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.


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!

My turn

Cassie and I got back from a very long Sunday and were pretty whipped. So instead of leaving you all with nothing, I took a few shots of some decorations that have gone up around the Ringl house with my phone. Call this a preview. Perhaps Cassie or I will get several more shots up tomorrow.

Anyhow, here are a few pictures of what we’ve got up right now:

First here is the side of our refrigerator. I’ve gotten way excited about receiving Christmas cards this year because Cassie and I have been way too slammed with all of the moving around to get our own out. It really makes me look forward to us making our Christmas cards to send out next year.

Christmas cards

Right next to the refrigerator is this stocking. You may not be able to tell, but it’s about 3 feet tall. I keep telling Cassie I want to fill it all the way up with candy, but every time I bring it up she just stares at me kinda weird.

giant stocking

I think it might be because the weight of that much candy in one spot could crack the foundation of our new house.

Next to our front door we have a couple other decorations. I believe the technical terms for these pieces are “some green stuff wrapped around a lamp” and “some red flowery thing.”

Other stuff

Is it that obvious I have no idea what I’m talking about?

Finally, I took a quick picture of our tree.


It’s a live tree as that’s what Cassie wanted. I didn’t want it because unless a tree is producing delicious syrup I really don’t want anything to do with it. (On that note, I think I’m going to draw up some plans for “French Toast Fridays” starting in 2010!)


Text’n 2 – Return of the Text

My friend Brandon and I were planning to play some New Super Mario Bros. Wii and our conversation took a weird turn.


Cassie reminded me later that the sauce on shrimp is cocktail sauce and the sauce you get for bread sticks is marinara.

Which is weird, ’cause I thought marinara was what girls put on their eyes.


Caught red-handed

Recently Cassie and I were driving to a friends house when she found a Smootie King cup in my cupholder and got onto me for buying things impulsively.

My attempt at excusing my behaviour was to cite Jewish phylacteries as they exist to serve as a reminder “that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand did the LORD bring you out of Egypt.”

“What’s your point?” Cassie asked me. “What exactly is having a smoothie supposed to remind you of?”

I smugly replied, “It helps me remember that smoothies are delicious.”

To make a long story short: I am abstaining from these frozen delights for a little while.



Ida’s a-comin’!

With hurricane (tropical storm?) Ida expected to make landfall tomorrow, I have to do some last minute preparing!


Here’s my checklist:

  1. fill up on gasdone on my way to work this morning!
  2. get batteriesif I need extras I’ll pull them out of the wii remotes
  3. waterit’s raining… I’ll set out some pots and let mother nature bring the water to me
  4. stock up on canned goodsnot neccesary, still have a years worth of blueberry pie filling from my Y2K stockpile
  5. refill flintstones vitamins prescription – almost out!
  6. pork rinds! – I still have 10 or 12 bags, but what if there’s a post-hurricane shortage?
  7. charge gameboy batteriesbetter find my mario golf game too!
  8. get some cardboard boxes – in case I need to build a fort
  9. cashjust get more pork rinds! then I can just barter for anything I need! genius!
  10. duct tape the windows on the Vue – I don’t have any duct tape… I wonder if scotch tape will do?
  11. cross stuff off hurricane preparedness checklist – makes me feel productive!

Well I’m just about ready! Remember: your hurricane preparedness checklist is to be completed before the hurricane gets here! (you only make that mistake once!) And don’t forget your gameboy!