Daily Contacts

acuvuemoistI’ve been wearing contacts since sixth grade. More specifically, I’ve been wearing A contact since sixth grade. There were only a few years in there where I had to wear a contact in both eyes. I’ve always had the disposable ones that last two weeks before you’re supposed to toss them.

I recently switched to a new eye doctor and he gave me a trial of the Acuvue Moist daily wear contacts. As the name implies, you open up a new package and then toss the contact away at the end of the daily. The benefit is that you get a fresh feeling contact all the time and you don’t have to buy any contact solution. When you’re traveling, that’s one less liquid to worry about in your carry on.

I was previously using the Acuvue Oasys and these new ones are about double the cost. But since I only need a contact in one eye, that extra cost still fits mostly within my annual health plan budget.

So far I’m really liking them. One of my favorite parts is being able to pop my contact out whenever I feel like it without going in to the bathroom and putting it in it’s case. Is it worth the extra cost? Ehhh… if I had to pay very much out of pocket, I probably wouldn’t do it, but for basically free? Yeah, why not?

Miter Saw Cart

I’ve had my 10″ Ridgid sliding miter saw sitting on a cart for quite a while. With my smallish work area, it’s nice to be able to roll it around. The cart was originally built mainly as an outfeed table for my table saw, but I rarely used it that way. While the miter saw fit well on the cart, it was tricky to cut longer boards because I had no good way to prop up the ends.

One of Jay Bates’s earlier videos (before he got better at editing them) showed some foldable arms that he built for his miter saw cart. It seemed like an easy solution and I was able to build it with scraps leftover from the table saw stand.

You can pretty much see the entire design by looking at the pictures below. There’s not much to it. The hinge points are just Kreg screws that are normally used for pocket holes. Since they are only threaded halfway, it makes an easy hinge point.

The trick is whether or not they will last a long time. I already had one part split as I was putting it together, and of course, as I showed it off to Don, the arm snapped off. I rebuilt that part a little better the next day and now everything folds pretty nicely. I don’t have a whole lot of time or money in these so even if they only last for a few projects, I’ll be happy (and most likely they’ll last longer than my desire to have the saw on this cart.)



When I bought the condo in 2006 as a bachelor, I decided I needed something for the walls that didn’t look like it was a college dorm. But I didn’t want to pay tons of money for actual artwork. Instead, I bought a couple posters from the internet and then took them in to get them custom framed. It seemed like a good compromise.

My mistake was going to a place that does SUPER nice frames instead of a craft store that does frames for normal people. I had no idea there was a difference and ended up paying probably three times more than I needed to. Oops.

One of them has a sunset skyline shot of Seattle and it looks pretty nice, but the other is just a generic abstract art piece. I thought it looked fine until I saw the same thing hanging in a cafeteria at work. Hmm…

This past weekend, I decided that I was going to take the frame apart and see if I could put one of my own pictures in there. Overpaying for a frame with a cheapo poster in it seemed silly, but having a beautiful frame for a photo I took myself? That feels more logical/
It turns out that a fancy professional framing job is still the same basic idea as other frames. I peeled off the construction paper covering the back of the frame. Then I opened up the insides and saw that the poster was attached to a piece of foam board and fit into an opening in the matte.

I needed a 24×24″ print to fit in there and that was a little more tricky than I though. Most places only go up to 20×30″. FedEx does bigger prints but they wanted ~$60. Walgreens also does bigger prints and they had a half price sale going on that brought the price of my 24×36″ print down to $15!

I used a straight edge and an exacto knife to trim the photo. I didn’t do anything too fancy to mount it in the frame. I just used a combination of scotch tape and packing tape to fix the print to the foam board. Then I put the frame back together and voila!

The hardest part was probably trying to find a picture that matched the matte well and also looked good with a square crop. The picture would have matched the room slightly better if it had a little red in it, but this still looks pretty good. The photo was taken on a camping trip in 2012 near Bay View State Park.


New Horizons

newhorizonsOn January 19, 2006, the New Horizons probe left earth on it’s long journey to Pluto. In less than two weeks, it will make it’s closest pass to Pluto. Let’s take a minute to ponder some of the incredible math/physics associated with this journey:

  • It took just over one year to reach Jupiter for a slingshot boost to Pluto, but even with the increased speed, it has taken another 8 years to get to Pluto.
  • It’s the fastest spacecraft ever launched: 36,373 mph.
  • Pluto is 10.5 times farther from the sun than Earth is
  • From 2007-2014, the probe woke up only once per week to send a message saying that everything was ok and then it also woke up 50 days per year to do some science and course monitoring.
  • When it passes by Pluto, it will have traveled 2.96 billion miles.
  • After traveling all those years and all those miles, it has to hit an area of space that is only 186 miles in diameter to achieve it’s objective.
  • There were three scheduled course corrections although the second was canceled because the first one was so accurate. There was another course correction after passing by Jupiter and one more at about the halfway point in 2010. In total, the spacecraft only burned about 20-30 minutes of fuel to make course corrections!
  • After passing by Pluto, the probe will continue on to examine objects in the Kuiper Belt. The mission could last another 10 years.

Riding To Work

When we moved to Woodinville in 2011, I noted that our house was positioned very well for me to ride to work. It’s only about a mile down to the Sammamish river trail and then I take that all the way into Redmond with about a mile or so from the end of the trail to campus. Here it is, 2015, and I hadn’t done it yet. So finally I circled a date on the calendar and made it happen.

That date ended up being the hottest day of the year to that point, but I didn’t let it deter me. The ride into work was pretty nice for the first 8.5 miles. I even had a bald eagle flying overhead right above the trail for a little while. But there was a problem lurking. Google Maps has a nice bike route feature that includes an elevation view. As you can see, there’s a 400 ft hill on each end of the route.


That last 1.5 miles up to campus is brutal. I started off thinking that I would slog it out and make it all the way without stopping. I failed that, but I only walked for about 100 yards of the hill. And I’m not going to lie… when I made it to the top of the hill, I felt like I was going to pass out and I had to sit and rest for a while. I’m an old man. But the trip was a success. I made it in 1 hour and 2 minutes, just like Google predicted.

Work provides us with a badge-locked storage area for bikes and a locker room with towel service so that I didn’t stink all day. It was the first time I’ve ever used those perks of the job and they’re pretty nice to have!

The flaw in my plan was that I underestimated how tired I would be after riding to work and then working all day. So I swallowed my pride and asked Tyla if she wanted to meet me at a park along the trail right before where I would need to break off and head up the big hill to our house. The ride there wasn’t too bad although there was about a 10 mph wind blowing in my face and I was pretty tired by the time I got to the park. It’s a good thing we set up that rendezvous. I was happy to throw my bike in the car and drive up the hill.

Will I do this again? Maybe someday. It would be fun to get in shape and be able to handle this a little better. I do think that I’d want more of a street bike instead of a mountain bike. And it’s hard to justify the extra time out of my day when time is so precious right now.