Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Blog Goes Green


It was a busy weekend.  As I mentioned in the daily blog, I had no desire to get back on the computer after Friday night, which is a rare thing for me.  Usual weekends involve me plastered to my desk for hours each night, pounding out words and redesigning the site.

So why the change of heart this weekend?  In a fit of redesign rage Friday night, I looked up at the top of this very page often, frowning each time at the volume of white space.  I wanted something different!  I wanted flash animation!  I had no idea how to do this!

Off I went to Adobe.com, searching for tips and tricks to implement a custom-drawn animation into my site.  Fifteen minutes later, I gave up and simply downloaded the entire 400 Mb trial version of Flash CS3 Professional.  I figured I could learn it as I went along, kind of like I did with Photoshop.  While I did take a class to learn Photoshop, the only real thing I paid attention to was how to make water effects with the "ripple" tool.  That hasn't come in too handy, except for entertaining Sumner.  And I should add that's losing it's luster quick too.

Back to Flash.  I installed the program (nearly 10 minutes, a new record) and opened it up.  Nothing looked familiar, so I poked around the menu settings and decided to start from a template.  Templates have historically been a great place to start learning programs risk-free, but the problem here was that every template was for a banner ad.  That wasn't really what I had in mind.

I kept at it for another two hours or so and let me make no pretense; I was extremely frustrated.  I have no idea why I expected to pick it up and learn it without some sort of effort, and the program made me pay dearly.  By the end of the night I was fed up with everything computer related, and I shut the computer off.  Done. 

Saturday morning brought a welcomed phone call from the in-laws; this can only mean one thing on a weekend.  Breakfast!  We don't do it often, but when the occasion arises, the wife and I always recommend Cracker Barrel as our choice of restaurant.  They never disappoint with their selection of morning delicacies, but we could never convince them to go.  I suppose they had a valid reason, as the nearest location was situated somewhere down the I-10 in Tempe, nearly 20 miles from our location.  As a side note, I would whole-heartedly drive the distance if it meant being spared from such tortuous devices as Denny's and *shudder* McDonalds.  I used to like their breakfast food, but then I grew taste buds and moved on. 

The fortuitous occasion arrived a few months ago that a Cracker Barrel was built just five miles away from the in-law's house, nestled right next to the largest outdoor outfitter that I have ever seen.  I think they may have an indoor outdoor inside that building, if you follow.  Otherwise, I can't digest the idea that the entirety is covered with merchandise.  The edifice is simply too big.

I don't remember where I was going with this.  Oh yes, Cracker Barrel.  I had the most delicious selection on the menu, Mama's French Toast Breakfast with turkey sausage (sausage! shout out to Janey) and scrambled eggs.  I highly recommend it.  The wife got her usual, a mountainous bowl of oatmeal and a muffin the size of a bowling ball.  She can hardly put a dent in the muffin, but Sumner likes to eat the rest anyway.  It all works out when you have a three year old with a voracious appetite.  No kidding, that child can pack it in when he wants to.  When he doesn't want to, well...good luck.

After breakfast, we parted ways with the in-laws and headed back toward our side of East freakin' Mesa, and I remembered that we had surpassed our oil change reminder by several...*ahem*...months.  It was decided that it would probably be a good idea to head over to the dealership.  The brakes were shot on both vehicles, and the wife's car made Bozo the Clown noises whenever you turned it on.  The past few times we had taken the car to the local mechanic, they being the cheaper of others in town and a place we had trusted on multiple occasions.  Yet the last time, I was left unimpressed by their brash service.  It was time to go Honda, baby.

And that's where it happened.  Presented by repair and maintenance bills that stretched the length of 8.5x11, we thought twice about our future relationship with not one, but both cars.  You might call it an impulse; heck, you could even call it a rash decision, but we made friends with two particular cars on the lot that decided to follow us home that night.

After spending eight hours at the dealership.  Eight. Freaking. Hours. 

And yes, we like 'em.  Nah, we love 'em.  We got two Honda Fits, their newest car that promise good gas mileage and low emissions. (you wondered why the Blog went green?  Now you know)  They drive swell.  And hey, it's the wife's first new car!

Good news all around.  We should save a small fortune on gas during the next few years.  That fact played no small role in our decision to make the trade.  They're good looking too for such small cars.  Pretty functional too, I was amazed at the flexibility of the cabin.  Plenty of room for kids in the back seat, too.  All for the price of one inexpensive SUV!  And we got two of them.

Yeah, I'm a bit sad to see the Acura go.  Sumner actually asked later that night when we thought the old cars would get back from the hospital (it was the only analogy that fit, really) and I told him that they probably weren't. 

The Acura was still a pretty good car, but the mileage jumped up really quick and I had already had the air conditioner and transmission worked on recently. 

I don't even want to know what'll happen to the wife's Bozo car.  I was worried every day that she drove that thing to work.  Darn thing shook so much she swore it'd blow and leave an Olympic-sized crater in the freeway.   My dad told me at least a billion times to stop exaggerating, but I ain't kidding you.  One shaky car.

The picture ain't great, but the red one is mine, the white one is hers.  Cut the picture in half and you'll have a whole car!  I wanted to roll them out of the garage, but that would have meant opening up the door and possibly waking up the boy from his slumber. I'll take a few pictures later on down the road. 

So that was Saturday, and you should now be gathering a pretty good idea of why no posts were made throughout the weekend.  We came home pooped that night and slept soundly as can be.  Sunday was spent in the company of family visiting from Utah, and that was really nice.  We were still pert tired from the previous day's activities, so we needed a break.  Oh yes, and the wife fell into the pool.  

Actually, Sumner pushed her in.  It was quite humorous. 

My mother provided her with dry clothes from the bottom of Where's Waldo's 1990's chest of drawers, so she looked extra nice on the ride home.  She asked if I thought people could see her through the windows, and I said no.  Though I kept wondering why so many people were pointing and shouting, "There he is!  I see him!"

Phew.  I think that's a generous enough entry for the time being.  Time to hit the hay.  See you over at the Moblah'g!  You know how to get there. 

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