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Overdue Update
I no longer have bragging rights for having four living grandparents. My mom's dad ("PopPop" to me) had been having heart problems lately and passed away Thursday afternoon in his Idaho home with his loving wife and family by his side, including my mom who had just flown in that day. I'm grateful that I got to see him last summer when we drove out for the family gathering.

That's not the reason I decided to post this long-overdue update, but it would seem wrong to post anything else without mentioning that.

Today we braved the high winds to go out for lunch at Red Robin and go looking for some velcro and a sewing kit to attempt a repair job on our gazebo. In storage over the winter, the elastic tie-backs for the side panels just disintegrated like a dried-out rubber band. In the high winds today, everything's getting tossed around too much with the panels closed and acting like sails (even though all four corners of the frame are tied down tight to the deck railing) so we wanted to open them up, but that means we need to replace the broken tie-backs or else they'll just blow all over the place. So we're hoping some velcro straps will do the trick.

Earlier in the week the weather was nice so we could enjoy a nice cookout dinner under the gazebo. Jamie made some super-healthy and delicious faux potato salad (using cauliflower) and cooked up some buffalo chicken sausage on the George Foreman grill. (Yeah, we don't have a real grill yet.)

Jamie has been doing really well with her weight loss, and I'm proud of her for that. Although lately she started playing WoW again. ;) But at least she's not letting it interfere with her weight loss goals, so I can't criticize.

I started using Google Chrome lately. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but FireFox was just pissing me off lately. It sometimes takes 40 seconds to launch. WTF? Chrome just pops right up like it's already running (maybe it is?). Besides, this. But, I have to wonder, why is there no Google Toolbar for Chrome? I miss search term highlighting and seeking.

In other computing news, I think I need a bigger hard drive. HD video files from my camera just eat everything up, and I hate deleting things. I'm a digital hoarder... "What if I want that clip of snow falling in the field behind our house someday?" (And it turns out I used that in this at 1:48, so I'm glad I kept it!) A particularly bad case of that lately involved several hundred frames of fractal animations that were rendered to 4GB worth of transparent PNGs. Unfortunately I can't find any way to encode those into a video format that maintains transparency, so there's no way to compress that 4GB. I ended up burning the files to a DVD.

But if I get a bigger internal hard drive, that means I also need a bigger backup drive. I currently backup my important files (including HD videos) to an external hard drive, which right now is already full because I put some things only on that drive if I care less about having a backup of it than I do about having free space on my internal drive. So this gets the proverbial ball rolling and eventually I realize I just need an entirely new computer because this one is 5 years old. But I can't afford that right now. So, what, just 2 new hard drives? My mobo can raid them... Then I could dedicate those drives to space-eating stuff like the HD videos and free up space on my system drive without needing to reinstall. That might be a doable plan.

*steps out / steps back in* I just went out to put a cinder block over the base of one corner of the gazebo frame that kept kicking out at an angle in the wind. Hopefully that'll hold it. I also located an end cap that popped out of a corner of the frame of the upper canopy that came loose.

Well, now we're going to the grocery store, so that'll have to be the end of this update. I can't think of anything else anyway.

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Sorry to hear about your grandfather.

There are plenty of good deals on 1TB drives out there right now. Probably about $70. Here's a search on Fatwallet that can help you out.

Thanks for the link... I was fairly certain I knew what I should get from Newegg, but now that I read some of the comments on Fatwallet deals about people's bad luck with every manufacturer, I'm all depressed. :-P

Way back, I used to have terrible luck with Western Digital. I swore off them and got IBM drives, and then got bad luck with them too. Now I've been doing well on Seagate for 5 years, but all these comments talk about Seagate's high failure rate. Blah.

I sometimes wonder if bad luck with hard drives is misunderstood... Maybe it's not the drive manufacturer to blame, but the environment in which you're using their drives (maybe even the controller or PSU).

I'm sorry for your loss! It's great that you got to see him recently, though. I hope your grandmother is holding up well.

Mike and I got a new computer, at Staples of all places, and it came standard with a 1TB drive. I think my mom picked up a back-up 1TB drive at Costco for around $60-70. It's amazing how 1TB almost seems little at this point, though. It'll be full before we know it between Mike's 10GB Star Trek Online game and my 70 GB of video transfer stuff that I should be working on (Do you have suggestions for good DVD Authoring software? I keeping getting stuck due to software limitations and having to start over or re-render).

Also, I request more frequent updates! :)

1TB would be nice. Right now I just have a 150GB drive with 2GB free. :-P

Sorry, I haven't done much with DVD authoring. Last thing I did was to burn an episode of House that I had to download because our DVR messed up... For that I think I used NeroVision Express 2, which came with my DVD writer. It worked fine for my needs, but I wasn't trying to do anything fancy with chapters or menus. Plus that was a long time ago. I don't need to burn DVDs anymore because our DVD player can play files off the network. :)

I think we've got your wind today. Yikes!

I just got a 1TB external, it's iomega, so far so good.

Congrats to Jamie on weight loss... It's not easy. I need to get back to it myself, I'm off the 'wagon'.

Sorry to hear about your loss. :( I lost my first Grandparent this year also.

Sorry for your loss. Enjoy the time you have left with the others, now. I have no living grandparents and it's very sad :(

Hope your gazebo holds up to the wind!

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