Friday, May 25, 2012

SpaceX Dragon approaching

My wonderful lil N, who I normally curse at 4am, got me up just in time to rush outside and see the ISS pass overhead with the SpaceX Dragon trailing close behind.   AWESOME!!!!!!! AWESOME!!!! AWESOME!!!!  I didn't even plan on setting an alarm because, well if my wife WASN'T up at 4am, I sure as heck didn't want to be the one to wake her lil N up.  But, as habit would have it, Lil N was up at 3:55am (and quickly walked back upstairs).  I was smart enough to set out my clothes and gear and so I was able to quickly put on my clothes, head outside, get my bearings, check my cheat sheet, look up and see the two traveling overhead.

I'm watching the live feed of the rendezvous now!!!!  Live feed started at 4:30am.  The actual 'grapple' is set to occur at 7:59am.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Go SpaceX ... and other stuff

Congrats to SpaceX for the successful launch of the Dragon capsule towards the International Space Station (ISS) on May 22nd.  While the oroginal launch date moved a couple of times, this was due to SpaceX doing their due diligence, once to make sure that the docking software was fully tested and another time due to a faulty valve which caused out-of-range readings 1 second after ignition (which also proved that the auto-shutdown software was working correctly since it is all automated in the last 15 seconds of countdown).

On Weds, the Dragon did a flyby within 1.5 miles of the ISS and responded to commands sent by the ISS crew which are all milestones that SpaceX had to meet.  The Dragon is set to be berthed to the ISS sometime tomorrow (Thursday, May 24th).  It's a 'berthing' because the dragon is only going to get close enough for the ISS peeps to grab it with the robotic arm which will then maneuver it into position.  A 'docking' is when the spacecraft itself connects to the ISS without any physical help from the ISS crew.

Here is a video of Dragon flying under the ISS during the flyby (short 1 minute video)

Here's a link to the full SpaceX coverage of the launch.  I've cued it up to a point after Dragon is in orbit.  My favorite part of this video is seeing how HAPPY the employees are that the rocket launched, the Dragon was in orbit and the solar arrays deployed.  Happiness = awesomeness :)


I got the IKEA shelves put together.  YAY!  I went through my records and am getting rid of aboutr 75% of them.  There were about 4 boxes that were damaged from the flood at my sister's house and, at first, they appeared to be mostly okay (showing water damaged) but quickly it became clear that they were funkilicious with my nose and throat not taking kindly to me unleashing that craziness.  So, I boxed and taped all of those back up.  Unfortunately, among the casualties were my Barry Manilow and Olivia Newton-John collections.  Luckily, before the move, I had separated out all of the albums I gre up with.  Those were all in a box which were untouched by water, thank goodness.  Upon inspection of the damage, I found only a few records which I grew up with that were not separated out (Kiss - Alive, Kiss - Alive II, Queen - The Game).  There were also LPs that I grew up with which belonged to my aunt.  Those too were spared the water onslaught.   All my 45s were also above the flood plane.

Those IKEA shelves are the shiz-nit and are PERFECT for LP storage (and other stuff too).  I found a few chat rooms where LP snobs concurred that the shelves were great.


The Red Bull Stratos project is coming along.  I believe they are doign a test jump from 90,000 ft early summer and then making the world record / super-sonic attempt in late summer.   The site is still at RedBullStratos.  They posted a link to THIS awesome story which also goes over some of the history of high altitude parachute attempts, all the way from Joe Kittinger's still record attempt in 1961, to several other individuals who have attempted and failed, to the current Red Bull Stratos project.  Good stuff!  Best article I've read on it yet.


 I don't think I mentioned that I will be getting a signed copy of Ben Fold Five's new album when it comes out.  They are funding it via PledgeMusic.  I was lucky enough to find out about it only a few hours after the site went live.  Some of the 'levels' of pledging are limited and they run out.  I think they may have ultimately done 100 signed copies of the new CD for $15.  I got in when there were only 50, which sold out quickly and then they posted another 50.  Anyhoo... HERE is a link to the PledgeMusic page for the new BF5 album.  There are still things to be had including some exclusive stuff coming out @ 3pm on Thursday 5/24 (including getting a personalized version of a song, which I'm sure will cost a pretty penny).  

Juliana Hatfield has funded a few albums this way as well.  I think she has one up right now for doing a covers album.  She's done this a few times so she has some unique stuff that you can get when you pledge X amount.  For example, you can have her personally answer 20 questions from you for 20 bucks... AND you get a download of the album when it's complete.  What else... you can get a 'Song to order' which I think means you tell her what song to put on the album.  That'll run you a cool grand.  She also does artwork, so she sells artwork, custom silk-screened T-shits, etc to get pledges.

Nataly Dawn from Pomplamoose did this as well through a different website with a similar concept called KickStarter covers more than just music.  It covers everything.  Want to start a clothing line, set it up.  Today's featured KickStart is from a guy who does cheese and cracker plates called "Cheese and Crack".  No lie. For $5 you can get a personal Thank You on Facebook.  For $100 you can get a Cheese & Crack party plate which serves 10 people delivered to your home... well... as long as you live in Portland OR.


I'm still losing a little weight.  I've kinda plateau'd again.  I was down to about 167, but then in 2 days the Wii claimed I gained 5 lbs, which means that the goal I set up to lose 5 lbs in a month is now more like 10 lbs.  *sigh*  Oh well, that's how it goes.  Luckily, the Wii allows you to change it part way through in case you've set too lofty of a goal, which 10 lbs in a month is at this point in the game.   I'm still shooting for 155, so at 172 (after my weird two day 5 lb gain) I still have a ways to go.  Luckily, I'm not delusional and thinking I can lose that in like 2 more months.  I will be quite happy if I can pull that off by end of the year honestly.  I lost TON of weigh in the beginning (20 lbs in about 3 months).  There are some people who have tried for YEARS to lose that much weight.  I've just taken a road that works for me.  In the beginning I was working out probably an hour a night, 6 days a week.  I work out closer to 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week now.  I have my little routine and when I feel I've been extra bad I'll throw in an hour or hour and a half workout.  The main thing is that I've stopped eating everything in sight.  I was pretty much miserable 24/7 and popping antacid non-stop because my body was unthrilled with what I was continually putting into my stomach.  I've learned to eat within reason and to not 'eat on principle'.  I still need to work a little bit on eating while I'm watching TV, but at least the THOUGHT is there that I shouldn't be stuffing my face, so I'll either eat something healthier (say a whole red pepper with some zesty greek yogurt dip) or I'll just have ONE bowl of chips.  It really is the little things sometimes.


I'm officially yammering now, so I'll just STFU.  I hope all is well with everyone.   Have a happy Memorial Day!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vaca ... and more stupid stuff

The Mrs and I just got back from our little mini-vaca sans kids. My parents watch the kiddos. We didn't go anywhere exotic. Since we only had 4 days, we chose to stay local in the Cinci area. On Thurs we traveled to Cinci, got checked in, did a little shopping, and ate at Izzy's for a Corned Beef Reuben. It was awesome and tasty!

Friday we went to the Waffle House. It had literally just re-opened that month and it was very clean and the people we (as always) very nice. It was super tasty and amazingly enough I didn't stuff myself silly. After that we shopped around and hit a Half Price books store where, for $5 I purchased a still-seal copy of Ultimate TV Westerns (150 episodes) on 12 discs. Yes, the stupidity has continued, and has been added to the stupid movie / tv list. After that, we caught a Cincinnati Reds game versus the Washington Nationals. The lost 7-3 in a game where the Reds went through no less than 5 pitchers (boo), however M got a free Mom's Day purse / bag thingy (yay!), we got a free show from a magical act called 'Quick Change' which was a man and woman who quickly changed clothes (yay!), we got a free fireworks show from THE Rozzi Fireworks company (boom! awesome! yay!), and because of some fluke, our pitchers actually struck out 11 people and therefore we each got a free small 4 topping pizza from LaRosa's _and_ a free one scoop cone from UDF (yum! woot! yay!). So while the game which started with the Washington Nationals scoring 3 runs at the top of first inning was a bit of suckage, there were many wins whihc we gained as well.

Saturday, we went to the mantinee showing of Les Miserables at the Aronoff Center. M got the tickets and knew we were in the balcony. What we didn't know was that we were in the second balcony... and in the very last row. The only thing behind us was the back wall. The sound was great. But if you're asking me how the acting, aside from arm flails and running about, I couldn't tell ya since we couldn't really see their faces. But, despite that, it was still a good show. After the show we went out to dinner for our free pizza and ice cream. Then we went to Jungle Jim's (a ginormous foodie store) where I picked up a few beers and hot sauces. I knew that Cinci had a bottling plant for Hudepohl but I had never actually had the infamous Hudy Delight, so I wanted to try some. First we technically went to Meijer, but all they had were 12 pk cans and I honestly just wanted a six pack to try... so we went to JJ's. At JJ's, I picked up a 6 pack of Hudepohl Amber Lager and a 6 pack of Hudepohl Festival Bock. Neither of which are their primary brands, but whatever. I also picked up a 12 pack of Shiner Ruby Redbird, which is brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit and ginger. I only really wanted a 6 pk but all they had were 12's and at $12 I figured, what the hell. I also picked up some hot cause... one was on sale for $1.99 and I can't remember it's name... but it looked interesting. another is a hot sauce I haven't seen since college and was probably my first true hot sauce, called Gibb's Nuclear Hell. It was hot and chunky and nearly every day I would have a processed chicken patty with a dab of Gibb's Nuclear Hell covered with cheese. And it was awesome as hell. :P

Sunday, we went to her parents house to celebrate Mother's Day and her dad's birthday. We also went to Ikea where I picked up a couple of awesome bookshelves for my LPs. Her dad cooked up some steaks for lunch which were awesome. Then we came back some to our excited kids who missed up very much. Then I worked out where the Wii laughed at me and said 'You gained 3 lbs chunk-o' so I did some yoga and ran for a 1/2 hour. And then I blogged. And now I'm done. Talk to you later!