 2 is a little bigger but I don't believe that's going to be an issue for me.  I was talking to Cari about this yesterday and she questioned whether either phone would even fit into my pocket.  So, I designed a cardboard version of the larger one and stuck it into my pocket.
What it really comes down to is would I use handwriting features that come with the Note 2 and it's built in stylus?  Being able to use a pen like that has been something I have wanted for a long time but in practice would I use it?  That pen would be my primary feature of this phone over the other.

The S4 has a few things going for it with a higher resolution screen and upgraded camera features.  It also has a few other tricks like sensors to tell you the temperature and humidity where you are.  But do I really want to know the temperature deep in my pocket?   I think I would miss some of the camera tricks but it looks like most of those are software driven and could end up on the Note 2.

I'll keep thinking on this throughout the week and see where I end up.  I would be very happy with either so all these hours and hours watching YouTube reviews is probably a waste of time.  Good thing it rained all day yesterday.

(Comments to grab an iPhone are not necessary.  I use one for work and don't prefer it. :) )

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Call My Phone

When someone in your house misplaces their cell phone they might ask you to call their phone to help them locate it.   

Here's why that might not always work for you. . .

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Installed iTunes

I emailed the person that takes care of communications at work and asked what I had to do to get an upgrade from the BlackBerry I have been using.   The answer was that I could get an iPhone 4 for free, which sounded great, but then the same email said that if I choose that method I would need to setup an Apple ID through iTunes.  

Oh, iTunes is something that just sounds horrible to me but I went ahead and did it because I know the iPhone would be a great device to use at work.

I installed iTunes on my computer and began to setup my Apple ID.  Another opportunity to invent some crazy password.  This password thing is starting to get really crazy.

Anyway, I came up with something that no human will ever be able to remember following all the rules that Apple says my password had to have:

  • 8 characters - CHECK
  • a number - CHECK
  • an uppercase letter - CHECK
  • a lowercase letter - CHECK
  • no spaces - CHECK
  • no character 3 times in a row - CHECK
  • can't be my Apple ID - CHECK
  • can't be a password used in the last year - CHECK

I click to submit my account and I get this error.
In red, the box says my password is not valid and that a more complex password is required.  SERIOUSLY?  

Apple is not starting this relationship off on the right foot.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hike from Fish Hatchery

During one of the first Saturday's of beautiful Spring weather we headed out for a hike at the Walhalla fish hatchery.

Before you can begin a hike that starts at the hatchery you have to take a look at the hoards of trout swimming in the tanks.
It's actually a bit creepy to see in person.  Swarms of fish in every tank.  

After checking out the varieties of trout being raised at the hatchery we headed for our hike down the East Fork trail toward the Chattooga river.  The trail was muddy but we made it through with not much more than dirty shoes.   We were on a mission to see the river.

Some of the interesting things we spotted along the trail included:

Beaver damage:

Trillium flowers:


One of the games that Brenna has started up during hikes is to run ahead of us a bit with her brother and then plop down, a good way to get ticks by the way, and then when we catch up she says, "We've been waiting sooooooooooo long!"
Along the way to the river we also encountered some fallen trees that blocked the way.   This provided a photo opportunity as well as an event of my kids showing some team work!

We eventually made our way to the Chattooga river where the East Fork runs into it, ate a snack and then headed back out.  Before reaching the car we stopped to take a few family photos.

I am glad SPRING has arrived.  Hiking and camping are now IN SEASON.

Friday, April 19, 2013

YouTube of the Week

Wow.  This is good.  Not sure how I would react if I sat in that chair.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Circle M

Heading out on a date with my wife we decided to try something a little different for dinner.

The first restaurant we headed to had a giant sign in the window.  "Closed for Remodeling"
Next we tried a place Cari called "Ned's Steakhouse".  I knew what she was talking about and headed that direction.  When we arrived we learned that it is actually Jed's Smokehouse.  No matter what the name is because they closed the business.  Time to find another option.

Heading back down the road I remembered seeing a new sign over at the Circle M bbq building and we decided to check it out.  After years of driving past this place it will have be our first visit to this place that's only open on weekends.

When you go in you place your order at a window, get your BBQ, and find a table.  Everything looked really good.   I was having a pork sandwich.

I noticed just one bottle of bbq sauce on the table and it was labeled with their own label.  I figured this was a special sauce and the one to use.

After shaking the contents in the bottle I poured a good amount of it on my pork sandwich.

I looked up at Cari as I poured and said, "I should have tasted this sauce before covering my sandwich in it."  She smiled in agreement and I stopped adding the sauce.

After my first bite I looked to my mostly empty cup of tea.  My face must have been conveying the message because Cari asked if it was spicy hot.  I nodded vigorously.  This was spicy.  I don't really prefer "hot" or spicy food, but that's what I had transformed my sandwich into.

I looked at the bottle and told Cari that I didn't realize it was hot.  She said, "Well there is fire on the bottle".
She continued, "It also smells a little like hot sauce and looks like it."

I continued to eat my dinner, which was delicious, and every bite of my sandwich resulted in additional laughter from my date.

This is a place we will likely visit again but next time I won't use as much of the Circle M BBQ sauce.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Crossfit competition!

My sister-in-law Amanda has been working out at Crossfit.  I don't know a lot about Crossfit but my impression is that it is a gym without the standard gym equipment.  You won't find treadmills or weight benches in there.  Instead you will find giant tractor tires and cement balls.
This past Saturday Amanda competed in a competition at Crossfit and we went to cheer her on.
There was tire flipping, cement ball picking up, carrying weight on your shoulders, and barbell lifting.  My terms - not theirs.

It was a great event and fun to watch everyone push themselves to do better than they had ever done before.     It was great to see Amanda in action.  She's definitely setting it up where her boyfriend will need to fear her.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stand Out

Last week I had the opportunity to try two new restaurants.  Well, one of them is a new restaurant and the other is only new to me.  In this blog I am going to tell you the story of the first and later next week I'll post up the 2nd experience.

Dana's Cafe (spelled with a fancy squiggle over the "e" of Cafe) opened in Liberty this past week.  It is a hamburger / sandwich place on Commerce St in this small town.  The location may turn out to be one of those cursed sites I talked about in February because this spot been several different restaurants over the past five years.  I guess time will answer that question soon enough.

I went in with my family the night prior to their grand opening with the intention of ordering some to-go dinners.  A waitress (might have been the Dana) came over and took our order.  She was very friendly and helpful.  There were several tables of people around the small cafe and I was glad to see a local business being supported.  It didn't take long before several bags of food were brought to our table and, after paying, we headed home with our dinner.

This is where the story starts to get disappointing.  The meals were as we ordered, a few hamburgers, some chicken nuggets, and a BLT sandwich.  The french fries were warm but needed a lot of added salt.  They tasted like the frozen crinkle cut fries you would pick up at Wal-Mart.  Not great.   My BLT sandwich was a mess.  All the required pieces were there for it to be called a BLT but it looked like a blind person put it together.

I take that back.  That's kind of rude.  I am certain that a blind person could have put together a nicer sandwich.  A better way to describe the way my sandwich looked is to say that it was put together by someone that didn't care.  Most of the ingredients were falling outside of the bread.  Once I had rebuilt the sandwich it tasted alright.  Not the greatest sandwich ever.  It tasted like something that was put together in a hurry.  With very little effort I would have made my own BLT turn out much better than this.

The kids liked their meals but Cari agreed with me as she ate her burger.  By this time I had already made the decision that we would not be going back to Dana's anytime soon.  It's disappointing because I would love to see a local person open a successful shop / restaurant in town.  One that I could support.   I think most people in this small town would love to support a new business owner.  
I just feel if you are going to open a restaurant of this type you really have to do something to make your food stand out.   Do something a little different or pay extra close attention to the details.  It doesn't require putting a lot more money into each meal,  just have your staff put some care into the food they are making. Standing out is what would have brought my family back to Dana's but unfortunately fell short.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


These flowers popped up near the edge of the sidewalk at the house next door.  
I'm not sure what they are or if they were intentionally placed there.  Maybe it's just an invasive weed.

No matter where it came from, they look great and I'm thinking about bringing a few to my garden.
Do you know what they are?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Friday, April 05, 2013

Brown Jacket

I made a huge mistake last week.   

I wore black shoes, a black belt, black pants, and on my way out of the house I grabbed my brown jacket.   

I was so embarrassed walking into work this morning.  I almost left it in the car but my wife said it would be more noticeable not wearing any jacket at all.  She also said, "nobody cares what color your jacket is."

In a way, she may have been right, nobody said anything.   But that doesn't mean they weren't talking about it behind my back.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Easter Weekend in Photos

Just a few photos from Easter weekend.
First up was our photo after decorating Easter eggs.  The silly photos always turn out the best.

Here's the table on Saturday night.  Complete with rabbit chewed carrot.  Cari leaves out no detail.

On Easter Sunday we wanted a picture of the kids in the church.  As always - one has to make it silly.  
After church we had an Easter egg hunt that was finished in record speed.  It's time to REALLY start hiding these things.

Since we were all dressed up for Easter we thought we should take a family photo. 

 And then this happened:

Hope you all had a great Easter as well.

Monday, April 01, 2013

New Font

To slow Google and their monster search engine from learning too much about me, I have decided to change the font that this blog will be published in from now on.   Don't worry, it can be translated easily and I don't feel like this slight change will impact my readers.
I'm working on creating a digital version of this font that will allow me to type out my blog.  But until then my blog will be hand written and posted as a scanned document.

I'll get you started.  The first letter is a 'T'.