Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gratuitous 30,000 foot post

Have I ever made a post on airline wifi before? I feel like I have but don't remember and don't want to go back through 240 posts to find out.
Thats right this is JetBlue WiFly coming to you from the skies over Colorado. I don't know exactly where we are but I'm guessing Denver by all the lights below us. This flight was both a score and a disappointment. I booked it late so I was supposed to have a center seat but as I sat down a nice lady offered to trade me her window seat. Thats the score, 6 hours in a window seat is way better than 6 hours in the center. The disappointment is that the flight left an hour and a half late. Thats mostly due to rain but I suspect part of it is JetBlue being stingy about the amount of fuel they had in the plane. Apparently they had to do some circling and got low on fuel so they had to divert to Providence to refuel before coming to Boston to get us. Oh well, I'm on the flight now anyway.

I wanted to show you two other disappointments:

This one is the worst, these are disgusting, never buy them. I couldn't get past the chemical bacon smell. I conned Angie's uncle into eating one and his face told me all I needed to know, into the trash with them.

Lets zoom right in on the next one.

See the words "Slime Oozing?" I bought this one for my dad for his birthday, I thought it would be fun to shoot and get some oozing slime. See the holes? We shot it with a .22 rifle, a .22 pistole and a .32 Colt pistol. See the little tiny bit of pink on the front? Thats all the oozing we ever got after 20 shots each... So disappointed, no pride in this Daisy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fish day

We've got a farm pond. Its about an acre which means its maybe 100 yards long and about 30 yards wide, maybe half the size of a football field. My great uncles built the pond in the '60s by scooping out a bunch of dirt around a natural brook and piling that dirt up to make a dam. The dam has a pipe running through it that lets out excess water. The pipe is an L shape with the foot of the L through the bottom of the dam and the top of the L a few feet below the top of the dam. The pipe is the magic that makes this kind of a farm pond work, if you just let the water run over a spillway it will gradually eat away the spillway and the dam will fail. The other clever trick is that inside the dam wall there is (or at least was) a rubber barrier around the horizontal part of the pipe. This barrier kept water from leaking out around the pipe when the dam was new. Considering its been standing for 50+ years I'd consider it a good design.

Most farm ponds have fish in them, its a handy way to keep down the bugs and entertain the kids. The pond was last stocked in '95 or so after a copper sulfate spill upstream killed everything in the pond. We took over the farm in 2002 and sometime around 2005 somebody stole all our fish. I don't have a problem with somebody coming down and catching a fish occasionally but these people left baited hooks specifically to steal our fish.

Anyway dad and I figured enough time has passed that its time to stock again. To do that you need to get a permit from the state which dad finally got, then you take a ride to Frenchville.

The guy's operation is great, he's got several of these tanks half submerged in his yard. Up the hill there are some ponds too but we didn't go up to see them. The guy is one of those people thats always moving and busy so we didn't want to take up too much of his time.

We bought 50 6-8" brook trout which ran about $2 apiece. The process is pretty simple, he dips a net in the tank and counts 25 fish into a bucket of water, then comes the clever bit.

He dumps the bucket into a plastic bag, squeezes out the air and inflates the bag with pure oxygen. This hyper-oxygenates the water ensuring the fish survive the journey. Its about an hour ride from Caribou to Frenchville. The fish guy said the fish would be okay for up to 3 hours so I didn't hurry too much on our ride back but neither did I dawdle.

In retrospect I'd have brought a box to put the bags in but this bag didn't move an inch. The other bag rolled around the back of the truck some but the fish didn't seem to mind.

I ripped the bag open and submerged it in the pond. The fish didn't seem all that interested in coming out so I had to pour them out of the bag.

I put them in kind of a shaded spot under a cedar tree with another cedar laying in the pond. I'd talked about cutting the dead tree last year but now I'm glad I didn't. They congregated around for a minute and then went crazy eating the bugs on the surface of the water. Within about ten minutes they'd dispersed and over the next day we only occasionally saw them come to the surface to feed.

At first I'd thought that 50 fish seemed like a really big number but when you disperse them into a pond it seems like nothing. Dad says by the time we go back in October the fish will be 10 inches long or so. We won't pull any out this year, the winters are hard and we don't want to stress them so they'll have the best chance of spawning in the spring.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Something new, but not bought

I've had a Nook Color HD+ tablet for just over 2 years now and its been kind of a constant disappointment. It replaced a first generation Kindle Fire and while it seemed like a great tablet on paper it never really lived up to my expectations. The worst was when I first got it the OS was a Barnes and Noble special version of Android that only ran a few apps with no way to load any they hadn't allowed. That only lasted a few months before they opened to the whole Google Play store but the tablet was still much slower than it seemed like it ought to be.

The last couple weeks its degraded to the point that it was basically unusable, apps took forever to open, my email wouldn't mark as read, I couldn't browse the web or watch YouTube, about the only thing it was good for was playing Risk. I couldn't even really read with it, the Kindle app would freak out constantly. As a last ditch effort I downloaded "Advanced Task Killer" since it would work a little better if I paged through all the apps and turned off anything I absolutely didn't need.

Today I spent HOURS figuring out how to root the tablet and install Cyanomod 10.2.1 which brings me to a standard base Android install without any extra crap mucking up the works. There are still a couple things like Google Hangouts that I don't need or want but considering the Nook has become a ROCKET SHIP I don't mind much.

Seriously, not only is it like a new tablet, its like a new tablet made by a company that actually knows how to make good tablets. For the first time ever I can watch YouTube videos in HD without it pausing. I'd always thought it was pausing because I have crappy internet but it turns out it was having trouble playing the frame size, now its no problem at all. Errors I'd had in my Risk game are gone too and I can actually browse to websites without falling asleep waiting.

I did back up the B&N OS before I started but I'm never going to go back to it. I was so happy I even ordered a 32GB SD card to replace the 16GB I had. I'm scheduled for a trip to the Philippines in a couple weeks and now I'll be able to take a whole bunch of videos with space to spare.

Supposedly this will help with the lackluster battery life I'd been experiencing but it'll be a couple days before I can report on that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Working on a change

As I was thinking about writing this I'd vaguely remembered that it takes some number of days to change a habit. Google informs me the commonly accepted myth is 21 days but in reality its probably more like 90. That seems reasonable to me since I realize that real change is difficult and I should expect that if I really want to change something about myself it will take significant time.

Last year I wanted to lose weight, I had a high school reunion coming up and my goal was to hit 200 pounds for that. I missed the goal by 5 pounds but never the less that left me at the same weight I'd been when I graduated high school and I figured that was pretty good. I'd done some running and a little yoga and watched my eating and was pretty pleased with myself.

Of course pride goeth before the fall and it wasn't long before I'd packed some pounds back on. It started with the holidays as is so common, then we went on a cruise and I had a week in Las Vegas for work and I found myself up 10 pounds. Now 10 pounds may not sound like a lot but I also noticed my clothes getting tight and I huff and puff a little more than I had been doing. I'm also having trouble with my back. I don't remember if I've mentioned it here before but I have a herniated disc in my back which presses on a nerve in my left leg if I stand too long. When things are good "too long" is like an hour or more. When things are bad its when I'm walking and I need to take frequent breaks. As you might guess this is super annoying.

So I'd set a New Year's Resolution to lose weight but thats easier said than done. Now with the coming of spring I'm actually getting down to the nitty-gritty and getting to work. Fortunately I'm aided in this by a work trip to Burbank. Often times work trips are an excuse to get on a fat bus, its far to easy to let myself go and eat everything in sight, especially sweets. Our office here makes that especially tempting with an array of treats on hand. I'm in luck there too though since there are also healthy snacks like fruit and almonds. So step one is to shift my snacking, avoiding sweets and drinking more water. To that end I brought a reusable water bottle here with me. I'll leave it here when I go so I have it when I return.

Step two is dinner, I've already got breakfast under control, Panera has "Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal" which they list at 290 calories. Honestly I'm not totally in love with it but its not terrible and it does fill me up and keep me going pretty well. I'm thinking my idea calorie count is in the 1500 range but thats probably unrealistically low. Tonight for dinner I hit Tender Greens, I did the "Salt and Pepper Chicken Big Plate" which was surprisingly filling. I've done their fried chicken before and while it was enough there really wasn't any extra. They claim my meal tonight was 690 calories plus it had a piece of bread and a lemonade which probably brings me close to 850. See, I said 1500 is unrealistic. Still and all Burbank is a walking town, or at least the area I'm in is quite walk-able so I'm sure I'm walking more than I normally do.

Step three is not having desert. When I was a kid we never ate desert and I think I can blame my night-time sweet tooth on Angie. Actually thats not fair, I have an afternoon sweet tooth too. To my great surprise today I actually managed to remove my hand from the candy dish without taking a chocolate.

Anyway this was a lot more than I'd intended to write when I sat down but I'm hoping that the writing will maybe help me with the doing, my goal for 2015 is the same as 2014, I'd like to get under 200 pounds, we'll see...