Merry Christmas

   Posted by: John   in Sentiments

From my family to yours, may you have a very Merry Christmas!


Real Thanksgiving

   Posted by: John   in Uncategorized

Once again, I find I have not posted anything on here in a very long time. That seems to be what happens, I get busy and just don’t have or take the time.  However, I have had some time for some reflection and I determined there were some things that I was very thankful for this year.

First and foremost, I am so thankful for my beautiful and amazing wife.  Words cannot express how much I love and adore her.  She makes my life so incredibly complete, in everything she says and does.  I didn’t realize before what real true love was.  What makes it even better is that I know she truly loves me.  Thank you Laura, for being mine and for loving and wanting me always.

I am also so thankful for my family.  My children, all of them, are wonderful and amazing people who continually make me proud to be their dad. My sister Cathy is an fantastic person.  She is one of the most warm and loving people I know and her husband and children give her great happiness.  My wife’s parents, Dick and Jan are the most incredible people I could ever hope to have for my in-laws. They have welcomed me with open arms to their family and show me daily they care about me.  Thank you everyone for all you do for me.

I am thankful for the few close friends I have.  Mark and Pauline, who I have known for many years are my longest and closest friends. They have shown that true friendship many times and continue to do so.  Also, my friends Ed and Ammon, whom I don’t see as much, but regard as close friends.  And some others I do see and talk with often, Kimberly, Kail, Lisa to name a few.  Thank you all for being my friends and caring about me and my family.

And finally, I am so very thankful for everything else I have been blessed with.  My job, my home, the things I have which make my life easier and more enjoyable. I am grateful to have the means to have and keep them. I am thankful to live in this country, in spite of who is running it. I know there are very few places in the world that afford a person the opportunities and freedoms that I enjoy.

I hope this Thanksgiving Day that everyone takes some time and reflects on God’s grace and love and what He has blessed them with.  There is much to be thankful for.  May we all be worthy of the gifts and things we have and never forget what true thankfulness and happiness are.


I remember…Fall weather

   Posted by: John   in I Remember...

Well, the title is a little bit of a misnomer because Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the colors, the cooler weather after a hot summer, the fall rain, the harvest…lots of wonderful things in the Fall.

I do remember having this huge oak tree in the front yard of the house I grew up in. It’s still there, but seems to have been trimmed back some.  Years ago, there was a ton of ivy that wound it’s way up the trunk and covered the bottom third of the branches.  It was a big tree, lots of leaves.  I remember a few times when the leaves had been raked into a huge pile and we would crawl in them and hide. Nice thing about leaves like that is that they are not super messy. They don’t stick to you and don’t cover you in grass clippings. They are light and you can breathe when you are under the pile. It was a country road, so no people walking by on the sidewalk to scare. So, it was a lot of just goofing around and pretending.



   Posted by: John   in Computer and Network

After a couple years of threatening, I have finally done it. I have upgraded the server and blog platform. The old 32 bit Web Server 2008 is done. That server was in place starting in about 2008 and has performed well. It made it 7 years without any major issues. It started off on a crummy old PC, was moved to a old Dl360 G2 server, and finally converted into a VMWare system in 2011.  As much as I dislike Vista, the server component was stable and ran without problems all that time.

Now, I have it running on a 2012R2 platform. In the process, WordPress was updated from version 2.9 to version 4.3. This was not a very easy project. I had issues getting WordPress installed and working on the new server. I finally found a site that had good setup information that resolved issues in IIS.  I had to update WordPress on the old server before I could move it. But, it’s up and running now. 4 CPU cores and 4 GB RAM have seemed to work wonders on it. It is responsive and works beautifully.

Now I don’t have any excuses…I should be putting lots of stuff on here!


Color Changing Fool

   Posted by: John   in Projects

Kristen wanted to have the color of her bedroom changed. It was the same brown color the rest of the house was and, while a nice color, was a bit much in a smaller bedroom. I brought home a variety of color chips and she picked out a couple she liked.

I actually did the work on the weekend of 7/25-26, but held off posting this until after she came home from California. This was supposed to be a surprise.

The goal was to give the room a brighter look and feel. It is a nice room with a vaulted ceiling. It is not a large bedroom, perhaps 11′ x 11′, with the closet of course.  Like so many other projects, I never seem to take before pictures. The after pictures, though are pretty amazing.

Note that I have not cleaned the carpet.

Closet doors and walls

Bedroom door and wall

Windows with new covering

The window originally had a pink covering over it, but pink would not have looked good in the room at all. The white sets off the window nicely and makes the darker blue trim stand out.

I do not have a picture of it, but the ceiling light fixture was originally a brown color, with some pattern on it. This would have looked awful. So, I got a can of dark semi-gloss spray paint and painted the metal parts. It turned out awesome and looks real good.


More Paint

   Posted by: John   in Projects

The paint has been so successful in areas of the house that I decided to keep on going in various areas. So far it has been a lot of fun and really made a difference.

This time I decided to do something in the master bathroom. The area where the sinks are is separate from the shower/toilet area. The counter and sinks are inset into the wall so it forms a sort-of alcove.  It was painted the same dark brown the rest of the house is.  I changed just that area to the lighter color and it made a huge impact in how bright and open the sink area is.

Bathroom sink area

Bathroom sink area

I made the comment to Laura that this lighter color has not become “old” in that every place I have put this color it has enhanced the room dramatically.

As a funny side note, while we were waiting at Home Depot for some different paint to be mixed up, we were looking at colors for the outside of the house.  One of the colors we picked is this same color. We have not decided if it would be a main or a trim color, but we both like it a lot.

Anyway, there are a couple more places I am going to put this color in the house. Not big areas, but the goal is to make the rooms brighter, happier and give some character to the place. So far that goal has been met and surpassed.



   Posted by: John   in Projects, Random Stuff

Anyone who knows me knows that I despise CFL light bulbs.  I have never liked them, but ended up purchasing a bunch over the years largely because I got a bunch at Wal-Green for 50 cents each. Surprisingly, these cheapo bulbs were some of the best CFL bulbs I have had the misfortune of using. Flip the switch and they are immediately on, and bright. And the color was nice, about the same as a regular bulb. 7 watts vs. 40 watts. They did the job. 

The ones I had in the kitchen though, the 65 watt floodlight replacements, those sucked. Wait 5 minutes to see anything because it took so long for them to get bright.

I remember when CFL bulbs first came out. They were $10-$12 each and claimed to last 7 years. Some enviro-whackjob that worked in the shop started going on about how we all had to get these things because they were going to save the planet and save everyone money. The rest of us tried to talk reason to him, but you know how the religious fervor of the environmentalist is…you can’t tell them anything. I went back to my desk and fired up my spreadsheet. I determined that IF the bulbs lasted the promised 7 years, and a typical incandescent had to be replaced every 2 years, and if electricity rates went up an average of 4% per year, it would take 12 YEARS for that $10 bulb to pay for itself in money saved. I showed that to the enviro-tard and that shut him up.  I almost felt sorry for him.  OK, not really.  We all laughed at him.

I have yet to have a CFL that lasted 7 years.  Not. One.

On the other hand, LED bulbs, now that the prices have come down some, look like they are a much better option. Right now, Lowes and Home Depot have 40 and 60 watt replacement bulbs for about $2.50 each. These draw 6 or 9 watts respectively. Nice color light too. The CFL bulbs that replace a 60 watt real bulb draw 13 watts and actually cost more!  So, I now have LED bulbs throughout the house. I took out the 23 watt (100 watt replacement) CFL’s and replaced them with the 6 watt LED’s and found that there was more light, of nicer quality. The only fixture left which has CFL’s is in the master bath and the only reason those are still there is because I can’t seem to get the fixture open. I am not sure what the problem is, but I am about ready to just break the glass and replace the whole thing. 

The three CFL floods in the kitchen got replaced with three LED lights. That made all the difference in the kitchen, which always seemed dark and dreary. Not any more! 

In the garage, there were two old 8′ fluorescent fixtures in there. One of them did not work at all. The other one buzzed and flickered and generally promoted epilepsy. At 80 watts per tube (and I assume the ones that did not work were also drawing some power), they were awful for the crummy light they provided.  I determined that I would replace them, and gave some consideration to installing some pot lights. However, a better option turned out to be some LED strip lights.  These cost a few dollars, but for 20 watts per 4 feet, these fixtures put out more useable light than the fluorescents ever thought of and beats a CFL any day of the week. I only got 4 of them and need to get 2 more to finish the job, but the $80 has been needed other places.

Anyway, I can’t argue with the results. The electric bill has been lower here than it has ever been. I imagine it will take a couple years for the LED’s to pay for themselves, but after that, it’s money in the bank!


How Hot Is It In Hell?

   Posted by: John   in Fun Stuff

A thermodynamics professor had written a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)? Support your answer with a proof.

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So, we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added. This gives two possibilities.

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until All Hell Breaks Loose.

2. Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell Freezes Over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Therese Banyan during my Freshman year, “That it will be a cold night in Hell before I sleep with you”, and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then 2 cannot be true, and so Hell is exothermic.

The student got the only A.


I Remember…Grandma’s Gas Stove

   Posted by: John   in I Remember...

One of the things that I remember about my Grandparent’s house is that things never seemed to change a lot. The few times they did, they were fairly big (carpet replacement, new couch). But, prior to those changes the original items were well beyond the range of general use. Part of that has to do with the great care they took of things. That couch (or davenport as they called it) was there for a long time past it’s useful life.

Anyway, Grandma had this stove in the kitchen, an old Tappan gas range. Just looking at old stuff, it appears that the stove may be a 1943 model.

Tappan Range

Anyway, I was thinking about when we go to replace the stove here. The original electric range has been decent, but we both would like to see about getting a gas unit. Maybe something like this:

Things sure have changed since the 1940’s. Nice big oven, different size burners, probably a lot more efficient. I would have to have someone plumb gas into the kitchen, but that will be a piece of cake…the gas lines are just behind the wall.

Anyway, that’s what we are thinking.  Still kind of fun to remember Grandma’s stove though.

We were visiting my sister a couple weeks ago. Of course, we picked the weekend where the temperatures were the highest of the summer. Someone at the weather channel has a sick sense of humor.

Anyway, we arrived and it was a hundred degrees. Inside the house was close to 90. There is no way I can sleep in temperatures like that, so we put one of the air conditioners in the bedroom windows and refrigerated that room down to about 65.

But I got to thinking about that a little. It was the same bedroom I had as a kid. We never had air conditioning in the house at all. No window units either. I don’t remember it being that hot in the house.  Maybe I tolerated the heat better when I was young and didn’t notice it so much.  There used to be a couple of trees that shaded the house from mid-afternoon through the evening but those are gone now and that side of the house gets the direct sun all day.  Maybe that made the difference.  Anyway, it was something I thought of but can’t remember details about.  I guess that was a long time ago.


I Remember…My Grandparents and Dishes

   Posted by: John   in I Remember...

I remember going to visit my grandparents on occasion.  They lived 971 miles away from us, so we didn’t get to go very often, usually once every other year.  Anyway, I don’t ever remember Grandpa doing any cooking at all. That was Grandma’s job, and she was good at it. For that matter, I don’t ever remember Grandpa taking things from the fridge and making a sandwich. If it was already on the table for lunch or something, that was different, he’d put something together then. Of course, with the small kitchen they had, it was difficult for two people to prepare food.

But, when the meal was done, I remember Grandpa ALWAYS helping with the cleanup and dishes. Grandma washed, and he dried and put the dishes away. When they traveled in the motor home, it was the same thing. She cooked, but he always worked with her on the cleanup.

This is one of the things that come to my mind when Laura and I finish a meal. Most of the time we get things put away and get the kitchen work done together. It’s a small thing, but I find it is very satisfying to do it together.

I hope that our kids reflect on how we do the simple but necessary household things together and do that with their sweethearts when that time comes. Not only does it keep the house neat, but it maintains a bond of togetherness that I think is missing from so many families.


Booked It!

   Posted by: John   in Uncategorized

We booked our honeymoon place today!  It is in Princeville on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It looks like a very nice place, a ground floor condo just a few steps from the beach. Here’s the link to it.

We had decided that a hotel room is nice, but most hotel rooms are small and do not offer much if anything for kitchen accommodations.  Yes, it is a honeymoon, but eating out 2 or 3 times per day is not only expensive, but gets tiresome very fast.  So, having a kitchen available for breakfasts, snacks and maybe a supper or two is perfect!  Laura and I keep things very clean. Aside from changing bedding and bathroom stuff, the cleaning staff will find everything else as good or better than they would do it.

Here’s a couple pics of the inside.

Condo Front Room


It looks like a very nice little place, just perfect for two to get away for, um, honeymoon activities!

Here’s a view of the surrounding scenery.

Kauai Beach

The best thing about this place is that it is on the North side of the island. We will get to see sunrises and sunsets over the beach. This area is not quite as touristy as some of the others so there should be fewer people around.

In the end, we will save about $500 going this route instead of booking a hotel. And we will have better privacy and a place do have our own meals. We are very excited and can’t wait to go!