My World |
Blogging my Activities ... Interests
You know if you are a regular reader that I on occasion bring to your attention computer risks. I don't do it very often but when a risk seems to be significant I do mention it. Well we have this infamous Conficker worm thing that is set to go off on April 1st (tomorrow) if it is in your machine. If you have Windows and you've kept your machine patched then you should not have a problem - emphasis on the 'should'. If you have a good anti virus program kept up to date with regular scans, you should not have a problem. If you are just uncertain then download this removal tool from Kaspersky Labs, unzip it, then run the tool by clicking on it. You will see a DOS window open, it will run for a few minutes, and then you know for sure.
Yesterday I posted a picture asking for guesses as to where it was taken. Brother Drew won the contest by being the first to identify it as the sandbar off Holiday Isle in Islamorada. As the winner he gets to buy me a dinner at a restaurant of my choice so now I'm trying to decide between Uncle's and Lazy Days. Are you following me boys and girls? While I've not made the final commitment just yet I'm leaning towards going to The Palms again this Summer - at least that's my current thinking.
Much will depend on how I feel with the meds I'm taking. If I don't want to get out and do things I can stay in Vero and accomplish that without any additional expense of doing nothing. But I'm one who chooses to be optimistic in believing that by mid-July I'll have meds that are working better than they have been. I'm still in the first few days of the new cocktail but I'm hopeful. In addition, I'll see the psychiatrist in about 3 weeks and if the Wellbutrin is not the answer I still have a couple months to try other meds. It just seems silly for me to spend the money to stay inside tired all the time when I can do that here in Vero with a bigger TV screen.
Now that Tom has had such a great out come I'm hopeful he and Mary Ann will decide to go down as they usually do. I know TB is going because he has the slip and Donna Bible is sending him a lease or maybe has by now. I think Georgia Tech Jeff, Amy, and Sam the dog will go down and stay at that bay side villa they rented last time - it allows dogs and of course the Palms does not. When talking to son John this weekend he thinks he too can spend some time down there but with work and school it will not be a whole month - that's ok with me. John wants to come at the first part of the trip and be there for the crowd arrival doing mini-season. So from my prospective I'm more likely to go given these facts I did not have two weeks ago.
Yesterday I received the last bit of information I needed to file my 2008 income tax return. The info was sent to my long time accountant and friend, Tom Westbrook in Duluth, Georgia. Either Tom or Mike Stern have been preparing my tax return since 1972. I expect to get my 1040 back ready to sign and send prior to April 15th. When you don't have income it's fairly easy to do.
My buddy in Atlanta who's website I updated has now deemed me his Technical Officer. When he has any computer questions he calls me and of course I'm able to provide solutions. Yesterday a client wanted to send him a .DSS file but Tom had never heard of such a file - frankly, neither had I. I quickly discover it was produced by a Olympic recording device and needed a Olympic .dss file reader. I found a free player - it was an audio file - and sent a link to his typist so she could hear the digital file and then transcribe it. I even called the client to help them how to upload the file via a utility I put on his site. I like stuff like this - I'm a true geek!
Yesterday was overcast, cloudy, and we even had a little rain - unfortunately it was a little rain. Vero is a bit on the dry side needing a good soaking rain - TB has been irrigating the groves a good bit of recent. Even though it is his goal to get out of the citrus business he still has to maintain the properties so they are marketable when the market comes back.
I spend almost the entire day on the internet doing research on search engines with the hope I can better learn how to get a website ranked on Google, Yahoo, and MSN - they are the three big ones and if you're good on them you'll cover most of the internet. I've been learning some really cool things to do and equally as important things not to do. My guess is I'll be back at it today because I want to improvethe ranking for TanzaniteAmerica.com and work on the lawyer's site as well. This is a time consuming project but I think it will pay off in the long run.
My cousin Alice and her husband dropped by to give me a freshly backed cake that is to die for. It is so good, so moist, so tasty....I think she should contract a bakery to make the cakes according to her secret family recipe and then market them in specialty shops or more likely the internet. With the research I'm doing I think I could build a site and create traffic to the site. I've got some great marketing ideas as well. She thinks the whole thing is too overwhelming but I don't.
John dropped by after work yesterday to visit - I fed him some cake and he loved it. I don't think he was just saying that, it is great cake. John wanted to bring me up to date on his Spring break trip to Ft Lauderdale. We were talking about places down there when I mentioned the 'hot spot' on the beach when I used to go to Ft.Lauderdale for Spring break. To my amazement the place is still there, still popular, and a place John and his hommies hung out. The bar is called The Elbow Room. When I went there it was by stagecoach but now you can drive your cars. I remember the trips well as we would 'cruise' the strip looking for girls in our covered wagon. Things having changed much over the decades.
My meds are still on trial with me. I think the new meds are causing headaches I did not have before but my mood is better. I'd rather have a headache I can kill with pain medication than a blue mood I can't get rid of with legal prescriptions. It could be simple the addition of Wellbutrin which will take time for me to adjust. I also have some of that ringing in my ears I had once before but it does not bother me. I'm convinced there is a cocktail that will work for me - I've just got to find it. I may have found it and just don't know it yet.
I've been thinking about the Keys since TB has already made his plans and it looks like the Brennan's might make it as well. Does anyone know where today's picture was taken?
Well it is warming up here in Vero - my air conditioner is running more and more now including during the night. Actual I prefer air conditioning to having to heat the house so I'm not unhappy. I guess it is time to expect my utility bills to go up, huh? Why is it I still have a "fuel adjustment" charge equal to 90% of my actual electric charges - don't the people at the power company know that fuel charges are down about 50% from last year? What's up with that?
Except for the walk on the beach during Syp's visit I've not been on the beach yet this year. If this warm weather and clear skies continue, I'll need to go grow some nice new juicy skin cancer cells so my dermatologist can pay his rent and buy some new golf clubs. You know what I've noticed about doctor's visits here in Vero - they cost about 35% to 40% more than did the same type visit in Atlanta. That's all of my doctors - my internist, dermatologist, and dentist. I'm guessing they have to charge more for patients that actually pay them to make up for the losses they incur from Medicare. All of them charge about $120 for an office visit before they do anything.
There were a Loy of cars around my house and the church on Friday night and at first I thought the church was having a bigger than usual Friday night event. Wrong! It was the last Friday in March so the streets downtown were blocked off and the monthly Vero FridayFest took place. What a crowd - there were all ages, sizes, and shapes there. Two bands played for most of the time but blessedly not too loud - I had loud. It sure is easy for me just to walk a block to join in the fun. I went to have a look see but did not stay long because it was dying down by the time I figured out it was happening in the first place. My house is so sound proof I couldn't hear a thing.
When Syp was here even he remarked at how quiet it is inside my house. These thick walls, added insulation in the attic, and thick double-glassed windows keeps the noise out and air conditioning in. If I wanted to, I could keep it in the 60's in here in the Summer but frankly I like it to be dry and cool, not cold.
Have any of you noticed my roof? A guy stopped by and said he would pressure wash it and you know, I think it needs after just 14 months. There is dark yuck growing on it when it should be a nice bright white. I think I'll have that done but I must get the vendor to use cleaning material that is bio-degradable so it will not hurt my nice plants when the water runs off the roof. It isn't all that bad so I'm thinking a lite soapy brush on it first and then pressure was will do the job. I'm not going to get Jason or John to do it - I want to be able to really get bitchy if they do a poor job. I've not yelled at anyone in some time now so I want to really explode - aren't I just so much fun? If they do a good job I'll have to find someone else.
Late yesterday I had visits from both Jason and John - Jason was first to come but left about 15 minutes after John arrived. You know what I noticed about these two young men - both of them were smiling at, talking to, and playing with Sally. It is as if I just happen to be living with their favorite girl...Sally. And of course she is a flirt with both of them - she lets John pick her up and Jason can pet her. She took to Syp too even though he is not a cat lover like the rest of us. Is Sally a tease or what?
Syp took today's picture of Sally while she was napping in his bed - she liked napping in Syp's bed.
It's Saturday and I'm not going to have coffee this morning but then again I rarely do go on Saturdays. We were successful in getting a new treasurer yesterday and we celebrated the last Friday in the month with a nice cake. I love cake - especially the icing on cake. In fact, I've been buying a piece of cake every week from a nice little sandwich shop Syp introduced me to while he was here. Yep, it took a Dutchie from 5,000 miles away to show me a eatery about a block from my house. They have great cakes there, especially cheese cakes. This may very well be my new source for those great New York style cheesecakes. I've decide to try all their cakes before I order a whole one.
I've been getting e-mails from Ryan with updates on his dad, Tom. He'll have to stay where he is for another week and then in "the area" for yet another week before he can return to Atlanta and then eventually back to Vero. He is doing very well according to Ryan but there will still be an on-going protocol he'll have to follow for awhile. With this news I fully expect that Islamorada might very well be in the picture again.
Tommy has already got a slip for this Summer and has called about leasing a condo. When we were talking on the phone this week he said his boys wanted to go again - DOH - and as soon as Donna gets back with him he'll finalize things. I'm not sure what I'll do as yet - much will depend on how my meds are working for me over the next couple months. If I don't want to do anything, I can do nothing here without the additional expense of doing nothing in the Keys.
The first couple of days have given me hope that the new med cocktail is working better than my old routine. The bad news is that those headaches I tend to have seemed to return as well. If I were to make a choice, I'd rather feel like doing something and take pain medication rather than to be pain free and feeling like whale sh*t. Maybe I can have both - a great feeling without headaches. This has father confirmed I'm going to see the new doctor in about 3 weeks.
I've been doing even more research on search engine optimization. I've learned about things I can do as well as things to avoid. My concentration has been on TanzaniteAmerica.com because I fully expect to actually make this an active e-commerce site. Over the past couple days I've spent hours making additions to the site that are almost un-noticeable to visitors but can be "seen" by bots while they spider my site. I've been able to move into the first two pages in a Google search if certain terms are used. I want to move up with other terms as well as move higher with those with which I'm currently on the map.
I'm part of Bangkok Mark's marketing plan in that I'm included on his sites as he is on mine. I'm really not competition for him but it is good for him to be associated with an American site. There may be a time when the economy comes back to life that I will become a US depository for some of his inventory so as to provide overnight shipping. This sort of plan is down the road but now is the time to develop a presences with importance on the internet. My plan is working - now I just have to pray that Obama doesn't nationalize Tanzanite vendors!
Speaking of Comrade Obama I wonder what would have been the outcome for Tom had Obama succeeded in making everyone take government health care? Any of you boys and girls think about that? I'm willing to bet the farm his outcome would have been different! His options would have been limited as care was managed by some pointy-head bureaucrat who's a member of a government labor union. Just think about that - it should scare you...it scares me!
The Barnes-Brennan boys are looking forward to a repeat visit to Islamorada - here is a picture from last year.
Yesterday I got a call from TB and Captain Matt regarding Tom - things could not have gone any better! For those in the 'know' - you know what I mean. For those who don't have a clue, I do not think it is appropriate to say anything else without permission. Time will tell what ultimately will happen of course but the word now is very very good.
This morning we will elect a new treasurer at my coffee klatch. I've been obsessing over this to a certain extend because I'm sort of in charge as the only elected official since our current treasurer resigned. I have found a good guy and some people to help him if he needs it - it's sad that I have to ask people because no one came forth to volunteer. But then again that's how I got to be secretary - I was asked and no one ran against me.
My yard is really starting to get bright green again now that warmer weather and longer daylight hours have retuned. It needs to be mowed once a week rather than once every two or three weeks like during the late Fall and Winter. James came to trim and cut yesterday - it looks good. We've needed rain but my irrigation system has kept my yard green while others are still brown. As son Syp will verify, there is a marked difference between the yard and landscaping around the Vero Villa compared to my neighbors. I wish their yards were nicer although mine real sticks out as looking nice. As usual, I'm a beacon in my neighborhood.
I've been thinking about changing the name of my house from the Vero Villa to the Dolphin House because that's what others have named it. I have this dolphin fish in my carport that people see as they walk or drive by and that's how they identify my house. I sort of like the name - The Dolphin House - as it is keeping with my nautical theme found in and out of my home. Many of you know I have mounts on my walls and nautical stuff around inside. So what do you think...should I start using the dolphin house as the name of my home?
The Japanese are crazy in what they do and market - I guess most of you already know that. Yesterday I found a picture of a new product the Japanese are marketing - diet water. No, this is not a joke - you can really buy this stuff in Japan. That's right...diet water! What will they think of next? Frankly if you told me 20 years ago that there would be isles of bottled tap water for sale in the grocery stores for a cost greater than gasoline I would have called you nuts! But you know what, it has happened. And you know what else? If someone were to market 'diet water' in the United States I bet there would be plenty of buyers. I'm not kidding - I really think there would be buyers.
This is my second morning of taking Wellbutrin XL. Of course it is way too early to tell the affects but I have a very positive outlook. I've done my research on Wellbutrin and I did take it before with success. I'd like to think I've got the right cocktail going but only time will tell. Oh, it is not only causing hair to grow on the bottom of my feet and between my toes, but I've also noticed my ears are getting even bigger and more pointed sort of like Spock! If it makes me feel better it will be worth it.
I posted on my Political View yesterday some comments I wish you would take time to read. It was entitled "Obama wants Failure". You've read here on these pages before that I'm scared as to what Obama might do to our country over the next 4 years. I say next 4 years because Obama himself has said he'd rather have 4 great years (in his mind) than 8 mediocre years. What scares me is what he thinks are "great years". He wants to turn America into a socialist - welfare state! Please read the comments by clicking on 'Political View'. BTW, today's video by Dan Hannan is inspiring to me - he's fabulous - I only wish he were an American.
Today I expect John to return from Ft. Lauderdale with stories to tell about his Spring Break adventure down there. I'm not sure when he returns so I don't expect to see him today. I did loan him my SunPass device so he did not have to stop at any of the many tolls you'll find in the South Florida area - I trust he will remember to take it out of his rental car. Rental car you ask? Yep...Starr thought it would be better to rent a car for him because his car needs some new tires. I've seen his tires and his mom is right but by the time you pay for a rental and insurance you could almost get a set of new tires. Hmm...maybe not - tires are pricey and a economy rental probably is not all that much.
One of the advantages I've gained from building websites for others then publishing them to the web is a better understanding of how search engines work. As a result I've edited my own site - TanzaniteAmerica.com - the result of which is a higher placement on Google when certain searches are done. My whole goal is to have a presences on the internet with some history when I actively take steps to market some gems. I think a site that's been around for several years has more validity than one with only a few months on the internet. Savvy shoppers know how to identify these things so I'm taking the steps now for a future marketing campaign.
I picked up my new prescriptions yesterday and took the first Wellbutrin this morning. Nothing is different yet but then again it should take time to start to work. I wish I had another prescription I could be using until it kicks in - if it will kick in like I want. Maybe a two week supply of Adderall would be nice but once again my doctor wants me to go with the Wellbutrin cocktail first. You folks know how patient I am - not!
It was time to replace a couple plants in my house that I've killed with either too much or too little water. I also picked up a nice plant for the back carport door to replace the Christmas flowers I had there for the longest time. When Syp was here we went plant hunting but nothing struck my fancy. Home Depot just got a new shipment in this week of some really nice plants. How do I know the shipment is new - they were not there a week ago and they were still on the big wooden palates used for shipping. I'll probably kill these in a few months and the go shopping again.
Word to the wise from he who knows all things and....has had personal experience. Do not loan money to family and friends if you every expect to get it back. If they have good credit then suggest they borrow the money from a back - you and I are not in the banking business. The exception to this is my very positive experience in making mortgage loans to my friends who can borrow from a bank but it is mutually beneficial to make an arrangement with me. I've had an exceptionally good experience with one dear friend in particular. But if you have relatives who want to borrow money do not loan it if you ever expect to or need to get it back! I'm owed tens of thousands of dollars from relatives on loans I made before the economy tanked and my market investments tanked with it. Now I really wish I had that money now but I can't even get these relatives to respond! This has been my experience - I hope you can learn from it to avoid the same situation yourself.
Today's picture is one that son Syp took of a critter we saw while tooling around the marshes on an air boat. We saw several alligators sunny themselves on the patches of dry land found thought the marsh. Did you know these critters are over 500,000,000 years old? Almost as old as I feel.
Today is a very important day for Tom - we all hope and pray things go well.
After the morning coffee klatch yesterday I guy came up and said he would be our new treasurer if nominated and elected. This is one of the guys I had asked that first wanted to talk to his sponsor. There is another guy who said he would do if if no one else wanted the job so I think I'll just tell him someone else actually volunteered. Then there is this third guy but he is way to new to the klatch to take on the responsibility - I'm not sure he'll even be there in a month. So I think I've got my new treasurer and I've called a business meeting for Friday to make to official. This fellow is well liked, comes regularly, and has been a member of our group for 4 years.
My buddy Bangkok Mark has been in contact with me about some exceptional opportunities to buy Tanzanite from some financially stressed dealers. I could grab some very nice stones at a very good price and frankly I'd love to do that because I love Tanzanite. But my brain tells me I have enough for now and I should hold off on buying more. On the other hand, if I could get some exceptional buys it would be like dollar-cost averaging my inventory. I know the market is soft now but I'm equally convinced it will spring back when the economy comes back. No matter how horrible Obama is, I think the American people are better and will survive his nonsense.
Syp correctly pointed out that the US economy affects the rest of the world's economy. So as we get better so will Europe and the rest of the World. With the great positive move in the stock market on Monday of this week I'm hopeful the worst in the market is behind us now. No...I do not see a steady quick recovery but as the ups and downs occur, I think the trend line might very well stay on the upside. Maybe that's just me being overly optimistic but I can't help it - that's how I think.The markets were off yesterday from Monday but that can and should be expected.
I found a funny movie called, "Over My dead Body" that kept me entertained in the morning before I went out to Publix, the post office, and my doctor's office. Yeah, I know - my appointment was for the afternoon but his office called to ask me to come in at 11:00 am so I did. I picked up some chicken for Sally Cat after the doctor's office - then on to my PO box and home to listen to Limbaugh after lunch and a nap.
So what happened at the doctor's office you ask? I got two new prescriptions as I expected - one for 30mg of Cymbalta (down from 60mg0 and the second for 150mg of extended release Wellbutrin. This combo is what I thought I'd get and like usual, I want to be optimistic that it will work for me. I'm not to start on the Wellbutrin for 3 days giving me time to adjust back to the 30mg of Cymbalta. I've taken Wellbutrin before with success so we shall see.
I have my 'regular' physical scheduled for April the 16th and then a new appointment with the my new doctor the following day. If things turn better for me I may postpone the new appointment but if not, I'll keep it. Frankly I think I might just keep it no matter how I feel as a point by which I can start with a specialist on mental health.
Yesterday turned out to be a nice day once the morning rain and clouds cleared up. As for me, it was more like one of my "normal" days as well with my routine back in place. Naturally that included fruit for lunch at home, a nap with Sally, then a couple hours on my computer before I watched some more depressing news about the out-of-control- spending in the Obama Administration. You know if I just felt depressed and not fatigued all the time I would know why - Obama. But the fatigue, lack of energy, and lack of out side interests is not Obama's fault at least not entirely.
This afternoon at 1:45 I go to see my doctor. One thing I do like about my visits to him is they normally take place in a timely manner. I do have to wait but at least it is not a long time like was always the case in Atlanta. I hope I did not just condemn myself to a long wait today.
So what am I going to get? I think I'll get a prescription for Wellbutrin to add to my Cymbalta and the dosage of my Cymbalta will be cut in half. I think that based on my research on drug combinations and the general reactions to each medication. You know this may be the silver bullet for me because Cymbalta seems to work better than Paxil but Wellbutrin indeed helped when I took it with Paxil. At least I have the sense I'm taking the steps needed to find a solution.
My house cleaning service came yesterday and that too helped me sense things are back to normal. But you know what...even with his boundless energy driving me to almost need hospitalization, I miss my little Dutch surrogate son, Syp. He was always upbeat and ready for the next activity. Bouncing around my house full of energy and by late in the day full of a few Heinkens as well. That's another thing that has not changed with Syp - he still likes his beer. Not the hard stuff so much but beer. Whiskey was always reserved to an after dinner drink outside on my carport with a cigar. Syp does not some but he does like the ritual of a cigar and a crystal glass with a bit of nice scotch - neat.
I bet this beautiful weather we are having in Vero is down in Ft. Lauderdale with Johnny and the girls. I remember will the annual trip I would take to Ft. Lauderdale during Spring break from college. It was a week filled with fun, beer, girls, and sunburn. There was always a dozen fraternity brothers of mine down there at the same time doing the same thing. We would crash all over the floor of whomever we knew that lived in the area. That was great fun and for most of us a very important part of the whole college experience.
When Syp was here I used my blow-up mattress for the first time - it leaked air. I tried to fix it - see the picture - but it still liked air. Then I bought a very good AeroBed with a built-in inflator that worked really well. It is damn near as comfortable as my $2000 inflatable bed. What I'm willing to do for my Dutchie seems to have no bounds!
It is a new week and I've hit the ground running. This morning I went to coffee as usual and also announced a called meeting - called by me - to have elections for a new treasurer on Friday. I've asked several people if the want the office with mixed results but I'm optimistic we'll have a new treasurer by this time Friday. I don't understand why people don't want to server as an elected officer - I've always welcomed the opportunity. You folks already know how important I am so it's nice to get others to recognize it as well.
This morning I made an appointment to see my 'regular' doctor tomorrow about my meds. What I've been doing is not working as was made painfully obvious to me while son Syp was here. When I'm by myself I can be more laid back so I don't always sense how listless I am - not the case with the full of energy Sypster. So I think I need to change my meds although I plan on keeping my April 17th appointment with the psychiatrist. My thought is I will be given new drugs and between now and the 17th I should get a sense of how well they are working. There is a solution, I just need to find it.
This morning I'm going to cash the check from the owner of the website #2 I built. I finally got the money so it's time to get the green in my hands. There will be continued work but now I'm much more willing to help. My next goal is to find a new client.
It poured down rain here in Vero over the night - the rain was really needed. My yard is turning very green and growing fast so my lawn maintenance guy will need to mow at least every week now. In the winter every couple weeks was enough but not now. I like the way things are looking around here now.
Jason came by yesterday to tell me he has a new job as a painter's helper. I'm not sure how long this will last but it could turn into a full-time job as he learns to help and then ultimately becomes a painter. Good painters are hard to come by and if he learns the skill early in his life he'll never be without a job - there is always someone wanting something painted. I'm hopeful for him.
John is headed for 3 days in Ft. Lauderdale this week with his buddy Douglas from California - Douglas is the guy he visited out in Berkeley for a few weeks last Summer. They are going to do the college break - Ft. Lauderdale thing which means beach, beer, and babes. It will be good for both of them to have fun together although John does not have Spring break now - he'll be missing school for 3 days. He tells me he has talked to all his professors so I assume that it will be ok. He his so fired up about FSU I do not want him to mess-up by not completing his requirements for a transfer by going to play for a few days. He promises me he'll be ok - time will tell but I think he's ok.
Syp and I went to the little Cuban restaurant down the street for breakfast several times while he was here. I took the picture on one of these mornings. Notice how bright and cheery the restaurant is painted.
Last night I went to bed around 8:30 and although I woke about 6:30 I didn't actually get up until 8:30 this morning. I needed to catch up on my rest and beauty sleep - God knows I need the beauty sleep. Then it was time to change my sheets and put my Spring/Summer bed cover on and pack the Fall/Winter one away - in case you missed it we are now in the Spring time of the year.
I've not done much today except watch two movies and plan to go watch another one. I just do not have the will or energy to do anything else. I've made an appointment with a psychiatrist but the earliest I can get in is on Syp's birthday, April 17th. I've called tom see if something has opened up but nothing yet. I'll call again this coming week. There is a combination of meds that will help me so my goal is to find them and find them soon.
Tommy came by this morning for a visit as he usually does on Sundays. He wanted to know if Syp got home ok and if I survived the visit. Of course I survived but I sure wish I had my meds adjusted before he came so I could have been a better host. But we did good and I'm confident there will be a 'next' time only maybe this time he'll bring his growing clan. As I think I mentioned, Yari will have a younger brother with which to terrorize sometime in July.
One of the really fun things we did while Syp was here was to go on an airboat ride in the marshlands West of Vero. Today's picture is one our guide took before we left the shore for a tour of the wetlands and all the critters living out there. We saw alligators of various sizes and lots of birds. It is something I've never done before so I'm particularly glad Syp introduced me to my town and it's surroundings. In fact we went to several places I'd never been before - mostly restaurants or sports bars.
You won't believe this but I finally got a check in payment for the website I built a couple months ago. I'll take it to the bank tomorrow and cash it - I'm confident it will be good. The website owner wants to be on the top of the search engines list but I explained that if I knew how to do that I'd be very wealthy by now. I do know some things to do but it will require action on his part. I'll do all I can and as I learn new techniques I'll apply them to his site for free - I'm satisfied with what he's paid me so I'm happy to continue to help.
I still have two other sites 90% done awaiting further input from the owners. I guess it just is not a priority for them so I'll wait until it is. Funny - it would seem to me that business would do whatever they can to increase business in these slow economic times. So I'll see if I can shake some trees and generate some new sites for me to build or update - I've got a couple ideas in mind already.
My house keepers come tomorrow but frankly my house is in good shape even though the Dutch terror was here. Syp is not nearly as messy as he once was and helped to keep things straight and clean - I like straight and clean. I would be a very difficult person to live with over an extended period of time I think. John has learned how to keep our Keys apartment straight as Syp has learned the same. I can't help it - I'm obsessive compulsive for God's sake!
I can't believe Syp came to visit, stayed a week, and now he is gone - where did the week go? In part the little bugger kept us busy most all the time doing something, go some place, or eating. Syp is one of those people who actually wants to eat a meal at least 3 times a day - can you imagine that? I offered to share my peanuts with him but that did not seem to be enough to cure his hunger. So part of the week was spent in eateries feeding this growing boy of mine - after all he has to have the energy to keep on being Papa Syp.
It is unfair for someone to have so much energy - he bounced around as if he was on speed all the time but in his case it was natural. One thing we did was ride around with TB inspecting the groves and looking at his property West of Vero. On Thursday he took us for the TB tour of the Indian River between Vero and Wabasso which was lined with multi-million dollar mansions. There were well groomed homes with 5000 to 10000 square feet in them which server as the Winter homes for the rich and famous and in some cases are retirement mansions for the very rich. Those people pay a lot of taxes in our county and provide jobs for many folks in the area.
On St. Patrick's day I took Syp along with John and his brother Alex to Outback for dinner - after dinner we all came back over to the Vero Villa where the boys had after dinner drinks and I had after dinner ice cream. I went to bed but they stayed up solving the world's problems and doing damage to my bottles of Crown and Chivis. It was good for John and Syp to spend time together without me being there - they had to figure things out without all my wisdom. I wanted John to talk to someone who was like him in a lot of ways but now has a family, a job, and a big mortgage. I suspect John will follow in Syp's path in the years ahead.
I'll be talking more about Syp's visit but now I'm trying to get back into my old, slow-paced life with nothing to do when I get up in the morning but it is only half done when I go to bed at night. I will say I miss Syp in spite of the fact he tried to run me into the ground and sap any bit of energy I had left out of my body. I don't think I'll need to be hospitalized but it was a close call. The trip back to Vero from taking Syp to the Miami airport went by quickly as I thought about his visit and the things we did. I am so pleased with his life and family but I'm even more pleased he has not changed a bit except he's gotten a bit older. The same energetic fun little boy I met in Africa 23 years ago is still there, still fun, still full of energy, and still puts up with me. Amazing!
When I got back to Vero around 8 last night Jason called and wanted to see me. He was not in a great space so he came over, I fed him some food, and we talked for awhile - he felt a lot better when he left. He's lost and lonely - his day is being put into a State institution, his two brothers do not talk to him, his mother lives up the road, so I'm the closes "safe haven" he has where he knows he is always welcomed. Frankly I think he could use some meds like I need but he doesn't have any and doesn't have the means to go to a doctor to get some. I wish he had come over while Syp was here but he said he want to leave us alone to have a good time together. This kid is fragile so I'm going to try to watch him carefully.
Today it is raining in Vero so except for one short trip I plan to stay inside (duh - what's new there?), watch a movie or two, and catch up on my e-mail.
Syp has got more energy that a wild man - always on the go wanting to play like every day is Christmas. Ahhh...to be young again with so much spontaneity and animation. I want to, keep up but sometimes it is tough with the issues with my medications. But Syp is very understanding and we are doing our best.
Yesterday we went for breakfast and Cuban coffee again after I returned from my morning coffee klatch. When I left to go for coffee Syp had crashed on my bed after his air mattress gave out ...again. I decided enough is enough so we went to Bed, Bath, & Beyond where I purchased a very nice Queen size Aero mattress. This mattress is damn near as good as my pricey Sleep-Comfort mattress in my bedroom suite. It has a very comfortable top yet it is firm - the air pump is built into the mattress itself. Syp had a good night's rest for a change although that just means he'll have even more energy.
Tommy came to fetch us after breakfast so we could ride with him as he checked out his tree farms. Those landscape palms he is growing looked very healthy - now he just hopes someone will start doing landscaping again. Riding around with TB is like riding around with the history book - past and present - of Vero Beach. He knows a little bit about everything and a lot about some things. There was not a dull moment as we wandered through his property West of Vero.
We came back to the house so I could take a nap for about 30 minutes and Syp could eat a Subway sandwich. After my nap and lunch we set up the new mattress for Syp before Tommy came back to take us for round two in the afternoon. This time we went way west of town where he has about 200 acres of producing citrus trees. The trip also was so Tommy could check with his crew in those groves. Along the way we spotted several alligators sunning themselves on the canal banks.
On Wednesday afternoon I've arranged for Syp, TB, and me to go on an air boat ride with a guy named Steve who runs Stumpknocker Tours This guy is a friend of Tommy's and works for the fire department on the days he's not taking folks on a tour. It should be a real hoot - I've not been on an air boat in decades and Syp has never been on one. We'll likely see plenty of gators and other wildlife as we skim across the water powered by an airplane engine on a big flat boat.
For dinner last evening I cooked good old comfort food - rib eye steak, Yukon potatoes, and salad followed by ice cream for me of course. We watched a movie call "Breach" which was based on a true story about a spy in the FBI - Hansen to be exact. It was exciting but even more so when you knew it was true as well. After that Syp watched another movie while I got on my computer to read and answer e-mails, check my banking stuff, and look at some of my 'regular' sites. I'm not sure just what we'll do today but I'm sure it will not be boring.
Syp fits right in around here - he has a redneck!
Sunday was a busy day with activities and guests. We walked the half a block to the Cuban restaurant for breakfast and Cuban coffee - Syp of course ate 3 times as much as I did but then he's a growing boy. It is often dangerous to feed him too much because his energy gets so high her starts bouncing off the walls so to use some of that energy we went to the beach. I thought we were going to GOP look at the beach but Syp wanted to walk a bit. So we walked a bit then a bit more and then some more until we had gone from one public beach to the other. Actually it was rather nice with a breeze and a nice sunny day.
Along the way I pointed out the rather nice, up-scale "resorts" and some of the modest $3,000,000 to $5,000,000 private homes on the beach - they are very very nice. There were a good number of people on the beach which I assume for the most part were visitors from the North. How do I know you ask? They went into the water that was 70F and for me to even get close to the water it needs to be 85F or better - locals don't get it such cold water but visitors do. Naturally there were teenagers using their skim-boards to ride the waves at the shore as you will find year around. The walk was very pleasant although for me unexpected - had I known that was what Syp had in mind I would have brought suntan lotion for him and me . You know what is next, right? He got a nice little burn on his arms and neck - yup...Syp is a red-neck!
At the end of the walk we went to a local beach eatery/bar to sit on the board walk and have some drinks. It was cold Heinken for boy and I had diet coke with lime. A seagull visited as you can see in today's picture. It was very pleasant sitting there so we'll likely go back for lunch this week. Having had a later breakfast it was too early for lunch but not too early for beer. After that it was back to the house were Syp was on the internet and I took a 30 minute nap which is my daily routine.
Lunch was around 2 when I made chicken sandwiches with potato salad, chips, and beer of course. Oops! Kid has energy again so we went over the the art festival for a few hours of walking around looking at all kinds of art - from paintings to pottery, to jewelry, it was all there and there was a lot of it. Syp found one artist in particular he thought was amazing - the guy made colored pictures by cutting little pieces out of magazines then gluing the pieces onto a canvas in such a fashion as to make clearly recognizable images.The artist, Derek Gores has a website so you too can see: click here . It was fun to wander around the art festival all held under a grove of old oaks thus the name, "Art Under the Oaks" which is one of the largest shows of it's kind in the country.
When we returned to the House Ty was right behind us and came in for a nice visit. He and Syp talked for a couple hours before he headed out to his grandmother's house for dinner. Then about 30 minutes after Ty left John came by to visit with Syp and join him in a beer. Poor Syp had to be the social center of attention most of the afternoon but he really seemed to enjoy it. While John was here a movie called Ocean's 13 came on so we all watched that while talking as well.
I'm having my usually fatigue problems and I could not go to dinner. No worries, there was left over pizza and salad so Syp did not go hungry but I did not feel like eating anything. I'm so sick and tired of being tired and not wanting to do anything. It is especially bad when I have someone here I want to do something with but just feel like moving is hard to do. I'm not only fatigued now but I'm pissed about the way I feel. God I wish I could do something to make it better!
Despite the best efforts of US Customs, Syp managed to slip through security in the Miami airport and arrive into my safe keeping early Friday evening. His flight was actually a bit early although he did take the better part of a hour to get through the various check points. I think Syp and I might have been the only two in the arrival are who were not speaking Spanish. Jeez! Miami is like visiting a foreign country in the US. Too bad I did not have one of the Barnes boys with me to translate - especially Ty whom I think is the most fluent.
To my amazement the trip down only took a bit over 2 hours and 30 minutes even on a Friday afternoon during "rush hour". The trip back too a bit longer because it was dark and we were talking so I drove a bit slower. I wonder what was going on or not going on that caused the traffic to flow so well? Maybe some roads that had previously been closed were open? I hope the trip next Friday back to Miami goes as well.
It is great to have Spy here for a real visit to Vero - he's been here before but only for a couple days many years ago. We talked almost non-stop for the return drive and got back in Vero in time to go to my neighborhood Italian Kitchen and order one of their home made pizza pies. Home made meaning they use fresh ingredients, not canned stuff and make the pizza's fresh from scratch to order. We came back to the Vero Villa, had pizza here and then it was about time for bed.
The roll-away bed I rented was too small for Syp so I got out my queen size blow-up. That worked well until the air leaked out in about 3 hours so Syp spent the rest on the night on the couch. Yesterday morning after doing some sleuthing we determined there was a defective valve on the mattress so we took action - we went to Loew's home store to buy stuff we thought might fix the problem. The washers we bought did not help but the plumber's tape did. This morning the bed had lost air over night but was not flat so today we'll added more plumber's tape to see if we can seal it for good this time.
Tommy came by for a visit and suggested we get a bigger rental bed. I called the place and indeed they did have a bed that was a bit bigger so we exchange the one I had for the bigger one. The air mattress is still the best but if it leaks again we may have to try something else. TB came by at just the right time and was happy to help us.
Mid afternoon we went to visit Tom and Mary Ann before they left for Atlanta - they were to leave this morning. We had a nice visit with them and watched some golf with Tom - he is a big golf fan and plays it as much as he can. They will head up to Baltimore the week after next to get the procedure done - we all hope and pray it comes out well - literally. Syp commented that he watched more golf with Tom than he has ever watched golf before at any time with anyone - he's a soccer fan of course.
For dinner last even we went to get some good Southern bar-b-cue at Norris's in Ft. Pierce - for those in the know around here you'll know their baby back ribs are great and indeed they were. Even I finished all that was on my plate as did Syp of course. The place was crowed and full of a lot of local's with seemingly few tourists. Heck it was a big Saturday night but today is another day and might I add a nicer day. It is sunny and very pleasant here in Vero. Right now it is 20.5 C outside but of course it will warm as the sun gets higher in the sky. We probably will go to a local arts festival after lunch and to the Cuban coffee shop when it opens for breakfast. Life is good.
Syp was on Skype yesterday talking to sweet Sjak and cute Yari as you can see in today's picture.
Today is the day - I go to Miami's airport this afternoon to fetch surrogate son one, Syp. He is arriving on a Friday afternoon during Miami's rush hour - his plane is scheduled to land at 6pm. I'll check later today for an update because these planes are often late but almost never early. I'm guessing it will take at least a hour for him to de-plane and sneak through US Customs if they let him get through. Knowing Syp he will probably not have checked luggage but just carry-on so he should be among the first through. It has been 15 or 20 years since I went through Miami Customs but as I recall they move rather quickly. If everything goes well we should be headed back to the village of Vero Beach before 8 and home by 11pm.
Nothing ever goes as expected so I'm going to just play it by ear. If Syp is not too tired I'll have him drive us back to Vero but after that flight he might be really tired. Then again when he first started to visit me 23 years ago I'd fetch him at the Atlanta airport and we'd say up talking and drinking beer until the wee hours of the morning. I'm an old fart that doesn't drink beer anymore and 11 pm is past my bedtime. Did you folks know that Syp will be 37 next month? What happen in between 15 and 37? Hell Bill Voegeli and Mike Gately are both 50! Yes, you heard me - 50! And in 13 months I will be eligible for 'early' social security - I think I qualify for $321/month before withholding. Remember, I've been self-unemployed for the last 22 years so I've not been putting much into SS. That's ok...I invested in the stock market for my retirement that is now worth about 40% of what is was worth a year ago. Damn!
You probably will not see me post on a daily bases while Syp is here but I'll do what I can. I'll be turning my executive office into a bedroom for Syp so he can have privacy from my guard cat at night - all other areas of the house are always open. This office is where I type my notes to post each day before going to coffee and I'm guessing Syp might be sleeping at that time of the day. He used to sleep until the crack of noon but with a job and Yari my guess is he gets up earlier these days.
From today's pictures, do you think Syp has changed much from when I first met him in Africa? Is it just me or is his hairline reseeding? No worries, I think I'll still recognize him.
My palms got their Spring feeding yesterday so I'm hopeful I'll see some good growth over the next 6 months. My Lawn guy also came but decided to come back to mow next week - my yard did not quit need it yesterday. My third visitor of the day was Starr who brought some linens for the roll-away bed I'm going to rent for Syp. I have a blow-up mattress but I think the fold-up roll-away will be easier to move around and out of the way during the day. I'd buy a roll-away bed but I've not got a place to store it when not in use - my John's Island storeroom is pretty much full.
I've been getting those damn automated calls for Sandra Schanze from a company that uses an old address she had - my address - and a reverse look-up for a phone number - my phone number. She has never had my phone number and has not been near this house in years. There must be a way of stopping collection agencies from contacting people who move into houses, condos, or apartments once occupied by dead-beats! I've asked to be removed from the list 4 times yesterday but they still keep calling. Each time I'm told I'll be removed but I'm not. I'm sick of it!
Yesterday when I was trying to post my exciting notes of the day my server was not allowing the data to be posted. from past experience I knew that their filters were blocking the post because of the content. If I put a link to another host company (there are thousands of them) or put any thing at all that might relate to pornography the filters will block the entire post. This rarely happens but occasionally I put something that the filters don't like and yesterday was one of those times. When I was talking about my 'guy' friends I first used 'm*le' instead of 'guy' and followed it by 'friends - the filters did not like that. I also have to be careful about the word enlarge and the context in which it is used. I wonder if I'm going to be able to post these notes without a change?
The Treasurer of our coffee klatch says he will be stepping down at the end of this month and because I'm the only other 'elected' officer it is up to me to do something about it. I need to identify someone who regularly comes for coffee, is responsible , and hopefully honest. We collect money so as to pay for coffee and the rent for the coffee room along with goodies like cakes for birthdays. I have a couple people in mind so I'll pull them to the side and see if I can convince them to undertake the responsibility.
My guy what takes care of the fertilizers and pesticides for my yard and plants came by today to put some anti-fungus powder on a couple of spots in my yard that were turning brown. He says this stuff will kill the fungus and the grass will come back all nice and green. In fact, I've noticed that my grass is starting to green-up as we head toward spring - the fertilizer he put on my yard last month helped as well. Either today or tomorrow he's going to 'deep-root' feed my palms by injecting fertilizer deep into the root system. I've been most pleased with the service Mike provides to me on a monthly bases after all, I spent a lot of money making it look good so I'd be foolish not to take care of it.
I replaced 5 landscape lights yesterday afternoon. Does it seem like I do this once a week? It seems to me like I do it way too often but with daylight savings maybe they will last longer. I did order a case of 12 replacement bulbs from an eBay wholesale store - they are GE bulbs like the original ones with 4000 hours of life expectancy. Time will tell but at some point I might just need to have things re-wired in my transformer. Maybe I can use Syp to stick some wires under his tongue as I adjust the power by looking at the hair standing straight up on his head?
Tommy came by for a visit and we spent about a hour talking about this, that, and the other thing. We see ye-to-eye all most things especially as it relates to politics, taxes, etc. He too is scared of what the new administration is doing especially the affect to will have on his 3 sons in the years ahead. With government spending at unbelievably high levels and still increasing, the workers of today will be saddled with funding interest on the Hugh debit being created by the Obama socialists. Throw in the baby boomers as they are stating to retire and you have an ever increasing demand on social security and the health system. Where is the money going to come from to fund all this? We are both very concerned now more than ever.
How many of you out there think this is a good time to vastly increase the welfare state? I didn't see many hands go up! Obama is loading the welfare wagon but doing nothing to improve the health of the horse that will pull the wagon - the American economy. The Obama administration is acting like a teenager with a credit card for which he does not need to pay the bill every month - mom and pop will pay the bill. But Obama is spending more and more of the money mom and pop make leaving the real engine in our economy - the producers - behind. BTW, I'm not one bit happy with the spending of the previous administration either but this new crowd is way out of control. Is this the change America voted for in November - I think many who voted for Obama would say hell no.
Pictured today is Tommy and two of his sons taking on a fishing trip a couple months back when Matt & Drew caught the sailfish.
The DirectTV tech showed up about mid-morning and with the testing I had already done he said it sounded like my receiver was sick. Strange that I could get some HD signals but not others. Nonetheless, it was the receive so he gave me a new receiver and in fact it was a whole new model. This one does not even have vents on the top so I'm guessing the over heating issue has been resolved. That was what I needed and everything is working as it should now. While he was here he also replaced the cones on my satellite dish saying the ones I had were not bad but he just wanted to change them out while he was here. Good. I'm a happy camper again.
I've been getting some very kind input about my depression and meds from some of you who ready my daily rants on BillsView. I know I'm not alone in the way I feel but it is also very comforting to hear from others who have some of the same issues. Not surprisingly it is you women out there who are more willing to talk about depression - I almost never hear from a guy about depression. Even those friends of mine who I know have some of the same problems just shrug it off thinking it is not "manly" to be depressed. Well I'm not one to hide my feelings as many of you already know - I want to talk about what might be my problems so hopefully I can get help. As some old white-haired guy doing an advertisement for a chiropractic school in Atlanta used to say on TV - "Why be sick when you can be well?" (those of you in Atlanta should remember the school). The dude has a point don't you think? If there are meds that can make your life better, then why not live a better life?
?My guy friends don't hesitate in talking about the meds they take for high blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies, etc but at the moment I can't think of a single guy friend of mine who is on an anti-depressant. Well I'm fortunate that I'm not taking meds for anything but depression - at least not yet although my day might come. I did pick a good Dad in that he never took medication except for brief periods of illness - he never was "on" long term meds . Maybe I got more of his genes that my Mom's genes - Mom was on a half dozen pills a day for just about anything you can imagine. So I'll not shy away from talking about and seeking treatment for conditions I want to make better. Stay tuned to see how the increase in Cymbalta is working.
Last night I went out to reset the timer on my landscape light for Daylight Savings Time and to check the lights themselves. Golly Gee Batman - I had 5 lights that were burned out - 2 for the very first time while the other 3 were repeat offenders. Do you think this is normal? It seems to me the lights just burn out entirely too fast. The good news is that with the longer days and daylight savings my lights will be on for a shorter period of time each day. It doesn't get dark until around 8 and I don't keep my lights on later than around 10. In the late Fall they would come on at 5:30 and say on until 10 - that time will be cut by over 60% so I hope these new replacements will last a lot longer.
John stopped by Sunday on his way home from a hard day at guarding the John's Island beach. He says that one of the lifeguards ahead of him may get hired by the fire department which will in turn open up the possibility that he can work at JI beyond his 'seasonal' employment. I for one hope the dude does get the fireman's job although there are dozens of applicants looking to fill the position. I think the JI job for John is good because he likes it, he gets paid well, he gets benefits like food, and he gets to hang around people who own things like companies with private jets (not being bashed by the Basher-in-chief, Obama). John carries himself well and this characteristic can easily be identified by those who are successful - how do you think they got successful in the first place? Maybe John will know something latter this week. He still has the Indian River County job he can always keep and even expand his hours. The most important thing however is school...are you reading this John?
Remember when I got the referral to CityArtMarket.com by my friend at PeachTreeSuite.com last week? Well I did my homework and came to the conclusion that I don't want to take the time to learn Cold Fusion - the language used on the site. I talked with Bill Voegeli thinking he might want to do it but he said it would take too much work to get up to speed on Cold Fusion which he's not used in years. But he did find a referral I could give to the owner of CityArtMarket which is really what I wanted to do in the first place. I'm not ready to get into e-commerce at the moment with the shopping carts and secure check-outs. So I'm pleased with the outcome for Sherry - I'll stick to the things I know or can easily learn.
Some of my high definition channels on my satellite receiver are experiencing 'plating' - a name given to the slow, jerking action on a digital picture. Most of my HD channels work fine but there are 4 I know of that do not. So I went through all the usual steps with no success so I called for a service man to come out - he (or she) should be here this morning between 8am and noon. How much you want to bet it will be 11:50 before they get here? No matter, I'll be here as I usually am after my morning coffee only this morning I'll be sure to be back by 8 am - they'd come for sure if I were not here!
Where the dish is located I think there could be something in the way but it is not at all clear what. I have something like 18 transponders I'm receiving a signal strength of 95% or better - 2 transponders I'm getting a signal of 0%. I'm thinking something is in the way because the signal acts like it does when heavy rain clouds are moving through the area except there are no clods at all and the dish has a clear site into the South-West sky. If it is a dish problem then it is DirectTV that should be responsible because they installed the dish in the first place.
I think Captain Matt is still employed after a full day at the office - if he's not, I've not received the memo. When he and Brother Drew got back to Atlanta they sent me the picture I'm posting today of their 80 pound hog. It was not as big as the other one in the picture with just Matt but it still is a nice size hog. It seems that the Barnes #38 is not only a good citrus grove but a hotbed of wild game. Turkeys, gators, hogs, raccoons, wild fowl, deer, foxes, panthers, ....I know you think I'm making some of this up but I am not! Yes there are Florida panthers out there. So if the citrus business goes South TB can convert it into a hunting plantation.
I've mentioned my cousin, Alice the baker before. Well yesterday she brought me a fresh - hot out of the oven - strawberry pound cake for me and my guest. Well Syp is not coming until the end of the week and I'm not at all sure the cake will last that long around here. Cakes are part of the 4 basic food groups along with ice cream, chocolate, and salty nuts. To stay healthy I must eat something out of each food group everyday - so the cake may not last.
I found a letter written by a law student that expressed my feelings and thoughts about the liberal - socialist left exceptionally well. It speaks to how I want to be left alone with the values I have but wish no ill-will on anyone else - I just want them out of my business, my way of life. Their way is so damaging to much of what I believe that it is tearing the fabric of my life and those that think like me apart. This letter conveys that belief in a clear way so I'd like to ask that you read it. Please click here. As always, your comments are invited.
So what got me started off on that political foot today you ask? Well...I did what I didn't want to do yesterday and that was to watch some Sunday talk shows on TV. Why I do this when I know it will usually make me unhappy I do not know - I'm drawn to these shows like flies are drawn to rotting food (I could have used another example but this is a "G" rated site for the most part.) I'd tell you specifically what reallygot under my skin but that would make me think about it all over again so I won't. My blood pressure is rather good not only for an old fart but young people as well - I'm wondering how all this negative economic news and the socializing of America is making it go up? TB says he can actually "feel" his blood pressure "boil" as he puts it so he tries to just leave the room when news is on. Damn I don't like what I see happening!
Yesterday I sent Brother Drew and Captain Matt back to Atlanta so they can go to work to support the dead beats, mortgage defaulters, and anyone else Obama wants to give something to they did not earn from someone who did earn it. I do have hope for the Barnes - Brennan boys because they are good workers and smart young men. They will see what rules with which their lives are guided and then make the best of an unfair situation. They all have good work ethics so I'm confident they will always be standing pulling the wagon as it were rather than riding in the wagon.
Captain Matt starts his new job today at the Equifax corporate headquarters there in Atlanta. He dropped by for a visit the day before he left so we could discuss the best way to get there on his first day at work. I'm really out of the loop as to Atlanta traffic headed downtown at rush hour but it must be horrible. I suggested he ride MARTA to the Arts Center Station then walk the 4 blocks to work. If the weather is good, that would be the way to get to work everyday saving wear and tear on his car. I bet he gets off to a great start and grows quickly within his new employer. I hope so because I need Matt and others like him to contribute to social security so I can have income now that all my stocks have tanked.
When surrogate son Syp gets here Tommy said he would take us fishing assuming the weather cooperates with us. The long range forecast is for mild temperatures and mostly sunny days with the exception of morning showers on Wednesday of next week. The real issue is the wind - from which direction does it blow and at what speed. As long as the seas are in the 2' to 4' range it should be ok to fish - it's when the wind blows and you get bigger waves that fishing is a punishment. Hopefully there will be at least one day when the winds will be light, the sun is out, and we can go offshore trolling hoping some wayward fish runs into our bait. It would be a real hoot to catch some nice fish with some variety but you just never know until you try. TB's new boat is fast, smooth, and will make the trip easier than was the case with his previous boat.
I've not got a lot planned for Syp except the work around my house - pressure washing my roof, replacing some plants, completing some projects, just good old fun household chores. I'm not sure if he'll want to stay in the house where Sally is in charge or stay in my John's Island storeroom..HaHaHaHaHa. Actually I think I'll stick him in my office with a door that closes to keep the guard cat out at night.
As you can see from the picture Tommy had a minor accident with his boat in the Indian River but he hopes to have it patched with some good duct tape by this coming weekend!
What the heck is going on that I'm getting exposed to more nefarious malware or viruses? No, it's not porn sites so get your mind out of the gutter - it's sites I've been to in the past looking at applications that all of a sudden seem to have been hijacked by Spyware. The latest nasty is something called ANG AntiVirus 09 that is a "free" scan that will definitely find something bad on your machine that it likely put there in the first place. Then for $89 you can buy the software to remove it and if you don't it will hijack your browser and present you with annoying pop ups. I did not get infected but it tried to get into my computer. BTW, notice how they use ANG to fool you into believing it is AVG, a good anti virus application?
And then I found another Trojan that got into my system restore files - I'm not sure where this came from but I got rid of it manually. I'm thinking all this bad stuff originated from that download I mentioned a few days ago although one I think came in an e-mail's image file. This is most unusual for me to get exposed but thankfully I know what to do if it happens.
On the bright side of things I found my Adobe Creative Suite 4 is still functioning after a 30 day period so apparently it was not a 'trial' version as I first thought it would turn out to be.Of course I still do not have a clue as to how to use it but at least it works so I have a chance to learn. Not only that but I know how to install the software on any machine and make it work. It is not simple but if you know how to exchange certain .DLL files and edit your computer's Host file then you can get it to work or at least I did. Cool.
The Barnes boys were going fishing on Friday while Ryan was in town but it turned out to be too windy. So Captain Matt and Brother Drew went out to Barnes # 38 and shot an eighty pound wild hog. I talked to Drew Friday evening and he was bubbling over with excitement because he and Matt bagged to hog. I say 'they' bagged it because they both shot at the same time. It seems to me that 80 pounds is a fairly heavy hog is it not? I never was much of a hunter but I know Drew and Matt hunt for wild hogs and/or wild turkeys whenever they have a chance. They don't just shot them - they bring them home to eat.
I asked John if he could get Friday off to rid - or drive - down to Miami this coming Friday to fetch my little Dutchie buddy Syp. He can't get off work so I'll make the dangerous trip alone with my radio and CD's to keep me company. Actually it will not be too bad because the time will have changed and it will be daylight all the way down and probably the beginning of the trip back to Vero. Syp said he'd drive back but I'm thinking he might be too tired after the flight over. Then again, the pure excitement in being in my presences might keep him so full of energy he'll want to drive - I have that affect on people.
In keeping with my thoughts about avoiding the depressing news and watching more movies I say "Oceans 12" for the first time yesterday. I really like those kind of heist-type movies where you don't know what happens until the end. That's why I like the TNT series "Leverage" because it is the same sort of thing. All this got started when I was in college with a TV show called Mission Impossible that later was made in the the Tom Cruse movies by the same name. This is pure escapism for me where I can just sit back and enjoy. I wonder what movie I can find to watch today?
I thought I'd post a picture of the hog Matt and drew bagged. Matt was celebrating with an adult beverage.
It was Friday so I went to get a haircut and to pick up a new plant. I usually don't have to wait for a haircut but the word must have gotten out that I'd be there. No matter, I got the task accomplished then headed to Home Depot to look at their plants. I found a nice fern-like plant but I failed in finding a plant for the back door table. I finally got rid of the raggedy poinsettias left over from Christmas and now I want to replace them. A nice growing green plant will be find but if I can identify a flowering plant I like that would be even better. All the flowering plants were too small for my pot but I'll not give up that easily and shall try another day.
When I was coming back from getting my haircut I noticed 3 guys holding signs at a very busy intersection here in Vero - they wanted jobs. I've never seen young guys with nice shirts, ties, and well-groomed standing on corners looking for jobs but these brothers were doing just that. The made the local paper for their "novel efforts" and apparently had several offers by the end of the day. Frankly, I'm not one bit surprised - if you dress like you care how you look and then make an effort like these young men did, you're going to get attention of would-be employers or people who may know someone looking for a real go-getter. That's what need more of in this country rather than Obama making victims of as many Americans as he can to turn them into people depending on taxpayers to bail them out. Damn I'm really unhappy with Obama's socialist policies which are making things in our economy worse instead of better - he and his liberal socialist buddies are going to damage our country for years to come!
I called Bill Voegeli about his potential interests in working on the website to which I was referred. It is written in cold fusion which Bill used to write but does not anymore. He told me that to write in cold fusion you need to have a compiler to produce the files for uploading to a server. Jeez! I had no idea the language was so detailed but I now understand why some sites use cold fusion - it is a "safer" language for e-commerce. Bill may have a friend of his that could help so if that's the case I'll refer him to the site's owner. It was prudent of me not to try to undertake this project - it would have been a nightmare for me.
The owner of PeachTreeSuite.com said some of his female visitors thought the image of the secretary was a bit provocative. Huh? I don't get it but women look at things differently then men so he wanted me to change the banner buy adding a dude. Apparently women in business look at other women differently then men look at other women from a business standpoint. I guess I knew that I just didn't understand how women look at one another and I still don't. So as to pick a 'dude' that would be acceptable I picked the guy from his old site, cleaned the image, and then added it to the banner such as to place the female in the background. Actually I think it came out pretty good, don't you agree?
My once-a-week virus scan yesterday picked up a couple Trojans which I'm sure came from the not so innocent download from a file sharing site. The infection was inside my Sandboxie files safely away from the rest of my machine. I had PC-cillin quarantine the files and then I deleted them. That is how Sandboxie should work. Strangely there was what appeared to be a nasty file found outside of Sandboxie and was caught by my real-time virus monitoring - it too I deleted. That one appeared between the time I went to get a haircut and when I returned which was after my morning scan. I'm not sure where this file came from in the first place but I've learned it's best to delete them rather than trying to solve my curiosity as to where it came from in the first place. You got to be careful when you download anything or open something sent to you be a friend. The friend may not know he or she is sending an infected file - real time protection is a must IMO.
Yesterday's coffee klatch meeting was amazing - the chairman talked about his past and it sounded like something out of a Ripley's believe it or not! The things he went through and lived to tell about it kept everyone there hanging on each word he said. I ought not go into details here but it certainly did get my attention. This was not the same old - same old stories where the beginning, middle, and end were all the same just with different characters. No indeed - this one was so out there that I wondered how a guy like this made it to Vero Beach - oops...I forgot...I'm here! My very presence draws people from all over like moths are drawn to light bulbs - I'm a beacon of light in a world of darkness. I'm also so full of sh*t that my blue eyes are turning brown!
Then this other guy told us - as much as he could - about his top secret work with the City of New York, the Mayor of New Your, the Governor of New York, the FBI, the CIA, and Homeland Security. It seemed like I was in the movie theater watching some spy thriller with covert ops and the evil Muslim empire trying to destroy all the good folks in New York. I guess I got to believe this stuff but I thought it only happen in TV shows like "24". This stuff is real and something I pay very little attention to down here in the laid-back village of Vero Beach where excitement is watching the old farts race their electric carts up and down the isles at Publix.
What made the second guy particularly interesting is he was involved with this top secret security stuff before 9-11 and his son was on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. What he related to us was never made known to the general public via the biased left-wing liberal news media. He had facts and details I'd not heard before but stopped short of telling us the really secret stuff because then the CIA would have to kill him. So now you see why I go for coffee every morning - you never know which day will be one to remember like yesterday. I wonder what's on tap for this morning?
One of the "referrals" from Atlanta called about her website asking if I could help. After studying it and her needs for the last day or so I've concluded it would be best if she found someone with more expertise than I have because her site is her business and is a very active e-commerce site. They have constantly changing inventory, a need for a secure, encrypted shopping cart, and a means of securely and automatically handle credit cards or PayPal. The actual pages I could do and create the code needed to allow for an ever expanding inventory but what I'm afraid I don't know enough about is this shopping cart - security thing. I have no doubt I could learn it but do I want to use this opportunity as a means of testing? I know that I don't know what I need to know to be readily effective...you know what I mean?
Her website is written in Cold Fusion which I know nothing about. It could function perfectly well in .PHP but pretty much the whole site would need to be re-coded. .PHP is certainly powerful enough to handle e-commerce but once again I've had no experience with automated shopping carts and I'm afraid the liability is too great for me to tackle the job. Now I could maybe 'sub' the job out but first I'd have to find someone competent to do the work. From what I've seen around here, there doesn't seem to be the technical know-how readily available like it clearly is in Atlanta.
It's been one week since I went to my doctor resulting in an increase in the Cymbalta I'm taking. If anything, I think the last week found me with even less energy but perhaps that is short-lived while my brain adjusts. So I continue to be hopeful that this medication will ultimately turn things around but if not, I'll head back to see what else I should try. The trick is to find the right combination and dosages that will work best for me.
While going through some stuff here the other day I found this picture of me and Wendy while on a two week Nile cruse. In case you're wondering I'm wearing make-up to darken my skin to be more Egyptian-like in appearance. That was a fun trip full of excitement and wonders of the world.
I should known better! I made the BIG mistake of watching an afternoon CNN show because Neal Boortz was going to be on it. Damn! Yes Neal was on it alright but the pure garbage I watched waiting for him to be on made me sick - literally made my stomach upset with the stuff they were putting out on cable. I promised myself earlier this year I would not watch as much news and especially the pure left-wing liberal blather that gets splashed on the airwaves by the Communist News Network and others. CNN has gotten as bad as MSNBC and let me tell you, that's BAD! Add to that the collapse in the equity markets because of Obama's radical socialist programs and policies and I'm not a very happy camper. I talked enough about this yesterday so I'll move on for now.
Has anyone noticed I've changed the BillsView title to a JPEG from simply using a typed font? Pretty exciting, huh? I'm not sure I'll leave it this way but the image does add a bit of depth to the look but then it also takes me another step from my belief that simple is best. Now there is an image that has to load albeit small. The 'portal' page up until now did not have an images although my daily post always do. Just more playing around with the World Famous BillsView.com.
Ryan and Heather went to South Beach to check things out on Tuesday and plan on returning to Vero tonight I think. Heather has never been to South Beach so that should be a fun trip. Too bad we've had such cold weather for the last few days - it would have been nice to hang out on the beach with the beautiful people. No worries - they can still enjoy some fine dinning and great wines with a trip to Joe's. South Beach is worth checking out in my opinion but it is for the younger crowd with the clubs and dancing - a lot of action doesn't even stat until midnight.
Glory be...I got my first check for a website I built, PeachtreeSuite.com . Frankly I knew I'd get a check from the site owner because I've known and trusted him for a number of years. I sent a bill and within the week I got his check along with a very nicer note telling me how "thrilled" he was with his new site.He gets a big portion of his business from the website and that first started happening a few years ago when I added META tags and got him involved with Google. He was very reluctant to spend $50 per month with Google and now he's over $800 per month. He spends this money because of all the quality business his website generates. I'm as happy about his been "thrilled" as I am about his check - now if I could just get the lawyer to send a check.
One thing that has come out of this Atlanta project is that Tom mentioned what I had done for him at my old Atlanta coffee klatch resulting in 2 people requesting my name and telephone number. One of them asked me to call which I did but got voice mail - the other says they will call me. Maybe nothing will come out of this but you never know. With the stock market where it is it would not hurt to make some extra money so I can eat...nah, eating is not all that it's cracked up to be!
While the economy is tanking and real estate prices are depressed, Vero has one of the more pricey properties on the market. The Gallant Sea Manor has just come on the market for a modest $39,600,000 - it has a great view. Beach property here in Vero seems to be somewhat immune from the collapse in real estate around other parts of Florida and I'm convinced it is because of the uniqueness of Vero's Beaches. Other counties in Florida allow high density while Vero's Beach does not allow buildings more than 3 stories tall - no high-rises except one that was built in the 70's before the low density ordinance was enacted. For the most part Vero has single family homes or condos on the island which provide a limited number of properties. So don't let this bargain slip by - put in your offer today!
So I won't keep you guessing any more, here is a picture of Bill Voegeli's youngest son, Charles. He is a senior in high school this year and like his two brothers does not have trouble attracting the girls.
I usually don't talk about politics much on this page but today I feel the need to vent. You know what.....I'm worried, no frighten, that the new Obama Administration is driving our US economy right into the toilet with their policies, actions, or lack of actions. Frankly I don't think they have a f*cking clue! I'm not talking just about the difference in political philosophy between the radical liberals and my conservative views but I think radical liberals that knew what they were doing would be doing a much better job than this clueless crew of socialists. They are driving people and companies into the ground with their spend as much as we possible can and forget about the consequences philosophy. Yes boys and girls, I'm indeed afraid for our economy and our freedoms.
No, I'm not just saying that to make a point - I do believe we are in big trouble. The leader of the free world is not making things better by constantly saying we are in a "crisis" without an added optimism. When Obama says he "inherited" this problem he is not even half right. Sure the economy was getting bad before he took office but he knew that for the two years he worked to win the office so why act so surprised? And have you noticed the stock market has gone down 2000 points just since Obama was put into office on January 20th? Every time Obama or any of his administration says anything the markets go down even more.
You know another thing that scares me - Obama is never seen in public giving a speech without a teleprompter. He used one just two days ago to introduce his new secretary of something...Health and Human Services I think. He had to use a frigging teleprompter. So just who is in charge? Who is pulling Obama's strings? Can he really just be a puppet with nothing more that the ability to read teleprompters well? If so, who is setting policy..George Soros? Nancy Pelosi? Barney Frank? Boys and girls, I do not like what I see at all without regard to the differences in philosophy - throw that in and I'm really scared.
Someone has to take the lead and generate some positive optimism and clear out the uncertainty this liberal socialist crowd has generated. They say Obama is "smart" but I'm not at all sure how smart he is trying to bulldoze all his socialist programs into the fabric of American society while the economy tanks. I read somewhere that the first weeks of the Obama administration has created a greater deficit that the last 4 years of the Bush administration put together and it's still growing. Once again I'm afraid things will get worse before they begin to get better.
On the positive side of things, life is pretty good for me. I don't have to worry about my job because I don't have one. The bank and bill collectors are not after me because I pay on time. The biggest issue I have is trying to get the meds I'm taking into the right cocktail balance so I can have a better sense of well being although Obama sure is not helping! I'm in generally good physical health, I have more ice cream than I need, my house is fixed, my car works, and I have friends that care about me including Syp who will be visiting soon.
This morning I will chair the coffee klatch meeting as I do the first Wednesday in every month so I think I'll talk about no matter how bad things are, adult beverages will make them worse for us. I want to express something positive with all the negativity going on - this is a time when some might be in danger and need reinforcement. It certainly will not hurt to hear myself say positive things for my own well being. One thing for sure is that going for coffee helps put things into a much better perspective.
Yesterday I posted a picture of Bill Voegeli's oldest son Will, so today here is a picture of his middle son, North - a freshman at the University of Alabama. Looks like he has a tough life, huh?~
Yesterday I did not mention that after Mary Ann, Heather, and Ryan left I got a visit from John. He was headed home from a hard day at the beach looking at the ocean, reading, and protecting anyone foolish enough to go in the water. He was one tired puppy. Not just the lifeguard job on Sunday but that along with a full load at school has got him busy now that he also lifeguards for one of the county pools. It's good practice for when he gets out of college and has to have two jobs to support his family - you know...diapers, baby food, diapers, toys, diapers, etc. His not there yet but I'm sure Syp will be able to clue him in on life after kids.
John is very serious about getting the school work done with the grades he needs to transfer to Florida State in the Fall. I am 100% behind his wanting to go to school up in Tallahassee, Florida - going away to college is a whole different world than living at home. I'm confident John will do just fine adjusting to live 4 hours (or is it 5 hours) away from Vero attending class, working, and participating in college life at a big university. Of course there will be the sports, parts, and girls in addition to school and work - I think it will be great for him and he'll do well.
Speacking of kids in college, I'm sure may of you remember my good friend Bill Voegeli from my Atlanta days, right? I first met Bill when he was 12 at the Cross Creek pool next to the apartment where I lived for the three years between college and purchasing 900 Peachtree Battle Circle. Well that little boy has 3 sons , two of which are in college and a third on the way. Today I decided to post a picture of his oldest son, Will, who goes to the University of South Carolina and I think he's a junior this year. The other son, North, goes to the University of Alabama while the youngest, Charles, is a senior in a private school in Atlanta. My how kids grow up and then have kids and son the kid's kids will have kids.
John's brother Alex turns 18 today. Yet another kid that has made it to the age of being legally responsible for his actions. I talked with Starr a good bit yesterday about where Alex will go to college - she of course is obsessing over the subject while Alex on the other hand has more of a laid-back don't worry all will be ok look on things. I always thought Alex would be a professional fisherman but now he's interested in graphic design because that's what gamers do to turn the obsession into an income stream. What one studies doesn't necessarily correlate to one's career path - look at me going from Physics and engineering into insurance for God's sake. With respect to Alex it is time to apply if you want to be accepted for the Fall session.
It would make sense for John ad Alex to attend the same school but it is not clear that they both can get into Florida State. It's harder to get into FSU right out of high school than it is to transfer there having proven you can handle the work by getting a two year associate's degree from one of the many local colleges around the state of Florida including the one John is attending - Indian River State College. Frankly I think it would be best for Alec to attend a local college to get his feet wet as it relates to college work - he has not really been challenged in high school. Even if FSU were to accept Alex I still think a smaller local college would serve him better - Alec is not dumb by any stretch but he does lack motivation unless it deals with gaming.
Boy did I have a busy morning yesterday. I was talking to Starr on the phone, Wendy on Skype, and then TB walked in to have me look at a spot he thinks is suspicious for skin cancer - I agreed so he'll get it checked soon. Wendy wanted me to help with her nephew's computer in California (here she is at the moment) so I had her download a same utility so I could remotely take control of the computer which I did. While video-conferencing with Wendy on her computer I worked on Simon's computer until the issue was resolved. This remote control thing is cool and works better when I control another computer in the United States as compared to Dubai. By a little after 1 o'clock Tommy was gone, Starr was off the phone, and Wendy went to fix snacks for the kids.
Day three of my new medication level but there is no change as yet - then again, I'm really not expecting to see any change for a couple weeks. In the meantime, I wish there was something else I could be doing that would eliminate the fatigue and get me intereste3d in doing more things. Hmm...I know some things that would work but unfortunately they are both illegal and dangerous. The good news is I can get great Cuba espresso just at the corner from my house - that helps, it takes great, and is less likely to cause any negative long term effects.
As I've warned before you need to be very careful when you download things via file-sharing applications. I found something I wanted that was very small in size so how dangerous could it be? the answer is very dangerous if it uses svchost.exe to operate it's functions. I carefully downloaded a file that was about 320kb but I did so using sandboxie.exe - the contained environment which will stop any nefarious software from infecting the rest of your computer. Sure enough, my PC-Cillan immediately popped up a warning that the file had a Trojan in it. So, I could eliminate it while it was still in the virtual environment created by sandboxie.exe. Had I not gotten an alert, I would have scanned the file for infections before I opened it.
Just so you know, I did not get this from the trusted site I've used in the past but rather from some other 'authentic-looking' website - my how looks are deceiving, huh? Even on the site I trust I still scan any downloads before I open them and then open them within the confines of sandboxie. There are a bunch of evil people out there wanting to take advantage of the unsuspecting internet user and they do this just because they can. There are virtually no consequences. I can see how teenagers are targets because they share all this stuff with one-another all the time.
This morning after my coffee social hour I'm going to Wally World (aka Wal-Mart) to pick up my prescriptions and a few other items. I think I'll see if I can find some nice looking table plants for my dining table and bathrooms - I decided to get rid of those expensive artificial orchids Gordon the house stager bought to put in my Atlanta house. I just don't much care for them and although I do manage to kill the real plants I'd rather have real ones. Besides, with my ability to kill them I get to rotate plants to keep the Vero Villa alive and ever changing. It's March so maybe I'll rotate some of my neon lights or then again I might wait to Syp gets here so he can put his artist view into play.
What am I going to do when Syp gets here you ask. Well my white cement tile roof could use a pressure-washing. There is always work to do around my yard (aka garden for you Dutchies). I'll create a list of task to keep him busy after all, isn't that what young people are suppose to do when they visit old farts? Syp has all this fresh new experience from the tasks he's completed in his new house so he should be good at it.
Mary Ann, Ryan, and heather came by yesterday for a visit after they had lunch at the Vero Beach Country club. They delivered the port Brother Drew fetched from Steve for me back in Atlanta. Did you know there is a shrinkage in the bottles of port as the cases travel through different peoples hands? Just kidding - I gave some away in the past I just don't remember who to with the exception of my dear friend, Ross Brown. Anyway, this is the first time in over a year that Ryan and Heather had visited and the last time they were here the house was still under construction. It was nice to have them visit, to bring the port, but they didn't help with my Crown problem - when am I going to get some help there, huh? Maybe Syp will help although I know he's a beer and scotch guy.
Charlotte called and wanted to ask me to lunch with her and an acquaintance of hers she things might like to have coffee with us in the morning. Of course I'm happy to help in any way I can and especially for good friends like Charlotte. I'm not sure this will work out but I'd lover to have lunch with her in any wevent.
Yesterday I started my new dosage of Cymbalta to see if that will help with my energy/fatigue problem. In the past the medication clearly was helping but not as much as I needed - perhaps twice the dosage will do the trick. If not, my doctor will not increase the Cymbalta dosage but rather supplement it with some other anti-depression drug like Wellbutrin. He seems to think we just need to hit on the right combo at the right dosage levels and frankly I agree. Stimulants will work but they are not treating the cause of the problem so I'd rather fix the cause rather than mask the condition. The fact I have a new plan and a set appoint to return to discuss how things are going is already positive for me.
Lina called the other day to suggest that in part some of my symptoms could be caused by allergies. While I've never considered myself allergic to anything there is is bases in her suggestion. Over the past year I've been 'stopped-up' with congestion a lot more than at any point in the past. I hate to say it but I think it might have something to do with the feline fur factor living under the same roof with me - Sally Cat. I know that the Barnes boys have a definite half-life of being able to stay in my house with Sally around. She deposits clumps of hair everywhere. Perhaps the sheer volume of hair is adversely affecting me - it is something I'll watch and perhaps even have checked out on my next visit to my doctor's office.
While I was discussing my 'condition' with my doctor we talked bout hormones being released in the brain and the an mount of those same hormones that are absorbed back. I Have either too little being produced or too much being sucked back into my brain. I've always sort of thought of my brain as a sponge but for knowledge not hormones. The good news is there are drugs that are safe to use that will help. It is also true that the years I consumed adult beverages might have had an affect on the release or uptake of these brain chemicals - my doctor says there's no definitive studies but my gut tells me that it did have an affect. I know it is the cause of hair growing on the bottom of my feet and it's why my teeth itch!
Saturday I decide to re-code every page on my TanzaniteAmerica.com site so as to comply with W3C HTML 4.0 Transitional code. I'd already changed the home page but now I've gone back to change the 6 other pages. This means that my site should render perfectly in every browser with errors on the page. Very few sites comply and I wanted to do this just for the practice and to prove to myself I can. I can now put the 'validation icon' on my site but I'm not sure I'm going to do that. I did improve on my TanzaniteAmerica.com banner such that the site's name 'pops' out more - I used some shadowing techniques I learned on some site while researching info on Photoshop. Unfortunately I can not validate every page on BillsView.com because they change daily and I frequently making coding errors that are not obvious when you view the site. Only 'static' site can really get validated.
I like the TV options on Saturdays. Many of my favorite programs are replayed from the prior week so I get to see them either again or for the first time. Programs like 'Leverage' and 'Burn Notice' come on past my bedtime so I only get to see them on replay or during one of those marathon things. Yesterday I watched this past week's Leverage and Burn Notice plus part of the all day Burn Notice marathon. Unfortunately the 'season' is over until the summer season comes around. Oh, well.
I just realized today is the first day of March - is this year going fast or what? I guess it is because I stay busy with my various projects that I don't realize that the days are going by so fast. Then again, it could be that I'm an old fart and because my short term memory is not what it used to be I can't remember everything so it seems long ago? As my daddy used to say, "getting older is better than the alternative". Well most of the time that's true but I can think of situations where it might not be true - hopefully those 'situations' are way way in the future for me.