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Everything posted by Thoramel

  1. Bingo. Our expensive GPS unit is shared by a bunch of people who don't always treat it very well. I'm not relying on that thing to get me out of anywhere. But likely not so fast that it's going to leave me stranded in the woods trying to figure out what just happened! Good point, topographic maps are definitely part of the equation when navigating with a compass in nature. I can look at a compass and tell you that the prominent hill over there is due north, but unless I have some sort of reference where that hill fits in with the rest of the landscape that knowledge won't do squat to get me back to my car. A few years ago I was surprised to find that none of that batch of interns could read a Gazetteer, let alone a topographic map. Now, it's one of the basic skills we hammer into them during their brief training period.
  2. Cooking from scratch - most all of our nightly meals are made from the basest of ingredients with a few small exceptions (I don't grind my own meat and rarely make my own pasta). I enjoy gardening and preserving my own veggies and herbs (to a certain extent, space is limited). My beer brewing setup is decidedly low tech - someone from 100 years ago would easily be able to brew on it no problem. That might get even more "old fashioned" in the future as I recently ordered a book on historic brewing techniques. At work, I'm one of the last people to take all my field notes by hand. Management keeps trying to get me to take this expensive tablet/camera/GPS unit into the field with me and want me to take all my notes on that. And I keep explaining I've left writing utensils in mud puddles across the entire state and there's no reason to believe I wouldn't do the same with an expensive tablet. And using a compass to navigate in the woods instead of relying on a map on my phone or something. I'm always surprised that very few people know how to use a compass any more.
  3. Hard to choose, but I think I like 10 best.
  4. Letting my Brother in Law take lead on a hike through the woods. I'm glad I did it though because for the last 24 years whenever he says "let's go this way" on a hike I can respond with "Remember December 28, 1996 where you led us on a hike in West Virginia and we didn't see another road until we were in Maryland?" Agreed. My wife loves gin but I can't stand the stuff. She can't make drinks though so I'm always stuck mixing her martinis for her. I use my wife's gin as a food safe sanitizer solution in the airlocks of my homebrew fermenters. No infection is getting through that. My wife does not know this though. Working for my state's EPA when folks come to me for help it's because someone upstream from them has filled in a wetland or stream, dumped some sort of horrible chemical or agricultural waste into a water body, or in one instance piled up a bunch of trash along a stream going through a quiet suburb then lit it on fire and pushed it in (his excuse was he was trying to take care of the beavers). Then they find their homes or properties suddenly underwater or their streams inundated with dead fish or manure. Then I put on the mean face, bring in our contacts at the Army Corps and go scare someone until they clean up their mess. From a non-workplace stand, I'm a bigger guy so I get requests to help move heavy objects up stairs pretty often.
  5. Same. Tense situation. Stay safe.
  6. I was raised by Quakers and the Pentecost itself represents a special day for them. The second day of Pentecost though isn't something that I ever remember "celebrating." Modern Quakers are slightly different than the ones I grew up with and so this may have changed over time. I'm very private when it comes to my own religious beliefs and observances, and therefore today is no more special to me than any other day. I do like the idea of gathering with friends for a shared meal and having a nationwide reason to do so. Therefore, I hope you enjoy your Gourmetten (a term I did have to look up) Glitterwolf, and if possible post pictures of the spread. I'm guessing it will be delicious!
  7. Discovered a funny little quirk of social distancing and masks. Had to make a quick run to the hardware store today. Stood in line about 6 feet from everyone else, all of us in masks, for about ten minutes. When I got to the cashier I looked back and noticed the guy standing behind me had a charity bike ride shirt on from a very specific and not well attended event, not a shirt you see every day. Then I took in the size and shape and general baldness of the guy behind me and said "Daryl?" Guy looked me over and said "Tom?" Turns out it was a fairly good friend and we'd been standing next to each other the whole time without realizing it. I'd even walked past his wife who was watching their bikes out front of the store on the way in. This is making me wonder if I've not recognized folks before. Now I'm going to be unintentionally eyeballing folks trying to figure out if I know them.
  8. That was one of the craziest nights I can remember. Fires, gunshots, sirens and unidentified loud bangs until about 2 in the morning. National guard on the streets this morning. But we're here, the sun is shining, and life goes on.
  9. I miss the fieldwork portion of my job. I'm lucky to be able to work from home. But for the foreseeable future all field visits have been suspended. I'm really missing all the interesting, natural places that I usually spend this time of year hiking around in. I miss having a group of interns I can teach stuff to. I miss finding that rare flower or bug I haven't seen in years. I even miss getting up in the middle of the night so I can drive three hours with a carful of sleeping interns to be on the north coast when the sun's coming up. I'm still outdoors a lot walking the dog, riding my bike, gardening, or just drinking beer on the porch. But it's not the same. And even though I know I'll get back to it sometime in the future, I still get sad when I stop to think about it. But, because I want to end on a positive note, my quarantine beard is rocking. Thanks for all the questions!
  10. OK, so I'm down to the last couple of hundred that I'm considering throwing at this KS. And 100 of that is for a second ship. I was seriously considering just saying "meh, one is probably enough." But now I'm wondering if I'm going to need 3 or more? I mean, it's only really going to be a challenge to paint once right? After you get one done you just copy what you did the first time with some minor changes and painting them should get faster and faster. And I can probably just sell a single painted one online to recoup my costs, right? Please note: these are just rhetorical questions that I'm using to talk myself into buying another one.
  11. Fresh fruit cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
  12. My wife is one of the lead judges for the water quality portion of our State's science fair. Normally this means going to the fairgrounds expo center on a Saturday and spending the day listening to middle through high school kids give you a presentation on their research. This year, with everything being closed down, the kids are instead doing write ups on their research and then they are being judged on that. I've been reading through some of them so she can get them organized and out to the other judges. I have to tell you, I'm pretty impressed with some of these kids. One 12 year old spent months last summer going out to a beach on Lake Erie every day and collecting the garbage, determining how much there was on any given day, and where it came from (fast food, nearby amusement park, fishing refuse, etc...). She was then able to correlate increases in littering with days when tourism spiked based on local economic data. It looked like she needed a small amount of help on her statistics, but nothing that would invalidate her work. That's not just impressive for a 12 year old, that's impressive for a lot of college kids. Another young lady built a functioning methane digester, buried it deep enough to not have to worry about cold temps in the winter, insulated it with household items, and then used it to help heat a small structure on her family's farm. One of my college advisors received a large grant to do the same (albeit on a bigger scale) and was never able to get it to work right. Some days there are kids that make it so you can't help but have hope for the future.
  13. A couple of other options for finding a good, inexpensive ride if you live near a large metropolitan area: Police Auctions, lots of bikes in my city get picked up in theft cases and the owner never comes forward. These end up going up for auction after a set period of time and you can find some really nice road bikes for a decent price. If you have a large university nearby some of them will have bicycle auctions at the end of the school year. The quality on these is typically lower because they're the bikes that graduating seniors didn't have room to pack or didn't need wherever they are moving to so they just leave them chained up and abandoned on school property. I know the university I did my grad work at would go around once a year and collect all the bikes that had been locked up for multiple months and then auction them off. I know of at least one used bike store that gets about half of their bikes from this. Then they put a little work into them and they have a great second hand machine for sale. Look for bike co-ops. There's a couple around here that take in old bike donations from the public and then resell them for very little money. One I used to volunteer at actually had multiple repair stations and all the necessary tools where you could come in and work on the bike you bought, or even your personal bike, for free. There's also usually some bike nerd there willing to help with repairs and many of them offer classes on repair. I picked up and repaired a late 90's Iron Horse mountain bike this way for like $50. Put a $100 into making it a commuter bike and it was my primary ride for several years. This one's a bit more iffy, but if you know when a brand of bike is releasing their new model go find a local bike shop that's an authorized dealer for that brand and check it out about a week after the new models come out. Occasionally they'll price down the last year's models at a steep discount. My wife picked up her Kona road bike that way for about a 33% discount for a brand new bike. Regardless, you're going to be amazed at the difference a good bike makes. That loop will seem like nothing and before you know it you'll be doing 100 km rides like they were nothing. Good luck bike shopping! That is a beautiful Centurion. A friend repairs classic bikes and resells them as his retirement hobby. One of his primary rides is a Centurion. It's such a clean, comfortable looking bike I'm always just a tiny bit jealous when I see him on it.
  14. That would be a nice alternative. Unfortunately we have a 120-ish year old home with 2 chimneys, 2 flat roof sections, 2 covered porches, and 4 different dormers with a multi-gabled roof. The only way to make it look like it all belongs on the same building without replacing the whole thing is to just re-shingle the parts that need it. Although the flat portions that no one can see are getting a modern rubber roof. I'm just thankful that it's not the slate roof that was probably on here originally. I could probably buy a small house with the money it would cost to replace one of those.
  15. Just paid the down payment for a new partial roof. We knew this was coming, but we were hoping to hold off on it for a couple of more seasons while we addressed some other things we wanted to fix up. But the last couple of weeks have seen some pretty heavy rains and I'm starting to see the faintest amount of failure around a flat portion of the roof that a former owner had used something other than roofing materials on. Had a guy come by earlier in the week with a drone to get up to some of the hard to reach areas on the third floor roof and saw that some of the flashing and grout work around one of the chimneys is looking pretty rough as well. About 65% of the roof still looks great (according to the roofer) and should hold up for as long as I plan on owning this house. But, regardless, it's become a "do it now or risk a bigger bill for rain damage in the future" situation. Luckily, since we bought an old house and knew what we were in for, I've been saving for this for quite some time now. And I was saving as if I would have to replace the entire thing. So even though this isn't going to be cheap, it's still coming in about $10k less than we anticipated. So I may end up going with some new gutters and security cameras while I'm at it. Ah, the joys of owning a home.
  16. I'm not a big costume guy but occasionally I'll dress up and ride a bicycle around the city with others. Either in parades or in organized group rides. There's the tweed ride where we all dress up like dandys, that's good clean fun that I do every year. There's the Doo Dah parade where I've dressed up as everything from a super hero to a road warrior and then ride around with about 1000 other people riding, marching and driving on a hot day in July. That's good holiday fun. But the most fun I've ever had in costume doing bike rides has to be my bumblebee outfit (consisting of wings and antennae) that I've worn a couple of times for the WNBR (this is a family forum so not describing that one, but feel free to look it up on your own), and that's just ridiculous, crazy fun. I haven't done that in years, and this year's WNBR was cancelled. And even though the organizers are encouraging us to get out and ride on our own, something tells me that's less likely to be as fun.
  17. That is a neat miniature and a great paint job. Love it.
  18. This was a surprisingly fast paint job. I'm typically not a fan of wizkids stuff, but I'm definitely a fan of gross bone constructs. This will fit in well in just about any game I run.
  19. I'd like to interrupt things to bring you some plants. Morning coffee spot. When it's not pouring down rain anyways. Here's a Columbine I planted a while back that finally bloomed dramatically. The rest bloomed about a week or so ago. These are coming up through a couple of my garden beds. I've been keeping them pulled but planted one just to see what comes up. I'm leaning towards cucumber. Dianthus. If there ever is a flumph miniature from Reaper, and I truly hope there is, this will be my model for color. These were my wife's roses a couple days ago. Today. Cheers all.
  20. I don't know, Fowl-rog rolls off the tongue easier.
  21. I've never had a cavity. Also, I have a bunch of tattoos, but they aren't anywhere visible to anyone but my wife. There's a whole bunch of other stuff. But trust me when I say that none of it is appropriate to discuss on here.
  22. Here's the Formorian giant from, I don't know, Bones 3 maybe? I was never too interested in it. It looked pretty weird in the bones white. Like it didn't quite fit together. I finally decided to put a little paint on it recently and discovered I quite liked it. It all went together much better than it initially appeared. But I think what really made me like it was the face. That's some serious ugly there.
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