Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Main Stream Media

Today was noneventful in my life -- rubber stamp of the last two days. So, I'll comment on what's bugging me today, which is lousy news reporting. Our country is going through probably historical times - putting it kindly and mildly - and we can't seem to get any news reporters to do it justice.

As an example, a little surfing found this story on Huffington Post - bottom line is Tucker Carlton is sympathetic to Scooter Libby because his pappa is part of the Libby Defense team. Ah-ha! Read the article.

Then there's this silly little story -- now, this doesn't have anything to do with our national defense, but it was definitely a buried story at the time. It seems when Bush fell on his bicycle at the G8 Summit, he not only injured himself but he crashed into a policeman to the point it put the poor guy on crutches. Bush had taken his hand off the handlebar to wave at policemen -- and lost control of his bike! Had this been an "normal" person, he would have been fined as a reckless driver. But his handlers managed to keep it very quiet. Now, all Howard Dean needed was a microphone that amplified his voice a little too much and he was crucified. They did give Cheney a little bit of a hard time about shooting somebody, but nobody mentioned our president's running down people with his stupid bicycle! And it's not like it was quiet from all media. Apparently, unless I misread something, it was published in the Sottish papers. But our brave media didn't touch it. Why?

Olbermann seems to be selling out, I'm sorry to say, and I really hope I'm wrong. On Olbermann Watch, there's an email - supposedly from Olbermann - saying that his producers called him down on calling Bush "Mister" Bush instead of "President" Bush. His show is getting so generic that it really makes me wonder. He'll give a little coverage to these huge stories, seem to be in the mind-set of "This is a story going on" -- sure seems like a cooling down on his part in my estimation. He's playing up the comic aspects of his show and the O'Reilly feud is funny - but we need some meat in his reporting. But apparently he's leaving the controversial stories pretty much alone. So, it sure makes me wonder what's going on behind the scenes. Even his blog has pretty much died except for some token posts that are sports related.

Judging from how most of the senators who were so adamant about the port situation are calming down, it makes you wonder. I like what somebody termed the phenomenon of Frist's backing down as he had been "taken to the woodshed."

Lou Dobbs so far seems to be the only loud voice out there, and he's a Republican I think. Surprisingly, Jack Cafferty is getting fed up with the Administration and government in general and managing to say so - finally - pretty much leaving Wolf Blitzer sputtering sometimes. Chris Matthews seems "defensive" of the Administration. He says he's never had a problem with this president and doesn't understand why people don't like him anymore. Geez!

Maybe I should get brave and tune into Fox News just to see what they're saying. With Bush's ratings in the tank like they are, you would think these reporters would alter their allegiances for their own popularity - makes you wonder what is in their own benefit, doesn't it?

There's so much more. This doesn't even scratch the proverbial surface. I guess I don't have any room to complain. I've never once ever done anything activist or gone to a meeting or rally or demonstration. I'm even sometimes reluctant to take these little polls on the Internet - "What do you think about...." But these guys are in positions of telling people like me what's going on, declaring that as their professions, and they're not doing it very well. So, I feel very cheated and misled. I'm angry and worry about our country when it's so obvious that the voices who have a voice can be silenced maybe a little too easily.

Last night, fighting insomnia, I turned on C-Span. They were airing the Covenant with Black America that Tavis Smiley is heading up, and when I tuned in, Louis Farrakhan was speaking -- I know, I know -- but he did use a phrase that is sooo "useful" that he does deserve credit for it. He said that our powers that be needed to develop some "testicular fortitude"! Amen to that!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday's musings...

Everything was pretty much status quo till this evening. Spent the day hanging on the keyboard, working on a job with my usual Internet breaks, monitoring the news. I received a Yahoo Breaking News this morning saying that Dennis Weaver died -- and I didn't hear it one time -- not once all day on any channel - granted I didn't listen to every word, but I don't think anybody even mentioned it until tonight and then Olbermann did give a little notice to him, but he was more interested in Darrin McGavin. Well, these things generally come in 3's, so I hope that's the end of hearing about these legends dying off for a while.
Lou Dobbs seems to be getting more and more worked up over this port situation - and most assuredly rightfully so! Thank God somebody with some clout on the airwaves will speak up! But he said tonight that the Dubai officials are still trying to shut him up. He said they've cut CNN off from any interviews or all kinds of access to news coverages involving them until they get Dobbs to give it up. Wow! I really hope he is watching his back!

They're saying now that the sale will go forward on March 2nd, Thursday. Then they'll have the 45 day investigation. Makes you just shake your head at the people who think that might be a good idea. But think about this for a minute now -- these people will have control over more ports than those six, and they're trying to heavy hand, darn near blackmail, if you will, a news agency over a reporter for speaking out, which we value that right more than almost anything - our freedom of speech -- and that's the mentality of the company who's going to have all this control in our country - and embraced by this Administration! What's wrong with this picture! The real scary thing of all this is that even though people are beginning to see through some of this stuff, there's nothing that can be done to stop it. There's too much power with no checks and balances. Well, I'll stop here with my rant. Like I say, it doesn't do any good anyway.

TC called saying she was coming in tonight with a job she wants to try to get out in expedite fashion. So, I'll be putting the one I've been working on aside to do this one. It's short and she said easy, so I'll do it in the morning.

Conn's called today and told me my microwave is ready -- finally. It's been hard getting along without it. So, maybe I can steal a little time tomorrow and go pick it up. I also got am email notice the other day that my quilts I had ordered from Domestications for sofa covers was finally being sent. They had been on back order, but I'm still waiting on them. Gosh, I've even forgot what they looked like. If they don't come tomorrow, I'll have to remember to do a tracking on them. Main thing I want to hurry to get here is my laptop!! But I'll need the time to play with it, for sure!

That reminds me, I never finished the baseboards in the middle bedroom I refloored. I had ran out and Sutherland's had been sold out. But one day when I was there I did get what I needed, put the pieces in the room, shut the door, and they've been completely out of mind. Another loose end to finish up. I'm glad work is picking up, but quite frankly, it makes me feel bad physically. Sitting here I get so tired and listless. But it's the only way I have of making a living, so I don't want to complain! I'm very thankful for it.

Anybody like Garfield? I LOVE GARFIELD!! I got this one today in the mail -- I need to print it and frame it and hang it on the wall!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mundane encore...

At least today there was some sunshine - not real warm, but sun, nevertheless. Ever since I planted my little seeds, we have had overcast days. So, I took my little trays and sat them in the yard so they could get feel the sun on their faces! I swear, I think two or three might have broke ground because of it! Sure hope they'll all thrive.

Work -- usual - got almost all my self-appointed quota done, and will have before I go to bed. I got so sleepy at one point, I fell asleep in my chair. My cat Quincy kept waking me up last night. Sometimes he acts like he's worried that I'm in bed and he thinks I'm not supposed to be there. So, he's quite persistent until I get up. Then I'll carry him back to bed with me to hoping it will shut him up, pet him a little. That will settle him down, but not last night! Silly cat!

Anyway, I finally decided if I was going to nap, I'd do it right and went to lay down on the couch. No news of any consequence on weekends, and I didn't get interested in the Olympics this year at all. I put the TV on Discover Channel, and watched a show about the JFK Assassination Conspiracies. It was so interesting. These guys went all out to prove or disprove the 4th bullet, 2nd gunman theory, magic bullet theory. The efforts that they went to in order to recreate that day was amazing! Well, I won't describe it all here, but as far as I'm concerned, their recreations and studies pretty much satisfied me that the Warren Commission was correct, and there was not a 2nd gunman. I never did get my nap. One thing, though, in their studies, they had to build replicas of his form and John Connolly's to study the traversing of the bullet and mentioned that JFK was 6 feet, and 170 pounds and his chest was 37 inches. I always thought of him as a bit more robust than that.

I suppose if you were alive Nov. 22, 1963, at 1:00 p.m - I believe it was a Friday - you remember what you were doing and where you were. I was in 10th grade at South Park High, lunch period, and we were hearing that he had been shot. The bell rang, we went to class - my next period was Texas history, and our principal made the announcement on the loud speaker that he died. Gosh, students and teachers alike cried. It was such a shock, almost unbelieveable. What an innocent era times were then. They let out school, and we spent the next few days glued to the TV watching the coverage on all three channels - NBC, CBS, and ABC, black and white, and that was it. Indeed, the nation and I suppose the world did change that day.

I got an email tonight that is circulating around the web that I'll pass along here. Now, I've been on the computer since Apple IIe -- well, really, before that. We even had a little TI (Texas Instruments). I took some computer classes in college, learned some programming, recovered hard drives, manage to hold my own most of the time -- and this is so simple a tip and I have never heard it before. But what a gem it is. If you've known it as long as the control C copies and control V pastes commands -- well, good for you - but it was news to me.

When you're in your email and the print is too small, click the mouse somewhere inside the piece of mail, then hold down the control key and roll the wheel on your mouse and it increases/decreases the font sizes. And, it seems to stay the size you left it. So, how 'bout that! Well, if it works in mail, maybe it works in Internet Explorer, too -- of course, I had to experiment -- and lo and behold, it does! Looks like I can hold off on that new eyeglasses prescription now for a while!
It doesn't take much to impress me, does it!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Guess every day can't be full of excitement. Today was one of those. So, here's the boring rundown -- well, before I say that, I want to say that the entertainment world lost a great one today now that Don Knotts died. He seems to be mostly remembered for Andy Griffith and Mayberry and Three's Company, but what I remember him the most from is the "Man on the Street" segments of the Steve Allen Show. Now this goes back to 1956; and I suppose were reruns for a while. But he was his usual skinny, bug-eyed self. And the unseen interviewer would be asking him questions that he would try to answer. And then the interviewer would say, "Are you nervous?" And he would shiver and shake his head and his eyes get bigger and quickly blurt out, "Nooope, noope! I'm not nervous! Nooooo" It's one of those things you try to duplicate in everyday situations. He was so funny! Where is the good, clean humor anymore? They're all dying off; and all that's left are either way too silly or way too vulgar. He was up there among the best!
I looked for a video clip on the web and couldn't find it; but I did find this in an article about Steve Allen:

It was as host of The Tonight Show that Allen pioneered the "man on the street" and audience-participation comedy bits that have become commonplace in late-night TV.
In 1956, while still hosting Tonight, Allen added a Sunday-evening variety show. The Allen programs helped nurture the careers of singers
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme and Sammy Davis Jr.. Allen also provided a nationwide audience for his famous "men on the street" -- comics such as Ernie Kovacs, Pat Harrington, Jr., Don Knotts, Louis Nye, Bill Dana, Dayton Allen and Tom Poston.

Anyway, I got up, got to work on my job, which I didn't finish last night. I didn't even bother to get dressed first, which I almost always dress first thing. But I finished up about 1:30 or so. We had agreed we'd trade out when I was through. So, I dressed and took off to Mom's -- our meeting place -- and traded out. She had two decent size jobs for me. That's good. Then Mom and I rode to get -- are you ready for this -- fast food! Well, I haven't been grocery shopping yet for my "healthy" food. We went back to her house to eat it and had coffee.

On the way back home at College and I-10 there was a wreck. I couldn't see exactly, but people were crying and a guy was all doubled over and rocking like he had really hurt his stomach. I asked God to bless them all. It was a dreary day, drizzling rain, they were going to have to wait for officials. I felt sorry for them.

Anyway, I picked up my mail as I came in. We have those community boxes, and I tend to not get my mail unless I go out; and I don't go out every day. So, it can accumulate several days. And that it had. The box was full -- though it's a good 95% junk mail. More paperwork for me to put aside to procrastinate taking care of.

I've been working on one of the new jobs this evening and. of course, side-tracking a little with looking around on the web. But the job is going pretty good, not hard; so, it will be easy enough to finish tomorrow. I think I'll do one of the Photoshop videos now. I tried doing one of the lessons last night from memory, and I'll have to go back and refresh myself on a couple of steps that I couldn't remember. In case you don't know this, age seems to diminish your retention capabilities - at least it has mine!

So, knowing there wasn't anything productive or even interesting to post today, I looked around for something fun and came up with the Funny Cats Video. Now, if you know me, you probably remember having seen it, because when I became aware of it, I mailed out the link to everybody. It's soooo funny! But I enjoyed watching it again. So, I'll leave you with it!
Here's a couple of screen shots...

Friday, February 24, 2006

"Be good to yourself"

New motto -- ha ha -- I just did, anyway - was good to myself. I just got off the phone with Gateway and spec ordered myself a laptop. Technology is passing me by, and I decided to do it while I still have a little insurance money left. I won't bore you with the whole spec sheet, but it's basically a 15.4" monitor with a little over a gig RAM and an 80 gig hard drive, and also a router and a wireless mouse. I'm so excited! It won't be here till about March 7, but that's okay. I have plenty to do to keep me busy in the meantime. (pic is generic. I don't know what mine will look like, but probably quite similar.)

I've wanted a laptop for so long and never could justify buying one. Even now, it's hard other than the simple fact, "I want it." But who knows, maybe once I have it, I'll realize how much I "needed" it in the first place.

This is definitely in lieu of the new camera. After much thought and reading on digital cameras, to buy another one would be wasteful, not giving me much more than I already have, short of buying a DSLR and I don't even want that. My little Z2 serves the purpose. To get a bigger picture from what a 4 megapixel puts out, if you alter the format to a .tiff and increase the size, wa-la, there you go. I tested it, and it doesn't diminish anything -- if you do it from the original. Once you've edited .jpg, then you've lost pixels forever. So, I'm fine with this. I'll get much more use from the laptop - especially considering there's nothing too inspiring to go take pictures of around here anyway! So, I'm happy with my choice. I hope it won't knock me out of getting my kitchen, but finding somebody do to what I wanted was turning into an impossibility anyway. I still plan to build my booth, and with the overall layout I want, it can be done in sections.

After surfing the web most of the day looking for the best deal on a laptop -- looking at BestBuy and Circuit City and Office Depot and -- driving myself silly -- I had narrowed down my choice to two Gateways and was unsure of the difference. So, I called them on the phone to ask, and he explained that they were "packaged" so to speak for the shelves, and that when you go directly to Gateway, they custom build it. So, that's how I wound up doing it this way. The price was a little over my target but not by too much and I was getting the elements I wanted.

Well, believe it or not, in spite of that obsession for the day, I did manage to get most of my last job done. I'm hoping tomorrow we'll swap out and I'll have work for the weekend, but I haven't confirmed with her that her jobs yesterday were a go.

I pretty much left the politics alone today - they were basically rehashing old ground on all the news shows except I got real tickled at Olbermann tonight explaining about how O'Reilly has put a petition on his website wanting MSNBC to get back Phil Donahue to take Olbermann's time slot. Olbermann was hysterical. If you don't know what I'm talking about -- it would take too long to explain. But there's a basic warfare going on between the two. Olbermann has a segment called "Worse Person in the World" where he picks 3 instances of something outrageous or mean or something that people do; and he has "honored" O'Reilly several times with one of his "Worst Person in the World" honors. Since in my opinion Bill O'Reilly is a pompous blow-gut, I'm finding the whole thing pretty funny.

Well, off to finish my job. Working at home definitely has advantages of flexible hours - as long as the jobs aren't what we call a "rush" with some strict time constraint. But it still has to be done, and I'll sleep better if I have it finished.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dubai Ports World coming to Beaumont

There's an article in the Beaumont Enterprise, Firm that Arab Company intends to buy does stevedoring here -- and also a clip on local TV, KFDM tonight about Longshoreman react to deal with Dubai. So, what this means is it's not just the critical six ports that will be affected. It will be every port in our nation. As I said before, Beaumont Port gets a lot of military traffic and the Dubai company will be in charge of it once it's on the ground! Wonderful! But now Rove is advising to let it chill a little bit and then push it on through. It will surprise me if this does gets stopped. Somehow Bush and his boys get everything they want, and never have to pay consequences for anything. This probably won't be any different.

After Olbermann, just for the fun of it, I switched over to Fox (Faux, as they call it) and there was Hannity giving an extremely softball Exclusive interview to Gonzales. I find it so amusing that Fox News gets all these Exclusive interviews. Kinda turns the stomach, doesn't it.

My day was spent - besides monitoring the news channels - trying to muster the self-discipline to do my job. I've about decided maybe I have an the affliction of ADD. I'd work a few minutes, stop, get on the web and look up stuff or read and/or send an email, work another few minutes, get up and go get food, work a few more minutes, decided I needed to backup my address book and then had to figure out how to transfer it to MSN or Yahoo Mail so it would be online somewhere -- never did get that to work. Error message said the file wasn't created correctly. Well, there's nothing I can do about that. It's created by Outlook Express, and there are no options. Anyway, then back to do a few more pages. I wonder if this is what they call "burn out." I can't get burned out. I'm not old enough for Social Security yet! That is if it will be any SS left by the time I get there!

I want to comment on the impending civil war in Iraq, on Guantanamo -- but there's so much going on, you can't hardly absorb one that there's not another majorly critical issue to deal with. Nobody can ever get this whole mess straightened out.

Somehow I've got to get myself psyched out to go through a self-improvement regiment. I need exercise. I'm eating like a baby -- every two hours! -- and I've come to the realization, if I was trying to deliberately destroy my body with abuse, I'm doing a darn good job of it. Well, I don't smoke anymore (quit in 2000), don't drink or take any kind of drugs, even Rx drugs - don't drink as much coffee as I used to, but I get no vegetables, no fruit, eating way too many starches and fast foods, drink milk nearly by the gallon - no exercise at all, not that I can do that much anyway. Maybe by putting this on my blog it will shame me into getting a grip and taking charge of this disgusting lack of self-control.

I also heard on the news that - was it insurance companies or Medicare? -- somebody -- is going to start paying for these stomach stapling procedures because they think it's cheaper than the consequences of 65% of the population being overweight. There's another soapbox to get on!! That's right, Government! Let's pay all that money to deform people's stomachs for them to have potenially serious, and even deadly consequences -- let's not try to see if all these chemicals and steriods and antibiotics and cloned animals might have anything to do with the "growth" of the population.

Well, I can't solve that problem tonight. I still have about 1/4 of my job that I'd like to finish before I go to bed. Guess I better get after it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

36 Years Ago Today...

Happy Birthday, John!

... I gave birth to my first born. What a party the family had. They were making lists of their guesses, girl, boy, weigh how much, what time born. My doctor had to induce me because of toxic edemia, so I was locked up in the labor room for two days. Anyway, that precious little baby grew to a fine young man who has always made me so proud. I've been blessed with two wonderful sons, who in turn now have their own precious baby girls. It's too bad, even sad, that they live too far from here to be in my life every day, but they're sure in my heart every minute. Happy Birthday, John! Wish I could have taken you out for a nice Birthday Dinner.

Enough of that. Back to politics! Did anyone watch Lou Dobbs tonight? Well, he was reporting how many ties the big shots at U.A.E. have with the Carlyle Group. Ha! Didn't we all know that! Remember how Michael Moore would try to expose all that cozy relationship, and everybody ridiculed Moore like he was a moron, an idiot, and a lying idiot at that! "What difference did that make," they'd whail! "Who cares! So what!" I hope he's getting a good chuckle out of all this now. I found a transcript of the show on Dobbs' webpage. Just go to "File" and "Search" and type in "Carlyle" and it will jump down the page to that segment of his show.

The job I expected to come in today wound up canceling. It seems incompetence is in all walks of life. The last few jobs that have canceled have been because notices weren't sent to all the proper parties. So, they'd have to reschedule. It's a real pain and can be costly, too. But thankfully today she took two jobs and has two on the books tomorrow.

I played with the Photoshop lessons today, tried to do the exercises. Tapes 1 and 2. Sometimes they would go pretty fast or assume you know something, that I might not; so I had to rewind a lot. The main thing is just getting familiar with a lot of this. I taught myself most of the basic editing tools and learned a little about layers, can do some things, but I'm anxious to learn more of the core of the program. Time will be the biggest problem.

By the way, report on my zinnias I planted on the 14th -- there's tiny little leaves poking through the soil. Not all the cells yet, but there were a few more this afternoon than this morning. So - so far so good, I guess. Maybe I'll have to enlarge that flower bed before long!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Venting about our Ports

Bush is such an idiot! I'm afraid he's here to stay. He'll change the law so he can be president again. He's getting so cocky now, he's even telling his own base,"My way or the highway, chump." They're saying he didn't even know about all this till recently. I'm so sick of hearing, "He didn't know," well, isn't he supposed be the president? They said it's all done through security first, then he's advised. Well, then they claim this is the brain child of Karen Hughes. She's running things so much that she doesn't have to consult Bush on what she thinks is a "good idea"?? Wouldn't a prudent president be well advised to have a clue what might be going on in this country? He didn't know about Katrina, he didn't know about Cheney shooting anybody, didn't know about the policy meetings Cheney had with the big oil boys, he didn't know about Plame (what's happened to that story?), he didn't know Ken Lay was a crook -- I remember a while back they had some scare at the White House and they had to evacuate it for a few minutes. Bush out riding his bicycle, and they didn't bother to tell him that either till later. (wish I knew how to query the web to find that report so I could link to it.) When is this country going to wake up and smell the coffee that there is some power that's pulling his strings and he's told what to say and when and where to say it. It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't know what's going on!

Granted, I've been somewhat distracted throughout this story, so there is one thing I don't understand other than the obvious. Why do we have to have any outside country or company running our ports, period? What's wrong with us running our own ports? Has our educational system deteriorated to the point we don't have anybody intelligent enough to do this? Even the illegal immigrants aren't getting a shot at this job! They're saying it would be foolish financially for us to run our own ports! Who teaches economics nowadays!

If you don't watch Lou Dobbs, you might want to give him a try. He's plenty outspoken, and has been screaming about the outsourcing for quite some time. He's really on a roll now. For a Republican, he's got some -- dare I say it -- common sense! He reported on his show tonight that there are some U.A.E. officials who are saying that CNN should shut him up. Gads, that might happen. I've noticed Olbermann doesn't keep his blog current anymore. ummm....

Oh, let me tell you a story about our port. We have a port in this town, gets some military traffic. It's right downtown. One day, looking for something to take pictures of, wanting to check out my then new Dimage Z2 with a 10x zoom, I parked in a parking lot downtown and aimed at the top of the courthouse in one direction and the flags on the top of the ship that was docked right there in another direction. Mom was with me. So get the picture in your mind now -- two gray-haired ol' ladies in a Plymouth Voyager van. She's sitting in the car, and I'm using the hood of the car to stabilize the camera. A guard comes out, asks what I'm doing, and I tell him. He tells me I need to leave, go find cows in a pasture to test my zoom, I have no business taking pictures of the courthouse and being that close to the port is not in my best interest. BUT we can allow a foreign country -- not even just a business -- a country! -- to run our ports. Wake me up! This has to be a freakin' nightmare!

Well, enough of that. Finished my job today, didn't hear from TC about what she took today. Hope it didn't cancel. So, now I'm going to find something to eat and maybe go through one of these Photoshop videos. Guess I'll start with #1 and go in sequence. I can't seem to get out there to take pictures, so maybe I can learn to alter the pictures I already have till they look like I had gone somewhere else! lol Oh, to have money and time to travel and see interesting things! But no port towns, thank you very much!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Almost forgot...

Gee, what a catastrophe that would be! How could I forget my blog.

Well, folks, nothing going on, so I'll see you tomorrow --

Well, nothing much anyway. Ran some errands today and this evening a job came in and another one will be coming tomorrow. That's always good news. Didn't do much else other than do some housecleaning on my hard drive, deleting files and uninstalling some things. There's some files and folders I tried to delete that would say something was using it and to quit using whatever was using it and then delete it. Well, nothing would be using it. When the computer tries to be so bloomin' helpful and not let me delete something it wants to keep, I wish it would also tell me WHAT is using it! But that's left to a guessing game. Maybe after a restart I can delete. I even tried manually deleting from the command prompt and couldn't. Strange! What happened to the good ol' DOS days when delete meant just that -- delete, gone. You ever look through your Windows Explorer at the directory? Sure wonder where some of that stuff comes from.

It appears my videos are now all working properly - maybe a little sound distortion in one of them. There's even a new Photoshop TV episode up on their website. They allow you to put a notice on My.Yahoo page and to notify you when they have a new episode up. That's handy. Probably I should have watched one or two of those tonight instead of this disk clean-up; but things were getting pretty disorganized. Wonder why I don't mind doing that but I hate doing required paperwork.

Looks like I didn't get started on my booth this long weekend after all. What do you want to bet it will wait for me till I'm ready to tackle it.

Well, g'nite for now, dear Diary --er -- dear Blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another day on the computer

For starters, my friend got me lined out on the videos, and I'll be able to view them on Quick Time now. So, that's good. He's got a thing where he can access his files from any computer elsewhere and sent me the link, which allowed me right onto his computer. It's pretty interesting. Personally, I don't see where I would have a need for it myself -- but like if I was at John's in Houston and needed to get to some file I had on my computer, as long as I had left it on and the Road Runner running, I could get right to it! Of course, so could anybody else who could hack a little bit, but still, it's fascinating. Here I am in Texas and accessing and downloading directly off a computer up in Hinton, Canada, chatting back and forth -- could have even used a web cam if I had one -- but I still can be amazed at all the things that we have access to now on the web that we completely take for granted. What a world it has opened up to us.

I really got a good workout on multitasking because I was trying to do my paperwork, and would start a download -- he had some video things he had put together of his cat and dog playing. He would take them and put them together somehow. And I was trying to recreate it, transferring it in pieces rather than all at once because it was too big. Anyway, I'd be downloading and he'd send an instant message, "Look at this," with a link for me to follow, and I don't even know how many different windows I would have up at one time. It's old hat for the young people, but I was a little proud I almost kept up -- only once I think I had to tell him to slow down so I could catch up. Of course, I best not get too cocky because the project I was trying to download doesn't work. So, I obviously have done something wrong. I tried troubleshoot it, and I'm stumped.

In the midst of all that, I also cleaned up my external drive that I use as an automatic backup. Somehow I didn't have it configured right, and things were backing up in two different directories and hadn't backed anything up at all since January. Um -- wonder what happened. Well, I deleted it all, made a fresh backup of everything -- I hope I didn't forget anything -- and set up new backup schedules. Now I just pray nothing happens to my external drive!
Gosh -- I'm snake bit -- as I was just saying that, the Iomega was doing it's backup chore and I got a message that it encountered a problem and would have to close! Shoot!!!

Well, it's too late to try to figure it out now. I'm brain-dead. I'll back up manually till -- and if -- I can figure it out.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Technical Difficulties

It's official: I really do hate computers! Usually I can handle things as they come along, and then there are times it goes totally over my head. Today, being cold and dreary and rainy and my mood less than energetic, I hung out on the web, started doing some paperwork, but we all know how I hate that, so it didn't take too much to distract me off that chore. Anyway, I got to visiting on Instant Messaging with an Internet friend of mine who I've met through photography interests. He and his wife are up in Alberta, Canada -- anyway, he was telling me about a site Photoshop TV where you can download a whole series of episodes, 1 through 17 of video lessons on Photoshop. We were both downloading them, visiting, comparing out baud rates, etc. Even with Road Runner, it still took sometime to get them all downloaded.

Well, to make an all-afternoon story at least sort of short, after I got all 17 downloaded, Real Player will only play the audio portions of 1 and 4-12. It will play audio and video 13-17 properly. All of these are MP4 format; so what prevents the video from working on some of them? He said his Quick Time was playing them just fine, though maybe he had trouble with #2 and #3. My 2 and 3 didn't play at all. They're formatted M4V. I renamed #2 to from .M4V to .MP4 and that allowed me to at least hear the audio, but doing the same thing to #3 didn't work at all. How's that for consistency!

I know -- this is beginning to sound like jibberish. Sorry, but it's frustrating.

Not desiring to be beaten by this, I tried to upgrade Real Player from Version 10 to 10.5 or whatever. Then it wanted me to register the new version and I didn't remember my password. So, I asked them to send it, which they did; and it directed me to a page wanting the last four digits of my credit card which I don't pay for Real - I use the free version. So, that was no help. I tried to find their customer support, and evidently they don't have any if you're not a paying customer. I swear - there is a conspiracy out there to drive us all slap-dab crazy!

From doing a search about M4V and MP4, I'm under the impression these formats have to do with iPods -- which is Apple, which is Quick Time, which my friend was successfully playing these videos with but mine was giving me an error message -8971. I tried to upgrade Quick Time - thinking I'm missing a codec or something, but I have the most recent version. I tried to query their site as to what a -8971 error message meant but there was no results for that search string. *$@#*)#!

Now, if all that wasn't enough to frustrate even a saint, I've been having an ongoing incidence for some time now with my computer. Most of the time I can go to my Internet Explorer Address Bar type in whatever I'm looking for, and either the home page would come up or a choice of results. But more and more frequently I'll type in my word (example "mp4") and instead of getting results of that search, I get this: http:///?%20mp4 Something or "somebody" is inserting the ?@20 - whatever that code means -- and the results is "The Page Cannot be Displayed." I have tried several times restoring to an earlier date, and the search feature will work again briefly, but then soon it will be back to inserting the ?@20 again! What's up with that! I can't stand it! Granted, there is a bit of stubborness on my part. I have the Google Search Bar and it works perfectly fine. But I don't like something going in and changing things on my computer and having to change my habits to get around it.

If I were more computer saavy than I am, maybe I could figure these things out. But there's just nobody to ask; so I'm stuck, totally disgusted with the whole thing. I would have been better off posting to my Quicken account, paying bills, balancing my checkbook, logging expense records -- but no, I thought I would do something "enjoyable" instead! Silly me!

I can't believe it's already after 9:30 p.m. The computer has gotten all it's getting out of me today. Now it's the TV's turn. (sigh)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Planting done...

It was really nice being outside all day. The weather was cloudy and a bit cool, but it was still quite pleasant.

My soil is clay - gumbo - horrible. No wonder the poor flags won't grow. My shoes and the shovel would collect so much of that sticky clay on them that the only way to get it off would be to stop and scrape it off. When the weather is hot and dry, this stuff is rock hard. Well, anyway, I picked my spot and dug out the top layer of grass and dirt. I already had some concrete border pieces; so I lined the bed with that. I debated on how big I wanted it, but since it was pretty hard to do, I opted for just big enough for my flags, and later on I can expand it if I decide to. I had to stop and go to M&D to buy some potting soil to fill up the bed, and while I was there asked the lady (she knows everything about planting) about something to plant seeds and she showed me a tray that even had a clear plastic top - a mini greenhouse I think it's called. So, I bought it, and it was big enough for all my seeds, not counting the sweetpeas. She also showed me some little cups to plant seeds in, and she said when they've grown to the point you're ready to put them in the ground, then you plant the cups, too. So, that's what I put the sweetpeas in. If all these flowers grow, I'll put 'em in a basket and stand on the side of the road and sell 'em.
Anyway, a funny thing happened. When I got back home I got the wheelbarrow to carry the four 40-pound bags of potting soil around back. It was too heavy; so I dropped one of the bags in the front yard and didn't go back for it till I was done as I didn't need it. When I finally did go back, there was the bag, split open on the ground, empty, apparently chewed, ragged, and only a little soil in the grass. I scooped up what was there and it only enough to fill a hanging basket - hardly 40 pounds worth of dirt! So, what happened to the freaking dirt! From the looks of the bag, I figured a dog in the neighborhood got to it, but if that were the case, then why wasn't there a whole long tell-tale trail of dirt left as it was drug off. Just too strange! Well, it was only about $2.50 - and I didn't need it today, but still, it's a mystery!

Looking at my new flower bed, you're probably laughing because it's so little - but it seemed like a lot of work to me. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with the half dead leaves - cut them off, trim off the dead-ends?

What happened is our weather has been so inconsistent, the things were growing, then we got a freeze again that got the new growth. Even the banana trees had new shoots on them, and they froze, too. So, I even trimmed them again today. Speaking of which, nobody has picked up my trash pile yet. I'll have to call and find out if they ever will or if I'll have to bag all that junk.

This morning when I checked my mail, fotopic sent me a message that my account was reinstated. I put an edit footnote on yesterday's post, but I'll repeat it here. Anyway, the site looks just like I left it and all the urls are the same. So, to the viewer, there's no difference at all.

The job that TC went to take yesterday afternoon wound up canceling, so it looks like I'll be off now till at least Tuesday -- hoping that she will have a job Monday. What I'll do with myself over the weekend I have no idea. Maybe I'll muster up the courage to start my booth. If I do, you'll be about the first to know, I guess.

So, for now, it's time to find dinner and hopefully a movie.

PS at 7:46 After checking my Yahoo Home Page that has the TV schedule on it, I've decided to watch The Man with One Red Shoe (1985) with Tom Hanks and a bunch of other pretty good actors on MPLEX. I've probably seen it, but the good thing about a lousy memory is you can see movies over again and it doesn't spoil the ending.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Seeds and plants... where's spring

After I finished up my job I decided to go over to M&D and mosey through their garden center. It's still too early for spring plants. They're supply was limited - to say the least. So, I drove across the street to Sutherland's to see what they had. I was looking for some of those bedding plant trays to start these seeds in. But they're not easy to find without buying a whole tray of something and then reusing them. What do people use when they start their plants from seeds?

Anyway, surprisingly, they did have a tray of English ivy! They're maybe 4 inches high; so I'll let them get bigger before I put them in the ground next to the fence so my yard man won't weed-eat them down. I miscounted and thought I was getting 12, but it turned out I bought 13 -- lol -- the baker's dozen. Hope it won't be bad luck. Anyway, they were on sale for 99 cents. So, that was a sign of good luck.

Their plants didn't look great either, and I wasn't really in the market for plants in general as much as seeds and dirt - and the ivy was a bonus. The lady told me their seeds were marked down to 10 cents! Gosh! I paid over a dollar for my zinnia seeds. So, I looked through them and bought some petunias, asters -- well, you can see which kinds I bought in the picture that I scanned and Photoshopped a little bit. I'm not familiar with the Cleome, says they grow to 3-5 feet. Well, okay. I'm game to try them. Along with these, I also got a bigger package of sweetpeas, but those weren't on sale, and then picked up two small bags of soil, but I'm sure won't be enough. That was stupid on my part not to get more potting soil.
Depending on how big the job TC took this afternoon, which I'll get sometime tomorrow to do over the weekend - unless it cancelled! -- I'll plant these - at least some of them. There's some flags (Irises I think) against the fence and pretty much under the banana trees that have never done very well, so I'm going to dig them up - they're bulbs -- and find a better place for them. Maybe they'll thrive better than they have if they're in some decent soil and get more sunlight. Maybe I better find out first if they're supposed to be in sun or shade first. I know nothing about plants.

Yesterday I got an email from fotopic, which is where I have my on-line photo albums, advising me that I had three accounts and according to their Terms and Conditions, I was only allowed one and they were suspending them all. I had 30 days to get them in compliance or else they will be deleted forever! Oops! I never read those Terms and Conditions! So, I profusely apologized and asked what they wanted me to do. The solution was to combine them to one and delete the two extras; only my photos exceeded their limit of 250 mg that they give you free. Also, I didn't want to lose the url for them because what few people look at them would never find them again, even if I did send out a "change of address." So, to resolve those little issues I had to upgrade to the Plus, which cost 5 pounds (they're based out of England) - and to buy an extra 250 mg of space for another 5 pounds. So, I willingly upgraded to Plus and bought the extra space and merged my galleries and deleted my two extra ones I wasn't supposed to have. All that was yesterday.

The guy had been very prompt in writing me back telling me how to fix everything, assuring me he would reintate my gallery one I was in compliance, but now I'm not hearing from them and my account is still in suspended status. So, that's irritating! I wrote twice, saying basically "Where are you?" And so tonight instead of sending a third email directly to Jon, who was the one dealing with my case, I sent it to their Help Desk in case Jon is out or sick or something. They have a huge site, so I doubt they're trying to rip me off of a few dollars, but still, it's aggravating that my galleries are in limbo. I don't know how it's going to look merged or if the url's will be the same. So, I'm anxious to check it out and get it straightened out if I need to. The links to my galleries are on the side of my blog -- if and when they are working again. Maybe tomorrow.

Edited Feb 17, 8:25 a.m. - Indeed, when I woke and checked my mail, they have reinstated my photo albums. Thankfullly, all are just as I left them, and all the url's are working just like they always did. That's a relief. No more worry about this little problem.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hoping for zennias...

I planted my zinnia seeds - all three packets. I sure hope they grow! If they do, maybe I'll try some other seed planting. It will be fun to watch the tiny seeds grow. Next trip out I'll get a big bag of potting soil to play with. Besides, who knows, if they live -- they can provide me with some photographic opportunities.

Otherwise, it was an absolutely a boring day. I worked on the job of transcribing the tapes, and as we feared, the tape quality was pathetic, and it's way too time consuming to be very lucritive - to say the least. But it's work, and I'm always thankful for whatever there is. Still, computer work sure makes me tired -- well, unless I'm playing around with PhotoShop and I can stay with it for hours. But I wasn't playing; so, I was falling asleep in my chair, and tonight through the news shows I kept dozing off. It looks like tonight will be an early-to-bed night - well, early for me anyway. There's a little left of the job that I'll finish up in the morning. But for now, it's time bedtime.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all had a really nice Valentine's Day. No roses or Vermont Bears here (except the one I just lifted from their webpage for my blog picture - lol) it was pretty much another status quo day. I was out of kitty litter and thought I would get the rest of my lumber for my booth project. Well, I got the kitty litter, but by the time we finished up with lunch and Wal-Mart I was too full and too tired to tackle buying lumber and loading and unloading it. But I did get the skill saw blade and some nails. So, I'm getting closer. I also bought some zinnia seeds. I love little zinnias, they're so colorful. And I thought it might be fun to try to grow them from seed. So, we'll see how that turns out.

Speaking of lunch, we ate at a place called Lone Star Steak House, what used to be J&J Steak House. My aunt had told us about how good the catfish po-boy was; so we tried it -- she was exactly right! It was fabulous - fresh, hot, seasoned perfectly - and a lots of it! I got the onion rings in lieu of french fries, and they were perfect, as well! If you're local and haven't eaten there yet, give it a try!

My girl called while we were in Wal-Mart and said we still didn't have a depo to do but there was some meeting that had been cassette recorded and that whoever wanted it transcribed by Friday. What did I think? Well, I said we're almost in the begging mode now! We better take it! So, she'll get them this evening and sit down with her steno machine and then bring it to me to start editing tonight. We don't know exactly what it is and these things can be more trouble than they're worth because a lot of times you can't hear the tapes and have no idea who's speaking, but at least it's something, and I'll be happily working tonight. We're hoping for a normal deposition tomorrow.

Monday, February 13, 2006

So what really happened...

All the screaming by the media about Cheney and his hunting accident, and I don't think I've heard the same thing twice, except they all want to make light of it and joke it off. Regardless, as per usual, the White House is blaming the victim - like Cheney wasn't responsible for watching where he was firing. I'm no hunter. In fact, I loathe hunting! I think it's nothing but sadistic and cruel. But if you have a gun in your hand, you look at where you're aiming! Why did the Secret Service "protect" him till the next day. Then by a strange coincidence that they say it wasn't alcohol related. How do they know that if they they didn't investigate till the next day? It probably wasn't, but -- still!!! I heard some guy on the Texas News Channel TXCN tonight trying to describe what it would be like to get hit with bird shot. He said it was like taking dirt and throwing it at you. He said, well, it was like rain hitting you - maybe a little harder than rain he said, but that's about it. Ha! Then why was the dude in intensive care! Talk about propaganda! I should have know the TXCN was sold out to the Administration same as the rest of them. This is just par for the course. One day -- one day -- in my dreams -- people are going to wake up to what's really happening in this country.

Well -- enough of that. So many things in politics I can get on a soapbox about. It's safer to just talk about what I did today -- not much! I picked up Mom, we ate lunch at Ryan's and then rode out to a nursery on Highway 105 that I wanted to get some bedding plants or see if they had some English Ivy -- but they're all closed down and gone. That sucks. They used to have nice plants and reasonable prices. So, we went on to Al's Nursery just down the road, and they didn't have much. What they did have was way too expensive.

I wanted to go somewhere to take pictures but there's just nothing to take pictures of. Everything is drab and gray and ugly. The sky was a gorgeous blue, not a cloud, but nothing around here is anything close to picturesque. On the way back home we circled through Tyrrell Park to see how they're coming on cleaning it up - I'll say this, they're trying, but it will never be the same. There's still so much to be done to get it looking nice again. I keep thinking about how I want a new camera, and how I want to take pictures and then days like today makes me think what's the point! An Internet friend of mine who lives in England just got back from a trip to Kenya -- a Safari -- and has amazing pictures of the wildlife and that enchanting world I'll never see. It's sometimes hard not to be envious of people who actually have a life.

I called a girl who does courtroom reporting, trials -- called an official as opposed to freelance which is what I usually do. I've done work for her periodically in the past, so I thought I'd see if she had anything going. I found out she's pregnant and on maternity leave. She did say she would be having a trial in April and she would need my help then. Well, that's a long time off, but since she's going to have a new baby, perhaps work from her will pick up and take up some slack. It's hopeful anyway.

Tonight I couldn't get interested in TV, hearing them all go on and on about Cheney and this and that, and no movies or anything to watch that interested me. I looked around my living room and realized I was sick of my picture arrangements on the walls and redid them - moved one from here to there, took some down, rehung some others, moved a lamp from one table to another, stuff like that, nothing major but it seemed to freshen things up a little bit, I guess.

So, that's my day, such as it is. How was yours?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

a little painting today

Not willing to sit around and play on the computer all day, I decided to paint my front door. It had been stained, but never varnished and it was looking scratched and faded from the harsh east sun. Since I had a lot of the paint left from the front porch, almost a light black color, I used it, and painted the whole inside door frame. I left the interior side of the door stained and I think if I put some varnish on it, it will look nice. But the painted door looks really nice and freshened up the entry. I decided since I had the paint and brushes out and the weather was beautiful, I'd go ahead and paint the back steps and side steps. They were a butterscotch color from a previous house color combination from a few years ago, and since they were in the back, they never got repainted. So, now it's done. I have to admit, I didn't sand as I should have, so I sure hope the paint won't chip off real soon. But I enjoyed doing it, getting outside and feeling like I was accomplishing something.

I talked to my kids. John called this morning, and I called Robert tonight. I wish we all visited more, but I know how busy they are. We all try to at least check in with each other once a week and sometimes an email joke forwarded during the week. I even got to talk to Sarah for a minute. Robert put the phone up to her ear, and then I could hear her squealing and punching the number buttons on the phone. She's 9 months old. It would sure be nice if he'd send pictures every now and then. He acknowledges they're taking them. They just somehow don't get loaded onto the computer from the camera he said. Sheridan was at John's this weekend, and they were laying low, just watching TV and hanging out. She enjoys that.

Still vacillating on the camera situation. I've read several different reviews, and it looks like the Dimage Z6 is still my choice. The only thing is I wish it had RAW capabilities. Don't ask me what that is exactly because my camera now doesn't have it, but the people who are really into photography and use the SLR digitals use it. Apparently the quality and clarity of the photo is much better when shot in RAW format and loses a fair amount of detail when it's in the JPEG format. But to get the RAW capability in a different camera would be giving up the fabulous zoom -- 12x on the Z6, and some other things that makes me think it's not a good trade-off. But if this were a perfect world, I would want to get acquainted with RAW. I can still convert them to TIFF, which is something I should have been doing all along since TIFF preserves the integrity of the pixels much better than JPG; but I just never did get in that habit. So, now it's just a matter of deciding if I want to -- well, not "want to" - if I SHOULD spend the money. I hate making decisions.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Laziness can be habit-forming...

All my greatest intentions today to do some housecleaning and other menial tasks that need to be done ended in a total consumption of laziness. I did the minimum - made the bed, fixed lunch and washed dishes - washed and folded a load of clothes -- then sat at the computer and browsed on the Internet, played some games of Free Cell or some Hoyle Board Games -- like Parchisi and Yahtzee and Backgammon.

I queried for digital cameras and saw the Dimage A200 and got quite interested in it, but it cost quite a bit more than the Z6, and then when I read one of the reviews, it kind of tempered my enthusiasm over it. My mind is obsessed on getting a new camera, which is stupid because I don't even get out and take pictures with the one I have. Now, figure out the logic in that! With work being as non-existent as it's been, I may have to use that money that's burning a hole in my pocket to pay for mundane things like my RoadRunner bill!

The Olympics have started and usually I enjoy watching them, but somehow the interest has waned to nada; so I didn't even turn them on. I've had the TV on Law and Order reruns and not even been paying much attention to them, only halfway listening.

I am thinking about my booth and the materials I bought. I have to check to see if I have the right kind of nails before I start and be sure my blade is good in my skill saw. In fact, I have to remember how to change the height of the blade and all that. I've only used it once or twice, and I tend to forget if I don't do it often enough. Anyway, I've about decided I'll have to tear out the bar first. I had first thought I would build it and then tear out the bar, but looking at it, I'm thinking that perhaps the material they used in constructing the frame of the bar will work as the frame for the surrounding half-walls for the booth. So, this is really going to take some guts to start ripping. That will be the point of no return, for sure! But I'm getting myself psyched for it. I'd like to have my booth finished before I go forward with my whole kitchen project -- which is another thing that I'm wondering if I'm wise in doing until work picks back up.

This whole work situation has my brain in some kind of limbo - and I really don't like this uncertainty. When I find myself in these distressing situations, I tend to think how it could be worse and think about those who have more problems than I do in an attempt to minimize my own problems. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it only adds to my stress because on top of feeling stressed and worried, I'll put myself through a guilt trip for feeling stressed when I know good well that it could be worse. Well, God has taken care of me this long. He won't let me down now!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bored stiff as a board...

Rainy day, kinda cold, no energy. Worked on my one job, and just about finished it. Watched a lot of the Michael Brown senate hearings this morning. When they put all the departments under Homeland Security sounded like a big mistake to me. And it seems to be proving out to be true.

Tonight I finally found a movie to get interested in, And the Sea Will Tell, with Rachel Ward and Richard Crenna, two-parts, and the second part is starting now, so I'll cut this short. There's nothing new going on anyway. Just a low-key, boring day, mood a little down, worry creeping in over the job situation. Hopefully the tempo of everything will pick up over the weekend.

The picture is of course my sweet little Tommy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy Birthday, Momma

No, it wasn't a big surprise party or anything like that, but we did take off and drive over to the Race Track in Vinton, Louisiana, and feed the slots for a little bit. The weather was beautiful, and it was a nice drive over. The other day I had gotten a notice from a little email that today would be my lucky day and I would win big in games of chance. So, since the prediction was to be on Mamma's birthday and we enjoy the casino now and then, we thought we'd test it out and see. Well, I won't be retiring on my winnings, but I picked up maybe $50, less lunch. Mom didn't come out too far behind. We were a little disappointed to find that the buffet was closed, and evidently has been ever since the hurricane, but since we haven't been over there in quite a long time, we didn't know that or else we probably would have driven on to Kinder to the Alabama-Coushatta Casino, which is about another hour and a half further into Louisiana. Nevertheless, they had a little food court and that sufficed for lunch. Still, it was a very nice day and I'm happy we were able to spend it together.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

day of rest..

... more or less. This morning I took the microwave in to Conn's. It would be nice if they had somebody around to help people carry in heavy things, but they don't. There was a lady ahead of me struggling with a TV. Anyway, I got it in, asked when I'd get it back - "This afternoon? tomorrow?" "Next week." What! Geez! He said they're still playing catch-up after Hurricane Rita.

Mom and I ate lunch at Jason's Deli and I came back home and crashed. I couldn't go to sleep, but I was just plain tired, zero level energy. Later I made an afternoon pot of coffee and took a cup out on the porch. My digital camera had broke in October just as I was coming back from evacuation, sent it off to the Mack Warranty folks, got it back a long time ago, and never took it out of the box to see if it was even repaired right. So, that's what I did, took it out on the porch, put the memory card and batteries in it and -- oh, dear, I can't believe how much I forgot how to do! Obviously cameras aren't like riding a bike.

I did get a job in today. My girl had to go to Houston to take a depo and brought it by this afternoon. It's not a very big one and I've got all weekend to do it. We discussed the job situation, and she says the whole industry is nervous, that even some of the lawyers are edgy over the lack of stuff going on. Apparently a lot of it has to do with the crackdown on the asbestos litigation. We had heard back last summer that the Bush Administration was trying to eliminate those cases. I mean, why should a person whose health was deliberately compromised for dollar profits be compensated at all! So, it looks like the final nail in that coffin has been driven - though I'm not sure exactly how to research to find out what has actually happened. Still, that was good hunk of our work, and with it gone, it's enough to get our attention.

Well, anyway -- here's one more pansy I took today. Maybe soon I can get out and start trying to brush up on my photography hobby a little bit.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

a miscellaneous kinda day.

Happily surprised, my check from Allstate came today, even with the incomplete address. Thanks you, Postman, for being diligent! I took it to the bank, and circled through McDonald's for the delux breakfast.
"We don't have hash browns. Will french fries be okay?"
"Yeah, that's fine."
Drive up, pay, next window to get my breakfast. "We're out of sausage. Will bacon be okay?"
She starts to say something to me and I interject, "Are you out of eggs, too?"
The girl behind her laughed, but she just looked like me with blank look, "We have eggs."
When I went to eat this yummy breakfast, the eggs looked really strange. And one bite told me I'd be well advised to not eat them! But the bacon was good and the pancakes were okay. lol One day when I go through a fast food I'm going to say, "Just give me what you want me to have."

Before I came back from McDonald's I decided to go to Shell's Nursery on 11th Street. I wanted some azaleas for this spring and when I was out the other day I didn't see any. So, mainly I was going to inquire when to put them out. Turns out now is right. They had three really nice bushes right in front and they were the fuscia color I wanted. So, happy I had my check, I bought the three of them. She said they'll grow for a long time in the containers, and that she had just fed them; so I'll leave them in the containers for a while. I don't trust the soil that's in the spot where I put them. Also, she told me that English ivy will take over the back fence prolifically and is hardy and green all year. So, that's what I'll do. They didn't have any today, but I'll check back. Ivy all over the fence and the barbed wire - good idea!

Once I unloaded my plants, it was time to microwave breakfast. Shoot, the microwave didn't have power. That's twice it's done that. So, I called Conn's and it has a year warranty. As soon as I got off the phone, the power was on it again. So, I'll take it in when it does it again -- which, as it turned out, happened tonight; so I'll have to take it tomorrow. Must be a short or something.

I spent quite a bit of time on the Internet looking for the best deal for the Dimage Z6 and the 3-year warranty. There's as big a price spread on the warranty as the camera; so, I was trying to find the best overall deal. Finally I decided on one, called instead of placing an order online, and he told me I had to use the high speed memory cards. I have a lot of memory space and was planning on using what I had, not having to buy new of those, too. So, I backed off and didn't do it. Later I called Wolf Camera in Houston and asked about that, and they said no, that you can use the regular SD memory cards in it. That guy was wrong! Wolf Camera is selling it for $399.99 and the place I called today is $295. One place was even $245, but you had to buy a warranty for $125 or else they gave you a refurbish. That guy was extremely rude! I'm thinking about if I want to do it or not.

Then I finished my last curtain. So, that project is finished. They look okay, certainly better than what I had. Being hung the full height of the wall seems to heighten the ceiling. So, I won't put the valance. They don't add anything to them and I'm satisfied enough without them.

I called my girl this morning to see if we had any work and she was on her way to take a job and would be coming by to trade out with me after lunch. Unfortunately the job cancelled and will have to be rescheduled. So, no work today. She didn't even come by to get the one I have here for her. This is really depressing!

I guess the azaleas gave me inspiration to get out and clean out the front bed. I don't know what I will replant there yet, if anything. Any suggestions? But what was there needed to be all pulled out, which I did this evening and finished up after dark. Here's a before and after.

The before was taken when I first got back from evacuation. My pile of cut banana trees, and now added to them what I cleaned out of my flower bed, is quite large. I really, really hope the park will pick that all up! I don't know. Time will tell. At least nobody can say I'm not trying.


While writing this I've heard I don't know how many times on every news show how horrible Britney Spears was for driving with her baby on her lap. They act like she left the child in a hot car all alone or something. When I was a kid - well, I don't remember at 4 months old, but I do remember sitting on Daddy's lap and steering the car. I remember letting my boys do the same thing. John would sit in his car seat right next to me and shift a standard transmission before he was 3 years old! We all would lay on the shelf over the back seat at the back windshield while riding down the road. Granted, looking back, it was dangerous a little bit, but we all survived! I suppose "they" mean well, but I wish they would keep things in perspective.

Monday, February 06, 2006

A Pathetic Plea for Help

The black and white vagabond who was hanging around my house day before yesterday and I thought was gone yesterday was back today. He even tried to come in the house.

I keep thinking that if one of my four were lost, I would sure hope somebody would show mercy on them and kindness. I don't want a new cat. I have four! But how do you refuse this! Maybe I can just at least feed him and certainly not claim him. There's sure enough food that mine don't eat that just gets thrown out.

Earlier this morning I called Allstate. The check I was supposed to get for my contents has never come, so I decided I should follow up. It seems she mailed it last Tuesday or Wednesday, but she didn't put the "South" on my street nor my space number. So, I bet it goes back. Now I'll have to wait till the end of the week, call her back again, and then she'll issue another check. I tried to call the Post Office. What a joke! First there's all that automated, voice response maze you have to go through, and then when I finally get a human being and I begin explaining, she says, "How do you spell 'Beaumont'?" Where the heck is she??? And then I get through that - and resume my dilemma and she says, "Wait, ma'am. I hate to interrupt you but what state?"!!!!! Dear lord! I had given her the ZIP code! You can't call your local post office anymore. I remember a time when you could call the actual building, talk to a real person, even your own carrier if they were there, and deal with this simple little problem one on one. Times sure don't always improve for the better, do they!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Banana tree pruning - ugh...

Tropical as banana trees look and as easy as they are to grow, they're a royal pain this time of year. When I bought my start - maybe 3 small trees - they multiply, too, by the way - the nursery told me after the 2nd or 3rd hard freeze, then to cut back the stalks to where there's obviously life left. They're supposed to die back from the freezes. This winter has been too warm. I don't think we had one hard freeze - that I remember anyway. We might get into the 30s and it's back to the 70s the following day. I wanted winter! Anyway, back to the banana trees - the darn things even have new growth! So, I delegated today to be the day. Of course Tommy was willing to help me. It's so nice to have his help.

Cutting them down wasn't the hard part. The hard part was getting them dragged out to the street. Gosh, I sure hope somebody will pick them up! I really - and I mean really - don't want to have to cut them into pieces and bag them all! I even used the blue tarp that is all ragged and torn that was on my roof to put a lot of the cuttings on and drug that around. I'm too old and in too bad a shape to do this! I'd make one trip, and go sit down and let my heart get back to normal. It sucks! But now it's done. There's one piece left on the other side of the fence I couldn't get to. So, the business behind me will just have to deal with it -- if they will at all.

It's so discouraging. I try to make things look the best I can with what I have to work with. But the business behind me is so junky. It got worse when they put the dumpsters in. When I moved here in '90 there was a privacy fence, but Parigi tore it down a few years ago. I begged them to put one back and they said no. I even asked the business behine me to put one up, but they won't. I sure can't afford it - especially for a rented space! The news I got from Jimmy the other day saying there are plans to put up a fence all around is really good news, but when!

The neighbor next to me on my right has a stupid toilet - can you imagine! -- behind his house and a few other things. So, that view is let's say marred. Then there's the meter poles on my left servicing four meters, and then the falling apart shed that's on the space next to me and a freaking stuffed chair and a few other things that somebody attempted to put behind the shed and didn't quite make it. So, that's an eyesore. I'm so sick of it! What's the point of trying to fix up the patio when all there is in every direction a pile of garbage.

But at least I think the front porch looks better. There's too many little pots of pansies, but if they will grow -- which is debatable -- it might look nice. They're all yellow pansies except for some white with purple that I'll put in a hanging basket when I get some more soil. Well, it's not fancy, but it's quite an improvement over what was there.

Note my green chairs - you don't see it from this view, but there are two with a table in between and the 2nd table is on the other side up against the railing. The chairs were natural color originally and terribly stained and weathered.

A couple years ago I put out lantana in the front bed, which is adjacent to the concrete blocks that leads to the stairs, but they're getting stemy, and I'm ready to put something else there. Maybe in March there will be some nice plants out to choose from.

Otherwise, I managed to get about half the last job I have here done, and we'll be out of work again. I sure hope she's taking a job Monday. This is a very long drought we're in, and I'm not liking it.

I still haven't finished the curtains in my living room. Guess that will take priority tomorrow to get that project finished -- after my job, of course. Then I'll be about out of stalling excuses to start my booth project!

To follow up on Quincy's saga, he seemed back to his old self today. Last night he did curl up on my chest to go to sleep, so he did forgive me. Lord knows what will happen if he is ever put in that carrying cage or a car again! And, the black and white cat wasn't around at all today. So, I hope he found somebody that will give him a really good home.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A traumatic day for poor Quincy...

Poor Quincy. I called the vet this morning and explained what happened about the pill and she said, "Would you like to bring him in and we'll give it to him?"

"How much?"

"Just the cost of the pill."


So, I got out the carrier and got Quincy and put him in it. Now, he did not want to get in it; but I got him in before he could resist too much. But as soon as I closed the door, he cried and cried. Now, he rode for 21 hours during evacuation in that cage, and I'm sure that was plenty traumatic for him. Well, he cried all the way to vet's. I swear, he had tears! After I got him in the waiting room, he was quiet but there were dogs and people and activity and he's so not used to any of that. When we went back into the room, he was sooo timid and scared. She decided it was easier on him to give him a shot instead of the pill, and he didn't flinch when she stuck him (I was holding him). After it was over, I put him back in the carrier and he willingly went in - which is extremely unusual. He's always hated closed up spaces, even before the nightmare evacuation experience.

We got home, and he ran to the bedroom and got under the bed. When I went in there he cried like a cat cries when they're really scared. So, I left him alone to settle down and realize he was safe.

I had to go get the sheets at Walmart that I'm using to make liners for the curtains and even bought a flat of pansies for my porch and one of those box things to put the water hose in. The day was beautiful, cool, perfect! People were out everywhere, and lots of people in the garden section; but it's just too early. There aren't really many plants ready to put out yet. Seems like everybody is trying to rush springtime.

When I got home, poor Quincy, he was at the door when I came in, and as soon as he realized it was me coming in, he took off and hid under the bed again. All evening, when I'd try to interact with him, he let me know he was still majorly upset with me! At one point he even hissed at me as he passed by! Later on, I went to check on him and he was laying on the dresser and even spoke to me with his friendly voice when I went in. So, I petted him and carried him back to the living room, but he immediately became tense and nervous just going in there.

People don't realize sometimes what stress the poor little things are under. It's not too hard to know exactly what's going on in his mind, because he certainly knew how to communicate his fear and trepidation and even mistrust. It made me feel really bad for him! I'm sure he'll be fine, but I'm sure sorry he had such a really bad day. Besides all that, who knows how that shot made him feel, or if the tape worms make his tummy cramp.

In the meantime, speaking of cats, Tommy was stressed, too, but because there's a new cat hanging around, a black and white. I called Lisa, my neighbor who knows the neighborhood cats and she said she didn't know whose this cat is, but he's been hanging around her house, too, acting like he belongs there. The cat is very gentle and definitely looking for a home. We don't know if he was dropped off or abandoned. He's healthy looking and very insistent about wanting to hang around. I guess it's a male. Lisa was pretty sure. That's the way Hilda had done when she came up, only she had kittens under my house and I didn't know it. That discovery explained why she was so persistent to make a home here. Hilda is Quincy's momma, and I had her a couple of years and she disappeared. I still miss her. And no, I do not want to keep this black and white, cute as he is. I have four, and that's more than enough! But I did give him some food, which I know is plenty stupid -- but I can't stand to think of him being hungry. If one of mine were at the mercy of having to find food, I would hope somebody would at least feed them. But I won't take claim to him.

Well -- enough cat stories. The porch is really looking nice. I bought more pansies than I realized that I was getting and got most of them potted. This morning I had toted all the gutters and leftover aluminum framing pieces out to the front, along with a very rusted tool box and the chase that goes with the ratan chairs. It's falling apart and I don't want it. I was hoping somebody would take it and fix it and paint it. Anyway, it helped clear out some of the clutter off the patio, though there's still a lot more to do something with. By the time I got back home, somebody had already taken all the metal, left the rusted toolbox and the chase. Of course now the old water hose and holder is out there, too, since I got a nice new one. Slowly I guess I'm getting a little "curb appeal" as they call it on the improvement shows.

So, I guess that's it for this Saturday. Tomorrow I'll do that last job I have here to do. I'm not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes I wish I was because people get so excited about the football games, but I just can't muster up the enthusiasm. Maybe I'll turn it on to see some of the commercials, anyway.

PS I've been trying to post this message for almost 2 hours but kept getting messages about having to republish. I noticed my post from yesterday disappeared; so I tried to reconstruct it and my best effort is below this one.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Well, that was scary...


Yesterday (Friday) I posted to my blog, explaining about how all day I tried to get into my blog and kept getting messages that I wasn't allowed to access my own page! There were blogs I could get into and one or two I would get the same message, not allowed. What is going on? Well, tonight (Saturday) I was posting my daily entry, and it said I had to republish my blog. The next thing I know, the Friday "Well That was Scary" entry was gone! This is getting weird! Tonight (Saturday), it is telling me to republish in 10 minutes, which I've tried and tried and as of now, it won't publish my entry for today (Saturday)

I can't remember now what I said in yesterday's post (Friday's) except I do know I was worried about Quincy yesterday. I had discovered he had worms and went to the vet, Sherwood's, which was the closest, for a worming pill -- which cost $14.25! And when I tried to give it to him, he spit it out. I tried later to give it to him and he bit it in two and spit it out. They had said to give it with food, so against my better judgment I did mix it with food and he not only wouldn't eat it, he would try to cover it up! So, I was quite perplexed what to do about getting him medicine and was really hating that I had lost $15 for that one stupid pill! That's insane to charge so much for one lousy pill!

I really don't remember what else I had talked about, so I can't reconstruct that message. I worked on my curtains, and I think I commented on how it was one of those days that you think you're busy all day but when you look at your achievements, apparently you were only busy going in circles all day.

I'm trying to keep a cut and paste of my blog because I had a feeling some day it might disappear and it would be gone forever. Since this is the first time I've ever really kept a dairy, I'd hate to lose it. So, I just have to be disciplined enough to copy it every day.

I'm dating this Friday, Jan 3 because that's the sequence that it should be, but like I said, I'm actually writing this on Jan 4, Saturday. Shoot!!!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Shopping woes...

With my quite varied shopping list in hand, I picked up mom thinking it would be a pretty straightforward shopping trip. But no, it was hard. Why can't just getting the things you need be simple. My list was so varied, like from a gallon of milk to make-up foundation to 2x4s and paint.

First stop was Sutherland's. We were able to find the 10' 2x4s and pick through them for the six I calculated I would need. Then I wanted five 10' 1x6s. Not so easy. They had them all right, but I need nice, smooth finish quality wood, not the framing kind that has knots and flaws. Well, I'll have to wait on that and go another time to Lowe's. Next I checked for the trim I need to finish the middle bedroom. I need two pieces and have been waiting for their shipment to come. Guess what - they didn't have the kind I needed! So, then over to the flooring section for that gorgeous high gloss mahogany that I'm going to use the boards on my booth. They didn't have them! Oh, No! Then I overheard another couple wanting them and the clerk had to go wherever and bring back a whole pallet of them. That took quite a while. In the meantime, there was an older couple there (ha! me talking about "older" - they were probably not much, if any, older than me) - anyway, they were apprehensive about getting laminated flooring, but admiring it and I perked up and told them I had put it down myself, was happy with it, and the man was quite interested. Then there was a younger couple also looking at it and they got in on the end of that conversation and then started asking me questions and she said maybe they should hire me to put it down! HA! Maybe so! Maybe I should get some business cards! Kidding! Kidding! Well, all I wanted of it was two boxes, but checking out, we find it wasn't bar coded! grrr. Finally they get a price and she charged me about $10 less per box than what I had priced it before! That's cool. But I still spent almost $80 in there. Scary! I sure hope I can do this!

Well, the 10 foot boards fit in my van, but they were laying on top of the backs of the seats and even up over the dash. Good thing I didn't have to go far. So, we brought them home, unloaded, which was no easy feat, and then off again.

Next stop was Taco Bell for lunch, then on to Hancock's Fabrics -- they had drapery liner, but I didn't want to pay that much for it so we decided to look at Anna's. No luck there. I was shopping for dark red (maroon) valances and either white panels or white sheets to make a lining with. Didn't have it. By now we're really tired and our legs are hurting and saying "Stop!" But we push on to Walmart -- good ol' trusty Walmart. They were out of my color of make-up - so I had to substitute that. Went to get the paint for the other wicker chair and almost thought they were out of that, too, but found three cans -- last three cans of that color and brand. They didn't have the valances, but they had some 64" tiers in the dark red - okay. I'll make them out of that. Then found flat white sheets for about $5. That will work!

Off to get the milk and eggs and cat food and that was uneventful, thank Goodness, but next to tackle is checkout. Of course it's a long line and the store is hot! Even the clerk was complaining. Mom had gone on ahead of me and she tried to call me on my cell to see where I was in the store and my phone didn't work but sent the incoming call went to some answering service that wasn't my usual voice mail. It was turned on, but didn't ring. So, when we got back to the car, we tested it again and it was screwed up. Exhausted and so wanting to get home, but we were right around the corner from Centennial Wireless and I had to see what was wrong with my phone. Ah -- something that went well - no line, and she reprogrammed whatever got messed up with ease.

So, tonight I've been messing with the curtains and listening to the news shows. Olbermann had a few segments about some of the stuff that was said in the State of the Union that I wish would make headlines, but that won't happen. I think he's the only news person who isn't intimidated to speak up and call it like it really is. Anyway, the red valances are a little darker than the red in the curtains, and at first I thought I'd take them back, but I decided to try one and I think it's okay. So, tomorrow I'll try to finish that project. The sheets should be fine for the liners, but I didn't get that far. It looks like it will be one sheet per window, and I only got two.

Well, that's my day - blow by blow! I could have just said, "I bought some of the supplies I needed" - but then you wouldn't have all the glorious details and besides, typing it all out is helping me unwind. Be all that as it may, it was a gorgeous day, and it was certainly nice to get out of the house.

I'm thinking about the lumber I bought and thinking I miscalculated something. I'm thinking I figured on a 1x6 where I really should use a 2x4. So, I'm going to have to be sooo careful. If I'm right about that miscalculation, that means I'll have to make adjustments accordingly of 3/4 inch. I have to get it right or the booth will rise above my window, and that won't be good. Oh, this is really going to be a challenge.

Now that I've got all that off my chest, I'm off to bed.