Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sick Son

Day 2 of being home with my sick son.

I sorta feel bad because I didn't really think he was sick yesterday, but he gave me a reason to think he was faking.

Last Thursday, he came home from school early complaining about a stomach ache. I'm not sure about Friday. I heard no word about him not feeling good Saturday or Sunday. Come Monday morning, he starts complaining that he feels like throw up.

Well, to me, it sounded like he just didn't want to go to school. Sick last week, find over the weekend, sick Monday. Well, I decided that he could stay home from school, but no Playstation. I didn't want him to get use to the idea that faking being sick to stay home is a cool thing. Since he actually agreed to no PS, I got suspicious that he might really be sick.

Late Monday night, I was sitting with him and he felt hot. So I took his temperature. It was 101 degrees. Wow, he is REALLY sick! This morning he woke up at 4:45 complaining that he didn't sleep last night. I took his temperature and he had a fever of 101.8.

Called the Dr, and they tested for flu and strep. Turns out, he has both! Yes, that is right, both Strep and the Flu. Poor guy. About 6:00 this evening, I took his temp and it was up to 103.8 so he go some Ibuprofen. It was down to 101.3 about an hour and half after the Ibuprofen. At least it was down.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Today was the big race! You could feel the excitement in the air!

With the Tigers racing first, we were very excited. My boy ended up in the second heat. First up though was one of the other boys in our Den. He did very well ending up first in his heat.

The second Tiger heat was on, and he did ok. He took 3rd, 5th, and 5th. He was disappointed, but I was very proud of him. He ended up getting a participation trophy which is is very proud of, and he also got a display case for his car (which he is also proud of).

In a couple months is the Rain Gutter Regatta. We'll see how he does there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

2006 Taxes Filed

My taxes are filed! Yea! Now I sit back and wait for my return.

Last year when I filed, I used TaxSlayer to do my taxes. I had used them the last few years cause they are so much cheaper than TurboTax. Because of a mistake I had made several years ago, I was concerned about using TaxSlayer, so I double checked my return with TurboTax and had the same value, so I filed with TaxSlayer so it wouldn't cost as much to file.

This year, I noticed that when I entered my child care into it, my return didn't increase. I thought that was strange, so decided to double check again with TurboTax. I'm glad I did.

I had 430 larger return using TurboTax, and I also had a 111 larger state return. That more than makes up for the 55.90 filing fee for TurboTax.

When I help my daughter with her taxes, I'll probably still use TaxSlayer, since she is still using the EZ forms, but I my run them through both programs, just to make sure.

Get Set...

Tonight, we went and weighed in the car.

We got there right at 6 so we could weigh it in and have time to tweak it if necessary.

I ended up helping unload the track and getting it set up. Once that was set up, we checked in the car. Luckily, we only had to add a couple of BB's to make it hit the 5oz mark (and we didn't have to remove any... yea!)

We'll see how the race goes tomorrow.

Feb. 17, 2009

That is the day my friends.

The day that all the over-the-air broadcasts will go digital (AKA HD).

So, be warned if you are out buying for a new TV. If you get an analog (SD) TV, you'll need a tuner box after that date.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

On your mark...

This weekend is the big Pine Wood Derby Race!!! Both my boy and I are excited.

Tomorrow night we go check in the car. He is only 7, so I used most of the tools in making this car. He did help though. It was his car, so what we did was up to him. I told him, if he didn't pick something, he'd race a rectangle down the track. So he helped with design, painting, color choices, numbering and some sanding. Assuming he is in Cub Scouts next year, he'll hopefully get to do more himself.

The race is Saturday.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Birthday Party Continued

Well, we made it through the birthday party last night. And was I exhausted when it was over.
2 of the boys were still awake when I went to bed at 11:00. They were watching TV, so if they would just be still, it probably wouldn't take them long.

Chuck-E-Cheese was a huge success, they all had a really good time there.

I'm up right now cooking bacon as their wake up call. I'll make pancakes when the bacon is all done.

Well, I guess I should get back to it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Birthday Party


Birthday Cake 2.0

We are having my son's birthday party today no matter what. My wife said "Even if we have to rent a snow mobile we are having it!"

So, it was time to make another birthday cake.

I think it looks much better than his first cake.

New Cake:

First Cake:


Well, it is official.

I plan on being much more involved in the presidential election this year than any other year.

Why? Hillary Clinton is running for President. Even typing that is scary.

I plan on doing everything I can to keep that from happening.

Friday, January 19, 2007

TV Update

After last nights surgery, the TV is doing great. I had noticed after I posted last night, that the picture seemed a bit grainy. It was disappointed, but happy that my work overall had been successful.

This evening, while looking at the TV, I realized I had done some re-wiring of my system to get the satellite to work on my replacement TV (it didn't have s-video). So, I looked at my wiring of my system, and tweaked it a bit, and my picture was crisp and clear!

While at work today, I thought I was going to have to still buy a new TV, but now, it looks like I'll be good for a while.

That is really what I wanted. I'd like to wait to till I've paid off our debt before spending the money for a new HD TV.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Surgery is over...

Right as the surgery began, I took this picture while waiting for my soldering iron to heat up.

I know many of you have been on pins and needles as the surgery has been going on. Initially, everything was going well, but while closing up, we had some problems which required me to open the patient back up.

After some more stressful moments, I was able to close. It appears the the patient will make full recovery. I'm not sure how much, if any this has shortened his life. I'm hoping this will make it till next year. Oh, and not only is it doing well, but Alton Brown was the first image my TV showed after the surgery. Isn't life grand? hehe

I'm really excited that I was able to replace those 2 parts. The solder job is probably really crappy, but no one can see it, and all it has to do is hold the parts together. Not trying to win a contest or anything.

Here is the page I found online while searching for "Phillips Magnavox tv burnt plastic". As I said in an earlier post, I found that the part they talked about in that page is the same on mine that was burnt. I also went ahead and replaced the resistor that was next to it since it had burnt it. I wasn't sure if the part was gone or not, but figured it was best to err on the side of caution, and since I already had the TV open, I might as well replace both parts.

I'm really rather excited right now.

Surgery Begins

The surgery has begun.

You can read more about the Death and Autopsy of my TV if you haven't already.

I love technology

Wow, what a week.

There were 2 items that really caught my attention this week.

The first is commercial airplanes that have anti-missile systems on them. I first saw this article at CNN this week. Fed-Ex is flying the planes with this new system on them.
"An MD-10 cargo jet equipped with Northrop Grumman's Guardian anti-missile system took off from Los Angeles International Airport on a commercial flight Tuesday"
The article goes on to state that no passenger planes have ever been downed by shoulder-fired missiles outside of war zones. It will be a long time before this is on a lot of planes, not the least of which is cost associated since these systems will not be cheap. Still a cool idea.

The second is a rail gun that was tested Wednesday. You can read the whole article at fredericksburg.com.
The railgun works by sending electric current along parallel rails, creating an electromagnetic force so powerful it can fire a projectile at tremendous speed.
This is truly sci-fi come to life. From how I read this, it looks like the Navy may be planning on changing the big guns on their ships to rail guns.

We are talking about a 200 to 250 nautical mile range on these bad boys. The 5 inch guns have a range of about 20 nautical miles.

These rail gun, with a range of at least 200 nautical miles, can hit a target in about 6 minutes. It takes Tomahawk missiles 8 minutes to travel that distance.
And the cost of each rail gun round will start around $1000. Tomahawk cruise missiles cost nearly $1 Million each.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Birthday Cake

Well, I baked my son's birthday cake last week and got around to decorating it today. It's ok. Especially since I've not decorated a cake in years.

Thought I would share. Don't make too much fun of me. Hopefully next weekend the cake will look better.

UPDATE: BTW, I forgot to mention that my boy helped some on the decorating.

Friday, January 12, 2007

TV Update

I just ordered a capacitor and a resistor that hopefully will allow me to fix my TV and save me having to buy a new TV.

Don't get me wrong. I would LOVE a new TV. A nice LCD HD TV. That would be awesome!

But I really don't want to spend the money to go HD yet. And if you know me, you'll know it would be hard for me to get a HD TV and not upgrade the Satellite to HD too.

Anyway. The best part about this is? The parts with shipping only cost me $10.11. It would have been less, but I had to order 10 of the capacitor. I lucked out and was able to get just one of the resistors.

Once the parts come in I'll give you all an update.

The parts cost 10.11, but once shipping was added, it cost $18.72. Still not a bad price if I can get it to work. Parts should be here Wednesday.

Profanity Filter

Do you ever got to web pages that had profanity on them?

I know one of the pages I read several times a day sometimes has some. It irritates me.

Well, while reading Lifehacker today, they had a link to a Profanity Filter. I haven't installed it yet, but it sounds interesting.

Once the script is installed, it uses a list with pre-defined words you don't wish to see. It replaces these words with ***.

Lifehacker made a sentence to see how it worked. The sentence came out:
This *** is the ***. Every *** on the planet should install this ***.
Sorta cool. You are suppose to be able to easily update the filtered word list. Allowing words by default it doesn't and adding words as well.

It's here

The nastiness predicted (aka ice) by the weathermen is here. People have been leaving work like rats from a sinking ship all day. There is only 2 or 3 employees in my office and 3 contractors (who get paid by the hour, so I understand them staying). The department next door is completely gone.

About noon or so, one guy called that had just left and said the sidewalks are icy, and the roads are slushy. That was 1.5 hours ago.

Should be an interesting drive home.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I got up this morning and decided to do an autopsy on the TV to make sure it was the same problem I had read about online. As you can see the behemoth's insides.
If you click on these pictures, you'll get a better picture, but below the back of the tube there are several metal "walls" where the capacitor is located.

Here is the culprit. Again, if you click on the picture, you'll get a much better view, but #2 is the capacitor that has gone bad and is sparking. You can see in this picture that #1 has burn marks on it from the sparking #2 has done. I hope this is easier to fix than it looks like it is going to be.

Death in the Family

A very dear friend of the family died tonight... Our 32" Phillips Magnavox TV.

I woke up about midnight and smelled something not right, but I wasn't sure what it was. I got up, and I'm sniffing the WHOLE HOUSE! (my house is over 100 years old so you never know).

Anyway, I could not track down the smell. I finally decided it was strongest in the living room. My daughter was still awake, so I had her come in and sniff it. (she thought I was sniffing something else if you know what I mean). But when she came in, she agreed it smelt like burnt plastic. It wasn't anything overwhelmingly strong, but I have a super sensitive nose.

Anyway, I started sniffing everything that had electric. When I got to the entertainment center (this took a bit) I heard a clicking as well. I moved the entertainment center out so I could see what was wrong behind it, but when I did, I found the clicking was coming FROM the entertainment center. Well, I tracked it to the TV. Which is where the smell of burnt plastic was coming from too.

From looking online, it appears that I've had a capacitor burn out.

Now I'm left with a difficult choice. Buy a new TV, or try to replace the capacitor. The capacitor will be cheap (if I can find one. Others that have had this problem said repair shops didn't want to part with it without installing it themselves and charging a huge amount), and a new TV will not be.

The TV is over 7 years old (but under 9). So it's lived a good and relatively long life.

Guess I'll go sleep on it. At least I know the house wont burn down. That would be a lousy present for my son right before his birthday.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Almost Birthday Time

It's almost my son's birthday. We're planning a get together with some of his friends this weekend, and a couple of the boys will be able to spend the night.

What do I notice today? It looks like a strong winter storm is expected to hit Friday and stay through Sunday.

I hope we can have the party. I'd hate to tell him we'll have to move it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

1 TB Hard Drive

Hitachi is expected to launch a 1TB hard drive during the first quarter of this year.

Holy Cow!

1 TB?!?!?! (That stands for terabyte.) And this is for home computers.

According to the ars technica article the specs are:
7200 rpm
32MB buffer
SATA 3.0Gb/s or Parallel-ATA 133
And with a price tag of $399. The price wont be too bad either.
That price translates to about 40 cents per gigabyte, or 0.04 cents per megabyte.
Not bad. Not bad at all. That will get rid of your hard drive headaches... at least for a while.

I remember our first first 120 MB hard drive. I thought I'd never need a larger hard drive again.

How long till 1TB sounds small? The article also talks about a 37.5 TB drive expected to be launched in the next decade.

WL - 1/5 check-in

Ok, it's been 24 weeks since I started loosing weight.

Weight wise, I got my lowest on Thanksgiving morning I believe and I weighed in at 185. Since then I have been fluctuating. Though, I've made it through the holiday season with only gaining 5 pounds. To me, that is a huge accomplishment!

The stall has been because of a lack of desire (the real culprit in weight loss). I had hurt my back when it snowed, and that took some time to get over, and I really didn't feel like going to the gym. I think I only managed to go 2 times in December.

Now that it is 2007, I've been thinking about my weight again. For the most part, I'm happy about my weight (assuming I can keep it below 190). (Now distribution, that is another thing.) So I'll continue to go to the gym on a regular basis, and working out 5 to 6 times a week for now, and I may trim that down, we'll see.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


While reading my wifes blog today, I realized I hadn't really posted about Christmas. I'm a bad boy.

Christmas was great! We had a lot of fun. Both of my kids got WAY too much stuff, and they had a blast opening it all. My wife liked her Christmas presents. I had bought her a new comforter she wanted, around Thanksgiving, and had it hid well. I would have wrapped it, but wasn't sure how to do it. Ended up just wrapping it. So, as soon as she saw it, she knew what it was. I hate that. I like the wonder of whats under the paper.

I really enjoyed my presents as well. I got Pirates 2 and Hildalgo. Both movies that I really wanted. I got some new house shoes, which was also something I wanted. We also got a new tent from my parents. I was excited about that. We needed it!

We also got a new calendar that has all of the birthday/anniversaries of all the family members. I really like that. We got one last year, and again this year. Very handy. (Thanks Laura!)

I also got a ball cap with 2 led lights in the bill. So, it's a handy flash light, without having to hold it. I also got a set of those flashlights you shake to charge. No batteries which is always nice. Think people thought I was in the dark?

There was more, but I don't need to go through it all.

Happy Birthday My Love!

I wanted to take a moment this morning, and wish my adorable, beautiful, caring, devoted, enchanting, funny, generous, humorous, intelligent, joking, kind, lively, mischievous, napping, original, pretty, quick, radiant, stunning, tenacious, unforgettable, vibrant, wonderful, xpressive, youthful, zestful wife a wonderful and very


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I'm really sad tonight.

I just found out that my son's best friend, and our next door neighbor, will be moving at the end of the month. He doesn't know it yet. I think he'll find out tomorrow when his friend comes home.

This will be the first time that he has had a friend move away. It will probably happen a lot in his life, but this will be the first time.

I'm sad for him.

Web startup pages

I was reading an article today that suggested people change their web browser start-up pages from the default to something different.

That sorta surprised me. I've always changed my startup page from the default to something different.

One link I didn't know about that was a suggestion was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Randompage which does just what you would expect. It opens a Random page from wikipedia. Neat idea.

For years I've used the http://my.yahoo.com page as my startup. And since it is customizable, it lets me choose what I want to see. Lately, I've moved over to the http://www.google.com/ig since I use so many of Google's products, I can get a birds eye view from a single page.

So, have any other suggestions?

Work sucks

Well, maybe not completely, but after being away for 10.5 days, I don't want to be here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Family Blog

For those family members that read this blog, please email me your email address, and I'll invite you to a family only blog.

Some things will still be done here, but other family members also will be able to put stuff on it. But if you don't send me your email address, you'll not get invited and not be able to read it.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I can't believe it is actually 2007. It's amazing how fast 2006 has past. In fact, it's amazing how fast the years have past since 2000.

I hope you all have a very safe new year.

Now get some rest. It'll be time to go back to work before you know it.