Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Very Merry Merry!



I just wanted to stop by and wish all of my online friends a very Merry Santa Day! I will be trying to get around to your Journals/blogs today to drop off a message... but, well, there is stuff to do, I know you all understand! LOL!

I spent part of last night with Norad's Santa Clause Tracker up in a tab of my firefox browser... occasionally checking to see where the man in red had gotten too. This has become an annual tradition for us. I would occasionally tell G that "Santa is in England", or "Santa is in Puerta Rico", and finally the all important "Santa has arrived at the Cape!" That would be Cape Canaveral for all of you non-Floridians. This is always the important one for us for a couple of reasons. One, it is usually Santa's first stop in the U.S.; two, it is usually Santa's first stop in our state; and three, it will usually have a video ;p 

See below for the video of Santa visiting us in Florida!


I usually also keep my eye out for a couple of other favorite stops.... when Santa hits St. Louis (near my Grandson, Son and DIL), Kentucky for near my Mom, Grandmother and some other extended family, Texas because G's family is mostly there and finally, one of my favorites... Roswell! LOL!

I'm hoping that all of you are having a wonderful day full of family and cheer no matter which Winter Holiday you are celebrating!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Celebrations of Light and Hope

It has become tradition that on Dec 21 I repost this entry from my first year of blogging. It originally appeared on my AOL Journal in 2004. This is the fifth year that I have 'reprinted' it. It still says what I want to remember about this time of year, so I am repeating it again this year. Some of the circumstances have changed...  Our little family is one smaller with the passing of D.K. We have changed jobs and moved a couple of times. G and I are now married... Things change and yet some things remain the same. I hope you enjoy my annual Celebration of Light and Hope.

Today is the shortest day of the year... and the longest night. It is the first day of Winter. It is the celebration of Yule. It is an acknowledgement of Hope. That Light and Warmth and other good things will always return after the darkness. It is the day that G. and I celebrate as our personal Winter Holiday. In ancient times, this was the festival of the rebirth of the new god and a promise that after today the days would get longer, the nights would get shorter, and warmth and Spring WOULD come.

Yes, secularly we, like so many others, celebrate Christmas. In the United States, Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. With the gift giving, and Santa, and the decorations... Christmas has become more, and less, than what was originally intended. Everyone takes the pieces and parts of the holiday that works for them. Some embrace the religious parts, and try to ignore how secular it has become... others embrace the secular with it's parties, lights, Santa, and presents and ignore any religious beginnings of the holiday. But, at it's heart, it is still a Winter Holiday.. A celebration of Hope. And every religion/belief system seems to have a celebration of some type that embraces this.

I grew up in the States, and therefore my memories of a Winter Holiday include all of the above. And Christmas itself is as much a melting pot as the United States itself. The Christmas tree is German, and Santa is the culmination of a blend of traditions from many countries. Mistletoe? Druid. Christmas Cards? England. You see what I mean. G. and I will be celebrating with my brother and his family on Christmas Eve at his house. That's the day we all have off together. Christmas Day G. is working so a co-worker can be home with his small children for the all important Santa Claus ritual <g>.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't matter who you are, or what your core beliefs are... There is a place in the Winter Holidays  for all. But, please, take a moment this season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, or Christmas, to remember that the REAL reason for all of these celebrations is to celebrate HOPE in all of its forms

                                              Christmas Candles
graphics by useless graphics

Monday, December 08, 2008

This Amuses Me...




Go here and check out the story of Otto the octopus. It amuses me that they had to do a stake out of his enclosure to figure out how he was doing it. He also periodically rearranges his tank to better suit his taste. People often do not give creatures such as these enough credit. They are much more intelligent than most people think. I did find the website for the aquarium where Otto lives, but it wasn't in English, so I didn't link to it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

An Award.. For Me?

marieantoinetteawardpic I've seen this award making the rounds, and was shocked (and pleased!) when Melissa of Just Another Day in Paradise nominated me for it. There are rules and the rules are to link back to the person who nominated you, then pass the award on to 7 more deserving people. Hmmmm.. I'm never very good at the picking out of people, and a lot of the people I would nominate have already received this award... however, I will try to pick out 7 that you may not be reading!

My first pick is one a lot of you probably already read... if not, you should pop over and meet Dorn and the Oompas! Dorn juggles her husband, Dickidoo, several children still at home (affectionately called Oompas), her concern for her oldest son who is serving in the military and a job. If any blog is about real people Dustbunny Club of North America is one of them!

Over at Dock Lines Sam tells us about his life. He's always fascinated us with stories of the boats and activities at his job, and now we are looking forward to hearing about his newest adventure--his grandson. His grandson is living with Sam and his wife and they are enjoying seeing the world thru his eyes.

Coy at Dancing in the Rain always has something interesting to tell us about. She lives in a beautiful part of Florida and often gifts us with pictures of her scenic surroundings.

If you read Donna at Just Me, you shouldn't miss the adventures of her daughter Rachel and her family at Life 'n Stuff. Rachel works hard and loves her family. With 2 girls at home, a dog, a husband, and two boys out on their own Rachel usually has something to say.... and maybe a hotel picture or two!

Celeste of My Day and Thoughts has a small farm and a bunch of critters to help entertain us. She also has a granddaughter that she adores and loves to spend time with and a husband to keep life interesting.

Kathy at Flamingo Feathers has a very full life, but still finds time to let us share it. One of the brightest spots in her blog is her daughter Emily. Any entry about Emily is sure to be one that will brighten your day.

Kas of Hestia Homeschool is one of my favorite bloggers. She and her family have a wide variety of critters AND they do some wildlife rehab which is always interesting. Kas and her family recently got a new place with a lot more land recently... this is great for them, but not so good for those of us who follow their adventures. Kas has been having a little bit of trouble with connection issues so we haven't heard a lot lately, but I hope that this will soon be fixed!

I was right, this was really hard... there are still a bunch more people I think deserve this award--basically everyone over there on my sidebar in the ever growing list of blogs that I follow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!


Here at our house we have so many things to be thankful this year... as we do every year. From our House to Yours, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Turkey Day.

**And for those of you not living in the U.S.... I hope you also have many things to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Better Way to Write a Blog Post




The above is a screen shot of one of my favorite programs for doing blog posts. Live Writer is a free program that you can download. Why use an offline Blog Post Editor? One reason is avoiding that annoying thing the editor online at Blogger does where what you see isn't necessarily what you get when you hit publish. Live Writer allows you to see exactly how your blog post will look when it is published. This way you are sure that your pictures are in the right spot and things are spaced as you want before you hit publish.

Another advantage is the way you insert pictures. You are given  option#1 of inserting the picture from your computer (and having it uploaded to Picasa) , or choosing option #2 to insert the url of your graphic from some other service where you have uploaded the picture to... all without going into html.

        Insertpic1 insertpic2

                     Option#1                                     Option#2

Once a picture is uploaded, you are also given some pretty good options for things like changing the size of the picture. You are offered small/med/large... but you are also offered the choice of the original size it was uploaded at or even to choose the height and width that you choose with the ratio locked.



One more advantage? It's an offline editor... Your post is on your computer till you hit publish, so if something happens on the way to posting you don't lose all of your hard work!

There are a lot of other features, but I will save them for another time... or if anyone is interested enough to ask LOL! Oh, and I am not in anyway associated with this program, I just like it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Perfect Story for a Veteran's Day...

I was just over at My Day My Interest Photoblog. Betty has a wonderful story on her blog today, perfect for this Veteran's Day. I don't know if it is true, but I really, really hope it is.

Go Here to read this touching story, and try to keep a tear from forming in your eye.

Veteran's Day 2008




It is the Soldier
Father Dennis Edward O'Brien
It is the Soldier,
not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press.
It is the Soldier,
not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier,
not the campus organizer, who gives us freedom to demonstrate.
It is the Soldier
who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.



posters courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Six - Episode 239

This is a first for me... I have never done a Saturday Six, but I have a lot of blogging friends who do. Patrick always seems to come up with great questions, I just never have participated. I think this weeks set of questions spoke to me because I spent the last several months tutoring my friends daughter who is home schooled, and I miss doing it since they moved up north.

1. If you had to fill in as a substitute teacher at a local middle school, what subject would you be most comfortable teaching?

Math! This was a no brainer. Math is my favorite subject, and I like it because there is no question about the final answer. This is the question, and this is the answer! Not always true of other subjects LOL!

2. When you were in school, what was a better indication of your true understanding of what you were learning: class participation, the accuracy of your homework, or your test scores?

I think that if a child is participating in the class room and seems to be understanding the matter at hand, then that is the best indicator. After all, the homework could be done with the help of a parent (although not mine, my mother was always "Do it yourself or it has no value")... and as for tests?? How many of us crammed a bunch of stuff into our heads the night before (or even an hour before ;0 ) a test only to forget it the moment we put our pencils down and didn't need the information??

3. You meet someone for the first time and have a brief conversation with them. If you run into them the next afternoon, how likely are you to remember their name?

Nope! I'm lucky to remember my own name. This is a running joke in our house because G remembers everyone's name after only a casual introduction. Me, not so much. Names are always hard for me... on the other hand if they were in the company of a pet, that name I will remember. Often I speak of someone as "Rex's Mom" or "Muffin's Daddy" LOL!

4. Take the quiz: Do You Have Gaps in Your Knowledge?

There Are 1 Gaps in Your Knowledge
Where you have gaps in your knowledge:


Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:


5. If you had “gaps” in your knowledge, did you expect to have them where they were predicted? If you had none, which of the listed subjects would be the ones you’d most expect gaps to be?

Hmmm... Art was my deficiency... Actually I'm surprised that it wasn't History LOL! G is a big history buff and it always annoys him that while I have a general knowledge of when things happened and why, I can't remember which person did what to whom with the correct date.  It was the music question... I wasn't sure if it was Beethovan or Mozart who was deaf.... guess it was Beethovan ;p

6. If you could go back to school for one semester free of charge and “try again” with any subject, which one would you choose and why?

If I could go to school for one semester I would choose to study Graphic Arts... not that it is a 'try again', but that it is what fascinates me. If I was going back to do a subject I didn't do well in... then I would have to choose History for the reason listed in the answer to #5

This was fun... maybe I'll have to do one of these again in the future. If you want to play, be sure to go over to Patrick's and check it out.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Answer To The All Hollow's Eve Puzzle




The short answer to the Halloween Puzzle is.... after 8 years together, G. and I got married.

The long answer is: The 2 gold circlets were our rings. The braided cord was for the handfasting part of the ceremony. Each of the colors of the braided cord stand for something: Red is for passion/love, white for purity, and green for prosperity. I braided the cord myself. The broom was for jumping over at the end of the ceremony. The chocolates and strawberries for our first 'meal' as a married couple.

The ceremony was held at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens under a beautiful oak tree. The tree is even called "The Wedding Oak" and it's the reason we chose to be married there. The day was beautiful. Sunshiny, low 70's, and just enough puffy clouds in the sky to make it pretty.

There are no pictures since it was just us, the Reverend, and 2 witnesses... and I was participating in the ceremony and too busy to take pictures <g>. However, we do plan to go back and have some nice pictures taken at some point. Many of the flower pictures you see here, including today's, are from the gardens. It is a favorite destination of ours... especially since they are very dog friendly and Morgan loves to accompany us there.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Adventure Continues

In my last post about my big adventure I let you all know our final destination: The Big E in Springfield, MA. We had arrived safely and had a few days before the kickoff. This turned out to be a good thing because due to circumstances (weather, delivery schedules, trouble finding certain products) I got to strip and re-bed our 10 stalls 3 times LOL! Quite the work-out. Between that, the crazy schedule of shows, and stripping and repacking everything at the end, I managed to lose 10 pounds without even trying. Combined with the weight I had lost during the spring and fall of this year helping with the training and general upkeep of the horses, my weight is now back to what I consider a good one!

We were very happy to wake the morning after our arrival to sunshine. After all the rain on our trip, the sun was a very welcome sight. We got ourselves set-up for the next couple of weeks and spent some time seeing who else we new as they arrived. It wasn't surprising that we knew some of the people because we were there for Sylvia and the horses to perform with The Big E Super Circus and this was not the first time Sylvia had performed in this venue. The picture they use on this link is one of the ones I took of Sylvia earlier this Spring... I felt sort of famous. It was fun seeing old friends and making some new ones.

In answer to some of the questions in the comments of the last Adventure entry.... The horse hauler will haul 12 horses, but we were hauling only 10. Yes, there is an area in the front for a person to sleep, and actually that is where I was bunking during the trip and the show.

For anyone interested in what the horses do in the act, here are links to two videos of Sylvia and the Horses. It's in two parts, but is actually just the one act. I had to split it because of the length of video was too big for You Tube.

Hope you enjoy the horses!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

An All Hollow's Eve Puzzle!

G. and I did something special for Samhain (Halloween) this year. It involved the use of a very long braided cord made from 3 colors of cord: Red, white and green. We also had 2 gold circlets, a new broom, chocolates and strawberries. Can anyone guess what we did??



Happy Halloween All! I hope that if you have little ghosts and goblins that they got all the candy they could desire... and that they shared the little candy bars with you. If you don't have little ones, I hope that you got to enjoy the sight of other peoples little ones all dressed up.  Unfortunately, I live waaaaay out in the country, so we don't get little Trick or Treaters. I have to go to town to the Halloween Candy Walk downtown if I want to enjoy them. LOL!

And for stopping by my little corner of cyberspace on your Trick or Treat rounds, I have a little Halloween treat for you: Go here and check out Cat Bowling.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Newest Toy

If you remember from this post, I mentioned putting my laptop into the shop the day after I got back home from the Big E.

A few days after dropping my poor baby off, I called the box store I use for computer repairs (and incidentally purchases) and asked for an update. The person I spoke to was a little evasive, but repeated the standard spiel of 10 days to 2 week turnaround. On day 10, not having heard anything else, I again contacted the techs. This time I was told there was an 'issue' and that paper work had been sent from HP for a replacement to be given to me because of problems either with getting the part, or that there was more to the hardware problem than just the DVD drive--no one seemed sure which. I always insure my laptops for the full 3 years against both damage and repair problems for just this reason. I asked when I would know for sure and was told that it would be resolved sometime between Tuesday and Thursday of the following week. Why not immediately? Well, there was still a chance HP would change their mind/get the correct part and I would get my laptop back..... Hmmmph! I don't think they were actually out of DVD drives. That's a popular model of laptop and just barely over a year old, so obviously there was more wrong and they figured it would cost more to fix the computer than to replace it. Still, there was nothing I could do until the paperwork went somewhere.

On Tuesday I happened to be an the Big Box Store for something else and approached the techs. Now, remember I had called 3 times during the last 14 days and physically visited the store and talked to a tech once. When I gave the guy my repair slip he looked at my repair order on the computer at his station, looked at me, and then asked me to wait a second. Now, officially they could make me wait until Thursday for the final decision, but instead the very nice tech spoke with his supervisor and came back to tell me that they would be replacing my laptop. Although it was nice that I would be getting something brand spanking new, I had reservations because I had been avoiding Vista, I liked my old laptop, and I had everything set up just the way I liked it!!

With just a little trepidation in my heart, I followed the tech over to the computer department where he handed me over to a really nice guy who began the process of helping me find my replacement.

For anyone who hasn't gone thru this, here is how it goes: They pull up the specs of your old computer (and if it is more than a few months old, everything on the floor is now faster and better LOL!) and figure out which model they will offer you as a replacement. I then made it clear that the feature I was most concerned about was my 17" screen. I did this last time to. I do this because usually the 17" screen models are the higher end of most manufacturers lines, and since I edit pictures the larger screen makes it easier to work..... Now he looks and finds the comparable model and shows it to you. This establishes the price they are going to give you. You then have the option of taking what they offer you, or picking out something else and they subtract the cost of the computer they offered you.

Luckily, having been forearmed and forewarned  with the news they were probably going to replace my laptop, I had done my homework and new the model I wanted. Long story short, I only had to pay $500 for a $1300 laptop (that happened to be on sale this week $100 off).  I then added virus/firewall software (for a 64bit machine--there are still only a few companies making it) which was regularly $79, but on sale for $49, a new all in one Epson printer that was $99, but because I bought it along with a computer instantly marked down to $49 because of an ongoing promotion for bundling computers and printers this week, and then, because I was feeling lazy and they had a special on, I had the Geeks optimize my laptop, make the recovery disks, and dump all the crapware for a total of $59(also on special). I also added 3 years of extended warranty covering accident and repair....Grand Total with tax: $2105.21.... Of which, after they subtracted the amount for my replacement and all of the other sales prices, I only had to pay: $1073.08. Oh, and I have one of their frequent buyer cards where you get the gift certificates every time your purchases add up to a certain amount.... and the guy swiped that card before he took off the amount for replacing the computer. So, I should be getting about $100 in gift certificates in the mail soon!! Not too bad and almost makes up for the annoyance of having to find and reload everything onto the new machine.

This sweetheart has an Intel core 2 duo chip, 4g of Ram, 512mg of -dedicated- video ram, a 320g harddrive, a 17" screen that has a screen resolution of 1680 X 1050, and Vista Home Premium 64bit (which you need if your Ram goes over 3G), a built in webcam (I've never had a webcam LOL) This baby HUMS! Oh.... and Vista?? I actually LIKE it so far!

It's taken a few days, but I finally have everything  about the way I like it. There are a few things in Vista I had to hunt a little bit for, but mostly it was pretty intuitive.

AND, it's Shiny!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Adventure Begins.... early!

Horse Hauler

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that I have spent the last couple of years taking care of some horses for a very good friend. I had some retired horses, a couple almost ready to be trained, and a couple of 'babies'. I spent this last spring and summer helping her get 2 of these horses ready to perform. The event we would be attending would be there debut. We had a plan of action, the horses were ready, and we were all set. But, as usual, the best laid plans are usually the ones who go awry!!

This event was quite a distance away (approx 1200 miles), and we needed to arrive there around the 9th of Sept. The event would run from the 12th till the 27th. The plan was to leave on Saturday, giving us 4 days to get to our destination. Plenty of time. However a little thing called a hurricane interfered! It seemed that Hurricane Hanna had a different idea. Hanna had decided that traveling up the east coast looked like a lot of fun to her too. This forced our hand and we left 4 days early trying to stay ahead of the worst of the weather. Not a problem if you hadn't thought you had 4 more days to get all the things you needed together.

Somehow we all managed to get everything we, and the horses, needed together, packed and loaded into the vehicles we would be taking with us. This doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize that we are talking about 10 horses, 3 adult humans who would be staying at the event, and 1 adult who would be driving us and then leaving. We were also leaving 3 horses here at home with my boyfriend, G, and we needed to leave all the food, hay, etc he would need for the period until I returned home.

Yep, things got hectic! And the trip that followed our late night leaving on Sept 4 wouldn't be a picnic either. Although we were running ahead of the main storm, we still had to deal with a lot of rain, wind, bad visibility.... yep, it was not a good time. Think about any long trip you've made in bad weather, and then add in having to take care of the needs of ten horses on the mix. They didn't care that we were getting soaked, they still wanted us to provide food and water whenever we stopped.

Still we arrived safely at our destination...... but the storm arrived with us and we ended up soaked to the skin by the time we got everything ready for the horses and then got them unloaded from their transport and bedded down for the night. Luckily that seemed to be the last of the storm and we would wake to sunshine the next morning.

The next day we spent getting ourselves set up, finding our way around, seeing who else was attending, and watching in amazement as the fair went up around us. Yep, the event I'm talking about was none other than the Big E. The largest fair in the northeast. Since we were a few days early we would have a chance to get oriented before the fair actually kicked off.

I have very few pictures of the trip/event. It poured most of the trip up there, and once there I was usually too busy to run and grab the camera! The picture of S.'s horse hauler at the top of this entry is one I had already in my collection . It's an 'air ride' vehicle and travels much smoother than a lot of horse trailers you see. I know I have a picture of the hauler hooked up to a tractor somewhere, but I unexpectedly had my laptop replaced, and I can't seem to find it at the moment. LOL!

To be continued......

Friday, October 10, 2008

Public Service Announcement

We interrupt this blog for the following Public Service Announcement....

I know that some of the people who are moving their journals over here from AOL may not be the most tech savvy group of people.... and some, like me, may just be having a hardware problem. I have a tip coming up.

One of my problems with AOL pulling the plug on Journals and Hometown at just this minute was this; having returned from my trip/adventure the first thing I did was put my laptop into the shop to have the DVD drive fixed. The drive had been acting up for a while, but I had nursed it thru going on this trip because it was going to be the only entertainment I had. Read that as I took a bunch of DVDs with me to watch cause I had NO television, no radio, no internet. Sigh!

Normally being without my laptop for a short period isn't too bad. I can use G's laptop to check e-mail and blogs, and I just put off everything else till I have my baby back. G has the bare essentials on this machine. It is old. It only has 128mb of Ram and a 20 gig harddrive and USB 1.0. He only uses it for surfing the web and e-mail. I do NOT have all of my usual resources. I needed a solution of where to download my FTP stuff. Even plugging my external harddrive into this machine is an interesting proposition. I needed some other way to take care of Hometown....

My solution?? Photobucket! They offer a free and a paid account. The free account is fine for what I'm going to explain. I had decided to get a photobucket account anyway to upload my animated content to due to the problem that Flickr doesn't support animations. After signing up for the account I was thrilled to discover that you can move pictures using the picture/graphics urls twenty at a time.

So, here's what you do if you want to move your FTP Hometown things without downloading and re-uploading them and using only a web browser:

  1. Open up Hometown in one tab and Photobucket in another. I reccommend using Firefox. Sign into both AOL and Photobucket. Do not use the AOL client software... you need to be on the internet and in a browser for this to work. If you don't have Firefox, IE 7 or above should work.
  2. About halfway down the Hometown page you should see AOL Hometown: File Manager. Click on that and you will be taken to the file manager. From here you should see your files that you have stored on AOL FTP.
  3. Right click on the file that you wish to move from Hometown to Photobucket and choose Copy Link Location from the drop down box
  4. Now move to the photobucket tab and choose the Web URL option. It will give you 3 spots to paste your url link into, but if you look farther down you will see where it says add more. Click on add more and it increases to 20 spaces.
  5. Click on the space and using ctrl-v (or right click and use paste), this will put a copy of the link to your picture/graphic from Hometown into the space
  6. Repeat steps 2 - 4 till you have the pictures/graphics you want or you have filled all 20 spaces
  7. Click the Upload button in Photobucket (Located under the url spaces)
  8. Photobucket will now upload a copy of the photos/graphics.
  9. Repeat till you have moved all of the files you want to Photobucket.

Not an elegent solution, I admit. But a workable one if you don't understand how to use FTP programs, or don't have access to anything but a web browser!! I only had around 250 files (less than 10mb) in Hometown, so this was a viable solution for me.

Any questions... feel free to ask and I'll try to help.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Goodbye AOL

Goodbye AOL and thanks for the encouragement to move on and use better tools!

Just a quick note to anyone who hasn't moved their AOL Journal. I just did it and it went seamlessly. Seems that AOL actually did something right.... more likely someone over at Blogger, but let's give AOL the benefit of the doubt...

I put one last entry up over on my AOL Journal and plan to leave it up till the final day so people will be able to find my 'forwarding address'.

I named my imported blog Adventures of an Eclectic Mind - The 1st and don't plan to post over there. I am going to continue to post here and leave that blog as a collection of memories from the AOL years. I did put up one entry over there explaining what the blog was, what AOL did, and directing people here...... An era ends and a new one begins

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Deathrows of AOL Journals....

Yes, yes, yes... I know I promised stories from my great adventure, but I seem to have returned to find something of a disaster happening in J-land. It seems that AOL has decided that the Journal product, along with all of the Hometown stuff, is to be discontinued. In other words they are kicking us out. I can't say that this is totally unexpected. I have been pessimistically mirroring all of my entries on a Blogger Blog for a long time now, every since the Banner fiasco. After the way AOL handled that, I wasn't sure I trusted them to stick around and support the Journals product. It seems that unfortunately my paranoia was not so unfounded after all.

At first glance this seemed to be a pain, but I have been playing around with moving away from AOL for a while now and this is just the push I needed. I tend to go with the established (read easy) path unless pushed. With Journals and FTP space gone -- and I am sure AOL Pictures soon to follow-- the only thing left that I really use on AOL is my e-mail account. I will probably continue to always have that e-mail addy as long as AOL continues to support e-mail because it is the one I've had since like 1995 and everyone has it, but I see it becoming the account I check like once every couple of weeks to be sure that nothing ended up there.  Why? Because:

  • I have a g-mail account, which I plan to migrate all my e-mail traffic over to
  • Blogger will now be my main Blogging platform -- at least for now and until I decide to do the whole domain/host thingy -- again, I've always preferred the customization over at Blogger anyway
  • I have a free Flickr account, which I will take Pro tomorrow. It's a better platform than AOL Pictures anyway and the only reason I haven't been using it is just pure laziness of habit. Plus I have been wanting to do more with my pictures over at Flickr anyway and maybe this will be the push I need to do so
  • I was only using AOL FTP to host my animated graphics. I will now move those over to Photobucket
  • AOL alerts were always lousy, so I have a Bloglines account up and running and have been using it for years already. Now it is just a matter of getting everyone's new Blog accounts into Bloglines and deleting out the old AOL Journal ones
  • AND Live Writer is integrated with Blogger and it was always a pain having to copy and paste the entry into AOL anyway. With Blogger all I have to do is hit the publish button

So... I'm thinking maybe I should THANK AOL for being butts and kicking us out. My only fear is that some of the people I enjoy will either not continue to blog or I will miss finding where they have gone. Otherwise I think this may actually turn out to be a good move, at least for me.

If anyone who is making the move needs any help with getting their new Blogs set up, or have questions about Bloglines, Flickr, or Photobucket feel free to ask.

Another place to get help is here. Rachel has set up a bulletin board for people to help each other, ask questions, and post their forwarding links. You have to sign up for an account to post, but it is free.

This will most likely be my last post that I 'mirror' over at AOL Journals. From now on I will only be posting here. I will put one last entry up over at J-land directing all my friends over to my Blogger Blog. Eh, and an era ends.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I've Been on an Adventure!


I've been on an Adventure! I am currently sitting in an airport waiting for my flight home. I was told I would have internet access during this little foray, but this turned out to be not exactly true. Turns out that this is the first time I have been online since Sept 11. Details to follow as soon as I get home and get a little caught up.... by the way, I have 4572 entries waiting my attention on Bloglines and 1840 e-mails.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What a Girl Needs... & other Random things!

That's a title from a really cute movie, but this post is from a meme that I saw over at Donna's. I don't usually do these, but it was cute, so........... Here goes:

The rules: All you have to do is Google your first name with the word needs behind it and post the first 10 results. Don't forget to tag people (if you are the tagging sort)!

1. Jeanie needs more support to accomplish day-to-day tasks. (Like maybe making timely blog posts?? Maybe someone could do my laundry while I play on the computer? LOL!)

2. Jeanie needs more constant attention. (Well... duh!)

3. Jeanie needs a hug. (hmmmm... don't we all??)

4. Jeanie needs a Shooter. (well... alrighty then! and here I don't even hang out at bars and still this one kept showing up... maybe I DO need a Shooter!)

5. Jeanie needs to bother her parents. (Since I'm 48, I think I can skip bothering my Mom about most things...)

6. Jeanie needs a vacation. (Hell Yeah!)

7. Jeanie needs: MicroSoft Framework 1.1 or higher. (I'm a tech geek, but I think I can pass on this one.)

8. Jeanie needs to establish dominance and take responsibility for it. (Dominance... Like World Dominance maybe? I can do that... bwahahahaha!)

9. Jeanie needs her own show. (Eh.. not so much.)

10. Jeanie needs help and an hour to get ready for a date. (If I'm getting ready for a date I definitely need help.. and probably more than an hour. LOL!)

O.k.... that was... interesting. I'm with Donna on the tagging thing, so if this looks interesting.. Consider yourself tagged!!

Now for the random bits. I have a bunch of pictures I need to work on, a new program to work on them in that I need to learn all the new parts of. In addition, I have plenty of housework I could be doing, and I have an afghan that is a present I should be finishing... and yet, what am I actually doing?


Have any of you seen the advertisement for Spore? It's a new game that is coming out where you create your own characters and then follow them thru evolution from little cells to space travelers. Anyway, they released the creature creator early and it is very addictive. Here are the creatures I have so far, and I am sure there will be more! Check out some of the absolutely amazing creations by some of the other people who are playing with this adult version of tinker toys!

There are two versions of Creature Creator. One is free and you can download it from the site and play with it. It has 25% of the parts and you can upload your creatures. The other version (the one I have) is the full version and costs $10 and gives you access to 100% of the parts and you can also upload your creations. Just be warned, you can spend a LOT of time playing with this!

CRE_Unizebrawonky-06ad6299_ CRE_Dande-06ad6293_ful

Neodsayan Audantine 

The other thing I have been up to is also fun, but not the same type of fun. My Grandson recently had his 6th birthday and I bought him a Webkinz. His is a little monkey and he named it Banana. Isn't that cute? I also got one for myself so that we could play games and talk on the Webkinz site. Mine is a Bengal tiger and I named him Rajah. Now, this is a great kids site and is actually set up very well for keeping kids safe from what I've seen so far.... Currently I have bought furniture for my little Rajah, and clothes, and I cook him food, and he has a scooter, and a swimming pool and we bought seeds so we could garden and an outdoor yard....  Yeah, I think I've spent more time online with my webkinz than my grandson has! LOL!

bengal_tiger cheeky_monkey

I sometimes amaze myself with the silly things I find that amuse me, still I have to say I am rarely bored! LOL!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Suddenly the Interweebs make sense...

Did you ever wonder why the Internet was created? Why people keep blogs and now exactly what they twitter about? This guy seems to have figured it all out. It's so obvious to me now...... LOL!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Everyone Loves a Baby

This is a shot I took several months ago and have been meaning to do something with. I took several shots of this Momma and Baby orangutans interacting, and it was very difficult choosing just one. I finally decided on this one because I like the expressions on their faces. The second runner up had the baby making 'kissy lips' at Momma, but it wasn't as sharp as this shot. I still might revisit it sometime in the future though.

Although this particular photo was taken at my local zoo, I was thinking about one of the innovative things we saw when we visited a different zoo. The National Zoo has the coolest thing set up for their orangutans. They have a "Think Tank" for them to interact in. The animals don't live at the "Think Tank" though... they live in another exhibit that is a fair distance away. The Zoo came up with a pretty ingenious way to allow the animals to have access to the interactive exhibit and their house.... they set up something called the "O" line. It is a series of cables that are set on towers and allow the animals the choice of where they want to be!  We really enjoyed the exhibit and the unique way the curators figured out to make the situation not only work, but be another form of enrichment.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. I'm trying to finish up a project and still trying to play with the new program. So far there is only one change I dislike and I am still hoping that there is a way to 'do it the old way'. Most of the improvements have been nice. Still, sometimes they change something that doesn't really need to be changed though. Sigh!

One of the improvements I like is  a way to upload directly to Flickr from the organizer. I've only got a free account over there, but I have been thinking about upgrading to the Pro account and this might be the thing that pushes me to actually do it. The only reason I've not gone 'pro' before now is the thought of taking the time to organize and decide what to upload. This may actually push me to get my butt in gear and get my online life organized... well, at least the picture part!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Thursday... and I'm actually posting 2 days in a row! ;p

Ooooh... Look! Two days and two entries! Don't get used to it, but I do plan to be around a little more often than I have been the last couple of months.... which would be like um... Zilch. I've been around the interweebs.  I read journals/blogs. I even do online research. I just couldn't seem to find time (or maybe inspiration) to actually write an entry. Part of this has been my lack of time to play with (or even take) any photos. Now, why would that keep me from posting? I'm not sure, but I have gotten into a habit of posting a photo along with an entry even if the photo had nothing to do with the subject matter. No time to play in Elements equals no new photos to post equals no posts. And part of the problem has also been that even though I'm busy, I'm boring!

Yesterdays photo was me playing with my new Photoshop Elements 6. Yep, I went straight from Ver 4 to 6. I skipped Ver 5 because it didn't offer anything new that I felt was compelling enough for me to switch from the version I was used to. I'm not sure I really needed this version either, but it had a couple of new features I was curious about AND I found it on sale for half price. I had been wanting it, and I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket. LOL! I only played with it for a few moments, but I think I really like the improvements in this version. The new interface is really nice. I don't know if it is new for Vers 6 or from 5, but I like the darker colors and ease of switching from one thing to another. I also think the organizer is faster than the version I was using. I still haven't deleted Ver 4 from my hard drive because I want to be sure I have all of my brushes and things switched over to the new version before I do that, but it is just sitting there for now.

I'm also recycling! I'm sending the disks and the books I bought about Ver 4 to my DIL as she was interested in it when she saw it on my computer when we visited. She has been using whatever came with her camera and it was very basic. I think she is ready to move up to something a little more, and I am glad to be able to help her out by sending along Ver 4 to her.

Tonight's picture is from a photo shoot that I did for a friend who needed some new publicity shots. After we were done doing her pictures we had her daughter do a few poses with the horses since they were already cleaned up and looking pretty. She is a lovely girl and with such subjects it is almost impossible to take a bad picture. I'm finally starting to go thru the rest of the shots I took from that day and get them printed out for her. I worked on her mother's photos right away so she could send them out, but hadn't gotten around to her pictures till now. She has been amazingly patient..... and I've been amazingly slow! Still, I thought I would post one of the shots here and see what you all think of it.

Oh, Oh, Oh, I almost forgot to mention. I'm officially a published photographer!! One of the publicity shots that I did for my friend (during the photo shoot mentioned above) just appeared in a magazine. She showed it to me today. The ad for her appearance is on the inside of the front cover and it is one of the shots I did for her! Yeah, I know it's not like really being published, but I'll take it! LOL!

Anyway, here is the shot of her daughter and Ricco. Some of you might remember Ricco. He is an Andalusion stallion and I have had shots of him up here before.


Wordless Wednesday


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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Home Again, Home Again.. Jiggidy Jig~

Several of you have noticed my extended absence here and have been kind enough to remark on it in the comments and in e-mail. I really meant to get here and put up something sooner.... But, read on and you will understand!

We recently returned from the Equine Affaire that was held in Columbus, OH. The lady I work for performed in the show that was being put on there. The travel to, performing at, and finally return home takes up about 10 days of my absence. The clipping of horses, practicing, general grooming and the getting everything together and ready to go (along with all the normal daily care of the horses) makes up for about another 14 days of my not being around.

In addition to all of the getting ready and preparations for travel, I also did a photo shoot for my friend, worked on the pictures she liked, and made up DVD's of the photos and the music we needed to send ahead of us.

Oh.... AND, they finally got our new --o.k., new to us!-- trailer ready for us to move into. They got it hooked up a week before we left. Yep! I moved just enough stuff in for G and Morgan to live in there till I got back, and I've been completing the move since my return. Also, to add insult to injury, I got an order for the cables I make the day before we left. That meant I was already 10 days behind on making them when I returned.

LOL! I have to laugh or I would cry. Add to all of that the fact that the 10 days I was gone I had Internet access for a total of 3 hours... well, you can imagine the number of e-mails and RSS feeds I returned to.

With luck my life is now calming down just a little bit. I am hoping so at any rate. The shot at the bottom of this entry is one from the photo shoot we did prior to leaving. Not bad for my first time, I think. I still need to go through the pics and remove red-eye from some and do some 'cleaning up', hopefully I will have time now.

Believe it or not I didn't take even one picture while we were at the show. I was sooooo busy I only got to go over to the shopping area for about an hour.That was probably a good thing as I only bought 2 t-shirts. There was a lot of cool stuff and I am afraid if I had found more time to shop it would have gotten very expensive! I did walk around and admire the beautiful horses on my way into and out of the barn each day. There were some remarkable horses on display! I wish I had been able to spend a lot more time looking around and exploring, but that is what happens when you are working an event instead of attending!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Misfire on Wordless Wednesday

Last week there was a really cool event that was to occur on that very night. An eclipse of the moon! I was excited. I would get a couple of really good pics and use them for my Wordless Wednesday entry. TaDa! Great Idea. Very Timely. Awesome subject. Yeah... Right!?!

Ever hear the quote, "The best laid plans of Mice and Men..."?  Here's what actually happened:

  • The first problem was that I misread (i.e. didn't pay enough attention) the article about the eclipse. Yes, it did actually occur early in the evening... IF you were on the West Coast! Unfortunately, I am on the East Coast and the beginnings of the Eclipse were around 8:45pm with the actual Totality being between 10pm and and 11pm and ending around Midnight.
  • Still thinking, "No Problem! I snap the pics during the early partial eclipse and a couple during the midpoint. I pop them on the laptop. I edit them. And Viola! Entry!"
  • Trotting outside at around 8:30pm revealed..... CLOUDS! Lots of 'em.
  • Grumbling, but still determined I continued to check the clouds... er I mean Moon... every few minutes still hoping for a decent shot.
  • I did actually get a couple of decent shots in between the clouds, but by the time I got them edited it was getting close to Midnight. Soon it would no longer be a Wordless Wednesday Entry.
  • I bring up AOL Pics (where I store my static, non moving pictorial blog offerings) and I upload the pictures. And..... no go. AOL informed me that the "upload has failed". I tried a couple more times, each time failing. Finally I decided to throw them on my Flickr account...... But I looked at the time and found that it was 11:54pm. No way was I going to get the pics uploaded AND into entries before Midnight.
  • Discouraged, frustrated, and demoralized I decided to just go watch Keeping the Faith on Starz. Yeah, how's that title for irony?
  • BUT, I will be returning later on today with a very cute entry for this week's Wordless Wed.... Stay tuned!

Yes, the best laid plans often do not come off as we intend.

For the record though, the actual Eclipse was still a very cool sight, especially the red color during the middle part of the Eclipse. The clouds, while somewhat annoying because I was trying to take pictures, actually added a different look to the eclipse, often giving it a surreal appearance that, unfortunately, did not carry over well into the shots I did get.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Monday, February 11, 2008

It's that time of year!

Bet you thought I was going to be talking about Valentine's Day, didn't you?!?So sorry to disappoint, but something more important happens this time of year. New York City goes to the Dogs with the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It's an annual tradition for us to watch the show and we watched the first half tonight, and will be sitting in front of the TV tomorrow night for the last half and the all important crowning of the champion.

Tonight we watched to see who would win in the Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting, and (Morgan, our Corgi's favorite) the Herding groups. Tomorrow night we will see who wins in the Sporting, Working and Toy groups. Finally all 7 Champions will be brought together to crown the best of the best. Check it out, you might just see your next doggie there.



Clicking on the link above takes you to the official site for the show with all kinds of pictures and facts about the dogs. Clicking on the poster will take you to the section of the site were you can buy a copy of the poster for yourself, or a maybe a DVD of the show if you want.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Friday, January 25, 2008

Origami, Questions, and a cute little guy...

My Wordless Wednesday entry elicited a couple of questions in the comments section asking what kind of bird it was. Ugly is my first answer, but I didn't figure that would satisfy the curiosity expressed! It is a Shoebill, also known in some circles as a Whalehead. If you want to read a little more about them and see a few more pictures, check out the wikipedia entry here, the ARKive entry here has pictures and video, and a kid friendly entry is located here.

Since this is going to be one of those scattered entries, I thought I would take it as an opportunity to point people towards a blog entry that I came across that shows some amazing origami and features links to even more. Origami just fascinates me. I've bought a couple of books about it over the years, but  I have never really sat down and given it the focus and attention it needs and deserves if you want to do it yourself. The Blog is called Blue Tea, and the actual entry is located here.

Lastly I leave you with this picture. Isn't he a cute little guy?


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Something to Distract John from work....

John Scalzi, our departed blog father, is trying to get some work done and not be distracted by the bad old internets..... we can't have that! This picture is actually from John and features their newest acquisition Zeus (the cat formerly known as TempCat©) as a LOLCat and can be found here without the caption and with permission to do with it as we will.... scary, huh? So, I give you my interpretation of LOLCat Zeus!



Go here and check the comments to see what others are doing to distract John. ;p

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday



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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

JLand Photo Shoot #126

Krissy offers up the following subject for this week's JLand Photo Shoot #126:

Black and White. You may interpret this subject any way you like. 

Krissy suggested that people might want to submit pictures in Black and White, or change a picture they already have into Black and White, but I decided to interpret the subject in my own unique way! Maybe I'll also put up a more traditional Black and White picture later this week, but for now......



I almost used this picture on my last entry for the Weekend Assignment that I made concerning sleep. I'm glad I went with the Rhino for that one now because this made a perfect 'Black and White' entry.

Want to play along? Go out, take a picture, make it Black and White, put it up on your Blog and then pop over to Krissy's and leave your link!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Assignment #199



Let's see what Karen is offering up for this weekend's deep thoughts:

Weekend Assignment #199: What is your usual sleep schedule on weeknights? Are you an "early to bed, early to rise" sort of person, or do you stay awake far into the night (voluntarily or otherwise), and get up as late as your work schedule permits? Do you give priority to getting adequate sleep? If so, how is that working out for you?
Extra Credit: If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?

How's that picture for appropriate? Now for my answer...

Since I've been lucky enough to work at several little part time gigs over the last year and a half,  my sleeping habits can be a little erratic. I seem to be at my most alert from about 11pm to 3am, but I rarely stay up quite that late. I usually set my goal to be in bed by 1am, and usually make it by about 2am... except for those occasional nights when I just can't seem to quiet my mind to sleep. You will find me up either on the computer, or watching a movie till around 4am or 5 on those nights.

Now for the scary part.... Since I take care of horses on a regular basis, this means being at the barn by 8am... even if I did just go to bed at 3am. G gets up for work at 7am, so I'm up anyway. I hear the little calculators in your heads working now. No, I don't survive on 4 to 6 hours of sleep, I have a solution that works for me. I do my morning work with assorted animals from about 8am to 10am, then it is home to check my e-mail and Bloglines account, do the housework/laundry that is needed and try to finish up by 12:30pm. A quick trip across the street to do the Noon check on the horses and I'm done for the morning! Geoff comes in for lunch at 1. After eating, I curl up on the couch and usually catch a quick nap from about 2 till 4pm. If I am feeding the horses the evening meal, I get up at 4pm and trot over there to do that. Geoff gets done around 5pm. So, I do manage to get around 8 hours of sleep most days, just not in a row!

Extra Credit: If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?

Oh Yeah! I would sleep when I was tired and wake up when I wasn't. To me that would be the best. I've never really been good at doing the going to bed and sleeping 8 or 9 hours and then staying up the rest of the time. I actually seem to do better on a couple of broken up periods of sleep... eh, go figure, I'm not normal!

Want to play along?? Write up your answer to the Weekend Question, click on the link above and leave your link over at Karen's so we can all see it!

Can I have an Awwwww?!?



How can you look at that picture and not go "Awwwwwwwww"? I was there just a couple of hours after this guy was born and remember when he was still having trouble finding his balance and figuring out how to nurse. He obviously figured it all out! Isn't he a cutey? This picture was taken last July. I need to get down and see him again soon, but it is a little over a 2 hour trip each way now and requires more planning than it used to.

The HP laptop is home and I can't believe how much nicer it is to work with my wonderful 17" screen and all of my settings just the way I like! I edited several pictures today, which I will dole out to you all 1 at a time. Even if I don't have anything to say, at least you'll get a picture! 

I'm look forward to getting back into things like Wordless Wednesday, Monday Photo Shoots, Weekend Assignments... So, in that spirit, I decided to go back and pick up the first Weekend assignment that Karen did after John left us. I'll also be doing the actual assignment for this week later.

Weekend Assignment #197: Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns? Do you miss your weekly appointment with that ill-behaved doctor, or your visits to Wisteria Lane? Does it bother you not to laugh at fresh jokes on your favorite sitcom? Or are you just as happy watching reality shows, or new episodes of shows that have been held back until now? We want to know!
Extra Credit: how are you spending the time instead?


Frankly the WGA strike has had little effect on me. I don't watch a whole lot of network TV other than my guilty pleasure of 1 hour of All My Children each day... and I don't even necessarily watch that on the network either. I am much more likely to catch it on SoapNet at 8pm than I am to watch it in the middle of the afternoon. Other than that, most of my favorite shows are on other channels, and so far haven't shown much effect. Torchwood, Eureka, The Dresden Files and other shows of the type seem to be unaffected so far. Part of the reason I don't watch network TV can also be laid at the door of DirecTV. For some reason we are unable to get local channels thru them other than NBC, and the only channels we can pick up off a regular antenna are ABC, and fuzzily FOX. So even if I wanted to watch something.... I couldn't!

Besides, I have found that for most programs, we like buying the whole season and watching at our own pace. I am currently in the middle of watching Season 2 of Supernatural, Season 1 of Criminal Minds (I have Season 2 waiting in the wings) and Season 2 of How I met Your Mother. If you watch and catch them on sale, the seasons aren't that expensive and you don't have to watch commercials, you watch when you want, not when the show is 'on', and you never miss an episode and wonder what happened last week!

Extra Credit:

Well, so far I haven't spent my time any differently because I haven't been affected at all. I guess when the shows I watch start to be affected I will go and pick up some seasons of other shows I've been meaning to watch. Besides, I only spend a couple of hours a day watching the TV (although it is usually on for noise). Now if the Internet goes on strike.... then I would really have a problem! LOL!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Yes, I am still a Geek...

I know that I have established over the last few years that I tend to lean towards being a geek. Today was a prime example...

I mentioned a couple of entries back that once again the Christmas Jinx had struck my laptop. It seems that during the Dec/Jan time of the year something happens to send my poor laptop off to visit the nice technicians.

Last years visit, although waaaaay to long ended up netting me a brand new laptop. Can't beat that! This year's visit however was not technical, but mechanical. The hinge on my Precious cracked. Since I had gotten this computer just last year in January, I wanted to get it in right away before the 1 year anniversary of purchase so it would still be under manufacturer's warranty. This wasn't vital as I have an extended warranty, but it wouldn't  hurt. The hinge had cracked the last week in December and I backed up all my picture/audio files and took it in on Sunday the 6th. The nice tech looked at it, nodded and said the dreaded, "O.K.... We'll send it off in the morning and it should be back in 2 to 6 weeks". Knowing from experience (3rd year in a row that I've sent off a laptop during the Dec/Jan time frame) that this is a slack time for people sending things in for repair because of the holiday season, I figured I would have it back closer to 2 weeks than 6.

Sniffling, I went home, drug out my old Sony, and proceeded to make it usable for the hopefully short period my Precious would be away. Since I didn't think I would need it for more than 2 weeks I just updated Windows, got a firewall/antivirus and a couple of spy/adware programs up to date, downloaded the newer version of Firefox and called it useble.

On the Saturday marking the 2 week anniversary of dropping the machine off, I gave a quick call to my local tech guys to see how things were going. They checked the computers and said, "Oh, because it was a hinge and not something swappable like a system component they had to order the piece. Look for it back around the 26th" After hyperventilating, I accepted this. I was surprised. Wouldn't you think that if you sent an HP laptop to an HP service center they would have things like.... Oh, I don't know... HINGES available?? But, I accepted it and settled down to make do with my little... 15 inch screen... 1/2G of Ram... no photo editing software loaded... OLD laptop.

Today, out of the blue the phone rings and it's the local tech, your laptop is here. Joy ensues! I would have rushed out right then to retrieve my Precious, but it is an hour or so round trip to the 'city', and I had to feed horses in an hour. Rats! I would go as soon as chores were finished!

I arrive. I spend the required several minutes looking around just to 'see if they have anything I need since I am there anyway' , then I go to the service desk to retrieve the long gone very missed HP. While talking to the tech as he's finishing up the paperwork, I mention that the only thing missing when I got this laptop last January was that it came with 1G of Ram and I had really wanted 2. I had looked a couple of times at upgrading, but because of the configuration it came with I would have to replace both memory modules.

Side Rant: Why do manufacturers put 2 modules in to add up to 1G instead of putting one 1G module in and leave the second slot to fill later??? I think they have stock in the Ram manufacturers! End of mini rant.

Anyway, since upgrading meant I needed to buy 2 of the 1G modules and then I usually pay to have them installed because... well if anything goes wrong I'm not responsible (See story last year at this time of how having memory installed in the old 3 year old laptop netted me a brand new laptop) this meant a cost of around $250 to $300 according to what kind of memory I chose.

He looks at me and says, "I think we are running a deal right now that I can get you 2G of memory AND have it installed for around $100." No way, I say. What brand of memory I want to know, figuring it would be some cheap or off brand. He answers Kingston, which is a good brand, not some knock-off.

Still not convinced, I casually say, "How long would it take to get it installed?"

"Hmmmm... let me check and make sure I have the right kind for your machine in stock, first..." He wanders off to return bearing 2 packages of RAM. "Yep, got 'em... and" He looks around, "Oh heck, leave it with me and you can pick it up tomorrow."

I couldn't resist. Price was right. Timing was good. I return home with a charge on the debit card and no computer. G looks at me.

"Where is your laptop?" His tone a little worried as I am not happy separated from my precious. And, he remembers last year when I would go to pick up my laptop from repairs to find that it hadn't been repaired and needed to be sent off again on three separate occasions before they finally replaced it. "Everything O.K.?" He questions cautiously.

I explain the way too good to pass up sale, the reason 2G of Ram would help with Photo editing, and the good timing. His eyes glaze over. He asks if it was a good price/good quality  and something I needed/wanted. Upon my Yes reply he just says, "O.K."  And wanders off happily content that I wouldn't be throwing things.

Anyway, with any luck I'll have my baby back tomorrow with all my settings the way I like them and all the programs I like best. I've been missing some good photo memes that I like to participate in, including the 2 new ones based on John Scalzi's Monday Morning Photo Shoot, and of course my favorite Wordless Wednesday that I enjoy.

Yes, I am a geek and it is the Geeky things in life that seem to make me happy. Jewelry, bleh... More Ram? Oh Yeah!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bridge to Terabithia



Bridge to Terabithia was the 'New Movie of the Week' on the Starz movie channel this week. Since I hadn't seen it, and it seemed to be the type of movie that I would like, I tuned in expecting a happy, pleasant movie experience. I mean, this was a movie based on a kid's book with a couple of children with such wonderful imaginations that they create a whole world... it was bound to be a happy, captivating, warm-hearted adventure... Right? Let's see... the tagline for this movie was:

Discover a place that will never leave you, and a friendship that will change you forever.

The official blurb:

From Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media comes Bridge To Terabithia, the exhilarating and heartwarming fantasy-adventure about the power of imagination and the magic of friendship. Tired of being bullied at school and neglected at home, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke escape into the woods, where Leslie opens Jess's mind to the amazing kingdom of Terabithia. It's a secret land where they reign supreme among the giants, ogres and other fantastical creatures they create. As their imaginations soar and their friendship deepens, they discover how to rule their own kingdom, fight the forces of darkness and change their lives forever.

I was ready to be entertained by a cute little fantasy... little did I know that the story I was about to see was not what I was expecting!

Wow! Now I'm not the type to get all teary-eyed at a movie... but... WOW! G walked in and found me a sniffling, sniveling mess. Tears just running down my face. I hadn't looked at this book in the book store so I had no idea what it was about other than the quick little blurb they gave in the guide about the movie, but I am going to assume (at least hope) that it is a YA meant for the 13 to 18 year old crowd because.. Wow (did I say that already? LOL!). After watching the movie I went online to find a site with the cliff notes, and it would appear that the book is even sadder than the movie. It is now on my to be bought/read list.

If you haven't seen this movie... watch it! Especially if you weren't one of the popular kids at school. This movie will definitely strike a cord.

In case you are interested, here are links to the official movie site, the Internet Movie Database site, and the Sparknotes page. This movie wasn't what I expected, in fact, it wasn't anything like I expected it to be, but if you get a chance to catch it... do so. And if you don't know anything about the movie or book, don't read anything about it before you see the movie... I think it affected me as much as it did because what happened came as a surprise.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Celebration of Kim



Today is the day that they are holding the Memorial Service for Kim. I know that most of us are unable to be there 'in real life', but I am also sure that we are all there in spirit. Kim was such an amazing person and touched so many lives both in the 'real world' and here in cyberspace.

Just in case any of you haven't seen these two things, I thought I would leave links for you here today on Kim's day. Here online obituary is here, and a guest book that you can sign, leave a personal message, and read the messages that others have left is here.

My thoughts are with her family and friends today... and with Kim.

One more link, and I'm finished. Kim's sister has started a journal. She is posting about her sadness, how she is coping, and how the family is doing. Stop by, I'm sure she would appreciate it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Your Substitute Monday Photo Shoot #1: What's New?

It is 2008 and John Scalzi, the blogfather, has moved on leaving a large hole in our little community. One of the memes that John used to do each week was the Monday Photo Shoot. Although I didn't always participate, I still enjoyed checking it out each week, and I was feeling a little sense of loss. Apparently so was Karen over at Outpost Mavarin. She has decided to take up the discarded meme (with John's blessing) and run with it. This is the first week she is hosting it.

So, let's get on with it! This week's Monday Photo Shoot is:

Your Substitute Monday Photo Shoot #1: What's New? In honor of the new year, show us something new. It can be a gift you got over the holidays, something you gave yourself, or even something that symbolizes the New Year to you. If it's new, it'll do!

Since I am currently without my trusty laptop {{{waaaaaahhhhh}}}}, I decided to cheat a little bit and go online and find a photo of my What's New. Yeah, I know it is cheating, but ya do what you can do LOL!

My What's New was a sort of Christmas present. We were shopping in the local B&N Bookstore on the Sunday after Christmas because I wanted to see if the calendars were on sale yet. They were, along with some nice Christmas cards at 50%. I ended up picking up a beautiful box of cards for next year, but no calendar. I decided to check the Mall on our next day off for a calendar, as they have the huge kiosk of calendars every year. I had technically done what I was supposed to do, but come on..... it's a bookstore! So I decided to browse for a little bit.

One of my favorite animal photographers is Robert Vavra. He does wonderful pictures, and I have a few of his books. People often think he only does horses, but I have not only Eqqus, but Eqquus Reined, The Unicorn of Kilomanjora, and.... Vavra's cats! Anyway, on the sales rack I spotted a Vavra book that I had never seen. It was huge. Not only was it thick and heavy, but it was in a large format to further emphasize these beautiful photos. I glanced at the price thinking I might beg for it later. It was only $29.99. My mouth dropped and I quickly pointed it out to G. He said, "Merry Christmas, get it!" I flipped thru the copies and picked out the one with the best dust cover and paid for it. I was happy to leave the bookstore now because I couldn't wait to get out in the car and look at this gorgeous book more closely.



After getting home I took the time to look and see when the book was published because I was surprised that I had never seen it before.... The publication date? Wait for it.... 2007! Hmmmm..... So I went online to Vavra's website and discovered the book being advertised as coming out in November of 2007. Now I was really curious. Quickly googling the book I discovered it for sale on a couple of sites, including Borders and Amazon... for $60. Why this book was on the discounted shelves and for half the price only 2 months after it's publication? I don't know... but I'm glad I grabbed it before anyone discovered the mistake.

The Book is huge and gorgeous. Admittedly there are no new pictures, it is a retrospective of the photos he has taken over the last 60 years, but many of the pictures are from books I haven't purchased, so they are new to me.

There you have it... my first (albeit cheating) entry in the New Monday Photo Shoot. Want to play along? Just snap a picture, post it in your blog, and pop over to Karen's and leave your link. She is extending this week's entries till Sunday night, so you still have plenty of time!

Not Wordless Wednesday

Hmmmph! Because I started this year the same way as I did last year... i.e. without my trusty laptop, I guess there won't be a Wordless Wednesday post this week, and probably not next week either. At least this time the laptop went in for a physical repair. The hinge broke and needed to be sent in for repair. I dropped it off Sunday evening. I had at first planned to use G's laptop to check e-mail, read blogs, etc, but I decided to pull out the Sony that used to be his and see if I could resurrect it and make it useable... at least for the short period of 2 to 4 weeks they said my 'baby' will be gone.

Issues that needed to be addressed to make the 7 year old laptop useable included (but not restricted to):

1. The power cord. The reason that we retired the laptop this summer and got G a used Dell was because of an issue with the power cord. Since this laptop is so old the battery doesn't even try to hold a charge, it must be plugged in to work. Somewhere along the line G did something to the cord (or the spot it plugs into) that causes it to disconnect if it is moved wrong. Basically wear and tear from sitting on his lap. If this happens too many times and the computer shuts down without exiting programs correctly, then eventually you get corrupt files and have to do a clean install and start over. It was when I was doing this for like the 3rd time in as many months that I had decided that G needed a new (used) laptop for his birthday LOL!

I overcame this problem by simply placing the laptop on the table and then I just don't move it! I wasn't sure if this would work, but so far so good

2. Missing stuff. It had a fairly recent reinstall and it had already shut itself down a couple of times while I had been trying to get everything it needed downloaded before the decision to trash it.... I borrowed G's wireless Internet card and set about downloading a free virus program, a free firewall, and a couple of adware/spyware programs. Once these (and the windows updates) were installed, I also popped online and picked up FireFox. I now had a good browser and a fairly safe computer.... which hadn't yet shut itself down. It was now Monday and I was starting to feel a little more confident I could make this work!

3. A Wi-fir card.... I couldn't keep stealing G's wireless card (my laptop has built in wi-fi, so I don't have a card). O.K... I could keep stealing it, but he was going to get grumpy LOL! My solution: When we bought G's Dell the girl gave him the wireless card that she had been using since her new laptop came with it installed. We had never used the card because it was a 'b' card and G's was the faster G protocol, as is our wireless network.

4. Missing Driver. After finally finding and then plugging the card into my laptop, I found that I needed a driver that I didn't have. An hour looking about on the manufacturer website (Microsoft) and not coming up with anything, I finally googled the name and part # and finally found a driver. After installing it and a restart I had Internet access all on my own. Woo Hoo!

So, with just a few hiccups I have revived this poor thing and I'm kind of glad I did. This means that we now have a 'backup' in case either of our computers are out of service AND a laptop we can let someone use if they are visiting instead of having to let them on one of ours. Pretty much a win-win.

5. Final problem/hurdle is that all of my programs for photo editing and keeping track of photos is on my 'normal' laptop.... I contemplated downloading something like Gimp, but decided that it wasn't enough of an issue to bother.... G suggested loading my Photoshop Elements on here and I cracked up. That program gives my brand new, fairly robust machine a run for the money... It would choke this poor thing right down! Bottom line? Expect a couple of 'wordy' posts, maybe with an old picture I already have online, and a return of posts with new pictures in the near future.

Last note: G just mentioned to me that I had been playing with the idea of experimenting with Linux on his machine since he really only uses it to access the Internet and nothing else. He thinks I should turn this machine into the 'experimental' Linux box to see how I like it.... That actually sounds like a pretty good idea, and I think I may actually try that after my laptop returns. Hmmmm.... sometimes there is  silver lining! Besides, worst case scenario is I can't get it up and running and on the network using Linux... I'll just reload WinXP back on here and reset it up like it is now. No harm, no foul!