Wednesday Sep 03, 2008

Catching up

    I've got several posts rolling about in my head, but have been stuck in a blog specific kind of rut. I'm not convinced blog posts are the right medium for quick 1 or 2 sentence blurbs or pointers to some other content. I may change my mind, but I think that a blog post should have some new content, if only to add my opinion or thoughts on a subject someone else has covered in detail. So I get stuck sometimes thinking I need quality time to put together a post, even though I have plenty of opinions and thoughts. :-)

    Since I've been feeling somewhat productive today, I said, what the f time for a post no matter what. Here it is. I'm listening to a Bruce Springsteen station on Pandora, while my youngest plays Chip's Challenge on the home computer, with the sound way up. Fortunately for me, I am using a setup that came to me at the recent ASM/IW09 event. When I travel, I often take the opportunity to catch up on movies via Pay-per-View, but this time I had a room mate to be sensitive to. I happened to have brought with me an inexpensive FM transmitter which connects to a headphone jack, and transmits the head phone output over a frequency you select via digital display. Works great for when I want to listen to tapes in my car, which only has a CD/radio.

    In this case I thought, gee I could use it as a 'wireless' headphone, connecting it to the TV's headphone jack, which there was one, and my head phones to the radio/clock next to the bed. As it turns out, the radio/clock was designed to take an iPod or other MP3 player, but had no head phone jack. Darn. I haven't carried an FM receiver in years, as my past experience with them has been weak at best. Suddenly, the cheap FM radio my boys got once with a hair cut doesn't seem so useless anymore. I wasn't able to try my 'wireless' head phones idea then, but that's what I'm using now. Being the cheapy I am, I was in a Dollar store the other day and found a reasonably small FM receiver for $1. It even has a little LED flashlight built in. I now have a small, easy to carry and use wireless head phone setup.

    Another thing that has impacted my blogging is my move. As I have posted before (My new home takes shape, An old fashioned neighborhood, Blog Action Day - Environment), my family and I are moving to this wonderful community at Sawyer Hill Ecovillage, and in particular the Mosaic Commons cohousing community. While the first units are being finished up, I should point out that we still have available market rate and 40b units available in most sizes, from 1 bedroom up to 4 bedroom. As Mister Rogers used to say, 'Won't you be my neighbor?'.

    With the current Real Estate market the way that it is, I was sure we had taken too long to put our house on the market in order to sell it before our new house was ready. Well, I may have been right that our house was unique enough that it wasn't as affected as other houses, and we had a great realtor, so in less than 3 weeks after putting our house on the market, we had 8 showings and 2 offers. It's kind of a blur, but at this point we have moved out of the house into a small 2 bedroom apartment, and thrown out a lot more stuff. We also made some Craig's List watchers very happy with the stuff we gave a way just to get rid of it in a re-used way. There is much more to get rid of, and we are still settling in to the apartment and finding where stuff we use often ended up, but we are a step closer to a new community and home. More on community in another post.

    I'll end this post with a quick note that the kids are back in school, and after 2 days for one and a week for the other, things are going well so far. Knock on wood. :-) Sandy and I are still juggling pick up and drop off schedules. Oh, and this apartment we have for a few months comes with heat....24/7 whether you want it or not. Makes for some testy folks with the warm weather not helping cool the place off. I am hoping that when the fall weather starts to kick in, it will be a little more tolerable.

Saturday Mar 08, 2008

A snowman comes into existence

    During our most recent snow storm, the temp was warm and the snow perfect for snow balls and their larger sibs, snowmen. So, while I shoveled our driveway, my oldest got to work on his creation.

    Step one, start with a nice big, solid base. Follow that up with a nearly as big abdomen. Not quite big enough yet.

    Ooops, after asking Dad several times if it was big enough, and what do I know, it was too big for him to lift. I needed a break from shoveling anyway. On three, and we had it on. The rest he could handle, with some help/company/interference from his younger bro. Hey, don't we have a pair of old boots around you could use? :-)

Saturday Sep 29, 2007

Midnight excitement

    At just before midnight last night, I was awoken by the squealing tires, scraping and thud of an accident. I got up in an anxious state and made my way down the hall to the front of the house and saw headlights aimed into my yard. Quickly making my way back to my bed, I realized that calling 911, as my wife was suggesting, was what my brain was trying to figure out to do, and called. I couldn't really answer many of their questions, except that there had been an accident and my address. Even before I finished putting my pants on, which I immediately did, 911 called back to confirm I had called and to ask how many cars. Again I could not answer.

    I slipped on shoes, grabbed a flashlight and headed out to see if anyone needed help. I found several cars already pulled over, and one of my neighbors already there. The scene was a 2007 Chevy Silverado Z71 on its roof and half off the road. One rear wheel and axle were off, and the other rear wheel was torn off. Fortunately, the driver was alive and being kept company by his brother-in-law. He was back side partially out the passenger window, with minimal bleeding, and talking. Within minutes, police cars arrived from both directions, as this was on the town line. Before long there was an EMT ambulance and several fire trucks as well.

    I went back inside to let my wife know the status, then went back out, as the sound had me sufficiently shaken up that I didn't expect to get to sleep again any time soon. The driver was carefully removed and taken to the hospital, and I had a chat with the driver's brother-in-law. The driver had come from his brother-in-laws house, and had been alone. I had been concerned that a passenger might have been thrown clear and be needing help with no one knowing they were there. The firemen swept up much of the glass and debris, and when the tow truck arrived and moved the vehicle, they sprinkled some kind of powder over the area, and cleaned that up as well.

    For a while, it looked like the tow truck wasn't going to be able to take the vehicle. It was a flat bed tow truck, and after pulling the car out onto the street, tiping it right side up and turning it so it could be approached from the front, the tow truck driver angled the bed and attached the winch cables. When he started the winch, the tow truck slid to the accident vehicle, then started to pull the vehicle onto the bed. it got part way up and couldn't get it higher. He enlisted the help of a fireman to rev the engine, but that didn't seem to help much. The fireman told him to angle the bed less, move the bed forward, while using the winch to keep the vehicle from sliding, the angle the bed down and slide it further under the vehicle. It took some doing, but he eventually got it mostly on the bed, with it hanging some over the end. A heavy vehicle with flat front tires and no rear tires is much harder to pull than one with wheels.

    I went back inside when everything was done and the police were leaving, about 2 hours total time, but still had trouble sleeping. The sudden sound and it's nature really caught me off guard. I did chat with both my neighbors again, one at the scene while this was taking place and the other the next morning when I went out to see the scene in daylight, which I haven't done in several years. Not a very neighborly neighborhood. :-)

Friday Aug 24, 2007

My turn at TDHing

    A friend of mine, who is also prepping to be a resident at Mosaic Commons, has started a blog on the task, called ,This Damn House. I take some solace in the fact that they are dealing with many of the same issues I am, as my family and I clean up, get rid of stuff, and fix things up so we can sell our house and move to our new community.

    Taking my cue from her blog, here is a before and after for some small amount of work I did today. I had some branches on a shag bark hickory tree that had been damaged when the septic pump truck drove up the driveway, as well as many baby trees coming up in our natural tree nursery, in this before picture.

    And this is the result of a few minutes with a swiss army knife and and some large branch clippers. Given time I could probably take down a tree with the saw blade of my Victorinox swiss army knife. :-)

    What do you mean you can't see any difference? How am I supposed to get motivated to do more with a response like that? P-)

A place where Perley Mears sounds off on topics relevant to his work at Oracle.


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