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Knowlesville      

The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

April 2008

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Tue, Apr. 1, 2008 - What a Rip Off

What a Rip Off

While doing some Search Engine Optimization for the Aesthetic Design & Photography web site, I came across this site that copied some text from an old version of my web site. I don't know whether I should be offended that he stole my text, or pleased that he's recommending my services, although unintentionally. The version of the copy that he stole is pretty old and hasn't been on my web site for at least 5 years or so. I guess he doesn't look at his web site very often.

Wed, Apr. 2, 2008 - Google Earth

Google Earth

I was playing around on Google Earth today and cruising through San Jose I see that they've updated the imagery for our old neighborhood. It's pretty outstanding resolution now, with the garden layout and other details clearly visible. We also got new imagery in Ferndale, but it's not as detailed as the San Jose imagery.

Thu, Apr. 3, 2008 - You can find everything on Ebay

You can find everything on Ebay

I've often said that if you can't find it on Ebay, it probably doesn't exist. But this ad that I saw recently online has me a bit worried, what with all the news lately about cloning people.

Fri, Apr. 4, 2008 - How did they know?

How did they know?

I recently digitized all our old albums that we hadn't replaced with CDs and loaded them on our iPods. Lori can't really enjoy music too much right now but she can still recognize some tunes. After listening to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours on her way to work she emailed me telling me that while she couldn't really hear it, she remembered the lyrics and wanted me to look them up. So I did an internet search for them and came up with this page, which prominently featured an ad for hearing aids. Freaky indeed (notice the URL?)

Sat, Apr. 12, 2008 - Ben & Clyde

Ben & Clyde

While working on Roger Rodoni's web site, his wife Johanna sent me a CD of photos and included in the photos were some of their draft horses, Ben & Clyde. Taken earlier in the winter when they both had their full winter coats, they looked like huge stuffed animals. I sent one photo to Lori while she was at work and she emailed back saying she wanted to hug them. So with the help of Johanna, I surprised Lori with a trip out to Rohnerville where they were stabled so she could pet and hug them. Ben & Clyde were the gentlest horses I've ever seen, and yet seeing their size one can only imagine how powerful they must be. Gentle giants indeed.

Sun, Apr. 13, 2008 - Technology Part 1

Technology Part 1

Our house has had a serious upgrade in the technology department to help provide Lori with more security and independence. First, the amplified phone got replaced with a CapTel phone. This allows her to talk on the phone as the other side of the conversation is changed into captions that she can read. If you want to call her, you'll need to dial 866-399-9050 first and then enter our phone number when prompted. Pretty cool stuff indeed.

The little box above the phone is part of the Silent Call system we installed, and it transmits a signal that the phone is ringing.

Mon, Apr. 14, 2008 - Technology Part 2

Technology Part 2

Another device that needed to be upgraded was the smoke detector. Originally I was going to get the kind that have strobes in addition to the audible alarm. But that only works if you're in the room where the alarm is. They have alarms that can be hooked together so that if one goes off they all go off, but that would have meant 6 or more alarms for our house. Expensive, and probably very loud for me. So when I found the Silent Call system I was pretty happy because it solved all of her needs for less money than just the smoke alarms would have cost doing it the other way. The only thing we don't like about this smoke detector is that it has a green LED that blinks every 10 seconds to let you know it's working. It's not bright enought to keep you awake at night, but still something I could do without.

Tue, Apr. 15, 2008 - Technology Part 3

Technology Part 3

This is a wireless doorbell. I need to make a sign for it to let people know that they need to buzz and knock. Lori won't hear the knock, and I won't get signalled if they use the doorbell. We also need to eventually get another one for the front door, but usually the only person who comes to the front door is the UPS guy and he's gone by the time you get to the door anyways.

Wed, Apr. 16, 2008 - Technology Part 4

Technology Part 4

The device sitting next the alarm clock is a sound monitor. It senses when there is a loud noise and sends a signal. So far this has been the flakiest part of the system. Some mornings the alarm clock sets it off, some mornings it doesn't. Fortunately it has a manual button on it that you can press to send the signal. This device can be moved around the house to let Lori know that the dryer buzzer is going off, the oven needs her attention, and I use it sometimes to page her because it's easier than opening every door in the house to find her. Almost as good as a Robowife.

Thu, Apr. 17, 2008 - Technology Part 5

Technology Part 5

So far I've mentioned all of the transmitting devices. Here is the receiver, a pager that Lori can wear when she's at home. It has four different colored lights for the different transmitters. Red for smoke alarm, green for telephone, yellow for doorbell, and orange for sound monitor. When any of the transmitters go off, the pager vibrates and lights up the corresponding light.

Maybe if Silent Call were located in the Bay Area, they might not have called their product Good Vibrations. Still, Lori seems really happy when she answers the phone these days.

Fri, Apr. 18, 2008 - Technology Part 6

Technology Part 6

At night, the pager gets plugged into this device which recharges it. There is also a vibrator plugged into it that sits under her pillow, so if any of the transmitters go off at night she is woken up by her pillow buzzing madly. Even before she lost her hearing, Lori could sleep through most alarm clocks going off, but the vibrating pillow is very effective. So that's the full tour of the Silent Call system.

Sat, Apr. 19, 2008 - Renee

Renee

We're going to be selling off some of the vintage clothing collection so I've been trying to get those pieces we haven't photographed yet documented. Since I have wonderful northern light to work with in the new studio, I thought I'd try photographing Renee under natural light. Here she is wearing a vintage camisole and drawers, while the corset is a modern reproduction. The fog is really white tule that was blurred using Photoshop.

Sun, Apr. 20, 2008 - Kaline

Kaline

Today it was another shoot with Kaline, whom I've worked with many times over the last 5 years. This was our first Victorian shoot since she had her son Julian and she was still able to squeeze into the tiny Victorian outfits. Every time we get her dressed in the Victorian clothes I wish we could just have her hang out at our house to add the perfect Victorian touch. This bodice is even the perfect vintage for our 1888 house.

Mon, Apr. 21, 2008 - Future home of my wisteria

Future home of my wisteria

One plant I really miss from San Jose is the beautiful and fragrant wisteria that we had growing on the arbor I made. So after erecting our deer fence the poles looke unfinished, kind of like my unfinished fence in the front. It is really hard to see the black nettting of the deer fence so unless you looked closely it looked like a bunch of 4x4s stuck in the ground. I decided I'd make a series of arbors like this one. I plan to use this one to grow a couple of wisteria vines. They're going to have to be planted outside of the fence, so I'll have to figure out some way to protect them from the deer until they get established.

Tue, Apr. 22, 2008 - Graining Supplies

Graining Supplies

I received the graining tools I recently ordered, so I guess this weekend I'm going to have to start the graining project. I'm a bit nervous about it, but I can always paint over it and try again if I don't like it. Stay tuned.

Sun, Apr. 27, 2008 - Tim's Race Track

Tim's Race Track

A couple of days ago I ran into Tim Philis at Nielsen's and got an invite up to his race track. His track has moved from the Dillon ranch up to the hills east of Centerville Rd. The new track is a lot more fun due to the elevation changes, and it's not quite as intimidating as the old one. Still, quite a workout for the KLX300 though. I also got to ride a Honda CRF450 and a CRF250. The 450 was an easy ride because it had such great torque I could just leave it in one gear around the whole track and be lazy. I still haven't gotten used to shifting while standing up on the pegs so not having to shift was nice. The 250 was down on power of course, but it was so light it was really easy to handle, especially in the muddy corners.

I mostly took photos while everyone else was riding and then went out while they were taking breaks. They are all a lot more advanced dirt riders than I am. That's Tim is showing off in the photo.