Gigi's 11th Birthday,. I save the best for first. We had Gigi's 11th birthday party, this time at a campsite in Jetty Park (on the beach), Cape Canaveral, FL. And we must have done something right because Gigi proclaimed this was THE BEST birthday party she ever had. And that's saying alot considering the big bash we had last year at Shore Lanes Bowling Center. Here's a few pics, the rest are on my Facebook and Photobucket accounts.
Pics on Photobucket
OK, I BEAT the Lawnmower, 3-2 (and not with a sledgehammer). Well folks the score is now Hank 3, Lawnmower 2. I'm happy to say that I overcame my anxiety about dealing with small engine repair and successfully repaired our lawnmower. Not bad for a guy who might know his way around database system and a computer keyboard but just a little clueless when it comes to small engine repair.
Turns out the "pickup coil" went bad. If you ever tried pull-starting your mower about 20 times and it never turns over (but you smell gas), it means the pickup coil is not providing electric current to the one spark plug (I had just replaced the spark plug two weeks prior).
OK so I admit, I had a little help from Scott Witt, our local handy-man who gave me a nice lesson on lawn mower repair. A lesson which saved me somewhere between $100-$150 in repair fees.
Pool Maint time & PoolShark: Time to treat our pool with calcium chloride to raise the calcium hardness level of the water. For those who might not recall their chemistry, pure calcium reacts violently when it comes into contact with water. The calcium chloride crystals I have make a bucket of water very hot. Not quite boiling but hot enough.
And anyone who has a pool (in Florida like climes anyway) notice how expensive pool maintenance merchandise is getting nowadays. Oh chlorine is still not bad but a stupid part for our PoolShark pool cleaner ran me $32. I'm probably only going to get another year out of this PoolShark anyway before buying a new one but consider a new one cost $400 if you don't get it on-sale.
Now when it does go on-sale, it costs $250 after all is said & done. I say that because to get the sale price requires 3 steps. First is the in-store rebate of $50. Then there are TWO, count em, TWO mail in rebates, one of which of course is that rebate you have to send in to that company in Little America, Minnesota. I HATE those rebates, they usually manage to screw it up and it takes 10 weeks to get your rebate. In this age of computers, one would think they might have streamlined the process by now.
But of course not, the current red-tape laden process serves someone's interest, namely the company who manufactures and sells the PoolShark. Guess you could call this a "Pool shark" in more ways than one.
My First Batch of Jambalaya: Cooked up my first-ever batch of New Orleans style shrimp jambalaya. Came out quite nicely, even Kyrsten liked it (and she doesn't like the spicy stuff, great considering she didn't like my gumbo I made last time). Just finished off the last bowl today. I'll definitely have to do that again. OK so I used the Zatarain's recipie mix for my jambalaya but I added fresh uncooked shrimp (like you're supposed to).
Today, Kyrs and I will check out, for the second time, that new little seafood place on the corner of Courtenay (SR-3) and SR-520 on Merritt Island. They're having a "Grand Opening" special this afternoon. We were downright impressed with the delicious sushi we got there last time. Compares nicely with the Thai Thai restaurant in Cocoa. This time I know, only order one sushi, they're quite big.
Fire up the Scanners: Well I haven't engaged either of the photo scanners (our new HP flatbed color scanner or the Nikon 9000 ED film scanner) since I redid the computer (wiped the disk clean, the reinstalled Windows...XP of course which I like. I HATE Vista and don't feel like giving Bill Gates bookoo dollars for Windows 7).
Anyway it took a little time to get the Nikon 9000 up & running. Seems I can't locate the driver CD (don't remember it coming with one) and the Nikon web site doesn't seem to have a driver. But VueScan (my scanning software) does have one and it works beautifully.
Also this is the first time I actually tried out the scanner that came with the "all-in-one" photo printer from HP (Photosmart 309-G) we got recently. I was rather impressed, well considering I still have active my old HP 6200 scanner (10 years old now). The 309-G is a lot faster, I must say and dpi resolution is up around 4800.
But you never use anything above 600. Any paper print has a max resolution of 300 dpi so anything higher just results in huge files and eating disk space. I did try 1200, the resulting file from a 8x10 print was almost 110 MB....eeeyoowwww!!
But I'm impressed so far with the new scanner.
As a side note, Nikon hasn't released anything superior to the 9000ED, but they raised the price from the $1900 I paid in 2007 to over $2200 today. Film scanners must be in demand.
PlusTek has a nice film scanner they came out with a year or so ago but it can only accept 35mm. My 9000ED can take 135, 126, 110, 120, 220 and a host of other film types.
A Theatre of Sexually-Charged Women: Well guess where my wife ended up taking me on Saturday night. You probably guessed by now, to the Sex & The City 2 movie. And what a experience as I was one of about maybe 5 guys in a theatre full of women dressed up to kill. Note to any single guys reading this. If you want to score a date, go see this movie. Have your sister or female cousin accompany you if you feel a little self-conscious.
Well I guess Iron Man 2 will have to wait.