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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Here's What I Think Of That!


Here's What I Think Of That!
Phbbbt! Yeah, that's right.
Well, this picture is one of the batch today that brought my Flickr photo count to 1,500 exactly. I didn't expect to reach 1500 exactly...so that's really the only reason I even bring it up -- it's kinda random.

The title I left the same as the picture as it's because of Kirstin why it's reached 1500 pictures so shortly. She doesn't have 1500 pictures there, but she certainly adds to the count significantly (488 pictures as of tonight to be exact). The remainder are of all sorts of other things -- I encourage you to go check them out (use the link on the right in the sidebar). Use the Collections or Sets link towards the top of the page to see all of my sets.

That said, there have also been over 2,200 (2,215 as of this writing) views of my pictures. Crazy. That's since February, when I really started using my account at Flickr. Most of them are views of Kirstin's pictures, but I'm surprised at how many of my other pictures are randomly viewed. That's most likely due to their tags or whatnot, but it's interesting to me nonetheless.

So, here's to another 1500 pictures! Maybe by the end of 2007? I doubt it, because there are only about 700 taken and posted thus far in the year 2007. The remainder are older pictures that I've moved to Flickr, but were taken before January 1, 2007. Some of those go back to times in early 1996.

So anyway, here ends the deluge of blog entries tonight. #4 of 4; game, set, match. Or something like that.

Until next time...

--MZ

Yeah, I Took Another Day Off

Long story short, but by the time I got home last night (Friday) and ate, I just didn't feel like writing any sort of blog entry or uploading pictures. I was tired. Beer doesn't help that at all, but it had been a long day on top of it all.

So I did the picture uploading this morning and intended to write some this morning, but then instead it turned into a bit of a marathon blogging session here tonight. I can deal with that; hopefully the loyal fan base can as well. :)

On my way home last night, I stopped by a movie rental store in town and decided to finally heed Minda's advice and see 'Shaun of the Dead' which she'd been recommending for some time. So I rented it (which ended up being free as I had to get an account there). We watched it tonight, and it was quite funny in many ways. That odd British humor stuff is sometimes even a bit dry for me, but it was overall a good movie. Not one that I'd personally go out and buy by any means, but it wasn't a complete waste of time.

I also spent some time today working on creating my first real Kirstin video for distribution. It's called 'Do The Monkey' and is kinda cute. It was really an experimental deal for me in many ways. I'd only ever spliced captured video before, never really adding any effects or additional audio. I also experimented by uploading it to YouTube (which I'd not yet done for anything), but don't get too excited -- it's set for private viewing only right now, so that means only I have access to it (as I don't have any friends or family set up with my account there yet). Like I said, it was an experiment... :)

Seeing as how it's getting on towards 11:30 and I have one more post to make, I'll leave this one at that and call it good.

--MZ

Cold Funnels!


Cold Funnels!
This funnel was the single largest and best formed
of the day. I saw many throughout the ten minutes
or so I was taking pictures, but this was
undoubtedly the best for photographing. Cold
funnels rarely reach the ground and aren't exactly
like normal tornadoes.
I got an email from My-Cast around noon (11:58AM to be exact) which stated the following:


...FUNNEL CLOUDS OBSERVED IN THE AREA...

COLD AIR FUNNELS CLOUDS HAVE BEEN REPORTED WITH SHOWERS NEAR WILLMAR
DURING THE PAST FEW MINUTES. ADDITIONAL SHOWERS OVER THE REST OF
WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA COULD ALSO PRODUCE COLD AIR FUNNELS THIS
AFTERNOON. COLD AIR FUNNEL CLOUDS NORMALLY DO NOT TOUCH THE GROUND.
AS A RESULT...THEY RARELY DO ANY DAMAGE. NORMALLY...THEY LAST ONLY A
FEW MINUTES BEFORE DISSIPATING.

THEREFORE...PERSONS IN AREAS TO THE WEST OF A LINE FROM LONG
PRAIRIE...TO WILLMAR...TO NEW ULM SHOULD NOT BECOME UNDULY ALARMED.
HOWEVER..THEY SHOULD REMAIN ON THE ALERT AND BE PREPARED TO MOVE TO
A PLACE OF SAFETY IF A FUNNEL SHOULD APPROACH THE GROUND.

ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO BE FAVORABLE FOR THE
FORMATION OF ADDITIONAL COLD AIR FUNNEL CLOUDS DURING THE NEXT
SEVERAL HOURS.


I have seen cold air funnel clouds before, but never like what I saw today. It was amazingly cool. They were everywhere, popping up left and right. True to form, they never really get very big or long, but if you watch there's definitely some spinning going on.

The satellite Internet link was out, so I went into the living room to play a bit of Nintendo (Super Mario 2, to be exact) while I waited for the cloud cover to pass. I looked out the window to see a cold funnel forming. I immediately grabbed the camera and went outside (I didn't even put shoes on -- which meant my socks were soaked) onto the front lawn. I perched there for ten minutes or better and kept taking pictures of the various funnel clouds forming and dissipating.

This one I'm blogging about is the best of them today. Was very neat to see and actually capture to share. They're more or less harmless, but they're still a bit on the humbling side to see.

--MZ

3 Inches -- Of Rain!


Dirty Puppies
I am awfully curious as to how Koshka got the
straight mud line on her forehead.
We managed to get about three inches of rain between Friday morning and Saturday morning. Amazing. We only got a few tenths during the day on Friday, and most of the rain really fell throughout the night into Saturday Morning.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for the dogs to get dirty again -- in particular I see Koshka with this major mud line on her forehead. I don't ask (I think it's better that way), but it doesn't mean I'm not curious.

Also, with a 3" rain, we've got a little water coming up through the basement floor again. I would hope (and think) that it probably won't last long, but you never know. The gutter downspout extensions that I installed last week seemed to help a bit, so that's a Good Thing.

Oh yeah, I'm on a post rampage tonight, so this is #1 of 4 posts to be made...

--MZ

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tug Of War


Tug Of War
We were playing a bit of tug of war this evening
and Beth decided it worthy of a picture.
So there's really not a whole lot new to report today, so I'm leaving this entry a bit on the short order.

I had a pretty good day at work today; it was fairly productive. Kind of a welcome bit, because I'd felt a little less than completely productive over the last few weeks. In actuality this wasn't really the case, but doing half days and then a day off here and there can really kinda mess with one's own internal scheduling. At least it did for me.

I took it pretty easy tonight when I got home. Just pretty much hung around (short of feeding the dogs and going to pick some asparagus). It was a good evening...and a good day in general. I just don't have much to say about it all.

So, with that said, until next time...

--MZ

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another Day, Another Dollar

Or something like that. I'm not sure.

Today was Beth's last day at school, so my days spent at home with Kirstin are more or less over, at least on the 'regular' basis. That means a bit of a return to productiveville for me, which will be a Good Thing. But it'll be a bit of a bittersweet thing. No more sleeping in a bit later while Kirstin takes an early morning nap...or feeding and entertaining her while watching The Price Is Right.

We had the annual church choir party tonight, which was a good time. The turnout was really quite poor, though, which was a bit upsetting. Who knows what happened. One of the streets adjacent to the location of the party is currently completely closed while they do work, so parking was a bit interesting. But maybe there were other things going on as well. At any rate, it was still a good time.

When we got home from said event, Beth encountered a loose dog in our yard. It happened to be Koshka. Her swivel chain connector thing (I forget what they're called off hand) finally broke loose, so she was loose in the yard. Fortunately, we've got a bit of a 'pack,' so she didn't go too far. It didn't take long to temporarily fix the situation, and I'll get a new swivel tomorrow. But the thing lasted around a year and a half, so that's not too bad.

In other completely random news, this post is quite disconnected. At least that's how I feel I'm writing.

Anyway, back to the random news I really intended. A few of my boss's kids were going to rent some movies, and I asked them if they could find out if one local place had 'Shaun of the Dead' as it'd been recommended to me. They came back and apparently didn't find the title at the one location. So I called the other video store in town and asked, to be told (off the cuff, I might add) by the employee that they had two copies and he could set one aside for me if I liked. I told him it'd not be necessary (since the earliest I'd rent it would be this weekend anyway), but that I was just curious. So I'm not sure if it's more interesting to find out that a small town video store actually had the video (let alone two copies), OR if the fact that the guy knew exactly what I was talking about without looking anything up is more strange.

Who knows...but I know that I'll have to finally rent this movie to see what it's all about. Minda recommended it some time ago and it came up the last time she was here.

Anyway, seeing as how I really don't have anything else to ramble about, I'm calling it a night.

Until next time...

--MZ

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We Have A Flickr Down!

For anyone who happens to follow both my ramblings here and also check frequently my pictures on Flickr, this is a simple PSA (that's Public Service Announcement for the uninitiated) to alert that I'm still alive, but Flickr was down for some scheduled maintenance during my normal daily upload time.

So, new pictures will have to come around tomorrow sometime. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Kirstin and I went for a ride today to see Beth at work. Mostly so I could pick up her office chair to bring back to my office (from where it originated). But also because Kirstin wasn't taking any sort of nap in the afternoon which was keeping me from getting anything else done. So it was a 'kill two birds with one stone' sort of thing.

It was a rainy and gloomy day today. Which is alright, except for the fact it was really humid outside. I didn't really realize how humid it had become until we got home from our little early afternoon jaunt around the countryside. But the little bit of rain was welcome; it's amazing how quickly some things perk up just a little bit to make it look nice outside again.

We've got the annual choir party tomorrow evening, so I made spaghetti salad tonight for it. I'd bought a pound of vermicelli for the pasta base (because it's easier to serve and eat with vermicelli instead of spaghetti). I didn't realize it until I opened the package, but it was mis-labeled. The package said vermicelli, but inside was actually fettuccine. Strange. I'd never had anything like that happen before. So I ended up using spaghetti anyway. That was about the extent of excitement for me today. :)

In other random news, I've not noticed the yard light doing its cycling bit lately. In fact, the last two nights I've not seen it go off at all (that doesn't mean it hasn't, though). But, the last night it was happening it seemed to be attached to a small power sag caused by something with a high draw in the house starting up (well pump, dryer, etc.). That said, I'm beginning to wonder if we weren't having a slight undervoltage situation from the power company for a while. My one UPS system here at home tells me all the time that it's recovered from an undervoltage. Well, not all the time, but it's not uncommon. So I wonder if it was just right so that when a high-draw unit came on it 'tripped' the ballast into resetting.

The only reason I've even come to think about this is that one night I noticed it happened right after I flushed the toilet (which that time caused the well pump to start). Another night I noticed it when I came up from the basement after starting the dryer. So, I'll have to watch it some more and try to further analyze it, but it would appear as though it's working as expected.

So anyway, I'm heading for bed. Until next time...

--MZ

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Rock Mario 3!

So I randomly started playing Super Mario Bros. 3 this evening after a bit of a long day. Long story short, about four hours after starting (including time for supper, breaks, Kirstin's bath, etc.), I finished the game completely. Start to finish, no warps, and I only skipped two boards (one in the Water World (3) and another in the Ice World (6)) in the entire game.

I was stoked. At one point in time I had 43 extra lives, and I ended up finishing the game with 6. And something like 1,377,000 points. So, that's one thing I'd never done before -- finish the game like that. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to do it after so long, but a bit anti-climactic at the same time. The final battle with Bowser was really easy. Of course, I imagine I might have been hardened a bit by the trek to that end battle.

Ah well. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing some work-related stuff. That was nice to get done, because it means I've got less to do later this week. Always a plus. After that, I went outside and finished mowing the bits of lawn that I'd left. While outside I also did some more trimming and broke out the chainsaw to cut down a bush/tree that had essentially died over the winter. Very little of it was coming back this year...and it was a real pain to mow around anyway.

So a relatively productive day it was. Good times on Memorial Day.

I'm intending to transfer/capture some video from the camcorder here soon (perhaps tomorrow sometime) and try doing something with it. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I really don't have much else to ramble about, so I'm calling it a night. Until next time...

--MZ

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tired Of Playing Nintendo


Tired Of Playing Nintendo
Obviously this picture is posed, but Beth had been
playing the Nintendo and had me take a picture of
her sleeping on the couch. I couldn't resist.
Well, I wouldn't say that I'm tired of playing Nintendo, but I can't think of a better title tonight, so I'm sticking with the picture title.

It's been a fairly busy day today. We did our normal Sunday morning ritual, going to church and whatnot. But then we got home, hung around for a while, ate (I baked a cake for a funeral tomorrow), and then loaded up to head for the C-A graduation which was held in Alberta. That started at 2, so we left here around 1:30, got there around 1:45, got seated somewhere around 1:55, and were back in the car by around 3:20 or so. That's one benefit of a class of 12 students; graduation takes only an hour. :)

We swung back by the church to drop off the aforementioned cake, and then it was back home. I took a nap for a while, while Beth and Kirstin hung around playing the Nintendo. After that was done, we made supper and I started in on my evening project -- putting up the shelves in the kitchen.

When we went to Alex yesterday, we picked up the stuff necessary to get two long shelves (nearly 8') put up in the kitchen above the long counter. Mostly for the purposes of storing all the random appliances and miscellany that we have no other good place for. Besides, it's wasted space right now.

So, I broke out the drill, laser level, tape measure, and went to town. The whole thing probably didn't take longer than an hour and a half to complete, even with anal retentive measuring and alignment. Even including bit sharpening (which I had to do because I was drilling pilot holes through plaster). Anyway, I put the shelves up (they're adjustable, but they probably won't ever be adjusted now that they're up) after cutting about 4" off of their 8' lengths. Everything's secured and good to go. In fact, I brought up most of the stuff from the basement and put it up on the shelves. They look better than I'd expected, and it turns that unused space into functional area.

So that's nice to have done.

In other random news, what I've expected to happen has started -- the yard light lamp is reaching its end of life. Now, realistically, according to the specifications, these HPS lamps are supposed to last around 5 years. This is lamp #2 in one year. Now, the first one was just a bum lamp that came with the fixture. I can deal with that. But the replacement was doing very well until last night. I noticed when I went to bed that it was cycling itself on and off. It's on for probably 30 minutes, then cycles off and back on again. A normal signal of the end of life for a lamp of such nature.

This isn't particularly surprising because after the beating it took when the reflector/diffuser was ripped off the fixture and hung by the lamp during the wind storm a few weeks ago, I was surprised the lamp even worked at that time. It was badly scratched up and I'm sure was shaken quite violently. They're made to take a beating (to a degree), but not quite like that. The wind, pulling around the reflector/diffuser, just magnified the normal scope of movement in the fixture, except all of the pressure was then placed on the lamp itself (and not the fixture directly the way it should be).

So, I have a yard light that's going to need another new lamp. Perhaps this time it'll last longer than a year. We'll see. At least it's still working, even if it cycles off and on. It only takes about a minute to relight fully, so it's not that big a deal. Just an annoyance. But it's amazing how used to/dependent upon the light one becomes. It's a real pain to not have that available at night.

So anyway, it's getting late again and I'm heading for bed. Until next time...

--MZ

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