My Riding Lawnmower

When we moved out to the country, I had to buy my first riding lawnmower.  Everybody I talked to said “Go to the local place and get one that they service there”.

So, I went to the local tractor place and got me a big riding lawnmower.  It’s a big monster — 25 horsepower, 54 inch cutting deck…  I want to grunt like Tim Allen whenever I talk about it.  It’s orange, too!  Made with pride in America, no less.

Unfortunately for me, it has been trouble almost since I got it.  The first mowing was okay, but the second time I ran it, it seemed to be really getting bogged down in any kind of grass.  I got a grease gun and added some grease to the mower deck hoping that might help it out, but no, the next time, it was worse.  I couldn’t get it to cut anything.  I called up the dealer and they came and took it back to the shop.

They ‘cleaned out the fuel system’ and brought it back.

It didn’t work any better.  I called them and they came again to get it.

This time they adjusted the ‘deck’ because it was pitched slightly forward.

Really, said I?  That’s crazy.

It didn’t work any better.

This last time they kept it for a week and gave me a “loner” to cut my grass.  That one worked well.

So, now it’s back.

They had to adjust the ‘float’ in the carburetor.  Apparently it was running too rich and causing the problem.  I, needless to say, remain a skeptic.

I   have just finished mowing the lawn.  It ran pretty good.  Cut the grass like it’s supposed to.  It could be that they have fixed everything and this was the problem the whole time.

The problem is that I’m very much paranoid about it now?  It’s like when you sprain your ankle, you’re always over cautious about using it?  I believe that I’m going to be overly concerned about this machine for the rest of it’s existence.  Any little thing that goes on is going to make me jump right over the top.  And, I’m afraid that I’m going to have more problems and more problems until the warranty runs out and then I’m going to have to start paying to fix a problem.

I got to thinking about what would alleviate me of this first world burden…  The first thing would have been that they send it back to the factory and give me a brand new one.  If there was something seriously wrong with it, say it needed the engine reconstructed, then I would not want that mower — I bought a ‘new’ machine, not a factory refurbished machine.

Therefore, it had to be a small problem.  Which, I guess it has turned out to be.  The problem is that I’m not convinced that it’s fixed.  I don’t know what’s involved in ‘fixing the float’ in the carburetor.  Maybe if I knew that I’d feel better, but probably not.

At least the dealer has been pretty good about picking it up and dropping it off right at the house.

I just wish that they had fixed this the first time around… or better yet, there was no problem.

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Playing Games With 7 Year Olds

Tonight we decided to play the card game “Asshole” with our children.  Naturally, we didn’t call it “Asshole”, we called it “President”.

In case you are unfamiliar with the game, the idea is that you try to get rid of your cards.  The first person to do so is the “President” for the next round.  The last person is the “Asshole” (or “Loser” if you’re playing with 7 year olds).  The next round, the “Loser” has to give the “President” his or her best two cards and the President returns the favour by giving back two cards (usually the worse two cards).

So, we played, the kids were excited.  Apparently, they have played this game on their DS’s so they knew how the game was played.  Of course, they don’t grasp the finer strategies behind the game and the twins ended up being the “Loser” and “Vice-Loser”.

Poor Zachery didn’t take this title very well.  He got pretty upset.  He lamented to me that the game was “unfair”.  The President just got all the good cards and the “Loser” got crap.

Of course, he is right.  It’s like that with all games.  Come to think of it, it’s like that in the real world, too — the rich get richer and everybody else suffers.

Oh well, I told him that when we played next, we’d start off with him being the “President” and I’ll take on the “Loser” role.

I’m predicting that when I knock him off the president seat he’ll be ever more upset, though.

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A New Camera For Us

The other day, my wife asked me to keep an eye out for a cheap digital camera.  As a teacher, she was interested in getting into more ‘multi-media’ type stuff with her students — a great idea, if you ask me.

So on Thursday, an email from a liquidation store entered my in-box advertising a digital camera for $49.99 (it’s not spam, I subscribe to it — sometimes there are good deals there).  It looked pretty cool — it came with a bike mount and a water proof case so you can video your bike ride in the rain.  Or, more likely, take pictures of the kids in the water park without fear of getting the camera wet.

When I got it home, we had a look at it and decided to take it back.  Way to small, no flash, and generally a cheap camera.

So, with the $50 of store credit, I went looking for a better camera.  They had a Nikon Coolpix S3300 camera.  It was more money, though — $69.99 — an extra $20.

I think we got a really nice camera for very little money.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe $69.99 is the going price for this camera, but I am very impressed.

Well, it’s time to bath the kids and get ’em to bed.  I’ll see if I can post some comparison pictures between the S3300 and our P5000.

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Christmas Is Over For Another Year

Welcome to 2013!  Take that, you Mayans!

But, seriously, I’m pretty glad they were wrong.  I found it interesting that so many people really believed that the Mayans had it right.  It got to the point where I had to explain to my kids that it wasn’t true, the world wasn’t going to end, that the Mayans did not know anything we don’t know.

But…  we made it through that and got to Christmas.  Good times.  We are not so much into giving ‘stuff’ to our kids for Christmas — we would much rather give them memories and time with the family.  To that end, the past two years we have taken the kids to Disney for Christmas.  This year, though, we took them to the Great Wolf Lodge.

For the most part, it was a good time.  However, on New Years Eve, our youngest was not well.  I was worried that the hotel would think we had partied too much and ‘soiled’ the bed — so I made sure to tell them that the four year old was sick, not me:)

Oh well.  Other than that, the trip was fun.  It wasn’t Disney, that’s for sure, but the kids did enjoy it.

They did do one thing that I have been saying for a long time — they offered us a deal on our next trip with them that was about half price!  It was so tempting, we booked it before we left.  I think that all businesses can learn something here — treat your existing customers better than you treat your new customers.  So many businesses (read Bell Canada) seem to think that getting new customers is better than retaining existing ones.

Oh well.  We’re going to be going back to Great Wolf Lodge… and we’re not using Bell Canada.

At anyrate, all that is as it is…  what I really wanted to say was “I hope everybody has a great 2013!”

Greg

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Haloween

Two more sleeps until Halloween!

My kids are really pumped about it this year.  We have a family theme going — Matthew is dressing up as Jake (from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, the Disney Channel effort to bring Peter Pan to a new demographic), Jacob is going to be Peter Pan and Zachery is going to be Captain Hook.  The best part, they all chose these costumes themselves!

Perhaps we’re bad parents, or perhaps my kids are weird, but they don’t want to watch movies.  We offer to take them to the cinema to see a film and they decline it.  We have resorted to telling them they are going to see a movie (like we did with The Lorax) and afterwards, they always say the enjoyed it and are always enthralled with the film.

Also, they don’t want to watch movies on TV, either.  Last year, when we were driving to Florida, I made them watch the original Peter Pan.  They complained, but, once the movie started, the LOVED it.  Of course, I forgot how politically incorrect the film is by today’s standards (look at how they portrayed Native Americans in the film!)  But, they did enjoy the film.

So, when it came time to choosing costumes, they all wanted to go to Neverland.

Unfortunately, it meant the Disney Store got a good chunk of our cash again this year.  Oh well, the price of having children, I guess.

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It’s been too long.

It has been far too long since I’ve made a blog post.  The biggest problem I face is what to post about?  Do I want to be all political and write something about last night’s presidential debate?  Probably not.  Who wants to hear what I, a Canadian, thinks about American politics?

Perhaps I should write about Canadian politics, then?  I don’t think so, either.  I like politics.  I like Canadian politics.  But, my interest in it has more to do with understanding Rick Mercer’s rants than to actually have an informed opinion that I want to share.  The key to that is the “that I want to share” part.

So, what else is there?  Oh, the Red Bull Stratos project!  I can talk about that!

It made some VERY interesting footage and pictures.  The information they got from this experiment will certainly aid in the safety of the next generation of manned space flight.

But, what I found most interesting was the Red Bull part of the project.  I would think that a better sponsor should have been something like Lockheed Martin Space or NASA or something like that.  But, Red Bull?  I guess…

But, while watching Baumgartner tumbling end over end as he plummeted back to Earth, all I could think of was “I guess the Red Bull wings are held together by bees wax, so don’t get too close to the Sun”.  They should have called this the Icarus Project, if you ask me:)

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7 Line Portrait

A long time ago, I came across a web site encouraging people to post 7 line portraits of themselves.  This intrigued me greatly.  There was some amazing pictures that people did.  Some were very detailed with very long lines, others had simple, short lines.  It reminded me of that old Police album, Ghost In The Machine where the three band members are represented by some 7 segment LED type things.

This really boils the portrait down to what the minimum information you need to convey the image of a person.

I got to searching for the 7 Line Portrait gallery this morning and I couldn’t find it!  I guess it has been removed.  So, in honour of that, I decided to try my own hand at the 7 line portrait.

Here it is.

What do you think?

Greg

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