Spell Checker – Whoopie!

I got the spell checker plug-in working for this blog. Hopefully it will minimize my spelling errors! For fun I ran it against a few of my earlier posts.

Ouch – I have bad spelling. Fortunately for me, I’m no longer graded on my spelling. It also helps that the vast majority of the applications today have a spell checker built in. (God bless the ‘F7’ key stroke)

MJ took his First Solo Flight!!

MJ is growing up fast! Today I took him to the airport. He is going to southern California to stay with friends for a week. He had to fly out from Newark to LAX by himself, and what a bummer of a flight he had!!

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we sat down and had a nice dinner, just him and I. Afterwards we checked in at the gate to find out the plane was delayed by 2 hours. The plane was coming in from an International flight and was late getting off the ground. After the plane landed, the gate attendants then told us it would be another 45 minute wait while customs clears the plane.

MJ finally boarded the plane almost 3 hours later than scheduled. I was told that since he was flying as an unaccompanied minor that I had to stay in the terminal until the plane was in the air. With all the flying I do that makes sense. I can’t recall how many times we’ve returned to the gate due to problems. So I went to an area of the terminal where I could see the plane. I also used my Blackberry to check the status of the plane. I found out that Continental has their website tied directly to flight operations. The plane’s status on my Blackberry would update before the plane took the action!

Well, the status was upgraded for the plane. It had another delay due to catering. Delay due to Catering – I never heard that one before! About 9:30pm his plane was released for taxiing. He finally got into the air around 10:15pm!! A full 4 1/2 hours late.

MJ then had to endure a 5 hour flight to California. Fortunately he had armed himself with 2 movies on his iPod, 2 books and about another 10 hours of music. When he got to California, he gave us a call to let us know he was ok. He slept about 2 hours of the flight. When he landed it was close to 4am on the east coast.

I can only hope that his return flight is better!!

Another L Street Beach Dive!

I have to say, I am getting my buoyancy down to near perfect with the dry suit and no thermals! I dropped a set of 2 lb ankle weights to keep my fins from dragging into the bottom. I now using 31 lbs on my weight harness and only one set of 2 lb ankle weights for a total of 35 lbs of lead.

We saw a Skate on this dive! The body was about a foot long and the tail another foot. We also saw a couple of fluke. None of the fluke would have been keepers, they are way to small.

The only bummer on this dive was that I lost my dive light. I had it on a lanyard around my wrist. Somewhere during the swim out to deeper water it must have slipped off my wrist. I tried to look for it, but the bottom has to much seaweed to find anything that has been dropped.

Setting up this Site

I finally got this site running close to where I wanted to get it. I managed to get wordpress 2.2 with gallery2 v2.2.2. I’ve settled on the K2 theme that is optimized with the WPG2 plug-in. This theme nicely displays the photos from gallery2. I also have tagging working using the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin.

Before installing Gallery2, I tried several different themes to get tagging to work correctly. With varying degrees of success, I found that K2 really was one of the few themes to work with UTW and not require modifications. The fact that there is a Gallery2 optimized version of K2 was icing on the cake.

I think I have all the major components working for this site. Though I doubt I’m done with tweaking it. For now I’m going to try to be content with it and focus on organizing the photos database. I’m sure everyone can relate to the fact that with having a digital camera, we typically have more photos that we can print. Hopefully I can setup this online photo album in some sort of organized way.

So my Daughter has a little bit of me….

Tonight my 6 year old daughter discovered that the remote from the master bedroom will work with the TV in the family room. She decided to play a prank on my wife and I by using that remote to turn off the family room TV that we were watching. At first my wife looked at me and asked “what happened?”. I caught on rather quickly because of the scampering feet and snickering as she ran down the hall. My wife turned on the TV back on and I told her what had happened. “What a little devil” was my wife’s response. A few moments later both of us hear her approach the family room again. Again the TV suddenly turns off. This time my wife ran down the hall after her. One of Cathy’s favorite phrases is “ok, who’s turn is it going to be to get punished”. This time the response from my daughter was “I’ll take the punishment  because it was so funny to trick you guys. I really played a good one on you”. Cathy had all it would take to walk out of the room, before she got  hysterical laughing.  Jillian is definitely our character with a great sense of humour.

Night Dive at L Street

High tide was at 8:30pm this evening. Because we were diving L Street Beach, we were able to get into the back bay area about 45 minutes earlier. Typically with shore diving we have to carefully plan the dive times so we enter the water during the slack tide. This minimizes the current and gives us the best possible visibility in the water. Because the back bay off L Street is protected, we get away with entering the water on either the early or late side of the tide. The bad news is that there is really not that much in the way of sealife at L Street.

By entering the water around 7:45, we were able to get suited up in the daylight. When we came out of the water an hour later is was dark. We saw some fluke and a lot of crabs. There were blue claw crabs, spider crabs and hermit crabs. After awhile the crabs get annoying as they spread out their claws in defence to us. Continue reading Night Dive at L Street

Diving at the L Street Beach

MYDC0063I got in my second dive of the year!  Carl, Mark, Rich and I dove at the “L” street beach in Belmar.  We all dove with the dry suits to work on our buoyancy.  Overall I did ok with the dry suit, except I think the zipper gave out.  When I got out of the water the top half of my shirt was wet.  Carl is going to pressure test the suit to confirm if the zipper is shot or if there is another problem. It wasn’t to bad getting wet.  The water temp was around 61F degrees.

MYDC0059The L street beach is a good place to work on your buoyancy.  It is a shallow dive site and if you don’t have your buoyancy just right, you broach the surface like a sick whale.  Once you get it right, it can be a good dive place.  The deepest we went was 17 feet.  For the most part we were in 9 feet of water.

I saw a couple of eels and a bunch of baby fluke.  The biggest eel was about 24″ long.  The baby fluke were all about 3/4″ long.  We saw one fluke that was about 18″ long. Everytime Mark retold the sighting of the fluke, it seemed to get about 3 inches long. By the time we hit the dive shop it was close to a 24 inch long fish.

A couple more inlet and beach dives and I think I’ll be ready for a deeper dive off the coast.

Encouraging Others to Blog

So I’ve been busy the past few days trying to convince some people in South Brunswick to setup their own blogs. Very discouraging. Everyone, to a fault, makes the statement that their life is not exciting or adventurous. That they would have nothing to blog about.

After some of the posts that I’ve seen on the blogs in my own blog-roll!! Hey you can blog about anything. You can blog about blogging!

It is a shame really. At first it hard to get into the “blogging” mode. Now, I find going through the different blogs a very easy way to find out what is new and what is going on. Especially Jamie’s blog. Wow, you want to find out what is new or up and coming in the Internet. Just spend some time tracking down and reading the different technologies that he discusses.

I now have a personal mission. I am going to get at least one person in the SBK office to start a blog.

If you have successfully encouraged someone to start a blog or their own web site, leave a comment and let me know how you did it.

Pt. Pleasant RxR Bridge Dive

The first SCUBA dive in over a year! The last time I was in the water was in April of 2006. Since taking the job with Dow Jones I’ve been so busy that I had to take a sabbatical from diving.

Mark & I went in at the railroad bridge in Point Pleasant. I have to say it was awesome! Water temp was 55F degrees. Visibility was 15 to 20 feet. We both dove using wet suits. I had forgotten how heavy all the gear is out of the water.

We had originally decided to stay east of the railroad bridge so I could run through some basic drills. After 5 minutes the drills to find my gear and gauges had become “old”. The one drill I didn’t perform was to flood and clear my mask. Maybe next dive the water will be a little warmer.

After practising the drills I motioned to Mark to head for the bridge. On the other side we found a small 12″ fluke. We then went into the little bay area on the other side of the bridge. There were millions of baby shrimp floating in the water column near the bottom forming a cloud. The shrimp were about 1/4″ long. It was pretty cool to swim through the shrimp cloud. We started to head back to the bridge and came upon a puffer fish. Mark watched in amusement as I poked the fish with my light trying to get him to puff out his spines. I guess I’m not much of a threat. The fish just turned and slowly swam away. We also caught a glimpse of a 18″ long striped bass as we played with the puffer fish.

As we were heading back, we watched a fellow diver spear a black fish under the railroad bridge. He got a good sized fish. At least we know what he had for dinner!

It was definitely a good dive! And it felt great to be back in the water.