Monday, October 23, 2006

Breaking Off Is Hard To Do

I haven't posted much on the topic of surfing as of late, but that doesn't mean that I haven't been doing my best to get out in the water every day possible. What you see in the picture below is my Gary Hanel canard quad turbo, which I have enjoyed immensely since it first blessed my quiver last year. However, note that is is sans fin...

How did this happen? Did I drop in on a 12' wave, try to turn too sharp, and blow out the fin due to my extremely powerful surfing style? Ermmmmm - no. In fact, this incident occurred last Thursday, when the wave size could best be described as small and closed out.

I paddled for one of the larger waves, popped up just as the lip came over and took the board out from under my feet. Said board did a nice 180 degree rotation, and placed itself deftly in the path of my descent. I felt the fins bite into my left tricep and right hamstring, and wondered if I was now leaving a nice chum trail to my newly pierced body.

After a brief inspection, I determined that the wetsuit took the brunt of the damage with major bruising to show up in a day or so. Then I noticed the lack of a fin where one usually is. It was probably a good thing that it snapped off instead of embedding itself into my flesh, so I'm looking at it in a positive light.

I called the good folks at Rainbow Fin Company, and they are shipping me a replacement fin which I should receive today. It's not the same color, so I am expecting a 25% reduction in speed (everyone knows that red fins go fast, right?). However, at least I don't have to shell out for a complete set of fins.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Home Improvements

Right around New Years Day, I replaced the old oak entertainment center that my wife and I have owned since we were married. It was about 7 or 8 feet wide, and about 7 feet tall. It had enough room for a 27" television, shelves for our audio/video equipment, and limited storage for the kids' books and/or toys.

In our family room, we have a recessed area for an entertainment center. Unfortunately, it was much, much bigger than the oak unit and so things didn't quite look so great. Add 9 years of abuse by the kids, and we decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and upgrade.

After doing some research on custom built wood entertainment centers, I quickly realized that the custom option was way the hell to much money, unless I used crazy glue and tongue depressors as the main construction elements. My second choice was to head down to Ikea and see what they had to offer.

We found a nice set which could be customized to our nook, and almost completely fill the space. It would have more storage space than the current unit, and I would make room for a nice, big screen TV as well. We hunted for the necessary pieces, made a trip up to the OC (as that was the only location which had all of the pieces we needed in stock), and came back home. Over the course of the day, we put the whole she-bang together.

Fast forward 10 months to the present - our old TV upstairs is on the fritz, and we decide to make the move. Last Saturday we went out and picked up a 46" LCD TV, and it is very nice. Here is the end result, sans HD-DVR which arrived today from the good people at Cox Communications.

My wife and I figure that this will be our birthday, anniversary, and Christmas presents - for the next 8-10 years or so...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Adobe Flash 9 Beta for Linux is Here

For those of us who use linux and have been suffering with Adobe Flash 7 for the last few years, today we finally receive some good news. Flash player 9 beta is available for download!

I have installed it on my Ubuntu dual Opteron box here at work, and immediately noticed that the audio seems to synch up with the video just fine. Woo-hoo! So, go grab and install it, and give it a whirl.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Summer Vacation Part V - The Road Home

[ Is this thing on? Hello? Check... 1... 2... 3... ]

When we last left our intrepid band of family members, they were leaving the confines of the Puget Sound area, and making their way back home to Southern California. SoCal, where mold isn't the state flower, and sunshine isn't an endangered species. Ah yes, I was so looking forward to getting back home.

After 10 hours of uneventful driving through Washington, Oregon, and into California, we stopped for the night in Redding, CA. The first order of business was getting a place to stay, and we opted for a local motel which appeared a little bit worse for the wear. However, we actually had our best night of sleep there, so I can't complain too much. They had a pool (the temperature was very hot), wireless net access, and free donuts and coffee for breakfast.

After securing accommodations for the night and letting the kids cool off in the pool, we went out to eat at Buzz's Crab Seafood restaurant, an establishment that came highly recommended. Redding doesn't conjure up images of waves breaking on the beach, crabs skittering over rocks, nor sharks (lasers attached to their frickin' heads on not), so I was a bit apprehensive about the place. My fears were misplaced, as the food was great and the setting informal (a big plus when traveling with three kids couped up all day in a car). Everyone enjoyed their meal, and the night was still young, so we all decided to go for a walk and see what was available locally.

We had heard a little bit about Turtle Bay Exploration Park, so we bugged our hostess for directions and made our way to the park. The park is next to the Sacramento river, and the most striking feature of the park is the Sundial Bridge which goes over it. As it was getting on fairly late in the day, most of the park was closed except for the bridge and the trails adjacent to the river. Here are a few pictures:

So, we hiked around a bit, took some pictures, and headed back to the room to catch some Z's. The following morning, we ate a few donuts and hit the road homeward bound. The remainder of the trip was uneventful, save for the wonderful traffic in Los Angeles.