Archive for the ‘just me’ Category

This weekend we spent Sunday morning at a defensive driving course. I have heard of several of these classes, but we went to B.R.A.K.E.S. I say we, because these guys require that the parents and the kids take the course at the same time. The kids get alot more time behind the wheel, but the parent (or parents) get to see what the kids are going through. I am by no means an expert, but a couple of things were obvious to me after this weekend:

First, I don’t know why you would not have your kids go through this. The class was 4 hours. One hour was classroom, 2.5 hours of real world situations, and then 30 minutes of wrap up., The classroom was a bit drivers ed-ish, but probably good for the kids to hear again. The situations where just amazing. They did the skid pad, they locked up the abs breaks and tried to turn, they did a slalom course, and several others. None of the material was new, but doing and experiencing is so much better than just hearing about it. Plus, my son had a blast.

Second, I don’t know why adults do not want to do classes like this. As part of the class, Jenny and I got to do the same Slalom course, the same ABS lockup drills, and several other things. All the while, professional drivers are critiquing how we drive.. which was pretty humbling. We did not get to try the skid pad (bummer) but we did get to try some cool skid car which made every 90 degree turn into a fishtail. Jenny and I learned alot, and we had a blast.

All and All, BRAKES was a great course. A good way to spend a Sunday, and I suggest any parent of a rising driver to check it out.

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Mortal Sins for Donuts

Posted: February 7, 2013 in funny, just me

Warning…. humor follows:

My kids go to a parochial school. On the way home, my daughter tells me a story. “Dad”, she says, “I was walking by the office on the way to safety patrol. I saw Sister, and saw some donuts that were there. I said ‘Man, I would kill for one of those’. Sister then asked if I wanted one!”

I dont know which worries me more: (1) That my 10 year old daughter professed to be willing to commit a mortal sin in order to get a stale breakfast confection or that (2) Sister was willing to reward her for this profession.

/me is confused. 🙂

For our anniversary, my wife organized a tour of down town Raleigh. The cool this was that it was on a Segway with Triangle Segway. We went into this thinking how great it would be to try out the travel mode of the future, but we got alot more out of it.

First off, the technology is great. They are incredibly simple to ride. You feel comfortable immediately on them. I have never had a piece of technology meld so well with the activity you are doing. It feels natural to lean forward a bit to move. And when you think “Oh Sh*T”, your natural body motion make you stop. Very impressive.

The company put together a great tour. I learned more about our city in one hour than I have in the entire 5 years we have been here. I am not a history buff, but I appreciated the stories and the diggs on UNC. I kept thinking during the tour how everyone should take a tour of where the live, to really appreciate the nuances of their home town.

Here is a photo of us at one of our stops. We had an option to stop and stretch our legs, or to zip around and drag race each other. I won 🙂

Do you have a Bomber?

Posted: September 7, 2010 in just me

A few years ago, we decided to try boating. We purchased an old (1988) Bomber Commander off of craigslist. We have had fun, but it is a boat so it needs to be fixed. Dont worry.. I have heard all the jokes (Break Out Another Thousand, a hole in the water you throw money into) and they are all true!

Anyways, the more google driven research I do, the more I am surprised to find out how few Bombers there are out there. It seems like these boats have never existed. The only one I can find on google is this one which really does not look that good.

So.. do you have a Bomber? If so, let me know. Perhaps we can create a support group or something.

When Jenny was a youngling, she read a National Geographic Magazine that talked about indor skydiving. This month was Jenny’s birthday, and when I was talking to some friends they mentioned an Indoor Skydiving Place near us in Raeford, NC. They said it was fun, so I figured it would be a great birthday idea. The name of the place is Paraclete XP I called them up, and come to find out they could handle all ages. So, I called up my parents and they were willing to go. This past Tuesday Jenny, myself, the kids, and the grandparents all headed down to Raeford for Jenny’s Birthday.

This place is fabulous.

We headed down after work, and got there 45 minutes early. We were met by some friendly folks, and told to head up. There we saw the wind tunnel with 3 folks doing all types of fancy tricks. They were floating upside down, doing flips, and shooting themselves up 30 feet in the air. The tunnel was all glass, so we got to watch and see how cool it would be.

We then met Selwyn, our instructor. He was a Jamaican Dude with a Welsh Name. He was very friendly, and did a great job with both the kids and a the adults. He took us down to watch a goofy video, and then gave us some basic instructions about how to hold out bodies, and how to know when he wanted us to straighten our legs and bend them. He did a great job with the kids making sure they understood. Then we went to get dressed in our flight clothes. Let me say, we looked cool:

We then went in to fly. It was more physical than I thought it would be, but much easier to get control. Kudos to our instructor Selwyn who always seemed to know what we needed to do and did a great job communicating alot of information without talking. We were in 90-120 miles of wind, so you could not hear very much. But he did a great job.

All and all, we did good. Jenny did great on her first flight:

And both kids did great on their flights:

And for the proof that all ages can do it, here is my father in flight:

By the time it was over, we had all done 2 flights of 2 minutes each. This was more than enough time. We were able to get up to about 12 feet on our own and to do basic moves. At the end, the instructor asked us if we wanted to fly to the roof. He promised there was nothing we needed to do, and nothing we could do cause any issue. Needless to say, looking into a tunnel and seeing your wife shoot to the roof at 120 miles per hour is pretty wierd.

For folks in the Raleigh area, this is a great time. I highly recommend it!

First Solo Boat Repair

Posted: July 12, 2010 in just me, toys
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Last year we purchased a boat. It was our first, so we wanted something cheap which if it sank we could leave it where it lay. We found a Bomber off of Craigslist that fit the bill. Bomber is a real type of boat, one that was made back in the 80s. I think they do bass boats now. If you google it, you will find 3… all of them torn up hulks. This one had a little rot damage, but not too bad.

This year, the engine had been giving us issues. We have a Mercruiser 3.7/LX which I am told is an engine that was made for about 2 years. It was the only 2 years that Mercruiser actually made the engine instead of contracting it out. So.. we have a unique boat, with a very unique engine. I don’t much about engines, but I know having a unique one is not great.

We tracked down the issue we were having to the to the shift interrupt switch. This is what it looks like:

The issue is that little switch which acts like a clutch on a car. It seemed to fail whenever we ran the boat and then stopped it. Since the engine is water cooled, the hottest the engine will get is after you stop running it. We guessed the heat was causing it to fail. We assumed it would be a cheap part, but soon learned that the entire plate had to be replaced. So much for cheap.

Here is the new part which I ordered from ebasic power, a good NC company:

It arrived in one day, which was great. The fix is that little grey piece right in the middle. The rest is what I needed to mount it to the engine block. I set out early Saturday morning to put it back on. It actually slid into place nicely. I disconnected the cables put them off to the side, unbolted the old piece, put the new piece back in, and added back the cables. I tested it with the muffs, and it seemed to work. My wiring was a bit messy, but all and all it looked good:

I read you needed to test this in the water, but saturday around noon it looked good. On Sunday, we headed out to the lake. And.. the boat worked like the champ. Here we are drying off towels and shirts after a good afternoon of skiing:

So, my first solo repair job on the boat.. and it seems to be a success!

My message to the movie industry

Posted: July 2, 2010 in just me
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I went to see Toy Story last week, in 3-D. It was very good. I went with my family (wife and 2 kids) so it was a bit on pricey side even at a matinee. However, the story was good.. the voices were good..the animation was great.. so it was worth spending the dollars.

One thing I noticed was that every one of the previews was for another 3-D movie. Some looked great, some looked like garbage. This has gotten me thinking.. if every movie is in 3-D, then that is the standard. I should not have to pay an upcharge to see it in 3-D.. it is the standard. In fact, I should actually get a discount to see the 2-D movie since I am settling for an inferior product.

Please do not take this as an excuse to raise the prices on all the movies. I love going to movies. I am willing to pay for the experience of sitting in the theatre with my friends and seeing it. However, you need to realize what Netflix and Red Box have done. Your 2-D movie is worth $1 to me. $1 for my whole family to see it. I am willing to pay more to see it in the theatre. The theatre experience is great, so I should have to pay for it. I get to see the movie sooner in the theatre, so again I can accept an up charge. However, my base price is $1 for a family of 4. So… if you triple the price for the theatre experience, and then triple that price for seeing it sooner you see about where I value the product.