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20121001 whatido

For a living that is.  Even my mom has asked me what exactly I do since not too many people know what a graphic designer does. So I figured I'd whip up this little blog article to slightly answer the question... what i do... which is basically turn word docs and digital camera photos into pieces of advertising using a few mouse clicks and a little creativity.

FLASH
(For Normal Desktop Computers)

NON-FLASH
(For iPads & Smart Phones)

20120917 minidvSo during my googling for a service to transfer my 29 MiniDV tapes to DVD, I stumbled upon an eBay store.  There were several stores actually but this person's was the best price by far at a whopping $2.99 each. 

After some review checking and fine print reading, I bought a single tape transfer and sent $2.99 to the seller for the 'Buy it Now' via paypal. I then mailed my tape to the seller for a couple bucks and my part was done.

A short week later… I received my original tape, successfully transferred onto a DVD as advertised. Upon looking at the return postage, I noticed it cost the seller $3.31 to send my tape and DVD back to me. Hmmm.

RECAP: The seller, received $2.99 from me, which eBay AND paypal took their cut of it. The seller then took an hour of his time to transfer my tape to one of his DVD's, packaged it all up and mail it back to me for $3.31 postage, plus his packaging material costs!

I've given up on trying to rationalize how this is possible and the only thing I can do is write it in my blog.

Maybe he's hoping to stumble across some secret home-made movies to hold ransom over somebody some day? All he has from me is some three year olds singing God Bless America and WAY too many minutes of vacation bible school dancing, so I don't think I'll be paying anything to make those go away.

I seen in his reviews he's done hundreds of these so I can't help but to give this person free advertising to give him more 'business'? http://www.ebay.com/itm/MIniDV-to-DVD-Transfer-Service-Camcorder-HD-Mini-DV-/160433357399?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item255a92c257

Late Note: Out of conscience, I sent him an extra $5.00 to cover his DVD and shipping cost ..... maybe that's his motivation?! I also found the cable to connect my camcorder to my computer so I did the other 28 tapes myself. :) If you have some MiniDV's you want transferred, give me $20 each and I'll do it …. and if it gets mailed to you from Illinois, don't ask any questions.

I hope this to be the only article on my web site devoted to vehicle maintenance. Throw a 1987 Sikorsky H-60 (helicopter) in front of me and I can strip it to the bone, but embarasingly, cars 'aint my thing'.

Step One. If you're wife tells you go fix the car, tell her to pound salt.

Step Two. If you decided to skip step one and you have a squeaking, grinding, whining, screaching, screaming from your serpentine belt area of your 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (or equivalent) and attempt to fix it yourself, may the following advice help even one person out there.

 Troubleshoot. I am no expert so this is a novice's diagnosis through; lots of googling, lots of videos, subscription to online (alldatadiy.com) vehicle breakdown and unfortunate trial and error removing most components below. Costs are from Autozone and time is relative to skill. (mine, capable but not so great)

DIAGRAM: 3.3L/3.8L 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan Serpentine Components

20110930_2006caravanserpentine

  1. Serpentine Belt - Possible culprit if high pitch squealing or squeaking. Especially if fluctuates not necessarily with the rev of the engine upon startup. Check for wierd wear marks on edges or cracking in the grooves on the inside. Should be very taught and cannot remove by hand. (less than 1/8" wiggle). Do not spray with WD40 like the shop told my wife t. It may fix it for a short while (hours/days) but ultimately shortens the life of the belt. If that's the culprint, replace it. Cost $25. Time 15 Minutes.

  2. Power Steering Pump - First of my part swapping chaos. Was definitely bad. Likely culprit if moving steering wheel back and forth during turning produces higher whine or screaming. The worst part of all (BY FAR) to replace due to it's location, demand to remove obstacles and special tools. Cost $44. Time 8 Hours.

  3. Tensioner Pulley & Arm - A likely culprint (in my case) with a steady whine, screaming which is bad bearings. Incedently, it's probably the pulley that's bad, not the arm (unless belt tension is weak).  The pulley is the EXACT same as the idler pulley and can be purchased separately. Cost $17. Time 30 Minutes.

  4. Idler Pulley - A possible culprint which would be a steady whine, screaming which is bad bearings. A cheap try at a fix if the exact screaming is hard to determin. Cost $17. Time 15 Minutes.

  5. Alternator - One of the 2 parts I did not replace. Though it would consist of whining, screaming due to bad bearings. You can still have good charging power and full output with bad bearings. Also the 2nd most expensive piece of the whole accessory drive system, so not a good component to replace just as a stab in the dark. Time estimation based on what I researched. Cost $170. Time 3 Hours.

  6. AC Compressor - The other of the 2 parts I did not replace. Sadly can't help much on this one. Do not think it's a typical noise producer... HOWEVER we had to have it replaced at a shop at 80,000 miles due to non-working AC system. (Shop Cost, $1,100) Cost $350. Time Unsure, Not Simple.

  7. Crankshaft - Not really any moving parts on this. Likely major engine trouble if this is making noise. If this is the issue, drive the van to a metropolitan area, leave keys in it and windows down. Problem should be fixed within a day.
  8. Water Pump - A possible culprint which would be a steady whine or screaming which is bad bearings. Would have engine overheading problems if it was fried even further but this blog entry is devoted to noise issues. A relatively cheap try of mine since it 'really' sounded like the noise was coming from there. Cost $35. Time 2 Hours.
Good Luck to someone!

 

tag_sg_vcardI think I've been denying it for a very long time, and maybe it's been overwhelmingly evident for those around me, but I am finally willing to admit it.

I'm willing to say this code to the right identifies me, therefore I am a geek. (geek exhibit #1)

Now that that's out of the way and in the open. I'll give the brief skinny of this code and other's like it sporting the pink, blue and yellow colors. Ugly.  That's why I went with the black!

tagreader_iconMicrosoft (yuck) has come up with a new "tag" technology to allow you to embed links, information, text, etc into a code and any "cool guy" with the "Tag Reader" program in their iphone, android or other smartphone device, can scan it and read it's content. The APP is free at the iTunes Store. Click here to get the APP.

Really though.... This code when scanned gives you my vCard (geek exhibit #2) which is my Name, Address, Phone #'s, Emails and other contact information.

I can put this code on anything for years to come and it's identified as mine. Kind of like a luggage tag, only better.

gentlewoods_eighteenIf you haven't played Gentlewoods Eighteen, you haven't experience the best 18 hole course in Streetsboro. Covering 3 properties on the Gentlewoods compound, the course takes an hour to play and will have you walking one mile by the time you're done. Frisbee golf of course.

You have to be a pretty good disc thrower to navigate the narrow driveway and many trees. You'll have to avoid penalty strokes by not landing on roofs, hitting vehicles or landing in Nonny's flower garden.

The course was originally designed in 2005 and with some minor hole modifications due to trees being cut down, remains pretty much the same.

Complete with a 18-hole scorecard and a recently completed poster, this course will be around for awhile.

Course Records

Round Type Player/s Score
Individual [Steve] 59 (13 under)
Scramble [Steve, Nick, Dylan & Bran]   47 (25 under)

roadtrip_thumbnailHere's what you've been looking for on your long road trip with the kids.  This list a little book I put together with fun things to do on a road trip.  The license plate game and the scavenger hunt will keep you constantly in the game.  Tic-tac-toe, SOS, hangman and the dot game will give you something to do when you're really bored.

The license plate game is geared for th East Coast due to point distribution but it will work for everyone.

I've had several family and friends ask for this so I've decided to make it available for all. I've assembled them into a single PDF for easy download below.

pdfGiunto Road Trip Fun Pak

I knew when I started collecting old used CD's, DVD's, games & movies that someday they would amount to something great.  Jean always said I was crazy, but I showed her.

The kids had a snow-day today and I spent all morning shoveling the driveway. I was just about to get ready for work but thought I'd start the day off with some fun.


This page is strickly here in the event it gets picked up by search engines and one day someone "googling" for these antique albums will find them. OK, here they are, some Columbia, Victor, RCA Victor, Victrola and other records.

albums

Old Antique Albums (Loose Sleeves)
Columbia, Frank Sinatra, 37089
Columbia, Tony Bennett, 40121
Columbia, Tony Bennet, 40048, CO 48927 & CO 48928
Course, L8OL 8578 & 8579
Course, L8OL 8580 & 8581
Capital, DF-61 & DF500
Capital, DF60 & DF96
RCA Victor, 20-5352,
RCA Victor, 20-2005
Decca, 18513
Decca, 23745
RCA Victor, 25657

Album Folder 7
Gennett, Christmas Greetings, 5233
Victor, 18769
Victor, 18807
Victor, 16995
Victor, 45096
Victrola, 64405 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64712 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64996 (Other Side Smooth)
Broadway, 15055
Victrola, 87306 (Other Side Smooth)
Prom, 707
Victrola, 64958 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64962 (Other Side Smooth)

Album Folder 15
Victrola, 64785, (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 45256
Victor, 17602
Victrola, 64741, (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64982
Columbia, A2281
Victor, 177774
Victor, 64433 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 66146 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 60106 (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64603, (Other Side Smooth)
Victrola, 64814, (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 18403
Victor, 17257

Album Folder 2
Victor, 17681
Victor, 18790
Victor, 16385
Victor, 16196
Grey Gull, 1855
Victrola, 64696 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 17835
Columbia, A2676
Columbia, A903
Victor, 17369
Victor, 45161
Victor, 17305

Album Folder 10
Columbia, E2814
Odeon, 17097
Victor, 73108
Victor, 69371
Victor, 7254
Victor, 87197 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 17668
Victor, 67200
Columbia, E4663 or 86082
Columbia, E419 or 13025
Victrola, 64205 (Other Side Smooth)
Victor, 72830
Columbia, E7883 or 88975

album_sinatra

So my internet service (Time Warner Road Runner) has been acting up lately and I've been starting to frown upon my faithful ISP of the last 9 years. My connection has been dropping a few times a day, and especially while trying to stream a Netflix movie over my Xbox. I received a promotional letter from Time Warner to trade my modem for a "Speed Boost" modem.  I figured it sounded good since I've had this same modem since getting Road Runner in 2000!

When I showed up at the counter, the representative laughed at my modem, held it up to show her co-workers and they made a big fuss laughing at it.  She asked if it was still working and I said "kind of". She continued to tell me she was surprised it even worked because it was recalled 3-years ago. Thanks Time Warner for keeping up with the hardware you gave me.

So I was excited to get home and hopefully have a reliable connection.  The first thing I did of course, being a techy-guy, was go to speedtest.net, a great common site I frequent to test my bandwidth speed.  I had reguarly got 3-5MB and sometimes topped out at 6MB which I was pretty happy with. If only I knew what I'd been missing.

After plugging in the new modem and running a test there, here are my results.

speedtest_092109

Yea, consistenly getting 30-32MB a second now.  I couldn't believe it and kept testing just to be sure I wasn't dreaming.  Even with farther servers in CA, I was still well over 25MB.

I had to perform a real-world test so went to Apple.com to download a large movie trailer. A 50MB quicktime movie downloaded in 49 seconds.  A little over 1MB/sec in a real-world test. I'm am now lovin Time Warner again.


So I started the whirlwind trip down to Orlando with a couple uneventful flights where my sister picked me up shortly after noon.

We went straight over to Jim's sports bar "Flanagan's" where Jim met us for an awesome lunch. Few beers and a buffalo chicken wrap and a couple wings, and a side salad, and thats it, really.

After picking Summer up from her school, we then went over to pick up the Ferrari at Jim's shop. Just as promised, the 2001 silver Volvo S40, was in tip-top shape, fully fueled and ready to go. Lucky I am marrired as I will surely not be picking up any chicks with it, but with 38,000 miles, how could I pass it up. 4,000 a year isn't a bad average, especially when compared to the 34,000 Jean puts on her vehicles.

After a short swim at Teresa's in the rain, and meeting Daisy, their new puppy, it was almost night. Some more delicious eats with Papa Tony's pizza, finished off the belly for the night. The lightning fast day ended with a "Slumdog Millionaire" showing, what a great movie.

THE VOYAGE HOME

Departing at 7am, it truely was a whirlwind trip. I'd be in the state of Florida less than 24 hours.

Firing up the GPS right at 7:00am upon my departure, I had an arrival time of 10:35pm. Uggh, 15h:35m trip before stops, yet still better than the 16h estimated by AAA. After immediately getting on Interstate 4 headed east for Daytona, a little KIA RIO passed me like I was standing still. I decided to ride some coat-tails to see where it would get me. After finally catching up and debating whether to stay with him, I kept pace staying about a 1/4 mile back, he averaged between 90-95 for almost the next hour and a half hitting a top speed of 106mph just before he got clocked around St Augustine. Sorry buddy, but thanks. This daring pavement recon helped me shave 40 minutes off my arrival time before even reaching Jacksonville. Dropping down to 75-80 after that was very difficult. My target remained 8-10mph over the speed limit for the remainder of the trip, riding more coat-tails whenever possible. Maybe ill-thought, but I felt this was a comfortable speed that no officer dare give out a ticket for. Especially with the occassional fool traveling 35mph over the speed limit. After cruising through the city of Jacksonville where I lived for 5 years, I would reach the FL state line before I knew it, cutting 45 minutes off my ETA before leaving the state. It was exciting watching an arrival time tick down one minute every two minutes... like was fast-forwarding the trip somehow in time, and it definitely set the attitude for the remainder of the trip.

The state of Georgia would prove to be uneventful and go by before I knew I was in it thanks to an audio book recommended by Jim, Vince Flynn's - Memorial Day. My first audiobook ever and honestly the last book I read/heard since the mid 90's in college. My first fuel-up/brunch on an empty tank only took 8 gallons of a 16 gallon tank? so creative mileage tracking would be needed for the rest of the trip due to a faulty fuel gauge. If that's the worst.....no problem. Total stop time so far, 10 minutes.

The South Carolina border came and passed at 11am without slowing me down abit. Blew past Charlotte without a thought.

My second stop in North Carolina, 7h:20m into my voyage lasted a whole 7 minutes, bringing my total stop time to 17 minutes. If only I had one of those wide-mouth gatorade bottles, I would not have had to stop! My ETA accelerated up to 9:15p at this point. Making great time and still very excited looking forward to every turn of the road.......

And then Virginia.... Oh my God, move this state to Iowa or further West. On the bright side, I did not get a $455 ticket from this wonderful state as was incurred two years ago, and I was only 18mph over at that time. Whomever the idiotic, fool is who designed the exchange from 77N to 81 East, is an idiotic fool. A two-lane heavily traveled 77N is funneled into one lane which proved to be a 2mph, 20 minute set-back which would be the buzz-kill of the whole trip. No accident, no nothing, just terrible road engineering causing the backup.  Our last vacation to Ocean Isle in June brought us through the same intersection for a half-hour traffic jam, again no accident. Slower speed limits and always state troopers, thank God that state was less than 70 miles of my voyage.

Why does West Virginia have to be such a long state. I reached Charleston, WV by 6:10pm, 11h:10m into my trip, amazingly, I was still feeling great, no sore butt and not dying of boredom. Nice alone time without Brandon babbling something. I would stop for my 3rd and final stop in Rockport, West Virginia exactly 12 hours into my trip. I would grab lightning-fast-food and gas in 10 minutes bringing my new, and end, total stop time to to 27 minutes. That's about how much time it would normally take to get the whole family, gassed, bathroomed and fed on an average stop.  Incredibly easier traveling alone.

I would reach the Ohio border by 7:20pm, 12h:20m into my trip. Surely without the state of Virginia, it would have been some type of record. Just starting to get dark at this point, it wasn't until southern Ohio, where I actually started thinking this was a very long trip. Especially since the speed limit drops to 60mph. Come on ODOT! I would also end up passing three police cars in Ohio whereas I passed two in all the other states combined.

I would arrive safe and sound on the compound at 9:40pm, 1,004 miles from driveway to driveway. Thank you God for a safe trip.

GPS TALLIES: (Orlando to Streetsboro)
Total time: 14hours, 40minutes
Total stopped time: 27minutes
Average Speed: 74.8 (no thank you, virginia)
Max Speed: 110mph (southern ohio, just because)

Disclaimer: For law enforcement agencies, this blog entry and all posted speeds are entirely fictional.

 

Here are some of my favorite YouTube videos. I'll continually update this when I find ones I like. This'll save you hours of surfing to get right to the good stuff. Some of the titles are self explanatory, some may require a looksee.

I've included anything that makes me laugh out loud, said wow, or make me scratch my head.

Enjoy.

Redneck Bungie

Prank Wars 7 - The Half Court Shot

Friend Electrocuted Shock! Prank

Stuck in Tsunami

Invisible Rope Prank

Evolution of Dance

Dude transports 20 bricks on his head

Danny MacASkill - Inspired Bicycles

Football player tackles own punt returner

Warehouse Accident

Indian Baby vs Cobra

 

I've finally dove into the world of remote control airplanes.  I've been wanting to for a long time but cost has prevented it.

As a replacement gift for the RC helicopter which I quickly crashed and sent back, this plane flies much easier.

I've gotten a couple dozen flights under my belt now and have crashed it hard about 5 times. :) Luckily it's very durable and parts are easy to replace.

 

I've been working on developing my Flash skills for web site design purposes at work and came across a cool page-turn technique. I am able to edit it and customize it to my likings. So I had Nathan and Aly create a storybook for me.

Nate's was based off of one he did for school a couple years ago, but had him rewrite and redraw it for these purposes. 

Aly's is based off her imagination. :)

Hope you enjoy. You can click on the corners of the book, or actually drag the pages to turn them. Very cool.

20071018 storybook nate 20071018 storybook aly
Click here for Nate's Book Click here for Aly's Book

 

 

 

Welcome to my new web site. This new site design although limiting my creativity slightly will allow me much easier updating and modifying from here on out.

I've also integrated a blog into the site so I can update lots of odds and ends that didn't quite warrant an entry in my previous feature area. I have gone back (retro) and added my old feature items in as blog entries so all the content from my old site has been brought forward.

The most popular photo and video galleries have come forward intact as well.

Be sure to check back often as there will be much more updating than in the past.

Here's some pics of a huge snake we first thought was a water moccasin. After learning moccasins don't come this far north into Ohio, it turns out it was just a harmless Northern Watersnake. Still a very large snake for around the house.

We left the snake in a cage in the garage overnight. When we woke up in the morning, we found a surprise. Mama snake had 36 babies in our cage. We were able to actually see it give live birth to the last 6-7 babies.

We let them go in the back yard.

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