The blog that's gotten one comment ever! Thanks mom!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Punch & pie

Well, the pie part, anyways. Janie's been wanting me to try a
blueberry pie for a while now, and what pregnant Janie wants, pregnant
Janie gets. Too bad it won't be cool enough to eat until tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Planes on the brain

There is a problem with having a lifelong dream fulfilled. One finds that they want more. While Janie has been sleeping next to me, I've spent the last hour plane shopping on my iPhone. Well, window shopping. But I can say with certainty, if I won the lottery tomorrow (though it would help my chances if I actually played), instead of going out and buying a GTR, I'd be buying a plane to fly. Anyone interested in finding a multiplayer sim to fly with me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So, now I can say I've flown a plane.

There's me in the co-pilot seat of a rented Cessna 172, with my friend Jer's dad running the show. I got to ride along Sunday, with my hands and feet on the controls the whole time, feeling how it went, and got to do a few climbs and turns myself. First, flying a real plane seems easier than the simulator. Given it's popularity, there's no surprise that most of my flying time in the simulator is on a 172, and so flying one for real wasn't too bad, all the controls were where I expected them to be (though the simulator puts your perspective in the pilot's seat). The plane is just easy to fly. And having G-force feedback, and feedback on the yoke, makes a big difference. You can feel how the plane is slipping through the air, and that brings a lot of confidence the simulator can't match, where you're relying entirely on your eyes and the instruments to tell you what's going on. That said, I think the simulator time really paid off. I knew what I was doing, was able to translate some theory into actual practice, and the whole trip just whet my appetite for more. I've always wanted to be a pilot, but the practical concerns have outweighed that desire. But maybe getting licensed is a goal I can take more seriously as time goes on.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Farewell and good luck, Leela.

I've hesitated to discuss this yet, as it doesn't seem quite real, and I was almost certain that it wouldn't work out. But it's been more than a month, and I think it's safe to say that Leela must have adapted to her new home by now.

For those of you who've visited us, you know Janie and I have long had two cats, Leela and Amy. Leela we got first, as a kitten, from Janie's family. She was always a little odd for a cat, intensely curious, but not very friendly. She'd come sit on your lap, but hiss at you if you moved, for example. And she wasn't afraid to draw blood. She loved Janie and I, and when no one else was in our home, she was a wonderful companion, purring contentedly on our laps. She just never liked anyone else.

We eventually adopted Amy from the local humane society, in the hopes that having a companion cat might mellow Leela out a bit. And it may have helped, kinda. But Leela never got over her dislike of everything but Janie and I. Poor Amy was often the target of her frustrations, and although Amy could defend herself, we felt badly for bringing her into this situation. Amy is all sweetness and light (in a rather hefty package), and although both cats could be found sleeping on our bed when we got home, it didn't make them friends.

With our child's due date approaching, Janie tackled the impossible job of figuring out what to do with Leela. Although we love her, neither of us trusted her at all. And how do you give away a cat who hates everyone and everything? Our only hope was that she might adapt to being a farm cat, but the market for farm cats, especially crazy ones, isn't all that great. J posted a brutally honest description on a local cat rescue's website, and we waited.

After a few false starts, we finally got a solid lead, nearly a month after posting the description. A nice lady with a mouse problem on her farm was willing to take a chance with her. We bundled Leela up in her carrier (Leela does not like going for car rides), and drove to the farm, Leela making really sad meows all the while behind us. We met with the lady, made double-extra sure that she understood Leela wasn't the sort to curl up in your lap and love you until she really trusted you, which might never happen, passed on gifts of cat food and litter and litterboxes, and got real teary as we drove off.

I spent the next week expecting the phone call saying that Leela had eaten all the mice, then killed all the chickens, and was now eying a cow, but it never came. The lady emailed us to ask about some medicine we had left for Leela, but said that she was doing well, and that Leela, after initially eating her cat food, had been letting it sit, suggesting her diet had become supplemented with mice, we hope. And that's it. No news is good news, I guess.

We miss her. Amy, loveable as she is, is more needy now, practically tackling you when you come in the door. The thought briefly crossed my mind of getting her a friend, but that seems perilous right now.

Leela, you were an awful, awful cat, who drew blood from several of my friends. But we miss you, and I really hope you're doing well, killing things like you seemed to be meant to do. I hope you'll eventually make friends with the nice lady who took you in.

Friday, May 15, 2009

At the hospital...

Getting pre-admission forms filled out. ;)

Monday, May 4, 2009

The camcorder question...

So J and I have been discussing the pros and cons of getting a camcorder of some sort to further document our impending offspring. We've found this question to be frightfully difficult, so I'll post a brief history of the conundrum, along with the options we are investigating, and ask you, my loyal viewer(s), to comment and help me pick something out.

First, a little back story. Janie has many amazing powers, amongst them the ability to win door prizes and raffles. She has a long history of this sort of behavior, and I no longer question it, I just try to take her to events featuring such games of 'chance' in expectation of the loot to follow. At a work event, she walked out with a copy of Avid DV, a more than one thousand dollar software package for editing digital video. Well, with such a fancy piece of software, we felt obliged to obtain a camcorder up to the task. After much research, we spent upwards of a thousand dollars on a Sony Mini-DV camcorder. It was small, when compared to what I was used to when it came to camcorders, which in my mind were large, shoulder fired rigs, but by no means pocketable.

Unfortunately, this left it in an awkward position. Our dreams of taking it with us on vacations to add a new media to our trip documentation were soon smashed, when lugging around yet another bag of gear just felt too touristy for me to deal with. That, and Avid practically requires some specialized skills to use with anything approaching proficiency. Easy, it is not. Between those two issues, the camcorder was rarely used, until we lost track of it. It may be in our house right now. We just don't know. It's been years since we've seen it.

Now, with the baby due in not much more than a month, our interest in camcorder tech has waxed full once more. And with a baby comes diaper bags. And since we'll be lugging diaper bags everywhere anyway, we've suddenly got a spot to store the camcorder where it will be available where and when we need it. In addition, with flash memory cheap and effective, camcorder sizes have dropped. No more must one deal with magnetic tapes, a technology that feels dated despite it's advantages. So, here are the camcorder's we're looking at.

First, we have the Flip MinoHD and Flip UltraHD. Both are pocketable, not even requiring space in the diaper bag. Both record to internal flash memory at 720p resolution. They're cheap. These are all pros. The big con for me is the lack of image stabilization. These are basically webcams that have been put into a portable housing. Great for shooting quick and easy videos, but the quality will always lag behind more dedicated hardware. Pictures of both devices are below.

So, that leaves us with something a bit more substantial, both in features and cost. And the device I keep coming back to is the Canon Vixia HF10.

Obviously, this model is a much more traditional camcorder, but it's still flash memory based. It comes with 16 gigs of internal memory, twice any of the Flips, plus an SDHC slot, allowing us to expand upon that easily. It is probably overkill for us, but the the gadget freak in me would rather have unused features than to ever be disappointed in their lack. It's considerably larger than the other options, and pricier to boot. But it records in full HD (1080), includes a real optical zoom, image stabilization, etc. It's a real camcorder. But here's where I get stuck. Do I need a real camcorder?

And finally, there's the cheapest option of all. The movie mode function on my five year old Canon still digicam. It's not HD, but it works, and it's cheap.

So, for the few of you who've lasted through what's undoubtedly the longest post this blog has ever seen, what do you think? Please comment below and let me know. Lord knows, I need the help.

The baby shower...

So last Saturday was J's baby shower, and we had folks make the trek from all over Colorado to see a very pregnant Janie. My sister Tara took on the lion's share of the organization, hosting the party at the bed and breakfast she works at, and providing the snacks. Unfortunately, I was sick during the shower, and avoided the food table to keep from spreading whatever I've got to others, so I can't comment on the tastiness, though I'm assured it was quite tasty. I don't have any pictures yet, though I'll hopefully post some eventually, our camera stayed in the car, so I'll have to steal someone else's work there. I can safely say it was the best baby shower I've even attended, as there were no games involving guessing baby food flavors or others of that ilk. I've always felt that that's a very strange way to treat the guests who've traveled to bring you gifts. Instead, it was lots of family and friends celebrating our almost here daughter, and that was the best gift of all.

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