It’s on my Calendar…

Checklist 4

The accusatory reminder is sitting there.

“Blog,” It says.

“About what,” I think to myself.

“That I have nothing to say?”

The reminder is implacable. I should just delete the little bastard, that’d show it. Consign it to the digital hell of forgotten “To Dos”.

But as A friend has reminded me and several well renowned authors have said;

Write anything, just write daily.

Okay, I’m writing. 

The internet is an interesting thing. I was able to distract myself from writing for a whole hour. I was suddenly curious about an old High School friend. Actually, he was my best friend. I may have found traces of him, but doubt seriously that we’ll ever re-connect. 

That relationship ended in a weird way in 1980 (I think). I honestly don’t remember now. I just remember thinking as I watched my friends back receding from my view that this was probably the last time I’d see him.

Then I got busy living my life and I assume he got busy living his. 

Through the years I’ve been curious about him and how his life had gone. I tried sending a letter or two and the occasional Christmas card. I don’t know if they ever found their intended recipient. These items were sent with paper and an actual stamp, but there was no reply.  I suppose I had an answer in that – there was no reply.

Nonetheless I’ve been curious through the years. 

With more and more data and personal information being stored and made available on the internet, it’s a lot easier to locate someone from your past. They don’t even have to have a social media account. Public records can go a long way toward letting you find someone.

Regarding my long lost friend… Either he was arrested for domestic battery in 2002, OR he’s living in a nice house, in the town that we grew up in working a blue collar job. The latter is, I think most likely. The second result’s age lines up more closely.

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The mug shot is striking in its similarity to the face I remember.

However, I think it highly unlikely that the police would be off by 5 years on the person’s age.

Perhaps it was a relative…

Not that an arrest record would be a reason for me not to re-connect. Multiple arrest records would be another issue.

This appears to be a one-off, and God knows I’ve had my knock down drag out fights with significant others over the years. Had some of those fights happened while I was living in an apartment… Well, then probably a mug shot of me would be gracing search results on the internet too.

The legal definition of Battery is surprisingly vague. I could see slightly rough sex being considered battery. 

I could easily imagine doing the same thing this week, that you did last week where your partner was really into it. Only to find out that your partner wasn’t into it today, and was flat out pissed off. Next thing you know, you’re having unflattering pictures (Front and Profile) taken.

I wonder what it would be like to re-connect with my friend. Would it be like no time had passed, or would the time and life experiences be so different that the gulf simply could not be bridged?

Would we each be disappointed with the effort? Is it better to let sleeping dogs simply lie?

The question is…

Do I want to put this on my “Bucket List” or not? Given that we’re both as old as we are if this is something I’d like to do, I should probably get on the stick about it. I’d hate to drive all that way only to lay flowers on a grave.

Something to ponder, I suppose.


Oh Look!

I can now check blogging off the list of things to do today.

Huzzah!

Is it just me?

Images

Or have corporate web sites become more obtuse?

We’ve all heard the message on hold. “Most of your questions can be answered by going to our website www.blahdeblahblahblah.com” 

Some of us fume, (I’m one of the fumers) I hear that message and think, “If I had found what I was looking for on your daffy website, I wouldn’t have dug up your freakin phone number from your website to call you.”

The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy

I’m reminded of the passage in Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy between Arthur Dent and the Foreman of the construction crew ready to destroy Arthur’s house.

“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Indeed websites appear to bury the lead more frequently now than in the past. 


Design and Stylistic Rant

I632hexq l’ve decided that the next website I build I’m going to put all the contact information, frequently asked questions, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and any other useful information behind an image of a disused lavatory door with a sign that says “Beware of the Leopard” (That’s my web design idea, call it copyrighted). Optionally, I may add another layer of annoyance by forcing the intrepid web user to open a filing cabinet then simulate flickering of light to make reading the information (displayed as either yellow on grey or red on grey characters) stored in the filing cabinet, a much more challenging thing to do before your first cup of coffee. 

With all these designers with their media/ design/ art school diplomas in web design, you’d think that at some point some professor would have discussed that a significant portion of the population exhibit some level of red-green or blue-yellow colorblindness and a larger portion of the population are shade blind as well. 

Which means that putting a 10 point HelveticaNarrow font in white on a light grey page, is going to look to a lot of folks like a blank page.

I’m not shade or color blind, and stuff like that is annoying as hell to me. All it takes is an allergy day, a cold, or dry eyes and now my lovelies, your web page is useless to pretty much everyone. 

I shouldn’t have to open your page in an HTML editor to be able to see what’s on it.

Just Sayin…


Anyhow.

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My finger is hovering over a schedule time button on the Apple webpage.

I’ve spent 10 minutes thrashing through pages intended to answer every question and provide every service EXCEPT something that must take place in the physical world.

Why not make it simple? How about putting a button Front and Center that says SCHEDULE a visit with an Apple Genius? How about putting that right at the bottom of the opening page?

<sigh> It’s the age of obfuscation.

I’m finally on the page, I think, that will allow me to complete the task that I thought would be simple and only take a minute.

Hovering over the button, I ask myself why is it that I can ONLY schedule on a single day a week out? Why can’t I schedule an appointment on any of the other days that week? Why can’t I schedule an appointment 2 weeks out?

Why is Apple dictating essentially that I’ll have to make a special trip to their store and not be able to combine that trip with other things I might already have on my agenda?

My finger is still hovering. the first appointment is 2:15 in the afternoon, I’d really like a morning appointment, I don’t like being in Apple stores in the afternoon or evening.

Flightline

Then it hits me;

I DON’T LIKE BEING IN APPLE STORES AT ALL!

But the morning is always preferable to afternoon.

I slowly come to realize that while I like Apple products, I can’t stand the noise, crowding, confusion, and general disarray that every single Apple store has become. I’ve actually been to shooting ranges that were quieter than most Apple Stores.

It’s like being in an ‘80s disco bar.

Everyone is yelling to be heard, there’s continuous BOOMING driving base coming from the PA system and at least half a dozen different sound sources all around the room. People are shoving to get to whatever bright and shiny, they want to play with, and they’re rude about it.

4246303 683742 cocktail a mix of various drinks sometimes alcoholic drinks

At least in a bar, I’d have a drink that would be acting as an anesthetic. 

Alas, Apple stores, for all their other bar-like similarities are lacking the one critical component that would allow me to justify shouting over music which is indistinguishable from being on the flight line of a aircraft carrier during a fighter scramble. 

Whiskey!

The only bar I’ve ever enjoyed with noise as loud as the Apple store, was a place where you could get a drink and a BLOW-JOB at the same time.

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The volume of the music was to hide the grunts, shouts and “Rebel Yells” of various guys blowing their loads down willing throats. In other words, the pain in my ears was offset by alcohol and nasty pleasure.

I’m spending premium dollars in an Apple Store. I don’t need Vivaldi but I would like to conduct business at some decibel level below 200. I’d like to literally be able to hear myself think.

The 2:15 appointment has vanished. 2:45 is available.

My finger still hovers over the button.

Nah… I’ll wait.

People are unbelievable

DSC 0887Weekend two of the snow players.

Sigh!

Yesterday wasn’t too bad, but today as been a mess. One of the local forums describes the current condition of the snow, as “Ghetto Snow”.

Ghetto Snow is snow that’s a nasty combination of ice, dirt, and god only knows what else.

I know my dogs have added their own unique colors to the snow. <ahem>

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Today things are going too far. We’ve got people driving up into our neighborhoods onto side streets, (Streets that we’ve cleared in many cases BY HAND) then they start loading the snow, (OH, NOW YOU WANT TO HELP?) from our yards into their vehicles.

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Yeah, they park half off the street, half in our yard, then start digging randomly in our yards with absolutely no idea what is under the snow, of course they’re only interested in the clean snow from the middle of our yards.  All the while their kids are making snow men and having snowball fights elsewhere on our property.

WTF?

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The sheriff and CHP are apparently hanging around just waiting to write tickets.Their response time has been absolutely astounding!

Either of those LEOs are welcome at my place anytime. I’ll happily make coffee, hot chocolate and whatever other yummies I have on hand for them.

That’s not an offer of bribery, that’s me saying THANK YOU to folks whose jobs must be really tough to do, and me demonstrating my heartfelt appreciation for them doing that job.

I was standing on my deck taking pictures of yet another carload of morons who flew up my DEAD END street.

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They race up the street only to slam on their brakes when they realize that they can’t go any further and are in fact sliding backwards on ice into some random obstruction.

I’ve come to enjoy the distinctive high pitched whine of tires spinning on ice punctuated  by the equally distinctive “clunk-crunch-tinkle,” of plastic and/or glass connecting with rocks or trees.

This particular car load of morons was lucky, their front tires found purchase on a small portion of pavement exposed by the last 25 morons spinning their tires in the exact same spot. But I made sure that the fat nasty chick who got out of the passenger side of the car could hear me laughing.

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Anyhow, as I’m standing there, I see someone else snatching a shovel from my neighbors yard. They didn’t ask, they just took it. I called out, they ignored me, I called out again and then my neighbor came out and started yelling too.

First, these people tried to act like they didn’t know what we were talking about while holding the shovel then they acted like they didn’t understand English. My neighbor stepped out the door and started down off the porch.

The shovel was run back over to the spot it had been removed from.

My neighbor grabbed it and locked it in his garage. The people all hopped in their car and drove away.

This is why so many of us are wanting access to the residential areas restricted. The problem is that it would take a ton of man power to prevent the snow players getting to the residential areas because almost every street opens onto one of the main arteries through town. The main arteries all connect to two bigger arteries that lead to the freeway.

While it would be easy to block off those streets, once people got past those choke points we couldn’t control them throughout the town.

I love what happens when the Sheriff’s Deputy pulls up. All these people scatter like cockroaches in a cheap apartment.

It’s going to be a very long winter.

We wouldn’t mind so much but people are just so damn ill mannered. They don’t need to be in our neighborhoods or yards. There are places all over town specifically set aside for play.  The only reason people are up here is because they don’t want to deal with the crowds in those areas.


I guess I could start charging for parking and assistance getting unstuck from the ice.

I wonder how much of a profit I could turn before an officer made me stop? I wouldn’t be mad at the officer. After all, they’d just be doing their job and technically, I don’t think I can charge for parking on a public street. Or for people to play in the snow that is on country property.

I wonder if I could charge what amounts to a toll? After all the street my house faces is a private street and since the county won’t maintain it and the residents pay to have it paved; can I charge for people using our street? (I should ask some of my cop friends.)

That was interesting – But a complete waste of time

DVD

Been meaning to try out a thing in the Mac OS called BootCamp. BootCamp is Apple’s tool that sets up the ability for Windows to run on a Mac.

I’d been meaning to do this for years, but since I’m a VMWare Fusion user, I never really had a reason.

Until last night.


IMG 0583

After doing battle with glaciers on the road in front of the house. (Global Warming… MY ASS!) Two days with a trenching tool, snow shovel, and a pick! Only then was I able to get the 4” of ice cleared from in front of my driveway.

We had a county worker fall on the street and injure herself earlier in the week. She turned her ankle so severely that if she didn’t break it she’ll have gotten off lucky.  Thank God she wasn’t in front of my house when she fell. Our street has a long and colorful history some of which I’ve documented in this blog so I won’t retell it in this post.

To my knowledge, this is the first time anyone had been injured

Ironically, the lady was a county employee, and since the county refuses to take responsibility for the road by maintaining and plowing the road perhaps it’s a bit of Karma. Had the county plowed the road, there wouldn’t have been ice 4” thick for her to fall on.

The ice was caused by snowplayers, driving up a dead end road (mine) so that they could play in the abomination the county calls a flood control project. (Another story!)

When you have vehicle after vehicle slowly crusing up the street, then backing down the street spinning their tires, you get ice. This is especially true when the cars and trucks are coming up before we’ve had a chance to get out to the street with snow blowers.


I digress!

After two days of manual labor, my shoulders and the rest of me was pretty sore. (I’m much better today, thanks for asking.)

So I resolved to plant my ass on the couch and do nothing last night. Then I happened to go into my office and noticed a Windows 7 installation disk peeking out of its storage bin.

HardDrive

Hum, “Oh why the hell not? It should be pretty mindless and I’ll be curious if I don’t…”

At this point my tech friends are all saying to themselves, “Uh OH!

To be fair, BootCamp is really cool. It provides any Mac user with a reasonably powerful machine, (ie Most Macs) the ability to create a disk partition on their Mac, then install and run Windows.

boot-campIt works well and even provides the ability to boot up in the partition you’ve created (Windows in my case) OR Mac OS by default. I’m not sure why you’d spend the money on a Mac then only use Windows or another operating system, but I’m sure there are people that do exactly that.

I could see a diehard Windows fan attempting to transition to Mac OS and failing, then continuing to use the Mac running exclusively Windows. It would be a bit of a waste but at least the person would get some utility out of the Mac

Anyhow, BootCamp works and it works well. Windows installed and worked like a champ. I installed the printer drivers I needed and was planning on giving this partition thing a whirl to see if I wanted to perhaps abandon VMWare. So I tell Windows that I want to install an instance of Office.

… and that’s when it all went to hell.

Grrrrr

Unbeknownst to me, Office 365 has some kind of problem with one or more of the HP printer drivers.  Office will install then get to about 90% complete and HANG. To get around this you have to restart Windows, go to services, disable the print spooler, make sure; In my case, that the firewall and Microsoft’s Antivirus were offline, then restart the Office installation procedure.

It was at this point that things went seriously off the rails. Office claimed it was installed but wouldn’t let me sign in, nor would it reinstall.  As I was fiddling with it I started getting a message that Office couldn’t access the internet, but I was looking at webpages FROM Microsoft’s Office installation help and my accounts page. Then I rebooted Windows again and things went from bad to worse.

After a couple of hours I realized the Windows installation had been damaged in some unique and interesting ways. I threw in the towel.

I have a perfectly functional installation of Windows in VMWare, I don’t NEED a BootCamp partition. I especially don’t need to go through the whole Windows installation process again, then wait for Office, etc, etc, etc.

I learned some things I didn’t know before.

NewImage

BootCamp works really well.

Note to self, Install Windows, Install Office, THEN install HP printers.

Probably, not a bad rule of thumb to hold off installation of printers in general until after Office is installed and online. I have the suspicion that HP isn’t the only printer manufacturer that’s got some kind of “blocking” bug with Office. This begs the question if you’re installing Office on an existing installation of Windows, should you maybe remove the installed printers then reinstall them after the installation?

On a Mac with Bootcamp installed, the 2nd (Windows) partition is shown on the desktop.

That’s something I don’t care for. I’d like the ability to have that partition hidden unless I explicitly mount it. I know I can hide all hard drives from the desktop, but I’d prefer to have the ability to have user selectable hidden partitions.

Since the Mac OS is, at its core a UNIX system,  I’m fairly sure that I could hide the partition… maybe fstab? Humm, I wonder…

In any case, I’m sticking with VMWare for my Windows needs. The single major reason is this, I can COPY a VMWare container. That container could be Windows, Linux, or other operating systems. Restoring that container is simple and VMWare doesn’t care.

Effectively, this means that I can corrupt the hell out of a VMWare Windows container and lose only the most recent changes (Or bad installation of something).

VMware is not noticeably slower than running Windows as a stand alone partition. So as the doctors say, the benefits outweigh the deficits.

Sad Mac 400x400

This could easily have been worse. I could have trashed my Mac OS installation in the process. I briefly considered that as a possibility. I discounted the potential danger for 2 reasons. 1) I Have a couple of complete backups of my Mac OS X installation. 2) I suffer from that terrible arrogance that comes from the Mac OS being so robust.

Yes, occasionally something really bad happens, but issues I have with my Mac are generally caused because I’m monkeying around not because the OS itself is bad.

So for all of you who’ve not used BootCamp, you can continue to not use it.

If however, you decide to give it a try, you can do so with a bit more confidence. Depending on your needs, you might still consider VMWare or Parallels as options.

PunishmentIf you’re looking for a way to spend an evening…

 

There are far more interesting things you can do instead of experimenting with a computer. I can tell you even BAD sex is more interesting.

Your milage will no doubt vary.

 

SCRATCH!!!!

Brain falling apart

I was working on a post. Then my brain just stopped…

The entire point fell apart and I was left here with my hair blown back and no clue what I was doing.

I didn’t smell toast so I know it wasn’t a stroke but nonetheless it’s annoying.

I’m giving up. 

I’ll try again tomorrow.

Earthquake!!!!

While the local news people were losing their minds over a 4.x that was more of a roller than anything else. The dogs didn’t even look up.

The glass ornaments on the Christmas tree didn’t even tinkle together.

In other words Big Deal! So What?

When I first moved here 4.x was not even anything to bat an eye about. But it’s been so long since we had regular quakes folks are easily freaked out about it now.

Good! maybe there will be an exodus from California and the freeways will open up.

The REAL issue is the weather in the middle of the country.

Their llittany of problems reads like Elmer Fudd’s lyrics in What’s Opera Doc.

Norf winds bwo, Sowf winds bwo, Storms, Thunder, lightening strike, SMOOOOG!

It would be funny were it not so unbelievably tragic.

Those folks went from rain and being in shorts, to tornados, then sleet, then snow and their neighborhoods were wiped out.

Merry Christmas!

Meanwhile our talking heads blather on and on and on about a little shaking that may have done a little damage.  As always California newscasters need to have a little perspective.

For New Years all I want is newscasting that is factual, accurate, and not spun for entertainment.

I’m not holding my breath!