feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
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Tearing apart [livejournal.com profile] datahawk's motorcycle is how I spent my Sunday. It was productive. We now know what the plan of action should be, because now we know for a fact what (one of) the (biggest) problem(s) is.

feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
I need to post a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one [livejournal.com profile] tarinfirepelt. I've known Koz for ... something like ten years now, and can't think of life without his ability to deliver devastating puns and embarrassing sketches of Feren's ass. Happy birthday, m'friend.

Friday night was dinner with [livejournal.com profile] ottr, [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin, [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon, [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, [livejournal.com profile] foxish, Devin and Vlad. We went to BD's and had beer and vast amounts of Mongolian stirfry. Afterward, Data, 'mudgeon, Devin, Ottr and myself went to Safari Land for bowling. It's an indoor kid's amusement/theme park (I dare you to guess what the theme is) but when you get there at 10PM there's not a lot of kids, and we adults enjoyed the bowling alley. We chose that alley because of the theme park, and because it has the lanes rigged with radar guns that tell you how fast the ball is rolling (in miles-per-hour) when it strikes the pins. I average somewhere around 17 m.p.h., which is a damn shame compared to the peak speed of 22 m.p.h. that Ottr was able to achieve. We had a lot of fun. The only real disappointment that evening was the alley closed earlier than the rest of the place! We closed down Safari Land, chatted outside in the rain for a bit and then went to our respective homes for well-deserved rest.

Saturday we all slept in, finally getting up around late morning. Data and Ottr joined 'mudge and I for a meal at a local family restaurant. The plan was for Ottr and I to head down to Mega Sports to get some time on their gun range. It wasn't until we were about to leave for Plainfield that it was discovered that we could also bring 'mudgeon and Data along with us! Everyone piled into my truck, I tossed the Bag o' Fun in the back and we hit the road. The afternoon was full of uncertainties! Data had never handled a firearm before, nor had Curmudgeon. I had never been to this particular range before, so I didn't know what to expect either. All of us were pleasantly surprised by what we found. While almost double the cost of the Outdoorsman Sports Shop that [profile] roho and I have gone to in the past, the experience was well worth the money. Datahawk and Curmudgeon were instructed/"mentored" by Ottr and myself as we were responsible for their time on the range. As mentioned, neither had shot before but both were willing to give it a try, which I think made Ottr and I both quite happy. Curmudgeon spent most of her time with my S&W Sigma SW9VE 9mm, and decided she liked that one best. Data liked both my Taurus PT-1911 and the S&W 9mm, which Ottr and I both own and are generally disillusioned with. Ottr fell in love with both the Taurus and what Roho has dubbed the "Hand Cannon," my Ruger Blackhawk .357 magnum. All told I think we were there for almost two hours. Everyone had fun, and we topped the evening off by travelling back to Ohana for a really nice steak and potato dinner.

Today was another day for sleeping in late. I mowed the front lawn, trimmed the boulevard tree and cut down some saplings that were growing in the flower bed. I'm planning to take the rest of the day on a minute by minute basis, relaxing as much as I can. Tomorrow I'm back at the office and I already have a day full of work waiting for me.
feren: I AM THE MAN (ashryn-londohts)
As part of [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon's 40th birthday last month I gifter her two tickets to see Blue Man Group. Well, the day has arrived and we're off to the show! What I didn't tell Mudgeon was that I had us set to ride down to Briar Street Theater in style. As I write this from my CrackBerry we are heading north on I-55 in a white stretch limo. It seats something like 8 people but we're the only ones in here. Our driver is cool, and mildly aggressive in his driving style. This pleases me!

We had a nice dinner at BD's Mongolian before departure and are now just chilling out while the driver does all the work. I could get used to this!
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
We stopped for fuel at the trip's halfway point of Lyndon Station, WI. We filled up and found we had travelled 337.5 miles on 8.498 gallons of regular 87 octane gasoline. That comes out to 39.75 MPG, and that was with the air conditioner on for most of the way! Win! Not bad for a car that's almost 10 years old, eh?

Yes, I really like [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon's little Saturn four-door.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
As we pass through Eau Clare, WI, the first 100 miles of this leg of the trip are done. There's only 324 more miles to go before we arrive home! I enjoyed the hell out of CONvergence 2009 as well as splitting the time so we could visit my parents. They sent me home with a few unexpected items that I will write about later. With some accompanying photos, I think.

For now - driving!
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I forgot how much I love CONvergence - no other con I've ever been to holds a candle to this. Great programming, fantastic costumes, bitching parties - and its only the first night! Case in point: we were getting last minute supplies at the Shell station right next to the Sheraton. While [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon was inside the station store, I saw a con attendee in Doctor Horrible garb come out of the store. In the elevator was Doctor Evil, and we've also seen Pikachu and Spike (amongst many other things). So much awesome!

The weather is shaping up to be great for the weekend. Right now we're out on the patio of the neighboring Dairy Queen while Curmudgeon has a waffle cone twist. Its just the perfect end to the day.

This weekend I'll do some Toy Soldier costuming, hang out with the family on the farm, take pictures, hang with [livejournal.com profile] chebutykin and [livejournal.com profile] brianblackberry, hit the cabana parties and generally relax. It will be awesome!
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I forgot how much I love CONvergence - no other con I've ever been to holds a candle to this. Great programming, fantastic costumes, bitching parties - and its only the first night! Case in point: we were getting last minute supplies at the Shell station right next to the Sheraton. While [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon was inside the station store, I saw a con attendee in Doctor Horrible garb come out of the store. In the elevator was Doctor Evil, and we've also seen Pikachu and Spike (amongst many other things). So much awesome!

The weather is shaping up to be great for the weekend. Right now we're out on the patio of the neighboring Dairy Queen while Curmudgeon has a waffle cone twist. Its just the perfect end to the day.

This weekend I'll do some Toy Soldier costuming, hang out with the family on the farm, take pictures, hang with [livejournal.com profile] chebutykin and [livejournal.com profile] brianblackberry, hit the cabana parties and generally relax. It will be awesome!
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
After [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon's doctor appointments in Kenosha this morning, she and I made our way to Antioch to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet. We met up for lunch at The Lodge, had a beer or two and then went back to the house of CheeKitty. That's where Curmudgeon and Kes hung out while Roho and I went off to the gun range. I was smart and, before 'mudge and I left home this morning, I loaded up my range bag with the Blackhawk, the Sigma SW40F, the Sigma SW9VE and the PT-1911, as well as 100 rounds of each of their respective ammunitions (.357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 9mm and .45 ACP) and tossed the bag in the car. I had every one of my pistols with me to play with at the range, and I meant to give them all a little exercise (as well as give Roho a chance to try them out).

While Roho set up his Sig I unpacked my bag and opted for the SW9VE first. 8 rounds later I was reminded why I'm not overwhelmingly pleased with the Sigma series -- my grouping was for utter shit. All over the target, hardly any in the key spots. I put the 9mm aside and loaded up the PT-1911 next. What a great, fun gun that is. This was my first time firing it since I brought it home months ago. Solid feel in the hand and a fine grouping. What a light trigger break that gun has! Roho was likewise surprised at just how little pull it took for the hammer to fall.

Third up was the Blackhawk, probably my favorite revolver of all time. I grew up with this gun around me and have always been fond of it. I'm not sure, but I think I caught Roho drooling once or twice when I looked back over my shoulder. Everything I remembered about that gun was true! Pity that my brains and instincts have been ruined by years of semi-auto, after I fired the first round I squeezed the trigger again and had a "derp" moment where I couldn't understand why the gun didn't fire. Yeaaaaaah, it's a single-action revolver, firing require a bit more involvement on the operator's part than "aim, squeeze trigger, repeat." Roho had a good laugh at me over that but overall was impressed by how nicely the revolver handled.

Last up was the SW40F, the .40 S&W twin/precursor of my SW9VE. It suffers the same curse as the 9MM, just with bigger rounds and a little less flash since it's all-black. Shit for grouping, even when using the built-in laser. Roho similarly had problems with it and commented on the way back to his place that it's doing him the disservice of biasing him against the Glocks that the S&W folks stole design ideas from when making the Sigma series. Roho and I both suspect that the heavy trigger break of the dual-action only (DAO) is what's screwing us up. Interestingly, the range master suggested that my tendency towards lower-left groupings on the Sigmas was due to flinching, but I call flinching bullshit since my targets with the .357 and the .45 evidenced none of this down-and-to-the-left behavior.

Regardless, Roho got to try all of the pistols I brought with (minus the 9mm, which he's fired before) and echoed my frustration with the Sigmas -- as well as my praise for the Blackhawk and the 1911. All told we were at the range for nearly 2 hours and put somewhere on the order of 300 or so rounds down the lane. It's nothing amazing in terms of rounds fired or time spent on the range, but it was a great stress relief and a lot of fun. I enjoy going out shooting with Roho and miss the days on the farm when I could just wander into the back fields and plink away.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Friday night: [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I drove up to the Naperville hotel where DucKon was being held, so that we could hang out at [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin's birthday and room party. We lounged around until around 2300 hours or so and then drove home for the night. Saturday it was up to Kenosha for doctoring, then back home in the early afternoon. I took a nap for a few hours and got up in time for dinner. Once we'd eaten and medicated Jazz for the evening it was back to the DucKon hotel to hang in Kyttin's room party again, arriving right around 2000 hours when the room was open to the private invitees. We stayed until around 0330 on Sunday morning, chatting and snacking and drinking with the various folks that came through. I particularly enjoyed talking to "Gus," a fellow who looked like Silent Bob.

We got home around 4 in the morning on Sunday, slept until around noon and then texted the crew back at the hotel to see if they could use a hand packing up and loading out. Our offer was rather enthusiastically accepted. We arrived around 1340 in the afternoon and by 1530 we had both rooms fully loaded out. Of the three cars I was first to arrive back at Ohana so I had the stage, drink coolers and sundry unloaded with ample time to help unload the other vehicles when they arrived. Curmudgeon and I stayed around for a while, just hanging out with folks and having idle conversation. At about 1815 we bid everyone a good evening, drove home, enjoyed some Subway foot long sandwiches and generally relaxed for the evening. Unfortunately for me, because of the late nights we'd had Friday and Saturday I didn't actually feel tired until around midnight, which was when I climbed into bed.

Today it's back to the grind at work.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Sakuranym - Feren_profile)
Got out of work about three hours early so I could go home, medicate cats, change clothes and take [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon out for a late lunch at BD's Mongolian BBQ. Once that's done it's off to downtown Chicago, where we will take in the Neko Case concert at the Chicago Theater.

That's a pretty good way to start off the weekend, I should think.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Zhivagod - Feren_silly)

Feren at sushi
Feren at sushi
A number of us went out for all-you-can-eat sushi this afternoon to celebrate [livejournal.com profile] rissani's birthday. After observing how I managed to jam an over sized piece of spider roll into my mouth, [livejournal.com profile] genet felt compelled to sketch this up on one of the place mats. All the others at the table were impressed at how my head unhinged as well. Raoul, well, he just managed to get added for comedic value. Sushi leads to these sort of things.

feren: I AM THE MAN (card)
[livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I left the farm after brunch and some frenzied car-packing, getting onto the road at around 1430. We drove into town, got fuel and then I realized I hadn't helped with a chore prior to departure. Ever the dutiful son I turned the car around and drove back to the farm despite my parents' protests on the phone. I helped my dad make short order of the work (hauling old reclienr out and a new recliner in) and then got back on the road sometime around 1500. We got home around 2210 and I had the car unloaded by 2220. By 2240 I had the venison packed into freezer, the three new guns put into the safe (and while rearranging the handguns in the safe I discovered flecks of rust on the slide of my S&W SW9VE, which has me... annoyed) and all the laundry unpacked from our luggage.

I'd write up a more detailed summary of events but right now I'm unwinding with a drink and basking in the glow of a a wonderful, albeit much-too-brief weekend. Once the drink is done I'm heading to bed.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Zhivagod - Feren_happy)
So it's been decided: [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I are heading North this afternoon! But in a departure from our usual migration pattern, we aren't stopping in the Kenosha/Antioch area. No, instead we're going all the way up to Minnesota to spend the weekend on the farm with my folks. Yes, it's a very long drive for a very short weekend, but the opportunity to get away from everything is too tempting.

I'll get to pick up a few toys, see my parents and in general unwind. Well, "unwind" as much as one can when driving 800 miles over the span of 48 hours. :)
feren: I AM THE MAN (card)
Thanks to yesterday's events I had to go out out toilet hunting last night. With [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon in tow I visited a few stores, including Menards, shopping around to see what was available and at what price points. At Lowes I found a toilet from Crane that I considered to be a reasonable price (sub-$100). I like this one because it had a reasonable price and came with pretty much all the parts I needed, including a new wax seal. The really cool American Standard model that can flush a bucket of golf balls was over $180 and didn't come with a wax ring, bolts or even a seat. Speaking of seats, we also selected a new toilet seat since the stock plastic white one that comes with the Crane looked lame. Upon check-out I was able to put the $50 gift card I was given at Christmas by [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon's brother to good use, which knocked the total sale under $40. The new toilet won't win any design or beauty contests, but fashion for the crapper was not my primary goal.

I got home, bailed the old toilet with bucket and sponge until it was "dry enough," pulled it out and chucked it on the lawn (I'm so white trash). Then came the prep work of cleaning off the old wax seal, getting the new one in place, setting the bolts, applying the plumber's putty and seating the new toilet in place. It took a bit of work to get everything lined up but eventually I got the basin seated. My only real complaint at that point was that the anchor bolts that came with the new toilet are so long that they're holding the caps off the toilet's base. Better too long than too short, though, so I'll keep my complaining to a minimum. I made quick work of getting the water tank attached and then plumbed in the supply line. It was time to take the toilet for a a test flush!

The good news was the new toilet flushed pretty well and it looked like the wax seal seated just fine. The bad news was there was water pooling on the tile, so I had a leak somewhere, probably up near the tank. I did some exploring and discovered that the leak was not the seal between tank and basin, it was the water supply line! Water was dripping from where it attached to the tank as well as where it was attached to the shut-off valve. A bit of poking didn't yield any result and so I called it quits at 2030 to give [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon her Valentine's Day gifts. I was going to need a new line, preferably one that wasn't so long that it would kinked up as badly as this one had gotten, and I didn't feel like going out for Yet More Parts last night.

This morning, after a bit of frustration while playing "guess the size of the nut," I managed to take the old supply line off the toilet and the valve so I could do some proper measuring. The old line was vinyl, 12" in length and around 11/16" in diameter. I needed something that was more like 8" in length so it wouldn't have to bend and twist. I made a quick trip over to Lowes and found a 9" supply line in braided stainless steel for around $4. While I was there I also figured out what size the nut was (16mm... what the hell! Fits a 3/8" outer diameter pipe thread and is metric?!). Bought the hose, came back home, found my adjustable wrench and set to putting the new line in. 9" is a bit longer than the 8" I really need so I had to do a bit of bending on the line, but it went in relatively easy. Tightened down the valve nut, tightened down the tank nut and turned the valve on. Shortly after I took it for a test flush and ... everything worked. With no leaks this time. Hooray!

So that's the conclusion of the gust toilet replacement saga. If I had to guess I would say the crack that necessitated the replacement of the toilet began when I tried to put a new flush handle on the old toilet... and then I had a leaking supply line when I put the new toilet in... etc etc.

Let this be a lesson in home ownership: Never touch anything.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Seskata - Feren)
I got a phone call around noon from [livejournal.com profile] chebutykin saying she was on her way home from Ohio and that she'd be passing right through our area. Did [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I, along with some of the local crew, want to do dinner?

Hell yes we want to do dinner.

Alas, [livejournal.com profile] genet and [livejournal.com profile] roho won't be able to attend. More tasty stir-fry for us!

T-minus about 45 minutes until she arrives.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Sakuranym - Feren_profile)
This morning I received a surprise invitation for [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and myself to join [livejournal.com profile] datahawk and [livejournal.com profile] ottr for brunch-type foods at a restaurant in the area. I'd never been there and Curmudgeon wanted to get out of the house, so we readily accepted. We made good time to Wheaton, where the restaurant was... and then I had an attack of the Self Doubts, which lead us to leave the restaurant and pursue the other location, which is not where we were to meet up with our friends. Thankfully we were only a little ways away when the call was returned and the address verified.

We met up outside the door to the restaurant and that's when the trap was sprung - Data and Ottr handed Curmudgeon and I some wrapped-up gifts. SURPRISE PRESENTS! Unacceptable. My revenge will be without warning.

Inside things were hectic, obviously it's a pretty popular place. We made our orders, drank coffee and kibitzed while we waited for the food. It wasn't long before Curmudgeon and I were pressured to open our presents. To my complete delight and surprise I received season 2 and season 3 of Robot Chicken, and Curmudgeon got two boxed seasons of Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Pretty cool!

After our meal we made a stop at Fry's Electronics. While there we discovered that Ottr wasn't going to get his Nintendo DS from them as their inventory was completely ravaged last week, prior to Christmas. We also learned that there's an AirSoft pistol made to look like my Sigma SW40F. Pretty darn neat, and it puts the BBs out at something akin to 315fps. Not bad, though I've no idea if it's CO2 operated or what (Edit @2133: It's a spring!). While in the toy aisle I found a metal Slinky in excellent condition (the last one I bought from there was completely twisted and ruined, but I never got around to returning it). We also wandered around the store to pick up a set of USB extension cables for Mudgeon's computer. On the way to the check-out line I had a minor altercation with the father of a young boy -- the kid (around 8 or 9) was tromping around and, as he went past, kicked over the toy trains on display next to me. I made a sharp comment and told the kid to pick it up, which brought his dad over with an attitude, demanding to know if I "was his father?!" I said nope - but the boy's being incredibly rude by not picking up what he's knocked over, at which point I gestured to the wreckage of the display. I was surprised to see the dad turn to the boy and ask if he'd knocked it over. A mumbled "I don't know," was met with the father asking again, more strongly, "Did you knock it over?" The kid admitted yes, he had. "Then pick it up!" And within a few seconds the display was put back to half-assed rights and the family continued on their way. Good enough for me.

Since Ottr didn't have anything to buy and the hunt for a Nintendo DS was now officially on our group parted ways, with Data and Ottr heading off to shop at my retail nemesis (Best Buy) while I checked out with Curmudgeon. Shortly after that we were home and I tore apart the passenger-side wiper arm on my Expedition. It had frozen in place on Friday and didn't seem interested in moving anymore. I found that luckily I hadn't stripped the splines on the motor shaft, the arm had just come loose. I cleaned up the connection point with a bit of paper towel, jammed it back in place and tightened the nut down. A flick of the wiper control later and I had proof that all was once again right with the world. It's good to have windshield wipers! Especially with all the wacky weather we're having...
feren: I AM THE MAN (Blotch - TooCoolFeren)
We arrived safely at home tonight, having pulled into the driveway sometime around 2214. Today mostly featured a ten hour drive from the farm in Minnesota back to the house: seven-and-a-half hours were actually spent moving, two hours were spent visiting some of Curmudgeon's relatives in Wisconsin and the remaining time was split between fuel stops. Our average speed of travel? A paltry 54 mph, fully 11 miles under the limit for most of my drive. Why? Because apparently nobody who lives in Wisconsin has ever seen snow before! So at every turn and every hill there was a cascade of brake lights and we'd go from a decent clip of about 65 mph to something closer to 20 mph. Truly amazing, the conditions didn't at all call for this level of caution.

Overall it was a good weekend, paired with a good holiday. I spent time with my parents, Curmudgeon got to meet all of the uncles on my father's side of the family (two of whom I haven't seen in over two years), I had tasty dinner every night of the week and I got to watch some truly horrible 80s movies over at [livejournal.com profile] chebutykin's place. Further, we came home with the truck full of goodies. For instance, who knew my mother was holding my gun collection hostage and all it would take to free two of the members was a ringer washer in trade? Heck, that's just a small part of it. What really has me excited is the brand-new Poulan snow blower with a 5.5 hp motor and a 24" deck. The 'blower even has electric start, how cool is that? Now neither I nor Curmudgeon will need to have a coronary when shoveling out the driveway this winter! As an added bonus my father gave me a pair of boots, a pair of pants and a jacket from his fire fighting days. He says that since he's retired, well, he doesn't need them so I might as well have them. Score! Now I can stay warm and dry no matter how cold or wet the blizzard of snow I'm removing may be.

I have Monday off to recover from the drive, something I'm going to need since this sinus congestion is utterly destroying me. Tuesday it will be back to the grind at $EMPLOYER. Though I believe that I have one or two more "use them or lose them days" to burn, I don't expect to be able to take any more vacation time before year's end. Pity.

Drivin' my life away
feren: I AM THE MAN (Blotch - TooCoolFeren)
Right now Curmudgeon and I are at Casper's Cherokee Steak Room in Eagan,MN to have dinner with my family (my parents and two of my three uncles). Then we're off to catch bad sword -n- sorcery films at [livejournal.com profile] chebutykin's place. This is a fitting finish to our Thanksgiving weekend.
feren: I AM THE MAN (oCe - Feren_Photography)
On Sunday the [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I met up with several of my out of town friends, such as [livejournal.com profile] spoothbrush, [livejournal.com profile] captain18, [livejournal.com profile] jdm314 and a whole slew of others I don't know the LJ names for. We all met up at the local mini-golf course, where we were also were joined by [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet. I've got a bunch of pictures to share but have been too busy with work to do much of anything with them.

However, after we got all the sun and mini-golf we could stand we went off to have dinner at BD's Mongolian BBQ, where I tasty food and beverage was had. Such as...

Raw food
Raw food, which then becomes...

cooked food!
Cooked, tasty food that goes well with beer.

Spoothbrush food
Spoothbrush had food, too. And a blue drink that called itself a "Moodring."

Dessert of doom
The dessert of doom. [livejournal.com profile] tarinfirepelt, this one is all for you.


And that's all I've got to say about that. More detailed writeup and photographs to be had when I'm not working until 1 in the morning.
feren: I AM THE MAN (oCe - Feren_Photography)

Summer Treat
by *panfah on deviantART

In addition to buying the Wii, the [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and I also ran some errands around town. At one point we met up at The Onion Pub & Brewery in Lake Barrington with [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus and [livejournal.com profile] duncandahusky for some food and drink.

I had the Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse, as seen above. Tip of the hat to Roho for his input on the beverage and the photogrpah.

Also, I learned that PNG files don't carry EXIF data, and that sucks. I like the format a lot better than JPEG, but I also like having the gallery sites automatically extract all my camera data because I'm lazy and don't want to retype things.

B double E double R-U-N

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