Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

For those that are not aware, my daughter Maggie has been sky diving since the fall of 2015. Due to a few events in her life, she decided she wanted experience as many things as should could. She would not be held back and she would not wait around on anyone else. She took a tandem sky dive as part of her #pearladventures tour and fell in love with it and has been sky diving ever since.

So fast forward to June 12th, 2016. That’s the day that her sister Molly had scheduled her first tandem sky dive and I was there just to observe.

If you’re not aware, a tandem skydive simply means you don’t need any skills or training. You get harnessed up and strapped to an instructor. Ideally, someone who’s done this before 🙂 So you get the full effect without having to do any work.

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You Gotta Start Somewhere

There comes a time in every boy’s life when it’s time to learn to cut the grass.  Matthew’s training started today.  Fortunately for him it doesn’t involve a push mower.

Unfortunately for me, this means he’s gonna be cutting the field that was the horse pasture for a while until he gets the hang of a 800lb 60 inch zero turn mower.

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And that’s probably going to be a while.   But for his first time he did great!  I think he only ran into about 3 or four fence posts, even though I cut the first 8-10 feet inside the fence before he got started Smile 

The best part is, it’s still going to be fun for him for a while, and doesn’t feel like work.  Maybe I can get him to pay me to let him do it Smile

Cruise 2016 (Oasis of the seas)

This year Claudine and I decided we needed our own vacation.  So just like 5 years ago we booked a cruise.  This time on the Oasis of the seas, Royal Caribbean’s largest ship to date.  (At the time I’m writing this the Oasis class is still the largest ship, there is dispute over which one of the ships is actually the largest, it might be the Allure).

This blog post will be about the highlights of our cruise, it’s not going to be a review of the cruise or the ship.  That will come later.  The short review is simply this:

We love cruising, we love the all inclusive nature, with the opportunity to see multiple ports of call, good food, good atmosphere, add in the rocking of the boat and it’s the best sleep you’ll ever get.

This cruise was not without its challenges.  In short, it is unlikely we’ll ever cruise on the Oasis again.  We might try the Allure, but not the Oasis.  This has nothing to do with cruising itself, but Royal dropped the ball more than a few times on this trip.   We heard from plenty of other passengers including a few that had previously sailed the Oasis and other Oasis class ships that this was below their normal expectations for service and quality.  It is unclear to me if this is a company wide issue or if it’s an issue with this ship.  In the past we found our trip on the Freedom of the seas to be a 10 out of 10, the same ship (Indy) was more like an 8 out of 10 with respect to service/entertainment.   Using the same scale, the Oasis probably only scores a 6.5-7, and that’s not ‘awesome’.   Still at the end of the day, you’re on a cruise ship!, and it was still hella fun, and still an outstanding value.    Details on this will come later.

We booked our 7 night, Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Oasis of the seas through Costco.  Including flights from Cincy to Fort Lauderdale we were all in for a little less than $3000 USD ($2400 for the cruise/$600 air fare).  This was an upper ‘superior view balcony stateroom’.  I’m sure this isn’t the ‘ultimate deal’ but it was in our minds a pretty good deal.

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Tuft and Needle–Mattress Review

First, I’m not a mattress expert or a traditionally trained sleep specialist.  Although if sleeping were an Olympic sport, I could probably pretty easily make it into the regionals.

I know how to sleep.

We recently ordered a Tuft and Needle Foam Mattress after reading a review on Bestmattress-brand.org and when I posted that via Facebook folks said they wanted to know what if we liked it.

So here goes.

A good mattress should last between 8 and 10 years.  According to the Internet.  Just google it and that’s the answer you’ll find so I’m using that.

We’ve had multiple mattresses during what’s so far is a 26 year marriage.   Admittedly in the beginning we had cheap ones.  We had a water bed when we first got married (Don’t judge me, it was the 80’s).  Then a cheap King mattress set, and at one point we got a new foam mattress from the in-laws who didn’t like it or found it to soft or something.  I can’t remember the details.

But what I do know and can easily recall is our last mattress.     We decided it was time we had a ‘good mattress’ and we bought that in 2008 from the Original Mattress Factory.    They are, or were highly recommended in our area.  At the time we purchased a Orthopedic Luxury Firm Mattress.

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Naze32 Tri-Copter from rcexplorer.se

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything with my “Drones” or rather my multi-rotors.    I got pretty darn frustrated with the APM line of flight controllers as well as the PixHawk so I put it all down for a while and am slowly getting back in.

A few months ago I stumbled across a Tri-Copter frame with a Naze32 built in.  The two things I’ve liked most about this hobby, the Naze flight controller, and a tri-copter.

So dumped a TBS Discovery frame with DJI Flight controller on ebay and ordered one up.

It took almost a week to get here from Sweden and I assembled it today with left over parts I had had laying around.   16A ESCs (probably too small), and 3 of my eMax 2213 935kv 2212 Motors.

Ideally, you can run all the cords inside the carbon fiber arms, but I had trouble getting stuff to fit, these carbon fiber arms are literally 1/2 as thick as the wood arms of my simple copter.  I also was at a loss for longer cables for the controller so I ran everything outside for now.   I’ll address that when I get new ESCs.

So basically, no, it’s not as clean as I’d like.

$137 for the tricopter-v3-kit, with Power Distribution board and Naze32 board is a pretty good deal.  I ended up buying some spare arms and a few other bits because I know I’m going to crash, including the server that David sells and recommends.

I already had: 3x Motors, 3x ESC’s, 3x Props, and a Spektrum Receiver, as well as the bits to make the power cord for the battery.

All in all it took about 4 hours from start to finish.   A bit longer because I did a lot of stuff twice trying to figure out how to extend things and what not.

David, the guy at RCExplorer who put this together has a couple GREAT Videos to walk you through the assembly.   Admittedly, setting up Naze isn’t easy for a noob.   But David makes it almost bullet proof to get off the ground.    I flew it for about 3 batteries today tuning it, and it flies GREAT.   Can’t wait to strap the GoPro to it and add some lights for orientation.

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There is a purpose built firmware for this board, and an optimized version for tri-copters in general on a standard naze32 using cleanflight (instead of baseflight) and David gets you started with all the right settings.  His walkthrough video is very, very thorough.

Updated with some video of the first 2 camera enabled flights.