Older blog entries for The Swirling Brain (starting at number 77)

Well, Bethany's been in the hospital for about a week now. Her PFTs had dropped to 67% and they wanted to get them up. So she's getting a tune up! She's doing Ventolin, Tobi (aerosol tobramyicin), Dnase, Intraveneous Antibiotic (probably Tobramyicin). Basically, all the stuff we do at home in a more concentrated form plus all the intraveneous stuff. Teresa's taken off of work to stay at the hospital with her. That's killing us! Any extra I made with the ball trails this week is getting eaten up by Teresa staying off of work. :-( The latest is that Bethany dropped below 65% so what we thought would be news of her leaving the hospital today is met with news that she's worse than when she came in! Ugg. So now we don't know when she's going to get out. The doc is so funny, he said, "She should be out of here by Christmas!" Yeah, like that's so funny! We got two for the price of one: A doctor and a comedian! Woohoo! Bethany's been living up. She gets to eat all she wants - they just bring it to her in bed! She's been getting presents and candy left and right! People call her and talk to her for long periods of time. She gets all the sympathy she has ever desired! All that and she doesn't have to go to school! She did spend her spring break at the hospital, but at least she didn't miss that week of school.

Me, we'll I'm wasting time when I should be making RBSs doing PIC16F877A programming. Why 16F877a? Well I bought a couple of 877a eval boards that I want to use as the brain for a granfather clock RBS. The boards have everything I want like a RTClock, Display, keypad, & pic cpu. The boards even have a ZIF socket for the PIC chip for "crash & burn" type development! Or you can use the serial port on it with the pic bootloader preprogrammed into it. It needs to have more I/O for all the junk I want to add on it especially a couple of steppers to drive the clock hands. I figured I would just use an 16F84 via some comm line (probably i2c) to drive a couple of steppers. I want to use i2c because it's already being used by the clock chip and the eeprom on the eval board. I figure I can just tap into the lines so I don't have to use any more i/o for comm to another chip. Also, I wanted to get my hands dirty on i2c to see how I like it. The 877 has i2c onboard. the F84 it'll have to be a software emulation of it but I think it will fly.

So, I dusted off my scheduler code and got it tested in the debugger. Found a few bugs and squashed them. Upped the number of tasks to 10 and moved the schedular and my interrupt service routine variables up into bank 3. Dealing with the banking issues RP0 & RP1. Also had to do it for IPR since I was using FSR and INDF variables. Got that all working again. So now my code and variables have room in the other banks.

One thing I ran into with the 16f877a was the PCL (Program Counter) being only 8 bits. I don't remember it being that bad on the 16F84 but perhaps I just didn't pay attention. So what happens is if you want to do a table lookup, you have to set this other register called PCLATH with the high byte of whatever label you want to jump to then modify your PCL to do the table jump. So the PCLATH is the HIGH byte, the PCL is the LOW byte, and viola, you have a long relative jump where you can programmatically go anywhere you want! So the 16f877 has 8k of program memory in four 2k pages. That means that eventually your goto and call functions won't work either as they only address 2k? of code space. So again, you have to load some of the bits of the PCLATH first with the high byte of your label address to do a long jump or a long call. Since it starts getting confusing as to when you should or shouldn't load the PCLATH, it gets to where you just do it all the time now to make sure you aren't missing something. Or, perhaps your program expands and if you didn't do one before your program just mysteriously quits working, so you better do it now or you'll mess up later. It would be nice if there was some kind of macro that would figure it out but I guess that would be confusing too. So, there iS Assembler page pseudo thingys you can insert into your code. I haven't researched them enough yet but for now I haven't used them. Anyway, that's the weirdness I found with the 16f877. It's not a show stopper, but I sure don't think PIC programming is as easy anymore as I used to. I guess other CPUs have code pages too. I just thought that was a thing of the past. Really makes you appreciate 16 bit processors as opposed to 8bit. With 8 bit processors you're always dealing with math issues and addressing issues. Just move up to 16 bit and they all go away. Well some of them do anyway. PICs should be 16 bit I tell ya! Imagine the poor souls who had to deal with 4 bit processors way back when! Yikes!

I tried to look into using some freeware version of PIC C language. The problem I ran into was they would have support for rs232 but not for i2c. I need i2c for my real time clock, eeprom, and stepper controller chip (that I have yet to make). There was some other things that were missing or seemed to be a problem, like a huge RTOS which would suck away a lot of my resources, limited freeware stuff (like the freeware version is limited to 2k of your 8k available and the pro version is like $250 or more), there were other things I ran into also, which at the moment are not coming to mind but ended up being a show stopper for programming in C on a pic. :-( I was really wanting to do that eventually. I guess it all takes lots of money which I'm not willing to let go of right now.

Also, I ran into problems with the Linker. I have a bunch of relocatable "code" and "udata" pages. For some reason I couldn't get the linker to accept them and just pack them in right. Like I haven't broken 2k yet so you'd think it would just stuff them all in the first page. I got the sample template for the 877a and added my files to it. I just about thought I had it working but I kept getting some weird error when the linker finished. So my remedy was just to put all the code and data back into one big file and assemble it. Like no real linking happens so it just builds the hex file. Stupid linker! What a big waste of time. There again, linkers should be easier! No telling how many times, even on really big projects, the CMT guys always had trouble with linking stuff the right way. Like building the perfect automatic linker is a field that's ripe for picking. Yeah, yeah, I know it's more complex than that but really, why does it have to be so complex? Like standardize linker coding into some easy "basic" like linker language so you don't have to learn a zillion linker weird structure info languages. I guess it's from severe lack of being or even wanting to be a Config Managment guy. I mean is it so much to ask that I should just be able to write a program, and the thing just automatically builds the right way without me having to tell it a bunch of junk it should already know of should be able to figure out on its own?

I'm about 20% done with the RBSs that I've been contracted to do. I'm a little behind work on them. Partly because of having to travel down to Children's Medical center so much this last week and partly because I get distracted easily. I'll build on a sculpture for a while and it'll get hot. So I'll walk away from it to let it cool. I get busy doing something else, then it's hard to get back to working on the sculpture.

I believe my life is a type of roller coaster. I know that's so profound. I'll go though periods of being bored. So I'll find things to do and start filling up the bordom. Just about the time I get happy with the fact that I'm not board and I've occupied my time with something, that's when a bunch of things will arrive that I "have" to do. SO, all the things I want to do which I've spent time and money gearing up for, have to be put on the back burner to do the things I have to do. Part of me tries to keep doing the things I want even though I really don't have time for them any more. So then the things I want get dropped altogher and some of them get lost (or rather what I like to say, "got cleaned out of existance" - a term borrowed from Eric Yundt). So then the "have-tos" start going away, and my want stuff disappeared, I get bored again and the cycle repeats.

Looks like the VEX Robotic system may be on 1/2 price sale at some Radio Shacks! They're usually $300 for the starter kit and now they're $150! Woo hoo! Get yours today!

10 Mar 2006 (updated 10 Mar 2006 at 21:21 UTC) »

Well, I got another beep on my cell phone this morning. I got an order for about 15 or so more RBSs from the same guy that bought all my inventory yesterday! It's for $2335! He paid $1000 now and he'll pay the rest when I'm done! Very cool!

Last night I bought the stuff to make a computerized clock RBS. I found a nice pic computer board for $40 that has a 40 pin 16f877a pic, 2 line LCD display, 4 digit LED display, Real Time clock, extra 256 btyes 8 pin dip eeprom, buttons, buzzer, 3 analog, and several more I/O for my motors and sensors. However, it may be about a month before I can get to it since I need to make the RBSs that were ordered!

9 Mar 2006 (updated 9 Mar 2006 at 20:47 UTC) »

Well, I took the plunge and opened my swirling brain store on ebay. They give you 30 days free so I thought I'd try it for 30 days and if it didn't work out, I'd just close it before the free trial ran out. Also, there's some sort of contest where if you make the best store you get free tickets to Las Vegas. I know that's a long shot, and I don't buy lottery tickets because I know they're a sure thing for losing. But, hey, if I'm openeing the store anyway, might as well enter the contest too. Like who knows! So anyway, I got all my inventory: The Grandfather Clock, the new 4' ball trail, some little ball trails and such and listed them on ebay using the inventory format. The cool thing about the inventory format is that it costs only like 3 cents to list an item for 30 days. The only catch is that they charge you a hefty fee at the end. Another catch is customers can bid, they can only do buy-it-now, but they can do offers, which is almost as good as bidding, right? So, I got my store created and listed some of the items. After about 3 days I was already discouraged because there was a lot less page hits and watchers than regular items. Then this morning my phone kept beeping. I have some of my ebay messages forwarded to my cell phone. I got up and looked at it and saw, "instant payment received!" Woo hoo. So I ran to my computer and it was for $2425! That's the biggest RBS sell I've ever had! The guy owns a company in Korea and he's emailed me a few times but he never did buy anything until now! Now paypal took $94 in fees. I cringe to see what ebay will take in fees but I think it's going to be like 5% which would be another $121 or so. But hey, that would still be like $2200 I didn't have before! That's cool! So anyway I called my wife at work and I called my dad and you know today I'm going to be all happy and stuff. :-) Praise the Lord!

We've been overrun with fruit flies. Teresa bought some tangerines and I guess the fruit flies came in with them. We put up that sticky fly paper and we tried to get rid of anything we thought they would eat. We did find some old ripe bananas that they found. Yuk. So Harbor Frieght had a sale on handheld bug zappers for $2.50 each! So I bought two! Two D cell batteries power this thing and it has big bold red stickers that say don't touch the grid when you push the button and not for children nonsense! It's like I have this urge to stick my tounge to it (not really). Anyway, you pass this thing over a fruit fly, and there's this BIG spark and a loud "crack!" Sometimes they sizzle, but most times it's a cool loud lightning pop! Wow, this thing is like major fun! Ok, yeah, I get my jollies from weird things! So at first I was catching fruit flies left and right, pop, pop, pop, pop, and so was my wife! We were swinging these things all over the kitchen and really getting after it! Wow, what addictive fun! Now, we still have a couple of fruit flies, but this electric fly swatter thing has really done the trick! It's like, let's go buy some more tangerines so we can have some more electric fun!

Released the RoboMenu widget today! Woohoo!

25 Feb 2006 (updated 25 Feb 2006 at 04:00 UTC) »
Here's some video of my latest Rolling Ball Sculpture.

It's currently for sale on ebay.

Our pastor quit. It was either that or get voted out. He saw it coming. I hated to see the guy go but he had a few problems with people and became ineffective. Anyway, since he left, we've had a little revival of sorts. We started up our visitation program again, and started a few programs such as youth choir and men's bible study and a few other things. I don't know why we couldn't have done it before, but now we are so I guess the change is a good thing. For now we are not going to persue searching for a new pastor. A guy who used to be a preacher until his wife left him is preaching Sunday mornings for now. He's been doing an excellent job. I have a lot of optimism for our church this year - I think things will work out for the best. It's too bad church has to be such a soap opera all the time, tho.

Teresa's mom gave us her dad's GMC Sonoma pickup since her dad died. It has 192k miles and the paint job was totally washed out. I talked with my dad, and we decided to repaint it. He wanted to repaint his truck too. So we went on ebay and found a company that sold the paint, reducer, clearcoat, paint suit, and masking tape fairly cheap. It was a little more than $100 per car for everything. Well, I spend a few weeks sanding and bondo-ing. My dad did too with this pickup. We painted mine first. Mine came out with a bit of an orange peel texture to it rather than the smooth finish we wanted. My dad waited about a week and tried to read up on the internet about how to do it. He then tried but his didn't do much better than mine. I got some 400 grit, 800 grit, 1000 grit, rubbing compound and other compound. I sanded and rubbed on the hood and finally got a finish that was smooth as a mirror. It takes a long time, but I'm confident I can make the finish look good. Too bad we couldn't figure out how to spray it right so that we didn't have to waste a lot of time and effort sanding and rubbing. But at least it should look nice when we are finished.

At church we had an old concrete sign that needed to be removed. I talked to my dad about it and he recommended renting a jack hammer to bust it up and then haul it to the dump. The youth minister and myself started around 9am and took turns with the jack hammer. We then loaded the concrete into the back of my little GMC sonoma. It totally filled the bed. I guess a small concrete sign when it's busted up grows about 2 or 3 times it's size when bused up! The pickup was very weighted down. Driving was like looking at the sky! I was really worried that we would pop a tire and then that would be a bummer to change as we'd probably have to unload all the concrete to change it. Anyway, the tires didn't pop. We didn't finish until about 3pm. It really took a lot longer that I'd thought and we were really sore after it was over.

Got my tax money back. We actually got most of our money back since I've been out of a job for the most part. I estimate we're good until about June at this point. I really don't know how to explain how we've managed to survive a year without me having a job other than to chalk it up to help from family and friends and to just praise God for them.

We've had a few appliances that have broken down. Our stove and our oven no longer works. I bought a little $10 electric range from walmart so we could fry some hamburger meat now and then. Also, our washer now overflows. Without having any money, it's been a little bit of a bummer. We've made due with a microwave the electric range and a george forman grill. Also, our food stamps run out this week. I'm hoping they will reinstate it but we'll see. I'm sure there will be a lapse as the food stamps people work as fast as mollasas. When I went to the doc, I mentioned that I didn't have a job and they let me have a bottle of insulin for free (yes, I have diabetes). That was like $80 bottle! That was cool! However, the doc bill was over $200 so it's not like I really made out like a bandit or anything. My credit cards are getting close to being maxed out. I noticed that I've started getting junk mail that says stuff like "you can still buy a car with your bad credit" kind of stuff. I haven't missed any payments yet and I still have some credit but it's really getting to a point where at some point I'll cross some threshold that I won't be able to recover from if I haven't already crossed it.

I've pretty much given up on a computer job. I don't get any headhunter calls, and any emails I get ask questions like, "what have you done since '01." Which pretty much the answer is "nothing" so I'm in a type of catch 22. Like you can't get recent experience if you aren't working, and they won't hire you without recent experience. Like I can have 15 years of experence but if it hasn't been in the last year then it's no good. I'm sure not having a bachelors doesn't help either. There was a time way back when, when I thought I'd always be able to get a computer job with my experience that I've had. So, now it's just a matter of finding some low life job and trying to supplement it with all my odd jobs and ball trail sales.

I got to do a little computer work for Roger. It was a Robots.net konfabulator widget for robots.net. Roger and I both have it running on our desktop. It's fun watching the RSS from robots.net show up on my desktop. I'd release it to the world, but Steve mentioned that he's needing to make some changes and such first that he's been wanting to make that would break the widget. So I'm waiting until the changes are made and then we'll release it so everyone can enjoy it. Anyway, it was kind of fun actually doing a little programming again. Yeah, ok, I did some PIC assembly recently for one of my ball trails, but this was like real programming that the world might get to use.

Sold some more ball trails on ebay! I'm not getting what I really want for them, but at least it's some income and I'm not losing money on them. I had one dentist that wanted to buy the grandfather clock. He won't buy it until he comes back from vacation. I'm not sure if I'd rather be led on like that or not. A few days ago, I had a Korean guy express interest in buying about $3000 to $5000 worth of ball trails. Haven't heard back from him either. Anyway, the thought of possibly selling that much at one time was exciting. I've just about given up on him by now - I guess I'm just impatient. The Korean guy also wants the grandfather clock and is willing to pay more for it. There again, I'd sell it to him if he'll just "show me the money!" :-) I can always make another clock for the dentist guy if I need to sell two clocks. It's funny that I had no buyers and now I have two on the clock, yet neither two will "show me the money!"

I got another ROBOT magazine today. I haven't looked at it yet, but I'm excited!

For our cell phones, we had virgin mobile prepaid. It's a really great deal if you don't do much talking and it's only for emergancies kind of thing. Anyway, we found another company called STI Mobile that had a deal where you get the phone free after rebate if you buy a $50 minute card. The minutes are 12 cents on weekdays and 10 cents nights and weekends. So we got two. About a week later, we noticed that the balance was going down quicker than we thought it should. Turns out that after we had the phones a few days, they changed the rates on us where they add a 10 cents a day charge. Also, they added a 19 cents a day charge for the internet which we didn't ask for but they put on automatically which you start. So I emailed them to remove the internet so that part is fixed. So, when I researched this rate change, I found on a Fat Wallet forum that STI Mobile has started doing some questionable things like changing the rate deal and also changing the rebate deal. They are saying now that to get the rebate you have to use over 100 minutes a month for three months to qualify for the rebate and then you'll get the rebate 4 to 6 weeks after the the 3 months. My heart just dropped. Some of the speculations is that STI mobile will probably be going out of business and that this was a last ditch effort to try to stay in business. So the great deal has turned into a really bad deal. Oh well, it probably still meets or beats what we were paying for on Virgin Mobile so I probably shouldn't complain too much, but we were trying to save money anywhere we could and it just didn't work out as we'd hoped. Anyway, we like the new phones. They are color flip phones and seems to have much more pixels, contrast, and better sound than the old b/w virgin mobile phones. I gave my old virgin mobile phone to my daughter Bethany because it still had a few bucks work of minutes left on it. She felt like she was in heaven. She was showing off her phone to all her friends and text messaging everyone and making quick calls to a few of her friends. It was fun seeing her so excited if only briefly. :-/

Rental movies I've watched recently:

Serenity. I'd give it 3 out of 5. It had a decent plot and was a space sci-fi. No real swirling brain moments, but reasonably entertaining. My wife walked out of the living room, she didn't like it. It's definately a guy flick.

Enemy of the State. I'd give it 4 out of 5. It had a plot that kept your mind active. It had some swirling brain stuff to it. Very entertaining. Definately a guy flick.

Forgotten. I'd give it 3 out of 5. It had a weird alien plot but interesting. A few swirling brain moments. I enjoyed it but I'm not sure everyone would.

Movies I skipped through or stopped watching because either they were too boring or stupid: Lady killers, Iron Thunder, a few others I can't rememer.

14 Dec 2005 (updated 14 Dec 2005 at 05:53 UTC) »

I got my ROBOT magazine yesterday. While I was browsing, I came across this statement: "For ongoing robotics news updates, please visit robots.net. Selected news updates prepated by robots.net are excerpted in ROBOT with permission of robots.net." Woohoo, cool, way to go Steve!!! Robots.net is famous and in yet another publication!!! How many does that make now?

Recently, I got a call from an old work buddy. What was cool was he said that after I left the old company for more money that he's still been working there and what's more he'd gotten saved. I was so happy to hear that about him since I hadn't had contact with him in years. Well, anyway he said also that just recently he'd surrendered to the ministry too! That really made my day. So anyway, he said he was interested in my view of Escatology so he wanted to ask me a few questions. That's one of my favorite subjects so you can imagine the fun I was having on the phone with my old work buddy. So, anyway, we hung up and I sent him some emails that I promised. Next thing is he emails me asking if I'd be interested to work with them again. I've been without a job so long I almost had a heart attack! (not really) So I emailed back that I would be interested. Well, it's been several days now and I haven't heard back from him but I still have my hopes up. The company was Hematronix, but they got bought out by Biorad. What's cool is it looks like some of the cool code I wrote to do slick looking blood cell charting is still in use nearly 12 years later! I'd probably be going back and updating some of that same old code or doing something similar as before I'm guessing. The more days that go by the more I'm doubting they're wanting to re-hire me. I guess I'm losing faith, but it was good to hear from my old work buddy and what a blast from the past.

Well, last night I made a multitasking scheduler for a pic16f84 chip. It took about two hours. Why? I don't know, I guess I just wanted to. The problems I ran into were first of all I did a google search and didn't find any PIC multitasking kernel code or OS out there. Second, PICs can't push or pop to the stack. It has an inaccessible hardware stack for calls and interrupts only. That makes it aweful hard to have an interrupt switch processes since you can't play with the return stack. So, my solution was to make a scheduler instead. A scheduler is different than a real process switch because it's not seamless. A process has to "give up" control rather than let an interrupt "take" control to switch processes. But if you can tolerate that then it works ok I guess. An interrupt is running which ticks down sleep timers every ms, but that's about all the interrupt does right now. I have the following process functions: add_process, kill_process, & sleep. I wrote a quick program that starts a blinking LED process then kills itself leaving the LED blinking process to continue running. The kernel currently allows up to 5 processes to run, but I probably have data space to add a few more processes if need be. I compiled it and it's about 300 bytes but I could probably trim it some more if need be. That leaves plenty of room for some useful code. I hope to use the kernel for either some robot code or an RBS controller. I'm still trying to figure out how I can make the interrupt take control of a process, switch to another process and give back control later, but without PUSH and POP or stack access, I'm not sure it can be done other than to use a scheduler type scheme instead.

Well so far the part time job I previously spoke of is NOT a go. I went for my first day, and I did everything that the guy asked me to do, but the computer wasn't very forgiving. For example, he couldn't load some software so he asked me to do it. Well I couldn't load it either so that didn't look good on me. A few other things he couldn't do I couldn't either. He would give me a dead-pan look as if I was doing him wrong or talk condescendingly to me as if I was an idiot. Finally, I was ready to quit when I stood up and started with the, "I'm sorry it's not working out" thing. He interrupted me trying to save the situation with a to-do list of stuff he wanted, but I pretty much already had made up my mind. Anyway, I think that it was sort of mutual, he didn't really seem to like me and I didn't really like him much either. I'm sort of hoping he doesn't call me to come back again but that's still a possiblity. It doesn't look like he will since it's been a while. I'll probably tell him I'm not interested if he does call. Come to think of it, when I first talked to him, he told me about all of his previous computer guys that quit him for other jobs. I'm not thinking that wasn't a coincidence anymore. Not having a computer job for a couple of years now has sort of broken my confidence and that didn't help much. It probably IS me, I don't know. I just know I'm not interested in working with him anymore. In my heart of hearts, though, I know what I'm doing with computers so I don't really worry about it. Good luck to him and hopefully he won't call me back.

Well, at the RBS craft fair I only sold a few RBSs. Enough to make my money back and some, but not enough to justify all the work I had to put into it. I think I'll try one or two more craft fairs, but really ebay seems to be the only thing that works. I've sold a couple more RBSs on ebay, but nothing too exciting. I was hoping it would take off as it got closer to Christmas, but it hasn't really. Oh well.

On the food stamp deal, I found out that they put another $210 on the card. They said they would drop next month to $100 and then cancel it Jan or Feb because I wouldn't do the stupid 40 hours of community service a week * 4 weeks for $100 or 2 a month of food stamps. I'm still looking for a job and doing odd jobs around, but I'm basically ignoring TEC. They're help programs really aren't help, they're a hindrance and interrupted me or blocked me from actually doing the odd job I do have so I won't go to them anymore for their "help." They also told me go drive across city to some job fairs only to find out when I got their, they gave me bad info and the job fairs they recommended weren't there at all - a complete waste of time, energy, and gas money. A good portion of their info seems to nonsensical or outdated and useless. One of their grand suggestions for searching for a job was cold call through the yellow pages companies for an interview. Now I'm not an employment expert, but I would think it would have been better to promote services like head-hunters or job-websites than cold phone calling companies. I mean why waste your time with companies if you don't even have a clue that they may be hiring. I guess you could call thousands of companies before one may say yes we're hiring but nothing with your expertise. Seemed like very ignorant advice to me, but like I said I'm no employment expert.

Well, My dad and mom helped me film the wedding video. Now I just have to edit it and deliver it. Hope that goes well. I really need to get it done like a week before Christmas. I think I can.

I've been working on the Emergent Behavior comics. So far only a couple of comments from readers and all positive. I did also get a request to mention it in a magazine. That was very encouraging!

Somehow our finances have been holding out. I've been tracking it in MS Money and it consistently stays about two to three months out before tanking into the red. I have some theories: either God is graciously blessing me richly or torturing me slowly and terribly, or perhaps a little of both. :-) You decide. I shouldn't joke, but you know I can't explain it so it must be God helping me out somehow even through the trials! As streamlined as our finances are, I'm thinking whenever a good job does come back around our finances will be going through the roof!

Movies? Saw the corpse bride. I didn't care much for it, but Bethany like it. Madagascar. Can't say I finished watching it, but there again, the girls loved it. The Prophecy: Forsaken. It was a TV movie with some smut and weird religion thrown together. Garbage basically, but it did have a couple swirling brain moments what I could endure through.

Today, Steve posted the new Emergent Behavior comic strip! I'm very excited. I hope everyone likes it. I've made about 40 strips so far and they'll be posted about once every other day. I'm having fun with it! Sometimes I get a little silly with it but I do try to bring it back to the issues surrounding Robotics R&D now and then. Hopefully, robot builders can relate and get all my weird robotic humor!

I got a job today! Eric called me with a part time computer job that pays an OK amount an hour! I'm hyped! Perhaps with all my odd jobs: the rolling ball sculptures, robots.net, the webpages I update, and this part time job, I can make an adventurous, unusual and unique living! I'm encouraged. Thanks Eric and thanks to God!

Well the craft show was a bust. We made $75 of which the booth was $50 so we netted about $25! I was hoping for something like the $1000 range but I guess that was very wishful thinking. The GHS craft fair had construction going on and the signs were tiny so there just wasn't any foot traffic. All the vendors said that this was the worst show that they've ever seen. I'm guessing I just had a really bad first try at it. I'm going to try again this Saturday at the First United Methodist Church Bazaar. They said they advertised on a bunch of radio stations and a few newspapers. They estimated about 300 people. I thought that sounded a lot better! So hopefully, I'll have better news next time I post.

Here's some pics from the craft fair.

I sold a ball trail on ebay for $250! woo hoo. I figure if I can sell on ebay and also at some craft shows and perhaps one or two more venues, then this might actually turn into something that makes some money! Here's hoping!

I gave up on the foot stamp deal. They were making me sign contracts saying I would do community service and that I had to get in 40 hours a week of stuff, and lots of other hoops, etc. just for a measly $350 a month food stamps. I feel sorry for the people who only got $150 and still have to do all that. The class I was forced to go to had only 2 people from the previous week, the rest had already dropped out. Of our 20 or so people, the second day only 5 were left. The gov sure forces you off the program without any real help. Anyway, I'm really hoping the job market really is turning around.

We watched "Fiddler on the Roof". It wasn't at all like I remember it from my youth. Anyway, it was interesting to see it and the extra features all 70's-ish stuff.

Got a few garage door openers with the keypad code that you can install outside for walk up entrance. I got 5 for $25 off ebay, which one costs about $30 at home depot. I installed one on the wall outside the garage. One I put in Teresa's car and one in my dad's pickup. You still have to enter a code but at least it works for a cheap remote. The added bonus is that even if someone broke into my car they'd still have to know the code to get into my house. Anyway, never did I realize that these things would be such a hit. Both Natalie and Bethany leap from the car when it stops to punch in the code to open the garage door. They fight over who gets to enter the code. It's crazy what kids get excited about. My wife loves the thing too. Me, I'm just sort of glad I can open the garage door but that's about it, it doesn't do much for me other than being a kind of necessity thing. Like a scored a few points with the family over something so trival. I wish throughout my life that I had a book or a list that would tell me these cheap yet so wanted of things that would make the family so happy so I could do it more often. For me, I just stumble aimlessly upon them and smile when it works out.

We're sort of behing on remodeling the fellowship hall at my church. These next couple of weeks us guys have been asked to work as much as possible. It always happens that when I'm under the gun that other things such as the craft show and also a wedding video all hit at once.

Yep, I have a wedding video to do on Saturday. I had all but said I'd never do it again, but this lady is someone that Teresa works with and she agreed that I would do it without asking me. I would have said no, but since it's my wife and since she already got $100 out of it, there's not much I can do to get out of it. So I'll be doing the craft show in the morning until about 5pm then packing up as fast as I can so that we can get to the church by 7pm for the wedding video. ugg.

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