Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Took the girls out this morning while Tasha was out getting last minute stuff for dinner and picking up my Niece from Siena. I had to get them out of the house to "get the bugs out". Can't keep them cooped up when the weather is this nice. I raked up a pile of leaves for them to play in and got some great shots. They had fun. After that we went in and had lunch. Later on we had my in-laws over for dinner, which was tasty. They were nice enough to stick around and give out candy while we went around the neighborhood with the girls.

Eliana was Cleopatra and Karina was a cute little puppy. Both costumes were fantastic, props to my wife for hooking the girls up. Our new neighborhood is great for trick-or-treating. Lots of kids. Everyone we've met so far seem so nice. We ended up walking around with our next door neighbors. They have three kids. Karina had a blast, this is the first time she's really gotten into the whole Halloween thing. After the first couple of houses she was on a mission to get more candy. It was windy out so it was kinda cold and it started to rain and then hail the first 10 minutes we were out. It cleared up after that but I ended taking Karina home early, besides her bucket was full. Tash came back later with Ellie. Moving was a good idea. Today was great! Trick or Treat? Definitely  treat!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wow...I had forgotten how much I like crumb coffee cake. But alas, now it's all gone. :(

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: The Lawn Mower...It's ALIVE!!!

So I stand here looking at the lawn mower that I've owned for the past decade. Six years of which it sat dormant and unused since we had a service take care of the lawn at our last home. The four years before that it was used and abused at our first home. I got this used from Tasha's uncle, I guess he didn't want it because the self-propelled part of it no longer worked. I was happy to take it since I didn't really mind pushing. I swear never once in the first four years of ownership did I change the oil, the spark plug, the filter or even sharpen the blade. If it ain't broke don't fix it...or maybe I was just too fucking lazy to do it. Whatever the case I never did, then we moved to a big house in an association where the grounds were taken care of. So I  brought along the old mower fully expecting to get rid of it but never did. I always wanted to tear it down just to see how it works and maybe fix the self-propelled issue, you know as a hobby, but with work, family and biking it just took a back seat.

We recently moved and so it came with us because it is once again my responsibility to keep the yard neat and tidy. In a sick and twisted sort of way I am looking forward to this. Guess I like working outside and gardening. Now with Tasha in school full time, she's working less so we have to keep an eye on expenses. We could have certainly afforded a new mover at $300 to $400, but I just could not bring myself to spending that money if I could get this old one running which brings me back to me looking at the mower thinking "there's no fucking way this is gonna start." Of course I said the same thing about the laptop I now use. But this thing looked like hell, caked with dust, dirt, and grass clippings it really looked like one of those old cars that's been sitting in a field for 20 years. I am surprised I didn't find mice living in it.

My Dad was up visiting and helping me out with some of our home projects, the mower being one of them. He certainly has had more experience with them than me so we got started. Pulled the spark plug and cleaned it, pulled the air filter and cleaned it, removed what was left of the gas, drained and refilled the oil, and fixed the self-propelled drive. Turns out the belt had slipped off and the drive was just loaded with grass cuttings, dirt, etc. The blade was also replaced since it had huge chunks missing from it...guess I shouldn't have hit all those rocks huh. Moment of truth...we take it outside, fill the gas tank, prime the carb and a few pulls later the thing roars to life! Unbelievable that after sittings for six years that it would start up so easily. Thank you Briggs and Straton...and of course to my Dad for helping me out. So basically for the cost of some gas ($3), a quart of oil ($2), a new blade ($19), and some elbow grease ($0) we have ourselves a working mower and saved a few hundred bucks. Now for the snowblower...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bicycle Drag Racing

This is how we used to race we I was a kid...bicycle drag racing
I had a bike just like these. Ape hanger bars, banana seat, single speed, lots of chrome bits and it was canary yellow with black racing stripes. I still remember the first time I rode it. My first real bike...the Big Wheel didn't count even though that was cool in it's own way. Till this day no other bike I've owned has had an impact on me like that one did. Okay maybe the Rocky comes close.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Door Stop

So since we moved we no longer have the garbage can built into the cabinets so we had to buy a new one. The one we bought has a lever at the base which opens and closes the lid. Works fine but eventually the can gets pushed into the wall and has started to scratch the paint. I have enough things to fix here already and I hate painting so I've been thinking of a way to keep it from hitting the wall. While looking for some hardware for another project I came across a door stop and thought...perfect. So I drilled a small hole at the base taking care not to disturb the mechanism and threaded it in. Simple and yet so effective, problem solving at its finest. I was pretty proud of this one.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Having a cup of coffee and watching the girls play in the backyard. Moving was so worth it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: My New Old Laptop

I have been on this kick about not throwing stuff out unless it's absolutely necessary and reusing or fixing whatever I can. I have this old laptop that used to be my wife's. It worked fine in the beginning but then we started having problems with the hard drive and then the battery went and then she spilled a cup of coffee into it. After that the keyboard would no longer work. So we eventually bought her a new one which she needed for school but this one just sat. I hear everyone say "just through it out and get a new one...they're so cheap." It's not that I don't want to spend the money, it's just I have a hard time throwing away an almost perfectly good laptop. This thing is actually in good shape, except for a couple of minor cracks in the case. So I decided I was going to fix it, I could at least use it as a training exercise if I ever needed to work on a laptop again.

I knew it needed at least two things, a new keyboard and a new battery. One of the guys in the IS dept. at work hooked me up with a couple of websites that had parts pretty cheap. I got both the battery and new keyboard for $85 shipped to my door. All of the service documentation I got from Dell's website so replacing the parts were easy. I know I needed a hard drive too but didn't want to spring the $$$ until I knew the laptop was working well so I threw in a 10GB one I had lying around for file transfers. I was also able to get all the required updated drivers I needed and I had the original Windows XP disk the reinstall the OS. So far it's running good, I obviously need to get a bigger hard drive and I'd like to upgrade the memory from the 512MB to 2GB. A Bluetooth card would be nice too and will probably invest in something soon. So for maybe another couple hundred bucks I could have a decent machine. I would like to upgrade the video card from the 32MB to the 64MB version but that would require a motherboard change which is about $250. So unless I find another Dell Inspiron 600m on eBay or Craigslist with a busted LCD I'll just live with it for now. If anyone reading this has parts for this machine that they'd like to unload, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Break in the Rain...Quick Go for a Ride!

I was able to get out and go for a ride this past Sunday. Feels like forever since I've ridden. We've been getting pounded with the rain, probably remnants of Nicole...bitch! Anyway some of my family was up visiting but left early on Sunday which gave me a small window...the wife was nice enough to let me get out for a bit too. Thanks sweetie!

BCHS high ropes course sign
I didn't really have the energy to pack up the car and drive to a trail so I just rode around our new neighborhood. After riding a while I remembered a trail that was on a piece of land sandwiched between Delaware Avenue and Route 32 so I decided to go check it out. It's a small piece of property but has some potential for a decent trail. There is some climbing but it's mostly flat and there are some trails existing. Could build a trail that circles the perimeter and then build a fun skills area in the middle. The one trail I took dumps out into a high ropes course which is part of Bethlehem Central High School from what I've read.

View from the bottom
of the trail head
I continued through that area which then led me to the school grounds. I did observe the posted signs for the high ropes course but didn't see anything else regarding the rest of the property. I'd like to actually contact the school or the town to find out exactly who owns that property. Maybe they'd allow a proper trail to be built? I don't like building without permission. This could actually be a really nice short track with a stunts area on the inside. Also it's a short bike ride from my house, maybe 20 minutes, for me to get there. Could probably link up that area and the Elm Ave Park area and make it a decent ride without having to drive anywhere. That's nice when you don't have a ton of free time.

Elm Avenue Park
From there I went back through the course and to the trail, scoped things out, and made my way back to Route 32. I rode back up to Elm Avenue and then over to the park and just kind rode through, played on some of the rocks and just enjoyed the nice weather. Not looking forward to more rain but at least this helps me get through.
Still trying to figure out the kinks while posting from my phone and then how Hootsuite feeds my fb and twitter accounts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am blogging from my phone right cool. Just set it up to work with Blogger last night. Now the fun begins...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Software Favs: TwitPic, Google Chrome and Hootsuite

Here's a few of my favs for software I use almost everyday. Most of these are web-based and accessible from anywhere. My main reason for picking these was probably ease of use. I like simple, leaves more time to worry about more important things.

Wasn't looking for anything in particular when I started using this. Just wanted a way to upload pics from my phone and have them update my twitter account. It works well and haven't had any issues. Simple, just the way I like it.

Google Chrome
Been using it for about 3 weeks now and I love it! Nice and simple, easy to use, and it's got some cool features. Loads fast, uses tabs, has some cool themes and I like the new tab page.

Was looking for a program that would feed my blog to my facebook and twitter accounts. It's nice to only have to make updates in one place. I tried Twitterfeed but would have to manually set it every time to get it to actually work. Kind of defeats the purpose somewhat. I then read an article about using Hootsuite and gave it a try. Another nice feature is that I can see both twitter and facebook feeds at once. At one point I thought it wasn't working but realized I had it checking/feeding every 24 hours but thought it was every hour. So far it's working well. it's got a bunch of features I haven't even tried yet but looks promising. Will have more time to mess around with this in the coming months.

Bigger is Better

Not sure why I switched out the 2.35 Bonty's for the 2.5's but I had to fix a flat and just felt like changing the tires so I did. I love the look of the bigger tires. These are pretty light and the rolling resistance ins't that bad. Now all I need is some time to ride and some decent weather. I need to get out.