self with corona Travels and Images

WEEK 45 2003

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Lancaster Weather

A Year Ago, This Week

Saturday 8 November 2003

Saturday - My father has a Mr. Coffee machine, which makes it a lot easier to get up in the morning after a long drive. It was overcast and drizzly outside, so we spent most of our time messing with computers.
Dad recently upgraded, from DSL to Cable modem, and there were some sticky bits. For some reason the wireless router wasn't talking properly to things. We could see signal strength on the little meters, but XP refused to acknowledge things. My win2k laptop worked just fine. So, i used the ISO-9000 approved FAR method. (FAR: Flail About Randomly.) I added things, deleted things, swore bitterly and it eventually started working.
Then next problem was email - his email clients, Netscape, were not being recognized. There I have to admit defeat - or at least a draw - I could get things to send, or to receive, but not both. COMCAST support (hah!) pages said that they didn't support Netscape Messenger. (Why support the #2 email client in the whole world? I can't think of a reason, can you?) Anyway, I eventually configured Outlook and things now work.
How does having a cable modem affect things you might ask. In general it isn't that much different from the DSL experience. Where it is amazing is movie trailers. You can download an entire trailer to, say, "Master and Commander", in ten seconds, and then watch it for half a minute or so. Amazing. With DSL you start the download and twiddle your thumbs for a couple of minutes. With dial-up it's a close run thing between the download finishing and opening night!
Because of the overcast and rain we did not see the lunar eclipse. "Astronomy Picture of the Day" had a nice simulation of it the other day, however.

Friday 7 November 2003

Friday - was supposed to be a half day at work and turned out to be more of a full day. I arose early and cleaned and packed, worked until my approximate leaving time, and then helped another employee with a computer problem for a couple of hours. It was a Macintosh, of course, that was the culprit and source of trouble.
Anyway, I thought of visiting the sis, in Reno, but the predictions of snow showers put the big Kibosh on that idea. No chains for the explorer - though now that I think of it there are probably large stocks being sold at stores along the 395. The other issue is that Mammoth opened today for skiing - so the road would be full of morons doing the indy500 thing to get to the inch-and-a-half of ice-on-rock ski slopes. Bah. On the plus side, it was that many fewer idiots on the I-5!
Anyway, it was an OK trip up. One oddity is that the highway 58 has been re-routed so that it is now all freeway and doesn't pass through Mojave. I mean, not even close! It runs (now) due north for miles, east of town and the airport, and then turns west well to the north of the former slow point in the trip. Tough on the town's gas stations and hotels I would imagine.

Thursday 6 November 2003

Thursday - sometimes life takes an odd turn. This evening I came home early (for me) and it was just a bit after sunset. I saw my neighbor walking down the street and said "Hi, how's it going?" and he said "Not so good - a neighborhood child may have been abducted."

Sort of makes you just STOP. And think: NOT HERE. Not in MY neighborhood.

Apparently a mother was missing her two year old, and was running about the neighborhood, calling out frantically. The police had been called. So, along with a dozen others we grabbed flashlights and started checking about in the empty fields and yards. A bunch of tired middle aged men, just home from work, doing what needed to be done. And a couple of kids with hockey sticks.

Fortunately the child was found, safe and sound, somewhere near her own yard, and we could all go home.

Later I went out to dinner with my friends - a tiny little Mexican joint that seats about 20, but has excellent food. And Negro Modelo beer. We discussed what almost happened, and then the woman who sent her ex-con child molester relative off with her child in her new car. People are strange.

In other news, a friend had problem with a computer now hooked via DSL to the internet, supplanting the old dial-up. But the browser had been set (by me) to dial out automatically - which was annoying. I sat and thought for a minute, then found the browser executable and created a new shortcut on the desktop. Problem solved. I wish they were all so easy. The next problem - certificates not being recognized at a certain merchant - hmmm. The firewall? Maybe I'll have a stroke of brilliance tomorrow....

Mac's are evil. My co-worker had a  Mac that died over the weekend, but they've put the hard drive into a new chassis and it is up and running again - for now. My sister is trying to send me a readable file, created on a Mac. It ain't happening.

Wednesday 5 November 2003

Wednesday - tutoring and stuff tonight. I just got a belated birthday card from my sister - it has a spider with these little string legs on it. The cats LOVE it:

cats and spider card

Tuesday 4 November 2003

Tuesday - sunny and cold. It's an improvement.

My sister, a MacIntosh fan, has tried to send me some files. Hah. All weird spacey characters...been there, done that.

the power mac seethes
formatted bytes are sent
nonsense arrives.

Monday 3 November 2003

Monday - cold and rainy. Researching stability and control  stuff at work.

Sunday 2 November  2003

Sunday - still to cold and windy to paint outside, so I mostly just relaxed and watched tv and read.

In other news, Hal Clement has passed away. He is the author who hooked me on science fiction, when an older sister left a copy of "Needle" about our house. I can still remember the green "library binding" cover and the amazing story within. He was an interesting author in many ways - technically accurate and imaginative, but his juvenile characters actually were juveniles and not necessarily adults; unlike many stories where the young protagonists are always quick, intelligent and right with the adults always being slow, stupid, and wrong.

It turns out that  as school teacher himself, using the mundane alias of Harry Stubbs, he probably had a fairly good grasp of the psychology of the young, and of the responsibilities of the adult.

Anyway, here is the cover to my 1972 paperback edition of a book first published in 1949:

cover to needle, hal clement, lancer edition 1972, 95 cents

and the fairly accurate blurb from the back cover:

back cover to needle, lancer paperback edition

Picture of the Week
  halloween 2003 - grave business
Photo Notes: I don't do much for Halloween myself, but to my friend R it is a grave business! ( Hah - "grave" - I just kill myself sometimes! )

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