greatbear: (Default)
Some big changes coming here at La Casa Mayhem starting this coming week. Jeff has a new new job, at a new place, with his old boss (which he likes a lot) at a spanking new huge facility with state-of-the-art everything and the chance to build his staff from scratch in his own way. It's a chef's woodie-inducing dream, though it will be a bit hectic and sometimes frustrating at the start, I'm sure. There's more money in it for him and no manager-on-duty nonsense every several weeks, plus no weekends. So, a major w00t for him. I just hope the stress of getting the place up to speed does not impact his cardiac recovery.

Did some tuning up of my f-list, removing mostly people who obviously disapproved of my friending them in the first place, and a couple others. Nature abhors a vacuum, Mayhem abhors douchery.

Angry Birds for Android was a nice addicting distraction while it lasted. I'm through all the levels and want more. Any suggestions? The Scruff app is, well, interesting.

The weather bureaus are making noises towards there being another SNOMG Event early next week. I hope I don't have to be moving snow in the middle of the night again. I just got the deck cleared off yesterday, the front walk is still unusable due to low and fallen branches. Using the small electric snowblower to clear the deck, it picked up a small bungee cord hidden in the snow and it got wrapped around the shaft. It was too tangled to unthread, so I got a retractable knife to cut it out in pieces. Despite my being careful, I slipped and cut my one finger down to the bone. I left a trail of blood in my path from the snow thrower to the bathroom, where I performed first aid. The cut was so clean that continuous pressure for a half hour plus a tightly applied bandage not only stopped the bleeding, but the cut is imperceptible and looks almost healed up. It does not even hurt. Go me, I guess I can still heal kinda fast despite my old age. Now, for that spinal cord thing...

The house is playing host to one of the other stray cats. Kodi made sure the poor thing spent most of the day huddled beneath a covered end table. Once Kodi hit the hay with Jeff, this one (alternately named Tigger or Tommy) popped out and enjoyed some petting time and exploring. While in the bathroom where the litter box is also kept, T/T wandered in, found his way through the anti-Kodi barricade to the litter box, and had a go. It's as if he's been doing it all this time. Either Pinky is coaching him (Pinky is the reason why we have a half dozen "visitors" these days) or cats have some sort of sixth sense when it comes to taking a shit.

To paraphrase Sheriff Brody in Jaws, we're gonna need a bigger litter box.
greatbear: (post bear's life)
Pretty productive weekend for a change. T-Day was mostly eating and big screen, hi-def football and Xbox, and Friday was spend staying as far away from crowds as possible and surfing Black Friday deals online (and getting royally screwed out of a nice home theater upgrade in the process). The weather cleared up nicely for the actual weekend. Saturday morning we took Kodi to the groomer. He came back looking fierce:

_MG_2646


The rest of the day was spent working around the house, garage and on vehicles, and explaining the finer points of drag racing to Jeff, who got somewhat 'forced' into watching a few installments of "Pinks: All Out" on Speed Channel. Hey, I get the Food Network marathons, it's all in the interest of fairness. ;)

Today the weather was fantastic, so after a few errands the day was spent cleaning up the yard. I discovered the tractor engine was run almost completely without oil in the crankcase the last time Jeff was cutting grass. Luckily, the tough little Kohler twin is none the worse for wear. The yard still needs some more work before winter socks us in for good, I hope to take care of this in upcoming weeks.

Much busy-ness is expected for both of us this week, as it always seems to be after long weekends. Hopefully it won't be totally crazy.
greatbear: (forearms)
I've been lax in timely updates. Not all has been spent stumbling around like Pegleg the Pirate on ice, though. Late last week I braved the DMV/MVA for all of about 20 minutes to acquire a temporary handicap parking tag for the car. This will allow me some temporary rockstar/Doris Day parking while I get through my period of defective leggedness. It's a help, for sure.

On Friday, Jeff and I had a chance to make an across-the-coasts connection with a friend of mine I have known online for over ten years now. [livejournal.com profile] musklebear was in town on a teaching gig, far, far away from his Cali home. We used the fortunate time to rescue him from his boring hotel room that evening and took him out for dinner. We happened (well, I hobbled at best) upon an odd restaurant called "Ketchup" at National Harbor. Apparently they are known for their... ketchup. Make that ketchups. Maple ketchup. Chipotle ketchup. Raspberry ketchup. Ranch ketchup. Garlic ketchup. And plain, old ketchup. The food was so-so, the atmosphere very noisy, and they attempted to pile our main dishes onto our small table about a minute after receiving our entrees (we sent them back until we finished the 'apps', as has now become fashionable to call the appetizers). But our very engaging waitress and our wonderful guest more than made up for it.



This was a very welcome diversion after several weeks of work and health issues. Thanks bunches, Jim.

The weekend was fairly quiet, I managed to finish up patching the huge sinkhole and it's older, smaller cousin in the driveway on Saturday. This was a job that would have normally taken me half a day at best, but was spread over several days because I just can't do much heavy work at all being incapacitated. It's very frustrating for me. But, I manage. Slow and stead wins the race, blah blah blah and all that. This week I hope to arrange my surgery and get that taken care of. I hope to sneak in a trip to the ophthalmologist in there as well as find a dentist to take care of other minor (or not) maladies I've been putting off for a while.

Tomorrow is more rehab/treatments for the ankle and taking Kodi to the groomer. And whatever else I can manage to do.
greatbear: (cirque du so gay)
Another weekend come and gone. Still battling exhaustion somewhat, though sleeping in does help in that respect, it makes for shorter days amid all that needs doing before our vacations. The weather has been the worst as far as demotivator and roadblock. Saturday started off kinda nice, but rain came in and threw the outdoor work in the bin. I used the time to run errands and spend too much money on garage cabinets and other stuff. By mid-afternoon it had cleared up quite nicely, and we decided to hit up Baltimore Pride as we had planned. On the way the radio was alive with tornado warnings for the immediate area. I said that Baby Jeebus would not rain on his gheys' parade, so we pressed on. We were greeted with perfect weather for Pride. Jeff work his rainbow-colored silk shirt which garnered more comments than probably any costume there. My ankle was really hurting me bad, but I managed to make it through the entire block party, since the singer Amber was the final act, and Jeff absolutely adores her. Seeing him have all sorts of fun, running into our usual friends on the block and molesting some of them, and enjoying the energy while ogling the cuties made both our day.

Today was more running errands, we stopped at Costco and did more Buy 'n Large (two carts worth this time), you could tell who's cart belonged to us by the contents. Jeff's was almost all food, mine was batteries, a garage vacuum and other goodies. We snagged a take 'n' bake pizza made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and made that our big meal for the day when we got home. Serious yummage. I headed back out to (another) Lowe's once again to finish up my purchases of Gladiator garage cabinets since today was the last day of the 20% off sale. Coming home after that I took the wheels off of the trailer (in the Bible Belt that would make it a 'real house'!) and loaded them in the truck along with the new tires so I can mount and balance them tomorrow evening at the Annex of Mayhem. I need to refill one of the propane tanks and give the brakes and bearings a check, then the trailer should be good to go for the rest of the summer.

This is going to be a very busy but short week as we round up stuff for the trip to Hillside on Thursday night. The trailer finds it's summer home in Jeff's parents' driveway, allowing us a chance to have more room here at the house in the driveways as well as saving lots on gas by chopping a bit over 250 miles off of each round trip we make up north. Since we seem to head that way for all our trips save for Deep Creek Lake in MD, it's a great solution.

It's way past time for me to hit the sack, I'm gonna be busy. I hope this damn exhaustion crap takes it easy on me, at least until I get to relax in a few more days.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
Though this was one of my long weekends (I get alternate Fridays off), my hoping to get things done on all the various vehicles and the trailer did not happen. I was just not in the mood, and having some intestinal distress did not help. Did get some cleaning done in the basement, some work outside, in the garage, the remaining firewood split and managed to see a movie. The house smells like tires again since the set for the trailer still sits in the entryway, and I had decided to shave both of our heads bald and reboot my beard by taking it to a summer goatee. I bet I will get picked on at work tomorrow.

Come hell or high water, all the cars and trucks will get taken care of this week, and the weekend will be more work around the house and basement with a break in the middle for Baltimore Pride. We decided against DC this time. Hell, we haven't been in ages. It'll be interesting to see who we run into this year.

Jeff and I are looking forward to our Hillside camping trip at the end of the month. I hope the weather is decent and not part of the continuing rain-fest this year has seemingly become.

With so many people leaving LJ for Facebook, I have scotched the idea of deleting my FB for now. My presence here and on FB is still going to be rather limited, I will occasionally pop in to check what's happening in the spaces.

This should turn out to be a busy week, especially at work. Ugh. I really need a break.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
The weekend was a productive, albeit spendy one. It seemed we were variously driving all over Pennsylvania for different reasons. On Saturday night we decided mostly at the last minute to drive over to Harrisburg and the Brownstone for their 'Bear Night'. Got to see some folks we hadn't seen in ages, which was a pleasant surprise. The place was seriously packed, something I don't particularly enjoy any more, but having friends around made it a lot of fun. I believe I spotted a couple LJers but they got buried in the sea of humanity and I could not track them down after a while. We also discovered that two different couples that we know will be staying at Coastal Acres campground the same time we will be there during Bear Week in PTown. This is gonna make that week that much more enjoyable I think.

We drove home a bit earlier than usual today so we could unload our share of the pig parts, the grocery haul from the Amish grocer, Kodi, a load of firewood, the two machines, couple baskets of laundry and some other nonsense and more or less take it easy afterward. I unpacked and assembled the wood shaper, only to discover that the spindles bind about half way into the socket. Bummer. I'll call Grizzly tomorrow and see what's up, most likely will get a replacement socket/shaft under warranty. This company is apparently noted for their customer service, if it's anything like what I experienced in the store I thing I will be well taken care of. I'll uncrate the lathe most likely tomorrow eventing.

The upcoming days will be taken up with more cleaning, fixing and a day at Carlisle interrupting it all next Saturday if the weather is good. The trailer will get spruced up and ready for the summer as well. Because of not having enough time off as well as needing the time to fix up the house, I will forgo my trip to the Tail of the Dragon and the big MINI gathering there this year. The poor little car gets a reprieve this year.

My LJ activities will dwindle down to mostly nothing from here on out. I've been feeling oddly awkward posting my recurring daily life here; I've come to the conclusion that my quiet, private nature suits me the best as it has for all these years. And I am kidding myself to think I am some sort of 'blogger' in the most technical sense. I'm content with reading my friends list and leaving comments. I will probably still post about major events affecting me, but exercises like the previous paragraphs just feel, I dunno, out of place any more. Maybe it's the season and/or my desire to stick with hands-on, physical tasks and direct, personal interactions more than the virtual these days. I might end up with a change of heart after a while, but for now I feel the updates for the sake of posting them is kinda pointless anymore. If I am wrong in thinking this, let me know.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
Weather this weekend was a really welcome taste of spring, with temps in the mid 60s. I took advantage of the t-shirt weather and started re-trimming the garage. Pulling siding off of the building I uncovered thousands of the annoying red and black insects that have been making messes wherever they perch. They are some kind of harmless beetle who's name escapes me. The little buggers were wandering about as I blew them out from under the siding with the high pressure air gun. I tried to sweep them out of the garage and off the concrete pad in front, but still it ended up being a smash fest. I have to pick up some more vinyl lath to use as trim and jamb extensions in order to finish both sides. Hopefully next weekend's weather is conducive to my project.

I'm currently watching the Grammys a little closer than I have been in recent years. Is it me, or are they trying a bit harder this time with the performances and interaction with the bands? Things dont seem quite as dismal. One could only hope. There's no point in asking for fewer freakin' ads.

Jeff had to work today after getting a call late last night. This was bad, but he did have the past three full weekends off for a change. He's changing things at work and it's starting to pay off in more time for himself and us.

In the vein of free time, we received our confirmed reservations for P-Town in July. w00t! We have our late May long weekend at Deep Creek Lake confirmed, now all we need to do is somehow luck out and get our weekends at Hillside mapped out. We will try to do some camping at other places like The Woods this year as well. Hopefully gas prices dont go insane like last year.

I have a strange couple of weeks coming up at work. Lots of extra work, with overtime and extra time off as well. Hopefully things will stay stable, but I am going to take the extra work while I can to build up a financial buffer. I have some major expenses on the house this year as I replace the roof and add a pair of skylights in the living room. I am really surprised the roof is not leaking at this point in time. The last big winds here blew off a big pile of broken shingle tabs bad enough that I moved the cars/trucks away to prevent paint damage.

Wish me some luck this week, as Tuesday would have been Mom's 83rd birthday. I hope I dont fall into a funk like I have been.

Have a great week, y'all.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
I hope tonight I can get some decent sleep. Having the weekend allowed a sleep-in, but I avoided naps. I'll be heading to bed soon and hopefully get myself back in sync with normal time cycles and work.

Climbing on ladders all over the basement and stooping in the attic all weekend allowed me to finish all the gigabit LAN drops throughout the house plus finally wire up the beginnings of the whole (or at least a few rooms eventually)-house speaker/music system. After getting things tested it was time for the real show. I hit the power on the home theater PC and... nothing. Not good. Open it up, find the standby LED lit but nothing happens when pushing the power switch. Jumpering the ATX power connector to manually kickstart the power supply also gets nothing. Digging into it's ridiculously tight interior to sub another power supply finds success, so time for a new power supply. This is the first PC Power and Cooling power unit I've had die on me. I had planned on pulling it out for some other use and replacing it with a quiet one anyway, but this forced the issue. I ordered a 650W version of the 850W Antec Signature power supply I had gotten for the domain server. It's super quiet, highly efficient and very high quality. Being a long-time power supply nerd, I know good design when I see it, and just had to have another one of these babies. Those wondering why I didnt just use the power supply I used as a sub, it's for the same reason I excised it from the server- the thing (A PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750W EPS Quad) is a rats nest of permanently-attached cabling. Since the domain server got filled with more hardware I literally could not close up the case without quite a bit of difficulty, much like sitting on a suitcase to latch it. It was like stuffing Cthulhu into a phone booth. The new one has the necessary cabling permanently attached, with removable, modular cabling that can be changed depending on the configuration of the PC. There is no room in there as it is, I need to tidy it up, and the silent operation compared to the original will be very welcome.

While placing the order for the power supply, I tossed in a HP 24-port managed gigabit switch to finish up the LAN project. For the record, about 18 ports will be put to use right away. Yeah, I know, it's crazy. I really want to put all the PC stuff aside and move on to other things that need attention so I can simply sit back and enjoy things for a change. The house and garage absolutely need new roofs this springtime. I want to take our vacation in P-Town this year knowing I dont have to worry about bad roofs, dodgy doors and general yard untidiness. I am feeling like I am catching up not only on projects, but life in general. The last few years have been rough on me for all those reasons I wrote about during that time. I hope that I continue making good progress in this respect. I owe it to myself, Mom, Jeff and all of those close to me.
greatbear: (Lemming)
This was a relatively productive weekend. I finished the installation of the new garage door opener and door monitoring systems. They work very well, and the new opener is eerily silent compared to the old one. Tonight I picked up a matching unit to replace the remaining unit, I will do that during my time off after Xmas. I just have to figure out a way to make the new ones play nice with the existing high security remote receivers I had installed to control the old, non-rolling code Genie openers. While the new openers respond to a simple contact closure across the remote terminals, the new wall controls are multi-function affair, with a display that shows settings, diagnostic messages, time and temperature(!) and can control features the opener has. When activated by the contact closure (essentially a short across the two terminals on the wall control, the resulting interruption of power to the wall control resets the clock and makes it show a 'Power Restored' message. I think replacing a dead short with a certain amount of resistance will do the trick, that's an experiment for the evenings.

I finally was able to winterize the trailer after the sudden cold snap froze up everything. The only casualty I was able to find is a leak at the water pump housing, an area vulnerable to damage by freezing. The pump is still functional, and rebuild parts are commonly available. These pressure pumps need to be tuned up every few years anyway due to wear and tear, so this will be a chance to do the periodic maintenance and also change the way the pump is mounted to make it quieter in operation. As it stand, every time the pump runs it growls, rattles and stutters as the water lines and the pump itself vibrate against the floor. I have a few tasks and mods to make to our home on the road to make it that much more comfortable, reliable, fun and awesome. We want to make more use of it than we have been.

This evening I went over to my friend's place and finished off most of the wiring project in the renovated living room. All that remains is putting up a couple fixtures outside and wiring the whole room into the main panel, taking it off a temporary feed. Now the living room can be made livable again, and decorated for the holidays. Much happiness and awe at concepts such as dual voltage outlets and four-way switches making life a lot more convenient for their family as well.

I've been finally taking all the backup drives and disks and loading the data onto the server drives. I was pleased to find some stuff I thought was lost. Jeff and I spent quite a bit of time on Saturday night looking at pictures from way back, some at events we totally forgot about. Good times! Lots of friends in those shots that we have lost touch with, which is sad.

[livejournal.com profile] envirobear has tagged me for the 'one happy thing per day for each of eight days' meme, or whatever it's called. I'll start tomorrow. Not that I didnt have anything to be happy about the last few days.

Have a great week, everyone!
greatbear: (fuzzy)
I am sometimes a complete, absent-minded idiot. Winter is settling in here at the Aragegay of Ayhemay. Earlier I had bought antifreeze for the travel trailer, plus had planned on emptying two fountains here plus winterize my pressure washers. This weekend it got nasty cold, complete with snow and big time winds. It dawned on me that I had not taken care of these winterizing tasks that kept slipping my mind. Tonight I had taken some stuff to put in the trailer and it dawned on me, there's still water in all these things. And, yes, it's frozen solid everywhere. I am hoping that no damage has occurred to the plumbing and pumps in the trailer and the pressure washer. If the weather does not warm up a bit in the next few days I will have to run the heater in the trailer up to insane levels to drain it all and hope that nothing got damaged. I doubt I will be very lucky.

I notice this sort of dumbheaded forgetfulness happening a lot lately. I must be getting old. I am also pretty much distracted these days too, which does not help. I seem to have a screwed up perception of time. The days and months just fly by. I need to figure out a way to keep from feeling that all the days are just run together.

I stopped at the local Best Buy today, which I had not been inside of for a while now. I was with a friend of mine who was after a cordless phone for his ailing mom, so I hitched along for a ride. We both walked into the newly remodeled store and noticed the corner area that had now been made for musical instruments. Since we both played together many years ago and shared the same huge interest in music gear, we figured there was going to be a bunch of entry level stuff there. Wrong-o. They has everything from the expected Fender Squire hundred dollar starter guitars to 2900 dollar Les Paul Customs. Marshall stacks, Fender Twins, Taylor acoustics, Pro Tools audio workstations, pro DJ gear, drum sets, mixers, PA systems... it was all crammed in there and then some. The prices, for a brick 'n' mortar place, were fairly competitive. WTF! There were even jam rooms and most of the stuff available for playing. One of these days we'll have to return when we have time to play around with the goods. And I have my mind on that set of Mackie studio monitors again. Arrgh!

The xmas tree is up in the house and Jeff started decorating it today. We'll finish it off tomorrow evening and we'll do some outside decorating during the week. If it werent for Jeff, I would not bother with all that just for myself. Still, it's nice to do it, even though the holidays are more of a bother for me than anything festive these days. I'm trying.

Yesterday I was going to install my replacement garage door opener. That got thwarted when it started snowing. Since I had to park a bunch of stuff outside while I did the work in the building, the snow would have made everything wet. So instead, I sat by the woodstove in the living room and assembled the actual opener from all the included pieces and waited till today to put it in. I have it all installed save for the sensors, controls and wiring. I can do that tomorrow or later in the week. I need to do a bit of adjustments to the door itself to balance it again as well. If this new opener works well, I will get a matching one for the other door soon enough to replace the other, nearly 20 year old unit. I want to get a matched set if possible. The way things get updated and changed so often, it might not be long for that model.

I hope these next few weeks at work will be mostly stress free before the holidays. I need some sanity and some time off. It'd do my old body good.
greatbear: (Default)
Our big Thanksgiving whirlwind tour of two states is over. Good food was had, some shopping was done (but not on 'Black Friday'!), some extra sleep attempted, and good times were had. We are now back home in one piece, with Jeff's sister here with us 'til Tuesday. It was a pretty quiet weekend as well, with only some mischievous antics by Jeff's youngest nephew carrying on with Kodi earlier today. I remained delightfully unplugged from the collective of the 'net for the entire time, which does this body good at times. Even outdoors it was unusually quiet, voices carry from the farm out back as if they were in the yard. It was only the miserable slushy wet weather that greeted us this morning and the resulting nasty fall in the bed of my truck that put any sort of damper on the weekend. The headache and sore ass fromthe spill will remind me for the next couple days for sure.

Trying to catch up on posts in LJ is a bit tough, so if anyone knows of something good that I should know, drop me some hot comment action.

I am mostly over the yucky cold, that's a good thing. Jeff and Sis will spend a day on the town tomorrow I think, as long as work issues dont destroy the chance.

This week will be one to catch up on stuff at work and here at the homestead.

Hope y'all had a good weekend too.
greatbear: (Default)
Winter around these parts kinda got an early start these last few days. Weather at night in the mid 20s, lots of wind, snow flurries, bleak skies, the whole thing. But while dealing with being ill, it had slipped my mind that the garden hoses were still attached. Well, chalk up one hose nozzle to Old Man Winter. Jeff found the equivalent of the Bellagio Fountains on the carport Saturday morning on his way to work. I disconnected everything, and still need to winterize the trailer and the pressure washers. The garage door openers, being nearly 20 years old and heavily used, no longer tolerate the cold. One in particular binds badly, so tonight I bought it's replacement. If this one works well (a Chamberlain with a DC motor and battery backup) I will get another one for not-yet-dead opener's replacement. It's getting sluggish, but not as bad.

One thing I have noticed in my trips to the home centers and such are somewhat lowered prices on a lot of items, such as this opener. An 18V cordless grinder I picked up was a good 40 bucks off of the original price (which kept putting me off of it prior). Lots of yellow tags abound. And not many people in the stores. Though my own outlook is not too bad in the near term, I gotta watch going overboard in spending. The dropping prices make it a buyer's market, but no one is buying. The 30 bucks saved on the opener helps me shop with some relief. I am hoping the trend continues while I catch up on necessary projects around the homestead.

Short week ahead with Tday in the offing, and though we'll be home during the big day, the weekend will hopefully be spent up in PA. Tomorrow Jeff's sis flies in from TX (her arms sure to be tired), we will take her about halfway into PA where his brother will pick her up and take her the rest of the way. She's all excited, as are Jeff's parents. I gotta do some car work before enjoying the long weekend, nothing major.

Here's to the next seven days without issues. Hopefully. Please.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
The weekend was one mostly of good. We loaded up the truck with the collected pieces for a new shower for Jeff's parents along with other goodies and headed up to PA for the weekend. Kodi managed to barf again within screaming distance of the house. The truck interior was spared. It was a quiet weekend of small tasks, Amish grocery store shopping, dinner out on Saturday, PSU football excitement for Jeff and his Pop as they both barked and cheered at the telly while I tried making sense of the hand-me-down HP computer the 'rents got from Jeff's sister. We arrived home earlier than usual today and used the nice weather to clean up some of the gardens and move the trailer to it's winter home.

For tonight's supper we got a bag of fried chicken from the grocery store and ate it along with the awesome peirogies Jeff's mom got for us. These aint Mrs. T's frozen things. No, these come from one of the few local Catholic church's family day shindigs where people sell homemade food guaranteed to send people's cholesterol counts soaring. But, oh, how good the food. Nothing beats pierogies cranked out by those old Polish Catholics. We got a bag fulla them and have some for the future stuffed in the freezer. Good stuff.

It's one of my short weeks this time, and I hope to get some things done around here in preparation of winter's inevitable arrival.My finances have been taking a serious hit from unanticipated car and house repairs and supplies. It could be far worse had I needed to call in professionals. I'm still spoiled with being able to take care of a lot of things myself.

As an aside, I've been keeping political discourse mostly at arm's length around here. Having to deal with so many knuckle-dragging folk at work does not help things, and I have declared ye olde blog a mostly politics-free zone. That said, I found something via many other postings I find to be a true gem. For some unknown reason, I always liked those silly "Wassup" ads from a few years back from Budweiser. I've amassed a collection of countless derivatives along with the few official ads. The latest, and by far greatest of the skits find the same guys eight years later. Things arent what they used to be for the five dudes. But, there is, as they say, "hope".



I find this absolutely brilliant.

Hope y'all have a great week.
greatbear: (forearms)
Busy past few days for me, but was all good. Since Friday was an off day for me, I switched hats and headed downtown to help out at the garage and do some work on Jeff's truck. New brakes front and back for the truck, with new rotors up front (the originals, along with the original front pads went over 110,000 miles), plus turning the rotors out back that I replaced ages ago and life was good again. Some other maintenance bits, checkups and minor adjustments and all is well. Dropped a new engine in a late 90s Caddy El Dorado. Actually it was more like dropping the car onto the new engine, since it all has to come out of the bottom. Once back home I cleaned my smelly, greasy self up and once Jeff got home from work, the three of us headed once again up to his parent's place. We were being followed rather closely by tropical storm Hanna on the way up as well.

By the time we got settled the rains started in earnest.. That made for better sleeping weather, but also seemed to bother my creaky joints and bones. Saturday we hung out for a while then headed all the way up to State College, PA for the Penn State football game against the Oregon State Beavers. I am sure that school gets enough ribbing about their choice of mascot name. Ironically, Penn State's place for all things football is known as Beaver Stadium, named after the school's founder. Not sure how much of a hard time he had to deal with because of his name though.

We drove up in the rain just about the entire way. Once at the stadium and parked way in a field, the rain subsided, never to return. Hanna could not keep up with us I guess. We had decent seats, 30 rows back (at least 100 feet) from the opponent's goal post. It was a good view. We proceeded to watch Penn State go real hard on the Beavs, 45-14, in some very well-played football.

Those reading this who are more sports-oriented might know that college football is more interesting overall to watch that pro. The players play for the love of the game and for the occasional prospect of a pro career and it shows. The crowd enthusiasm is contagious. And some things that take place are just, well, different. Of course, there was the crowd singing along with that excruciatingly tired song "Rock and Roll Part 2", which is to be expected at every major sporting event (I guess the child molestation thing is no longer a bother). But this is the first time I saw a stadium full of people singing along with Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline". O_o Yeah, football fans are strange. It was fun though.

Penn State boasts the biggest stadium in college sports. This game, while not a sellout, rang up 115,110 108,111 (thanks Jeff) people. Yes, over one hundred thousand screaming fans. With tailgate parties and everything else you'd find at a major game. There is no real form of public transportation, so everyone drives to the game. First thought would be: Traffic Nightmare. Especially when there is limited access to the parking areas from major highways, with everyone needing to take little surface roads right up to the vicinity of the stadium and park in lots and huge fields, along with motorhomes and tailgaters and the milling crowds. They have traffic patterns worked down to an exacting science. Instead of gridlock, there is nearly nonstop flow of traffic from the highway to your final parking spot. And leaving? With nary a cop to be found directing traffic, it was a bit over 5 minutes till we were out on the open highway. This boggles my mind. If major cities could control such large amounts of traffic like this, there'd be no traffic jams and normal blood pressure for everyone.

We found cheap but good eats on the way home in Mifflinvilleburg (same thing!), after driving a while, then we got back home and got needed rest. Poor Kodi was Separation Anxiety Dog for a bit while we were gone, but was over it in no time. Sunday we muddled about the house, I measured the shower in the one bathroom for a replacement insert (another upcoming project) before heading out for a nice lunch at a tiny restaurant near where Jeff was born 'n' raised. As you'd expect, just about everyone eating there knew one another. Afterwards was out 2.5 hour drive back here. We grocery shopped, ate dinner while Jeff watched the Cowboy's game (I am an occasional football widow this time of year), I pulled the ECM outta the Stratus to take with me to drop off at the rebuilder tomorrow, and Jeff and I gave each other haircuts. I also reined in my summer beard, which was getting out of hand again. I feel much better.

I took quite a few pics at the game with my Canon S3-IS. It's a perfect camera for the venue. I will round up pictures from my last several trips and shoots and get them onto Flickr this week, with luck.

Hope y'all have a decent week, and that no one had to contend with storm damage.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
After getting a couple notices through LJ regarding recent 'defriendings', mostly people that I had no idea they had friended me in the first place, I delved into my list and found quite a bit of turnover and additions. Who knew that there would be this much interest in my mostly random blatherings? To all of you just tuning in, welcome! For some reason, I did not get notice of y'all's arrival in most cases.

Jeff and I went to the Maryland State Fair today. This is our chance to wander around, eating food of questionable and downright negative health benefits (deep-fried Oreos!), people-watch, animal-watch, take pictures, eat more bad food (mmmm, cheese fries), see the competitions, pick up free swag, make fun of certain booths (Jews for Jesus, the Republican Party) and eat too much. It's rather pleasant to walk around the 4H building and see all of the crafts, food, art, clothing and whatnot that people make and grow. There are still lots of creative and self-sufficient people in the state in this day-and-age of having everything commercially available. I can relate to this, and it gives me a bit of hope that not everyone mindlessly consumes and their only output is carbon dioxide.

Two things have become very apparent at these fairs. One is that most of the arcades have something Family Guy-related as prizes. Various sized stuffed Stewies and Brians, etc. Another is the preponderance of ass. Big ass. And not of the mule or donkey style. People with incredibly large behinds. While I might not have that much room to talk, and a good portion of my bear-identified readership might cast a scowl in my direction, we have nothing on these derrieres. I like big butts, I cannot lie, but these giant rearends are too much even for me. The previous two observances fit together, though, as shown by this video:



Ever since first seeing that episode, this tune haunts me in certain situations.

I am WAY behind in my photo posting since the beginning of summer. PC troubles don't help matters either, but I have finally equipped the backup PCs with enough software to get the job done. Expect to see my Flickr account start to fill up soon.

Tomorrow is a holiday for me, so yay. Unfortunately, Jeff has to work, but we have a Labor Day gethering to attend, and Jeff will be making some food to bring along. Hooray for last summer get-togethers.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
I've finally started getting serious about disposing the many years of accumulated crap that's been clogging the basement. Two full truckloads of mostly old electronic gear and computers, an old dryer, TV sets, old cabinets, blown speakers, monitors and household nonsense got taken for a one-way ride. I had several televisions, all with minor trouble that I had hoped to make use of, either repaired and put to use, or used for parts. Before I hauled a lot of these things off, I stripped them of minor bits like speakers, line cords and hardware. One set, needing only a flyback transformer, had a similar chassis to another set (a Sony) that Mom had in her bedroom. Figuring that I would not really need anything from this set to support the one in use, I pulled the speaker out and recycled the rest. Saturday afternoon I dumped all the cruft at the Howard County landfill/recycling center. They have a very well run facility there, with areas for every imaginable recyclable item, and several dumpsters for those things that cannot be recycled or otherwise removed from the waste stream. It takes less than ten minutes to place things in their respective areas and scoot on out of there. And the basement is starting to open up again. That's a much awaited good thing.

That evening, the Sony set with the chassis similar to the discarded set decided to give up the ghost. Hell, that did not take even a day to happen. All those free parts? Gone. Oh well, now there is one more television that will most likely make the trip. A shame, really, because that set kept Mom company for about 24 years. I guess it's just another small part connecting me to the past that has vanished in recent years.

This coming weekend is our final camping trip to Hillside for the year. We usually try to make the last one a big group affair, inviting several friends to stay with us to make the last one the best. But, as has been increasingly the case, trying to get people to commit to the weekend is damn near impossible.I did find out that one buddy (you know who you are) and his partner are unable to make it due to him being stuck on call that weekend. The rest have yet to respond, and we have to make plans for food and space. It's frustrating. We've been hesitant to plan any sort of get-togethers of any kind because what begins as enthusiasm for throwing whatever bash at the start becomes disinterest, avoidance and last-minute cancellations at the approach of the event. We and up being stuck with a lot of expensive food and other wasted items. I would say this is a big problem in the gay community with the so-called legendary fear of commitment, but it happens to everyone at one point or another. Unless it's some sort of A-list who's who gathering of see-and-be-seens or the weekly bridge club that never misses out, it's never a sure thing. And, sadly, it's part of what is making me a bit more antisocial than I want to be as I get older.

It used to be a lot easier.

I hope to get a lot more outdoor work done during the first part of the week when I come home from work. I'm fed up with the place looking half abandoned from the outside. It's truly soul sapping at times.Jeff and I joke about bringing in a housecub to help out. These days it seems to be less of a joke, unless it's on us.

Any volunteers?
greatbear: (forearms)
Sadly, our long weekend draws to an end. While Jeff was stuck working Friday and Saturday, I had the three days off, and with it a chance to catch up on stuffs. Much of the usual goings-on, interleaved as the days went along. No going to overcrowded fireworks displays, but we did have some eats typical of the holiday.

We worked hard in the yard today, cleaning out flower beds and spreading a half ton of mulch. Things look a lot better outside now. Kodi had an afternoon with the groomer and is looking doggie fierce. The server I recently built got put into service, with only a bit of frustration and is currently behaving and helping to bring this post to you. I was using an old keyboard with a built-in trackball that had seen better days. When the trackball would resist all my attempts to clean in order for the thing to actually control the cursor, I finally lost it and put my fist through it repeatedly. Sometimes beating the shit out of recalcitrant hardware is like therapy. Having to clean up dozens of keytops scattered about the room is it's vengeance, however.

Saturday night we went out to the movies. We saw WALL-E. Once again, Pixar had me charmed in my seat. I highly recommend this film, and I see it as one that will grow with repeated viewings. I don't know how the folks at Pixar do it, but they manage to explore the human condition so well, not needing to use humans. In this case, not having to use many words either. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

This is a short week for me. I get to use my first 9-80 Friday off to travel up to Provincetown for the week. Both of us can't wait for this, our first 'real' vacation of the year. Because of time constraints, it will most likely be our only long vacation as well. We still have a couple Hillside weekends, and one at Knoebels in the fall. Hey, I am happy just having the ones we have planned. All work and no play makes me one grouchy, emo dude.

Hope everyone has a good week.
greatbear: (fuzzy)
The past few days here Tha Garage of Muhfuckin Mayhem Yo have been scorching. Typical Maryland weather, spring is just a hiccup prior to the heat, humidity and eventual drought. With the rest of the week mostly in the 90s, the gardens will mostly tended to with water and not much else.

The weekend was spent up with Jeff's folks. I installed a couple ceiling fans, did a bit of shopping at hardware and auto parts stores, and went to Knoebels just to walk around and eat fairgrounds food. Despite the heat, it was all good. And Kodi did not discharge his dog biscuits into the car's interior. Bonus.

This morning, however, I woke up cranky as hell. I took it out on my Thomas' English muffin which, despite all my attempts to separate cleanly into it's two component halves, ended up coming apart in chunks to the point I ripped it to pieces and threw it all over the kitchen. An insult by my boss this morning was met with rage in his face before I walked out for a protracted break. I guess the heat gets to me after all. Damn those muffins anyway. Anyone else notice they are impossible to split these days?

More bits and pieces arrive tomorrow in an effort to upgrade all the computing hardware around here. Soon to be gone is stuff patched together with sticks and glue, made from stone knives and bearskins. Rather than buy stuff all at once, bits and pieces get ordered as budgets allow. Things like cases and power supplies come first, since that stuff stays pretty constant price-wise. Last to order is CPUs and memory, since that stuff is always getting upgrades and price cuts. It's like riding the tech upgrade wave.

No, if I can only make it through this week without melting or having a meltdown and killing someone, I'll be fine.
greatbear: (jeff and me)
I've been lax in my posting, but what else is new, huh?

The weekend as a whole was blessed with beautiful weather. Unfortunately, as has been the case for a while (a long while), Jeff was stuck working each of the three days, but fortunately not for long stretches. We used the time as well as the weather to our benefit, working in the yard and prepping the trailer for the traveling season. Pressure washing, a good scrubbing of the roof, some minor repairs, cleaning of the siding and the roll-up awning and it's looking mighty fine. I've been doing minor tweaks, adjustments and modifications to make it a very capable home-away-from-home. We will finish up by cleaning the inside up, stocking it with goodies and taking a little trip to Deep Creek Lake in Western MD this coming weekend. It's Jeff's birthday, and I am taking him far enough away from the area that he doesn't get easily conned into going to work. We both need a weekend away from it all, but he does so more than me.

On Monday we managed to relax a bit at our good friends Chris and Paul's place. A low-key, quiet party, I flopped about in the pool and steeped in the hot tub and relaxed with everyone else. Life was good.

Today we took lil' Kodi to the vet. He has been favoring his right rear leg, and it seemed to be getting worse. While Kodi did not complain outwardly nor even flinch at our inspections and massaging of his affected left leg, we were worried. Jeff did some intarweb research and found that a common ailment for Pomeranians is a dislocated kneecap. Today's vet visit confirmed this. Some x-rays, a shot, some other minor fussing and $331 dollars later it was confirmed what Jeff had researched. To that end, we have to try and keep Kodi from jumping, standing on his hind legs, leaping about, running/chasing after things, in short, things he does almost constantly. For a period of three weeks. Should be a chore. Especially since he will accompany us to Deep Creek Lake as well. I feel sorry for our little CrazyDogInsanityPooch. :(

I have to say, both of us are really looking forward to our little getaway. It's the first in a set of trips we are set for this summer, which includes three trips to Hillside (Bear weekends 2 and 3, Wrestling/Car Show), Provincetown (bear week, sensing a theme here), ad hopefully at least a weekend at Knoebels. Diesel fuel prices be damned, we are going to have our vacations and enjoy them. With everything else considered, it's still cheaper than hotels and flying by far. And we have one rockin' pad to stay in.
greatbear: (forearms)
Jeff and I took advantage of the rainy weather and being unable to do much yard/outdoor work and did some serious Costco shopping, a fruitless stop at Best Buy, a couple things from Giant, two PC fans and a drive enclosure from Radio Shack and a haul of plants from Lowes. Among the haul was a new 24" display for the studio PC. I'm loving it. My stimulus check as well as most if not all of my tax refund has been vaporized between this and other things in the last week.

Last night I assembled my new server to replace the 10 year old beast that's been living in the basement and working nonstop. The new one is awaiting an OS install, once that is done, I am hoping the new box is at least half as reliable as the old one.

Caution - Geek Porn Ahead: New server tech specs )

This week looks like a busy one. I gotta get the trailer ready for our first camping trip of the season to Deep Creek Lake at the end of the month. I want to pull the wheels and brake drums off to check the brakes out, inspect and lube the bearings, and clean the things up and do minor repairs and upgrades. I will probably get a new set of tires being that I heard some horror stories of blowouts with these Chinese off-brand (Mission? WTF?) things. Problem is, it's getting more and more difficult to find any trailer-duty tires not made in China, regardless of brand. Same is true for other tire types and brands. Of course, being made in China is not always a sign of inferior quality, but historically, things are not so rosy. A blowout of a trailer tire can be nasty.

Hope y'all have a good week.

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Phil

December 2016

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