Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Day, New Battery Stories, and Christmas...

Well, if you've been following my blog, you know I do almost everything from my HTC Evo from Sprint. Unfortunately, this phone is totally underpowered, or so I thought.

After making a few simple tweaks, I am back to the life of a 16 hour smartphone! I'm very excited to be back in business and if you want to know my secrets, email me and I will send them your way.

For now, back to writing the fun stuff known as Christmas with Evie and the Evo. Christmas eve was great. Mom and Dad came over from Port Orchard for the day, spent some time at John's with the kids before heading out to Chinese food for dinner. All in all, a very nice day!

Christmas morning, we packed up and headed to the farm. It was the busiest - lazy morning in history. Evie was spoiled rotten, including an impromptu seat on Elska, grandpa's favorite little horse. Weebles, dolls, drums and more were all at her disposal for the day. We almost had to leave some just for the lack of space in the truck.

After that we snuck out to Uncle Klee and Aunt Lou's place for a wonderful dinner. Evie decided it was time to refuel the batteries and took a nice nap in the truck while we watched part of Christmas Vacation on the Evo in the driveway. After she finally woke up, Evie had some fun showing off and then it was time to head home.

Christmas was great, and we really can't wait for next year... Well maybe we can wait a little while...
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Day On The Train

We took the Santa train from the Elbe Station on Saturday. What we thought was going to be a fun day of a short train ride followed by a fun time at the Island of Misfit Toys, turned in to a nice 45 minute ride up through the trees near Mt. Rainier.

While we really enjoyed the ride, the loss of the "real stop" to get out and enjoy the snow and Christmas decor was a bit of a bummer.

Overall, the day was amazing. We had a great time with friends, a fun ride with our big girl on the train and even had some opportunity to push the Evo all the way to its limits with some video and photos!
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Lights!

I love Christmas lights! Here we are driving through our neighborhood, checking out every display from the most basic single strand across the roofline to the yard that appears to be the returns department for Lowes and Wal-Mart.

It amazes me year after year that people take the time to show their cheer by installing these spectacles of holiday cheer for just a week or two. Some day, we will be that crazy family at the end of the cul de sac that installs a very tasteful, yet blazing display of holiday illumination. Until then, we will continue to pay homage to those that pave the way to Christmas with their beautiful displays.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

It Was A Rainy Monday

Well the good news is that the little bike does great on wet roads. We have had about 4 inches of rain and more is on the way.

Riding back and forth to work is really starting to feel good. My knees don't hurt like I thought they would, but I'm not losing as much right off the bat due to not eating as well as when I dieted the last time. Hopefully I can reign that in soon and begin dropping faster.

Now, with the wet weather, I wasn't able to capture much of the trip home, but I did want to share an amazing app.

I started using "SportsTracker" to map my rides last week. This amazing little app keeps records of speed, travel time, routes and more. It's a simple one-touch start, and a quick end at the end of your route to end your session. It then saves your data to upload after you review it.

The program stores your info online where you can track your progress and save a mini workout diary.

I know this style of app has a million more options, but SportsTracker works amazingly well for me. Hopefully, it will work as well for you.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Biking to Work

I just found my fun Wally World post from the other day so consider this part 2...

This has been a crazy few weeks with Evie being sick with a cough, off and on running noses, and even a green goop eye. A quick trip in to the doctor and the antibiotics took care of most of the symptoms. For now, we just have to wait for the rest to clear.

The other fun fact of the week is that we officially became a one car family. I decided with the 2 mile commute, I could start riding a bike to work. The great thing is, I've already started. I have 2 days under my belt, and the ride will only get better from here.

My goal is to get up to 10-15 miles a day, and feel strong enough to ride the Seattle to Portland bike ride. We will see how this plays out, but it's a great goal to build to.
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A Tale of Two Wal-Marts

So its been a while since my last day was captured on the Evo, but I just felt like sharing this quickly.

We sold our car in an amazing 12 hours this week. This created a need to begin my bike shopping much sooner than expected. This led me to Amazon, then that led to Target, where my overweight issue led me to "cruiser" style bikes instead of a road bike.

So, off we went to Wal-Mart to see this cruiser that I found on the browser from my Evo. The Lynnwood store showed they had them in stock, and sure enough, they did. We checked it out after getting amazing service from Tom in Sporting Goods. They then gave me a discount on it due to the fact it was scratched.

A day later, my wife decided she'd like to ride as well. So we looked online again and found a great deal at Wal-Mart again and headed out to our local Marysville store. The help there was horrible! The first person said the bike area was a mess, and to call back when the bike builder was in tomorrow to see if they had one. The second person to help checked inventory and said they had 6 in stock and told us he'd see what was back there. Unfortunately, he came back a few minutes later and said to call the bike builder back tomorrow because he couldn't find one. Way to lose that $100+ sale Marysville Wal-Mart!

Needless to say, we will still go to Wal-Mart to get the bike when we find one, just not that store!
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Biking to Work

Ok, so its been quite a while since I've done a post, almost 3 weeks now, so let's get updated.

This has been a crazy few weeks with Evie being sick with a cough, off and on running noses, and even a green goop eye. A quick trip in to the doctor and the antibiotics took care of most of the symptoms. For now, we just have to wait for the rest to clear.

The other fun fact of the week is that we officially became a one car family. I decided with the 2 mile commute, I could start riding a bike to work. The great thing is, I've already started. I have 2 days under my belt, and the ride will only get better from here.

My goal is to get up to 10-15 miles a day, and feel strong enough to ride the Seattle to Portland bike ride. We will see how this plays out, but it's a great goal to build to.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

And Fall Returns...

The last week has really felt more like the middle of a bad winter here. Of course, within a week, we are back to wet and 45 degrees. Part of me is sad to see the weather change back to a boring fall pattern, but I know its better for many to have it be normal again.

This shot was taken out at the farm in Duvall. A few years back, a place like this would have driven me nuts. No cable, no high speed internet, no streetlights!? Now, its nice just to go out and enjoy the peaceful setting and let the worries disappear for a moment.

Of course there is a major drawback to spending time relaxing there. I start to feel really guilty about not being able to help with all the odd jobs that need finishing or starting. I'm not the most handy guy, but I know enough to get in a bit of trouble with some tools.

I guess that's a topic for a whole other day though. For now, enjoy the fall weather because winter is coming.
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Friday, November 26, 2010


I just wanted to take a quick money and tell the world Happy Thanksgiving. In times like this where people are losing so many material possessions, its hard to remember to be thankful for everything we still have.

Whether a victim of the economy, a medical expense or even just an emergency bill that leaves you short, remember that people are the most important thing around.

I am so grateful for my wife, my child and my work family. Everyone that is still a part of my life adds a bit of that wonderfulness that always becomes a bit magical at the holidays, but is really there everyday.

I guess the way to sum things up is that there will always be more stuff, but there is only one best friend, family member or special someone for everyone. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The First Snow

Two years ago, Seattle was pelted by a major snow storm that lasted a few weeks. Last year, we saw nothing but a few flurries. This year we were blessed with an early treat of a white Thanksgiving. This was only made more fun for me due to the fact that it is really the first time Evie has seen snow.

Unfortunately for me, it seems that Evie shares her Mama's style of love for snow more than mine. She prefers to be inside watching rather than being outside and cold. Oh well, hopefully there is still a chance and when she's old enough to toast marshmellows in the fireplace and drink hot cocoa after a day of shedding and snowball fights she will love the snow as much as I do.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early Mornings

So Evie decided that 5:30 was the perfect time to wake up on this beautiful Saturday morning. While getting up after 5 hours of sleep isn't fun, there's something about the mornings alone with her that makes life really special.

We did our usual and made some toaster waffles and sausage for her breakfast. Then the cartoons started and she settled in for a bit before passing out on the floor. Too bad daddy doesn't fall back to sleep so easily.

When you do look at the image above, remember what's important, what's not, and most of all, remember to treasure moments like this because you never know when it will be the last time you enjoy one like it.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Way Too Much Information

So another great thing about the Evo is the mobile entertainment aspect of it. It's stock apps work great for on the go TV (Sprint TV), Movies (Video Gallery), and of course, the great stock image viewer for checking out all those 8MP images from your camera.

When you hit the market for some 3rd party apps is where the real fun starts though!

The Skyfire browser allows you to watch streaming online content in a compressed format that practically eliminates lag and studdering. Check out great sites like cwtv.com or Fancast.com.

Rockplayer video player plays back almost any format video you can throw at it. Even high bitrate AVI files stream beautifully from your SD card.

Slacker or Pandora radio let's you stream hours of great music for free! Choose from genres, artists or even play holiday music in seconds on your device.

Overall, these few media apps can make your Evo a complete multimedia powerhouse and will make the overall experience of owning one a sheer joy.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Don't Have One Yet?

So, you might have figured out that almost every bit of content found on this blog is posted from the HTC Evo 4G phone on the Sprint network.

What I'd like to let everyone know is that despite the rumors, for the most part, Sprint has a very good network. The coverage seems to be just as strong as Verizon's inside most cities and only slightly less in rural areas. They are also currently blowing Verizon's pricing out of the water by a large margin.

Verizon has a base price of $39.99 for 450 minutes and free VZW to VZW calls. Adding unlimited texting is $20 and a data line is another $29.99 a month. That brings your single line total to $89.98 a month. For a standard Sprint 450 land line minute / everything else included (including calls to any US mobile phone) it is $69.99. Now you do have to add $10 to use this monster, but you save about $250 over the life of your contract this way - or almost $500 with a nice Samsung Intercept or Palm Pre.

Cell phones used to be expensive, hard to use and just downright boring. With these new "smartphones" your life can just be a bit easier, if only because you only have to carry one item with you.

So whether you are a Verizon, At&t, T-Mobile or Sprint person, checkout http://tinyurl.com/smartphonedeals for great prices and free FedEX shipping on most devices. You'll be very happy you did!
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need to Get Away...

Ok, so here was the day that I last had 'fun' with a camera that wasn't attached to my phone. Shooting downtown, I snapped off this quick image with the ole Evo while we waited.

The day was great, but as I thought about it, photography was supposed to be FUN. When it became a requirement to pay the bills it stopped being quite as much fun. Then, when it took time away from my daughter, it became too much.

So for right now, we are going to take a little break, enjoy the kiddo while she's still young and try to recapture the meaning in what we started a few years ago.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Our Kitty

Luna came into my life just after my wife to be agreed to marry me. She was living with Ara in Bellevue, but soon moved north to Everett with me. Ara followed shortly there after.

Luna is just about as perfect of pet as a person can hope for. Playful, but not too much. Cuddly, but wants her space. Best of all, she's not too fur-bally. I only get the barefoot squish once in a while from her.

While the dog tries my patience on a daily basis, Luna seems to be pretty even keel and keeps the irritation to a minimum. Hopefully I can catch her soon doing her new trick - peeing in the bathtub.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Library Night...

I have to say, I haven't been to a library in 15 years until the last few weeks. We've decided to make Monday night the evening of the Monroe Library. It's more for the wife than for me, but Evie and I enjoy the run around the aisles and checking out the new board books - of course, when you have the memory of a two year-old, there are lots more new ones than there really are.

Tonight, Evie and I actually sat down at a kid computer and she used it. No joking. She actually rolled the trackball, pressed buttons and got the headphones on. Yeah for Blues Clues!

She only scribbled on the drawing program tonight, but what an amazing start. I really can't wait for next week now...
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Seattle Harvest

Well here we are waiting for the Seattle Harvest with Greg Laurie. He's been a big part of me finding my faith and I can't wait to share an evening of encouragement with him.

So everyone sit back and enjoy a great time. You can stream it online at http://seattle.harvest.org.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Day!

It was a quiet Halloween day today. We started off the day at 4:40 this morning with an early Evie wake up. We got her back to sleep and made it all the way to 7:30, when the alarm went off to let us know it was time to get up for church.

Church was amazing... It was far from a normal service. The worship team started the day as normal, but then when it was the Pastor's time, he changed the game plan for the day. We broke into small groups and began to share with each other. We prayed, praised and got to know a few people that we see all the time, but never knew.

After the service we made plans to take Evie trick or treating and headed out. A quick stop by Grandma's store, and we were in Bellevue for a fun day at Newport Covenant Church.

A big thank you to Steve and Jeanie (and Adam) for sharing the afternoon with us!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Day at the Doctors

Today, Evie had her 15 month appointment with a few immunizations to go along with it. Our pediatrician is amazing and always makes us feel good about how we are trying to raise our child. The visit went great, including the fun she had with the mirror...

Next up, my issue with Angry Birds.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Time...

Ok, having to take a break from my battery complaing/testing/playing, I found our little baby pumpkin sitting on the porch. It's really our first "family" pumpkin. We bought a fancy LED light for the inside that even changes color - very baby safe!

For the most part, I've never been a big Halloween person, but it really starts the season that Ara loves. Halloween used to be just the time of year I'd start thinking about getting the Christmas decorations out. Now its really become the time of year before our favorites - Thanksgiving for Ara, and yes, my favorite is still Christmas.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Battery-life: Still Not Happy

So the other day we were out and about and I noticed how much I rely on having a battery charger for my Evo. After having it almost die on a "light" use day, I have begun my quest to improve my battery life. I thought I had it all figured out, until this morning. Now, 2 hours in to the unplugging, its down 30% again... Back to the drawing board.

I have gone through and disabled just about every automatic updating feature the phone has. I've turned down the screen brightness to 15%, which looks great inside. I also turned down the screen time out to a lowly 15 seconds. I don't know what else can be done to optimize the device short of hacking the Sense layer out and running stock Android.

I understand my battery life will be terrible when I USE the phone, but it shouldn't kill itself when I don't. Oh well, we are on to 3 1/2 hours and approaching 50% quickly. I guess I'll have to wrap this up before I wanted to.

Now on a note of irony, as I'm typing, I get a call from a friend asking which phone they should upgrade to. I really wanted to recommend the Evo, but when it can't last the day, how can I?

Anyways, back to reality and hopefully to find an outlet.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Went to a Concert...

Ok, no images, no videos, so its not really a life from my Evo post, but it is being posted from my phone so it still counts.

Now, on to the post. We got invited by a friend to see a wonderful.concert at a local church tonight. Unfortunately, once the music began, I realized something, I really miss playing. Not just a bit, but I really miss it.

The feeling of controlling the tempo, the crafting of the sounds, the artistry of creating something new, I miss it all. There is something about music that I never appreciated as a younger kid, but about 10 years ago, my brother asked me to play and play I did.

For almost 3 years, we struggled along with a fledgling Christian rock band with a revolving door of singers. It was a shame that it never worked out, because I heard the worship band begin, I realized how good our (well mostly my brother's) music really was.

Since we disbanded, Jenn has become a married mother, Daniel is playing in a great classic rock band, Charles is an amazing dad and is still writing some material, and I feel proud to have had a chance to know them all. This doesn't even begin to cover everyone that help out creating the music: Aaron, David, Chris and Doug are just a few others that jump into my head right away.

So, I guess I may have my day to play again. If not, I hope I can always look back at the amazing thing we created together with the fondness that I have right now.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sometimes Life Is Easy

With all the craziness right now in our lives, elections, money issues, and life's little challenges, sometimes its the simplest things that make us smile.

Here is Evie enjoying her first real trip to a pumpkin patch. Maybe life is just better for a moment, but I like seeing moments like this!
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moving Day For Mom and Dad

It was overall a pretty good move for Mom and Dad today. The gorgeous weather made a slow loading morning a bit easier. The unload, however, was amazingly quick.

So, once again, we didn't get a chance to hit downtown Bremerton and the cool little shops we can't wait to check out, but overall, it was a pretty good day.

Enjoy the unpacking and settling in mom and dad and we will see ya soon!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

She Grows Up So Fast

Here's my little girl, playing with one of the most special items, the stuffed Philly Phanatic that my wife gave me for Christmas. It's adorable how gently she handles it, and treats is like something special since it isn't in with her stuffies.

The part that strikes me as amazing in this is that I couldn't imagine her being able to do this a few months ago. Everything was tossed around, stuffed in the mouth or just plain abused. It's such a joy to see her taking care of things.

I can't thank her mommy enough for doing such an amazing job raising our little girl.
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It's Rough...

Isn't it rough having to work on a beautiful Friday? It's not so terrible in the mornings when it is cold and dark, but when the sun comes out, the temps warm up and I'm awake, its almost like a form of torture.

It wasn't so bad before we moved to our new shop, but with this view, who wants to be inside?
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another Day Closer

So today's image is a bit blurry, but that is about how life feels right now. Not quite crazy, but definitely blurred. With our condo for sale, having to deal with selling a car, and the slow season for photography upon us, it just seems crazy. Fortunately we have a distraction this year.

Yes, that's our little 15 month old with a mohawk. I still remember thinking she'd never grow hair. Of course, it is coming in now and we are happy that she will grow up to be an adorable blonde cheerleader. Just remember you sneaky jocks, I was once one of you and know how the games work... better be on your 'good behavior'.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall is in the Air

What a fun day... Inside working all day, thinking of my little girl and her mommy playing in the orange and yellow leaves laying outside.

It's such a happy thought, but at the same time, sad to think I missed it. I guess the point would be to treasure the moments I have with her, not worry about the ones that are missed.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

My Soulmate...

For the longest time, I never dreamed of getting married. Single life was good, had tons of friends, money to have fun when I wanted... Why would someone want to change that? I found out why, and did so with no questions asked.

Ara Lynn came into my life via a MySpace ad that I put up 5 years earlier. We were looking for a singer and her roommate was one, so she replied and the rest is history. The amazing part of the story is what an amazing woman, mother and friend my wife is.

Dealing with her own issues is usually enough to push most mom's over the edge, but not my wife. She stares the little things down and beats them back and takes on other's burdens as well.

She truly is my reason to wake up in the morning and will be standing right beside me, as I will with her during anything this life will throw our way. I don't know if she'll ever read this, but if she does, I love you baby!
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes

I have to admit to loving today. We had a great sermon at church, made some great business decisions and are already getting a good response to it.

It is really hard when you try and try to make something bigger, when all along you had it right to start with. Sometimes in the race to make that extra buck, you forget why you do what you do. So, with that said, I am venturing back to the reason why I started shooting weddings and making good photography affordable again. Sure, we need to cover our costs, but this year we technically made less than last at almost double the rates. Go figure...

So, thank you Pastor Greg for the perfect words for me today, or perhaps I should be thanking God for giving you the words I needed to hear today. Thank you to my wonderful wife for supporting me in the changes. And finally to my friends and family, thank you as well since I couldn't do what I do without all of you.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Me...

For the longest time, just me was my MSN descriptive name. Just me is really who I am. Just a guy, used to be a bit of an athlete, techie and bar hound... Then I moved up to drummer, photographer and, well, the techie part stayed.

About 4 years ago, everything changed for "just me" as I became part of an "us" and found the most amazing woman in the world to marry. So, just me has become us and baby, kitty and puppy and I wouldn't change it for the universe.
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First Day...

So, I've been writing on my smartphone blog off and on for a few months, but now I feel like sharing a little life from my phone.

So, let's watch as life happens from my little HTC Evo 4G.