Archive for June, 2007

Support a paddler, protect the river!

Posted by Karen in Family, Work.
Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 11:59 am

Nate’s sister Sierra (the Pinolera), my brother Steve, and my dad have all accepted the challenge – the Mississippi River Challenge!   On August 4th and 5th they will all paddle the Twin Cities section of the Mississippi River to raise money for Friends of the Mississippi River.  Nate and I will both be volunteering at the event, probably helping out at rest stops along the way and coordinating the fun at Fort Snelling, where paddlers camp on the 4th. 

How can you be a part of this amazing event you ask?  Why, just look to the right!  Help Sierra, Steve, and Pa Phillips meet, nay, EXCEED their fundraising goals!  Click on the link and donate away!  Every little bit helps, and it all adds up to help us do a whole lot more work for this mighty river! 

(And a big thank you to those of you who have already donated!)

Birds and Bees

Posted by Nate in Ideas, Soapbox.
Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at 6:37 pm

And that’s why I’m a dog person…  Interesting link to the Audubon Christmas Bird Count in there – I remember going on that a few times with my dad, but somehow it didn’t occur to me until just now that there’s obviously some amazing data being gathered in that event.  I mean, it goes back to the 1920s!

Stupid cats.  And I was about to write "no offense, cat people", but…  I mean, come on, they make me sneeze, they give you cat-scratch disease, and toxoplasmosis is linked to all kinds of freaky shit.  And they kill birds.  You don’t want to kill birds, do you?  Or make me sneeze and puff up?  Get a dog.

Sounds like trouble

Posted by Nate in Projects, Wedding.
Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Our ceremony will be outside, and I’ve been worried about sound — will the trees "swallow" the sound?  What if there’s water in the creek?  I’d been planning on some wireless battery-powered "something" to solve this problem, and a few weeks ago I thought I’d found it: a Pyle Pro PWMA3600.  (Don’t worry, it was on Amazon for like $80 less than that)

I’m sad to report it was a Pyle of crap, or rather, they were.  That’s right, I got two…

Pyle Pro 1The first one arrived and I excitedly set it up, adding an external speaker as advertised to increase the spread – it sounded great!  The included wireless mic seemed very responsive and feedback-free.  I wrapped up my test and went to turn it off – and nothing happened.  Music continued to play.  Hmm.  "That’s going to wear down the battery pretty quick," I thought to myself.  An hour spent fiddling with it didn’t improve the situation and I noticed some pretty visible sparking when I went to plug in the adaptor to charge it.  Whoa.  Rather than messing with it I further took advantage of Amazon’s amazingly customer-friendly return policy and asked for a new unit.  "They can’t all be bad!" I confidently told Karen.

…except they are.  The second one arrived yesterday and I carefully removed the layer of foam wrapping and opened the box.  I reached in and took hold of the handle to remove the unit, and…  guess.  Guess what happened.

Pyle Pro 2That’s right, it came right off – the whole lid.  Followed by the sides falling into the middle, like a cartoon house collapsing.  I never even got it out of the box.

The good news is, this is all happening with almost 3 months to spare, so I’ll get it figured out.  And it sure makes my online searches go quicker when I can skim over any Pyle Pro products without even clicking.  Grrrr…

Riddling the mead!

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing, Wedding.
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 at 7:55 pm

pict3378.JPGYou will need: 1. Leftover board from… some project…  2. Hole saw and drill bit for guide.  3.  Test bottle of water.  4.  Beer (full).

pict3379.JPGYou will end up with:  1.  A riddling rack with too many holes.  2.  A bent drill bit.  3.  Test bottle of water.  4.  Beer (almost empty).

pict3389.JPGIt’s as easy as that, my friends.  All that’s left is to get the mead in place, put a dab o’ paint on the 12 o’clock position so I know where I’m rotating that day, and start "riddling."  (thanks for the links, Rick!)  In a few months I’ll tackle disgorging, which will certainly be an adventure…

pict3374.JPGTwo bonus pics: happy puppy playdate in CO, and this incredible spider web in our house.  That little guy’s like an eighth of an inch across, pict3385.JPGand we watched him build this amazing tiny web so we decided he could stay for now…

Coming up:  I think I found the perfect solution to our outdoor sound system needs!

Wedding thoughts

Posted by Nate in Wedding.
Monday, June 11th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

The day of reckoning draws ever nearer!  And while we’re not going to blog about everything we’re up to so there will be some surprises, we’ll try to keep the updates coming as things progress.

  • Built most of the riddling rack for the sparkling mead for the toast.  No, it doesn’t look that good.  :)
    • Found out it’s possible – easy, in fact! – to bend a drill bit while using a hole saw if your alignment is off in the chuck.
  • Article in Slate today about engagement rings – the history (when and why did diamond rings become the de facto standard?), the gender inequality (why just the woman?), and more.
    • It’s interesting how ingrained the idea of the engagement ring is, it seems like one of those things we do "because it’s a tradition", but it’s really a pretty modern invention… (And, like Valentine’s day, encouraged in no small part by businesses with a heavy stake in perpetuation this "tradition".)
    • We didn’t do the diamond ring thing, but I still wish I’d read this article last year for some other insights and maybe would have forgone the ring altogether or gotten us each one.  Hmm.
  • Uh oh.  Speaking of rings, Bruno’s hoping Karen doesn’t see this.
  • A bunch of articles about last name changes, from the I’m-a-woman-writing-this-so-it’s-not-really-chauvinistic-when-I say-the-man-should-lead-you view to a more objective rundown of options, and finishing with the latest trends and a note about the legal system:
    • "Only seven states now allow a man who wishes to alter his name after his wedding to do so without going through the laborious, frequently expensive legal process set out by the courts for any name change. Women don’t have to do so."
    •   Huh.  Complicated.
  • Oh, and a bunch of top secret fun stuff.  :)

Te Beagh

Posted by Nate in Family, Travel.
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007 at 9:46 am

It’s pronounced "best picture ever".