Friday, June 25, 2010
Back From the Dead!
Hi all. My apologies. I've completely ignored the blob and it's been two long years since I posted anything.
A lot has developed over the last two years, but I'm going to focus on non-work activities.
Let's dive into the workshop.
Along time ago my Dad gave me a behemoth of a hand plane that was in fairly good shape. Didn't really know what to do with it, so it got put in a cabinet only to come out when I wanted to fondle it. After moving up yonder to Northern VA, I had some time on my hands before we bought the house in Reston and I stumbled onto the website Woodnet which had forums on power tools and hand tools.
In perusing the hand tool forums I stumbled onto a thread about handplanes and one of the posters posted a photo of a plane that looked a lot like the one my Dad gave me. The plane was identified as a Stanley #8, but most importantly a Type 11, one of the more desirable versions of the plane. Checking mine indicated it was indeed a Type 11.
I had never used it and the blade was as it was when my Grandfather gave the plane to my Dad. I did a quick sharpen job on the blade with the limited resources at my disposal and applied the plane to a piece of wood.
Oh, my..... I took another stroke. And another. And another. Until I had a large pile of "curlies" on the floor. Yes I was hooked. The tote (handle) on the plane was broken but that was okay. I bought a piece of Cocobolo from Vienna Hardwoods and using the template on Lee Valley website, I cut another tote out of the Cocobolo. It didn't take long, but the Cocobolo was an odd color after smoothing. Kind of an orangy caste to it. I was sitting down watching TV and playing with the tote and the oil from my hands transformed the tote into a thing of beauty. Absolutely gorgeous color. I bought a can of Danish oil and wiped on a couple of layers and wow. Mounting it on the plane transformed it.
Realizing I really had no effective means of sharpening the blade I started researching the ins and outs of sharpening. Lots of recommendations to start with something called "Scary Sharp" which is to use several grades of sandpaper mounted to flat plates to sharpen the blades. I went to the company who did the granite counters in the kitchen and asked if I could rummage through their scrap bin for a couple of pieces of granite to mount sandpaper on. They had plenty, so I retrieved what I wanted from the dumpster and brought them home and cut them into appropriate sized pieces with my tile saw. In the interim I ordered an Eclipse sharpening guide and built a sharpening station for my belt sander based upon this one posted by fellow Woodnetter Derek Cohen.
I managed to get the blade on the #8 fairly sharp and was buoyed with my newfound skills. I embarked on what my wife was to call an obsession of collecting a fairly comprehensive set of Type 11 (or similar) Stanly planes. Over the next year or so, I was fairly successful and have a full suite with doubles of #4 and #5. Some were beaters, some were in good shape, but all needed cleaning and sharpening. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about old tools and being able to make them productive once again.
In parallel with the blade collecting "passion" I was able to pick up a couple of sets of chisels. I had had a four piece set of Craftsman chisels that I had bought many years earlier, but wanted a descent set to work with. I managed to find a set of Marples on E-Bay that was made in the UK and got them sharpened up and as the say, the slippery slope got slipperier. A couple of other chisel sets appeared as Woodcraft had a special on a 6 chisel Chinese set and I got a set of Ashely Iles off the for sale forum at Woodnet. So I'm awash in chisels.
Before we moved from Slidell, I had two panel saws that my Dad hd given me and somehow they got lost in the move up here to Virginia. I have no eartly idea where the two saws and a large bench vice disapperared to, but I've not been able to find them. I was perusing Craigs List one day and saw a Disston #8 panel saw for sale for $10. It was newer than the ones I had lost, but it looked brand new. As ot turns out it was a crosscut saw and I decided I wanted a ripsaw. I managed to find a #8 ripsaw on E-Bay shortly thereafter.
In addition with panels saws I became interested in backsaws. I bought a Disston #40 from a fellow Woodnetter which needed a little bit of tweaking shortly followed by two more #40's off of E-bay. All need resharpening at the very least so I need to work at that.
Last fall I was looking at Craigslist and came across this bandsaw.
The add said it was a 16" bandsaw and the price was $75. A quick shout out to the folks on Woodnet indicated it might be a Walker-Turner bandsaw and was highly desireable. My wife and I were taking my son and some friend to Maryland to do some "airsofting" so I decided while he was doing that we would go look at the saw as it was not far away. The saw was complete except for the opper blade cover so I grabbed it. I had to take it apart to get it on the back of the car as it was very heavy. The car was fairly full on the way home with the saw and the three teenagers and all their gear!
Anyway, I did some research on the web and the holy grail of old tools is OWWM . There are two websites, one with a lot of documentation on old tools and one with a forum discussing the tools. I was able to grab a manual for the saw and over the course of the next month or two was able to buy the odds and ends I needed to rehab the saw. I built a base for the saw out of plywood amd using a wirewheel I got everything cleaned up and repainted all the cast iron and the new base. Putting it all back together results in this,
While all this was going on another Craiglist add popped up showing this:
A quick check of the archive at OWWM revealed that this was a Craftsman Cabinet saw which I had been looking for. The beauty was the asking price was the pricely sum of $20.
Getting it home the next day I was able to grab a couple more photos:
It's fairly complete and not in bad shape. The seller provided a 1/2 hp 1750 rpm motor saying it went with the saw. I hate to think how poorly it cut with that motor. As it turns out the motor was non-functional so I just discarded it. The other major omission is the fence. A fellow OWWM'er has offered to send me the fence he took off his saw but he advised that I wouldn't be happy with it. So I'm on the lookout for a fence.
Anyway, I think that's all for a bit. Hopefully I won't be so long to post next time, but who knows.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Long Time Coming
Sorry to be so long in updating this, but things have ben very hectic. Last I posted, I promised to post more frequently. Oh boy was that a crock.
Anyway, as the blog is going to focus more on things of interest, here we goooooooo......
I'm going to break this post up into a couple of sections so that they are properly "classified" here in Thingamablog. As we discussed, the focus of the site is now going to be:
So read on for more of the above!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Some time back (don't remember exactly when) I was reading my monthly issue of Fine WoodWorking magazine and there was a piece about designing furniture with Google's free SketchUp 3D modeler. I read the piece with some interest as I've been designing woodworking projects in SolidWorks for a long time.
The problem is designing casual woodworking projects in SolidWorks is it's akin to taking a Formula 1 race car to get a gallon of milk at the grocery. While it certainly can be done, it's not the most cost or time efficient methodology out there. Some time back I had casually reviewed SketchUp (I honestly don't remember which version) and had been underwhelmed. In any event, I downloaded a copy and began investigating.
Spelunking around, I found some on-line tutorials and began to play with SketchUp. It's a completely different mindset than SolidWorks and no where near as powerful, but it was just the thing I was looking for to hash out casual woodworking projects. The neat thing about SketchUp is being free, an amazing user community has sprung up which includes a 3D model depositry hosted by Google.
While all this was going on, my wife and I purchased a house in Reston that is definitely a fixer upper. We knew from the outset that it was going to need a complete kitchen makeover, so I decided to use the opportunity to fold SketchUp into that process. After flailing around with a design for a while that neither Melanie nor I liked as a result of the odd dimensions we had to work with, we got the opportunity to see the kitchen of a neighbor who has a similar floor plan as ours. She had completely transformed the space into a way we hadn't imagined so we immediately asked her if we could steal the idea (which she admitted wasn't hers!). Taking the new layout the new ideas and building them into the layout I had been building of the floor space allowed us the opportunity to get a really good feel for the design. We had decided early on to use CraftMaid cabinets in the kitchen and fortunately enough CraftMaid offers 3D AutoCAD models of their cabinets which can be imported directly into SketchUp
Spending a lot of time tweaking the layout resulted in the following:
Using the basic layout, we got the cabinets ordered from Home Depot, some $15,000 worth, and began demo. Some 4 1/2 months later this is what the kitchen looks like:
Which is pretty close! SketchUp is a pretty amazing tool.
One of the things we did was open up the big space in the wall leading to the living room which greatly increased the feel of space in the kitchen. The SketchUp models really gave us a good feel for this.
Some wonderful SketchUp resources are:
- Google of course
- Go-2-School has a great series of on-line tutorials, highly recommended!
- Sketchucation has a plethora of resources including a really great forum section and some add-in Ruby scripts that are mandatory.
The one thing that SketchUp (the free version at least) doesn't do is create 3D pdf's. I got used to having those in SolidWorks and they are really great. But for the price, I can't complain!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
change of focus
Sorry it's been a while since I have posted, but we've been very busy.
I've been thinking about this blog lately and it's time to transition it into something a little less personal. For those of you who have been reading for a while, this was started some time back primarily as a conduit to reach out to all those we couldn't easily contact after Hurricane Katrina. I wanted a central resource that friends and family could consult in order to see how things were going in the great rebuilding of our lives.
Now that the rebuilding phase of our lives is behind us, I'm going to change the focus of this blog into more of a technical nature.
Henceforth I shall be focusing primarily on one of three topics
- Digital Photography
The blog is already segregated into those areas, so this will really not be a major difference in layout. It's all about a change of focus.
To all those who have followed the story of our travails, I thank you. Your hopes and prayers for us have been answered in droves and we are exceedingly grateful.
The postings will 'hopefully' be more frequent. I'm aiming for once a week with a common theme running for some period of time until it's exhausted.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Transition part Deux
I left Baton Rouge on Wednesday, May 30th and met Meghan, who had gone into Metairie to visit the doctor, in Hammond. I had both Meghan's and our dogs in the car. Thankfully, it wasn't a long trip as my car is full, full full. I put Bently (Meghan's dog) in Meghan's car and we leave after having lunch at Sonic. Yum! We got into Oxford in the late afternoon and unpacked the cars (as much as possible) and went to dinner. I walked Rusty around a bit and it was obvious she was going to have to make her own transition.
The next morning I left Oxford early and got to Wyethville, VA where I stayed the night at Red Roof Inn. The remainder of the drive was relatively short, but I decided to use the Blue Ridge Parkway for a good bit of the drive from just east of Roanoke until the end near Waynesboro. It was a glorious drive and I really enjoyed it! The remainder of my drive to Edgewater was uneventful, except that I managed to get completely lost in downtown D.C. in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. Interesting experience. After a couple of hours driving around in circles (literally) I managed to find my way out of town to Paul's house. He fed me some grilled salmon and in the morning took me to BWI airport to catch my flight back to N.O.
Melanie picked me up on Saturday morning, and we spent a couple of days in Baton Rouge with her dad. On Monday morning we headed out on our sojourn across the southeastern U.S. Unfortunately, we got a late start on Monday, so we spent the night in Marianna, GA at the Microtel (big budget!) hotel. On Wednesday we checked into the Carriage Way Bed and Breakfast Inn in St. Augustine, FL. We stayed two nights and got to see most of the city.
St. Augustine seemed smaller than I remember when I was there many years ago! We got passes for the local tourist train which allows you to get on and off as often as you like. We went to the Rippley's Believe It or Not museum, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (fort), the Lightner Museum and most of the other highlights in St. Augustine. It's a charming little town.
From St. Augustine, we traveled to Savannah, GA, where we made the mistake of staying at a Country Inns and Suites, way outside of town. Don't ever do that. It just takes to long to drive into town, find parking, etc, etc, etc. Staying in the historic district would have been much better. Savannah wasn't bad, but it was hot as blazes. After significant Paula Dean overexposure, we left on Saturday morning to head to the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston to meet up with my brother-in-law Fred where he and Cowboy Mouth were scheduled to play.
As it turns out, the Isle of Palms was hosting a beach volleyball tournament and everybody in the known free universe with a tattoo was there. And I do mean everybody. It took Jourdan and I nearly 20 minutes to find a spot on the beach big enough to put two chairs down. At that point, I decided that we were going to relocate to downtown Charleston for the remainder of our stay there. We were able to go to the Cowboy Mouth show on Saturday night. They just got a new bassist and she is far and away the best bassist the band has ever had. Nice girl as well. With her and Vance Degeneres on rhythm guitar replacing Paul Sanchez, the band sounds better than ever.
After breakfast on Sunday, we headed into town to stay at the Hampton Inn in downtown Charleston. As it turned out, Charleston was delightful. The city bears no scars from the 25 foot of water that was brought ashore by Hugo some 15+ years ago. Unfortunately, I fear the same will not be able to be said for New Orleans. It was cool and breezy the whole time we were there so it was nice visit.
On Tuesday Morning (the beginning of week two) we left to head to Asheville, NC as my aunt and uncle live there. En-route, we get a call from my aunt (who herself is en-route back from staying a week with my Grandmother in Metairie) that my maternal Grandmother has been checked into a hospital with severe bleeding. We got to Asheville mid-afternoon to meet with my Uncle who indicated that my Aunt was due in a couple of hours. We had dinner with my Uncle and I helped him get ready to drive to New Orleans the next day.
On Wednesday, my Aunt showed us around Asheville and got us a discount to get into the Biltmore Estate where we walked around all day. Man is that a place. On Thursday we went downtown and also took a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Friday morning, my Uncle called to indicate that my Grandmother's condition was critical and that she wanted to see us. So we packed up the car with Me, Melanie, Jourdan, my aunt and cousin and headed back to New Orleans!
We got to East Jefferson around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday (looooooooong drive) to see my Grandmother for a short period of time. We returned later on Saturday where I got to spend a long time with her alone. Sunday was much the same, but on Monday morning she was no longer responsive, so the vigil to the end began.
About this time, the drama between my mother and my family began to build. It was an extremely uncomfortable situation, so Tuesday night Melanie and I decided it was time to leave. Melanie, Jourdan, Meghan and I had had the opportunity to tell my Grandmother goodbye, and our presence was simply going to cause problems with my mother. My Grandmother passed away early Thursday morning and the service was Saturday, but we missed it. Funerals are for the living and I am at peace with having said goodbye to her.
On Wednesday we drove to Ofxord, Al to spend the night and got back to Asheville the next afternoon. Leaving Asheville, we head up the southern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway which I love, but Melanie is a wreck. She keeps thinking we are going to drive off the mountain. After lunch we leave the Parkway and head to Roanoke where we spend the night in a hotel full of teen age girls from a softball tourney. Oh boy.
The next afternoon we arrive in DC and check into an extended stay hotel, which is only $85 a night for a weeks stay. I'm pretty certain we were the only English speaking people in the place. It was nice looking on the outside, but not so on the inside. Oh well, it's temporary, so we suck it up.
On Sunday we go out all day looking at apartments and come back empty handed and rather worried. The rental market is still extremely tight up here. Luckily, we have an appointment the next day with our Realtor who we are certain will have alternatives. As it turns out she doesn't and we spend all of Monday going around in circles. Needless to say at this point we are getting really concerned. We break up around 4:00 p.m. and she promises that she will have something tomorrow.
When we get back to the hotel, I call the POD people to make certain that our PODs have been shipped. Lo and behold they are still in New Orleans and it will take 5-8 days to ship them. Okay, that's workable I suppose.
We meet our Realtor at her office the next morning and she has a couple of choices. The first one is in Ashburn, which is a bit farther out than we want, but it's big, the price okay and they will accept a short term lease. So we drive out there, walk in and all three of us say " we'll take it" simultaneously. It's a townhouse and it's fairly nice, but it's three floors so the furniture will have to be hauled up two flights of stairs, Ugh.
We spend the following day getting utilities and stuff set up and then went downtown to the National Mall on Thursday to walk around the museums. On Saturday we went to Maryland to pick up my car from my Paul's house and spent the afternoon walking around Annapolis, MD with Paul and Mary Kay. It's a nice city, very scenic. Kind of reminds me of a clean New Orleans! We took possession of the Townhouse on Sunday and moved all the stuff from the two cars in.
Wow. It's been a crazy month. The next month promises to be interesting as I start work on the 2nd of July, and we are still waiting for our furniture to be delivered and are sleeping on air mattresses I've been taking a zillion pictures, which I have squirrelled away in a bunch of places as my USB hard drive is full. It's time to get the photo albums up to date!
Until next time.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
May brought us a plethora of activity.
Work at Outland was continuing, but frankly was slowing down. I had pretty much done everything that Chuck and Buddy were willing to let me do, and I even did some work for Dave D'Aquin, the owner of Vue Technologies (and Buddy's son in law) on some aquarium light prototypes he wanted to manufacture. The only thing outstanding at this juncture was the design of a new ROV thruster for Outland. I had spent an inordinate amount of time researching off the shelf propellers for use in the new thruster and bought a bunch of them to test in order to get a feel for which would work the best in the application. We rigged up a crude test fixture from a trolling motor and managed to get some rough data on power consumption, thrusts, RPM, etc from 6 different propeller layouts. A power consumption curve was developed and provided to Maxon motors to get an idea of what a motor to drive the propellers would look like.
We started out the month with the house inspection from the new buyers. It came as a surprise as we had been told that it would only be the buyers and their parents. So when a professional inspector showed up, I was a bit taken aback. In any event, he was extremely thorough and only found one minor item to report. The buyer's agent made a comment that it was the cleanest inspection she had ever seen.
May also brought us to the extremely happy event of Meghan's graduation from Ole Miss University in Oxford, Mississippi. We drove up to Oxford on the 10th where Meghan insisted on meeting us at the hotel when we arrived in town. Oh oh, we thought. She came up to the room and said, "I have something to tell you". Those words strike fear into the heart of every parent and we steeled ourselves for the worst. Then she says, "I've adopted a puppy!". Oh, we reply, while not the happiest news in the world, it paled in comparison with what was running through our minds!
The graduation was wonderful and we are extremely proud of her. It took her a while to get her feet under her academically, but she finished in fine fashion being on the Dean's list. Congratulations darling, we love you!
Graduation was followed by a seafood boil that was held at the home of Christian's (Meghan's roommate) Grandmother. The house was a goodly ways away in Pontotoc, MS and was the country home of Christian's maternal grandmother. The day's fare included boiled lobster and shrimp and steamed clams. A wonderful time was had by all and thank you Jim and Johanna for welcoming us into your family gathering. It was a wonderful day.
Melanie and I had previously decided, after talking with Ed and Maggie Dyer's neighbor Tim, to utilize PODs to make our move from Slidell to Suburban, VA. Tim had recently relocated his family from San Diego to New Orleans and utilized PODs to great success. We had had some experience with them as we had used a POD to store everything when we moved back into the house after the rehabilitation was complete. So two PODs were ordered which were delivered on the 7th of May. If you have never done business with the PODs people, they are a marvel of efficiency and their corporate setup should be the envy of all service organizations. They are efficient, the operators extremely diligent and provide information at all stages of the process. I can HIGHLY recommend them.
Once we returned from Oxford, it was time to really focus on the transition at hand. A decision had been made to separate everything into short vs long term storage. We knew we would be renting someplace to live, so the stuff we needed for that was placed in one POD, while everything else went in another for long term storage. Luckily we hadn't bought a lot of furniture after the storm so most everything fit. A dear friend of mine, Don Bourgeois, came over at the last moment and took a bunch of the stuff that just wouldn't fit in the PODs and we decided to depart with. Hopefully the stuff will get used. I did have to get Buddy Mayfield at Outland to ship a bunch of the tools from the garage on pallets. Just not enough space. I was going to bring the stuff up in my car but didn't have enough room and it was definitely too heavy. You should have seen the rear tires splayed out!
We had a day to spare at the end, so Melanie, Jourdan, Meghan and I went for our final trip to the French Quarter. It was a truly surreal day which started out with us being able to park on the street on Decatur Street. This might seem like an odd thing to mention, but I've lived all my nearly 50 years in New Orleans and this was the first time I've ever been able to park on the street in the French Quarter! Anyway, we had a nice day which was wrapped up by having dinner with Maggie Dyer at Cannon's restaurant on St. Charles Ave.
The Act of Sale on the house was scheduled for today and was preceded by a walk through. Because the previous day was a holiday, the last POD remained in the driveway, which was approved by the new owners. The act of sale went through completely uneventfully, unlike when last we went to act of sale in which the seller's had a major meltdown at the event. Another story for another day.
We left town to spend the night at Melanie's Dad's in Baton Rouge. I'm scheduled to leave in the morning to drive my car up to Edgewater, MD and leave it in with my friend Paul who lives there.
Stay tune for Part II of the Dubea transition
Thursday, April 26, 2007
It's been an amazing month. It seems that our luck has really turned around and things are really going in our favor. We deserve it as we have paid our dues in spades recently.
The month started strong, as Jourdan's sixth grade chess team from Lake Castle Private School in Slidell won the citywide Chess Championships! It was a great showing as it was the second year in a row and validated the previous years championship. Congratulations Jourdan, great job!
Shortly thereafter, we met with our Realtor, Mona Prince, as it was nearing the end of the six month contract we had signed with her to sell the house. Mona brought an extensive list of properties that was on the market and indicated that it wasn't the house that was the problem, it was the market. Just within 5 miles of our house were something on the order of 400 houses for sale! So we agreed to resign up on a month to month sales contract and to lower the price of the house $20,000! This was a lot, but we had not had much traffic and were hopeful this would help.
Meghan was down for spring break the week of April 8th through the 15th. It was nice spending time with her and we got to have a nice night out as we all went to Galatoire's restaurant for dinner followed up by seeing the Blue Man Group perform at the New Orleans Arena. Galatoire's was absolutely sublime, but not inexpensive. Our dear friends, the Dyers had given us a $100 gift certificate to Galatoire's for Christmas and dinner for the four of us was more than twice that! I was underwhelmed by the Blue Man Group show. I had seen them many years ago in a small arena in Boston while there for a SolidWorks convention. The venue was simply too big to really get the impact of the players. Unfortunate, as I really enjoyed them the first time.
The corporate roll-up I had been working on finally came to fruition on the 12th. We met with the principles of all the interested companies and had an effective day of communication. The ultimate outcome of the meeting was unfortunately that the process was not to continue. The team interested in facilitating the roll up just simply did not provide enough concrete information to earn the confidence of the owners of the three companies. It was an interesting experience and I learned a lot.
On April 18th, Melanie, Jourdan and I traveled up to the Washington D.C. where we had a couple of days scheduled with a Realtor to show us around. The first day gave us a severe case of sticker shock as houses not nearly as nice as ours were going for $600k and up. Wowsers. A lot of the newer stuff was farther out of town than we wanted to be and suffered from cookie cutter syndrome. A bunch of rows of the same houses. We weren't overly impressed by day's end.
On Friday, the 20th, I went into the office where the owner of the consulting company made a formal offer which was in the range of 40% more than PCS was paying me. Doing the math indicated that with this increase we could afford a house in the area, so that made the decision easier. I also got the opportunity to talk with a couple of engineers who work there and they confirmed everything the owner told me. As I'm walking out of the office, Mike invites us for dinner that evening, to which I accept.
That afternoon we found the town of Reston which is a really cool older community and is really where we want to live, and it's relatively affordable. Lot's of trees and rolling hills and hiking trails and stuff. Really nice. Close into town so the commute will be reasonable although traffic in the area is unreal.
Anyway, we meet the owner and his wife for a really nice dinner at a French restaurant after which we get to the car and Melanie's phone has a message on it. It was our Realtor in Slidell informing us that we had an offer on the house that was only $5k less than what we were asking. Whohoo! I'm not superstitious, but having the offer of a job and the on the house on the same day must be a sign that this must be the direction to take. So we spend the rest of the weekend touring around DC. To ensure that not all went perfectly, Jourdan locked the keys in the rental car Sunday afternoon while we were driving around. After a couple of hour wait for Avis to come open the car we flew home on Sunday night. On Monday I formally accepted the offer and we worked out all the details on the house sale!.
So the next phase of our lives will be one of transition. We will be packing up the house and relocating to the suburban VA area which should prove to be extremely interesting!
Stay tuned for the next chapter,
Friday, March 30, 2007
It's been another active month in the Dubea household.
Early in the month, I received a call from Ivan Crossling of Think Energy to inform me that he was submitting my name for a position in Olympia, Washington as an Engineering Manager for a company there. We had a brief discussion about the position. Afterwards, I did some research and this seems like the kind of place where I might like to live. Not too far from Seattle, but far enough away where housing prices were still reasonable H'mmm looks interesting.
Some time later, I was contacted by Laren Janky of the Select Group out of Raleigh-Durham about a position with Parada Systems in Raleigh. We had an extensive phone interview at which time she indicted that I was to be submitted with a short list of applicants to Jim Gentry, the Engineering Manager at Parada. Plans are made for a phone interview with Mr. Gentry for after I return from my trip to DC. Upon returning from that visit (more later) Lauren send me a cryptic email that our scheduled phone interview has been canceled as they are no longer interested in meeting. Needless to say I was a bit bothered by this. Laren would not provide any further details regarding the cancellation. Unfortunately, this is one of the things I dislike most about recruiters is the fact that all the information flow is in one direction. Everyone is so afraid of getting sued that they won't tell you anything which could be of assistance in future job searches.
Anyway, on Wednesday, March 21st, I flew up to Dulles airport in Virginia to meet a gentleman about a position with a consulting company in Northern Virgina. I took a cab a to McCormick and Smick in Reston Town center for dinner and was amazed by what I saw. I used to come up here when working with SubSea some ten years ago. In those days Reston Town Center was out in the middle of nowhere. That is obviously not the case any longer.
In any event, dinner was a rather odd situation in that the owner of the company spent the entire time telling me how generous he was to his employees. After about an hour he looks at me and says, "You don't believe me do you?". My response was that I was a member of the "if it seems to be too good to be true then it must be too good to be true" fan club. He laughs and responds something of the effect of "you've been taken advantage of in the past, but I don't do business that way". H'mmmm, I think. We decide to convene the next morning where he shows me financial summaries for previous years which corroborate what he has told me. At first I was rather skeptical, but as time progressed I warmed up to the idea. Later I called the owner and asked if I could bring my wife and family up to Virginia for a look see. I also wanted to schedule a final meeting to discuss the details so we set a date.
The saga of Ivan Crossling and the Olympia Washington position is ongoing as his client is evidently very slow in evaluating the information sent him.
Until next time,
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
The month of February has been very busy on a number of fronts.
As indicated in the previous message, I spent the entire week at the Underwater Intervention show which was held at the Convention Center in New Orleans talking to a lot of folks. I had a prolonged chat with a guy who was the customer's representative while we were developing a deepwater ROV at SubSea International. Anyway, he asked me what I was doing and asked if I would like to work in the Washington D.C. area as he knew of companies looking for expertise like mine. I indicated that in the past I would not have been interested, but at this point in my life I might be. He indicated that he worked very closely with a company which he had a lot of respect for, was small enough to get noticed, and had a good workload.
To be honest, I had completely forgotten about the conversation when I got a call from a manager at a consulting company in Nortyhern Virgina to ask me to send them a resume. I do so and soon after I'm asked me to come up to DC to meet with him. We have made arrangement to meet in late March as it's the earliest all our schedules allow. I'll keep you posted.
In any event, I am applying for a number of different positions through a variety of sources and getting little if any response. The market for technical talent at my level is rather small and definitely specialized. Companies have the luxury of being very selective about the experience level of the people they hire, and I as attempting to change industries, it's something of a challenge.
In addition, I am pursuing no less than three other developmental opportunities for new company startup type opportunities.
- The first is the three company roll up I mentioned last time. We are working on arrangement to get all the interested parties together to discuss the issue in detail. Thus far it's been a severe cat herding exercise and we still haven't successfully scheduled a meeting date
- The second opportunity is with a guy I've known since my Neptune Sciences days. Charles Whitehead called me out of the blue when I was working at Neptune to discuss his business development activities around something called shape memory alloy materials. Charles is a rather dynamic individual so our initial conversations tended to very long, but informative. Recently Charles has focused his energy on the offshore oil and gas market and we have put together some idea for products around which to create the first component of a multi-tiered corporate entity. Charles invited me to go to the Houston Technology Center's Venture Capital Conference at which he was invited to speak. It was an interesting experience in that I got to liaise with a large number of investors both small and large. We did meet a couple of investors who were very interested in the technology, so in that regard the conference was a success
- My third opportunity is with a guy I've known since my SubSea days, and is rather out in left field. I met Paul Tidwell while at SubSea as Paul was looking for a deepwater ROV to conduct a survey mission on a German submarine he had located in very deep water of the Cape Verde islands. The deal with SubSea to use the ROV never materialized, but I've kept touch with Paul ever since. He has recently moved from the Washington D.C. area to Mandeville, which is near my house. Paul and I have been meeting regularly to discuss his plans to develop a company around search, recovery and conservation of undersea antiquities.
While all this is going on, daily life continues. The house is for sale, but the market is still very slow. Work at Outland continues with new products being developed daily. Some of these are pretty interesting. Working at Outland pretty much leaves only Friday's for job hunting, but does provide much needed cash flow to keep the household functional.
Y'all take care now!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
My final day at PCS was last Wednesday. On Monday I took the opportunity to clean out my office as the remainder of the week was going to be pretty hectic as I wanted to attend Underwater Intervention 2007 (UI) in New Orleans. It has been a couple of years since I've had the opportunity to go. The last time I went to the show was 2004 and it was pretty dismal as the offshore business was pretty slow at the time. That certainly wasn't the case this year as the offshore oil and gas business is growing great guns. The show had more people in attendance this year than I've seen in a long time. In any event, on Wednesday, I went and finished cleaning out my office, and left before lunch to go to UI. It was bittersweet as I certainly don't relish being out of work, but it was also a relief as my time at PCS hasn't exactly been productive.
As UI was very busy I got to see a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time in order to reestablish contacts. Everyone asked me what I was doing and I said I was a free agent. Luckily Buddy Mayfield of Outland Technology has graciously provided some contract work to tide me over until I find a suitable permanent gig. I've done free lance work for Buddy for years helping him design his lights, cameras and ROV systems. We are going through all his products and making certain his documentation is complete. I'm even looking at new product design for the future. It's good to be busy. I'll post some pictures when I've got something to show. Yesterday I did a major change to a housing for his new LED light modules and today I'm starting to design a new grabber for his ROV. I want to do a modular design that Buddy can build up grabbers to suit customer requirements in one, two, three or even four functions. The design process has just started with the identification of appropriate electric motors.
The employment opportunities seem to be bountiful so hopefully my free agency should be limited in duration. Three opportunities involve start up entities around my services. Two of these I've been working for a several years, with the third surfacing just a couple of weeks ago. The new opportunity happens to possibly include the three company roll-up I talked about in the fall. An associate, with whom I had been discussing another opportunity last summer, called me a couple of weeks ago about become the focal point of a new engineering capability for his organization. We talked at some length and I decided to see if they were interested in talking about the roll-up as it fit their strategic goals. All of us met after UI last Wednesday, and I thought the synergies were good. In any event, I'm not getting my hopes up, as all are still fairly embryonic and may not develop in time for me to take advantage of them. Additionally, I've got a recruiter in Baton Rouge that has decided to find me a job. Darren Smith of GoodPeople has been very active on my behalf and it's been good working with him. He has provided a lot of good information and we have had several really helpful conversations. Thanks Darren!
Just today I got an e-mail from someone at Shell asking me to submit information to them for possible employment. Shell has been one of those places that I wanted to work for years ago and just couldn't get there from here. I'm going to send my information, but I'm not particularly optimistic
Jourdan participated with his school in Mathcounts over the weekend. His school, Lake Castle in Slidell, came in fourth place. The competition was fierce and it was an accomplishment to come in fourth. In addition, he is also competing with the chess team this spring. Jourdan is playing on both the 6th and 8th grade teams so he plays on both days of the weekend when there is a match. So needless to say, our weekends have been pretty busy doing either Matchcounts or chess. That's okay, it's worth it!
There isn't much more to report at present. The sale of the house has thusfar proven to be nonexistant. The offer we were supposed to get from the couple from Pennsylvania never materialized. Evidently they were scared off by the cost of homeowners insurance, so they decided to buy something significantly less expensive. The market down here has pretty much died, although our agent swears it's going to get better as we get nearer to summer. I just hope we can get it sold before hurricane season.
I'll see you soon!
Monday, January 08, 2007
I was informed today that my employment with PCS will end on January 31st. It came as something of a relief as management has had no idea of what to do with me for the entire duration of my employment. So the next chapter of our lives, which we have been planning for a while, comes at us with a little more intensity. Luckily, I've had plenty of time over the past year or so to get things like resumes, lists of accomplishments and such ready for just this event. To help out, we are told by our real estate agent that we are going to get an offer on the house this week. We have been given a verbal indication of the amount, and it's acceptable to us as long as the buyers don't do anything silly! Cross your fingers.
So my search for a senior level technical management type position now takes center stage. E-mail's have already been sent to a bevy of people I've worked with in the past, and I've recieved 4 phone calls this afternoon. Anyway, I've posted a copy of my resume here if you are interested in seeing it. Give me a shout at (504) 756-2565 if you want to find out more of my capabilities.
Thanks a lot and I'll keep you appraised of the employment situation!
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Happy New Year to everyone. I sincerely hope y'all had a safe and happy holiday celebration.
Most obvious since the transition last time to dubea.com is the transition back to dubea.org. I'm canceling my GoDaddy hosting for www.dubea.com as for some wild reason, they don't support IMAP e-mail. Must be the only webhost on the face of the earth not to do so. It's a problem because the Group Office collaboratory derives a goodly part of it's capability from an IMAP e-mail interface. Without IMAP, Group Office is fairly useless. :< I get some space at godaddy with my dubea.com domain registration, so I will probably use that for storage. Oh well.
As it turns out my transition over to a basic webhosting capability at www.1and1.com for www.dubea.org was seamless and I got a lot more capability. The only thing I lost was the ability to do a SSH session which I had only used once before in setting up Group Office. As GO is set up, it shouldn't be necessary.
Not much going on at present. Meghan decided to go back to school early to take a condensed course at Ole Miss. Evidently the only time it was offered in the normal spring session was at the same time as another course she wanted to take. It's a two week term and is 8 hours a day. Whew. I'm not certain I could sit in a classroom desk for that long. She is young and spry and can handle it.
That's about all for now!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The observant out there will notice the redirection from www.dubea.org to www.dubea.com. My 3 year "free" hosting for dubea.org at 1and1 is at an end and I have a feeling they will be rather exorbitant in the fees to extract my domain name from them. As I had registered dubea.com at GoDaddy back in March, I decided to go ahead and use them for hosting. Their "economy" plan seems to be what I need and 2 years worth was about $70. I've already had to call tech support and they insisted on knowing the last four digits of my credit card before they would speak with me. H'mmmm. Anyway, GoDaddy gives you free hosting for a domain registration, but you have to turn that off before you can associate the domain with my newly purchased services. It sat there for 24 hours and nothing happened, so I had to call them to get it fixed.
Obviously it is fixed as you are reading this message at dubea.com. I've got a simple redirect at dubea.org at present, but depending on what 1and1 does I'll just get GoDaddy to host it once my free package expires if my domain renewal fee is not too much at 1and1. If it is, I'll wait until it dies and then register it somewhere else. No big deal really. So if perhaps you sent me or Melanie an e-mail to our dubea.org addresses and they bounce back, try sending the same username to dubea.com. Pretty simple!
The last thing to do is get my Group Office collaboratory migrated over to dubea.com. Hopefully I will get that done next week. It's a good tool that I've been using to good effect in my corporate development efforts that have been going on for a while. All the pertinent files are there and any of the users can download or upload data when then need. This way we don't have to worry about e-mailing files that are too big and such. Pretty cool.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Well, interest in the house has been pretty minimal thusfar. We did have one couple who "absolutely LOVED the house" make us a ridiculously low offer. I guess they didn't love it THAT much. LOL! We aren't in a hurry as we would really rather not move before Christmas, so it all worked out for the best.
The good news is Jourdan competed in the Academic Olympics for southern St. Tammany parish last weekend. Academic Olympics is a testing competition for several different curriculum in this case administered by the local High School Honor Society. Jourdan competed in sixth grade Social Studies, and won FIRST place. WOW!!!!! My, he was proud of himself. We were too. Congratulations Jourdan, well done my boy!
We have gone through three different investors in our attempt to roll up three high technology companies with no interest. We are still talking to my friend about investing, but the discussions seemed to be stalled at present. I've got another friend in Houston who has been courting investors for a while for another investment that I will approach after the first of December if our current discussion don't go anywhere. Two of the three owners realize that they have to do something in order to service the large anticipated increase in business for next year, so if we don't lock them up shortly, I think our deal is going to fall apart. Time will tell.
Not much more to tell at present. Meghan is home for Thanksgiving and it's great having her home, with her turtle, Bosco. We turtle sat over the weekend while Meghan went to the LSU-Ole Miss football game. He did get left in the car Friday night after we got home from picking him up. It got rather cold, but he was no worse for wear thank goodness. That's the second time I've tested Bosco's ability to endure temperature extremes. Hopefully it will be the last!
Things are starting to pick up at work. I'm rewriting the software for the End Measurement Device (See June 19th, 2005 entry) to allow for more precise calibration. The software is written for use on a Symbol palm based PDA. The software development package, Satellite Forms, is pretty rudimentary, so it's taking a while to get the functionality that I want in the system. It's sort of like a very stripped down Visual Basic. The package has extremely limited editing functionality so there is a lot of repetitive typing and copying and pasting to text editors for higher level functionality, like find and replace! Canyon Offshore has also asked me to quote on the construction of another Suction Pile Control system like the one I built for them some 5+ years ago. Hopefully my prices won't shock them too much! I'll post more about that later as an Engineering entry!
That's all for now, please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The latest installment
The house is for sale, we are nearing the end of cleaning up my father-in-law's house for sale, so selling houses is becoming a recurring theme. The only concern now is the rather lackadaisical housing market. Thusfar, we've had about 10 people come to look at the house. The agent tells us the asking price is at the top of everyone's range. At present there isn't any hurry so we will wait it out. We saw what houses that were not properly rehabilitated sold for, so our asking price is really not that far out of hand.
Jourdan came home with 2nd honors last week for his sixth grade class at Lake Castle. That means his grades were the second highest in the class. He was very proud of himself. Nicely done sport, nicely done!
I've been working with a friend to organize an effort to buy three small high technology companies and roll them up under one umbrella. So far we have got it fairly well organized and are making presentation to investors. Tomorrow we sit down with another friend who I've been working separately with to make our presentation for the group roll up. This all sound rather vague, but at present I can't say much more as I'm under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Hopefully we will get an acceptance of our proposal tomorrow and then it's on to the legal issues of the transactions. I'm fairly excited about it as the three companies dovetail very nicely together and the personalities all seem to mesh well.
I'm making a little progress with the migration of the photo albums to the new blogging format. I've actually been busy at work, so there has been little time for learning about CSS and style sheets, but It will get done. This will also give me the opportunity to update my photo album which was woefully out of date.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Migration to Thingamablog
I've discovered a neat tool called Thingamablog. It allows me to create these entries offline and then to upload them to my website. I've just started getting the site transitioned over to Thingamablog so, things are going to be a bit discontinuous until I get all the kinks worked out. The big challenge is assembling my templates for the various page entries and in particular the integration with jalbum in the photography section. Please bear with me as I work all these things out.
We went up to Oxford to visit Meghan this weekend. It was quite an experience as Georgia was in town to play Ole Miss. The grove in front of the student union was full of "grovers" in their tents and such. The crowds were very thick, but we had a good time visiting with everyone. We got to see Meghan's apartment which she shares with Christian, who is one of her roomates from last year's experiment at Campus Walk. It's your typical college apartment, fairly well maintained, but simple. It should do just fine for Meghan, but I would feel a bit claustrophobic after a while!
Another milestone in the on going house saga is upon us as we are going to list the house for sale on Friday. Mona Prince, who used to live across the street, is coming over with the paperwork to sign. We decided some time ago that we would list the house for sale, as we just couldn't go through this experience again. We are just getting to old for this kind of stress. The big question is: Where do we go? If a job is in the offing, we would go pretty much anywhere in the southeastern US. If not, then we will probably wind up in suburban Atlanta. Atlanta fulfills a lot of the requirements we had set upon when deciding where we wanted to live. The weather, economic climate, proximity to Meghan, schooling options for Jourdan. It's a bigger city than we are used to living in, but we will have to make that adjustment.
Take care all,
Monday, September 25, 2006
Those who have been reading along are familiar with the fact that we have been rehabilitating the house after the flooding from Hurricane Katrina. We have now officially entered the next phase, as our lovely contractor, who shall remain nameless, is now out of the picture. After a rather terse negotiation meeting on Friday to discuss the valuation of the work we didn't trust his workers to perform adequately, a figure was agreed upon, paid and all pertinent contractual documentation issued. The main sticking point of late was the quality (or lack thereof) of the sheetrock finishing work performed. The workers managed to get it to the barely acceptable stage last week so we figured that this was as good as it was going to get. If any of you out there are living in the New Orleans area and are in need of a contractor, send me an e-mail and I'll give you his name so you can avoid him like the plague.
The remainder of the work is clean up and reorganization. The garage is full of materials, boxes and stuff from Melanie's father's house, which we have been cleaning up (recurring theme) to sell. The deck on the lawnmower had more holes than swiss cheese, so I had to take it off and bring it to New Orleans Machine and Fabrication for repair. Al and Johnny are very busy so it's been a couple of weeks since I've been able to cut the grass and it's looking pretty bushy.
Meghan is back at school at Ole Miss and is in her final year (YAY!!!). She took an apartment this year, so at least we have someplace to stay when we go up to visit her this year. We are probably going to head up this weekend to catch the Ole Miss - Georgia game. It's homecoming and I hope the Bulldogs don't wipe the field with the Reb's . Ole Miss' team is struggling a bit at present ;>.
Jourdan is in 6th grade now at Lake Castle in Slidell. He was all atwitter on Friday when I picked him up as he has been named to the Academic Olympics team for Lake Castle. His topic is social studies and he is extremely proud of himself and so are we. Nicely done big guy!
To all those out there that are Beta testing XMLPropWorks, you need to download the latest version as I found a bug that had been there from the beginning. It was nothing serious, but I had not been able to find it. It had to do with date fields and autoupdating upon entry in another box. It manifested itself by putting the date in the weight field the first time the tool was run on a part/assy with the sample set up file. Use the same URL that I sent you in the mail!
That's all I have for now. I will eventually migrate all the other content from Dubea.org to this blog tool, so stay tuned. I also have to update the photographs as it's been a while! The website is going to be Topsy turvy for a bit while I get everything reconfigured. I discovered Thingamoblog, which is a really neat tool for blogging. I'm in the process of converting the old site over and I suspect things will look a bit disjoint until I get done. But henceforth this is the page you will see first!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Back in the house!
The house renovation is nearing the end and we moved back in on May 27th after much angst and misery with the lovely contractor. At present, we need about a day of trim carpenter work to finish, but the main issue is the cultured marble tub surround and vanities for the bathrooms. We were told by our contractor on March 10th that delivery would be in 6 weeks. About a month ago we discovered that the vendor has our contractor on credit hold with the top supplier because of some long outstanding invoices, so no work was in progress. Consequently, we put a deposit down and got in line. We have been told for several weeks that we are scheduled for that week, but nothing has appeared as of yet. Currently, we are brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink. Not exactly convenient, but workable.
I spent the first two weeks of June getting all the stuff on our end taken care of in the house. When the walls were open, I had wired the house with CAT5, CAT3 and RG-6 for all the communication services. Each room has at least 1 (most have more) wall jack with all three services. All this was hooked up to a distribution system in the office closet. It all worked out pretty well except for the CAT5 run to the dining room. It must have gotten severed when the workers installed the sheetrock. Oh well, 1 out of 13 isn't bad! After that, I replaced all the switches and outlets in the house as the sheetrock finishers had textured over all of them. The contractor provided the supplies at least. We have a significant number of receptacles where the sheetrock edges are visible around the plates. This is something we will have to resolve with the contractor. We replaced the heat-light-vent (HLV) in the kids bathroom as the bezel had died many moons ago. Of course the new one was different size than the old one. It took some doing to get that done. One of the issues is when we had the new AC installed the installer put the condenser directly on top of the old HLV. So, I had to get out the reciprocating saw and hack out a part of the spacer he used. Made quite a mess while doing so!
Once all the inside stuff was done, we focused on the stuff in the garage. A POD was delivered last week, and we sorted through all the boxes on the shelves and suitably stored them in the pod or threw the contents away. Last week, I got all the furniture out of the garage and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected what had survived the flood. Most of the stuff I had built over the years did fine, as well as the really old stuff we had acquired. The furniture which really was hammered was the "modern" stuff. Most of it dissolved in the water, or swelled up like a balloon. Nothing like a good coat of polyurethane to protect your wood. The sprayed on finishes done by most modern furniture manufacturers just offers no protection whatsoever. I don't even think it looks good and it's certainly less straightforward to repair the inevitable bumps and scratches that furniture gets. After getting the furniture back in the house, I moved the old kitchen cabinets off the back porch and got them cleaned up and installed in the garage (they were custom made and survived pretty well). I threw some multi-ply plywood on for the tops and man, it's nice to have storage in the garage! At that point my "vacation" time was exhausted so I returned to work on Monday. I could use a couple of days more to get wrapped up, but it's close.
I want to publicly thank the Clay's of Mandeville for graciously allowing us to share their home for something on the order of 9 months while the house was being re-habilitated. Thank y'all from the bottom of our hearts. It would have been much more stressful without Nita's room to stay in.
Work is pretty much as before. I'm seriously underutilized and bored stiff. Anyone got anything interesting they need developed?
Meghan is currently in Italy on a European vacation (she has a knack for being out of town when we are in transition). She started out in Rome, took a cruise around the Mediterranean and is eventually headed to Barcelonnette, France for a couple of weeks in the French Alps. Lucky girl.
I had promised Meghan I would provide her with a digital SLR camera for her to take with her to Europe. My intentions were to buy her a Nikon D-50 which I was going to outfit with the 18-70 zoom which was on my D-70. So, I called Bennett's camera here in Metairie and got on the waiting list for the vaulted 18-200 VR zoom which Nikon had recently introduced. A couple of weeks later it was there so I went pick it up. I asked the salesman if he had any D-50 bodies and the response was there aren't any as Nikon has stopped distributing them. Oops. H'mm, well do you have any D-200 bodies I ask? We have 1 was the reply. Sooooo, Meghan got the D-70 with the 18-70 and I got a brand new D-200 with a 18-200 zoom. Cool. It's quite a camera and to be honest I haven't quite managed to conquer it yet. The D-70 was easier to take "casual" shots than the D-200. I need to do a major revamp of the photos section to include shots from the house pre and post Katrina and add some shots from the new cameras. Hopefully I'll include some shots from Meghan's European vacation!
The woodworking section needs to be virtually eliminated because all the projects that are discussed there no longer exist thanks to 15 inches of flood water in the garage. MDF does amazing things when immersed, even when painted. H'mmm. Now that Home Depot sells multi-ply birch plywood my days of using MDF for tools fixtures and such is just about gone.
Thats all for now.
Y'all take care!
Monday, November 21, 2005
Well. To say it's been wild would be a significant understatement. We live near New Orleans and were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The storm surge in Slidell was 12 1/2' and the slab on our house is at 11' -7" ABL. Yes, that means we got something on the order of 10 1/2" of water in the house as the western eye wall passed by Slidell. The floodwater softened up the ground so much that about 20 trees in my front yard were pushed over by the now southerly winds, so luckily none fell on the house. But they did leave a mess!
We got back to the house on September to find a most incredible mess. The house smelled like wet dog and spoiled milk as the power had been off for nearly 2 weeks. The ice cream that had been in the freezer melted and of course leaked out all over the floor and then turned rancid. Lovely! Combine this with all the rugs in the house that had been sopping wet for nearly two weeks and it was something. Luckily the mildew had not gone wild and the power was back on. So we got all the wet fabric out of the house and got the AC on to get the interior dried out. Then the chore of sorting through everything and throwing out all the non-saveables. Some of the furniture can be saved, but will have to be refinished. Things like dressers and such were hard hit because the bottom drawers had wet clothes and stuff in them which swelled the wood to the point of destruction. The one thing that really was amazing was a cedar chest that was made by Lane. When we bought this thing it was rather expensive and billed as being solid wood. Well it was particle board and it literally dissolved itself on the floor in our bedroom. Need to make a note about them when buying furniture in the future!
It took us a week, but we got everything sorted, dried, boxed and stored in the Garage safely that was saveable. The pile of stuff that was discarded was impressive and it was fairly depressing to see 25 years worth of acquired furniture thrown out on the curb like last months rubbish. We stumbled upon a contractor (who won't be named as he has now proven to be very slow) performed the demolition on the house interior. We finally got in touch with our adjuster from State Farm and got our first reimbursements last week, so hopefully the reconstruction can start shortly!
The work I was doing in Houston for TDW has come to an end. TDW bought Plugging Specialists International who was the competitor for the Better Plug Company that TDW had purchased prior to my being contracted out to TDW. PSI management decided to discontinue development of the products we were working on, so, my presence was no longer required! So today I'm back in Metairie at PCS for the first time in 10 months. The office got some water damage after Rita because of roof damage from Katrina (got that?) so there is some construction currently ongoing. My office seems to be okay thought. Cool.
As soon as I have a chance, I'll post some pictures of the post Katrina look to the neighborhood. It's quite a shock as a lot of trees were blown over and we might have to change the name of the neighborhood from the Woods to the Plains!
Until next time, take care,
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Well it's been a whirlwind first half of the year. I've been commuting to Houston to work for TD Williamson redesigning some pipeline tools for their Offshore Services Division since the third week in January. It's good to be busy, but being away from the family for half the week hasn't been a lot of fun.
The sprucing up of the house continues. We decided to replace the original Formica counter tops with granite. We contracted this out to a local stone dealer and now we have a kitchen full of Ubatuba granite. It looks good and will definitely improve the saleability of the house. We haven't yet put the house up for sale because of my working in Houston.
Melanie has been running back and forth across the lake to help her Dad a couple of times a week. Since Jourdan's out of school she is staying the night to minimize the mileage on the car. They have been organizing all the paperwork that's been collected over the years and getting all the affairs in order. It's been quite a challenge for her, but I can't imagine anyone else with the fortitude to see it through like Melanie. She's something. Once she set's her mind on something, it's going to happen. No and's if's or but's. She's quite a woman and I love her dearly.
Meghan's switching her major to Criminal Justice has paid off in a rapid escallation of the quality of her grades. She came home with a 3.875 and was ever so proud of herself. We were too. Congratulations darling. She's catching up on some english courses this summer at SLU in Hammond, LA. Other than that she is bored to tears in Slidell because all her "homies" have stayed at school this summer to take more courses.
Jourdan finished fourth grade at Lake Castle Elementary being fourth highest in his class. We are extremely proud of him for all his accomplishments. He's becoming quite the young man. The other day he and Melanie were at my grandmother's house. My grandmother had just gotten her computer back from service (in which they did nothing) and Jourdan got it out of the car and hooked everything up for her. She was some proud of her smart great grandson.
I acquired a demo Nikon CoolPix 5400 digital camera to accompany my Nikon D70. I've been wanting a smaller camera and I got a deal on this one. The plus is I can use the Speedlight and CF memory from the D70. I can carry it with me to Houston to catch anything photogenic (Houston, photogenic?) that I might come across. There hasn't been much yet... It's definitely time to update the photos as I've acquired many more since the last update. Hopefully soon....
My existing laptop (a HP Pavilion XH-365) had really gotten problematic, so I decided it was time for a replacement. Initially I ordered a D-800 with a Nvidia Quaddro video off the refurbish list at Dell. Unfortunately when I fire it up, the video is a Geforce, which is definitely not what I ordered. Many hours later after dealing with Dell's Customer "Support", they wouldn't rectify the problem. All they were willing to do was refund the purchase price. So it went back. A week or so later I was perusing e-bay and came across a a deal for a Dell M70. It was a brand new in box machine and I saved about $600 over buying it directly from Dell. It's got a Nvidia Quaddro video so it's ideally suited for running SolidWorks. It's an awesome machine, but it's definately heavier than the XH-365.
I've done some minor editing of typo's and stuff here, but nothing else has been added.
Until next time!