Susan and I did a rigorous three day loop earlier this week and my legs are still a little sore. The Bartram Trail is a 100+ mile gem running from SC into GA and NC. New extensions pop up here and there, but I think the trail originally began at Rabun Bald in GA. Staring at the map, Susan and I dreamed up a loop from Rabun Bald to Otto, NC with a bicycle trip back to the car. The hiking was fairly straight forward, but the biking after all the hiking was quite rigorous. Here's what we did:
Sunday: drop bikes in Otto, NC. Drive to Beegum Gap, GA. Camp.
Monday: hike to the top of Rabun Bald without packs (4 miles, round trip). Hit the Bartram Trail North. Camp at Tessentee Creek. 4 miles plus 11 miles = 15 miles.
Tuesday: Tessentee Creek to campsite 2 miles above Buckeye Creek Trailhead. 9 miles.
Wednesday: Walk 7 miles to Otto, NC. Bike 16 miles back to the car.
See the map below the photos. Click on the photos for full resolution. Photos clockwise from top left: Susan on Scaly looking back at Rabun Bald, a painted Trillium, a cute salamander, a cute rattlesnake, a patch of yellow Lady's Slipper, and a lovely log.
Some of you may know that I was recently inspired by my friend Tim to re-rip my entire CD library into ALAC format. This made a modest improvement in sound quality, but the addition of a DAC (digital to analog converter) made a much bigger difference. When I bought an engagement ring for Susan, I bought myself a present - a Peachtree iNova with a built-in DAC. A DAC basically does this:
The sound quality from the iNova is amazing. If you don't believe me, come over sometime and we can listen to some Peter Gabriel. Because I love music much, it broke my heart when my brother told me he didn't have any speakers these days, only headphones. I decided to get him a 40th birthday present of some computer speakers and after some quick research realized I could get very high quality audio for less money than many computer speaker systems.
I decided to get him the Topping VX1 class T amplifier - 2 x 25 watts. I had it shipped to me to test it first and I was blown away with the audio quality. For $90 delivered, it has a DAC with specs on par with the Peachtree DAC - 24 bit/96kHz. It only has two inputs, one aux but the other is a USB, a digital input meaning this the perfect companion for computer audio. If you like high sound quality, pair this with some Mission-MS50 or Paradigm Titan speakers.
I've heard that sugar has been the bad guy for millions of Americans and others around the world for years now. I never really paid attention, but now that I am staring 40 years old in the face in a couple short years, I've noticed my metabolism decrease. I've started counting calories a little bit and I glance at fat grams and sugar content halfheartedly. It wasn't until I watched this brilliant piece on sugar by John Oliver that I realized the insidiousness of the sugar industry.
The left image below looks ridiculous and the right image looks awesome, right? Who wouldn't want a salad with cherries on top? Incredibly, the salads have identical amounts of sugar. For a 40 g serving size of either Starburst minis or tart cherries, you get 28g of sugar. I even looked at the back of the cherry package in the store but had no comparison. For this reason, I support the idea of a daily allowance of sugar based on a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet.
Don't worry, I didn't eat the left salad. I ate the really healthy one on the right.
I love This Old House and their feature Photoshop Makeover is a favorite of mine. I am too lazy to submit a photo of our own house to them, so I just made one of my own using SketchUp! I already had the model of the house in correct proportions. We want to take out the 1980s wrought iron porch supports and railing, remove the unoriginal section of roof to the right on the porch and put up some period porch supports. (I may or may not have been procrastinating working on summer internship applications when I did this. Just kidding NASA and NPS.)
I am pleased with the results. My fears of brick columns looking out of place seem unwarranted. Specific questions include:
1. Does the aspect ratio of the columns seem appropriate? The brick portion is 16" square in the model.
2. Is the taper of the upper section of the columns seem appropriate?
3. We may get a new roof in the next few years. A white metal roof would be good for our thermostat, our wallets, and our planet, but might look ridiculous on a white house. Thoughts?
Please comment below! Thanks!
I remember driving fast, too fast, and not being sure we would make the turn. But we always did. I remember downshifting into second or third and watching the tachometer redline at around 6800 RPMs. She was slim and responsive. I'm talking about my first car, a 1986 Mazda 626 coupe with a 2.0 L engine. She was a 5 speed and was quite fast too, with plenty of power due to her light weight, just 2,480 lbs. Josh pointed out that she was more than a car, she was an Agent of Fun, so that is what we called her. For 6 years, the keys were under the floormat and if you needed a car, you used her. If you shifted properly, you could peel out all the way through first gear and into second gear. That's what 93 hp could do. (Our 2010 Prius is 3,000 lbs and 134 hp.)
It dawned on me, will I ever own another stick shift? I really hope the answer is yes, but what will it be?
Image credit: http://www.mcdonaldindustries.com/james/DSC04261R.jpg
So the house next to ours is up for sale. 249 days ago, it was listed at $249,000. Then it was at $235K, then $225K, then $215K. Now it's down to $208K. So my Zillow value could have been going down, but it didn't. But now they are developing the lot next to that house. That house will probably be listed at $339,000. If the same law applies, will it go down? It doesn't matter to us a ton because we aren't going to sell anytime soon, but I just love all the math that goes into a house "value!"
Just think where we would be if we didn't spend over $600 billion on our military. What would our education system look like? What would our healthcare system look like? Would national security really be that compromised with a 10% cut?
Well, I think the photo pretty much sums this up. The long version of the story is that my dad had an upgrade on AT&T. I am on Verizon. He stood in line for maybe an hour, was 30th and bought a 16 GB iPhone 6+ for $299. He emailed me photos of it and I listed it immediately on eBay as a 24 hour sale. It sold for $1,000. The fees were 10% for eBay and 2.9% for PayPal, so we ended up splitting just under $500. Not bad for a few hours of work.
Last week there were 5 large mushrooms here. Then they mowed the grass sending spores everywhere. My inside mycologist sources tell me these are likely Lepiota spp. Wikipedia (I know, I know) says, "No comprehensive monograph of the genus has yet been published." How can that be?
Our dryer broke a drive belt the other day. We thought it would be a cheap fix ($80) since it still heated up, but didn't spin. I commented to our wonderful repairman, Mr. Peterson, that it was a shame that West Asheville's McCarson's Used Appliances closed soon after Joe McCarson died. Mr. Peterson said that the reason that Lowe's and Home Depot offer old appliance removal is to keep those appliances away from repairman to encourage new product purchases. Lowe's and Home Depot sell the sometimes functional appliances for scrap. Destroying such appliances should be a crime! Shame on the big box stores! When is reuse acceptable?
Of interest to me and hopefully at least one other person