September 2005
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Time and a little TLC

September 30, 2005

This past week the alternator died on our newest family edition ... so today we spent some time and energy replacing it. A twenty minute shop job (+$200) became an several hour adventure of fun, frustration, and reward - and for a savings of almost $100. We now can really call her ours.

In all it was a success ... most of the time was spent searching for dropped nuts and bolts as my dexterity seemed a little off ... maybe it was the lack of sleep last night ... or maybe just the fact my hands are a little out of practice. We were also missing the "breaker bar" which is a tool used to reduce the tension on the serpentine belt. We got the belt off the old alternator using a pry bar, but it took forever - then once the new alternator was bolted down we struggled to get the belt back on. We lost the leverage without the belt and pulley tension. So we broke down and bought the breaker bar (which would have saved us likely 2+ hours if we had done that right away - oh well, next time). But we got everything back together and she seems to work great ... we find out tomorrow how great with our trip to Orlando.


Joe decided to take a nap on the job

We all (Joe, Melissa, and I) joined up with a group to see Serenity. Joe seemed to quite enjoy it ... sitting quietly throughout the entire show - and watching a surprising amount. Seemed to enjoy the fight sequences and outer space shots. Melissa and I also loved it ... good story, good acting, good characters, good action ... but then we also both liked FireFly (the short lived TV series).

I have also been working on a update to the Screen Saver Menu (hence the lack of sleep). Version 1.0.1 Beta 2 is available (Mac OS X only). Please let me know if you notice any problems with this release - I am hoping to get the 1.0.1 update released early next week.

Anyway ... better return to packing the car and getting some sleep. Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted by csb at 10:15 PM


 

I don't suggest leaving your trunk packed as such next time you pull through short term parking (security) at Tampa airport. Actually, never mind, I'm not even sure they care what they see in your trunk (even a baby).

Posted by: Darren at October 5, 2005 7:57 AM















Pulling the trigger

September 28, 2005

So, I decided to make the jump and just get the Screen Saver Menu out the door. I have been puttering on bug fixes and tweaks for several weeks ... and now it was time to ship. So, after getting the package together and doing a test run ... I sent out the emails.


As found on Version Tracker

I have yet to see things on any of the "news" sites that I sent it to (MacMinute, MacSurfer, MacNN, and macintouch), but this was a learning opportunity so we will see when (or if) they ever put it out. I will have to look back at the process so I can learn what to do better next time. However, it has been posted on Version Tracker ... and I have logged 83 downloads to this point (just over 9 hours after it was released).

This is fun and exciting ... as it always is when you release a product. If you know of other sites where products can be submitted - let me know.

Posted by csb at 8:45 AM


 

Congrats! I look forward to seeing how it goes!

Posted by: John at September 28, 2005 11:33 AM















New wheels

September 26, 2005


Melissa and Joe show off their new ride

Well, what can I say. The Grand AM is a nice ride. Smooth, quiet, and solid handling. With an included CD player, power locks, remote key system, cruise control, and the biggest feature -A/C, we have already found this to be a loved member of our family. The car is in great shape for being seven years old and 107,500 miles (173,000 km). And the V6 engine still pumps out some good power, we are going to have to give it a couple weeks to see what the fuel economy is like - but the original stickers marked it as almost as good as our Cavalier.

Melissa is really excited as this is her first car, truck, and/or van ... heck she hasn't even owned an SUV. This week will be a learning experience as we officially transfer the ownership, insurance, and registration ... but we look forward to our first out of town excursion next weekend (Orlando here we come).

Posted by csb at 12:44 AM


 

Congratulations for the new car. It looks very nice! Good luck for the trip to Orlando (I hope you'll get in less trouble than me...) Kiss

Posted by: Inês at September 26, 2005 10:19 AM

Nice looking car. I'm sure you all will enjoy having the A/C for the long trips. Makes it easier to talk without all the noise from the rolled down windows.

Posted by: John at September 26, 2005 11:09 AM

So when are you going to come visit me with this new car?

Posted by: Kari at September 26, 2005 2:06 PM

I love the color! I guess I'll get a ride pretty soon. I'll let you know my flight times soon. Mom B

Posted by: Grandma Pat at September 27, 2005 11:52 AM

CAM, i just watched the discovery program on METI

!!!
just thought i'd let you know

good stuff!

Posted by: Kurt at September 27, 2005 11:38 PM

Wow ... I haven't even seen that yet. Guess I am going to have to look that up.

Posted by: Cameron at September 28, 2005 9:05 AM















Happy days

September 25, 2005


Two little ones sleep while the parents play - photo by Krishen

It started yesterday with pizza and a movie, The Aviator - I rank it about 3.5 stars - good acting with an interesting historical plot but the story dragged a bit). By 2:30AM we finally called it bed time. We did not wake the next morning until close to 10AM - good sleep for us and an excellent sleep for Joe who managed a full 13 hours (at least that is what he is telling us).

By noon, we decided a day trip picnic with friends would be fun ... so I put off the finishing touches of the Screen Saver Menu (due out any day now) and we packed the car to head north. Fort Desoto Park is about 30 minutes north of us and turned out to be an excellent little park. It had a more rustic, natural feel to the park which housed some excellent picnic areas, bike/walking/rollerblading trails, canoeing canals, and a historical fort built during the Spannish-Armerican war of 1898. It was a great family day in the sunshine.


Picnic on the shores of the gulf


Overlooking the western shore


One of the "rapid fire rifles" from around 1898


Ready ... aim ...


Oh, we also found a GREAT deal on a car this weekend that we just could not pass up (Thanks again). Melissa is now the proud owner of a 1998 Pontiac Grand AM ... more on this tomorrow ...

Posted by csb at 1:39 AM


 

Little ones? Has it been so long since I've seen you that you've had another baby already??? You can add Fort Desoto to the list of places I have actually been thank goodness, I was getting sick of Joe seeing more of FL in 3 months than I have in 10 years!

Posted by: Darren at September 28, 2005 4:58 PM















Hold on tight

September 23, 2005

Posted by csb at 1:01 PM


 

I love the pic. Especially the background.

Joe has a very worried look on his face. It looks like he thinking "I don't know if I like this. Please don't drop me dad."

Posted by: Karin at September 23, 2005 6:39 PM

what a *great* photo.

Posted by: Krishen at September 24, 2005 1:16 PM















The move

September 18, 2005


Joe shows off his new pad

It was bound to happen. Only a matter of time. So, with mom holding back tears, Joe made his first move ... into his own room. Melissa has spent the last few days painting every last bit of furniture, shelf, stool, etc that she could lay her hands on. We got reds, greens, yellows, and blues giving new life to items that were relegated to closet storage. It all looked so wonderful ... we did the move this weekend.


Joes partition - so colourful


Office area -- now more of a crafts area

It turned out to be an all day affair, since we had to figure out what to do all the office stuff ... and how we were going to arrange the new bedroom. Well, the iMac made it out onto the kitchen counter -- I am writing this from our bar, kinda cool. Email, chats, and music are now that much closer ... and our iPod Shuffle can be replaced as our stereo. When we get our new bedroom set Joe will inherit our dresser -- if not sooner, depends if Melissa gets into the paint again :)


Now that Joe has a bed ... we turn to the rest of the house

Side note: Melissa fits into her jeans ... hurray! Life returns to normal ... now if we could only get by this "separation" anxiety. Joe took over an hour to get to sleep tonight ... and I am expecting the same from Mom. The joys of being the only stable one in the household!

Posted by csb at 10:24 PM


 

I *love* that first shot of Melissa and Joe. Great composition and facial expressions :)

Posted by: Krishen at September 19, 2005 9:05 AM

It looks beautiful! I'm just sorry I can't go there ...

Posted by: Inês at September 19, 2005 9:15 AM















Denied

September 17, 2005


Joe looks on as others enjoy a skate

So, last night we headed to JP Igloo for a Friday night skate. Melissa had called earlier that day and was told strollers would be fine for the public skate ... but after one lap Joe and I were asked to leave the ice. Liabilities against the rink prevented us from enjoying further (Joe was quite enthralled with people skating). Personally, I think the liability argument is crap ... regardless of what occurs on the ice ... the rink was not doing anything negligent - maybe us, maybe others on the ice ... but not the rink. I do, however, see a case for additional objects being allowed out - thus denying the stroller, not the infant. Just wish there was a way around it ... funny, as we went through what things would be "safe" for Joe and the stroller was probably the safest while still enjoying a skate (at least as safe as the sidewalk).

They returned our money due to the misinformation provided earlier in the day and we enjoyed a evening/night with Jae and Cynthia that was not so chilly. (We will return as soon as he can walk)


5 month penalty for being too young

Posted by csb at 10:47 AM


 

That's too bad. Read an article several months ago about roller skating rinks up here holding special mom and baby sessions during the day when moms (or dads) can skate around the rink pushing the kids in the strollers. Haven't ever been to one though. Maybe the ice rink should consider something similar....

Posted by: John at September 17, 2005 12:04 PM

I just love that photo with Joe looking out at the people skating. It fits so well with the title. Sorry to hear that you couldn't have the stroller on the ice though. I think here in Victoria, they allow strollers on the ice. Maybe another trip back might be in the plans then? ;)

Posted by: Liz at September 18, 2005 5:07 PM

Better than 5 months for pulling a 'Bert, although I know you love them both. Love those shots, you're really getting some awesome pictures on here!

Posted by: Darren at September 19, 2005 7:29 PM















How you doin' ?

September 14, 2005


Photo by Christopher

Posted by csb at 12:00 AM


 

Next thing you know he'll have his own TV show.

Posted by: Krishen at September 14, 2005 12:09 AM

Will Joe get his diaper changed in time? Join us on the next episode of Survivor: Daycare!!

Posted by: John at September 14, 2005 11:22 AM

I haven't been able to check your page in a wile, but it seems that you have been quite diligent in making posts. And as always it seems that joey has the main spot light. And it also seems like he is just loven it. From the pic you can tell, he is making others jelous.

Posted by: Cameron(kari's cam) at September 15, 2005 7:02 PM















1756 games - 1887 points - 6 cups

September 13, 2005


Photo found at Sportsecyclopedia.com

So, another of my old Oilers squad retires after putting in 25 years of blood and sweat. The original "power forward", Mark Messier became one of the games most exciting players though hard work and determination. Starting out as a key element in the Edmonton dynasty, Messier helped himself to 5 cups (one in the post Gretzky era) before moving on to the New York Rangers. In 1994, he helped the Rangers shatter the dreams of a Canucks stanley cup. He later joined the Canucks for three short years before returning to the Rangers.

Messier was a force on the ice, his leadership, determination, and grit has marked him as one of the games greatest players ... the only question is "what is next?". Will he join his old teammates of McTavish, Huddy, Simpson, and Lowe back in Edmonton? ... Gretzky in Phoenix? ... maybe the staff of the Rangers? ... only time will tell.

Thanks for the years #11

Posted by csb at 8:12 AM


 















Taking its toll

September 12, 2005

As we are all well aware ... gas prices have steadily been going up. When we moved to Sarasota, Florida $20 would fill my tank ... now we are pushing $30-35. A year ago Melissa and I were paying $1.90 per US Gallon - the price was up to $2.60 by spring and now sits at $2.99 at the pumps (this is for regular unleaded). I have been complaining about the prices for what seems like forever, trying once ... then twice, to cut down on my gas usage. However, I have always returned to the convenience of the car (there are a million excuses). But it is again on my mind! Melissa recently put forward a question ... "At what price point will you stop driving to Ultimate up in Bradenton?" (it is about a 65 km round trip). Fair enough question ... and I could not give an answer, a reasonable one anyways. It is hard to put a price tag on your recreational activities ... it is so dependent on the day. The question prompted several conversations with Krishen on when people will stop driving ... when will society start demanding more public transportation and infrastructure ... when will I put on my walking shoes? Well ... to help I pulled out our booklet of gas expenses we have been recording since last summer and took a look. (Krishen did an analysis of the fuel prices vs world events a while back ... interesting)

Questions to you
How are the higher prices changing your driving patterns? And what is your price point?

Average price per US Gallon each month

Total gas expenses each month

Total distance travelled each month

What we see
We have trended down over the last several months on driving. Our trip to Nashville was the only reason that August took a large jump up. Now, other factors ... Joseph did not handle the heat very well when he was younger ... so we did not travel as much in our non-A/C vehicle. Mileage is very different between city driving and highway driving (which we don't see here). And not enough time has passed to effectively see any trends. Though we have seen dips in out driving to no escape of the expenditure.

Discussion
So ... where does that leave us. "At what price will you stop driving for recreation activities?" My answer ... is there isn't one. I have already started 'skipping' long drives for some things ... but the reality is that it will be more non-recreational driving where we will start to see the difference. Plus, the culture down here is such that dependancy on a personal vehicle has trapped us to some degree. I don't believe there will be a big push to improve the infrastructure quickly. A Florida based high-speed train has been suggested, but been all but killed due to costs. I have seen more bikes and pedestrians on the streets lately, related? Likely. What will likely happen is nothing .. people will still drive, the costs will "relax" though never return to previous levels ... why? Because people have shown they will still pay these rates. Debt will increase because driving, even in our life, is often seen as a necessity (work, school, groceries, etc) ... but eventually, the cost of living will increase - pushing wages up, inflation up, and sending us into another recession. Ouch! Thats negative eh?

Back in school my cut-off point was $0.70 / Liter for driving to school ... after that it was the bus. Now, Krishen and I are back to car pooling our 2 miles into work - and if a sidewalk extended just a 'bit' farther I would rollerblade - but a little more and I might walk. Melissa and I have been walking more to Starbucks instead of driving ... more for fun than to save money - but it is a start right? We are tending not to "go out" as frequently just to pass time - we stay in.

These are the times that push technology to find solutions for us. Hybrids are gaining popularity - even if they are debated as really providing the efficiency the market. (They are designed for stop-and-go, perfect for couriers and/or heavy traffic commutes). The '70s started our public push of alternative energy sources ... maybe today we will see the end of research and the beginning of a new age.

Posted by csb at 4:42 PM


 

I actually paid $2.079 at the beginning of June, and I have never paid over $2.999 thank goodness. Glad to see the price coming down already! I read a great article yesterday (should have saved it for you) about how they don't expect hybrids to be built that much more (tripled by 2025 but that's still only 1/1000 cars made) because the big manufacturers won't make them until they know they can sell them (more expensive initial cost). Also, even if we increase our efficiency by 50% by 2050 they expect we will still be using the same amount of gas because there will be that many more cars on the road.

Posted by: Darren at September 15, 2005 12:35 PM















Weekend fun

September 11, 2005


Hover the mouse over the picture and see our "night" shot

This past Saturday night was a quiet one, we invited Krishen over for dinner and a movie ... and got trapped in the midst of a puzzle. Six eyes, six hands, and several cups of coffee later there stood two towers that just hours earlier were a disorganized batch of foam rubble. The Bank of China and Central Plaza towers emerged on our table - scale models of the towers found in Hong Kong. A bit "straining" at time ... the evening was actually a lot of fun. Melissa had pulled the puzzles out as a 'side activity' - but as most puzzles are, it was catchy and sucked us in for the whole evening. A big thanks has to go out to the Saunders for supplying the addictive substance (the puzzles) last christmas, just wish you had been here to enjoy them with us.

Beyond the weekend, Joe has had a busy week. Early this week he again began to roll over ... this time back to front and VERY intentional. He really worked hard at it, moving his body weight and driving his face into the ground, finally pushing his body over ... a full seven times over the day. Then the next morning we awoke to him on his back -- he sleeps on his front? Hmmmm ... though since then he has enjoyed playing on his side (to the point of falling asleep), but has no interest in moving over to his belly. He will even hold his arm out to balance himself as he is reaching for something ... you can just see him saying "why roll over Dad? ... where does that get me?"


Bahan Concerto #1 - a work in progress

Beyond that ... he is now playing the pianoforte, providing us hours of entertainment. With him now sitting upright on his own he is able to really bang out some tunes ... but he is not into duets nor background music (nothing to disturb his creative process) so Melissa and I are relegated to just sitting back and enjoying the music.

Posted by csb at 8:35 PM


 

Where did you get the keyboard? He really looks like Melissa in this pic.!

Posted by: Grandma Pat at September 12, 2005 7:08 PM















Notes in the sand

September 6, 2005

Posted by csb at 9:46 AM


 

That is the cutest picture I have seen in awhile :) What a great idea :)

Posted by: liz at September 6, 2005 2:28 PM

Thanks Joey. I can't wait to play in the sand with you. Love You!!!

Posted by: Grandma Pat at September 8, 2005 12:06 AM

Awww... so cute. Boy Joe learned to write quickly!

Posted by: Krishen at September 11, 2005 12:14 PM

Hi Mellisa and Cameron.

I want to congratulate you on your beautiful baby boy. He is so cute.

Posted by: Shannon Mackinnon at September 12, 2005 12:54 AM

Shannon Mackinnon from Calgary?

Posted by: Melissa at September 12, 2005 10:42 AM















Weekend grillin'

September 4, 2005


The grill going strong down on the pool deck

It is Ines' last weekend here in town ... so we thought it fitting to through a little 'going away' grill/pool party. Little bit of chicken, some chips ... oh it was a tasty afternoon. After the grillin' and eatin' was done ... the girls thought a 'night out' would be good. So Melissa and the girls headed out for a night of being girls - I got to stay home and babysit ... don't know who had more fun :)

Well, Ines, thanks for coming and sharing another 3 months on this side of the pond. Do come back ...

Posted by csb at 12:49 PM


 

Does this mean you can get a night out for some NHL '06 action?

Posted by: Jeff at September 9, 2005 1:32 PM















Shared milestones

September 2, 2005


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

Joe and I want to wish Melissa a happy birthday today. We should be enjoying a quiet night in after a full day out on the town this morning. And she even got just what she wanted ... a new ______ which she has been asking for. Oh ... plus a ____ to share ... and a ____ ___________ for a ____ _______ when she wants one. After this last year ... she desires it all!

And for a bonus today ... it was Joe's 4 month birthday. Which means? ... a doctors visit! And for the little one - yes - 3 more needles. OUCH! But Joe was very good. Apparently this nurse was much better than the last one (which Melissa almost decked) ... she was at least as kind as one can be in such a situation. Joe took really took it in stride ... I am so very proud.

So ... Joe is healthy and growing well. His leg strength and stepping skills were noted - which made Melissa and I quite proud. He has also now been told to start eating rice - so it is a proper meal at the dinner table for the family now (well once a day anyways). In a month we are to start introducing veggies ... and then some fruit. This is so exciting ...

Posted by csb at 4:31 PM


 

Oh boy!! Mad Libs!!! Let's see, 3 nouns, 2 adjectives, and one activity...

1. wicket
2. toothbrush
3. wobbly
4. telly
5. spurious
6. dance

Posted by: John at September 3, 2005 7:29 PM















It could happen here

September 1, 2005


Photo courtesy of CNN - Category 5 hurricane Katrina striking the gulf coast

The northern Gulf Coast; Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and all the way up to Kentucky is reeling from Katrina's wake. The storm blew through southern parts of Florida as a category 1, but as it hit the warm gulf waters it quickly grew in strength. The forecast went from a category 3 to 4 ... and finally a category 5. Some people fled ... others stayed ... all have suffered.

They are looking at a total evacuation of the city of New Orleans for up to three months. The city is 10 ft. below sea level and guarded by a 15 ft. dyke ... creating a very large swimming pool as the hurricane winds and massive surf came ashore.

This is just a wake-up call for us ... we still have 2 more months of this years season. So getting preparations in order would be the smart thing to do.

Posted by csb at 8:42 AM


 

Hello everyone:
What great pics and movies of Joe walking and writing to grandma in the sand!My what a talented and and handsome grandson we have!
Looks like he really enjoys the rice!!!
hang in there Joe.....ice cream is on the way!!
Love to all,
grandma Bev

Posted by: Grandma at September 7, 2005 9:03 PM