Friday, May 31, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3: Level 10 (Now in HD!)

Almost there, and the audio quality shows my excitement!  Please forgive the thin sound on this recording.  I recorded it with my computer's on board mic instead of my headset mic by accident.  By the time I realized my error, I was just too tired and lazy to re-record a 5-minute video.

Anyway, we play through level 10, a rather short trip from the uppermost towers down through another clock tower (remember our pal Grant?) and up the steps to Drac's throne room.  We'll take on Drac himself in the next video and blog post.

Enjoying my new computer (mostly) and excited to be finished with work soon.  Not excited about leaving all our friends and familiar places here in Iowa.  Enough emotional stuff, let's get to level 10!

Oh, yeah... IN H-FREAKIN'-D!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Getting Ready

Tired... Tired...

No fun photos, no wit and wisdom, energy... draining...

We are just about one week from closing on the house, and it's crunch time.  Earlier this Spring, I took a look at the yard and said, "Hey!  Selling in June, we might not have to do much to the yard at all!"  I was wrong.  We have had near record-setting rainfall this Spring here in Eastern Iowa, and the bushes, weeds, grass, and everything else have just loved it.

I finally gave up the other night and decided I had to take some yard action.  I thought I would have an easy time in the yard because I am not planting (sadly) my vegetable garden.  The vegetable planting was just about covered by the amount of maintenance needed in weeding and pruning.  I'd like everything looking spic and span for the new owners next week, so I have to work fast.  This working fast has led to some tired muscles to which any homeowner/gardener can relate.

Our house is nearly empty.  We are sitting on camp chairs and watching the television sitting on top of an upturned bucket.  This means that going inside isn't necessarily much more comfortable than being outside in the yard working.  One's legs fall asleep sitting in a camp chair for more than a few minutes at a time, so it is nearly impossible for us to be too sedentary.

Next week, we will be out of the house and on our road trip.  We are in the mid-to-late planning stages of the trip now, and we will hopefully be ready by closing day.  We better be, 'cuz we're outta here, ready or not.  When the road trip arrives, the blog will be a little less active than we have all been used to.  We've kept the every weekday posting going so far, but we will be away from internet and computers for the better part of a month.  Whenever we can, we will post updates and photos from the road and will share that out via facebook, so keep your ears to the ground for us.

...Ok, maybe one funny photo...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Iowa City Bucket List Part I: Happy Birthday, Cory!

Iowa City is a fun place to be, and over the last 5+ years that we have lived here we have discovered and enjoyed many great places to eat and activities to enjoy. Cory and I decided to put together an Iowa City bucket list so that we could savor some of our favorites before we move. We knocked a few of them out in celebration of Cory's birthday a few weeks ago, and we have plenty of pictures to share. 

Iowa City Bucket List Item (ICBLI) #1: Eat a massive Chinese Buffet supper

Ok, so this one isn't all that unique to Iowa City. However, it is Cory's absolute favorite place to go out for dinner, where he can unabashedly binge on all things MSG. We went to the Peking Buffet in Coralville, where we enjoyed the standard buffet fare of sushi, egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken, etc. Dee-lish!

Cory sitting in front of a Chinese buffet supper
Dinner of Champions!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Great Jettison: We'll take that, too!

How do they know?  Sometimes I have had people on Craigslist give me responses on multiple items.  A few of them have pointed this fact out to me and offered to buy more than one item.  Things like, "I noticed you also have the __________ for sale.  Can we make a deal?"  I am fine making deals, of course, but how do they know which items are mine?  I have my email hidden on the site, and am careful not to include any personal information in the post.

Two white padded Broyhill chairs on display before being sold on Craigslist

Is it because I copy and paste the same suffix to the end of every post?

"Local pickup only, please respond by email if you are interested or would like to come over and take a look.  Be sure to include the word 'craigslist' in your email so it gets through my email filter."

Who knows, but I do know that someone saw that I had the above white Broyhill chairs and the sea green table below for sale at the same time.  All of these pieces were purchased cheaply shortly after our wedding. The table was another funky color, but we painted it the green color to match a few other pieces of furniture we had purchased with funky colors.

Painted seafoam green side table on display before being sold on Craigslist

Top view of seafoam green side table with divots on the top surface

The green table, unfortunately, had already been promised to another buyer, who Sara was meeting at a place in town.  This particular buyer wasn't like any other I have met.  Truly this family was one of my own heart.  Follow the jump for the touching story.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Great Jettison: Ethan Who?

At this point in the game, the best stuff to get rid of is the biggest stuff.  In our house, we don't get much bigger than the Ethan Allen table and chairs.  We purchased the set shortly after our wedding at a flea market in Sioux City.  We really liked the quality of the table and the price wasn't too bad for us at the time.  It was missing a leaf in the middle and had a broken Lazy Susan.

Ethan Allen dining table with four chairs on display before being sold on Craigslist

We bought it and dragged it across Iowa to our first apartment, where we promptly learned that we don't know how to take care of a finished table.  In the photos one can see the white smudges where the waxy finish was damaged by a hot beverage set right on the wood.  How were we to know?

Ethan Allen table on display with a scuff in the finish before being sold on Craigslist

Later in the life of the table, the glue in the spindles of the chairs started to let go.  Not having the tools to drill or ream out the old glue, I kept attempting to glue and pin them back together.  Ultimately, I had to admit defeat.  We were faced with the choices of getting the table professionally fixed up OR selling it for a deal and keeping the retro table and chairs we were given by our very generous neighbors.

Follow the jump to find out what we chose AND what else we sold... Wait, that gave it away!

Friday, May 24, 2013

From the Yarn Basket: A Little Something for That Cold and Rainy Irish Weather

Rainy. Windy. 4ยบ Celsius (that's right, we have to start thinking of temperatures in C or we will never know what to expect when we walk out the door). The weather we can expect on a January day in Dublin will be pretty dreary. Not so bad compared to frigid winter days in the Midwestern U.S.A., but we should still be prepared! I made these lovely and functional mittens for Cory so that he can stay warm while he is performing in the street....or hawking souvenirs at unsuspecting tourists....or whatever it is he finds to do...

Cory posing with the brown mittens
Hmmm...maybe Cory can take up modeling?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Great Jettison: The Cassette Tapes

The tapes.  Darling..Dearest...Dead...

As any of my family or college roommates can attest, the tapes are a significant part of my life and the life of anyone I live with.  Tapes were great for a few things that are, for better or for worse, largely gone today.

A case of children's story and song tapes

Follow the jump for more magnetic CrO3 action!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let Commencement Commence!

Way to go, Sara!  Time for commencement and the graduation party!  We hosted a bunch of family members in our very sparse home for a big celebration after the ceremony.  Just thought it should be documented here.
Cory and Sara pose in front of the rocks at Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Rocks in front of Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Cory adjusts Sara's graduation cap
Adjusting the tassel

Cory hits the creek in search of carp
Doing some fishing for the first time this year

Melly, the cat, is lounges on a blue chair
Stock photo of The Melly.  Just she can join the rest
of the cats on the internet.  Currently sitting on the
last remaining soft chair in the home.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moving out...Sorta

So... moving smart, eh?  We wanted our moving experience to be as painless as possible.  If you've read the post about  Camping Out, you no doubt remember our plan.  In short, we wanted to have things packed up gradually with as little help from friends, family, and neighbors as possible.  I took a look at storage unit possibilities and balked immediately at the price.

After receiving the generous offer of help from our parents of free basement storage, we were ready to go!  One Penske moving truck was lined up and we were ready to go!

Sara and Cory posing with the full moving truck

Follow the jump for the rest of the story and more pictures...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Camping Out...At Home

Camping out:  Leaving the comforts of a middle-class home to experience the outdoors, feel the freedom of not having material goods, and take in a much-needed change of scenery.

That definition, admittedly, was made up to fit our current circumstance.  It does seem to fit well more literally than we had originally planned.

White Fiesta dishes wrapped up and packed in boxes

To do what we call "move smart," we had to use the limited time we had wisely when getting our physical possessions in order.  You have no doubt been reading The Great Jettison series on the blog, so you are aware of our plans for many of our larger pieces.  What do we do with the things we don't want to sell or trash?  When can we get rid of them?  Where will they go?  How do we live in the meantime...?

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3: Part 17

We finally defeat the Shadow Boss!  With save states and whining, good always prevails over evil.  This video represents the last video made with our old desktop computer.  Any new material will have to be edited on my new cheap HP computer with Windows 8.  Yikes!  I hope we are able to get the rest of the material edited.  How will the readers ever survive if we can't all see me beat the final level in several painful hours?

Screenshot from Zelda II of Link and Shadow Link.  Comic text added.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

1100 Pageviews!

Wow!  I meant to write a big post of gratitude for reading our blog when we passed 1000 pageviews.  That ship sailed last week, so I thought I'd still thank everyone who is reading or has read our blog.

Moving is very exciting and blogging has quickly become a very fun hobby.  We hope to keep new material coming at you at least every weekday as long as we have internet access.  In real time, we are currently just a few weeks out from closing on the house and embarking on our Big Road Trip (extensive coverage here, of course!).  After the Big Road Trip, it's off to the Emerald Isle.

We'll keep writing as long as you keep reading.  I see blogging as a very fun way to tell our stories with words, pictures, and videos.  Comment on posts you enjoy (and those you don't enjoy!), send us a private massage in the CONTACT tab above, and watch for much more and varied content.

Keep reading, subscribing, commenting, and enjoying.


              Cory           and         Sara

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

No One Wanted These, Either?

So, you all saw this earlier this Spring, right?  In it, we saw some great material that just wasn't generating much buzz on the Craigslist Interweb.  Why didn't people jump at it?  Hard to say, must just be the old wrong place/wrong time song and dance.

Here's another sad story of a misfit toy that didn't find a new owner.  I can't imagine just why.  These basketball card collector's magazines from the early 1990's should have been a must have for any collection. They were found, forlorn, in the book pile at the church rummage in Davenport on "dollar-a-bag" day.  These were kept in good condition for all the years, and I thought they were beautiful, as you'll see after the break.

When moving time came, I couldn't justify keeping all the hard copies, so I scanned all the good images in the mags and put them up for sale.  Twice, I got an email of interest (from the same person) and twice I was stood up after setting up a pickup time.  That was in my early days of Craigslist-ing and still trusting of interweb humans in general.  After these two stand-ups, I decided to keep the magazines with my comic books, space be darned!  Luckily, I still had the images, and now I share them with you.

Comment below if you would have coughed up 5 bucks for a collection like this... not that I'm selling them, though.

See a sample of the work here-

Patrick Ewing on the cover of Beckett Basketball
Pat Ewing!?  What NBA JAM player could
turn down that flat-top!?
Follow the jump for the 50 other images taken from the magazine.  BOOM-SHAKALAKA!

I'll Play Castlevania 3: Part 16

This play-through is getting tough.  Sorry to put so many of you through so much.  If you're looking for video game platforming prowess... then you probably haven't watched any of my other video game play videos.  If you want some verbal updates on what we are doing at home, here ya go!

Sorry about the incoherent ramblings, we are a couple of tired cats this week!

As always, read, subscribe, comment, and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taking Down the Basement: Video Games

The Game Center

Video game center in the basement.  NBA Jam title screen on display.  Video game consoles seen are NES, N64, Sega Genesis, SNES, and Playstation 2

Just wanted to share some of the glory that was the game area of the basement.  In the photo above, see if you can find the following things.  Laserdisc Player acting as a hookup hub, Citizen Kane laserdisc, Guitar Hero guitar controllers, Sega Genesis (currently running NBA JAM) Nintendo 64 with 2 controllers, PS2 (slim and difficult to see), NES with SNES games sitting on it, dartboard darts and fletchings, bass amp, DVD/VCR combo acting as a second hookup hub, NES games, classic orange-and-gray NES Zapper.

What you can't see in the photo is the futon, coffee table, and The Bike.  I used to play video games (again, mostly RPG or other slow-paced games) while on the bike.  The bike also functioned as a great video game chair, especially for guests coming over to play Goldeneye 007.

See below for a closer look at the other side of the TV and the absolute mess of cables and wires needed to have all those video game consoles hooked up at the same time.  I even noticed a distinct lack of video quality as the signal went through cable after 20-year-old cable.  Each RF adapter seemed to add just a little bit more visual static (snow) to the screen, but it was worth not having to unhook machines anytime one wanted to go from Ocarina of Time to Duck Hunt.

Different look at the video game center.  Sega Genesis and NES zapper are seen clearly.

I hope to have something just like this setup again one day.  Hopefully it will be in the same room as the beer signs, this, and all my other basement goodies.  Maybe even another homemade bar!

As always, read, subscribe, comment, and enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Great Jettison: Rugs

Just two of the MANY rugs we have sold.  

How many area rugs does a home with wood floors and a nasty painted basement floor need?  As many as can be obtained.  It just so happens that we had exactly that many.

Round area rug on display before being sold on Craigslist
This rug kept our toes warm in the cold bedroom through the winter.

Let's go from the boring to the awesome.  Above:  Boring (but nice quality...) This rug also has a rather boring sale story.  Someone just saw it, liked it, came over, and gave us the cash for it.  You didn't think that everything I sold on Craigslist has a cutesy story, did you?

After the break:  Awesome.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Great Jettison: One Wheel-Harrowing Tale

You can't pull a Cory on Cory!

Rusty green wheelbarrow on display before being sold on Craigslist

This ugly thing, like many ugly things, has great practical use and value.  Also like many ugly things, I got it for free while curb fishing one fine day.  If I remember correctly, this wheelbarrow came full of other useful things for me like some unfinished wood molding with lots of nails still in it (tomato stakes and firewood) and an old-fashioned flint-and-steel Bunsen Burner lighter...yeah... so...

I brought it home and it worked great for us!  I hauled a lot of yard waste and junk around with this baby in the year or two I owned it.  When moving time came upon us, up it went to Craigslist.  How much did I ask for it?  How much did I get for it?  What is with the title of this post?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In Which Sara Sets a Goal For Herself That Requires Actual Physical Activity

Even people that do not know me very well can usually pick up on two of my more prominent personality traits. One is that I am goal-oriented. I am able to set my mind to a task and work towards it with the quiet intensity of a jungle cat eyeing its prey. The other is that I am about as athletic as a sack of potatoes. There is no false-modesty in that statement--it is an absolute fact that I came to terms with on the YMCA soccer field at the age of six. It's almost comical, really. Even activities that don't require all that much athleticism confound my abilities. If anyone calls it a sport, I'm probably bad at it. This includes bowling, pool, darts, name it, I am hopeless at it. I may have excellent manual dexterity, but I have no spatial awareness.

That said, I do occasionally go through bouts of trying to whip myself into better physical condition. As a University of Iowa student, I have been fortunate to have access to a fantastic recreation center that has fitness classes I enjoy that don't involve too much hand-eye coordination. The last few months, I have been in one of these fitness bouts, mostly as a stress-reliever while writing my thesis. I was going to 3-4 classes a week trying to burn off nervous energy as my defense loomed large on the horizon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Great Jettison: Two visits in one day!

These chairs are were great for us.  We obtained them shortly after getting married in 2007.  Since then, they have had served not only as sturdy, movable chairs, but also a stepladder.  For painting, it seems from the photo.  

We had these chairs in the apartment and the house.  They even outlasted the chairs with our Ethan Allen wood dining table, and that's, like, real furniture.

Two wooden chairs on display before being sold. One chair is covered with white paint spots

In the "Price to Sell" mindset, we listed them for only 5 dollars on a Friday night, and had hits on them right away.  Early Saturday morning, we sold them to a nice young gentleman who was furnishing a new apartment (lots of people like that around here) and was also into furniture painting/finishing.

Little did he know, he'd be back to the house...later that day...with friends...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Just Call Me Dr. Sara....On Second Thought Please Don't Because It Weirds Me Out

Since the end of February, the plan to move to Ireland has been slowly but surely coming into focus. One pretty significant contingency for the whole plan was the need for me to successfully defend my thesis, graduate, and receive my doctorate. This entire blog would be completely unnecessary and irrelevant if I failed to do all of that (no pressure!). After all, you can't be a postdoc without first receiving the doc...

The whole graduation process for a Ph.D. requires several months of preparation, paperwork, and meeting a series of deadlines. After spending several years carrying out thesis research, it is no small feat to chew, swallow, and digest the huge bolus of data into a story that is clear and concise. In January I started writing my thesis full-time, a task that I fortunately had a jump-start on because I had already prepared portions of my data as manuscripts. One is already published (yay!) and the other is currently in review (fingers crossed!).  The full ~300 pages of thesis (with about 100 pages of that consisting of data tables and references) was submitted in late March.

A word cloud made from Sara's thesis with the outline of a rotifer body drawn around it
For those wondering what my thesis is actually ABOUT, this will provide some hints.
It's a Word Cloud I made from my thesis inside an outline of a monogonont rotifer,
which is the system I used for most of my research.

The Great Jettison: Back Breaking Tools, Unleashed!

The tools below are what a poor cheap man can afford to use on his home.  Power tools?  Nah!  "But what about that electric trimmer*?"  One might say in one's most snooty and pretentious voice.

"AHA!  I bought it for cheap, couldn't figure out how to restring it and never used it!"  I would say to you, o snooty one!

Blue snow shovel on display before being sold on Craigslist

The snow shovel?  Used that baby A LOT.  Turns out a double wide driveway is nice for having friends and family over, but not so fun to dig out with after a big snow pile.  I spent many an hour listening to Car Talk and Retronauts re-run podcasts (rodcasts?) while hefting out mound after heavy mound.

*Follow the jump to see the electric trimmer...

Monday, May 6, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 15

Today we have a gaming video, that video is about games, one game, in fact, and that Castlevania 3:  Dracula's Curse.  

The purpose of this game, and this video, are unknown to anyone, anyone, of course, includes me, and...everyone else.

Now we will watch this gaming video about gaming the game of Castlevania 3:  Dracula's Curse, and by watch, I mean look at intently with our eyes, and by now I mean right now, the moment you click the video image below.

I'm Perd Hapley, and you've just heard, The Final Word, with Perd, me being Perd...Perd Hapley.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's Mayor's Cleanup Week!

In a rare change of form, we're posting in real time!  We couldn't help it after today.

Twice a year in our city, the government holds the sacred event that is Mayor's Cleanup Week.  During this week, you can set out ANYTHING (well, not anything, but a lot of things...) for pickup... for free.

Cory with a curb full of large trash items ready for takeaway
One side of the pile.
 Here I am with about two thirds of the total haul.  There is more not in this photo that couldn't fit in our little patch of right-of-way, AND people had already taken our lawn mower, a stepladder, and a few other things.

Yes, people can take your stuff before the city does.  In fact, the city counts on it!  Every other MCUW we've had since living here, I have been a curb trawler, patrolling the refuse and detritus of the good citizens of this city looking for a score.  I have come out ahead in just about every one of them.  This time was supposed to be different.  I swore I would not fall to temptation and pick up things.  "ONLY GET RID OF THINGS!" I told myself.

Did I stick to the plan...?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Great Jettison: Hittin' the Snooze Button!

"Is this made of real wood or particle board?"  Asked an interested buyer.  Since getting rid of all this furniture, I have seen a lot of both real wood and particle board stuff.

Front view of a wooden night stand on display before being sold on Craigslist

This cute little number?  Real as hell!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

From the Yarn Basket: A Useful Case to Put Hooks In

Here is a small and simple project I finished a couple of months ago. Apologies for being less than timely, but although I have a couple of projects currently in the works, I haven't finished one since Thesis Blanket. Sigh. The time for more knitting will come...I just have to pack up my house and finish my thesis revisions first.

All work and no knitting makes Sara feel weary,  but it will be time for yarn again soon!

The Great Jettison: I DON'T Feel Bad, Thank You!

This thing came with the house...

Wood chest with lid open on display before being sold on Craigslist

...And apparently was quite a sought-after item.  What you see there is a wooden box that has literally lived in the same spot in our garage since we bought the house.  There is sat, empty, bereft, in its seedy little corner.  We just used it to pile up our returnable cans before returning them.  In fact, to take this photo, we had to remove a pile of nasty cans and bottles.  We didn't even keep cans in the box, just piling up on top.  Great thinking, us!

As Darwin said, "...From so humble a beginning..." This box became the subject of a (very) minor bidding war...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Great Jettison: How Do Ya Spell That, Again?

What a beauty!  Relaxing on the deck, cold n' sweaty drink in hand, soaking up the sunshine.  Sound familiar? These activities take place in the American outdoor furniture classic:  The Adirondack Chair

White Adirondack chair assembled on the deck

Pictures can be deceiving, but I was honest with this sale, I promise...