Monday, June 26, 2006

Another lovely weekend

This weekend we took of for Olathe to visit the Groves. Cami was having her girl party over at Rita's, so Vicki went there. Mark and I stayed back with the kids. Tossed the ball around with Nathanial. Looked at lots of stuff Cassie wanted us to look at.... went to the pool. Mark was smoking pork ribs (which it turns out are very difficult to get in your pipe and harder to light ;-) ). We played the guitars and sat around and talked. Beer? Of course!

It rained some at the pool ... but that always reminds me of the old Dennis the Menace cartoon "But we came here to get wet!" as his parents are dragging him off a rainy beach to the car. It didn't rain much, but we headed back around 3:00 or so.

Cami had bought a mountain dulcimer on clearance at Walmart. I've wanted to get one for a while now but I didn't want to pay $100 for one -- which is about what the less expensive ones often go for. Well this one was clearanced for $30. So I hoofed it up there and scored one. On my way back, the skies opened up and we got some pretty heavy rain. Anyway, the dulcimer sounds pretty good. And, it doesn't have hearts for sound holes!!!!!!

The ribs were great. John and his father Don (John and Jutta live next door -- and Jutta was at the girl party) came over and ate with us. Mark read the first chapter of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" to the kids, and they went to bed. The girls got back around 11:00. We stayed up until around 1:00.

Didn't do much Sunday. The weather was beautiful -- a strong cold front was what triggered Saturday's rain, so the relief from the heat was welcomed. Left for home around 2:00. Then there was this made-for-tv AMC western on, a new one a-la "Open Range". This one is "Broken Trail" starring and produced by Robert Duvall. Same idea as "Open Range" (Which he was also in). It's good. Part II is on tonight!

(Nathanial making goofy faces.)

Monday, June 19, 2006


We went and hung out with Sam at his place to hang by his pond, play guitars, drink, talk, and listen to the night sounds of the country.

No whipoorwills :-( Lots of bullfrogs, though. Just ask Vicki.

First he took us to see a cabin he has access to on a large pond near his house. Nice place (that's part of the cabin lake to the left there.) Anyway, we went to Heur's for dinner and had catfish. Vicki got pie to have for breakfast.

Unfortunately, we forgot the pie when we left. So we went back for it the next morning -- and went to Huer's for breakfast ;-)

Both Angela and Kevin were out of town, so we took care of Mia (Potato) for them. I went in the morning and of course brought the new camera along. I tried working her out with the ball. She's called Mia Potato because she is about the shape and color of a potato.

Saturday afternoon I painted the side of our house that faces the unfriendly neighbors -- who suddenly moved out of our "cracker" (their words) neighborhood a couple weekends ago. I took the opportunity to get on the deck next door and paint that wall, which needed it very badly. And a bill collector showed up looking for them yesterday, and he also brought along an eviction notice. Well!

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday working on the ozone generator -- making it smaller (and fixing a short while I was at it) and less unattractive.

I also managed to re-injure my left middle finger while playing guitar last night. It's the same one that got smashed by a log months ago. I probably re-tore or shredded the tendon. I should have stopped playing the moment it started hurting, but I played on for about 2 minutes. Bad move. It hurts pretty bad today. Hard to type.

Kristin had an exciting weekend. She'd gone down to Farmington for a wedding shower, then back up here for a benefit picnic Saturday, back down to the lake Sunday to meet some friends (apparently she knows Dourty here from work as he's married to Blaine's sister Jill) and ... well, she shattered a glass in her hand when it slipped and she grabbed it tighter, cutting HER left middle finger. Then Sunday Blaine lost his keys in the lake... her purse was locked in his car... with her keys ... and her cell phone. She came back up here last night with some friends while Blaine et. al retrieved their cars. She had about 3 weekends worth of trouble in 1, poor girl. What's the term? "A series of unfortunate events."

Well, I'll leave you with this picture of Sam's dog "Beagle", who hung at the pond with us Saturday night.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Toy

It's here.

A Pentax *ist DL with a Tamron 28-300 mm lens. A digital SLR. Nice. Hefty. Very, very flexible.

Still learning the ins and outs of it. It does have a cool "continuous shooting mode" which helped me get this shot of Vicki coming across the street to the neighbors house where I was doing a little show and tell. (I had to muck her right arm in PaintShop Pro because there was a car mirror partially obscuring her lower arm and part of her hand.) But it's a great picture of her.

Took Ev to the KC airport Tuesday and while there went to lunch with Mark. He showed me around his company's new building, (pretty nice!) and we went to lunch at the Peanut. Had some awesome hot wings.

I dropped by Cummins tools on the way back to get a scope for my pellet rifle. The sites aren't real good on it. They had one for $7. Perfect. And while I was there they had a 7x7 American Camper tent that weighs, from what I can tell, about 4 lbs and 10 or so oz -- perfect for two people lightweight backpacking. Rolls up very compact.

Went to Maguey's with the Williams' & Daryl last night for dinner. Back home of course I played with my camera some more. And they're re-surfacing the concrete surface on Providence -- working nights. Right now they're scoring the road with some heavy machinery, I assume to help the asphalt stick. It's a slow process, and we could hear the machinery all night long last night as they were working right up the hill from our house.

Well, that's it for now. Hopefully I'll have some tasteful pictures from the new toy in the coming weeks.

Monday, June 12, 2006

What up wid' da flipster

I've been very lax posting.

Well, let's see. Last weekend (weekend before this past one) I helped Ryan finish the siding on his house. That project, I'm glad to say, is done. fin. He rented a man lift -- probably weighs in exess of 10,000 lbs. It needed to, to counterbalance the long arm. It made the job a lot easier, but we did rut up the yard a bit. Ryan and his dad fixed it this past weekend.

I also got the deck all straightened and the waterers in the vegetable garden going.

This weekend we went down to Warsaw for Kristin's wedding shower -- no, I didn't go to the shower. Hung out with her dad (John) instead. I went down to the Truman Dam visitor's center where her brother Brian works overlooking Truman Dam, which divides Truman Reservoir from Lake of the Ozarks. Checked out the view there and read some of the historical stuff and watched a little thing on how the generators & flood control works. Then I went down to look at some log cabins and an old home that's been preserved on the grounds.

The one log cabin was about 12x12 -- MAYBE 15x15, with a stone fireplace and a table, then a loft upstairs for sleeping. Makes you realize how rich and spoiled we are. Apparently that place comes alive during Heritage Days in the fall -- there's only the two cabins and a smokehouse, but it looks like they're building a third. Sounds neat.

John was out showing his new boss around town trying to find him and his family a place to rent -- and they were successful. So he was flyin' high the rest of the day. We went to the car show across the street in the park and looked at cars. He knew a lot of folks -- first of all, everyone in town knows him, and second -- he's a bit of a car enthusiast and that helped as well.

It was hot. We didn't spend more than about 45 minutes there. Went back and helped tote Kristin (& Brian's, I guess) haul back to the house -- from next door, where the shower actually was. Then John whipped up some fantastic BBQ and we had a good time visiting.

Mom's down for the shower -- I take her to the airport tomorrow to fly back to Fort Wayne.

Wednesday I get my windshield replaced. Thursday I go to traffic court for my accident, what, 6 weeks ago? Busy week. Somewhere in there I need to solve some server problems and split some services out to at least one more server at work.

I bit the bullett and ordered a new digital camera. Got a digital SLR. A Pentax *ist DL with a Tamron 28-300 AF lens (that translates to about a 40-450mm equivalent in relation to 35mm). That's what, about a 20x optical zoom? It should be here tomorrow. But I think I'm going to want a wide angle lens for "big" scenes. But to get started, I decided to go with one lens that will cover 99% of what I want to do. It's not here yet, but it should be tomorrow. I'll pick it up on my way home.

My Olympus C720 UZ had a serious dusty lens problem. I'd taken it to Columbia Photo to ask what I should do. They said they could ship it off to Olympus, but that they'd charge $100 minimum no matter what. So I posted to Steve's Digicams Olympus forum and asked what my options were. One guy replied with a link to a series of pictures walking you through taking a C700 UZ apart. It turns out that it's not too hard to remove the front lens. Most of the dust was between the two elements in the front lens, and I managed to carefully pry that apart and get the dust out and put it all back together. That will still be a good camera to take places I don't want to take the bulky SLR to. Plus it has a nice builtin flash. It's a 3MP camera. The new one's a 6.1

I still have a table to re-finish sitting in the garage. Hacked back the trumpet vine last weekend. Um... Well, nothin' else too exciting going on. Ken and the boys (including Scott) are up in Canada for a weeks' fishing on their own (for a week) private lake about 150 miles from nowhere with a cabin. Sounds like lots of fun. John showed me a picture he took a few years ago when he was up with his dad and brother doing the same thing. It was gorgeous. I'm gonna need to do that sometime.

So, that's it. Go back to your regularly scheduled surfing.