March 2007 Archives


It's a Tauchmeister T-0131. It's *big* - really big, and the strap is really thick, which I'm not sure how much I like. Got a great deal on it - less than $100 (it's about $290 new), because I bought it from a guy online who said it was too big for his wrist. I may have to fit it with a thinner strap - this one has to be almost 1/4" thick -- I can barely bend it to fit it through the strap loops.

In other news, I'm back from Tampa - had a good trip there. And our tickets arrived for the Colorado Rockies baseball game, so we're set to go there in June. Amy's folks are headed down next weekend, and this weekend we're off to a friend's wedding shower/party (Friday night), which I'm really looking forward to. I really like both of them (I work with them both), so the party should be a good time. I think we got them a fairly decent wedding shower gift - can't say what it is, as they *might* read this before the party... I'll share afterward. :-)

Home repair done not-so-right

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A friend from work sent me some photos of people's home repairs. Two stood out as being especially hiliarious:


Yes, you're seeing that correctly - there's a light switch INSIDE of the shower. Yikes!

And while this one isn't so much a repair as it is a barbeque, it does point out why cover panels are important to circuit breakers:


No comment needed, other than, "Does anyone smell something burning?"

Weather has been fantastic here lately - mid-70s and gorgeous. We've been walking the dogs a lot, and they've been enjoying it (it's also helped us and our expanding waistlines). I'm off to Tampa on Sunday for a convention...

Oh Holy Roof...

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A few months ago, we had a major ice storm that caused a ton of trees to fall, power lines to break, and so on. My house happens to be situated in the middle of the woods, which meant that many trees fell around my house. Thankfully, none really hit it that hard. I say "really" because one tree did manage to fall toward the house, but another tree stopped it from hitting the house "square."

Two weekends ago, I cut down the fallen tree and noticed that a few branches were still sitting on my roof, near the edge. I didn't have time to crawl up there on my ladder (besides, the point at which this happened was about 30-feet above ground), so I figured I'd get to it "in the next few weeks."

Well, on Sunday, I hoisted the ladder against the house, Amy held the bottom, and I scaled my way up to remove the straggling branches. One fell off immediately, but another wouldn't budge.

"What's the matter?" asked Amy.

"This branch must be huge - it's really heavy and I can't slide it off the roof," I said.

I was working "above my head" - I couldn't get to eye-level with the roof, because of the overhang, and because my ladder wasn't quite tall enough (it only goes to 26-feet).

So, we repositioned the ladder and I walked on the roof to get to the branch.

"(choice words edited for mixed company)," I exclaimed. "The @&#*&$@(*#&$^@!! branch went through the roof," I told Amy.

"What does that mean?" she asked.

I had to think for a second. "It means we've got a hole in our roof!"

The branch was no bigger than a nickel in diameter, and it somehow poked a hole clear through the roof - the shingles, the tar paper, the sheathing, and the particle board. By some stroke of luck, it punctured the roof in the very last row of shingles, about 2" away from the flashing (edge) of the roof. This meant the hole was in the "overhang" of the roof - not above the actual "inside" of the house.

Amy brought up a can of "Great Stuff!" expanding foam, and I filled the hole as a temporary patch, as it was getting dark. Prior to filling it, I grabbed some tools and poked around in the hole (I removed the branch first) -- no signs of moisture, mold, or any other nasties. Things were looking up...

So tonight, I went to Lowes, bought some aluminum flashing, some heavy duty adhesive, some roof patching caulk, and a single shingle square (about 4" x 4").

I scuffed the aluminum on one side so that the adhesive would have something to "bite" into. I applied a generous amount of adhesive and scaled the ladder. I cut away the Great Stuff that had expanded onto the roof and lifted the shingles as far up as I could without damaging them. I slid the aluminum under the shingle, adhesive side down. I pressed the shingles/tar paper/etc as hard as I could so that they would "mash" the flashing down to the particle board/roof.

I then grabbed the roof patching caulk and put down a big 'ole gob of sealer, and then wedged the shingle patch into place, covering the hole. A bead of the sealer on each side of the shingle, and I was done.

Whew. Hole patched, and quite well, I might add. :-)

Oh, and here's the offending branch:


An Inconvenient Truth

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I just finished watching Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth and I must say it was quite eye opening. Much like Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me opened my eyes to the relationship between convenience, laziness, irresponsiblity, and health issues, Gore's An Inconvenient Truth showed logical information, experiences, studies, and examples of how global warming is likely to be a real and serious threat.

If you haven't seen the movie, check it out. It's available on DVD (for purchase or rental) and has been playing on Showtime quite a bit this month. It's about 1.5 hours, and will definitely cause you to take a step back and consider things a bit differently.

I used to think Gore was some crackpot tree hugger that liked to make-up stories about how he invented the internet; his history and interest in the environment reaches back into the 70s, and is something that he has always taken a strong stance in favor of. And while I don't believe in hybrid cars (they're not that much more efficient, and the energy epended on making the batteries, charging the batteries, and destroying the batteries is greater than an equally efficient gasoline powered car), I do believe we can improve our current environmental destiny.

Do yourself a favor - check out the movie.

Yes, please!

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I'm happy because I made a few bucks during my garage sale today...


Not bad, eh?

Oh wait -- that's not my cash... dang... that's 206 million dollars, primarily in $100 bills. 4,500 lbs worth of $100 bills. Seized from a drug dealer in Mexico City earlier this week.

I'd be happy with 1,000 lbs of $100 bills. :-) ...tired...

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This daylight savings time thing has really messed me up. I can't fall asleep at night now, and when I wake up, it's pitch black so I feel like staying in bed even longer.

I ran my little dilemma across a few folks at work, and they're suffering the same problem -- dog tired all day, can barely keep your eyes open at 7pm, but come 10pm you're wide awake. I'm exhausted.

The rest of our order came today, so that's good, I guess, but the pricing thing still upsets me.

Oh, and I found another watch that I really like - a Shturmanskie Navigator (it's Russian made).

I suppose it's time for a rant

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It's been a while since I've ranted aimlessly on my blog, so I might as well churn one out... This isn't a major rant, it's quite petty and piddly, but it's a rant, nonetheless.

We ordered some prints for our house - nothing fancy, but rather just a little something to throw on to our otherwise bare walls. A long time ago, we were at a furniture store, and we saw some of these cool retro posters that featured animals. We picked two of them out, but almost had a heart attack when we saw the price - nearly $300 each. No thanks...

So I was browsing online 2 weekends ago when I stumbled across the same prints. Here's an example of one of the prints we ordered.

As you can see from clicking the link, the print cost $39 -- quite a bargain when compared to the retail store. We ordered a few other items and the total for the order came to $87 + shipping ($9). So, about $100.

Immediately after I paid for the items, I got a screen from that said, "Congratulations on your order! Here's a 25% discount coupon for your next order! Coupon expires 3/5/07." What?! A coupon that's good for 2 days? And, why offer me a 25% discount after I just dropped $100 with you? I mean, I appreciate a discount and all, and I appreciate an owner loyalty program, but why not flip me that offer in a month or two? Or better yet, how about you don't overcharge me 25% right now, and I'll buy more stuff from you in the future?

Fast forward 10 days, and I still don't have the prints. Well - that's not true. I received one of them, but the other 2 are still "in transit." They ship via USPS Priority Mail, with tracking, but for anyone who has ever tried to track an item via the USPS, you're well aware of what a futile act that is...

So sent me a survey today asking what I thought of their service. Care to guess what I told them I thought of it? :-)

I'm still alive

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Yikes! Nearly two full months without a blog entry! Eeeegads.

What's new? Basically everything in our house.

For those who didn't know, or may have forgotten, Amy and I are quite bad at decorating, so we simply ignored entertaining any thoughts of painting, refurbishing, refinishing, or introducing any type of color and/or style to our house. Fast forward six (6!) years, add 9 animals, and the house was screaming for some attention... so we caved in.

We started by painting our bedroom yellow. "Cowslip #3 Yellow" to be exact. Two coats of $45/gallon paint, 1 roll of 3M blue painters tape, and a weekend later, we had a "fresh" looking bedroom. The color was great - we really loved it, and it made the room look like brand new. So new, that our bed (sans any headboard) and our "end tables" (old bar stools) looked really out of place in the room.

So, we bought some end tables, a headboard, a new mattress set (which we love), new sheets, new comforter, new bedskirt, and deep cleaned the carpets. The result is awesome. We still need to replace the ceiling fan, but that's a 30 minute job as soon as we find one that fits the look of the room. Here's what it looks like:


The red sheet is over the new comforter to protect it ...and you can see that it's working well, as Monica has left a big "soak spot" from licking her foot on the bed...

We also painted the living room, entry way, and hallway. We used a "chocolate milk" color for the living room, and a complimentary, lighter shade for the entry way and hallway. We then decided that our 36" Sony Trinitron WEGA television was too large for the room (as was the entertainment center), so we bought a 50" plasma TV and a Yamaha Soundbar. I mounted them on the wall, and it really cleaned-up the look of the room.

We then decided that our 6 year old FlexSteel furniture was junk, and bought new couches, and a recliner. We also changed out all of the hardware in the room (celing fan, lights, door handles, stairway hardware). The finished result is:


The color is really off in this photo - most likely due to the flash... sorry about that. Here's another picture, of the entry way, to show the contrasting color and some of the new hardware:


We then painted the kitchen an "Emerald #2" and refitted the hardware/light fixtures with brushed nickel and stainless steel. I hope to replace the range, refrigerator, and dishwasher in the near future, and there's also talk of replacing the countertops and installing a stone backsplash. Here's a quick picture (again, colors are off):


Finally, we updated the fixtures (lighting) in our guest bathroom - they're stainless steel now, instead of cheesy faux brass.

We also installed some low-voltage solar lighting outside along our entry path, and I spent all of last weekend cleaning the yard - cutting down trees that fell due to ice from the winter, clearing brush, etc. I think we'll landscape the front yard this spring, and I'll finish remodeling the basement this summer...

The house definitely needed some attention, and it's actually nice to come home now and spend time in it. We've had a lot of people over to watch movies in the theater, and I always wanted to rush them downstairs to get them out of our crummy upstairs... but now it doesn't look too bad.

In other news, Big Boy had some surgery 2 weeks ago to remove some cancerous tumors. He looks like Frankenstein - he's all scarred and stitched up. We hope that he'll be ok. Here's a few pictures of him:



He also has stitches on his front legs, and may have to have another tumor removed from under his arm pit...

Finally, I've been dieting quite a bit and have dropped about 30 lbs since February 1, and I've started to collect watches and pocket knives. I've got a nice little collection so far. Here's one of my more recent purchases, a Seiko Landshark on a black/yellow leather strap:


So that's what I've been up to for the past 2 months or so... working on the house, working out, and working on building a watch/knife collection. The knives are so handy - I don't know how I got along without them before... working on the yard last weekend, I must have used my Spyderco Caly III about 25 times. It's a great tool.

More to come, soon.... :-)

Oh - today is Amy's birthday. Happy birthday, Amy. And my parents are in town, visiting us. We went to a Razorback baseball game today (we won, 8-7) and had a good time. Weather is about 65F right now.