Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Canada....

....even the kids are cool.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Keeping Track

A few weeks ago, my laptop started making a horrendous sound when the fan would run -- the result, we thought, of <koff> <koff> getting rice in there while trying desperately to ameliorate the effects of liquid on the PC.  That's what they say to do when you have that problem, but they never mention make sure the rice doesn't get inside the device you're trying to dry.

About two weeks ago, the noise was constant, and I shipped the laptop off to HP to repair it.  They had a cheery note that said they wouldn't touch the software unless it was necessary.  Well, heck, all they're doing is pulling the laptop apart and slapping in a new fan, why would messing with the software be necessary?


After they installed what is apparently a backlevel version of Windows 7 (Now installing 1 of 178 updates...), I got to spend about ten hours reinstalling software. Even if they had backed up the program files as they did the Documents folder, there would be no guarantee that it would work, because software likes to install all over the place; for example, the APPDATA directory.  Sure, I think of that immediately when I'm wondering if I've backed up all the pieces of a software program.  Whatever happened to putting it all in one library?

I am telling myself that this enforced activity is a good thing, makes me organize my files a little more clearly, makes me ensure that the backups are backing up what I think they are (Usually, yes.  Totally, no.).  But along the way I thought, again, of how basically unstable a software-based record-keeping system is.  Something totally unrelated to, say, the financial records on your PC dies, and next thing you know, you're busily transferring files, trying to download new versions of your software, because the version you have won't work on the new PC, or trying to understand how to even use the software they've improved since the last time you touched it.  All because something decided to break. Or some idiot got rice in the fan. Which is related to the operating system how? .  It's like the old joke: if Microsoft sold cars, you'd have to buy a new one each time the ashtray was full.

I'd like to be able to install something and know that it's going to be safe when the next catastrophe hits.  We laugh at paper files, but when was the last time someone had to buy new paper because something happened to their typewriter?

I say, bring back paper files.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


my daughter has never been one to embrace change. Whenever a change occurs, or is in the offing, it takes her a little while to get used to the idea.during this past week, she has spent some time with friends from high school, and as part of that she has seen some of them perform in the color guard unit that she was a member of for a long time. I suppose it is natural that you would assume they would remember you for a long time, too, so it comes has a bit of a surprise to find out that this is mostly not the case. As a result, she feels torn. On one hand, she wants to continue to participate and to celebrate their activities. On the other, they don't remember her, most of them, and even though she is only 2 years older than the oldest of them, in their eyes she's old. Someone trying to cling to their youth. that's not the case, but they don't realize it. It makes her feel old, not part of the group anymore, and she doesn't like it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Inhaling the evidence of my daughter having walked through the hallway, it occurs to me that one downside of having a beard is that I never use aftershave. Or cologne, for that matter. Maybe I should look into that, even though I'll never smell as good as she does!


I am going through withdrawal pains at the moment, using a voice activated keyboard to enter this in two a tablet PC. I'm not even going to try to correct the errors, but instead just accept that it's kind of magical that this works at all. And I try not to think the magic is through Google which I think has long since forgotten its original don't be evil philosophy. now it's more how can we make money from this and how can we control the minds and hearts of everybody who touches our technology?

I sent my PC holf to be repaired yesterday. There is a problem with the fan such that it makes horrible noises when is running, and it is running home the time. what an interesting phrase running home all the time. I guess the artificial intelligence hasn't had his heart official coffee this morning.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Various things

This laptop may be dying.  Every so often the fan kicks on with this horrible sound.  I looked, and its buried deep in the innards of the device.  Expensive.   I don't much mind the idea of getting a new one, but I despise the idea of having Windows 8 on it.

I get emails occasionally from a conservative who asks me what I think about things he's seen on various conservative sites.  Sometimes there's something interesting, sometimes not.  The other day he sent me a link to a scary chart predicting that the stock market would crash in 4-6 months.  I spend about three hours looking into why that might not be the case, and sent him a response -- and along the way, I learned a little bit about how a double-Y axis can lead to confusion.  Amazed, because prior to that i thought that I understood it.

Took some time to make and bake pain au chocolat the other day.  Not bad but a litle undersized.  I'll probably make it again, but not really soon -- those things are rich. 

Still studying French. Still.

I have never dressed this nicely, and would look like an idiot if I tried. Still, I'd like to, just once.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


Once again,  the local Pennsylvania weather...disappoints.  Last two weeks, they forecast heavy snow, and we got it.  I start thinking wow, maybe these people finally understand the local weather.

Two days ago, they're forecasting 5 to 8 inches, Sunday and Monday. Now? 1 to 3 today, nothing tomorrow.  I cancelled my Canada trip because I expected to be coming home to snow and ice, and now.....this.

Thanks, guys.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


I'm making croissants.  I was very apprehensive about the 'roll out the butter' step, because the last time I tried, I just could not get any leverage on the butter with my rolling pin -- it was very difficult.  This time, I thought of the rolling pin that my mother's grandfather had made for his wife - two feet wide, and solid.  I laid the butter down on the hardwood slab that he'd also made for her, put some waxed paper around the butter, and just rolled it right out.  That extra foot or so of width let me put power into the effort, and it worked like a champ. 

I like to think that he'd be pleased to know that forty years later, his gift is still working.