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Invisible foil hats

Updated: 2018-04-18T06:44:52.185-05:00


New Blog


I have moved my blog ... or rather started posting elsewhere since this site has gone stale. Check out for more up to date information.


Home, in Jax Beach


We're getting settled into our new house.

There are still boxes to unpack and rooms to organize. My parents and Veez were able to help us out a great bit over this past weekend. Wrinkles is enjoying the lack of steps as he continues his recovery on his now near month-old surgically repaired knee.

We purchased a new TV and ordered new furniture. The furniture will be here in 2-3 months. The biggest inconvenience experienced is a lack of cable and internet. But, as you can tell we're finding ways to stay connected.

Stay tuned for more updates ...

Version0 deployed in Jacksonville


Veez (Version0, Matt) had a conference in Orlando late last year. That afforded him some time to visit Jax with little to no penalty. It was a good visit but, I felt like he missed out on getting to meet a number of people and see how we work.

Since that visit he had gone out on his own to do freelance Rails consulting. We got him back down here for another visit and he's now working with us at Hashrocket. As surprise interstate relocations have a tendency to have a lot of details, the minutia are not all worked out just yet but, he's currently working to blast the ghetto alongside the rest of the Rocketeers.

Welcome aboard man!

Sold the house! More or less ...


After being on the market since November we accepted an offer on the house as of this past weekend. There are only boilerplate contingencies. The buyers have accepted an offer on their home. They close on both their sale and purchasing ours on the same day. As long as the sale goes off without a hitch ours should as well.

They also wanted a home inspection. That was performed yesterday. Apparently there was a Radon gas problem in the house. So yet another $1000 will be going to some vendor or service provider for the sale of our home.

We've got a house picked out down here. We're renting a 3 bedroom, 2 bath from a co-worker. Nice place, great yard for the dogs. It's late but, I wanted to get a post in here.

Jen is in town this weekend, YAY!


I get to see the wife this weekend and introduce her to our new life in Florida (temporary housing, new job, and new friends).

She arrives Thursday and departs on Sunday morning. It will probably take her a half day just to defrost. This winter has been colder that normal and they've gotten near record amounts of snow.

We've got plans with my parents for dinner on Saturday, halfway between Jacksonville and Ocala.

Fitness Class: Day 2


We did laps today, a lap consists of running around a nearby church including stairs to the second level and on the west end doing tricep squats and the east end either wall-sits or curb lunges.

After that we did some work on the tennis courts with resistance bands and weights. I think there were some sprints in there too...

To finish up we did planks, side-planks and passed a medicine ball while sitting up with our legs raised. Some final cool down stretches and poof! There goes an hour workout.

Fitness Class Begins


Today the company sponsored fitness class began with a good showing of about eleven people. This class was a 'light' class that got the new people like myself familiar with the program run by Beaches area trainer Pushpa Duncklee.

To start we walked the normal path for her classes at Jarboe Park. Once we knew the course we were set to run a mile or five circuits of the smaller course. Following that my memory starts to get a little blurry. We did Sit-ups, Push-ups, and then weighted lunges and squats. Back on our mats we did stomach and side planks. And then well I forget. Somewhere in there I had to take a break to avoid dry heaving like our Project Lead Ryan did on his first day of class.

It was a good workout, I can't say it was fun but, it was far from horrible.

Before my five minute drive back to the hotel was over I was feeling better, energized, ready to run another fifteen minute mile (Official time 15:01). Heh.

Traveling with Batteries and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day


Great way to end a pain in the ass day. As I am packing for my trip back to the beach I recall the new TSA restrictions on batteries.

I usually travel with my Canon 1D Mark II N, though you'd be hard pressed to tell that from my flickr feed. :S

The bad news is I had to decipher this confusing post of allowable types and quantities of lithium in batteries.

What it appears to boil down to is that the average modern laptop and cell phone are below the allowed 8grams. So, as long as you've only got two devices and they're both modern, tada! You're probably OK. But, as I've seen with the 1D security check points are arbitrarily different in what they will run through twice or pull me aside to more thoroughly check my equipment.

The 1D and all modern Canon cameras use Nickel Metal Hydride (NI-MH) batteries which are not restricted in any way.

The point is I had to spend 30 minutes investigating whether I can 'safely' take my same three items that I usually travel with (Canon 1D Mark II N, Apple iPhone, and MacBook Pro[1]) on my my trip home to Jax.

Special thanks to the Boing boing comments for both the laughs and helpful links on the subject of the new TSA Restrictions.

[1] Don't get me started (too late) on my on-going ordeal with Apple Support (Day 10) trying to get my MBP 'fixed'. I am posting this from said machine with the ominous warning to not turn it off "It doesn't want to boot reliably and we don't know why." Thanks to Brian and Dan at Apple Store Madison West though for the helpful support today. Now I get to turn it over to the Geniuses at Jacksonville's St. John's Center for further repair.

iPhone Speaker Problem: An Explanation and Solution


If you've had an iPhone for some length of time chances are you have experienced this symptom. You make or receive a call but you can't hear or talk through the normal mic and earpiece.

It's happened to me twice now. The first time I finally figured out how to fix it. It was a simple 32 step process that apparently was no more effective than a rain-dance.

The real reason this happens is that dust or pocket fuzz or some other foreign material gets in to the earbud socket. This triggers earbud mode without the benefits provided by the earbuds. Eureka!

Clean out that socket and you're golden.

Dune Buggy: First pics ...


Well, I finally did it. I bought my f'n Dune Buggy.


A few things that would up ruining my weekend. Little details that the previous owner failed to finish before I picked it up like:

* Seats not bolted
* No seat belts
* Weak accelerator spring

That said, it's a fun little ride and I am excited to get it tagged and take it out on the beach.

Catching up ...


Where does the time go?

I handed out this URL in my going away email three months ago and haven't posted twice since. Things are going well in Florida. Meeting lots of great people and enjoying the new gig.

Thankfully, I am still in the place on the beach and I wake up to the sound of the ocean each morning. Otherwise I wouldn't see it. Between working, organizing/promoting the local ruby user group, and trying to catch up with personal life... well, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

I am shopping for a Dune Buggy and just missed out on an ebay auction where I got sniped in the last 30 seconds. The buggy was in Elkhorn, WI and the plan was for Lark and I to drive it down to Florida from Wisconsin. Would have been a long, strange trip.

Wisconsin is about the same as when I left it 3 weeks ago, only colder. We've been to my sister's house, brother's house, both of my wife's grandparents' homes (2 hours north). For a four day weekend, I've already logged 12 hours just driving to visit folks. Not that I'm complaining. Seeing people I probably wouldn't have if I weren't moved away.

I'll try to keep this thing up to date. No promises though.

Off to Jacksonville, FL for good...


Moving day, me and my suitcase are headed to the coast. The wife and dogs will join me in about six months. Hard to say goodbye to so many friends and co-workers but, I am extremely excited for the potential of the new job.

More later...

Live Blogging MATC ROR Course Class 1.1


Setup rails, with an emphasis towards the Windows boxes made available by the college, using InstantRails or more sophisticated means if we were so inclined.

Created Databases by hand and also using phpMyAdmin.

Basic overview of MVC Framework.

Create a controller:
ruby script/generate controller main

"Controllers are non-destructive which is nice"

Created [Rails_App]/app/controllers/main_controller.rb

In Rails Actions are methods of a controller.

Everything that rails does is built on the philosophy of convention over configuration.

Ugh, Race Report 8/3 & 8/5


It was a weekend full of ups and downs at the race track. Although mostly downs, the car stalled on the starting line, again. This was resolved by setting the idle up. My thinking was that the idle was already up really high but, what I was noticing was the idle speed with the choke engaged.

So, with a half-lap handicap I wound-up in fifth place after dodging several spinning cars. Or at least one spinning car many times. ;) Andy had his hands full and as my experience can attest once you feel like you are behind you try harder, you push, and you usually do worse. Some of my best races were ones I just didn't have any hope of winning and happened to be the last man standing.

Friday night, 5th place.

Sunday was the Sun Prairie Lion's Club Great American Race special. The back-ups always make an appearance and also race for points. This race went even worse. We got almost 3/4 of a lap in when George Wachuta running in the low groove slid up into my groove. We touched and then released and this sent me broadside across the track where I was collected by another driver. I wasn't able to finish the race and I had a flat tire.

I think they scored me in 7th, we'll find out at payout on Friday.

Those are all downs, you say? Where are the ups? Well the Lion's Club race usually has time to kill built into the schedule. We were able to take the Back-up division out qualifying. Fastest time, on a non-ideal track, was by me. I turned a 17.091 second lap. That is an average speed of 52 MPH according to this lap speed calculator. There is more there too, I could turn a faster lap under better conditions.

Another perspective ...


What does it look like to race backwards? Ride along with the winner from last nights Wild & Crazy Back-Up Race with this in-car footage.

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Note: My car actually stalled on the line and re-fires 'just' as the green flag falls.

Live Action Race Report


I could tell you about this week's race, or you could just watch for yourself. That's me in the black car in the second row.

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Special thanks to my niece and videographer Katie!

Race Report: Out of luck?


I've posted a few times about how lucky I've been at the track this season.

Last night was not an exception, I finished third while taking a position away from the point leader in the last quarter of the last lap.

Everything didn't go as planned though. I had a lot of friends and family up to watch me race. Mom & Dad, John, Matt, Samantha, Mark's kids and my Dad's pit crews from over the years. I started near the back (outside row three). The race was going fine until lap three or so when one of the lead cars Ryan Oetzel slowed suddenly coming out of turn two. The car behind him tried to avoid him and got into the infield grass. He then came out of the infield and into Ryan. That turned Ryan broadside in front of me. *BAM!* *POW!* *POOF!* After shaking off the cobwebs I hopped out and realized that I had very minimal damage.

The race restarted from a standstill with me and Ryan in the back. After the green fell I caught and passed 6th place, 5th place, 4th place. After that were the leaders. I caught them and managed to get inside Bruce Havel to take third when he slid up the track.

Again lucky to start at the back, twice and still come away with a third place.

Race Report 7/13/07


Starting Line-up

03 22
11 86
15 39

#22 Wayne Hook lead two laps before Andy Ward (#03) got around him. I slid into the high groove and followed Andy about a half lap later. Just after I got past Wayne he slid up the track on Bruce Havel (#15) and found himself in the wall. He walked to the ambulance and spent a few minutes there. He was out looking at his car a few minutes after the race was over and seemed none the worse for wear.

Lap 4 restart

To avoid killing the engine I feathered the throttle off the line and Andy snuck off to a straight away lead. I chased him down by the start of lap six and we raced side by side for a half of a lap before he spun on his own.

86 Me
39 George Wachuta
11 Dave Moore
15 Bruce Havel
ONO Jug Hur
03 Andy Ward
22 Wayne "Off on the" Hook

Excited about my fourth win in about twice as many tries. The car actually didn't handle very well. Due, in all liklihood, to removing the 40-50 lbs of gas and tank last week and replacing it with about 5-10 lbs of replacement gas and tank. I've got some time scheduled to go up and work on the handling this Wednesday evening.

In other news I am meeting with the fine folks at Pizza Oven about a potential sponsorship this week.

Race Report 7/6/2007


What's the old saying?

I'd rather be lucky than good.

Well, last night I was lucky. My starter solenoid failed, I ran into another car, and I had a catastrophic mechanical failure. Somehow through all that I managed to finish 2nd out of eight cars.

I've been using my street car battery to power my back-up car, that means I take the battery out of my little Mitsubishi Mirage and mount it in the battery box of the #86 Back-up. This has worked fine for a couple weeks now. Last night I mounted the battery and tried to start the car *TAP* *TAP*. The solenoid failed meaning my car could only be started by jumping two terminals with a screwdriver or other piece of metal with an insulated handle. Luckily, my solenoid is mounted on the floor next to the driver's seat and therefore even if I was buckled in I could restart the car. That came in handy when I went to enter the track and the car stalled. It re-fired after some fumbling in the dark to find the right terminals.

After the race started I got caught behind Dave Moore who was using the entire track and not giving me an opportunity to pass him. On one corner I came in a whole lot harder than he did and clobbered him pretty good. Luckily we were both able to continue on almost without incident. I eventually passed him for that position.

Just after the white flag fell I raced into turn one to find spinning cars. I jammed on the brakes and drove around while noticing a large chunk of debris sail up the track and into the pit area sparking and nearly glowing. Luckily I finished the race and took home second place.

After slowing down and checking out the scoreboard I turned around and drove to the pit area. The official was looking at me and pointing to the large chunk of debris.

My thought process as I drove past the debris and to my pit stall was something like this:

Hey, that looks like my fuel cell.

If that's my fuel cell, How did I finish the race?

Holy crap, that sparking glowing piece of debris was fifteen gallons of gasoline that ejected from the trunk of my car.

Luckily, I finished the race. Luckily, nobody was hurt. Luckily I'll be able to put it all together and do it again next week.

Race Report


I've been having a pretty good luck at the race track this season, at least the nights that I have shown up. With vacations to Portland, OR; Ocala, FL; Chicago, IL and pending weddings my attendance at the track has been less than 100%. Still on the nights I have appeared it's been worthwhile.

OK, I do have one DNF (Did Not Finish). Other than that I've had one 4th place finish, a 2nd, and three wins. Tonight, after waiting in line 8 hours for my iPhone, I made it up to the track and scored my first ever set of back-to-back victories.

My motorsports photography portfolio ...


Trying to land a gig down in Illinois for this Saturday lead to the creation of this flash-based slideshow.

Let me know what you think

More Backwards Racing video


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A produced segment

This feature was put together for a now defunct show called RaceDay on the now defunct TNN (The Nashville Network). It is packed with action and accidents as well as legendary back-up racers Jug Hur, Dave Moore, and Bruce Havel.

As johnhelmer and others have commented the video incorrectly states the location of Columbus 151 Speedway as Columbus, OH when in reality we share a home state with Matt Kenseth, the late Alan Kulwicki, andDave Marcis, among many others.

Backwards Racing? Yeah, Backwards Racing


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8 Laps in Reverse, as fast as you can.

This is an older video of the Wild & Crazy Back-up cars from Columbus 151 Speedway in Columbus, WI. The video is focused on my car but you get a good feel for the racing and the carnage that happens when you race in reverse.

Most every Friday Night in the summer you'll find me at Columbus 151 Speedway.

Chad Fowler Quote


"I'm sick of being associated with arrogant bastards."

- Chad Fowler