24 June 2010

Here are few photos from our trip to Illinois last week for a family wedding that was held in the student union at the University of Illinois where we both went to school.

Jesse with her dad and grandma in her grandma’s garden.

If you need to haul a bunch of hostas you dug up 650 miles from home the obvious solution it is buy a kid’s pool and partially inflate it in the back of your car…

Drip Irrigation Install

6 June 2010

My drip irrigation system is up and running. I have 4 zones covering the garden and orchard. I separated the two sides of the garden into different zones so that I wouldn’t come close to the pressure and flow requirements for all of the emitters. The orchard has a zone for trees and one for the blueberries and raspberries. I have the valves install for two more zones that will each cover 250ft of my leyland cypress trees. I’m tired of digging so that will have to wait.

I have all of the valves connected to a 6 zone controller I purchased from Home Depot for less than $30. It works great because it allows me to water the garden multiple times per day and only water the trees once a week with the same controller.

So far everything is working great. Both garden zones run for 10 minutes at 6am and at 5pm. I chose those times to eliminate evaporation and help the plants recover from the afternoon heat. With about 70 .4GPH emitters and (350ft of dripline with built-in emitters every 12in)=350 .6 GPH emitters I should be using about 80 gallons per day or 2400 gallons every 30 days. That is about what we typically see our water bill increase by in the summer and this should get better results. Assuming each emitter covers a 6in radius 20 minutes of operation per day would equal .27 inches for the .4GPH and .406 inches for the .6GPH areas. As it cools down we will certainly be able to reduce the time that it is running.


2 June 2010

Today FedEx dropped off my shipment of 1000ft of 1/2in drip line, 1000ft of 1/2in tubing. 100+ various connectors, 100 .4 GPH drip emitters, and other items from www.irrigation-mart.com (They have great prices but their website isn’t the greatest. Give them a call, they are very helpful). Hopefully within the next week I’ll have a 6 zone drip irrigation system installed to automatically water the garden, orchard, and about half of my Leyland Cypress trees. I seems like it has rained everyday for the last couple weeks but when it isn’t rain it takes about an hour to water all of the plants. Having this system will save us that time, save water, and give us larger yields.

AMG Driving Academy at Road Atlanta

22 May 2010

You can read more about our day at the AMG Driving Academy on Jesse’s Blog – but here are the videos from our in car cameras. We are all driving a Mercedes CLK63 AMG Black Series. There is an instructor in the lead car watching us in his mirror and talking to use over the radio. We learned a lot and they limited us to about 100 on these laps but I had the SLS up to an indicated 145mph on the straight. It was a great weekend and I highly recommend it.

Jesse -

Aaron –

The Car Behind Aaron – I was doing a pretty good job of getting away from the rest of the group :)

Motorola S9 Button Failure – Repaired?

5 May 2010

I’ve had my S9 Bluetooth headphones for a few years and they have always worked great. A couple days ago the volume down button stopped working. The volume was at it’s maximum setting and when paired with my T-mobile HD2 the phone’s volume doesn’t effect the headphones making them basically unusable.

A quick Google search brought up a bunch of posts about the others who have had this same problem within weeks of purchase. The main cause seems to be perspiration and I have to admit that mine were getting plenty of that when they failed. The S9 headphones are great because you can easily wear them under over the ear headphones when you need to block out noise from a mower or chainsaw while listing to the most recent episode of No Agenda (in the morning). Anyway, in a closed space like that they get plenty of perspiration.

With nothing to lose (don’t try this if yours are under warranty), I dismantled the side of the S9 with the failed button. With a pick or a fingernail remove the rubber piece with the buttons marked on it. It isn’t connected to anything so you can just carefully pull it off.


Once you have that off, you need to remove the screw that holds the headphone to the band. With that done, peel up the flexible circuit that was exposed then you removed the rubber buttons. Then, gently work the earpiece from the band. As you separate the earpiece from the band you will pull the lexible circuit you peeled off through a slot.


Use a pick to gently separate the circuit board from the rest of the earpiece. You should end up with something like the photo above except for that your wire connections will be covered with glue. I used a heat gun and tweezers to remove the glue. My original intent was to expose these to test the failed button’s function by jumping the correct leads to determine if the problem was actually in the flexible button circuit. While removing the glue I discovered that exposed portions of the wires were very close to touching in a couple places. I found that separating these wires fixed my down volume button. You can test this by pinching the correct por3tion of the flexible button circuit and listening for the beep in the earphone. You don’t need to be paired to a phone to test this.


To better insulate the wires I cut a small portion of heat shrink tube and placed it between the rows of wires. If everything is still working, carefully reassemble the S9. Be very careful with the wires that go to the earphone speaker. I managed to pinch one of these the first time I put it back together and it was a real pain to solder it back together.

I’m not sure if this is the same issue that everyone else is having and I have only tested this for about an hour so far so your mileage may vary. If they stop working again I will update this post.

WordPress Visual Editor Removes Space Between Paragraphs – Fix

17 April 2010

I just updated Jesse’s work blog to WordPress from Blogger.  For all of Blogger’s faults the one thing it did do correctly was to place a new line between paragraphs when they were written in the WYSIWYG editor.  The visual editor in WordPress eliminates these spaces when publishing or switching from HTML to Visual.  I can manually insert the required html tags but Jesse won’t use the HTML editor so I needed a solution that would work automatically and take me out of her publishing process. Googling around produced many HTML based manual solutions to this problem but they are far from automatic.

The solution is to install and activate the TinyMCE Advanced plugin. Then go to Settings->TinyMCE Advanced and in the advanced box near the bottom click the checkbox for ‘Stop removing the <p> and <br/> tags when saving and show them in the HTML editor’ and save the changes.  If that doesn’t solve the problem, open your style.css file and add something like;

div.content p{

where ‘content’ is the id of your div were your post code is contained.

Also, if you you just want to place items on new lines without the space created by using <p> ,similar to the CSS code above, just highlight those lines and click the numbered list button twice. This will insert the required <br> tags.

Photoshoot – Aplina B7 & K1200GT

1 April 2010

I helped out my buddy Kevin who owns RadarInstallations.com with some photos for his trip to this years BMW rally. I’m definitely a Mercedes guy but the Supercharged Alpina B7 is a rare and quick car.

ML500 has left the country

10 November 2009

My ML500 is on it’s way to it’s new home in the Republic of Georgia.

July 4th!

5 July 2009

A little fun with fireworks and shutter speed

Back from the Bahamas

8 November 2007

Jesse and I just got back from spending a few days in the Bahamas with several couples from her work. We stayed at Atlantis on Paradise Island in Nassau. Other than my sinuses getting dried out on the last day causing me to get a great case of airplane ear during the landing in Atlanta it was a great trip. The hurricane that went past the week before scared quite a few people away so it wasn’t crowded at all. We were able to get into all the restaurants and attractions without having to wait at all.

We were able to get 12 people into Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill with only 30 minuntes notice. Mesa Grill was by far the best meal we had there and that wasn’t just because we got to meet Kevin Costner who was sitting at the table next to us. The food and atmosphere there was top notch. I can’t say that about dinner at Casa D’angelo the night before. In addition to it taking an hour and a half to get our food, I’ve had better veal parmesan at the Macaroni Grill.

We were gone for the first frost of the year here in Lawrenceville but the plants in our garden tell the story. We had tried to put in a last crop of tomatoes about a month and a half ago but they’re dead now. The cool weather crops are still doing great and I think a couple of our bell peppers might make it a little longer.

Tom Waits at the Tabernacle

20 October 2007

sold out in 30min – We have our tickets

Photos from the AJC

Firefox Error: Permission denied to get property HTMLDocument.location

20 October 2007

I just came across an error in one of my sites that uses JavaScript to change what is displayed in an iframe when the user hits a button. Anyway, my original code looked like

document.iframe.location=’url to be displayed’;

This works fine in explorer but Firefox’s error console kept coming up with; “uncaught exception: Permission denied to get property HTMLDocument.location”. After a little searching I found the solution.

parent.iframe.location.href=’url to be displayed’;

If you run across this same error I hope this helps.

Gwinnett County Master Gardener Program

16 October 2007

I just got the call that I have been accepted into the Master Gardener program for next year. I was a little worried since they only accept a small number of people every year. This will be a great opportunity to volunteer in the community. I’m sure Jesse will appreciate that I’ll have a place to go play in the dirt other than our house…

Petit Le Mans

5 October 2007

A buddy had an extra ticket for the Friday sessions of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and even though it was raining we went up to check it out. I’ve been to the race several times but the last couple years real estate commitments have kept me from getting up there on Saturday. We only stayed for the morning but we got to watch the ALMS practice and the Speed world challenge race in the rain. We got wet but it was cool to get back out there and see the racing in person.

Black Crowes Concert at Chastain Park

27 August 2007

My college buddy Craig came down from Minneapolis this weekend. Sunday night Craig, Jesse, and I went to the Black Crowes concert at Chastian Park. I got some great tickets off stubhub. The first row in the orchestra section is great other than the people walking in front of you. It was a great show. None of us are real dedicated Black Crowes fans but they are a great band from the time when we were all in college together.

Scarecrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler

5 July 2007

So last year I put up an electric fence around our garden to keep out the deer and raccoons. It sounded like a good idea and it seemed to work well enough for my parents in IL. Well after raccoons eat all of our corn I knew we needed something different. I’m not going to build a 10 foot tall electrified monstrosity of a fence like Joe Lamp’l on DIY.

So I when I saw this motion sprinkler I new I had to give it a try. At $60 it’s a little pricey but I’ll tell you that after using it this year it’s definitely worth it.

I only had one problem and I’m not really blaming it on the sprinkler. I have brass quick connects on all of my hoses and they didn’t play well with the sprinkler. I guess it was more that I was disconnecting the hose from the sprinkler daily to water and this was trapping air in the sprinklers valve causing only a little water to come out when it switched on. The solution was to run my hand in front of sensor switching it on before I connected the hose so that the water could run through the valve.

Now that I know this will keep the animals out the engineer in me is ready to take it to the next level. Our garden is about 60x30ft so one sprinkler doesn’t cover it. Once I get the permanent fence in and I plumb for irrigation I’m going to setup about 6 sprinkler heads and a couple motion sensors that will switch on all the sprinklers. That should keep the deer out…

Photos From Tribble Mill Park

9 February 2007

I got some great shots at Tribble Mill Park in Gwinnett last Wednesday. We found a heron on the far side of the smaller lake along with a baby turtle.

Gwinnett County Sugarloaf Extension Project – Google Earth Overlay Map

15 December 2006

Many Gwinnett county residents are already aware of the proposed Sugarloaf Parkway extension, but even if you have attended the meetings or looked at the plans online it is difficult to visualize exactly how the Lawrenceville area will be effected. To help do this I created an overlay map in Google Earth using stitched together blueprints from the Gwinnett county website. You must have Google Earth to view this map. It can be downloaded for free here. To download the overlay map click here (1.3mb).

The proposed project will create a 4 lane road from the current intersection of Sugarloaf Pky and Grayson Hwy to Hwy 316 between Winder Hwy and Harbins Rd. This new section of Sugarloaf Pky will be accessible from intersections at SR-20, New Hope Rd, Martins Chapel Rd, Campbell Rd, and a half-cloverleaf interchange at SR-316.

Tom Waits on Letterman

28 November 2006

Tom Waits was on David Letterman last night to promote his new 3-disc album – “Orphans:Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards” I know it’s at the top of my Christmas list. Tom was on the daily show too but it wasn’t as good as Letterman. Check out Tom’s pretty funny interview with Dave on YouTube. He also performed with his band.

R-Class W251 Trailer Hitch Install Problems

18 November 2006

A few weeks ago I bought a DrawTite hitch for my R-class. The first one didn’t fit correctly so I contacted DrawTite tech support who provided me with the measurement specs that the hitch is supposed to meet. After verifying that my hitch was manufactured incorrectly it was replace twice by the store that I bought it from. If you do decided to purchase one of these hitches I would not buy it online since it will probably have to be returned a few times. I have currently given up on this for now but if Santa brings me a welder I’ll buy one again and correct the problems.

The main problem I had with all of the hitches I received was that the distance between the mounting holes were about .5 in too far apart measuring from front to back. This may be clearer if you look at the photos of the front bolt holes not lining up when the back is bolted up. To verify if the hitch you receive is made incorrectly measure it as I did in these photos. If you can’t read the tape or square I measured about 18.75 down on the tape and 9.5 between the base of the square and the tape. Verify that the tape and the square meet at a 90 degree angle.

I also found that you would have to trim about 1.5 inches off of the bumper cover even though they say you don’t have to. You can probably get around this by just not reattaching the bumper cover to the black panel and just letting the hitch hold it. The directions don’t mention it but you also need to remove the exhaust tips during the install which requires a T-25 torx bit. If you buy one of these hitches that is made correctly let me know.

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