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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

July 19, 2005

Feelin' hot, Hot, HOT!

We've had an unusual (compared to recent years) hot spell here in July, with (I believe) 11 straight days of 90+ degree (F) temperatures. If I recall the statistic correctly, that's not happened since 1988. While it's good to (finally) see a warm summer again (it seems as though the last several years have been cool summers, mild winters)...it'd be nice to have some more rain.

I've started to put out the sprinkler in key parts of the lawn (namely the larger portions where it was seeded this spring) since it's more susceptible to the lack of moisture due to its lack of establishment. According to the radar tonight, it looks as though we might get a little bit of free watering, but I don't anticipate much.

Regardless, it seems as though it's either one thing or the other... smile

On the other hand, it's been good growing weather. The corn is now tasseling out and has been at or above my head since around July 4 around here...and the soybean rows have filled in -- things are looking pretty good, at least for the short term. We'll see what happens if the rain situation continues.

Scraggly Puppy

Well, Koshka is losing her winter coat (finally), which is kind of late in the year. However, since she was born in mid-November of 2004, it doesn't surprise me that it's taken so long. She looks right now like a half-shorn sheep -- pretty scruffy, but day by day it's getting better.

Interesting Cat Observation

We obviously have two cats (George and Felix, the latter being the 'older' although the former being the 'firstborn' to us). They have very different personalities. For instance, George is much more 'active' in many ways. He's also very attached to me (as am I to him). Felix is much more 'passive' in many ways, with the exception of his playing (which I might add seems more like how a cat should play in contrast with how George plays). He's very much attached to Beth, and that's reciprocated. We each have our own cat.

Anyway, I happened to be in the basement one evening working on a miscellaneous project when I noticed the two of them eating at their side-by-side steel food bowl contraption. I noticed this because their large ID tags make a clinking noise against the stainless steel of the bowls. So, I watched them for a while (because they weren't playing and yet right next to each other). I noticed a very shocking difference in how they consume their food. Namely, George eats like how I would consider 'normal' in the cat world. He takes smaller bites and takes his time. Felix, on the other hand, I think I will have to refer to as 'the power shovel.'

Keep in mind that both cats have teeth yet and are in good shape. But Felix literally drops his lower jaw and pushes food to the opposite side of the bowl, where it eventually fills his mouth to capacity on the upswing. Then he attempts to eat the mouthful. And I wonder why he's occasionally making kitty regurgitation messes on the white carpet upstairs...

Camping Excursion

We took the opportunity over this last weekend to go camping, something which I've never really done before. We ended up at a very nice little campsite in Itasca State Park, where we spent two nights.

The experience was good; I'd have to say I'd do it again. However, one moment in particular sticks out as being very cool.

One morning (before driving around the park (which spreads into three different counties)), we stopped by the rental shop to check out the prices for bicycles. Now, pretty much anywhere you can go with a car (and many more places), there are bicycle trails. So, we were going to take some time and partake of this. Only upon reaching the storefront did we realize that they had tandem bikes available. Now, I've never done the tandem bike thing (but always found it intriguing), so upon finding out that [tandem rentals] are double a single rental (e.g. we'd pay no more than for two individual bikes), we took up the opportunity.

I'd have to say that the first 50 feet or so are the worst. It takes a little getting used to with the balancing (just because it's more than one person), but after just a short distance, we had the pattern down pretty well. In fact, by the time we returned an hour later, we were getting really good at 'launching' (which is the most difficult part).

I saw a picture around here somewhere...and perhaps I'll get one put up (amongst the many others I need to update) at some time. But, that's one more thing I can cross off my list of 'things I always thought would be cool to try...'

WCCO Radio Streams!

This is an exciting time for Matt. smile You see, I keep my pickup radio (and generally the car radio, when I'm in the car) to WCCO (AM) 830. I would love nothing more than to be able to have it on as background noise at work. Unfortunately, the fact that my office is inside a concrete bunker (facing northwest as well) and that the broadcast point is 150 miles to the southeast, I just can't receive it with my little radio in the office. frown

So, over the period of time I've worked in the office, I have mingled around with some more local stations (which is just fine) and, most recently for the longest period of time, settled on KMRS (AM) 1230 out of Morris. Easy to get, always available (since the broadcast point is only about 1.5 miles to the east) in all weather conditions, and has good local news and whatnot.

In the last few weeks, I discovered (via WCCO advertising as I listened on my way to/from work) that they had started streaming! So, after a few days of ignoring it, I tried it at work.

Much to my excitement, it's crystal-clear and has very minimal latency. For instance, when they're doing news and traffic, I haven't noticed much more than maybe 15-30 seconds latency -- which impressed me.

Furthermore, since I monitor the office bandwidth usage (for statistical purposes), I was excited to see that it only draws about 4.5K/second, which is well within our bandwidth capacity (it's less than half). This means that for our everyday usage (unless someone's downloading large files, etc.), the stream doesn't cut out at all. This helps make Matt happy.

So, the dilemma has now been which station to tune. After some careful thought, I've decided that I will stick to the KMRS thing for the morning hours (to get caught up on the local/regional stuff as well as the other informational and agricultural programming they have on before noon), and sometime in the afternoon switch over to WCCO. There's a particular segment of the afternoon programming I really like, and I also like that they simulcast the 5pm television news on the radio, so when I'm at work past 5pm (which is often) I can get a full hour of both television news and radio news (the latter half-hour) while I work, without the distraction of a regular television.

The question now is in how productive I can be. smile I'd have to say that the last several weeks have been very productive for me (and I'm not kidding, either) with several major things coming to completion (or at least satisfaction). So, the change in 'background noise' doesn't seem to have any ill-effect on my productivity. smile

Wrap-up

Short of that, I can't think of anything in particular that's exciting or new. It is a goal to hopefully finish the remainder of the drywall taping and miscellaneous stuff (so it'll just be finish work) in the bathroom this weekend -- that's of course contingent upon the weather conditions and whether or not I spend a few hours mowing the lawn.

Anyway...until next time...

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

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Miscellaneous Bits

  • One Gorgeous Daughter (Kirstin)
  • An Incredible Wife (Beth)
  • Two Cats (George/Felix)
  • Two Dogs (Koshka/Kurva)
  • My birthday is at the 48851th place in Pi
  • Frank Oz and I share birthdays (Go Fozzie Bear)!
  • Mike Myers and I share birthdays (Party On, Wayne)!

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