Showing posts from June, 2012

Still gaming after all these years

June 1, 1982 was a landmark day in my life. It was the day I got my Atari VCS. Yes, we were probably the last house in town to get an Atari and the video game industry would collapse the following year. Up until then, all of my video game experience was with the Pac-Man machine at Kroger, the tabletop Galaga at Pizza Inn, and assorted other games at Barrel of Fun in the mall and Showbiz Pizza Place.The VCS came with Combat and but my parents also bought me a copy of Pac-Man. We plugged into the old floor model RCA tv in the living room and I wasted an entire summer. It wasn’t long until I had a variety of games. Some were new, like Pitfall! and some were old like Night Driver and Breakout. The $9.99 games were just easier to come by than the $30 games like Defender.I didn’t own another system until I got a Super Nintendo. For the better part of 10 years, my home gaming was all Atari except for the games I had on my wonderful dual disk Amstrad PC that ran DOS. It couldn’t handle Window…

New FM Radio : Tecsun PL-118

I have travelled with a lot of different radios over the years. Some were too big (Kaito KA-1103), some wore out too fast (Kaito KA-11, Grundig G8), and some just plain sucked (Grundig Mini 400). I’m not really looking for anything fancy but most radios have way too many features like hundreds of memories and shortwave. Shortwave isn’t going to work worth a flip in most hotels. I just wanted a digital FM tuner, automatic tuning (ATS or ETM) and a simple to use alarm clock.I finally found the best of all worlds with two minor issues in the Tecsun PL-118:Unfortunately, you can’t just run over to Walmart and pick this up. I bought it directly from a seller in Hong Kong on eBay. It took about 2 weeks to get it and I paid right under $20 for the radio and the shipping combined. I bought mine from ANON-CO and was very happy with the transaction. It runs on 2AAA batteries. It has one touch ETM (Easy Tuning Memory) which scans the FM band and automatically adds a preset for each station. Hold…

Almost 4 months after the storm, the repairs are complete

On March 2nd, our house ended up in the path of a tornado-producing thunderstorm. The funnel cloud went right over the house and ended up touching down two counties away. The wind (estimated by the Weather Service) at 70 mph was bad enough but the hail it drove into the back of the house and the roof was what caused all of the damage. They don’t look that bad, right? Consider standing outside as thousands of golf balls fall from the sky. In a windstorm last year, an area of shingles was ripped off the roof. This storm was far worse. Not only did more shingles get ripped away, but I also had holes and cracks (that you really can’t see in the picture) all over the back of the house. It’s odd but none of the other sides had any damage because the wind was blowing straight back to front. Also, everything that was sitting outside (including the poor Ford Contour) was dinged up.Right after the storm:Today:Right after the storm:Today:It looks like a new house thanks to Mid-Tenn Exteriors. Se…

Songs of Summer

My iPod is filled mostly with music from about 1975 to 1990. I can’t help it. I’ve turned into Harold from “The Big Chill”.Michael: Harold, don't you have any other music , you know, from this century?
Harold: There is no other music, not in my house.
Michael: There's been a lot of terrific music in the last ten years.
Harold: Like what? Even I need to hear new music from time to time. So, where do I hear new music? I hear most of it on a local station here in Nashville - Lightning 100. I highly recommend them.Here are some of my latest iTunes purchases that I am enjoying as we bake this summer. One note – I never see videos anymore so the first time I have seen these is while writing this: 1) It’s Time – Imagine Dragons What a cool song. This is my favorite song right now. I’m just not sure why they were inspired to set the video in some sort of end of the world wasteland. Odd. 2) Tongue Tied – Grouplove Finally–a video that captures the mood of the song–but it’s backwards and i…

Lights Out! (or the lengths I’ll go to trying to beat the heat)

If I ever buy another house, I am going to remember two things. First, I need a dining room and not an “eating area” that is part of the kitchen and way too small. Second, I need to consider the amount of shade around the house (hardly none here) and which way the sun will be coming in the windows at which time of the day.The sun comes in directly through the back of the house I did buy in the late afternoon during the hottest part of the day. This turns our kitchen and living room into a toaster oven due to the higher ceilings. Another part of the problem was the $4.50 blinds I put up in a rush when we bought the house. We moved in very fast considering that we were renting and had a short window to move. This was also while I was travelling all of the time for work. And, I was cheap.I have replaced many of those cheap blinds with newer, still cheap, blinds over the years. I’ve also resorted to using newspaper to cover the kitchen windows on 100+ degree days so that the AC does not h…

It might be time to move north

I wouldn’t mind it if summer hadn’t started in February this year or if it had rained in the last month. At least I no longer have any grass to mow. It’s strange having to water the trees every night. I’m too lazy to set up sprinklers and do the whole yard but I might do that right ahead of the 4th so the neighborhood hoodlums don’t burn down the house with fireworks.

The good news is that relief is in sight. We’ll be back down to 99 on Tuesday if the forecast holds up.

Thank you, Nora Ephron

“I’ll roll down the window.”

Blog Vacation!

Remember when I was on actual vacation and blogged everyday through it?

Now I’m not on vacation but I am taking a break from the blog for a few days. The last week was a real energy drainer so I am taking some time to NOT THINK!

I should be back by the end of the week unless we all melt before then.

The Mid-Week Report

If you’re expecting an exciting tale from the pages of my life, it’s not going to happen. The highlight of my week was when my office chair suddenly imploded on Tuesday. After three years of propping up my doughnut-filled rear end, it gave out. It now sits on the deck awaiting its trip to the recycling station.

Oddly, I had felt like I had been leaning to the left most of the day. I found myself leaning more to the right to offset it and had just started to accept this as normal behavior when – BAM! – the left side gave out and I was suddenly at an angle.

I can’t blame the chair. It had enough torture.

There is not much other news. The week after vacation always drags and this week has been no different.

My first day back at work after vacation–in pictures!


The secret thing you must do to have a good vacation

The best thing about this vacation is that I totally dropped off “the grid” for the first time in years. In past vacations, I did my best to ignore work emails but it never worked. They never stop coming in and, even though I turned off the alerts, I always gave in and checked those emails from time to time. This caused the normal frustrations of work to actually leak into my time off.

Not this time.

I am betting there will be around 1000 to sift through on Monday morning when I return between the direct ones (important) and all of the ones I am copied on (some important, some not, some resolved in my absence). This always on connectivity has brainwashed us into feeling weird about letting them pile up unchecked. That’s totally unhealthy.

I’ve had a “smart” phone for so long now (from Treo to Blackberry to iPhone) that being connected all of the time seems routine. As dumb as it sounds (and it does sound dumb as I am writing it but it’s still oddly true), it’s also hard to get out the t…

St. Louis– Day 4

Today was mostly about driving. We did visit the Butterfly House that was pretty close to our hotel before we left.

The drive was long and pretty boring. Most of it looked just like this.

I have to admit that I was pretty happy when I saw this sign. Unfortunately, we were still hours from home.

We did make a special excursion off of the interstate to visit Metropolis, Illinois. It’s the home of the world’s tallest man carrying groceries.

Metropolis is prepared for the fallout from the atomic wars that Dr. Emmett Brown warned us all about.

Of course, our main reason for driving into Metropolis was to get this picture:

It was a good way to end the vacation. Too bad we had to jump back in the car and drive another 3 and a half hours. The real end of the vacation was coming home, unpacking, washing all of the bug bodies off the car, and then washing all of the dirty clothes.

It was a good trip but it’s good to be home.

St. Louis – Day 3

We started out at the City Museum. It’s basically a gigantic playground for kids. A big part of the playground is on the roof.

See that bus up there? You can walk onto that bus and look down and try not to lose your breakfast.

Lindsay went right to the drivers seat. Not me.

There is also a lot of stuff inside – like the world’s largest underwear.

The kids also managed to get me on to this gigantic slide. I had to climb all the way up to the top before I could come down. I can’t really show how high it is (maybe 5 stories?). At the very top you crawl over to the slide in this tube and can see clearly all the way down. I DID NOT LOOK DOWN AT ALL. It was bad enough not looking down. I would probably still be up there refusing to budge if I had looked.

The kids went two more times. I stayed safely on the ground.

We also walked a million blocks over to the City Garden.

We walked another 50 miles (at least it felt like 50 miles) to Union Station where the mall is pretty much deserted but we had …

The Blog-i-versary: 5 years

It all began five years ago.

I never thought it would last. I had tried and failed with two other blogs on two other sites before arriving at Blogger and giving it one more try. I guess the third time really is the charm.

The blog now reads as an autobiography of sorts. There is a lot of ground covered here and a lot of events. It’s hard for me to believe that it has been five whole years.

I’ve been lucky enough to ‘virtually’ meet a lot of people over the years who have also tackled this writing thing quite nicely. They have kept me going with their perseverance when I’ve been tempted to fold this thing up. A list of those blogs are on the right side of this page.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have a few thousand people stop by from all over the world. They end up here because of Google mostly but it’s their fault for Googling some weird search terms. “Toilet paper” brings people here a lot even though it’s been quite a while since I wrote about TP (until now).
Whatever reason you made i…

St. Louis – Day 2

I took 140 pictures at the Zoo. That might be a low number for some people but it’s quite a feat for me.

We stayed there for almost 7 hours. I can’t even being to describe everything we saw. It was a bit overwhelming. And, it was a bit hot. Just ask our new friend Al. I can’t remember his last name.

I told the elephant a few old jokes that he seemed to enjoy.

We ended up being swarmed by butterflies at the butterfly house.

The penguin thought we had fish in our pockets. Sadly, we didn’t. He also wouldn’t fit in my backpack so he won’t be coming home with us.

This owl freaked me out. I think he stared into my soul. I blinked first, of course.

We topped off the evening with another fattening and totally excellent meal. It’s going to be difficult when we have to go back to Krystals and Waffle House.

We’ll spend most of the day indoors tomorrow as we start off at the City Museum downtown.

St. Louis – Day 1

The drive ended up being 7 hours thanks to the numerous coffee and bathroom breaks but it was a great day for a drive.

There is a museum at the Arch where they have the 1899 Ford Contour on display.

The view from the top of the arch is impressive and nauseating.

If you lean over, you can look almost straight down 630 feet. Ugh.

We ate at a historical area near the arch called Laclede’s Landing.

We finished up with Ted Drewes famous Frozen Custard.

Tomorrow is the Zoo and who knows what else. We have a GPS and a full tank of gas so anything is possible.