Nov 25, 2011

Turkey Trot: AWESOME

The Turkey Trot was great this year.

I started out the day by participating in the 40th Annual Turkey Trot.  I chose to run the 2.5 mile "fun run" instead of the "serious" 4.4 miler.

Considering I run 3 miles every day, I was more worked up than I anticipated.  It probably had something to do with the OVER 4800 RUNNERS that were there!

I rode my bike over to the race since it was less than 2 miles away and since it was a beautiful day, I had a hard time convincing myself NOT to bike.  I arrived just about an hour before my race.

I couldn't believe the number of people and the energy of the event!  Several speakers setup for music and race announcements, tents for check in, dozens of port-a-potties, Race bag drop off, and crates of apples from the local orchard.  Amazing.  The MC was welcoming the runners and their families, and directing people to the correct starting lines.  She also made sure to alert the runners that the finish line in the park was "a little muddy" and to be careful.

The 4.4 mile race began down the road from the 2.5 start line.  Looking down at runners made me feel like I was staring down a charging army of Mordor...

I ran into a few people I know from work and from my past who were also running in the 2.5. It was exciting to see them, but I was slightly paralyzed and didn't converse as much as I wanted to: Partly because I assumed their body language was that of Cordiality.  So it goes.

After the 4.4 participants ran by the 2.5 start line, the rest of the fun runners began to line up.  There were several Pilgrims, indians, and Turkeys lined up: I even saw two Thanksgiving Dinner tables lined up!  The announcer pumped up the crowd with primal grunts interspersed with directions on where to go: If you are running get in the road, otherwise get out of the road.

He screamed go, and everyone took off.  Families hugged the right side to allow the "serious" (read 10-year-old kids) runners by.  I started out fairly conservatively in the middle of the pack.  shortly after the first turn, I realized I needed to pick up the pace just to get into stride with my daily rhythm.

Soon after that, I caught up with the serious squads who were all walking and breathing heavy.  I smiled and gave a little chuckle towards their excitement and enthusiasm.

After another turn or two, the 2.5 milers merged with the 4.4 milers.  As we approached the park, I recalled the earlier warning of a slightly muddy finish line.  As we ran up past the tennis courts, I saw the wooded trail that led down to the finish line.  As I started my decent, I noticed the lack of mud.  "Well, this isn't too bad." I thought.  The more interesting part of the hill was avoiding the roots and damp leaves.

Reaching the bridge I turned right towards the home stretch and glanced at the finish line: The ground before it was reflecting a bit of light...

.."slightly muddy" apparently means "One giant puddle that stretches about 200 feet out from the finish line."  I initially tried to avoid the puddle, but soon realized there was no denying I was going to get wet...and muddy...very wet and muddy.  I picked up the pace and began to sprint to the finish.  I looked at the clock as I crossed the line.  It read over 28 minutes, which seemed really wrong.  Turns out, that was the 4.4 clock.

I paced around, drinking several glasses of water before starting the climb back up the hill to grab my bike.  I got home, showered and got ready to spend the rest of the day with great family.

I checked the race site after getting home from dinner to see how I did: 19:03 and second in my Age Class!  The first place in my age was about 16 I've got some training to do for next year!  And I do plan on running next year...maybe as a bowl of Mashed Potatoes...


Nov 22, 2011

Getting ready.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is one of the holidays where families get together to enjoy a good meal and each other's company without the obligation of purchasing a gift.

I want Christmas to be like that. I think I say that now because I can't afford to buy expensive gifts for everyone in my family.

There has always been this part of me that wants to have a homemade Christmas. The kind where you get together early in the morning to prepare to Christmas dinner, hang out for the day drinking coffee, and eventually wine...just soaking in the time together.  Then, once we've had a little time to digest, open homemade presents that have real feeling behind them.  I'm not saying you can't have an emotional response to a new drill, but I just have a feeling opening a box of homemade cookies, bread, or handmade candle might give a slightly more personal, moving response...

I think that's what I want, but if given the opportunity, would I do it?  it's hard when you have kids to get out the door for an entire day.  I know Anya doesn't really sleep/nap well anywhere but in her bed.  Couple that with even if she did sleep, there might be too much noise to stay asleep.

Homemade gifts are harder not only because you essentially have an "amateur" making the gift, it then has to be something the person wants.  It isn't hard to do, but requires to actually KNOW the person.

Do they like chocolate chip cookies, but LOVE chocolate Chip with walnut cookies?

What if they don't bake properly?  What if the Candle turns an undesirable color?  What if?  What if?

That's the issue I'm facing, the "what if" dilemma.  I want to make and give gifts people will LOVE, not just like.  I WANT to know them well enough to make something they will fondly remember, and (not so secretly) hope they receive again next year, or something very similar.


Maybe some year, we'll do that...maybe.

Nov 20, 2011

Almost forgot!

I haven't posted a link to the Baby Peterson 2.0 album on Picasa yet.  So, here is the link!

Baby Peterson 2.0

And then there was three...

Tons to move that is!

Since both the Bills and Vikings games were depressing, I made two quick back-to-back trips to TSC and managed to get one ton of pellets in my garage in under an hour.

Stacking said ton took about as long.

I am now tired.  I also realized that I don't have the room to store too many more bags there.

Maybe I can make a run once a month to get the remainder, or get another pallet to put another Ton in the basement.

At least for now, we have over 50 bags in the basement.  That should get us through the holidays...I hope!

A good way to move 4 tons by yourself...

That is my current dilemma.

I have 4 tons of pellets on four pallets waiting for me to pickup at the local TSC.

The manager there has been kind enough to let me keep them there, but that might not always be the case.

I need to come up with a way to move those four tons from TSC to our house, about a 7 mile trip.

Here is how it works now:

  1. Open pallet, and take half of the pallet (25 bags) and load them into the back of my Sonoma.

  2. Drive 7 miles home.

  3. Take 25 bags and stack them on pallet in the basement/outside.

  4. Repeat.

This way is the easiest from a logistical point of view: I only need to have the time move 1000 pounds around.

Grabbing the pellets this way would mean another EIGHT trips to TSC to bring the pellets home.

That is a lot of trips, and a lot of man power (from me).  The other thing with this plan means the pallets need to be opened, which means they are no longer sealed from the elements.  If I continue this way, I would need to store all the pellets in the basement and/or garage.  I like the idea of having the pellets still sealed during the winter.  If I don't pick up the pellets until January, they are just sitting outside in the elements anyway...

Here's my ideal situation:

  1. Fork lift the 4 tons into a truck.

  2. Drive truck 7 miles.

  3. Use another fork lift to get them off the truck.

  4. Store pellet pallets on the backside of my house.

  5. Move pallets inside one at time.

The only issue with this plan is I do not have a Fork lift..

I could rent a pallet jack, but the wheel width would be too wide for a normal rental truck loading ramp.

I guess a makeshift ramp could be constructed...

This now adds ~$100 to the price.  Not a deal breaker by any stretch, but I'm not a big fan of spending MORE money if it can be avoided.

I want to find a solution that is easy for me to do without having to rely on several friends to come help move my solid fuel source.  I'd also like to find a solution that isn't dependent on my truck, as it is now approaching 12 years old...I'm not sure how long Vera will be with us (hopefully 2-3 years).

I'm thinking about delivery services for next year.  I would need a pellet chute and a place to store them.

I smell a new spring project!

As far as my remaining 4 tons, anyone have an idea?

Nov 18, 2011

Stove Update: still rocking!

Ever since the last time I "fixed" the seal, the stove has been running great: The temperature in the house has hovered above 75 even when outside it is below freezing!

The only issue I have is I need to remember to fill the stove before bed!  Two mornings I've woken up without heat on...


I smell a calendar entry coming!

Nov 17, 2011

Should I be scared?

Anya watching Dora

You know it is going to be a good day

When you walk into work and have voicemail from half of your staff saying they will be out...

Whatever is going around is kicking my team's butt.  Not good!


Another day of one tech, and one manager trying to do the work of 5...

Finally Scheduled!

Well, it only took two months, three or four visits from the sales consultant, two visits from the technician who will be doing the work, and one office visit, but we finally have dates for our home insulation installation!


They say it will take six days to do all the work, which doesn't sound too bad.

Here's a rundown of what we're having done:

  • Blow in insulation into attic space above kitchen and pantry

  • Blow in insulation into attic space above the office and stove room

  • Blow in insulation into attic space above the second floor bedrooms

  • Installing Soffit vents and baffles in Attic space above kitchen and pantry

  • Sealing the rim joists in the basement

  • Blowing insulation underneath the Kitchen

  • Blowing insulation into the walls on the north side of the house*

*Not sure if this will actually be done, as we discovered on the south side that the walls are an odd construction.

This all begins on December 5th, and should finish on the 12th.  Hooray for properly sealed house!

Nov 13, 2011

Gutters are NOT fun.

I had to buy a ladder today to clean my front gutters.

Apparently a 16' ladder is adequate, but i should have sprung for the 20'.


Picking wet, heavy leaves out of your gutters is not as much fun as it sounds.  It doesn't help that while you are perched upon said ladder you are convinced that the next scoop will be the scoop that topples you off the ladder.

I survived, and my gutters are clean.

Take that front trees!

I also installed two emergency overflow pipes; one on my water heater and one on my hopefully-not-going-to-turn-this-on-at-all boiler.

Now to relax, and muster up the will to rake my front yard, again.


Nov 12, 2011

Walking Dead: A good show

While I was waiting for the (non-existent) trick-or-treaters to show up, I decided I wanted to watch a Halloween-type show.

I surfed through Netflix, and came across Walking Dead.

I just finished the first season, and I'm digging it.  The atmosphere is great.  I'm really getting interested in the main characters, and have strong feelings about them, like Shane is a Dick, a Psychotic Dick...

but I digress.


I've heard from people who said this show doesn't do the Graphic Novel Justice.  I heard the same thing about Watchmen, but enjoyed both for what they were.

The overall desperate atmosphere of the show permeates the entire show.  The stress of trying to survive is affecting each character in a different way.


I'm really interested to see where this goes.  I'd also be interested to see where it did go with the original Graphic Novel.

Dinner Party: Success!

Yesterday was a great day.  Great dinner, great friends, great time.

I got up around 6am and began preparing for "The Feast."  The turkey wasn't quite thawed, so it was placed in a cool water bath for a couple hours to encourage it to finish thawing.  The bread starter was removed from the refrigerator to warm up, and the coffee was made.

By the time it was all said and done, there were seven separate dish washing sessions...but it was all worth it.

The Menu was as such:


  • Kale Corn Fritters w/ Applesauce

  • Escarole and white bean soup

  • Fresh baguette

  • Pumpkin Bread

  • Brendan's Sweet Potato Muffins with Marshmallows on top

Main Course

  • Apple/Fennel stuffed Turkey with Garlic butter glaze

  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce

  •  Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Mashed Potatoes

  • Turkey Neck gravy

  • Cauliflower in white sauce


  • Ugly, Yet Tasty Pumpkin Pie

Overall, everything was Delicious!  I wish my pie looked better, but the taste was spot on.  Next time I will make sure to let the filling rest and try to skim the foam off the top better.  I also need to figure out a better way to make graham cracker crusts, as the bottom edge was very thick.

Everyone enjoyed the food, and left with several container/plates of leftovers, yet my fridge is still overflowing!

I think this might need to be a yearly occurrence.

UP next: Turduken for Christmas??!

Nov 10, 2011

Home insulation saga continues - Updated!

I'll have to write-up a longer piece about our experiences with getting our home's insulation upgraded, but here's a quick recap:

  • The company we are working through (a well-known and acceptable company)kinda sucks at communicating.

  • It involved an excessive (in my mind) amount of home visits.

  • They are having "Mike" stop by to double/triple check that the work can actually do the work they said they can do. (Work we have put a down payment on).

Now Mike has another job at 8:30 today and will be swinging by "before then" to check that they can actually blow in the insulation in our attic.

For their sake, I hope they actually told Mike...

UPDATE: I like Mike.  Mike is a nice guy.

Mike was here right around 8, and quickly explained what he was here to do.  He has concerns about the tile ceiling in our two bedrooms on the second floor.  He was not sure if there was drywall behind the tiles.  If there is not, the blown-in insulation could cause the slopes to bow in.

After taking a quick peek, Mike confirmed the sloped walls will bow in.  He is going to write-up a new quote to include putting drywall up in the two rooms upstairs.

Unfortunately, this means another discussion with our Sales Consultant, Norm.

I'll explain Norm in another post.

Let's just say, I wish I could only have to deal with Mike.


Sluggish Run

Today's run sucked.

Or at least it felt like it did.

Occasionally I have these running "sessions" where it feels like I'm running through Molasses while running on sand against the wind.

I did not time this run, but I doubt it was anything more than two minutes off my usual time.


Nov 7, 2011

Quiet Running

The past three days, I was without my headphones.  I left them at work on Friday and didn't feel like turning around and getting them after I realized this halfway home.  I didn't think too much of it, until I got up to go running Saturday morning.

I always run with my headphones.  I'm either listening to a podcast about technology, listening to an audiobook, or just plain old Music.

The three days without my headphones was an experience.

The first thing I noticed was my breathing: I could hear it and focused on it.  I was trying to not take short, shallow breaths.  I had to try NOT to focus...I thought the noises from Nature would help distract...

...but it was eerily quiet.  Besides the occasional car, there were essentially no other noises.  Nothing.

I do know where all the dogs live now :)


Nov 6, 2011

"I'm sorry my dog bit you, here's a coffee cake.."

"Did you bake a cake?" Robyn asked, as she walked in the door.

I paused the Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack on Pandora.

"What?"  I asked, slightly puzzled.

"There's a cake in the garage.  Did you bake it and put it there?"

I walked over to the door.

"No." I said "I was planning on making an apple cake/crisp.."

I looked out our door and saw an aluminum foil-wrapped plate on top of my tool box.

"Uh, if you didn't, then who did.  Did my mom drop it off maybe?" Robyn asked, trying to piece together the cake mystery.

I picked up the still warm plate and peaked under the foil.  It smelled of melted butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg: An almost picture perfect classic coffee cake.

"Oh.." I said, with a slight sigh. "I bet this is from across the street.  A way to say 'Sorry my dog bit you, have a coffee cake.'"


A couple of hours earlier, I had gone out to check the mailbox.  On my way to the mailbox, one of the three dogs that lives across the street started running toward me. I looked up, waved and said hi to the dog, and proceeded to grab my mail.

The dog continued to come closer, making its way to the middle of the road.
"Well, that's not a good place to hang out." I said calmly to the dog.

The dog had laid down on the yellow line in the middle of the road, in what appeared to be a quasi-friendly way.   One of the dog's owners came out and started calling for the dog.

"I'm sorry about that!  The batteries are dead in the collar and the thing has been unplugged for a while" she said, motioning to the little outbuilding where the electric fence base station is.

"Oh no problem!" I said cheerfully.  "I"m trying to convince her the road isn't a good place to lay down."

I put my hands down at my side, the two junk letters in my left hand.  I put my palms towards the dog, in trying to show her I was unarmed or something.  I made a little "come on" motion with my left hand as I slowly walked towards the dog in trying to coax it out of the road.

That's when the dog's demeanor changed.  The dog hunched back a bit, and lowered its ears. I stopped moving forward and took one step back.  At this point I was within striking distance.  The dog made one quick bark and lunged at my left arm.  I my arm back, and the dog bit my left leg above the knee and just before the hamstring.

"GRah!" I spurted out.  It surprised me more than anything else.  I was wearing my Carhart pants, which are fairly thick.

"Oh my goodness" my neighbor said in shock.  "I'm so sorry!"

"It's alright, I don't think there was any permanent damage, just a startle."  I said, in trying to calm her down.

At this point the dog had sneaked its way back to its own yard.  My neighbor kept repeating how sorry she was and how she shouldn't have done that.

"It's alright, I don't think she even got me.  No harm, no foul." I said with a slight laugh.

I went back inside and relayed the story to Robyn.  She was more concerned than I was, but she was thinking more about dogs and Kids.

"What if it gets loose while the kids are riding bikes in the driveway?" Robyn asked.

"I don't know."  I replied, trying to find the best answer.  "Have a taser handy?"

"All I know is this:  Electric fences are terrible." I stated.

"Yeah, and we have TWO of them surrounding us."  Robyn said.  "Alright, I'm off to JoAnn's."

"Alright.  Have fun.  Love you!" I said as she was walking to the door.

"Love you too.  See you later."  She said.

I took a look at the bite: It barely broke the skin.  It looked more like a small spot of rug burn.  I put some beta dine, and Neosporin on the area, put a bandaid on and went about my day.

Nov 5, 2011

Contacts Free

A few months back, I was on my last pair of contacts.

Seeing as it had been over three years since I got my one-year supply, I decided to call an optometrist and get my eyes checked out.

One of the benefits working at a Medical Center is that if you are looking for any kind of doctor, they are most likely there.  It makes getting to appointments easy: no need to worry about finding a place to park, just walk down!

I met with the nice Doctor and she did her eye Doctor thing.  Twenty minutes later, she told me my earlier prescription was too strong, and was probably too strong when I got it.  She recommended I get new glasses after seeing the battle worn glasses I brought in.

I asked her about contacts.  She'd be more than happy to fit me for contacts; all it required was a fitting fee and more money.

The practical (read: cheap) side of me starting butting in the internal monologue I was having.  If I had to get new glasses anyway, why get contacts as well?  If I decided that glasses weren't the thing for me on a daily basis, I could easily just stop down for another appointment and pay the fee.

Practicality usurped control and I just ordered glasses. It was hard to decided on a pair that I liked.  I knew I didn't want too thick framed or too large of a lens: I had flashbacks to my seventh grade picture with the glasses that ran halfway down my cheeks.  I also didn't want to pay a crapton for frames.

Side note: just like cars and houses, after looking a 30 or 40 pairs of glasses, they all look the same.  It helps to take notes and go back after a day or so to compare.

I finally decided on a frame and began the purchasing process.  Without any discounts, the glasses should have cost $460!

Thankfully, insurance kicked in $60 (sarcasm), I got an employee discount, and got a "game card" that got me an extra 15% off.


When it was all said and done, it ended up around $250...not bad.  Not great, but when you factor in time off from work increase, the employee discount and gas to drive, I don't know if I could have done much better.


So far, I'm liking just doing the glasses.  I do have to clean my lenses so I can see periodically, but I like it.  The only time I don't like wearing glasses is running, as they have a tendency to fog up and bounce a bit.  I suppose I could get a glasses strap to help keep the in place...

I could also get a pocket protector while I'm at it too...

Oh Spam Comments

According to my Spam comments, my About page has helped hundreds of people, with professional advice, witty comments, and served as a meeting of the minds.


Oh, and a great place to comment on here to find the cheapest drugs and the oddest Adult oriented sites...


I should probably clean out the spam more often...

Nov 4, 2011

Should be an interesting Weekend

I left my laptop and iPad at work today.

This will make for a quiet weekend.  Probably not a bad thing, I have a Quasi-Thanksgiving to plan!


Woke up this morning to no power in the house.  Didn't realize it at first, and fell back asleep.


Woke up a blinking alarm clock.  By the time I got the stove back up and running and the animals fed, there was no way I had time to go running.


Looks like it'll be a weekend of running for me!

Stove is running fine

I think I have the stove running pretty good now.

After resealing every joint in the exhaust and the door, I think it is finally airtight.  I'm not happy with the amount of silicone in the door gasket, but as long as it works for now, I'll take it.

I fired up the stove after the sealing and the draft fan sensor turned off, which means the loss in pressure was gone!  I still had an issue with the pellets just piling up in the burn pot.  After about 12 hours, the pot would be over flowing, and the bottom would be covered in "clinkers" or fused ash.  This clogs the air holes which causes the flame to be lazy, as well as not allow ash to be trapped in the ash trap.

So, I also modified the draft fan thresholds a bit.  The Factory setting is 100 for low, and 300 for high.  I wish I knew what the units were, cfm maybe?

Anyway, after adjusting it to 170/315, the flame seems to be more stable, and the pellets are not piling up in the burn pot like they were on the default settings.  If anything, I might need to turn it down just a bit; I think the flame may be too active.  Although, my ash is nice and chocolate in color, a good sign the stove is running fairly efficient.

I'm sure that this will be an ongoing thing, but for now...I have heat :)


Nov 3, 2011

Turkey-Day Running!

I decided to sign up for the 40th Annual Turkey Trot Run in Webster this year.  I chose the "2.5 miler fun run" instead of the 4.4 miler.  I figure, it may be Turkey day, but I don't want to go too crazy.

I know I could do both, but the run prohibits headphones.  I always run with headphones.  I'm sure I would be fine, but I like to listen to an audio book or podcast to help keep my mind active slightly distracted.  When I don't run with headphones, I tend to analyze my run too much, and end up making it worse.

I focus on my breathing, and how it should be longer/deeper, or that my stride is not Gazelle enough.


If this goes well, maybe I'll do the 4.4 next year.

Almost 20 weeks!

Robyn has another midwife appointment today.  This will be the 20 week checkup...

I can't believe it is already 20 weeks in!  This appointment won't include the Ultrasound; we couldn't find a time that worked to have them back to back.  We had back for that on Tuesday.

I think we're not going to find out what the sex of the baby will be.  We had toyed with the idea of having the tech seal it in an envelope, and opening it on Christmas as a "gift."

Our Friends Brendan and Rabia had a cake made with the color of the cake signifying the baby's gender.  I really liked that idea.  I was trying to think of way to take that idea and modify it a bit to make it our own, but I can't think of anything.


If we did decide to find out, anyone have a cool idea for finding out the Sex of your baby?

Nov 2, 2011

iPad blogging?

How efficient is it to blog while on an iPad? Or more to the point, how efficient am I at blogging on an iPad?

Right off the bat, I would have to say...less than on a laptop/computer. I have trouble deciding if I should be typing in portrait or landscape, and then if I should use the standard keyboard or the split. So far leaning towards split in landscape. There seems to be less corrections that need to be made when compared to portrait either style or standard keyboard landscape.

I could see proving comments, uploading a quick picture, but much else has me reaching for my laptop.

iPad to tweet? Definitely.

iPad to blog longer than a tweet? Not so much.

Nov 1, 2011

My cr-48 review

It has been almost 10 months since I started this crazy thing. I think it is time to revise and publish!

About a week ten months ago, I was surprised to come home and find a Google Chrome OS laptop (henceforth called cr-48, or Carl) waiting for me by my door. In my excitement I failed to make an "unboxing" video or even snap pictures of it in its case. All attempts to coax Carl back into his shipping box failed, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Let's start first with a breakdown of the hardware. On the outside, Carl is striking. Carl is matte black, with NO logos anywhere. Included in the box was a business card letting me know Intel was inside. Google also included "stickers" to decorate Carl. It gives him a bit of flair, but even without, I'm drawn to the simple, sleek style. I wish all laptops looked like this.

As far as the keyboard is concerned, it's one of the better Chiclet style keyboards I've used. Initially, while typing, I found my palms rested right on the trackpad caused it to activate, but after tweaking the sensitivity, it seems to have improved. The functions keys have been replaced by Chrome OS specific keys, such as forward, back, reload, mute, volume up/down, full screen, and brightness controls. The one button that

gdgt has a great breakdown of what's inside Carl. I'll give you a minute to read it...don't worry, I'll wait.

Great job huh? Anyway, as you can see, the hardware isn't Alienware crazy hardware, but a pretty decent year old netbook. I didn't realize there was bluetooth, as there isn't any indication of how to use it in the settings menu. Perhaps in a future system update, but for now I can't seem to make it work.

I've been using Carl as my main machine at home, and as my travel machine at work. For that approach, this is

Here are the notes I took while using the Carl:

  • Sound static issue is a problem UPDATE: sound fixed!!

  • No Java Support

  • No way to change profile picture now you can!!

  • No backlight on keyboard

  • No local storage to store pictures/videos

  • Flash video playback is choppy UPDATE: flash is better, but still choppy

  • Laggy performance

  • Google Docs, opening document not as instantaneous as on win7 laptop

  • While on lap, accidental touch pad activation a concern.

  • So Now I’m writing with my hands near the touch pad...seems to be better.


  • Super Fast boot time

  • Browser Sync

  • Automatic (and quiet) updates

  • Decent keyboard feel

  • Great battery life (~ 6-7 hours of use)

  • Great integration with google products (expected, but nice)

  • Screen flip button

  • Ctrl+n to open a new window. Dedicated key to switch (where f5 is) between screens. Great way to solve the side-by-side window use in Other OSes. Very quick. Always goes to the right, use shift to the left. Great!

  • Sleek design.

  • Lack of any Logos makes it really appealing

  • web app store has good selection of apps/links to offset lack of local apps.