Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Weekend update #2


My dog's 3rd birthday was last wednesday (December 8th), so we decided to have a little celebration over the weekend.

Christine baked the dog brownies from a mix I found at the pet store:


No party is complete without party hats:


Chula was not very excited:


Mmmm, tasty hat:


Kuzca blows out the candle:


(I hope this doesn't count as animal cruelty)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Monday, December 6, 2004

Welcome to the future



My house always has dog hair all over the place, and it doesn't help that I rarely vacuum.  Thankfully my roommate does occasionally, but it's too infrequent to make a huge difference in air quality.  Enter the Roomba.

After hearing liv_e_uh rave about her new robot vacuum, I decided to give it a try.  They make a few models and they're all essentially the same, except for a few extra accessories on the pricier models.  The Bed Bath and Beyond ad that came in the mail that day contained a 20% off coupon which made the choice that much easier.  I opted for the Discovery model because I wanted the home base charging unit.  This model also comes with 2 virtual walls (the Roomba won't cross the infrared beam created by the virtual wall), a remote, and a wall hanger.

The inaugural run of the Roomba was made in my main room downstairs because it tends to see the most dog hair.  After removing all the extraneous ground clutter (dog toys) I fired it up and let it go to work.  My dog mostly ignored it but Christine's was freaked out and jumped up on the couch for some serious consoling:

It's pretty funny to see a 100 pound dog get upset with a 10 pound robot.  It took a LONG time for it to clean that room.  So long that I decided to shut it off after over an hour so I could go to bed.  I was a little worried that my new child was mentally handicapped, but I've since cleaned other rooms and it worked fine.  I think it got confused after running into the dogs at various places in the room, but I'm not sure.  More experimentation is necessary.

The verdict?  So far, so good.  My roommate tells me that I've vacuumed more in the past week than I have the entire time she's lived there.  The algorithm it uses while cleaning could stand to be improved.  If the iRobot people were smart they'd sponsor a computer engineer's senior project because I've seen way more sophisticated navigation from college projects.  But since I'm not walking around vacuuming, I'm not too concerned that the program is wasteful.  It seems to do a pretty decent job of picking up pet hair.  I actually paused it to empty the dust bin in some rooms because there was so much hair.  One of the cooler things the Roomba does is vacuum under the bed:

Following a close second in coolness is the way it parks itself on the charger when it's done or the battery is running low.  The remote control is mostly useless.  I mean, how lazy am I if I can't even be bothered to get off my butt to turn on the automatic vacuum cleaner?  The one redeeming factor about the remote is that I can actually drive the Roomba with it and chase the dogs (or the neighborhood kids).

Apparently people name their Roomba.  I haven't picked a name yet, but for the time being I'll use "Charro".

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Support my habits


About a year ago I read Lance Armstrong's first book, It's Not About the Bike, and it's the reason I ride a road bike today.  I'm not known as an overly emotional person, but I was touched and inspired but this story of man who overcame the extreme adversity of testicular, brain, and lung cancer to become one of the greatest cyclists ever.  I have the utmost respect for him has a person in the way he handled himself during and after treatment.  It inspired me then, and it continues to inspire me today.

I first learned about the Ride for the Roses, a charity ride that Lance Armstrong holds every year to benefit his foundation, from his book, and I thought it'd be cool to ride in it someday.  It turns out that someday is going to be October 23, 2005.  My aunt put up the initial amount required to enter the ride, but I'd still love to collect more money for a worthy cause.  If you find a few pennies in your couch cushions, you can donate them by clicking on this link: Donate.  It's tax deductible so you'll receive a receipt in the mail for tax purposes.  You can also mail a donation to the following address:

Peloton Project
Lock Box 1597
San Antonio, TX 78296-1597

Just put my name and member number (200251087) on the check so they know who's account to credit.

You may be saying to yourself:  "Gee, that ride is so far away.  What if I forget to donate?"  Fear not.  I'll remind you again later. :)  If you can't donate but would like to go play in Austin, come down that weekend to cheer me on and watch me whoop Lance in a field sprint to the finish line.