Moved In…Continued

Ok, our DSL is now hooked up and, as promised, here are some photos to help tell our story from the last 2 weeks.

On our way homeOn Wednesday, December 12th, we loaded up a trailer with our golf cart and a few other things and headed down to get the keys to our new house. On the way, the kids got a little restless, so we stopped half way down to take a breather…and a picture.

Keys!An hour later, we met our realtor at the house and got the keys…yipee!Our New (20-year-old) Home

That Friday I drove back up to Hume to get the rest of our stuff loaded up in the moving truck. A lot of nice people pitched in to make the move very easy. In particular, my friends Chester and Damon both helped load up a bunch of stuff Friday night, which allowed us to get on the road Saturday morning. Hume was cool enough to let us use one of their big trucks to haul all of our stuff…although I thought it might have been easier to rent a semi and tow our singlewide (full of our stuff) down to Clovis.

When the truck arrived at our house, we had another crew of people who helped unload, which took all of about 45 minutes.

Dining RoomBy the following evening, we had most of the downstairs rooms set up. Living RoomIt was nice to have some places to come relax while other rooms were still in disarray.

Now, a week later, we’re almost completely moved in…just in time for Christmas. It’s been a fairly tiring couple weeks, but very satisfying. It’s amazing to see the Lord do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.

Happy Christmas.

Moved In

Wow. We’re actually moved in to our new (20-year-old) house! Yesterday almost all of our worldly posessions were hauled from our 700-square-foot trailer at Hume Lake to our new 2100-square-foot home (with no wheels) in Clovis. We had a number of friends work very hard to help us out with the move, and it went without a hitch. We don’t have Internet hooked up yet, and I haven’t figured out how to post photos from my iPhone yet…but I’ll post them soon.

Bose 3-2-1 GS

Bose 3-2-1 GSOver the years, we’ve managed to cause quite a few DVD and CD players to stop working. Some of this has probably been due to the fact that we’ve only purchased cheap inexpensive equipment. Based on this assumption, we splurged last spring and bought a Bose 3-2-1 GS home theater system. We really liked the fact that it only had 2 speakers apart from the subwoofer, and the sound it produced was amazing. We were also able to save $100 on it by purchasing a refurbished unit from a Bose outlet. We were stoked.

Unfortunately, after only 6 months of use, the DVD player started to intermittently freeze. We went through the owners manual and followed the troubleshooting instructions, but availed not. So I called the outlet that we purchased the system from and they said that it was still under the 1-year warranty, and that they would swap it straight up for another unit. Best of all, I only had to bring in the receiver, not the entire system. The only drawback now was to make the 6 hour trek to the store. Fortunately, it happened to be on the way to Santa Barbara, where I had already planned on traveling to.

I ended up spending about 10 minutes in the store and walked out with a new receiver that was covered under a new warranty for another year. Even though it was a bummer that we had problems at all, Bose definitely gave us good service to fix the problem.

VectorMagic

Through an email from Sitepoint, I recently discovered VectorMagic, which is a tool to convert bitmap images to vector graphics. (For those who are not nerds and/or graphics enthusiasts, you will not hurt my feelings if you stop reading right now.) Vector Magic is a vector conversion Flex application built by some geniuses at Stanford. Though this is not a new idea, the Stanford guys have really stepped up the quality of output, which happens to be leaps and bounds about Adobe Illustrator’s fairly new LiveTrace feature (arguably the best tool for vectorizing bitmaps…until now).

The samples prove the quality. And best of all, it’s a free online app! I can’t wait to actually use it.

New House

We got it! The house we’ve been trying to buy is now ours…assuming everything goes well during escrow. We just have to make sure we can liquidate the appropriate investments and sign our names about a billion times.

We’re really excited about this house. It’s a 5 bedroom, 3 bath home in Clovis on a really nice sized lot. I’ll give more details later, but it’s been a very busy week and I’m zonked.

Nighty-night.

Moving On

After some meetings last week at ShowitCon, DJ and Todd offered me a full-time job with Showit. So, after 4 years at Hume, we’ll be moving back to Fresno. We’re really excited, and particularly amazed to see how the Lord has orchestrated everything so far.

We’ll miss our Hume family quite a bit, but our hope is that we will be able to stay in close contact since we’ll be just an hour and a half away.

This past week, we put an offer on a house in Clovis, and we’re hoping and praying that it will go through today.

Stay tuned for the ongoing saga.

Photo Shoot

We recently found out about a Gap photo contest for kids. By that, I mean that the photos are of kids, not taken by kids. We briefly considered the the fact that our kids are, indeed, the cutest children on the face of the earth, but realized that it may not be fair to the rest of the contestants if we entered. After a brief debate, we read about the prizes which include a trip to San Francisco for a Gap photo shoot and $5000 to spend at Gap. We decided to enter.

I grabbed one of my work cameras (a Canon Mark II) and we scurried the kids out to the lake. I had never shot the Mark, and quickly realized that it was definitely a camera for professionals. I couldn’t find any button or knob that said “auto”. Nonetheless, after some trial and error, I found some settings that worked. Here are some of our favs. (We apologize in advance to anyone who had hopes of winning this contest.)

Evie
Jeffer
Evie
Jeffer & Evie
Big Hug
Evie

XG-499 Stand Up Gas Scooter

XG-499 Stand Up Gas ScooterI’ve never been that savvy with motorized vehicles and have therefore never been a fanatic of motorcycles, 4x4s, rocket ships, and the like. However, I was ecstatic when my wife bought me a stand-up scooter for father’s day last year. It was powered by a 49cc 2-stroke motor, and looked like a fun toy to expand my knowledge into mechanical things, as well as boost my ever-growing level of coolness.

The manufacturer claimed that the scooter would come 99% assembled which was encouraging. However, when I first opened the box, I realized that it was 75% assembled, at best. Still hopeful, I continued with the assembly, expecting this to be the biggest hiccup in my total scooter experience. I was wrong.

The third day I owned the thing, I managed to break the casing on the pull start, rendering it unstartable (if that’s a word). I quickly emailed the company and they sent me a new part. When the new part did (finally) come, installed it and proceeded to break it on the ninth or tenth pull. (Note to those who have never seen me in person: I’m 6’1″, 150 lbs. and I’ve never won any weight-lifting competitions.) I emailed the company again and was shocked to hear their response…they said that the pull starts (among other things) are not covered under warranty, and proceeded to state that the pull starts are “expected to break” after continued use. I was not happy to read this and replied to the customer service rep as tactfully as I could muster. They agreed to send me one more pull start for free, but explained that I would have to start purchasing the parts in the future. The pull starts sell for about $22. I was breaking one every week.I did the math and realized that this thing was going to cost me over $1100 a year just in pull starts to keep my scooter running.

I was able to start the scooter using a power drill, which fixed the aforementioned problem, but more continued to go wrong. Even with the drill, it was difficult to get the thing started. After scouring the owners manual and the entire Internet, I found an inconsistency in the recommended fuel mix ratio. The owners manual stated multiple times that the fuel ratio should be 50:1, and that the warranty would be void if a different mix were ever used. However, on the manufacturer’s tech support page for the XG-499, they suggest mixing the fuel as rich as 25:1 or as lean as 40:1 based on desired performance. In one of my emails to the manufacturer, I asked about this. They simply reiterated what was posted on their website and mentioned nothing about it being incorrect in the owners manual.

Sometime in the midst of everything else, the clutch went out. (The manufacturer did replaced for free). And the last time I rode the scooter, I got about 50 feet from my driveway when the motor unexpectedly died and i slowly coasted to a stop. At that point I walked it back to my house, parked it and never touched it again until I gave it away. All of these problems happened within about 6 weeks.

In conclusion, do not ever waste your money on this brand of scooters. You will probably find more pleasure in flushing $300 down the toilet. (But only flush bills…coins cause septic backup.)