Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I have done a little reading in Consumer Reports and some shopping at places like Home Depot and Valu Homecenters and have sort of narrowed things down. I have also talked it over with some maintenance people and others.
This thing should run me in the $500-$600 range if I guess right. I can't use a big one that would run over a thousand and small ones for less than $500 just would not be worth it.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
That said, when I do watch it I do want it to work properly. Since the digital conversion I have had quite a few new stations with the converter box us off the air types had to get. I even spent some of my Amazon gift card money on a real high tech flat antenna.
With the old rabbit ears from the good old days I got a few mostly snowy stations and would have to turn the antenna to get good pictures on different stations. Very frustrating because getting near to or touching the antenna would change things so you would have to jigger it around a little and then move away to see if it really was any better.
The only problem was some of the digital stations would break up occasionally and I would get a message that the signal was weak and I should adjust the antenna. How? It was as high as I could get it.
Today I went to Home Depot and bought a 50 ft coax antenna cable. I drilled a hole in the livingroom floor to the basement and drilled a hole in the attic floor and fished the the wire up through the walls from the basement. I was on a mission...
After about ten trips up and down the stairs (the attic is the third floor) I hooked everything up, put all the tools away, cleaned things up and sat on the couch and did a channel scan.
Nothing - not one channel.
My analytical mind said that this is not what I wanted.
I got out my tools again and tightened all the connections. Still nothing. Very disturbing.
Got desperate. I had to use a female to female connector so I could connect the male ends of the antenna wire and the coax. They came in a package of two so I decided to try the other one.
As all good stories go, I am living happily ever after. 13 channels and no interference so far.
Might even watch a little TV some day if I can make up my mind what to watch.
Was it a defective connector? Did I missalign something? Bad kharma? Who cares - it works and I can give myself credit for accomplishing something. It was a successful Sunday - even if the Buffalo Bills lost.
Monday, September 28, 2009
The weather around here is absolutely terrible unless you are a mystery fan. We have had wind, downpours, hail, lightening and thunder - you name it. This has to be interesting stuff at the weather bureau.
No flooding in the streets, the sewers are doing great. No water in the basement, the house is doing great. And best of all - in this dreary, dismal, dank, and deplorable weather, my DSL for the computer has not slowed down at all.
I guess the Verizon repair service really did a good job eliminating problems in the lines. In the past I would have slowed down to nothing in some of these downpours.
I have to admit though, I love this time of year for sleeping. No heat on and no fans or cooling. Just good unmessed around with sleep as it was intended to be.
Oh... Who do you call for foot trouble? Easy. A tow(toe) truck, what else?
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last Christmas that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear.
Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.
Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Working for God on earth doesn't pay much......but His retirement plan is out of this world.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I still have the messed up left foot though. It really seems to be somewhat better but it is not hurrying to improve. I thought plantar fasciitis was supposed to go away in a month or two but my latest reading says more like a YEAR or two is not unusual.
Gee - someone really knows how to make life interesting! All these neat things to read about.
I still waddle a little bit when I first get up in the morning but it is nowhere near as bad as it was at first, in February and March. It isn't even really noticeable for quite a bit of the day. At least I have a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
"The Thing" and "Them" were black and whites from the fifties and each really kept you frozen in your seats. These are real entertainment.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
On mornings when I have the time, it is one of my favorite stops for a short walk. The scenery is quite nice. The river with Fort Erie Canada on the other side. A view of the end of the Black Rock Canal where it exits the lock. The International Railway Bridge. A view down river of Grand Island and little Strawberry Island and all the pleasure boats.
It is not much of a park but it has a very nice location.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It happened again this Thursday and I really had enough. I called Verizon and spent the time to actually talk to a technician. He really was thorough. I went through reboots and line monitoring tests. Checking lights on the modem was very interesting. I am an 'expert' now. He decided that it needed a service call and we set it up for Saturday after I finished work.
I can't get over how thorough the technician was today. He understood the problem and even though the sun was out and my DSL was working well checked outside the house and by the computer. He said everything measured well but wanted to do some work outside by the box down the street.
He changed circuits in case there was a line problem and also adjusted the line from the house to the pole.
This was no quick in and out service call. He even mentioned that I should call right away if there was any problem.
I really do tend to be a little cynical about things at times but this experience with Verizon really has put me in a very good mood. I did check my line speeds and there is an improvement. All I need is a little rain to see if all is well.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Anybody who knows anything about fine cooking is probably familiar with Julia Child. Even I used to watch her show on PBS every now and then. She was a genuinely gifted character who could be a pleasure to watch.
A woman, Julie Powell, with a high pressure government job, decides to write about attempting to cook all Julia Child's recipes and documenting it on a blog. The result is a nice and sometimes funny story of Julia Child's life and the trials and tribulations of writing a blog in the real world.
Friday, August 7, 2009
This overlooks the Niagara River near the location of the Peace Bridge. Fort Tompkins was a good sized fortification opposite Fort Erie.
I enjoy walking through this area because there are quite a few historical sites that can just pop up on you like this plaque.
The International Railway Company (IRC) preceeded the current Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro. I still remember the IRC streetcars running in front of our house on East Ferry Street in the 1940s. Like everything you got used to the noise and even missed it when it was gone.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
At least I can take it off for showers and when I go to bed. The doctor says the alignment and everything is good. Just a couple more xrays when I go back.
Sure does take a long time.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Sorry if the pictures are just a bit blurred - doing self-portraits using my left hand is not the easiest thing to do.
I really have to admit as pretty as the color of this cast is, I do not think I will miss it at all when it is gone - hopefully at the end of this week (only 4 weeks for a hand).
ps: I did get the box opened that I was opening. It does seem like the box got me back though.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I really think this is the most interesting Star Trek movie I have seen. It was a real shoot-em-up, exciting movie. It used all the original character names and was really well presented.
This week I went to see a movie called The Brothers Bloom.
It was a con-man story. I think they had hopes of emulating The Sting but that movie was in a category of its own. This one was pretty good though. It was quite interesting in its use of geography and the story plot.
Actually I was quite happy with both picks.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This is one of a group of trees in front of a bank. They are quite large. My daughter thinks they could be mock oranges but is not sure. I don't know, these are not fragrant at all.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I could have put it off for another week but I really felt like getting out and cutting the grass. Lawn mower was cooperative too - it started on the first pull after sitting unused all winter.
As I was working in the back yard, I looked at the rose bushes and was very irritated about what I saw on two of them.
It would not be right to cast blame in the wrong direction BUT I think that rabbit that thinks it owns my back yard probably is going after my roses. I think this is probably going to call for some strong measures.
There is always something different in this gardening business, isn't there?
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
When I upgraded versions of IE5 way back when in the Win95 days it took me all night using dialup. Using DSL it only took a few (very few) minutes for IE8. Everything worked like a charm. I don't know if the whole thing took 15 minutes because I was not timing it but I am sure it was less than a half hour.
It really loads fast. Everything seems to work good. So far I have had no real problems. I have to figure out what accelerators and slices are good for but that is just a normal learning experience.
I did get rejected by a survey that only works with IE up to 7 and offered to let me 'upgrade' to 7 but after I stopped chuckling I decided to try loading it in Firefox. That did work and I loaded the survey and got rejected for the survey itself in Firefox. (I am used to rejection at my stage of life).
Everything I need seems to work in IE8 and so far it looks like a significant improvement. I do have Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on my machine but I think I will stick with IE.
I was happy to see that my RoboForm toolbar loads in both IE and Firefox so anytime I get the urge, I can try the alternative browser and still access everything. It is good to have fallbacks. I must have someone named Murphy in my family.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Everything is ready for the warmer weather. It is like the plants are getting set to lunge out of the ground once we get this little distraction out of the way.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I took a walk to the store. I thought it was just about perfect walking weather.
I have done all the gardening I need to do so this is just a lazy day off.
I didn't notice any buds on the trees. The temperatures did go down to right around freezing this week and they predict a little snow around Tuesday. So we take it as it comes.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I really did a job on the roses this year. For all my work last year I didn't really get an awful lot of flowers. This year I am hoping that pruning will give them a fresh start. I hope this is the right time of year to do this type of stuff because I really pruned them a lot.
I got the hedges too. I even used the big lopping shears to shorten the plants little and even them up. All in all a good day! Should be all set for the growing season.
It's lucky I got my burst of energy yesterday because it's raining today.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Took a short walk around the block today and creaked and groaned all the way. I guess I'm really out of condition. Such is life though. The weather is getting better so I have to deal with this.
It really feels good seeing the old sights. The only part that's difficult is this little break in period for the muscles. Can't wait for a good Saturday or Sunday to get going on the garden.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I thought I had a bruise or something on my left heel so I asked a nurse I know at the program I go to to take a look and see if she could see anything. Nothing to see but she sure found out it was sensitive. Said it may have been a bone spur or something but she thought it best to make a doctor's appointment to get it looked at.
The doctor, actually a podiatrist, looked at it, poked at it in different parts of the foot and found all the sore spots. He asked me a bunch of questions and told me I wouldn't be going around the house without shoes for a while.
I apparently have plantar fasciitis which is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue on the bottom of the foot that helps to support the arch. How I managed to injure that is a mystery to me because I have basically been blocked from any significant walking or other outside exercise by the cold weather.
I guess I am just lucky. This is just in time for the spring warmup and getting out for walks.
Instead, I have exercises to do for stretching. Oh well - at least I don't have to take any more pills. Pulling on a towel looped over my foot doesn't sound too strenuous. I don't think it is practical to wear my shoes in the shower though, there are limits.
Actually, I think I might survive a month or two of this. The worst pain is first thing in the morning when I get out of bed. The pain does subside as I walk around and I actually don't even notice it much of the time. I don't expect it to really tie me down an awful lot.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
If you want music that will pop up into your mind at the most inopportune moments just try this one on for size:
It has no redeeming social value that I can think of other than that it is just fun to listen to...
Wait until the next time you are at a funeral or something and "I've got a brand new pair of roller skates" pops up in your mind. It is very distracting.
I have read all sorts of psychobabble on this song and I could care less. It is effective.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940)
Casey at the Bat
A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
We'd put up even money now with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey's getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped–
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one," the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted some one on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the sphereoid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville –mighty Casey has struck out.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I always thought it was interesting and with its location at a bus stop caused a number of double-takes. I think Rich's is actually planning on locating it somewhere else on the campus though.
They have had the bench in place for a while though. It does not look like anyone has sat on it and relaxed in the first picture:
The next picture looks a little more hospitable anyway:
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
It is with great sadness that I found out about the death of Sue Borkowski. She was the twin sister of my ex-wife JoAnne and was a great favorite with the kids. I remember nothing but kind thoughts of her and she will be greatly missed.
She was one of those very intelligent and successful people we all hope to meet. She was a Nurse Practioner for years and even after being forced into retirement by her condition she continued to write and have published articles in her field.
I do not know how her husband of 40 years, Paul, managed at the funeral home last night as the crowds of people were larger than anything I have seen at a wake. There were actually lines of people waiting to get in.
It was a cold day for the funeral but fortunately the snow held off and the driving was not bad. It was a sad day but everything went well and it was nice seeing everyone.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The crash of Flight 3407 is receiving saturation media coverage right now in this area. But to my surprise there was no public passenger list in the paper. There were only a few names of noteworthy people.
Apparently is it turns out, there is not a blanket release of names in a list. The airline checks with each family about the appropriateness of releasing the name to the public. This of course is a little time consuming so there is no instant list published.
I did use Google in my efforts to find a list. And as is quite often the case with Google, some totally irrelevant results popped to the top of the list.
I came across at least two sites where when clicked on showed "Flight 3407 Passenger List" at the top of the webpage. But instead of a list of names there was a list of dirty pictures. Apparently some porn sites jumped on the Google Adwords program and made some very good guesses for keywords in a high traffic area. Absolutely nothing to do with passenger lists but I'll bet an awful lot of people searching for information clicked on those sites. I know I did, unknowingly.
To say the least, I got upset when I came across that stuff. How could any lowlifes do something like that?
Of course, after counting to 10, and getting myself thinking sensibly again, I started considering the condition of the advertising industry right now and the type of ads we have on TV and in the newspapers. It really is not much better. I guess what you would have to say is something like that it is just astute businesspeople jumping on an opportunity.
What a world!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
After several days of thaw, this pile of snow does not look too impressive but the idea of what it represents makes my blood boil.
The companies plowing the sidewalk did a fairly decent job as is shown by the dry sidewalk. But why in the world did the plow operators for both companies decide to dump what was a massive mound of snow blocking the sidewalk?
This is an area with a fair amount of foot traffic and the obstruction forces people to walk in the street! Niagara Street is not a quiet little country lane by any means. Pedestrians are really endangered by this sort of negligence.
This is only the most obvious example to me. There are at least a couple more examples of the same foolishness in the same general area.
This is not a case of a homeowner who may have been held back by illness or something. This is a perfect example of companies disdaining the people they are supposed to be protecting.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I got to reading an article by Maria Colenso. "What's a walk score?." 10 December 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/walk-score.htm> 09 February 2009.
Apparently using Google maps and a special algorithm a numeric rating can be determined for a neighborhood to tell you the walkability to such thing as stores, restaurants, and whatever. My address gives a value of 78 out of 100 which is supposed to be pretty good.
You can do the calculation for any address - I just put in the street address and zip code and it worked great. The url of the site is: http://www.walkscore.com/
It is anything but perfect, of course. It depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information Google Maps has but you can also update the information yourself. Generally it gives a higher rating for nearer locations and restricts itself to less than a mile - reasonable for walking - about 2000 steps.
All-in-all it is a very interesting concept. For instance: when considering purchasing a house it might be interesting to check its walkscore - especially in view of how terrible it is in some areas getting anywhere except by car.
The site has ratings for various areas. It might be interesting to check others.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
My last full backup was last November 11 and I have just been doing incremental backups every week since. It's automatic every Sunday morning so I never think about it. I just back up to DVD discs.
I use the Windows backup program that came with the computer. I just want something to fall back on if worse comes to worse.
One of the things I used to do back when I was working, in the nineties, was to make tape backups of two of the networks I worked on. You can not believe the sense of relief that someone has when you can recover a file that was somehow damaged or lost.
Probably the best way to do backups would be to a virtual drive on the Internet. That way you wouldn't have to worry about switching discs. For now though I am just making do with the DVD's. It took three discs for the last full backup and then I had two more for the weekly incremental backups.
The only trouble with this setup is the amount of time it takes. The first disc of this new full backup took about an hour and 1/2 to make. I started at 11:30 this morning. The program did write the second and third disks much faster and said it was finished around 2:15 in the afternoon.
At least I can still use the computer while the program runs. Someday, maybe, I will actually buy a program that does this a little more efficiently. You don't notice how slow it really is when the incremental backups are made at 4:00 AM automatically.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Tonight though, as I was going through one of my modern day rituals I had the thought pop into my head about what a simple, health enhancing idea this was. It is so simple. It is so cheap. It is so unbelievably beneficial.
Particularly if you take multiple pills, these things are literal life-savers. The process of pill taking is just so automatic after a period of time that anyone who takes them and leads a normal life will always wonder if they really did take them. The doubts have caused me to count the pills in a bottle just to see if the numbers come out right. Double dosing and missed doses are realities with all the consequences involved.
I have two. One for the morning and one for nighttime. They come in all sorts of configurations. Several people I know have 7 x 4 configurations with each day's four removable for carrying in a purse or whatever.
I wonder if our unknown benefactor has any idea of the number of lives that have been saved and poisonings avoided.
I hope in my life I can have an inspiration that is only a small fraction as good as this.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The new administration is trying to get off to a running start. Good luck to them!
As for me - looking forward to a trip out to Walmart. Probably not buying - just looking - but the store is a good source of ideas.
The picture below is a quick one of my poinsettia.
Yes! That is one red leaf. No isolation in a closet. No covering by a box to make it dark. The plant came through on its own.
You have to take what you get, apparently.
So in the words of Walter Cronkite and John Daly: "You are there" for another day in history.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
This is the view in front of the house toward Elmwood Ave.
It is snowing a little and is about 10F (-12C). For the past week or so it has been too cold for the salt to do much good in the streets.
Actually, I think this is pretty healthy weather. I usually feel surprisingly good when the temperature gets down a little like this. No cold, just the occasional sniffle.
It may look a little dreary in the pictures because it is early and the sun is covered by the clouds but fresh snow like this is kind of pretty. If only I did not have to drive in it.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I did not know of any practical way to get all the information into my current machine so I could sort through it.
There was an ad that I came across for something called a 'USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE'. Why not, $20 or so isn't much to gamble?
It came in and I hooked it to the hard disk and viola! Flashing LEDs, whirring sounds and clicks that sounded like the good old days on the computer. The new computer even said it loaded the mass storage drivers ok.
Checked Vista and nothing in the way of a new drive letter that I could access. What to do now. Give it up as a lost cause. A Windows 95 machine is probably just too old to bother with.
I remembered that I had seen some info on HP support and both machines are HP so what's to lose?
I went to the HP Support Forums, looked around and figured I had to register to get any satisfaction. This was simple to do so I completed the forms and replied to the email.
I like to search around for information and asking questions sometimes seems like speaking a foreign language but I was in a 'why not?' frame of mind and figured there was nothing to lose by waiting a few days or a week for some sort of reply.
I put a new post on the Hardware forum describing my problem Saturday night at about 9pm. Early Sunday morning, about 9am lo and behold there was a reply telling me to check something. I replied as to how and posted it. Before noon I had a detailed reply.
To say I was shocked by the promptness would be an understatement.
Actually reading through another post gave me something else to try that did work. But the speed of the knowledgeable replies just took my breath away. I am a person who has sat on the phone for 8 or 9 hours waiting for tech support with other companies. Not this time though.
I now have a new drive J and a couple of gigs of history to go through. Just the thing for a holiday weekend.