Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lessons in commenting

It's come to my attention that some of you may not know how to leave a comment...I won't name any names, you know who you are. You don't have to have an account/password/webpage or anything like that. All you have to do is click on the area that says "1 Comments", "0 Comments", or whatever at the bottom of a post. Then toggle the "Name/URL" button and just fill in your name and leave a message.

Here's a shot of what the screen will look like (I squared the areas that you will use)...

Ok now I know that if you're smart enough to use the computer, you're smart enough to do the this :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Organized To Stay?


Ok so I need some help figuring out a name for my organizing business. Names we've heard so far are S.O.S. (Stephanie's Organizing Solutions), "Un"pack the Rat, and Organized to Stay. Please leave comments on any ideas you may have!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unblackmailable

I found two videos recently on my company's website that could potentially be used to blackmail me. They are videos from the FIRST World Championship in Atlanta last April.  FIRST is a high school robotics competion that we sponsor as a company.  I figured though if I go ahead and throw these up here for all to see, its hard for someone to find them later and hassle me about it. Potential blackmail thwarted.

FIRST Website

This first video is me showing off the robot I built with a few other guys at work to show off for the kids how to use the new hardware we're providing them for next year's competition.



I'm on this video at two places (5:36-6:00 and 7:48-8:00). Yes, I'm dancing with a robot and our VP in front of thousands of high school students. No, I'm not embarrassed. In fact, I'm quite proud of my performance.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"I knight you Sir Luke, The Adult"

It's been about 2 years and 4 months since I graduated from college. During this time I have begun to assimilate into the "adult" world, whether I like it or not. I have started to learn and have reason to pay attention to words like 401k, IRA, Roth (401k and IRA), economy, Fed, interest rate, mortgage, savings, money market, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, retirement, compensation, benefits, health, dental, premium, insurance, deductible, yield, coverage, return, liability, policy, claim, depreciation, deduction, IRS, income, tax, income tax, state income tax in silly Virginia, Alan Greenspan, and finally Ben Bernanke.

Overall, it can be a bit confusing, overwhelming, and at different times seem completely unnecessary. As I continue to learn, I've read a few books, watched a few documentaries, and tried to think critically so as to learn and not get sucked into the propaganda that some of them are laced with.

Most of the stuff we hear lately revolves around two things, the election and the economy. Let me share with you my 2 year and 4 month understanding with you. I'll start by whittling down the basic ideas both John and Barack have (I thought I'd call them John and Barack since they always get called McCain and Obama in the news. The last name convention also reminds me of junior high athletics, where we all got t-shirts that said "Name: __________, property of Central Spartans." That always felt weird to me. One, I wasn't the school's property. Two, if my coach doesn't know my first name, how can he know what I need as an athlete? It got better in high school and college though, so my scars are minimal.) John says, "I'll lower everybody's taxes, and lower high income taxes the most." Barack says, "I'll lower everybody's taxes, except for the high income folks. There's will be raised to make up the difference." He might also throw in the word "change" a few times.

Laying aside partisanship and looking at the net effect, both John and Barack have a policy in mind that will lower the income of the government. To me, this seems like a strange plan. If I did the same thing personally, it would mean I would find a job that pays less money, while continuing to borrow and increasing my debt to my friends. If I keep making less money and borrowing more from my friends, at some point, the ruse will be up. They will realize I'm not ever planning on paying them back. At that point, I'm going to be out of luck when I go to hit up my friends for more money.

This thought led to my next question. Who do we as a country owe all of this money to? I found this video on the internet the other day that explains the money system we use. It's put together as a cartoon, and watching it brought back fond memories of School House Rock. It definitely tries to persuade you towards a certain opinion, but I think it's worth a watch if you have 45 minutes and you'd like to understand your pal, Ben Bernanke, a little bit better.


I'm curious to know what the older and wiser adults think about all of this, so please let me know. For now, I continue pondering the situation without having come to that many firm conclusions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Little House!

Finally the moment you all have been waiting for (well maybe).....Pictures from our new pad. Here's one of the front of the house.

Here's the living room facing the front door. As you can see there is a screen hanging from the ceiling, that's for our sweet movie watching. We are waiting on a couch and loveseat that we ordered and should be here in 8 to 12 weeks. I don't know how a company can work with that kind of turnaround.

So here's our only living room seating for now, the "bubba" chairs (well this is as bubba as I want to get). Luke and I have had some disagreements with getting a bubba chair or not. He says comfort, I say looks. I think these chairs are pretty comfortable, so I don't know what he's crying about...I mean, he did get his movie theater.

You can see the kitchen area in the background. We really like how this house is so open, it makes cooking a lot more fun because you're still part of the "party."

Here's the hall closet. Our last house didn't have this, and it is definitely nice. We decided to put shoes and jackets in here.

Here's the "breakfast room." The door to the left goes out to the garage, which is basically a storage area because the attic here is not too sturdy for stuff (and very hard to get into). The parking situation is pretty weird here, we just park on the back side of the house and our duplex neighbors park in front of their (and our) garage. So we couldn't park in the garage even if we wanted to....and they didn't have an electronic opener, so there's no way I'm getting out of the car to go through the house to get to the back of the garage to open the door just so I can park in the garage, too much work for me :) The door to the right in this picture goes out to the back side of the house (to where we park). We use this door instead of the front door (and so do all the delivery people).

Here's the kitchen. I really like how we have area above the cabinets to display those cutesy things that we didn't have room for in other areas :) The little island in the middle of the room was something we bought from Wal-Mart, we thought it went really nicely with the cabinets. There isn't much counter space or drawer space, so we use the island for veggie chopping and meal preparing, and it stores our silverware.

Here's our "message center" for mail and keys and stuff.
Here's the hallway to the bedrooms. The first room on the right is the guest bedroom, then the office is next to that. The first room on the left is the guest bathroom followed by the master bedroom.

Here's my room (or the guest bedroom). If any of you saw my room in Houston before we got married, this is a mini version of it (mainly because it's about half the size).



All the closets in this joint are super small (especially compared to what we were used to in Texas). So we have to keep all our dress clothes in the guest bedroom closet.

Here's the guest bathroom. It's probably twice the size of the master bathroom, but that will be nice for company :)



Here's Luke's room (or the office).

He's got a nice little set up on the desk, a lot of work goes on here. We got the desk from a garage sale at our church right before we left. It is pretty huge, but really nice for working and having all the computer stuff you need.

Maybe Luke should be the professional organizer. Here's his ideas for how to deal with all the books and cables we have, it's in a nice little closet so we can close it off when we don't want to look at all that stuff.

Here's our master bedroom. It is about half the size of the one we had in Texas, so we couldn't use all the furniture we had for it, but that's all right.

The king bed definitely makes it look even smaller than it is. I sleep on the left side of the bed and my "bedside table" is those cubes on the wall. They've been working out pretty good, I just put my phone, water, glasses, and book either in or on top of it :)


Here's our little closet. I had to downsize some more clothes to make it fit better, which was good for me to do anyway because I'm supposed to be all organized and "less is more". I've been trying to get Luke to go through his stuff, so hopefully this weekend we'll get to that.

Here's our bathroom. There is absolutely NO counterspace, so right now we're living out of our travel bags. I'm going to look for some sort of box to set on the toilet to put makeup and stuff in, so hopefully we can get out of the travel stage :) This bathroom only has a shower, which I like, but the other bathroom has the tub with the showerhead.


And that's it! We really like this house a lot. It doesn't have our awesome porch, so that's a little bummer, but the inside layout is really nice. I only wish it had a fireplace, but Luke disagrees. I just liked making smores and sitting by the fire when it's cold out, but Luke said we only used the one at the Austin house like 3 times, but hey it's supposed to be colder here right?

We painted all the rooms except for the bathrooms when we moved in. I can definitely live here longer because of that. It looks like night and day from having all white everywhere, to having some color! We also added ceiling fans to the bedrooms, all they had was a ghetto light fixture. We think adding the paint and fans definitely ups the value of this place.

Currently we have room to sleep 6 guests and when the couches come we can add 2 more, so please come on and see us!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

All Cooped Up

If you're wondering why Stephanie's last post was so long, it's because we're sitting here on Saturday cooped up in our house in light of the Hurricane, which coincidentally was a pretty good movie, especially since Denzel is so attractive. You can buy it on HD-DVD, Betamax, and Laserdisc.



New York City!

Here are some pictures from our Labor Day Weekend in New York City!

We decided that we would take the ferry ride over to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. It was neat getting to see it all up close and personal. We had special tickets that got us into the actual monument where we got to go up to the base of the statue. For those of you who have seen Jungle 2 Jungle with Tim Allen, you can't get up into the head of the statue like his kid Mimi-Siku. The highest you can go is to the base of the statue, unless you know the president, which we tried to tell the guy we did being from Texas and all...it didn't work. Ok I'm going to give you some advice, if you're planning on taking the ferry ride and going in the monument, don't plan it on a holiday weekend, go sometime during a normal work week. This activity of us seeing Liberty in all her glory took all day Saturday, good thing we didn't really have any set plans except for the play that night.

This was the whole reason we came to New York. Luke bought me tickets to see The Little Mermaid on Broadway for an anniversary present. Let me just tell you something, my husband is my favorite person in the world and I love him very much. This was probably the best present ever. The show was A-MAZING!! I definitely recommend it to anyone if it comes your way. I loved it!! It was also super fun because Luke gave me the cd of the performance back in June, so I knew all the words to the new songs, and of course I was singing along (in my head, I did belt it out in the car on the way to NY though).

We stopped in the Toys R Us store in Times Square. It's a pretty awesome place, really huge with a 3 story ferris wheel! So here's Luke holding Lego Mindstorms, a game his company National Instruments wrote the software for. Pretty neat. And it only costs you $279.99, I wonder if we can get an employee discount.

Of course we had to hit up Nintendo World in Rockefeller Plaza. They had a ton of Wiis and DSs (I don't know how to make those plural without it looking weird) set up to play, so that was kid of fun. And to my dismay, they weren't overpriced, you could get a game for what you would pay at Wal-Mart. Speaking of overpriced, Luke wanted to check out one of those sleazy looking electronic stores in Times Square, so we did and we don't know how they stay in business! They were trying to sell a Wii game for $80!! I'm wondering who in their right mind would by a game for that price from some sleazy guy when you can go to Nintendo World, the store that actually makes the games (well you know what I mean) and get it for $50. And people were in there buying things!! That boggled our minds for a bit.

I'm thinking March 15, 2009.... anyone coming?

Here we are at Central Park. Did you know that the park is 843 acres with 36 bridges, 21 playgrounds, more than 275 different types of birds and all of it was man made?!?! Well except for the birds, and one of the lakes, but other than that it is all landscaped. Crazy huh. You can definitely get lost in there if you don't know what you're doing. There are 58 miles of pedestrian walks throughout the park, talk about a work out.

Chocolate anyone? On Sunday we decided to take a double decker bus tour around the city, it was a great way to see everything, we recommend it to anyone going to NYC. It's a "hop on, hop off" bus which makes it really nice. So here we are at the Times Square stop in front of the Hershey's store. From the looks of the outside you would think the store is HUGE, but no, inside is about as big (maybe smaller) than your average convenient store. OH speaking of convenient stores and gas stations, did you know that it's illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey?? Well it is, and we made a 20 min gas stop on the way back because of it! AHH. Supposedly back in the 40s, the New Jersey and Oregon governments thought that people weren't smart enough to pump their own gas. How we manage to do it in the other 48 states, the world may never know (or at least New Jersey and Oregon may never know).

Here is a view from the deck around our hotel. We stayed in New Jersey, but had access to a metro line right outside the hotel. We thought we'd show a little NItro spirit!

Here we are at the beach in Atlantic City, you know Monopoly land! Well the gps didn't tell us that it would be a 2 hour detour to eat lunch here...and they didn't even have monopoly paraphernalia anywhere. Lame. But we did get to eat at a local pizza joint on the strip with a bunch of high school kids wearing nothing but swimsuits, and these girls shouldn't just be going around in a bikini if you know what I mean. I guess they didn't have the "no shoes, no shirts, no service" rule at Pop A Pizza.

So here I am sporting Luke's broken sunglasses b/c he swiped mine....err, well at least I didn't have to drive! I did end up driving, but only 2 hours and poor Luke had to drive about 8. We decided to take the "scenic" drive on the way back from NY. Well they don't tell you that the "scenic" drive is just through a bunch of trees where you can't see anything (but trees). And we rode on a ferry that cost $50!! Wow! I asked the guy if he was kidding and he said no...bummer. It was a fun experience though, no more "scenic" drives for us :) at least not from Williamsburg to NYC.

All in all we had a really fun time in New York. So if any of you want to come visit, we can head up there for the weekend (only if we don't drive during rush hour).