12.07.2007

iPhone Speaker Problem: An Explanation and Solution

If you've had an iPhone for some length of time chances are you have experienced this symptom. You make or receive a call but you can't hear or talk through the normal mic and earpiece.

It's happened to me twice now. The first time I finally figured out how to fix it. It was a simple 32 step process that apparently was no more effective than a rain-dance.

The real reason this happens is that dust or pocket fuzz or some other foreign material gets in to the earbud socket. This triggers earbud mode without the benefits provided by the earbuds. Eureka!

Clean out that socket and you're golden.

12.01.2007

Dune Buggy: First pics ...

Well, I finally did it. I bought my f'n Dune Buggy.

Dune Buggy's first fill-up

A few things that would up ruining my weekend. Little details that the previous owner failed to finish before I picked it up like:

* Seats not bolted
* No seat belts
* Weak accelerator spring

That said, it's a fun little ride and I am excited to get it tagged and take it out on the beach.

11.24.2007

Catching up ...

Where does the time go?

I handed out this URL in my going away email three months ago and haven't posted twice since. Things are going well in Florida. Meeting lots of great people and enjoying the new gig.

Thankfully, I am still in the place on the beach and I wake up to the sound of the ocean each morning. Otherwise I wouldn't see it. Between working, organizing/promoting the local ruby user group, and trying to catch up with personal life... well, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I am shopping for a Dune Buggy and just missed out on an ebay auction where I got sniped in the last 30 seconds. The buggy was in Elkhorn, WI and the plan was for Lark and I to drive it down to Florida from Wisconsin. Would have been a long, strange trip.

Wisconsin is about the same as when I left it 3 weeks ago, only colder. We've been to my sister's house, brother's house, both of my wife's grandparents' homes (2 hours north). For a four day weekend, I've already logged 12 hours just driving to visit folks. Not that I'm complaining. Seeing people I probably wouldn't have if I weren't moved away.

I'll try to keep this thing up to date. No promises though.

11.01.2007

Off to Jacksonville, FL for good...

Moving day, me and my suitcase are headed to the coast. The wife and dogs will join me in about six months. Hard to say goodbye to so many friends and co-workers but, I am extremely excited for the potential of the new job.

More later...

8.29.2007

Live Blogging MATC ROR Course Class 1.1

Setup rails, with an emphasis towards the Windows boxes made available by the college, using InstantRails or more sophisticated means if we were so inclined.

Created Databases by hand and also using phpMyAdmin.

Basic overview of MVC Framework.

Create a controller:
ruby script/generate controller main

"Controllers are non-destructive which is nice"

Created [Rails_App]/app/controllers/main_controller.rb

In Rails Actions are methods of a controller.

Everything that rails does is built on the philosophy of convention over configuration.

8.07.2007

Ugh, Race Report 8/3 & 8/5

It was a weekend full of ups and downs at the race track. Although mostly downs, the car stalled on the starting line, again. This was resolved by setting the idle up. My thinking was that the idle was already up really high but, what I was noticing was the idle speed with the choke engaged.

So, with a half-lap handicap I wound-up in fifth place after dodging several spinning cars. Or at least one spinning car many times. ;) Andy had his hands full and as my experience can attest once you feel like you are behind you try harder, you push, and you usually do worse. Some of my best races were ones I just didn't have any hope of winning and happened to be the last man standing.

Friday night, 5th place.

Sunday was the Sun Prairie Lion's Club Great American Race special. The back-ups always make an appearance and also race for points. This race went even worse. We got almost 3/4 of a lap in when George Wachuta running in the low groove slid up into my groove. We touched and then released and this sent me broadside across the track where I was collected by another driver. I wasn't able to finish the race and I had a flat tire.

I think they scored me in 7th, we'll find out at payout on Friday.

Those are all downs, you say? Where are the ups? Well the Lion's Club race usually has time to kill built into the schedule. We were able to take the Back-up division out qualifying. Fastest time, on a non-ideal track, was by me. I turned a 17.091 second lap. That is an average speed of 52 MPH according to this lap speed calculator. There is more there too, I could turn a faster lap under better conditions.

7.28.2007

Another perspective ...

What does it look like to race backwards? Ride along with the winner from last nights Wild & Crazy Back-Up Race with this in-car footage.



Note: My car actually stalled on the line and re-fires 'just' as the green flag falls.

Live Action Race Report

I could tell you about this week's race, or you could just watch for yourself. That's me in the black car in the second row.





Special thanks to my niece and videographer Katie!

7.21.2007

Race Report: Out of luck?

I've posted a few times about how lucky I've been at the track this season.

Last night was not an exception, I finished third while taking a position away from the point leader in the last quarter of the last lap.

Everything didn't go as planned though. I had a lot of friends and family up to watch me race. Mom & Dad, John, Matt, Samantha, Mark's kids and my Dad's pit crews from over the years. I started near the back (outside row three). The race was going fine until lap three or so when one of the lead cars Ryan Oetzel slowed suddenly coming out of turn two. The car behind him tried to avoid him and got into the infield grass. He then came out of the infield and into Ryan. That turned Ryan broadside in front of me. *BAM!* *POW!* *POOF!* After shaking off the cobwebs I hopped out and realized that I had very minimal damage.

The race restarted from a standstill with me and Ryan in the back. After the green fell I caught and passed 6th place, 5th place, 4th place. After that were the leaders. I caught them and managed to get inside Bruce Havel to take third when he slid up the track.

Again lucky to start at the back, twice and still come away with a third place.

7.16.2007

Race Report 7/13/07

Starting Line-up

03 22
11 86
15 39
ONO

#22 Wayne Hook lead two laps before Andy Ward (#03) got around him. I slid into the high groove and followed Andy about a half lap later. Just after I got past Wayne he slid up the track on Bruce Havel (#15) and found himself in the wall. He walked to the ambulance and spent a few minutes there. He was out looking at his car a few minutes after the race was over and seemed none the worse for wear.

Lap 4 restart
03
86
ONO
39
11
15

To avoid killing the engine I feathered the throttle off the line and Andy snuck off to a straight away lead. I chased him down by the start of lap six and we raced side by side for a half of a lap before he spun on his own.

Finish
86 Me
39 George Wachuta
11 Dave Moore
15 Bruce Havel
ONO Jug Hur
03 Andy Ward
22 Wayne "Off on the" Hook

Excited about my fourth win in about twice as many tries. The car actually didn't handle very well. Due, in all liklihood, to removing the 40-50 lbs of gas and tank last week and replacing it with about 5-10 lbs of replacement gas and tank. I've got some time scheduled to go up and work on the handling this Wednesday evening.

In other news I am meeting with the fine folks at Pizza Oven about a potential sponsorship this week.

7.07.2007

Race Report 7/6/2007

What's the old saying?

I'd rather be lucky than good.


Well, last night I was lucky. My starter solenoid failed, I ran into another car, and I had a catastrophic mechanical failure. Somehow through all that I managed to finish 2nd out of eight cars.

I've been using my street car battery to power my back-up car, that means I take the battery out of my little Mitsubishi Mirage and mount it in the battery box of the #86 Back-up. This has worked fine for a couple weeks now. Last night I mounted the battery and tried to start the car *TAP* *TAP*. The solenoid failed meaning my car could only be started by jumping two terminals with a screwdriver or other piece of metal with an insulated handle. Luckily, my solenoid is mounted on the floor next to the driver's seat and therefore even if I was buckled in I could restart the car. That came in handy when I went to enter the track and the car stalled. It re-fired after some fumbling in the dark to find the right terminals.

After the race started I got caught behind Dave Moore who was using the entire track and not giving me an opportunity to pass him. On one corner I came in a whole lot harder than he did and clobbered him pretty good. Luckily we were both able to continue on almost without incident. I eventually passed him for that position.


Just after the white flag fell I raced into turn one to find spinning cars. I jammed on the brakes and drove around while noticing a large chunk of debris sail up the track and into the pit area sparking and nearly glowing. Luckily I finished the race and took home second place.

After slowing down and checking out the scoreboard I turned around and drove to the pit area. The official was looking at me and pointing to the large chunk of debris.

My thought process as I drove past the debris and to my pit stall was something like this:

Hey, that looks like my fuel cell.

If that's my fuel cell, How did I finish the race?

Holy crap, that sparking glowing piece of debris was fifteen gallons of gasoline that ejected from the trunk of my car.

Luckily, I finished the race. Luckily, nobody was hurt. Luckily I'll be able to put it all together and do it again next week.

6.29.2007

Race Report

I've been having a pretty good luck at the race track this season, at least the nights that I have shown up. With vacations to Portland, OR; Ocala, FL; Chicago, IL and pending weddings my attendance at the track has been less than 100%. Still on the nights I have appeared it's been worthwhile.

OK, I do have one DNF (Did Not Finish). Other than that I've had one 4th place finish, a 2nd, and three wins. Tonight, after waiting in line 8 hours for my iPhone, I made it up to the track and scored my first ever set of back-to-back victories.

6.26.2007

My motorsports photography portfolio ...

Trying to land a gig down in Illinois for this Saturday lead to the creation of this flash-based slideshow.

Let me know what you think

6.05.2007

More Backwards Racing video



A produced segment

This feature was put together for a now defunct show called RaceDay on the now defunct TNN (The Nashville Network). It is packed with action and accidents as well as legendary back-up racers Jug Hur, Dave Moore, and Bruce Havel.

Update:
As johnhelmer and others have commented the video incorrectly states the location of Columbus 151 Speedway as Columbus, OH when in reality we share a home state with Matt Kenseth, the late Alan Kulwicki, andDave Marcis, among many others.

6.03.2007

Backwards Racing? Yeah, Backwards Racing



8 Laps in Reverse, as fast as you can.

This is an older video of the Wild & Crazy Back-up cars from Columbus 151 Speedway in Columbus, WI. The video is focused on my car but you get a good feel for the racing and the carnage that happens when you race in reverse.

Most every Friday Night in the summer you'll find me at Columbus 151 Speedway.

5.18.2007

Chad Fowler Quote

"I'm sick of being associated with arrogant bastards."

- Chad Fowler

Surprise visitor makes an appearance in Portland

So, I am sitting in a conference session and who do I see? My dog, Wrinkles!

The speaker was going through a few funny pictures to get the crowd warmed up. And up pops this picture of my dog.

It was a crazy moment.

DHH - Keynote quote

"Rails 2.0 is not going to be a unicorn."

RailsConf '07

Jon and I are in Portland, we flew in on Wednesday morning, and picked up our rental car. We drove down to Bend, OR (2.5 hours) and visited my cousin and his wife (Michael and Gillian). We enjoyed a BBQ and bonfire with Michael, Gillian, Dick & Diane (Gillian's Parents), and a few of their friends (Jordan, Susan & James).

We took the scenic route back to Portland through Sisters, OR and testing the Dodge Charger RT on some back mountain roads.

5.13.2007

Flip This Car

The buzz in real estate these days is house "Flipping". Buy an older house that needs work throw a bunch of time and money at it and sell it for a huge profit.

That's what I've done here to a 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna only without a lot of money and I have no intention of selling.

Before
60 MPH ... Backwards

After
A fresh look at a classic ...

A striking change with just a little paint and some new decals.

5.12.2007

Race Results Week 3

This season I have seen by far the most door-to-door type racing in my entire twelve-year career. That's a statement about the quality of the equipment I've been given, my growth as a driver, and the level of competition brought by my fellow back-up racers.

The TTL Photography Chevrolet was just awesome.

From the Columbus 151 Speedway Press Release:

Jim Remsik, Jr of DeForest claimed the 8 lap back up feature win after running down the leader half way through the event. Wayne Hook grabbed the lead on the first lap and stayed out front as Remsik was running him down. Remsik caught Hook and made the winning pass on lap four with Bruce Havel in tow for second. Havel made several attempts at a pass for the lead, but Remsik had too much and was able to hold him off. At the line, it was Remsik for the win followed by Havel and George Wachuta.

5.08.2007

Race Reports Week 1 & 2

Combined race reports for weeks 1 & 2. Subconsciously, I probably didn't want to post week 1 on it's own.

Week 1

I had residual mechanical problems from last year that caused me to make it on track but, not be able to race. Big bummer but, I got the 4 points for making an attempt.

Week 2

After the failure of week one I was happy to make some laps at speed. My low point total placed me on the front row outside. From there I took off and had the early lead. In fact I lead the first six or so laps. Laps that were filled with side by side racing with seven time back-up champion Bruce Havel and I door-to-door, backwards, at speeds reaching almost 60 MPH. We came upon the slower traffic of Wayne Hook. Going through the corner Bruce took the high groove and I took the low groove splitting around Wayne and then coming back together door-to-door. Subsequent lapped traffic stole the victory from me.

Second place for the second race of the season. Makes me wish I had been able to make the first race...

4.25.2007

Being noticed on Flickr

A blog I read regularly, Strobist, is in the middle of a series on the future of Flickr. Specifically how it will be monetized and evolve into a marketplace for photography and photographers.

How timely is it that earlier this week I was contacted by an artist from Fountain Valley, California who was interested in using one of my photos as the inspiration for a painting? After a few emails back and forth he has agreed to compensate me for his use of my work. The artist, Bradford J. Salamon, will also send me a digital copy of the finished version.

It's been a pleasant experience dealing with Bradford and I am excited to see the results of his work. It is also a great feeling to know what you do is inspiring to others.

4.09.2007

New Camera Body

Well, my money is in Paypal's hands and in "Pending" status according to the seller. This is my new camera once the money actually gets deposited.



Canon EOS 1 D Mark II (2) N



Worthy of a few bullet points:

  • 8.2 Megapixel

  • 8.5 Frames Per Second (Up to 48 shots continuous, 22 Raw)

  • 45 Point Auto Focus

  • Weather Sealed Body

  • Exposes from 30 Seconds to 1/8000 sec

  • Uses CompactFlash and/or SD Memory Cards



Now all I need to do is learn to take pictures!

4.07.2007

Release, relief and pain

Well, I figured I should probably make an entry here, it seems like forever since I posted anything.

After a quick re-engagement I got a call on Friday from John Olson of the State Lab of Hygiene. My work there was done. The Time and Status Reporting application that I was brought in to adapt from DFI's implementation was working as expected on all fronts.

So, again, I'm done with them.

I finished our taxes tonight. Pleasantly surprised that we're getting a refund this year. *Phew*

Working on a toothache and a bottle of vicodin. Toothache is winning to this point. :S

Working on a purchase that would provide a serious improvement in camera equipment. Details are emerging but, I'll sit on them until I have secured the deal. Things are looking good though. Hoping Paypal doesn't choke on my payment.

3.28.2007

Sick Again ...

Well, I managed to pick up another cold. I think it is directly related to the stress of a deadline at work, no not DFI, no not the Ruby On Rails project with Jon, the other work the State Lab of Hygiene.

The good news? I just delivered the "final" version. So, I don't have that hanging over me any more. Now to get the Ruby On Rails thing on track... n/m. We need to get that thing moving, ideally deployed before RailsConf '07 in May.

3.19.2007

External HD

As you, my loyal readers .. err reader .. knows I recently had to go without my Mac Book for an unknown amount of time. This posed two problems. I didn't have my environment for working on a Ruby On Rails startup with a friend and I didn't have my windows environment for my other job.

I needed an external hard drive and suddenly had an urgent need for one this Sunday so that I could help out one of Jen's friends. Her iMac was complaining that she didn't have enough disk space. Kristen had over 3000 pictures and wanted to keep all of them. Archiving them to disc was a suitable option for her, in fact, she tried to do it herself.

Unfortunately, she didn't have enough hard drive space to burn the disc, to give her more space on her hard drive.

Western Digital WDG1SU5000 500GB MyBook Premium ES Edition External Hard Drive to the rescue!

3.11.2007

FlickrCars.com

You've seen FlickrDogs.com and FlickrBabes.com (kinda safe for work, stop back when you get home) well, with all of the good topics taken I've started FlickrCars.com. :D

Just kidding.

Interested in cars? Come check out the site. Got a Flickr account? Join the group and post some pics

FlickrCars.com

3.06.2007

MacBook Pro is back!

I'm sitting at Culver's procrastinating about stuff I need to get done for a client. Life is bhttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifack to normal.

Phenomenal turn around time at Madison Computer Works with my issue. My video display started displaying patterns of diagonally striped noise. I took it in to Glenn S. at MCW at 2:19PM yesterday. At 3:42 PM today I get a phone call saying it's ready to be picked up. Wow!

I had reason to expect a fast-ish turnaround. Glenn told me he could order parts by 3PM and see them the next day. He also warned that he had a higher than usual volume of work which tempered my expectations.

"So, what's the damage?" I asked
"It's still under warranty, no charge" he replied.

Yay!

Take THAT all you Dell totin' Apple haters!
Look under your chair, you'd be surprised at what you might find.

3.05.2007

My MacBook (Pro) is dead ...

All good things must come to an end. My MacBook Pro caught a case of Faulty Logic Board syndrome and stopped functioning last night.

The fine folks at Madison Computer Works are doing their best to revive it. By all accounts the remedy is a quick hardware swap. Quick once they have parts on hand and not facing the largest onslaught of calls in recent memory.

Glen the "MacGuy" at MCW said since he would order the parts before 3pm the should be there sometime tomorrow. If I can maintain some priority perhaps I'll get my life back on track tomorrow night.

Of course I have no back-ups of my data, are you kidding? Looks like a multi-100's GB FireWire Drive is in my future.

Sean Johnson of IntentionallyDesigned.com prepares to bowl.


WiiBreak2
Originally uploaded by jremsikjr.
This life-sized display is generated by a projector at BarCampMadison.

Sean is trying to keep up with the other bowlers who, as you can see, are perfect so far this game.

BarCamp Madison

BarCamp Madison was held over the weekend at the Inn on the Park on the Captiol Square in Madison, WI.

BarCamp is a complimentary event to FooCamp, the very exclusive event hosted by Tim O'Reilly and company, where everyone is encouraged to participate. Sessions are lead by anyone with knowledge to share on a topic. In a session about blogs and nobody covered WordPress? Sign-up to lead a session.

Check out the Flickr Photo Pool for BarCamp Madison

See what others are saying about BarCampMadison.

Watch the WiiFight Midwest video here!

3.01.2007

Reciprocity

One good link deserves another.

As I was digging through my site's visitors in Google Analytics I noticed a small spike (statlagmite?) beginning 2/19. The source? A link to my Polar Plunge account from The Isthmus.

The article has links to other's accounts and includes video which shows among other groups the frogs that got engaged 'just' before my group staged.

Go check out the videos and start planning your costume for next year.

2.22.2007

Yet Another Polar Plunge Pic



Charter Communications Plungers, Are you ready?



Yeah!



This is the group I plunged with after missing my team's plunge. When announced they tried to disown me, luckily some crazy guy was loud enough that nobody heard them.

Another Polar Plunge Pic



Look at the smile on this volunteer's face after I lei'ed her. I made sure to give some attention to all of the support staff around the opening in the lake, just in case. I believe this person's job was to use her wooden staff to push people towards the stairs/edge of the lake opening in the event they were unable to do so themselves.

2.18.2007

Another Plunge Pic



This is the descent down to the opening in the water, I had just Lei'ed the judges.

2007 Polar Plunge


Superfly



I jumped a hair before 11:40AM. We raised $1375.01 in pledges for my plunge alone. That money goes to Special Olympics Wisconsin, a worthy cause. The water is many times colder than I remembered. Next year I will be looking for more people to actually jump with me, this means you.

2.09.2007

Sick again ...

Staying home sick again today. Get to see a doctor as the fever has crept up over 100 degrees. Blech.

2.06.2007

Blech ...

Somehow, Between 3:00 and 5:00 pm today I went from feeling just fine to feeling awful.

Fever, cough, fatigue, the works.

2.02.2007

Florida Tornadoes ...

Tornadoes tore through central Florida last night, killing 14. Initial reports listed a county, Lake County, not any one city. A quick search for Lake County, FL yielded results of Ocala, FL which is where my parents live.

I gave them a call and it was 30 minutes south of them. Lady Lake, FL got hit yet again. It seems everytime I hear Tornado and Florida it is quickly followed by Lady Lake.

Too many natural disasters and other hazards in Florida. It's a nice place to visit but, I wouldn't want to live there. :)

Google Apps for Your Domain

Google Apps for Your Domain lets you offer private-labeled email, instant messaging and calendar accounts to all of your users


It's all free* and everything is hosted by Google. No hardware or software required.


Did you notice the asterisk? As asterisks go it's pretty benign, if you don't currently control a domain they'll register and host your domain for a reasonable $10/yr.

So, for your "organization" (I am using it as a portal for my family) you get a google-esque start page, mail services hosted by google and gmail interface, private calendar, gtalk capability, and a web-based wysiwyg "page creator".

Setup is painless for the internet savvy. I regged my domain through goDaddy.com for $6.95 with a discount so you could save some cash there.

It's a nice portal that will allow my family to communicate easier.

1.30.2007

Bittersweet start to the day

As I logged on this morning I was torn. Do I feel happy that I raised $750+ for Special Olympics or dread the impending plunge. To share my feelings let's do some math.

Grand Canyon
(Me - my wife Jen)


+



+



+



=



$760+ for Special Olympics



Now you can see my situation


1.26.2007

Polar Plunge Challenge 2

Wow! What a great response! In a little over five hours yesterday the goal of getting $100 in donations was met. Gary McFall has made good on his promise and donated an additional $65 to raise the pledge total above $500.

That went so well in fact that I am issuing another challenge.

Polar Challenge 2
If $750 is raised in pledges I will dress in an outfit put together by my co-workers. The leading candidate outfit is a grass skirt, coconut bra and a dozen leis. There was some mention of body jewels and pink flamingos too.

Unfortunately, for me, there will be a capable photographer on-site to provide lasting memories.


Click here to Pledge Online

1.25.2007

Lab Results are in ...

and, are perfectly normal. Apparently, outside of the fact that I have what "some people might call a bit of a weight problem", I am the picture of health. Which means I'll be dead in three months.

He just went to the doctor and got a clean bill of health.


So, party on Wayne, and party on Garth.

Polar Challenge 1 Met!

That was quick. At 8:04AM I was at $330.01 I sent out an update email with the challenge. With a donation of $50.00 1:09PM we reached $445.01!

No wonder there is SO much spam in the world. It works!

Polar Plunge Challenge 1

Gary McFall issued me a challenge awhile back that I nearly lost track of with recent events. If I can raise $100 more in pledges from the total at the time of his challenge (which was $335.01) he would donate an additional $65 to put me one cent over my goal of $500.

Can I reach $435.01? Can we reach $435.01?

Open up those purse strings folks!

Pledge to this effort securely online or give me a call (608) 513-5720 if you want to donate by cash/check.

1.23.2007

Reclaimed address

I attempted to login to my health care provider's website the other night, only I had forgotten my password. Luckily they offered to send me an email to the address I had signed up with. Unfortunately, I no longer had access to that email (my first name at my last name).

Until now!

Those following along at home know that I just re-registered Remsik.com and have a shiny new VPS to play with at RimuHosting.com. To make a long story short I remembered my password and logged in that same night. But, now I have my old address back. The first email I received? SPAM. :@

Oh well. Maybe I'll give SpamAssassin a look.

1.21.2007

Another new site: Remsik.com

Second verse, same as the first...

Remsik.com has a splash page up. At it's peak it was a place that our family had a blog and could check on birthdays and the like. The plan is to get it back to being a functional family portal.

New site launched: doeet.com

It's less of a site and more of a splash page. Ordered a Virtual Server from RimuHosting.com, bad name/great service and products. (They've got a referral program too.)

The plan is for this to be a rails testbed, subversion repository host and eventually host the TTL Photography site.

For now there is not much publicly available except for the aforementioned splash page.

doeet.com

1.20.2007

Link: OBD/OBDII Location

This is one of the most useful auto-based projects available on the internets.

Weber State University is cataloging the location of OBD/OBDII ports AND providing pictures of what they look like!

I was looking for the OBD port to read the codes on our Subaru Forester and after many a google searches:
OBD Port Location
Where is my OBD port
Subaru OBDII port location
Please for the love of jeebus tell me where my OBD port is!

The National OBD Clearinghouse in 30 seconds pointed out my error. I had been looking under the dash when the OBDII port is located just inches below the steering wheel.

None the less, this is a tremendous tool for weekend mechanics and those interested in attempting to diagnose and resolve vehicle computer problems on their own.

Rick: D'oh!

Jen and I stopped over to my brother Rick's house to drop off the car computer reader. We have been having issues with our 2002 Subaru Forester running rough, surging, nearly stalling. The computer didn't return any codes and the minor improvement we saw when we switched from regular unleaded to premium is no longer apparent.

So, after returning the reader we stuck around for lunch and watched the end of The Mummy Returns. That was followed by the death of a TV. Rick was tuning his picture, which had gotten fuzzy, by adjusting knobs accessed by removing the back of his television. We spent about 15 minutes getting the picture to display "just right". Then as he was sliding the parts back into place there was a small puff of smoke and the smell of ozone.

And as my dad taught me, once you let the smoke out of electronics they don't work any more.

Congrats Matt! (aka Version0)

Matt recently started a new gig as Webmaster at North American Lake Management Society.

Among other tasks he is working on a full site redesign. You can see the site before the update at NALMS Website and I'll post when the site update is posted.

1.17.2007

Physical delay

I went in for my physical yesterday. Unfortunately the clinic doesn't do the prescribed echocardiogram and that is scheduled for the 31st. The EKG reading that was taken in urgent care a week ago showed no anomalies though. That suggested to my doctor that there was no serious threat. Good news.

If it's all the same I'll feel better after the echo confirms his diagnosis. Talking to Mark's wife he was apparently on medication for high cholesterol etc. The rest of us weren't aware of this and thought this struck him out of the blue. There were warning signs they just weren't in neon or ignored because of his age.

1.12.2007

Life goes on

Yesterday was my first day back at work. It wasn't very productive but, I was there. Still not operating near 100% and as of this morning seem to have picked up cold-like symptoms.

I skipped out on the MadisonRails: Code and Coffee last night as I was adjusting back to a work-day schedule that didn't involve waking up at 9am and napping whenever I felt the need. Jen had a couple tests to take at school which left me time to hang out at Chris' house until 7:30. After that we grabbed a bite to eat and stopped at my parents' house to pick-up a plant my mom was holding for me.

After talking to my parents last night I learned that the period from onset to death of Mark's enlarged heart condition was "years". A promising sign for the rest of us as there are treatments for the condition if it is detected early.

We left my Parent's house at 10:30pm, so much for easing back into things.

[Update]
Mom and Dad worked with Tiffany to finish the Thank You cards for people that signed in at either the wake or the funeral. They sent out over 300 cards. Knowing that most people signed in once per family etc there were likely closer to 600 than 200.

1.11.2007

Back to work...

For just the second time this year I am headed back to work today. Between Mark's passing and my illness I've sat out six full work days.

I called and talked to my boss yesterday, asked if I could have off on Monday to take my parents to the airport. She said that was fine, although it is a State holiday and I shouldn't have come into work anyway. Hey, I'm not used to getting MLK off, OK? She let me know ahead of time that there were a couple cards there for me.

Is it the weekend yet?

1.08.2007

Putting things in perspective ...

Pale Blue Dot

Amazing turnout ...

As I mentioned in my previous post I was in the receiving line at the wake last night. There is no estimate I can give (outside of more than 200 and probably less than 600) but, the line quickly stretched out to the door and outside the funeral home.

We have a large family 5 boys and 2 girls (oldest and yougest). And each had a number of individual supporters. As well as Mark's co-workers from his current and past couple jobs. Folks from the racetrack, Friends of the family that we hadn't seen in literally 20 years. The turnout was really amazing.

Mark was far from perfect but, standing in that line I got a much better sense of who he was in the time between family gatherings. Hindsight being what it is you wish you would have spent more time with him and his family. It's a wonderful gift to be given that realization and the opportunity to spend time with my remaining family.

Rough night ...

It's 3:46 am. I decided to get up and stay up as opposed to trying to sleep the few minutes between trips to the porcelain goddess.

Mark's wake was from 3-6pm tonight. I spent the majority of the night in the receiving line. I am no longer used to standing in one spot for three hours. In a previous life doing manual labor 12 hours was not uncommon. The evening left me sore and we stopped just down the road to get a bite to eat. After moving about 1/4 speed to and from the car and exhibiting other unmentionable symptoms I asked Jen to take me to urgent care.

The wait was too long. We got there at quarter after seven and were told we could have an 8:30pm appointment. After symptoms started to multiply we were moved up in the queue.

After blood-work an EKG reading and other tests that didn't include having my temperature taken we were leaving a a little past 9 with a prescription for a couple Vicodin. Those only stayed in my system for an hour or so.

That leaves me sitting here typing on my blog at nigh 4:00am in the morning, starving and afraid to eat. My trusty saltines and a bottle of water nothing more than decoration on my desk.

1.05.2007

Schedule of events

Saturday - Jen and Jim are hosting a get together at their house food and drink to be served at 5pm, 321 Burl Oak Dr in De Forest, WI. Open to anyone.

Sunday - Wake will be at Gunderson Funeral Home on the East side of Madison from 3PM - 6PM.

Monday - Funeral services will also be at Gunderson on Monday at 1:30. Reception afterward to be held at VFW Post 7591 on Cottage Grove Rd.

C.O.D.

The funeral home received the death certificate. It listed "enlarged heart due to coronary disease" as the cause.

From what I understand this means that what most likely happened was something like this. The heart detected there was too much blood in his heart and tried to counteract that situation by slowing down the blood supply. Creating a scenario where there was not enough blood to allow the body function.

The condition has a number of causes and the exact cause in Mark is not known. Doctors encouraged the rest of the adult family members to have check-ups and ask to be checked for this condition.

Given the fact that my Grandfather, Father, and Brother have all been diagnosed with heart conditions in the past two years it's probably something we should look into.

full obit published

Here's a link to the full obit:

http://www.madison.com/obits/print.php?refDate=2454106&refPage=listing&ad_number=6694796

A small version was availvable on Madison.com yesterday.

1.04.2007

An update, of sorts.

We don't have much more in the way of information about what happened to Mark.

My parents flew back from Florida last night. Jen, my sister Samantha and Mark's oldest boy Andrew drove down to pick them up at O'Hare. This is the second year in a row that they were back in Florida for less than a week and had to come back to deal with the death of a family member. Last year my mother's mother passed.

Jen and I came home and collapsed at 1:30 AM, 21+ hours after being shocked awake yesterday.

Arrangements were being attended to this morning. We'll know dates/times late this afternoon.

1.03.2007