Sunday, November 21, 2010

I plan on blogging more....really....honest....oh, who am I kidding

Ok, now it's time for my regular "I really should blog more" post.  At least I have started making more of my updates through Twitter and then having them auto pulled by Facebook as opposed to only updating Facebook. That way, those 1-2 of you out there not on Facebook, but who read this, get a glimpse of what is going on.  And I am gonna blog more.....honest....ignore the fact that my fingers are crossed behind my back.

So, readers, or reader, or maybe I am just talking to myself...but you are only crazy if you answer your own questions, right? Right......CRAP!

Anyway, so this is what has been going on in the land of Crutchfield lately.  We traded in the 2006 Jetta TDI (pictured in the header above).  After the Turbo/camshaft fiasco of '09, plus the continued, worsening problems of the car, and our long ass commute, it was time to part ways for something more reliable that hadn't been driven at top speed on the autobahn, driven hard on the race tracks, and chipped for more power.  So, we purchased *drumroll* a Jetta......sorta.  It is a 2011 Jetta Sportwagen TDI.  I say it is sort of a Jetta because in the fatherland it is the Golf Variant.  It even has the new Golf front-end, but Jettas sell better in the states because "no one in America wants hatchbacks" (despite the fact I have one in the garage).  We made the purchase on 1 November with 149 miles on the odometer and have since racked up over 2,000 miles with an average fuel economy of about 43.5 mpg.  That is above the highway EPA rating which is 42!  I love diesels.

What else is going on you may ask?  I have started getting the pre-op tests done for having Gastric Bypass surgery.  My plan is to have that early next year.  They want me to lose 40-50 lbs pre-op, and between the end of August and end of October, I lost 25 of those pounds!  Last Thursday I had my Arterial Blood Gas and Exercise Saturation Tests.  Friday I had an abdominal sonogram, chest x-ray, and upper GI (which means I got to drink Elmer's Glue....I mean Barium Contrast).  I already did my stress test in preparation, and have an endoscopy and some consults left to go.  Hopefully I don't stray too far off course during this holiday season.

"SQUIRREL!" (eg - I got distracted as usual) Wil Wheaton will be on Leverage this season in an elf costume.

"Hi there"  Now that I got the Up reference out of the way too....I am also looking to change positions at work.  I just don't feel my current job is a good fit for me, and the hours don't help either.  What little extra you earn working nights isn't worth the headaches it causes.  I will also be making a trip down to the Fla to see the family in the next month...hitting the road in the new car and racking up even more miles! lol

I really should go try to sleep some more (been up since like 12:30 after sleeping for 3-ish hours) but I am somewhere between Tired enough to fall back asleep and alert enough to stay awake the whole day.  I am guessing I will just need a nap later .  Hopefully I don't miss too much of the race @ Homestead if I do take a nap.  I was considering working on the back breaks of the Rabbit today, but considering my sleep-deprived state, playing with jack stands, power tools and a car are probably not the best things to be using.  Right up there with taking NyQuil and then taking a 12 hour drive....not recommended.

That is all for now. Off I go only to reappear at some other random time rambling about how I need to blog more...yada yada yada.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nice cabrio, except the rim color (but it is redeemed slightly by the autobot center cap)

Nice cabrio, except the rim color (but it is redeemed slightly by the autobot center cap)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A little update

So, again, it has taken me a while to update. Oh well. What do you want from me anyway? That's what I thought!

I thought I would post a little update about what has been going on. My train layout is coming along nicely. I have added some roadbed to the rails and started putting down "blacktop". I need to go clean up some stuff on the display and take some new photos. I do have some videos posted of the trains though on my YouTube account.  I still have to build another platform too, but this weekend we decided to tackle another project.

We switched the office and the guest "bedroom" downstairs (bedroom is in quotes because it had everything EXCEPT a bed in it.)  Once we got all of the furniture out of the guest bedroom, we painted it a pale blue that really keeps the room feeling light and welcoming, but covered up that awful egg-shell contractor paint.  We still have a lot of junk to clean out of the former office, and then we will need to paint that before we can move the bedroom furniture into it.  But there isn't a rush on that part.

Well, that's all for now....maybe I will work on the rest of the website a bit this extended weekend.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Long time no post

So it has been a while since I last posted, and I figured the time had come. I finally started work on the train garden, but with 3 o27 gauge trains, a lot of room is needed. So far I have only made enough room for two trains and I need some non-conductive pins to attach part of the track. Two of the trains are from when I was a kid and one is my grandfather's first train.

I will post up some pics of the layout another time, and a more lengthy post when I am not using my Droid to type.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Picture of the week / Snowmageddon

Well, here is the picture of the week, this time of "Snowmageddon 2010" This is from the Friday->Saturday storm...and guess what, we have MORE coming Tuesday Night->Wednesday (prediction is 1ft). Expect a mid-week update on this snow total.
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Picture of the week - Make-up post

Since I never got around to posting my Picture of the week last Monday, I will do a make-up post. This coming Monday will probably be of the snowmageddon. Anyway, it is amazing what can be done with legos. This is a scale model of the Mainz Soccer, sorry, "Football" stadium from Lego Land Deutchland. Anyway, it is amazing how much detail there is. That is all there is to say this time.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun with drywall.....yeah...uhuh...

So, we are going to install some in-wall speakers in the coming weeks, but unfortunately, it looks like the easiest way to get into the wall is to actually drill down into the basement, rather than up from the basement, which means cutting some holes in the drywall to get the drill in there, then patching those because the holes for the speakers themselves will be WAY too high to drill down into the basement.  It is going to be SOO much fun.

Copilot is a wonderful thing

Fog Creek Copilot is a wonderful piece of software.  I am remotely connected to my mom's PC doing trouble shooting without having to set up port forwarding on routers, or VNC, or remote desktop or ANYTHING.  And the best part is, it is free on weekends.  Oh, and it works on Windows or Mac.  Kudos Fog Creek....kudos:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Missing the truck

Let's try this again.  I had already written this post once through Picasa, but blogger gave me an error and deleted the post entirely.  FUN!

So, as the title says, I miss my old Frontier.  It was a truck big enough to haul things to the dump, pick up things at home depot, and transport my old big-screen TV THREE times (Best Buy->Elkridge, Elkridge->Millersville, Millersville->House of co-worker that bought it).  It didn't take up too much space in parking lots, and got decent fuel mileage for a V6 pickup truck.  I had a lot of good times in that truck, including when Chrissy & I drove cross country in it back in '02.  This picture is the perfect one to show of the truck too.  I did more modifications to it later in it's life (TJM Bull Bar on the front), but eventually traded it in when I bought the Jetta before the PCS to Germany.  It just didn't make sense to take a pickup truck with over 100K miles on it to Germany.  I wish I could pick up a used one (preferably with the same rough specs as my old one) but it just isn't in the financial cards at this time.  So, instead, I will just post up a pick of the old one in all its muddy glory.

Monday, January 18, 2010

CDANS(?) - Once again open for business

It has been several years since I did paid web development work.  Well, I am back in the mix.  Granted, it wasn't much, but it might line up future work, and I actually had fun doing it (when was the last time I actually had fun doing work?  a LONG time ago).

Now I have to decide if I actually want to stand up a business website again. lapsed a LONG time ago (and was grabbed by some company in Japan...?), but I still have locked up until 2014.  The problem with cdans, it was "Crutchfield Development and Network Services" and I plan on sticking to the development side of things.  Maybe I can think of a different meaning for cdans. I will have to get legitimate hosting for a business domain though (unlike my current half blogger/half server in the basement with dyndns setup).  I guess I can leave it as CDANS because the network services would include configuring hosting, etc...  Will have to ponder that.

Of course, I also will need to figure out how I want to market myself and what kind of projects I want to take on (assuming I can find projects to work on).  SO....I guess what I am saying is, if you need help with a website...let me know! 

Picture of the week

Well, this one is pretty darn obvious. Yes, that is the REAL Eiffel Tower, not some imitation. I was toying around with the black and white setting on the camera and liked the perspective of this shot. I haven't taken many B&W photos, but this is by far, my favorite. Hence, why it is the photo of the week.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo of the Week

This panoramic was taken at one of the U Turns on Stelvio Pass.  Despite the roads narrow appearance and blind corners, it is two-way traffic all the way up the side of the mountain.  It actually made for some harrowing situations especially when we were also passing bikers (the pedal kind, not the motorcycle kind).  This is the road that Top Gear (the REAL one from Britain) hailed as the greatest driving road in the world.  It was also featured in an issue of Motortrend (which lead to us finding it in the first place).  It was a blast driving up and down the mountain with the convertible top down.  Maybe someday we will get back there.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Shot of the week, Lake Geneva

I hope to actually make this a regular segment.  I will go through and pull up a photo from my collection (usually historical, but sometimes it might be from that week) and talk about where it was, and share any other interesting tidbits about that particular shot.

Evian-les-Baines HDR 2.jpg
This photo is an HDR image I created while we were staying at the Hilton in Evian-les-Baines, France (one of several times we stayed there).  This was probably our favorite view from any hotel we stayed in.  Looking out over Lake Geneva, with the Swiss Alps in the background, and the French Alps were directly behind the hotel.  By taking this photo at three different exposure levels and combining them into a single HDR image, you can see the detail in the clouds, but still have clear definition of the leaves on the trees in the foreground.  Very little of the sky is at maximum saturation, yet the rest of the image is bright enough to see magnificent detail.  I know this is a place we will both want to return to if we make it back overseas.  Evian is a very quiet location, but the drive to Geneva is reasonable for a day trip (we stayed here for the Geneva Auto Show) and it was close enough to Germany for a weekend jaunt if we hit the road early enough on Friday.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The pain of being DINKs (Dual Incomes No Kids)

Now that tax time is here, it is time to be reminded just how much it sucks to be DINKs.  Even with a mortgage, donations, education loans, refinance costs (1/2 point), we are going to owe big time.  While we were overseas, w/o a mortgage, Chrissy and I both claimed 0 on our W-4.  Now that we are back, I claimed 2 figuring, with our mortgage, we should be good (Considering, when it was just me, I had 5 exceptions with my mortgage and still got money back).  Well, looks like that was a gross mis-calculation.  We might get wolluped this year in taxes.  That is the only problem with not having little tax exemptions running around.  We will see once I get the final info, but it isn't looking good.

Scirocco, how I want thee

Damn you, damn you VWOA. Damn you for not brining the new Scirocco to the US. It is one hot little hatch back. But are worried about how it will cut in to GTI sales. Well, guess what. There are people who would buy the Scirocco that wouldn't buy a GTI, and there are some visa-versa. How about this, you could limit GTI's to the 4 door if you really want to differentiate them. But bring the damn Scirocco here! Ugh....this is what I get for browsing through old photos.
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Track Days

Ahh, days at the track. I was flipping through old photos in Picasa and came across this gem. This is Ben's 325ix, our Jetta and our 325i at hockenheimring after spending some time out on the track. Chrissy was cruising around int he 325i and I hit the track in the Jetta. I wish I could go to a race track here in the states as cheap as I could in Germany. That was insane! Here, it is insane how much it costs. Ohwell, just thought I would comment on that one. Oh, I also need to post up about the cluster fuck that was my domain name changes. Let's just say, google apps + custom DNS name + blogger with that domain name = chaos. Oh well, things are smoothed out enough with some behind the scenes magic using ZoneEdit.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Changes are coming

Since my website's start page and my blog layout were VERY similar, I am just making the later the former, gradually.  I started by updating the style of the blog to match the theme I had running on my website.  Next will be some behind the scenes DNS changes and some changes to the widgets that are on the blog.  Finally, will be figuring out a way to create the sub pages I have on my site in a way that make sense.  I am thinking it will be by making them different tags in the blog and doing a massive post-fest in the blog to create those pages. 

I liked how back when I was using Wordpress you could make pages that weren't blog posts by were still part of the blog, and unfortunately, blogger doesn't seem to offer that capability (or I just totally missed it).  If I can't find a way I am happy with that, I will keep the sub pages on the server in my basement, but those pages will be a rather than  (Part of the behind the scenes DNS changes going on).  Oh crap...just remembered I have to get the Slingbox plugged back in tonight.  I will take care of that after dinner.  Otherwise, Mom wouldn't be able to watch the Ravens game tomorrow.