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WEEK 33 2007

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 18 August 2007

Saturday - went for a nice 5 mile walk in the morning. It was warm, 90F or so by the time I got home, but with clear blue skies. There is a big fire over towards Ventura that has been burning for days - but today the wind is clearly taking it away from us. You could see the smoke clouds on the western horizon, however.

Then back to cleaning. I'd sort of missed spring cleaning this year and it showed. Mostly done now. I made a trip to the electronic waste dropoff site. They are open the first and third Saturday of each month and take pretty much any electronic stuff, no questions asked. But I've enough old junk that they just might ask questions if I brought it all at one time, so I didn't try to fill the Explorer.

Friday 17 August 2007

Friday - I did back up the desktop and laptop. Oddly I couldn't find the SureSaver application on the laptop, and there is no mention of it on Ximeta's website, so I just copied the files over by hand. I think that perhaps they sold it to HP. Then I updated both PC's, just so that everything was up to date again.

A hot and humid day, but not as bad as yesterday which was hot, humid and smoky. Miserable. At one point today there was a power surge or brownout - it was a couple of hours before I noticed that the pump in the fish tank had stopped. They were huddled on the bottom of the tank - I wonder if there is more oxygen there, or if they were spooked by the lack of noise?

I've been forced to use the central air, so it will cost me when the electric bill come due :-( 

Here is Riley laying on his scratch pad toy (he's the cat in front of the TV, Phoebe is watching from the couch). He'll do this for hours at a time:

Riley and his scratch toy
My scratch toy! Mine, mine, mine!

Trying to clean up. One thing is clear: I have too many books. Waaaay too many. So many that I can't shelve them.

I should dust them more often.

Thursday 16 August  2007

Thursday - I cleaned inside my house some more. I must say that it looks good, when clean. Technically, just the downstairs was cleaned - the hallway upstairs is full of stuff that I couldn't fit into the spare bedrooms. I need to sort and toss a lot of stuff.

Also I gave my fish ice cubes this morning. The water was low, it's been warm so their tank water is probably warm, why not give them a little treat? But not too much, they may be susceptible to shock from the cold.

I had company coming over, but instead we all went out to lunch. So it goes. The place needed cleaning (still does, really).

A compilation of 45 free graphics design programs. Some are straightforward, some different and pretty cool. I'm interested because after Ulead Photo Studio and Quicktime Pro I feel used. Such feature poor & stingy programs that I've paid for, from the software makers. A couple of these free ones might be useful. [via Physics Geek]

The other day I set the picture and fax viewer as my screen saver on the laptop, and pointed it at my blog's "images" directory. There are a lot of images there, over a thousand. Kind of cool. I had to FTP them down, since mostly they are on the server and the desktop PC. Now there's a backup.

Actually I need to backup both machines to the external hard drive. I've been lazy, it's been months.

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Wednesday - well, I am free of the dog. Calls to animal control went unanswered, so I drove over there with the dog and it's tags. Ten o'clock midweek - and they were closed. Great. But then a woman came driving up, in a sparkling new SUV twice the size of mine. It turns out she was looking for a small dog for a pet...

I lifted the dog up to the window and it hopped right into the SUV (it was a good car dog, by the way) and the arms of the young girl in the back seat. Hah. Smart dog. Should I have told them that I'd already named it Papillon?

Lucky dog, too. I wouldn't have willingly left it at the pound, but if they couldn't trace the owner I don't know what I'd have done. No one else wanted it, and when it was time to head out for work, what then? And what if the county tag was also bogus, and they wanted either the dog then and there, or a $25 registration fee from me and the $$ for a complete set of vaccination shots - what would I have done? Disease runs rampant in those places, leaving it is tantamount to a death sentence.

But if the owner was traceable, then I've done a misdeed.

On the third hand, if the new custodian takes it in for relicensing, as she should, they will check up on the dog. So I can sort of weasel off the guilt hook if I assume someone else will do the right thing.

Anyway, I got it off the streets. And it's gone, my cats can now relax.

I feel a bit under the weather, hopefully I'm not coming down with something. I spent the time wrestling with the video thing today, very tiresome. Codecs and converters and battling to find anything that would work. It shouldn't be this hard. Apple and Microsoft have done their very best to ensure their products refuse to interoperate, but I can make it work. The question is: is it efficient enough for a big project? We'll see.

I should say: I mentioned getting a cat scratch toy from my brother a year ago. Well, the cat liked it. He loved it. He still loves it. He obsesses about it, laying on it for hours at a time. Mike was over yesterday and had to laugh at the sight.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Tuesday - it's said that during the Great Depression  the hobo's would chalk a sign on the sidewalk in front of homes where a good handout could be found, the soft touches. I wonder if dogs do that? Last time it was a pit bull, this time:

A translation of the Tibetan name is Bark Sentinel Lion Dog.

The accursed beast came bounding into my garage this morning, while I was cleaning and almost jumped into my lap. Since it had an special ID tag I grabbed it and called in the number - my good deed for the day. I'd forgotten a favorite professor's maxim: "No good deed goes unpunished!".

Hours later
I got a call back - the tag was a special ID, but it wasn't registered with the service. It also had a tag from Los Angeles County, so I tried to call on that. The lines were busy. So I'll have to drive out westside tomorrow if I can't get through. And put fliers on the mail boxes.

In the mean time the dog has escaped four times from the backyard. The last time my brother and I were ready to let it go, but the nice ladies from the neighborhood corralled and returned it. Bah. How a ten inch high and ten pound dog can jump a six foot fence is beyond me. It is now in the garage, barking, annoying me and freaking out the cats.

 Monday 13 August 2007

Monday - so, for work, I need an MPEG-4 player on my Windows XP laptop to review some video for work. Windows Media Player 10 wasn't properly playing the video's I took, there was an error but also an "update available message", reportedly less than 1 megabyte. Okay, sez I. So then it starts downloading WMP 11, all 24MB of it. What the hell? Dammed Microsoft - I would have downloaded it anyway, it's free and I need it, but they felt the need to lie about it. Bizarre.

What is happening is that they've included some stupid DRM music store player, another 30MB worth, called "Urge" where you can download and buy music from MTV. "Buy" as in "lease" - if you stop paying all your downloaded music will stop playing. Who would do this? Who would allow Microsoft and MTV to own their content? Who would be so stupid?

Annnddddd, it doesn't recognize the standard *.mp4 media I am trying to play, after 60MB of downloading. God how I hate this crap. I just hope it doesn't mess up the PC too much.

In other news: the damage to the shuttle Endeavour thermal protection tile apparently goes clean through, to the structure underneath. Which almost certainly means that they have to repair it before attempting a re-entry.

endeavour tile damage
Endeavour belly tile damage

Sunday 12 August July 2007

Sunday - keeping busy, lots of work around the house. Lunch with friends. It was miserably hot out, 101F.

Out running errands I heard "Elusive Butterfly" on the radio, a song I hadn't heard in a while. I had to laugh - looked at through the present day glasses of political correctness it is the ultimate "stalking" song. Someone sneaking around outside a window, and then running away. There's even a line about "heavy breathing" and mentions of "nets".


Picture of the Week
Seagull on the old ferry pilings, Martinez, Ca.
Photo Notes: A seagull on the old ferry pilings, Martinez, Ca..

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