Clinton Fishing 2010 – Virginia

Monday, August 9th, 2010 @ 3:54pm

I’ve been wanting to go on this yearly fishing trip for quite a while, but hadn’t had the opportunity until this year. While I’m not much of a fisher, I must admit I had a great time and it was nice to get away for a week. This also gave me the opportunity to give my iPhone 4′s camera a good run: Pictures follow:


We set out from Newnan, GA and had to drive over to Lithia Springs, GA in order to pick up my uncle and cousin.

Downstream View from Cabin

The cabin set right along Craigs Creek, which was low this year. I only fished here once, but caught a couple of small fish the first night with a fly rod.

We set out on the James river most of the week with a small army of cayaks and canoes.

We stopped frequently above/below rapids to fish – but of course an added bonus was the opportunity to cool off from the hot, humid weather.

Ryan's Fish

The fishing was mostly “quantity, not quality” but there were a few decently size fished here and there.

You can find the rest of my photos from the trip on flickr.

Trip to Southern California

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 @ 12:25pm

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, California for work and decided to take two days off to see some of the sights. The following photos are from our various night ventures and the additional vacation days.

In case of fire...

We don’t see this very often in Alabama.

Hazy Hills

We were driving somewhere around in Beverly Hills and came upon an outlook looking over what I assume is Bel Air. The haze had mostly cleared out from what it was earlier in the day, but you can see some remnants of the smog.

Valley of Beverly Hills

The Chinese Mann Theater

One night we ended up going to Hollywood and walk down the walk of fame. We of course drove by famous landmarks such as the Roosevelt Hotel, and the Capital Records building. The picture above is of the Chinese Mann Theater at night.

Santa Monica Park

Flying Colors

Santa Monica Pier

The above photos are some of my favorite of the trip, and are of Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. The pier offered a few larger rides, such as a roller coaster and ferris wheel in addition to an arcade. There were also various street venders alongside people fishing right off the dock.

End of Route 66

This is the end; the end of Route 66.

You can see more photos of my trip in my flickr photo stream.

I had a great time in LA, as the weather did not go above 80°F and was much lower in humidity. I also got to drive along the coast to Malibu and San Diego, which is a very different experience than I’m used to on the Gulf coast. There’s not hotels lining the shore every 20 feet, and towns have a much smaller, less flashy sort of feel. There’s not that much appeal to LA, but outside of LA southern California is definitely somewhere I would like to visit again.

The “Man Room”

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 @ 8:00pm

Every guy wants a man room, I’ve in fact dreamed of one for the past several years. Now since I own my own house that dream can become a reality.

The front bedroom will fulfill that purpose. Young children once filled this room, but those times of adolescence will be no more as the room will be directly injected with testosterone. The room ashamed me so much during its early stages that I could not bear to take a picture of its pitifulness. However, I was able to scourer a picture from the depths of the internet that will give you a slight glimpse into the past.

Step 1 – Cleanse Impurities


Step 2 – The Dark Ages


Step 3 – Bask in its Glory


Kitchen: Consummatum Est

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 @ 10:11am

The kitchen is finally done! It took about one week to do, but I’m really happy with how things have turned out. I still have a little bit of work to do (such as moving in the rest of the appliances) but the hard work is out of the way.

The Fridge

The Floor

It feels good to be able to cross the biggest task off my to-do list, and having finished it I took it easy by watching a movie last night. It was very refreshing after a week of hard work just to sit down and relax for once.

Home Improvements: Kitchen – Day ??

Monday, March 29th, 2010 @ 11:45pm

Things are finally progressing with the kitchen and I was able to get a lot accomplished over the weekend. I had a few snags with some of the more complicated tile cuts and ended up having to buy a wet saw — but it was so worth it! I could’ve been finished so much sooner had I caved in and gotten one earlier on.

set tile

After having all the tile down on the floor and set, I’m glad I went with what I did. It provides a nice contrast to the walls and still looks good with the natural colors of the cabinets.


In addition to having everything cut and set, I was happy to begin with the grout as seen with the above picture. It’s been difficult to wait for the tile/grout to set, as I’m waiting to place my appliances so I can “officially” start living here without having to eat out so frequently. It’s great to know that I’m essentially in the home stretch, just have to wait it out just a little bit longer…

Home Improvements: Kitchen – Day 2

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 @ 9:58pm

Turns out that tiling is taking much longer than expected, but it’ll be worth it in the end; I’m sure of it. I decided to forgo the tearing up the linoleum and just even out what was left.

Was finally able to start to lay down the backer board in the early afternoon:

The (future) Laundry Room

This was/will be the kitchen:

The (future) Kitchen

After a long day’s work I have about 2/3 of the kitchen backer boarded and glued, so hopefully tomorrow I can finish and maybe begin to lay some tile. It’s a grueling process but I know that the tile will look good in the end.

Adventures in Home Owning

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 @ 9:40pm

I am now officially a home owner! After several long weeks of waiting for everything to come together the day has finally arrived. Taking advantage of the housing credit, low interest rates, and buyers’ market I settled on a nice 3/2 home. Sadly, even after closing today I feel like I spent more time at Home Depot & Lowes than I did in the house.

I’ll try and put up some other pictures later, but in the meantime I’ve started work on the kitchen:

Za Floor

Needless to say, I’m having second thoughts of tearing up the linoleum. I was planning to pull up the linoleum to place down tile, but I’m having second thoughts given the strong attraction the linoleum has to the floor. I’m considering just leveling out the portions that have been removed and then placing the tile directly over that. A good nights sleep should help me decide one way or the other.

Man on the Moon

Thursday, July 16th, 2009 @ 11:20am

Earthrise40 years ago, July 20th, one of the most amazing feats mankind has ever accomplished was done so by the Apollo 11 mission; man landing on the moon. I only wish I could have been around at the time to see this amazing feat live, but even 40 years later I am amazed and fascinated that this was accomplished using only 60s technology. Space exploration has made some leaps and bounds with the Shuttle project, and the international space station, but I feel empty considering we’ve all but abandoned missions to the moon. Thankfully, NASA plans to return to the moon by 2020, and I’m excited to see even higher quality footage and photos from those upcoming missions.

BootprintMore recently regarding the 1969 Apollo missions, NASA has found the original tapes and has been undergoing a project to restore and update these videos to their original quality. In addition, I highly recommend you check out the Project Apollo Image Gallery providing high quality images from Apollo 11 in addition to all of the other Apollo missions.

If you consider all the factors going into the Apollo 11 mission, it’s quite an amazing feat that I feel will be unchallenged for quite some time. In only a short span of 8 years time from Kennedy’s speech to Congress, to Armstrong’s small step onto the Moon’s surface was the task accomplished. I dare you to find a goal of that magnitude being completed and accomplished successfully in that short time span today. It saddens me that today the world is shrinking and that we’ve almost lost the thrill of exploring the unknown. My hopes is that with the 2020 missions and beyond that ideal will be rekindled again, maybe eventually bringing way to a manned mission to Mars or beyond.

Pneumatic Water Balloon Cannon

Friday, July 10th, 2009 @ 11:02pm

I had this past Friday off due to the 4th of July, and I wanted to try something exciting just in time for summer. I set out to make a Pneumatic Water Balloon Cannon, and here’s the process I took.

The two sources I used to help me build my cannon were, “Backyard Ballistics“, a fantastic book on spud guns and more and “Havok“, which is ultimately the design I ended up closest to. Backyard Ballistics is just a good source of info, but their design for their Pneumatic Cannon was in a T shape, which I didn’t particularly like.

You can really be pretty flexible with the design, it just really depends on what parts you can find, or what you might have readily available. I had some difficult finding some of the parts, but you might have better luck. If you can’t find something you’re looking for, try to be flexible if possible. Also, when looking at PVC pipe be sure to check the pressure rating on the pipe as you don’t want anything exploding under pressure. Mine were rated at 280 PSI @ 70°F, but you shouldn’t have to ever worry about going that high.

Ultimately if you follow the instructions for the Havok, you should ultimate end up pretty close to what I have.


Above you can see the general layout of most everything. It may help if you match up your parts with this picture to be sure you have everything, and double check to see if it is in the right place. If you want to cut up the PVC pipes at the store, here’s the lengths I used for everything. Otherwise you can wait until you get home and use a hack saw or a table saw.

  • 1x 23″ – 2″ PVC pipe (this will be your compressed air chamber)
  • 1x 32″ – 2″ PVC pipe (this will be your barrel)
  • 4x 2″ – 1″ PVC pipe

I had some difficulty finding the parts. I looked nearly everywhere for a schrader valve, but no one had one. I eventually found one at Napa Auto Parts, so maybe you might have some luck. It looks like this if you want to be sure you get the correct thing. The 2″ to 1″ adapter was also difficult to find as neither Home Depot nor Lowes had the appropriate parts. I eventually ended up finding some adapters at Tractor Supply Company, so you might could try that.

Finished ProductSurprisingly enough, the gun works very well even at somewhat low PSI. I went out to a football field to do some range testing and was consistently getting 60-70 yards between 55-60 PSI. We tried to shoot even further at higher PSIs, but we were having some difficulty with the balloons bursting. Once I returned home, and with further testing I found out that I was using too small of a bag as a wadding and was able to shoot with a higher PSI once I used a larger bag as wadding.

I also had a lot of left over pipes, so I may experiment as well with some shorter cannons, or even a completely different design. Even though this one looks finished, I may have a few more things I want to do with it. I noticed that the barrel and the compressed air chamber were a little wobbly, so I may put a brace out on the end to help stabilize things.

While not the most impressive video, here’s a small demonstration of the cannon. I believe this particular shot was around 30-40 yards away, but I’ve been able to reach well over 100 yards with some shots.

Birmingham @ Night

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 @ 11:04pm

While not quite a continuation of “favorite places in Birmingham“, I had an idea to go around and take some night shots of some of the surrounding areas of town. It let me know that my aging camera really needs an upgrade (Canon Powershot S2 IS), but in the meantime enjoy the photos!

The highway 280 corridor is one of the busiest areas of town, as well as the most congested. Even at around 9pm, traffic flow is pretty heavy:

Highway 280 2

The Vulcan tends to be a symbol of Birmingham (and also likes to bare some cheek over Homewood, as the saying goes, the moon is always full over Homewood). I wasn’t able to make it downtown before my battery died, but you can get a view of the skyline peeking over Red Mountain.

Birmingham - Vulcan

The zoom isn’t quite what I wanted, but I was able to still get a pretty decent shot of the moon atop Shades Crest.


These next two shots are my favorites, as both turned out pretty well. I was able to get a fantastic view of Samford University, which looks really beautiful at night.

Samford University - Hodges Chapel

Samford University - Seibert Stadium & Hodges Chapel

You can find larger pictures of these, plus additional ones I didn’t post on my flickr account.