Sunday, May 31, 2009

Receipe for the Perfect Summer Evening

Ingredients Needed:

1 Wife
2 Dogs
1 House
1 Grill

2 Shots Gentleman Jack
1 Shot Amereto 
4 Shots Sour Mix
2 Handfulls of Ice
1 Tumbler/Shaker
1 Glass

2 New York Strips
1 Jar Chef K. Paul Blackend Steak Magic
1 Shaker of Black Pepper
1 Bottle of Meat Tenderizer
1 Bottle Worchestershire
2 Ears of Corn
1 Stick of Butter
2 8x10 Pieces of Foil
1 Head of Lettuce
1 Box of Croutons
1 Jar of Asian Salad dressing

Time Required: 6hrs (Marinade) 
15 minutes prep
15 minutes cook

Marinade & Steak Prep:
1) Cut any extra fat from the steak, leaving only a thin line of fat around the edges
2) Poke the steak several times with a fork. 
3) Cover steaks with Meat Tenderizer, Salt, Pepper and Worchestershire, Cover and place in refridgerator for 6 hours. 

Cooking Instructions:
1) Mix 2 Shots of GJ, 1 Shot of Amereto and 4 Shots of sour mix with Ice in a shaker. Pour into glass and use as grill-mate & motivation
3) Turn on grill. Far Left burner --> Low, Middle --> Low, Right--> High (very important)
2) Remove corn from husks and cut off the ends
3) Cover corn in peper, salt and butter then wrap in alluminum foil.
4) Place corn on right side, bottom rack of grill (over high heat).

5) Cut lettuce into "salad like" strips
6) Place salad in bowls, cover with croutons

7) Remove steaks from Refridgerator and marinade
8) cover both sides of steaks with Blackend Steak Magic, making sure to rub spices into all crevices. Then add a touch of Salt, Black pepper & Red Cayen Pepper
9) Place steaks on bottom rack, left side of grill (low heat) 
10) Rotate Corn on the Cob

11) Drink

12) at 4 minutes, CAREFULLY flip steaks making sure to not let the seasoning fall off
13) Re-season as needed
14) Rotate Corn

15) Make another Drink if necessary, if not discuss dog's excess weight.

16) After 4 Minutes, remove Steaks from the grill
17) Once the Steaks have been 'plated', remove Corn from the grill

Serve.. no Steak Sauce needed. The steaks should have a 1/4"-1/3" pink strip thru the entire middle. 

Priorities shift

So.... after thinking kind of long and hard about what we're going to do with the money from the bike; I think it's time to shift gears a little. 

I don't actually *need* a new computer... a new graphics card? Maybe, but thats $200, not $2800. 

So, what to do with the excess cash... and really, what to do about some shifting priorities?

I think we're going to take the $2800 and invest it in some 'home improvements'. A lot of this stuff are things that we said whenever we moved in that we'd like to do 'down the road'.. so
 now, we're down the road a little bit. I haven't wanted to go into debt for this stuff; especially since we've worked on paying the credit cards off etc... so now kind of seems the right time (plus its summer and who DOESNT want to work on their house during summer?)

So I slung together a little list (and me and Jill haven't talked it over yet... Desire vs. Expectations for you iMarriage pplz) over what I'd like to do, short and long term, for the house. 

Short Term
1) Landscaping
2) Paint Garage
3) Ceiling Fan replacements / Lighting upgrade
4) Appliance Replacement
5) Paint Bedroom
6) Garage Organization

Longterm Goals
1) Faucet Replacement (bathroom hardware)
2) Kitchen Countertop upgrades
3) Surround Sound install
4) Carpet replacement

So that's the list...
1) We've done the 'bulk' of... there's still some work to do on the sides of the house, I need to refertilize the yard, and I'd like to put some stone pavers ( I think thats what they're called) around the trees in the front yard; but maybe not
2) I've already got this planned for next weekend, I just need to buy the supplies. 
3) We went shopping for two 52" fans to match the 60" in our bedroom, but they didn't have them at Home Depot (they have them online, on sale too). So we're just going to have to order them. 
4) We've talked about this before... we're going to do Stove then Refridgerator. Some friends of ours got a fridge just like we need off of CL for like, $600 (stainless). We'd like our stove / DW/ Fridge to all match.. plus I hate our fridge
5) This is something that Jill would really like to do and has mentioned it a couple of times... so I figure why not; everyone needs a little color in their life. 
6) This is probably the 'longest' of the short term, and will be finished sometime this winter. I'd just like some sort of cabinetry and storeage in the garage to keep it from becoming 'just someplace to pile stuff'. 

1) Something I've wanted to do for a long time.. but it's going to take a decent amount of work (not to mention $240 in just faucets). Our bathroom hardware is still all just the 'contractor grade' that was installed with the house, so its in dire need of updating
2) More of a want than a need; it would make our kitchen look a lot nicer. but not 100% set on this however. 
3) Something I've wanted to do since moving in, but just haven't had the willpower to start the work it's gonna take. 
4) Long term.. cause it'd be the last thing we would probably do prior to putting the house on the market; simply because of the boys... we love them, but they've got the carpet-ruining routine down pat. When we do this; they're gonna really get to know the downstairs... 

anyways; just thought I'd share that... trying to piece together a timeline for the shortterm stuff, but I haven't settled on it cause our summer is pretty busy.. but here's a guess:
6/1-6/7: Finish Landscaping
6/6 - 6/7:  Paint Garage
6/15-6/19: Ceiling fan update
7/1-7/30: Appliance update (depends on finding something on CL)
7/18-7/31: Paint bedroom (this may come sooner if Jill sees this)
8/1 - 8/31: Garage Storage

They say writing goals helps you keep them; so maybe this'll help me stay on task. 

Peace out!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Iterations of the Beast

So... 1999 was when I was introduced to the fascinating world of Home Computing. Sure, prior to that, I had some personal PC experience... a little Win. 95 here, Win N.T. there.. some phatty DOS action on an old Com 1112; but up until 1999 I hadn't owned a PC all my own.

That all changed with my first Compaq Presario 1100. With a hefty 4.2GB hard drive, armed to the teeth with an Intel integrated 16MB graphics card, 256MB of Ram and a fresh install of Windows ME, I was ready to rock and roll with my United States Post Office refurb I'd snagged for a mere $499, monitor included.

After just a short 6 or 8 weeks, I discovered a lot about hardware and software... realizing that a 16MB graphics processor wasn't enough; I upgraded to my first aftermarket piece of hardware; the nVidia Geforce MX480. This beast had a whopping 64MB of dedicated video RAM with it's own single core graphics processing unit.

After that, the race was on.

Since The PO PC, there has been too many hardware upgrades to describe in detail, or even remember; but there has only been really 2 distinct PC's since the Post Office PC; and all since then I've built myself. Being budget minded; typically I've shopped for 'bargin' parts, catching graphics cards on the backend of their development cycle, going with 1-timing down RAM, year old processor releases... but I've always put together great little machines.

1) "Beast" - Beast was my first self-build project; built at the same time that Carlton built his first real PC. We both went with SLI builds; very cutting edge for the 2002/2003 timeframe. With an AMD Athlon64 2Ghz (ish), 1GB Ram and 2 Geforce 7600GT 256MB's.. Beast was quite the machine for it's time, having lasted me until about a year ago. Sadly, the hardware Beast utilized (AGP / Athlon64) went 'out of style' about a year after I built it, so upgrades were very hard to come by because of parts-availability.

2) "Beasty" - Beasty was the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Beast's demise... a firey demise as his Graphics cards and processor overheated in a blistery inferno. Boasting a nice little Core 2 Duo and 2 512MB 8800GT's (nVidia's hall of Famer) with Vista and 6GB of RAM, Beasty is a formidable little budget gamer. While the 8800GT is 2 series behind, Core 2 Duo's are a little behind the times and DDR2 isn't even close to the cutting edge, it does very well for itself. Can it play Crysis on 'extreme', or Call of Duty 4: MW on gamer? No... can it still play them very well? Yes.

Now.. with the demise of the bike; Beasty is giving way to 'Beastier'. Beastier is going to be roughly the best PC you can buy at the moment, given the current hardware environment. Typically I've built budget PC's; but given the circumstances, I'm going to be building what I want this time:

Intel Core i7 965 (3.33Ghz Quad Core)
Asus P6T Deluxe Motherboard
Tri-SLI'd Geforce GTX285 2GB (3 Graphic Cards)
12GB Mushkin DDR3 1800 Mhz RAM
2 RAID-0 10K RPM HardDrives (600GB total)
LG Dual Layer DVD-R/W drive
LG 6x BluRay player
Asetek Liquid Cooling System
AZZA Solano 1000 case
Corsair 1200W PSU
Vista Ultimate 64... going to run a beta'd Win 7 as soon as I can.

And I don't think I'm going to be building Beastier... I think I'm going to let a custom PC shop build it for me. The price difference is so miniscule that it's worth not having to fool with setting up the OS, the Raid, deal with all the drivers, the custom work on the case, the liquid cooling setup.

So anyways.. I'm getting excited about this build; hoping that I get to place the order for it next week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wreck pics

here's some pics from when I went and visited the Bike today:

It looks like the forks are bent, the handles are hard left but the tire is barely pointing to the left. The engine case has scuff marks all over it.. the sliders REALLY did their job, the side fenders are remarkably intact. It looks like the front break pad is warped, the front wheel fairing is all scracthed up.. the Instrument panel is disconnected and cracked; the key won't come out of the ignition either.  I can't really tell if the frame is bent.. I'm not a professional. 

No idea if it's totaled or not... it's certainly in bad shape though.