Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Legos


Terran got a LOT of Legos for Christmas. Ron and I spent a long time putting togther the Star Wars X-Wing Fighter on Christmas day. He really likes that one. Here are some more pics

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Gobble, gobble

Today we butchered the X-Mas turkey and another turkey for our family that will go in the freezer. This was in preparation for Tuesday when we will be butchering the last 4 -- 3 we are selling and one for our Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to make sure I could get the process running smooth since folks will be picking up their birds Tuesday evening.

It was a good thing we did this trial run. The first thing we discovered is that turkeys are HUGE! We did the two smallest ones and they dressed out to over 21 pounds each! They are also VERY strong. It took a lot out of me to handle birds that size.

  • I had to buy a plastic kitchen size trash can and cut a hole in the bottom to use as a restraining cone -- they were that big.
  • The birds barely fit into the scalding pot - I know the bigger ones won't so we'll have to pour the hot water into another vessel
  • The birds are too big for the plucking machine. If I used all of my strength to control the amount of weight on the plucking "fingers", I could get just some of the easier breast and back feathers off. The wing feathers need to be pulled by hand, one-by-one. The feather shafts are HUGE.
  • I had to use a heavy meat cleaver to cut off the neck
  • It's very hard to find freezer bags big enough for this size bird -- and when you do, you have to buy a case of 500.
Note on the bags: Someone in town told us they get bags for their turkeys at BJ's Wholesale Club. We are not members but I signed up for a free one day pass and Kar went out to get the bags while I prepared the butchering equipment. She came back with 2.5 gallon zip-lock freezer bags. They were not nearly big enough. At this point we are debating a few options on the bags. The folks buying don't need freezer level of protection since they are eating the birds on Thursday -- but we have 2 that need to go in the freezer in 2 days....

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Family Update

Lots of stuff going on these days.

Karrie and I have been getting back into playing lots of table tennis, (still trying to get used to calling it 'table-tennis' as opposed to 'ping-pong"). Ron has started up a club in Maine for students and brought his enthusiasm here the other weekend. We finally switched to the new rules of play and are using the new bigger ball a year or two after the rules went into effect.

Games are now played to 11 points with the serve switching players every 2 points. That, combined with the new bigger ball makes for a more exciting game I think, and levels the field of play if there is a big contrast in the players abilities. But, that was the point of the rule change :) Ron got me an unexpected new paddle -- a Darker Power Touch blade with Juic 999 Elite Utima rubber on one side and Driva Smash on the other. Oh how I love shouting "DRIVA SMASH!" in a Asian accent when I get a good slam in. I'm gonna check out the local table-tennis club this week. Hopefully I can increase my skill level and beat Ron.

Mesa got a new cast the other day. Goretex waterproof inner material with a purple fiberglass wrapping with glow-in-the-dark stripes:
The cast was shortened to a half-cast and she may get it off for good in two weeks :) I'll post the x-rays tomorrow when I can scan them at work. The bone has healed very nicely.

Soon we'll be butchering our 6 turkeys. We are selling 4 and keeping 2 for ourselves for T-Day and X-Mas. The 4 we sell will pay for the 2 we keep when it is all said and done. Fresh turkey is great -- especially when you know where it came from and how it was raised. Looking forward to Thanksgiving. It's Christmas without the bullshit as my friend Nat says. I have to agree. My favorite holiday. Lots of good food and then we play table-tennis into the night.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Terran + Clay = Art

Terran has recently been really into creating all sorts of creatures with clay. It started off with the kids creating with Playdoo with Ron whenever he would visit, (he usually brings 4 fresh packs with him :), and they would create and role-play with the creations.

Then, our new friend Jay came over one time and brought a bunch of modeling clay for the kids. He said he noticed at one point they were fighting over some modeling clay Mesa had gotten for her birthday, so he brought them some more :)

Since then Terran has been totally absorbed in creating all sorts of wonderful sculptures with the clay. Click here for a slide show of some recent creations.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Back from our trip!

So, Kar and I have returned from Trenton, NJ where we saw our favorite band, Ween, play live for 3 hours. The show was fantastic. I was worth all of the effort and then some. In fact, I met a few people who came from Virginia, (7 hours), and someone who drove from CT and then back again that night!

Here is the recap. 5 hour drive to NJ. We got a hotel room in Morrisville, PA which is just across the river and about a mile and a half from the venue, The Conduit. We arrived at 5pm on Sunday – the doors were opening at the show at 7:30pm. We got into the hotel, drank some beers and ordered a pizza. I called a cab to pick us up at 7pm and bring us to the show. The cab showed up, and we had to give the guy directions to the place. He got lost and then pulled over by the Police a stones throw away from the venue.

We see a big line outside on the sidewalk. As we are walking to end I hear someone say: “Jeremy – is your name Jeremy?” I say, “ya”, and he tells me he is Sled, the moderator of the Ween Trading Circle Forum. He recognized me from a picture I posted on the Forum a few weeks ago. Nice. He lives in Montpellier, VT. We meet a ton of other Forum folks and discover there is a stand set up outside selling beer to the people waiting in line. We have a good time hanging out with folks and we finally get inside at about 8:30.

We got a spot right next to the stage, in front of Deaner, the lead guitarist. (See the back of my shaved head in the pic?). I stood there for the next 3 hours and five minutes and rocked out. It was incredible. Ween played 40 songs, including one that I requested! I even got to shake hands with each member of the band as they exited the stage.

40 songs. 3 hours and 5 minutes.

After the show, we called a cab and then crashed out in our hotel room. It was 1:30 AM at this point. What a night!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Bloggin' on the road

...so I just had to post from the road because Ican;)

Kar and I are at a Holiday Inn Express in Morrisville, PA right now getting ready to see Ween play tonight. The hotel has free high speed internet access.

Ween is our favorite band. Check out this Quicktime clip of a song from the venue we are seeing them at tonight.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Our broody ladies

So, we have a couple of hens that are really “broody” right now. For those not familiar with the chicken nomenclature, that means they sit on eggs all day long. So when the kids go to collect the eggs, they have to lift these broody ladies up and sneak the eggs out from under them. It has not been a problem.

We have another thing happening too. The eggs are being fertilized. I think Terran described this best when he shouted to Mesa: “That rooster is biting and climbing on top of Speckled!” Yes, love is in the air. We have like 6 roosters now, (how did that happen?), and they having relations with the ladies like mad! You can always tell when you hear a loud “BAWK BAWK BAWK BAWK” and then see a hen come blazing around the corner closely followed by a hot and bothered rooster.

So Karrie told me that yesterday the kids and she had come up with a plan. They want to see if those broody hens can hatch some chicks. She said they are really getting into it now because she has found feathers in the nest boxes. She told me that the hens will pull they breast feathers off to make the nest when they are serious. And they only get up once a day for food and drink. That’s dedication.

So Kar and the kids created a couple of nest boxes that are set apart and marked the eggs with a marker. One of the broody hens got into the new nest box just fine. The other one would have nothing to do with it and went to the old one even though the eggs were not there. We’ll see if she figures it out. It takes 3 weeks to hatch the eggs. The kids will have fun observing this process. I’ll post updates here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Broken Arm Update

Mesa went back to the doctor this past Monday and they said her bone has slipped back to the broken position. They are going to leave it as it is. They said it is a fairly common thing with kids.

The bone will just find a new center, grow and fill in the gap, and then eat away the nub that sticks out! Crazy, eh? This process will take about a year. (She'll only have the cast for 6 weeks though).

The other options were to knock her out and set the bone again -- which they said may just return to the broken position again, or perform surgery and put a plate and pins in. This option is not a good idea for kids as it may mess up the growth of the arm.

She'll go back in 4 weeks and they may be able to put a short cast on :)

She choose a light-blue cast so one could clearly see the writing when people sign her cast. Should I get her one of these:

Monday, September 20, 2004

Broken Arm

Mesa was rollerblading at the Lebanon Skate Park on Friday when she fell backwards and broke her arm. Ouch!

She did a great job in the ER. They had to sedate her and then make the bones line up before putting on the cast. She can't remember that part, thank goodness. Here is a close up of the break:

And here is the cast on Mesa:

You'll notice that the cast is cut all the way down it. It's actually cut on both sides. That's to allow swelling of the arm without cutting off circulation. We go back in a week to have a new cast put on without the cuts. She'll even get to pick a color. Hopefully after a few weeks it can be shortened to a half cast. All-and-all it will be 6 weeks in a cast.

After we were home she said "What if I still have the cast on at Halloween -- I know, I'll just be a paitent." In the ER she was saying "I'm not a patient patient" -- we had to wait quite a lot between steps. We were there for about 5 1/2 hours.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Terran's Grasshoper(s)

KIF_0188 (Medium)
Originally uploaded by jeremyx.
Terran brought these grasshoppers into the house today. He said one is the mommy and one is the baby :)

Friday, September 03, 2004

Kar and the kids picked these out of the garden yesterday. The harvest is upoun us

Monday, August 23, 2004

Sperm Free

Today I went to the hospital and brought a semen sample to the Urologist. He looked at it under a microscope and declared me 'spem-free'. W00t!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Terran & Aanan

World Wide Web

Friday, August 06, 2004


So, I had a vasectomy last Friday afternoon. The urologist had given me a prescription for a 10mg Valium to take 1 hour before the procedure. I popped the pill at 2:30 at the office, (after I checked all of my files in Source Safe and closed all of my apps :) ). About 10 mins later I felt it kick in. I was very heavy and woozy. Focusing my eyes was harder than normal causing a dizzy effect when I moved my head around. The guys at work were laughing at me and joking with Karrie when she picked me up at 3.

We went to the hospital and I had to walk a long way to the surgery room. I don't know if it was because I was feeling nervous, or if it had been too long -- but I felt completely sober by the time I was laying on the table and they were getting ready to begin. The effects of the Valium were gone. It was not that bad anyway. A few pricks, (he he :) ), of pain for the local and then some very weird tugging sensations that were uncomfortable. The actual snipping took about 20 mins.

It's now a week later and I'm doing quite well. I should be completely healed in a few days methinks. Here is a list of things I have learned:
  • You would not think so, but ice on your testicles feels really good
  • Jock straps hold your stuff in place really well
  • Testicles are somehow deeply associated with your abdomen
  • Feeling dull pain in your testicles all day will most likely make you want vomit on the truck ride home from work
  • Stitches and stubbly hair really itches

Thursday, July 29, 2004


del.icio.us is a social bookmarking tool. You can post bookmarks there and organize by categories. The cool thing is that you can see others who are bookmarking the same URLs and you can subscribe to people's bookmark lists via RSS feeds. Here are my bookmarks, and the RSS feed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Poultry Netting

We raise organic meat chickens for our family to eat and to sell to other families. They are easy to raise and take only 8 weeks to get to butchering size. We average about 4lbs birds when they are ready to eat. They spend the first 4 weeks inside under heat lights and the last 4 weeks outside.

We started off last year with the chicks in a plastic kids swimming pool with chicken wire over the top in our garage for the first 4 weeks and then to a fenced in area connected to our wood shed, which we used as a shelter for the birds, for the last 4.

I built a chicken coop for our layers last year, and built in a fenced off section for raising the young meat birds for the first 4 weeks. We have been using this space this year and it proves to be way better than the pool. We then built a chicken tractor for the last 4 weeks. A chicken tractor is a portable fenced in shelter that is half roofed in, that can be moved from section to section of land each day. The idea is the birds get to eat grass and bugs and their chicken shit helps things grow after they have moved on. Ours is 8 x 8 and 2.5 feet tall.

The chicken tractor was working well, but we had to move it a lot, and I was worried since a fox wiped out most of our layers in the middle of the day earlier this year. I had to put a strand of electric wire around the layers permanent run to keep the foxes out. Our batches of birds have gotten bigger, (75 now, 100 coming in August), and with the predator concern, we decided to install some portable fencing. Poultry netting. See how we set it up here.

Saturday, July 24, 2004


So, I was talking with Karen today about blogs and feeds. I thought I would write up this post to refer anyone to who wants to know about feeds.

I used to keep a list of bookmarks of the many blogs and websites that I keep up with. Each day I would open them, one-by-one, and check out what was new. As this ever growing list of blogs and sites grew, this way of viewing them got harder to maintain without missing some info I would have liked to see.

Then I got into feeds. Almost all blogs and a lot of sites have a feed. It’s usually RSS or Atom – linked with little orange icon with an RSS, Atom or XML on it. It’s a simple way of syndicating information. It just serves up the data. It does not tell you how to display the data the way HTML does.

You see, when you type in a URL in your browser, the web server on the other end sends back some HTML text. The HTML is markup code that tells your browser how the page should look. Put this picture here; put this text there and make it bold; make this bit of text a link to another site; show this Flash movie here; etc. Same with email. I’m an email message for you from this person; here is the message; this is when I was sent.

Feeds are simpler. A feed is markup that just describes the data. Not: Show this here, but: This is about x and it was published on x date and time and written by this person.

The great thing about feeds is that you can use them any way you want. I use a lot of them in a program that is somewhere between email and a browser. I say: I’m interested in this site, so check the feed every, say hour or so, to see if there is anything new. Then it’s up to the application to figure out how to display this information to you – since the feed is just data.

I use FeedDemon, which displays the feeds the same way email looks. New, mark as read, etc. In FeedDemon you can group feeds together into categories – I have ‘Friends & Family’,‘Technology’, etc. Each feed is like its own Inbox in email, so I can scan through and see what’s new and by the topics see if I want to explore further.

Other feed readers do things differently. Bloglines is a web-based reader that you view in a browser. NewsGator integrates with Outlook and displays the feed as if they really were email. There is even an application that will subscribe to feeds of music or video file sharing and download files based on keywords. I like The Simpsons, so it will check the feed and if there is a Simpsons episode available for download it will automatically download it. The possibilities are really endless because feeds have broken content out of just the browser or just email.

Back in 1999, I started playing with XML. XML is a simple way of describing data. Just like feeds. Feeds are just XML. Back in ’99, XML was hyped as the thing. It was going to enable interoperability between any platform that could read and produce text. It has not been until now, 2004, that I have seen XML really start to affect the average internet user. Sure, I’ve used it to solve all sorts of problems throughout the years; but I’m a programmer. I see XML feeds as the beginning of XML actually affecting average folks.

The thing that makes XML feeds high-tech and able to affect average folks is that they are simple. An email message is just that – an email. You need an email application to read it. A web page is a web page. An XML feed does not say what it is supposed to be. It’s just an abstract concept. Like numbers. And look what you can do with numbers – anything.

Mesa's 8th Birthday Party

Mesa had her birthday party today. Lots of fun and good friends. I spent a lot of time holding Karen's new baby.

Pete and I hooked up Mesa's new zip line -- a wire strung from two trees with a trolley with handles that the kids use to zip down the line. After much tinkering, we found that attaching the end where the kids would zip to worked out better if was higher than the start. This makes it so that when they hop and on and weight the line down, they don't go screaming in to the tree and don't smash the plastic trolley into the wire tighteners, which damages it.

At one point I looked over and Pete was on the ground covered with kids. :) He mentioned to me earlier that he has never had grandkids before -- I guess he got his fill today.

Hard to believe I have an eight year old daughter now. Mesa has really grown a lot. I really enjoy hanging out with her. We have a lot in common. We like movies and technology and games and learning. Hanging with her at this age is like hanging with an old friend. We've been really getting into the Wrinkle in Time book series. The second book, A Wind in the Door, is quite philosophical. I was quite impressed that Mesa picked up the message loud and clear.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

...and Aanan's hat.

Terran's hat...

The kids got some new hats last week when they went to Lake Winnipesauke for Mesa's birthday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Terran went running around in the rain durning a thunderstorm the other day and then decided to grab the guitar on the porch and rock out.

This is our lower garden where we plant our early crops like lettuce, beets, spinach etc. It's cool because we just walk up to the garden around dinner and pull out stuff for a salad.

Aanan romping around the tomato plants (Click pic for supersize)


Thursday, July 08, 2004

Terran & Aanan

Terran and Aanan are two years apart and usually have a great time hanging out with each other. I think they are really starting to look alike. Aanan has seemed to absorbed some of Terran's intense little-boy energy. I often find her stomping around the house going "psshhhh, psshhh, psshhh", looking for Pirates to fight :) She also likes to wander around outside by herself, talking to herself. Completely content and in her own world. I'll be doing some yard work and look around and see her down at the chicken coop or near the garden by herself absorbed in her independent play.

Got an old Masterlock that you've lost the combination to...

How to Find the Combination for a Master Combination Lock
Awesome. This is why I love the internet.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Summer Morning

We have this beautiful cow pasture next to our house. I love waking up on summer mornings and seeing the sun light it up like this. From the bay window in our kitchen, you sit below the pasture so you see the sun shining through the tall grass. One morning last summer Terran witnessed this effect and proclaimed: "Dad, the pasture is on fire"! :)

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

A great picture of Booper. (Click the picture for hi-resolution)

Early birthday gift

Ron got me a very early birthday gift that arrived in the mail today - a new digital camera! I expect my blogging to now increase 10 fold. Ron bought the camera via my Amazon wish list. What a great concept. Like a wedding registry with no occasion. :)

The camera. This is a pic of the refection of the camera on a disassembled hard drive I have on my desk at work:

Thursday, June 03, 2004

A Guide to the Most Efficient Things in the World

This site looks to be a great resource. Our dryer has been broken forever, maybe I'll replace it with this one:

Spin-X Spin Centrifugal Clothes DryerThe Spin-X can remove one quart of water from clothes taken out of the Washing Machine, using the same amount of electricity the clothes dryer uses in 15 seconds.

The Spin-X spin dryer extracts at speeds of 3300 RPMs and pulls the water out at 1420 G forces as compared to a commercial extractor which only has a G force of 700 at 1400 RPMs.

10 lbs. wet load capacity (2 king size sheets, 2 large king size pillow cases, 1 bath towel, 2 hand towels)

Alas, the site has no RSS feed...

A picture that Linda just sent me from this weekend. Terran learned how to ride a bike without training wheels in literally about 5 minutes. Mesa taught him. He then practiced for a couple of hours and was able to get going on an incline by himself. He's good to go now. A regular bike rider. One more child to go and then we can do a family ride of the rail trail.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Bob Dylan

Lots of Dylan related things lately. In February I bought a copy of Masked and anonymous for Ron for his birthday and ripped a copy of it a last weekend with DVD Decrypter, (a great app). It's the sort of movie that needs multiple viewings. I read this review this weekend, which will help you out if you plan on seeing it -- and you should, because it is a great film.

Dylan recently released his Halloween 1964 concert as part of the bootleg series. I've had a *real* bootleg of that show for quite some time, (again from Ron), but grabbed the official release, (which is much better sound quality), from AllOfMP3. AllOfMP3 is a music download site out of Russia that sells music downloads by the megabyte. It's like buying clothes by the pound, (or by the bag from Pennywise in Pittsfield :) ). I signed up for 1 gigabyte of downloads, which cost 10 bucks. The cool thing is that you can choose which format, bitrate and encoder you want you music encoded with before you buy it. The music I have bought so far have been under a buck an album. An no DRM to boot. Screw iTunes!

I'm going to see Dylan play this Friday night here in NH. Outdoor show. Should be great!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Free Wi-Fi in Portsmouth, NH

"The first year had 600 unique users connect to a free hotspot in the Market Square area. They’re extending that and hoping for twice the users using donated services and hardware."

Nice. I'll have to remember to bring the Area51m next time I'm in Portsmouth...

It's here!

It's here! Nat got the Lucas Knight film, After The Beep, today in the mail at work.
We watched most of it at lunch. I'll post a full review soon...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Al Gore's Remarks

In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.

I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability...


The previous post is a picture of the guy named Calvin who was the town "bum" in Brunswick, Maine. My Mom lives in Topsham, the next town over, and I can remember seeing Calvin in downtown Brunswick throughout my childhood. He would sniff glue and was banned from all of the local drug stores due to his habit. I remember my Mom had this hand-drawn map of Brunswick -- all cartoon style-- and Calvin was drawn on the map. He was something of a local legend in the area. I'm sure if you talked with anyone who attended Bowdoin College in the last 20 years they would know of Calvin.

He died a while ago. My Mom told me and I felt pretty sad about it. All sorts of people came out for the service I guess and wrote to the local paper with their Calvin stories. He was pretty harmless and apparently well-liked guy.

My Mom sent me that pic of Calvin today. When I saw it I knew immediately who he was, even without reading the email. I forgot that he had died.

Glasses up to Calvin! The man, the legend.

Calvin - R.I.P.

After the Beep

So, the Lucas Knight movie my coworker Nat ordered, After The Beep, has still not arrived. He's trying to track down Lucas Knight himself to ask him where is movie is. It's a bummer is not here yet, because based on this review that Nat justed IM'd me, it looks like it will rock!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Lucas Knight

Lucas Knight made of the greatest movies I have ever seen: Dark Currents

A coworker, Nat, just placed an order for another one of Mr. Knight's films, 'After the Beep'. I can't wait to see it...

I have decided to re-animate this blog. Oh boy...