Sunday, February 28, 2016


Watching the Oscars with my lovely wife. This is our unofficial anniversary- 24 years ago watching Billy Crystal host the 64th Oscars and Silence of the Lambs sweep most of the big awards we kissed for the first time...

I've felt like a winner ever since:)

Saturday, February 27, 2016


My wife is an artist!

We had decided to do a simple dinner and just make BLTs, but Jackie took it to the next level :)

Lovely, crusty bread, bacon weaved into a lattice and cooked in the oven so it stays flat, lettuce, big slices of tomato, and all topped with avacado. Delicious!

fpv car- it works :)

So I've been doing a little tinkering in odd moments to add the fpv set-upto my new, little rc car, and this afternoon I got it to the stage that I could test it outside for the first time :)

Here's the car all set up and ready to go- I've cut out the windshield because although it was only clear plastic it still made the video fuzzy, but the camera is mounted inside so it's still protected. The antenna pokes out of the rear deck just in front of the rear spoiler, so if I flip the car the spoiler should give it some protection.

The camera is mounted to the roof, looking out through the gap where the windshield used to be, and the transmitter is mounted behind it with the antenna sticking out behind it and through the rear deck. The battery I'm using to power the fpv gear sits very nicely in the little roll cage (the main car battery goes in a slot underneath the car).

Here are another couple of views of the camera looking out through the windshield. I was a little worried that it would not be high enough and so, because of the "hood" in front, you wouldn't be able to see enough of the ground in front of you to drive properly- but it actually works pretty well :)

The combination receiver and screen that I use has a slot for a microSD card, so you can record exactly what the screen is showing. The video above is from my first test outside driving it around, and it actually works really well :) I didn't have the all the batteries fully charged, and I didn't have the screen in my converted welding helmet so it was a little difficult to see on my lap, but I'm really happy how well it all works. In future I will probably mount my little Mobius HD camera on the roof to record driving videos, but the signal and picture to the screen from this little camera is more than adequate to drive around by!

Now that I know it works I can tidy up the wiring a little, fully charge up the batteries, put the screen back in my helmet and look forward to really having some fun with it :)

A nice day for a walk in the woods

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Feeding time at Crisp's Herpetarium

Haven't posted any pic of Crisp's reptiles in a while, so here are a few of Dipper the Leopard Gecko and Bill the Ball Python:)

Warning- as you scroll down there are pictures of Bill devouring a mouse- so if you're squeamish, perhaps avoid them ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New project :)

What with the weather over the winter and the new FAA and local rules, it is really tough to get out and fly my racing drone. Living so close to Westchester County Airport and so many schools and other things etc. there are so many restrictions that I always feel kind of worried when I do fly around here that I'm gonna get in trouble. I still have my little drone to play around with that is small enough to not fall under the FAA rules if I want to fly, but I don't want to waste all the radio and fpv gear that's in the other drone.

So I decided I will re-purpose some of it so I can still use it in the big drone if I want to (on vacation or whatever), but still have some fun with it around here- in an rc car that I can use anytime in the parking lot or in the woods :)

I got a cheap ($100) 1/12 scale hobby grade rc car from Hobby Town. "Hobby grade" means it is a step above the toy rc cars you get from Walmart- Hobby Town has all the spare parts and some upgrade parts for it, and it has proper proportional servos (the steering is not full left or right, you can steer just a little like a real car, and the throttle goes smoothly from a crawl to full speed). I'm starting small like this to see if it's as fun as I think it will be- but this is not a throw-away car, it has all the real features and is quite upgradeable if necessary.

The other thing I like about this car is that it has lots of room under the body shell to fit in the fpv and radio gear so it will stay protected in case of flips and crashes.

I had a blast yesterday just zooming it around the parking lot- now to get to work on it on the workbench and see if I can fit in the camera and stuff and make it all work :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lent 1, done :)

80 packed lunches, each with 2 sandwiches (1 meat and cheese and 1 PBJ), fruit, carrots, juice, cookies and chips delivered to the food pantry in Port Chester :)


Just a little chilly.

For the more modern among us, -3F is almost -20C, and when you factor in the wind it's almost -33C.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Who is this fresh-faced youngster?

I picked up my new glasses yesterday, and as the beginning of Lent is usually the signal for my face fungus to disappear I figured I would do a little grooming.

Here is the before-

And here is the after-

Considering how early Lent is this year, and that tonight is going to be the coldest night of the year by far, this may have been a huge mistake! But I have a nice, warm scarf thing that Jackie knitted me that I can wrap around my face, and now I'll have an excuse to wear it :)

Lent begins

Getting set up for the first of our Lenten community projects tomorrow morning- making packed lunches for the food program at St Peter's on Port Chester.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Meet Svetlana...

Crisp and I spent a happy couple of hours this evening building his new gaming computer (all his technological devices have Russian names- so this is Svetlana).

We ordered all the parts last weekend and they all arrived yesterday, but I had to work last night. He put up the last of his Christmas money and his tax refund, and Jake and I are covering the rest.

It's got a 6th gen. Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive and a huge Radeon R9 380 graphics card with 4GB of RAM of its own :)

Everything went together quite smoothly, we installed Windows 10 and now Crisp is busy downloading all the Steam games he hasn't been able to play until now. The graphics card is very cool and will drive his regular monitor and the TV he has on the the shelf above, so he can game and Skype all at the same time. He refused to leave his room for dinner, so we threw a few burgers and a big soda at him- I will have to get him out in the woods soon ;)

Sunday, February 07, 2016

First tax returns

Another rite of passage, just sat and watched my son file his first federal and state tax returns. Thank goodness for Turbotax- and it was free :)

He will get all of the taxes he paid from his summer job back- he's putting it towards his new gaming computer (though I'm proud to say he chose to make a modest donation to the Mental Health Stigma Fund).

Friday, February 05, 2016

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Getting ready for Lent

Just finished putting together the noticeboards door the various Sundays in our Lenten Program.

I did this last year and each week I took pictures at the various events and replaced each of the sign-ups etc. with pictures of the event. It was kinda fun to watch people looking at last weeks pictures during this week's event, and signing up for next week's. Hopefully it will work as well this year :)

They look pretty bare now, but here's a couple of pics of last year-