Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cheap Bastard - Humor

Cheap Bastard!

After God created Adam, and Adam had been in the Garden for a really long time, he started to get a little lonely.

So, Adam went to God and said,

"This Garden is amazing, but I'm starting to get a little lonely; is there anyone that you can send to keep me company?"

God answered, "I have the perfect person.

She will help you with almost everything.

She'll clean, cook, wash you clothes, be your friend, and even rub your feet after a long day.

She really is perfect in every way!"

Adam said, "That sounds great! How soon can you send her?"

God replied again,

"I can send her right away, but there is one thing ... it's going to cost you an arm and a leg to get her."

Adam thought for a moment, and then said,

"What can I get for a rib?"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Here in Kentucky - Humor

Here in Kentucky

you don't see too many people hang-gliding.

Ol' Zeek decided to save up and get a hang-glider. He takes it to the highest mountain, and after struggling to the top, he gets ready to take flight.

He takes off running and reaches the edge--into the wind he goes!

Meanwhile, Maw and Paw Hicks were sittin' on the porch swing talkin bout the good ol days when maw spots the biggest bird she ever seen!

"Look at the size of that bird, Paw!" she exclaims.

Paw raises up," Git my gun, Maw."

She runs into the house, brings out his pump shotgun. He takes careful aim. BANG...BANG.....BANG.....BANG! The monster size bird continues to sail silently over the tree tops.

"I think ya missed him, Paw," she says.

"Yeah," he replies, "but at least he let go of ol' Zeek!"

Friday, June 28, 2013

Got Firefox? Time for an Upgrade to Firefox 22

You know it's an easy upgrade when you catch it doing it when you go to see where you're at.



I've been hearing that Firefox has just released version 22.

I looked at my version number to check where I'm at and it was in the process of upgrading.

Here's how to check:

Start Firefox.
Click Help.
Click About Firefox.
If the version is 22.0, it's already been done.
If the version is 21.0 click the appropriate button to update.

Mine just needed a "Restart to Update".

I'm done.   Actually, I used it all this morning and it feels about as fast as before.  It does feel a bit more stable.  I *think* it is using a little less memory and a little less processor.  The laptop feels a little cooler than it had but that could be me just "thinking too much".

Have fun.  Pretty painless.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Leaping Puppies, It's Time For Training!

Rack is no longer the shut down dog we met two months ago.

Oh sure, he still is timid around people.  He still will leave the living room for the comfort of the crate when the trash trucks come down the street.  Big Rig Semi Trucks are a big "Nope" whether he is in the house or out on a walk.

But fortunately he will just sit down or pull toward a wall now instead of knock me off balance when a bus or truck comes by.  It's an inconvenience more than anything else, and I can tell when it's time to go home because I'm being led by the dog and not the other way around.

If there's a dog on the block he's excited.   That is the key, and why I know it's time for training.   It's not a normal adult dog's wagging tail and happy look that he's giving when he spots the other dog, it's a full on leaping in the air crazy puppy time.

That key is firmly in the lock and turned.  Time for us to open the next door.

When he gets to the other dog, he's the one who does the sniffing, so I know he's not completely submissive.  The submissive dog gets sniffed first.  He's got some boldness in there, we just have to channel it appropriately.

As we're approaching, that leaping has to be blunted.  What I'm doing now is to hold him back and slow him down when he meets the other dog.  The meetings have been so wild, so frenetic, that it's a giant barky puppy pile.  It isn't good for him, and it may not be good for the other dog.

They do go through their happy times and calm down eventually, but that's hardly good manners.

Remember, "Calm, Cool, and Assertive" is the goal.  Frenetic Jumpy Barky dog doesn't work, especially when you have 40 plus pounds of McNab bouncing shoulder high at the end of a six foot purple leash.

At this point the Dog Park is out.  He's too bouncy.  Meeting other dogs is great, but I'm restraining him so that he's got the brakes on as much as possible.   It's a great way to drain energy, but that's the purpose of the walk.  After all that adrenalin hits the system, you end up with bouncy puppy after the play time ends and the walk becomes a bit more of an effort.   Add to it the fact that he gets a minimum of 3 walks, 3 miles a day and sometimes as much as 5 miles, and you can see the issue.

He is definitely learning.  Day by day, or even Walk by Walk, he gets better.  You have to expect that with a Mc Nab.  They're a
more intelligent breed than most, if not more intelligent than all others, but even with the smartest of dogs, it does take time.

If your puppy is leaping in the air, it's time to work on that calmness.  It certainly is time for us to work on it.  But my own personal motto here applies:

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint.

Take your time.  If you are frustrated, imagine what is going on inside your dog's furry little skull.  Get yourself calmed down and simply stop walking and recover if you have to.  The dog will take that as a sign to calm down himself, and meet you half way.

But, it really is a Marathon and not a Sprint.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why Yes! The Blog Does Have a New Template! Thanks for Noticing!

This blog runs on Blogger.  I toyed with putting it on Wordpress but that would just have me monkeying around with more web tools.  I'm fine with that but it felt like it was redundant.  I've already got a couple web servers in the house, and I'm quite comfortable writing web pages.

It used to be a badge of honor to have a little icon saying that a page was "Written on a Mac" or running on ASP or something else.  Typically when I write a web page, I sit down with a blank screen and write code from memory.

Written on Notepad.

Using Blogger, which is one of Google's tools, has an interesting quirk.  Features magically appear.  Today it looks one way, then someone throws a switch somewhere and all the sudden I get access to new "stuff".

It's the same way for any of the websites that I work for that use Google Sites.   Today it can do one thing, tomorrow it's different.

I got curious poking around Blogger yesterday.  I was looking at my readership numbers and noticed that there were new templates.  I clicked on one forgetting the biggest fault I found with Google tools - they generally do things "NOW" and can't easily be switched back.

So I had gone through a couple different looks and settled on this one.  It isn't carved in stone, I may get fancy and play around with fonts and colors.  I'm not a fan of "Arial" or "Helvetica", and it seems that everything from Blogger to Microsoft Word wants you to use those.

Too common, too much of a "Me Too" look.  Lazy, perhaps, as well.

I applied the template and there are a few things that I lost like the spinning globe.   I may put that back, haven't decided yet.  I can always play around under the hood with the CSS and see what I get.

So for now, my daily readers get a new look here on the web.  Both the Mobile and the Browser based sites have been changed.  RSS I guess looks the same as always, text and little formatting on a mostly blank page.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sticker Shock for a Key Wester

David's gone now.  He came up from Key West for a long weekend and I dropped him off at the airport so he could catch a shuttle to go home for a while.

On the way down we were talking about the festival over the weekend.   He knows the people who ran the Key West visitor's booth there.  He was talking about how the guy was complaining about the location of the booth and making generic comments about things.

Being someone who lived in Key West since the 80s, David may not be a Conch, but more of a Naturalized Citizen.  You don't live in a place without it affecting you, and you affecting it. 

I've been in South Florida now for 7 years, I can understand.  At this point I'd say that I'm quite settled in.  Doing work in shorts and a T Shirt feels normal now even if I do look killer in my grey suit!

David did have an interesting comment about things here.   Every time he'd be out in a shop he would be in shock over the prices.  Now, South Florida isn't exactly a cheap place to live, but in comparison it certainly is.  In fact that's one thing that they don't tell you at that tourist booth.  Key West is an expensive vacation and an expensive place to live.

Cost of living reflects that it is a rock in a wet place.  Stuck 120 miles out in the ocean, Key West has to have everything trucked in from the mainland.  That expense is reflected in everything from food to lodging.  Even water is pricey, having been sent down a tube from Miami.

Saying "They don't tell you that to get a drink you need a Mortgage", I got a chuckle while sitting at the light at Sunrise and NE 4th.  Ten Dollar beers are not unheard of, if not commonplace in Key West. 

I guess they have to send it down on the back of a Marlin.

Since you could describe Key West, like the bumper stickers say, a cute drinking town with a fishing problem, those Ten Dollar Longnecks are a pricey annoyance.

One of the first things I do is figure out what his schedule is when he arrives, then I drag him out to the shops.   This time I was lucky, he realized that I was right.  He would pick himself up and walk out to the Publix or any of the local shops and "have a poke around town".

When he'd get back, I'd hear more about those Ten Dollar Longnecks.

Maybe he's not the one that gets the sticker shock, so much as I am.  After a 200 mile drive, Key West could be a very expensive place to relax whether beer is involved or not... and that just isn't the kind of thing that they will tell you at a Travel Booth at a street festival.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Elephant in the Room Has Left The Drive

After a weekend of listening to my windows rattle from two separate giant towers of speakers three blocks away, it is now what passes for quiet here in Wilton Manors.

The birds have not quite returned yet.  There are different birds out there chattering, but after being subjected to over-enthusiastic DJs who cranked the music past Eleven to somewhere in the stratosphere, the usual ones have left.

So loud in fact that when I went out to see what was going, the music out in front of my own house was louder than I listen to music INSIDE the house. So loud that when you walked out to see the party, people would walk past visibly faster and not linger because the bass note hit your chest like a concussion shock wave.  The third music stage was much better managed down at the stop light, people were actually hanging around and enjoying themselves there. 

The city did an excellent job of managing the few parking resources they had.  The neighbors who didn't want people using their lawns as a parking lot had cans out to block.   Signs were posted where you could and could not park.  Those who did had $10 fees for the privilege.  There were lost cars and taxis speeding through the area all weekend.

June in South Florida is a punishing time of year to hold anything outdoors, that 90 degree sun on black asphalt means that the apparent temperature is enough to cook an egg.  The crowds at the peak of things would show you that it simply was the wrong time of year to be out for long periods.

Parties can be fun, when they're not too much of a good thing.  The parade was a blast.  The DJs were not.  Wasn't the choice of music, they played what I listen to normally, it was just the volume.  In fact, everyone I had spoken to about the festivities had about the same comments. 

You can't please everyone, but sometimes it's obvious what to do.  In this case, I'll please myself by forgoing the need to mention which specific party it was.  If you were here, you knew.  If you weren't, then I won't spoil it for you, I'll let you be surprised for yourself.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Old Golfer Tries to go to Heaven - Humor

When the old golfer died, Peter met him at the gates of heaven. "Sorry, old man" Peter said "But I can't let you in. You see the big book here says you committed one unpardonable sin back in 1978 - you took the Lord's name in vain during a golf game".

"Oh, yes. I'll never forget that one and I'm terribly sorry Peter, but I can explain..." the old golfer blethered. "Well" said Peter "You'll have to take it up with The Big Guy".

So Peter led the old golfer down a long golden hallway, to God's office. "We've got another code 6 here, sir! Says he can explain..." "So" booms God "You've been taking my name in vain...?". "Only once, your Almighty, Sir. But I can explain!" "Okay. Try me" replied the Lord.

"Well you see sir, I was playing my best game of golf ever, and I made it to the 18th hole, and I'd win the tournament if I could just make par on this hole. I made my shot from the tee, and it was sailing beautifully, when suddenly the wind shifted, and took my ball off into the woods, and right behind this enormous oak tree..." "And that's when you took my name in vain?"

"Oh, no, sir! I just took out my 6 iron and knocked that ball clear out of the woods with one swing! It was gliding beautifully toward the green, when suddenly it lost speed, and dropped into a sand trap, right smack in the middle of a deep hole "So, that is when you took my name in vain?"

"No, not then. I just took out my nine, and with one swing, drove that ball right onto the green, and it rolled within two inches of the hole..."

"Missed the damn putt, didn't you?" sighed God.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Day At The Nursing Home - Humor

A day at the nursing home

Jane and Arlene are outside their nursing home, having a drink and a smoke, when it starts to rain. Jane pulls out a condom, cuts off the end, puts it over her cigarette, and continues smoking.

Arlene: What in the hell is that?

Jane: A condom. This way my cigarette doesn't get wet.

Arlene: Where did you get it?

Jane: You can get them at any pharmacy.

The next day, Arlene hobbles herself into the local pharmacy and announces to the pharmacist that she wants a box of condoms.

The pharmacist, obviously embarrassed, looks at her kind of strangely since she is, after all, over 80 years of age, but very delicately asks what brand of condom she prefers.

'Doesn't matter Sonny, as long as it fits on a Camel.'

The pharmacist fainted.

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day Of Summer

Sure, I'll jump on that bandwagon since it's everywhere I see.   Google Insights for Search, Facebook, BBC, and other places I stop by on my usual nonsense every day.

It means that the sun has started moving South on its yearly Figure 8 track in the Tropics.   It happened while the US was asleep, so it's already Summer.

Love the heat?  Great, just wait a couple weeks.   There's a roughly 30 day lag between the sun of today and the heat in the environment.

Here in Florida, it's made it into the 90s already, and will be until October and off and on in November.

I have a good friend out in California that described this trick.   When he used to live in Townsville Australia, he was North of the Tropic of Capricorn - true tropics.  We're about 200 miles North of the Tropic of Cancer which is 20 miles North of Cuba for comparison.   Your mileage may vary.

Tim would go out to his yard in front of his "Queenslander" on this day at noon and look down at the ground.  What he'd see is the smallest shadow of the year where the shade would be "in a little puddle at his feet".

Here, the sun will be about 86 degrees "due up".  For all intents and purposes, directly overhead.

So go out and do those things you usually do when you change seasons.  Today's the day.

Dance around a tree.
Change your smoke detector battery.
Switch toothbrushes.

No, really, you should check that... your toothbrush especially.   Use the old one to clean the tub grout.

If you drive by my house at noon today, I'll be somewhere probably looking at my feet and the shadow that isn't there. 

Just think in about 5 or 6 months you folks up North will be complaining about cold weather again!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Does This Make My Dog A Zombie?

In the hallway, the work has begun.

Chuck Norris has lost most of his brains to the giant canine beast.

Stuffing is scattered all over the house like little clouds on the ground.  Simpsonian in their nature, the polyester fluff is scattered broadly on the Florida Tiles.

Flashing his bright eyes at you, he glares when interrupted. 

Brains.   Pulled from their skull every chance he gets.  First it was the teddy bear.  Purple trending to Pink due to it's being washed weekly.  The stitching in the back has been replaced more than once, eyes ripped out of their sockets to expose the sweet, sweet brains behind them.   Stuffing gets pulled out in an eyeblink.

Then onto Chuck Norris.  The eye holes are large enough to stuff your thumb into.  Forget that one, the result of a few minutes of entertainment show up scattered all over the house.

The Frog has special dispensation.  Being his favorite "child" the Frog gets carried into the Bedroom at
night, left in shoes, and dropped into the crate.  Gently played with as a prized possession, this green animal goes everywhere.

At least he's not tearing into the furniture.   Rack has been extremely well behaved when it comes to "our" stuff.   Kitchen counters and couches are offlimits, and the beds are becoming so with the help of the bells.

But the first toy to "die" is Chuck.  Always.  I just wave a magic wand over him and bring him back to life for more de-braining later.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morning Moxie by the Pool - Picture

I can honestly say that Abe Simpson from The Simpsons got me drinking this Moxie Stuff.

I've always been eager to try new foods, within reason. 

Sushi is not for me, it just reminds me of Bait.

But if it's cooked, not too spicy, not too fried, sure, it's a meal not a life commitment.

I was watching an old Simpsons rerun where Abe Simpson was saying that someone really had Moxie and chuckled.   It was the kind of thing that people who were older than me said.  Usually quite a bit older.   The saying really isn't used much any more.

Dad would use Moxie once in a while, and it got me thinking what did it really mean.

It turns out that it was an Advertising slogan. 

Moxie was the Cola Drink that Coca Cola and Pepsi had to unseat before they could battle for number one and number two in the market.  Moxie faded away in the pre-WWII years and was a shadow of itself in the 50s.

I never had any of the stuff until I got here in Florida.   If you want it at this point you have to be in Florida, Pennsylvania, or New England... roughly.

Coca Cola and Pepsi just taste sweet to me, no real flavor, just sweet.  Why bother, especially at 150 calories a can or more.  Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi were the same, but with the wonders of the chemical black arts. 

Choose your poison, High Fructose Corn Syrup or Aspartame.

No thanks.

While walking through the boutique-y Fresh Market in Fort Lauderdale, I spotted the "Weird Soda shelves" as I called it.  Remembering Grandpa Simpson I chuckled as I grabbed the bottle of Moxie and placed it in the cart.

After it got home, I found a new friend.   Flavor.   No longer was I drinking the Bachelor Chow of Sodas.

Moxie tastes similar to the Bottle Cap cola candies we all had when we were wee brats.  There's a slight bite to it from something called Gentian root.  It's supposed to be a stimulant, this Gentian root, and it is supposed to have a bitter tang.   It doesn't really taste bitter to me, but I'm a heavy coffee drinker so I doubt it would.

It's not something I have every day, any kind of sugared soda, but I did realize that the other morning I walked the bottle outside and that isn't something I generally do with the coffee.

Chasing the dog around the back yard with a bottle of Moxie sweating in the early morning Florida sun by the pool.   Not a bad way to start the day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What is your Uptime - Time Since Last Restart of Windows

Ok, I will restart today.

I'm notorious for never restarting the laptop until I am forced. 

I have way too many windows and tabs open, too much work that is In Progress.

Blog articles.
Graphics Projects.
Web Pages.
Video Projects.

You get the picture.

So the other day when I got nagged by Windows to do a windows update and a restart, I got curious about how long it has been since the last time I actually closed everything and started the laptop.

This is called "Uptime" in the Business.  It means how long did the computer think it had been up.  

Since I simply hibernate the computer because it's much easier for me to get back to what I was doing, this isn't completely accurate.  This laptop is up about 14 hours a day every day.  Uptime is reported here as being 9 Days, 13 hours, 54 minutes and counting.

The process is real simple.   With Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8:

  • Hold the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc buttons at the same time.
  • The window that comes up is your Task Manager.
  • Click the Performance tab.
  • Read Up Time on the window.  It is highlighted it on the picture in red.

9 days, 14 hours now.... I think I need a vacation.  That would be back in May. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Frog is in the Shoe, The Dog Roamed Last Night - Picture

When we got Rack, we decided he'd have a crate to sleep in.  Off the Couch, Off the Bed, Off the Furniture.

Unless invited.

Rack is a rescue dog.  We got him April 21, 2013 from the Dog Liberator.  While his story before he got to Giselle was frightening, she had him long enough that we all knew he'd start to open up and grow into a fascinating character.   He was only there for 11 days, so there was only so much that Giselle could have known about his personality.  

Since he was shut down, it was easier to set some hard and fast boundaries.   The first night or three he slept in the crate in the living room with the crate door closed.

That stopped when he started getting lonely and whined overnight.  My having a rough sleep even through the earplugs meant I had to figure something out.

The crate went into the master bedroom, sitting on top of a blanket to muffle some of the sounds from tossing and turning.

His, not mine.

The crate door would be kept closed and he'd be able to see me sleep on the bed.

When he started to come out of the crate willingly, I decided that I'd try to have him sleep with the door closed on the bedroom and the crate door would be left open.  The room would be blocked off so he had about 1/3 of the room to roam in.

Rack liked that, and that was how we slept for the next two months.

He's still exploring the house during the day, but he tends to retreat to the crate when something scary happens like the trash trucks stopping by twice a week.  Noises are a trigger for him to go hide, which is common for many puppies and dogs who have been through the trauma of being turned in to a shelter at an early age.

Last night that changed.   I forgot to close the bedroom door.

Blissfully ignorant, I slept the night.   So did Rack.  Sure, he had wandered through the house but didn't find anything of ours that he needed to chew on.  With cables to the electronics somewhat badly hidden under furniture, and boxes for recycling in the kitchen, he had plenty of opportunity for mischief.

But nothing happened.   I woke up to an open door and realized he had the chance to be out and about, but the only thing I found torn up was his toy that he has been disemboweling when he needed to play.

Other than being greeted by bits of polyester fluff, nothing happened.

He does take the opportunity to "find things" from time to time, and we do have to keep an ear open to make sure that he doesn't go up onto the bed, but for the most part, he's very close to being ready.  There are plenty of things around the house that probably should be picked up, thrown away, or put to better use, but for the most part, he ignores them.

Another behavior to watch for in this case is "Where The Dog Sleeps".

In Rack's case, it is basically anywhere and everywhere.   Dogs will not relieve themselves where they sleep.  If they sleep everywhere, you will have less of a chance of an errant marking of territory.  Territory markings and little piles are the other main problem you can have with an inexperienced dog on their first night out on the house.  I have found Rack sleeping next to the back door where he nodded off while watching the back yard.   He's curled up against the front door in the living room, under the dining room table, in the kitchen...

You get the picture.

A dog that has one place and one only to nap in will be more likely to wander to the most distant part of the house and "Use The Tree", even if housebroken.

In our case, we got off lucky.  I'm not planning on leaving that bedroom door open tonight.   I'm not
completely confident that I won't wake up to something of mine shredded, even though he has plenty of toys.  On the other hand his pet frog toy ended up placed very nicely inside of my shoe this morning as an offering.

We're not there yet, but I think I can see the exit ramp down the road a piece.  Now, if I could just get him to stop waking me up at 5:15AM every morning...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Man Walks Into A Bar - Humor

A man walks into a bar and orders three beers.

The bartender brings him the three beers, and the man proceeds to alternately sip one, then the other, then the third, until they're gone.

He then orders three more and the bartender says, "Sir, I know you like them cold, so you can start with one, and I'll bring you a fresh one as soon as you're low."

The man says, "You don't understand. I have two brothers, one in Australia and one in the Ireland. We made a vow to each other that every Saturday night, we'd still drink together. So right now, my brothers have three beers, too, and we're drinking together."

The bartender thinks it's a wonderful tradition, and every week he sets up the guy's three beers. Then one week, the man comes in and orders only two. He drinks them and then orders two more. The bartender says sadly, "Knowing your tradition, I'd just like to just say that I'm sorry you've lost a brother."

The man replies, "Oh, my brothers are fine -- I just quit drinking."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blonde Blitz - Humor

Blonde Blitz.... 

A noted psychiatrist was a guest at a blonde gathering, and his hostess naturally broached the subject in which the doctor was most at ease. 

 "Would you mind telling me, Doctor," she asked, "how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?" 

"Nothing is easier," he replied. 
"You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble. If he hesitates, that puts you on the track." 
"What sort of question?"
"Well, you might ask him, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?' 

 The blonde thought a moment, then said with a nervous laugh, "You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history."

Friday, June 14, 2013

Welcome To My Back Yard - Picture

I guess I just wanted to take a "pretty picture".   On the same day I took the one of the dead water heater for yesterday's post, I wandered around the yard looking for "pretty". 

There were a couple of pictures that simply didn't turn out since I don't have a Macro Zoom on my little camera. 

Too bad, there was a little snail climbing up my Mango tree that made for an interesting shot.

The close up of this hibiscus was out of focus but this one turned out nicely.   Composition could be better I guess, but hey it is what it is!

So enjoy this Postcard picture of Casa de Ramblingmoose Spa, also known as my backyard, next to the pool. 

It's June, so the pool water temp is in the mid 80s, and the sun is intense.  At noon, the sun is about 85 degrees above your head.  You're guaranteed to get your Vitamin D and a tan.

Flip every 15 minutes or less or else you might burn.

We Floridians tend not to sit out in the sun though, it's a bit much every day.

There's iced tea in the fridge, stronger stuff for the 'dults, and I've been wanting to make Oatmeal Cookies.  That may be a project for the weekend.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Do I Have A Dead Bosch Water Heater On My Porch?

When we moved into this house, we decided that any time we would replace an appliance, we would get the most energy efficient appliance possible.

The refrigerator has LED lights on the front.
The bathroom mirror has dimmable CFL lighting.
The post light in front of the house has a very bright CFL in it.
The washer is low water use and front loading.

And then there's this monstrosity.

Yes, the Bosch AG 250 SX LP water heater.  The bane of my showers.   This was a mistake from Day One.

We never were able to use a low flow shower head with this beast because it required a much too high a flow of water to keep the thing running.  That was always a thorn in my side.  It effected how we would do laundry and dishes as a result since it required a lot of water flowing through the heater element to keep it running according to programming.

At one point we were so frustrated that we contacted Bosch for relief and they sent us a completely new computer for the inside to go from "Rev 4" to "Rev 14" or something like that.   It only made it a little better.  The person at their helpdesk was very helpful but said it was "a problem with this model" and made happy noises.

When the freak storm came through two months ago, it rained down the chimney and flooded the unit.  Rather than being disappointed, I saw it as an opportunity to get rid of this beast and get something that actually WORKED!

We limped through a week of cold showers and other annoyances until the new tankless water heater was installed.

It is a Rinnai.  Much more efficient since the water flow to trigger the heater is somewhere around 4/10 gallon a minute, it will use much less propane.   At 95 percent efficiency, the Rinnai RU98 actually uses a piece of PVC pipe for a chimney.  It also has a very low current draw to the unit so if we were out of power, I could rig up a 12V battery with a car inverter and power it long enough to get work done.

That sort of thing is important for storm prone South Florida.

So frankly I am completely put off of Bosch appliances.  I will not have another once the washer and dryer die.  I will not recommend them to anyone else as a result.  It may be my own personal opinion but it reflects the frustration that we had with that horrendous water heater.

If you have one of these monstrosities, my condolences are offered.   Get a Rinnai.  I can turn the shower down to a near trickle and still get hot water.  They seem to be the water heater of choice in South Florida.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hurricane Supplies Have Taken Over The Pantry

June 1 starts Hurricane Season.

June 1 also starts the time of year that I get claustrophobic in the Pantry.

It's a small cramped room to begin with, probably not much more than 8 feet wide and 20 long.

The room has all that "utility room" stuff in it.

It's my laundry room and pantry so along the wall are all the soaps and cleaning supplies as well as the washer and dryer.

It now has the explosion of food that comes into the house every June.   In fact, we're still drinking last year's bottled water to "get rid of the stuff".

Two weeks of food and water for two adults, a dog, and a rambunctious parrot take up a lot of space.

The carnage near the door is coincidental.  There's a stain on the concrete that predates our owning the house, most likely water from Hurricane Wilma back in '05.  I left the dog's toys there because that's where he was playing with them.  Now I have a claustrophobic crime scene with a blinded Chuck Norris doll and partially disemboweled pig doll among all the chaff.

We should have cleared the kitchen table of the excess supplies before hitting the Warehouse Club for the water.  It won't be used until some time around December as a result. 

But we're set.  Two weeks of food and water.   Just squeeze by if you have to use the washer!

It's part of the price of living in Paradise.  There is no place in the US where you don't have some sort of life threatening weather.  If there's ice and snow, good luck standing outside in it for a day without a heavy coat.  Earthquake zones have furniture bolted to the walls and there's a strong preference for "ground floor apartments".  Tornado Alley homes usually have storm shelters that double as a basement or storage.

In our case we've got large corrugated steel shutters, a roof that is strapped to the house, concrete block walls with stucco, and the usual low slung architecture.  Build tall here and you're waiting to get slapped down by an errant flying coconut tree.

Pull up a chair and grab a bottle of (last year's) bottled water!  So, how are your hurricane preps going on?  Got everything you need?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Did I Know You Were There? The Dog Told Me.

Getting up at stupid o'clock or earlier, also known as 6AM means that I occasionally am up earlier than the other dog walkers.  Those are the quiet days.  No people around, very few cars, and we get back quicker.

Today was one of those days.

Uneventful walk with Mr Dog means that only my right triceps muscle is a little sore from the experience.

Step, Step, Tug, HEEL!
Step, Step, Tug, HEEL!
Step, Step, Tug, HEEL!

And so on.

Making the morning coffee, I have two "nut brown" eyes staring back at me from a jet black face with a white stripe down the middle.   Sure, I'll give you an ice cube.

Leaving the ice cube square in the middle of the kitchen, I turn back to my morning routine when I notice that the dog is gone.

I guess you didn't want that cube.

Curiosity makes me walk out to the living room.  I see the head and shoulders of my neighbor walk by and his dog.  I also see Rack, my dog, sitting square in front of the door.  Tail wagging and a quiet, plaintive squeak of a whine, he wants to go out and visit his friends.

This happens a couple times during the day.   Only certain people will get this reaction.  I'm off doing my own thing and all the sudden he stands up, stretches, walks to the door and wags his tail.  I look out the window and it is one of a few specific dog walkers going by.

Since people like to follow a rigid routine, I can set my watch by when it will happen.

Hi Marc and Pepper.
Hi Jim and the Girls.

And so on.

It is a very big change from the shut down dog that joined us here on our quirky little island a month and a half ago.  This dog who couldn't be bothered to go anywhere now finds extreme joy in meeting other dogs, even if they're just rattling past the house on their own not having a clue that someone inside appreciates their presence on his street.

We are fortunate.  He could be the opposite.  The yappy or overly territorial dog that is lunging at the front door is an all too common site.   Those are the badly trained dogs, overreacting when someone merely has the temerity to walk past THEIR house.  Those are the homes that you walk past and wonder if the glass on the front door or window will hold.

That is not my problem.   Since he's still "in training" we're not going to open the door and let him go sniff.  That would be more like a black and white rocket flying to the street in a blur and getting into mischief.

His personality changes daily.  Subtle shifts in reaction happen from walk to walk.  Since there is a long way to recover from, this is definitely progress.

Progress is always good.  Progress is especially good when you remember to clean up the melted ice cube from the kitchen floor before you slip and fall.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Computer Basics - Resizing Web Pages and Changing Text Sizes - Picture

Yes, I said Basics, and I mean it!

I find myself looking at a lot of long lists in web pages.  A LOT of text.  I found myself getting annoyed at not seeing enough on a single page so I started changing the sizes of the page.  That's easy and works well, but only on that particular web page.  I wanted all the text to be smaller to fit more "stuff" on a page.

There are two slightly different ways to do it.

First method - Change "this" web page to be larger or smaller.  This is going to work for a given domain (from what I can tell) and will work on Firefox as well as Internet Explorer and probably on Chrome.

Three simple key commands -
  • Larger - Ctrl and + (plus sign) at the same time
  • Smaller - Ctrl and - (minus sign) at the same time
  • Back to "normal" - Ctrl and 0 (zero) at the same time
 What that will do is bump the text up or down a step, and it will make the pictures get larger and smaller at the same time.   It's like moving closer or farther away from your monitor.

Second method - Change only the text to be larger or smaller.  This will work EVERYWHERE, so be aware.  Going up one or two steps, or down the same, works fairly well but it may make the web page look a little strange since the pictures will not change.   It also may not work at all on a specific web page since the web designer decided to force a specific size of the text on the end user.  Bad form and controlling but it does work.

Since this setting is going to stay stuck everywhere until you change it back, we'll call it "permanent" and leave things at that.

In Firefox, click Tools and Options to get the basic Options page.
  1. Click on the Content Tab (circled).
  2. Click on Advanced (circled).
  3. Click on the Size Buttons (circled) to change the two sizes.  
  4. Click OK and OK again on each window.
I recommend that you do each by one or two points and see how you well it works for you, but change them both by the same amount.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Spanish Word For Computer - Humor

A SPANISH Teacher was explaining  to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either  masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine:  'la casa.'

'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead  of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and  female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computers should be a  masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for  its recommendation.

The men's group decided that  'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'),  because:

1. No one but their creator  understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to  communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone  else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for  possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to  one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for  it.


The women's group, however,  concluded that computers  should be Masculine ('el computador'),  because:

1. In order to do anything with  them, you have to turn  them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still  can't think for  themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve  problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one,  you realize that if you  had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a  better  model.

The women won.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

AntiJokes are the best - Humor?

Since Eric insists that the last post was recycled recently... I present... Anti-Jokes.   I have to admit I really don't get these.  You be the judge.

 AntiJokes are the best

A duck walks into a bar, the bartender says, "What'll it be?" The duck doesn't say anything because its a duck.

What do you call a man with no arms and no legs water skiing?
I don’t know, but that sounds like a highly improbable circumstance

A horse walked into a bar. Several people got up and left as they spotted the potential danger in the situation.

What is the biggest lie in the entire universe?
"I have read and agree to the Terms of Service"

How do you make a plumber cry
You kill his family

A guy walks into the doctor's and says "Doctor, it hurts when I poke my leg like this."
The doctor says "Yes, you've shattered both your kneecaps. You'll never walk again."

What's the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies.
One is used in the sport of bowling, and the other is just a tragic, very saddening sight to see.

Why did the catholic priest get sent to jail?
Tax evasion.

An owl and a squirrel are sitting in a tree, watching a farmer go by.
The owl turns to the squirrel and says nothing, because owls can't talk. The owl then eats the squirrel because it's a bird of prey.

Why the girl fall off her bike?
Someone threw a fridge at her.

Why did sally fall off the swing?
She had no arms….knock knock. Who’s there? NOT SALLY!

How do you stop a bus?
Throw small children in front of it

What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?
Finding a worm in your caramel apple, which costs about 35 cents more on average

What do you call a black guy who is legally selling drugs?
A pharmacist

Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
At the bottom of the page.

Four of the Year's Best Comeback Responses - Humor

 Four Of The Year's Best Comeback Responses

If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman.  He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer's credibility.

Q: 'Officer --- did you see my client fleeing the scene?'
A: 'No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.'
Q: 'Officer, who provided this description?'
A: 'The officer who responded to the scene.'
Q: 'A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?'
A: 'Yes, sir. With my life.'
Q: 'With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?'
A: 'Yes sir, we do!'
Q: 'And do you have a locker in the room?'
A: 'Yes, sir, I do.'
Q: 'And do you have a lock on your locker?'
A: 'Yes, sir.'
Q: 'Now, why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?'

A: 'You see, sir, we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.'

The courtroom EXPLODED with laughter, and a prompt recess was called. The officer on the stand has been nominated for this year's 'Best Comeback' line.

Now We Know Why He Was a General –

In an recent interview, General Norman Schwarzkopf was asked if he thought there was room for forgiveness toward the people who have harbored and abetted the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on America.

His answer was classic Schwarzkopf.
The General said, "I believe that forgiving them is God's function... OUR job is to arrange the meeting."

Dana Perino (FOX News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL.  After discussing all the countries that he had been sent to, she asked if they had to learn several languages?
"Oh, no ma'am, we don't go there to talk."


Conversation overheard on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai.
Iranian Air Defense Site: 'Unknown aircraft you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself.'
Aircraft: 'This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace.'
Air Defense Site: 'You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!'
Aircraft: 'This is a United States Marine Corps FA-18 Fighter.  Send 'em up, I'll wait!'
Air Defense Site: ( ... total silence)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Inertia, or Resistance to Change

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.
Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

Newton's First Law of Motion.

Sure, a marble on the table given a nudge will roll but it will also slow down.  The reason is the force applied to it from outside of the "system" of the marble and table.   It's called friction.

That is a basic principle of Physics, but it also applies to life.

Some people are much better with change, they can apply themselves and work through things as if it is water off of a duck's back.  Others are much more conservative and freak out when there's the slightest bit of a wrinkle on that double oxford broad cloth shirt.

Instead of grabbing an iron, those folks will wring their hands and fret.

The point is that while things can be done, they almost always can be done more ways than one.  Toss the shirt out and buy new.  Of course that new one will still need to be ironed, but don't say anything until they get that home from the mall.

There's always a judgment call that has to be made as well.  How much effort needs to be applied to cause the change to happen?  Can we live with the results if we do or don't change things?

If you keep asking questions like that you eventually end up with a tree of yes/no answers and build a process.  Things tend to sort themselves out in order.   If you don't proceed in order you will end up revisiting things later, usually caused by a resistance to change, a rigidity of thought.

Can you take things in one big bite or can you divide and conquer?

All binary questions.  Yes, or No?

That would be the basis for a systemic analysis of a project.   Laying out all the alternatives, in order, and following the path of least resistance.

Oversimplified, but that is the meaning of "basis".

Of course there are shades of grey, but they are usually held back for a later time. Especially if there are 50 of them, and that is a very different story indeed.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Windows XP? Consider Switching to a Different Browser or Upgrading

Still using Windows XP?
Are you using Internet Explorer?

Don't do that.

My friends will laugh and say I have always hated Internet Explorer.  I really do dislike "IE".  I have been steadfastly using Firefox since it was introduced.  Internet Explorer just felt slow and bloated and generally "icky".

I have an XP machine here at the house, and there are people in Corporate environments who still use XP.  It's around 1/3 of the PCs out there at this point and declining.

The problem is that there's a security change coming down the pike that will make Internet Explorer on Windows XP less secure.

The quick solution is to always use a different browser when you can.   I suggest Firefox, but Chrome as well will work.  The security change that you need is in the more modern browsers and Internet Explorer is not being kept up to date by Microsoft on Windows XP.

If you want the long story, you can follow this link to Naked Security.  

Bottom line is it's time to change your browser or upgrade the computer to run Windows 7.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jingle Bell Dog Repellent - Picture

Sitting in the living room of my small house, my concentration is broken.

Listening to the All Armin Trance Channel softly do battle with the dishwasher's purring in the background, I hear a familiar thump.

A tail hits the plastic of the crate walls in the bedroom as Rack stands up.

Getting back to task, I have an email blast and a Facebook posting to do for my Social Media work.

Giving a passing thought to my puppy in the next room, I get started with the graphics work.   The picture has to be resized, then placed on the server, and merged with some text on the eblast and uploaded to Facebook for a later "time delayed" posting about some local business.

My concentration drifts again.  Armin is asking me to "Please go to A State Of Trance Dot Com" when I hear another noise in the bedroom.

It sounds like the holidays.  Jingle bells in specific.

It also sounds like fear.   The dog makes a flying leap off the bed and charges back into the crate.


"Off the bed!" I yell, knowing that he already got off the bed.

This is working for now, but I have a crafty adversary.   The adversary of a lazy dog trying to get comfortable.

For now, the trick of leaving noisy things works.  Rack dislikes noise intensely.  The house is usually a quiet one, the music is rarely too loud since that will get my parrot Oscar giving a screechy accompaniment not out of place in a Bollywood movie.

He must know I'm writing about him, he just laughed once.

There are pillows on the couch.  Two squares, and a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  They serve to Keep The Dog Off Of The Couch.   The bed is a different story.   For now, the bells work. 

The dog needs confidence building and training at every step.  He's a shy dog, and that can be worked with.   Walking him near anything that CAN make a noise means that he's going to be giving it the evil eye and trying hard to pull me away from the noisy item.  That does not work well since I weigh about 5 times more than he does, maybe more.

Hmm, better cut back on the snacks...

Me, not him.

As we walk, he has definite times of the day that he's better.  The crazy-early 5AM walk that happens when he wakes me up too-early is usually the best.  For him, that is, I could use at least another hour sleep at that time of the day.  

The city is asleep, few trucks and buses around to startle him into misbehaving.

Fast forward 12 or so hours later, and the cacophony of city life guarantees his going into fear mode and recoiling at every passing boom car.

I am not convinced he's wrong about that entirely.

But for now, I can work with the fear of noise.  All it takes are a few brass bells on the bed.

That and patience.   We're in it for the long haul.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Attack of the Monster Lizard of South Florida - Picture

Just when you thought it was safe to return to your kitchen, they have returned. 

The Monster Gecko Lizards will climb your glass.  They will eat pesky bugs like moths and termites.  They will look at you while you make tea and coffee. 

They are coming!

Of course they are coming.  Hurricane Barbara washed itself out over Mexico last week, and the remnants have been parked over top of Key West and spread out through South Florida since then.  All that rain has made for a great environment for strange creatures like gnats and mosquitoes to come out and make whoopie all over the place.   The birds are dining and so are the lizards.

Besides, these lizards are completely harmless.   There's a game among the children to catch a lizard and have them bite their earlobes to have lizard earrings.

Not exactly the nicest thing to do to these shy creatures, and besides, just what do you wear to match  lizard earrings?  Alligator Shoes?  Snakeskin wallet? 

When they come to visit the kitchen, I know my wood will be better off.   A nice meal of bugs and crawly things means less damage to the house.

Monday, June 3, 2013

8 MPH While Standing Still

I knew the sign was there but had forgotten about it.  It was one of the newer Radar signs that towns put up to try to convince people they really don't need to do 45 in a 30 zone. 

Flat as a laptop, orange lights showing apparent speed, and letters spelling out "Your Speed" on the top, it was designed to show your speed in Miles Per Hour.

I remember the older signs that were large enough to be built into a small trailer.  They emit Radar, so if there is a Radar detector in your car, your detector will beep and make you think there's a cop standing around waiting to ticket you.

But this day I wasn't paying attention to the sign as I took my friend and house guest, David, to the Fort Lauderdale airport.  He was leaving to catch the shuttle to go home to Key West.  I, on the other hand, had a rare bit of fun.  I was actually driving the Jeep.

Leaving my own Island City, I crossed over into the 800 pound Gorilla that is Fort Lauderdale.  Immediately people started driving "stupid".  People were back into Pole Position mode, shifting lanes, driving too fast, and generally being nuisances.

I could never be a cop.  I'd spend all my time in court arguing why that idiot needed to pay the ticket for driving 15 miles over the speed limit in his boom car, or some other infraction.  Indeed, I saw four infractions on the first quarter mile before we hit the first light at the convenience store just South of town.

I dropped David off at Arrivals, said goodbye and that we'll look forward to seeing him again in a couple weeks.  Heading back, I thought nothing of the moronic drivers that we have here, entertaining myself by looking at palm trees, playing with the radio, and plotting my course for the 8 mile trip home.

When I crossed into Wilton Manors near City Hall, I saw that sign and it had its effect.   I checked my own speed.  My speedometer is calibrated indirectly. I know that it reads about 10 percent higher than actual speed.   It said I was going 32, the sign said I was going 38, so my actual speed was 29 - by the stopwatch and by my OBD II computer that I had talking to the smartphone.

Laughing at the "accuracy", I thought that it was a conspiracy.   Jeep has the speedometer reading high so you slow down.   The manufacturer of the sign had it reading even higher because these things are put up by cities frustrated by speeders.

Conspiracy?  Isn't that what they all say?

How about the dog walkers then?

It was 5:45AM.  I was walking South on Wilton Drive away from the sign and stopped.   For once, the city was just about empty.  The Green Market was setting up at the park for the Saturday and Sunday fruit and vegetable sales.

The sign said that I was moving at a steady clip.  Since I was actually standing there watching my dog water a shrub, I would disagree with the sign.  I wasn't going 8 MPH.

I shrugged and laughed as I walked down past City Hall, and back North on the North Side of the drive.

That mental sign still said 8MPH.

As I watched, a car approached and passed me.  The sign jumped to 18, then 28 MPH.  Seems like a pattern here. 

Once the sign was passed, the numbers reset to 8 MPH.  Nobody else was anywhere near that sign.  I was once again walking at 8 MPH while standing still.

Something tells me that the new sign isn't quite accurate, and that fits in with my own pet conspiracy theory.

I'll stick to the sidewalks at any rate, there are enough mental drivers out there without my adding to them by driving a Jeep in the "middle of the pack" speed zones.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Parrot - Humor

New Parrot

A woman went to a pet shop and immediately spotted a large, beautiful parrot. There was a sign on the cage that said $25.00.

"Why so little ?" she asked the pet store owner.

The owner looked at her and said, "Look, I should tell you first that this bird used to live in a house of prostitution, and sometimes it says some pretty vulgar stuff."

The woman thought about this, but decided she had to have the bird anyway. She took it home and hung the bird's cage up in her living room and waited for it to say something.

The bird looked around the room, then at her, and said, "New house, new madam."

The woman was a bit shocked at the implication, but then thought "that's really not so bad."

When her two teenage daughters returned from school, the bird saw them and said, "New house, new madam, new girls."

The girls and the woman were a bit offended but then began to laugh about the situation considering how and where the parrot had been raised.

Moments later, the woman's husband Keith came home from work.

The bird looked at him and said, "Hi, Keith."

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reminiscing - Humor


A woman wakes in the middle of the night and finds her husband is gone. She looks all over the house and finally finds him sitting in the darkened kitchen, staring at the walls and slowly stirring a cup of coffee. She asks “What’s wrong hon? You look depressed.” and he replies “I was just reminiscing.” She asks “What about?”

He went on to say “Remember when we were young and your dad caught me sneaking out your bedroom window late one night? Then he pulled a gun and said I had to marry you or go to prison?” She says “Yes I do dear.”

He gave out a long, low sigh, looked up at the ceiling and said “I would have been getting out today.”