Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rain, oh deer.

Today was a pretty good day. I got to do some running and get out of the office. Made a trip to Taylor. That was a nice trip. Missed seeing a small Cessna airplane land on toll road 130 by about 15 minutes. Apparently the plane had some engine problems. Wish I'd had my camera with me as I could have talked my way past the road block and gotten some pictures. As it was, all I had was my iPhone camera and you can't really make an impression of being a serious CSI with just a cell phone camera. The plane was eventually repaired and flown to Georgetown, it's original destination. Have to hand it to the pilot, a 24 yr old woman landed it with a dead stick. Luck or skill, she's one lucky lady.

I did run through some rain after leaving Taylor. Got into it on Hwy 79 just before getting to Hutto. It was about 1 1/2 mile of rain, some of it really large drops. By the time I got to 130 it had stopped.

I got to Cedar Park with no delays and no problems. After leaving Cedar Park I rain into some more rain at 1431 and Parmer Ln. This was a really heavy downpour. We did get 1/2 inch at the house. That's always welcome.

Almost made it to 5 o'clock with no call outs, but wouldn't you know it, 4:40 and we get a call out. By 'we' I mean me. With the rain today of course I get sent to a call that's down a dirt road. At least the 1st half mile was dirt, after that it turned to some kind of dirty slush covering that was threating to stop my forward momentum. And that was the good part of the road. I didn't realize that we had small lakes and waterfilled craters in our county, but we do. There were times when I thought if I stopped I'd never get going again. And if it happened in the larger craters I'd never be found. Burial at sea, in a Chevy truck. Not the way I imagined my life ending. Thankfully the water only came up to about 4 inches below the door, but it sure got hairy in a few places.

So, I finally got out to the call out, and it's
out in the middle of nowhere. But the trip there was great for a cardio workout. I took my pictures, helped round up some evidence items and helped gather information for the investigators. Like most cases I'll talk about, if they're active I won't say much about them. Maybe one of these days I'll post about some closed cases. That might make for some interesting reading. The highlight of the call out was snapping some photos of a deer that wondered into the crime scene.

I finally finished up my day and got home at 8:45. All in all it was a 13 1/2 day. I'm beat and am so ready to get to bed. I did a tick check and didn't find any. And amazingly, after wandering around grassy areas I didn't get chiggers either. It was a busy day, but I feel good about getting so much accomplished.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two-fer post

Too busy to post yesterday. I had to make two trips out of the office. One was a trip to a lab and the other trip was for a call out. Also had a lot of phone calls and emails that I had to get caught up on. It was a very busy day at work Wednesday.

After work I do what I always do on Wednesday evening. Supper with Dad.

This is Dad taking a smoke break after supper. This is something I've done with Dad since he moved into the retirement community a year and a half ago. I enjoy spending time with him. They have some of the best cheeseburgers there. I also have breakfast on Saturdays with him and our good friend Marilyn. Marilyn lives in the same retirement center as Dad. After getting home from Dad's I was too tired to post, so I'm making up for it today.

I had a busy day today. I did some fingerprint comparisons. That's always hard on my eyes. Staring a fingerprints through a magnifying glass really strains my eyes. But it's always rewarding to get that match. I'm not at the point of being able to start from scratch. Right now I'm doing confirmations of matches made by my more experienced co-workers.

I also processed items for latent fingerprints. I think I did pretty well. Got quite a few usable prints developed. Now, crossing my fingers that they will match a viable suspect. That's always the bonus of doing fingerprint development. The drawback is that you can sometimes get black powder all over. But, as I like to tease my wife, getting the powder in my hair does help to hide the gray. With the heat the way it's been lately (100+) I appreciate being able to develop prints in the office. Being outside and wearing the latex gloves we wear when processing causes sweat to just pour out of your hands. I bet I lose 2 or 3 pounds every time I process in the heat. I've been lucky so far but I know the day is coming when I'll have to get out in it again.

Alright, that should get me caught up, get you caught up too. Time to watch my favorite re-run, Two and a Half Men.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meet me at...

Sorry about no post yesterday. I worked 8 - 4 yesterday and then headed straight to Austin for a meeting for my association, T.A.P.E.I.T. Before we started our meeting, at the Doubletree hotel, we went to eat dinner at Pappasitos. Nothing like Mexican food to start off a late meeting. And the best part is that the association paid for it. We, the board and officers, got a lot done between 7 and 11. We decided to start part of the meeting Monday evening because we had such a big agenda and all of the out of town folks were at the hotel.

Tuesday, today. We took up were we left off last night. Started at 8:30. That wasn't so bad. I was able to keep my regular schedule for mornings, evening leaving the house at the same time I leave when I have to be at work at 8. We banged out a lot of the details for our conference we're having in October. I've got a list of items I need to accomplish, some sooner than later. I feel much better about this conference coming together than I did about last years conference. Everyone seems more relaxed and willing to take on tasks that need to be done. I'll be teaching two different segments this year. A 1/2 segment on packaging for our certification class and then 4 two hour breakout segments during our day of breakouts. If our room is big enough we might be able to cut out one of the 2 hour segments. I'm really looking forward to it. We finished the day up at about 3.

Got home and did 1/2 of exercise. I haven't exercised in a week. It's hard to do it when you have company and they make fun of you. So rather than put up with comments I skipped the exercising. That will be the last time I do that. I'm hurting. 76 crunches....oh my aching abs.

Now I think I'll chill the rest of the night, take some time to recuperate.

Sorry, no pics today. There was a lovely maiden sunning at the hotel pool but there was no way I was going to ask or try to take her picture.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday, fathers day.

I got calls from my son, daughter and daughter in law. The daughter in law call was a pleasant surprise.

I really didn't do much today. Barbara went in to work and when she came back she had one of my most favorite meals. Fried chicken. Even though I spent 3 years working at a Golden Chick (formally Golden Friend Chicken), I still love fried chicken. A leg, a breast and a couple of Jalapenos and I'm good to go.

I said yesterday I'd post about Walburg. We got there at our regular time, 6:00 p.m. in order to get or regular spot. Dinner was good, I had hot wings and onion rings. Barbara had a cheeseburger and fries. The beer was cold. I stuck with my favorite, Paulaner Hefe Weizen. Jeni and Terran were working the beer window. Two of the best beer slingers I know. I'm going to have to get brave and ask them to pose for a pic one of these days so I can post it.

The Walburg Boys played. Paul (fiddle and electric mandolin, vocals), Ronnie (accordian and vocals / yodel), Scott (bass guitar), Casey (lead accoustic guitar) and Ronnie jr. (drums). They were in fine form and even played a couple of songs I haven't heard before. Can't tell you the name because the songs were in German.

We only stayed until 10:30. We were both tired and ready to get home to sleep.

All in all, last night and today were perfect. I really enjoyed spending the time with Barbara.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday busy

Saturday morning, time for breakfast at the Monument Cafe with my father, our friend Marilyn, my son John Paul and my brother Ed.

The food is good (I get eggs, ham, hash browns and bread), and the coffee (from Cianfrani's Coffee Shop) is excellent. But mostly it's the company I enjoy the most.

I'll get to see Jack Starky, a retired pharmacist. He always seems to be genuinely happy to see me, and I know I really enjoy seeing him and catching up on his doings for the past week. And on rare occasions Cindy and her son, Chapman, will come in for breakfast. I get a kick out of seeing those 2. Cindy tells me that Chapman (he's 4 now) gets so excited about coming and getting his pancakes and seeing Mr. Starky and Mr. Paul. In the almost 3 years that I've seen them come in I've only heard Chapman speak one time. And I think that's because he didn't know I was listening.

Breakfast was alright, but they forgot our toast and the waitress was scarce. For the most part this doesn't happen but occasionally it does.

Got brother Ed to the airport, he will be on his way to Ossinning via Houston and Newark. It was good to see him. Now it's my turn to go to NY and visit him.

Saturday night, and it's time for the biergarten at the Walburg restaurant (walburgrestaurant.com). It's time to leave so I'll have to post about it later.

Have a good and safe Saturday everyone.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sansa surgery

O.K. so I received 8 Sandisk Sansa mp3 players about a month ago in a 'bag of crap' from woot.com during a woot off. 4 2GB, 3 4GB and 1 8GB models. Out of the 8, 3 of them didn't work. And the one I wanted to use, the 8GB model had a crack in the screen. Everything else on it worked, but with no screen it was completely useless.

I decided, what the heck, let's take it apart. 4 screws undone and I was in. Not much there, just a way to replace the battery. But there were 4 smaller screws that looked like they would allow me to get into the guts of it. After poking around I found the 2 microchips that held the brains of the player. Luckily they together on a circuit board and it just snapped into the main circuit board.

After removing the memory I then dissected a broken 2GB model and swapped the memory chips. Put it all together and turned it on. No luck, the display say the keys were locked and I couldn't get it to turn on. After making sure the lock button was in the unlocked position I determined that there was a problem with the switch for the lock feature.

Stripped the memory out of that 2GB player and then got a different one. Took it apart, put the 8GB chips in it, put it back together and turned it on. Well, I'm happy to say, I now have a functioning 8GB mp3 player. As a bonus I now also have 2 extra batteries for when this battery runs out. I'm going to load some of my favorite music on it (Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzel, just a lot off old country and swing music). I'll be able to carry this in my pocket so it will be nice to have.

This will also allow me to not have to use my iPhone to play my music so that should make the battery life on the iPhone last longer. Playing music on the iPhone really drains the battery. And as a bonus the Sansa has F.M. radio and stores photos too.

All in all, a nice bit of surgery on some cheap mp3 players.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Took the day off from work today (and tomorrow). I'm going to go to the Round Rock Express game. I'm looking forward to it. My brother is visiting from N.Y. and I know he's mentioned that he's gone to ball games before. I hope he enjoys our minor league team. I tried to get fascat (my wife) to go but she's not going to have any of it. She went once this year and says she's had her requisite game for the season.

I plan on taking my camera (Canon EOS XSi) and try it out at the ball park. I'm going to try it with and without my polarizing filter. Just wondering how it will take pics in the bright sun with that filter. I stayed up last night and took photos using the bulb setting, got some good shots of the backyard, but I want to go to where it's even darker. I also need to learn the best way to take pictures of stars. I really want to use this camera the next time we have a good meteor shower.

Well, time to go to the game, I'll try to remember to post some of my pics later.

The best picture I got all night was of this giant moth on the netting behind homeplate. The Express lost to New Orleans 11 - 4. It's all good, I enjoyed the game and getting out.