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.


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 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

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.


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.

The Kings Island Meal Deal


For the 2015 Season, we once again have Season Passes to the great Kings Island Amusement park.  Yep the whole family.

Working directly across the street from it for the last 10 years I’ve only been a handful of times.   We had season passes 18+ years ago when we lived in Landen but not since.

Anyway, turns out they have this “All Season Meal Plan” which you can add to your season pass.  It’s $90 plus tax and you can eat every 4 hours, so basically 2x per day if you’re there all day.    Last year I’m told it had a 2 hour wait period, but they moved that to 4 hours this year.

So what do you get?

At almost every restaurant, or food place, they have combo deals that are on the ”Meal Plan”.  It basically includes an entre of some sort and a side, usually chips or fries.

A burger and fries, a wrap and fries/chips, pizza and bread sticks, chicken fingers and fries.   You get the idea.   Of course no beverage is included.   You can’t include that when a 20oz of something is $4 retail.

Along the same lines *most* of these combo deals are $14-$15 each.     That’s right, two slices of Larosa’s pizza with bread sticks  $15.00.   Buddy is turning in his grave.  Though those combo’s usually do include a drink I think.

So basically, for lunch, I hop on over to KI, and grab a meal.   I can get in an out of there in 40 minutes most days.  Sometimes less, and even ride a ride or two if the lines are short.

It’s early in the game but I’ve been there over 15 times at the time this blog post so I’ve already gotten my money back and the season’s just starting.

Here’s an example of some of the food items:
(These are actual meals that I obtained, your results may vary, it seems the staff is not really well trained on what you get and what you don’t in a lot of places).

Skyline 3-Way and Cheese Coney:
Not the healthiest, but likely the best value in the park.

Larosa’s Pizza
2 Slices and some breadsticks

The Reds Club (formerly Montgomery Inn) in River town has some pretty good food:

Their Buffalo Chicken Wrap is one of the better meals.  Yes, that’s bacon on my burger, which isn’t part of the deal but if you ask nicely…   The Buffalo Chicken Salad cannot be beat, provided you get the crispy chicken.  The grilled chicken is suspect.

Chicken Shack Chicken Wrap:
What’s good here is you get to pick what’s in your wrap.

Hank’s Burrito Shack:

Hank’s is a Chipotle knock off.   Truth is, it’s just plain horrible.   The chicken is not good, the beef is really really bad, and none of it has any flavor.
Technically you’re only supposed to get a Burrito, or Burrito Bowl, or some Taco’s, but those also come with a side of chips and salsa.   The best bet is what you see above the taco salad, which my buddies got all year last year.    While I have eaten it a few times this year, we’ve been told it’s not on the meal plan.   I don’t get it, it’s the same thing a burrito only the tortilla is deep fried, and not very well I might add.

So we’ll see.   I can’t find my photos of the burrito bowl.  I’ve had that twice and if I never had it again I’d be OK with that.

Then again I’d rather eat that then the craptastic food at the Potato Works:
What you see above there is some form of Chicken tender, that’s of lesser quality than a chicken-nugget from McDonalds.   Maybe it’s the gluten free aspect that makes these so horrible, but the alleged chicken inside them wasn’t clearly recognizable as chicken.   On that same day my buddy opted for the corn dog meal deal and it was equally bad.

Also missing photos are:
Chick-fil-A, you can get a regular Chick-fil-A sandwich and large fry.  Yes their waffle cut fries.   This isn’t a horrible deal, but it’s not a lot of food.

There is a Panda Express in the fest-haus.   Which isn’t completely horrible it just depends on how fresh the food is and who’s serving.   The orange chicken is pretty plain, and the king pao is fairly spicy.   But the sides, the egg rolls, and Crab Rangoon’s without crab are pretty nasty.

You can get a 6” Subway sandwich too.   But what we’ve learned so far is that you really need to stay away from the meals that are labor intensive.   Building a 6” sub is hard for a lot of people and the line there isn’t worth the wait.

So I plan to post updates throughout the season.    The plan is to try and eat as healthy as is reasonable.   Chicken Salads, stuff like that when possible.   But a burger and/or pizza will get in there from time to time.   Thankfully the servings aren’t all that large and you end up walking quite a bit to get in and out of the joint.  Literally a mile in and out on a good day.

At last check, I’ve eaten there 32 times.   Money well spent.   We were told recently by an employee there that the average person only uses the meal plan 2.5 times.  (@ $90, that works out to $36 a meal for what could be a $14 meal).   We’re just doing our part to keep them from making obscene profits Smile