Archive for June, 2007


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Cars, Tech

Wow, this is some bad-ass stuff. I think I need one..



   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Bill Barnes says he was scratching off a losing $2 lottery ticket inside a gas station when he felt a hand slip into his front-left pants pocket, where he had $300 in cash.He immediately grabbed the person’s wrist with his left hand and started throwing punches with his right, landing six or seven blows before a store manager intervened.

“I guess he thought I was an easy mark,” Barnes, 72, told The Grand Rapids Press for a story Tuesday.

He’s anything but an easy mark: Barnes served in the Marines, was an accomplished Golden Gloves boxer and retired after 20 years as an iron worker.

Jesse Daniel Rae, the 27-year-old Newaygo County man accused of trying to pick Barnes’ pocket, was arraigned Monday in Rockford District Court on one count of unarmed robbery, a 15-year felony.

Barnes said he had just withdrawn the money from a bank machine and put it in the pocket of his shorts before driving to the Marathon service station and Next Door Food Store in Comstock park, a Grand Rapids suburb.

He remembers noticing a patron acting suspiciously, asking the price of different brands of cigarettes and other items. While turned away, Barnes felt the hand in his pocket, so he took action.

“I guess I acted on instinct,” he said.

Kent County sheriff’s deputies said the store manager quickly came around the counter. The three of them struggled through the front door, where two witnesses said the manager slammed Rae to the ground and held him there.

“There was blood everywhere,” said another manager on duty, Abby Ostrom, 25.

Barnes was a regional runner-up in Golden Gloves competition in the novice and open divisions before enlisting in the Marines in 1956.

He lived most of his adult life in Comstock Park with his wife, Patricia, before recently moving to Ottawa County. The couple have three children.

After retiring as an iron worker, he now works part-time as a starter at a golf course.

Barnes said he’d probably do the same thing again under the same circumstances, if for no other reason than what he would face back home.

“I wouldn’t want my wife to give me hell for lettin’ that guy get my money,” he said with a smile.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Food!


To quote the website:

A unique waterfront dining experience located on Pearl Lake in Altamonte Springs, Steak in the City features Mediterranean and Argentinean cuisine prepared fresh daily. At the center island buffet, choose from a variety of dishes including Israeli salad, matambre, eggplant tapenade, Capresse salad, taboule and hummus. From the grill, savor the taste of fresh meats such as churrasco, Brazilian and Argentinean steak, chicken, shish kabob and sausage. Steak in the City is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11AM. Happy hour at the bar Monday through Friday from 4PM to 7PM.

So I was paid a visit by the famous Ty this weekend. I finally managed to get an empty spot on his calender that was not already take up by flights around the world. He came over to check out my solar power project, have lunch, and check out the new Voxeo offices I’ve been working on. During lunch on Thursday, I had heard talk of my coworkers about a new “Meat and Salad Buffet” place. That was such an unfair description, I am forced to review this eatery myself.

We arrived just before lunch, just missing the traditional church crowd, unsure if the place was even open. Luckily, it was, and in we went. We were greeted nicely and were given a tour of how it all worked, and sat down. There are two main areas to the place. A central area which I will call “salads” but to do so is terribly unfair, and the other “meats” again unfair. The salad section had an incredible selection by which I could have filled myself with it alone. A full 1/3 of the things on tables I was unable to identify, but I’m sure it was all outstanding.

The meats not to die for, but still VERY good. They were out of one steak that I was interested in, and that gives me more than enough reason to go back. This place is everything I wanted in a Sweet Tomatoes, but with meat, yay meat.

Prices were good. Sunday lunch, 16$ish Weekday lunch 14ish. The pricing of it is confusing, and I’m not sure how much they had to drink when they dreamed it up, but I guess it makes sense to someone, just not me. The price tag changes by what you have to drink. I don’t drink wine/beer, and that makes the changes. It does look to be very available with a house bottle on every table. An additional gripe, this used to be a Shells, and the tables are all left over. Mine had a center hole with sand/rocks in it, with glass over it, and the glass was about an inch to small, so you couldn’t use the center of the table for anything without risk of the glass falling in. The table was also so wobbly (is that a word) that it was annoying. While the cook where I ordered my food was very helpful and polite, English was not his first language. I feel perhaps dealing directly with customers that speak only English may not be the best place for him to work. Two of us were very confused while interacting with him. Our server was able to finally resolve this.

Go eat there so they can replace that table! I’ll certainly be back, and I’ll bring friends. That’s not a threat, its just a warning.

I’d give it a 4-star-rating.gif


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff


I’ve learned today how powerful unconditional love really is. We had a terrible day Wednesday, and I found that it would be easier to just go out and drive around aimlessly rather that sit and home taking turns telling Buddy stories and crying. Neither of us have really slept or eaten in a couple days (on the plus side, I’m down 7 pounds)

The sign you see above started its like as a sign that was headed out to be placed as a “Lost Dog” sign. Since the bad news, I converted it to a sign in the yard that lets people know what happened. Its been very comforting the numbers of people that would arrive at our front door in tears to express their sorrow. Emails from all over the United States from people that had known Buddy from trips, and flowers placed at the sign added a very nice touch.

We drove around for an hour, and in desperation finally pulled into a Donatos to at least look at some food. At that point I had not eaten anything for over 24 hours, so I ordered a med pizza. I didn’t (for the most part) eat or drink anything during our dinner.

We both just collapsed at about 10pm in bed, as it had been a long day. I tried to sleep but was haunted by the visions of my trip to animal control to ID the remains before we picked them up. We were up at 6am, without purpose, so we sat in the movie room and talked (and cried) about all the fun things the dog would do, and how we would miss him as well as those things. I’ve had several long talks with people this am, family, friends, friends that are like family, and each gave their own kind words, and stories of how they loved the dog as well. Each has been through their own ordeals in life, and each concluded that things like this take time to fade.

I reflect back and the thousands of hours with Buddy. I’ve told story after story. I remember fondly our recent trip to Kentucky for many hundreds of miles I sat with Lori driving, with Buddy sitting in my lap. He was happiest when he could be with his people, as close as possible. He honestly loved to just be with people, Lori and I in particular, but he could befriend anyone. I will miss the excitement I saw when I would ask Puppy if he wanted to go for a ride. He didn’t care if it was around the block, or out of state. He loved to ride. Yesterday Puppy and I took our last car ride.

I used to have a talk with my dog every morning before I left for work. I would tell him that I have to go to work to make money to buy his cookies, that he should be a good puppy while we are gone and don’t bother Loki. “Be a good puppy” I would say. All the time he would make this face that would just pull at your heart, he would say “Please stay home and play with me, I love you. Please play with me more.”

With tears in my eyes I had that same conversation this am. I would give everything I have to stay home and play with Puppy today.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff

We remember him happy

We’ve suffered a great loss this morning. For those that may not already know, Buddy (Puppy, Poopy, etc) Dug his way to freedom Monday night while we were away. We searched and searched since then, putting up hundreds of signs for miles, all with no luck. Lori made a stop at Animal Control and was given the bad news that he had made his way to 434/Tollgate Rd some time Tuesday am, and was hit and killed.

Lori and I are obviously heartbroken and may take some time before we are able to move past this.

For the time, will be changed in remembrance of my Puppy.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Life Stuff, Rants

The last known picturesOk, I’m going now.

So, Monday at 8:16pm, Buddy (the dog) Dug his way to freedom. Obviously he wasn’t sure what to do with his freedom so he walked around a bit, then sat at the front door of the house. He then proceeded to head off into the sunset, and hasn’t been seen since. We arrived home 24 mins after his departure, he failed to leave a note.

Tuesday was spent calling, putting up flyers, and visiting shelters.

Buddy! where are you?


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Solar Power, Tech

Look at my panelTesting the panel voltage

So Saturday’s project was completed, though it was not completed till Sunday (in the dark) My good old long time friend Jim and his son worked into the early morning hours finishing up. No major problems, it was just a lot more work that anticipated. Perfect (summer) weather, no rain. All that participated went home with sunburns, and exhausted. Plenty of pics of the process to look at over on the -=Photoalbum=-

Lots more work to do, as the first project was only outside. Currently I have wire in my garage with things rigged up to work, it sure wouldnt pass code, yet. Outside is very impressive, and the inspector should have no issue with any of the construction.

As of about 11am today, the new solar arrays was powering (part of) the house, which was cool to see. Lots more tuning of things, and logs to keep to see how much power I can make a day.

The pics above. (left) – Me with the first panel out of the box (right) a voltage test of an array of panels with NO load. With a load, the voltage drops to about 56-58 volts to charge the v48 volt batteries.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Solar Power

Get this cat off my panels!

The time has come. 10 years in the making. Barring a flood or other natural disaster, Saturday will be the day I start making some free power. Jim tells me the van is loaded, and hes ready to go with the stuff. I took the time to try to clean things up a bit. Lots of new stuff coming in, need to make room. I really need to get a storage space, and a trailer, and get things moved out of the garage. I say that every day, but it just never happens. Stay tuned for pics from the process.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Just plain weird


Passengers landing at Gatwick airport are being greeted by a giant naked pole dancer. The 9,000 sq m (100,000 sq ft) image is painted on grassland under the incoming flight path.

Planning officers are investigating whether permission was granted for the advertisement, which promotes a website. The Council to Protect Rural England said that the display was “a tacky advert which set a nasty precedent”.


   Posted by: RobPatton   in Just plain weird, Life Stuff

This has to be one of the most amazing sequence of events caught on film in the wild. It involves a herd of water buffalos, a pride of lions, and several crocodiles. This amateur footage was taken at Kruger National Park in South Africa.