In Threes, Part Deux

I suppose I’ve held my tongue for as long as I could.

As I posted a few weeks ago, there were quite a few things going on in my life that sort of restricted my blogging. Not so much the physical aspect but more emotional than anything and they really took their toll. There were definitely things to talk about but my choice, I didn’t so as to sort of keep my sanity while things cooled down.

Here are the updates.

1. Mom’s Sudden Surgery: Mom was in the hospital for about a week and last time I spoke with her, she’s back home and recovering. It’ll be about a month before she can drive again so she’s probably going to get cabin fever real soon. I promised to visit with Anthony when I had the chance but being I’m helping my friend out at his restaurant for a month, time’s going to be tight. I’ll see what I can do.

2. Ozziekat: I don’t think I need to go into any more details about my beloved kitty. I miss him still, even if our remaining cat Monte has decided to take over Ozzie’s duty of lying on my chest and falling asleep. He’d never done this before so it’s kind of freaky, almost as if Ozzie sort of put a bug in his ear. And I’m not going to lie: Ozziekat is still on my mind. In fact when I fed Monte this morning, I held back on the dry food so that there was enough for Ozzie. I stopped, hung my head, sighed, and poured the reminder into Monte’s bowl.

The one thing we have decided to do was dedicate the newly remodeled backyard garden to the memories of Ozzie and Cindy. I threw this together in Photoshop and had it printed to 8×10 so that I can frame it and post it within the garden:

dedication lo-res

The image of Ozzie is one of my favorites. He was simply basking in the sunlight that shone through the kitchen window and I thought hey, he looks so peaceful. So I grabbed my camera and took the shot. Cindy, as you can see, never looked very happy in photos but she was very loving and affectionate (see the clip in this post). While we miss them both, it’s been difficult for me with Ozzie’s passing. He was my buddy and he, although sometimes quite the turd, was a big part of our lives, mine in particular. We just clicked and it’s hard to imagine he’s gone. I’m sure I’ll be fine someday but for now, it’s still not easy.

And in case you’re wondering, no, we still haven’t gone to the shelter to look at another car because I honestly won’t be happy with another. He was one of a kind so chances are I’ll be looking for a clone and we both know that it’s not going to happen.

RIP, my little buddy.

3. Possible Job: All of those calls that at once time sounded so promising turned out to be sound and fury signifying nothing. Repeated e-mails to the recruiters went unanswered so I pretty much gathered that at this point, I’m out of the running for all of them. Oh well; they were too far anyhow.

Other than that, I haven’t been doing much else. Hell, even exercising, the one thing I used to do religiously, hasn’t been done in a few weeks. That’s not entirely a bad thing since I seem to have lost 3 pounds during that time. Go figure.

But I need to start training real fast because I’ve got a whole slew of 5ks coming up, including the Del Mar Mud Run in October. That just happens to take place the same week as the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour, which I’m also doing.

I need to get running again…

And with that, I think I’m back. Maybe not as steadily as before nor at first but back nonetheless. If anything, I may just start posting photos from wherever I go just to keep the blog alive.

I have returned. Try not to get too excited 🙂

iPod Upgrade, Part Deux

image4_20090909

It seems to be a tradition with me: I buy an iPod every two years.

Doesn’t it feel like only yesterday when I was contemplating purchasing a new iPod Touch? Only back then, the price of a 32GB model was a whopping $499. How freaking crazy was that?

In the end, I bought a 8GB model for $299. While I definitely loved the thing, its puny capacity left a lot to be desired. Damn my limited budget at the time.

But good things come to those who wait, especially for those who waited for the 3rd generation model.

Shortly after we got our taxes done and paid off our remaining credit cards, I was thinking of something to get myself for my birthday (which Ann and I tend to do). At first my mind was set on a new Trek bike which ran somewhere near $329 or so. But then I got thinking if I really needed a new bike when my current Trek is holding up just fine. I was also wondering if I really needed to spend the money on a new iPod.

So I sat down and thought about both for a little bit and just as I was about to call the bike store, something changed my mind. A few hours later, I was at Best Buy spending some of my tax return money on a 64GB iPod Touch which is destined to be my everything iPod, replacing my ancient and clunky 5th generation iPod Video (which I also had trouble deciding on).

What I Love About It

There’s not much to dislike about my new iPod Touch. I now have twice the storage capacity of my iPod Video, I’ve stuffed it with everything I own along with some videos and movies, and still have room for more stuff. I also transferred all my apps so I’m right back where I left off with my 8GB model.

The volume control buttons and speaker are both added benefits. Playing games and having no sound or wearing headphones was a bit of a pain but with the speaker, everything’s cool.

Its overall speed is also impressive. It runs everything much faster than my 1st-gen Touch, and that was one of the things I hated about it: it was slow. It seems my problems are now solved. (Note that speed improvements do not apply to the 8GB model.)

The addition of the built-in Nike + app also adds value to the new iPod Touch, and I’m finding myself using it quite often. As a matter of fact, I’ve been walking every day and tracking my progress on the Nike Running site. All you need to run this app now is the Nike + sensor (not the entire Sport Kit) that fits in Nike + shoes or, if you don’t care for Nikes *raises hand*, you can buy a small sensor pouch that fits onto your existing shoe. What a great way to track your distance, calories burned, etc. Through the Web site, I also signed up for a few challenges: 210 Miles in 2010 and the St. Paddy’s Day Lucky Runner Challenge (10 miles between 3/7/10 and 3/17/10).

And the overall size of the iPod? It’s amazing to think they crammed 64GB into such a small package.

What I Dislike About It

Apple does a great job with the designs of most of their products but if there’s one thing they really should improve upon, it’s their awful excuse for earbuds. These things are so useless that I still have two pairs in their original factory-sealed condition. They suck—plain and simple. For me, they never stay in my ears and the sound is just shitty—and that’s sitting still. How in the world do they expect them to stay in my ear while out for a run or walk? It’s just not possible, so I’m still using my old Sony earbuds that were free with the purchase of my first iPod Touch. The hook around my ear, fit inside perfectly, sound great and don’t slide out.

Using said earbuds, however, leaves me at a slight disadvantage: the lack of a built-in mic means I can’t use the iPod’s Voice Memo or Voice Control features. But after trying it a few times and realizing how horribly it responds to my commands, I don’t think I’m missing anything at all. Great feature, poor execution.

One of the other things I dislike about my new iPod is that it can’t be used with any of my old clock radios with integrated iPod docks (and neither can Ann’s 2nd-gen Touch). I have three clock radios with docks on them and if you think I’m going to go out and replace them all, then you’re nuts. Actually, I could probably replace the one next to my bed since I tend to use a few “white noise” apps to help me get to sleep sometimes. Then again, I could just use my old iPod Touch for that.

While the new generation models don’t play well with older accessories, I did find out that one of the watches I bought for my birthday does work with it. I picked up a Timex Ironman iControl watch for $30 and decided to attach the transmitter to my new iPod Touch. Much to my surprise and delight, the thing works brilliantly. I’ll gladly sacrifice Voice Control in order to use my watch for controlling volume, skipping songs, etc.

All in all, I’m very happy with the new iPod Touch. Now let’s wait and see what I decide to buy in another two years.


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Air Force One, Part Deux

Air Force One Part Deux, originally uploaded by aeromat.

A better shot!

UPDATE: More images uploaded to my Flickr account. See them here! And behold, my first stitched photo evar! I used three different images and stitched them together in Photoshop 7. I’m diggin’ the results and I’m sure I’ll get better. The digital zoom was maxed out; hence the pixelization of the image.

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Pumpkins, Part Deux

Remember those nifty home-grown pumpkins from a few posts ago? Well, last night Ann bought our annual package of carving instruments and we went to town.

Here is mine which was made from the tallest pumpkin of the bunch:

I figured since this is the 15th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas, I thought I’d do mine as Jack Skellington. Although my original intention was to paint his face on the surface, I’m rather pleased with what I ended up with here. Anthony ended up only carving a little bit before he cut himself ever so slightly. That’s when he turned in his dull carving instrument and declared he “hated carving pumpkins!” He’ll be fine.

Speaking of things you might remember, what about the pumpkin I tole painted in this post? I found the original decoration which inspired it! Here they are, side-by-side:

They’re almost identical in terms of design but I think mine is a bit smaller. Oh well; I still dig it. As a matter of fact, there were a few other vintage Hallowe’en decorations in the bunch! And since I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to share the wealth.

Here are some decent-size scans of all of them:

Note that since these things are from my childhood, like myself they show signs of wear after years of abuse. (The black cat is missing its tale, for example.) But unlike me, the abuse can be rectified in Photoshop. I ended up taking them to work since my cubicle was looking rather bare for Hallowe’en.

And the black cat decoration is what I used for my Hallowe’en banner, which will change back to the Phillies banner on November 1st. So don’t worry, Preston. I haven’t forgotten our bet 🙂


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Taste of Lexus Event, Part Deux

Waaaay back in November of 2005, I wrote a post about attending the Taste of Lexus: Performance Edition Event at Dodger Stadium. As has become tradition with me whenever I go somewhere and write about it, I posted a link to the album for viewing.

But alas, that was when I still used Yahoo! Photos and up until yesterday when I fixed it, that link was busted. (For those that don’t know, Yahoo! Photos no longer exists.) It turns out that people are still interested in seeing what happens at such an event and because of this, I’ve uploaded the images from that day to my Flickr account. Note that I was, um, much fatter back then and that this time around, there are short video clips!

Here’s one of me taking the Lexus IS 250 through the test track:

So for those of you who wanted to see what it’s all about, you now have your chance. And hey, if you ever come across a busted link or image, please let me know by sending me an e-mail:

Thanks!

UPDATED: I forgot to mention a cool (and free) program I found yesterday called RAD Video Tools, which allowed me to convert my Quicktime video above to AVI for editing purposes. It was too long and Flickr cut off the part where I was actually driving the car (since half of it was of me waiting for the light to turn green). And being I rarely shoot clips, I didn’t want to spend money on Quicktime Pro just to edit those occasional clips. I’d rather stick with Windows Movie Maker and go from there.

This program did the beautifully, so thanks to them for making it possible!


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