Saturday, January 27, 2007

Late January Ramblings.....

Well, here we are, almost thru January already and I haven't said a thing yet about the new year. Things are quiet around here this evening so I thought I'd update y'all.

This has been a very mild winter. From about the 9th of December until the second week of January it just didn't snow. The weather was consistently in the 40's or higher. The last couple weeks though it's begun to act more like a Michigan winter around here with temps in the 20's and some snow accumulation, enough at least to cover the ground and hide the grass. Hopefully we won't have to pay for the mild weather now with snow in late April :-)

Work at Nowak has been interesting lately. Since Joe's death in October it's been pretty grim around there as far as an outlook for the future goes, but lately folks have been stepping up to get things going and I'm not as convinced that it's headed for the toilet as I was a couple months ago. Still, it's touch and go. The Irony of the situation is that while there isn't a whole lot going on, on the production floor, I've been busy as hell trying to get caught up, organized and writing programs so that we can maybe make quality parts to sell to customers and stay in business. This is the first Saturday I've had off in a couple weeks. I even did a Sunday a couple weeks ago so the paychecks have been pretty healthy for me personally even if the company itself ain't that healthy. It's not like the supersized paychecks are being banked though, they're just allowing me to stay ahead of all those things that come up that never seem to find their way into the annual budget. Things like property taxes, Car Insurance for the '56, Annual dues to the Whiskey Creek Condo Association, dental bills, at least for the moment, we're on a fairly even keel.

I've been enjoying my birthday present (the Ipod) immensely. Probably one of the best presents I've ever gotten. For a music collector / lover like myself this thing is quite an amazing piece of work. I have almost 6.5 days worth of music loaded up on it now and I've still hardly scratched the capacity of the thing. It's a gas to just turn it on, hit shuffle and see what pops up. It's like the ultimate personal radio station without any of the BS advertising. At my current rate of download I expect it's gonna take thru the summer, if not longer, to fill the thing up. Once I run out of room then I guess I'll have to start thinning the herd and skim off some of the stuff I can live without.

I made the Ipod even more useful last night by buying a Griffen Roadtrip at Best Buy. Now, I can play the Ipod in the truck / van / car by plugging the Ipod into the Road trip and then plugging that into the cigarette lighter in the vehicle. You program the Road Trip to an empty FM frequency and then turn on the Ipod and the radio and it'll play right thru the vehicles sound system. It's damn near magic. It also can broadcast the Ipod from the computer to my home stereo system by plugging the transciever into the computer but I haven't been able to get that to work yet and I suspect that it's because my receiver is a dinosaur, just too old to be compatible with the new technology. I wrote Griffen to ask 'em about it, but I figure a new receiver is gonna be the only way to get up to speed in the house. That'll have to wait until some other things are taken care of first..........

A couple weeks ago I attended AutoRama in Grand Rapids, took some shots and wandered around the place for about 3 hours checking out the awesome cars. Ran into some guys I knew from the summer shows, who were showing their cars and talked with them for awhile. Watched a guy do a magic show that was pretty entertaining and then headed for home.

Today the plan was to get up fairly early and head up to the campsite to cut up some firewood and goof around for awhile, but the getting up early part didn't happen and it was just too chilly to feel like cutting wood once I got there so what really happened was that I got up about noon, loaded up Ipod, camera gear and chain saw and headed north up 31. Got up there about 2pm and wandered around a bit taking some pics. Decided that cutting wood could wait until early spring, when the snow was not an issue. They had quite a bit more up there than we have around here. Enough in fact that I couldn't get the pickup up the hill to park it. I got it off the road and that was about it. After surveying the campsite I got back in the truck and rode around the whole campground, shooting some pics and taking in the view. About 4:30 I decided it was time to head back south for home.

That's about it for now I guess. No big plans to talk about, nothing note worthy in the immediate future. One day at a time until things start to green up again.



Monday, January 01, 2007

Out With The Old....In With The New

Well, here we are, half an hour or so into the new year with the holidays behind us and the new year ahead. Now that the festivities are behind us I can say that it wasn't too bad at all this time around. We had a nice time at the Green's on Christmas eve...lots of eats and some fairly painless socialization. Ri and Adam came over Christmas morning to open presents and hang out for a while and then me, Wanda and Chris headed up to the folks for Christmas dinner. We had a good meal and traded gifts and hung out there until about 5:00pm. Ri and Adam came up later after we'd been there for awhile and had some dinner too. they stayed for awhile after we left for home.
Wanda had to go to work the day after but I had Tuesday off so me and Chris decided to take a ride up to Whiskey Creek and make sure everything was still there and unmolested. We didn't stay long, just stood around a bit, took some pics, rode around the grounds for a half hour and then headed back for home.
I had a 3 day workweek, which went by fairly painlessly and then it was Friday evening. Wanda asked if I wanted my birthday present early which was a surprise because I hadn't really figured on getting anything, but she managed to come up with a really nice surprise. I unwrapped a small package to find an Apple Ipod, something I've wanted for the last year or 80gig one too.....big enough to pretty much hold the entire record collection with room to spare for the future music purchases. So, since I unwrapped that I've spent quite a bit of time playing with it and building my music library. At this point I've got a about 36 hours worth of tunes on it. In other words.....I'm just getting started.
Saturday was my 54th birthday. Good lord....54? How does that happen? It was a pretty nice day too. I slept in until I felt like getting up and hung around the house until about 5pm. Then we headed for the mall area and hit Circuit City and Best Buy looking for a case for my new Ipod and a decent pair of headphones for it. Those ear buds that come with it suck. They sound terrible and I don't care for having things stuffed in my ears. While we were there we looked at computer towers too simply because mine system is almost 6 years old which in computer age makes it a dinosaur. After reading the Ipod manual it had become evident that I wasn't going to be able to use it much with my system simply because it was too old for the tricks it needed to perform so in a rash move, after an hour of comparision shopping I bought a new tower. Nothing fancy, a Compaq Presario SR2050NX . Just something basic and more up-to-date than I've been using since 2000. It should tide me over for a couple years at least. It's not like I'm playing high end online games anymore. I play with my websites, read Email and now I have the Ipod to occupy me on cold winter nights. This box should do just fine. Anyhow, after that deal was done (they had to prep it and I'd come back to pick it up Sunday afternoon) we headed over to Branns for birthday dinner. The 3 of us had a nice meal and I got sang too along with a piece of chocolate cake with a candle in it.
After dinner we headed over to the Cinema Carousel to catch a movie. Because of the time the choice for a flick ended up being "Dreamgirls" which wasn't bad even though it wouldn't have been my first choice, had we had more choices. By the time we got home from the movie it was almost midnight.
Today I picked up the new computer and spent the bulk of the day moving stuff from the old tower to my external drive so that I can reinstall it all in the new machine. It's gonna take several days to get things moved over and probably a week or more before I've got everything back up to where it was with the old box.
It's been a long day and an even longer year and I'm ready to call it a day now that it's officially 2007. Hopefully the new year will bring some good things and not too much in the way of bad but we shall have to wait and see how it goes. Rolling with the punches is what's prescribed no matter which way the road turns. Adios 2006, welcome 2007.