Saturday, May 30, 2009

HAAA-LE-LUJAH!!!

I have my laptop back! My wallet is in serious pain, but I have my laptop back! Farging hard drive crashes... but they are pretty much a guarantee to happen at some point during a computer's lifetime.

The only drawback is that now I am installing a very long laundry list of software that Geek Squad couldn't do for me. This includes things like Firefox, Google Chrome, Spybot Search and Destroy, and Ad-Aware, for starters. I'd list the rest, but that's probably only of interest to other nerds, so if you're curious, just ask. (My email addy is near the top of the orange sidebar.)

I do have to say, though, THANK GOODNESS for the Firefox add-on Xmarks. (Formerly known as Foxmarks.) It took me under a minute to restore my bookmarks to what they were pre-crash, because I have this add-on that saves my bookmarks on Xmarks' site. I have the add-on installed on this laptop and two netbooks, and EVERY time I update my bookmarks, Xmarks saves it. Then when I use Firefox on one of my other machines, it immediately synchronizes the bookmarks so they're always current on that machine.

In any event, I'm still installing software on my machine. It's all freebie stuff, but it's stuff I use regularly so I need to get it back. While I wait for it to download, I have the Franklin Institute webcam feed for their Red-Tailed Hawks Nest running in a browser window. Most of the people whom I know read this blog are as interested in this sort of thing as I am, so let's see if blogger behaves when I try to embed the link in this post.



Enjoy!
Sigh. I had to make some more changes to the blog setup. This time, it was how the blog handles emailed posts. The miserable wretch spammers struck again, and this time I realized that it was possible they had emailed a garbage post into the blog.

So I tweaked the way that blogger handles emailed posts to my blog. NOW let's see what happens. Bleeping scumbag spammers.

In other news, I have made a discovery over the past week. Every time I spend a day mostly on my feet, my knee KILLS me the following day.

I wouldn't normally care much about that, *except* that I am about to attend deaf-blind camp in nine days. From June 7-12, I will be at the camp in West River, MD again this year.

This will be my first multi-day stint as an SSP (Support Service Provider, or in other words interpreter/guide) since I reinjured the knee last July. Well, technically I was SSPing at the time I reinjured it, literally, But at that point, the knee was so screwed-up there was no way to compare the way it responded to use then vs. how it is now. A better comparison to make would be, "This is the first multi-day SSPing I will do since the surgery". So we will see how this goes. I will unquestionably be carrying pain meds and also an ice pack, Just In Case. If I have to ice the knee down at night, so be it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

.

The freaking interpreter never showed for my deaf-blind friend's medical appointment. :headdesk: :headdesk:

What bothers me is this isn't the first time this has happened, nor the first doctor's office I've witnessed this problem in.

It drives me up a wall, because I used to BE the person who arranged for interpreters at a specialist's medical clinic and I never, ever ONCE forgot to arrange for one. And on the occasions when I have been the free-lance interpreter, I never, EVER missed an appointment without calling to notify someone that there was a crisis.

So I honestly don't understand how a deaf-blind person could have a medical appointment and the 'terp just Not Show Up and not call ahead. Whether the doctor's office or the interpreter is the source of the problem, this sort of thing shouldn't happen.

GRRRRRR...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Knight

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Some Knights are already in full regalia. Mark hasn't got any of the accoutrements yet. Only Fourth Degree Knights wear them.

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Today Mark becomes a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. So you may address him as Sir Knight the next time you see him. :)

I'll get to meet other wives at the luncheon and banquet, which is good because I want to find out more about the Ladies' Auxiliary. Our parish's chapter is only a year old, so we haven't got a Ladies' Auxiliary yet.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mark and I had a great time yeste2rday. We went to the St. Rita's Feast Day Mass in the morning, then to the Zoo. We had dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse on the way home.

Today, I picked up a few last-minute items for the banquet tomorrow. We also brought my laptop in to have it checked, as my attempts to restore the corrupted XP file were not working. My concern is that I think the hard drive itself took a hit. :-P Phooey. But we'll find out.

While we were there, we took a wander through the store to see the other fun techie stuff on display. That's where we discovered, by accident, the solution to a problem Mark was having with HIS laptop. He has an HP Pavilion, and there is a little display light on the body of the computer that shows if the volume is muted or not. Mark's machine was muted and nothing he tried would bring the sound back.

We saw some similar computers to Mark's on display. He pointed to the little light on the computer. "See that? It's white, which means the sound is on. Mine is orange, which means the volume is muted."

"This one?", I asked, and touched the little display light.

It turned orange. What the heck?

I touched it again. It turned white.

The freaking display light is actually a touch-sensitive CONTROL BUTTON. If you want to mute the computer or un-mute it, just touch the little light. Problem solved.

I hope MY laptop's issue is as easy to resolve. I have my doubts that it'll be quite THAT straightforward of a solution, however.

Friday, May 22, 2009

.

This is my first time visiting the Zoo with the Digital SLR camera. Oooooo, this is fun! :)

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Shoot. We were waiting for the ZooBalloon, but they just now closed the ride due to high winds. Nuts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today is the anniversary of two momentous events in my life.

35 years ago today, the Flyers won their first of back-to-back Stanley Cups. I was 10 years old, and I had become interested in hockey during that season. Pretty good timing, no? ;) On a related note, the Flyers victory inspired me to turn the one and only successful cartwheel I ever managed to achieve in my entire life.

The second momentous occasion occurred on the 25th anniversary of said victory. In 1999, we had my wedding rehearsal and its associated dinner. I still remember with amusement, to this day, that Father C. was astounded to see that the people whom we'd asked to bring up the gifts knew exactly what to do, without prior instruction, when we reached that point of the rehearsal. :) Never in his priestly career had he seen people who, when asked to perform that part of the wedding Mass, had the faintest idea what was required of them. This is what happens when a longtime church musician marries the son of a longtime church cantor. Between my friends and my in-laws, we had music directors from three separate parishes taking part in the wedding ceremony. We also had current and past choir members, cantors, and lectors in the group. So overall, our particular wedding party had a higher-than-average likelihood of familiarity with the Liturgy. It might have been the easiest rehearsal Father C. had been through in a long time. :)

So, I salute May 19, and the good things that have come my way so far on that date.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Here is a special note to Eastern US residents, and in particular people in the Philadelphia area. I got this notification from the Ready Notify PA mailing list today. We might be in for a pretty interesting sight at some point tomorrow evening. Keep an eye open for a rocket launch from VA that might be visible from this area.

An Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket will be launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, May 19th, between 735PM and 1130PM. Wednesday, May 20th is the backup launch date. This rocket may be visible by residents in the Eastern United States as a bright light heading to the southeast from the mid-Atlantic coast.

Given the weather forecast calls for clear skies; NASA believes it may be possible for this event to be seen from Philadelphia.

Sent through Philadelphia ReadyNotifyPA.
Speaking of St. Rita's Shrine, there was an act of vandalism there over the weekend. Someone damaged the statue that has stood outside the church for over 60 years.

I have no idea how anyone in their right mind would deface anything connected to any house of worship. It's enough to make me hope that the culprit, who I do hope is caught, is someone who's NOT in their right mind. Not because I would wish the scourge of mental illness on anyone, God forbid, but because at least then the person couldn't be held responsible for their actions. Also, if the person is in need of mental-health services, if they get caught, maybe that will be enough to get the wheels in motion so the person can get much-needed treatment. Then at least there would be some benefit coming from an otherwise ugly act.

If it was a person who knew full well what they were doing, and committed the act of vandalism anyway, then not only do I hope they get caught, but I hope they have an enlightment where they suddenly, clearly Understand what a horrible thing they've done. It's never right to maltreat people or property connected to any house of worship, anywhere. That doesn't matter WHOSE house of worship it is, IMO. If I want other people to respect me and my faith, then I am obliged to treat them and their faith with respect, as well. Thank God we don't live in a place and time where this act of vandalism would spur people to commit an equally ugly act against some other faith's place of worship.

If anything, this attack is a sharp reminder that the world, and everyone in it, is in need of the prayers that are going on during this Novena. Of course, all one needs to do is pick up a newspaper and scan the headlines; that's one way to find an ample supply of reminders of what a mess the world is. I hope they catch the responsible person. It's a shame that even in 2009, people can't go pray in peace.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I figured out why my pics weren't posting from utterli.com. Remember a few days ago, when I said I changed the PW to my blogger account?

Apparently, utterli.com had issues with that. I went into the settings for the uterli account, updated the blogger information, and re-sent the images from utterli itself.

I still need to take a real camera to the church at some point between now and Friday. The interior of the church is far too beautiful not to share it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Joe M. and I started making the Novena at St. Rita's parich today. For those who are not from South Philadelphia, that church has the distinction of being the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia.

I tried to blog a photo of the church from my cell phone before yesterday's Mass, but I see it didn't arrive.

The Novena began yesterday, and continues for nine days, finishing on May 22, which is the feast day of St. Rita.

Mark will be coming to some of the Masses with Joe and me. He came to this evening's Mass, is likely to be in attendance in at least one Mass over the weekend, and will be there on May 22 which also happens to be our 10th wedding anniversary. :)

In other news, John R. had surgery on the broken bone in his ankle today. The good news is that the surgery went well, and if he listens to his doctor's instructions, the bone should heal completely. (We won't visit the topic of his past history regarding following doctors' orders. Sigh.) The not-so-good news is that the docs were not pleased with something, I'm still not sure what, that they saw while he was under anesthesia. So they sent him to have his heart catheterized.

Again.

He already had a heart attack, a bypass, and at least one angioplasty/stent put in during the past 12 months. (More like 10 months, really.) The last thing he needs is to have more heart-related trouble. So let's pray that whatever the docs saw can be EASILY resolved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I keep seeing memes on places like Facebook and MySpace that ask people to tell details about themselves.

That's not automatically a bad thing. But only if a person exercises discretion regarding which answers they are posting in a public place.

I just saw a warning about a meme called twitterpornname that's making the rounds on Twitter at the moment. Memes that ask the sort of questions it poses are an online security risk. Period.

When you sign up for an online account somewhere, you have to provide the answer to security questions, so you can retrieve your password in the event that it's been forgotten. Security questions include asking for one's mother's maiden name, first pet's name, father's middle name, the name of the street the user grew up on, etc.

Some of these memes and surveys ask for exactly the same information. So while users are happily taking their pet's names and street names, and declaring to the world that their Twitter Porn Name is Fluffy Jackson, they are also posting the answers to their security questions for the whole internet to see. And, perhaps, take advantage of.

Don't do it. Don't put your personal info out there in public. Have fun with surveys, but decline to answer any question that you recognize as a piece of info you would use to retrieve a lost password.
JFM just called to say John R. fell at home and broke his foot. He also is having a low blood pressure episode. Paramedics are there; fortunately, he lives VERY close to a hospital so it won't take long to get him there.

Still, do send thoughts and prayers. What a wretched turn of events. :(

Monday, May 11, 2009

GOOD THING Joe M. suggested we ask for specifics, regarding the dress code for the Knights of Columbus banquet.

There is a luncheon, presumably for non-Knights while the Knights themselves are installing their new fourth degree members. The dress code for that is "Sunday church clothes"". Fine. That, I can do.

What I didn't realize was that there is ALSO a banquet on the same day, and for THAT, the dress is formal. As in, I need a gown. Holy cow. On such short notice, this could make life extremely interesting.

Of course, the first of the Interesting Things is to figure out where in heck I'm supposed to change clothes. Lots of the attendees to this event are staying at the hotel where the installation is taking place. So it's no biggie for them to go back to their rooms and change. I, on the other hand, will have no such option.

Welcome to my life. Someone must have wished that Chinese curse on me, that I should live in "interesting times". First up: figuring out how I'm going to purchase a gown and have the alterations done on practically zero advance notice. I suspect there will be some blog fodder to be had from all this, when all is said and done.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Darn. I just got a sad email from Karla. Her cat Toy (short for Lin-Toy), who just turned 19 last month, passed in his sleep this morning.

19 is an excellent lifespan for a cat, all the more so because he'd been receiving treatment for hyperactive thyroid for the past 9 years. Besides that, his nine lives were spent in excellent health.

Still, we'll all miss him. RIP Inspector Gadget. Say hello to your cousins Melody and Harmony up there at the Rainbow Bridge. :(

Friday, May 08, 2009

Swine Flu: the latest

I've been on the ReadyNotifyPA mailing list for a while now. This missive just came through from them.

I think that a simple dose of common sense is what's needed to battle this outbreak. As such, I prefer to get my info from sources that don't depend on ratings points for advertising dollars. (I follow the same protocol when it comes to weather-related info, preferring the NOAA weather radio to the local TV stations that go into a screaming panic over the sighting of a snowflake.)

Anyway, here's the latest. Use common sense and take the same precautions to avoid this flu as we take to avoid every other strain of flu that arises every year.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health's Division of Disease Control
reports that two probable Philadelphia cases of influenza A (H1N1) have been
confirmed today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as
positive for influenza A (H1N1). These are the first confirmed cases in
Philadelphia for influenza A (H1N1), also referred to as Swine Flu. Neither
patient was sick enough to be hospitalized and both are recovering.

Three additional probable cases have been identified today. A total of nine
probable cases are currently under investigation.

Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz urges Philadelphians to follow good health
habits because covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop
the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting
sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You
will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may
prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands.Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person
touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her
eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active,
manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For the latest influenza A (H1N1) information, visit the Philadelphia Department
of Public Health s website at www.phila.gov/health or the Philadelphia Office of
Emergency Management website at www.phila.gov/ready

Sent through Philadelphia ReadyNotifyPA.

The latest installment in the Stupid Criminal Tricks files:

Police: Bank robber nabs $3K, leaves wallet behind

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Police didn't have to dust for fingerprints to find this suspect — they just rifled through the wallet he left behind at the scene. Albert Vincent Perkins was charged with robbing First Federal Bank in Kansas City on Thursday. Police said he walked into the bank, handed the teller a plastic bag and ordered her to give him all of the $100 bills. Then he walked out of the bank — but left his wallet sitting on the counter.

The U.S. attorney's office said the teller and a customer in the bank identified the photo on the driver's license and another photo in the wallet as the robber.

Perkins was arrested Thursday night. Police say he took about $3,100.



Bwahaha! I wish the Karma Train would be as swift to run over EVERY crook!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Some fargin' bastage stuck a spam post on my blog. GRRRRR

The garbage post has been deleted and the PW for the account is changed.

Pain in my RUMP spammers. I don't need this aggravation.
Incompetence: when my pharmacy is supposed to call in THREE prescriptions for renewal by my doctor, yet somehow only ONE is renewed.

Now they are telling me that the doctor's office only filled one prescription. I would be willing to bet money that WHEN I call the doctor's office tomorrow, they will tell me that the pharmacy staff only requested one renewal.

This is all from the same pharmacy, to the same doctor, BTW. It's not like I have multiple numbers or medics that they'd have to call to get this accomplished.

WHY can't people get it right the FIRST bleeping time? Since they're, you know, BEING PAID to do this stuff on a daily basis?

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Signing

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Joe and Edith use tactile sign language.

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AC3

Lunch: 2 cheesesteaks for the price of one. So all four of us got a cheesesteak.

AC

since I started this blog 6 years ago, in anticipation of being able to write about the AADB (American Association of the Deaf-Blind) concention, it's fitting that I should spend this day with deaf-blind friends Joe J. and Edith R. We three, plus Joe's mom, are in Atlantic City, hoping to break the bank. To that end, we're playing the 1¢ slots, trying to get rich, one penny at a time. This could take a while. ;). Wish us luck.

Happy Blog Day to me

It's the 6th anniversary of my starting this blog!

So celebrate and spread the word! :)

Happy Blog Day to me!

Monday, May 04, 2009

I try to only eat when I'm hungry.

In the past couple of weeks, that has not been a viable solution. I haven't been hungry.

It just dawned on me that except for what I ate because I can't take a particular prescription on an empty stomach, I haven't touched food all day. Nor have I wanted to.

I hate when I feel like this. Not that I mind eating a bit less now and then. Within reason, that would be harmless. But the overall malaise that accompanies the appetite loss makes the whole thing more of a detriment than an asset.

P.S. The freaking sun needs to come out. Too many days of rain in a row is not helping matters.

Da Boyz

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Captain & Stanley, hanging out with Paw :)

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

National Train Day: May 9

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May 9 is National Train Day, from 10a - 3p at 30th Street Station. See nationaltrainday.com for details.

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Cosi Card

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I registered my Cosi card, with my XO, as I waited for the Philly OLPC Group to get together.

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Here I sit at Cosi at 30th Street Station, in the hopes that there'll be a few more arrivals for my monthly OLPC meeting. I always buy lunch and a beverage, to make up for the fact that I will be helping to co-opt a table here for the better part of the afternoon.

I've never been the only one to show up. However, there were a couple months during the past year when I "called out sick", and the other Most Regular Attendee has been the only arrival.

Heck, even if all I do is sit here and surf on the XO for a few hours, it gets me out of the house. ;) So I sit here and surf for a while instead of sitting on the sofa and surfing... no harm, no foul.

I do have to say, though, that I'm glad that Cosi's wifi connection is working. That's more than we have been able to say for some prior months when we had groups coming in here. It's pretty sad when you're sitting practically right UNDER the wifi router, with a direct line-of-sight to the device, and your machine can't "see" it or make a connection.

There is, or at least was, one other freebie wifi available at 30th Street Station. Its name is "Home of the Best Cheesesteak", and I don't know which vendor provides it. I presume that it's one of the several proprietors in the food court, though. (Duh, no kidding, lol.) It USED to be the most reliable wifi available in here, but for the past few months, it hasn't worked. That's a pity.

I wanted to put our Nerd Meeting on my justin.tv channel, as I did in February, but I think I might just wait until someone else arrives. In the meantime, I think I'll register my Cosi rewards card and read the latest news.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mark noticed a whole bunch of people wearing similar colors/T-shirt walking down our street, including cheerleaders with pompoms. So he asked what the event was.

Turns out that a nearby grade school is holding a walkathon. Cool! I hope the weather holds up for them and they raise lots of funds.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Snowball - Our Dancing Cockatoo

BWAHAHA! Mark sent me this link. What a clever bird!; he literally dances in tempo with the music! :)

Blast. Mark's car is still not done, nor is there any prospect of having it this weekend. In fact, our mechanic had to send it off to another shop. Farging piston.

Welcome to life with two geriatric autos. Neither Mark's car nor mine has all that many miles on it, particularly given the age of the cars. But when your NEWER car is from the mid-1990s, and it's 2009, you can pretty much expect to see parts occasionally break due to sheer age, I suppose.

Still... !*@&#^!@*&#^!@#. Doggone it.
Well, I have found two things that are useful as mood-boosters. One is to MAKE myself have activities that involve leaving the house during daylight hours. Sunlight is good, and in particular it's good for getting serotonin levels regulated. This is one suggestion that the doc made a while back, and it is right on target.

The other tool is related to the first idea, but it never occurred to me to actually TRY it: OPEN THE BLINDS during daylight hours. It helps. Aunt Rita said once that we'll be in the dark long enough after we're gone, so let the sunlight in now. She has a good point.

Morale levels still aren't perfect. I'm not surprised about that in the least. But I'm trying to turn even some of my symptoms, like near-complete loss of appetite some days, into a blessing where I make myself eat Just Enough not to get sick. I don't prefer, and certainly don't recommend, having one's appetite suppressed in quite this manner, but I figure if this is how things are, I might as well use the situation to my benefit.

On a related note, the Adirondack Phantoms will be starting next season in Glens Falls, NY, 280 miles away. At least we HAVE a location for the team; it's better than seeing the franchise go dormant for lack of an arena. The prospective Allentown arena's construction is on hold after state funding fell through completely. So the original plan of moving them into the Lehigh Valley, upon completion of a new arena, might be on hold at best, rendered unfeasible at worst. They might have to fulfill their contraqcual obligation to eventually get within a 200-mile radius of Philly some other way, one that doesn't involve constructing a brand-new rink. Stay tuned.