Never mind, i’m a happy, albeit poorer, camper
We’ve been snapping a lot of pics lately, and some of them came out pretty good so here I am to share:
Gizmo is a huge lap cat
Even when there is no lab, he still prevails
As you can see here, he is quite the lap whore…with a bonus Nibbler in my lap
Stretching…or trying to strangle me? You decide
We ended up taking this really awesome pictures of Juliet looking all serious and overlordish, which reminded me of something so I gave it a little photoshop treatment:
- 1 vs 100: A prank on Japanese televsion. Watch the whole thing, trust me you’ll laugh.
- Transformer Cosplay. I freely admit that even at 31 I think these are probably the coolest things I’ve ever seen, certainly the coolest costume I’ve ever seen.
- A video of a cruise ship in a cyclone. Kinda boring for most of it, but worth it just for seeing how far a boat can go without tipping right the heck over.
- A web game, 5 minutes to kill yourself. Run around an office figuring out ways to off yourself using things you can find. Of course, I don’t know about where you work, but where I do there isn’t often a clown in the bathroom waiting to stab me. Although we do have giant shark tanks.
- Beer coasters printed with special red ink to stop drunk drivers. Freaky.
- Season Shot, kill your prey and season them all at the same time. Coming soon, stuffing cannon balls.
Many of you know that last year Jen and I got married. During the planning for that event I saw and add in the weekly circular of our sunday paper that caught my eye. I’ve actually saved it all this time, and scanned it so you could see what I’m talking about:
It was around June/06 when I saw that, and I thought to myself “wow, what a great idea, Jen will be really excited about these for the wedding”. It really stuck me as an idea whose time had come, I mean being able to print any message on an M&M and make it look all custom and slick like that, who couldn’t get excited about it when planning a big event that was a pivotal moment in their life? Plus it had the benefit of being somewhat modern and not the same old same old that everyone expected. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to want to be cutting edge in a market full of paper confetti.
After talking it over we were both excited about them, and thought they would be really cool to do. So we headed over to the M&M site and started seeing what we could fit on them. Here’s a screen capture of what we ended up with, taken directly from the M&M site:
A few weeks later they arrived, I believe we ended up paying around eighty dollars for 7 8oz bags of them (and that was with a coupon for free shipping). They arrived well packed, in a neat Styrofoam container, with an acceptable amount of broken one’s in there. The only problem I really have is with the print quality. Honestly, I think it’s horrible and looks more like somebody did it with a dot matrix printer. I think that way because of the expectations created by their ads and their website. If you look at both of them, the text is clear, crisp, exactly what you would expect a high end custom quality product to be, what we ended up with however was not reflected in their advertising:
Of course we kept them and used them, they were still a great idea I think. My real issue is that they look nothing like what we expected to receive at all. So out of curiosity I emailed M&M asking if perhaps our batch was under par or if this was the level of quality to expect, and if so then why does their website not reflect that or their ads?
This was the response I received:
Thank you for your email.
The quality of print should be clear as you would expect when placing your order. However there are times when the machine in which they print might have a glitch or not print in the quality it should. If you were to ever receive any candy with faint or non legible text please feel free to contact us here in our customer service department. We can be reached at 1-888-696-6788. If you were to ever receive an order as so, we would reship the order out to at no cost.
Have a great day!
Your friends at MYM&M’S
Of course that doesn’t really address any concerns I might have about whether or not the print quality in my batch was poor or not. And I don’t see how calling them up is going to help, for some reason I don’t think holding the m&m up to the phone will work.
So I guess take this as friendly advise, if you’ve ordered custom M&M’s that look like poop, call them and they’ll redo your order. Taking a look at google, if mine had come out like these we wouldn’t have probably been disappointed in them a bit. Either way, there are so few pictures of them on the internet, I figured this would be a good reference for somebody looking to purchase them.
So we decided, with the baby coming it was time to upgrade camera’s. Of course you have to leave behind the diminuative size of the Pentax Optio S4, but you gain other advantages like better picture, 12x optical zoom, and better battery life.
Not that we’re getting rid of the pentax….just probably won’t use it as much. Ever since it got wet in Alaska it’s been making “old man” noises anyways. We’ve been playing with the panasonic over the weekend and snapped a few pics of the cats. The images are huuuuge by default, we’re still learning the in’s and out’s of the camera, but a 12x optical zoom is crazy…
And while on the topic of pictures, we picked up the wedding album yesterday finally. Cost a lot of money, but it was really well done. They even decided to use some of the pics in an upcoming ad for their website Of course we see nothing from it, but it’s still flattering.
Or how I spend the past two weeks….
Alright, so a few months ago I painted the hallways and took the old handrail down, which you can see a picture of here. There was nothing special about it, just your old generic 12′ section of premade handrail. Which I figured I could improve upon myself easily.
So we began the hunt, looking a different types at Home Depot, Lowe’s, even Menard’s. We finally ended up liking the oak handrail offered at Home Depot, but to do what I wanted, I needed a 13′ section…which they only carried 12″ max. No problem I figured, some dowels, wood glue, and some nails will be good enough. Boy was I wrong….
Moving on though, we bought two 8′ lengths ($3.85 per foot), some Minwax Ipswitch stain, and some handrail brackets which look like this actually. Mental note, if you take the wood over to the paint department they usually will let you test it on a bit of it to get a feel for it’s look. Pretty nice of them actually. I also watched this video courtesy of This Old House a few times.
So anyways we get home with all our stuff and get a crackin’. After some measurements of the thickness of the handrail bracket and handrail itself (diagonally) I ended up snapping a chalk line around 29 1/4″ from the top of the stair thread (which you should be able to see in this picture in particular). Actually putting up the handrail brackets has turned out to be one of the easier tasks once I got that chalk line up. Although sometimes finding a stud in this house is a nightmare, especially when you are trying to maintain a fairly equal distance between them. I’ve always had a pet peeve when it comes to making sure all 3 screws get sunk firmly into wood, because you always see some lazy builder who only puts two in and they always get wobbly.
After that, I started joining the top angle bits, and actually ended up doing two 20 degree cuts and joining them with good old wood glue and finish nails. I was going to try to do a dowel also, but trust me just nails…of course make sure you predrill the holes, especially when working with oak. Otherwise the nails will just bend as you are trying to countersink them. Here you can see the angle, and the test fit I did after it dried:
Now for the hard part….I had thought I would be able to just join the two pieces of hand rail with a few wood dowels, some glue and maybe some nails. What I’ve come to terms with is that between my lack of skill, limited tools, and ….well really do I need more than that? Basically anything I tried wouldn’t work. Even making jigs/templates out of cardboard always ended up with the holes being off way to much to fix with some sanding. So after much research I decided that my saving grace was a rail bolt kit (turns out they sell them at Lowe’s…when I found it I did a happy dance). Now onto the next problem….a 1″ spade bit has a 1/4″ point on it…..the handrail is only 1 14/” deep…which means by the time I drilled enough space for the rail bolt kit to fit…I’d have poked out the other end. So what I ended up doing was drilling as deep as I could and then using my drill press (thanks honey) to carve out the rest with a regular old spiral bit that just happened to be in it. Took a little while to do but worked great. Of course trying it by hand would be crazy, you need the ability of the drill press to stop the depth. There’s a great shot of me halfway through down below…..
Now that the hole was drilled, I needed to drill the one in the end of the handrail for the machine screw end to go in…this is of course a little bigger than it needed to be (1/2″ spade)…that’s the benefit of rail bolts, you get some wiggle room. So once I have the larger hole drilled I measured up where the wood screw half of the rail bolt should go and pre-drilled that hole as well. Then the next bit is the fun part…put it all together and glue the heck out of it. I had a real dog of a time getting the bolt snug and ended up using needle nose pliers as none of my open ended wrenches would even fit in the 1″ hole. Once it was as tight as humanly possible, a ton of wood glue and the oak plug went in:
The next day I came back and began the joy that is sanding. I ended up using a lot of 60 grit for the hard bits and then finishing up with a 100 grit. The oak was so hard that even 60 took a lot of elbow grease to get anything done. The real key here is patience, as I didn’t want to risk using a power sander. After sanding is all done the easy parts are next, stain and sand. No real tricks here, just used an old clean t-shirt and a high quality bristle brush for the shellac. After the staining I ended up putting the hand rail up on two screws so I could do the shellac in one whole coat twice, so no lines or anything.
24 hours later (horrible humidity…rained which means it took forever to dry) and we’re done. Pre-drilled all the holes and mounted it:
I think it’s better than the old one:
As somebody who spends a lot of time in front of a computer, I have to say my concerns over carpal tunnel syndrome have always been relegated to the back of my mind. Because honestly I just don’t believe in it, I think there are more likely reasons for the problems like bad posture.
That being said, whenever my wrists or hands hurt I always freak out and sit up straight for probably 20 minutes, then go back to making the letter J with my spine. Maybe I should get one of those cool ergonomic keyboards that cost more than a car or something stupid like that. Actually ya know…I’ve got one downstairs buried somewhere I bought for like 5 bucks a few years ago. It’s hell huge and even is so old it has a 5 pin din connector on it, but it’s probably better than an ergonomic keyboard for pirates.
Of course it could just be all the sanding I’ve been doing lately. Working on a handrail and it’s taken a lot more work than I originally forcast. Solid oak is a real pita to sand, I’ll be posting about it soon as it’s done…trust me I can’t wait to share with anyone who will listen how hard this was to do
Obligitory cute cat pic
Plus, here’s a cool thing. So Vista Ultimate comes with windows media center. It’s pretty much only useful to stream stuff to your xbox 360 like video’s and pictures. But that’s not the cool thing, see it turns out you can only stream video formats windows likes (wmv, etc) and not avi’s that use 3rd party codec’s like xvid. of course there are ways around it, but only work if you have a computer powerful enough to re-encode on the fly. So here’s the cool thing….I just re-encoded it from AVI/Xvid to WMV and slapped it on a usb thumbdrive I had lying around, took it downstairs and voila! Just plug it into the xbox 360 front and we’re good to go….works for mp3′s and pictures as well.
So why would I want MCE again? Maybe if I could surf the web through it…..god the 360 needs a browser.
also seen on our beer review website…
This is a quick and dirty poor man’s guide to making a black and tan using Guinness and Bass Pale Ale.
There are of course official ways to do it, that include this fine pouring spoon from Guinness themselves. While I’m sure it works brilliantly, a normal household spoon or equivilent will do just as well. So basically you just gather everything together shown below:
First open the Bass (or whatever…you can use just about anything including Harp). Simply open the bottle and fill your beer glass to the 1/2 point (generally this uses 3/4 of the bottle….good excuse to polish it off).
Now this is where the only trick is at. All you do is hold the spoon upside down and pour over the curved back of it. If you click on the picture below you’ll actually see an animted gif of what this looks like:
As the gif shows make sure you use caution as the pouring of Guinness attracts natural preditors
Just remember to take your time when pouring, don’t go to fast, and you’ll end up having your self one impressive looking drink.
There’s a stray cat that’s been prowling the neighborhood lately, and I’ll admit to giving it some food. But we hadn’t seen her yesterday so we were a little worried, and just as I was about to bring in the dish who do I spy but a masked face peaking around the deck.
Yup, apparently we have raccoons living, or squating, under our deck. I guess they were hibernating down there or something? The weather really warmed up just recently so I guess they got all antsy down there. In fact as I was making my coffee (mmm…coffee) this morning I saw two of them crawling around the back yard.
Is it wrong I think they are kinda neat? Big mother’s for sure though, and not at all afraid of people, on of them looked like was all content with just walking up to me and giving me a friendly rabies hello bite.
It was the paw prints in the snow that got me, figured if she can live through the almost sub zero temps we had, then we could spare a little food for her. God I’m such a sucker. It’s all good though now cause I see her perched on a tree stump outside just chilling, so at least we know she’s not dead.
We had a busy weekend here. Picked up the baby’s bedroom set and been busy assembling it and suckering friends into helping me move it into the house. Stuff is huuuge. Hence no pic’s until we’re done with it…which will be a while because I’m also building a new, larger handrail for the stairs. I took the old one down when I painted the foyer and hallway a few months ago and hadn’t yet put one up. I’ll have pics of that when I”m done of course…
- The creators of Drawn Together go on a show called Reality Remix, one of them drinks Ipecac, let’s see if you can tell which one. Brilliant!
- I want a humping dog usb memory stick…is that really so wrong? These would make great stocking stuffers!