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I've been getting ready for our trip to Islamorada - I think I've got it together now. I'm sure I've packed more than I really need given the fact we have access to a washer/dryer. At least I've got it down to one duffel-style bag for clothes, a small nylon bag for my computer stuff, and my computer bag. I don't pack Polo shirts but rather just keep them on hangers. It's all the other "stuff" that surprises me a bit like my personal pharmacy, Sally Cat food and litter box, etc.
You can tell you're getting older by the amount of prescription drugs you have to pack to go out of town. Jeez! I have 4 different prescriptions for my headaches depending on severity. Then there's my psycho drugs, sleeping aids, and God only knows what else. Some of these I will not need but I know I'd need them if I didn't have them!
This morning I got the travel cage I use for Sally out and put it in my office with the door open. She's gone in there twice today just to nap so she'll be more accustomed to it when I put her in it tomorrow. Actually, she has learned to manage traveling rather well compared to the first long trip from Atlanta. Basically she just sleeps as long as I pet her every once and awhile. Now I've got to sneak her into the apartment and keep the apartment cat hair free.
I was thinking about doing some food shopping before we leave to save some $$. But once I saw all the crap I'm taking not to mention John's wardrobe it became very clear to me we've not got any extra room. A trip to the Winn Dixie will be on the top of our agenda once we get all our stuff moved into the apartment.
On the way down, I plan to stop at the Comcast store in Key Largo to pick up a modem (even though I'm taking a modem) and this year I'm going to get a Comcast box for the TV. Never have we rented a Comcast box but this year I think it will be a good idea because the TV in the apartment is an analog set. Many of the great programs I like are on channels which may not be available on an analog TV any more. Picking the equipment up on the way will save a $50 service call and a half a day wait for the service guy to appear. Because I have an account which is not active, I'd have to pay for a service call. I may get a premium channel as well.
Syp sent me some pictures from the Arends Clan vacation - here is one of them. Cut kids, huh?
For years I've thought that weekends were just an inconvenience for me given the fact I've been self-unemployed for years. My regular tall shows on the radio and TV programming is different on the weekends. Of late my attitude has changed in that I'm so busy during the week that I welcome the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I understand how important weekends are for those who go to the office every day. Of course I LOVE weekends in the Fall because Saturdays are college football days. I'm not complaining because I like what I'm doing but for the most part I don't do much on the weekends except take in some British mysteries and a movie or two.
I've got great news from across the big pond - Syp's mother is doing much better after a hospital stay and some treatments. Truthfully I'm a bit surprised as to her recover in such a short time. Things are looking a whole heck of a lot better now than as recently as a few weeks ago. I know Syp and his family are feeling less stress now that she's better. I know how it is to deal with aging parents.
When I talked with Syp yesterday, he mention he, Sjak, and the two rugrats (see image) just returned from a nice 10 day stay on the island of Mallorca located off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. What a great place to holiday with your family - it's surrounded by the sea and still remains fairly inexpensive compared to main land Europe. Wendy and I spent 3 weeks there several years back - I rented an apartment right on the ocean. I have very fond memories of Mallorca and soon I'll have some pictures from Syp of their holiday there.
You know I'm going to Islamorada soon so I thought I might check my car - you know...air in the tires, oil, windshield (aka windscreen) wash, etc. I've never had problems with my car burning oil but I thought I'd check it anyway. I searched and searched but could not locate the damn dipstick! When everything else fails, I someties resort to reading the owner's manual. The car does not have a dipstick - it has sensors which will display the oil levels on a screen in my car. Jeez! My other Mercedes did have a dipstick so of course I thought this one did too. Wrong!
I'm always discovering things my car has or will do I did not know before. For example I remotely unlocked my door the other day but before I opened it I started a conversation with someone. While I was talking, the door locked itself again - it seems it will auto-lock if you don't open the door in a certain period of time. I didn't know that. The list goes on and on - maybe I should actually read some of the owner's manual, huh? Oh, one other thing, I was looking for my battery and I could not find it - what's up with that? The manual told me it was under the spare tire in the trunk. Who would have thunk [sic] it?
Lina got the dreaded Koobooface virus on her computer - she called the other night. This is a rather annoying virus which spreads mostly through social websites like Facebook. It is very sneaky and can infect your computer while just visiting a website. The good news is I've dealt with Kooboo before so I knew what to do. The virus will block internet access for your browsers but will not block access for TeamViewer which I could use to work on Lina's machine. We got rid of it in about a hour.
It w2as a nice weekend for me most of which I stayed away from my computers. Over the two day weekend I watched 4 more episodes of season 3 of "24" - I'm liking this season with just two episodes left. What I can say about "24" is if you are an actor, don't expect your job to last long unless you're Keifer Southerland. More people get killed off just about every episode it's got me thinking who will be left. Watching a few episodes on a weekend is a good plan for me except now I want to know how it ends.
You know I love this time of year because among other things I can get a lot of different fresh fruit - I love fresh fruit. The strawberries and peaches available now are really good - sweet and with flavor. Other times of the year the fruit is picked before it ever has a chance to get good flavor. The melons are naturally good as well as the grapes I buy. All in all there's never a better time to buy fruit than in June.
John arrived safely and came by on both Friday evening and Sunday afternoon - it's great to see him. I think he's bigger now than the last time I saw him - there's more there because of his workout routine. Frankly I think he should do a bit less weight training and more aerobic workouts. Young men get addicted to weight training which in itself is not bad as long as you don't go overboard - moderation is the key.
Both of the guys I'm helping want to come see me - one will be here later this morning and there other will come after coffee tomorrow. I'm enjoying me roll and I like the two young men. Frankly I should have been volunteering sooner without being asked so I'm thankful this all happened. BTW, you all know what I'm talking about don't you?
Starr brought me some jerk chicken on Friday she got from a chicken stand in front of her brother Steve's home/office. There's a group who sell this chicken at the Vero Friday Market in the park and at the Saturday market in Ft. Pierce. The Vero Market is closed until the Fall so Steve said they could sell jerk chicken in front of his place. Let me tell you...the chicken is GREAT! Full of flavor and just the right amount of heat - I'll go back this coming weekend.
I've just about decided to reinstall the operating system in my laptop - it has given me errors more frequently than it should and I get BSOD often. The failures are not major but a pain nonetheless. Also, I can't get me e-mail client to function and I know the settings are correct. I clean the computer regularly but there's still over two years of crap and unused programs so why not a fresh start?
Just damn! I had a nice post ready for today which I spent some time typing and then the power at my house had an interruption which means I lost the whole damn thing!! My back-up battery did not save my work as I expected it to do. This battery is suppose to prevent the loss of work in process - what the heck went wrong? It is a 1350 watt backup which should be plenty big enough - maybe I really need to look into the settings. It does work by the way but not as quickly as it should. Just damn!
I'm so irritated now I don't feel like typing it all over again so here is a brief summary:
Marilynn in Atlanta had a problem with her Outlook e-mail program sending mail. After most of Wednesday afternoon I worked on it but it was Thursday morning when I fixed it - I had to run a tool to "repair" Outlook.
Charlie's computer is fix as much as I can fix it. The sound card is bad and unfortunately is hardwired to the mother board. I suggested he bid on some refurbished computers at eBay - I found one on which he is now bidding.
Everyday this week I've been spending a couple hours with the young men in my coffee group who have asked for my help. This has been and continues to be very rewarding for me and helpful to them I trust.
Last evening I watched a preview of a new series on the AMC network - this is the network with "breaking Bad". I LOVED the preview of this series called "Rubicon" which officially starts on August 1. It is exactly the type of spy - conspiracy program I tend to enjoy. Full of mystery and surprises around every corner - I'm sure this will be must see TV for me.
John is in town but I've not seen him yet - he got in late last night when his mom thought he'd be here by 2PM. Why am I not surprised?
TB left for Atlanta this morning to go to his sister's grandson's baptism - he'll be back Sunday night.
It's the weekend which means a new movie or two for me. That's all for now - more detail later.
When I go to the keys, I'd love to be able to take my video library with me - well I can take it of course but I want to be able to play it. My laptop can be the playing device but how do I get the video and audio on the TV in the condo? If it is new enough, I can always use a VGA cord which would be great but I'm not at all sure that older TV has a VGA plug - in fact I bet it does not. The TV is a analog TV not a digital. What to do? I've found that my laptop has a s-cord plug - not all laptops have such a plug. So I got a cord with a s-cord and audio plug at one end and RCA audio/video plus at the other end. It works! The picture is not all that great but it does work. I have to assume the TV has the RCA receptors on the back.
Now this leads me to potential problem number two. If I'm correct and it is an analog TV, then I'll only get about half of the channels I used to get because Comcast has changed their service. Soon I bet Comcast will not send any analog signals at all. So...I think I'll just rent a cable box for the month then turn it back in when I leave. This way I can get what I want. We'll see how things shake out once in the Keys.
I now have close to 1000 hours of video media on external hard drives. With new releases, I continue to add new video fairly frequently. New releases are easy to find - it's the older video releases which are much more difficult to find. There are people who go to movies the day they are released then video the whole movie with a video camera. I've never seen one of these but just for kicks, I'll give it a go. Of course the video can not be nearly as clear as a DVD rip but some say they are decent. We'll see.
I've finished on cleaning up Walt's computer - I uninstalled never used, defragged the laptop (took 7 hours), removed all old and temporary files, and then reduced the number of programs that open at boot. Many programs have absolutely no reason to open at boot - I even think some "normal" programs open at boot to gather data and invade my privacy. Good programs will ask permission but if you ever use a free program like I do, they put the data gathering permission in the EULA (end users' license agreement) that you have to agree to if you want the program. My belief is 99% of computer users never read the EULA - do you?
On weekends I like to watch a movie or two and this weekend I saw a darn good one - "Along Came a Spider" with Morgan Freeman. First, I like Morgan Freeman as an actor so that's a plus from the start. However, liking the actor is not enough - "Babel" with Brad Pitt sucked. The movie is just the kind I like with twists, turns, and surprises all the way through. You think you know something and then suddenly you discover you are wrong - you know how often I'm wrong...almost never! If you like the kinds of movies I like, this one is a winner.
I finished working on Charlie's computer at least for now. I worked on it off and on (mostly on) for three days. The computer was slow as older computers tend to be. I first cleaned it up but that did not help much so I decided to reinstall the operating system. Then I unistalled all the crap that comes pre-installed on a new computer - this machine must have had 20 games all in the 20MB to 30MB range in size. I pulled the antivirus resource hog out along with other programs Charlie will not use. Then it took me several hours to update everything including SP3 from Microsoft - his software was 6 years old. Alas, all this did not resolve the CPU usage problem.
What's up with all the CPU usage on what is basically a new machine? I did some extensive testing in disabling this and that but it still sucked the CPU at 80% to 95% - why? One cool utility I used called Process Explorer lists the programs including their CPU usage - your Task Manager will not list all the programs. It was a service called "Interrupts.". This service indicates a fault in some hardware and because after numerous attempts of failing to get his sound to work I've now determined it is the sound card which has failed causing the CPU usage and no sound. The bad news is his sound card is hard wired into his mother board. The computer works much better but without a new motherboard it will never be 100% again - I can't disable the "Interrupts" service.
I've gotten a new young man from my coffee group that asked for my help - wise young man he is to chose me. Now I've got two which is two more than I ever had before. Why now you ask? I guess it was just time - I didn't go looking but it happened. In case you're wondering, I'm very about this - I now have a captive audience to listen to my pearls of wisdom. Hopefully they will get something out of me which will be useful to them.
Speaking of young men, John returns to Vero this week and will be here until it's time for the Keys. Alex has been visiting him for the last week and will ride back with him on Wednesday (maybe Thursday). We've got a lot of catching up to do but then again we have a whole month in the Keys together so there will be plenty of time for that. Just what has John been up to I wonder - I guess I'll know soon.
Today's image is the before and after of my newest landscaping.
Of late I've not been spending as much time working on computers like I did just a month ago - I've sort of given it a rest. In part, I've not had as many pleas for help and in part I've not got a current project. Having said that, I bet I'll get a project just coming out of the blue soon.
Today I'm going to work on the computer belonging to the folks who do my housekeeping. As I mentioned the other day, Charlie's machine seems to be using 80% to 100% CPU all the time. I now have the computer here in my office so I can do everything I need to do. Charlie said he reinstall the OS via the repair console but it still uses all that CPU for no apparent reason. Actually, I can now tell he did not do a clean install but a repair which now has some old programs not working at all. I think I'll do a "clean" install today because IO think he may have a rootkit or some other nasty thing still on his machine - I'll know later today.
Today I'm taking Starr to lunch at the Ocean Grill - now school is out, she can actually go to lunch. I've not been there in months - Starr says she has not been there in years. Those of you familiar with Vero know all about the history of the Grill - heck I went there prom night in high school. I know ...you're wondering how something that old can still stand, huh? Well I'm still standing so there!
I decided to watch a movie I downloaded - "From Paris with Love". What a GREAT movie - I really liked it. The movie had all the action, international intrigue, terrorists, suspense, and actors I like. John Travolta was the lead actor - he's also a favorite actor of mine. Travolta could take out a half a dozen Ninjas (all had automatic weapons) by himself and his pistol. How people firing automatic weapons can miss so much is beyond me except that's how it works in the movies. This movie was a winner IMHO.
It was time to have my car detailede again - I do this about every 4 or 5 months. The detail guy, Steve< drives his equipment over to my house and does the work here. He does an excellent job. He's cost competitive with the "big car washes' but he does a better job - I've tried both. Having him come to me is a bonus as well. He's a one man show but he works really hard for about 2 1/2 hours to detail my car inside and out. Good guy.
You know what time of the year it is, don't you? It's fruit season for some of my favorite fresh fruits. I love peaches and melons along with grapes, plums, etc. I tried some peaches but the season is too early - peaches are been picked before they are ripe enough for me. The melons and grapes are good and of course I can always have bananas and apples. I love fresh fruit - maybe that's how I got my family name.
This morning I went to my doctor to review some lab tests - blood work to be exact. I'm taking a cocktail of medications from time to time that may cause adverse affects on my liver. The good news all is still well at this point. A few days ago I went to my psychiatrist who declared me to be chronically whacked - no news there, huh? So I asked for a second opinion - he said I was ugly too. Jeez!
This week I reinstalled the operating system in one of the computers owned by my cleaning service - are were amazed at the difference. Over the years we all tend to fill our commuters with crap and useless programs. reinstalling the operating system is a great way to reset everything.
They had another computer which was running at 80% to 95% CPU usage without opening any particular program. I cleaned it out, defragged it, scanned it, used HijackThis on it but I couldn't identify the culprit. I looked in the programs to find Microsoft SQL server installed - why in the world would that be there? The guy had no knowledge of it yet he said he bought the computer new. Why would your "off the shelf" computer have SQL server on it? I don't get it but I knew the SQL service was running which could be the CPU hog. I tried to unistall the application but it failed because it didn't have enough horse power to work. Then we got a blue screen, followed by a failed attempt to boot in the Safe Mode, followed by another attempt to do a system restore so we ran the "set up" from the recovery partition on the hard drive and that seemed to work. It would have been easier for me if I had the computer here rather than to try to do this remotely.
Starr came by for a visit - she'd taken son Alex to the airport so he could fly up to Talahassee to visit his brother John for a week then they'll drive back to Vero together next week. This was Alex's first trip on an airplane - it was a small 12 passenger plane. I want see what he thought about all this next week. School is out so Starr is not teaching now - she may still be doing some one -on - one work but I'm not sure.
I've not been to the beach in 10 days but planned to go today. Now it's starting to get cloudy so I'll wait for another day. We've been having heavy rain just about every afternoon - yesterday was an exception. It is clear we are in the typical Summer rain pattern here. This rain has helped my yard and the new plants - everything is looking go around here again. You can still see some damage from the cold Winter but soon that will all grow back.
Did I mention the problem I was having with my own computer recently? It had slowed down a lot compared to the lightening speed it first had. I discovered it was my security software - Kaspersky - which was the culprit. When I shut down Kaspersky, all was normal. After trying several suggestions offered on the Kaspersky forum and by tech support - none of which helped - I found the solution. I uninstalled the software then installed it anew and BINGO...all is well again.
Do any of you recognize today's picture from Islamorada?
TGIF - even though I don't go into an office now, I still can sense the week and it continues to remain special. Many of the programs that I like but come on after my bedtime show a re-run on Saturday mornings. I also tend to watch a couple of movies and a few British mystery episodes. I usually don't go to my coffee group but all the same I can't sleep late - I still wake up early.
Yesterday was visitors day here at mia casa. After lunch Tom & Mary Ann dropped in for a visit while they're in town - I think they leave today. I mistakingly though they were going to wait until father's day weekend to return. We had a very nice visit although Sally cat followed Mary Ann around - she's allergic to cats. They did mention a brief Key's visit is not out of the question if all the stars align just right.
Next my house keeping people came over to drop off an infected computer. I found the very nasty Koobface worm. I'm scanning the machine now with Malwarebytes but if need be, I'll manually pull the nasty worm out by it's roots. This virus - worm is the most prevalent virus - worm - trojan on the internet today. It is very sneaking trying to sell you a fake antivirus program and steal your ID, passwords, etc. I'm not sure what I'll eventually end up doing but that's my current project.
TB came by after work at the very time we were having a raging thunderstorm. I'm always happy to give sanctuary in dangerous times. We talked about the Keys of course - TB is still intense about getting everything ready. Jeez! I think he's been getting ready since the end of March. When we first get there only TB, John, and I will be at The Palms. Of course John is likely to snag a few babes from next door or the Tiki hut. Tommy likes to cook so I bet we all will be fed well.
I went to Dr. Director yesterday mainly just to check in and get new scripts. I've learned to call the pharmacies ahead of time to make sure they have the pills I need. Yesterday they did not have enough but said they would by noon today - I'll call before I go all the same. We decided to keep everything as it is for now. You know me, I'm addicted to "more" so I think it is prudent to keep on the same path until something changes.
In the next hour, my young coffee club buddy wants to come by to talk. Even the young can recognize my wisdom on all things. They also recognize I'm full of crap too!
Today I visited the local vampire in my doctor's office - she sucked a vile of my precious blood for testing. They're trying to identify my species - good luck with that I say. They'll also run some tests for a liver panel as a safety precaution because one of the meds I'm temporarily taking doesn't get along with human livers. But there's where I have the advantage - they only know about human livers! Next week I'll pay the big bucks for a doctor's visit for the sole purpose of telling me the results - why can't that be done on the phone? If he really needs to see me, then I'll come back, waste gas getting there, and waste time sitting in the office waiting for my appointment. Do you know the difference between God and doctors? God doesn't think he's a doctor!
I see more doctors in Vero since I've been here than I ever saw in Atlanta. Tomorrow I go back to my psychiatrist for my quarterly visit. He knows I'm whacked so why need I re-confirm that every three months? Actually it's a scheme to charge patients for writing prescriptions - one prescription can not be for longer than 90 days and must be delivered to a pharmacy - no call-ins allowed. You'd think I was getting morphine for god's sake. In case you didn't know, doctors can "call in" drugs like Vicodin, Valium, Percocet, or OxyContin but not my prescription. The strange thing is what I'm taking is not even an opioid! Why can't it be called in like strong opioids? Oh well, I really like seeing Dr. Director so this is really not a bad thing. When I'm with him, we usual talking about all sort of things except my prescriptions.
I've got to stop watching the news - every time I do I get irritated with the progressive - socialists in the Democrat party. This morning Senator Chris Dodd was on Imus in the Morning (show is from 5AM to (Am everyday on FOX Business News) talking about the oil mess in the Gulf - he blamed President Bush for the spill. Is anyone other than me so GD tired of the democrats blaming President Bush for everything? Obama continue to blame President Bush even though he's been in office for 18 months! When is that thin-skinned self-centered egotist going to start taking responsibility for the failures of his out of control socialist administration? Obama doesn't seem to care about much of anything except giving rights to terrorists, cheer on illegal aliens, and blame others for everything else. Just today I heard he was "too busy" to meet with the Governor of Arizona who he's bad-mouthed about the Arizona illegal alien law which by the way he's not read. He can go on vacation to Chicago, play golf, and greet athletic teams but he can't find time for the very important issues of government. He is so far out of his legal - he's not got a clue on how to run anything but his mouth as he reads what others have written for him. I'm sick of it!
My landscape guy finally finished the new landscaping, the cleaning of my bushes, and putting out ground cover all around my plants. I'm pleased with the results - the new black mulch really looks good. I'll take a picture to show you but it will have to wait until the rain stops.