Friday, August 18, 2006

Mmm... canoey goodness... mmm


Okay, so my "post-a-day" thought got left by the roadside. I'll work on it. Really.

A few weeks back, I was chatting with my friend Jim. Our phone conversations tend to fly all over the place, and somehow we went from codework to the canoe in his backyard. Canoe?!?

He told me he was wondering what to do with this 12' foot Grumman aluminum canoe that's been sitting in his backyard for 10 years. He got it from his brother, and used it to teach Canoeing merit badge to his troop. For the past several years, it's been sitting on sawhorses.

Ever since I took Canoeing MB my first year at Massawepie (the ULTIMATE Boy Scout Camp), I have always wanted a canoe.

I was thinking that a 12-footer solo would be a great starter boat, so I asked the only question I could think of... "How much you want for it?"

This, of course, was met by a brief pause.

"Well, I know it'll have a good home, so why don't you come over and pick it up."


The next day, I jumped in the Caravan, and headed for Jim's. When I got there, he took me to the backyard. The first words out of my mouth were, "Jim, this is a 17-footer." Jim answers "Okay."
Needless to say, it is now referred to as "the canoe in MY backyard."

It needs some clean up, and a coat or two of auto wax, and check of the rivets, but it's in great shape. And then I need to get some PFDs (that's Personal flotation Devices, for those of you playing the home version) and paddles, and she'll be in the water in no time.

I also need to teach my Sweetie how to canoe, and then when Boomper is old enough (he's only 18-months old), he'll learn as well. I'm looking forward to taking afternoon floats, exploring the local waterways, and maybe an extended canoe trip in the Adirondacks, or maybe even Algonquin Provincial Park.

Thanks Jim, "she" has found a good, and loving home.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Old Skool

Now get off my lawn!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Matt's Culinary Tip of the Day: Soy Sauce Packets

Yesterday, I was starting to jones for my brother-in-law Bill's "Peanut Butter Pasta". It's spicy pseudo-Thai peanut butter sauce served with, you guessed it, pasta. It's very tasty, and extremely easy to make. I'd love to share the recipe, but Bill retains the rights for a possible future cookbook.

Anywho, so last night I did my ingredient recon, just to make sure we had enough natural chunky peanut butter. Check. Then I realized that I used the last of the soy sauce in my marinade recipe the night before. THAT recipe will be shared at a later date. Sorry for the tease.

The grocery shopping for the week has already been done, so we scrounged to find any Chinese take-out soy sauce packets. Schweet! We found three! But was it enough to fulfill our need for two tablespoons of brewed bean squeezin' goodness?

Now the science (you knew this was coming): Your typical take-out soy sauce packet contains approximately .25 ounces of soy sauce, which is equal to 1/2 tablespoon. Store that little bit of information for future use.

Okay, so we're one packet short. I couldn't find any at work, which is bizarre because there is ALWAYS someone eating Chinese food here. Good thing, my Sweetie works at a local college (RIT). Can you say "dining hall?" I'm sure she'll be able to score the needed packet.

Why, you ask? Well, it'll come in handy when planning your menu for that upcoming camping trip. Need a tablespoon of soy sauce for your fish stew? Grab a coupla packets, and leave the messy bottles at home.

Just remember to carry out your empties.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day 2006

Well, today's the big day... our Annual Fourth of July Bash/Drive-in Movie Night. So far, everything is on track, and we only have a few things left on the list to take care of.

Grilling Tip: Want to know how much propane is left in that 20# tank?
I banged my head against the wall trying to find an easy way of determining how much propane I've got in tank. My frustration is now your gain: Matt the Webguy's Propane Estimator Thingy

Enjoy your Fourth. For those of you in legal fireworks states, end the day with the same number of fingers you started with. For those of you where fireworks are illegal, I'm telling Mom.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Game On!

Okay, drive-in movie equipment checklist:

Movie...check (to be announced on Tuesday)
Back-up screen...check
40' custom audio signal cable...check
Nice weather...fingers crossed

Just a few "environmental issues" to handle (aka bugs), tweaking the movie prelude, securing the Tyvek for the screen, and picking up the popcorn popper, and we can greenlight this puppy.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fourth of July Drive-In

Okay, it's been over a week since my last post. I've either been too busy, or just haven't had much to report.

I'm starting to prep for our annual Fourth of July Bash. This year, we're having a late afternoon cook-out, and then a good 'ol fashioned drive-in movie. Well, not really a "drive-in", but it'll be outside and projected onto the back of the house.

GEEK ALERT: I'm using a laptop and LCD projector to show the movie. I'm running the audio signal inside to receiver/amp and then out to speakers placed in the dining room windows...strategically placed right behind the screen. I'm also running the audio into a small FM transmitter designed for playing portable devices over car radios. Those who want to bring FM radios can enjoy that "drive-in sound experience". I'm still trying to track down a 12'x9' piece of Tyvek house wrap to use as a screen, but I'm still considering other options.

So far, we are still undecided on the feature presentation, but I've got one cartoon (I still need to find a Popeye), some classic movie theatre clips, and one patriotic clip.

We are also setting up a concession stand complete with a movie-style popcorn popper. It should be a lot of fun. I'll follow up after with how it went.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blog Template

Okay, you're reading "Matt the Webguy", and probably wondering:

"If he's a webguy, then what's up with the canned template?!?"

I'm working on it, okay?!? Geesh....

Gettin' My Code Jones On

I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I've had the itch to write some serious code, but it just wasn't flowing right. Well, yesterday... I got my Code Jones rolling.

One of the things I've been working on at the day job (I'm the web developer at is trying to make posting content to the website as easy as possible for our content editors and producers. One issue has been including images with the stories we post.

While the content management system our parent company provides is fairly decent, the image functions are strictly "upload only". I wanted to create a few apps to handle some simple image manipulation, without having to put graphics software on every machine in the newsroom.

(Yes, I know there are really cheap, or even free, graphics software out there, but I'm thinking about our IT Guy, Tom... more about "The Dalai Tommy" in a future post)

Anywho, I set out to create three distinct apps: a resizing tool for video screen caps, a Chyron-style slide creator to mimic what is used on-air, and a photo cropping tool. Of the three, the cropping tool was the most difficult... but nothing a recent post (Image Crop) to, and some code tweaking couldn't fix.

One major tweak I made was to change the crop processing to use the GD library instead. I didn't want the script to have to rely on Imagemagick to work, and since GD is pretty much on every Apache installation out there, I thought it would be best.

It took a little wrestling, but it is working great now.

Now, to keep the Jones rolling...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

Father's Day. It's a good day.

I was awakened this morning with a slobbery kiss from our "so-to-be" 16 month old, "NtG"...of course it was around 5:30AM. NtG and Mommy then let me sleep a bit longer before it was time to start the Sunday Morning Ritual.

Yup... you guessed it.... Dad's Special Waffles and Bob the Builder (more on Bob in a later post).

Last year was my first Father's Day, but NtG was only a few months old, so rolling over and smiling was all he was pretty much doing. He's grown a lot in the past year... sometimes a little TOO fast. Now, he's digging my waffles, drooling like a faucet, climbing on the couch, toddling around the back yard, and still smiling.

I was going to call my Dad today, but he and Mom are "somewhere in Alaska" with a local seniors tour group. I'll catch him later this week when they get back. Hey Rocco! Happy Father's Day!

It's a good day.