They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 1 – The Build

Just sitting here yelling at my TV thanks to an Indian’s let down so far – someone wake up that damn goat!!  To help myself cool down, figured I would pop out another post.  For the record, you are in bonus time this month – life is so much easier when all I have to do is write the post as opposed to having to process all the pictures, get them linked into the post and then start adding witty banter for the enjoyment of my loyal readers.  Thanks to doing all the hard work while on vacation, I can simply jump in and get right too it.  As I have mentioned previously, we held our annual Haunted Trail at the beginning of this month.  Keeping with tradition, thought I would help give you a perspective of what it takes to actually put that together – This is what my basement looked like two weeks before the event.
Haunted Trail 2016 - The Build

Basically a total mess thanks to having to deal with finishing up all the trim work while trying to get a head start on the Halloween props.  This year I was able to start a little earlier than usual thanks to an accelerated running schedule  (my two half marathon races were earlier in September and my third one was a couple of weeks after the party date). This allowed me to get the crap load of boxes and tubs out of storage way early.  I was also able to get my partner in haunt to come over and my brother Ron was even able to come down and help build out all the new sensor triggers we deployed this year.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of Ron from that day, but he did send me a bunch of pictures he took to help chronicle the work (big thanks).

Here Paul and I are putting together all the Posey frames and getting them costumed up.
Haunted Trail 2016 - The Build

Hit the jump to get a feel for all the work that goes in for one night of haunting fun.

Continue reading They Sense Your Fear Haunted Trail 2016 Pt 1 – The Build

Let’s Spoon

In case you are tired of Halloween posts, figured it would be a good time to throw in something different.  Don’t get me wrong, you have more posts coming about our Halloween Haunted Trail than examples of corrupt establishment career politicians coming out of Wikileaks on a daily basis – well, maybe not that many, but I had no idea how bad our representatives had become.  To help temper my disgust on this topic, let’s focus on a topic that always brings a smile to my face – a new check mark in my North American Birding List!Birding Texas November 2013

This fine specimen is what they call a Roseate Spoonbill.  I led with this image because it can be a bit deceptive when viewed from this angle.  If you are not familiar with this particular bird, you might not suspect that it has Spoonbill in its name.  In fact you might just think it was a Flamingo that saved up enough money to get that giant curve taken out of its bill.  Now, if you were to see it from a different angle, you would have no problem in the identification process.  An angle more like this one would definitely do the trick.
Birding Texas November 2013

Now that is a schnoz. For some strange reason I have an affinity for this pink hued beauty – not sure why, maybe it’s the cool feet hehehe.  This particular Spoonbill was shot on the Texas cost in Galveston.  We took a birding trip down there back in November to capture the very rare Whooping Crane in the wild (link here).

Hit the jump to see a read a bit more about the Roseate.

Continue reading Let’s Spoon

A Bridge Not Far Enough

Greetings everyone!  I am finally back from a quick trip out to North Carolina.  Linda wanted to fill up on new waterfall pictures and I was hoping to get some new bird pictures.  That, and to support a state that understands the stick figure with a skirt is the girls bathroom and the skinny stick figure, well that is for the boys.  It was touch and go there for a bit since the news outlets were hyping up the hurricane potential to get everyone worked up.  This gave them the excuse to pull all their pretty hurricane rotation maps out of the mothballs they’ve been stored in for the past 10 years.  Storm passed, it drop some rain and toppled some picnic tables, but the Smokies looked untouched.  I was able to get a few posts out on the road, but most of the time was spent prepping a bunch of future posts. As of now, I have close to 4 months of blog fodder patiently waiting to be dumped like another batch of crooked Hillary emails.  I was able to get a good run in today, so figured it was a good time take a break and get a short post out of the way… and by short I mean 20 feet.
2016 Lot Bridge

That happens to be the distance of the latest bridge building effort on the lot.  It seems like every year around October I am busting out the hammers and drills in order to fix an existing bridge or make a brand new one.  This year it was a replacement bridge thanks to the destructive tendencies of my run-off stream.  When I bought the property over 10 years ago, we had a one foot trench that water coming off our hills would collect in and slowly make their way to the larger stream on the property that Serenity crosses (link here),  By last year, that little trench had widened to about 6 feet.  That prompted an 8 foot bridge project last year at this time – note, this usually becomes a problem around Haunted Trail time since I need to get the ATV down there with the decorations.  I remember putting that thing together in the dead of night by the car lights.  With the stream now at 8 feet, last year’s bridge was unsafe to cross. Crap, another bridge build and I already had enough to do to get ready for the party.  Luckily, I already had the 6x6x10’s above so that saved me some time.  As you can see, I had to put those end to end.  I used a post coupler to join them and then put planks across the joint to stiffen it up.  Those planks were shot with 16 penny nails – going nowhere!

2016 Lot Bridge

Hit the jump to read more about the build

Continue reading A Bridge Not Far Enough

Posies Be a Bulking – Pt 2

Today we are back with the second part of the 2016 Posey upgrade project.  If you will recall, in the last post we went over the major upgrades to the appearance of the body and the new classy shoes.  There were a few more enhancements that I wanted to highlight and thus part two.  These additional enhancements were primarily a result of trying to put everything together.  Due to the early timing of the Halloween party this year, I wasn’t able to put the full product out although the second mold (the one that didn’t cure right) ended up being used for a great prop.  After the party, I was able to spend some more time and try to put the finishing touches on this year’s model.

2016 Posey Upgrade

It didn’t take long for the first problem to come to light.  When I went to attach the appendages it turned out that my initial idea to put the couplers at the ends of the molds .. well, let’s just say I didn’t think that one through enough.  I had planned to use the same coupler structure from my previous Poser version – to do that with the arms meant it would either stick out another 4+ inches or cause me to cut all the way back to the center post and then dig into the foam chest to give room to turn the couplers. This had to be fixed.

Since I had purchased other molds, I decided to work with the male adult mold this time.   Like last time, I still wanted a 1″ PVC frame (that size works best with the fence post ends).  In an effort to address the appendage problem, I went with an idea that I tried on a previous Posey version – basically took a coupler and chop sawed a kerf cut half way through the end.  Those cut couplers were put on the spine couplers for both the arms and the legs – since the neck can spin in the coupler on its own, I didn’t cut the neck coupler.  Note, in the first attempt, these couplers were attached end to end to the spine couplers and then the PVC pipes were extend out through the mold to keep it in place.  The other change was putting the leg posts horizontal rather than vertical.  I do not have close ups of that version, however, I do have ones from the next iteration.  Rather than take the extra space for the couplers, I decided to put the cuts in the actual spine couplers instead.  You can see that in the shot below.

2016 Posey Upgrade

Hit the jump to see the new features in detail

Continue reading Posies Be a Bulking – Pt 2

Posies Be A Bulking – Pt 1

I swear this last month has lasted at least three months!  Since middle of September, I’ve ran three half marathons, held our annual Halloween party, finished like 8 posts, made it through a crap load of work on my real job and now trying to get some badly needed rest which consists of me hiking up and down mountains.  Since November seems like it is never going to get here, decided to break out some of the Halloween posts early this year.  Let’s start on the decorations front.  Remember those Posies from last year (link here).  Well, this year they are getting an upgrade.

2016 Posey Upgrade
Although these have not been put together yet, you can definitely tell they’ve been put on a weight training regimen… and they kind of got gendered.  Focus in on the one on the far right.  It took a bit to get the process all figured out and that one is the result of finally getting everything right.  The other two I’ll talk about as a memory points for me and as a cautionary tale for those of you interested in trying this out for yourself.  Starting at the beginning, the key element in the new Posey configuration is this.
2016 Posey Upgrade
Hit the jump to get details on the latest of the Posey improvement projects.

Continue reading Posies Be A Bulking – Pt 1

Gut Check

Well, today I completed the last race of the 2016 season (well, at least of the ones that were planned).  In light of that, figured it would be a good time to get a previous race posted.  I hate it when I get too far behind on the race posts mainly due to how hard it is to remember everything about the race once another one is in the books.  The runs are stressful enough without that added task of trying to remember what the hell I was thinking in between big gulps of air.  Getting right to it, One week after running the IVS Half Marathon (link here), I headed down to Springfield IL to participate in the Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon 2016

This year the race coordinators decided to cancel the prediction element of the marathon and instead simply added a half marathon and a quarter marathon.  This meant we didn’t need to form a team which turned out to be a good thing since Ryan got hurt and Sung forgot to sign up (Sung also ended up getting injured as well not soon after that).  So, it was just me this year.  Linda ended up having a conflict with a dog show so it was me by my lonesome to take on the half marathon.  I wasn’t too worried about it since I knew the course and I knew I was trained up for the distance based on the results of the previous week.  However, little did I know at the time that this race was going to be a major gut check.  Race day prep was pretty uneventful.  The predicted rain had moved out and the early temps were in norm for that time of year.  Lining up for the race everything still felt fine.  First loop would be in the light and the second loop would require the head lamp.  All good and even reminded myself to stay in control having already experienced the treacherous hills in the cemetery.

Jumping ahead, the first loop went as planned.  Pace was right at where I wanted to be.  The quarter marathon was going off an hour after we had started the half so they were lining up to get their leg started as I completed my first lap.  Oh, almost forgot, like the previous year, after 4 miles into the race, it was as if I was on a solo training run.  There was no one visible in front or behind me with the exception of some union points in the course where the various routes came together.  Just me, the road and gravestones wherever I looked.  The second loop was a completely different story.  As I hit the first hill back out something started to feel wrong.  A dull pain was starting to build in my gut, but my pace was holding so it didn’t cause much concern.  By mile 8 that dull pain had turned into a serious pain in the stomach and a serious concern was swirling in my head.  By mile 10 it couldn’t be ignored anymore, forcing me stop running to walk up a large hill as I contemplated whether I needed to throw up to relieve the problem.  It also became apparent that the night air was not cooling as expected and the reality of overheating was a possible cause.  Walking during a race is like a swift kick to the nuts after training so hard to make it to the starting line.  At the top of the hill my mind told my body to suck it up – we were running again… but not for long.  At 11 the body shut down again and another walk was needed to calm the stomach again.  This was not good and the only thing that kept playing in my head was how mad Linda was going to be.  Taking advantage of a lull in the stomach pain, I was able to start running again and closed out the race (thankfully there is a long downhill in mile 12 that help out tremendously).  Short of the Marathon run (link here), this might have been the most relieved I’ve been to see the finish line.  Too exhausted to reach down and take the timing chip off, I headed over to a nearby wall to rest – race officials were busy running after me to get my chip but that was the last thing on my mind (they eventually got it off of me ha).

Hit the jump to see how this ordeal turned out!

Continue reading Gut Check

Your Eyes are Fine

New Blog ThemeWelcome everyone!  In case you are wondering, you are not in the wrong place assuming you were expecting to read the latest Life Intrigued post. However, you probably noticed the place got a bit of a sprucing up.  This change was not entirely initiated by my grand plan.  Nope, it was really a bi-product of my website hosting service having to be renewed.  The back story is rather lengthy, but the condensed version goes like this.  My hosting company doubles your initial fee at renewal – that translates in my $5/mo cost to $10/mo.  Sounds like a simple thing until you see your three year bill going to ummm one. two, carry 1 , divide by .652 multiply by 7.2 and then multiply by a complement matrix…… $360 big ones.  Nothing is too good for my loyal readers, but at the same time I figured that math out I was staring at their web page advertising a $5/mo charge for new accounts.  This tends to piss me off – for being a loyal customer for over 9 years I get to pay twice as much as a new customer.  This was not acceptable and after a rather lengthy time on support … I was paying the new customer rate… with one little caveat.  I had to move to their new servers.  Sounds innocent enough, turn on new site, copy files from old server to new and presto back in business.  Maybe in a perfect world ruled by flying blue monkeys… but not the reality I live in.  For the last couple of weeks it has been extremely stressful around here trying to re-implement my blog services, deal with address and domain changes while doing my best to keep disruptions down.  The good news (as you can tell) the hard part is all done now and the conversion is pretty much completed.  There are a few fringe issues that I’m dealing with, but it is operational enough for me to start posting again and allowing comments.  I hope you like the new look and feel.  For the most part I modeled it as close as I could to the old flow but sexed up a bit with a more professional theme.  Big thanks to my brother Ron who helped me get the kinks out while trying to adapt all my old customizations to the updated theme.  Let me know what you think and if you see anything that isn’t working right – no promises I can fix it, but pretty impressed with all the issues that have been resolved to this point.