Saturday, November 28, 2009

This is just too cool for words. Zero-gravity experiments on the International Space Station with a free-floating sphere of water. My favorite is the third one, where we see what happens when an effervescent antacid tablet is inserted into the sphere.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We've got a day ahead of us that will be full of family and friends, so that's reason enough right there to give thanks.

Also, since I really do prefer to take my holidays IN ORDER, it will be a relief not to have to deal with the time paradox of hearing Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Every year, they start earlier on the radio and in the stores with the Christmas music and decorations. It drives me nuts to see Jack O'Lanterns and scarecrows side by side with Santas and snowmen on the store shelves, particularly in the days prior to Halloween.

At least one radio station that I listen to online was playing "Secularmas" music prior to Thanksgiving. Last Sunday afternoon, they focused on winter music that doesn't mention Christmas and on SECULAR Christmas music (Blue Christmas, White Christmas, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and so on.) Now that Thanksgiving is upon us, I hope they'll find it in their hearts to add to their repertoire the religious Christmas music that unabashedly mentions the Reason for the Season: the birth of Jesus. For without that blessed event, there wouldn't BE a Christmas season to sing about.

Anyway, before I discuss Christmas any further, it's time to enjoy TODAY'S holiday! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Captain just figured out how to play "Throw"!

That's where he brings the milk carton ring so I can Throw it for him to chase!

GOOD KITTY! :-) :-) :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Car

Mark and I bought my mother-in-law's car from my in-laws today. It hadn't been run in so long that its battery was dead, so we replaced that. It also needs some other work done; for example, the speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge are unresponsive. And I'm not entirely sure if the temperature gauge is working... if it is, the car is runnng a bit hot and that will need looking into.

My dad told me to ask the mechanic to check the hoses and fan belt, since if those need replacing, we might as well do it ASAP.

We got it to replace my car, which is 20 years old and getting senile. The new (to us) car is 12 years old and was taken care of well by my in-laws. But it hasn't been used much in the past couple of years since my mother-in-law stopped driving.

Technically, it's not entirely "ours" yet, even though we paid for it, as we couldn't find an available notary to do the title transfer by the time we got the battery replaced. So we'll have to make a separate trip to get the title changed over. But we did drive the car home and we'll have the mechanic give the car a going-over in the meantime.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh, how cool is THIS? The video has to be viewed to do the gown its full justice (or as close to full justice as one can get without seeing the gown in person).



It looks like something out of the Disney Electric Lights Parade.

In fact, if Disney Imagineers see this video and DON'T design LED-imbued gowns for their princesses to wear, I'll be surprised and disappointed.

Doggone, that's neat. I wish it wasn't on display so far away. But it IS in Chicago, so if it's on public display, I have some relatives who'll have the opportunity to view it. (Don't let me down -- do go see it and send me pics! :) )

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anyone who knows me online OR offline is aware that I'm all about technology. If there is a device of any sort that will make life easier, I'm all for it. I'm also in favor of service industries and small businesses', particularly in this economy that has hammered both of the above (and pretty much everyone/everything else).

Yet, I read an article not long ago about a service/tech combo that puzzles me. It's "How to email Grandma if she doesn't have a computer". It discusses a service called Sunnygram.com that will, for $9.95 per month, print the emails you write to Grandma and snail-mail them to her. Ditto for photographs you email them. They also send out reminders for things like Mother's Day, birthdays, etc.

I commented on the article a few months ago, but I was reminded of it today because I get email notices when new comments arrive. I hold the same opinion today that I did when I originally posted the following comment on the article:
Why not just:

a. Pick up the phone and call. Gotta be less expensive than $9.95/month.
b. Print the letter out, or even handwrite it(!) and mail it yourself, for the cost of a stamp.
c. Print the digital photos, either at home or via a paid photo lab, and mail them along with the letter? (Or, if you're using an online service to print them, you can have them mailed to your relative instead of to yourself.) Again, the cost is sure to be less than this service's monthly fee.

To each their own, of course, but I think the direct contact of a phone call or a letter that YOU wrote, addressed, and sent, is a more meaningful way to communicate.

To tell the truth, if it was a service that charged a modest fee for sending a one-off letter or cobbling together a fancy newsletter, there might be something to that. But anyone who can afford to pay nearly $10 per month for this service should invest that money in a printer, paper, ink cartridges, envelopes, and stamps, then print the letters and photos themselves. I don't see the added value in paying a monthly fee to someone else to perform a task that's simple and inexpensive to do for oneself.

Of course, if you feel compelled to have someone else do the printing and mailing, by all means email me at the address on the top left of this page. You can Paypal me some funds and I'll happily perform said task for you. :D

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Installing WinXP

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I'm sitting here installing Windows XP on my laptop's newly-replaced hard drive.



Again. The second time since August. Which is not counting the time in May when the Geek Squad did it for me.



Here's hoping the drive behaves this time. This starting over from scratch is getting freakin' OLD.

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OMG, a UFO! A big round shiny thing floating in the air!

Oh, wait. It's just the Sun. That unusual glowing orb in the sky hasn't been sighted in these parts for at least a week. Darn well about time we got a break from seeing clouds, rain, rain, clouds, and rain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WHERE did this throng come from? I'm taking a break in a hotel lobby close to where I plan to see a concert within the hour (and taking advantage of their wifi, obviously :D). It was nice and empty and quiet in here when I arrived. Then suddenly a good 200 Twenty-somethings, both male and female, came pouring into the lobby from somewhere in the hotel. They're all in suits and carrying folders and business-y accessories, so they must be here for some seminar or whatever.

All I know is that I liked it better when it was peaceful and quiet. I hope their next session of whatever they're attending begins soon.

Subway car

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Good thing I didn't ride this subway car *yesterday* (Friday the 13th). :D

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I have a slightly insane schedule for the next 3 days. So much for replacing the still-dead hard drive on my laptop. That will have to wait until the weekend.

I'm still bowled over by the thought that Marie is no longer with us. As anyone who has met her or who knows of the many(!!!) stories about her, she was a person who was truly a larger-than-life character. There'll never be another one like her, for sure.

The stories, fortunately for us, will live forever. But I'll miss the one who was the source of that long list of anecdotes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Joe M. called me a while ago. We are very fortunate that we went to see Marie yesterday. He got a call from her former nurse's aide that she passed away this morning.

I'm sure her SPIRIT knew we were there yesterday, even if her body had no way of responding to our presence, so I am glad for that visit, however brief it was. We got to tell her we care about her and were praying for her, and let's face it, what else is there that we can do for one another beyond that? Faith, hope, and love really *are* the only things that last.

The world without Marie in it... unfathomable. :( The only way I can describe my feelings is to say that there was only one Marie, believe me when I tell you, and the world just became a smaller place today.

So many of our friends from the old prayer meeting are gone now. Hopefully they're remembering the ones of us who are left down here, while they're up there at THE Prayer Meeting.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Joe M. and I saw Marie from our former prayer meeting today.

But the sad thing is, there was no real indication that she was aware of our presence in the slightest. :(

She is in the same hospice that we were just visiting on Saturday night, due to the death of Joe's brother, and in fact she is in the room adjacent to his. And we had no idea. She's been there for some weeks, it seems, but her daughter only contacted Joe M. this morning.

I wish we had known she was there before now, particularly if she was lucid enough to recognize people when she was first admitted.

What a shame. Do please include her in your prayers. If she can rally and still have quality of life, then fine, but if not, then it's terrible for her to linger in a body that appears incapable of interacting with the outside world. :(

What a week this has been. Sigh.

.

Marie D. is in the room adjacent to where JFM's brother was. We were only yards away late Saturday night and didn't even realize it.

JFM and I will be seeing her this afternoon. I hope she knows us. Sigh... this world is a tough place.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

JFM's brother, whom I've posted about before and who'd been battling brain cancer for over 3 years, passed away earlier this evening. Please keep his family in your prayers. Thanks.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wow. Oh, my.

One of the online discussion forums I frequent has a thread where someone asked for feedback on the website he's setting up to represent his business.

It was so peppered with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors that one of the other forum members offered advice designed for someone for whom English was a second language.

The implications of this advice clearly went straight over the head of the site author, who responded jovially that he only knows one language, English.

I'm not sure he realizes that his writing made someone presume he's neither a native nor fluent user of English.

And I must admit... that was my own presumption on viewing the website, as well. I would offer to proofread the site, but there would be such a wholesale rewrite of the text involved that I fear it would cause offense to the site owner when he saw the sheer number of changes being made. Maybe someone who knows him a bit better than I do will be able to take on that task without causing hurt feeolings.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mannaggia la miseria. Farging Yankees. :(

I'm proud of the Phillies, no matter what. We have a team full of talented, class guys who are extremely easy to root for.

This is when I'm glad that I like both hockey AND baseball. The two sports' seasons overlap at the beginning and the end, so I always have someone to root for.

Thanks, Phillies, for an exciting year. Never a dull moment, to be sure! ;-) GO PHILLIES!