Saturday, June 23, 2012

Class of 1992: Happy 20th Anniversary!

The Fridge... Again

A few weeks ago, I noted that my dishwasher had saved my 'fridge.

Soon after the repairs were complete, Suz noticed a puddle of water under the freezer door.  I said it was an errant ice cube that melted and blew it off.

It happened again.

And again.  This time bigger.

That's when we knew something was wrong.

Yesterday, I finally took the time to do a quick web search on "Water is leaking under my Samsung Refrigerator."

(Why did I wait so long?  Because the towel in front of the fridge was doing a fine job of corralling the flood... i.e. it hadn't gotten bad enough.  Typical male, I know, but I digress.)

I found my answer and went to work.

Basically, your fridge cools things off, and in doing so, creates condensation.  That has to go somewhere to evaporate, so there's a drain below the radiator thingy to remove it.  If that drain gets plugged with gunk or, as in my case, frozen over, the water leaks into the main compartment.

First, I had to clear the shelves and remove the back panel of the freezer, exposing the evaporator.  At the base is a small pan with a drain.  A hairdryer melted off the excess ice, hot water dissipated the internal frozen mass I couldn't get to and within an hour the line was open.

To say the least, I'm pretty happy with myself... that first gurgle of draining water nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

SUZI: What’s In a Name?

I was recently at a playground where another mom heard me call Cooper by name.  She told me she really liked his name.

And then she asked if he was named after Alice Cooper.  

The heavy metal rock star Alice Cooper.  

Scary Alice Cooper.  

I wanted to laugh out loud. 

The thought of someone looking at me and thinking I’d name my son after Alice Cooper was hilarious to me.  I’m Pollyanna in comparison, people.  Pollyanna with sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and gumdrops and Care Bears.

In fact, Cooper’s name came from James Fenimore Cooper (as in the author who wrote Last of the Mohicans).  He’s not exactly named after him but was just inspired by it.  I was desperately searching trying to come up with boy names before Cooper was born.  I thought a literary name might be nice, so I was scanning hundreds of authors’ names.  I came across Mr. Cooper and voila!

Cooper Alexander McGarvey.

I thought the name was a good strong, solid one.  Thankfully Scott agreed!

The name Cooper means  “barrel maker.”  If you’ll notice Cooper’s barrel chest, strength and great physical agility, I think you’ll agree that the name suits him nicely!

Sorry, Mr. Alice Cooper, no namesake for you here!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

My Li'l guy is quite taken with the Guitar.  In fact, his instrument of choice goes just about everywhere with him... So, it was only fitting that he'd drag his axe with him into the annual Father's Day photo.  

Below are the warm up shots... sometimes you gotta shred a bit to get in the mood for a photo shoot!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Perfect Weather Radio

So, when my Weather Channel app looks like it did today, I'm pretty happy I've got the Reecom 1630.

Most of you know I'm the resident tech-head and early adopter for my little circle of influence.  Every since we moved back to Missouri and Joplin happened, I've had my eye on the sky and this nagging thought we should get a NOAA weather radio.

You know how the weather guy says, "The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a (Fill in the Disaster Blank here)?"  That info is broadcast nation-wide through a network of over 1000 transmitters.  The NWS constantly sends out local forecasts, time/date info, etc.  Certain radios pick up this signal and provide the same alerts you see on TV.  There are alerts for everything from volcanic eruptions to nuclear fallout and dust storms.  Warnings, watches, evacuations, they're all available through the NWS system.  The problem with the basic radios you pick up at Walmart is that they don't determine between fog in Boone county, nuclear fallout in Callaway or a hailstorm in Randolph.  Some of them just play the weather continuously, which is quite annoying.  Imagine the weather channel without Al Roker and Ice Pilots or Coast Guard Alaska.  

I know, terrifying.

When Suzi's mom asked recently about getting a weather radio, it finally pushed me over the edge. I did my research and discovered the Reecom.  The bonus is that it allows you to select specific warnings for specific counties.  As much as I'm sure that McBaine, MO needs to know when there's a flood warning at 2AM, I don't want to be rousted from my dreams by an ear-shattering siren declaring a disaster that's of no consequence to my immediate safety, 40 miles away.  Only want to hear about severe warning and impending icicles of doom in your immediate area?  This is your radio.

We bought five of them, one for each the families.

So, this is how it typically works... This past Saturday started out hot and clear.  We spent the morning on the Slip-n-slide and then decamped for cooler quarters for the afternoon siesta.  At 4.11PM the radio went off, and the robotic voice (named Donna) declared an impending severe thunderstorm with hail.  I went out, put the vehicles away and wrapped up the water park that our backyard resembled.  By the time, I got inside, the first drops were dimpling the dusty terra firma.  I called the neighbors to go roll up their windows and quicker than an Emeril BAM!, the storm was upon us.

In short, I love this thing.  You can pick one up on Amazon for $45 and that's money well-spent.

I Love TED

I have an uncle named Ted.  I love you, Uncle Ted.  You're cool and world-wise and live just around the corner from Times Square.  But this is not about you.

This is about TED.  As in Technology, Entertainment and Design... as in Ideas worth spreading.

If you're not already familiar with TED (many folks are, it's been around since 1984), let me wander about ad nauseam for a bit.  Imagine people of all types of intellectual and experiential backgrounds, sharing the heart of their research, lives, or dreams.  From Al Gore and his environmental chutzpah to Philippe Petit, the World Trade Center wire walker, these are amazing story-tellers.  Put them all in a live theater setting, surrounded by people of similar statue, all coming together to weave a beautiful pattern of inspiration.  It's like Speaker's Circle at MU without the weirdos and freaks.  Or at least the dangerous ones.

So I don't have to rephrase it, here's a description from the TED site:
Held annually in Long Beach and simulcast in Palm Springs, the TED conference is at the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend, indeed, the event sells out a year in advance -- and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, fifty speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy.

The original small conference has morphed into a massive enterprise of idea-sharing around the world and a yearly $100K award to the concept deemed worth of the TED Prize.  You can check out more historic details here about TED's background.  To be fair, there are complaints of elitism due in part to the invitee selection process (part of which is dictated by a $7500 entry fee and a very subjective group decision on whether you count enough to make a difference in the world), but then again, these people are amazing.  And most of the content is available online for free.

What I want to dive into today is the TED iPad app.  Cue lots of pictures starting ...  now.

(And you'll have to click on these screenshots to get the full effect.)

After the preliminary download, you get the home page with a selection of featured presentations.  Click on the Inspire Me tab and the coolness kicks in.

Choose your topic; sometimes you want to laugh or be blown away.

Choose your timeframe 'cause you don't always have a rainy Saturday to blow on the couch surfing through other genius's accomplishments...

Be inspired to change your world or your mind or your neighborhood after listening to courageous stockbroker who moonlights as a volunteer firefighter. Or a hip-hop artist who blows your mind with creative loops.  Or an inventor who's developed a solar stove that's going to keep women in the African bush country from collecting wood miles from the safety of their village.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Better than Smoking

I'm amazed at what appears in the advertising inserts that accompany our local paper.  I realize that ads keep papers, magazines, the Web, etc in business, but are there people who really believe this stuff?

For exhibit A, I offer up an ad for American Blue Tip Smokes.  (Of course, anything named after the good ol' US of A is going to be worth your investment!) 

To my smoker friends, please know I'm not trying to be vindictive here, but you must realize you're killing yourself.   And when you read the paragraph labeled "The New Drag," it's no wonder.

"More than anything else, smoking used to be fun.  Smoking used to provide a certain energy; create a certain buzz.  The devastating effects of cigarettes have robbed smokers of all these benefits."

REALLY?!?  You mean that back in the old days, cigarettes didn't give you cancer?  They just turned you into a cool, suave cowpoke or a gorgeous socialite?  But then came along all those dirty government regulations and cigarettes started being bad for you. 

Blasted guv'ment.  Always meddling in our business.  Trying to tell us our fun is gonna make our lungs look like a coal miner's t-shirt.  What do they know? 

I guess with American Blue Tip Smokes you can get all that back.

Besides, Jake from Florida declares, "It's a better oral fixation!"

Freud would be so proud.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cooper Goes Kayaking

So, here's another one for the "First Times For Everything" album. 

Suz & I have long enjoyed getting out & about in our kayaks, but we haven't gotten Cooper in them yet. Over Memorial Day, we got up early and headed to Sugar Creek Lake. It was a gorgeous day! I held him in my lap and paddled over/in front of him (not the easiest, but worth every moment!). Cooper was characteristically quiet about the whole affair; taking everything in, intently observing the whole process. Eventually, he put his hand in the water. I don't think he'd ever been out on a big lake and he commented that the water looked like "apple juice!" 

Of course, we can't do anything without snacks, so, he had a box of Cheese-its on the work deck and kept me fed, as well. 

I love how small he looks in the boat picture... like a little peanut perched up front!

Niceness all around...!