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Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States
A guy finding out if life really does begin at 50.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mama always said …

I painted the posts Saturday night just before supper. So they were dry Sunday morning and JB and I fastened them together so they overlapped to make a 12 foot mast. We mixed the Sakrete and set the mast. Then after lunch we unspooled the 1000 feet of coax to form four 250 feet runs. We then set about trenching 190 feet from the mast through woods. We went behind the garage then through the foundation under the dining room cantilevered window. I just looped the slack in the crawl space near the fireplace which is in the center of the house. About 160 feet of the trench was in the woods. They should call woods - roots. Cause the woods are full of them. I cut & dug with the axe and JB placed the 4 coax cables, filled, and covered. The 30 feet across the back yard was a snap compared to the woods.

Guess Mama was right. She always said JB and I ended up digging ditches. But what's a little ditch digging when you get 70 HD channels on the new satellite?

Since I'm a day behind I can tease you with these pictures from today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Guy Stuff

JB and I got metal sign post to use as the mask for the satellite dish. We got the Sakrete to set the mask. The Sakrete site has a handy calculator that tells you how many bags you will need. You tell it the diameter of the hole, how deep it is, and the diameter of the post/pole. No need to do V=πr²h for the hole and subtract the area of the post- ain't the Internet neat?

I did my usual run etc today, but we had a late lunch. When supper time came JB and I weren't that hungry, so I made sloppy Joes. Good thing about Sloppy Joes is they don't take much counter space to make.

See normally I only keep one cordless drill in the kitchen, but JB feels if one is good three are better. The drills along with drill bits, level, and tape measure take up most of my counter space now. I still have room for a dish towel and normal stuff like paper plates and munchies. Guys need Doritos, peanut butter crackers, and hard pretzels etc. Water bottles filled with tea to wash the munchies down. The tortillas are for JB's Shrimp Tacos. We made room for the fruit by putting the biscuit (plate) joiner on the floor (black box).

Our non work time like writing this blog is done in the den while piled up in a recliner. Here JB reading his paper, his laptop and library books close at hand. Since I'm a paperless reader mostly I only need my laptop. Gale our sister is a non computer person (lucky for us) so I'm safe posting these pictures. JD her husband will not rat on us since that would break the guy code. Right JD?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Appointments and Projects

I've missed a few days, so I'll get you all caught up. After I picked up JB at RDU Tuesday evening and after getting some Chinese food for supper we headed home. On Wednesday we didn't do much except for going to the Holly Springs Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. That Wal-Mart is supposed to be the largest in the state and JB was impressed. I still think it's neat that the freezer cases light up go when you approach and turn off when you move away.

Thursday I had lunch with Mimi and Rollin in RTP and ran a couple other errands. I left JB at home asleep with the toaster (aka the xB), my library card, and 5o cents. Sure enough when I got home I found JB in his recliner wrapped in the electric throw, his computer in his lap, newspaper scattered around on the floor, and a stack of library books on the coffee table. Since I have two recliners, which of course is the minimum number one should have, I piled up in my recliner until supper time. For supper I cooked (gulp) my chicken strip fry and added some of JB's shrimp. Yummy if I do say so.

Today was project day. I've been having trouble for several months with one of my garage door openers. So with JB's help we replaced the faulty opener with one I bought on eBay. We had it working in an hour or so except for reprogramming all 7 remotes I have. Where's Chris when I need him. I got my exercise today by digging a nearly 4 foot deep hole for the mask of the new satellite dish. Tomorrow maybe I'll trench and bury the coax.

Last thing I did was hang the plaque that JB brought me. He got the plaque on it on his Africa trip in Mossel Bay which is on the east coast of South Africa. Mossel Bay's claim to fame is a mention in the Guinness Book of Records as having the mildest all-year round climate in the world, second only to Hawaii. JB being from Maui appreciates good climate. I suspect JB will finish his stack of books before I finish my book. I just cannot stay wake for more than a page or two.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Killing some time

JB is due in from Maui shortly. He's been in LA at our uncle's for the last week. Since I needed to pick JB up about 4:30, and I had a lunch appointment it RTP I decided I kill some time at Wally's house. I really didn't have time to go home and then come back to RTP to pick up JB at the airport. So I went over to Wally's and he showed me his newest accessory for his noise canceling headphones - an adapter that adds a microphone which allows him to use the headphones for the phone. Works with both desk phone and cell phone. Very cool.

I went for a run while killing time and set a personal best according to Paula Radcliffe who congratulated me after my run. Neat thing about that Nike+iPod - it gives you some positive feedback whenever you achieve a milestone. Lance Armstorng told me yesterday 'Good workout - you burned a serious amount of calories.'

Well in case you are wondering.... I did get the garage cleaned up. Here are the before and after pictures. Funny how things are. I have to clean up the house before my sister comes for a visit and clean up the garage before my brother comes. So if I could get them to come at the same time I have the whole place clean. Oh well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It can't be dark already

I spent the night at Wally's and Carol's house. Staying over on a Thursday night is typical for me. I often do that during baseball season went we go see the Durham Bulls play. Chris is our designated driver so Wally and I get to enjoy refreshments at the game. If I enjoy a bit too much Wally and Carol let me stay in their guest bedroom. I've done that often enough that the guest room is now referred to as "Don's room". After sleeping over we get up and go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We did that today. It was nice to have Chris with us since school is out for a teacher workday.

Since I slept over I got to witness Carol's reaction to the TV. "Oh My!" She then said all the right praises us guys need to hear. She even commented on the no visible wires. She seemed to like it well enough.

On the way home I stopped by Lowes and Ace hardware. I got some of those new Compact Fluorescent Light (CPL) bulbs and a motion detector for Fluorescent lights. I installed the CPL bulbs in my new home office overhead light and installed the motion detector in the garage ceiling lights. I attached it to the fixture closest to the door. Opening the door will cause it to turn on two of the fixtures (of the 12 fixtures in the garage). I've tried this before with another detector (Leviton) but the two fixtures would not fully start and flickered badly. This motion detector (Cooper) starts the fixtures fine. Still a small amount of flicker but I can live with that.

I did my run and then cleaned up the toaster. The wet roads yesterday got it dirty but I used my California Duster and some spray car detailer to clean it up. Needless to say I'm staying in tomorrow - snow or no snow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Practice makes perfect

Today was one of those cold rainy gray winter days. It never stopped raining and it never got out of the 30s. I was up at 7am hoping to see snow but I was disappointed. Most the snow was melted by the rain that was falling. It rained all day.

After I woke up from my afternoon nap I headed up to Wally's. Wally and Carol had a beautiful sun room built on to their home this summer. All it needed is a nice HD set in it. Only Wally and Chris are home. Carol is out of town on a business trip. She gets back tonight. So boys being boys we decided to install an HD set before she gets home and surprise her. Nothing like going on a business trip and coming home to see a 42 inch LCD hanging on your wall. For sure it's every guys dream!

Wally picked out a wall mount before he picked out the TV set. The mount needed to allow the set to tuck into the corner of the sunroom. Wally got an UCL Articulating Wall Mount at Costco a couple months ago and then started looking for a set to use the mount. Turned out he found a 42 inch LCD HD TV also at Costco and had it delivered today.

This is my third large flat screen install and 4th wall mount of a large screen set. I didn't like the 1st place I put my 50 inch set so I moved it. So by now I've gotten good at mounting these things. Of course Wally and his son Chris did most of the work. I was just the guy who drilled the holes in the nice smooth walls for those great big lag bolts.

Anyway I think we did a good job. Notice no wires… Also in the lower right of the frame you'll see the wall mounted heat pump Wally and I installed in October.

Boy is Carol going to be surprised!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Toaster gets new window vents

I installed the window vents on the toaster Thursday while I was cooling down from my run. The vents are 'in channel' type. I had to hunt for those. They fit in the groves that the window slides up and down in. The in channel design makes for a very clean seamless look. The vents stick on using 3m VHB tape which means there is no taking them off.

In the case of the toaster they are for more than just looks. Twice last summer I left the windows cracked and it rained. The 1st time the seats were wet I just figured the wind blew the rain in. But after the 2nd time having wet seats and a puddle on the floor mats I realized that the nearly vertical windows and the way the door seal is that any rain that comes off the top will just flow directly into the open window. The in channel design should allow the rain to just drip off the edge of the vent.

It takes me about 20 minutes this time of the year to cool off and stop sweating after I run. I heat the garage to about 55 degrees so it's a good place to cool off without getting uncomfortable during the in process. In the summer it takes like an hour before I cool off. The AC in the garage and the fan I have out there help the summer.

I use this cool off time to clean up whichever vehicle I drove last. I have a California Car Duster and it keeps them looking good between washings assuming I avoid mud and wet roads. I've been known to stay home and not go somewhere because the roads were wet. I really like a clean car and I have to say it pains me if my car gets dirty too quick after I wash it. I clean the brake dust from the rims also during the cool down time. I tried some of that wheel spray that is supposed to prevent the brake dust from accumulating. Nope still accumulates. I also spray the tire black stuff on then clean the over spray from the rims. That one cleaning takes care of both the brake dust and tire spray.

If by chance I have not drove either vehicle then I use the cool off time to put up tools and do general garage clean up. I'm way behind and I really need to be spending extra time cleaning the garage before JB gets here next week. 4-5 hours should put the garage right.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What is your Power Song?

I used my new Nike + iPod for the last two days. I have to tell you I LIKE IT! If you have an iPod Nano and you run (or walk) for fitness or training you need to get one. For $30 it's a winner. At first glance it you might think you need to buy a pair of Nike+ shoes. But after reading Nike+iPod FAQ you'll see any old shoes will work. People (and vendors) have come up with creative ways to attach the sensor to any shoe. Some folks can knit and Nike+iPod Shoe Hack made a little cozy to hold the sensor. Some floks used duct tape. You can see Nike+iPod Shoe Hacks and Accessories for the ideas others came up with to attach the sensor to their shoe.

Me? I used a coin wrapper, a couple staples, and some tape. The sensor just needs to be secure and not move around. You can always shell out the $$$ for a pair of Nike+ shoes which have a compartment designed in them for the sensor. But that takes all the fun out of it.

OK so it attaches to any shoe, but why do I like it? It's small, wireless, and just plain slick. That white stub on the end of my iPod is the receiver for the shoe sensor. It's also easy to use. Best of all it keeps you company by talking with a sexy female voice as you run. And that sure helps me run! She tells me how many calories burned, time, or mileage depending on the type of workout chosen. You can choose a male voice if you want. I already knew about how far I ran, and about how long I run, so I chose calories. I entered my weight and how many calories I wanted to burn and started running. After a bit she reduced the song volume and told me "50 calories burned so far." She then brought the volume back up so I could hear the music. She repeated the process again and let me know "100 calories burned so far." She keeps it up every 50 calories until the last 50. For the last 50 she cranks up the volume and counts out every 10 calories until I reached my goal of 600 calories burned. She then told me the distance, and work out time. You can get her to tell you then workout status at any time by pressing the iPod center button. If you hold the center button for a couple seconds she plays your power song so you get that extra kick to get up that big A$$ hill. NEAT! You can buy workout playlists and even training sessions from people like Lance Armstrong if you want.

After the work out you can dock your iPod and it will upload (for free using iTunes) to the work out data and you will get a nice graph. Here is the graph for my run today. Across the top is the workout distance, time, pace, and calories. The curve bents down at the end because I stopped running and left my iPod going while I took the pictures. The dots along the graph are the mile markers. If the mouse hovers over the dot it shows you the time for that mile. The red towards the right is when I pushed PowerSong. You can set goals and create challenges for yourself. Also you can have a private running club and see your others club members runs, and challenge them - "1st one to 100 miles this month gets a free beer" - stuff like that. It's all free and easy to use.

The iPod itself stores the last 1000 workouts. You don't have to use iTunes or You don't even have to listen to music while you run. It has a 'no music' option. You can even tell it that you are walking and it'll keep track of that activity. The only complaint I have is with the music blasting I can't hear the beep of my heart monitor watch. If you want to know how it works read EETimes article Runners get iPod virtual trainer.

So "Satisfaction" by the Stones is my power song what's yours?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Good things take a long time...

I spend a few hours watching the NFL playoffs and playing with JBs scanner. In some ways I'm impressed with the film (aka negative) scanner. I'm not sure exactly how good the scanner is. I would say it it does beat scanning a print using my flat bed scanner. But it took me 30 seconds to scan the print using my flatbed and it took 5 minutes to scan the negative. If you have selected negatives to scan then the film scanner could be the way to go. But if you are wanting to scan a few thousand negatives then this is not the way to do. Even the preview scan takes a minute. I'm retired and I'm not willing to spend the next year scanning negatives.

So here is a sample quality comparison. The image on the left is scanned from a print. The one on the right from the negative. I did not correct or post process either. I let my flatbed scanner software to its thing and ditto for the negative scanner. Yes the flatbed scanned picture is darker. The print was dark to start with and that's how it scanned. But notice the tie. You can't even tell that the tie is a paisley tie on the left, but it's clear on the right it is. The negative has more range of exposure, and finer detail. I would say the negative scan is a bit over exposed. I remember that suit. It was a light gray-blue with a slightly contrasting weave. About one notch darker than what the negative scan produced.

I have a lot of negatives that I don't have prints for, and some negatives that are not with their prints. It's hard for me to look at a negative and tell if it's one I want to scan or not. I'm going to see if I can just put the negatives on the flat bed scanner and scan them in mass. Then invert them and see what they are. Pick the ones I really want to scan using the film scanner and ignore the rest. In effect create a contact sheet. The film scanner came bundled with PhotoShop Elements and I think it can invert. Stay tuned.

Well I caught up last night on my reading. Maybe tonight I can actually get ahead.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sweet Adelaides ...

Today I did a bit of plumbing. At Home Depot yesterday I got a new shower head. One of those with the shower head on a flexible hose. Actually it has two heads. A 'normal' head and the one on the hose. Both heads can be used at the same time for double the fun. Neat!

I went for my run about noon and I was sort of surprised that I only saw one other person in the park. It was nice out today. 60 and sunny. When I got home I had a phone message from Larry my friend and neighbor. My iPod pedometer was delivered. I have packages delivered to Larry's house because my drive way seems to cause box delivery trucks to stay awhile. They usually stay a couple hours until the tow truck get them out. I returned Larry's call and he suggested I come over about supper time and pick up the package. I said he had steak for me if I would like to join them for supper. U bet I would. Nice, hot, juicy, and pink in the middle...yumm...that's how I like my steak.

Well the steak was very good as was the wine, but it was the after diner coffee and desert that I REALLY liked. Larry's wife Toni got out her Dark Chocolate Adelaides. Yummy! Two of those babies was plenty.

Larry and Toni sent me home all warn inside and well fed. I settled into my recliner, and watched Green Bay handle the Sea hawks. I had DVRed that game and the New England game which I'm watching as I do this post.

It is suppose to rain tomorrow so I plan to check out the PrimeFilm PF3650u film scanner JB ordered and had delivered here last month. He asked me let him know before he heads this way. No use of him bring all his slides and negatives if it's no good or too painful to use. I'll let you all know also.

There is still hope I'll finish the book. One page read in three nights. I just can't keep my eyes open. There is no motivation for me reading in bed. If I wanted to do something in bed other than sleep, reading would not be my first choice.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Who's phone is it anyway?

Well today was odds and end day. I did a bit of shopping at Home Depot, Office Depot, and of course my favorite store Wal-Mart. I dropped my my auto insurance agent's office and let them know I'm retired and no longer drive "more than 10 miles to work or school" so I'll save $60 a year.

I also got that fax sent today and added a couple more numbers to my Person-to-Person call interceptor database. This handy device shown in the picture is not for everyone, but it is for me. See I only like talking on the phone to people I like. I don't like phone spam which is what most of phone calls I get are. Well used to get. My phone rings maybe twice a week now instead of twice an hour. P2P will intercept calls and simply will not let the phone ring, or will route the caller directly to the answering machine. Only the phone numbers in it's database get to ring my phone. If you have outgoing caller ID blocked then I'll never even know you called unless you leave a message. It has a password that will allow the phone to ring if you happen to call from a unknown number. It can do time of day screening also so the phone will not ring during the hours you specify. All calls go to the answering machine during that time unless you know the password. I don't use time of day screening. Instead I just use the Sleep button which blocks all calls for the next 8 hours or until Sleep button is pressed again. Very handy for napping and when I want to sleep in.

It has other features like routing calls to certain extensions in the house. Handy for teenagers. Sends all the calls to their phone and the rest of the phones don't ring. It has a little gizmo (smaller item in picture) that you plug your phone(s) into for call routing. I don't use the gizmo. Calls come into my house on line 2 and go into P2P. Then P2P sends only the calls I want onto line 1 which is the line standard phones are wired to. Phones ring, sound, and like exactly like the P2P is not there. Even called ID still shows up on the phones in the house.

Best $129 dollars I ever spend. Check if you are interested. I have no financial interests in P2P or in amazon etc. This is just my personal recommendation.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

You might have noticed that I didn't post to my blog yesterday. First day I missed posting. Missing a day had to happen sooner or later. I was on a mission yesterday – I need to fax some documents and my fax machine (networked attached) is in one room and the network is in the other. Modesty and possible fire code violations prevent me from posting a picture of the temporary network strewn across my bedroom floor that allowed me access to the internet.

I like hidden wires. Notice I didn’t say I must have hidden wires. The design of the computer desk I have allows for hiding most of the wires, if a bit of engineering is applied. Using some scrap schedule 40 PVC pipe I started engineering. Schedule 40 is the heavy thick PVC not that thin schedule 20. I drilled holes for and installed super size cup hooks in the pipe and mounted it to the desk. I did this because the cup hooks threads don’t hold well in melamine which is what the desktop is made out of. I also didn’t want to drill through the metal desk frame. Using nylon cable ties captured between the desktop and the metal frame I secured the pipe.Why you ask? So I could mount my UPS which weights ~15 lbs and hang cords and those power packs from the hooks. The UPS has a bank of outlets that are surge protected only, and another bank that is battery backed. The surge protected only bank is what the power strips plug into. The battery backed bank of outlets only handle the cable modem, router, sip (VoIP), and the telephone handsets. You do know that most of the telephone handsets require power to operate? I have one old Western Electric phone line powered handset in a closet. The ringer on it can't be turned off, so I don’t have it connected. But I know where it is in case of prolonged power outage.

I mounted three power strips using the same captured cable ties technique, and screwed the super size cup hooks into the melamine. The hooks will be supporting a pound or two so the threads can grip the melamine well enough for that light load. As I’m sure you all know most electronic equipment now days use power packs that are wide and their width (or depth) means you get to use about one out of every three outlets in the strip. I solved that waste of outlets by using handy Y cords that I got mail order. You’ll never see these in stores because if they sold them in stores then they would reduce power strip sales by 75%. One six outlet power strip would support 12 power packs instead of three. I paid under $2 each for the Y cords.

One end of the desk is now very visible and that corner of course was scuffed badly.But my sister Gale on one of her visits introduce me to “Magic Eraser”.It’s one of those cleaning products that really work as you can see from the after picture. I’m sure this is not news for some folks, but just in case you didn’t know about them I thought I mention it.

Well the proof is in the pudding. Here are the before and after.

Here are the almost no wires showing.

The one small loop is a miscalculation on how far down the X10 appliance module descends. The X10 appliance module allows me to remotely turn off ALL the power strips without crawling under the desk or unplugging from the wall. I’ve used these X10 devices for years. Long before X10 became famous for using the pop up or under adds that we now have pop up blocks to suppress. The other wire is for the HI-LO-Off switch for my under desk heater which is the flat panel you see against the wall. This heater is one of those things I wished I would have purchased years ago. The front of the panel gets warm but the back stays cool so that you can mount it to the wall or desk. It’s in its stand right now until I use it enough to know exactly where I want to mount it and then I’ll mount it upside down so the wire exit the top which will then be hidden by the desk so that will be one less visible wire.

Well doing the office relocate allowed me to rearrange my bedroom so I can go on and get my new HD Flat panel for the bedroom. Just have to decide. Another 50 inch one or maybe a nice 5 footer?

While I decide I’ll give you a peek at the next indoor project - Garage cleanup. JB is coming soon and it would be good for him to have a place to work. I’ve finished one page in my book over the last two nights. I’ll need to catch up to get back to my 10 pages per night average.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And the beat goes on...

Well today was productive. It’s not over but I thought while the tea is brewing I take a break and write a bit about something I have used for at least 20 years. When I exercise I wear a Polar heart monitor. If you are like me you exercise because they say you should. I’m sure I’ve gotten some benefit from it, but to be honest the best thing I can say about most exercise is that it’s over. The exercise I like and really gets my heart beating gets over too quick.

The picture shows my real time heart rate is 139, and I’m 56 minutes 18 seconds into my work out. The heart symbol flashes each time it picks up a beat. The vertical bar means a period of 10 minutes in the target range. It’ll show 3 vertical bars after 30 minutes. In this picture the bar represents 40 minutes since it cleared the three bars after I completed the 40th minute.

My Polar heart monitor allows me to set my target heart range. I have it set for 135 minimum and 155 maximum (shown in picture below). If my heart rate goes outside that range it beeps at me. If I stay in the target range it doesn’t beep to nag me – I get to run along in peace. It’s also is a stop watch so I know how long I ran. On top of that it keeps track of the total time my heart rate was in the target range. Then after 30 minutes in the target range it beeps to let me know I’ve achieved 30 minutes of quality cardiovascular exercise. The true beauty of this is it doesn’t matter how I keep my heart in that range. I typically have to run pretty fast on downhill grades to keep it over 135. But I can slow down and walk on steep uphill grades. This means I don’t overdo it and get burned out which is a common reason people stop exercising.

The Polar device is wireless. There is a chest strap (black in the pictures) that picks up your heart beat and transmits that to the wrist watch receiver to display. The watch does not have to be worn. I used to mount the watch to my handle bars when I rode my bike. I believe Polar is the well known brand/market leader in this area. When I traveled the workout equipment in hotel fitness rooms often worked with the Polar device. Very handy to see your heart rate on the equipment read out. Some of the equipment would increase and decrease the intensity to keep you in your heart range.

The battery in the watch last 5 years. I replaced the battery in the 1st Polar watch that I had, and it ruined it. So I purchased the one I have now. I’m still using the original chest strap that came with the 1st watch– it’s over 20 years old. Now granted there have been years at a time that I’ve not used it. I believe the battery in the chest strap is good for several thousand hours of operation. I assumed the electrical signal it picks up turns it on. Somehow it turns itself off. There is no on or off switch on the chest strap. It is totally sealed. Watch and strap can be used in the pool. The picture below shows my heart was in range for 42:50, and the workout lasted 1 hour 2 minutes (I forgot to hit stop).
If you are looking for a gift for that person that has everything this could be it. It will totally change their exercise habits. I have no financial interests in Polar. My recommendation is purely my opinion after having used one off and on for over 20 years.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just get me to the Park on time....

A busy day today. Up at 9 and headed to RTP (Research Triangle Park) at about 10:40 for an 11:30 lunch. Commute to RTP is 65 minutes in traffic, 50 minutes in good traffic and just under 45 if the traffic is light which it was today. Only one snag – I needed to make a stop on the way to the park. That caused me to go through New Hill which is about 5 miles out of the way. Well as Karen will tell you I picked her up 5 minutes early for lunch. Let’s just say that xB starts to really purr above 4K RPM and in 5th gear. The purr changes to a buzz north of 5K RPM, but buzz and all - it got me to the park on time. The buzz was pretty loud – So loud that I didn’t hear my mobile phone ring. But talking on the phone at that speed even in light traffic is not something I would do after missing an exit in Chicago a few years ago. Hurrying to catch a flight, unfamiliar road, lots of traffic, and me talking on the cell phone is one of those ‘life lessons’ that I am thankful to still be here you share with you now and I’m happy to say I learned the lesson the first time. No repeat lesson needed. So you all please learn from me. Talking on a cell phone is not safe at speed (feel free to change that to any speed if you want).

Karen met me in front of my former office building and she had a package for me – pair of noise canceling head phones I got as a ‘Thanks’ award from Bobby. They didn’t get delivered before I left, but I had Karen my neighbor on the office cul-de-sac watching for the package. She also let me know the visiting 2nd line from Italy has settled into my old office while he’s here. We had a great lunch and as usual mine was good, but Karen’s looked way better. Good manners prevented me from asking for a taste this time. Next time we go to lunch I’ll use that “hey would you like to try mine” so out of politeness she'll offer me some of hers! hehehe - I’ve never been slow when of comes to eating.

I went by Wally’s house after lunch to showed him the headphones. Wally is the expert on them. He has several pair. Out of politeness Wally didn't tell me what he thought of mine. I also know Wally well enough to know he wouldn't fall for that "Hey, you try mine and I'll keep yours" trick - I've only been able to get one thing by Wally in the 15 years I've known him - and I have to say - when I did get something by him I didn't even know I did it until HE explained it to me. Sort of takes all the fun out of it when you didn't even know you won. Anyway, I actually have a pair of the 1st generation Bose noise canceling headphones. They are broken, and I’ve been meaning to send then in for repair for about 3 years. Never found the time. Note to self: Send headphones in for repair.

I stopped by the new super Wal-Mart in Holly Springs on the way home. I bought stuff for the house and a replacement UPS for the still underway relocate of the home office. I just shoved the stuff I piled up on the bed into two boxes. One box is what I will keep and use in the new location. The other (much larger box) is what will go to the next electronics recycling drive. I might try to sell some of it on eBay. I’ve bought stuff off of eBay, but I’ve never sold anything.

I upped my average pages per night. I’m through the 2nd chapter. Bobby, whom I assume will be the main character throughout the book, and Ted are going to try and put one over on Bobby’s mom. My guess is that is going to get Bobby into trouble. What do you Moms out there think? Your sons ever successfully put one over on you? hehehe

Sunday, January 6, 2008

65 it not so fine...

I was up at 8am today after making it all the way to page 41 in my book. If I keep up this double digit rate I’ll be done in another 60 nights. I read 2 books last year. Dan Brown’s “Digital Fortress” and “Wins, Losses, and Lessons: An Autobiography” of Lou Holtz. Lou’s book I can recommend even if you are not a football fan. I thought it was well worth reading and it would be good for teenagers to read. So I gave it to Chris. Now you know why I get that 'look' from anyone under 20. Dan’s book, well he’s done better.

No e-mail or IMs or new blog activity to enjoy with my coffee. I was feeling a bit blue for some reason, so I decided to start on the office relocate while it warmed up outside. I got it mostly dismantled. As the morning wore on I really started not feeling well so I took a break. While on my break Bob is on his way to Tennessee to do some work. He IM me and with his help I got Yahoo Messenger set up and we exchanged pictures and used Yahoo Voice and talked until he needed to pack. I invited Bob over, but this is a quick trip and he goes home Friday. Getting over to see Bob, Julie, and see his granddaughter in the UK is on the list for this summer.

I could tell today was not my day when I went for my run and the only female jogger in the park was bundled in full sweats even though it was 65 degrees. San Diego is the late game so there is still hope for seeing some skin today. Oh right. It’s raining in San Diego – just my luck. Tomorrow is supposed to be 70. Surely full sweats won’t be needed.

A 65 degree day in January is too nice to stay inside so after my run I cleaned up the xB. I then took some pictures of it and the GMC.

David is down under in Sydney IM me on Yahoo when I got back inside. So now I have dots for NZ (Thanks Mark and Toni) and Australia on my tracking map. No dot in the UK. Maybe when Bob gets back it’ll show up. FotoMom would like a visit from you all outside the USA please.

I’ve just seen the Giants beat Tampa Bay and Titans verses Chargers is on now. I had the DVR record them. I’ll have to do a bit more on the office relocate before bed time. I guess I could just sleep in the recliner…

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Where I run

Well I can see that I'm going to have to create a to do list. I keep getting distracted and side tracked. I don't mind though. I have lots of time. It was a nice mid 50s degree day. Gray sky however. I went out for my jog about 2:30. I enter the park from the far right on the map below. I come down Wagstaff Road (black on map) and enter at the first trail (yellow) before Kenneth Branch (blue). I run along Kenneth Branch until I reach the main area of trails and then cross the branch and run along the outside perimeter then cross back over the branch and run out the way I came in. That picture of me next to the park sign was taken by Gene today. He and Sandy his wife and their two boys I often see walking in the park as I run.

We had a severe drought here in North Carolina but Kenneth Branch never stopped flowing. It slowed to a trickle during the worst of the drought when we went weeks without any rain. After a heavy rain it will overflow its banks and flood that area. The branch is at the bottom of a valley and the trails wind up and along the hills on both sides.
Besides running I do inclined push ups and squats as I cross over the various springs that feed Kenneth Branch. The rails on the bridges over the springs make a good support for the inclined push ups and provide steadying support for the squats. I added a new exercise starting yesterday. I added three sets of 12 reps of Triceps Dips with Straight Legs . They fit nicely into my run since there are benches along the trails I can use.

Well I'm through the 1st chapter in the book I started a few posts back. I don't remember the title, but I've had distractions. My pages per night rate has dropped to under 10. JB let me know he picked up that book somewhere and realized he already read it so left it for me. I've not read enough to know what it's about. I should be able to know that by 4th of July.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The way I like to start my day

The 2nd thing I do each morning is put water in my new cordless stainless steel tea kettle to and start it to boil. Put some StarBucks whole bean into my grinder and get it going. Ahh the wonderful smell of fresh ground coffee. I then unlock my computer and say morn'n on IM while the water heats. What I like about this kettle is that it turns off automatically when the water boils. I got it last weekend after being summoned back into the kitchen by the screech of the on the burner stove top kettle. The new one is a cordless one - the cord stays with the base when you lift the kettle to pour. Heats 1.5 liters ~4 minutes. I saw this type of kettle when I visited the UK and was invited to spend the weekend with the IBMer I was working with. Real treat to spend time with Bob and his wife Julie in Wales on my trips over. I really messed up my trip over last year and didn't get to stay over a weekend.

Anyway I pour some of the hot water into the glass pot to rinse it. The pot is on the right with a metal cage and black handle already made in this picture. The rinse also help preheat the glass becasue I like mine hot. I pour that water out and dump the grounds in and fill the pot to the top of the band and stir with a plastic spoon. Then I put the press in and secure it, but I don't plunge for a few minutes - you can't hurry good things. I think the instructions say wait 4 minutes. I like to wait a bit longer since I like it strong. When the time is right I plunge and then pour a nice full steaming hot tasty cup . Ahhhhhh that first sip. Almost nothing beats it. It was way hard this morning to take that a picture instead of drink my fill first.

If you like to enjoy it in the morning like I do you can go to Bodum and check them out. Being single I have the liter size (8 cup) which is plenty. But if you are going to share this morning pleasure with someone consider the 1.5 liter 12 cup press pot so that it lasts a lot longer.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Well what a day. I told Wally earlier this evening that I needed a vacation from retirement! I've read & sent more e-mail, IM'ed more people, talked more on the phone, took more pictures, and blogged more than I ever have. I swear my computer has fused into with my lap (guess that's why it's called a laptop huh?) and I'm starting to fear that my mother might prove to be correct when she said (and remember this you moms out there) "If you don't get up out of that chair it'll grow to your A$$." That statement I believe does not apply to recliners, so I'm hoping to escape that faith on a technicality. The fear of a chair growing out my A$$ has always motivated me far more than cleaning out my ears so corn wouldn't grow out of them.

I case you are wondering with all this electronic communications if I actually spoke to anyone face to face today. I did speak with 4 people face-to-face. The UPS guy was the first. Do you know that UPS will actually ring the bell when they come? I've never been home in the day to find that out. They just leave the package and/or the yellow sticky to sign. Today I was treated to an exchange of hellos, then hearing “sign here”, then me saying “thanks”, and a back of a head mumbling something in reply as it headed down the porch steps. Ahh the joy of face-to-face communications. I also will point out I signed using a stylus not a pen. I signed on a line drawn on the screen of some type of big Palm Pilot with an antenna.

The other three people were a nanny and two kids in her care walking in the park where I run. One of the kids (the older one 12? 13?) was complaining about the cold even though she was bundled head to toe. The nanny was British and of course was in typical British style "It's a lovely winters day... step lively, step lively now to stay warm...Look at this gent coming he's in his kit and he's not cold" - it was about 35 and sunny and when the wind blew you understood why they call it "wind chill." I shook the leg of my running shorts and said howdy as I went jogging by. I meet them later on a bridge and stopped for a minute and chatted, the oldest still protesting that it was cold and asking why wasn't I freezing. I started to say what my mother used to tell me when I complained about cold..... "This is not cold. Why when I was growing up I walked 5 miles up hill both ways in 3 foot of snow just to go to school." or something along the lines. Instead I just said truthfully - as long as I kept my pace I stayed plenty warm. I went on to explain I rather jog in 35 degree weather than 90 degree. The nanny agreed hearty, and marched on. The oldest as she past stared at me in total disbelief. A look I often get from anyone under 20. I just smiled back and after a few strides let the smile turn into a grin. I knew the nanny had won since that bridge was about as far from the entrance as possible, and the nanny was taking the long way back. Age and experience beat youth this time - but time is on their side.

Well needless to say I didn't make much progress in the Home Office relocation. I did clear the destination, but after taking one look at unwiring job at hand I and a well timed jingle from a incoming IM from the laptop in the den carried me back into my recliner with the glow of the plasma over the fire place keeping me warm.
I started reading "Hearts in Atlantis" by Stephen King last night. 14 pages in I was out like a light, but not the bedroom light. Note to self: Get a sleep timer for the bedroom light. I'll see if I can make the end of chapter 1 tonight before I go lights out. I think JB left that book here. He read it about a day. Now where is that list of books JB left for me to read? That list of books will last me at least 10 years at 14 pages a day. That's OK, with practice I should get up to 50 pages a day and that will get me through the list, and I'll still be younger than most people when they retire.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Out and about

Well I was up at 7am without an alarm. Just woke up and got up - which I hope is something I continue to do. I fired off an e-mail announcing this Blog. I was in no hurry to get out there after reading Let there be no doubt...It's cold out there! in FotoMom (Maryann’s) Blog.

So I watched the AM morning news and was a bit disappointed that the traffic reports on WRAL showed NO backup at my favorite parking lot I440/US1. So I suspect there were others not working today.

I got out about 10am and had a tasty low fat 'good for you' lunch and went to one of my favorite places: Harbor Freight in North Raleigh. JB (my brother in Hawaii) introduced me to them a couple years ago on one of his mainland visits. I limited my purchased to what would fit into the xB. When JB is with me we take the GMC.
That's nice person with the xB is Linda. I bought the xB from her May 2007. This is the only picture of the xB aka 'The Toaster' I have. Note to self: wash The Toaster and take another new picture. After Harbor Freight I went by the computer box store in preparation for tomorrow.
On the way home I stopped by main campus of Wake Tech to check out the CNC classes (Machining Technology). I've always been interested in robotics. I did a paper in College on them ~30 years ago. Gulp. I attended the ShopBot Jamboree in 2006 and hope to go again this spring.

The Sugar Bowl last night was, well, boring. Sorry JB. Hawaii didn't look to good. Hopefully the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl tonight will be better. If it's a blow out also I'll just get a head start on tomorrows project "Clean up/relocate the Home Office." Good thing to do indoors. The high tomorrow is suppose to be chilly 38 . I guess retiring in winter does have a few drawbacks.