Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Dark Knight

So, normally I don't do movie reviews or anything, but Tuesday night Ashley and I went on a date to see The Dark Knight. We LOVED it! It's pretty much the awesomest movie I've seen in a long time. It's got something for *everyone, and it's good for all 2 hours and 30 minutes that it runs. It's also a breath of fresh air for people who are sick of all the limp-wristed liberal pansies that want to negotiate with terrorists, or who frequently ask themselves "What Would Jack Bauer Do?" (Especially since the writer's strike deprived us of 24 this year... Boo!)

Anyway, it is now your solemn duty as an American citizen to go see this movie, and also to educated your fellow Americans on the importance and meaning of the themes portrayed therein, in case they missed it. You won't regret it, I promise.

*I should note by everyone, I mean "anyone who's not looking for a chick flick." I mean, seriously - it's a Batman movie. If you want to see if Batman gets the girl, you should do a little comic book / cartoon show research. Batman never gets the girl. If Batman got the girl, he would cease to be Batman. And being Batman rocks!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Loopy Ashley

So, last night, as usual, Ashley got a little loopy, and said something hilarious I wanted to share with everyone. As she was listing my good qualities, she says:

You're submissive, yet strong. Bold -- and italic!

Now, what that means is anyone's guess. I figured my response should be as female as possible:

Wait a minute - are you saying that I'm overweight and have bad balance?

...Good night everybody!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My little sister, Rachel, is staying with us for a week. She really wanted to go to one of those places where you can paint pottery/ceramics. We used to go a lot when we were kids. Rachel decided to paint a monkey, and David and I painted mug/cups.

They are not bibs! They are mini aprons. lol

Davidey showing his BYU spirit! Gosh he's so cute!

..and that's how it's done :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Computer Update

Thankfully, as of this morning, the computer has now resumed some of its normal functions, including that of TV and web browser - those are the most important for Ashley and me, respectively. ;) Today I should get the word processor, DVD player, financial adviser, web server, and whatever else I normally have it do for me fixed over the weekend. Hooray!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Computers Have Feelings, Too!

So, recently we posted about the laptop + Ramen noodles incident. Well, unfortunately that was not the end of our computer troubles. Now, the laptop is working fine. However, my desktop computer was very vocal about the lack of attention it was getting because of the new kid on the block. First, it started making grinding noises with its case fans. Then it started randomly restarting. Then, it would cry whenever we tried to put it to bed - not even kidding here. You would shut it down, and it would give you this incessant beep until you manually turned the power off. At least it's a computer, and I won't be jailed for doing that like I would if it were my child...

The final straw came when it refused to access the internet. So, last Saturday I began the process of backing up all my data, so that I could reformat the thing and get a fresh start. Well, halfway through the process I hear a loud popping noise. I thought, "That sounds a lot like a capacitor popping." (It would be too long a story to tell you why I'm familiar with that sound...) But the monitor was still on, the files were still transferring to the external hard drive, and all was well. Supposedly...

After I formatted the computer and installed Windows, I started getting the beep of death when starting up, not just on shutting down. And by Sunday, it wouldn't start up at all. Couldn't even spin the CPU fan anymore. This is what the front room looked like on Monday.

You know you've got a computer geek here - multiple keyboards, motherboard out in the open, tools everywhere, and yes, that's a bag of Lays potato chips over by the guitar. :-) (Notice the tangle of cables to the right - that's what our TV stand now hides beautifully.)

Anyway, as I was tearing everything apart to figure out what was up, I noticed something - the video card had a blown capacitor! (See Mom? My ears ARE good for something!) We replaced that Monday, but it still wouldn't go. So THEN I tore apart the power supply...

"Well, there's your problem!" I've circled it for you. That is another blown capacitor. There's two, actually, but you can't see the second one. And I have no idea how it happened....

Anyway, Tuesday we got a new power supply - no dice there, either. That would indicate that the motherboard has failed, so last night we got one of those. And finally, success! Never have I been more happy to see a Windows logo in my life. I guess my computer felt it was now sufficiently new to be able to look down upon its new, Ramen-consuming sibling.

...And now, to finish actually reformatting and reinstall everything. I will require the faith and prayers of all of you. ;-)

Home Improvement

We now live in the same apartment that I lived in when I first moved to Austin. When you combine the fact that I am a guy with the fact that I don't really care how things look, as long as they work and are as neat as can be reasonably expected, you can imagine that there was very little decorating done before Ashley moved in.

One of the big problems is that the cable jack is very inconveniently placed way to the right of where you'd ever want to put a tv, computer, or anything else. This was not a problem for Bachelor David, who didn't think twice about having a huge tangle of cables as the very first thing you see when you walk in the door. But for the Merriman Family, it's an eyesore. Well, we saw a TV stand in a Bed Bath and Beyond catalog (we get like 3 a week in the mail) for cheap, and so we decided to get and build it together for FHE this week.

Here's Ashley putting on the finishing touches.

Here's a side-by-side of the box and the almost-finished product.
Funny story here. I saw what she was building, and thought, "That's upside down! The glass doors go on the bottom section, not the top!" So I subtly put the box up next to it for comparison and took a picture. Of course, it turns out that she was building it exactly like the instructions said, from the top down, upside-down, and it turned out perfectly - so the joke was on me.

We'll have more pictures soon of the other decorating we've done - enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Please Do Not Feed The Laptop

The other day I was at work, instant messaging with my wonderful, beautiful, sweet wife Ashley, for whom we recently purchased a new Dell Inspiron 1525. I like it because it's got a Pentium Core Duo at 1.6 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. Ashley likes it because it's purple and has a matching bag. ;) Anyway, back to the story. Suddenly, she signs off without a warning, and I get a panicked call while I'm talking to my boss.

She spilled ramen noodles on the laptop.

I'll bet the conversation was pretty funny to hear from my boss's end of it. Anyway, I came right home. Ashley had turned it off immediately and hung it upside down so it could drain, which was good thinking. It then fell to me to take the thing apart and see what the damage was.

It was my first time taking a laptop apart. Pretty cool, but harder than you think... Once I got the keyboard off (which is what you see above), miraculously there seemed to be no real damage. We dusted some stuff off - I mean, who knows what effect MSG has on electronics? - put it back together, and have had no trouble since. Lucky us!

Oh, this should also set the record straight - I do not have long blonde hair. I have short, brown hair. And no, my hairline is not receding. Much.

Anyway, the moral of this story for the computer illiterate is that human food is not good for laptops - they need power and Youtube videos instead. And for the rest of you, please keep any liquids away from your electronics - and back up anything you have important if Ashley's coming to visit. :p


So, recently while spending wedding gift cards at Target to beautify our home, Ashley decided she wanted a bird feeder. I'm cool with that, as long as she agrees to clean up after our feathered friends... We got one, as well as some nails, a hammer, and a metal contraption to hang it out on our patio. (That was the fun part - my favorite presents are the ones that say "Some assembly required.")

Soon afterwards, Ashley had a day off from work, and so while she studied, she sat by the window with the camera, watching for birds. And guess what she found? Did you say birds? Wrong! Haha! Oh, what's that? You said squirrels? And that I gave it away with the title? Oh... Touche. Anyway, this is our friend Zatara, the squirrel, stealing our birdseed. He's learning to share, though, so we'll let him stay. Check out some of these awesome moves!

First, he climbs the wall, and makes sure nobody is looking...

...and then he leans clear out from the wall and holds on to the bird feeder (which is hanging, so it swings away from him) while he gets his meal...

...and then he literally hangs by his toenails to enjoy his spoils!

Yep - Zatara's got some serious moves! We have some more pictures of birds we'll put up later, but these are pretty much the best.

Now, for anyone else that wants to keeps squirrels out of their birdseed, I've done some reading on the subject, and there's a couple of things you can do. You can get one of these, which are supposed to be "guaranteed" squirrel proof. Of course, Ashley will tell you that it's not "cute," so it may not be the solution for you. You could also try this, or possibly even add your own chili powder or hot sauce. The reason being that birds cannot feel the hot sensation that comes from chili peppers, but squirrels can. Who knows if the squirrels here close to the border are used to it, but that's the word on the street - err, internet... If we get sick of Zatara, we'll break out the Tabasco. But for now, he's a welcome guest.