Right now as I’m typing this post in our new WordPress blog I’m contemplating making a big mess of things (as if they weren’t already a big mess).
You see, we’ve had a blog at www.MacAndChris.com since late 2004. In the last few months a combination of technical issues, family situations, and procrastination has caused us to post very infrequently. Of course you, our readers, helped us to realize this with emails (thanks, it’s nice to know you care) and we also noticed that our ads have stopped bringing in as much. To top all of this off we miss doing the blog, we really like writing it. So what’s the problem?
The technical issue is the one causing the most grief right now. Hopefully all these details aren’t boring you. If they are just skip to the bottom.
Our old blog was amateurishly executed… No, really, thanks, but it was poorly done form a coding perspective. It was started on MS Word, then I quickly went to MS Frontpage and subsequently to MS Expressions. Through all this I failed to become an expert at any of these packages. Skip forward to the present and I want to move the blog to WordPress. There are many reasons for this; a consistent look, more professional appearance, easier to manage, makes it easy to interact with readers, and it allows Chris and I to each directly enter our own posts. What’s not to love right?
My original idea was to load WordPress on the server and just start making new posts in WP while leaving the old ones alone. I figured that I’d slowly convert the whole blog. But no, I can’t do that. Why not? Because my server for the .com URL isn’t compatible with WP. Ok, so I’ll upgrade it, right? Nope, the upgrade isn’t compatible with the existing blog! So where does that leave us?
The new blog hasn’t been visible to the public. I’ve been working to copy the old blog over to the new URL and then I planned to switch it to MacAndChris.com. Let me tell you it’s a huge task!
So about that big mess that I said I was going to create. What I think I’ll do is throw the doors open on this new blog at the .net URL and make all of the new posts here. I’ll leave the old blog static, and I’ll slowly copy it all over to this one. Then, when it’s all done, I’ll the .net URL to .com and everything will be back together on the .com site. My only concern with this is that it may piss off Google and other search engines but I’m just going to bite the bullet and take the chance.
So this will be the first post of the new WordPress blog. Hopefully all the future ones will be more interesting!
To see the rest of our blog, all the old archived posts, how-to articles on RV electric, Fulltiming, etc. visit www.macandchris.com, then come back here to catch up on the latest. See you down the road!
Brandon, FL Pothole from Hell
The other day I was driving around the Brandon, Florida area and encountered the largest pothole I’ve ever seen on a public “maintained” road. It’s on the south (eastbound) side of Florida 60 (Adamo Dr.) at the corner of a short ramp leading to/from the service or access road. I had to stop and take a picture so you’d believe me. It could literally swallow up my car to the axles!
Worse than that, on a dark rainy night could you imagine running into this with a motorhome!? Ours is fairly low to the ground (as past experience has shown) and I’m sure this would cause at least some major cosmetic damage if not worse (propane tank, fuel tank, air system, arrrr!).
How cool is this! I saw this antique Mack truck in a Walmart parking lot. Wonder if you’d draw a crowd by arriving at an RV resort with this pulling a 40′ fifth wheel?
Chris and I were in a thrift store the other day when I saw this book and busted out laughing. The title is funny enough by itself, but I’ll tell you the back-story from our trips to Yellowstone National Park and let you in on the inside joke. Here’s a link back to that trip.
While we were at Yellowstone Chris noticed a pile of poop and she said “I wonder what kind of animal left that?”. I took a picture of it, and we asked a ranger later who told us it was probably a buffalo. This continued with every appearance of droppings and became a running joke with us. Of course scatology, the study of feces, is a good way to identify and learn about the animals in an area, but it’s also really funny in a pre-adolescent potty humor sort of way. LOL
Small hole in the canopy for us to see the satellite
We’re going to be in this area of Florida for quite a while, so when I picked the site we’re in I considered several factors. The lot is close to the pool but not too close, it’s relatively level, has shade overhead for when the weather turns warmer this spring, it’s on a corner, easy to back into, and close to a wi-fi access point. On the other hand, the trees blocked the satellite from our Winegard Traveler which is installed up front.
I asked around the RV park office to see if anyone had one to sell. One was available, but it was an older style and wouldn’t work for us with HD. I looked on Craigslist but every time one that would work came up (a 3 or 5 LNB unit) it was taken quickly or I could never make connection with the seller. Finally after a week of this I decided to buy a new one on Amazon.
Amazon has quite a few sellers, and there are different configurations as you can see at this link: DirecTV tripod & dish If you have Dish Network you’ll need this link instead. Before making a purchase be very sure that it will work with your receiver and accomplish what you want to do. There are too many variables for me to list here, but do some research before you spend your money.
Your dish will probably come with instructions for setting it up and aiming, but here are some that I found online for DirecTV.
Below are a few tips from my experience.
First, visualize where the satellite is in the sky so you’ll know where to set up the dish to hit it. www.dishpointer.com and a compass help a lot in this, and Dishpointer will also give you the settings for elevation, azimuth and skew.
Now get your tripod set up solidly and level with the mounting pole as close to straight vertical as practical. I used a torpedo level with a magnet and went all around the pole adjusting until it was right. This helps the aiming process to go smoothly. Before you anchor it down make sure it’s not in the way of anything. I put ours a little too close to one of the basement doors and I can barely open it.
From the book “101 Uses for an Old SCUBA Tank”
Be sure to tie the tripod down securely. A strong wind can exert a lot of force on that dish. I started off by weighing mine down with an old SCUBA tank but then decided to add another anchor. I used one of those that screws into the ground about a foot. Between the two it seems pretty secure.
The instructions that came with my dish said to use the satellite finder meter inline, but I skipped it and just used the signal meters on the TV built into the receiver. Started off with the dish positioned bout 20 degrees west of estimated target. Chris stood outside at the dish and adjusted it slowly in very small movements. I watched the signal strength on the TV and talked to her on the headset. First try was the charm, hit the satellite and got readings 96 to 100. Yes, some luck was involved, but if you prepare the setup carefully you’ll be surprised how lucky you are! ;-) Happy travels.
I’ve written briefly before about taking several NRA courses when we were in Las Vegas. I took 6 or 7 classes including three instructor courses. Since I’m mentioning it here I’ll include a recommendation for Safety First Firearms Training in Las Vegas, NV. Bill, the Chief Instructor, is not only an instructor and coach but also an NRA Training Counselor which means he can train you to be an instructor. They use the excellent facilities at the Clark County Shooting Park and the training is top notch!
I’ve been looking for an opportunity in the Tampa Bay area to continue learning, and maybe to get involved in some kind of competition shooting. I found a local gun club offering “action shooting”. That’s an umbrella term for a variety of competition formats including USPSA, IDPA, Cowboy Action, Steel Challenge, and so on. Last Saturday I attended a beginner action pistol class at the Wyoming Antelope Club in Clearwater.
If you’ve never seen one of these matches I posted a video below of BJ Norris shooting a Smith & Wesson production model 9mm. This is how it looks when a world class shooter does it. Naturally I’m a lot slower, but I think it will be fun.
If you’ve ever owned an MG product you’ll love this! I once owned a ’71 MG Midget, which was surprisingly reliable if tinkered with each weekend. Fun little go-cart of a car. http://www.jumbojoke.com/lucas_electric.html