Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why does everything keep breaking?

So this past month, but especially this last week, the Destroying Angel has visited us on a regular basis.  

For starters, our car has had several problems lately.  The most urgent matter is the missing alternator belt.  So last night we were coming home from Topeka and as we were pulling away from the toll booth, we heard the belt squealing and making a really high pitched noise and then a *clump* sound.  I knew immediately that the belt had snapped and the battery charge light flashed red on the dashboard to confirm my fear.  It wasn't that big of a deal because we were already driving but it meant two things were true: 1. If we turned off the car it would not start it again without a jump.  2.  Our headlights were only going to be on as long as the charge remaining in the battery could keep them on.  The drive home was a little more stressful than usual with the speedometer and tachometer jumping around and several flashing lights on the dash.  We had to open the door to pay the toll and we couldn't use our turn signals for fear of a total battery drain.  Fortunately we made it home and now we can add this to our list of things to repair in our car.  I say a list because recently we have had the following problems:  
  • A leaking sunroof
  • Broken volume knob (when turning it down, it actually goes up and there's no rhyme or reason to fixing it)
  • Broken radio tune "up" button
  • A hole in the exhaust system
  • The automatic seat controls for adjusting the height and position of the driver's seat
All of these problems have developed over the last month or week.  Needless to say, we're going to be giving our car the attention it deserves and we will fix all of the pressing matters as funds will allow.

The hot water knob for our shower decided to come loose to the point where turning it doesn't do anything.  Fortunately we have a screw driver that can turn the small screw in the middle to turn it on/off until maintenance comes to fix it.

My 320GB external hard drive that kept a back-up of thousands of my pictures decided to stop working as well.  Fortunately I have DVD backups of the most important things and a majority of the rest are still on my computer.

In other news:

Karen has been accepted to Graduate School for the department of Special Education.  Now she can officially follow through with her plans she has made for the next 2-3 years.  I'm supposed to mention how much of a big deal it is but the people who are in charge of admissions work with Karen and told her that all she had to do was apply and they would accept her immediately.  I'm no diminishing her accomplishment, but I'm just putting it into perspective.

I got a 32GB iPod Touch!  Instead of leaving our Sprint family and jumping ship to AT&T just for the iPhone and it's higher monthly rates, I decided I could benefit from the next best thing.  It's a very handy device with some excellent applications that make it very useful.  It's one of those things that I will look back and think of how I lived my life without it.  Surfing the net on a 3.5in screen is a little ridiculous but it behaves very well as a PDA with the contacts and calendar syncing to my laptop wirelessly, as well as my email accounts.  I live most of my life with wifi close by so it is really very convenient.  I also like the flashy way of deciding which song I should listen to next by flipping through the album art. This is by no means a review, but I really enjoy using it.    The folks at Apple certainly are clever...

As many of you may or may not know, I love Flickr!  It's a wonderful photo sharing website that has some very creative people from all over the world showing off their stuff.  I came across this photo and was inspired by how well it was executed:

Dubbin by Darien Chin.

So my mind went to work trying to think of how I could do the same thing with a little bit of a twist.   I wanted to use Adam Trunnell's VW GTI because I love that car and I knew he would be game for something cool like this.  We found a field just south of town, right off a gravel road.  It was colder than we would have liked but the results were worth it.  I borrowed some equipment from work and decided to use 6 flashes instead of 3 and also put one on each side of the car (for a total of 8 flashes) to light the sides.  It was a 30sec exposure and we triggered our flashes about every two seconds as I walked around the car.  After a little bit of photoshop work to tweak things, here's what we came up with:

Strobist VW GTI by you.
As we were packing things up and leaving, a police car pulled up and blinded us with his spotlight.  He asked what we were doing and reminded us that we were on private land.  After checking our driver's licenses he let us go.  So, after a some inspiration, borrowed equipment, police intervention, and photoshop, we have our final product.

Adam and I both want to make a second attempt to straighten the lights and fix the intervals so they're even.  I'll keep you posted on how v2.0 turns out.

The next day we went to the KU vs Texas football game.  As an attempt to show priority for academics at the University of Kansas, they paraded their national merit scholars and scholarship recipients out on the field at half time and then rushed them off as fast as they came on.  We got 3 tickets, (Karen, her Husband, and Father), a brunch, and some very helpful funds to cover the cost of education.  Thank you KU.  Oh, and we left at half time.  It was cold and very unlikely that KU would upset one of the top ranked teams in the country.  They lost 35-7.

Then, this morning we had a surprise visit from our friends Tim and Sierra Blackbear from Oklahoma.  They were in town for the weekend and we invited them over for waffles this morning.  It was great to catch up on old times.  It was as if we'd seen each other just last week.  We picked up right where we left off.  No awkward pauses or anything.

So, despite several things breaking, we've had an excellent week full of good news and good times.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

October in Pictures.

October was a pretty busy and fun month for the Buhlers.  You've already seen our trip to Utah, so this update will not include anything about said trip.  We have definitely not let school get in the way of our fun!  That being said, we're both cracking out the books and trying to get through this semester and have just enrolled for next semester.  The joys of school.

After three attempts and horrible weather, Nicole, Holly and I were finally able to go to the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City.  Nicole had interviewed a lot of the cast members previously for an article, so we got all the ins and outs from her.  Holly hooked us up with free tickets, so it was a pretty good day!  We bought turkey legs, searched for funnel cakes, watched wrestling, jousting, and lots of "magic tricks."  We actually had pretty good weather that day and enjoyed our time together.  Huzzah for friends!

Our next big adventure was the following Friday.  Adam and I went with a group to the American Royal Rodeo.  I had been a few times while at college and actually loved it!  I had made Adam where his "most cowboyish outfit" and he and Justin turned out to be twins!  I took the opportunity to wear my giant Texas belt buckle.  Despite getting lost in the train yards of Kansas City, we had a good time and enjoyed Perkins afterwards.

The next morning, I was feeling crafty and went with Danielle to the Super Saturday activity.  I actually hadn't signed up for any of the crafts, so Danielle let me tag along with her as she made a snowman family out of tube socks.  Four hours and too much discussion later, we had a finished project!  We wanted to make sure that the entire family matched together, but each individual snowman was unique. was a bit much, but they turned out pretty cute, eh?

To end the month, we of course had Halloween festivities.  We only had two trick or treaters this year (which is two more than last year!) - my niece and nephew.  Bubba's TMNT outfit made us think of Adam's when he was younger...pretty cute!  Lili made a perfect Cinderella!

After our visitors, we made our way to a costume party.  Adam came as "Three Hole Punch Jim" from The Office (he even let me gel his hair to get that messy Jim look!).  I was representing England as a Royal Mail postman, complete with authentic shirt, jacket, and postbag.  We enjoyed the other costumes, brain cupcakes, bobbing for apples, Wii Sports, and,  of course, the company!  It was a good way to end our busy and fun month!