Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jesse Auiduk Didn't Get Humbled

The Patriots won! So, not that I follow sports at all, but when I did, they were my favorites, because they were my cousin Matthew's... so yeah.  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Facebook

So... I got a facebook today... which is where almost all of my friends have there online lives (which... as I am finding out with many of them... seems to be most of there lives). It's definitely fast paced and a great way to keep in touch with your friends. I'm not entirely sure I like it though... for a couple of reasons. First... blogging, whether by it's nature as writing... or by virtue of it's slower pace, seems to encourage more thoughtful and artistic medians of communication. Where as people on blogs tended to always write things that were somehow meaningful... like... stories... or analysis or poetry... or scripture... the same people on facebook do stupid things... it's like a playground as opposed to a website... and it has all these pathetically stupid applications that everybody does and seems to think are just the hottest thing that ever happened on the internet. Here's a shout out to all my friends on face book who have sent me apps: I HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN AWNSER A 30 QUESTION SURVEY TO FIND OUT IF I SHOULD HOOK UP WITH A SUGAR, OR CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE, OR WHICH DISNEY PRINCESS I AM!!!

And, second... while I often enjoy reading through past posts on blogs... like a sort of personal history... social networking sites (facebook) seem to be much more set on the present... and I can't really see myself looking through it in five years and finding anything really meaningful. 

That criticism voiced, facebook is a lot of fun, and I'll probably be spending way too much time there from now on.


- Andrew

   

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning

Tis Christmas Morning, and they woke me up early to come down and do presents. Dad read the Christmas story, and then, we opened our gifts under the tree. I received a lot more things than I was expecting, but, I must say, among everything, my favorites were a Jack Johnson record, and a new pair of flannel PJ's, which I needed badly, that I am wearing here, this photo I took just a few minutes ago: 

Here is our Christmas Tree:
Here are some of the Girls:
Merry Christmas!


- Andrew

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My 18th Birthday

So, I'm 18 now (I wonder how many of my posts begin with so? probably a lot). On my actual Birthday, the 19th, I had my celebration with my Family, and I got a car! Well, it was one that we had already, but it's legally mine now, and I have to pay for all the maintenance, so, I have a car now. I also got The Edge of the World on DVD, which we watched and was good.
My Mom took me shopping and I also got a couple of pairs of shoes and a T shirt and stuff. Then we went out to eat a Los Panchos, our favorite Mexican Restaurant.

We had my Main Party on Saturday. It was late notice for everyone, and was only a sort of open house, thing, so I wasn't expecting many people to show up, but starting at four, people came, and we ended up with almost everyone we had invited. And some stayed pretty late (namely Mr. St. Angelo, who we played Halo with). So it was really fun.

This morning we went to Church at our Mennonite Church in Canton, and stopped by our Grandparents for Chinese on the way back. So that was my Birthday post. Sorry it was so late in coming, but I've been lazy/busy.

Merry Christmas!


- drew

video

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here You Go Tai!

Check out this country spoof song that Ben and I recorded in one evening together.


Note: Everything in this song actually happened, although, he didn't actually lose his whole thumb... just part of it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Is Upon Us

Snow! Cold! We have a lot of snow, and it's cold, and it was really cold at the office today... because some of the guys had turned the gas furnace off over the weekend, so it didn't come on like it's supposed to when the wood furnace went out. And today being Monday, it was... cold.

And lots of winter related activities have been going on lately... on Saturday we went out to try and find a birch tree (my Mom has wanted white birch logs to put next to the fire place for a while now) and we ended up getting the car stuck. We then took the truck down to get the car out, and it got stuck too. Finally we walked up a second time and got the tractor with which we plowed the gas line (a big cleared out path that runs through the woods all the way to Philadelphia, and which we had foolishly been driving on) were able to drive the cars back up the hill. We still had no birch tree though, and I got seriously exhausted, as I was sick at the time. But we didn't get the worst of it, our neighbor, Don, who is really old (in his eighties I think) got his tractor stuck, and had to walk two miles to find us all the way out in the woods. Fortunately my Dad was able to get him unstuck as well. 

Sunday we went to the Efthimiou's house for what they and the Cornfields called a "Smashing Chistmas Party" which I assume meant "Great Christmas Party" but I was never really sure about it. We played ultimate frisbee in the snow. And when everybody got in we played a version of the white elephant game, which took forever and ended up with several girls being about the kill each other.

And it snowed again this afternoon. I had thought we were done after the blizzard we had on Friday/Saturday...  but no.

So I'm finally feeling better now... I never got really sick, but I was extremely tired and dizzy, and also rather depressed about life in general. I hope I don't get sick again... this is the second time I've been like that since we came up here to the Inn... so hopefully I'm done.

God Bless


- Andrew 

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Reality vs. Unreality

The guys as we see them:


The guys as they see themselves:


Nicky and Isaac as we see them:

Nicky and Isaac as they see themselves:


Ben in the real world:
Ben in the less than real world:


Mattea in reality:
Mattea in Halo



Alex in reality
Alex in unreality:

I took all these photos at a Halo party I hosted at our house several weeks ago. And, looking back on them, I noticed a certain amount of irony. So what do you think about them?

Do you think that unreality could ever seem more attractive to us than reality?

Do you think unreality can ever become more important to us?

Do you think this is right?

Do you think in the future, unreality could become our entire lives?

Do you think this would be right?


The deep thoughts that I often have during 5 hour halo games.



WILBERFORCE 1 (Andrew in the real world)

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Video I Made On My Mac


This afternoon my Dad was at the office and my Mom and everyone else went to Corning to Ice-skate. So I was alone at the Inn. Now, I walked around this corner and what did I see, one of our walls was completely covered in flies. So I squashed them; and filmed it with my digital camera. Since I didn't have anything else to do really, I downloaded the videos onto my mac and used a couple of programs to dress it up a bit, so anyways, here it is.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shut Out In The Cold

Well, today I went to work in Mansfield and got a ride over with my Grandpa who was going to get firewood from the huge pile we have over at the office as we are almost out here at our house. Unfortunately, my Grandpa, knowing that we were going to arrive much later than Matt Slack, decided to not to bring a key. Now, Unknown to us, Matt Slack, had apparently made much the same decision, that or forgotten his keys. So, when he arrived at the office and found no one else there, and was locked out in the cold (it was really cold, with several inches of snow this morning) he decided to go off to Walmart and buy a hat. Now, about 15 minutes later, Grandpa and I arrived, and found nothing but Mr. Slacks foot prints leading to and from the door. We were very puzzled, and very stuck ... so, we did the only thing we could do... commence to load the firewood. We did this until Mr. Slack got back, at which point we were happy because we thought we could get in, but alas, we soon learned his sad story as well. So the three of us commenced to do the only thing could: load firewood. And this we did until finally Marty showed up, and Marty, had the keys.

That afternoon was kind of tough, because we had to put a minor recall into effect on a secondary installation component. A small recall, that was more of an inconvenience that a problem, but a recall none the less. And I was given the honer of fronting the whole thing... which wasn't exactly fun, as I had to call about sixteen people and explain the situation to them. Fortunately everyone was pretty cool about it, and, as I said, it wasn't a huge problem. None the less, I was glad when my Mom came and picked me up early (after I had completed the list).

Mr. Slack got me today. I was about to walk down across the river to Subway as usual and get lunch, but he saw me and said that since I didn't have a car today and it was so cold I could drive his. "The keys are in it" he said. So I get out to the car, and the keys are no where to be found, I shuffled around for a bit looking for them, and all of a sudden the alarm starts going off. I couldn't figure out what I had done, so I got out, and who is standing in the door way with the keys laughing, but Mr. Slack. So yes, Mr. Slack is a very... special man.

I didn't get a chance to go hunting today. But I did yesterday, and I saw a small buck. I have a personal rule about not shooting anything less than six points though... preferably more (the only one I've ever killed had seven) so I decided not to try and shoot it. I did find this fern root ball that he had dug up from the snow just a few seconds before, and taken a bite out of... I dug it up the rest of the way and brought it back, so yeah... the way this is shaping up, that may be my only memento of this hunting season.

I'm getting all sorts of letters and forms and things from University, and all that crazyness that comes with finishing the enrollment process and trying to get the credits I earned taking college courses online in high school to transfer over.

So thats life right now... my Dad is on his way back from Virginia/Kentucky/Ohio (did I miss anyone) deliveries. We are pretty much settled into the Inn as our home now. There is lots of snow right now.

- Andrew

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Today On Old Post Lane

I haven't been up to much the last couple of days. We would normally have gone to church this morning, but my Dad has this huge trip this week and he needed to get ready for it so we didn't go + my sister was sick, and I had a touch of it myself... so now its been a week since I seen anyone my own age and will probably go another... funny how that happens.

We got a good bit of snow this morning. My Dad made pancakes for breakfast, and then my parents both went to Mansfield so my Dad could load up the trailer for the trip.

This afternoon we helped my Grandpa light off his Greenwood furnace for the first time. We filmed the whole thing because my Dad wants to make a promotional video sometime and we video just about anything that we do like that. 

Now we are watching Narnia, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.


Andrew 

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day V

I was at work most of the day, and when I got home there was only about half an hour of light left. The temperature has dropped substantially, into the twenties. Still no snow however, but most of the ground is frozen which makes traveling through the fields much easier. I saw no deer at all, probably nestled away from the cold deep in the woods some place. 

Something funny that happened today, my sisters cat, Show, followed me. I've heard hunting deer with dogs is illegal. How about kittens? I told her to go back, but she seemed intent on coming too... which was annoying. It was funny though, because she acted like she was hunting too (which she probably was) sneaking up to an area, and then pouncing on some twig that moved. And when ever she would get loud I would tell her "shhhhhhhh" and she would actually quiet down for a minute, but soon enough I'd here her start crunching along again. On the way back home walking down the wind rows (which are about half a mile long and very well, windy) she got so cold and tired that I had to carry her some of the way... so here I am, hunter, in blaze orange, .44 in one hand and kitten in the other.


All for now,


-Andrew      

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Days III-IV - Still Nothing

Yesterday I went hunting and came across the same group of doe (at least I'm 80% sure it was) that I had seen on Monday. This time it was out in the far corner of the wind rows and it was a relatively long shot to take free standing (but when your in a field you don't really have much choice). I took a shot but missed and then, stopping to look at them as the ran, I thought better of it and seeing how young and relatively small they were, decided not to try again, they stopped however, one right behind the other, and seeing as it would actually be possible to to kill two with one shot, I gave it another try, thinking that even if the amount of meat we got wasn't worth the bother, it would still be worth it just for the story. But alas, I missed again! At this point, I decided that either my rifle had been knocked out of sight, or my aim had gone done the tubes!

That in mind, I took the .44 Magnum out today. It is considerably lighter, and, most importantly has open sights, which I much prefer when it's possible to use them. I headed out, and stuck mainly to trails that were densely wooded as open sights wouldn't work for any long range shots. While on the trail that connects Old Post Lane to Toad Lane I heard a sound and saw the tail of a deer briefly through the pine trees just about fifteen feet to my left. I heard a lot of crashing and if it hadn't been for the pine trees, I'm sure I could have taken one, as it was almost point-blank range and I was feeling much more confident with the .44. There were several deer, as it turned out, but I never, however, saw much more of them than their tails crashing through the brush and down the hill side onto the Herr and Leman Estate (a 900 acre plot of more or less wilderness that borders our hill on two sides, that is owned by two guys from down state who only come up for hunting season). So, still no deer. On the bright side, we are supposed to get some snow very soon hear, which always makes deer hunting much easier.

All for today,


- Andrew  

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Blogday! + D-Day I - Bad Luck and Bad Weather

My Blog is turning two! Well, actually, it was yesterday I believe... but at any rate, its close to the time of my first post, as deer season has just begun. And now, my hunting report.

Day 1: I went out early, around five fifty or so and walked to a spot way below the Inn (which we are officially moved into now) and sat down. It was still about pitch black... and cold and rainy. I sat down on the remains of this stonewall, and soon realized that this was the kind weather in which most sane people like to sleep in late in warm houses, not get up early and trapes out into the cold, wet, foggy, darkness. But, my sanity aside, I was there.

My intention was to wait until day light, at which point I would stand up and look out across the field, which, would hopefully have at least a few unsuspecting deer in it. But alas, when at long last it did get light (if you could call it light) there were no deer to be seen, and even if there had been (which there actually may have) the valley was so full of fog that you could only see small parts of it, the rest being completely obsucred.

After that, I went out and walked about all the paths that are at least supposed to be free of others, but I saw only one deer, a relativlely small one, dashing away across the field. I went down into the woods to see if there might be more where it ran to. I found none. But judeing by a number of loud, very near shots, and a figure bending down next to our DSL hub, which even now serves to give the internet I am posting on, to gut, what appeared to be a deer, I am afraid to inform you that bamb is probably no more.

I walked back around the Inn, and actually saw a number of deer for about three seconds dashing through the trees way up ahead, but not for long enough to even raise my gun, let alone positively identify a target.

I went home, and tried to sleep, and did - for about eight minutes when one of the guys from the office called to ask me some work related question. And on my day off for deer hunting! But had been off for nearly a week at that point what with thanksgiving and moving and all that, so I guess I can't complain.

Late that afternoon I went out again. It was still raining and foggy. I walked about, and, low and behold there were actaully four deer in it... doe, about a hundred yards off, small to medium sized, but I decided to go for it. I found it in my scope, shot, and missed. I was chambering my gun to shoot again, when the deer ran, and turned - toward me! I have no protocal for that move! It's not supposed to happen! But it did - bringing to mind thoughts of Hunt for the Read October, in which the brave defecting Soviet Captain steers his sub into the enemy torpedo, hitting it before it has time to arm. Now, if you have ever shot a gun with a scope before, you know that it is hard to hit something that is close to you, the scope typically being callibrated for a hundred yards of so. And if you have ever shot any gun before, or played video game for that matter, you know it's hard to hit something when it's running. These deer were now running and close, and they passed within about twenty yards of me without ever being able to draw beed on them. Finally, the crossed the road, and I took a pot shot, but by this time they were a long way off and running even faster, so I predictably missed.

I spent the next forty five minutes or so trailing them and walking back through the pines near where they had run just in case I had injured one (I've never killed a deer before and thought that i hit it until I found the body), but I found nothing. So I conclude to the best of my abilities that they were both clean misses, which, is better than a less than lethal hit... but still lousy.

So, I went home to the Inn empty handed. This morning I had to leave for work again. And, although my Dad said we would get home before sundown, we didn't (and I didn't expect to, because we don't) so I couldn't hunt then either. So I guess I don't really have a post for day two. But hopefully I'll be able to get out tomorrow. And have better luck - and aim.



As a note for myself in the future, there weren't as many gunshots early on... it could be there are actually less deer, or less hunters due to the weather, but as it picked up later, it was probably just the darkness and fog.


- Andrew

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Admission, Moving, Turkey

Yesterday I was accepted at Mansfield University which was very cool because we were not expecting to find out until after Thanksgiving. Speaking of which, we had a good one. We started the day by driving into Troy and running around the 1/2 mile track twice... which was sort of an inside joke, because you know if you've read my blog, last year we were in Tallahassee FL and  ran in the Turkey Trot with my Aunt and Uncle Prutsman and their boys. So after we ran, we called him and said that we had just done our own turkey trot, sending him a picture from my Dads iPhone. Ironically, they ended up not doing their Turkey Trot because it was raining. I hope know one saw us though, because it must have looked funny with all of us down there by ourselves Thanksgiving morn running around the track. My time for the mile by the way was 7.22.3 seconds. My little sister Sanna was the probably the most impressive though as she ran a whole half mile by herself. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Wilber/Efthimiou Clan at the their house in Catan and it was fun... with lots and lots of food.

Tomorrow we begin to move into our other house the "Inn" which is the property up the road from us that we usually rent out or let church related people stay in. The reason for this: we are redoing our own house, which is getting to be about 15 years old and hasn't had anything serious done to it since we built it. It has really scuffed up floors and walls and weak plumbing and squirrels in my bedroom (that's another story unto itself).

Now, I'm not too thrilled about this as it means moving from our house, which is already too small for the eight of us into and even smaller one... and as it's winter I'm afraid I may go insane. Secondly, my Dad knows lots of Contractors... which is good on one hand because we have no trouble getting one, but bad on the other because it means that these so called "contractors" never actually have to put anything in writing. They thus, tend to take a sweet time about it. Case in point, a few years ago, my Dad got one of these guys who shall remain nameless, but happens to be a very good contractor to redo our bathroom. It took him six months! To put that in perspective, the same guy is building our Uncle a new house right now. It's nearly finished, and so far, it has taken less time than  our little bathroom project! So, all things in view, I'm afraid that our stay at the Inn is going to stretch far beyond the projected three months.

So, anyways, that's just my view on the subject... it will probably be fine in the end though.


Andrew    

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today in Mansfield

It's about 5:45, and I'm here at the office... not an unusual hour for me to be here... even though it's technically about an hour past when I'm supposed to have left. 

I applied at Mansfield University this morning with my Mom. We thought that we were really late, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get in, but as it turned out we actually still have time to get in for the next semester. So I applied for Anthropology. So your about to ask "What are you planning on doing with that?" well don't. I'll throttle your. And if your in Florida, I'll come there and throttle you ; )

Actually... thats a good question, but there are actually a lot of things, and not always what you would think of... if you even thought of anything.

I haven't been accepted yet obviously. But the people in Admissions liked my scores and they said they felt it was fairly certain that I would be. So, unless they were being really mean... I think that I will.

We had snow this morning when I woke up, and it started snowing even harder soon after, though I think it probably melted by early afternoon, as there wasn't very much at all when we came down out of the hills (relatively speaking... it's pretty much all hills round here) I hope that we get some that sticks in time for deer season though... because hunting is always much nicer in the snow (deer hunting at least).

So that was today... and I'm still here at the office... at five fifty five... which is really very close to an hour after we should have left... but from the sound of it we may not be leaving for a while yet. This guy called in a I answered and got him to accept a quote on the price... but I can't do those myself, so I brought my Dad in, and they have been talking ever since. 

- Andrew 

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Dual

Last night we had our semi-yearly boys sleepover at my Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was Daniel, Abram, my Brother and I. Today, before we had to go we made a couple of short movies. Here is one of them....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Medieval vs. Modern Christian Thought

"[An] example of the vastness of the medieval conception of God can be taken from the poetic fringes of the medieval world - the world of the barbarian north. This was a world just emerging from heathenism, and so the conception of God came from the more civilized south. Imagine yourself standing on the North Sea, the sky above you cold and pale. Your Father, or perhaps your Grandfather had been a loyal servant of Thor and Odin. You, like them, are both Nobel and Barbaric, but, unlike them, you are a Christian. The emergence of your house from heathenism is recent, and apostasy is an ever present possibility, as the Danes once showed by falling into the worship of their devils. But you and your people, the Geats of Southern Sweden still stand delivered. You look at your ship, which is isig and utfus, covered in ice and ready to sail. You are ready to embark, and look out over the hrond-rode, or whale road. You live in an austere world, but one full of a glittering and sever beauty.
C. S. Lewis once spoke of the lure of the pagan "northernness," a lure which in turn was used to help draw him to Christ. "Pure Northernness' engulfed me; a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of Northern summer, remoteness, severity." This northernness is not necessarily Christian, but when turned to Christ, it is redeemed like all sinful things and stands upright. But we Moderns have little interest in such redemptions and their results because the Church in our era is slack and effeminate. We do not look at an unbounded northern sky and by analogy see the eternity of God; rather, we look mystically inward at the swamps and standing puddles of our own hearts and see just what one might expect in such places - but not very much and not very far."



Excerpt from Angels in the Architecture by Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Flying Tents and a Comet Named Holmes

So yesterday, I was at work, and I looked outside, and low and behold, the 10' by 20' tent that we keep set up on our lot to park the skid-steer under was upside down! And stranger still, it was on the other side of the lot, and was undamaged, which means that as there is a barrier of large boulders in between the two sides ( to keep truckers using our lot to turn around) it must have moved all the way, at an altitude of at least three feet or so above the ground! So, it must have been the wind... but the other thing is, there was no wind to speak of that day... so it must have been a freak gust that blew up - that or some bazaar prank, that was carried out in only a few seconds, while we weren't looking out the front of the store.
Today was crazy at the store, and to make it worse, my dad and two of our employees were attending a bunch of meetings in Corning. So it was just Mr. Slack, Marty and myself to handle all of it.

This evening we just got back from going to an Astronomy club that meets over on Mount Pisga, a big wild life preserve with a lake, and hardly anyone around for miles. It was awesome! The sky was so clear! And they had this huge telescope. The meeting had been called on a spur of the moment notice, because a comet, the Holmes (which I can only assume was named after you sherlock!) which they had been tracking all over the country for several days had under gone some sort of unexpected anomaly that that made it over a hundred times brighter! So, due to the short notice, it the only other people there were the old people that run the club, so we all got to spend lots of time looking through the telescope. Above is a rather faint picture that is the best I could do with my camera looking through the telescope lens, but if you consider that it was surrounded by stars when you actually looked at it, and they don't even show up in the photo, you can begin to imagine how bright it actually looked in real life.

Here is the one group photo I took, scaring the heck out of everyone with the flash : )

all for now,
God bless,


- Andrew

PS, if your interested in learning more about Holmes and seeing some better pictures, follow this link: http://cometography.com/pcomets/017p.html

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Skunk Attack

Last night our house got attacked by a skunk. That or something near our house attacked a skunk, because it started smelling extremely skunky in our house, which, no pun intended really stank. I was the first one who noticed it, because everybody else had just thought it was my baby sister, lol. I went out side to try and find it, or to see if any of our pets had been victims, but apparently none were and I didn't find any skunk. But this morning when I came down around 6:50, or so, it still smelled like it in the room that had had and open window at the time of the negatively aromatic event.

It has been very, very busy at the office, what with it finally starting to get cold and all (we sell Alternative Sustainable Heating Systems). Today I had a funny experience. You see, one of my jobs is following up on leads with customers that want to buy heat transfer lines. The leads come in from the manufacturer (people request information on there website), and then I contact the people and let them know that we are the local distributor and (hopefully) sell them everything they need. My usual procedure is to send them and email as soon. I get their info, and then send them a letter the next day. Then, if I'm feeling particularly psyched, I'll call. So yesterday I got a lot of leads and sent the emails. Today, put together the letters and was addressing them, and the phone rang, as it does every minute or so, and Mr. Slack picked it up and said is was for me, and told me who it was, and low and behold, it was the very same person, whose name I had just written on and envelope! Ok, so maybe that wasn't funny, but it seemed like it at the time.

Back at home now... came home early because my Grandpa had to get back and he was my ride, but with how early I'm going in now I'd already put in nearly eight hours.

I've been playing the MM online game, tribal wars, which has been pretty cool. It's sort of like a dumbed down version of Age of Empires, except your playing with hundreds of people at the same time and its completely server based, so you don't have to download anything. I have the button on my blog now, if you scroll down. I'm on world 9 and my name is Vandrew (my village is called vandrewgrad).

- Andrew

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rollover Telephone

It's been a pretty good past week. My Dad was in Ohio again, so I stayed home from work for a couple of days, though I couldn't get away completely as we got the rollover phone system working again, which means that any calls that aren't picked up at the office (which, this time of year can be quite a significant number) so I took calls and leads and forwarded them by email. Still, I had time to finish the Halo 3 campaign.

I've been feeling a little closer in my walk with God the past week... it simply seems that some of the things that I had seen as big problems suddenly started to seem less important, as I had hoped, but not believed they would... and I've been able to recognize my need for God, and a desire for him too, which was something I was afraid I had lost. But I've been stretching intellectually not so much in the range of things I would be exposed to (I think that was always pretty broad) but in the sphere of things that I would actually contemplate accepting (if that makes any sense)... we've gone to our old Mennonite church, and heard some different speakers... and read some books that I would have absolutely sneered at two years ago, and listened to some new music. But with some of the things that have happened, I think I'm more open. And through the new things I think I've been able to accept much of my reformed thought that I had become so bitter against... and like I said, the things that used to make me so angry about it don't seem to matter as much. So anyways, I usually have a rule against talking about this stuff on here... so I'll probably delete it later, likely as not. But for now, I could use your prayers.


- Andrew

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shooting - Photos and Paintballs

This past Sunday Mattea and I drove up to the Efthimiou's house. We were told that we were going to do paintball, but when we arrived, they told us they had just decided to do family pictures... so we went along with them, and I was starting to feel rather awkward at this point because they had all dressed up for the occasion, and I, who had been told, twice, that we were doing paintball, had dressed accordingly. Which is to say, old cloths that didn't match. So at any rate, we did eventual get done with that, and I think they got some really nice pictures (they had better have).

Finally, we did actually do paintball, and the Roberts (well, some of them, Anna and Pat) came, which was fun. Unfortunately, the 9v in my gun gave out and, after 'killing' only one person, I had to drive into South Corning and buy a new one (only a few minutes away).

Here (above) are Anna and Pat - looking very warlike I might add.

And here, left to right are Daniel, Delian, and Anna, looking strangely like something from Halo, or at least that's what my Mom thought.

The game went pretty well, except for Rachael, Cory, and a bunch of other people getting out, and then coming back, without telling anyone. The last time that this happened I almost get hurt, because we were all standing around the main bunker, and thought everyone was done, and thus had even taken our masks off, when someone who shall remain nameless started barraging the entire area. I got hit right was facing it, and got hit on top of the head. Just a four inches lower and it could have been bad. But, it didn't, so I survived = )

- Andrew

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Environment (and how to help)

Well, today is the official blogger action day, and this year, the subject is the environment. So I've decided to blog about something that I often do, and that is the importance of Alternative Sustainable Energy.

Now, the first question this usually brings up is not why is it important? but rather: what is it? So, first off,

Alternative simply means, different from the norm. Right now, the world gets most of it's energy from fossil fuels, which we all know are dirty, so an alternative energy would have to be something other than a fossil fuel.

Sustainable means something that that will be able to continue indefinitely (pretty much forever) Now, we all that fossil fuels aren't sustainable, we are all ready running out (which, in case you ever wondered, is one of the main reasons gas gets more and more expensive). Now there are other forms of fuel that would qualify as alternative, like Nuclear power, that aren't really sustainable because they are eventually going to either run out, or result in a situation that would force us to stop using them.

So, in order for a source of energy to really benefit the environment, we see that it has to be both alternative and sustainable.

So, if we've eliminated fossil fuels (gas, coal, petrol, diesel) then whats left? Actually a lot. Energy sources like the wind, rivers, the ocean, and then Sun are all around us. Unfortunately, harvesting energy from these sources can often have a bad effect of the environment (don't believe me? just visit the land up stream from a hydroelectric dam, or see what happens when a flock of geese flies through a wind farm) so today I want to bring to attention an often over looked source of alternative sustainable energy that is very easy to access, efficient to use and, best of all, is something that we as individuals have access to and can start to use, without having to wait for governments and big business. The fuel is: Biomass.

Now, most people (normal people anyways) have never even heard the term before. But it's really rather simple. Bio means life, and mass means anything that has, um mass, so biomass just means something that was alive, something that grew i.e. grass clippings, wood chips, corn, logs, weeds, your dog fluffy.

"Now wait a minute." you say "Isn't burning stuff bad for the environment?" Well, yes, in some situations. The first one is if you are introducing new matter into the environment and burning it, like oil. When you burn oil, you are taking all this matter from under ground with all of its own toxins and carbons, combusting it, and releasing all those poisons into our environment, thus, the big whole in the ozone over the Antarctic.
The second is if you are burning inefficiently, which is why thing like wood stoves and fireplaces have gotten such a bad rap. Burning inefficiently means that your not burning as much of the matter as you could, hint, if you see smoke, it's not efficient, thus, the haze over all of China's Major cities.
So in order to burn stuff and still do the environment a service, you need to 1. use things that were already in the environment, and 2. do it efficiently.
Biomass is obviously already in the environment(when a piece of wood falls off a tree and rots, it produces the same amount of carbon that it would if you pick it up burn it), and thanks to technology that has developed just in the past couple of years, we can now burn it efficiently.

As an added bonus, since biomass is all around us and doesn't have to be mined, or hauled in from a distant country, it always much cheaper than fossil fuels. So so you can save money at the same time.

"So just how can the average person use biomass?" I've included some links to websites that show biomass units (machines that allow for the combustion of biomass in a safe, efficient way) Many some of these sites even tell how to get one, and offer support for installing and using them.

Check them out:


GreenWood Furnaces


ThisWarmHouse





Thanks for reading!


- Andrew

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Manitoba

Well, Manitoba was an experience, particularly since we drove... twenty four hours up, spent twenty four hours there and twenty four hours back. Mr. Kimball and my dad drove mostly, although I did while they worked on the business plan on the way up. We went through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indian, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, crossed the border (which was an ordeal... normally, you just drive up to the window and show them your ID, but they actually made us park, and come inside and wait. Then they questioned us all together, and then they interrogated Mr. Kimball and my Dad alone (I think I mainly had to do with that they didn't have pass ports and I did). Finally they let us through, and we drove through Manitoba.

We met up with the Greenwood Tech people in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba and we all stayed together in a hotel, ironically enough called, The Greenwood While there we ate one of only two real meals that we had on the entire trip (in Mr. Kimball's words: "We lived off of leaves, twigs and pumpkin seeds.") Interestingly enough, I actually ate it illegally, as in Manitoba, they have different laws about drinking, you see, the minimum age is lower, but until you are that old (which I'm not), you are not allowed to even be in a restaurant in which they serve alcohol, which they did, and I was... so I didn't know this all until after I had eaten there, when our waitress inquired as much, but at that point it was too late... so yeah... at least it was in another country = ) After nine and a half hours of sleep (I needed every one as I only slept about four hours a night the night before and fours hours the next, and that only in little naps) and the next morning we all ate breakfast - in the non alcoholic section - and set off to Arborg to see Pro-Fab industries. We got checked in at the factory and attended a seminar on the Pelco, the new bio-mass unit we are going to be selling, and it's huge! We also toured the factory which was lots of fun, and I got to actually see a Greenwood being made.

All said, it was a good trip, I learned a lot and got to go to Canada and there were know major problems, even if the scenery was less than impressive. Well, actually it was impressive, in it's bleakness. I tell you, if I had to describe it in three words, they would be: cold, gray, flat. Now, I'm sure that it looks much better in the summer, but now it looks something like our area does around February, minus the snow, and the hills. It was flat. My goodness it was flat! And the trees were all stunted. You could see forever, which only made it worse, because things like telephone poles, electric lines, cell phone towers, not to mention the huge grain towers that rose for the endless grid, could all be seen at the same time and I doubt there was a place in the whole area where you couldn't stop and count at least several hundred such man made obelisks which gave the whole place a harsh, industrial feel. And the sky was dark and overcast the whole time. Oddly though, it seemed an appropriate setting as it added a slight sense of menace and impending doom (I shutter to think what it might be like in a few months) and watching everyone at the factory bustle around and seeing the truck drivers, in their blaze orange, thermal jump suites loading dozens of units on to their semis preparing to leave, my Dad and I both thought: where could a better place to build stoves be than were your life so obviously would depend on the ability to keep warm?

Hear are some pictures from the trip:



The leaving the Greenwood Inn, Winnipeg, early in the morning. Breakfast with the Greenwood people.


Doug photographing the Pelco . Can you believe that's the small one?

Pro Fab
The Endless Steppe (the view right out front of the building)



- Andrew

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Manatoba (The Great White North, EH!)

I'm off to Manatoba, Canada tomorrow on business with Mr. Kimball and my Dad. We're going to be getting training on a new product line that we're potentially going to be carrying. It should be a good trip with just the three of us, and it will be the farthest I've ever gone from home, by about fifteen miles : ) So I'm relatively exited about it. The down side is, its a 25 hour drive, 1 way. So I've packed a bunch of DVD's and stuff to watch on my Mac, and I'll bring books, though I get car sick if I read for more that five minutes in the car, blah! Maybe the roads will be better in Canada... I know there health care system is ; ) But I should get to find out (about the roads that is - God willing not their health care system) as Mr. Kimball sounds like he's planning on having me drive a bit as he wants to work on the business plan with my Dad. So pray that I don't forget the metric conversion and end up driving 100 mph in the 100k zone : 0

So the town that we are going to is Arborg, at the NW end of lake Winnipeg, which is so far up there that no major highways go beyond it (at least not that are on map-quest). So it should be an adventure! I'll post if I get a chance and an internet connection, or perhaps I can borrow Mr. Kimball's computer or my Dads iPhone as both of those get it through cellular.

Anyways, see you all later!

God bless,

-Andrew

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mystery at Taughannock Falls

We went up to Ithaca this past Sunday. While we were there we hiked up to Taughannok falls which were really cool. The most interesting thing however were the strange pillars of rocks that we found all along the riverbed leading up to the falls for about 200 yards beneath the steep canyon walls. They were these obviously human made structures of stones stacked on top of each other. Some were simple piles of pebbles, others were small master pieces of engineering, rising nearly eight feet in the air with elaborate supports and buttresses. I have to honestly say that standing there in the deep gorge, with the waterfall before us with all of those hundreds (at least hundreds) of pillars each one of which had been made by someone, had to have been one the most magical things I'd ever seen. My family and I and some other people who had walked up the canyon soon set about building our own little obelisks, with some consternation as it seemed that so many towers had been built that there was actually little room, or material left, but we managed eventually.
Now, here is the really strange part, we had assumed that these towers were an integral part of the Taughannok experience, and that by adding our own we were simply continuing a tradition that had gone on for years, but as we came up to the observation area, my Mom began talking with another woman, a frequent, long time patron of the park, and, low and behold, just six weeks before, none of this had been there! That's right, it had only been a short time since the very first pillars appeared. Stranger still, it appears to be a complete mystery as to who is responsible for starting it. A college frat prank? A Buddhist blessing? Who knows? Here are some pictures. I'd like to hear all of your opinions on what they could be!












- Andrew

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Farm Science Review (Day 1)















"Ohio has the flavor of a water chestnut; it's not to crazy and it's not the best." - Matt Thiessen

Well, I guess living there himself, he would know, but it hasn't been so bad so far, our first day hear at the Farm Science Review went really well.

Above (you've probably seen them by now) are my pictures from the today;
The first one is my dad and the "Dudes" from Greenwood Tech;  the next four are of them and Michael Kimbal in the booth interacting with customers; the last two are of my brother and sisters after seven hours in that back seat.

- Andrew

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon



looking up from inside


Climbing up four mile creek (that runs down the side of the canyon)


The Bontegers admiring the view.


The view from the observation area

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Amish

I got my Macbook! And it's really sweet! It's so nice and sleek and has all the stuff that I used to have to plug into our computer built right into it, and it has lots of cool software on it. But the thing I am most thankful for is the fact that it works, without taking hours!

It will be nice having it (other than for the obvious reason that I'll be going to college in about four months) for business, because I'll be able to keep all my contacts and everything on it. Like this weekend this guy called and no one was at the office (obviously) so it rang through to our house and I took it. It was a guy who wanted to buy some insulation and couldn't seem to figure out why our "customer service department" wasn't picking up. So after I explained something to the effect of that they don't work on holidays or weekends, and this was both, I gave him some info about the product he wanted and he told me he wanted to place a big order, so I was really exited and didn't care that he had called in on Labor Day weekend. But unfortunetly, since everyone was off, I couldn't have them close the sale. So I had to just take his contact info and promise to call him back. Now, I went out and told my Dad, about it and he was happy and I was happy, and I didn't even think about the piece of paper with the contact info on it, which I carelessly left on the counter. Not only did I leave it but it was the only piece I could find, which happened to have some other stuff written on it that looked like trash, so when my Mom cleaned for company coming over (we had some Amish people staying at our house - long story) she through it away.

But yes, Amish people visited us over th weekend. Mr. Bontreger is a dealer for my Dad, and, through a series of events Dad invited him to come visit us with his whole family. Now, I must confess, I felt a little uneasy about the whole situation in the begining, but soon after they arrived I reallized that they were very nice, and just because they don't drive or watch TV didn't mean that they weren't fun people who we could get along with like just about anyone (and perhaps better than many) We had some other freinds over to meet them, and took them to the Grand Canyon (Pennsylvania version).

We got a sofa today, for our room that hasn't had any furniture in it for about six months (wich was annoying, because it was one of our main rooms) and since we were in the area (Selingsgrove) so we picked it up. Now, we had actually bought this a long time ago, but shipping is so expensive that we decided that we would have to pick it up ourselves. This seemed like a good idea, since we tended to be in our near Selingsgrove about twice a month. Unfortunetly, our buying the sofa directly preceeded a long period of our not being in Selingsgrove. So it's been sitting in a warehouse down there for a long time. But, we finally did it, and didn't have to have it shipped. So I guess it worked our well : )

We ate a BJ's BQ, which is a really fun place, and I ate a lot!


- andrew

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mac Book

Wow, I haven't posted in a long time, though I guess not many people would notice if I stopped. But I like to, even if my only reason is reading them in the future myself. I've been really busy with work though. We did several trade shows that each took about a week. I've been working at the office almost everyday, and I've now been (this wasn't my idea) made the head of our MAXX - R insulation line, which nobody else has had enough time to work on.

Blogger lets you upload videos!!! WoooHooo! I'm phsyced about it! Will make things so much easier! And fun!

My Dad and I ordered Mac Books last night, and once I get it I'll probably blog more just because our computers at home are so sick that its frustrating to use them. I also ordered a piece of equipment that will let me make computer recordings of all my music, which will be awesome (I hope)


- andrew

Monday, August 13, 2007

AG Progress Days

We're off to another farm show this week, Ag Progress days, in State College Pennsylvania. Its the Pennsylvanian equivalent of Empire Farm Days that we did last week, which means, big. My whole family is coming this time, which should be interesting. So hopefully we will have a good week = )

Perhaps I shall post from my Dads phone, otherwise, talk to you next week.


- andrew

Friday, August 10, 2007

Empire Farm Days

Sorry that I haven't updated in a while; I've been gone in NY. I was working with my Dad at Empire Farm Days, at least the second biggest show we do every year. And, my goodness, it was work!

My Dad woke me up early this Monday morning and told me to pack for a week because I was going with him. I hadn't known that was going, and certainaly didn't think I'd be staying, so I wasn't ready at all, but fortunetly I can usually get ready fast, so an hour later we were on the road.

We got there and met Mr. Polcinzski unloaded (I hate loading and unloading) and fineshed stting up the booth, which was pratty large. We then went to TGI Fridays to meet German Burtscher, one of the guys from Greenwood Technologies (the company that makes our Hydronic Furnaces that we sell) from Seatle. He's actaully from Austria, although he can speak English better than a lot of Americans I know, so he's very interesting to talk with. After TGI Fridays, we went to Starbucks so they could continue the meeting, and after they kicked us out of there to our hotel.

The next day the show opened. We were also doing training for our new dealers with German, so we had our tent all set up with chairs and an iMac that was supposed to link back to Seatle so that they could talk with Mike Curby, the main Greenwood engineer, if they had any technical questions. Unfortunetly German, who had never been in the area before, and couldn't stay with us because the hotel gave away his room, got lost on the way from his hotel (actually he drove in the wrong direction) so we got a late start, but training still went well. And we had so many people in our booth constantly, we must have talked to hundreds and got lots of good contacts. Our booth was probably one of the busiest in the show, and it's a big show!

The next day, was much the same, more training, unfrotunetly, this was the tech training day, on which it was imperative that they talk to Mike. But we lost our internet conection and were only able to interact with him for a few minutes. It was kind of sad because Mr. Polcinzki had spent the last week getting the Mac all set up with skype and all that so that we could have the conference, and then toted the whole system up to Empire, only the realize that he had forgoten the key board, which Mrs. Polcinzki and Ben had to bring. But none the less, it was still a useful session, and since we actually had a furnace running right there, German was able to explain mcuh of it.

It was really good to have the furnace there, as people usually won't believe you that they are completely smokeless unless they can see it running. But we almost didn't becuase, after days of engineering, by my Grandpa and our Contractors, and painstaking packing and shipping by my Dad and I, my Dad bumped one the heat lines, and caused it to explode, spilling out all of our hydronic fliud and pressure. Fortunetly, some associates of ours in another booth hapened to have a pump and water container, so they were able to get it running again.

That night, my Mom arived, and after dropping off the older children at the cottage the Slacks have been renting on Cayuga Lake, came to the show. We went out the P. F. Changs that evening, which is my favorite restorant in the whole world (at least that I have been to yet) and we got lucky, becuase they made to much food that night, and ended up giving us several extra dishes, which was awesome!

The next day was just selling, as all of the training was over and German had gone back to Seattle. But it was still busy. Mr. Stickler stopped by on his police rounds about four times a day, and often brought other troopers with him, which was cool. I wonder what people think though, when I'm just walking along, and these mean looking troopers ride past and suddenly one of them shouts out "Hi Drew!" = )

I've been reading the Prince of Darkness by Robert Novak (it's not what it sounds like, it's actually about politics and journalism) which has been interesting, if long, and rather dry (aside from funning descriptions of politicians that we all know really well, getting drunk and doing ridicules things that know one but Novak saw)

That evening we went to the Slacks lake house and we all went swimming. Then we went in the woods and found this huge mud hole and all got super dirty; Jordan and I painted eachother all over with it, and then went runnging out of the woods, past the startled parents across the pier, and back into the lake (ok, so it didn't happen quite that fast, but it was close). I stayed with them that night and went to work at the show with Mr. Slack that morning. On the way he showed me some of his favorite spots where he played when he was a kid and took me to his favorite Amish produce stand to buy cookies.

The next day was much the same as the rest, more people, more stoves and all that. Then we had to tear down and load up (I have loading!). Finally my Dad and I fineshed and we drove home. We ate supper at Applebee's in Painted post and got in around ten thirty.

This morning my Dad is back up at the show grounds to finish tearing down. I got up late, went for a run, and came here to the office in Mansfield where I am now.

So that was my week.



- Andrew

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rachael's Western Birthday Party

 

Delian and Rachael try the fire thing again.

Below: Josh and Steven do the potato sack race.

DSC04648.JPG

Rachael and Maryah

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Derick plays with the horsey.

Derick .JPG

Jordan contemplates.

DSC04630.JPG