Friday, April 30, 2010

Who stole my little boy? And who is this man in my house?

Everyone says “Kids… oh my god, they grow so fast!”

It wasn’t until around Christmas that I realized how much of an understatement that is. They don’t just grow fast – they grow incredibly fast.

Since last summer, my 14 year-old son (soon to be 15) has changed from a whiny little kid, who could bring tears to his eyes simply by telling him he was losing computer privileges, to a deep voiced (and getting deeper), hairy-legged, long-haired monster with a Sidney Crosby moustache (circa 2009) who could probably come pretty close to taking me down in a wrestling match.

Where the hell did my little boy go?

Where did the time go?

I am still shocked every day that I see him, or when he opens his mouth.

I can’t help but feel that I have I have somehow missed a year or two of his life during this transition. Seriously. I got ripped off.

Let this be a warning to parents who have children around the same age. If they still look like kids to you, enjoy every moment you can… because one day you’re going to blink and miss it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 37 - Go Sens Go!

Go Sens Go!
Originally uploaded by Twister65
A co-worker brought in a little luck the the Ottawa Senators. Unfortunately, as of last night, they were eliminated in game 6 of round 1.

I was messing around with my 100mm Macro at lunch one day earlier this week and took this shot. I really like that lens. Can't wait to get outside with it and shoot some stuff.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Xbox 360 compatible USB storage

Ever since Microsoft released the dashboard update for the Xbox 360 that allows it to read and write to USB drives, I’ve been searching for any information on compatible USB sticks storage. The last I read, a list was “forthcoming”.

In addition to that update, Microsoft also announce that they would be selling preconfigured, Xbox branded, USB sticks by Sandisk. In typical Microsoft fashion, they will be overpriced at around $70 for 16GB, and $35 for 8GB. I wouldn’t hold your breath on MS providing a list of compatible USB sticks.

I already tried a 4GB “Energizer” brand that I had lying around on my Xbox and it gave me a warning that it did not pass the performance tests. Despite that, it has been working fine.

I noticed that the part number on the Xbox sticks was similar to Sandisk’s own Cruzer flash drives, so I had a look around for those. I found 16GB Sandisk Cruzer USB sticks at Best Buy for $40 each. It wouldn’t surprise me if they are the exact same drive in different cases. The one linked above on Sandisk’s own page says “new design” but looks pretty much the same as the one at Best Buy.

I ordered a couple and they arrived today. They seem to work great and they pass the Xbox’s performance test.

It should be noted that these drives come with some program installed called U3 Launcher and a hidden partition. If you plan on only using this on your Xbox, it might be worth removing it and freeing up the space. You can find information and a removal tool by searching Google.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 36 – New floor

New floor
Originally uploaded by Twister65
This isn't a particularly interesting Project 52 photo unless you are me. But it marks an event in my year, so I find it worth posting.

We spent yet another weekend spent with renovations. Despite the rainy weather on Saturday, we managed to get started on installing the laminate floor. It drizzled on and off for most of the day, so we were able to get outside to cut the floor, but had to keep bringing the saw back in so it didn't get wet, and got about 1/3 done. We continued on Sunday morning and pretty much finished it 9 hours later. There's a small area in front of the stairs that still needs to be done, but we want to get the nosing sanded and stained first. We still also have two landings to do, and the small upstairs hall. We're not putting a plywood subfloor down for any of them, so they'll go pretty quick (I think... and hope)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 35 - Nickelback wait...

Nickelback wait..
Originally uploaded by Twister65
My wife and I went to the Nickelback concert here in Ottawa tonight. The show included Sick Puppies, Shinedown, and Breaking Benjamin.

The show was to start at 6:30pm. We were a little late in arriving due to me misplacing the stubs. As we drove to the parking lot, we were shocked to see a huge line-up, stretching around the corner of Scotiabank Place, after 6:30pm. WTF?

We weren't quite sure why, so we followed others to the front of the arena, skipping past the line-up. This photo shows where we were, and the time we were there.

By the time we got into the show, we had completely missed seeing Sick Puppies. Our friends, who got there earlier, told us that the doors didn't open until 6:00pm.

Seriously.... they opened the doors 30 minutes before the concert, where 17,500 people were attending.

I read this evening that the Prime Minister and his son were there, and security was tighter as a result. I guess it took them time to sweep the building for bombs? I don't know, but it sucked... and I sent Scotiabank Place a complaint email. Someone should have know about the PM's attendance way before and this shit should have been taken care of earlier.

Anyway, it was a great concert. Shinedown rocked. Breaking Benjamin rocked. Nickelback rocked. I'm not a huge fan of Nickelback, unlike my wife, but they sure know how to put on a great show.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Did I mention I hate painting?

I think all of the painting, minus the baseboards and trim, is now down. Thank God.

Today we tackled the entrance and the kitchen. It always seems to take longer than expected and we finished at around 10:30pm this evening.

We did take a little time during the day to sit outside in the sun and have a beer while we waited for the first coat of each room to dry.

The leak in the bathroom returned. I noticed the brass nut under the sink was a little wet this morning. Not enough to drip down the pipe or anything. I tightened it some more. A little later in the day I checked it and it was wet again. I tightened it a couple more times throughout the afternoon. After a few more uses it has remained dry. I hope it stays that way.

We are now at the point where we have to decide when to tackle the living room and dining area floor. The laminate has been waiting in the basement since day 1, way back in January. Before that, I told my wife we have to get those areas back to being functional and tidy. It’s going to be difficult enough having to move furniture around as we go. We don’t need all of the other crap that we have in there right now. It’s insane.

I mentioned to my wife today that it’s a good thing we’re tearing up the carpet in the living room and dining area. The wear and tear it has experienced just from working on the bathroom, kitchen and entrance is unreal.

I’m wiped. Need sleep.

Week 34 - Gummy-cide

Originally uploaded by Twister65
Messing around with my 100mm lens at work during lunch one day, and this was one of the results. I love it. I even printed out an 8x10 and hung it in my den at home.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bathroom done… almost

Stuff I learned today during our ongoing reno:

  • They actually sell the under-the-sink pipe elbow fittings all together for one price. Saves searching for the individual pieces. I like.
  • I can’t cut very squarely with our hacksaw.
  • ABS pipe doesn’t cut well with a jigsaw. Too much heat is generated by the blade, causing the pipe to melt back together as it cuts.
  • ABS glue really smells.
  • There hundreds of people in Ottawa with new BBQs from Lowes. Man, were they busy today.
  • Our bathroom walls aren’t as square as I would like.
  • Minor leaks are stubborn.

So, the bathroom is pretty much done. The vanity is screwed to the wall. The counter top is glued on with silicone. The pipes are all done and glued and don’t leak. The new faucets work. The new toilet seat is on. The new toilet roll holder is installed. New door knob is installed (Sandra wanted silver to replace the gold ones) All that’s missing is the baseboards, like everywhere else in the house where we’ve done stuff.

Sandra sanded and painted the entrance and bathroom door this morning. Unfortunately, the sanding wasn’t quite done well enough to hide most of the patches she did to the wall.  We didn’t bother doing a second coat. We’ll let it dry properly and take the hand sander to them tomorrow to see if we can get them down more so they’re more invisible.

Back to the minor leak. The faucet’s drain attachment seems to have a small leak where it meets the underside of the sink. It has a huge rubber washer that should prevent that, but it seems to leak no matter how tight I make it, and I’m paranoid of over tightening it and damaging the sink.

I removed it all and reassembled it again, and it seemed to stop at first, but then the plastic pipe with the drain plug lifter sprouted its own minor leak. I’m not sure even plumber’s tape will seal them, just because of the way they’re designed. It’s difficult to explain. I have a plan on how to stop the lifter pipe leak, but the other one still has me stumped.. unless I tried to tighten it even more.

A guy’s washroom

We grouted the entrance and bathroom on Thursday night and Sandra applied a few coats of grout sealer on Friday.

As well on Friday, we installed the vanity and dry fit the counter top – it looks pretty good. I decided to cut off the pipe elbows from the drain to make it easier to maneuver the vanity over the water supply pipes at the same time as fitting it over the drain pipe on the wall on the left. Because if that, we’ll have to pick up new pipe tomorrow to hook up the drain.

IMG_2663 The toilet has now been reinstalled. Talk about paranoia. The first few flushes had us crossing our fingers. No leaks. At first I thought that maybe we’d only need the ½” flange extension but in the end I decided to also add the ¼” one as well to bring it to floor height. We also decided to throw out the toilet seat and get a new one. Until then, the toilet is for guys only. :)

So, tomorrow (err.. today, rather) I screw the vanity to the wall, permanently attach the “cultured granite” counter top to the vanity, and install the new faucet. Sandra is going to paint the bathroom door and I think get started on painting the kitchen and the entrance. That will pretty much finish what we have to do in the kitchen, entrance and bathroom, except for the baseboards which will come once the living room laminate floor is done.

That is next. Maybe even next weekend. We’ll see.