Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Laptops

I have two laptop computers. Problem is, they're very old laptops. One is a "NEC" brand that runs Windows 98. The other is a Mac that's incredibly slow. It runs OS9. I have been letting these laptops sit around and collect dust. Now I think I'm going to do something with them.

Yesterday I wiped the hard drive of the Windows laptop and reinstalled everything so that I could get rid of it. I'll probably sell it on ebay, if there's any sort of market. I haven't researched that yet, so I'm not sure. If not ebay, then I'll probably just donate it to somebody somewhere. There must be organizations online that want old computers, just as there are organizations that want old cell phones. (I have a pile of those, too, come to think of it.) As far as I can tell, the laptop works fine. It has an internal CD drive (don't think it's writable, but not really sure), and an external dial-up modem and floppy drive.

As far as the Mac, I think I'm going to keep that for now. Even though it's old and slow, it works just fine, and it will give me the ability to get away from my desk from time to time. I will use it to write letters and blog posts - that sort of thing. I'll have to transfer the files to my desktop for posting and/or printing, since the laptop isn't connected to anything.

Weather Report

It's an ugly day outside. Overcast, rainy, cold. It must have snowed a little at some point because there is some snow in the tree in the backyard, in the V part where the trunk separates into branches. (Would you believe I couldn't find what that's called on the Internet?! Amazing!)

I'm completely out of dog food and really need to go out and buy some, but I don't feel like it! Don't worry. The dogs won't starve. I fed them well this morning - canned food mixed with dry. This evening I'll give them some turkey hot dogs. I usually give them one turkey dog apiece each evening because Celie needs to take medication and I always stuff her pill in a turkey dog. Today I'll give them a couple each. They'll think they've gone to heaven!

Oh, wait. I just remembered I do have some "Moist and Meaty." That's not a staple around here. I sprinkle a little on top of their dry food (Purina One), sort of like whipped cream on pie. So they won't go hungry between now and tomorrow.

Rosie will act like she's starving. She has me trained. She'll make a little whiney noise and that means I'm supposed to get up and get her a snack. She'll continue to make the whiney noises until I finally do get up, or go crazy.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

God Sent Grackles

He really did. I truly love the sound of a large flock of grackles. These flocks also occasionally include other birds - usually starlings. For some reason, the sound soothes me. For the last couple of days there has been a large flock near my house. Today I went out and asked God to bring them over to my backyard - which He did. Hundreds of birds in my tree and the surrounding trees. What a joy.

As I listened I thought, these birds are like carolers - they go from tree to tree, singing their songs. Eventually they move on to another location and sing their song for someone else.

They're welcome in my yard any time.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowing Like Crazy in Central Texas

Who would have guessed that we'd have a white Xmas Eve in central Texas? It's truly amazing!

(I told you it was going to get cold!)

UPDATE:

I want to mention that, in my 56 years of life and 22 years of military service, and having spent the holiday season in many states and in two different countries (USA and Germany), this is the closest I've ever been to a "white Christmas." Here. In central Texas. Where it was 73 degrees yesterday.
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Ten Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas

Top Ten Reasons Why I Don't Celebrate Christmas - click here to read.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh, Here's Something Funny

I read this blog daily. If you're a fan of Lost, you might want to read it, too. Jorge has been posting an Advent Calendar consisting of photos of his dog chewing various things around the house. Today's post mentions how Nunu likes to chew (eat) cat poop. Well, I have a dog that does this too, so I posted a reply to Jorge's post. His comments are moderated, and you have to do a word verification before your comment can be submitted. I submitted my comment with no problem. Then the blank comment "form" came back up, as it does, and displayed a new verification word. Here's a screen shot. What do you think? Weird, huh?!!


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Awake and Alert, Sort of

This is the first time I've felt some version of awake and alert for quite some time. I went to bed at 6 a.m., got three hours of sleep, got up, ate breakfast, drank coffee, and got on the computer. Too bad I don't have a damned thing to write about. Oh wait, I guess I do.

I had a nice online chat this morning with my niece who sent me a link to photos of her newest "grandkids." Her boy sired the cuties. We also touched on the current relationship between myself and my two brothers. When I started getting teary eyed we changed the subject. Still, the chat was nice since we don't communicate very often.

Then I got a surprise when my half-sister started a chat with me. She and I don't communicate much, either. In fact, we've only actually seen each other twice in our lives, when we were both very young. She was too young to remember. She is my dad's daughter, born after my parents divorced and dad remarried. We had a great, fun time discussing the pros and cons of boyfriends and husbands. She told me that she is now in a very healthy and happy relationship, and I'm very happy for her. (Gotta get one of those for me.)

It's a balmy 72 degrees here in central Texas. Windows are open! Don't be jealous. It's going to get real cold real fast in a few hours. (Well, real cold for central Texas!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nirvana!

I have finally - finally - located an album from my youth that I have missed dearly for years. I had come to believe that it was so old and obscure, that no one would ever convert it to mp3 format - or any other format for that matter. But I found it. I searched Google for one of the only song titles I remembered from the album and, lo and behold, there it was, on Lala! The whole effing album!

No, the album is not by the group Nirvana. That's how I'm feeling now listening to the album. The album is "If I could only remember my name" by David Crosby.

Ahhhhh. It's as great as I remember.

(Did you know that you can type the name of a song in the search field on Google and get a playable mp3 file as the top result? It's very cool. And the Lala price was cheaper than Amazon.com.)

(If you decide to check Lala out and sign up, please let me know before you do, because if I refer you I'll get five free downloads.)
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This is new

I got an e-mail from a "secret admirer" which led me to a blog post. Here is the blog post (with URL removed):

I've never seen spam like this before. It's a real blog post at blogger.com. (I reported it for spam.) You must admit it's clever and intriguing. But as soon as they mention the "CC or Debit" you know it's spam.

I have to admit that I'm curious to see how far the scam goes. Will there really be photos of someone with my name on them? I've seen that done with graphic trickery in other places -- someone with a name tattooed on them, but input a new name and the tattoo changes. It's a clever trick. But I won't check it. I'm not into porn, and I'm surely not into paying for porn!

I strongly suspect that, if I went any further it would end up being a woman with my name written on her body, because all of the porn spam I get is directed at men. But it's sent by people who obviously are too stupid to realize that Suzanne is not a man's name!
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Best Use of an Apple Computer

And the winner is...














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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I might get some money, but not a "raise"

Since millions of people, like me, are not getting a cost of living raise this year, lawmakers are worried. They should be. They want to help us, but not by giving us a cost of living raise. Apparently there has been no increase in the cost of living, so why give us a cost of living raise? Jerks. Assholes. Stand them all side-by-side and let all of us who are affected kick their asses until our legs give out. Here's a Federal Times news article about the mess.

Oh, by the way, we may still be getting some additional money simply because the lawmakers are worried. But it won't be a raise. It will be a one-time payment of $250.

What kind of drugs are these idiots taking?!!!!!!
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Monday, December 14, 2009

What I Did Yesterday, and more.

I was stinking tired yesterday when I posted, and planned to go straight to bed. Then I remembered that the season finale of one of my two favorite shows was going to air. So I stayed up to watch the season finale of Dexter. What an incredible show, and what an INCREDIBLE finale! O! M! F! Goodness!!!! I'd been a bit disappointed that Dexter seemed to be getting a little sloppy this season. I now forgive the writers for that transgression. If you're not watching Dexter, go out and rent the DVDs from the first season and watch. I doubt that you'll be disappointed. (My other favorite show is Lost, but did I really have to tell you that? See the timer to the right of this post.)

It was supposed to be 70 degrees (F) yesterday but I don't think we quite got there. But today more than made up for it. Eighty degrees and no humidity. It would be the perfect summer weather, but it's not summer, and this is central Texas. No chance of a summer here without humidity.

Speaking of yesterday, I had a very different day yesterday. A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless for her privacy) is married to a Texas prison inmate. He recently attempted suicide (no details, again, for the sake of privacy). He was transferred to a prison medical facility, and she asked me to drive up with her so she could visit him. I agreed, even though it would mean getting up at 4:00 a.m. and driving for hours.

If you know me at all you know that I have a very hard time getting out of bed for any reason. I'm just tired. Tired all the time. I have referred to it as Chronic Fatigue, and I'm working to find out what's causing it (although the only blood test I've had so far has revealed nothing). So promising to get up at oh-dark-thirty (as we used to say in the Army), was a huge promise. I kept that promise.

My friend drove up at 6:00 a.m. and I was ready. Off we went on our "road trip."

My friend's husband started out at a local prison, which is why she lives here, near me. Unfortunately, as often happens, he was transferred to a facility far, far away. Our trip to the medical facility was just about 170 miles (according to google maps).

My friend was worried about me the whole time - that I was hungry and that I was tired! Sweet woman, but I kept telling her that I'd let her know if I was tired and when I got hungry. We'd agreed to stop for breakfast along the way. I still wasn't actually hungry when we finally stopped in Mexia (meh-HAY-ya). We had a great breakfast at this very texan-decorated restaurant called "Drillin' Rig." I had a vegetable and cheese omelet with hash browns, toast, coffee and orange juice. It was yummy. I recommend this restaurant to anyone who might find themselves hungry in Mexia. It's on Highway 84. If you really care, you can google it. It's there.


We continued on our way to Rusk, to the medical facility, and arrived there at about 11:00 a.m. Considering how foggy it was all morning, it's a surprise that we made it in five hours, since we had to drive slower than normal most of the time.

As my friend visited her husband, I spent my two hours at the nearby hospitality house. This place was wonderful. It was extremely clean and well-furnished. There were drinks and snacks, and a playroom for children. The host, while I was there, was very friendly (and very talkative, so I didn't get to read, as I'd planned). I'm embarrassed to say that I don't remember my host's name, or I'd tell you.

After I arrived at the hospitality house a man came in with a child. They both went back to the playroom and my host and I could clearly hear the child playing with the toys and the man sawing logs!! Then a couple came in with a dog and their elderly mom, who both waited for the couple to finish their visit. The dog was a cute little black, jack russell-chihuahua mix. I got to take her outside once so she could pee.

Before I left I got to listen to some other folks talk about Wal-Mart and then about President Obama. I pulled out my Kindle and tried to read a bit, but it wasn't easy with those folks talking nearby. I have learned that, when in Texas I do not participate in conversations about President Obama. I would if I were a better debator, but I'm not. I don't recall details, I recall concepts and feelings. It's difficult to debate with concepts and feelings as your tools.

My friend came back to pick me up after her two-hour visit with her husband, and again, we were off on our return road trip home.

This time the drive was much more pleasant because the fog had finally lifted and the sun was out. We had seen many "historical markers" along the route, so we finally decided to stop and look at one so my friend, who has only been in this country for about ten years, could see what they were. The one we stopped to see wasn't real exciting. Something about one railroad meeting up with another railroad. (No, not that big one where the eastern and western lines met up.) So she got to see her first historical marker and find out what that was all about. I suggested she look up Texas historical markers on google and learn more, if she was curious.

On the way up we'd seen some buffalo and decided to stop on the way back and take some pictures, but they weren't there when we drove back by. They had moved to another part of their grazing pasture. We wondered about the difference between buffalo and bison. I said I thought they were the same thing, and looking it up now I find that I was right.

We stopped in Mexia again on the way back but not to eat. My friend put gas in her car. We did go into a Wal-Mart to use the bathroom and my friend bought some chicken. I was going to buy some popcorn chicken, but they didn't have any. They had popcorn shrimp, but that didn't appeal to me. I wasn't actually hungry, so I didn't buy anything.

The rest of the trip was uneventful except for a stop at a convenience store. I'm still not sure why we stopped there. My friend said she usually stopped for coffee, I think. We didn't get any coffee. I sinned and bought five scratch off lottery tickets, which I keep forgetting about, so they're still in my bag unscratched. (I could be rich!)

My friend dropped me off at home at 5:00 p.m., which totals an eleven-hour excursion, if you don't want to do the math yourself.

Even though it was an effortless day, I was still real tired when I got home, as you know, but I stayed up to watch Dexter. When I did finally lie down to go to sleep I was out like a light, and slept for several hours before I had to get up to pee. (TMI, sorry.) Normally I don't sleep more than two hours at a stretch. Three on a good night.

I leave my computer on all the time to process seti@home data. I turn the sound off so I can sleep. (The computer is in the old half of the bedroom, which is now my office.) I have it set to come back on after a power outage, and we had a power outage last night, for some reason. I woke up when I heard the bongish sound of my Mac rebooting. I also heard the noise announcing I had mail, both Eudora mail and Google mail. And since I didn't get up to turn the sound back off, I heard the Eudora mail sound whenever my computer found new mail (checked at 15-minute increments) and the Google mail sound a couple of times. Eventually I got up and turned the sound off so I could sleep soundly. Or soundlessly!

A First. I have a reason to be unhappy with my President. I have been retired from the Army for 15 years. This is the first year that I, and other military retirees, have not received a cost of living raise. And my tax deduction has increased. I don't know much about why this happened, but I know I'm unhappy about it. Forgive me if I sound like so many other groups of people when I say, go ahead and make cutbacks, but not with my retirement pay. This really sucks and I'm going to find out how it happened.
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

But I'm so tired!

I did something today, so I actually have something to blog about. That's the good news. The bad news is that my day started at 4 a.m. (oh-dark-thirty, as we used to say in the Army), so I'm sitting here with very heavy eyelids, about to fall asleep on the keyboard. Anyone who cares how I spent my day will have to wait until tomorrow to read about it. It's okay if you skip it. It wasn't necessarily exciting or interesting. It was just different.

Here's a teaser: I wasn't alone!
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Googly Ball Phenomenon, Part II

Some time ago I wrote about googly balls. You can read that post here.  As shopping season proceeds, I find that people are contacting me about where to buy googly balls. I'm amazed. I did a google search for "googly balls" and found that my original post comes up as the third (non-sponsored) hit. (If you drop the "s" I don't even show up on the first page.)

I have been contacted twice, so far, asking where googly balls might be found.

I'd tell you here, but then I wouldn't know how many more people are searching for googly balls.

If you want to know where you might find them, contact me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let's Take Christ OUT of Christmas

Okay, here's what we do: We continue to have a holiday in December and keep doing all the things we do, EXCEPT we remove any reference to Jesus and the birth of Christ. We make it a non-religious holiday celebrating, say, the winter solstice (the way it started). No religious symbols, no nativities, no special church services - nothing. Just a tree and presents, Santa Claus, reindeer, egg nog. Good food, good times. We will call it something else. (Saturnalia would be too pagan, don't you think?) I'm open for suggestions. Maybe "Solstice Day"?

I am totally serious.

Why do I feel this way? Because Jesus Christ was NOT born on December 25, or on any day close to December 25. Because the things people do to celebrate "the birth of Christ" are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity. Because God does not approve of us doing pagan things, but Satan loves to see us celebrating this way.

Christians! Do your homework!!!

If you really want to know more about why I feel the way I do, you can  read this booklet online. Or you can download it (in PDF format) to read it on your computer or print it out.

If we do this then everyone can still have their fun and celebrate in their own special way, but we don't have to feel guilty about how we celebrate the birth of Christ.

When do we celebrate the birth of Christ? We don't, because we don't know when he was born and because the Bible says nothing about celebrating His birth - just about commemorating His death.

Who's with me?!!

Why Your Meds Cost So Much

"Over the last few years, drug-makers have embraced a startlingly simple tactic for fending off competition from generic brands: paying them off."

Read more here.

Greedy bastards.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

God and Government

Here's a portion of a proclamation by George Washington on October 3, 1789, while he was President:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have . . . requested me to recommend to the public Thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, . . . . Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be . . . .

Read the whole proclamation here.

If anyone can read this and still think that the First Amendment can be interpreted so as to take God completely out of government, then I have to think that that person is simply a moron.

For your convenience, here is the First Amendment in its entirety:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

One of the same men who came up with the Constitution writes of God, "that great and glorious Being," and proclaims that we as a nation should acknowledge Him and his "favors," for the part God played in the establishment of our nation.

Obviously the Founding Fathers meant for God to be a part of our government. A big, important part.
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Word Origins

If "cockle" is an edible shelled mollusk, then where the hell did the phrase "warm the cockles of my heart" come from?!!
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Police Shooter is Dead

Duh. Did anyone expect him to be taken alive? I figured either the police would riddle him with bullets, which is exactly what he deserved, or he would commit suicide before being captured or killed. I suppose the only down side is that we'll never know exactly why he killed those four police officers. Angry Black Man? Maybe. That doesn't justify murder, let alone murder of four police officers. I hope that wasn't it. I hope a stupid stereotype didn't get four officers killed.

Of course - he shouldn't have been on the streets. He shouldn't have been free. But that's the past and we can't change it. I only pray that this sort of mistake - or mistakes - is/are never made again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The History of the Internet

I just found this and decided to share. It's pretty interesting, even if you're not an internet nerd. "The History of the Internet, In a Nutshell"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Speaking of Noah's Ark

I just watched, for the first time, Evan Almighty. I had heard that it was bad, but I didn't think so. I didn't especially like the ending, but I let out a few laughs during the rest of the movie. Wanda Sykes had a role, and she's always funny. So those of you who haven't seen it because you think it's going to be bad should go ahead and give it a chance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quotes

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." -Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac." - George Orwell

Man Built Full-size Replica of Noah's Ark

I'm frankly amazed that I haven't heard about this before now. Go here to read about it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wishful Drinking

I just read Carrie Fisher's book Wishful Drinking. I enjoyed it. It wasn't "great," but it wasn't a waste of time. It was funny, and it was sad.

I suppose it's okay to laugh, since she's the one writing the book and doing the stage performance about her life. Sometimes though, I wonder. I wonder if she wants us to laugh, and if so, how much? I wonder how many people won't even think about it?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Mickey or Minnie

I have just discovered that mice have been partying in my furniture. I have a dresser that I painted and use for storage in my dining room. Today I was looking for something and found lots and lots of mouse droppings in one of the drawers. Yuck. I knew I had mice in the house. The cats have been helping to keep the numbers down. But I had no idea there was a party going on in the dresser. Fortunately, the stuff in that drawer wasn't too important, so everything that got peed on went in the garbage. And I pulled up the liner and threw that away. Then I sprayed the whole drawer with Clorox Clean-up and wiped it out. While I've already checked a couple of the other drawers, I'm procrastinating looking in others. But I will. So far the drawers I have checked had some mouse droppings, but nothing like the party drawer. The drawers I haven't yet checked are the two large drawers in the bottom of the dresser. I expect at least one of them to possibly be another party drawer. We'll see.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Getting Dumber

I honestly believe that as I get older, I'm getting dumber. I was having trouble getting one of my websites to come up. Turns out the index.html file was missing. I had to have someone else notice that for me. (Thanks E.) I used to be sharper.

I have caught myself believing television commercials. Fortunately only for a few seconds. An ad will come on TV touting something as "the best" and, for a few seconds, I'll actually believe it is the best.

A few days ago I was on the phone troubleshooting my DSL connection with a tech support guy. He asked me if I had another phone cable I could plug in between the modem and the wall to test the line. I said no. He suggested maybe I could use one that was attached to a phone in the house. So what did I do? I disconnected the phone line I was using! What the hell was I thinking? I never would have done something that dumb a few years ago. Thank goodness the guy called me right back and I'd plugged the phone back it. It only took me a second to realize what I had done, but still, I'd done it.

There are other examples, but my memory is going, too, so I don't remember them. But I do recall that there are many instances when I had to mentally slap myself.

By the way, I have noticed that I'm a little sharper when I take ginko biloba. I'd better start taking more!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Brush with Honor


I don't have anything current to blog about, so I thought I'd mention that I once met COL Roger Donlon, who won the first Medal of Honor awarded in Vietnam.

I was at the Hog's Breath Inn in Carmel, California, when he was there with some Special Forces guys having some sort of party. I'm pretty sure this was in 1981.

If you want to read about COL Donlon, click here, then take your pick.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Movie (DVD) Review: Maiden Heist

This movie is unique because, in spite of an all-star cast, it was not released to theaters. It came out on DVD last Tuesday.

It stars Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman and William H. Macy as museum security guards who each become enamored with a piece of artwork in the museum. (A separate piece for each man.) When they find out the whole exhibit will be crated up and shipped off to Denmark, they decide to steal the pieces they adore. I'm a fan of all three actors, and enjoyed their acting in this movie as I usually do. William H. Macy was particularly entertaining as a gung ho yet slightly offbeat (and occasionally nude) ex-marine.

Marcia Gay Harden co-stars.

This movie is entertaining and sometimes funny, but I think I understand why it wasn't released in theaters. One problem is that there are some short animation scenes while they're planning the heist that could have been done much better. Those scenes actually started to give me a headache. Fortunately they didn't last very long. And the ending leaves a lot to be desired. They had the right idea, but it was poorly done.

If you want more details, click the link to see the IMDB web page. I'm not much of a reviewer when it comes to details.

I wouldn't recommend purchasing this movie. It's not worth the price. Worth the price of rental but only after you've seen all the movies you really want to see!

On Netflix I gave it three out of five stars. Three stars is the lowest score you can give for liking a movie. Two stars is "didn't like it," so I couldn't give two stars. If I could divide three stars into a three minus (liked it a little) and three plus (liked it a lot), I'd give the three minus. It wasn't as good as most other movies I've rated with three stars.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cats. Don't 'cha love 'em?

I do love my cats. I really do. My cats used to be indoor cats until I put in a doggy door so the dogs can go out to the backyard when I'm not home. I'd like my cats to be indoor cats again. They're much safer that way, and so are the birds and other critters. But I'd have to take the doggy door out and that's not going to happen.

The house began to smell funny a couple of days ago. I searched and searched. Finally found the culprit - a dead mouse. There have been a large number of mice in the house lately, probably because it's been raining so much that the backyard is soaked. (Same for those damned big cockroaches, that would normally stay outside.) I have occasionally found the cats playing with a very live mouse. Once with an almost dead mouse. Then there are the dead mice I find once the cats lose interest. I take the live ones outside. I left the almost dead mouse with Lucy until it wasn't almost dead anymore, then threw it away. Of course, I throw the dead ones out right away, if I find them right away. Which I don't always, and the nose knows when I don't!

So I tracked down the dead mouse and took it outside to the trash can. Still, after a few hours, the house still smelled funny (bad). I went to where it seemed to be the worst and looked around. I pulled the couch out and searched with a flashlight and, voila, there I found the back half of a lizard. (I don't have carpet, thank goodness, so I don't have to worry about the smell sinking into the fabric.) Out the half-lizard goes to the trash can. Great! No more smell.

But wait, there's still a bit of an odor in the room where the lizard was found.

I get the flashlight and search under the couch this time. And what do I find? Yet another dead mouse. One more trip to the trash can.

I think I've got them all now. No more smell of death in the house. I am assuming that the front half of the lizard was not so tasty, otherwise the back half would have been gone, too.

What great mousers I have! I just wish they'd take the damned corpses outside when they're done.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Testing a blog from my cell phone.

Potpourri

Cool weather again today. I've got most of the windows open. It rained all day yesterday - literally. All day, from sprinkle to downpour and back to sprinkle. And still the DirecTV installer showed up. Poor guy. At least there was no lightning. It was very humid yesterday, too. I had some cleaning up to do before the installer came, and I got pretty sweaty doing it. (Changed clothes before installer showed.) I sweat a lot, and I hate it. When I mow the lawn, for example, I have to wear a headband so the sweat doesn't drip into my eyes. And by the time I'm done, my shirt is very wet. Even when I work inside on a hot, humid day, I sweat a lot. It's a family thing. My brothers and nieces sweat like crazy, too.

I'm having mixed feelings about DirecTV, but I'll keep it. First, and most annoying, is that it won't work with a TiVo. I've had my TiVo for awhile but I don't think I've had it for three years, which is what I signed up for. (Cheaper that way.) So unless someone can tell me how to make the TiVo work with DirecTV, or vice versa, I'll have to cancel TiVo.

I got a DirecTV DVR, which works almost the same as TiVo, and I suppose I'll get used to it. But I'd still rather have the TiVo.

One thing I don't like about the DVR is that it won't autotune. (Autotune is where you program the channels you want to watch, and the receiver changes the channel when the time comes.) I used autotune with DishNetwork a lot because one of the two receivers was located in the living room but controlled the TV in the bedroom. In the afternoon and evening I would just program the shows I wanted to watch and not have to worry about getting up and changing the channel. It's a great feature when you're in bed. Setting the DVR to record doesn't help because the channel doesn't change to record a program. It will stay on whatever channel it's on while recording whatever it's recording. This is better than the TiVo in that I can watch one show while recording another, and I can record two shows at the same time. (This is probably not an issue where everything is digital, but when I signed up most everything was analog, so the only option was to record and watch the same show.)

Since I already had the TiVo, and no clue that it wouldn't work with DirecTV, I decided to put the DVR in the living room, which means it controls the TV in the bedroom. Now that I know the TiVo won't work, and that the DVR won't autotune, I'm going to have to change the locations of the two receivers -- put the DVR in the TV room and the non-DVR receiver in the living room. That may sound easy, but there's a trick to it! The installer told me that there was one box that should never be unplugged, and I'll probably have to unplug that to move the receivers. I have the installer's phone number. I think I'll call him and ask. Maybe he'll come back and change them for me.

All this is why some people just don't like change.
==
I decided to try the new stuff at Pizza Hut. I started by ordering online, which I never did before. I did that because I could see what I wanted before I ordered it. Ordering online was easy and, if I ever order from Pizza Hut again, I'll probably order online.

I ordered two of their new "Tuscani pasta" dishes, Chicken Alfredo and Meaty Marinara. (There's an option to order "pasta pairs" where you get two half-pans for one price.) I also ordered their new "Wingstreet Wings." I got the mild buffalo wings, which were good and with just the right amount of spice for me. I ate all the wings and some of the Chicken Alfredo pasta. I wasn't happy with the pasta. The chicken bits were only on the top of the pasta, which means they were added later rather than cooked into the pasta. Also, the only real flavor was in the top "crust" that must have been the layer of cheese that was mentioned in the description. Without that layer, the pasta would have been extremely bland, as the pasta underneath was. For that reason I have to say I'll never order that dish again.

The meaty marinara is still in the refrigerator. I'll eat it tonight.

The order came with "breadsticks" which didn't suck! All the flavorings were on top, so when I took a bite I held the breadstick upside down so the flavor was on my tongue. If I bit rightside up I would hardly taste the flavorings (butter, garlic, parmesan cheese). I actually didn't eat those until just a minute ago. I'll give them a passing grade.
==
When I did the outside work a few days ago, I wore shorts, of course. It was quite warm. I knew I should have sprayed myself with mosquito repellent, since I knew the little nasties were active. But I didn't. Today I have at least ten itchy mosquito bites on my right leg. The odd thing is that I don't have any on my left leg or anywhere else! Go figure.
==
I got this photo from a friend. I thought I'd share it with you.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Headaches and Allergies

I woke up with a headache today. I ate breakfast, took my daily meds, then laid down. Slept for a few hours but when I woke up my headache was gone. It had been replaced, unfortunately, by an allergy attack. This always happens a few days after the rain stops. The mold levels rise and my sinuses go crazy. I took my allergy medicine this morning, but had to take some Benedryl (the generic, actually) this evening. Benedryl makes me sleepy. It will rain again tomorrow, so the mold shouldn't actually be a problem. Could be a problem for my satellite installation, though. I'm sure the guy doesn't want to be up on the roof in a rainstorm, and definitely not in a thunderstorm!

Speaking of headaches, my iMac monitor is now up to 13 vertical lines in the display. Two are very close together, so it actually looks like eleven skinny lines and one fat line. I will never forgive Apple for this defect, which they care nothing about. (I have bought a new non-Apple display and use that as my primary, now.)

Going to hit the sack now. As a friend once said to me, Morpheus is descending.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Did Something Today!

I did some much-needed and long-put-off work outside today. It wasn't much really. I cleaned up the front porch, washed off the plastic chairs, and cleaned out my car. I also put up a shephard's hook contraption that I've had for a couple of years. I thought I wanted to put it in concrete so it wouldn't rust and fall down, but after two years of it laying on the front porch, I figured what the hell.

Once I got to a good stopping point I realized I was very hungry, so I came in and ate too much. Beef tips in gravy with mashed potatoes. Yum. Now my stomach is feeling just a touch upset. So naturally I've poured myself an iced coffee. (I'll drink some V8 Fusion later to get my fruits and veggies.)

The lawnmower guy just got finished mowing the lawn so the front yard looks pretty good now. I'm sure the neighbors are pleased.

The inside of the house is still a mess, but I'll work on that tomorrow. On Wednesday the DirecTV person will be here to hook up their satellite stuff. I currently have Dish Network, but since I've been a loyal customer for several years they won't give me a DVR. Only new, untested customers get those. So I'm switching to DirecTV for the DVR and because, with their one-year introductory rate I'll be saving money for at least one year. The install shouldn't take long, since the wiring was all done by Dish Network. I suppose I'll report here once I've had DirecTV for a while to let you know which I think is better. I've already read complaints that DirecTV's on-screen guide is too small. This is the opinion of former Dish Network customers as well as those who did not switch from Dish Network. I'm sure it will be an issue for me since, (1) my eyesight is getting worse and (2) my TVs are small. I guess it's time to go get that 42" HD LCD TV I've been coveting.

Oh, I didn't see any hummingbirds today. Bummer. :-(

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hummingbird Update

Just for the record I want to report that I'm still seeing a hummingbird at one of my feeders. I didn't notice the ones in the front yard, but I saw the one in the back yard.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Movie/DVD: Breach

I just finished watching Breach, a true story of the investigation that brought down the most damaging spy in U.S. history, Robert Hanssen. No big review. Just want to say that I really enjoyed it, and I recommend it.

Stray Cat

Mr. Eko, the solid black stray cat I've been feeding, was in the house when I got up today. I can't say I'm surprised. I've carried him in and back out a couple of times. And he's spent a lot of time in the backyard watching the cats and dogs use the doggie door. He has apparently figured out that it's warmer and drier on the other side of that door! He didn't stay long because, when I got up, the dogs got up. He's still a bit skittish around the dogs. (Roscoe chases Mr. Eko when they're outside.) Mr. Eko is welcome in the house, but he's going to have go give up his, um, "manhood."

Btw, it's cold again today. Hooray. Been raining again, too. Damn.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Kindle - Follow Up

Two items about the Kindle, now that I've been using it for awhile.

My Kindle needed recharging while I was actually reading. (I would have recharged it before hand, but didn't realize it was low. My fault.) One good thing about the Kindle is that you can still use it while it's charging. Unfortunately, the cord plugs into the bottom of the Kindle. Since I read with the Kindle propped on a pillow in my lap, this was somewhat awkward. I would like to see the charging port moved to the side of the Kindle. Since many Kindle covers attach to the left side of the device, the charging port should probably be on the right side.

I've been reading Audition, by Barbara Walters. While there are often photos in biographies, I wasn't sure if there were any in the paper version of this book. There are. They are also in the Kindle version. The Kindle screen is, as I said before, black and off-white. While this is fine for text, it isn't very good for photos. You might recall that photos, in most books, are printed on a separate type of paper and usually inserted in the center of the book. This paper is whiter than the text pages, and usually at least semi-glossy. There's a reason behind this. It makes the photos look much better. The photos on a Kindle, can be seen, but not well.

Other than that, I'm happy with my Kindle, and recommend it to anyone who reads a lot. Of course, if you wait for the paperback versions of your books, then you'll pay less buying the book. But if you buy the hardcover editions, you'll definitely pay less.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama, Hummingbirds, Whatever

I am elated that President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Price. He has taken a lot of action to improve international relationships and bring about peace in his short eight-plus months in office. I'm sure a lot of people disagree with me. Most of them are Republican'ts. (I said most.)

I have at least three hummingbirds still visiting my feeders. Normally they would be gone by now. At least, that's what I've seen in the past. I suppose I just never noticed them hanging around before. But I honestly think this is unusual.

It's cold, again! And the humidity is gone! I actually ran the heater just a bit today to take the chill off of the room.

"Whatever" has been chosen by someone, somewhere as, you know, the most annoying word. Here's an article. At the end of the day, who cares? It is what it is.

Had another pilot dream last night.

I actually started this post yesterday, and I know I had more to write about. But I'm getting old and suffer from CRS* disease. So this short post will have to be all for now.
_

*can't remember sh*t
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SSDD*

I'm still here. I haven't posted because nothing interesting has been happening.

For some reason I've started dreaming about airline pilots. No one in particular (and at least one of you out there will understand why I'm saying that!). I have frequently, in the past, dreamed about flying in a plane. Usually I'm on my way to or from Germany. Since I've flown that flight many, many times, it is no wonder that's the flight I'm on. But now the pilots are present. Could be because one of the members of the Umbrella Hat Society is a pilot. He's also a friend on my Facebook page. I did dream about him once. He didn't look like himself in my dream, but I knew it was him. But I've had other pilot dreams where the pilot was not known to me. This is neither good nor bad. Just a curiosity.

I think the hummingbirds are finally gone. I haven't seen one for a couple of days. This is the latest I've ever seen them hang around. Maybe they always did but I just didn't see them. Or maybe it's global warming .

The weather is finally getting cooler, but due to vast amounts of rain, the humidity is still high. I guess it will be until all that moisture evaporates. That won't be for awhile, because we have more rain in the forecast, including the light sprinkle we got today (so far). As the heat and humidity disappear, so does that excuse for not getting any housework or outdoor work done.

I have a little white cat that has strayed into my life. I have called animal control and one of the two vets in town to see if anyone has reported him missing. (I plan to call the other.) He was wearing a flea collar, so I know he belongs to someone. I say "was" because I cut it off. Collars that don't break away are a very bad idea for outdoor cats. They can get caught up on something and strangle the cat. Also, flea collars are not the best way to deal with fleas. Or to prevent fleas. Read the precautions on any flea collar box. "Don't touch. If you do touch, wash your hands thoroughly." So why put that nasty thing on your sweet little cat? I have some cat/kitten-strength Frontline that I will apply today.

I think the thunder and lightning we've had, combined with this cat's young age, may have contributed to the cat not being where it's supposed to be. We've probably all heard about animals that bolt during thunder storms. This cat may be one of those.

Would it be too chiché to call him "Snowball"?

I've brought him inside and he's sleeping on the table next to my computer desk right now!

I have a new website, and I hope you all (the two or three who visit) will join in. It's just for fun - an experiment of sorts. It's "Send Me A Dime." You'll find a full explanation on the site. Please forward the URL to all of your e-correspondents. (They'll only be angry for a minute.)

Chris Rock has done a documentary. That's right, a documentary. It's about black women and their hair. You can find the official website here. Sounds like it's going to be a very funny movie. (I'm not getting paid to promote it, btw!)

*You all know what that means, right?
-

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dean's Drawing Again

He's done more Lost characters. His Desmond is spot on! Check him out here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Out of Sync

I'm up again in the middle of the night. I've been trying to sync up with the world, with no success. I'm unemployed (well, self-employed) so I have no reason or incentive to keep "normal" hours. That, combined with my chronic fatigue, has me sleeping all day and up all night. I have tried to go to bed at a reasonable time. I was extremely tired "last night" (tonight) so I went to bed and fell right asleep at around 11:00 p.m. But at a little after 1:00 a.m. I had to get up and pee, and couldn't go back to sleep. Why can't that happen at 7:00 or 8:00 a.m.? When I need to get up I can't.

So I'll find something to do. I'll add a bit to a letter I'm writing, and I'll do some creative things. Maybe I'll read some more of Barbara Walters' Audition: A Memoir. And then, when the sun comes up I'll take a shower and go buy some groceries. I really need to buy groceries.

I've decided that Rosie and I are going on a diet. We both need to lose some weight. Well, lots of weight. It's going to be very hard denying Rosie the extra food and treats that she's used to. I'll have to get some of those low-fat treats and just give her one or two, instead of the high-fat treats and give her several. As for me, I'm not going to buy any of the four C's (cake, candy, cookies, ice cream). My sweet tooth has been my undoing.

I actually applied for a job. I hadn't planned to, but it's a good job for me, and it's right here, near home. It's at the prison, but it's not a guard job. It's in the mailroom. I think I could handle that! It shouldn't be too hard on my decrepit body, and I won't have much contact with prisoners, if any. The pay is pretty good, too. The closing date for the job is this Monday, Oct. 5, and we'll see if they give me a call. I sort of hope they do. Still, I have to get this chronic fatigue taken care of or I'll never be able to hold down a job again.

Whether or not I actually get the job, I'll continue to be self-employed. I just won't have to work as hard! (At home, not at the prison job!) So if you need a website or some specialty advertising, let me know!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Online History

In the mid-80's I owned a Commodore computer. There was an online service way back then for Commodore users, and I was a subscriber. It was called QuantumLink. I had always suspected that AOL was born from QuantumLink, and I now find I was right. The look and feel of the two were so incredibly similar, but when AOL came into being technology and the Internet had evolved, so it had a smoother look.

But now I can say that I have been "on the Internet" since the mid-80's.

My computer experience started with a Commodore VIC-20*, followed by a Commodore 64, followed by a Commodore 128. Eventually Commodore quit making computers so I moved to a PC that ran DOS. From DOS I went straight to owning a Mac computer in 1996, when I enrolled in Advertising & Graphic Design in college. I still use, and will always use, a Mac/Apple computer. That is, unless and until something better comes along.

"If I knew then what I know now...."
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*in Germany they were VC-20 computers, since vic is a bad word!

Warm Weather's Back

But it's not hot, and that's good. The cool weather lasted a few days and that was nice, but yesterday as it warmed up a bit I heard the sounds of lawnmowers again. So we're supposed to have temps in the 80's for most of the next week, with one day (I forget which one) in the low 90's. (I never know if I should use an apostrophe with numbers.)

I decided to go get a burger last night. That's when I found out my headlights aren't working. Seems all my lights but my low beams are working. And when I pull back the lever for the high beams, they come on but don't stay on. I'm panicking a little because I don't have the money for a big repair job. I'm hoping it's just a fuse. I didn't check the fuses today. I guess I'm in denial. I can still drive during the daylight. I think. I guess I'd better check the brake lights and back-up lights first. Maybe God just didn't want me to have a burger.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Cold Today!

I love cold! We had a cold front come through last night. Lots of rain and thunder/lightning. Today it's actually "cold" outside. Sixty degrees F. That's not really cold to me. That's just a wee bit south of perfect!! We'd been having some cooler temps here in central Texas then yesterday it was back up to 100 degrees. But that didn't last long. I now have almost all of my windows open to let the cool, fresh air in.

IIrc, the same sort of thing happened last year. The temps went from "too hot" to do any meaningful outdoor work to "too cold."

Other than the fact that there is more rain in the forecast, I have no idea what our weather is supposed to be like in the coming week. No idea if it will stay cold or go back to hot for awhile.

Some good news: I still have hummingbirds at my feeders. But they'll be gone soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Nice Friday

I had a more-active-than-usual Friday, and it was nice. First, I took a shower, got dressed, and went to do some much needed grocery shopping. I've decided I need to lose some weight, so I tried - successfully, I think - to limit what I bought. I bought some frozen dinners simply because it helps me keep my portions small. I also bought some other items that will stop hunger pangs without filling me up and fattening me up. The only thing I bought that didn't stick with the new D-I-E-T was the ingredients to make Patty Melts (minus the onions). But when I make them, I'll only make one at a time! Normally I'd probably make two, at least, and eat both in one sitting.

I also bought some much-needed athletic shoes. "No shoes" was one of my excuses for not using my treadmill. Now I just have to get in the bedroom where the treadmill is collecting dust (and cat hair) and get it situated in a position where I can actually use it.

Another thing I bought was a Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender with Travel Lid. I've been having smoothies for breakfast but not long ago the rubber seal on my regular blender broke and now the blender leaks. I didn't want to get a whole new blender so I decided to give the Single-Serve a try. It's okay. It really is single-serve. It will only safely hold about 16 ounces of liquid. Maybe a tad more. And it comes with a "travel lid" so you can drink the smoothie (or whatever) right out of the same container you use to mix it. If you do, you have the whole blade mechanism with you and your smoothie. They don't separate. Not even for cleaning. That's okay. I don't drink from the container. I pour my smoothie into a glass. Then clean up is easy. I just rinse the blender container and lid thoroughly with hot water. Maybe add a little dish soap. Rinse and let drip dry. It did seem to have trouble "blending" the frozen strawberries, but I haven't found any pieces in the smoothie, yet.

By the way, I have started adding "Benefiber" to my smoothies. I can always use a little more fiber in my diet!

After I got home from grocery shopping, I called a friend and we, eventually, went out for lunch. She had seen an ad for a new Chinese restaurant in Waco, so off we went in her new car. (It's a Chevy HHR.) We found the restaurant (A1 Chinese Restaurant and Grill) and had a nice lunch. The food was very good and very plentiful. I wished I was hungrier. (I know. I said I was planning to eat less, but this was a special occasion.)

I got to drive the new car on the way back. Very nice. We stopped at a convenience store and played the lotto using the numbers from our fortune cookies. (May God forgive me.) We'll see just how fortunate those cookies were!

After I got home I didn't feel like doing anything special, especially since my belly was full, so I just checked my e-mail and then watched a little TV. Finally I went to bed early. And that was my Friday. It was nice. I hope I can do that sort of thing (get out) a little more often. And if I eat that much once every month or so, well, so what?!! I'll walk it off!

(Just finished the smoothie. No frozen strawberry chunks.)

Now it's Saturday morning and I'm actually out of bed! It seems that, when I go to bed early, I wake up early - real early - 4:30 a.m. - and can get out of bed. Not like when I go to bed late. For some reason, if I stay up late and go to bed late, I want to sleep forever. Maybe I'll start doing the Benjamin Franklin thing* on a regular basis. See what happens.

I need to do some work on my deck. I have a tree growing in the middle of my deck and it gets so big that I need to enlarge the hole around it. I dreamed last night that I was doing that and the whole tree fell over. Some would suggest cutting the tree down, but it shades my whole house. In central Texas in the summer, this is a blessing and a necessity! So I'll continue to enlarge the hole around the tree.

Going to go now and get productive.

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*Early to bed, early to rise.... You know the rest.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Creature

On my way back from California to Texas, I had a flight that went from L.A. to Houston. There was some sort of creature in the seat in front of me. This photo is the only one that I could safely get of that creature. The creature had an unusual odor, and although it was somewhat familiar, I was still not able to identify the creature.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good for some laughs


This is a photo of me holding a skink. It belongs to a male friend with whom I may or may not be having a relationship. We'll see! Anyway, this skink was good for a few laughs like: Joe won't date any woman who won't hold his lizard.

California

Here's the thing: I learned, after many years, to tolerate and even accept my step-father. I never knew him as a father, or thought of him that way. He did great things for the family and for my mom, and for that I'm grateful. While my brothers, Jake's step-sons, loved him like sons, I never loved him like a daughter. I went home for the funeral for my mom. If not for mom, I would not have gone. There's a long story behind this, but I won't go into it here.

The funeral, which took place on Saturday, Sep. 5, was okay, as funerals go. Jake had an open casket and did not look like Jake, until you got farther away and looked at his profile. The mortician was not given any photos to work with, so he/she had no real idea what Jake looked like. So here's a tip: always provide the mortician with photos of the deceased. Take some photos of yourself, close up, from several angles, and put them where your next of kin can find them when the time comes. That is, if you plan to have an open casket.

Jake was not buried until Tuesday, Sep. 8, because he had a military burial and the veterans cemetery was closed over the long weekend. It was a nice ceremony. The VFW provided an honor guard and a chaplain, the Army provided pall bearers and a bugler who played taps live. (This is rare these days.) The ceremony was held away from the actual gravesite, and we did not get to stay to visit the grave after the burial. (It would have been a few hours of waiting, and we had a two-hour drive since the cemetery was not close to mom's home. Also, I had to catch a flight that evening to get back to Texas.)

So Jake was respectfully remembered and buried. The funeral was attended by all his children and step-children, who all had to travel to get to California. It was great that they could be there. Fortunately, everyone had seen Jake not too exceptionally long before he passed away and had those memories.

Something happened for me while I was in California. I began a close relationship with a man I've actually known for many years, as he is a family friend/acquaintance, but who I didn't "notice" until last year, when I went home for my youngest brother's (Charlie's) funeral. I'm not going to go into that here, either. Suffice to say that there is now a man in my life where there has not been a man for twelve years. It may be nothing. It may be something. We'll see. He is, after all, still in California!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back in Texas

I got home this morning from attending the funeral and burial in California. I'll blog about it when I have more time. Right now I want to say that I have very, very hard water here in central Texas. My mom's house has soft water. While I was out there my hair never looked better. I must get a water softener!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Death in the Family


My step-father passed away yesterday morning. It wasn't entirely unexpected as he had broken his neck a couple months ago and, although he was recuperating, he wasn't doing very well. He was in a nursing home. He finally got that "halo" thing off his head when his blood pressure went way down. He was taken to a hospital and stabilized. He was in the process of getting permission from his doctor to go home because he wasn't expected to live much longer, and he didn't want to die in the hospital. Before they could get permission, he slipped away. My mom was with him.

He had been miserable with the halo on and the tubes sticking in him. He kept pulling his catheter out so they had to put him in diapers. Then he didn't get that he could go pee in the diaper whenever he needed to. I don't blame him for any of that. How miserable we'd all be in that situation. If only he could have hung on for a few more days.

I'll be flying out to California for the funeral this weekend. I'm concerned mostly for my mom. A little over a year ago, you might recall, my youngest brother - mom's youngest son - died. Now her husband of 40+ years has passed away. My brothers and I will no doubt be discussing what to do next. Mom is hard-headed and I'm sure she won't want to leave her home. But she'll be living alone if she doesn't, and she's getting older. We'd all be happier if she had someone to watch out for her. I'd love to move out there with her, but I have the dogs and cats to worry about. We'll think of something.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Do Not Bear False Witness

I just watched the movie "Doubt." (Very good movie.) In it the priest gives a sermon about gossip and cites the commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness." I know that gossip is wrong, and I certainly know the cited commandment. The odd thing is that I never put them together. So gossip is bearing false witness.

It's amazing how something so simple can elude me. I used to be pretty sharp. I guess I need to double up on the Ginko.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not As Good As the Ads

This is my Chia Obama in full bloom. Do they ever look as good as the ones on the box or in the ads? Even when the sprouts were shorter it didn't look very good. Still, it was fun planting and watching it grow. Once this crop dies, I won't be replanting, even though there are more seeds.
I think if I had a Chia Larry (from the Three Stooges) the sprout hair would look just right.

I'm On Display

Not me, exactly, but my website. This will be up for two days this month and two days next month. Hopefully it will drive people to the site which will, in turn, get me some website design business as well as some income from the online shopping page and other ads.

A Pussy and a Pillow and Pet Pus

Well, two pillows, actually. I ordered them about a week ago - two solid foam pillows from Overstock.com. I'd had solid foam pillows for many years and loved them, but never replaced them a few years ago when they wore out. (They're hard to find.) I missed them. I had been thinking recently that my regular, store-bought pillows actually felt kind of hard. So I went online and found two very reasonably priced solid foam pillows and I ordered them. (I only really wanted one, but the price at Overstock.com for two, together, was better than the price of one at other places.)

Ooooh I love my solid foam pillows. They are so soft and comfortable and not at all "hard" like the other pillows were. Hard to believe I waited this long to replace the old pillows. Thank goodness for the Internet.

I would have had a great night's sleep with my new solid foam pillows, except that Gracie (one of my cats) decided she wanted to spend the night on me. She slept on me for most of the night. She was on my stomach when I was sleeping on my back. She was on my hip when I was sleeping on my side. I'd get up and use the bathroom and as soon as I came back to bed she'd climb up on me again and go to sleep. I'd switch positions to get more comfortable and she'd patiently wait until I was settled and climb back on. Eventually she decided to sleep somewhere else (thank God) and I and my solid foam pillows thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the night!

I took Celie to the vet yesterday because she has an inflamed sore on one of her legs. I didn't think much of it. Figured she'd get some antibiotics. Roscoe had a similar sore awhile back and that's all he got - antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory. But the vet decided to scare me a little - just a little - by suggesting a test for cancer because Celie's lymph node was swollen. Great. Long story short - it wasn't cancer. But Celie HATES THE VET and it didn't help when the vet stuck the inflamed area TWICE with needles so she could test for cancer. Celie will never get in the car again.

Tits, Teeth and Ted

First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to Ted Kennedy's family. What a loss.

Second, I finally made an appointment with the dentist (9/10), and I WILL keep this appointment. Really. I will.

Third, I have a mammogram appointment on 9/09. Always enjoy having my boobs flattened. Who doesn't?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Laugh Out Loud!

I was piddling around the Internet, as I occasionally do, and came upon a song that had me laughing hysterically. In fact, I laughed so hard that I decided to buy a copy of the song. The song in question? William Shatner "singing" Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds! I'm laughing now just thinking about it! Play it.

Don't get me wrong. This is so funny because it's so BAD!!!

The Best Smoothies Ever

I'm always confused when I see someone on TV putting ice into a "smoothy." It just doesn't make sense to me. Here's how I make my smooties:

Ingredients:

•one ripe banana
•one cup of orange juice with pulp
•one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt
•several frozen strawberries (or a mixture of frozen berries)
•one scoop of Fruitein protein powder (which you should be able to find at a health store, if you're lucky enough to have one close by)
•sweetener, optional (to taste)

Mix everything in a blender until the frozen fruit is completely blended.

Since the berries are frozen, you don't need to water down the smoothie with ice. See?!

I blend everything but the Fruitein and sweetener first, then add it while the blender is on.

You may not need any sweetener since it's already sweet, but I like to add one packet of artificial sweetener.

I like to eat dry Shredded Wheat & Bran while I'm drinking my smoothie.

Real Fast and Easy Chicken Parmesan

What you need:

•Tyson's Frozen Chicken Patties, breaded, fully cooked (these come in a plastic bag of ten patties, iirc) (I don't care if they're not Tyson's, but that's what I use and they're good quality.)
•Marinara Sauce - doesn't matter what kind, but I prefer to spend more for a brand that tastes better (and has little or no added sugar - you'd be surprised!)
•Mozarella Cheese, grated

Put one or two frozen chicken patties on a plate (at least one inch apart) and microwave for 60-90 seconds. Flip the patties over. On each patty put two or three tablespoons of marinara sauce and top with some grated mozarella cheese. Microwave some more - at least another 60 seconds - until the cheese is melted.

You'll figure out the best cooking/microwaving times once you've made the recipe once or twice! My microwave is one of those cheap, low-wattage ovens. If you have a big, powerful microwave, you'll probably be able to decrease the cooking time.

These taste real good considering they only take a few minutes to "cook." Add some veggies or a salad and you have a complete meal!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This and That


I just carried a large wolf spider outside. It was in my bathroom. I scooped it up in a paper cup and carried it outside. The first time I tried, it jumped out of the cup and scared the poo out of me. So I had to scoop it back into the cup and take it outside. I like spiders. Just don't like the big ones in my house! The wolf spider (like the one above) was about three inches from the tip of the front leg to the tip of the back leg. I've seen them outside several times. I even saw a female once that was carrying bunches of babies on her back. (I saw another female when I worked at Walgreens. It was inside the store. It, also, was covered with babies. I scooped her up in a plastic bag and took her outside.)


Mountain Dew has come out with a new flavor: Ultra Violet. It's okay. It's sweeter than regular Mountain Dew, and has a mixed berry taste. What's unusual, and the reason I mention it at all, is that it has come out in a diet version. This is unusual. In all the times I've seen new, temporary Mt. Dew flavors, I've never seen a diet version. I started drinking Mt. Dew when I was working nights and needed the extra caffeine. Now I drink it because I like it (and for the caffeine, since I'm tired all the time). I buy it in cans so I can recycle them.

Now that I'm unemployed I'm getting into that backward sleep routine that I fall into whenever I don't have to work. I sleep late and stay up late, sleep later then stay up later. I don't mind the schedule, actually, but there are things I still need to do in the daytime, like make some phone calls. Everything else I do I do on the computer, which is a 24/7 machine. (Machine?)

Nurse Jackie is a new show on Showtime. The season finale will be shown next week. If you missed the season, you missed an excellent show. I know that nurses were up in arms about the premise of the show - an ER nurse that regularly abused Rx drugs. I guess nurses think we, the viewers, are idiots. If I see a nurse doing drugs on TV, that means they all do drugs, right? Everything on TV is real, isn't it? Nurse Jackie is a very good show about ONE nurse, and the drug abuse isn't the only problem she has. Why didn't the nurses complain about the other stuff? Nurse Jackie stars Edie Falco of "Sopranos" fame. (I've never seen a single episode of Sopranos.)

I love my TiVo. I can completely ignore my TV and let TiVo record whatever I want it to record. Then, when I feel like watching, I can. Of course, there are a couple of shows I have to watch right away, as they are broadcast. One is Lost, which will be back for its final season in January. The other is Dexter, which starts its new season in September.

I think that's all for now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Working - Doing What I Enjoy

Gatesville's "The Sign" is on our main street and is seen by thousands of people each day.

I'm up late tonight working on my website(s) getting everything just right for when my ad goes up in a couple of weeks. We have one of those big signs in town where they can change the message to advertise something different every day, and I've purchased four days. The first two will be on the 26th and 27th of August. Until then I will be spending much of my time making my website as useful and attractive as possible. (Input is always welcome.) The website that will be advertised will be this one. It will, hopefully, lead people to this one, which will be the real money-maker. The second two days will be later, in September.

It's amazing how many rip-offs there are out there for people who are trying to make some money on the Internet. Be very cautious if you plan to research this sort of thing. It would be great if there was one resource where people could find out what's real and what's a money-making scheme. Maybe there is and I just haven't found it yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green, um, thumb

My brother Doug, a staunch Republican, sent me a Chia Obama. He meant it as a show of disrespect. I love it. I immediately "planted" and already am seeing sprouts. I'll post a photo once it's in full bloom!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Becoming Self-Employed

I'm trying lots of things. First, I'm official with the State of Texas (or is it Republic of Texas) as a Website Designer. Second, I'm selling specialty advertising. Third, I have a shop at CafePress. Anyone out there with some extra cash, there must be something I can sell you!!! I also plan to try some affiliate marketing. As soon as I have a link for that, I'll post it here, of course. Oh, and don't forget my Kindle link on the right side of this page. Use it every time you plan to buy something from Amazon.com and I'll get a small cut. Thanks!

Tweeting from my Kindle

I found out today that I can tweet from my Kindle. This is very cool. I can not blog from my Kindle, in case you were wondering.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Free at last! Or am I?

I finally got fired today. I didn't especially like the job, and they made it very easy to get fired, so I did. I could have quit, sure, but then I wouldn't be able to apply for unemployment insurance.

I don't plan to become a slug. At least, not now. I'll do that after Publisher's Clearing House delivers the $10 million check.

Right now I hope to become self-employed. I will create websites. I will also sell specialty advertising. If you need a simple website or you need your name on a pen, I'm your gal.

I have a website for my website design business. You can find it here. I want to have a website for the specialty advertising, too, but that will be sometime down the road.

And I have some other advertising ideas, too. Small stuff to start with, until I see if it will work out.

I don't need to make a lot of money. Just enough to feed the furchildren!

Friday, August 7, 2009

I wonder if there's one for beer.

video

Kindle 2: The Review

Okay, I'm not a reviewer of anything, by any means. Ask me about a movie and I'll say, "I liked it," or "I hated it," or something as succinct. So I'll tell you what I think about my Kindle, but don't expect a lot of details. If you want details, have a look at the reviews on the Amazon.com website.

I bought the Kindle 2, which is the second generation of Amazon.com's electronic book reader. It was designed taking into account a lot of feedback by users of the original Kindle. I didn't own the original, but from reading a couple of the reviews at Amazon.com, the Kindle 2 is a big improvement.

I have to say, being a Star Trek fan, that my Kindle strongly reminds me of Star Trek - The Next Generation. I'm sure they had something like a Kindle in one or two episodes. I like that a lot about my new gadget.

My first thought was that it seems a little heavy, but I guess it's not much heavier than your average Stephen King novel (hardbound, not paperback). It's only 10.2 ounces. I think if I just sat in a comfy chair reading my Kindle, it might start to feel a little heavy. But I've only read it in bed, so far, and what I did was prop a throw-pillow in my lap and rest the Kindle on the pillow. A throw-pillow is generally fatter than a regular pillow, which is why I used it. I rested the Kindle on the pillow, which brought it up to eye level, and didn't have any discomfort issues: weight, neck position, etc. I suspect that reading at a table would be okay, too. Maybe I'll try reading in a chair without anything holding the Kindle up and report back after I've used it for about a month.

Ordering and downloading is a cinch. You can order online from Amazon.com or you can order from your Kindle. I prefer going online, unless there's something specific I'm looking for. If I'm just browsing, the online experience seems more pleasing, probably because it's in color and the layout is different. The Kindle display is black and off-white, which is all you need for reading. There are other places to buy e-books, but I'll let you find them on your own, if you're interested. There has been some news coverage on the subject, and all reports seem to agree that Amazon.com is still the best as well as the cheapest.

If you have "wireless on," your downloads appear in seconds, whether ordered online or on your Kindle. There's just no downside to that! I've noticed the little "3G" symbol on my Kindle whenever I turn wireless on. It will use the 3G network wherever it's available.

I've ordered a couple of books and already finished one. The experience was not much difference than reading a book. The black and off-white display of the Kindle is very much like a book. I wonder if its developers experimented with different contrasts, because I think I'd like the off-white background to be a little whiter. Still, I experienced no discomfort or eye strain while reading. One of the books I ordered was "Audition" by Barbara Walters. I haven't opened it yet, and I've just now begun to wonder whether the photos printed in the paper copy will be in the Kindle copy. I'll check that out and get back to you.

I've also read a couple copies of Newsweek magazine on my Kindle. (Should I give it a name? How about Jimmy Kindle? Sorry, I digress.) I don't think I liked the Kindle magazines very much. I guess I like the photos, illustrations and colors on the printed page. Newspapers are better. I have read a couple copies of the Austin American Statesman (closest paper to home). The paper copies have photos, but the Kindle doesn't appear to provide them. They're not as "important" as the photos in a magazine, though. Just to be somewhat fair, I'm downloading a copy of USA Today, which has more photos, iirc. Just a moment....and voila, pictures! So it's not the Kindle, it's the newspaper. Prices for different newspapers vary. It appears the difference depends on circulation and nationwide readership. Magazine prices vary, too. It's important, I think, to note that there are more than just US newspapers and magazines available. Like to read British tabloids? Or German newspapers? You won't be disappointed.

I expected a long wait before I could use my new Kindle, because I figured it would have to be "fully charged" before I could get started. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I was wrong. First of all, charging it to "fully charged" only took an hour or two. (Sorry, I wasn't paying close attention.) Second, the Kindle can be used while charging. Plug it into your wall outlet or your computer USB slot - the cord works for both! Amazing! Read, download, whatever while your Kindle is charging in the background.

Battery life is good. You have a choice of "wireless off" or "wireless on." In the wireless on mode your Kindle will search for and download items continually. This uses a lot of power. But you can turn wireless off and the battery will last much longer. Sorry I can't tell you exactly how long. I can only say that it's plenty long for me! So turn wireless off, and only turn it on when you know there's something to download, like your morning paper. It takes less than a minute to download a newspaper. If you travel a lot, I can say that a Kindle, in wireless off mode, would last longer than a flight from New York to L.A. Amazon.com says you can "read for days without recharging." That would be with wireless off, for sure. Wireless off is also necessary if you want to use your Kindle when you're someplace (like in an airplane) where certain electronic signals are forbidden.

Kindle has a sleep mode. I'm not sure it has a lot of value except for the neat pictures displayed while it's sleeping. I don't see much difference in sleep vs. off. If I discover one, I'll let you know.

You can change the text size with the Kindle. That's great for us old farts. And it's very easy to do. The downside is that, the bigger the text, the more page turns you'll be doing. In fact, I wonder about people who read real fast - whether the Kindle will be too slow for them. The page turns quickly, but compared to a paper book, there is less of the "page" visible at once. For example, with a book you generally have two full pages exposed each time you turn the page. With the Kindle you have a portion of one page. The portion size depends on the text size.

((Just remembered there is another version of the Kindle available, the Kindle DX, which has a larger display area. It costs more, but if you're a speed reader it's probably a good idea to get that one.))

Navigation is simple, too. There are "next page" buttons on both sides, a "previous page" button on the left side. The "home" button is on the right above the next page button. There's also a "menu" and "back" button on the lower right, and a tiny little joy stick for navigation. I think they call it a "5-way controller." It's cute. I'm not going to go into what all the buttons do. They're somewhat self-explanatory, of course.

I like the dictionary feature a lot. Usually, if I come across I word I don't know while I'm reading I just ignore it, unless it seems important for the story. With the Kindle all I have to do is move a cursor (using the joy stick) to the first letter of the word and a definition appears. Usually. I did find something that wasn't in the dictionary, but I don't remember what it was. The dictionary used is the Oxford American Dictionary.

Book availability is good. Not great. Yesterday I wanted to download a copy of "The Time Traveler's Wife," which is not available in the Kindle version. Because of the price difference, I will buy Kindle books that I wouldn't normally buy in a paper version. This means that there will be books that I won't be able to read/download when I want to, like "The Time Traveler's Wife."

You can also try an experimental function of the Kindle 2: sending PDF files to your Kindle. I've already tried it and it seems to function adequately. Especially for an "experimental" function. Some of the pages don't space right, but they're still readable. Illustrations didn't transfer, which is fine for what I sent. Oh, your Kindle is assigned an e-mail address. You e-mail yourself a PDF file, Amazon.com "translates" it, and puts it in your download queue. You can also e-mail text files and a few others formats. Amazon.com charged me 15 cents to translate and transmit the PDF file.

Other Experimental Functions:
•Basic Web browsing. Best for .mobi-type sites with text and simple layouts. I haven't played with it much, yet.
•MP3 Player. Really. Kindle says "if you like to listen to music while you read" you can load music into your Kindle and listen, or you can download podcasts. (More about the speakers in a minute.)
•Text-to-Speech. Kindle will read aloud to you if you like.

There are two tiny speakers in the back of the Kindle. And they don't get very loud. But you can also plug in a headphone, which works much better. There is a volume control on the right side of the Kindle. You can change the text voice to male or female. I just had it read the beginning of The Bible, and the punctuation was terrible. I had it read a bit of the "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" novel and it seemed fine. I'm trying to get it to do that again right now and having trouble. Not good.

Accessories: I bought the cheap leather cover for $29.99. I'd have bought a nicer one except that the ones I saw while shopping were much higher priced than the one I bought. I saw some today, though, that are cheaper and more colorful. Buy a cover! Protect your Kindle! I also bought the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 clip on book light for $19.99. You can find cheaper book lights, but this one holds on well and doesn't jiggle, like some book lights do. So if you're looking for a book light, I recommend this one. I read in bed so I don't have a light right over my head. I've tried a few different book lights, and I've even tried one of those things that's an LED light on an elastic headband (which worked okay but fell apart too soon).

That's about all the detail I have uncovered, so far. Overall I really like the Kindle. First of all, it will get me to start reading again. Second, as someone else mentioned to me, it should pay for itself over time. The more you read, the faster the payoff. I highly recommend it. If you're into stars, then I'd have to give it 4-3/4 stars out of five.

If you still have doubts, there are a lot of details and reviews on the Kindle homepage. To get to the homepage, you can click here: Kindle

And if you plan to buy a Kindle, please use that link, too. It will earn me some money! There's also a link on the right side of this page.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I hope this was done intentionally...

...maybe someone trying to be funny?

Seen on a bulletin posted at work: "From the Desk of the Office of the President"

But the bulletin was serious, so I think someone just wasn't thinking.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

It's Here!!!

My new Kindle arrived on Thursday. I played with it a little. Not a lot. I read most of the most recent issue of Newsweek Magazine on it. I can read my blog on it!!! I can do other things with it, too. I'm going to give it some more time so I can write a slightly detailed review. So far it's mostly thumbs up. Since I'm working 10-hour days four days a week, I probably won't get to my review until Wednesday, at the earliest. Be patient.

HOT

Me. I'm hot. After a short power outage yesterday, my air conditioning decided to take a vacation. I'll be hot and cranky until I can get it fixed. (Also Wednesday, at the earliest.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My New Kindle...

...has not arrived yet. Maybe today.

Yep, I've got another cold

I'm catching a lot of colds these days. Last one I had was only a few weeks ago. I remember because I was still in training for this job. I went several years without catching any colds while I lived in North Carolina. Here in Texas I seem to catch every cold that comes around. I slept all day yesterday, hoping the rest would help heal me. No real way to know if it helped or not. I still have the cold. I have three days off work, though, so I'll be able to rest. I do have to go to the hospital tomorrow for some tests that will, hopefully, let me and the doctors know why I'm always so tired. That appointment is officially for 9:00 a.m., but I can really go whenever I feel like it since I'm only going to the lab to have some blood drawn. I'll probably also have to pee in a cup. That's always something to look forward to.

I'm going to go take some NyQuil and rest some more. (It's interesting to note that my computer did not flag NyQuil as a misspelling.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Worked my first 10-hour day today. It went by kinda fast, which was very nice. But now I'm kinda tired, which sucks. Except that I can go to bed now. That's good because I can go to bed now. It's bad because I know the more sleep I get, the harder it will be to get up in the morning.

My work schedule until further notice will be four 10-hour days on, three days off. This was my choice.

Checked out the San Diego ComicCon stuff that's on YouTube for my favorite shows, Lost and Dexter. Looks like both are going to be excellent. John Lithgow will play a serial killer on Dexter. And on Lost, some of the folks we haven't see for awhile will be back for the last season.

God likes me. The four Lost stars who showed up for the ComicCon Lost panel were my four favorites: Jorge Garcia (Hurley); Michael Emerson (Benry); Josh Holloway (Sawyer); and Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert). Jorge is a riot, Michael is an incredible actor, and Josh and Nestor are very nice on the eyes.

There were no female stars on the Lost panel at all, although I think one or two were on other panels for other things.

I think I'm getting a cold. I went for about seven or eight years where I didn't get a single cold. Now it seems like I'm getting every cold that anyone anywhere near me might have. What's up with that?

I'm anxious to get and play with my Kindle. I've already ordered two books.