Maly’s near-miss

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A few square blocks in downtown Austin

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Zombie Eater Dare Devil

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Product review for those of us with lovehandles

I’m seriously considering investing in Logitech. I got a new MacBook for work and needed new mouse. After doing a little research I settled on a MX Revolution. I’m kind of a mouse snob and this mouse suits all of my snobby needs. It’s the Ferrari of mice. It’s smart, too. On numerous occasions I’ve actually picked the mouse up, stared it down and asked, “how did you know I wanted to do that?”

This past weekend I hosted my annual Godfather’s Club Meeting. One of the ‘competitions’ was a Guitar Hero II play-off. I won’t name names, but yours truly decided it would be cool, after successfully completing a song, to toss the guitar over my back and let the strap wrap the guitar around my body and return to my hands. In perpetrating this cool rock star move, I managed to hit the large decorative metal star that sits on the fireplace mantel. The star fell and brought down the TV remote, stereo remote, XBox remote and TiVo remote with it.

The TiVo remote broke.

Today I went to Best Buy to purchase a new TiVo remote. This particular Best Buy doesn’t sell TiVo remotes but they do sell Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remotes. I was sold on a Harmony 550. This thing is really cool. You set it up via USB on your computer and then set ‘activities’. So now I click Activites on the remote and it asks me what I want to do. I select “Watch TiVo”. It turns the TV to the correct station and turns the stereo to the SAT/DIV so we can watch TV with the stereo on. If I want to watch a DVD, it automatically changes the TV to Video 2 and changes the stereo to DVD. The remote can also control fans, lights and computers.

I’m anxiously awaiting the firmware update that will start and control the lawn mower.

Caveat Emptor: It Almost Just Works

I’ve been shopping digital camcorders for a couple months. I decided to invest in a camcorder because as Maly gets older I find myself shooting a lot more video with the little PowerShot S550. It’s a great little point and shoot camera and captures great video, but I wanted a dedicated camcorder. So I sold some stuff on craigslist and took the money that my in-laws gave me for my iBook and started shopping.

After researching an assortment of makes and models, I decided on the Sony DCR-SR300. This camcorder, as my dad-in-law would say, is a honey of a camera. I ordered it last Saturday and UPS attempted to deliver it on Friday. Nobody was at the house so the camera was delivered to the UPS warehouse on the opposite side of town. I drove an hour and a half round trip to get my camcorder last night. I brought it home, unpacked the camera and all of the accessories, plugged it in and let it charge. Once it was charged I played with it for a while and fell in love with it. It’s the coolest camcorder ever. I messed around with the touchscreen menu, the backlight and the nightvision – all-in-all, it’s an easy to use, full-featured camcorder that I was really, really excited to own.

Until I tried to download the videos I shot to the iMac.

I couldn’t get the iMac to recognize the camera. I employed every trick in my hat and gave up for the evening as it was 1 a.m. at that point.

Verbatim from the owner’s manual:

For Macintosh User

  1. Turn on the computer
  2. Place the CD-ROM (supplied) in the disk drive of your computer
  3. Open the [Handbook] folder in the CD-ROM, double click the [US] folder and then drag-and-drop the “Handbook.pdf” on the computer.

After having the software installed, double-click “Handbook.pdf”, you can view the handbook.

Excellent!  And then what?!?!

I woke up this morning and called Sony’s technical support. After explaining my scenario and troubleshooting for 15 minutes, I was told that I would need to pull the video from the camera by opening it as a drive on my desktop (I was under the impression that when I plugged the camera in, iMovie would open and import the videos for me). I was able to navigate the cameras hard drive and copy over the video files. But the videos wouldn’t play. The camera captures MPEG-2 video and QuickTime wouldn’t play my videos. It was then suggested that I download Apple’s QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component. I assumed that this would be the fix so I hung up with tech support.

QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component cost me $20 and it allowed me to view the videos I had captured, but there was no audio.

So I called Sony technical support again. This time I was on the phone for half an hour. Twenty of those minutes was spent with me on hold while the agent checked’s support site. While he did that, I pulled weeds out of the garden. It was then found out that I can’t use this camcorder with a Mac unless I want silent video. I’m really bummed now. I love that camera but I’m not keeping a Windows PC around just to download and edit video.

So, it’s back to the drawing board. All is not lost though. I was able to capture the Dick Witch Project:

Monthly Maly Letter: Month 12

Dear Maly,

You turned 12-months-old today. You’re a year old. So much has happened in a year and I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed to have had you here with me. You’ve been such a wonderful little girl.

You’ve been so happy, healthy and have helped realize what’s really important in this world.

Your major milestone this month were your first steps. You starting standing on your own last month, but it was a few days ago when you first attempted biped mobility. You made it a step and a half and flopped down onto your butt. Later that day your mom and I put you between us and handed you off to one another. You made it a good three steps before you lunged into my arms.

It’s so amazing to watch you grow. It’s nearly impossible to notice on a day-to-day basis, but I look at photos of you from only a month ago and it’s unreal how much you’ve changed. You’re successfully morphing into what you were sent here to do: walk, talk, poop, cry, laugh, fart, ask me for money, eat all of the food in the house and, with your infinite micro powers, harness what little hair I have left on my head and suck it through my scalp, into my brain where it will disintegrate any will power against you and stop to live comfortably while dangling an inch from either ear.

Now that you’re a lot more mobile, I can really see you’re gaining a sense of independence. At first I was scared. It was shorty after that you relieved me of that fear. Whenever we’re playing on the ground, you’ll occasionally stop and look up at me just so you can make sure that I’m still there watching you. Whenever I crawl on the floor after you while growling and saying, “I’m unna gitchoo!”, you’ll crawl like mad and then belly flop so you’re assured that I will, in fact, get you. I then kiss you on the cheek and you giggle such a happy giggle. I’ll then pick you up and throw you into the air and catch you on you way down while saying, “Weeeeeeee!!!” and you scream with joy. I’ll put you on my shoulders and trot around the house like a horse and you shriek and laugh. You’ll poop and then I just hand you over to your mom.

Your mom and I are so lucky to have you. There is an ancient Swahili song called, “Bwana, anakawuita” which, if I remember correctly, is about a traveling white man who receives a gift because when he arrived for dinner at a local tribesman’s hut, the tribesman was so embarrassed because his children had stayed up all the night prior, updating their MySpace pages and had since neglected to put away their Xbox360 games. So, the tribesman gave the traveler a goat as a significant gesture of sort. You see, it’s all about sacrifice and love. Your mom and I have sacrificed our love for you. Or would love to sacrifice you. I can’t remember.

My point is, your mom and I love you more than you will ever know. We’ve made sacrifices but so far, they’ve all been for the better. We’ve learned to love each other more so that you will grow up in a loving family and know how to love as well. When I come home from work, I kick the cat while walking through the garage door, fart while entering the kitchen, kiss your mom and then lovingly announce, “Wait’ll you smell that!” It’s at about that point where you notice my grand entrance, look up at me, smile and wave your Little Miss Universe wave and then I find solace in knowing that you just witnessed what real love is.

My real point is: I love you. Your mom and you mean the world to me. You’ve made me laugh like I’ve never laughed before. You’ve made me laugh harder than anybody else has. You’ve made me have nightmares that I never thought I’d have; nightmares where I thought I was going to lose you. You’ve made me cry like I’ve never cried before. The day after your were born I cried in the parking lot of the hospital while sitting alone in the truck. I had just driven back from having dinner with my parents and was returning to spend this night with your mom and you. I put the truck in park and without warning, I cried in a way that I didn’t know was possible to cry. I was so happy, nervous, excited, scared, confused and proud. We hadn’t even chosen a name for you yet. I just knew that my little girl was in that hospital that stood before me and I was her dad.

I love you, Sugar.



I’m not dead yet

I received another correspondence yesterday from the funeral home that held Dad’s memorial service. This one was a reminder that they had not yet received a response from their last correspondence entitled: Personal Information for Future Reference, which roughly translates to those that are still living: What Do You Want To Have Written About You (In Your Own Words) When You’re Cold and Blue. Which is why I’m going to write a polite letter to the funeral home and ask that they stop sending mail to me. It’s depressing. I know the funeral home at which we held Dad’s memorial service. I don’t need a monthly reminder. I don’t want or need to pre-arrange my Future Reference.

For those of you who know me, know this: When my day comes, I want to be cremated. If there’s money / a crematorium involved, save the money and burn me yourself (you’ll have to get this expedited by the County Medical Examiner but buy him/her a fruit basket and just get it done).  Roast weenies over the fire, have some beers, play some Willie Nelson songs — have fun.  Sprinkle my ashes all over the world. That’ll give you an excuse to worry less about whatever woes you and allow you to travel the Earth.  Don’t mourn me, but celebrate yourselves and whatever influence I might have had.

Easter weekend roundup

The weekend started around noon on Friday. We headed to Mom’s house and when we were half an hour from getting there, I realized that I forgot the compressor and pneumatic hopper that I was supposed to bring so I could texture Mom’s bathroom walls. That was half of the reason why we were going to spend the weekend at Mom’s house.

I dropped Elise off at church in Frelsburg for Good Friday mass at 3 p.m. Maly and I went on to Mom’s house where I unpacked the truck and Mom showered Maly with kisses.

I drove back to church to pick Elise up at 4 p.m. and after an intense discussion, we decided against driving to Brenham to rent a compressor and hopper at the ol’ HoPot. Instead, Elise is going to drive to Mom’s house in two weeks while I’m hosting the 3rd Annual Godfather Club Meeting so she can spend the weekend and texture the bathroom walls.

On Saturday we went to Jessica’s Easter Party in Bellville. We had a great time hanging out with friends and seeing Maly meet the Easter Bunny for the first time. We forgot our cameras but commissioned John to take photos — I’ll post them when I get them from John.

It was really cool being in John’s childhood home again. I hadn’t been in that house in probably 10 years and I was really, really impressed with how Jessica fixed it up.

We left the party around 4 o’clock and Maly and I held hands and barely stayed awake while Elise and Mom were in the front driving us back to Mom’s house.

I conked out on the couch at 5 o’clock while Elise bathed Maly and got her ready for bed.

Mom woke me up around 7 and made me fix her computers. She still uses Windows-based PCs and recently purchased a new desktop computer running Vista. She was having a hard time getting her other computer (a laptop running XP) online. Two and a half hours later I finally got her laptop online. I’ve finally convinced Mom to buy a Mac as her next computer – unfortunately that won’t be for another couple years.

Elise and I stayed up until almost 1 a.m. watching TV. This morning Elise went to church. I slept in until 10 a.m. which was frickin’ awesome while Mom watched Maly. I smoked and grilled ribeyes and roasted some asparagus and zucchini for a late lunch. Elise started getting us all packed up so we could leave at a reasonable time. Jessica came over so we could haul an excersaucer back to Austin for Grayson.

A month or so ago I decided that I wanted my Dad’s Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum. It was this weekend that I claimed it. I’d never shot it before and decided since we were out at Mom’s house that I would try it out. My ears are STILL ringing. Elise isn’t really cool with having guns but it’s in my blood. A second degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, a 12-guage shotgun and a .357 Magnum should keep my family and home relatively safe. Although a moat with sharks with laser beams attached to their heads would turn home security up to 11.

We got home around 7:30, unpacked, fed Maly and had a fun first video conference with Grandpa and Gran.

Fun weekend. Another weekend that just blew by too quickly.