Friday, July 31, 2009


I was pretty confident that I would get all the $8k new home buyer tax credit, but I ran the numbers today.  My relocation counts as income so I'll end up over the $75k AGI limit even though I'm contributing 25% of my salary to my 401k to lower my pre-tax income.  I probably won't be too much above $75k, but enough so that I'll get less than $8k back.  Weak.  There is talk that Congress will remove the income limit, but I'm not going to count on it.

Yeah, I know that I shouldn't complain since I have a well paying job, but I can certainly use the money.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I feel broken.

Albany demographics

Albany has some pretty strange demographics.  I went to a paint store near downtown Albany and I thought I was in Cabrini Green or Baltimore.  I had to park a couple of blocks from the store and I wasn't sure that my car would still be there when I got back.  Of course, the paint store didn't carry for what I was looking so I had to go to their other store, but I didn't find it before it closed.

I hit up Home Depot and got a bunch of painting stuff.  I got a 6' ladder so I should be able to get on my roof to clean out the gutters.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Bullets

  • A colleague had a get together dinner for those of us in Albany and Malta.  Good food was eaten.
  • I'm probably over my sugar quota for the day.
  • I think I'd like to put together a gaming computer this year to hook up to my big ass projector.
  • STAR will save me $700 on my school taxes.  Sweet.
  • We've had more rainy days than sunny ones this summer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday bullets

  • I wish I had been a better person.
  • I really need to control my sugar intake.  I went overboard today for sure and I'll pay for it.
  • Today was one of the first days that actually felt like summer.
  • I still can't get money on my T-Mobile pre-paid phone.
  • I'm not sure who Kim Kardashian is, but she has a great ass.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday bullets

  • Work wasn't much fun today. I need more to do.
  • I think I want to become a reserve police officer. I wouldn't get paid, but I might get to beat down some chumps and knuckleheads.
  • I need to lay off the dairy.
  • I want to put together a pimpin' gaming and media computer. I'm going to run some ethernet cable from my office all the way into the basement because I'm not sure the wireless is strong enough. Monoprice is a great place to get that kind of stuff. 100 feet of Cat 6 cable for less than $10.
  • I pretty much just look forward to payday.

Free haircut

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vegetarian pizza

Some friends from the hiking group came over to my place for pizza and hot tubbing.  One is a vegetarian so I made a vegetarian pizza:
I put on green onions, eggplant, mushrooms and orange pepper along with red sauce and cheese.  Some of you may be surprised that I ate something with mushrooms.  I discovered that I'll eat them as long as they're soft.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fitness update

My diet and exercise plan seems to be working.  I'm two pounds heavier than last week, but one percentage point of body fat down so I've actually lost about 1.5 pounds of fat.  Super sweet.  I'm down to about 27 percent body fat according to my scale.  I don't know how accurate the absolute number is, but I haven't been this low in a year.

The proof:
In one month, I've gone from about 29.5% body fat to 27%.  That is pretty good.  I'm definitely more active in my new house because I have room to roam and there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done, especially around the yard.  Doing my jump roping and trampoline bouncing can't hurt either.  Once I get my bikes back in action, I'll be really ready to roll.

Friday, July 24, 2009

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Fab 2 ground breaking ceremony

Today, Global Foundries had its ground breaking ceremony for Fab 2 in Malta, NY. Not all GF employees got to go, but those of us in Albany did. We drove up to Malta and got on a shuttle bus to the site. They had a big tent up and there were a lot of politicians schmoozing.

They chose this Malta site in the Luther Forest tech park because the land was contaminated since they used to test rockets there. There is still a gantry up which is cool. The land is no good for houses, but will work just fine for a fab.

Here is a big hole. I think this hole is where the sub-fab will go.
Here I am lookin' hard in front of the hole:
They had a big ass air conditioned tent up for the event. It even had a carpeted floor:

I think these tricked out Lincolns are for the NY governor, Patterson. The security dudes did not instill fear:
Dudes were on the job. No rest for the weary eh?
The ceremony consisted of a bunch of speeches by GF's chairman, NY governor Patterson, Congressman Schumer, GF's CEO, Congressman Murphy, AMD's CEO and former NY governor Pataki.

People were milling around in the beginning:
Below is former NY governor, Pataki, schmoozing:
GF Chairman Hector Ruiz started the proceedings off:
GF gave NY governor Patterson a portrait:
The obligatory first shovel full of dirt:
It was pretty cool overall, but there were no refreshments, no cake and no snacks. Schumer also continuously referred to AMD even though there is a big ass sign saying Global Foundries. I cringed a bit inside whenever he said AMD. GF was spun off from AMD, but they're separate companies now. There wasn't much mention of the fat cash invested by Abu Dhabi, but today was all about NY and how NY is the place to be for high tech.

Every attendee got a commemorative plaque with a drawing by some local kid. It isn't too bad:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday bullets

  • I've been doing my strength training three times a week, but I still can't do a real pull-up or chin-up. I'm getting strong so I can't complain, but it'd be nice to be able to do at least one.
  • Hot tubs are unbelievably relaxing. I've been in mine twice now and I feel much better afterwards. I need to save up some money to get it fixed so all the jets work, but it's still pretty good.
  • I don't understand people who speed. Why is it morally acceptable to break the law? There are channels in place for changing it.
  • My red delicious apple tree has some pretty robust leaves on it now so I think it'll survive. There is a lifetime guarantee for it, but my ego would appreciate it surviving.
  • It doesn't feel like summer with the rainy weather we've had here. I definitely miss California.
  • I'm starting to get more respect at work.
  • Some days are better than others, but I've been sad lately.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lesson learned from a long ass engineering meeting

"In the interest of time, I'm not going to spend much time on this slide."

"I'm going to read every goddamned word on this slide even though the message is pretty clear."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not very smart

I'm regretting my home theater purchases a bit because I probably should've used the money on something more important.  They were an impulse buy for sure, but I should've held off.  I need to institute some financial discipline or I'm going to end up po'.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I regret voting for Obama.

I thought things would be different with him, but it really feels like more of the same.  He hasn't been that honest nor that transparent and it's going to cost him.  He can't act like everything is a crisis because then people get numb.

I liked this article that I read this morning:  I thought it was pretty fair and balanced.  I'm not as liberal as some people think, but I'm not a conservative either.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Holy moly home theater

I made an impulse buy last weekend and ordered a 118" (diagonal) projection screen from Carada and a home theater projector, the Panasonic PT-AE3000U.  The screen came on Friday and the projector came yesterday.  A friend help me set up the screen and we got the projector up and running and tested it with Quantum of Solace on Blu-Ray.  The movie sucked ass, but looked fantastic on the screen.  It's about epsilon away from being the real deal like commercial movie theaters. 

Unfortunately, the projector has a long throw length so it had to sit on the couch.  I'll build a shelf for it on the back wall and I need to figure out what sort of mount I want to build for the screen.  There is a window on the wall where I have it now, but I may put the screen on to a different wall. 

I'm going to set it up so I pipe in a signal from an over-the-air antenna so I can watch football on it.  That'll be unbelievably pimping so I'll have to have a big ass Super Bowl party.

Tasty breakfast

I made a pretty involved breakfast this morning:
nitrite-free bacon
french toast with berries and syrup

Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain

Yesterday, I went hiking up Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain with the Hiking Mates.  This hike was my first time in the Catskills and it was great fun.  We met at 8 and were at the trailhead by about 10.  We were a big group of about 12 or 13 people.  Everyone was nice and friendly and no one minded that I powered up the mountain ahead of everyone else.  I need to get my heart rate up to get exercise so I need to hike fast.  My legs are relatively long as well.

Giant Ledge is along the ridge of the mountain and offers some pretty cool shots like the two below:
Panther Mountain is one of the Catskills "high peaks" so I'm on my way to the Catskills 35 badge (like I give a shit though).  The summit is about 3720 feet up, which is nothing out West, but is pretty high for around here.
Here is a view from the summit:

The Hiking Mates is a great group and the organizer was on point for this trip.  He was prepared, made sure everyone did alright, yet wasn't overbearing.

Here is the obligatory video I made:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fitness update

Ah ha. I made some great progress this week, most likely due to Sunday's hiking. My body fat is the same as last week's, but I'm down nearly four pounds. That means I've lost about a pound of fat. Sweet.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Fun at the DMV

I have to get a NY driver's license and register my car here so I left work after lunch figuring I'd have enough time to get it done and to hustle over to Bethlehem town hall to apply for a STAR tax exemption (you get a slight reduction). Of course, there is only one DMV office (!) for the entire county/city of Albany. One freakin' office for hundreds of thousands of people. There was a long line and only one dude working the counter. They finally got another person up there which moved the line along faster. I got my number, sat down and waited... and waited... and waited. Finally I got called up to present my identifying documents. Then I got another number. I sat down and waited... and waited... and waited. They called me up and I got a new license and registered my car. It wasn't a huge hassle except for the waiting.

While I was waiting, I did some people watching. The average Albany resident is fat and white trash. One woman spent the entire time bitchin' about the wait and how the numbers they called up didn't make any sense. I think it's tougher for stupid people because they can't process the situation as efficiently to figure out what's going on. All they know is that they have to wait and it sucks. There was a little kid there with his grandparents and he was bitchin' the whole time too. He had terrible posture and is going to be the Hunchback of Notre Dame pretty quickly. His grandmother told him he had to wait some more and he got up, said, "I'm out of here" and started to walk towards the door. She called him back, but still. Where the heck did he think he was going? They had to wait because his grandfather wasn't smart enough to know what to bring by looking it up online.

Anyhow, I didn't make it to town hall so I'll have to do that next week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Return of the hungry, hungry hippo with the black hole

I've been diligent about my exercising so my metabolism is shifting. When that happens, I get insatiably hungry all the time. I probably could've eaten three lunches today. When I got home, I had a few teaspoons of peanut butter and some cheese to take the edge off.

My main goal is to try to eat filling snacks when I feel like this rather than sugar.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Money money money

I shouldn't have bought a home theater projector and screen, but I did.  I wanted to pimp out my home theater room in the basement.  The screen is 118" on the diagonal so it's going to be cool to watch movies on that big ass screen.  I should've used the money to pay people back, but it's ok.

My new pledge is to have some fiscal responsibility starting now.  I still need to get some yard stuff this weekend, but other than that, no more big purchases.  I need to rebuild my oh shit money in case oh shit happens.

I was happy to see Prosper finished its quiet period so I can start making some money from that pretty quickly.  The concept is pretty cool: people put up requests for money and you bid on them.  Let's say someone wants to borrow $10k at 10%.  You can bid anywhere from $25-500 (?) at any interest rate lower than 10%.  Since an average savings account is dribbling out 1.5% interest, you can make more here.  Of course, there is the risk that someone will default, but that's why you just bid a little on a lot of loans.  You can spread the risk out.  Even with the default, you can still out ahead.  I think it's more stable than the stock market and you can help people rebuild their credit. 

Each loan listing gives a range for the borrower's credit score.  I thought I was doing well near 800, but some of those borrowers are in the 820-840 range.  Holy moly.  I think I can get up there thanks to my mortgage.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun with credit cards

Most of you know that I recently relocated to the Albany area and have since bought a house. When you buy a house, you sometimes need to buy stuff to go in it. You might buy this stuff in a short period of time. Well, HSBC doesn't get that.

Today I got an e-mail from a merchant saying that my card had been declined. I'm surprised because I pay my bill in full each month and keep a careful eye on things. I call up HSBC and they tell me that the computer flagged my activity as suspicious. I tell them that I recently moved into a house and that everything is ok. The woman starts to verify my identity with the usual questions like my mother's maiden name, my social security number, etc. Then she tells me that she's going to ask me some questions I might not have heard before. She asked me about previous addresses and then goes into a multiple choice session. She reads off a few things like four different cars or four different addresses in Ithaca. I hadn't owned any of the cars she described, but had lived at one of the addresses. She asked me if I knew a Dolores ---- or a Don ----. Now Don sounds like me dad's name, but I said no. She then tells me that I failed the on-phone verification. She said they get this information from public sources and that, since I failed, I need to mail in identification. My card is on hold until then. Unfortunately, I need to mail in identification that has my current address on it like my driver's license or two utility bills. I tell her that I just moved so I don't have that. She hems and haws, but I can tell that I'm up shit's creek. I politely lay into her telling her that this process is bullshit and that I'm not responsible for public information about me that might not be correct. I also tell her that it's not suspicious activity for a new homeowner to buy stuff. Tough titties is a paraphrase of her response.

I told her that I was pissed off enough to close my account and take my business elsewhere. She fakes some concern, but they don't make any money on me because I don't carry a balance so they won't be sad to see me go.

I try to check my online account, but they've shut that access off as well. Basically, I lost all access to my account so I can't tell if they got my payment or if purchases from yesterday cleared. They tell me that for security reasons they can't share that. Uh...yeah. Fuck you too.

I understand that they need to do this stuff to protect me and them from fradulent activity, but they didn't call me to question any of the activity; I had to find out from a merchant. They also quizzed me on information that I didn't generate. They should have asked me stuff like my elementary school, my first pet or shit like that. They can ask these questions when I first sign up and then save them for this sort of occasion. It's not my fault I've never owned a Ford Econoline Van. Sheee-it.

My plan going forward is to try to get online access restored so that I can keep an eye on the account. I'll pay it off in full and then write a letter to close it. I'll rip them a new one in the letter as well because they need to know this shit isn't cool. I'll send a copy of the letter to some higher-ups at HSBC and maybe New York's attorney general. I'm obviously not going to take any legal action, but people should know that this ain't cool.

You always want to write a letter to close a credit card account and you should write "Please notify the credit reporting agencies that the account is closed at the request of the cardholder." Otherwise, your credit will get dinged because the bank closed the account.

This whole situation is super weak and put me in a bad mood for most of today. I'll resolve it without too much trouble since I have a backup credit card. I'm also going to transition to exclusively using my debit card. If I don't have the cash for something, then I don't buy it. It's a pretty simple concept and I need to get back to it. I don't need to worry about building credit because I have a mortgage now. I'll keep my other credit card for emergencies, but that's it. I won't get points, but those aren't necessarily a good deal anyhow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Red delicious apple tree

I just went out to water my apple trees and, while my Arkansas black is doing great, my red delicious apple tree is looking pretty ragged. I don't see any new growth and the leaves are drooping. Hopefully it'll make it. If not, Hewitt's has a lifetime guarantee so I can always get another one.

Hiking up Cacade and Porter Mountains

Yesterday was another hike with the crew from Hiking Mates on Meetup. The organizer is a dude I hadn't met before and he's a bit strange for sure. He's pretty controlling and wigged out when people actually wanted to stop at a rest area on the way. He was also adamant that everyone hike together though everyone has his own pace.

After hearing some strange shit come out of his mouth, I got in a car with three people who weren't going to put up with his crap. We hiked with the other people, but not exactly because we tended to hike a lot faster than them.

Anyhow, the weather held up, the hike was fairly easy, my full leather Asolo boots are waterproof and I got some exercise. I also banged out two more high peaks so I just have 42 to go. Heh.

Here is a picture from the top of Cascade. You can see a number of other high peaks. I think this shot looks out over Keene Valley.

Cascade is my third high peak.

Here I am confirming that Porter is my fourth high peak.

Below is three pictures from either Cascade or Porter; I can't remember.

As usual, I took a short video on the way up with my Flip Mino. I didn't see any animals other than a greedy bird on top of Cascade.

Blueberries all up on ya

I mentioned before that I've got some big ass blueberries growing on my new bushes.  Here is a picture of two blueberries from my Earli-blue plant in the front yard with a quarter for size reference.

I'm not sure why the picture is blurry, but you can see these blueberries are definitely beefcake.  They're tasty for sure.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TV update

I still see the green and purple concentric circles, but I can't tell if they're getting worse or not.  They don't seem to fit the "green blob" symptoms, but it is a little annoying.  I wonder if the lamp is going or something.

I just wish the TV repairdude was a little more helpful.  I wasn't happy that he told me that nothing was wrong when the green and purple tint is clearly there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


A repairman from Marco TV was just out to check out my Sony SXRD. He said that my problem is not the green blob problem so he can't authorize an optical block replacement. He said that it's normal to see green and purple concentric circles centered around the middle of the screen. I call bullshit because I've had the TV for 2.5 years now and have never seen this until last weekend. I notice the green and purple when watching stuff, but it's not terrible so I guess I'll just have to put up with it and mourn the loss of my $108 that went towards the guy saying there is nothing wrong.

I'll check the AVS Forums in the meantime...I'm turning up jackshit. Maybe the lamp is going bad. It should be close to time to replace it.

It's a good day to be alive

I'm in a pretty good this morning because the sun is out, I'm pleased with my beefcake progress and I'm mainlinin' some sugar via mint fudge from the Delmar farmer's market.  The market is much, much smaller than Sunnyvale's, but that's not really a fair comparison because the growing season is shorter here.  There are some good stalls here though including one with lots of fresh, natural meat and a place selling fudge.  I saw some decent eye candy as well though most people there were old or with their kids. 

I got a rib eye steak to grill up on Monday, some broccoli to go with the steak, lettuce, goat cheese, mint chocolate fudge, raspberry chocolate fudge, peanut butter chocolate fudge, green onion, a mint plant and chicken wings.  I'm not sure how I'll cook the chicken wings though.  Any recipe ideas?

I've got to figure out how to be in this kind of mood all the time though. 

I have to keep it real here until the TV repair dude comes by to verify that I need a new optical block.

Fitness update

Ah ha.  I'm really starting to make some progress.  I've been jumping rope and bouncing on the trampoline every day.  I have been doing my strength training and have added in chin-ups and pull-ups.  I also go for a 30 minute walk around the SUNY campus after lunch during the work week.  I've been trying to eat better, but I'll admit that I can do better yet.
However, while I gained 1.6 lbs since last week, I've also decreased my body fat percentage by 0.8 percentage points which corresponds to one pound of fat loss.  Over the past two weeks I've lost nearly three pounds of fat.  Super sweet.
Here is a blurry beefcake photo for my female readers:
You can still see my gut spilling over the side, but I'm getting nice muscle definition in the arms and shoulders.  The last place I'll lose fat will be from around the gut.  I need to add in more aerobic activity to take care of that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dinner at Antipasto's

I had vegetarian food at Antipasto's in Clifton Park tonight via the dining out Meetup group.  I was a few minutes late because I had a hard time finding the place.  The people in the group are nice, but the food was just ok and is really expensive.  I had eggplant and other vegetables and it ran me $25 with tax and tip.  Definitely not worth it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The consequence of getting beefcake

I've been more diligent about my strength training and have started doing pull-ups in addition to using the resistance band and the kettlebells.  I can tell that I'm getting stronger and I also feel like I've got more testosterone because I'm more aggressive than usual.  When I'm walking around, I look around to see who I can beat up and who I might have trouble with.  Of course, there is always the five year old problem: there is a finite number of five year olds needed to take down anyone, no matter how strong.  I wonder what my number is.

I'd like to take down people who drive while using cell phones and people who roll stop signs.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's good to be an engineer.

Last week my pre-paid T-Mobile phone showed up at my house and I tried to get it set up.  You have to insert the SIM card into the phone which sounds simple enough.  There should be a stop so you can't push the card in too far, but it broke and the card went in deeply enough that I couldn't get it out.  Of course, the card is perfectly smooth so there wasn't anything to grab on to. 

I hit the mall after work, but the T-Mobile guys there didn't have any tools.  I wandered the mall looking for a place that sold a jeweler's screwdriver and finally settled on Best Buy.  They suck, but they had a 36 pc Skil set with a lot of small screwdrivers.  I went back to the T-Mobile desk to take the phone apart.  I wanted them to watch so that I didn't fuck up.  I got the back of the phone off and the SIM card out and reassembled everything so it's ok now.  I'm not really happy with the design of this Samsung phone and it feels pretty flimsy too.

I thought pre-paid was for chumps, but I don't use the phone much and $0.10/minute is pretty good. 

After getting home, I picked and ate some more blueberries.  They were pretty tasty and as big around as a nickel.  Sweet.  I should've taken a picture, but it was raining.  Of course, I got bit on my foot after being outside for a minute.  The front of my yard doesn't drain so there is a big ass puddle.  I'm sure I'm breeding mosquitoes in there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Not that interesting

There is a French dude at work with a family name of "Monsieur" which means "Mister" in French. 

Mister Mister.

Yeah, it's not that funny, but I still laugh.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ruh roh

I was watching a movie tonight on my Sony SXRD (KDS-50A2000) when I saw the dreaded "green blob." Apparently the optical blocks in these TV's are faulty. It's strange because I watched two movies over the weekend and had no trouble. I also haven't had any trouble with this TV since I bought it in January 2007. Crazy. I wonder why it crapped out now.

The good news is that Sony has extended the warranty on the optical block to June 30, 2010 so they'll probably replace/fix it for free. If not, I'm screwed because the optical block costs more than $1000. I sent technical support an e-mail so we'll see what they say.

I was going to buy a Samsung LED TV for upstairs for watching over-the-air broadcasts, but changed my mind today because I should save my cash for emergencies.

The good news is that both of my new blueberry plants have ripe berries on them. I guess the excessive sun of yesterday and today ripened them up. I ate a couple when I was watering them. Definitely tasty. Hopefully all my new plants will survive.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More fun in the yard

I hit up Hewitt's again to get a Japanese maple and two blueberry plants. I heard you need two different blueberry varieties so that they cross-pollinate and produce big ass berries.

Here is the Japanese maple in the backyard. It's going to be part of my Japanese rock garden.

I put the two blueberry plants in the front yard to eat up some space and because the yard gets a lot of sun.

Here is the Earli blueberry:
Here is the blueray blueberry:
It already has some huge berries on it, but they aren't ripe. Hopefully the rabbits will stay away. I sprayed Repels-all nearby, but not on the plants.

Planting stuff is pretty addicting, but I better hold off for now until I save up some more scratch. I'd like to get two pear trees for the backyard (along the same fence as the apple trees) and a couple of raspberry or blackberry plants for the front. There may be room for another three or four depending on much sun they really need. I guess it depends on how big I want the fruit to get.

As I'm typing this entry, I see a rabbit in the front munchin' on some grass near one of the blueberry plants. Hopefully he'll just eat the grass. I don't want to have to throw down on him.

A deer in the backyard

There are definitely deer in my neighborhood and I caught one on tape eating plants in the woods behind my backyard. Hopefully they'll stay away from the plants I just put in this weekend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Crockpot lamb dinner

I felt like making something with my crockpot so I did a search and found this recipe. It seemed pretty tasty and smelled great when it was cooking. I go to eat it and... nothing. The lamb is tender, but it doesn't taste like much other than hot due to the curry powder and habanero pepper. It must be the curry powder. I cooked curried chicken for a friend and it smelled great, but didn't taste like much. Does that mean my curry powder is no longer active? Strange.

Here is a picture of the lamb mixed with brown rice:

More landscaping

I drove over to the Delmar Hewitt's this morning to get more plants. This one is about half a mile from my house so it's convenient. I poked around a bit and ended up getting three trees: a red bud forest pansy, a red delicious apple tree and an Arkansas black apple tree.

Here is the red bud forest pansy:

You can see that the tree is gettin' its gangsta lean on. Awwww sheeeee-it. The tree is crooked in the root-ball and I couldn't get it straight. It doesn't matter much to me and the tree will grow wherever the sun is anyhow.

Here is the tree next to the Charlie Brown hemlock and the beefcake spruce:

Here is the red delicious tree with three or four small apples already:

Here is the Arkansas black apple tree:

I've never heard of this variety. The tag says:
Medium to large, purplish-red fruit matures to nearly black. Crisp, juicy yellow flesh has a spicy aroma. Good fresh or cooked.
That sounds pretty cool. Hopefully I'll live here long enough to try one.

Here is a picture of both trees. They're about 13 feet apart which may be a little close, but I can prune them so they don't fight each other.

Fitness update

Ah ha. This past week I've actually made some pretty good progress. You can see that I lost a nearly a percentage of body fat thanks to daily jump roping and jumping on the trampoline. I've also been active unpacking stuff since Wednesday.

I still have a fair amount to go, but I think that I'm making good progress. I don't know if I'll be ripped by the end of the summer, but I'll give it a shot. I'd like to play ultimate again. I may need to drive down to Ithaca just to visit. They play at least weekly there.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A rabbit eating grass

A third of my property is densely wooded and I've seen rabbits hoppin' around. I decided to film one eating some grass near the flagpole. My Flip Mino doesn't have great resolution, but I think you can see him. He was aware of me, but somehow knew that I couldn't jack him.

My first landscaping alteration

I hit up Hewitt's this morning since it is close to UPS and Home Depot. I looked for pear trees, bamboo and an evergreen. Unfortunately, they only had one pear tree and you need more than one for cross-pollination. The dude there said bamboo is incredibly invasive and would take over my yard right quick. That just left the evergreen. I have a blue spruce in the yard so I got a Canadian hemlock to fill in an empty corner. The ground is pretty rocky for some reason, but I was told not to completely bury the root ball so it's all good.

Here is a picture of my new tree:

Yeah, it looks like it belongs in a Charlie Brown Christmas special, but it'll perk up soon enough.

Here is a shot from further back to show where it is in the yard:

I also got some Shot-gun Repelsall. It is an organic solution made up of dried blood, rotten eggs and a touch of garlic. You spray it on plants and it'll keep animals away. It stinks, but hopefully that means it's effective.

At Home Depot, I got a Fiskar lopper. Holy moly, it works well. I can cut through 2" tree branches without any trouble thanks to the gearing. I did some pruning of the blue spruce to maintain a path to the front door.

There is another Hewitt's within a mile of my crib so I'll go there tomorrow or on Sunday to look for pear trees.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I am now a homeowner.

I finally closed on my house this afternoon. Now I can do whatever I want with the property and now I don't need to posse up a lot of cash. Of course, that cash is now gone, but now I can work towards building equity rather than just making a landlord rich.

Here is a picture of me at the end of closing holding a copy of the deed to the property. You'll notice a huge pile of papers on the table. I signed or initialed nearly every one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New washer and dryer

Below you can see my new Samsung washer and dryer set. They fit pretty well in the recess in the mud room. I got them from Sears for a pretty decent price and the dudes who set them up did an efficient job.

I was worried that they wouldn't fit with the door, but as you can see from the picture below, there is about an inch or two of clearance as the door opens. I'd rather have more, but it'll work.