Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My new Palm Centro!!

My new Palm Centro!!
Originally uploaded by Chewieez
I just received my new Palm Centro in the mail today! I've spent the last 4 hours messing around with it and getting it setup and synced to my computer.

It is basically a smaller Treo and can run all the same software. It has full internet and Sprint TV, calendar, IM and texting. overall it's pretty awesome! I love how small it is. It's a great smartphone for someone new to them like me and for someone who doesn't want to feel like they are talking into a brick.

With this phone and my new Macbook, I'm in total geek heaven!! I've exhausted Beth with all my "check this out" statements!

It's a good thing I'm not working much this week, so I have more time to customize my phone and get aquainted with it.

Thankgiving Week

Thanksgiving was a great break this year. It was very nice to get away from town for a week and just relax. Beth and I flew up to Syracuse, NY on Tues and returned Monday night. My Mom's side of the family and my Grandparent's all live near Syracuse so we were able visit with a lot of family. We had Thanksgiving at my Aunt Gail's house which involved all the standard foods; turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and a lot of bread choices (banana, pumpkin, poppy-sead, cranberry). I think my Mom baked bread for a week straight! I probably don't have to say that we all over-ate at every meal. My Mom brought their espresso machine and treated us to latte's every morning and the cooler was full of Yuengling beer all week. Life was good!

We took Beth around to some of the popular places like Armory Square and Skaneateles. There is a great brewery in Armory Square called Empire Brewery. I was happy we were in the time of winter ales and enjoyed one and then had a black and tan. I'd say Yazoo tastes a bit better, but I always enjoy trying new microbrew beer that has character. A couple days later we headed to Skaneateles with my Aunt and Uncle and their two daughters. Skaneateles is a small quaint town on a beautiful lake and has a Dickens Christmas show each year with a lot of characters dressed in period clothes including Scrooge. It was snowy and bitter cold but a fun trip. We got some coffee and did some shopping in the little boutiques. We had lunch in a famous fish fry place called Doug's Fish Fry which had the best fish and chips I've had outside of England and McGuinness pub.

Saturday my parents drove us up to Niagara Falls which was only 3 hours away. I hadn't been to the falls since highschool and had never been in the winter time. It was cold, windy and snowed for a while. Beth had never been to the falls and I realize winter time wasn't the best time for her to have her first visit, but I think overall she enjoyed it. We started on Goat Island and took a bunch of pics of the American side of the falls. You can see the horse shoe falls from Goat Island but the weather wasn't cooperating and it was very foggy and misty. We left and drove over into Canada to get a better view of the horse shoe falls. The weather cleared on our way over so by the time we parked and meandered down to the side of the falls, we were treated to some great views. I was very surprised to see that the Canadians were still offering their "behind the falls" tour. People were down by the bottom of the falls with yellow rain suits on. Not entirely strange except it was about 30 degrees out!! The American side had already closed their tours that go to the bottom of the falls for the season. Overall the town of Niagara, NY was very run down. There are a lot of abandoned stores with plywood over the windows. The Canadian side was the exact opposite. Beth said it looked exactly like Gatlinburg with the Ripley's Museum, Haunted houses and glitzy stores. Clearly the Canadian side is prospering, in direct contrast to the American side.

Overall it was a great trip and a great departure from the Nashville grind. Now it's back to life and back to eating sensibly! hah

You can view all my pictures from our trip here on my Flickr Page: Thanksgiving Trip

Friday, November 23, 2007

obsessively surfing the internet can make you money

Here's a heads up to everyone who shops with offers a 30 day Price Guarantee. They don't advertise it, just like they don't advertise their phone number but they offer it! Basically if the price is lowered in the 30 days following your order, just call Amazon and they will credit your money back. Here is their number and dial ext 7 to speak with a human immediately. (1-800-201-7575 ext 7)

I noticed that my laptop is currently on sale for $50 less than I paid (probably a Black Friday Deal) so I just called Amazon and asked for a price guarantee refund. It took a while but the customer service was polite and $50 was credited back to my credit card!!!

Now buy away with no fear of upcoming deals in the holiday season!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You can't keep me out Hotmail

Beth and I are up in Syracuse for the next week for Thanksgiving. We had a very smooth travel day today with no real flight delays, just a busy Philadelphia tarmac. We've drank some Yuengling eaten some great pizza and some homemade ravioli chili/soup, and drank some more Yuengling.

My Mom wanted to see my new computer so I showed it off for a bit and we looked back through our honeymoon photos from Italy. I hadn't looked at them as a group in a long time, it was great to reminisce.

My uncle and I worked to get Beth and my laptops working on his secure WIFI. After I caught up on emails and messageboards I surfed over to Daniel Parnell's blog. He is the author of the HTTPMail plugin for the MAIL program for Macs. Basically it's a plugin to allow you to access your Hotmail account through Apple's Mail program. Hotmail wants you to always log into their website to check your mail so you can see their ads. I understand this and I realize that I am not paying for their email service, but I hate their website and I am obsessive about checking my email. On my powerbook I was using Entourage but I don't have Office installed on my new macbook yet and I had heard that Apple had upgraded their mail program so I wanted to give it a try again.

ANYHOW..... David Parnell has finished version 1 of HTTPMail for Leopard and it's available on his blog site here.

I just installed the plugin and so far it is working perfectly! I love it, and also the new Mail program doubles as a RSS reader so I've moved all my subscriptions. We'll see if Mail works as well as NetNewsWire.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Short Haul Pain

After staying up late playing on my computer and being an uber geek, it was up at 6:45 and preparations for another trip to Sewanee. The usual cereal and yogurt for breakfast (should of had eggs) but no time for coffee....didn't plan that into the morning routine. Showed up at the farm to meet Thad right on time and was greeted by some hyper dogs and some hot, tasty doubleshot coffee. (not Starbucks, don't be confused.) We waited for Hawt Mike to arrive and packed up the diesel.

We arrived at the trailhead a while before Jut and the rest of the crew so we tooled around practicing skinnees and checking our bike setup. Mike quickly realized he had a pedal issue so the tool box came out and a make-shift hammer was the tool of choice. Unfortunately the pedal wasn't cooperating, even after repeated wacks, and the Hawtness was forced to ride with only only one side of his pedal operating. Jut and Elliot and Dunnsy showed up and got their gear together. We all eyed Jut's new ride and chatted for a bit before heading into the trail and starting our ride.

This trail has, by far, the best first mile of any trail I've ridden. It starts flat for about an 1/8th mile and then heads down a rocky, rooty, eroded section of trail which was completely covered in leaves. I was already thinking I made a good choice bring the squishy bike. The first 4 miles of trail are pretty technical with a couple of hike-a-bike sections. I was able to ride up one of these that I walked last trip when I was on my SS, but the others I still had to dismount. After stopped for a couple great look out points, we started into the flowy section of trail with many short ups and downs. It was clear early on I was in the worst shape of the bunch so I settled in the back of the pack and just rode my own pace.

Overall it was fun to ride the trail on a different bike, but I think I was faster on my SS when you take the entire 17 miles into account. I had a faster top speed on my squishy but only by a half a mile an hour. There aren't any substantial or long climbs so I think the SS is better for climbing. You get to stand and use your bigger muscles and then recover on the next downhill. My full suspension bike isn't the most efficient pedaler, even with the platform shock. It's not terrible, but you really need to stay seated and spin, standing really saps a lot of energy and you don't get the acceleration that a hardtail has. It was obvious after the ride that my body, as a whole, was less worn out than after riding my SS, but my legs were spent. I was fighting off quad cramps or the last 3 miles of the ride and even stopped a couple times to stretch and walk up a few hills. Another reason to ride a SS: It's more frustrating to have to walk up a climb with your full suspension bike than your SS. At least with a SS you expect a certain amount of walking.

Shenanigan's post ride was once again awesome. We even sneaked in a Starbucks stop on the way home to recharge. I got back in town and raced home and cleaned up. Then Beth and I headed to Tayst for a wonderful dinner with her parents. We shared a great bottle of petite syrah and I had the shrimp and fried oyster plate and Beth had the escalar fish plate.

I relaxed on Sunday and decided I wasn't going to ride. Beth and I went to the Sprint store to check out some smartphones. I played with the HTC Touch and the Palm Centro. The Touch was kinda cool, and has a definite similarity to the iphone, but didn't seem quite right. The touch controls didn't work everytime and I worry about not having any sort of keyboard for quick dialing or one handed operation, like while driving or something. (not that you should be dialing and driving anyways.) The Centro seems cool and has a nice pricepoint. I'll probably get that one once I get a plan I like, and can afford. It seems easy to use, the only drawback I noticed in the store was the web doesn't render as nicely as the Touch. I spend the evening surfing the internet researching phones and Sprint plans. I found out about a cool employee referral program that I am going to try to see if I can get on. My current phone is really showing it's age ( 3 years old) and I'm not in a contract anymore with Sprint. Hopefully I can get something worked out that's affordable.

Late edition: Video of Thad riding around the parking lot... yea... hawt....

Friday, November 16, 2007

I pledge my allegiance to Apple


Oh yea!! I am the proud owner of a little white Macbook!

I'd go on and on about how much I love it and how awesome it is, but I'd rather go back and continue playing with it! I've got a bunch of stuff to transfer from my Powerbook as well....

Looking forward to riding Sewanee tomorrow. I'm bringing the Ventana b/c I haven't been haven't been giving it it's quality time lately. I'll probably ride the Soma for our ride to Chickasaw.

waiting on the brown truck

So I'm trapped in my house waiting for UPS to come deliver my new laptop. They called me this morning to inform me I would be receiving a package today that needed an "adult signature". Now I'm scared to leave in case I miss it and they force me to drive out to UPS to get it. Every time I hear a truck drive by or back up I run to the window. We even got a knock at the door which made me run to find out it was a FedEx for Beth. Waiting is excruciating when you know your package is "in transit".

This weekend is shaping up to be pack full of bike riding, something I haven't done in months. I'm sure my body will cry and scream at me for pushing it too hard. A trip back to Sewanee is planned and Thad wants to ride from the farm down to Chickasaw and do a lap. I'm not sure if I will have the strength to do both rides, but I told myself I won't quit before I try. No sense is worrying whether I can or can't without giving it a go.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Spending money

I finally pulled the trigger on a new laptop. I'm going to be moving out of 2003 and into 2007! My 1g Ti Powerbook is getting replaced with a Dual 2.2g Macbook. It's really amazing where things have come and how cheap it all is. $1299 for a dual 2.2g laptop that can hold 4g of ram. I maxed out the ram through Other World Computing for a measly $137!! Take that Apple! Can you believe Apple charges $850 for 4g of ram?! $850!!!!! It's as though Apple is saying "We don't want to bother with putting more ram in your system, so we'll just price ourselves out of that service." oh well... I don't mind doing it myself and saving $713. Next on the shopping list is a LCD widescreen monitor. I've been shopping around a ton lately but I think I'll wait until ater Xmas to make a purchase. I imagine prices will drop some more by then.

Last night was another night of polo. The overall mood was different and everyone put more emphasis on style and technique. Sharpe coached us from the sidelines and gave tips. My first team (Thad, Neal and Dan H.) worked a lot on teamwork and spacing around the court. We concentrated on hanging onto the ball and control and passing and tried less slapping and big clears. Unfortunately Thad had a brake incident and had to retire his bike. Everyone decided to call it then and make it an early night. We only played three games this go around but they were all fun. I managed to stay upright a lot better and use my mallet more for balance. I even scored three times which is a personal best by far! I'm generally lucky to get 1 score per night.

This past weekend was our return trip to Austin, TX for the Stitch show. This trip Beth and I revisited a few areas of town like South Congress. We weren't as pro-active to do the sight-seeing activities as we were last year so it was a much more relaxed trip overall. The Stitch organizers planned a pre-party the night before which was fun. We didn't know many people and I didn't know anyone, but after about half an hour we had made some friends and had some good conversation. Keg beer was supplied as well as free water from some company I can't even remember. Obviously I partook more of the keg than the water. The show was in the Austin Convention Center this year. We had fears of crazy, unorganized load-ins but it all went very smoothly. We were setup in no time and then Beth had a chance to browse the other vendor's booths which she never had time for last year. The show was a definite success but overall I don't think they will host it in the Convention center again next year. The room was a bit too large and much brighter than last year. It was hard to feel the some vibe as last year. We sold more than last year which was Beth's goal for the show so I'm sure we will be making the trip again next year. You can view photos of our trip on Beth's flickr site.

Random things I learned while in Austin: Shiner bock tastes better with a lime, we never figure out how to get anywhere until we are about to leave town, I still don't think service roads are a good way to get on and off the interstate, hotel internet service always sucks and is slow, just about every city we travel to seems to have a lot more casual cyclists
than you ever see in Nashville.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Out of shape

I got out this morning for a ride at Monty Bell with Adam and David (Onespeed from NMB). It was about 32 degrees when we started but felt good. It was my first ride this year to even wear long sleeves, let alone leg warmers and a jacket. It was quite the wake up call to my current fitness level, which is non-existent. Thankfully no-one was in a hurry so they didn't mind waiting for me to catch up. We were all on SSs which was fun. David was rocking a Bianchi and Adam was rocking his new Surly 1x1 69er . Adam was the clear winner of style points for the day and was hopping everything and pulling wheelies everywhere. I was the only one with a suspension fork and got a little ribbing. My pop-loc lever is still broken from my polo accident so I rode the first half of the day with it locked-out. My hands started to get real sore and I was getting tired from my lack of riding so I eventually gave up and unlocked it and left it that way. I couldn't lock and unlock it on the fly like I'm used to so I just had to stick with it in one state or the other. Onespeed was telling me I should get a carbon fork like his to lighten my bike 2-3 lbs and Adam was sayin' "Greg, you should borrow a rigid fork from someone and try it out. I bet you'll like it." I think the jury is still out for me. I like having the option with the pop-loc and generally lock it out for the climbs. I'm also thinking about trying to get some custom spacers so I can set the Reba at 80mm instead of 85mm to help out the steering.

There is already talk of planning some Braggin' Rights Races for this off-season. Mike N. organized some fun races last year. I'd love to host one at Hammy if it's every dry enough and possibly do a sort of endurance race at Lock4, maybe 4 hour or 6 hour, solo or team. Riding MB today in my winter attire reminded me of racing in the "cyclocross style" Braggin' Rights Race Mike put on this past February. That was a cold day and a surprisingly hard course. That is what this picture is from above. Basically it was "ride as many laps as you can in 30 min". The starts was next to the landing strip, you rode into the woods right before the jump section, then rode the trail until it came out to the road, turned right and headed up the road and back into the big field, around the air strip and then back to the starting line. I was spent by lap 4 and don't even remember how many I was able to do total.

We're heading to Austin, TX tomorrow for Stitch . 14 hours of driving ... woohoo! We bought Harry Potter book 6 on CD to listen to and catch up. That should help the time pass and then we'll be ready to start reading book 7 when we get back.

Good luck to everyone who is racing at Swank 65 this weekend! Maybe I'll race it with you all next year!?

Monday, November 05, 2007

New stuff rocks

The Soma got some new clothes.

I finally got around to getting a top tube pad. My knees have been taking a beating from both bikes over the past two years. This should help the SS. I still haven't found my preferred solution for the Ventana yet. It's an Axiom Top Tube Pad and isn't the best top tube pad ever, but I got it on ebay for $9 shipped and it fits and it's black.

I also finally bought a "nard-guard" as Thad would call it. After suffering a serious, life threatening, debilitating knee injury at the hands of the Polo Gods, I've decided to take action and protect myself from my stem. My stem likes to play rough and I'm tired of it. I got the Raceface Stem Guard and it's black as well...

Black is clearly the new Pink.

Returning to Nashville

Well we are back from yet another weekend selling necklaces and earrings to the starving masses. This past weekend we were in Hoover, AL at the Moss Rock Festival. Hoover is approx 10 miles south of Birmingham and roughly 3 hours from Nashvegas. The show was great in all the ways it could be. The weather was perfect, the public was very interested in buying jewelry, the load-in/load-out was smooth (for us), our hotel rocked and we only had to drive 3 hours to get there. Sales wise it was our second best show ever (under the supremely successful Renegade show in Chicago). The organizers of the show even invited us to a party after the show saturday night where there was catering and free beer and wine! Beth and I enjoyed some chicken & dumplings and I passed off the car keys and enjoyed several glasses of wine.
Pictures of the show can be found here: Freshie and Zero At The Moss Rock Festival

I had a session fall through for this monday so it looks like I have some free time during the week. I am still working on this jazz record with the woman from Florida but we are in the home stretch. As I mentioned earlier she came back to Nashville to re-sing some songs. I remixed all the songs and these new vocals have taken them to a new level. I've got a final (hopefully) set of tweaks to do tomorrow AM and then just need to print some hi-def versions for Mastering. She has booked Independent Mastering to master the album on Monday. I am excited to hear how it turns out! This is really the first full length album I've mixed all on my own so I am anxious to finish it and hear it after it's mastered.

I'm hoping to get out this week and ride some dirt. It's been a very long time and I'm not sure I remember how to do it. I will be rocking the Soma all week whether I want to or not. Last week, I noticed an unfortunate crack in the faceplace of my Thomson stem. Thad got me in touch with the right people at Thomson and they are taking care of me. This means though that one of my bikes is handlebarless and would be quite hard to ride so SS it is!

Who links to my website?