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The voice of practicality

Its taken me a while to get here, but I have something to admit.  It saddens me to say this, and I can’t believe I’m actually thinking about this.  Its like the voice of reason or practicality has broken thorugh my mentality about owning a 2 seater sports car in a family of 5.  Yes, you got it, I am thinking of selling my Miata and getting a more “family” oriented car.  I am NOT selling my Miata because I don’t like it, or I think there is anything bad about owning one, even in my family situation.  I just think it would be much more practical and convenient to have a 4 door family car.  I am definately going to miss the fun “zoom zoom” my Miata brought into my life.  Liz and I will both miss driving it, going on dates together in it, and all the other fun things we experienced with it. 

A few people who know me, know that I’ve had over 15 different vehicles in the last 12 years.  So I have a bit of a record of not sticking with something for long.  I assure you its not one of those “get a different car” itches.  The plan right now is to get something more comfortable for the family, something we can all fit in and go on a short trip without having to take the van.  It will be more economical, more practical, and will simply fit our family circumstances better than owning a 2 seater convertible. 

One day, when the kids are older, I will definately get another Miata, its just too much fun not to.  And for the people who scorn the Miata or men who drive them, all I can say is you must have never driven one.  Or at least never ridden in one with a driver who can handle the abilities of the car.  As for me, I’m sadly parting with my Miata, but will one day be driving one again. 

**UPDATE**

I was talking to my wife about cars and options for replacing the Miata.  My youngest daughter Abby said “Why does he want to get rid of it…I like the Miata”.  It breaks the heart!

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So busy!

I am normally pretty busy, but lately its just been crazy!  Between some website development I’m doing in my spare time, my full time job and stuff going on with Liz and the kids; its rather hectic. 

We realized the other day that our washing machine was starting to leak, so we jumped on craigslist and found a nice newer set for a great price and the guy even offered to deliver.  They were dropped off yesterday, so after work I installed both a new washer and dryer and tested them out.  Then it was off to web work land for me, which I got carried away with and was up way too late!  I skipped my normal gym night in hopes of going tonight instead.  I don’t like to mess up my schedule, but this won’t be too bad, since Liz and the kinds will be busy on thursday night, so I can go thursday after work and it won’t be a big deal. 

With the web work I’m doing, I am finding all sorts of neat little tricks with flash and other cool tools.  I think I am going to integrate some flash stuff on my personal sites soon, once if things slow down for me. 

Better fitness

On Saturday I joined a local fitness club.  I have been entertaining the idea of getting a membership to a fitness club for a while now, but when I started out looking for one, I didn’t want one of those professional performance places where its a bunch of hulk hogans running around and all that.  So I found a family oriented club and went to check it out on Saturday morning.  I was a little intimidated by the size of the place, but once the manager started showing me around, it was really quite nice.  Everyone was friendly and they offer a lot of cool programs that come as part of the membership.  It is a bit expensive, but my plan is to stick with the club for about a year, get myself in better shape and then try to get some equipment that I can use to maintain my fitness level at home.  I need to go at least 3 times a week which is going to be tough with my schedule.  I realize that if I am going to do this, its going to cost something besides money, and that is my family time.  I’m going to have to go at night twice a week and once on Saturday morning. 

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Using local GPO templates in Windows Vista

One of the things I found tricky about switching to Windows Vista was setting up local GPO Settings.  I opened gpedit.msc and was intentionally trying to add a .adm file for Office Communicator 2007.  I tried everything I knew how to get the .adm file to show up in gpedit, but I couldn’t figure it out.  I tried copying the communicator.adm file to C:windowsinf and C:WindowsPolicy Files and nothing worked.  I even ran across an article on converting .adm files to .admx format for Windows Vista using the ADMX Migrator.  When I tried to convert the file, I got 126 errors and decided that this may not be the way to go.  Finally I found an article on how to add the legacy file format and get the job done.  Its actually already capable of loading the legacy .adm file locally, and here is how to do it…

1. Open gpedit.msc
2. Expand either computer configuration or user configuration
3. Right-click on the Administrative Templates folder and select “Add/remove templates”.
4. Browse for the .adm file you wish to load and select it for opening.

You now have the .adm file loaded and you can then make changes and configure the policy settings.  Also I’d suggest turning off the User Access control option (under control panel > User Accounts) so that you don’t have 500 prompts from Vista asking if you are sure you want to do stuff.  How annoying!  🙂

Microsoft Windows Steady State

Microsoft has recently released Windows Steady State. Its a free application that lets you lock down a windows computer and make it usable in a public environment. It reminds me of my fortress or zenworks days, but its much easier to work with. You can download Steady State from Microsoft and give it a try. This would be great for mall kiosk computers or other types of publically accessible computers. It can even reset all your settings and configuration after a reboot in the event someone does hack the system.

Coming up!

There are a few things I’m working on that I will hopefully be able to release on both my blog and family website soon. Here is a brief list of things I’m trying to get setup…

1. Method for web visitors to send me messages or info, perhaps post back information to my site, maybe a public category where friends and family can post messages.

2. Podcasts – We have a lot of fun doing podcasts. I hope to get the girls and Liz and I back into a somewhat regular podcast series. It would be audio only at first, probably short (under 5 minutes) and of course make you laugh.

3. Way down the road, I’d love to start doing video podcasts. This is going to take a little more thought and planning, and we don’t have the video equipment to take on this job yet.

4. Add pictures to posts – it would be nice if when I posted an update on the site if I could attach a picture to the post for a visual aid of what I’m talking about. So from now on, I’m going to try to post individual pics of the kids or relevant pictures of what relates to my post so that its not just a bunch of boring text… 🙂

5. Custom theme – at some point down the road, its inevitable that I need to try to create a custom theme for WordPress. I have up to now used freely available themes I found online and modified them for my own use. This has worked out fine so far, but its time I start looking into option to code my own theme. This would open up all kind of opportunity as to how I want the site to look, and it would be a lot of fun designing graphics and CSS for the site.

New website for the family

Its been a really long time since we have updated our website.  To be honest, its not very functional.  There are links that don’t go anywhere, pages with no content, and people usually only come to visit our site for the pictures.  So I decided to re-do the site, making it more of a blog/portal for our family.  Soon there will be family updates listed on the main page, along with links to our blogs, and picture gallery.  Soon you will find our site to be much more user friendly and contain the information you want as a visitor anyway.  We just need some new graphics and to finalize a theme to use.

Miata's are awesome

I love my Miata. I have had very little negativity as a result of driving it, but I did recently get a “its a girly car” or its “a gay car”. In response to this, I put together a short list of links and quotes from people who would know best….Miata owners. People shouldn’t talk down about what they have no clue about. The quotes below are taken from the Miata.net forums…

“I think the Miata is just about the best kept automotive secret for those who are not car nuts, but a car guy (or gal of course) knows what a Miata is and what it can do, it’s no secret to them.”

“I’d rather have a car that attracts women more than men (not that there’s anything wrong with that ).”

To quote Louis Armstrong, ” If you have to ask what Jazz is, you’ll never know””

http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0e614c
http://www.miata.net/motm/2003/PFN.html
http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=250985&highlight=girly
http://www.miata.net/misc/girlscar.html




I’ve had girls shout their phone numbers to me …my girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I did though.

I have had this car for 7 years and absolutely love it! The car is nimble and incredibly responsive-the car takes curves wonderfully. The top is easy to lower – I have taken the top down while sitting at a long red light. Unlatch and drop it behind you. The gas mileage is good. I get up to 33 mph on highway driving. It is a roadster and sounds/feels like one. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, no frills car that is intended for driving enjoyment. When I bought it, the differences between the Miata and the (then) Z3 didn’t justify the $18K difference in price. I am glad I went with the Miata. Fully loaded with all options it was only $24K,

Miata is the most popular sports car in the world with well over 750,000 built to date. What if Mazda had successfully marketed it as a “guy’s car?” Probably would have stopped being built in the mid ’90s and Mazda would no longer exist….

“I have had a lot of friends make fun of the Miata. You know, the whole “it’s a girl’s car” and “gay guys drive them”. A lot of them said that until they rode in it and nearly pissed on them selves. I have thought about it and I have come to a conclusion. My car is black. So, I don’t think that it really falls into either category. The color has a lot to do with the girl or gay appeal. That is just my opinions. But, as you all know. Those are like butt holes everyone has one.”

“Heck, I’ll try to talk anyone into buying one given half a chance. “Oh, man, I LOVE this car! The tight handling, the chunky shifter, the size, the proximity to the ground making you feel like you’re going fast even when you’re not, so you don’t feel tempted to get a ticket – what’s not to love?” Then I get to tell them what a practically new-looking ’97 like mine is going for. (But wait, that doesn’t add to my cachet, does it?) ”

“I never turned a basher to a fan, but I did make some shut up. It was early morning and some of my family car lovers and I were headed out to a classic car show. Well my uncles and cousins have either classic muscle or new, as do I but its in the middle of restoration and not drivable, are all ready to go on our little tour to the show. We always take the back way to miss all the traffic, and have a little fun on the way there. I showed up in my Miata and was ready to go. I get there and get knocked a little for ruining the V8 line. But especially knocked by one of my cousins in a late 90s Z28. On the way there I figured I’d give him a run for his money. I told him to just keep up as the roads are pretty curvy. For most of the trip I sat on my uncles bumper, then at one point I slowed down. well my cousin was ready to go, revving his engine and popping the clutch. So after there was some distance between the front of the group I punched it. I tore through the curves like nuts and watched my cousin disappeared behind me until I caught up to everyone else. He never knocked it again. ”

“I was amazed when I bought my 99 NB by how sleek and attractive the car was and how nice the interior design had become. Not to mention the way it drove – and now with power mods done such as exhaust, CAI, and some other goodies (and working on piecing together a DIY turbo kit) I couldn’t be happier! Now I know to never bash cars without checking out what they can become, not what they are.”

“1 convert to date. Made fun of the car, said they were under powered and lame, I asked him if he’d ever driven one, and the reply was “No.” He then joined me in a car pool of friends driving back to Ohio from North Carolina. I drove the first two hours, then handed him the keys and told him whenever he wanted to switch, let me know. I ended up riding in another friend’s car for the rest of the trip while he drove it, and another girl who wanted to ride in it asked me if she could, so we switched spots.

The next day he asked me to drive it around again, and then started talking about his plans to buy one.”

“Two people come to mind. First, I took a kid with an EG civic with a B20 non vtec in it and took him on a nice easy drive down a twisty road. It was the last time I heard him ask ‘why would you want a Miata?’ ever again.

Secondly, several friends of mine and I autocross and both of them have Trans Am WS6’s. This past weekend, I went to an autocross school and the autocross that followed it. I made good use of the braking and turning exercises, and beat both of them by a fair margin(1 and 3 seconds on an average 55 second course.) They both promptly clammed up, and I haven’t heard either of them mention buying a ‘real’ car all week.”

“I have had numerous friends laugh at my “girly” convertible. Once I take the onramp at 70 mph and have to slow down to merge, though, the ribbing stops. Then after their first time behind the wheel, they keep coming back for more. It’s an addiction”

“Let your car explain it for you – have them drive it.

I have friends that still talk about having driven mine in 1991. I have a friend who restores muscle cars, vintage-races a 200 mph former NASCAR Busch Cup car, and considers 300 hp “almost adequate for a street car,” who drove mine a few times and consequently just bought a ’92 Miata. (He drives the Miata more often than the ’04 Mach 1 lately and calls me to tell me “I found this great road on the way home today.”)

I’ve probably let 75 people drive mine, including friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers who simply ask me about the car. “Here, why don’t you drive it and see for yourself.” I’ve taught probably 20 people to drive a clutch in my car (including my 11-year-old son.) Nobody has ever gotten out of the driver’s seat without a big ol’ smile.”

“I have been driving for 30 years and have never been interested in cars.
They were “transportation” from point A to B, and expensive to boot. In the fall of 1999 one of my co-workers wanted to show me his new-to-him 1996 Montego blue Miata. So one day at lunch I took a look, and then he took me for a drive around town…..3 days later I bought a 93 that I continually upgrade; new top, engine stuff, custom paint, etc. I still can’t explain it, but I will have this car the rest of my life ”

“As soon as I got past the “Miata’s are for chicks” thing, and learned about Mazda’s passion for good sports cars (and the rotary engine – which I know the Miata doesn’t have) all that bias lifted away and now I can’t wait for someone to buy my car so I can move on.”

That’s all I have to say about that…

The grass is cut

For the last few days I’ve been trying to time it right so I can cut the grass. For various reasons it just hasn’t worked out. So yesterday, Liz had a meeting scheduled for 7pm she had to go to. I wanted to cut the grass because it was sunny out and not raining. I had to decide on cutting the grass, and taking a quick shower, or should I make dinner and get the family to sit down together and eat a meal before she leaves. So we talked about it on the phone, I tried to call her and she didn’t answer, but finally called me back. We said we’d decide on a final solution when I got home. So I pull up and see that the grass is cut. I can hear a mower at a neighbors house, so I was thinking to myself “Oh she got the neighbor to cut for me”. Well it turned out that she had cut it. I felt the mower and found that it was warm, so I knew she had done it then. I played it off a little at first, and she said “you didn’t even notice did you”. Then I fessed up and made a big deal about it, and it was a really nice gesture on her part. So here is another praise for her!!!

Labor Day Weekend Summary

What a fast weekend! Friday afternoon Liz and I spent most of the time on our computers working on stuff. So we didn’t do much of anything exciting then. One exciting thing that did happen Friday night and Saturday morning is that I sold a bunch of stuff on ebay and got the go ahead from Liz to get a wii. So Saturday afternoon I called around to try to find some store that had any in stock. I called Toys R Us on Fowler, and they said they had one. When I got the store not 15 minutes later, the red shirt told me they were sold out. I am kicking myself now, because I bet if I had asked him to double-check he would have found the one the person on the phone said they had in stock. So of course when I get home and call more places and repeated the process on Sunday, no one I called had any!

I’m not going to get off into a huff about the whole eBay thing with all the wii price gouging going on, but sadly, if I can’t find one at a store by this weekend, I may have to buy one online. I hope it doesn’t come to that, as I really don’t want to support the price gouging, but I’d really like to have ours by next Friday, as we are having guests over and it would be great to have for company.

I don’t think we really did much of anything great on Saturday again, just kind of hung around the house and spent time together. I think Liz and the girls watched a movie.

Sunday, we were supposed to get together with some friends, but one of their kids got sick, so we didn’t get together afterall. I did however, go help build a set for MOPS and spent about 5 or so hours over there doing actual work! 🙂

Monday, we had a last minute get together with some other friends, but I needed to cut the grass. So I ended up cutting the grass in the late morning, while the kids went with Liz to go swimming. I got done cutting the grass and had to get a shower, and get something to eat. Once I got there to meet up with my family, they were all getting out of the pool and about to eat lunch. Then it started to rain. So I took Abby home with me in the Miata. The kids love it when they get to ride in the Miata. And its nice to get that one-on-one time with them. Liz put on more of the movie they watched the previous day and then we got them to bed after dinner.

Liz and I had been trying to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy again, so for the past 2 nights we had watched as much of the movies as we could possibly stay awake to watch. We got half way through the third and final movie last night, so we have to watch another 2 hours or so tonight to finish off the trilogy.

I put together a list of store phone numbers within a mile of my work that I plan to call daily to check wii inventory. If I can find a store nearby that gets a wii, I can hopefully run over there and get one before they sell out so I can pay retial price for it. I plan to call every day around noon or just before to check and see what they have. I only want one, hopefully I will be able to find one around somewhere amidst all this mad rush and inventory shortage.