This is possibly the best thing I’ve seen all week.

Date posted: October 24, 2014 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Mike in Colorado sent me a nice big box full of weatherstripping seals for my Traveltop, which I’m very, very excited about. As stated before, I’ve got to get some Eastwood encapsulator and treat the rails before I put new windows in, but before I tackle that, I’ve got to get lighting in the garage sorted out. I looked at some new fluorescent fixtures at the Lowe’s last night and realized I don’t have to buy anything new: all I’ve got to do is wire outlets into the ceiling and plug my existing lights in. I’ll have extra outlets if I need something overhead (it’ll be on a switched wire, but that’s OK) and I’m not out $100 in materials. I am, however, sending Mike a check for the rubber.

Date posted: October 24, 2014 | Filed under friends, Scout | Comments Off

Hooray! We’re going to Jalopyrama #11 on Saturday. Nothing but 1962 and earlier American hot rods, customs, and race cars. I will be bringing a good camera and a big memory card. We’re also meeting the Morrises there to hand off their iMac and maybe see the sights in Annapolis.


My home laptop is now running Yosemite, and seems to be pretty happy. I like a lot of the new features they’ve baked into things, although I won’t be able to take advantage of a lot of the phone -> computer functionality until I upgrade my iPhone (dialing and making calls on my laptop, Continuity with my files, or tethering). Most likely I’ll wait until 2015 for a new phone, as the holidays and some home renovation projects demand my extra cash. Or maybe they’ll have a good update to iOS 8.1 that makes my old 4s happy.

Also, I used a feature of Mail.app I never knew existed until last week: Preferences -> Junk Mail ->Reset. I’ve been getting more and more spam mail over the last two years, to the point where 95% of my inbox was junk (at a rate of about 150 messages a day). Each evening I’d waste 5 minutes of my life weeding through spam mail and moving it to the junk folder. Having reset the filter I’m seeing 3-5 junk messages make it through and another 2-3 valid ones get marked as spam, but that’s a much better average than before.

Date posted: October 24, 2014 | Filed under apple, cars | 2 Comments »

I try to take pictures looking at changes over time, and realized I’ve got a bunch of them on the website. I added a new category for posts that feature comparisons, and went as far back as 2008 collecting them last night.

Date posted: October 23, 2014 | Filed under housekeeping | Leave a Comment »

I loaded Yosemite onto my work laptop yesterday morning, figuring it would make a great test case for the rest of the machines I run (my home laptop, Jen’s laptop, a workstation under my desk, client machines, etc.) and overall it’s pretty nice. My work laptop is a Retina 13″ with an SSD, so installation took about 10 minutes and everything looks wonderful. It seems to be fast, there’s no performance hit with anything I can see, and all my apps seem to be running just fine (Adobe Creative Cloud, CS6, Office 2011, and a handful of utility apps I depend upon). The real test will be the aforementioned laptops–my home machine is an early 2010 model MacBook Pro which might not like as many of the visual improvements in Yosemite.


If you like data visualization, this book is like drinking from a firehouse.

Amazon delivered my copy of Information is Beautiful this morning, and I can testify, it is, indeed, beautiful. An entire book of charts, graphs, and visuals well-designed and displayed, about a huge range of subjects. Go to the site, absorb some of the work, and buy the book. It’s well worth the money.


Monday night I went out to the garage and started running wire to the ceiling for overhead lighting. Currently it’s a mishmash of plugin fluorescent fixtures scrounged from my old job run off extension cords, and I’ve dreamed of simply having a switch next to the door to light the space since we moved in. I ran wire from the panel to a new switchbox near the door and then started fishing wire up to the ceiling, then stopped because I wanted to make sure I was running the wire correctly. It’s looking like I’m on the right track based on this diagram, so I’ll continue getting things in place in preparation for buying the fixtures and a new breaker.

Date posted: October 22, 2014 | Filed under apple, art/design, geek, projects | Leave a Comment »

After transferring beer the other night, I shifted my gaze to the 4-drawer file cabinet sitting next to my brewing stand. It’s jammed full of files that date back to my house in the city–phone, water, and utility bills I don’t need and will never have to refer to. I loaded up Top Gear USA on my iPad and started sifting through the drawers, making a stack of paper about a foot high, and within an hour I’d winnowed out all of the 620 South Lakewood stuff into two piles: shredding and non-shredding.

I found the final mortgage bill for my rowhome, the details of which still take my breath away: a monthly payment of $515.40 at an APR of 6%. My utility bills averaged about $90 for the month. Why did we move to the suburbs again?

I found an unused registration sticker for Chewbacca. I found a copy of the city-drawn plat for 620 S. Lakewood. I found piles of old illustration mailing lists, including a carefully hand-drawn graph of geographic regions cross-referenced by what postcards they’d been sent and when. I got all of my tax records in order from 1993 until we were married. I found utility bills from 620, some in the name of my old girlfriend.

Then I started shredding in front of the Texans-Steelers game, stopping only when the motor on our little shredder got so hot it refused to run and I’d filled a trash bag full of spidery paper. There’s still about 6″ of phone bills and mortgage statements to go through, as well as some medical bills, and I’m not done culling the drawers. I’ve got a stack of twice-used manila folders to recycle and a pile of rusty paper clips to throw out.

I set aside stack of utility bills for our current house, put them in order, and scanned them into PDFs at work this morning in preparation for the shredder. I’m thinking about entering some of the year-over-year data into Excel to look at trends, now that we’ve been here over ten years: things like our average monthly bill, therms and kWh used, and average monthly temperatures. It would be interesting to see how it graphs out, considering our first couple of bills averaged ~$700/mo. (it’s come down considerably since then).

As I think about it, scanning our old mortgage statements and water bills isn’t a bad idea either, so I’ll probably bring those in tomorrow. (The scanner at work has an auto-feed, which makes life so much easier). As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to organize and scan as much paper in as possible and then shred it. I’d also like to organize an automated download of bank records and mortgage statements, given that our bank only lets us go back a certain number of months.

Date posted: October 21, 2014 | Filed under general, projects | Leave a Comment »

How happy am I that a date I took a pretty blonde on fourteen years ago has turned into a family tradition?

Grand and Finn 1

Guns and Clowns

Jen, Finn and Cathy

Heaven

Race

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under family, finn, photo, travel | Leave a Comment »

I transferred my Session IPA to the secondary fermenter last night, took a gravity reading (4.5% ABV-perfect), and dry-hopped it with twice the recipe’s ingredients: 2 full ounces of Simcoe. I went back and forth on whether I should stick with the kit recipe, which called for one ounce, figuring I’d only had three glasses of it before it was killed on Parade day and I never really got to sample it in detail. But then I said fuck it and dumped the second one in. Let’s see what happens.

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under brewing | Leave a Comment »

Having finally brought wired power to the garage, I thought it would be a good idea to add a battery conditioner to help the Scout make it through the winter. I generally get out and start her up every weekend during the snowy months to keep systems lubed and working (three of the saddest words in the English language are ran when parked) and there have been some days when I’ve needed to pull one of the Hondas up to jump the battery. I found an inexpensive battery conditioner on Amazon and got it a few weeks ago. It’s meant to keep the battery topped off, which is just what I need.

photo

I heard from our friend Mike in Colorado after a long quiet spell, who has been driving his shiny Scout daily after rebuilding it from the ground up. He offered me a spare set of traveltop window seals he’s got sitting in his garage, which is fantastic timing. I’ve been eyeballing my traveltop in the garage, thinking it would be wise to get it back on the truck before things get really cold. It’s got solid side windows but I’ve got a set of sliders from the crappy top I had sitting in the backyard, and the seals they came with are OK but not new. One of my goals before it goes on is to knock down and shoot the rust inside along the bed rails with some Eastwood encapsulator and then cover them with etching primer. It’s in great shape overall but there are a bunch of inexplicable screw holes that need to be welded shut, something I’d like to test out a new welding rig on.

Date posted: October 19, 2014 | Filed under friends, Repairs, Scout | Comments Off

pumpkin

This wonderful picture has the honor of being my 4,000th upload to Flickr.

Date posted: October 18, 2014 | Filed under finn, house | 1 Comment »