Saturday, January 9, 2016

IPAD or Surface?

I have been carrying an IPAD for about 2 years.  I used it for reading email and facebook.  I read my news on it.  It served it's purpose I suppose.  But it always fell short when it came to editing documents using Word, or when I need to you photoshop or acrobat.

So I have been interested in the Microsoft Surface 4 as it seemed to have a lot of what I need.  It runs Windows 10 and allows me to have full versions of Word and all Adobe apps, which I use frequently.

The screen is great, it is bigger so my aging eyes can see it better.  There are definitely some annoying issues regarding touch.  There are times it seems it can't make up its mind if it wants to be a tablet or a desktop.  Mostly when you visit websites. 

Initially I didn't have a keyboard/cover for it and the tablet only experience definitely isn't as smooth as the IPAD.  But once I added the keyboard with touchpad my issues were gone.

The pen is ok but I find that I rarely grab it.  My handwriting isn't steady enough for it to cipher what I write.  I suppose I could get better with practice.

After using it for a while I am happy with it.  It bridges the gap between a laptop and a tablet.  I like having all of my apps handy in a lightweight package.

It is definitely pricey though.  But I guess you get what you pay for.

Knock around camera

I am shopping for a new camera.  I sent my Sony NEX-VG20 to Adorama camera to get some cash to buy something I will use.  For sure I am ordering a SJCAM SJ5000x Elite action camera. 

It has a Sony sensor and shoots 4k.  Has a gyroscopic stabilization system, comes with mounts and waterproof case and has a 3" LCD screen.  It costs $129 so that one is a no brainer.

But I have been considering whether I should pickup another Nikon body like a D300 or maybe a D3100.  I am a sucker for the COMS sensors.  I have a D200 that has CCD and I rarely use it.  I would like to have a beater to use when I want to leave my Sony A7 at home.

Also trying to figure if there might be a good pocket camera.  It would have to be very small.  Probably a waster as my Blackberry classic has a pretty good point and shoot in it.

(My son and Daughter-in-law, shot w/ Blackberry)

It is hard to be a gadget guy.  So many decisions.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Tonight I lead the Men in worship.  3 songs.  Famous one, Trading My Sorrows and Sweetly Broken.  It is amazing to me the anxious/nervous feelings I get before doing this.

I have played my guitar and sang before people since I was in 7th grade, or 12 years old, which is 33 years.  I have led songs or sung songs for groups as small as 2, all the way into the hundreds. 

I like to sing.  I like to play.  People enjoy it and yet all this nervousness.

My Dad told me once that where there is no struggle, there can be no victory.  I get the concept.  And I believe it to be true.  But I still don't get why I can be so susceptible to these feelings of self-doubt, and nerves with the amount of experience I have doing it.

I do know that I am my biggest critic.  Most folks enjoy what I do.  That should ease it up.  But I guess there is more.

And the more is the simple complicated fact that it isn't about me.  It's about Him.  The attacks aren't on me per se.  They are on Him because it is Him in me that will connect people to worship tonight.  I know that I will get up, sing and play, and someone in the room will come face to face with Christ sometime during the event. 

That is why nerves happen, and why doubt happens, and why ultimately through the strength of Jesus Christ Himself, worship (victory) will happen.

You are The Lord,
Famous One.
Great Is Your name in all the earth.
The heavens declare,
You're Glorious,
Great is your fame beyond the earth.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Joel's Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle

I’ve been asked repeatedly by different folks about my process for losing 49 pounds this past year. So rather

than continually repeating myself, here it is in written format. There were several factors that played on my decision to get fit. The first was in January 2010 on a trip to Woodstock First Baptist Church in Georgia. We went with our Pastor to a "Sunday School in High Definition" conference. As we encountered the staff members at Woodstock, they were mostly all physically fit. Not muscle-bound, just fit. It started weighing on me (no pun intended) then and there. Some might say I was convicted about my weight.

It didn’t start all at once, in fact, when I was just out of high school I weighed a mere 125. At 5’11” that pretty much made me skin and bones. It took much overindulgence over 20 years to get me to the 249lbs which was my heaviest weight. I had become tired all the time, slow, everything hurt. I went to my physician and he ran a battery of tests that concluded everything was fine except for my weight.

So after I finally accepted his challenge of diet and exercise for 60 days, I got on the road to getting fit. What was my goal?  To be a healthy, Godly man.  I decided that everthing that I would do, every decision should fall under these two things. 
I happened to encounter some strong men through a ministry event. I asked them questions and read a lot. Here is where I landed.  Every bite of food feeds something. In the simplest terms I can understand, I had to decide whether to feed fat, or muscle. I also had to learn how to manipulate both.

Previously my routine was to skip breakfast, eat a huge lunch, snack on white flour filled or high sugar content snacks, eat a huge supper and then have a bedtime snack. Don’t judge me, you probably do the same things.  That routine created a condition that caused my body to think it was starving so it stored fat.

The food choices and quantities I was eating made it worse. High carb, high white flour content, and high sugar... all wrong for my body. I have done low carb diets, low fat diets and calorie counting diets. As soon as I got tired of being deprived of something, I fell off of the wagon and went right back to bad habits. So I knew I had to find a way to satisfy my appetite, eat the right things, all without feeling deprived.

Further conversations with body builders convinced me that in order to turn things around, I had to feed my muscles and starve the fat. Another simple way I can understand it is that if I sit and gorge on junk food with
low activity, I am building fat. To build muscle I have to do something to make them hungry. Exercise. I have always hated to exercise so I thought the easiest thing would be to get a home gym so it would be convenient and simple. So I did.

I started with very basic exercises, low weight, hi reps to make my muscles hungry. So then I had to look at my food intake. I learned that if you get hungry, you are supposed to eat. Not a lot, not junk, the right stuff in the right amount. My qualifications for food are now guided by 2 main things: protein and fiber. Protein builds muscle, Fiber fixes a lot of issues for a fat guy, and we’ll leave it at that.

I discovered power bars, with roughly 10 grams of protein per bar. They have other stuff too, but nothing bad. (It is always funny to me, that when I let some other out of shape person look at my power bars, they look at the ingredients and say something like, "well that has calories, or that has carbs", and then they go eat a cheesebuger, fries and a snickers bar.  You are going to take in both carbs and calories.  That's what we need to survive.  Where the calories, carbs and even fat come from are more important).  Bananas would be my other food. I cut out hi-starch and hi carb foods such as potatoes and especially french fries. That isn't small, I LOVE fried food. 

I eat a lot of rice now and don’t miss the potatoes. I eat a lot of beans, meat and vegetables, and my evening sweet tooth snack is usually fruit.  So here is a typical day:

6am - oatmeal or hi-fiber cereal with 2%milk.  If I am in a hurry I eat a Fiber One bar.
8am - Banana
10:30ish - Power bar
12:00 ish - Light lunch - Chicken or bean burrito, bbq salad, or even BBQ chicken with slaw and beans.  It is important, I think, not to overeat at lunch time.
2:00ish - Usually another power bar or an apple or banana
5pm - Supper. A meat, rice, vegetable (sometimes 2), no bread ever
7:00 ish - Snack - Usually fruit

As you can see, I eat constantly. But what happens is, because I eat often, I don’t eat as much. I don’t feel
deprived of anything, and once the weigh started coming off it got easier to avoid foods that aren’t good for me.

My bread replacement is basically 2 things. Flour tortillas, and Double Protein bread. They aren’t as bad for you as regular bread, and again, I don’t feel deprived.

I exercise at least 3 times a week. Here is some advice for you: If you can only do 3 push ups, then do 3 push ups. In no time you’ll do 5, then 10 and so on. Try to do some kind of crunch or even sit ups. Again, if you can only do 3, great. Do 3. Don’t do anything that causes a sharp pain, but burning is ok.  Walking is great.  A good brisk dedicated walk, not a slow death durge.

I take multivitamins, Chromium Picolinate to help metabolize fat and certain foods, some sort of fat burner (natural ones), and I use Muscle Milk for some of my snacks when I just have to have a chocolate shake.

Finally, make sure you involve Christ in your process. My daily prayer is like this: “Lord, I am weak and have no self-discipline. You told us to take care of our bodies cause they are your temple. I want to, but I need your strength. Help me Lord to make wise choices.”

49 pounds in less than a year. And I feel great.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Too cold to ride

I want to ride by bike. But it is too cold for a whimp like me, so I will chaufer my wife in the Subaru.

Still like riding in style.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

So I ran down the problems for the fuel in the crankcase. I believe that the extreme tow angle, couple with a weak needle valve were the culprits. I rebuilt the carb, drained and changed the oil, and there isn't any fuel in the crankcase anymore.

I went on to time and tune the engine, which led to an idle issue. A very common problem with a 1600 dual port is that there are quite a few things, and combinations of things that will cause a bad idle. I started down the list:

Idle jet and circuit in the carb clean and free of debris. Check.
Solenoid cutoff valve operational. Check.
Vacuum leaks at manifold, or on certain points on the carb. Check.

I checked over and over and pulled the carb on and off again and again, checking everytime I thought of a new possible cause. While reading over at I found this article:

It explains how to modify the throttle plate to create more vacuum through the idle circuit, pull more fuel and correct the idle issue. Let's just say I did it and it works.

With it running smooth as silk, I went ahead and rewired the lights, oil sending circuit, generator light and reinstalled the dash. It is starting to come together like a dream.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bus Story - The origin of my Westy

So We loaded up the little 74 Beetle and headed to Augusta, GA where we traded for our new 1970 VW Westfalia Day Camper.

The guy in the pictures is Tom (From North Carolina). Great guy. He has many of the same interests I do.

I never dreamed I would be able to get a bus. Always wanted one. Don't know why it worked out now, but I sure am thankful. The pictures tell the story.

Now that it is home, I am doing a safety inspection to ensure it won't hurt me, or my passengers. Right now we have a fuel problem. The fuel is leaking into the oil pan which thins out the oil and can cause engine failure. It is possible that it's trip down on the car dolly may have cause fuel to leak through the needle valve into the heads. The tow dolly carries it on an extreme nose high angle, and research indicates that these engines do not like to be stored non-level. Let's hope so, otherwise I'll have to save up for a rebuild. Here are some more pictures.