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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Another Busy Day

I managed to get many things accomplished today, which was a welcome Good Thing. Several miscellaneous things at work are now off the plate (always nice). I got home and worked on a few various things, but most importantly was the chipping away at some of the thank you cards for all of Kirstin's happenings (something about birth and all that brings this on).

Phase one of the thank you notes is now complete; the mail-out set. Well, they'll go out tomorrow (Friday), so most will receive them by Saturday. That's nice to have out of the way, even though it really only represents less than a third of the total notes to go out. About half of them are hand-deliveries (of sorts), so those don't need to get mailed out, and then there are those that fall into the 'other' category. :)

And yes, I did categorize them that way. Mail, Hand Deliver, Other.

I wanted to wait on preparing any thank you cards until after Kirstin's shower, mostly because I knew there would be some overlap, so rather than trying to keep track of those who had received cards, those who hadn't, etc., it was simpler to hold off as long as possible. Seeing as how there doesn't appear to be any more showers lined up for a while, now's a good time. So early next week we can handle the hand-deliver ones, and those in the 'other' category as they come along.

I haven't had much time to really play around with the camcorder much, but I have played around with it. I probably took more video this afternoon with it than I've done so far. It's kinda fun. I've not transferred any video to the computer just yet (mostly because I haven't had the time, but also because I've not really taken anything groundbreaking enough to justify spending time with it right now). But, I figure that by the time my FireWire cable comes, I'll have enough stuff ready to go to justify some extra time.

On a completely different note, it looks like the basement is starting to dry up (hooray)! We really didn't have much water coming in through the floor this year at all (a welcome change from last year), and as of my inspection this afternoon, many places have completely dried up now. Those that haven't yet have receded quite a bit. So, I'm hoping that (unless we get a load of rain this weekend) by sometime next week the situation will have resolved itself. It's not even really that concerning to me this year, because it's been so minimal.

On that note, however, I've decided to change the plan for a sump basin installation. I was ultimately hoping to put it in the corner of the cistern closest to the center of the house (closest to the worst of the seepage through the floor), but that requires first to gain entry into the cistern (which is not going to be a fun job). After thinking about it, I am now thinking about instead digging a sump basin beneath the basement stairs. It's a fairly remote place (not well used space, either), will be much closer to an eventual power source (It's only a few feet from the circuit panel), doesn't require access to the cistern be created first, and most importantly is the closest unobtrusive location to the worst seepage through the floor in the entire basement.

So, this may be a summer project for me. Rent a jackhammer and go to town. I've seen the process done before and, while I'm really not looking forward to it, if I can get the concrete work (jackhammer stuff) done in a short period of time (seeing as how I have to rent a jackhammer), the remainder of the work is just plain brute force (dig out underneath the foundation for the basin) and technical (wire and plumb) and shouldn't be too bad. So we'll see what happens. I don't intend to do anything for a while, because I want the basement to dry up pretty well (and also want the water table to recede a bit so it's less heavy/wet dirt to haul out.

On my way to work today I heard an interesting bit of information about April 19 on the radio. Most notably that 14 years ago today was the Branch Davidian compound bust (I remember that pretty vividly, watching it during a social studies class in junior high). 12 years ago, the bombing at the federal building in Oklahoma City (which I also remember from news coverage), and the Columbine massacre in 1999.

All three of those events (and obviously several more which have taken place) are really sad and frustrating. But it's odd that three events of such magnitude happened to fall on the same calendar date. I'd never really thought about that before, so when it was noted to me I found it quite intriguing. In a perfect world, there will never be another event like those to fall on April 19 (or any other time during the year for that matter). I also think that some of the 9/11 business (most notably the engraving of the date 9/11) has tended to overshadow previous dates. In other words, the date of an event (e.g. April 19) was never really ingrained into our heads like that event in 2001...so it's easy to not recall exactly what date those things took place.

Anyway, enough of that morbid talk. I probably won't get in any blog posts this weekend, as we've got a few things going on and my Internet availability may be sketchy at best, so I'm guessing that Sunday evening I'll return to the daily post again. Just a heads-up for anyone that happens to read this daily. :)

Until next time...

--MZ

Mom, Kirstin, and George


Mom, Kirstin, and George
It's not often at all when something like this
happens, so I was sure to get a picture of it.
George is sharing Beth's lap. Sorta. :) So it's
not *just* me he does this to, but it's far more
often my lap than Beth's.
This is just a short photo blog entry, but I had to re-post this picture here as well, because it's so unusual to see George sharing Beth's lap. To boot, I got a good picture of him (and a cute picture of a sleeping Kirstin).

--MZ

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

There's Always Tomorrow


Emotion 1 - Fear!
No! In a word. :)
First off, I chose to do the photo blog entry tonight, mostly because I like this picture. It captures this essence of 'fear', even though that's not really what it's about (nor do I believe she was scared, although I'd have to ask Beth as she's the one who took the picture and I wasn't home at the time).

Anyway, it's been a pretty long but good day today. My back was still all messed up this morning, but I took some Advil before I went to work and by the time morning coffee rolled around, I was doing pretty good. I never took any more than one Advil all day, and it's doing much better than it was before. It's still a bit tight, but it's tremendously better than yesterday at this time.

So that's a Good Thing.

I came home from work a bit early today so that I could help out with preparations for supper this evening. Erik and Jill (and Henry) came over tonight for supper and conversation. It was a good time; we'd not done that since before Christmas, so that was fun. Broke out the grill and fired it up (after cleaning it up a bit, but that's another story for another day), and just had a good time. I also managed to get portions of the house cleaned up (which I'd been meaning to do for some time). So here again, another Good Thing.

Anyway, seeing as how they left shortly after 10, I had a few other things to get done and now just sat down to do the blog entry thing. I don't really have all that much to ramble on about, so I think I'm going to call it a night and post this bad boy. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some more time to sit and relax for a while. That'd be a welcome thing. Not that I didn't do just that tonight (I certainly did), but it seems like it's been a continual go-go-go thing this week. It's not going to get any better until Monday, though, I'm afraid. Oh well.

So all that said, until next time...

--MZ

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Camcorder - Day 1

So the MiniDV tapes arrived today. That means I could actually start using the camcorder to make movies. It's been kinda fun to play around with it a bit (even Beth did it), but I've yet to really do any video that's truly worthwhile to keep or put on DVD. This is experiment time. :)

I installed the software and whatnot last night, so this afternoon I was able to play around with getting stuff from camcorder to computer. I was a little skeptical that I could really get good video bandwidth across the standard USB connection, and I was right. If I were capturing Internet-quality video, it would suffice. That's not the case if I want to capture higher quality video for editing and burning on DVD. So I ordered a FireWire cable just a few minutes ago. This will allow me to capture video in high-bandwidth mode, so I can get quality and still not sacrifice frames (e.g. jerky video stream).

I found a hell of a deal on the cable -- less than $10 with shipping from a place I randomly found. Sweet. Compared to the next comparable places where the cable itself was $29.95 or higher, if it works even for a little while I'll be happy. :)

So in the meantime, if I want to capture high-quality video for DVD purposes, I'll just use the standard A/V cables and do it much like I currently capture TV or VHS items. Not a big deal at all.

I cleaned up in the basement a bit tonight, which was a bit on the necessary order. There's been some water coming in (fortunately, it's been pretty good so far this spring), and the basement was getting to smell a little funky (since the floor hadn't really been cleaned since fall) anyway. So I mopped the floor and then used the mighty shop-vac to get things cleaner than they used to be. At the same time, I set up the box fan and started up the dehumidifier to help keep it from getting too dank down there. So we'll see how that goes.

One nice thing is that I've been able to confirm that the dehumidifier works properly again. Hooray! Hopefully it lasts a season; only time will tell for sure. So I'm happy about that.

The weather has been fantastic the last few days, and it looks to keep on that way. I'd wished I could have spent more time outside this afternoon, but this morning I did something strange to my back (I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but it started when I closed the shower curtain this morning at which point something in my mid-back gave way or got out of whack). I'm guessing that I probably slept funny last night and that started it, but it's really made me uncomfortable today. It gets better and then worse, depending upon what I'm doing.

That makes for a bit of a long day, but it will likely get better if I sleep well tonight without aggravating it.

Anyway, seeing as how I'm trying to get to bed a little earlier than last night (which was after midnight), I'm going to wrap this up and call it a night!

Until next time...

--MZ

Monday, April 16, 2007

A New Toy!

So I got home tonight, and amongst other things (the fact that I got to hang around with my girls), the video camera had arrived today as expected! Hooray!

I haven't had much time to play around with it (especially since the miniDV tapes won't be here until tomorrow, so I couldn't record anything tonight), but it looks really cool. I'm particularly surprised in how small it is. It's about 2 1/2 times the size of our camera, which isn't that large itself. So I played around with it just enough to figure out how to use it (in basic terms). Probably one of the most unexpected bits I found out is that the LCD fold-out window/monitor is actually a touch screen, so you can actually press it with a finger and get it to do stuff that you want. How cool is that!?!

Anyway, I put it on to charge now for the night, so by the time I get home tomorrow (upon which arrival the tapes should be here), I can start playing around with digital video. Sweet!

So that's about all I've got to write about tonight. Until next time...

--MZ

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Lazy Sunday

I'd like to say that I got a bunch of the things on my 'to do' list taken care of, but I'm afraid that's not the case. Well, that's not completely true -- I got several things done, but they weren't things I'd necessarily intended to do.

I did get a nap of sorts today. Not a great nap, but it was downtime. I also managed to go out running with the dogs again (they enjoy that). I opened up the shed and brought out the grill, since we're going to be using it on Wednesday evening. Reorganized the fridge (to fit everything inside), did a few household type chores, and even managed to make banana bread. That just got out of the bread machine (at 10:45), so we'll see how (or if) it turns out. It looks like it's okay, but only time will tell. I'll have to see what it looks like when it cools enough to get the loaf out of the pan.

Yesterday (I didn't mention) I did some reorganization and shuffling around in our office here. I moved the file cabinet to a new location in order to make a reasonable place for the baby swing which we are borrowing for Kirstin. I kinda like the location (it makes the most sense), because it's pretty much in between my side of the office and Beth's side of the office. Meaning that we can both be at our respective computers and can both see her (without moving the swing). It's always a little interesting getting used to a slightly different layout, and this is no different. But I think it works pretty well, at least for now.

Anyway, I did also tackle (or start) a few other miscellaneous projects that I'd either been putting off or avoiding for a long time. So hopefully tomorrow evening (or by Wednesday) those can be written off the list for some time to come. That'd be a Good Thing. Of course, who knows what will happen since the video camera is supposed to show up tomorrow!

So that's about all I have to write about right now. I'm going to write this off as a Lazy Sunday post...and therefore somewhat boring...and head for the hills. Until next time...

--MZ

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