Josh Lyon

Rollerblading with Shiner

I’ve started rollerblading with Shiner (our dog). Since we got Dish Network, we’ve been watching a lot of Dog Whisperer – the show with Cesar Millan.  He is always talking about releasing the dogs energy and one of the examples we have seen him do to release dog’s energy is to go rollerblading with the dog and the owners. 

When it starts getting closer to bedtime, Shiner starts running around the apartment with a squeaky toy and we figure it has to drive the downstairs neighbor mad.  I usually try to stop her when she starts running around, but that probably keeps all her energy pent up in her.  Instead of just stopping her from running around, we decided to start helping her release some of that energy by taking her out rollerblading.

Josh Lyon

Shiner Lyon Google

I just wanted to let everyone know that my next goal is to make some pictures or information about my dog the top link on Google when you search for "Shiner Lyon".  Laura seemed to think it was ridiculous that I was doing some search engine optimization on my photo gallery tonight primarily for that reason, but I think it’s fun. Hopefully she (Shiner) will the top result shortly.  As a side effect of getting Shiner promoted, I’ve fixed some of the issues with my com_search component and an issue it had with OpenSEF. If anyone is interested in the apache htaccess hack, let me know via a comment and I can post some information on it.

Josh Lyon

Shiner Videos

As part of my quest to find a good video solution for my website, I’m trying out Google Video.  The video quality is a lot better than the local tool I was using (Sothink Flash Encoder), but the video is a lot choppier. I think the choppiness of the video has something to do with the framerates not syncing up during the video encoding process on Google’s end, but that may be because I took the video with my Treo 650 cell phone.  I’ll try some more videos with my regular camera later and see how those turn out. 

Shiner Jumps Out of Creek

Josh Lyon

Shiner – Test Video

I am trying to find a simple solution that will allow me to upload and play videos on my website in a format similar to google video or YouTube, but it doesn’t look like there’s really anything good out right now that does that.  The closest thing I’ve found is to convert the video to flash (flv) on a local computer, then upload the file to my webserver, then play that back with an FLV player.

I’ve attached a sample video below so you can see how Riva’s encoder performs.  It’s really crappy in my opinion, so I may just go back to using Google Video / YouTube.  The original video was taken with my Cell Phone at 640 x 480 resolution in 3G2 format. It was approximately 250kb in size.  I had the Riva encode shrink it down to 320 x 240 and somehow the video quality got worse (blockiness) and the size of the file went up to nearly 1 MB.

Josh Lyon

Laura and Shiner Moved In

The day has come.  Laura and Shiner have finally moved in!  I went to Austin this past weekend to get Laura, her stuff, and our dog and move it all up to Dallas.  I halfway expected it, but there was still some packing to be done.  Laura put in a good effort getting a good amount of boxes packed up, but there was still some stuff left to be done.  I flew down on Southwest Airlines via a one-way ticket from Dallas Love Field to Austin.

Side Story:

I’m really not a big fan of Southwest.  I think it’s really just a multitude of small things that add up and make it a bad choice for me.  For one, I hate the fact that your seats are not assigned. And I hate the whole boarding group thing: They give you these boarding groups that I think are defined by how early you check in. You have groups A, B, C which board the plane in alphabetical order. Even this is a multi-dimensional issue in itself.  Within these groups there is really no structure, so whoever gets to the airport earliest, or waits in line the longest, or somehow gets ahead of you in line gets the best priority within each group.  Even worse than that is the groups don’t really even seem to matter.  Group A had a ton of people in it with Group B and C passes.  So they were getting ahead of everyone when they shouldn’t.  On top of that group B somehow had two lines entering the plane at once. It’s really just a big mess.

So you finally enter the plane in your boarding group and realize everyone else who was actually in group B/C, but entered with group A, has taken all the aisle seats except for a few at the back. So you work your way all the way to the back of the plane because you have long legs and want the space for your knees and need room in the aisle for a little breathing room for the boys downstairs (read: your family jewels [read: your balls]). But as you get to the back of plane where there are now only two or three aisle seats open – where you passed plenty of middle seats 20 rows up – some douchebag from group C who decided to board ahead of you in group B takes the last aisle seat.  With everyone behind you entering the plane and looking for a seat you are stuck where you are.  You are in the farthest seat to the back of the plane. And it’s a middle seat.

God, I hate Southwest.  But back to the real story at hand.  I dealt with the crappy seat for all of about 45 minutes and landed in Austin.  Laura picked me up with Shiner in the car and they were both really happy to see me.  Laura gave me kisses and Shiner gave me… licks.  I really don’t remember anything from that night so it was either uneventful or we went down-town and had such a good time that I don’t remember it. We got up early and packed up the Penske truck with all Laura’s belongings.  I was surprised at how much we filled the truck up, but we also inherited a washer and dryer from the apartment complex. (Thanks!) Shiner and Maddie –my brother’s dog– got to play one last time and Laura and I started on our way to Dallas.

The trip was pretty uneventful.  I got to cruise in the big ‘ol Penske and Laura and Shiner rode in her car.  We stopped by Laura’s mom’s new place to drop off the couch Laura had and pick up her old dresser and night-stand.  Laura’s mom had just moved the day before us, so luckily all the stuff was downstairs in the garage. Brian Kammerer and Laura’s mom met us over at the new place and we all moved everything in.  It was a ton of help (thanks ya’ll!).

Brian’s now borrowing my xbox for the week as part of his “payment.” He is also getting a ridiculously sweet deal on a pull-out-bed couch and leather couch.  That’s another story all together but the reader’s digest version is this: I asked Brian if he needed couches (now that we have like 5) and he said yes.  Later I was joking with Laura that we would give him buy-one-get one free and give him a great price on the pull-out couch. She offered the combined offer of a great price and buy-one get one free and he said yes.  He was a ton of help anyways and I’m happy to help a friend, so it all really works out in the end.

My brother wants the chair-and-ottoman that matches the pull-out couch and I really need to figure that out.  I don’t want to store it for the next few months… so Jesse, we’ll be in contact.

As my good buddy Porky used to say,
“That’s all folks.”

Josh Lyon

New Dog – Shiner

So I got a new dog this past weekend!  I can't say that I found the dog, as it's more like she found me (or my brother).

My brother, Jesse, works for Sprint and was at a Sam's Club for the day when a stray dog decided it wanted to go inside the building.  The staff that worked there kept trying to kick the dog out, but weren't very successful in doing so.  They would take her outside and close the door on her, then she would just run around as fast as she could to the other door.

At one point, she even began to use some stealth tactics to try to get in the door.  As a couple of people were walking in, she snuck behind them and tried to walk right in behind them, like she was part of the crowd.  My brother felt bad for her and decided he would take her home, clean her up, then take her to the vet/shelter.  He figured he would probably handle her a little nicer than the guys at Sam's would who wanted to kick her out.Image gallery link at the bottom.

Laura and I were just getting home from having lunch and getting my haircut, when we saw Jesse walking in the apartment complex with his dog, Maddie, plus another one that was just a little bigger. We asked him who she was and he explained the story to us.  We pretty much instantly fell in love with her and decided to go with Jesse to get her all washed up.

She was whining a lot as we washed her, but I think it was only because she was starving and she had to watch Maddie eat a full bowl of food during the bath.  We scrubbed her down pretty thoroughly with some anti-flea shampoo and she looked completely different.  I wish we would have had some before and after pictures, but you'll have to deal with just the afters.

Right when we got done cleaning her, she went straight for the remnants of what was in the food bowl.  We gave her some more food, but didn't want to overdo it and have her throw up. After relaxing and playing with Maddie inside and outside, we took her to the vet to get her scanned for a microchip.

For those of you who don't know, they are now putting RFID microchips in animals so that when they are lost/found you can take them to a vet/shelter and they can scan the animal to get the owners information out.  Sounds kinda Star Trek like, but the future is now.  Turns out she didn't have a microchip and there were no reports out for anyone looking for her.

We decided to have the vet do a full check-up and administer the shots/medicine she needed.  She was running a temperature of 104* F.  It's actually only a degree or two high, as dogs typically run between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit.  She probably had been eating some bad stuff while she was on the street, which was causing the fever, so the medicine should take care of that and we will have to go back later for her vaccinations and microchip. Image gallery link at bottom.

I almost forgot to mention one of the other sad parts.  When my brother found her, she had a tiny collar around her neck that was almost choking her.  It was probably put on her when she was younger and she got lost and grew out of it.  It was dirty and missing some of the beads on it, so she was probably out on her own for a while.  She's in good hands now, as she's at my girlfriend Laura's place getting pampered and her medicine administered.

Here's a link to the photo gallery: