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Everyone Moves Up a Level

We have a brand new person who joined us this week.  His name is John.  He is the son of Greg from House Carter and Sarah of Gryffindor.  He is one of us.  Even though a baby is born somewhere in the world every second.  It’s a really big deal when it’s yours.  I can’t think of a more dramatic example of gestalt theory – the idea of the whole being greater of the sum of the individual parts than a mom, a dad and a child.  That little person who is literally a part of you grabs your perspective, throughs it over their shoulder and runs off to a place you have never been before.  People told you about it but . . . .

While all this is happening to you,  you may not be aware that the same thing, albeit to a much lesser degree, is happening the people who love you.  Friends, and family members are moved by the aftershocks.  Of course the person at the center of this seismic shift is completely oblivious of their effect on their tribe.  They remain that way for the most part – until some bably rocks their world.  And so it goes.

As new grandparents we welcome the next iteration.  We are a little bit smarter about all the things we don’t know, a little more convinced that it will actually work out in the end, and absolutely LOVE the fact that our kids get to experience what it’s like on the other side of the dirty diaper.  To be fair, we are just as inexperienced grandparents as they are inexperienced parents the difference is, our grandparents aren’t snickering over our shoulders.

Here’s to you John Robert Carter

 


Where it all started . . .

Linda and I went to Jacksonville this weekend for our niece’s baby shower.  While we were there we decided to visit Jacksonville University where we met 87 years ago.  The surrounding area changed a lot but the campus was still as beautiful as it was back in the day, maybe even more so.  When we finished our nostalgic tour we had an early lunch at another nearby institution – Beach Roads Chicken Dinners where many a college kid (and local) ate there weight in chicken ‘n fixens.  Photo album link below, there are captions to add some info

Pics from JU

How do you know of a USB cable or phone charger is any good?

Did you know that the cables and charger you use to charge your phone and tablet can make a HUGE difference in charging time?  Here is a little video/tutorial that can give you a little insight and help you make sure your device isn’t tethered to the wall longer than it has to be.

Instructables Link

 

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Wait, is that a . . . .

Launching your kayak from the beach to go fishing (often referred to as BTB or beyond the breakers) is not a simple task.  Everyone thinks about the waves trying to flip you over, all that equipment sticking out weighing you down and threatening to become a beachside yard sale but one huge but often overlooked challenge is just getting to the waters edge.

Yesterday I set out on a scouting mission to see if I could find a little beach park with relatively easy access for a kayak.  I also though I might do some fishing along the beach while I was at it.  While at the first spot I noticed some kayak fisherman down the beach a half a mile or so.  Perhaps there was good access there or at least good fishing.  Off I went to the next spot.

It was a fairly large and organized parking lot but the strange thing was most of the cars were tiny subcompacts, not the usual pickup trucks that kayakers favor.  I trudged up the soft sandy path over the dune – so much for the easy access.  As I crested the dune I saw there were pretty many people there which made sense with all the cars in the parking lot.  I strained to see over/past the tents and umbrellas to find my fellow plastic boat anglers.  I saw none.  Hmmm.  I noticed a couple of people looking at me.  The people noises I heard had a foreign sound.  Most of the beach goers were older and my guess was that they were from Europe.  Still, not a single kayak or even fisherman for that matter.  But wait . . . . is that a . . . . a boob?  Why, yes, yes I am pretty sure it is.  First thought – hmmm, perhaps she is getting changed . . .

I looked over at one of those people who were watching me,  she was in her 65 year old birthday suit.  Turns out, I was the oddball.  Remember when I said I was fishing?  When I go fishing I wear a giant straw hat, sunglasses, a gator around my neck, long sleeve shirt, gloves, long pants and boots.  Here I am standing in my UV armor nary an inch of skin showing at a nude beach.  The cognitive dissonance was palpable.  I turned 180 degrees and slogged back up the dune sure I was being gawked at, eyes probing my SPF 50 outfit.

What do you USE that brings you joy?

Do you have anything that you use on a regular basis that actually  makes you happy just using it?  It has to have a job other than making you happy like a pen, or a pair of shoes or maybe even an appliance.

I have a kitchen knife my wife gave me for Christmas 15+ years ago.  It cost more than all the knives we bought up to that time added together (about $100).  I have used it 10,000 times but to this day it makes me happy to use it.  I also have a little MP3 player I built for my truck, it plugs into the cigarette lighter and has a case I designed and printed.  I have about $7 invested and it’s my favorite music machine.

What do you have that can make you smile even though the warranty ran out a long time ago?  Did you bestow the specialness or did it come with it?

Look at my Lizard Fish!

You’ve heard that thing about beauty being in the eye of the beholder?  Turns out that theory works in a lot of different situations.

Perhaps I can use fishing to build an analogy.  I go out on my kayak trying to catch a big snook or maybe a redfish, might as well haul in a few nice trout while I’m at it.  I go to my first spot, perfect for angling in one of my target species.  My casts are a little rusty and I might not be using the right bait.  Bam! I put a little too much mustard on a cast and hook a mangrove.  Now I have to paddle in and scare away any fish that might have been there and wrestle with a giant bush to get my lure back.

Time to go to a new spot.  My casts are getting better but I’m not even getting a nibble.  I either picked a spot with no fish or am not doing it right.  This is how the whole morning goes.  With the exception of one ugly lizard fish, I come up empty.

When I return my wife asks me how it went.  There are a couple of ways we can go here, there was a time when I might have said it was a lousy trip and it would be easy to make a case for calling it a failure.  It’s all a matter of  perspective.  Instead, with complete honesty I tell her I had a really good  trip.  It was a beautiful day, I got to go kayak fishing!, the mangroves are my favorite place to fish and I even caught this fish I hardly ever catch – look at my lizard fish!

Drawdio = drawing + audio !

I have gained much useful knowledge from watching YouTube videos.  Most of the time it’s from people just trying to help other people out like the guy that showed me (and a few thousand others) how to fix the broken latch on my refrigerator.  Sometimes it’s from people who make their living from YouTube, much of that content could be called “edutainment”.  I stop by most days to see what’s new.

I have tried my hand at a few videos, partially to see how it all works, a little bit to see how they are received and of course I want to help someone out like I had so often been helped out.  Today I uploaded another one, it’s nothing special but it’s on an interesting little gadget.  I had to add a reason to my list of why I do videos – pressure and guilt.  Pretty much every week I get an email that someone has subscribed to my YouTube channel.  Whenever I get one of those emails I first thing I think is “wow that’s cool they must like my stuff”, the next thing is “another person is waiting for the next video”

I uploaded my first video in 2006 a year after YouTube started, there have been maybe 5 since then.  Obviously building a following and growing a channel was never my plan.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have throngs of people interested in power cables or shelf lighting or anything like that.  But if 100 people have said “when this guys puts out another video I want to know about it”, well, I picture them checking YouTube everyday (like I do) looking down their list of subscribed channels and seeing once again, that slacker’s got nothing!  The shame, the shame . . .

So here is a video of a pencil that can make annoying sounds but please don’t subscribe, I can’t take the pressure.

YouTube video

Happy Music

Recently our family tried a little happy exercise together.  Fear not, there was no profuse sweating or smelly closes involved.  We each pondered the question “what are the songs that make us happy”.  For time and sanitity’s sake we limited the choices, top 3-5 songs.  It was also suggested that we accompany the choice with a short not about why that song was happy to us.  Music can be a pretty powerful force and sometimes it’s used for good.  Here is our list.  For those of you who know us, I wonder how many you can associate with its nominator?

Of course many if not most of these songs made the list because of what was happening to the submitter when they listened to the music but clearly the music itself had emotional powers.  Consider trying the exercise yourself.  Better yet, do it with people you care about, it can provide some happy insights to what makes them tick.

Believe – Yellowcard
Beyonce – Love on Top
Brave by Sara Bareilles
Brooks & Dunn – Ain’t Nothing Bout You
Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel
Constantly – Cross Canadian Ragweed
Dance to the Music – Sly and the family Stone
Dime Luna by Mana
Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray
I’m A Believer by the Monkeys
Jammin – Bob Marley
Joy to the World – Three Dog Night
Kodachrome – Paul Simon
Life During Wartime by Talking Heads
Love Shack – The B-52s
Nashville Blues – Cory Morrow
Play That Funky Music White Boy by Wild Cherry
POWER – Kanye West
Rise to the Sun by Alabama Shakes
Sister Hazel – Mandolin Moon
Starman by David Bowie
Stay Alive by Jose Gonzalez
The Girl with the Faraway Eyes by The Rolling Stones
Time of Our Lives – Pitbull, Ne-Yo
Van Morrison – Days Like This
Wake Up by Arcade Fire
Widespread Panic – Climb to Safety

Sometimes you get more than you deserve

I’m sure some of you may find that hard to believe.  You will just have to take my word for it, although I can offer a bit of proof.  The rest of you know this is true and are lying in wait for your next serendipitous windfall.

For the past few years I have been pursuing a new career (although some would call it a 2nd childhood) involving education, coding, robotics and various electronics.  As part of this metamorphosis I have usurped the family dining room cum work from home office and have slowly turned it into a nerd-man-cave.  There are multiple computers, monitors, notebooks, test equipment, 3D printer, 17 different kinds of cardboard, vinyl cutter, soldering irons, robots and several storage systems filled to the brim with . . . umm . . . very crucial and totally important thingamabobs mostly from China.

You may not know this, but there are a few individuals who actually don’t appreciate these monuments to tinkering, these magnificent maker spaces!

Well, in our house, we don’t have any of those people.  Recently my lovely bride bought me some hardware and convinced my daughter and her husband to pick it up and bring it to the house.  This was no small feat because it weighs 350 lbs.  It is a high end bright red rolling tool chest (Milwaukee 52″ Mobile Workstation)  with a nicely finished 1.25 inch solid wood top and drawers that will hold a 100 lbs each.  On top of that, I was allowed encouraged to put it in my nerd cave, and we think it looks great.  Eat your heart out normal husbands/fathers.

The new addition has really upgraded my space.  My stuff is better organized and way easier to get out and put away.  Another benefit is that it gives me a stand-up space to work The former tool chest is now a robot building station.  I’m still working on a few upgrades and deciding what gets to go in the few remaining empty drawers.  Thank you family.

 

We were hacked

Sorry friends and strangers, for a while this site was taken over by under morraled, underdeveloped, underground types for undesirable activities.  But as in all good stories the forces of goodness and tech support have prevailed.  Sorry if your sensibilities were besmirched while visiting our humble site, it won’t happen again until next time.  May all the bullies and haters in your news feed be on your side.