Monday, September 29, 2008

Well there's yer problem!

Looks ta mysel' that ya gotta git that thar obstrucshon outta yer manyfold!...

Anymore my projects are becoming few and far between. The truck runs almost too well (dang Toyota), we don't have a garage for me to build anything cool in, and the apartment complex frowns on table-saws in the living room. However, Tiff was complaining that the vacuum didn't suck, and so we had surgery on the front porch. It was touch and go for a while, but the dirt devil lives to suck another day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Playing With A LOT of Dirt

So the other day I got to go see a product demonstration just outside of Peoria. They basically pushed around a bunch of dirt, dug some holes and filled them in, and it was AWESOME!!!

Event #1: Synchronized wheel-loader-bucket raising. I should've taken a video, but it was crazy how good these guys were at doing a mirror image of each other. Seriously, I think this should replace synchronized diving at the olympics. INCREDIBLE!
Event #2: Digging a hole and filling it in.. with the bucket sideways! I can't even explain how awesome this was... The bucket goes sideways! The possibilities are endless. I give it a 10.

Event #3: Push your buddy through the dirt and pick up 12 yards of dirt in like 15 seconds. This would be the hundred yard dash of dirt-moving. I had seen these machines before (the front one) but never knew how they worked. He's basically dragging a big shovel and the dozer pushes him through the dirt to pick it up, and he can drive it off and dump it and go at it again. Machines like this made the highway system possible.

Event #4: Serious coolness in a road grader. Look at his moves! Give him 20" chrome spinners and it would put any low-rider to shame.

These are the most difficult piece of machinery, and used to be driven with 11 levers, all operated at the same time! Now they've simplified it to 2 joysticks, but still, these guys got game!

Event #5: Fill the giant dump truck with 90 tons of dirt, and do it in less than 3 minutes. Easy, just four simple loads with this baby (I drove one of these a month ago, and it was saweet!!!). Fun fact: This dumptruck - the 777, is nowhere near the biggest dumptruck Cat makes, that would be the 797, which is 4x as big. Fun fact extra: the tires on the 797 cost well over $100K a piece, and it takes 6 of 'em.

The finals: Put a D11 airborn. This is the largest tractor Cat makes, it weighs the same as a jumbo jet, and if my battery hadn't died, you would've seen the operator put it airborn!! Instead, we just see him starting off his sweet jump... just kidding, he didn't put it airborn, but that would've been awesome!!! Fun fact: Notice the black hood. Not only does it make the tractor look like someone you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, but it allows the machine to be operated 24 hours a day. At nightime, the flat black paint doesn't reflect the headlights into the operators eyes like a shiny yellow hood would.

I then had a few childhood dreams almost fulfilled: Climbing on huge machinery! This 777 is just like my Tonka Truck, only bigger. The Dreams will be complete once I dump 90 tons of dirt with one of them...

Then level like an old barn or something with one of these!! Even a big pile of dirt would suffice really.

I would load the dumptruck with this. I drove one of these a month ago, but didn't get to load any dirt.

I also got to see the custom Caterpillar chopper, made by the OCC. Paul Jr. himself!!

Notice the excavator-bucket fender, smokestack exhaust, and excessive use of yellow paint. Sweet!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oktoberfest! (if you don't spit when you say it, you're not saying it right)

Being the half-German that she is, Tiff insisted that we celebrate Oktoberfest. Sadly, she left her dirndl in California, and I don't have any lederhosen, but we did everything we could to help her stay in touch with her roots.

Check out this authentic German Onion Soup! It's called suppe aus zwiebel. Can you say yum?! I never knew onions & water could taste so, um, oniony? Those Germans... I am one supportive husband.

The highlight of the night? Bratwurst & brewsky. We had to settle for the IBC, seems we can't find any other decent root-beer. As I'm writing this I remember that they have Sprecher over at the hardware store. Blast! Maybe next year...

The verdict? DELICIOUS!!! Frohe Oktoberfest!

(And I was just joking about the onion soup, that's what was left over after we boiled our brats and finished 'em off on the grill. Ausgezeichnet!)

This almost looks like a small patch of snow

What does a week of rain and little sunlight make you ask? How bout ridiculously big mushrooms, or as Tiff like to call 'em, "Tumors in the forest"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

When it rains...we PLAY!!!

It's been raining all day here in Peoria, which mean we now have a roaring river in our yard! Hooray!
OK, so it's not actually a roaring river. But there was still an opportunity here. What do you think this elementary-school teacher thought when she saw this scene?

BOAT RACES!!!! (of course)

When I picked Braden up from work we set to the task of making and decorating a pair of paper boats. I think they look pretty good...So now we needed to test them.They raced and raced and raced. But in the end there had to be a winner. It was Tiffany's boat!!!

Braden had the fortunate job of fixing the new sod after the boats were done racing.

Then again, maybe he was just playing in the wet dirt...