Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why is it.....

...that every time I sit down to try and get something done, something else unrelated pops up that absolutely has to get taken care of right then?

I swear, my desk and the surrounding area at work look like a paperwork maelstrom has blown through recently. Every single time I have set aside an hour or two to get it straightened out, something else blows up in my face minutes after I get started. The maelstrom gets pushed back to be dealt with later, and gets bigger and uglier each time it gets pushed back. I swear, I think I caught a file folder gnawing on my boot this morning.

Where's a house-elf, gnome, helpful faerie when you need one?



I've lost out on another old Macintosh iBook on eBay, by a single dollar!! Not to say that I haven't missed out on a lot more in between, but usually by a hundred dollars or more. I swear I don't know what it is, but losing by just a dollar just kills me.

I'm also wondering if it wouldn't be easier/cheaper/better to just go ahead and get something that's maybe not exactly what I want, and then do the modifications myself. I see lots of clamshells out there with little memory, small hard drives, and no Airport card going for fairly cheap. I'm wondering how difficult it might be to pick up one of the lower end ones, and upgrade the RAM, HD, and put in an Airport card. I see lots of various component parts going fairly cheap on eBay.

One big question though, is going to be the software. Being pretty much a Windoze guy since it came out, I'm used to be able to install my copy of windoze on any machine I happen to have lying around with no muss or fuss. However, I'm given to understand that in the Mac world, such is not the case. It's been mentioned that a Mac OS for one machine, might very well not work on another machine. Who knew there were machine specific OSes?? Of course, they may be so much horse puckey, but who am I to know the difference, Mac Neophyte that I am.

I'll keep trying for a complete system on eBay, but I swear, I'm seriously considering trying to put together parts and pieces to make what I want. It's easy enough to do with Windoze/IBMClones, how much harder can it be with a Mac?


Oh, and the one that got away was sweet, little Tangerine Clamshell with the original box, CDs, and instruction booklets....absolutely perfect for someone like myself who's trying to learn about Macs.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Weather is an interesting phenomenon, the way it changes so quickly and fluidly is just amazing.

Yesterday, as I was leaving work to pick my daughter up from daycare, I glanced at the little temperature/direction display in my car, and noticed that it had just reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty hot, especially when the humidity is hovering in the upper eighties to low nineties, percentage wise. Then, about halfway to daycare, a brief rain squall hit. Nothing major, I probably only drove through about two hundred yards of it, but I could see where it had been traveling along the road I was on for a mile or two, as it was still wet. I reached the low point in the road about a mile and a half past the rain squall, and glanced at the temperature readout, it said 88 degrees.

Now, that's a temperature drop of of 15 degrees over the course of a mile or so, based solely on rainfall cooling things down. I continued on, and as the pavement dried out, the temperature crept back up, until it was 101 again when I picked up my daughter.

I thought that a 15 degree drop was pretty amazing, and while it was, it was not the most dramatic I was to see that night. Storms started blowing in at about 7 - 7:30 PM last night. I was standing outside having a smoke when the wind started to pick up, and glanced at the outdoor thermometer, it read 98 degrees. The storm hit, the bottom dropped out, and we had an enjoyable evening watching the lightning storm in the distance, and watching our power flicker when a particularly strong bolt hit nearby.

About thirty minutes later, the rain was done, and the wind had settled down, so I decided it was time to take the desperate dogs outside so that they could do their business. I glanced at the thermometer again, just out of habit, and it read 66 degrees. Now that's a 32 degree drop in as many minutes, and the wind seemed to blow away a lot of the humidity.

In the space of 30 minutes, we went from a sweltering hot sauna feeling, to a wonderfully cool and brisk evening. If only all the porch furniture wasn't dripping wet, we could've sat outside and enjoyed the last vestiges of a glorious sunset against the clouds.

They've called for another broiler today, triple digits again, we can only hope for the fluid beauty of change in the weather for tonight. I guess we'll have to wait and see...

Hope you're enjoying the weather wherever you may be....


Thursday, July 17, 2008


Now, I'm not generally anti-snake. Snakes perform a good job in keeping rodents and bugs under control, and I'm usually content to live and let live. However, this past weekend, as I was stepping out onto the porch for an evening smoke, what do I see but a young copperhead probably less than six feet from my daughter's playset. My first thought was something along the lines of.."hunh, that looks like a copperhead.." then it was something like.."YIKES!!! that poisonous snake is near my daughter's playset!!" finally it was "OH [censor]!! I don't have anything handy to kill it with, and there it goes into the bushes!" Me being in my bare feet and it being very dark outside the dim perimeter of the porch light, I decided not to go poking around after it.

I mean, surely it will move on...right? Before I let my daughter outside the next day, I'm out there poking and prodding with a long stick, trying to make sure the snake hasn't holed up in one of the bushes. It appears to have moved on, so I let me daughter play outside, though trying to keep a closer eye on her than usual, just in case. I also notice, that as I go about my day, my eyes are continuously drawn to the base of the Lenten Rose (sp? it's my wife's plant thingie) because that's where I saw it last, so that's where I expect to see it magically appear again. Foolish right?

So about 10:45 PM I'm stepping out on the porch for a last smoke of the evening, and thinking to myself about this snake. I'm heading out the door and thinking about how it's human nature to continuously look in the last spot we saw something, even though logic would seem to dictate we won't see it there again in the exact same spot because it a wild creature than is always moving and..."SON OF A [censor]!! IT'S BACK!!!"

Not just near the playset, not just near the Lenten Rose, but in the exact dadblamed spot I saw it the night before, within an inch or two. It is once again dark as pitch, and I'm basically barefoot, however, a bit better prepared. I dart back inside, grab my little Stevens .22LR rifle, a handful of CCI .22LR shot shells, and a flashlight. I step right back outside, and the little sucker is gone again. Well, no sweat, there's a concrete retaining wall on the other side of the bush, and my driveway to the left, and the right side narrows down between the wall and the porch, almost like a funnel.

I load up a shot shell, put the safety on, light a smoke, and proceed to pan the flashlight back and forth along the plants at the base of the retaining wall. After about five minutes or so, I am rewarded as the light plays across a bit of tan that just too light to be part of the leaf litter/mulch at the base of the plants. I move forward, and the snake moves, it slithers behind a Tea Olive bush, and I thumb the safety off. I've got a bead lined up, just as it's head comes out from behind the trunk, and one exercise in ballistics later, the snake is no more.

I felt bad.

Seriously, here I was, feeling bad about killing this snake that was just minding it's own business, looking for some dinner, when I come along and splatter it with rat shot. I had to do it, it was to big of a risk having a poisonous snake in my 2 year olds play area, and while I felt good about keeping my daughters safe, I certainly didn't feel good about killing the snake.

I gave it some thought, and decided that it could only be that there was no aggression on the snake's part. I hunt and fish, and have no problems then, but I don't kill anything when I'm hunting or fishing, that isn't going to make it into my belly at some point(the odd mosquito or bug excepted of course). However, I killed this snake, and I surely didn't aim to eat it. I've shot aggressive animals before, and didn't feel bad about it, of course, then, I was protecting myself and others against a definite and imminent threat.

The copperhead was only a potential threat, and I think that's why I felt bad about it. I had been within ten feet of it the night before, and there was no aggression on it's part. It was probably just hunting up a toad to eat, as we have those in abundance in the yard. But I couldn't run the risk of my 2 year old seeing it, and going to play with it/pick it up/whatever, and getting bitten by it, potentially fatally.

I'm certainly happy that my girls are safe from the potential threat of a venomous snake, but i take no pride nor joy in killing that snake, and to be honest, still feel a little bad about it....


BTW - Wiki has a fairly decent article on Copperheads and there variations located here [http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=American_copperhead]

Hmm, guess I need to learn to do HTML linkie tag thingies.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008


So, in addition to learning how to do this blog thing, I'm also trying to learn about Macs(Apple/MacIntosh computers). Being as I work for the state in an LEO position, and my wife does similar work for the state, neither one of us is a big wage earner. With a house payment, two car payments, gas prices going insane, and two little ones running around the house trying to drive us insane, funds are always scarce, which makes getting into Macs a little dicey.

In reading Tam's blog, I see that she often uses an older iBook clamshell, and I thinks to myself, "Self, that could be just the widget you need to get into Macs, and start learning the basics." So I go on a lookey-loo, the most obvious place being that of eBay. I do a little searching, and find that it's not rare for some of these little gems to go for between $60 and $80. I do a little more research, and discover that what I want, is one with an Airport card, a functioning battery, and an AC adapter(odd how many get sold with no power cords, I'd have no way to plug the bloody thing in).

So, now I start doing active searches, and watching for Mac laptops with Airport cards, power cords, and under $100. You'd be amazed at the sheer number that start out so inexpensively. I also, start to slip bids in here and there. I'm somewhat hampered in this, as that being in LE means that some Exec/Admin/Big Guy in Charge thinks it would be a horrible idea to have the peons looking things up on the internet that aren't strictly job related. So, no bidding from work, only from home, where I have this horrible dial-up connection.(you think your connection is slow, try 19.2 Kbps 4 teh suq)

I've put in bids on numerous laptops recently, only to be outbid while at work. Now, I have no problem losing out on one that gets in a bidding war and goes for several hundred dollars, that's not one I was ever really in the running for. It's the ones that you just miss out on, either because I can't bid(at work) or can't check fast enough over the dial-up. I missed out on a nice one this past weekend, where I was outbid by $3.....that's three measly bucks, because the winning bid came in with 30 seconds left to go in the auction, and it takes a full minute to refresh an eBay page over my connection.

Now that's frustrating. However, with age I've learned perseverance(i.e. gotten more stubborn) and I keep pecking away at it. I'll get one eventually, and then I'll be able to use it not only to learn Macs, but to do some censor-free surfing during the day, as there are free Wi-Fi hotspots all over the place.

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blogging Experiment

So I'm enjoying this blogging experiment. Not as much to post as I'd originally thought, but perhaps that will change as things evolve. Still trying to figure out the whole Blogger thingie, so forgive me if things look rough for a while. Hehe, I can't even figure out how someone would post a comment on any of my posts, as I can't see a comment button anywhere. Oh well, just another one of those things to figure out.

While I enjoy taking a stab at writing my own thoughts down, I much more enjoy reading the thoughts of others. Especially some of those who are so erudite as to leave me feeling like a first grader groping to put a single sentence together. There's something beautiful about language, especially when it's put together so much better than you get used to hearing in everyday conversation.

Perhaps that's my goal, to elevate my own communication skills to emulate those whose words I admire. We'll just have to wait and see. For now, back to work, and we'll see what else percolates through the old grey matter......

Sunday, July 6, 2008


We're all touched by grief in various forms and ways, and we all react differently to it, even if it's grief we are anticipating.

This past Friday, one of my cats died. She was a little over nine years old. She'd had a full and happy life. She'd lost some weight over the last month or so, nothing dramatic, but enough to notice a marked difference over time. This past week, she lost more weight, enough to be concerned about. She was still happy, eating, going outside, playing with the dogs and my daughters, just a little more tired.

Friday morning, she seemed to be doing fine. I had the day off for the holiday, and was planning to get some work done around the house. About 8:30 AM, she went out onto the front porch, and laid down. She appeared to just be relaxing, but about 9:00 AM, I noticed that she was breathing very shallowly through her mouth. I went to check on her, and all of the sudden, I just knew she was going to be leaving us soon. Within an hour her pupils had dilated, and she was no longer seeing anything, her breathing had become sporadic, and we knew it was close. She died about 10:00 AM, while being petted, and purring at the attention.

The grief that ensued was horrific. I wept as I tried to console my wife and daughters. I was wracked with sobs as I tried to dig a grave for her. I was caught completely unawares by the depth and ferocity of emotion that I felt for this beloved pet. When she was a kitten, she was fearless, and furry. The way her little ears stuck out of the big fur made her look like a miniature bear, and so she was named "Ursa". As she grew, she became a perfect example of a feline companion. She was equally at home stretched out in a lap, head and legs hanging akimbo, or curled up in bed, under the covers, not all of them though, Ursa liked the spot between the sheets and the comforter. I can remember being shocked into wakefulness by the pain of a fully contented, and clawed, Ursa, kneading my armpit in pleasure.

She was a great hunter, with mice, voles, chipmunks, lizards, the occasional bird, and any number of small bugs to her credit. I especially enjoyed watching her kill scorpions. We don't have the large scorpions in Carolina, but any scorpion is unpleasant. The ones we have here are dark, and an inch or two long when stretched out. Ursa would find one in the house, and begin to "toy" with it. By the time she was done, it would be stretched out flat, and stiff in death, a perfect little chitinous letter 'Y'.

She loved to sit in my lap when I was on the computer, and beg a sip of beer, and then get all sneezey when the carbonation tickled her palate, but she'd always come back for more. Unlike a lot of cats, she listened to me, and always came when I called for her to come back inside so that I might go to bed.

Those are a few of the things I want to remember about this dear, departed companion. I hope she's in a better place now.

Goodbye Ursa....