Friday, May 26, 2017

Crash and Burn

Sorry once again for my absence but I've run into a bit of a disaster, at least as far as high-tech modern life goes - my computer hard drive (HD) crashed, which, for anyone who owns a computer, is your worst nightmare. It's one of those things that happens to “other people” but not to me! The crazy thing is that I was using it the night before and the next morning the darn thing wouldn't boot up. I could turn it on but and the booting process would stall about 75% of the way in and then the computer would just shut down.

I took it into the repair center and they did a quick diagnostic and said at first glance it seems to be a HD problem. They wouldn't know for sure until they opened it up, but in the meantime I should consider my options, which would be to try and repair the HD, replace it, or get a new computer. Replacing the HD was the cheapest and actually most desirable option because my HD was old and ran slowly. In fact, the guy at the shop said if this was the original HD on the computer than I probably got my money's worth out of it. The implication was that my computer is as old as the hills, which I can't really argue with. Buying a new computer would have cost me about $1000, which would have been painful, if not intolerable, but it would have been nice.

I decided to go with the new hard drive, and opted for a high-tech solid state drive, or SSD. More on this later. It took them a few days to get the drive, which came in last Friday, and then a few days to put the thing in. During that time I was without a computer, though I had my daughter's school laptop that they lent to her. I didn't want to get too involved with school property, and it was a PC that had been severely limited in terms of applications and web usage, for good reason. It didn't have any word processing software and instead employed Google docs, which is usable but a little more tedious. Besides, everything you do is under the auspices of Google, so instead I decided to just wait it out and get my computer back. I took it in on Tuesday and they got it back to me yesterday. Boy was I stoked.

Now my computer is back but I've lost almost everything in terms of software because of the crash. Thankfully most of my data has been backed up, albeit incorrectly (more on this later, too), but I need to go back and retrieve all the programs.

It's been quite an ordeal but as always there is a good story to go along with it. To add to the fun I had a take my car into the shop, as well, but that, like many things in my life, is a story for another time.

--> Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to AZ Laptop Medic for the pic.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Warming Up

It's finally beginning to feel like spring out there, and despite my love for winter and the snow, I'm all for it. Spring so far has been somewhat cold, damp, and gray. We even got snow in many places earlier in the week, if you can believe that. In fact, when we drove to and from M'bury on Tue there was still plenty of snow on Killington. Winter just won't let go of her firm grip. In the past couple of days the moisture has finally taken a break and the sun has been shining. In fact, we've had a couple of really beautiful days, which means it's time to mow the lawn and prep firewood, of course. I'm ready. All this down time is making me soft, especially in the places that count.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mike Smith for the pic.

Spring Cleaning

In a necessary and symbolic gesture, I washed all of our hockey gear and put it away until next winter. I still find it amazing that hockey gear is washable. I've found it very effective to simply toss everything (everything that smells, that is) into a large front loading washer and let it rip. It comes out smelling fresh like a spring day, I kid you not. As I mentioned, it works for everything that smells, including shoulder and elbow pads, jerseys, shin guards, and of course, the dreaded gloves. In addition to removing the smell, washing removed a (sort of) nasty stain on my should pads, which I didn't think would go away. Boy was I relieved.

Anyway, with this being our last year in this organization, it was fitting to wash away the dirt, grime, and sins of hockey and get a fresh start. Mind you, I don't think we're going into a perfect situation, not by a long shot, but our time in Eden is done and it's time to move on. Next season should be interesting, to say the least.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Janet Ulliott for the pic.

Surf Prep Progress

We are moving along in our surf preparation, though I realize I did a big-time knucklehead move by not bringing my other surfboard back with me when I was last in LA. I have an old somewhat junkie twin fin in my mom's garage that I figured I could just leave out there because it's not that great of a board. It is, however, in decent shape, and it's a usable board that would get us further along in our quest to be New England surf giants. It would have been simple enough now that I know the drill, and since it's smaller than the other board (the nice one) that I brought back, it would have been doable. Plus, that would mean that we'd have three boards and we'd be ready to rock and roll. Oh well, maybe next time. In the mean time, I'm still formulating a plan on this front, so stay tuned for more.

In other areas, I finally got the kids wetsuits, and we're all pretty stoked about this. I ended up getting them new ones online, which is fraught with potential complications, the biggest one being the cost. For obvious reasons I was really trying to find used wetsuits online but even used suits aren't that cheap. I looked on Ebay and Craigslist, and the ones that looked semi-decent cost easily around $50, and when you add in shipping, I was looking at $60-70. There are plenty of used suits for $100-200+, but I wasn't about to go there. That's not even factoring in the state of the suit, including all the urine that's passed through it. Yes, everyone pees in their wetsuit, which is a pitfall of buying used. There's something about something wet right up against your skin that makes this fact a little less palatable.

And that's only if you can find a decent suit that would fit, which isn't easy. Another obvious problem with buying things online is finding something in the right size. I don't know what Ebay's or Craigslist's policies are on returns or exchanges are, but I'm guessing the are not as good as a retailer, if they even exist. I needed a situation where I could exchange the suit for the right size if it didn't fit. Actually, just getting the right size involved a bit of guesswork since the kids have never tried wetsuits on and the size charts don't necessarily correspond with clothing sizes. Boy, it's small miracle that I've even made it this far.

So, factoring in all these complications, I needed to find a place that carried decent wetsuits, preferably new (or at least very good) condition, and with a good selection and a good return policy. Oh yeah, did I mention it had to be reasonably priced, or should I say, cheap? Is that asking for too much? Apparently so. The reality is that I just wasn't going to fulfill all my criteria for a cheap price, which for me meant $5-10. Get real, young man.

I ended up going to a site called LeisurePro, which is actually a scuba shop. They carry a wetsuit brand called Hyperflex, which I'd never heard of, but I'm old and out of touch, so it's not a big deal. The suits got good reviews on the site as well as Amazon, and best of all, they were reasonably priced. The prices wasn't amazing, but was pretty darn good for a new suit (one that got decent reviews on Amazon). In addition to the price, there were other positives that literally sucked me into the purchasing vortex, including free shipping and a good return policy.

I really struggled with this because having never surfed I wasn't sure how much of a commitment to make with the kids, even though I really want them to love the sport. I know I did when I was younger and will surely love it again even though I'm old and falling apart.

Okay, I'm carrying on too much. There is one final piece in this drama that sealed the deal, and it came during my trip to LA. My mom said she would buy the kids new wetsuits as long as I didn't get too crazy with it. I couldn't believe it because she always hated the fact that I surfed since only losers and drug addicts surf... which is kind of true, but not exactly. I was stoked when she said this, and she seemed happy with it, as well. I ordered them that very day.

There was some guesswork in terms of sizing, but the suits arrived and the kids tried them on and they fit. They look like surfers, I am so stoked. Now we just have to wait until the water gets above 50 degrees to hit the waves. We are currently too busy to make the trip the coast, but in about a month things will calm down and warm up, which means surf's up, dude.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sundown Ski and Surf Shop for the pic.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Ready for Wood

It's been a cool, if not cold, spring and as a result, we have yet to really stop burning wood. Consequently, the wood pile is diminishing and as it does, my heart aches. Why are we burning so much wood this winter? I have no clue, but I do know that I'm fired up (no pun intended) to start cutting, splitting, and stacking wood to rebuild the pile. We have a fair number of logs left over from last winter which I'm ready to start blocking up, and I'm ready to take delivery on our next load. I think it would be best if I could cut up the remaining logs and leave some space for the next delivery, but that would mean getting the chainsaw up and running and for it to stop raining. I can take care of the former, but the latter is beyond my control.

I am in touch with my logger and he said he could take care of me some time this month, so we'll see. He happens to be a friend and neighbor, so that eases my mind a bit... but only a bit. In the meantime I am going to be laser focused on getting this year's pile back in order. Once that's done, I can give some thought to year 2, but one thing at a time, right?

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Amy for the pic.

LAX Begins

We're in the midst of our usual spring rite of passage where we stow away the hockey equipment and gear up for lacrosse. This year N is playing with the school and it's a little busy but the season is short. Fast and furious, as the saying goes. He has practice and games every day, which is kind of a pain, but I guess they try to cram it all in over a short period because the season lasts about a month. Seems kind of crazy to go so short, but what are you going to do?

This year they are combining two grades because the simple reality is not as many kids are playing the game. The numbers get diluted out as kids gravitate to other sports like track and baseball, but somehow lax still has that macho mystique that a lot of guys want to be a part of. There is huge crossover with hockey. I tried to talk N into playing for another program, maybe one that's more relevant to his school and hockey future, but he wanted to stick with his old program. It actually worked out because most of his friends are in the grade above him and since they are combining grades, he gets to play with them. This has not always been the case in years past.

They've been doing well, putting away the competition with some level of ease. I've noticed that many youth lax programs are not very strong, but somehow once these kids reach high school, the teams suddenly become good. Conversely, N's team kicks butt in youth lax but the high school competition is much stronger and there they no longer dominate. I find this fact very interesting.

On a bright note, though they are combining the two grades, not all the younger kids get to play with the older kids, just a few that the coaches pick out, and N happens to be one of them. That means he gets to not only play with his friends from hockey, all of whom are older than he is, but he also gets to play in both games, thus doubling the fun.

I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Fred Backhaus for the pic.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Finally Some Sun

The weather has been a bit of drag lately because it seems like we haven't had any sun... that is, of course, until today. Thank goodness for that. This past week, maybe even two weeks, it's been cold, cloudy, and rainy. It's crazy, especially when I was just in 90 degree temps in Cali. I've been wanting to mow the lawn and cut wood but haven't been able to, though for full disclosure it took me awhile to get the lawnmower and chainsaw prepped and ready. I know that if the weather had been nicer, I would have surely had them ready to roll much sooner... yeah, right.

Either way, to compound my angst, we've been burning wood regularly, thus depleting the pile that I need to replenish yet can't because the weather is too miserable. Will my suffering ever end? On a bright note, the cool weather (versus the heat) makes outdoor activities more pleasant, including sports like lax, at least for the players. At the past couple of games the fans, i.e., the parents, were freezing their YKWs out there. It was pretty miserable.

And to further promote my boundless optimism, the weather has been good to the flora - things are very green and flowery. It's actually a lovely day, and a testament to what a little sunlight can do to you disposition. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Daphne Correa dos Reis for the pic.