Hello again! I just had a very nice weekend with my daughter Heather and her boyfriend Heath. They took me out to a place called Wingers, and the waiter was really slow, so he offered free dessert. Yum! From now on, I think I will go light on the entree and just have the asphalt pie! I know, but it really isn’t black concrete; its a lucious confection of oreo crust and minty ice cream with lots of whipped cream. Then we played a few rousing games of Uno Attack. I LOVE games, and anyone who will play them with me. In fact, the next day, they went out and bought me the game for my early birthday present. They also took me out miniature golfing, after which we got a bucket of golf balls, and practiced hitting them into the next county (or at least as far as the blue flag). I was REALLY good! I was hitting the balls WAY out there. I told the kids that I wanted to go golfing, but Heath tells me that real golfing is a lot different. I think you actually have to aim where you want the ball to go, and other silly things like that.
And now, our feature presentation.
When Johnny was about 2 years old, (and Bob and Heather a little older) we took a family vacation to Nevada, California, and Utah. We visited relatives along the way. Johnny had been recently weaned, but still was allowed a water bottle to suck on a couple of times a day. He was out of his routine and wasn’t happy about riding in the car so much. For comfort, and for the sake of the rest of the family’s sanity, he was permitted to suck on his water bottle pretty much whenever he wanted to. It seemed to me, his long suffering mother, that little Johnny did nothing but cry, suck on the accursed water bottle, and wet his diaper. Bob and Heather were enjoying all the new and exciting sights and places, but Johnny was NOT a happy “camper”.
Well, when we got to California, we spent a day at the seashore. The kids had never seen the ocean before; probably a strange thought to people who are used to Japan. Bob and Heather were having a great time; running in the surf, finding sea shells, and even a starfish. I think we saw a jellyfish too, and of course the sand! I was determined that Johnny should experience at least some of the wonder of the ocean, and handed him a particularly captivating seashell. “Look, Johnny. Look at the pretty seashell.” He grasped the shell in his little hand, and I thought I had at last caught his interest. “Oh,” he said wonderingly. “Can my eat it?” When the answer was negative, he flung the shell, away, stuck his lower lip out and pouted.
By the time we got home, I was so sick of that water bottle that I told Johnny that we had left all his water bottles in California and that we couldn’t get them back. It wasn’t until YEARS later that it finally dawned on him that he had had the bottles all the way BACK from California, so…......
But my little prevarication served its purpose, and to this day, Johnny has never again depended upon a water bottle for his comfort and happiness.
So, there you have it. All Johnny. And not ONE embarrassing word about Bob and his 10th birthday party.
FOR SALE: iMac, 17” screen, 1Ghz processor superdrive model (the highest-end standard [non-custom] model imac that apple sells). Add to this 768Mb worth of RAM upgrades to the maximum allowable 1Gb of RAM along with English versions of Adobe Photoshop 7, Adobe Illustrator 10, and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. The machine is in mint condition with all of the original packing materials (aside from a foam wrapper that was surrounding the screen and got torn while opening) and software and manuals. It is covered by the AppleCare protection plan. This is truly a beautiful machine, and I will sorely miss the swivel screen, it is amazing. contact me at mac AT t4ac DOT com with questions and offers, read on to find out why I am selling it. Rest assured it is not because of any complaint about the machine. (which has made a mac believer out of me)
I haven’t been this techcited for years. (Techcited: a combination of Technology and excited. Stupid? Yes I know that’s kind of my trademark.) I was just commenting to the UltraGirl about a week ago that I didn’t really have a very extensive list of computer hardware that I wanted anymore. Sure there are some things that would be cool to have. I wouldn’t mind having a scanner, and if you wanted to give me an old PC to mess around trying to turn into a media PC for the living room I wouldn’t turn it down, and I would really like to be able to capture video from my HI8 camera to enable me to edit it on the computer; but there was very little out there that I felt like I really need. I say was because yesterday Steve Jobs gave his keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
Two things that he introduced there have gotten me really excited: the new G5 machines, and Mac OS X.3 (Panther). The G5 will be released in August, and I must have one, but I’m REALLY excited about Panther!
It sounds silly for me to be more excited about the least expensive of the two products, but there are a couple of reasons for it. First, while the hardware is very cool and it is necessary, you don’t feel like you are directly interacting with it like you do with an OS. Secondly, while I have yet to see anything about Panther that I didn’t like, I have at least one issue with the G5 that I’ll get into below. We’ll see when I start writing about it whether I have anymore gripes that I’m not conscious of yet. (Yes, your suspicions were right. I write in a stream of consciousness fashion and very rarely go back and edit, as the snake post reveals. [yes I reread it, and know that it is pretty bad] <- double parenthetic clarification, beat that if you can! [hint: you can’t])
Anyway, back to writing about the G5.
The G5 has 9 fans to keep it cool, but is purportedly twice as quiet as the G4 (35dbA at during normal operations at room temperature) and is capable of running dual displays off the shelf.
Now that I have discussed a bit about how the G5 is put together and mentioned the G4, I guess it is time for me to address the gripe that I have with the G5: it isn’t sexy enough. The G4 has those smooth creamy curves and looks deliciously approachable.
The G5 on the other hand, while looking better than any box I’ve ever seen Windows come in, looks a lot more imposing and a lot less luxurious. The grill on the front reminds me of those steel grills you sometimes see around vending machines at rest stops in the United States to keep the machines from being vandalized. I’m sure the design will grow on me, and perhaps it looks a little better in person than when pictured on a computer screen, but I’m pretty sure I like the G4 design a lot better. Let me clarify one more time though, the G5 design is still a good one.
The easiest way to describe what has me so excited about Panther is just to say that all the things I hated about Jaguar are not just fixed in Panther, but turned into works of art.
The biggest complaint I have with Jaguar, or at least the most naggingly irritating one, is the way it integrates with my Windows network. You see I still primarily work on a Windows machine, and my laptop also runs Windows. My server is a linux machine, but thus far I haven’t accessed it very much from the Mac. Every time I reboot the mac I have to reconnect to my Windows network. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I have to enter a user id and password for every shared folder that I want access to. I regularly access about four shared folders on the network, so every time I boot up I need to log in (to the same machine) four times. As you can imagine, this gets old really quickly. Panther’s new finder seems that it will eliminate these problems, and that alone would make me a happy man but they’ve also made the finder interface a lot more intuitive and useful, and have added super quick searching too.
A feature that Windows XP has that Jaguar doesn’t is fast user switching. In Windows XP if I am working on something on my computer, but UltraGirl wants to check her e-mail real quick, she can log in to her account without logging me out, and without making me close all the programs that I am using. In Jaguar to switch users you need to log out of one user’s account before the other user can log in. With Panther’s fast user switching I can do it on the fly like in Windows XP, but with style. If you watch the keynote you’ll see a demo of it in action, and it’s pretty.
There is a lot more, but the final thing i want to talk about is Exposé. My other huge gripe about Jaguar has been that I hate dragging a bunch of windows to the side to get to the window that I want. I really missed the Alt-tab functionality of the Windows environment, and no, Command-tab is not the same – it toggles through applications rather than windows. I won’t miss Alt-tab anymore because Apple has come up with a gorgeous solution to the problem of being able to quickly access the window you want. Exposé, allows you to quickly and easily take visual stock of the windows that you have open, and select the one that you want. With Exposé you can see all open windows, all open windows in a single app, or clear all the windows out of the way to see the desktop, which was another gripe of mine about the Mac, although Alt-command-h took care of that for the most part.
So for those of you who were interested in the i-mac, but read on because you wanted to know why I’m giving it up. It’s not the i-mac at all. The i-mac is a beautiful machine, and with the RAM upgrades I made it’s a beautiful and smooth-running machine. the only complaint I had about the i-mac was that it was sometimes a little sluggish when I tried to open 50 files in Photoshop while editing a huge website in Dreamweaver. Unless you frequently do things like this, I highly recommend this machine to you. My hope is that I will be able to recoup my initial investment in the imac (the 768 Mb of RAM and extra software should up the value a lot I would think). I will then put in an order for the new G5 which should handle my harsh design commands like they’re nothing, using the imac money as my down-payment. I don’t really like to buy on credit much, but this machine will be worth it. I think that this investment will finally make a full switcher out of me. I will have to delay the buying-a-car idea for a while though.
So go ahead, contact me at mac AT t4ac DOT com and tell me that you want to buy my imac. I’ll tell you what, just to sweeten the deal a little, I’ll also agree to love you for a full year when you purchase (note: This additional benefit is purely optional) Once again, that is mac AT t4ac DOT com
Oh yeah, the G5 will be out in August, and Panther is scheduled for “later this year.”
Greetings Dynamic Duo Readers.
Well, it seems that all my good intentions have gone by the wayside. My plan was to put Johnny to shame by dazzling everyone with my frequent, witty and piquant posts, but something got in the way. It’s called LIFE.
And, frankly, UltraBob’s snake story and video left me in awe. That’s a pretty hard act to follow.
A topic occured to me today as my boss, the bank manager was relating how his little daughter, Mayla (about 9 months old) fell off the porch. It seems she had just handed him the family kitten, and was so proud of herself that she toddled backwards right off the porch. She escaped with minor cuts and bruises, thankfully.
It reminded me of a time when I had toddlers of my own. We lived in, what we now call, the “old house.” We now live in a newer manufactured home, but then, in the late 1970’s, early 1980’s we lived in the old house, which still stands on our property. And it is OLD. The story is that it was a Sears and Roebuck mail order house from many decades earlier. That’s right; you used to be able to order a house out of a catalog, but it came unassembled. It sounds quite daunting to me, but I think people were a little more resourceful back when. The plumbing and electricity were a nightmare. Nothing was a standard size, as my husband discovered whenever he had to repair something, and if I tried to use the stove and clothes dryer at the same time, we always blew a fuse, and I would have to trudge down the rickety stairs to the basement to replace it. Circuit breakers are a much better way to go! I think we spent a small fortune on fuses. Also, there was (and still is) a concrete platform outside the front door with some concrete steps leading down. That was what we called the porch. I think, however, that it was a similiar porch at Ultrabob’s grandparents house that was the star of the following tale. It, however was made of wood instead of concrete. But I digress….....
Bob was always single minded, and when an idea took hold of his mind, all other notions would flee. He was often so focused on the thought of the moment that practical things were relegated to the nether regions of unimportance. For instance, we would NEVER find his shoes together in the same place. He would take one off, and then a bit later would think to take the other one off, and could never remember just where that was. On this particular day, little Ultrabobby (yes, I know, but we DID call you Bobby back then. I wouldn’t do it NOW) was playing outside at his Grandparents home, and I was visiting with his grandmother. Suddenly we heard the sound of crying, and when we responded we found him laying in the grass, very upset. “What happened, Honey?”
“I fell off the porch!” “How did you do that?” “I don’t know. I was just singing, walking backwards with my eyes shut.” To this day, we don’t know how it possibly could have happened.
Another porch tale involves Johnny, and this time we will go back to the concrete porch at our own dwelling. Johnny was the cutest little boy, but he jabbered on constantly. One of the most endearing things about him was that he substitued the word “my” for the word “I”. For instance, “Can my do that? Can my have that?,” etc. As you may have experienced, or will someday as a parent, it is hard to always give the child your strict, undivided attention, especially when they are talking continually and asking SO many questions, most of which only involve a yes or no answer. “Is that a bug? Is it pretty? Does the bird want to eat it? Are you watching me? Can my catch the bug?” etc. etc. etc. I was fondly gazing at my loquacious little son, absently intoning “uh huh” or “um hum” whenever a pause in his ceaseless queries seemed to call for a response. I was snapped back into awareness, however, when I suddenly saw him flying through the air after leaping off the the concrete porch (about 4 feet high). I belatedly realized that his last question had been “Can my jump?” Again, some crying, cuts and bruises, and a remorseful mother vowing to think before answering in the future.
So, what is your favorite porch, or falling off something story? Let’s see if we can generate as much enthusiasm for this fascinating topic as we did for huge, ugly reptiles.
When I was a kid I loved to play with bugs, snakes, spiders, whatever I could get my hands on. I was fascinated with how these animals worked, and how they interacted with things. I spent countless hours crouched over anthills watching them work, and I built a giant ant farm in an aquarium. I didn’t play with snakes nearly as much because they were a lot harder to come by, and a good portion of the snakes in our area were poisonous rattlesnakes. One other reason I didn’t spend a lot of time with snakes is that my Dad would have “tanned my hide.” He hated snakes, and I couldn’t understand why someone would hate such a fascinating creature.
I still don’t understand, although I now share the same prejudice. I guess my affliction is more fear than actual hatred and I’m sure my Dad’s is too. You see when my Dad was a young man he was bitten by a rattlesnake, causing his leg to swell up and turn black. I know that sounds like nothing but fun, but apparently this was accompanied by a lot of pain and feeling extremely sick, along with that nagging fear of dying that one would have for the first day or so. I have never been bitten by a rattlesnake, but I have come extremely close, and that is the source of my current aversion.
It was a beautiful summer day and UltraMom, Johnny, my other brother Jimmy, my sister Heather, and a cousin of mine (I can’t remember which one) were playing volleyball in our yard when I was probably about 16 years old, me wearing only my sexy short denim cutoffs. Johnny, in typical fashion hit the ball way out of bounds, and in my usual role of cleaning up after Johnny’s mistakes, I went running after the ball. As I ran, something in front and too my rightt caught my eye. I casually glanced down to see what it was just as my right foot came down next to the coiled rattlesnake. I jumped out of the way, just as the snake struck where my foot had just been, and although the telling of this story hasn’t been as vivid as I wanted to make it, since that day I have had a real problem with snakes, poisonous or not.
Two days ago I was leaving the house to go workout. Next to our apartment is an old house, and directly in front of our door is a vent I guess is to keep the house from getting moist and rotten underneath although I really have no idea. Anyway when I opened the door carrying my gym bag and all psyched up to get some exercise, movement from the normally quiet vent caught my eye. As I’m sure you have guessed, what I say was a snake slithering it’s way out of the vent. After I finished kind of freaking out that a snake was living next door to me, I started noticing that the snake just kept coming and coming out of the vent with no sign of an end in site. This realization led to me kind of freaking out about a huge snake living next door.
I began taking pictures and video of this snake with my digital camera so that I would have proof of it’s existance, figuring that a snake of that size having eluded my knowledge for so long must be pretty good at not being seen. Well, I lost all motivation to workout, and instead went down to the local police station to ask them what one should do if they find a big snake (it turned out to be about 6 feet long when I could see it’s entire length) living under the house next door. I showed the picture of the snake on the screen of my digital camera, and the recognized the kind of snake that it was, but I can’t remember what they they said. Anyway, in typical “Japanese police when you are asking anything except for directions to something in the immediate vicinity” fashion, they told me that the snake was not poisonous, and thus it was ok if it bit me. I informed them that it was actually quite the opposite alright if the snake bit me, but since it was quite obvious that there was no more advice forthcoming I went home. I haven’t seen the snake again, and I have kind of come to accept him living there, but the girl is very unhappy about it. I suppose we will be calling the landlord on Monday since he not only owns our apartment, but the old house next door.
For your viewing pleasure, I have created a video from the pictures and video I took of the snake with my digital camera. I couldn’t find a nice matching background track for the mood of the film, so I used Velvet Waltz by Built To Spill, a band from my college town who have done fairly welll for themselves. This video is my first public effort at doing any kind of video editting, and I resisted the temptation to add a bunch of stupid transitions. Please be gentle, I’m under a lot of snake-related stress right now. ;p
Now without further ado, here is our feature presentation
and its broadband loving brother
I’m not sure why, but Ubob thought some of you may be interested in reading about the week long vacation that John (husband), Johnny, Jim and I took in the week in between the boys’ college term and the start of their summer jobs. I edited a little, but for the most part couldn’t bring myself to cut and slash. I wrote this kind of generic account so that I could send it to all of my family and friends at once and be done with it. Enjoy! (or if you don’t, pretend that you did, cause I have a very fragile ego, thanks to the constant criticism of certain of my sons).
We left early Sunday morning and after much driving and exchanging of drivers arrived in Las Vegas about 7 pm, after gaining an hour for good behavior. I had gotten a “super” deal on a motel room and “package perks”. All that was required was for John and myself to listen, ad naseum, to a simple little explanation of the great benefits that would be ours if we purchased a time-share in the Royal Hotel in Las Vegas. All I can say to that is…….NEVER, NEVER, NEVER again! I felt like it wasted our entire morning, while Jim and Johnny, lucky dogs, were lounging in the pool.
Our motel room was okay; the benefits of it were: close to the south end of the strip, ie Circus, Circus, Frontier and Stardust; close to a WalGreens and several discount shopping plazas (4 T-shirts for $10!), a nice swimming pool, although unheated, and not very crowded; and no casino in the motel itself.
On Monday evening, we walked (hotel hopping along the way cause it was very, very HOT) to the Excalibur and got tickets to the evening dinner show. That was very enjoyable, and we got to cheer for Ireland’s knight to win the jousting, etc. And the black king was defeated and we did eat Cornish game hen with our hands, and though the good king was killed (boo hoo), the bad one was too (huzzah!), and there was a jolly coronation of the good king’s son and much merriment and some awesome tumblers (the amazing something brothers). And we did take a Strip shuttle back to our motel, which was located at the opposite end of the Strip.
The next day, we went to Harrah’s to watch Mac King, a comedian magician. As part of our perks package, we got these “free” tickets, which only required the purchase of an $8.00 drink apiece. So free = $35 or so. Anyway, he was very funny and very magical, and did lots of tricks with cards, of course, but also fig newtons, goldfish and carrots. And then, Johnny and Jim treated us all to a very wonderful “Fresh Market Buffet” at Harrah’s. It was VERY good, and was the most expensive meal we ate on our trip (next to Excalibur), and I didn’t have to pay for it, so that made it even better! That evening, Johnny, Jim and I played a little poker in our motel room with candy for currency, and Jim ended up with the whole candy store. I guess I don’t know when to hold em, or when to fold em.
Oh, I forgot to mention that on Sunday night, we walked out on the strip just in time to have good standing room for the Pirate Battle at Treasure Island, which I had seen before, but no one else had. As I remembered, the pirate brigands sank her Majesty’s Royal British ship and there was lots of cannon fire, as my brother Dave would say, “right in the fireworks”..
On Wednesday, we changed hotels, as the package involved 3 nights, and I booked the 4th night at the Gold Coast, where we stayed last year, and got a great rate and a very nice room. Also, there is a free shuttle that runs you right into the middle of the strip. We went to the Rio, right next door, and saw a ventriloquist, Ron Lucas; another $8.00 apiece “free” show. He was a pretty good ventriloquist, but not so great a comedian, and I thought his show kind of dragged. Ron Lucas’ show started off by showing video of his performances for famous personalities (such as the Queen of England), after which he pretended, modestly, that the showing of such things embarrassed him. I guess he just couldn’t control those staff members in charge of the video equipment! We had a free breakfast buffet at the Sahara (another perk) that day, but John got sick that afternoon, and we theorized that it may have been the food he ate there; perhaps the omelets (yes, he had multiple omelets.) The rest of us were fine, and we swam in the pool that afternoon. Then we went on the strip for a little while and saw a few water shows at the Bellagio.
On Thursday morning, we said goodbye to Las Vegas, and headed towards the Grand Canyon. On the way, we stopped and saw a little of the Hoover Dam. It is very impressive, and we walked along and looked at it, but it was so VERY hot, that I think some of it’s significance was lost on us as we longed for water and to get back in our air conditioned car. We spent that night in a Holiday Inn in the town of Williams, Arizona about 30 miles west of Flagstaff. There was an indoor pool, so we availed ourselves of that, and we went into the downtown street of Williams to view a museum of “miniatures”; little village scenes, mostly to show off the collection of little vintage cars, I think. There was also a museum in an old filling station and a lot of Route 66 kind of stuff; souvenirs, cafes, etc. They were getting ready for a Memorial Day Black Powder shoot, so there was also a carnival set up with a Ferris Wheel and carnival barkers.
Friday we headed for the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t stay for a real long time; we still had a lot of road to cover, and wanted to get home on Saturday. But we stopped at several scenic overlooks and at a museum where we saw Indian artifacts and saw some Anasazi ruins. One picture in the museum was covered up, for cultural sensitivity reasons, it said. So, of course, the first thing you want to do is to see that picture, or at least know WHY! Well, I guess that it pictures a sacred dance that the Hopi do not wish for outsiders to see. I don’t know why they don’t just remove the picture and remove the sign, unless they want everyone to know just how very sensitive we are now, after so many years of not giving a darn. The Grand Canyon is very impressive, and I wish we had had more time to explore a bit more. I would have liked to go the north rim also, which is supposed to be much less visited and quite different.
Superb, all I can really say is superb.