Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Basketball

Got up on black Friday at 3:30am to go to Sports Authority to buy a portable basketball rim/backboard.  I was able to wait inside the double doors until they opened at 5am and I got a $500 basketball board thingy for $200!  Great deal.  Spent most of Saturday afternoon putting it together.  Lyssa came home from her dad's visitation on Sunday and was very very happy.  I miss having one of those things around, so I'm glad we got it.  Basketball is a lot of fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Got baptized yesterday at church

Yesterday was a pretty great day.  We (Katie, Alyssa, and I) went to church and all got baptized (via immersion).  A funny thing about the baptism was that I had been thinking about getting baptized myself for the past month or so.  Then my wife told me that my step-daughter mentioned to her that she wanted to be baptized, without me ever saying a word.  Pretty amazing for an 11 year old girl to want to do that on her own.  That was awesome!

We received an email from church last week that told us they'd be doing baptisms this past Saturday and Sunday for anyone that wanted to be baptized.  I thought that it would be a great time to do it.  I didn't plan very well for it, because it's a full water immersion baptism (you get in the large tub/pool with your clothes all on).  We took our shoes and socks off, but other than that we had all our normal clothes that we wore to church that day.  As God would have it, it was abnormally warm for a November day.  High was in the upper fifties.  Katie decided to do the baptism also, because she had never done the full body immersion baptism. 

Jesus, John the Baptist and the early church did it that way, so we thought that so should we.  God commands us to be baptized (not as a term for salvation), but as a testament to the world and as an outward sign of our commitment to Jesus.

I thank God for the opportunity to be able to be baptized as a family.  It's amazing to be baptized with your wife and step-daughter.  Thank you Lord for your gift of salvation and we praise you.

Taken from one of my favorite ministry websites (InTouch.org):
Baptism is a command of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not optional. It’s an obligation for every single believer. It is not only an obligation, but it's an awesome privilege. In baptism, we make a public confession of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—in His death, burial and resurrection, and the fact that we, too, are going to follow Him.
Why should we be baptized?
  1. Jesus commanded it.
  2. It's a public confession of becoming a follower of Jesus.
  3. It represents what happened to Jesus in terms of His death, burial & resurrection.
  4. It also represents what happened to us at salvation.
  5. It identifies us with the body of Christ.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Old pictures from my youth


My brothers and me (Jason, Chad, Christian)

My dad and I.

Christian getting pulled behind the big snowmobile on my little snowmobile.

Christian learning how to ride a dirt bike under my uncle Art's watchful eye.

Me showing off my sweet Zip shoes while riding the old Kawasaki.


Riding my tricycle at age one (1974)

Me pumping up my brother Jason's belly while wearing my favorite Winne-the-Poo pajamas.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Great shot of our Aussie, Bogi


Snapped a great shot of Bogi last night. I found it makes a great desktop background on my computer.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free Mac mp3 player


I'm not a fan of iTunes, so I won't install it on my MacBook Pro. It's a memory hog and I don't like it messing with my music files (organizing, etc.), so I was looking for a free mp3 player to install and found a nice little app called Audion. It used to cost money, but they stopped supporting it, and now will give you the serial number for an unlimited use install.

Download page: http://www.panic.com/Audion/download.html
Direct download link: http://www.panic.com/Audion/d/Audion%203.0.2%20Free.dmg
serial #: RNL07P0-030HWMV-4MAGDS3-4U17REX

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good Monday

So yesterday we finally figured out our lake lot pump we'll be using for the feed to the camper, the outdoor shower, and the sprinkler system (yes our rent-a-lot at the lake will be nicer than our regular house). I owe a big thanks to my cousin Bryant and some other guys at the lake (Walt, Jim, Jeff, and my dad) for helping out. Having never set up a well pump turned into a daunting project for one person. Thanks for the help guys.
Now our grass seed will have plenty of water.

In other news, I decided to sell our free camper that we got at the start of the year. I had fixed it up a bit, gutted the rear bathroom, replaced the floor, put carpet tiles in, and used it for a couple of months this summer. Total invested was about $100. Put it on Craigslist last Friday night, and sold it today (Monday) for $900. Gotta love that! I'm glad to see the old pig gone, but it served it's purpose for use for a little while. God was good to us for providing that and then allowing it to sell so quickly when we wanted to get rid of it.

Another cool thing is this bike. It's a Harley Knucklehead and I don't know who it belongs too, but it's the nicest looking Knuckle I've ever seen. Just thought I'd share the artful beauty.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

DarynKagan.com

A novel thought... positive news stories on darynkagan.com

It's nice, and rare, to get this type of reporting these days instead of the media bias and thought control from today's mainstream media.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh, how Bogi has grown




We have the best dog in existence. He's a people pleaser and a extrordiarally good dog.
We love our Bogi. He was supposed to be a mini Aussie, but he kept growing. He's standard size at about 52 lbs. Our other Aussie is a true mini and probably weighs about 17 lbs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wake Nation - Ohio trip



I mis-timed my first dock start a little and took off a bit late, which launched me about 15' out into the water. I landed it, but the board slid out on me. The cable system is pretty fast at Wake Nation so it took a bit to get used to the dock starts. All in all it was a great day and we're going back in August.

I ended up taking a lot of pictures of everyone and then wakeskating for the rest of the day.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The tripod saga

I've been wanting to get a camera tripod since before our Alaska trip (since May), but I was having a hard time finding one that would work for a medium size camera with a larger lens (350mm) that was packable. I originally ordered a Slik Pro 550DX, but as soon as I got it decided to send it back since it wasn't decent to carry around while trekking in Alaska. It was built like a truck, but weighed as much as one too.
So I wasn't able to get a tripod before our trip. No biggie, but would have been nice.

This is when I started researching a lot more and decided I really wanted a carbon fiber tripod, and preferably a Gitzo, as the reviews are all top rated.
I soon learned that a Gitzo carbon fiber was well out of my price range, even used, so the search continued. I almost ended up buying a Benro, but at the last minute read a blog about someone who had ordered one and how it looked good at first turned out to be a piece of junk later. You wonder how a Chinese knockoff company (Benro) can produce these products for 1/3-1/4 of the price and you find out because they only concern themself with the outer visual appearance while the rest of the units are complete junk. So scratch the Benro junk, I'll keep looking.

I finally came back to Gitzo, but decided I'd just get a Basalt legged tripod instead of the carbon fiber, so off to ebay I went.

While doing a search for Gitzo, I came across the last posting (listed by time left) on ebay. It was a Gitzo tripod with Gitzo head, a case, 2 extra quick releases and a cloth shelf. PERFECT and exactly what I was looking for! I quickly did a search on weather the tripod and head would hold my camera's weight and if it was tall enough and that was a yes for both. Awesome, so I hit the buy it now.

Got the tripod a few days later and it looked great! I looked up the model numbers again, Gitzo G1227 MK2, Gitzo G1276M Head, Kakuba tripod case, and two quick release plates.... I got a really good deal.

So the GREAT part of all of this is that the Gitzo G1227 MK2 turns out to be a CARBON FIBER tripod! Funny what prayer will do even though this was a minor thing in the grand scheme of it all.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Out at our lake.

My wife took a great picture.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alaskan family picture @ the Salmon Bake & Waterfall

Summer is here!

The last two days have finally felt like summer to me. I can walk outside and smell summer in the hot air. I love this time of year and it's getting a lot harder to justify staying in the Chicago area due to our extremely cold weather. Summer is the only time my wife and I enjoy and it seems like it's only lasting a solid two months out of the year these past few years. Not sure how much more we can take.
So if anyone is looking to hire a web designer (that's me) or any other type of job in the San Diego area, give me a shout. My wife could transfer offices as her jobs headquartered in Del Ray, Ca. I guess I'm the only one holding us back from moving. :(


Took some quick photos in my back yard with the new Canon T1I camera and Canon EF 35mm-350mm lens. I'm really happy with that lens, and I've only had it off one time since it arrived. All of my shots have been hand-held too (no tripod yet).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back from our cruise to Alaska

At least it's summer now that we're back. That's the one redeeming factor of coming home, oh, and seeing our dogs.
The Norwegian Cruise Line cruise out of Seattle was fantastic. We had "free-style" eating, which means we could eat any time we wanted at any of the several restaurants on the ship. Great way to go, but there may have been some weight gaining due to too much buffeting :)
The cruise from Seattle took us up the Inside Passage, which is absolutely beautiful, up to Ketchikan, AK. In Ketchikan we did the zip lineing shore excursion, which was a blast. We got rained on, but we expected that since we are in the 2nd largest rain forest in the world. Ketchikan was a neat little town.
Next stop was Juneau, which is the capital of Alaska, so it's more or a real town compared to the other stops (tourist towns).

In Juneau, we did the Mendenhall glacier and Salmon bake tour. The glacier was amazing, but we didn't get hardly enought time there before we had to leave. We could have used another hour or two instead of the 1 hour we were allotted. We would have been able to hike over to one of the waterfalls and gotten a lot closer to the glacier if we had more time.

From Juneau we cruised up to Skagway, which is almost entirely a tourist town. There are only 800 permanent residents in Skagway, but when the cruise ships come in the town can swells to over 14,000. We ported and there were at least 3-4 other cruise ships at port. The town looks like it's from the 1800s, and if you get into town early enough, you get the feeling of the old western movies. Once some hours go by though, all us tourists are in town and it's crowded. Everyone is waiting in line and people are everywhere. We did the Chilkoot Trail and float out of Skagway for our shore excursion, and it was quite good. The scenery was great, the hike was very good, the guide was great, and the float was pleasant too. I'd highly suggest it.

After Skagway we went to Port Rupert, Canada (my first time in Canada). It's a nice little town, and it has bald eagles all over it. We counted nine in one tree and there were seven more in another tree. They were all within 200 yards of the ship. We took another hike for the shore excursion, but it was pretty lame. They took us to a normal forest preserve type area, and we walked along a pathway (nothing like the Chilkoot trail hike). We were glad the walk wasn't too long (1-1/4 hours). We got back to town and went to Cowppacinos and had some deserts. Then took 100s of photos of the eagles that were sitting and flying above and all around that area. It was amazing.

...and yes, I took this picture.

There was a very cool old restored Honda 300 that parked in front of the cafe. I thought it was a great photo. Too bad the Chevy is in the way.
After we got back on the boat, the seas got a bit rough and Katie spent the day in bed as she was sea sick. Alyssa and I went to the Second City comedy group show and we had a great time. The NCL cruises are really entertaining and fun. We can't wait to do another cruise.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Countdown to Alaska!


Going to Alaska in three days! My wife surprised me about 2 months ago by telling me she had planned and booked a 7-day Alaskan cruise. I couldn't believe it. Well, time has flown by and we are three days away from our trip. We fly in to Seattle, cruise the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, then up to Junea, then Skagway, back down to Prince Rupert Canada, and back to Seattle.

So since we are going on this trip, I thought we needed a good camera. I researched tons and ended up buying a Canon EOS Rebel T1I w/28-70 lens. Then I bought some good lenses (Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 35-350mm f/3.5-5.6L USM) some B+W filters, a few camera bags (Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW, Tenba Shootout Sling Bag medium, and a Lowepro Dryzone 200) which were harder to find the right bag then it was to pick out a camera or lens), battery grip, etc.



I'm still learning how to use the camera, but hopefully we can return with some amazing photos. Then I can review the camera gear I bought (from an amateur perspective though).