Well I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. We did. We went out to our friend Megan’s parents house to have and epic 2.5 day pool party. Megan was kind enough to host about 12 of us for a great time swimming, grilling out and generally being hoolagans. We drove the van out see it parked in the back yard below.

As I mentioned we drove the van out. Thus is was a great opportunity to try out the air-conditioner I built. It worked great! For 15 minutes….. I just put store bought ice in it so it melted super quick. My hope is that I can figure out where to buy a block of solid ice, as that should last a bit longer. See Kate being a good sport below… Sorry Kate.

On Sunday we went to brunch with our old friends Phil and Leena as well as there 2 children. It was great to get in a quick visit. Glad we could make it work. We met in Dumbo Brooklyn, so Kate and I reduced to make a day of it and go to “Beyond the Streets”. My favorite part was the Beastie Boys portion. There as an entire room with some of the greatest Beastie Boys memorabilia I’ve ever seen. It was great.

Lastly Jon and I put in a little more time on the water sensor I posted a few weeks ago on. We changed the switch to be a floating switch. We also changed the notifications to go through Push Bullet instead of ifttt. We are soooooo close to getting it right! I now need to do a bit of re-wiring and print out the housing and we are on to the next project!

What a surprise! The great Ian Swanson, of the Swanson’s of Australia visited us for a grand total of 12 hours last Friday. We haven’t seen Ian in like 6 years and it was great to have a moment to visit. We went to dinner in the city, then back to West Orange for a quick hangout on the porch.

I also had a little time this weekend to put together an emergency air-conditioner for the van. After last year’s heat disaster driving back from New Hampshire. I did a little research on what to do. I decided to build mine using a paper pulp cooler and a computer fan. The idea is pretty simple. Using a cooler filled with ice and fan blowing air over it you get air-conditioning. The computer fan is both small and easy to power over USB. I went to Home Depot and for the first time in my life found all the parts I needed. All in all here is the part list.

  1. Fan
  2. USB to 3 pin connector
  3. Cooler
  4. PVC 4in pipe connector (safety)
  5. Chicken wire mesh (safety)
  6. 3 in aluminum air conduit

fits perfectly between the front seats!

Last weekend was a big one! My brother Dr. John Diehl got married in Hilton Head SC. It was a hot one! We got to see some of my family including avid dport7 reader Krissy. It was certainly great to see everyone. We had a special bonus of going to Savannah for a day and a half. Which for Kate and I was really fun. We stayed the first night along with my parents at the Elisia Thomas house on Jones St.

Then on Sunday we stayed at the new hotel Perry Lane which was truly a delight. One of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed.

Savannah was fun, got to see our old friend Joel which 2as a hoot. Joel is one funny dude.

Things got a little rough

Have you ever been to Surf City. Surf City NJ? Well I have, that’s where I was last weekend. In a strange turn of events we went for our friend’s birthday. Although he failed to show up, so it was just a group hang in a little beach house and plenty of sand and surf.

I don’t have any particular event or story to discuss. We just had a nice time. No drama, no injuries, no disasters. Oh wait, one stand out moment was our friend Elaine who is just back from Australia was there and she brought one of her famous power hour videos. The power hour is a video that is 1 hour long. Based on a theme Elaine selects 1 minute music video clips and mixes them together. She is masterful at it and it is truly a delight.

Oh, and I had the best crabcake sandwich of my life! So good infact that I felt guilty for eating it. It felt as if I didn’t deserve this level of crab cake. I am just a common man, and this was a crab cake for Kings! You can get one to at Ship Bottom Shell Fish in Surf City NJ.

Pics below

this was the house

Hello, last weekend was Memorial Day. Kate and I took the van to Pennsylvania to the Frank Lloyd Wright, Falling water house. Kate had never been and I enjoyed it so much when I went in 2017 that I wanted to go back with her. They don’t let you take pictures inside which is kind of a boner. Our tour guide was a robotic turd in her 20’s. On her very best day she’s a shitty tour guide and we didn’t catch her at her best. That said it dosent really matter the house is truly astonishing and I very much recommended it.

We stayed at Ohiopyle State park on Friday night. We got up on Saturday and went for a hike to find the cool ass water falls in the area. It was great!

We went on the Maryland to do some Kayaking for Sunday and Monday. Sadly I was pretty sick, coughing all night and keeping myself and Kate from sleeping. We decided to the just do the beach Sunday and drive home in the evening to avoid the Holiday traffic on I95 on Monday morning.

We found this little beach at Elk Neck State Park. It’s not a destination by any means but it did the job for getting some sun and putting our feet in the water.

So, the van. I had the new engine kit put on to make things a bit more reliable. To that end I think it is. It may need a bit more tunning as the idle is a bit jumpy but all in all it’s good. It may be wishful thinking on my end but there might even be a bit more power in 4th gear now.

I was flying solo this weekend gang. You know what that means!? Time to get my nerd on… As many of you may know I come from an era where being a nerd was not acceptable. Thus I do my best to hid my nerdy ways. Although I may be fooling myself in thinking it’s hidden.

Kate and her mom went to Pittsburgh to see the great singer,actor,writer,performer Garth Brooks/Chris Gains. That left me some time to build a computer, and oh what a time it was.

6 months ago I ordered a computer case from the start up company Louqe. It’s a high quality ITX (mini) case. I was excited about the build quality and small foot print. Sadly the company is at best irresponsible and never sent me my case. There is a list of endless excuses why, but who cares.

On Saturday I couldn’t take it anymore. Back in March Louqe sent me an email that the case was on it’s way. I was excited and ordered all the parts to build the computer. Processor, Motherboard, Ram etc. The case never showed and I had all these parts just sitting in my office ageing not being used. I was struggling to use my old iMac while all this power sat on the floor.

I went and bought the NZXT H200i case over at Micro Center in Paterson NJ. I got it on clearance so it was a good price. I started tinkering with it on Saturday night and got it to the point where it would turn on. On Sunday morning I booted it up, installed Windows and felt pretty good. The last step was to put in the graphics card. This is where things take a turn. Some of the wiring was tough to snake through the case and didn’t have enough slack to easily connect to the Motherboard and the Power Supply. When pushing the Graphics Card into place I applied too much pressure and the cables damaged the Motherboard, breaking it! This ment I had to run back out to Micro Center and buy a new board. Not cheap but not an total disaster.

After spending a few hours at Micro Center getting the Power Supply checked and picking up a new Motherboard and cable extenders I was on my way back home to know disasemble everything again. I knew what I was doing and had the entire thing put back together in an hour and a half. I was excited to turn it on and when I did it just clicked. I was heart broken. At that point I had to take a break. I had a beer, talked to Kate on the phone a little. When I went back to it I noticed that I had the secondary power connection plugged into the wrong section on the power supply. I changed that out and BAM it worked!

Everything is installed now and working well. Hooray! See pictures below.

It was a great experience, and I’ll probably do it again in the future. I like being able to control what I’m getting. Apple just cost too much for shit graphic card support.

Last weekend was great!

Kate and I went to visit out friends Aaron, Alison and their daughter Charlotte in Edmonds Washington.

They recently (a year ago) moved to Edmunds so it was exciting to see there new house and location. It didn’t disappoint, the house is great, the town is great, the view is great, the weather is so so. It was fantastic! It makes Kate and I wonder why we’ve stayed on the East Coast so long.

The big day was the last day. We went out on the boat! Aaron dry docks the boat at the marina that is a 3 minute drive from the house. In under 5 min the marina gets the boat off the rack and into the water. It is the best! Once on the boat, both Kate and I were quite concerned that we might get sea sick. Lucky for us the bay/sound was super calm and we had no trouble at all! Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the boat. Once we got across the sound the engine started to smoke and we lost a substantial amount of power from the engine. Sadly we had to turn around and putter back. That said, Kate and I still had a great time crusing across the sound and we’re just happy to have had the chance. The rest of our time was spent hanging out doing Easter stuff and enjoying the company.

Super big thanks to the Shurt’s for hosting, hope we can go back soon.

Charlotte moments before the Easter egg hunt!

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.