Published on April 7th, 2009 @ 06:17:14 am , using 299 words, 810 views
As per usual, I changed my plans re: planes a bit.
I sold off the SA Edge kit. I really want to get into Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) airplanes, and I needed funds to get into that area of the hobby, so the Edge kit went. I'm a little sorry I sold it off, but oh well, there's always next season.
EDFs are basically... jets, without the expense and complication of a turbine engine. And they're electric, of course. There's no propeller; a fan spinning at insanely high RPM provides the thrust. They have a unique, some say COOL!, some say ANNOYING!, sound, all their own. I like how they sound.
And they fly FAST! Properly modified (and reinforced!), people have radar-clocked EDF models at 170+ MPH.
I'm also going to be building a Simitar. Ever since I first saw one, I liked them, and when my club President let me fly one of his, the deal was sealed. I'll be building it at my club President's house, since he has a huge and nice shop, plus has built probably over 20 of them, so can provide much assistance... especially since I've never even built a kit, let alone scratch built an airplane!
There's over 20 designs in the Simitar series, and the one I'm building is the Wiseguy. I'll put a picture from RCM Magazine below. Keep in mind that these airplanes were designed a long time ago; probably early 80s, maybe even late 70s! Laugh all you want at the people holding the plane (I do); the plane flies AWESOME. I'll document the build here.
I'll be powering mine with an electric motor (of course!), and I'm betting it'll end up requiring a 4s or even 5s (but hopefully not 6s!) LIPO pack to power the motor. We shall see!
Published on April 7th, 2009 @ 06:03:57 am , using 327 words, 631 views
I know I said I'd go into more details about the surgery, but there really isn't much to say! I was unconscious for all the interesting parts. ;)
I showed up 2 hours ahead of the surgery time, as directed. They checked me in, then took me into a private room. Note this is at the new Clarian Arnett Hospital; all rooms are private which is nice.
A couple nurses came in, asked a lot of health questions, and attached various devices to me. Some heart monitoring pads. A blood pressure cuff. And of course the IV line gets started. The IV insertion does a hurt a little, but it's not much worse than having your blood drawn.
Then the doctors came in to talk to me before surgery. First the anesthesiologist, then the surgeon. Then the anesthesiologist hit me with Versed, a strong sedative. After that, I didn't give a damn what happened. ;)
I was wheeled to the operating room, and an oxygen mask was put on, then the anesthesiologist told me to take some deep breaths, then 2 hours later I woke up being wheeled out of the operating room. Heh.
I was never in any pain, and about 2-3 hours later they said I was ok to go home. My wife drove me home and that was it. The worst discomfort I had was my throat being sore from the intubation tube. It went away in about 6-8 hours.
I had pain medication, a low dose of hydro-codone (note: added the - because my own antispam won't let me post the word! LOL!). I only took it for the first 2 days, and only till noon the second day. The day after surgery I took 2 30 minute walks.
So that's it... really easy surgery and I'm definitely happy I got it done. I'm hoping they send me a survey about the experience, because I'd like to praise the entire staff. Seriously the most professional and ... awesome ... medical staff ever.
Published on March 30th, 2009 @ 06:45:53 pm , using 38 words, 828 views
Well, my surgery's done, and it all went pretty much textbook. I'm back home and able to walk, only about 5 hours after surgery. Woot @ experienced doctors!
I'll write more when I'm a little more coherent (pain meds, yay).
Published on March 25th, 2009 @ 05:57:02 am , using 137 words, 848 views
It ended up being 8 miles total (10 for her, since she'd already walked nearly 2 miles earlier that morning). After LBC, we decided to walk across the bridge into West Lafayette, and then up the hill to Greyhouse. That's another 1.2 miles on top of the nearly 3 we'd done from home to LBC.
Then we walked all the way home, another 4 miles...for a total of 8!
This is something that would have been literally impossible at our old weights/fitness levels, but we did it, and while we were a little tired after we got back, it felt really good to just be able to do it.
It's just a shame I'll be temporarily set back a ways while recovering from surgery. Ah well, I'll get back to being able to do stuff like this as quick as I can!
Published on March 24th, 2009 @ 08:57:33 am , using 184 words, 671 views
... since my old post is still up, praising the E-flite T-34 ePTS, I thought I better post this update.
It's a bad model, honestly. It flies ... oddly, compared to other, quality electrics. It's very hard to describe what's weird about its flight characteristics, but it's definitely there. And I've flown 3 of them now, so it's not a problem with just mine. It "hangs" oddly in turns; doesn't really have much authority when maneuvering. It's also (and this is a typical e-flite problem) woefully underpowered with the stock Power 25 motor. I have heard it flies a ton better with a Power 32 or similar motor.
Not only that, it's really not that much easier to fly than, say, a Mini Pulse XT or a Mini UltraStik. But it's sold as a trainer. O_o Anyway.
My flying buddy Emmett still loves the model, and so I sold mine to him. He has 3 of them now. Heh. One was a replacement free from Horizon because the canopy on his came off in flight and sheared off half the elevator, causing an "interesting landing situation". (i.e., crash).
Published on March 17th, 2009 @ 10:36:34 am , using 203 words, 782 views
I'm having surgery. Yay.
I have a hernia, just above my navel. I've had it for years, and had always planned to get it repaired "soon". It doesn't cause much of a problem most of the time, but occasionally there's some pain, and this last time it was a little over the top, so I'm getting it operated on finally.
My surgeon's been doing this for 33 years, and has done "thousands" of these operations, so I know he's got experience. He's not doing the surgery the "new", laparoscopic way. Instead he prefers the old-school tried-and-true "slash the patient open and fix it" method. He says I'll still be able to walk (though carefully) the next day, though. Supposedly the incision will only be 5 or 6 inches wide, which doesn't seem like a big deal, given what's going on through it.
We'll see how it goes. This isn't my first surgery (will be the second), so I kind of know how the process goes, but this will be the first "really invasive" surgery. And the first time I'll be spending a night in the hospital. My other surgery was done in a hour and I was headed home within 3 (with my wife driving, of course!)
Published on March 17th, 2009 @ 06:04:07 am , using 222 words, 723 views
Yup, it's a pile of wood. And some electronics.
Actually, it's a Stevens Aero Edge 540 kit. That pile of laser-cut wood will eventually become an R/C airplane, and a pretty nice one at that. The electronics include an E10-12 motor and Z-45 speed control from Common Sense RC. I'll order some HXT-900 servos from China today.
This will be my first kit build and I'm pretty excited. I know that in the overall scheme of kits, this one is more of a "3D puzzle" than a kit, but hey, I'm still going to be building an airplane for my first time and it'll be cool. Most R/C airplanes these days are "ARFs", short for "Almost Ready to Fly", and only require basic assembly such as electronics installation.
I wanted to have the experience of building from a kit while I still could. As ARFs become more and more popular, the number of companies making kits becomes smaller and smaller. Almost none of the "major" hobby companies make kits now, and it's only smaller, more niche companies like Stevens Aero that still make them. SA has an awesome reputation so I'm excited to build this one.
I probably won't start on it for about 3 weeks, as I'll be having surgery in about 2, but after that, I'll document the build here.
Published on March 13th, 2009 @ 09:31:30 pm , using 68 words, 829 views
I'm still finishing up my Common Sense RC Cap-232. It's just down to electronics installation and then setting up surface throws and the like. I go through phases where I don't want to work on planes, so it's been slow going. But! It's flying season now, pretty much, so I've got incentive to hurry up and finish!
Here she is, before installing the pull-pull linkage for the rudder:
Published on March 6th, 2009 @ 07:00:24 pm , using 50 words, 1033 views
Tonight I finished assembly of the warriors. This took quite some time as there are lots of little parts to deal with. You see those bolt magazines on the crossbows? Yeah, those don't come attached! It's delicate work but it was worth it, and now they're ready to be primed!
Published on March 5th, 2009 @ 05:14:43 pm , using 83 words, 2129 views
Tonight I worked on the warriors, attaching their torsos to their lower bodies, then attaching their heads and attaching the figures to bases. Next will be to add the arms/weapons. This step took a surprising amount of time, but it was enjoyable to work on. Total time for all 16 warriors was about an hour to an hour and a half, including time to cut the pieces off the sprues.
Overview of all 16 bloodthirsty dark elf warriors. Without arms. :D
Other than the post below this one, detailing my own Local Economy Stimulus Package, I've got quite a bit going on. It's getting to be Spring again, which means I can finally take part in outdoor hobbies again soon!
Mainly that means RC flying for me (though my wife and I have been talking about another outdoor hobby). I've got a new plane I'll be maidening (and if I don't destroy it, flying all season). It's a Common Sense RC Cap-232. A fairly aerobatic, and indeed, mildy 3D-capable airplane that I bought around Christmas. It's nearly flight-ready; just a couple more hours worth of work and she'll be ready to maiden. I want to learn 3D this season, but the Cap is only mildy 3D-capable, so I'll have to just practice basic high-alpha stuff with it, until next season when I'll get a true 3D plane, probably a Precision Aerobatics Addiction.
I'm recently back into Warhammer Online after a small break. The game's good, very good, and I didn't take my break because of any problem with the game. It was just because of... I'm really not sure. /shrug. Anyway I'm back to the game, and loving it. Quite a few friends are playing, which of course makes it even better. I mainly play a Squig Herder and a Disciple of Khaine, but as per usual I play a ton of alts, including... well... every other Destruction class as well. ;) And a Witch Hunter on another server, since you can't play both realms on a single server.
Our weight loss continues, though we had a pretty extended holiday stall. We let ourselves enjoy the holiday and post-holiday season a little more this time, and so we saw how easily it can stall weight loss. Luckily we kept control and stayed in our same clothes, and are now back on track to getting smaller again. ;) We've come a very, very long way since our completely out of control days, and it's very nice to feel completely in control of what we do.
As if it wasn't enough that I am into MMO gaming (which requires me to keep my gaming machine updated - expensive) and radio control flying (which requires me to keep my planes maintained and repaired, and occasionally add new ones - also expensive), I decided to get into another money-sink of a hobby...
After getting back into Warhammer Online after a short break, I decided to buy a couple Warhammer tabletop figures to just keep on my desk for decoration, which lead to looking into the game, which lead to thinking it sounded pretty cool, which lead to... Hehe.
Anyway, I chose Dark Elves for an army. To me there were only a couple choices, and DE's were easily the top of the list. This also has the benefit of being the least played army in my area. My Local Gaming Shop, the awesome Castle Comics & Games, didn't have a lot of DE stuff in stock (back to it being the least popular army around here!), so I got what I could from their stock. I want to support the local shop so I will wait on new stock for the rest.
The LGS folks said pretty much most people around here play ~2,000 point games -- not a cheap endeavor to be sure, and also not one that'll be quick to get onto the tabletop. I'm not interested in playing with unpainted figures, so I'll be spending quite some time making these look as cool as I can. So I got what I could to get started from what they had in stock.
Pretty much every DE army has a few units of warriors and at least a unit of corsairs, so here we have a box of each.
When you unbox them, you see... a big pile of plastic sprues with tiny parts on them. It's kind of intimidating, especially when you realize this is only a tiny starting portion of your army!
Before assembling and painting the figures, you're supposed to wash them to remove the residue of the mold release agent that is left on the figures from the factory. The paint doesn't adhere to the stuff, which would be bad. So I washed them up and set them out to dry...
And that was that for last night. Next, I will assemble them, starting with the warriors. This unit of warriors will be crossbowmen, and I will buy another unit box when the LGS has more, and they will become spearmen. My overall theme for this army will be that of a sea-bound raiding party, using sea monster/cephalopod imagery. The "dark elf kraken shields" that GW sells will be useful for this, but I'll add my own touches/art to the battle standards.
I'll post more as I work on these!
Yeah, well, another 6 months gone by. I'm down to 189lbs (from originally 400+). Wearing 32 waist (and probably could use 30) pants. Originally 54 and they were tight. She's down to 175 or so, from a little over 300. It's been awesome. :)
One thing I've been able to do, partially because of the weight loss, is fly R/C airplanes. I've wanted to be able to since I was around 14 or 15 (I'm 37 as of this writing). Cost was always an issue, but then when I was older and more able to afford the hobby, my weight prevented me from wanting to be outside during the hot summers, not to mention I didn't like to be around people.
Well, now that's not an issue, and I've been flying since May or so.
I received training from my club's instructors at first, for about a month, then I purchased my own airplane -- an E-flite T-34 Mentor ePTS. It's a 55" wingspan electric model, very nice. We have 2 of them in the club now, mine and a flying buddy's. Mine's on the left:
I also had an E-flite Mini Pulse XT, but I got WAY overconfident with it, and was doing some extreme maneuvers very close to the ground, and got too close to the ground...
Haha, anyway. :D I have a new one on order, should be here in a couple of days, and all will be well. That airplane is just way too fun to NOT own one! A great flier and a great confidence builder for a new pilot, too.
My flying buddy and I are planning to, over the winter, assemble and paint a pair of H&M Performance FW-190's. We're going to paint/detail them up very accurately, according to the color scheme shown here:
We're both very excited, as we will be the only pilots in the club flying Axis warbirds! Everyone else that flies warbirds is flying a Corsair or P-51!
I still game as well, of course, and am planning to play Warhammer Online with my guild The Conclave that I founded back in '98. The game is looking awesome.
Everything's been going well... just haven't found time to post entries here. :D I wish I'd documented my progress learning to fly, but I didn't even think of doing that until I was already soloing. :(
I shall make sure to try to write more often. ;)
Published on February 20th, 2008 @ 07:24:50 am , using 91 words, 5786 views
So, back in November, we finally got that annoying bedroom wall rebuilt/re-insulated. It had been an issue since we bought the place in 2003, but we we're positive it was an insulation issue, but were pretty sure.
Anyway, we had a contractor out, got a quote ($850), and went ahead and did it. When they ripped off the old drywall, they found that, as we suspected, the old insulation had mostly settled/was non-existent. After 3 days, they were finished, and the results are wonderful!
No more freezing in there during the winter!
Published on February 20th, 2008 @ 07:20:45 am , using 61 words, 1033 views
Sure, I haven't written in over 6 months, and if anyone's still reading, they're probably thinking "oh, I bet they failed and regained all their weight".
Well, that'd be incorrect!
I'm down over 170 pounds, and she's down around 115 pounds. Oh yes. My original weight was somewhere over 400 pounds. I'm now 222. She was a little over 300, now she's around 185. And we're still going.
Published on June 27th, 2007 @ 10:51:23 am , using 309 words, 1755 views
I haven't written in a while (as usual), so here goes...
My wife and I have been making a concentrated effort to lose weight for the last 3 or so months. We've been doing well. I won't mention our weights, but I will say that I'm nearing 70 pounds lost, and she's nearing 50 lost.
I've been "overweight" since my early teens. I wasn't dangerously fat, nor even the fattest kid around, but I wasn't a "normal" weight by any means. As I moved into my 20s and more and more money become available to me, I ate out more and more, and gained more and more weight. I'm still definitely dangerously obese, but I've lost close to 70 pounds now and we're both committed enough that there's no danger of the weight loss stopping. :)
How did we do it? Well, it was actually...really easy. Something finally "clicked" in our minds and we just committed to it. We limit our calorie intake to around 1500 or less calories EVERY SINGLE DAY. Oh, sure, occasionally we've gone to 1800 or so but never over, and 95% of days have been under 1500. And we started exercising every single day. We had to start small; we were (and still are) VERY out of shape. Walking around the block was the first thing we did. When that become easy we made longer trips: to our office and back (1.4 mile round trip), and longer trips around our subdivision. Now we walk 2-3 circuits of our local mall each day. It's 7/8 of a mile per circuit. We also do weight work at a gym fairly often.
Our next step will be biking. We spent so far $1,800 on some very nice bikes and accessories. The bikes are Trek 7.3 FXs. We also bought trainer stands for them so we'll be able to use them indoors when the weather prevents us from using them outdoors. :)
So, I did another (small) computer upgrade. Well, it was supposed to be small, anyway...
I got a new monitor (22" widescreen Gateway). And a new video card -- a Sapphire X1950XT card. Should have been easy, right? Ha, no.
First was my power supply. A little anemic @ 350 watts with only a single 12 volt rail @ 16 amps. Not gonna do it. So, off to Beast Buy to get a new one. Got an Antec Trio 480 watt. Should be perfect. So, replace power supply. Done.
Second, the video card install itself. When changing video cards, and especially if you're going from nVidia to ATi like I was (or vice-versa), you should remove the old video drivers. So I did that.
When I rebooted after installing the new card physically, Windows refused to boot. It would just reboot right after the XP logo. I know from experience that means Windows thinks too much hardware changed and it can't deal with life. So, what the fuck!?!?! Just a video card change? Oh, wait, my whole MOTHERBOARD is nVidia, it must have removed all the motherboard drivers instead of only the video drivers. FUCK.
Ok, repair install (note: they take FOREVER).
So, what should have been a 10 minute upgrade took 5 1/2 hours. Sigh.
And to fix my Linux installation? LOL. 5 minutes. During boot it just says "Oh yeah, your video card is different...want to install new drivers?" ... Then you install the new drivers and you're done.
But Windows is so much easier to use than Linux... RIGHT.
Published on November 20th, 2006 @ 12:17:28 pm , using 15 words, 1417 views
We also have to replace the shower in the new half of the house...sigh.
For the last 2 years or so, we had been talking vaguely of moving "soon". Soon being defined as "as soon as we could actually pull it off", which could have been 2-5 years or more.
You see, the neighborhood we moved into in 2003 had started going way downhill fast. 1/3 or so of the houses on the street were rentals, and it seemed the owners weren't keeping tabs on the renters. The street looked bad and there were quite a few "shady" type people around. Even old residents of the neighborhood (some that had been there since it was built in 1956) were saying the same thing. We only paid $85,000 for our house thankfully, so the plan was to sell it and move out before the values went way too far down.
But then a miracle happened. Seemingly overnight, everything reversed. The houses that were being rented sold to actual homeowners who moved in and cleaned the places up. The block looks great now. It's back to a nice quiet family neighborhood.
So we're planning to stay. We've got quite a lot of things we want to get done to the house now, though. Heh. We still have to solve whatever issue makes our bedroom noticeably colder than the rest of the house. We've got a hall light in the old half of the house that doesn't work, so will probably have to involve an electrician there. We certainly need to paint almost every room.
But, the payments are super low (well, it's an $85,000 house at a really good FIXED interest rate, so of course they're low...) and the values are slowly going up.
Published on November 15th, 2006 @ 09:07:39 am , using 138 words, 1921 views
Yeah, so, heh, I'm playing WoW again. On Argent Dawn with some old friends from EQ1 and such. I moved Vendraen and Szardos over to Argent Dawn so I can avoid having to level those classes again (since I love pet classes...).
For all the bashing there is about WoW, it really is a good game. It's easy to get in and out if you don't want to (or can't) play for 8 hours in a sitting. Levelling is pretty fast (and smooth -- it scales well as you level up, without getting exponentially hard to level). And, really, the quests are (mostly) very well done and interesting, and the scary thing is... the backstory lore of the world is pretty damned interesting if you bother to look into it.
Saw a killer concert Saturday night! Maybe one of the best I've ever been to... I dunno. I've seen Rush twice, and I saw Metallica and GnR when they were touring together -- and this might have been better. I'm not sure. It was a damn good show!
The first act was Sonus Ventorium, a band from Indianapolis. They describe themselves as "Funkified Rasta Hippie Metal", and that's fairly accurate. The lead singer is a maniac -- he bounces around all over the place, it's awesome to watch. I can't really describe their sound -- you really need to hear it for yourself. I'm definitely going to buy their CD, they're very good. And they truly know how to put on a good live show. You can tell these guys have played for live audiences a lot.
Next up was I Am I, a progressive rock/metal band from here in Lafayette. They're all incredibly good musicians, especially their drummer. He's incredible! Their songs are mostly long (VERY long) instrumental pieces strong featuring the incredible drum work. The problem is they are too long. They could be cut in half or even into 1/3 and still be good -- in fact better. They also did a Rush cover that I am now going to rant about. They did "Tom Sawyer". Grrr. I LOVE Rush, they're probably still my favorite band. But I HATE Tom Sawyer. Not because it's a bad song -- it's not. But it's all most people know of Rush and it's FAR from their best work. It's overplayed, overknown, and basically...I hate it. :P Ok so they were already screwed when they decided to cover TS. But they had to fuck it up. Ohmygod, that was the worst cover job EVER. The keyboarding was an insult to the concept of keyboarding. I have no idea what that keyboardist was thinking, but his keyboard work sounded NOTHING like the keyboards in TS. NOTHING. I think a $10 Casio keyboard from K-Mart would have been better. The guitar solo portions of the song were more or less dead on, but the rest...GAH. I wanted to kill puppies. But again -- very talented band. They just need to work on their songs to either make them interesting enough to last as long as they do, or make them shorter.
They saved the best for last: Lorenguard! I can't say enough about this band -- they're absolutely incredible. They are an epic fantasy/power metal band in the vein of Hammerfall, Rhapsody, and so on. They're every bit as good as the "big guys" of the genre...maybe even better. They've been on a break for about a year because their keyboardist had (has?) Leukemia. Nasty stuff. Lesser men might have just found another keyboardist and went on -- after all these guys are talented and have real potential and I think they know it. But no, they didn't. They waited for him, and that is to be commended. The guy is a real showman too. He sat through 4 hours of all the other acts (so did most of the rest of Lorenguard) -- a real sign of professionalism for sure. Note that this show was in a very smoke-filled bar. I don't think that's the best environment for someone weakened from cancer treatment but he made it through anyway. When it came time to perform he took off the medical mask he was wearing and performed without it! In said smoke-filled bar. Their set was absolutely incredible. Their vocalist has improved by about 10000% and the sound engineer was able to really tweak the sound so you could hear the lead vocals over the booming drums. They played a couple songs off their first CD and a couple of new ones, all very very killer songs. I just can't even express in words how good their set was. I'm trying, but everything I can say will just fail to convey the power of their show. Words aren't enough.
And if all that wasn't good enough, they GIVE all this goodness away for a mere $3 per person! Insane! I'd pay a lot more. :P
Published on October 30th, 2006 @ 07:22:38 am , using 404 words, 1335 views
There's an insane number of license-based (that is, that are based on an existing fiction or franchise) MMOs in development right now: Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Star Trek Online, Pirates of the Carribbean Online, some MMO based on Stargate, Warhammer Online. Pretty much the only MMO in development that isn't based on a license is Vanguard. It's a very odd period in the MMO world.
The only 3 games in development that are really "almost out" are LOTRO, AoC, and Vanguard. They're all slated to come out in early to mid 2007. And all 3 are very different sorts of games.
LOTRO is a standard PvE-focused fantasy MMO, with strong ties/adherence to Lord of the Rings lore and backstory. It should be a good game, and I certainly commend Turbine for sticking to their guns on the lore adherence. I've been a Lord of the Rings fan for about 30 years (my mom read the stories to me when I was very young and I've been in love with them ever since), so it should prove to be "my game". Just wish they'd toss me a beta invite. :(
Age of Conan is a strange new type of MMO. It's PvE and PvP focused, and the combat system is a little more action oriented than most MMOs. I don't think it's quite as "twitch" as DDO but it's certainly more active than most MMOs. The game is based on the lore of the Conan novels from the 1930's, and Funcom is going for a "Mature" rating. This is a good thing as then they can have more violence, blood, and nudity and suggestive themes in the game. Should be fun.
Vanguard is a PvE-focused fantasy MMO not based on any existing lore -- they made it all up. The game is meant to be a LOT more challenging than current offerings. It's got a lot of the stuff that early EQ1 had: largeish death penalty, corpse recovery required to get your gear back, more-or-less forced grouping, and so on. Despite those negative the game looks pretty interesting and as a long-time EQ1 Necro, Vanguard's necro class looks VERY interesting to me. You can "build" your pets from body parts which seems pretty damn cool.
The rest of the games in development seem pretty far off; most of them don't even have real websites up yet. It should be an interesting few years for MMOs though!
Published on August 29th, 2006 @ 01:15:54 pm , using 46 words, 1582 views
Oh yeah, you might wonder why the weblog is named 225°, too. :P Well, I've been using the name "Pazuzu" as a handle since 1985 or 1986 (BBS days FTW!). In Sumerian mythology, Pazuzu is the demon of the Southwest Winds. Southwest is 225 degrees on a compass, so... :P