Switching out a garage door opener

About a year ago I drove into my driveway after a full day at work and found my garage door open. Immediately I assumed the worst and my heart skipped a beat. For those of you who don’t know, I keep a lot of stuff in my garage including easily a couple thousand dollars worth of tools, so finding my garage wide open was very troubling. Thankfully all of my stuff was still inside but I was very troubled. It wasn’t clear why the garage was open or who might be responsible for it. A couple days later while at...

Why I’m looking forward to moving out of the south

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my past year and a half, almost two years, living in Tallahassee. The often forgotten capital of Florida has served me well and I’ve made friends down here that I wouldn’t sacrifice for anything, yet I already know that my days down here are limited. After having grown up in Massachusetts and attending undergraduate at Boston College, it took a bit of adjustment when I first moved down here in January of 2015. Since then I’ve gotten to know the city through my weekend adventures, during those beers after work, and on the trips...

Year in Review

While it scarcely seems possible, it was just a year ago that I moved into my first house and started my graduate school career. If the passage of life, and the measure of that life, is to be defined by the events within it, then for the past year I have done a lot of living. It is my intention to make this short essay about some of the challenges and learning experiences I’ve had over that past year with the emphasis on the lessons learned and what are hopefully some words of wisdom. Moving to a new city where...

Kitchen Renovation: Measurements and Quotes for new Countertops

Over the past two weeks I’ve been running around town either before or after work in the hope of negotiating a fair price for some granite countertops in my latest kitchen remodel. Since I’ve found the experience frustrating and painstaking, I wanted to share my experience with the local businesses in case anyone finds themselves setting out on a similar project. First, let me introduce you to my kitchen. It is a simple galley kitchen (i.e. compact and designed as if for a ship) with black appliances, oak cabinets and laminate floors. With regards to the countertops, the kitchen consists of...

Home Workshop

Over the last couple days I’ve been working pretty hard trying to get a home workshop together, and I wanted to share the progress I’ve made. My house has an attached 1 car garage which also houses both the laundry area and the trash bins, so space is a bit tight. Let’s jump right in and see how I attempted to maximize the floors space and to arrange everything for function.   Beginning with my electrical design tools and parts, I setup a main workbench complete with tools, an old laptop and a dry erase board. The bench I made...

Designing a Pergola

Florida has a ton to offer, and so far Tallahassee has been treating me pretty well. The only complaint I have–and it certainly won’t surprise you–is about the bugs. Mosquitoes and flies are plentiful down here and make it a tad tricky to make full use of the great weather down here. One of the best ways to combat the bugs is, of course, to screen in outdoor areas so you get comfortable outdoor areas with all the protection of being in doors. (more…)

Patio Upgrade: Part 1

Update: The second part of this article can now be found at Patio Upgrade: Part 2. While thinking about the backyard today I realized that there’s been a project that I’ve wanted to do for a while yet it always seems to slip my mind when I have time for it. Before we get to the project itself, let me give some background. Behind my house there’s a concrete patio which is 20′ by 12′ and is fairly good shape. Since it’s so well shaded by trees and the house, there is of course some algae growing on it but...

Golfing

Today was the first biannual Tsunami Invitational Golf Tournament which is to say that a group of oceanographers and meteorologists got together for a round of golf. The game was best ball and there were ten people including me. Everyone there was considerably older than I which actually worked out quite well since I really haven’t hit a golf club in the last four years. Based on what I saw today I can’t wait to go back for another round ASAP. The course was the FSU Seminole Golf Club (link) which is both a beautiful place and a venue that I...

Saturday Gardening

Since the forecast looks like they’ll be plenty of rain in the near future, I figured that this morning would be a perfect time to fill in some bare spots in my garden out back. Continuing off of my plan from a couple months ago, I had hoped to find some low-maintenance, ornamental plants to place around the patio. Luckily that bit of the yard does seem to get nearly full sun for a good portion of the day (full sun plants are always easier to find), and Tallahassee gets enough rain that most plants can take care of themselves. ...

Climate Change

When I moved to Florida from Boston, I knew there were be a few cultural differences that I would have to work around. That goes without saying, and one of these differences surrounds the whole issue of climate change and anthropogenic carbon emissions. While I like to think that most people are pretty open minded when it comes to scientific consensus[1], my hopes fall a bit short when I look around at Tallahassee. (more…)

Measuring a dye patch from a drone

While my interests are, admittedly, quite broad, I’ve always been fascinated with signal processing and remote sensing. Just imagine the technological marvel that we can accurately measure the amount of chlorophyll, a grove of marijuana or the amount of snow from a satellite whose travelling 1,000s of miles per hour around our planet. If that’s not magic then I don’t know what is! So given this interest of mine, it’s no surprise that I’ve really gotten into the latest developing in a tracer-release study I’m involved in. (more…)

Cycling down to St Mark’s Lighthouse

Last weekend I decided to try out a new cycling route since I’m not finding the St Mark’s rail trail as novel as I once did. Now don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy the route quite a bit, especially since it makes for a great way to get away from some of the less friendly roads of Tallahassee. So my plan was to take the rail trail down to the BIg Bend Scenic Highway before jumping off and finding my way to the St Marks Wildness Reserve. My goal for this trip was to get all the way to the...

A quick upgrade for the Jeep

It’s no secret that I’ve been heading down to Apalachicola National Forest every chance I get, and my jeep will attest that the roads down there are quite “rural”. Depending on how the preceding weather has been the roads will either greet us with clouds of dust or deep-rutted mud. There are ditches, rocks and washed out roads aplenty down there, which is half the fun of heading down there for a hike or kayak trip. But it was at the end of a trail running excursion last weekend that I suddenly pieced together a micro project for the jeep. A...

Month in Review

Although I look at my calendar every day, this date still managed to sneak up on me. It has been one month now since I moved into my new house and started a new life here in Florida. One whole month. In that time I have started work towards my PhD, found a love of gardening, and most of all have–at least in part–acclimatized to life in Tallahassee. Perhaps it has been my Jesuit education, or just a natural tendency for curatorship(1)For some explanation of this, please check this page out. , but whatever the reason may be it only...

Kayaking the Sopchoppy River

Catalyzed by my successful visit to Lake Talquin yesterday (post), I decided to make a trek up the Sopchoppy river in the Apalachicola National Forest this morning. I had never really ventured into the park before and my only experience with it has been my cycling visits to the St Mark’s Rail Trail(1)If you are looking for a great day trip, I highly recommend this rail trail and St Marks. so this was an exciting adventure. Since I didn’t know much about the river including flow and size, this was a rather unpredictable foray into river kayaking. On the way...

Kayaking in the Winter

Florida, I have to admit, is quite the place to live. Well, I might just be a tad biased considering that this winter is giving most of the country nothing but blizzards and freezing temperatures from coast to coast. Today I headed out from university early(1)It is a Friday after all… to make full use of the day’s sunny weather and took my Oru kayak out for a dip. (more…) Notes   [ + ] 1. ↑ It is a Friday after all…

Weekend Yardwork

Continuing my progress from a couple weeks ago (see here), I decided to turn my attention towards the backyard and start making a more inviting and useful space. The patio area–and most of the backyard–is pretty much a blank slate with lots of possibilities so I’m looking forward to see how it turns out. Giving the vast array of options for this space, you might be surprised to hear that coming up with a plan was pretty easy. Here is a preliminary sketch of my plan. To give you a sense of scale, the patio is 18′ by 12′ and would...

Wild in Tallahassee, or the local chain movie theater

Tonight after my first full day since moving to Tallahassee I had some free time, so I decided to reward myself for getting some paperwork sorted out (as well as some other odds & ends taken care of). (1)Note, how should I rearrange the grammatical arrangement of this sentence to fix the terminating preposition? Since I am hoping to spend more time taking in the arts and culture that Tallahassee has to offer (2)I should I taken better advantage of the art scene offered in Boston. Let’s make sure we don’t let two cities pass me by., I went to...

Becoming a Floridian, again

Since some of you know of my exotic childhood of being raised in the Florida Keys, I wont dwell on that chapter of my life for too long. I lived for over fours years in the tropics and hurricane-prone chain of islands that extend off into the gulf of Mexico. While I was quite young at the time, my memories of the place are rather piecemeal and perhaps not the most robust; yet I recall the nice weather and gorgeous, blue water. (more…)