Blog'n the night away...

Snowboarding 101

Saturday February 28th 2009

Look at me go, at a snails pace, OK, well a snail would lap me. This video was from my 1st day attempts. Big thanks to Eric for the lessons.

Enter the iPhone

Sunday January 11th 2009
On January 1st 2009 my 2 year contract with Qwest finally expired. It has been no big secret around the Newman household that I have been absolutely drooling over the iPhone 3G since it's release a year ago. To complicate things a bit, MacWorld was on Monday January 5th. There was a rumor that Apple might release new models again this year. The rumormongers out there suggested that there either could be a smaller Nano version, or a more feature rich Pro version. Well, neither came to pass. Fine by me, the current model suits my needs just fine. So off to Best Buy I go to pick up my new gadget. (note: BBuy because of Reward Zone points, same price as Apple store)

I could not be happier with the iPhone. It meets and in some areas even exceeds my expectations.

Some of the sweet things I can now do from anywhere:
  • Browse the interwebs. My old phone could do this, but no where near as fast and fully featured.
  • Play games, big surprise I would look for a device that also had 3d gaming abilities.
  • Music, I don't have a large music collection, but I see that changing. Also, Pandora Radio on the road friggen rules.
  • Movies, book tickets, modify my neflix queue, watch trailers, get Rotten Tomatoes scores. Slick!
  • Monitor my calorie intake and exercise via the LiveStrong app.
  • Never get lost again with Google maps and GPS.
  • Facebook updates and Photo uploading
  • and so much more
Absolutely freaking awesome. Anyway, enough fanboy gushing.

Today I updated my Blog articles to display an article title in RSS correctly. Previously, it showed the date as the title. On this subject, my blog posts are now also displayed on my Facebook page. If you are on Facebook, look me up. A simple search for Jeremy Newman should do it.

Recent Hardware Upgrades

Tuesday January 6th 2009
In the last 6 months I've done a few hardware upgrades to Garfield. The My Computers page has been updated to reflect that. Mostly because computer parts are so friggen cheap now. I was able to get a new mobo, RAM, and CPU for 300 bucks.

I also cleaned up that page a bit to better show the progression of hardware upgrades. The log area of each system will from this point on show incremental upgrades as well as full system upgrades. Incremental upgrades will get a "dot" release, while full upgrades will change the main version number.

While I am here I'll use this time to editorialise a bit on PC hardware upgrades. As shown on the puters page, I have not performed a major upgrade on Moonshine since 2005. That is a new record. I've never had a system go such a length of time between versions before. One reason is that releases of PC games I am interested in has slowed. Another reason is that I have switched most of my game purchases back to consoles. Finally, I still feel that when I built Moonshine, I built it so bleeding edge, that the hardware was a bit ahead of its time. Whatever the case I don't feel the need to upgrade Moonshine any time soon. There still are no PC game releases coming soon that (A.) interest me, (B.) Moony can't run. Granted, having said all of that. Diablo III is possibly coming much later this year... maybe. I will re-evaluate upgrades if needed at that time.

The Year in Review

Tuesday December 2nd 2008
Looking back it has been an incredibly busy year for us. There certainly were less major events, however, that did not stop us from filling the year up with great small things. Like the old, axiom, The small things matter.

  • Disney Trip
  • Summer Cabin Fun
  • home remodels (basement, and upstairs bath)
  • La Crosse trip
  • Fair Fun (State Fair, and Ren Fest)
  • Jen and Brian's wedding
  • WineConf
  • CodeWeavers gets an arcade cabinet
I could ramble on and on about each event like I have in the past, but I will simply let the photos speak for themselves this year.

The last major event of the year is my continued weight loss. I'm pretty happy with the results so far. Since around May, I have lost over 35lbs. This time, all on my own. No special diet, just exercise and eating right. I still have not reached my goal of the decade. I have yet to break the 200 mark. I've come close. I may not reach it this year, but my current goal is to make it through the winter with no significant gain. Then, by next spring, I will definitely break that milestone.

Summing up, good year for both Karen and I. Woot and all.

Hasta La Vista Phatty!

Friday July 11th 2008
K2 Moto ExtremeThis winter was particularly bad for me and my jelly belly. After all that work a few years back loosing weight, I managed to put a good chunk of it back on. This just won't do. Instead of falling back to Seattle Sutton, I decided to strike out on my own and go the tried and true route.
Step 1.) EAT LESS
I know, DOI.. right? Anyway, once you get in the groove and stop being a lazy F'r, "You can do it!".

Two things helped me get my move and groove on. First off, I bought some spanky new blades. The K2 Moto Extreme. These are a great set of wheels. The front 2 wheels, are 90mm, and the read 2 are 100mm. This gives what K2 calls an "aggressive" stance. Whatever that means. For me I find these are the perfect blades to handle all the bumps, cracks, twigs, and curbs of outdoor blading around the lake. I no longer fear tripping over things as much as I used to.

The second addtition was Wii Fit.This gizmo is simply a white wireless board that you stand on and do various workouts, and yoga poses. The "game" that comes with it is more or less a simple virtual instructor that guides you throuh the routines. It keeps track of your progress and offers suggestions and tips. Pretty nice package and easy to use. I managed to maintain a daily workout habit on the Wii for over a month straight.

After all this, I have again lost 25lbs! Nice. Not only that but, I feel much better overall. It seems corny to say, but I think the Yoga poses have really helped my flexability and balance.

I still have much more work to do. Even with all my progress I'm still obese according to the game. I need to loose about 15 more pounds to get my BMI under 30. If you put any stock into BMI. Honestly, all I care about is getting rid of my muffin top looking beer gut. Not that I'm going to stop drinking beer, aww hell no!

Welcome to the Dog Pound

Friday May 9th 2008
Karen sent this out as an email, it is too good of a story to not include here:

So I've got a funny story from last night - they are just dogs, but
seriously - the stuff they do.

We've been propping the back door open in the evenings so they can run in
and out at will (until the bugs get too bad).  So, Kirby & Bailey had been
going back and forth for about an hour.

The 3 of us (Jer, karen & Eric) were in the basement watching TV, and Kirby
comes racing downstairs, his tongue is hanging and he's panting like crazy.
We laugh, assume they have been chasing each other and let it go.

About 10 mins later I ask "Where's Bailey?"
No one knows.  I go outside, take a look around. Don't see him.
Come in. Look around the house. No Bailey.

Finally, we hear a bark and assume he's wanting to come in the house, but
he's not by the back door.

I go back outside.  This time Kirby comes with and he starts running back
and forth in front of the firepit/sandbox area (that is fenced in).

Low and behold - there is Bailey.  Stuck inside of the firepit area - on the
wrong side of the fence!!!

I'm assuming they were wrestling in the back yard, and he got excited and
jumped over - but couldn't figure out how to get out.

Welcome to the Dog Pound!!!

Have a great Friday.

DisneyWorld Vacation 2008

Sunday February 17th 2008
Now this is how you get away from a frozen Minnesota winter. Growing increasingly tired of -10F temperatures we hopped on a jet to sunny Florida. We enjoyed temps 70F+ above what we normally have here.

The last time we were down to Orlando, FL was exactly 8 years ago. It amazes me how much has changed in those 8 years. Marriage, owning a house, getting a dog. Disney has not changed much in those 8 years. Sure there has been more than a few Disney and Pixar movies released in that time. There was only several major new rides and attractions. The biggest being the Mt. Everest roller-coaster at Animal Planet. At Disney Hollywood they added a live car stunt show. Speaking of Disney Hollywood it was renamed from Disney MGM just last month. We were surprised by that change, but as we thought about it, the MGM name just does not have any impact anymore. Epcot saw the addition of the Soaring ride, and updates to "The Seas" using Finding Nemo as the theme now. Magic Kingdom mostly only had aesthetic updates using new characters to some old favorite rides. The last time we were down, I missed out on several attractions. The Indiana Jones show was shut down, and Pirates of the Caribbean was getting updated. Both of those were new to me as I didn't get to experience them before. Being a HUGE Indiana Jones fan I was on the edge of my seat during that show. Cool Stuff indeed.

The other difference I experienced, was in the area of our personal technology. Back in 2000, cell phones were not very commonplace yet. We are so used to them now, but I remember that we didn't want to get separated back then. Now we can just call and find each other easily. The other change was digital cameras. Now we can take hundreds of photos quickly and easily. For Christmas I bought Karen a new Cannon SD-1000 cam. This was the perfect cam for this trip. Small and easy to whip out for fast photos. Not only that, but it was very capable at video. I took a crap-ton of video. Coming very close to filling our 2 gigabyte flash card. I even took a video of the entire Mt. Everest ride, holding the cam out as we rode. I hope to edit something together and upload it to YouTube soon.

I've always been a big fan of Disney. I can't recommend enough going to DisneyWorld if you are big kid like me.

Website Upgrades

Thursday January 17th 2008
Upgrades on sonic today. I switched to PHP5 from PHP4. Made the appropriate changes to the website code. A few months ago, I already upgraded the OS to Debian Etch. That made the transition much easier. I also made some code tweaks to the website. For example I am now using memcached for session management. This reduces the load on the DB server as sessions are now stored in RAM. I also reworked the database class to only open connections to the DB if there are queries being made. Some of the subpages of this site don't need to open a connection. This should also reduce load on MySQL. Exciting!

I learned today that one of my all time favorite NES games Bionic Commando is getting a remake. It will appear on Xbox Live in the spring. I'll be looking forward to that one. I'm also curious to see how the fully 3d sequel turns out.

Holiday Cheer, Games, and Dog Scare

Saturday January 12th 2008
Another holiday season has come and gone. Not that I am going to complain. I for one am a pretty big fan of the holidays. Saying that it is a crazy busy time of the year for us is a massive understatement. I didn't have much downtime in the month of December. Like I said, no complaints. I love it. Big thanks and much love to our family and friends that we spent time with over the Festivus `for the rest of us`.

Our annual Winter/B-Day party was another huge success. Thanks in part to Rock Band. Almost everyone was giving the game a try. It is amazing to me how mainstream games have become. Party games such as this really allow anyone to get into the fun. This is what gaming was supposed to be about.

Speaking of gaming: After Christmas passed, I still had the rest of the week off of work. This gave me plenty of time work work my way through my new games. The first was Call of Duty 4. Awesome game. Those Infinity Ward guys really know how to put together a visual marvel, but still give you plenty of action at the same time. The only downside was the length. The game was over much to fast. What was there was above expectations. The second game was Mass Effect. This gas was much more satisfying in amount of time to completion. I had expected this game to take me a month or more to finish. Well guess what, I managed to finish the main quest in only 3 days. Granted it still took me 14 hours, but I never thought I'd finish it so fast. You can blame the games amazing graphics and story to prevent me from putting it down. It gave me flashbacks of Knights of the Old Republic from time to time. That really is not such a bad thing.

Getting off games now...

We had a little accident over New Years . My Brother-In-Laws dog Bailey was attacked by a Pit Bull mix at the dog park. Apparently this animal felt the need to take a chunk out of Bailey's side. The skin was ripped open, but thankfully the chest cavity was not punctured. After a mad rush to the University of Minnesota Pet Hospital, Bailey was stitched up by the excellent veterinarians there. He was made to wear a clear plastic head cone so he would not attempt to pull out or lick his stitches. Poor dog. I am now happy to report that he is doing much better. We expect him to be his normal happy self soon.

Rock Band ROCKS!

Sunday December 2nd 2007
I picked up Guitar Hero II back in the late spring of this year. It has been a hit and we love jamming out on the little plastic toy guitars. Yeah, it looks silly, but it is worth looking we-todd-did for the entertainment and laughs it provides. For as much fun as GH was, Rock Band doubles maybe even triples the pure joy of rocking out. RB adds a drum kit and a mic. So now you get to play the entire band. When you have 4 (or more) people over playing the experience is (in lack of a better word) orgasmic.
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