Everyone I hope you’re ready for a solid nerd post. No, it’s not about Game of Thrones…… I don’t watch that shit! Plz

This is a project I have been working with my “best friend” John Schulman. As you may or may not know I have a Vanagon Westfalia. I keep said Vanagon in my subterranean grarage as it needs to be protected from the elements. The problem is the garage gets very damp after a rain storm. I keep a dehumidifier in there running 24-7. The issue is I sometimes forget to emty it. It then shuts off and the water begins to pool up on the floor.

John and I figured this might be a great opportunity to use an Arduino to send me a notification on my phone when the tank for the dehumidifier is full and the unit has shut off. John got to work using a Wifi enabled Feather Board. The board has a water sensor on it. Along with a servo arm that moves when the device is trying to connect to the internet. My end of the project is the 3D printed housing for it so it can be attached to the dehumidifier.

John sent me the board last week and the little bugger worked right out of the box. I spent the weekend testing it and designing a housing. As expected we found a few issues.

  1. The wifi in the house didn’t extend to the gararge. I got a wifi extender and that seemed to do the trick.
  2. The notifications aren’t working constantly. We are using ifttt to run the text messages and it is un-relyable at best.
  3. We will use Pushbullet for the notifications going forward.
  4. We are changing the sensor to a floating water sensor as it is a simpler input method.

It pretty exciting as it is 90% there as a little device. Still some tweaks to make but all in all it been a super fun project!

I will be sending the board back to John for code and wireing updates. I will keep you all posted on the progress.

Thanks John!

Feather Board and parts

Housing design 1.0

This is the dehumidifier I have. See tank on the bottom.

I missed a couple of weeks.

Here’s what’s been happening.

1: My parents came to visit and we had a lovely time. It was opening weekend for Hudson Yards so we went into see what that was all about. They had heard about the Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick so we went to see it. As I mentioned it as opening day so Hudson Yards was bananas! On Sunday we stayed around NJ and I showed off the van.

I did a test install of a new part I designed for the van. It’s a little vent cover in the back seat that now houses some power outlets, a light switch and dimmer. The red switch on the right is for the shower. Once I have that working I’ll do a post.

2. Last weekend we went to went back to Hudson Yards because we had tickets to acctually walk on the vessel. I didn’t think it would be as interesting as it was. From the ground it’s quite an impressive structure and sculpture so I thought that was kinda it. Turns out it’s actually quite a lovely experience. We got to Hudson Yards earlier in the day so we had a chance to walk around the shopping center. Much of it is a disappointing mall, but on the 4th floor there are some very interesting concept type stores that are much more interesting. We went to lunch at Queen’s Kitchen and had an amazing view of the vessel. Almost too close.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out in Brooklyn with our friend J-bone. He told me about how that old newspaper comic strip Nancy has been taken over by a young writer and what a sensation it’s become. Sluggo is lit indeed.

Lastly we went to see Better Oblivion Community Center, a band Kate is into. Their main draw is Phoebe Bridgers who appears to be the coolest thing ever. It was good, she seem lovely.

Last weekend I visited my family!

Yes, I do that. I’ve been accused of never visiting and never is a long time! This past weekend I put such claims to bed. I was in Columbus Ohio from Friday night till Sunday afternoon.

Friday night I met John and Kristen for a burrito down the street from their house. Then they gave me a tour of there new place. John has done quite a job with the basement. It’s his own sports museum. It’s tough to discribe but it’s like a mini Hall of Fame if you will. Sadly it was dark out so I don’t have a picture of the house or the dogs, as there are 2.

Saturday, John picked me up bright and early for his Trampoline class. This, is also hard to explain. See the pictures below, it’s a giant space filled with “tramps” but the workout dosent really rely on the tramps all that much. It’s a normal cardio work out with some bouncing at the beginning. It’s fun!

We then met my parents and my cousin Krissy for lunch at what seems to be the prevailing style of restaurant in Columbus. That kind of tavern sports bar place. It was fine I had the chicken and a bourbon with too much ice.

After lunch John and Krissy went on with their days and I stayed to hang out with my parents. What did we do? Nothing just hung out and waited for dinner time. When that rolled around we want to the Mexican place in the parking lot. Then to bed.

Sunday was church at the crack of dawn and then brunch. John took off to do some laundry, so my parents took me on a tour of The Ohio State campus. In a word.. big! Not sure I really wrapped my head around it. The student Union building was pretty ugly but the library was fantastic.

After the tour I took off for Cincinnati. When I arrived I saw this lovely Vanagon! Then met my cousin Karen for dinner.

All in all a successful trip! Great to see everyone. Hope to do it again soon.

Hello winter, I see you’re doing well…

I have been getting pounded with snow the last few days. It snowed 3-4 inches Friday night and then 4-6 inches Sunday night. Both times enough snow that a good old fashion shoveling was required. Saturday was fine I could do the work at my leisure. Monday morning however was a bit tougher. I sprung out of bed at 5am expecting the worst. We didn’t get the “worst” but it was a solid snow fall for sure.

All Photos From Monday Morning

In a shocking turn of events. My commute although filled with anxiety, was rather smooth. I was up so early I decided to take an earlier train (the 7:14am). Believe it or not that sucker was on time! With the other delays in the system I caught my connection at Newark Broad with only a 2 minute wait! Way to be NJT!

In other news on Saturday our new furniture arrived. In 2008 we bought a beautiful sectional couch from Room and Board called “The Clarke”. It served us well for many years. In the apartment it sat in a corner and fit the space perfectly. In the house, however it divided the room in a way that made the space feel smaller. In a shocking turn of events we bought a new couch and chairs. It’s quite unusual for us as it brings a whole new set of dynamic colors into the house.

This past weekend Kate and I took a bit of a miniture vacation and went to the Catskills and stayed at Scribner’s Lodge. The Catskills are getting a bit of a revival thanks to the Brooklyn hipsters. There are many new lodges up there newly built to attact those trendy trust fund babies. It works out great for us because the places are nice and the food is good. We just have to put up with the occasional Brooklyn hipster parent and child or a loud conversation about healing crystals.

We drove up on Saturday and got to the lodge around 3. The lodge is located very close to Hunter Mountain a small ski resort. We had the possibility to go skiing on Sunday but unfortunately it was raining and it was stupid windy.

Instead we went to the a different lodge for lunch called Deer Mountain Inn. It was all super lovely. The food was great and the lodge its self was really cool. The only thing about all these lodges is that they allow dogs. There was this french family eating a few table down from us. They had this little dog wandering around the dinning room. After some time the little guy walked to the center of the room and took a shit. In true french family style not one of them got up to clean up the mess, they waited for the hotel staff to take care of it! WTF! “Build That Wall” amirite!

The rain kept us inside at Scribner’s the rest of the day. That was fine, it was good to relax a bit. Work has had me prey stressed out. I took the time to start the timeline for the next big van trip in August. Kate and I also played more than a couple games of pool of which I think we broke even. Of course Kate can play pool! Kate is magic we all know this.

On Monday we headed home in the moring. It had snowed over night and up in the mountains we drove though a couple of patchy snow squalls. We stopped at our fav the Phonicia Diner for breakfast it’s always good. We were home by noon so I did a bit of work from home for the afternoon.

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Well I certainly hope you had a lovely President’s day. Any time there is a 3 day weekend in the mix it makes the crushing winter season a bit more manageable.

We kept things pretty quite, #lesschulman Jon Schuman and his wife Kate came to visit because Kate had a baby shower to attend. We went into the city on Sunday for dinner at The Lafayette which was nice. I had the burger which was different for me. I don’t usually do that as a burger can be hard on the system.

On Sunday we hung out at the house and started a puzzle we then finished on Monday. (See said Puzzel below) As you may have noticed it is a hilarious puzzle of kitties enjoying a day at the beach. Can you imagine! (just for the record I know this is not cool, but its what I did, and its winter time so deal, we all have to.)

We had a good visit, it was great to see the Schulman’s I just wish it could be a bit warmer.

Oh, and to put your mind at ease Buttfuzz survived even though she hates John more than anything on this Earth. Why? No one really knows. John did something awful to her years ago I can only assume.

Today is very cold. Kate and I walked to the Highland Station train it was -2 air temperature and -15 with wind chill. The picture below was taken at 7:53 am.

There has to be a better way….

Kate is very cold in this photo

Hello everyone.

Today was a big one here in the NYC area. For those of you that drive around the region you may be familiar with the Tappen Zee Bridge. As you may know The Tapp (as it’s called) was replaced with a new bridge. Today they had to blowup what was left of the old bridge and drop it into the Hudson. It was too decrepit to take down safely so they had to drop it. Watch the video it’s great!

Happy New Year everyone.

We headed up to the Catskills, more accurately Phonicia to a house with our friends for New Year’s Eve. It was a good time. The house was roumored to be haunted and by looking at it you would certainly agree. Although it was just wishful thinking on our friends part. Kate and I stayed on the top floor of the house (the most haunted floor) and sure we saw the ghost of a little boy from the turn of the century playing with that stupid wooden hoop that you hit with a stick. His name was Oliver and he died of the whooping cough in 1903. But that doesn’t make a place “hunted”!

On New Year’s Eve 5 of us went for a cold weather like up to the top of Giants Ledge. There was a bit more ice than I had planned for but we made the hike just fine. I used my osmo 2 steady cam to shoot a super boring video which you can enjoy here.

This may or may not be well known, buuuuuut after I have a few holiday drinks I tend to be easily cajoled into singing some Beastie Boys songs if there is a mic around. Turns out the speaker playing the music happened to have a mic plugged into it. I took the opportunity to indulge myself.

All in all it was a great time, it was great to see everyone. Things certainly got rowdy.

Resolutions you ask? Well, that’s a great question. I think the only one I’m interested in discussing is the Van trip we are planning this year. We are hoping to go North West this time. I will divulge more as the planning progresses.

Merry Christmas everyone.

This year we all went to Stowe Vermont to a rented house my parents organized. In keeping with the Holiday Spirit, we all attended Kate’s parents, us and my brother John. It was a great way to get us all together for the holiday.

There were many many cookies, ham, and a kitty puzzle. On the 26th we went skiing at the Stowe Ski Resort. It’s a beautiful place. The runs are pretty long but really icy.

It was great to see everyone and have a comfortable place to enjoy the Holiday!!