My contribution

Cassie has let me know that my absence from our website is inexcusable. Also she reminds me of this nearly every day by sighing and saying, “I really need to update the website.” Then after a short pause, “It sure has been a while since you’ve updated the website.”

I pretend not to notice and go back to looking at funny pictures of cats.

But the time has finally come for me to concede and contribute to what is our website.

The trouble is deciding what to write about. In keeping with the overall spirit of the site I decided that I would make something with a “how-to” and “do it on the cheap” flair to it. So I’ll be covering what I know best: computers.

So consider this a teaser. Monday through Friday next week is computer week. Tips, tricks, ways to save money, programs to use, and anything and everything that I consider helpful that I can fit into the space of a week.

I’ve got a couple topics planned, but I also want to get your input on what you’re curious about. So leave a comment below with a question or two and I’ll do my best to address everything I can.


Wedding tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day!

My little sister is getting married tomorrow! Expect pictures to go up soon after!

For those of you who can’t be there, you’ll notice that there is a new page on the site. Click the link that says, “Valerie’s Wedding” to be taken to the page with the video feed. The wedding starts at 4:00PM Central Standard Time. So be sure to get there a little early so you don’t miss anything! Also, you may want to check the page now to assure that you can see the videos!

Also, here is a little guide on how to use the player: (click to enlarge!)

Guitar Shopping

I recently bought a used Fender Rumble 100 (pictured on the right) bass amp from my friend Brandon. I’m greatly enjoying having a practice amp again and I’ve found that it’s greatly increased the amount of time I spend playing and learning new songs. While a big part of that is being in the honeymoon stage of owning a new piece of equipment and the amount of time I spend with it will taper off slightly over time, I’m guessing I’ll spend a lot more time practicing than I used to (playing through headphones is lame!).

However, this has gotten me searching for a new guitar as well.

Perhaps I should be more specific. When I mention to Cassie that I’d like a new guitar she gets a hurt look on her face and reminds me that I just got a new guitar for my birthday. And although I love my Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar, what I actually mean is that I would like a new bass guitar.

My current bass is a long term loaner from Brandon. And while I’m content playing it, eventually I will have to return it. Because of that I’m always passively looking at other basses and trying to decide what I’d like. So I decided I would share the short list of what bass guitars I’m considering here along with some relevant information.

1. Ibanez SRX350

Cost: $399.99
What Cassie will say: “Four-hundred dollars? Why is it so expensive?”
This is the guitar that I play on Tuesday nights with the Crossroads band. It belongs to Sam, who leads the band, but I’ve gotten so comfortable on it that at this point I’m considering one as an option for my own guitar.

2. Epiphone Thunderbird Pro-V

Cost: $599.99
What Cassie will say: “You’d better quit dreaming! You can buy that when you sell one of your other guitars… Actually, if you want to afford that you’ll probably need to sell all your other guitars!”
I like the Thunderbird basses almost solely because of their distinctive shape. It’s got a dirtier sound than the other guitars on this list, but sometimes that can be a good thing.

3. Fender American Deluxe Jazz

Cost: $1299.99
What Cassie will say: Not much since her head exploded at the thought of a guitar that costs thirteen-hundred dollars.
The Jazz Bass is easily the guitar I would like the most. There is a standard version (I believe it’s Mexican built instead of American, but I could easily be wrong) that can be had for as little as $700, but that cost difference is due to substituted parts that change both the sound of the bass as well as how well it plays (Meaning I would buy the $700 version if I had the money, but I would have to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to just wait it out and save up for the better version).

While there are other basses that I’ve considered, the above three are definitely the guitars that I like the most. And perhaps one day soon I’ll write a post on what bass I eventually bought.

(I have an idea on what Cassie would say about that too, but it would be wise for me to keep it to myself.)


An oft requested story

I posted the above “tweet” on a very strange morning.

This would be the same weekend as the Family Friendly Fire when Cassie and I were staying over at her parents for a multitude of reasons. But this particular morning I was getting ready to fill in leading The Core’s Sunday school lesson. As I was gathering my stuff together to head out the door and to church I received a phone call. It was a local (though unfamiliar) number, so I picked up.

Me: Hello?
FHP: Hi. This is the Florida Highway Patrol. Is this Stephen Ringl?

It was at this point I knew it was going to be a weird morning.

The FHP had called me to let me know that my car had been found wrecked. The odd part? It was three houses down from where I parked it, across the street, and in someone’s yard.

It turned out that during the night it had been hit. And when I say hit, you should probably read “slammed into with the force of Russell Casse in his last ditch effort to save humanity.”

Anyhow, a highway patrolman came out to survey the scene and fill out a report. Here are a few pictures of what he had to work with:

Here is where I parked:

If you look in the background you can see where my car is. Let’s zoom in:

To this day I’m not sure what happened to the other headlight. My belief is that it was smashed into oblivion.

After the officer finished his work he asked if I’d like to move it out of the yard myself, or if I’d like it towed. Hoping that it just looked a lot worse than it really was I tried to start it up.

Bad idea.

Long story short, insurance wrote the car off as a total loss and (after way too long) got me a check.

So if you know a car for sale cheap, you’ve got a local Ringl in need!