The Hot Air Balloon

There's a balloon in our front yard!Yesterday afternoon a hot air balloon landed in our front yard. Calvin saw it first, and alerted us to it. I scrambled for the camera, but could only find the video camera, so the quality of these shots isn’t the best. Carley and I went out to say hi. Hobee is very afraid of hot air balloons, when they go overhead he hides, so with one in his yard he was beside himself.

The friendly crew greeted us, and thanked us for “letting them drop in” as they said. They gave us a bottle of champagne for letting them land (a ballooning tradition, I later found out). I thanked them for the champagne, and for landing and making our afternoon!

After a few minutes, and a crew change, they were off to continue their adventure.

Carley checks it out
Carley checks it out
Balloon crew
Balloon crew
Up, up, and away
Up, up, and away

Past Lives: Milton Bradley's Championship Baseball

This email came in a couple days ago:

Dear Dave,

    I was talking with Mike L____ who mentioned that you programmed the “Championship Baseball” game for the MBX system back in the early 80s. I currently run a TI-99/4A video game website on the Internet and would love to hear from someone such as yourself that was involved with the industry back then, especially working on the incredible MBX system! Championship Baseball was the most famous out of all the games made on the MBX, so it should be a blast to hear from the actual programmer! In addition, if you might be interested in talking with Mike again after all these years I can pass on his contact information. Should be fun talking! BTW, I just completed a review of Championship Baseball on the Internet for the Classic Videogaming Magazine called Retrogaming Times, it’s coming up in the February issue.

Sincerely,
Bryan Roppolo

MBX Championship BaseballMy last “real job” was twenty years ago working for Milton Bradley in their Electronic Games division, and the last project I worked on for them was the above-mentioned Championship Baseball game in 1983. I was never quite sure if it made its way onto store shelves (such is the nature of game development). Google even turned up another review of the game!

I’m reminded yet again that once created, these things take on a life of their own.

Major Appliances

Our old refrigerator is going downhill fast. A few months ago the handle pulled off and refused to stay on, so I took the damn thing off. And lately little jars and bottles have been crashing to the floor because the plastic things that hold them to the door shelf keep coming loose. And last month I noticed we were replacing the fridge bulb a little to often, and it turned out the light wasn’t going out when you closed the door (a taped a little piece of plastic to the door to fix that, but it’s a hack). It came with the house and certainly doesn’t owe us anything.

GE fridgeIt’s become obvious even to me that we need a new fridge. So tonite we headed over to Home Depot and picked out a GE side-by-side that Robin was lobbying for, with stainless steel doors and a fancy ice dispenser. We won’t get it for two weeks, but at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If not inside the closed fridge…

iLife 05 arrives!

When I got back home tonite I discovered that the new iLife 05 had arrived. It took a few minutes to install, and I played a bit with the new GarageBand. It seems a little faster, and I really like the new transcription feature (notes on a staff). Put together a few measures of layered rock, remembering how easy it is to do that (it’s been a month since I’ved played with it).

iPhoto has a cool new feature where you can use a calendar to display all the photos in a given month, or on a given day. I hear it will keep track of movie clips, but I didn’t get a chance to try that out.

And iMove and iDVD look like they have some nifty new features, but I’m saving playing with those til I have a few hours to spare.

Wicked Cold, and Deer Licks

I spent the day helping Miles out with his new computer. After lunch we took a break to go outside where it was incredibly sunny and just as incredibly cold (15 below zero). There’s a tame deer that visits him, and we were lucky enough to see it while we were out there. It was chewing on some grass that was poking up thru the snow, and we walked up to it with me doing my best to project a feeling of safety and no-threat. Miles walked right up and started petting it, and I did the same. Such a wonderful, gentle creature, not bothered by the frigid weather and happy to have found some dry grass to eat. Its fur was thick and more stiff than I would have thought, and it didn’t mind being petted by humans, and even licked my hand. For me it was a magical moment of wonder and awe.

Updates

My personal home pages were completely out of date, which is only right considering that I work on web pages for a living. How old were they? We’re talking 1999, last century, a totally different millenium. Way old.

So I just spent the last hour updating them a little, but I’m realizing that to do it right they really need more recent photos and a more interesting look. But least now they look a little more modern and consistent, and they even sport a bit of CSS. First things first (but not necessarily in that order)…

Growing pains: music servers and puppies

Four years ago I spent $200 on a 30gig hard drive for our music server (which ran on some customed-designed software named 3mer, but that’s a whole other story). We’ve finally outgrown that drive, and a random trip to Best Buy (for the Invader Zim DVD) turned up an 80gig drive for $29 after rebates! This is amazing, and we should now have plenty of music storage for a few more years.

And puppy Carley, who will be five months old on the 29th, is getting bigger and more dog-like all the time. Her fur is getting some curl to it and her face looks more grown up. She understands two commands, sit and shake, and we’re working on speak! for a very practical reason: so she can let us know vocally when she needs to go out.

Update: Looks like the old playlists got lost in the move; I think there’s a way to get them back but it could be way more work than I’d like.

Blog on the move

As nice as Blogger is, I’ve decided to move my blog to the microseeds site and use WordPress blogging software. The big gain of doing this is that it’s much easier to leave comments, plus it gives me a lot more options. The big loss, tho, is that WordPress doesn’t have lots of pretty page templates like Blogger…

Geeky note: I like the layout of the Silver Is The New Black theme, tho its monochrome look is pretty boring so I hacked some color into it. In Firefox and Mozilla you’ll see boxes with nice rounded corners, but Safari (my favorite browser on the Mac) doesn’t recognize the “rounded corner” attribute 🙁

Organizing

Today I’m organizing various papers that are currently strewn about the house and office. It’s less about clutter (they’re mostly put away and out of sight) than about being able to find them when I need to, and about having an official place to put them. Things like used checks, bank statements, receipts, and paid bills. Years ago I had official places for those things, but I guess I lost that system somewhere in the various moves since then. Anyway, I’ll feel better knowing where things are.

I also need to bring my checkbooks up to date, having lost them in the Big Crash of ’05 a week ago.

Organizing, organizing, organizing. Porter would be proud!