Sunday, August 30, 2009

Clean Reboot

After backing up all of my photos and music the laptop was badly in needed of a clean reload. Luckily, with help from Dave and the owner's manual, reload was a breeze. Now my computer is as good as new. Why pay for MS Office when you can get open source softwares like GIMP and Open Office for free?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hitch and Trailer

Who knew getting the boat was the easiest part of the puzzle. We finally got the hitch from etrailer.com yesterday. After few hours of dirty work and couple different drills Rob was able to get the hitch on ok. Now the problem is the wiring harness. I guess when Subaru Impresa's owners manual said the car is not designed to tow anything they really meant it. After taking the car apart two separate times we couldn't find the wiring connection to save our lives. Everyone we talked to keeps saying, oh, they should be right next to the spare tire. Well, they're not! I searched all morning in my bathrobe! Yes, it was the first thing I did after been woken up by the frustrated home mechanic. So when we talked to the Subaru dealer for the third time they finally told is there is no such wire connector on our car! If we are fixed on having trailer lights hooked on we will have to hard wire it from the front battery (or something like that). Since neither one of us is electrically inclined I decided to bite the bullet and pay $100 for Uhaul to install the harness so we don't burn down our car.
Finally we got that taken care of by lunch time. Then I called Joe in Geneva to pick up the trailer I found on Craigslist. And even that wasn't easy...

We showed up in Manchester, NY and found Joe working on the trailer in his shop because he just noticed that the new tail lights are not working. After the two men wondering around the old rusty trailer for almost an hour installing a new wire the thing finally lit up. Now we've got the hitch and the trailer! With some much needed TLC we should be able to load the boat on it soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hasta la Vista!

Help! I'm in Vista Hell!

After a whole day of attempting to troubleshoot the damn computer I'm finally coming to term with it. Although the laptop market is getting competitive these days, the average lifespan of a laptop is without a question getting shorter either due to hardware failures or the need for upgrades. My first Dell lasted about 3 years and then the CD drive, USB connection and battery died. I bought this Dell XPS M1330 as a replacement on June 13th, 2008. The Dell tech people gladly reminded me over the phone that it's over the one-year warranty period.

The problem: computer starts in Safe Mode but would not start normally in Vista. I can get to the password prompt for log in. Once I enter the password I get black screen with an error message that says "An unauthorized change was made to Windows"
The "Learn More Online" option takes me to www.microsoft.com/genuine, where Microsoft tells me "This copy of Windows did not pass genuine validation.
Either an unauthorized change was made to your Windows license or a software program installed on this computer is not currently compatible with Windows Vista."
This is unlikely since Vista came pre-installed on my laptop when I ordered it from Dell.


The attempted solution: I searched all over the cyberspace for possible solutions and started to fidget with Windows recovery and removing latest Windows updates but nothing seemed to help. I have not installed any new software for quite sometime. The last software update was for Firefox about 3 weeks ago. I am not aware of any virus on the computer. What's going on?

Call for help: The Dell people said they would be happy to help me with this single incident software support of a single payment of $129. The tech guy insisted that it was my fault for not buying the yearly software protection for $239. That's insane! Two years of software protection is enough to buy a brand new computer. And that doesn't even cover any kind of hardware failure. i asked what the possible solution would be and the tech people suspected a corruption with Windows files. They told me the last resort would be to reinstall Vista. My patience was running out, I said, no, that's not an option if I have to pay for the service! I can reinstall the damn Windows myself for free! I then contacted the GeekSquad, they won't even look at it for under $199.

Now: I live in safe mode. The resolution really sucks but at least I'm still functional. I finally ordered a 500GB external harddrive to get ready to backup all my files. The only option now is to reinstall Vista. One of two things might happen, 1, the clean reinstall solves the problem, or 2, re-installation fails due to hardware problems. I have read online that some people were getting the same error message due to harddrive or RAM problems. Either way all my files are fucked. So hence the mega external drive coming in the mail...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rowing on the Erie Canal

With the hitch coming in the mail all we need now is a boat trailer. After looking high and low I just couldn't find one within our price range. I found a good deal at Harbor Freight but they are out of stock until mid September. Unwilling to wait for a whole month to take the boat out, we went to Uhaul for a truck this morning and took our boat out to Erie Canal Lock 32 in Pittsford, just down the road from the apartment. Although forecast had called for rain, the weather nevertheless looked pretty decent. Since the boat is pretty lightweight, launching it from a Uhaul truck wasn't all that difficult. We rowed from Lock 32 to Bushnells Basin and turned around at the 490 overpass. Including a quick lunch stop at Aladin's in the Pittsford Village, we spent about 5 hours on the water. We passed the gigantic Colonial Bell from Fairport 3 times. The thing is truly a monstrosity on the canal, somewhat of a bully, since it pretty much takes up the whole width of canal at the narrow parts. Other tour boats like the Sam Patch is much more fitting and scenic. Here's a picture of me working hard on the boat... Next time definitely a seat cushion!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Out for a Walk

Time to take Teddy out for his first walk. The little kitty was hesitant at first so I tried to lure him down the stairs with some kitty treats. He wasn't biting. I think he had some fun on the grass though. He's such a cute little baby!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Delivery Day


The boat is delivered today by the boat maker himself, David Young. We invited him upstairs for some ice tea and had a lovely conversation. David told us the boat is built in the style of a Lawton Tender, with a layer of fiberglass inside and out, three layers of epoxy and one coat of marine varnish. The boat is sturdy, low maintenance and built to last. We're so excited to take it out on the water soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

We got the Boat!

Even though we got no jobs, no income, no hitch and no trailer, we got the boat! It’s one of a kind and hopefully we’ll get lots of enjoyment out of it. David Young, the boat maker, will be delivering the boat to us himself on Wednesday evening. After that it’s going to sit in our garage until we can figure out how to transport it. I’ve been pricing everything out for couple days now and it’s going to be at least another $500 worth of expenses before we can get it on the water.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Love at First Sight

As a free marketing tool, we have decided to take our WhirlyBirds around to all the festivals we attend to get some exposure and feedback. This weekend is the Oak Orchard Harborfest, Regatta & Wooden Boat Show just past Hamlin Beach. Summer has finally made it's late arrival here in Upstate New York. We drove west in my open top Beetle convertible. The breeze off the lake shore was sublime.
Our appearance at the Harborfest was rather brief. Although not many boats were there, a group of 4 handmade wooden boats instantly grab hold of all our attention: two kayaks, a row boat and a canoe. These were the proud works of a local boat maker, David Young, from Kendall, NY. As I pull out my camera to snatch up few photos of these precious boats, David came over to greet us. The two guys conversed about wood material and building techniques. David, originally from Rochester, had been building these boats as a hobby for many years now and took some woodworking classes from RIT. The two hit off well and it didn't take long for David to give us a deal for the small row boat to make room in his shop and fund his habit. Upon hearing the incredible offer we couldn't refuse! Next, we immediately hopped back in the car and started our search for a hitch and trailer!

Kitty Care Day

Teddy’s got fleas! Since we have no other animals around here we suspect that Teddy brought the bugs with him when he came. The drop treatment we got from Walmart last night didn’t seem to be too affective so we got the fleas shampoo first thing in the morning and I got to work! I was determined to be the flea terminator! I striped down and got wet and dirty with Teddy in the shower. He’s got surprisingly good temper for being an energetic little kitty. I soaked and rubbed him down with fleas shampoo at least 3 times. A quick roll under the hair dryer and voila, a new fresh scented kitty with soft fluffy fur! Even cuter than before! On goes the flea collard and let’s hope he’ll be bug free now from now on.
While getting the shampoo from Petco we noticed the onsite pet clinic for today so the ordeal wasn’t over until I took the new fluffy kitty to get his first round of deworming and vaccination. To my relief, Teddy is tested negative for Feline Leukemia. Other than being freaked out that he’s out of the apartment, Teddy didn’t even meow during the shot. It was barely past noon by the time we got home and the kitty has already had a long day! As soon as I put him down he crawled under his maroon cat tree and went to sleepy land.
However, the day is only half over for us humans. Now onto the Harborfest.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Photo Op for Teddy

My photographer friend, Dan Olek, stopped by after work and snatched few nice shots of our 4 mos old Teddy.

Teddy

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pink Flamingo

Our newest whirligig addition: the Pink Flamingo! And it glows in the dark! So proud of the design and paint job. Hope it will be a hot seller!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mad Dash to Home Depot

Sunday evening, after a causal stroll down the lumber line at Home Depot we were ecstatic to find out the main ingredient for our whirligig, ¾ pine, was on sale for almost 40% discount. We sorted through the couple dozen of them that were available at the HD on Jefferson Road and took home a few good ones in my Beetle. Since the material is relatively “cheap” some of them come with too many knots to be workable, so we always try to select the clearest pieces for our production.
Next we made a quick stop at home to switch cars to go to the HD in Victory next to Eastview Mall hoping for a bigger selection. The Subaru Impreza Hatchback, although looks compact, is really amazingly roomy inside, especially with the back seats folded down. We’ve carried countless boxes in the car during the last two moves. Anyways, we were disappointed to find only 6 pieces laying around at the 2nd HD. Now I start to feel a sense of urgency. We must find more wood before they are sold out!

The job was short lived. To my worst fear, my initial hunch was confirmed at HD #3 in Penfield. The 1X10 pines are on final clearance due to the fact that they are to be discontinued! A contractor had called ahead and reserved all the pieces at Penfield. Now what are we going to do?!

I looked at the time on my cell phone, 7:14, and thought if we hurry we could make it to two more Home Depots in the area before they close at 8!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Maroon #5


This is the 5th Cat Tree we've made in a month. Two of them were sold on Craigslist to fund our carpet expenses for these ones. Two more of the basic designs are for sale but so far no bites yet. This little orange cat has really inspired us. I've been making frequent trips to Home Depot in the last couple weeks to either pricing out material for the whirligig production or looking for carpet remnants. I had rarely gone to HD before but now I have learned to enjoy it. Each trip leads to a new project. However small they might be, the excitement and anticipation they generate always bring up interesting discussions or even debates. Now I associate the smell of HD with hope and progress, like the smell of fresh paint in a new house. Every isle is a dream waiting to be assembled.