Sunday, September 13, 2009

Countdown to the big day!

Things are really gearing up here on the home front. My wife, Beth is due Sept 23rd, so we are in full swing of trying to get the last things done.

Tonight we met with our doula, Laurie Flower, for the second and final prenatal visit. I'm very excited!! Beth and I are sooo happy that we decided to go with a doula. I don't know if it is a first-time parent thing, but she brings us so much comfort. (and we haven't even got to the labor and delivery yet!)

Even though we went through child birth classes, our doula has helped guide us through our expectations, and the reality of childbirth. She is such an encourager!

So as the excitement builds, I hope to get the time to post things to the site!

I'm starting to wonder how these spoiled guys will take the arrival!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Here come the kittehs . . .

Meet Nemo and Sheldon:

Platinum Mink Tonkinese

Named for Marlin's son in the movie Finding Nemo. Nemo is curious, affectionate, and wants to be center of attention at all times.

Champagne Mink Tonkinese

Another character from the movie Finding Nemo. Also, named for a character from The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon is the prettier, smarter, cooler of the two. However, he isn't as affectionate, and likes to spend time by himself. (Ironically just like the Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

fun with cars @ night

My first attempt at long exposure photography. I am really liking the Canon XSi!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lookin' for a camera

With the little one on the way, I have declared the need for a new digital camera.

For the past 5 years, I have had my mind made up that my next camera would be a Digital SLR.

In the process of researching camera bodies and lenses, I discovered a few good articles:

Why a SLR? Why not a point and shoot? Answer:

Also, here is an article that spells it out even more:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Seedling Self Watering Rig

I just got back home from a weekend trip to Washington, DC. Before I left, I had been pondering how I would keep the tomato, pepper, and herb seedlings alive while I was gone.

Enter: Marlin's SSWR

One Aluminum Roasting pan

Put a piece of Styrofoam approx 1 inch thick in the bottom.

Drape a layer of paper towels (I used 2 layers of blue paper shop towels) over the Syrofoam block. Pour water in pan.

Styrofoam will float, and paper towel will wick water to plants.

Next year I will use this method from the get-go!

Here is a comparison of two pepper plants. One wasn't in the SSWR, another that was:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Most Private Personal Post:

Here it is. This was a long time coming,

I installed a new toilet at home.

We have been having issues with our toilet plugging. Ok, I will confess, I was the one that was causing this problem.

I did some looking on the internet several months ago, and decided that I wanted to get the Toto Aquia II. Review / Manufacturer's Product Page

I wanted a VERY powerful flush. I also was intrigued by the water saving abilities of the powerful 0.9 Gallon flush (for urine and easy flushing solids) and then the super-powerful 1.6 Gallon flush.

I am very pleased with the flush, and feel that I can throw the plunger away!

Here are a few pics of the toilet installed:

Here is the button actuated flush:

And here it is with the lid open, so you can see the waterspot, which is pretty small.

Clean is happy! I bought the soft close seat, so that there won't be any seat slamming. I got a giggle when I noticed the ad that was on the bottom of the lid. If I had a large supply of money, I would definitely have one of these.

Seed Starting Heater

I recently received some tomato seeds and wanted to get them started ASAP!

The ambient temperature was a little low, and I really didn't want to spend the $30 for a heat mat for seed starting.

So I look around on the 'net, and find a few posts mentioning that Christmas lights can be used.

Enter: Marlin's attempt to start seeds and burn the house down.

Round One, The container sitting on the lights constantly on: The seeds/container was maintaining 100 Degrees F! WAAAAY too hot!

Round Two:

Being the HVAC helper that I am, I cobbled together a quick controls project:

Items Needed:

1 - 3D Christmas star
1 - Penn Johnson Controls A419 (which I already had on hand, These things run $60 - $100)
1 - 6 foot Extension cord
Piece of aluminum foil

I cut the extension cord, and hooked it up to the temperature control.
Next, I took the star and wrapped it in aluminum foil. Mainly that was to keep the light contained, so it wouldn't drive me crazy.

Then all I had to do was plug it in and set the temps!

Here it is working maintaining a comfy 77 degrees:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Herb Planter: Mint

Quickly put together a 4 foot by 1 foot planter for mint to take over. From what I understand, mint won't grow true from seed. Instead of forking over $3.50 from Lowes or Home depot, I wasin search of some growing that I could get a start.

And, One of the plants that I got from my Grandma and Grandpa Glick:

First Potato Bin Planted

Took a few minutes and popped a few potatoes in the ground. The variety: All Blue

Monday, March 30, 2009

Potato Bins

Sunday afternoon the weather was gorgeous, and I tackled potato frame construction.

Several weeks ago I stumbled across an intruging method of growing potatoes, at Sinfonian's Square Foot Garden Site.

I took the principle and made slight changes. My boxes measure 30.5" square on the inside. I also opted out of the four corner posts (for aesthetic reasons), deciding to do something like tabs on the outside. This morning when I took the picture I realized that they will have more morning shade than I expected, whoops. We will see how it goes.

I ordered seed potatoes from Ronniger's Potato Farm on 3/12/2009, and after nearly a week without any notification of order received or shipped, I decided to order from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds on 3/18/2009. On 3/21/2009 I received an order from ronnigers, but it wasn't mine! Finally on 3/26/2009 I receive the proper order. Still no package from Irish Eyes!

Also on 3/18/2009 I ordered some tomato seed from Tomato Growers Supply, and as of today, 3/30/2008 haven't received them either. I guess this is their busy season, and I need to be patient.

Fast shipping places like sure have spoiled me!

Here is another image of my seedlings:

I potted the 2 larger tomatoes, they are the Big Beef variety. The smaller ones on the left are a heirloom, Brandywine.

Midways back on the left are four bell peppers, they are getting their first true leaves. Then way in the back is some leaf lettuce.

I am itching for 4/15/2009 when these things can get out in the ground (oh no! not tax day)!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

MSi Wind and confusion

It is so fun to have a netbook!

Today at an event while I was using my MSi Wind running OSX, I was approached by a lady that was frowning and looked very confused.

She asked, "Where did you get that TINY laptop?" I replied, "from"

Still VERY confused looking, she explained that she was a mac user, and had never seen a mac like that - and was demanding to know where to get one for herself.

LOL, I sure hope Apple gets on the ball and gets one out the gate soon!

I really love Macs . . .

Today, my wife was involved in putting on a brunch celebrating her hostesses from our jewelry business with eight other jewelers. Not suprisingly, friday evening at 9:45 pm I find myself with the responsibility of working the sound and music. Why is it that nearly every place that these things are put on have a really crappy pa system with the mixer in the FRONT of the room?

Immediately I decide if I am going to do this, I'm gonna do it MY way.

It involved a Mac Mini, a netbook, screensharing, and a wifi router.

I placed the Mac Mini up front running headless, With a 1/8" to rca adapter plugged into the Radioshack PA Amp.

I used the wifi router (running dd-wrt) to provide a wireless connection since my Mini doesn't have an airport card.

I used my MSi Wind Netbook at the back running screen sharing to the headless Mini.

I created a playlist containing the music I wanted in itunes on the wind, and shared it. Then simply played the shared itunes library on the mini in a repeating shuffle. A cool thing is as I added music to the playlist on the wind, it automagically played it on the Mini.

Here's the cool part. This took me less than 45 minutes to get working. From the very first thought if the idea, to a working operation. Try that with a PC!

The Mac Mini and Router:

The MSi Wind:

Screen Sharing:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My tool splurge

With the gardening projects in the works, and the impending basement finishing I had the need ;) for a circular saw and a reciprocating saw.

A quick stop at Home Depot, and I netted a deal. Looks like the Ryobi P841 18 volt, 4 tool combo kit is being clearanced out.

It consists of:

1 Two speed cordless drill
1 Easy blade change Reciprocating Saw
1 5.5" Circular Saw
1 Flashlight
2 Batteries (1.8 Ah NICD)
1 One Hour Battery Charger
1 Carrying Bag

All for the hefty price of: $129

Here's the deal. These older NICD tools are being phased out for the newer Lithium-Ion tools. But guess what! This Ryobi set is compatible with the new batteries. That means after these batteries die, I can replace them with the lithium ion batteries and be way ahead of the game. Considering the comparable lithium powered set to the P841 costs $299!

For work I really like the Dewalt cordless tools. However, a similar toolset that is NICD powered would have cost at least $499. Granted, the tools would have been much higher quality. For my personal home use these ryobi tools will do just fine.

I actually know several contractors that use ryobi cordless tools on the jobsite!

Can truthiness hurt?

Truthiness can get ya! Want to see how?

In this case the truthiness is coming from the press!! Of all places?!?!

First, what is the definition of truthiness in this context? Answer: to describe things that a person claims to know intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts

For me, it isn't everyday that you get to meet someone who has a high profile job. I recently learned of his story, and it is sobering, and sad. It is surprising how only an accusation that goes unchallenged in the courtroom can snowball to such a major life altering event. How one man is trying to get the truth out when no one really wants to listen. Isn't it funny how the press and public so easily has its mind made up?

Dr. Saami Shaibani

The accusation:

The truth:


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here come the onions! - Garden 2009

Hope your not getting tired of my endless posts on gardening. Its just the beginning!

I am hoping that if I publish as much as possible about this gardening experiment, maybe I will actually follow through and get some decent results.

Saturday I picked up some Onion plants from my Grandpa Schrock, and My uncle Mark. This really got me motivated to get a raised bed setup. If you have been following along, you know that I am using the square foot gardening book as my guide. I made an attempt of Mel's Mix. I probably screwed up the ratios and I used perlite instead of the elusive vermiculite.

Enough! On to the pictures!!

The new 4 foot x 4 foot raised bed.

Six squares of onions.

Four sweet pepper and two not so good looking big beef tomato seedlings.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Managing My Digital Life

Found a new site that hits on a major problem in our world today.

Many people have lots of digital content, but they have no clue what to do with it or how to take proper care of it!

Check it out at:

I would even go as far as saying: subscribe to the rss feed!

And if you don't know what a rss feed is, click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Garden 2009: Earthtainer Construction

I picked up a few items and have constructed three earthtainers. Two that have mounts for tomato cages, and one without. Pictured below is the one without the mounts.

I plan on using it for veggies such as, Sweet Corn, Peppers, Green Beans, Cucumbers, and Squash.


This will eventually be filled with a soilless potting mix. Here you can see the false bottom that separates the water from the potting mix. Also, in the center you can see the wicking basket.

You can find more about earthtainers here

And here are pictures of what earthtainers are capable of.

On the plant front, I have several Big Beef tomato and California Wonder Bell Pepper plants sprouted down in the basement under light.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Garden 2009, The beginning . . .

Yeah, you read it right, a garden.

I am not looking to do an average garden. I'm looking for a lazy man's garden. Maximum reward for minimum effort.

I'm looking to provide a healthy better tasting alternative to the supermarket produce that we currently eat. Hey, the way I figure it, if we have a steady supply of fresh veggies, we will end up eating better.

Last week, I discovered the Earthbox. It looked pretty cool. Then I found the Earthtainer. As a guy who like little projects, the earthtainer looked to be the ticket!

1. I would be able to place the garden in a ideal location, as most of the open ground around the house is shaded by trees.
2. Selfwatering! There is a fairly large water reservoir that would allow weekly waterings from me but constant perfect watering to the plant.
3. No weeds. You use 100% sterile potting mix no weed seeds.

Last friday I picked up a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Now I am sort of undecided.

1. Earthtainers will be more expensive.
2. SF gardening will be more work.

I am still deciding on which path to take.

Meanwhile, The tomato and pepper seeds are planted. Right now there are sitting comfy on top of the refrigerator:

I started them March 11, 2009

Hopefully they will emerge in the next 5 days!

And then they will be moved down to the cooler basement under the new lights!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Everybody needs to see this video!

I found this video on the internet that explains ALOT about how the credit crisis occurred.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My productive evening.

A guy I knew called and said he had a new computer to setup and wanted me to help him with it. He lives in the boonies. No DSL or Cable. Only Dialup. Ugh! DIALUP.

I asked him why he bought a new computer, he said because he was trying to do his taxes and turbotax said he needed to upgrade his windows to some SP thing. He said that he first went to radioshack and asked about the SP thing and they said he needed to buy a ~$300 update. (I assume vista??) He left Radioshack and bought a new $1200 computer.

He was due a new computer. Believe me!

So here is where things go frustratingly bad.

I drive 45 mintues to his house to find out that the reason he can't get the internet working is because he has the phoneline plugged into the ethernet port. Yep, you guessed it no modem. I decided that we needed an usb model, easier to install and easier to switch to a new computer in the future.

7:00 PM Off to walmart. They had cable and dsl modems, and one lonely internal pci modem that didn't mention vista.

7:45 PM Radioshack. (his choice) only PCI internal modem so we left.

7:55 PM Bestbuy. finally found the spot for modems. They had one internal and one usb external model to choose from but no usb in stock.

8:15 PM Staples. They had several choices for modems. Three internal modems, All PCI and two! external models, One USB and one SERIAL!! Guess what? USB sold out.

8:35 PM Officemax. Two internal supramax modems pci. At this time I said screw it we will just get an internal modem!!!! No mention of vista on the boxes or the website, so we left empty handed.

8:45 PM A different Walmart. No modems of any kind.

8:55 PM back to Bestbuy! Grabbed the PCI modem, checked and made sure it worked with vista, and indeed it does.

9:40 PM back to his house. opened the cover to find, you guessed it. the only slots on the motherboard are 3 PCI Express x1 slots.

10:15 PM Ordered USB modem from amazon, select 2-day shipping.

10:45 Head home, defeated until the modem arrives.