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.

5 Mile Hike

Saturday MJ & I went on a 5 mile hike through Thompson Park with the Boy Scout troop. We had a total of 5 scouts, including MJ, join the hike. The weather was  really good. Clear skies and temp was in the 80’s. We had the scouts use their compasses to direct us through the park. Of course we had a backtrack a few times, but they did good.

I’ve lived in Lincroft for the past 12 years. I have to say I was surprised at how large the park was. I’ve been in Thompson park a few times, but I always stayed on the paths or near the buildings. I never ventured out on the trails. I quickly realized I’ve been missing about 3/4 of the park!!

With MJ receiving his Tenderfoot badge, he is starting to work on Second Class. This hike is one for the requirements for that rank. Hopefully he’ll be able to get a few merit badges completed while at week long summer camp in July.

Weekend Campout at Cheesquake

I joined my son on a Boy Scout camp out to Cheesquake State Park. This was my son’s 2nd camp out with the troop. It was my first not only with this troop but also my first in scout camp out in 18 years. We managed to pitch camp before the rain began. I had the job of Troop quartermaster, which is to say I helped handout all the gear. If the scouts needed anything, I would get it out of the trailer.

About an hour after getting camp setup it began to rain. It rained through the entire day and night. a couple of tents got flooded. But for the most part the boys managed to keep their sleeping gear dry.
It was a lot of fun to see the kids learn the basic outdoor skills such as orienteering, pioneering, first aid and some team building skills. At night in my sleeping bag I called Cathy to say goodnight and to tell her about the wonderful memories of sleeping in a tent. Of course she told me that I was nuts.

Fortunately the rain let up about 2 hours before we had to break down camp. All in all it was a great way to spend the weekend!

New Furnance for the House

The old furnace finally gave out. I took it apart to find out the glow-bar starter had cracked. I replaced that to find out that the furnace would keep short cycling and not come up to temperature. Probing around with the multi-meter didn’t reveal the faulty sensor. The old furnace is a 23 year old Coleman and at it’s best it was 80% efficient.

We had a HVAC contractor install a high-efficiency two-stage forced hot air furnace with a 14 SEER AC unit. The furnace is rated at 92.4% efficient. I’m still amazed that the exhaust vent is a PVC pipe. The unit is so efficient that the exhaust gases are cold.

Of course we installed the unit after the winter is over. So we’ll be anxiously waiting for winter to see what the savings will be!

On another note this is the first major project in the house where I didn’t do the work! After 12 years in the house, I finally hired a contractor to come in and do the installation. I have to say it was well worth it! They were in and out in one day. That included installing a stainless steel sleeve in the existing chimney to vent out the hot water heater exhaust. With not having the furnace vent into the chimney, the hot water heater alone does not have enough hot exhaust to make sure the acidic exhaust gases flow out the top of the chimney. The sleeve makes sure that the masonry work in the chimney does not erode.