Post-Christmas Update

Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Hey everyone!

I hope your holidays have been spectacular, and that you had all your dreams come true. We can be optimistic, right? ūüôā

It was a wonderful Christmas holiday for me, full of smiles and awesomeness. The smiles came from everyone else, and the awesomeness, well, that was due to my awesome Christmas presents. ¬†Considering I hinted at it in the last post and I have some people who are curious of what they look like, I’ll start off by talking about the Christmas ornaments I made for family and friends.




The christmas ornaments mean a lot to me. 2009 would have been the first Christmas in about 26 years that family members didn’t receive their annual (handmade) ornament from my Grandfather, if it weren’t for me. Pop-pop taught me how to use many tools, and I’m sure that I inherited my mechanical ability from him. ¬†So, I got started trying to decide what I’d have my first ornament look like. And lemme tell you, I felt like it had to be amazing. What can I say? I have high standards. (Did I meet your standards?)

I made the 2009 ornament out of Acrylic plastic- commonly lumped into the category of ‘Plexiglas’. What a wacky material! I love the optical quality of this plastic; what I don’t like is its other physical properties! Acrylic cuts, but shortly after you start, it begins to melt around your blade. And when it melts, it emits an unpleasant odor that many people say is toxic. ¬†I started making the ornaments and cutting them with a small hacksaw. This was fine for rough cuts, but the radius of the ornament is smaller than the hacksaw could do! To get the circle to a circular shape, I had to spend hours with my Dremel rotary tool grinding the edges. This was very smelly, at the prime hour of 1am, too. ¬† ¬† In the photos I posted, you can see a scroll saw on the table. This was what made it so that I could cut the ornaments much faster. Of course, this wasn’t without its own faults, too. I believe I’ve broken 6 blades thus far.

That’s just the cutting part of the process, too. I engraved/etched the text/image onto the back of each ornament with my Dremel, too. I think everyone I’ve explained this to enjoyed hearing that I had to write the words ‘Merry Christmas’ backwards and mirrored just to make it all work.

I’m not complaining though. I’m happy that they’re made! I hope you like how it looks~ ¬†I got smiles and really great compliments from the family members I gave them to on Christmas, which I’m so happy about. I still have a few more to complete, which I’ll do today/tonight after I get back from my bike ride. Wooooeeeeee!

Onto the awesome part: I got some really awesome gifts! All of them were excellent, but there was definitely one which will help me kick butt on the bike and the run: a Garmin Forerunner 310XT! This was given to me by my parents, with some help of my friend Saul. Thank you, you guys!



The new Garmin replaces my recently-deceased Garmin Edge 305. After some 3.5 years of good use, a trip in the washing machine sent the angels rushing to collect ol ‘Edgy’. ¬†Okay so yes, it was completely my fault, but I had been considering a replacement even before it happened, so that I could get data while running! I swear!

The new Garmin is a super-sweet tool for both running and riding¬†(And looking like a nerd wearing it). It measures heart rate while running, while also being able to tell me speed/pace, elapsed time, and well, a whole load of other things. And, it’s waterproof to 50 meters! I can use it to time the swim portion of triathlons, if I were good at swimming of course. ¬†And the bike portion: works with my speed/cadence sensor that I had with my 305, so I can still use the watch for measuring stats in everything from races to century rides. ¬† ¬† ¬† Okay, I feel like I’m advertising it or something. My bad. I just think it’s exactly what I can use to bring myself to the top of the standings in bike and running races. After all, someone who has a resting heart rate that’s in the mid-40’s should use everything he can. I’m not bragging, but I’m still kinda surprised that it’s that low.¬†¬†I fall into the ‘lifetime athlete’ category by Garmin’s standards. : )

Okay this has been an extra-long post for you. I might be some sort of lifetime athlete, but I’m still fun too. Looking forward to some crazy antics on New Year’s Eve! ¬† Have a good break (for you students) and a great short week for you mature adults…

-Doug

[Update: ¬†I took photos of all of the ornaments that my Pop-pop made for family and friends. It’s on my to-do list to put the photos on Flickr, so that everyone can enjoy. ]

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Happy Christmas, Everyone! 310XT: First Ride today

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