What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Yes, The Vuvuzela Is Annoying

Filed under: Fun! — Tags: , , , — dave @ 12:31 am 2010/06/29

But does it hit the brown note with you?

Poor doggy!

YouTube Link

I’m With This Kid…

Filed under: Favorite Things — Tags: , — dave @ 4:38 pm 2010/06/26

Chocwit Pooding is the best!

YouTube Link

In case you haven’t had your daily dose of glurge… So cute!

Kids Are Dogs, Teens Are Cats

Filed under: Family,Fun! — dave @ 6:00 am 2010/06/20

This is my offering for Father’s Day. I heard it at a conference at my church this weekend, and as a former kid, former teen, and currently a dad, I found so much truth in this essay… I wish someone had explained this to me earlier in my career as a dad. Please read.

Children are Dogs. Teenagers are Cats.

You feed it, train it, boss it around. It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting. It bounds indoors with enthusiasm when you call it.

Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat… When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your footsteps, it disappears.

You won’t see it again until it gets hungry… then it pauses on its sprint through the kitchen long enough to turn its nose up at whatever you’re serving.

When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before.

You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won’t go on family outings.

Since you’re the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts to make your pet behave.

Only now you’re dealing with a cat, so everything that worked before now produces the opposite of the desired result. Call it, and it runs away. Tell it to sit, and it jumps on the counter. The more you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away.

Instead of continuing to act like a dog owner, you can learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you.

But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too. Sit still, and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap it has not entirely forgotten. Be there to open the door for it.

One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, “You’ve been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes for you.”

Then you’ll realize your cat is a dog again.

Author unknown.

I remember going through the dog and cat stages in my early life, but unfortunately Dad’s Lucky Strikes killed him before I completed the metamorphosis back to dog. I was just starting to realize the well of wisdom he had long ago placed at my disposal. If only I could have a second chance at those years…

The one consolation I have is that although I can’t turn back the clock, I can choose now to be the Dad my kids need. Whether they are in the dog stage or the cat stage or returned to the dog stage. God willing I will live long enough to see the full transformation.


The Skeleton At The Feast

Filed under: Faith & Worship,Personal Growth,The Deep — dave @ 3:55 pm 2010/06/19

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

So very true. I see many people who harbor huge grudges against others, and those grudges only harm the one who carry them. And I do the same. I’ve been dealing with some bitterness lately, but I’m the one who is getting poisoned by that bitterness. Unfortunately, that poison has spilled over and also affected my family… Innocent parties in the whole deal, and totally undeserving of the harm I caused.

This all came up in a conference at our church this weekend, Freedom in Christ. One of the things that was discussed at length was the necessity of forgiving people who have wronged us because, as Buechner said so eloquently, anger and bitterness and grudges and chips on the shoulder harm the angry, bitter, grudge & chip carrier much more than the people at whom those nasty thoughts are directed. I’m happy to report that I’ve forgiven some people that I should have forgiven a long time ago, and the freedom I feel from granting that forgiveness is… truly refreshing.

BMWotD — 1957 507 Roadster Series II

Filed under: BMW Of The Day — dave @ 9:34 am

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen one of these in the flesh (metal?) before, but that’s probably a good thing because I probably would’ve drooled on it. Yvonne was asking yesterday for hints on what I wanted for Fathers’ Day, so I pointed this car out. Something in her reaction tells me it’s not happening. 😉


Although I’ll not likely ever have a chance at owning a car like this, it’s hard not to want it just a little. From the specs, the 507 is one awesome car, and the one pictured here, offered for sale by Fantasy Junction, is a drop-dead gorgeous example of the model. 3.2L OHC V8… 150 HP… 4-speed manual… 140 mph top speed… It was originally built to go compete for sales with the Mercedes 300SL Gull Wing coupe; the Merc ended up being the more successful car as measured by sales numbers, but I think the 507 is a much cleaner & handsome design.

Some of the guys over on mye28.com, where I first heard of this car, kinda pooh-poohed it because of issues they saw with the exhaust, the cheapo stereo (can’t disagree with that criticism), the missing spare and the dirty carpet. I say the rest of the car makes up for its shortcomings. But then again if I were in a position to shell out the $850,000 asking price (yes, that’s the correct number of zeros!), I think I would expect it to be much closer to flawless than it is now. But like they say in the ad for the car, “Cosmetically, it is attractive and makes a strong impression, but it is not perfect, which makes it an ideal car to use and enjoy.” Cars are made to be driven, not parked in a garage and endlessly polished.

My first thought when seeing that dollar figure was, no flippin’ way will they get that… But then I take a look at the eBay auction going on for it right now, and the price has topped $400,000 already with four days left for bidding. I’m guessing the reserve is somewhere north of $700,000. Time will tell…

Happy Birthday, Pops!

Filed under: Family — Tags: , , , , , — dave @ 2:40 pm 2010/06/17

Just thought I’d spiff up this post since yesterday would’ve been Dad’s 92nd birthday. Revised, expanded, improved, etc…

I got an email this morning from my sister, reminding me that it was 90 years ago today that Dad was born. That had totally slipped my mind today. Happy Birthday, Dad.

Dad’s been gone since 1987, but I still miss him. He died from lung cancer after having smoked for a lot of years. His cancer was diagnosed in November of 1987 and he was gone within six months. Those were some hard months, and they went far too fast for all of us.

The photo above was taken back in 1984 or so when Dad did some farming one summer using horse-drawn equipment. He had grown up on his dad’s farm, and had grown up with that style of farming; he remembered the time their first tractor arrived when he was 10 or 12, so that would put it at about 1930. Amazing to think it was that recently when horsepower was just that; horse-power.

He had wanted for years to do some farming with horses, and always kept one eye out for old horse drawn equipment at auctions and from friends. It seemed he always had horses around when we were kids; the ones I remember best was a Shetland pony named Star and two Welsh ponies, Sugar & Duchess. I would ride Sugar & my sister Mary would ride Duchess, and we would chase each other all over Dad’s hobby farm on those horses playing tag, where we would try to slap the other horse’s rump with our reins. Yeah, we missed fairly often and got each other too! There were other horses as well; Duchess had a counterpart — Duke — but I don’t remember much about him, and others.

A couple of years after he retired, he got everything together to plant & cultivate about 38 acres of corn with a team of horses; I think they were a Morgan/Quarter Horse cross. By the time he got done with cultivating — in the July heat — he realized that there was a good reason farmers put the horses out to pasture and used tractors instead; it was a lot of work. By the time fall came around he hired someone with a corn picker to harvest the corn. We did go through & gleaned the leftovers from the field by hand, with the horses pulling the wagon. We did that a number of times when we were kids and Dad had the farm near Shindler; it was a great way to pick up a lot of good feed corn for next to nothing.

So here’s to Dad; I wish my kids had been able to know you better than what they’ve learned through my stories about you. And I wish I knew you better than the 26 years I had with you allowed. Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to appreciate you until you were gone.

Another Awesome Diamond-T

Filed under: Cars!,Fun! — Tags: , , — dave @ 11:07 pm 2010/06/11

Tonight was the first day of the 2010 3-day Automania car show, so the boys & I went downtown to see what there was to see, and very nearly missed what had to be the coolest set of wheels in downtown Sioux Falls. It wasn’t until we had walked through the entire show and were on our way home that we spotted this truck parked along 10th Street just down the block from the Blend Interactive offices.


There is a Diamond-T logo on the radiator housing, so it’s likely at least some of it started out as with that brand, but who knows what part. It had an original 1957 license plate hanging on back; historic vehicles in South Dakota are allowed to run with plates from the year of manufacture, so it’s a reasonable guess that whoever built it started with a ’57, but the cab differs quite a bit from the photos I’ve seen of Diamond T trucks from that year. They all have a split windshield, so I’m not sure where the cab on this thing came from. The trailer had the name of a construction/concrete company on the side, but do you think I remember what it said? Dang; could’ve done a little real research…


It’s powered by a monstrous Detroit Diesel V8 topped with a supercharger and a turbocharger, but not much of a muffler on the exhaust!


Lots of cool details on the truck, like the polished aluminum front axle, the air-operated drum brakes all around, the bullet taillights, the minibike on top of the rear deck…





My apologies for the slightly cruddy photos, but it was getting dark, and they were shot with only the streetlights for illumination. Maybe it’ll be at tomorrow’s show and I can get some better shots.

While it’s not as polished as the other hot rod Diamond T I wrote about a couple of years ago, it’s still one awesome truck. And a functional truck. A one-off custom like this where the owner isn’t afraid to get it dirty is unique and extra awesome!

Another Wooden Bike

Filed under: Bikes — Tags: , — dave @ 5:19 pm

The boys & I have been dreaming of building a bike for a long time now, and the idea of using wood for the frame, while sounding a bit far-fetched, really isn’t that far from the realm of the possible. In fact, it’s actually quite do-able, more so than building a frame from metal is for me right now. I’ve posted about wooden-framed bikes before (here, here and here) and spent a little time dreaming about it again last night. A new item I stumbled across is an article about a very cool project built by a guy in Germany. Jens Eichler built this thing entirely from plywood.


While I’m not all that crazy about the lines on this bike, the concept he demonstrated — building the frame from layers of plywood laid up like this — is pretty interesting. Not to mention beautiful.


He obviously had to do a huge amount of grinding/sanding/carving to get from the rough build down to the svelte shape he ended up with. What I find fascinating is that it appears he simply epoxied the metal bearing surfaces into the wood shell… I wouldn’t think that would be an adequate method of attaching them. I guess if it were me, I would use some kind of pins or welded-on extensions from the metal pieces that would extend into the wood, below & behind the finished surface of the wood that would help in holding them in place. Perhaps Jens did the same, but it just isn’t shown here. But the finish on this frame is flat-out gorgeous.



And some of the details he worked into the design are pretty awesome as well.



I don’t think I’d want to build a tandem like his, but the concept is very transferrable to other types of bikes. In fact after seeing the Renovo wood bikes, I drew up some possible designs that used plywood that overlapped at the joints. I had thought back then that it might be necessary or desirable to keep the ‘tubes’ of the frame hollow, but as demonstrated with this tandem, keeping it solid is also possible. Another possibility that comes to mind is carving grooves in some of the layers for routing cables; that would clean things up considerably. The biggest issue that comes to mind is the weight; the tandem tips the scales at over 100 pounds. But it appears to be hugely over-built. I think a lot of that weight could have been whittled away.

Typing Hardware Addresses

Filed under: Computers,Fun! — dave @ 11:33 am 2010/06/07

All network interface cards have MAC addresses, a string of alphanumeric characters unique to each interface. In keeping records for the machines at work, I’ve noticed that when keying in a hardware address it’s possible to do it two-handed on a standard US QWERTY keyboard with a keypad — numeric characters are entered with the right hand and alpha characters with the left.

I don’t think that was what the designers of the ethernet protocol intended, but it’s a great unintended positive side effect. A MAC address is represented as a set of six groups of two hexadecimal digits each. Hexadecimal, a base-16 counting system, uses 0-9 and the alpha characters A-F to comprise its sixteen digits.
0=0, 1=1, 2=2, 3=3, 4=4, 5=5, 6=6, 7=7, 8=8, 9=9, 10=A, 11=B, 12=C, 13=D, 14=E, 15=F
It’s just a happy coincidence that those six characters can be struck using the fingers of the left hand on a US keyboard layout. Meaningless to most I suppose, but I found it interesting. And handy!

Oh No — I Broke My Mug!

Filed under: Just Stuff — Tags: , , — dave @ 1:05 pm 2010/06/06

Crud. My favorite coffee mug broke today. The handle has been a little wobbly for the last few days, but I didn’t worry too much about it, figuring it was only a loose screw or something. But when I tried tightening it yesterday the screw was plenty tight and I couldn’t budge it, so I planned to take a closer look at it today.

But before I got around to it, while I was steaming the creamer for my morning cappuccino, the handle gave way completely, nearly dumping the whole works on the counter!


I bought the mug when the Sportsman’s Warehouse was closing its Sioux Falls store. It wasn’t marked down much, but it was a great design, so I went ahead and got it in spite of my cheapskate nature’s protestations. It’s made of stainless steel inside & out with a closeable plastic lid, but what set it apart from the other mugs is that it has an alternate lid which incorporates a French press, and it has a hidden storage compartment in the base which is big enough for another two cups’ worth of instant coffee! Coolest mug ever!

But now it has no handle and has a hole in the side. The handle design is better than most steel mugs — a threaded boss welded to the outside skin, with the handle held in place by a screw that attached to the boss — but I guess there is just a lot of torque applied to that spot. I contacted the manufacturer, Planetary Design, to see if I can get a replacement mug body without having to buy the whole works (for $30!), but I’m not holding my breath on that possibility. It’s still useable as-is, and I suppose I could just seal up the hole then cobble together using a big hose clamp to attach the handle…

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