Car Wars Episode 8–The Tension Mounts

My oldest nephew got married a month or so ago.

The wedding was late Saturday afternoon down in Peoria; about a 4 hour drive.  The Daughter had a lot going on at college, so she wasn't going to come with us.

So, Cora and I got our act together, and got ready to leave a little after 9:00 am on Saturday.  Car loaded, I turned the engine over and …


Cora and I looked at each other, and I said, "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."  But backing out of the garage, I could tell that I had no power steering, so I pulled back in and shut it down.

Now what?

We're making the wedding that's not in question, but how?  We unpack the laptops, and found that the Enterprise car rental is only open for 3 hours on Saturday, but it is the 3 hours we need.  And it is only a block away.  We call them up, reserve a car, and walk there in 5 minutes.

We get a VW Jetta (no a diesel), and I make sure that I know where the outlet is for our GPS (aka "Croc" since he has an Australian accent).  I can get us to Peoria fine, but I really don't know my way around, or where, exactly, our hotel or the wedding location are, and the base model Jetta doesn't have a nav. system.

We circled around, transferred our stuff from one car to the other, ran a couple of errands that we had to knock off, and hit the road.  Later than we wanted, but still with plenty of time to make Peoria.  But since we were running late, had the GPS on so that I could track ETA.

And so, it was with no surprise that we weren't out of the metro area when Croc gave me a low battery warning.  It was plugged in, but neither power outlet was working.  Must have blown a fuse.

Thanks Enterprise!

We roared down I-55 to I-74 and when we got in range, Google maps on the phone did the trick.

The wedding was probably beautiful.  It was difficult to see because it was an outdoor wedding and we were looking directly into the setting sun.

But the reception and hotel were nice.


Tech Tuesday - Windows 10 Upgrade

This weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.

One word of advice – Pre-download the installation.  It's pretty big.  You don't have to install once you download, but when you do, you will definitely save yourself some time.

I'm not sure how long it took.  I started at 11:45, but after lunch, when it started in the heart of the install, Cora and I went to the Post Office, storage, The Home Depot, and Target; so we were gone for a couple of hours.  When I came home, I needed to log in.  It asked a handful of questions, I chose some defaults, and about 15 minutes later, I was done.


I mean, it was no big deal. 

No programs to reinstall.

I launched Chrome, and it even had my previous tabs still open.

I really haven't run into any issues.  I haven't explored any of the dark corners, but so far, so good.  Even my Nintendo emulator ran fine.

I'll keep you updated.

Have you done the update?  If so, what issues did you run into?


Space Meme

The other day, I read this Gizmodo post about Alan Bean.  He painted the below picture, and was also the 4th man to walk on the moon.

There's a meme running around the internet with it the caption:

"My Nose Itches"

And that got me thinking about what I could do:





And I think this is my favorite…



Rubble Rubble

So, if you've worked in an office, you know of the "office fridge".

And if there's an office fridge, there's going to be someone who takes food that isn't theirs.


We had one.


Here's some lessons (hopefully) learned by our thief:

  1. If you are going to take people's food with names on it, don't make it be your Directors.  They have the power to hold a grudge.
  2. Stick to the fridge on your floor.  There are cameras in the elevator lobby.
  3. If you do go to other floors on your raids, eat the food where you stole it.  There are cameras in the elevator lobby*.
  4. If you are going to steal half a pizza in the box, don't walk through the elevator lobby empty handed, and then two minutes later, walk back our carrying a pizza box.


How would you like to explain that one to the family:

Wife:  You're home early.
Hamburglar:  Yeah.  I got fired.
Wife:  What for?
Hamburglar:  Stealing food out of the fridge.
Wife:  Well, you're gonna be eating out of garbage cans, because I'm kicking your sorry behind out the door.


* This is also where the non-emergency stairwell is, so taking the stairs isn't an option, either.


But Not Forgotten

Recently, we lost a blogger.

Lisa Rohrbaugh.  The Butterfly Farmer.

Like most, her blog had gone quiet long ago.

And she rarely updated Facebook.  But over the weekend, her Facebook page was updated to say that she pad passed from cervical cancer.

We never met, and I didn't know her well, but she was a kind and tender soul, and the world is diminished by her passing.

She was also an artist who made me these blog banners.



Farewell, Lisa.  You will be missed.


And the Window Goes "BOING"!


So, it's Saturday morning, and Cora and I are in the kitchen when we heard a loud "BOING" from the dining room window.

"Was that a bird?" she asked.

As a refresher, we live on the 3rd floor.  The window in question has an unobstructed western view, but we usually keep the blinds closed to avoid the afternoon sun blinding us.

We both knew the answer was "yes", but with the blind closed, that would mean that effectively the bird flew into the middle of a wall.

What the hell?

So, we raise the blinds, just to make sure that the window is okay, and that there isn't a big bird sized smear on the glass.  And to make sure that there aren't kids on the rood next door, throwing balls at the side of the building of something.

Nope all clear.

20 minutes later, I can't take it any more, and run down and check the breezeway.  And there, right below our window, crumpled up in the middle of the breezeway, is the corpse of a little tiny brown bird.

Poor birdy.

I know I should get a shovel and pitch the poor thing into a trash can or into the gutter or something sensitive like that, but I just can't.  Not yet.  So I went back upstairs and reported my findings to the wife and daughter.

Another 20 minutes passes, and I man up, head to the garage, and get a shovel.  Time to take care of some business.

So, I head back out to the breezeway, and …


The bird is up against the wall…

And did the that feather just move or was that that wind?

I crept closer and IT TWITCHED!  I could see it breathing!


So, I call Cora and tell her, IT'S...NOT...DEAD!

She advised me to go to the other breezeway, get the big brick that is there, and ***SMASH*** is to put it out of its misery.  While that seemed like the humane thing to do, I just couldn't bring myself to hurt it, even though it was suffering.  The shovel went back to the garage, and the poor bird was just left in the breezeway to traumatize the small children in the building.

Another hour passes, and we are going to take The Daughter to get her hair colored before she goes off to college, and we take another peek:

The bird is now sitting up, and rocking back and forth.  Less and less dead all the time.

So, after we run the errands, we check on the bird's status one more time, and it's gone.


So, one of the following happened:

  1. The bird expired while we were gone, and one of the neighbors disposed of it.
  2. The JESUS BIRD came back to life and flew off.

We strongly suspect the latter: That the bird hit the window with enough force to knock itself out, and then was stunned and concussed.  Finally, it came to, and flew away.  Hopefully wiser for the experience.


And, 'Yes', I'm really glad that I didn't re-enact the whole meteor vs. dinosaur thing like my wife (and under the bus you go Smile ) encouraged me to do earlier.


They Call Me Bruce

I will continue to call him "Bruce".  Just like that college friend who you call by their maiden name decades after their wedding, or that grade school friend who you call "Billy" even after he's tried for years to get people to call him "Will".

First knew him as "Bruce".  Will always know him as "Bruce".  No offense.  I don't care what he calls himself.  He doesn't control the metadata tags I have on him.

But most of all, from an IT point of view, why, oh why?  Having to change people's network IDs sux.  We can and do it all the time, normally when women get married or divorced, but in the transitioning gender situation, why bother?  Why change your first initial?  Then you don't have to change your network ID at all, and there would be no issue.

Also, think about those monogrammed towels that you don't have to replace.

Like why didn't Bruce (I know his first name was "William" but go with me here) go "Barbara" or if that's too staid, "Bianca"?

If not for you, set an example for those that follow you.  Think of the poor IT people.  (Or the person who had to go thru and edit Bruce's wiki page.)

But if you're going to do it, go big or go home.  Don't go with "Caitlyn".  If he REALLY wanted to stick an ice pick into his ex-wife, rename yourself "Chris Jenner".

But, to be fair, if Caitlyn Jenner wins the Olympic Decathlon, I'm willing to update some of those metadata tags.




Trying to keep up with my "post once a month" promise, things have sure been interesting around here:

[NOTE:  Cora's fine.  There's absolutely nothing to worry about.  Scared the crap out of both of us, true, but everything is okay, promise.]

It was late April, on a Tuesday.  I was on my way home from work, and The Daughter and Cora were out; 2 bus rides away from home.  I texted Cora (as I usually do on the way home), and Cora replied back that she wasn't feeling well, and if I could come pick them up.  She was having pain in the middle of her chest. (Don't get too worried here.)

I dropped Cora off at the Urgent Care place down the road, took The Daughter home, and told her everything was going to be all right, as I was trying to convince myself.  I then wolfed down a quick dinner, and went back to the Urgent Care.  I got back there just as Cora was heading back, and I went back with her.

She told the doctor about what she was feeling, which was gastric distress in her chest, like something was in her lungs.

And he went cardiac.

Explaining the they just don't know enough about women's heart attacks (Once again, don't panic.)  He listened to her heart, and electroded her up for an EKG.

And that came out fine.

But he sent us to the ER anyway, out of an abundance of caution.

And that's when we (I) started to get nervous (but don't you dare).  A quick drive to the second closest hospital (the closest one is a long term wound care facility with no ER), and Cora was whisked right back.  Another EKG, an X-Ray, and one of two heart attack protein test later, we found ourselves sitting in a room in the ER, waiting 2 hours to take the second blood protein test and more time to process it.


So, we sat around and Cora pretended that the blood oxygen monitor made her ET.  Don't be mistaken, we were taking this as serious as, well, as serious as a heart attack.  But sitting there for hours with very few visits from the staff, we started to go a little stir crazy.

Around midnight, they released us, with every test coming back normal, a follow-up appointment on the schedule, a little scared, and a lot starving.

McDonald's drive-thru, here we come.

Thursday was a follow-up at their clinic, where the resident claimed to hear a heart murmur (not mentioned by Urgent Care or the ER) and set up an echocardiogram for the NEXT Saturday, 9 days out.  "You may have a serious heart condition, please sit around pondering your mortality for a week and a half."

Friday, we had a thing at The Daughter's future college, and Cora had a few, "episodes" that day, after eating, and then walking up stairs.  The 3rd and final one cleared up after she burped.  Hmmmm.

Not waiting around, and while appreciating the intense investigation into the cardio possibility, we felt that nothing was being done to look into what Cora thought it was, digestive, on Saturday, we went to the local branch of the University affiliated hospital that I use.  The 15 year veteran of the trauma center doctor LISTENED to her heart AND LISTENED to what she had to say, and agreed.  There was no murmur.  What she described sounded like an acid reflux issue.  He recommended Prilosec OTC.  Like ol' Larry The Cable Guy.

We got the Prilosec, and set up an appointment for the University docs to review the echocardiogram.  And for giggles, finally set Cora up with a regular doctor in Chicago.

Let's just say, the side-effects of the Prilosec were worse than the condition it was trying to cure, and after suffering through 6 days of worsening symptoms, stopped taking it.  It took her more than a week to recover from the Prilosec.

We kept the echocardiogram appointment (Hey!  I tagged along and was in the room while the whole thing was going on, it's "WE".), and were feeling good that the technician didn't tackle us as we walking out, so we figured that was a good sign.

And then the echocardiogram review a few days later with the University doctor, and once again, everything was normal.

So, the upshot of it all:  She's stopped having a spicy tomato soup.  She had been having it for 4 or 5 meals a week.  And she was off dark chocolate for about a month (the horror!).  She's now back to her normal self.

That was not a fun month.  But as our first real test, I can say that the 3 of us pulled together stronger.


Car Wars 7A–The One With The Rim Shot

Well, that sure didn't work.

So, trying to weld the rim on the tire failed, epically.  It was flat in a couple of days.

So, we contacted the shop, and the guy told me that he did some looking, and if he got me one of the rims (this is for a 13 year old vehicle where the rims are prone to defect) from his suppliers, that it would be expensive.  However, if I got one from eBay, he would mount it for free.  He's prohibited from buying parts on eBay.  Makes sense.

Okay, my wife is wizard on eBay, how hard can it be?

Well, we searched around, and found a nice one out of St. Louis.  We discussed it for a few minutes, and then clicked "Buy It Now" (it was in a no-bid store "auction".)  But, between us pulling up the wheel rim and the decision to buy, the item had been snatched out from under us.

So, we started the search again, found a tire that looked exactly like what we wanted, and while Cora pointed out to me the big red writing about it being a stock photo and the that actual item had a different finish, we bought the item.

We then needed to run out pick up our Chinese food order, but ran into a neighbor who had her toddler and new born in the elevator.  Her CO2 alarm was going off, her husband wasn't home, and she was going to try to get a ladder, and climb all 4'11" of her up the ladder with a crying newborn and a freaked out toddler to get to the alarm.

We opted to be decent humans, and I got the ladder and took down the CO2 alarm for her.  (In other news, do you know that CO2 alarms have a built in expiration date of 7 or 10 years, depending upon the model?  Guess how old our condos are?  7 years!  Ours died between then and now and chirped it's ever-loving brains out while it was doing it.  Thankfully NOT at 2am.)  We got back with the Chinese food, and thank General Tso, it was warm and delicious.

This was a Wednesday evening and I was taking spring break off with The Daughter.  I had no hope that this freakin' wheel rim, shipping from a mystery location somewhere in the United States, would remotely be there in time for us to do anything with it while I was still out.

But then, a small miracle occurred.  Cora, checked the shipping information, and asked, "Do you know where 'Fort Wayne, IN' is?"

Holy Smokes!  That's just a couple hours drive from Chicago.

And then Thursday morning, it was heading to Chicago.

And Friday morning, it was out for delivery.

So, maybe 36 hours after ordering it, the rim arrived, and I opened it.  And that's when I realized the slight mistake I made.  The picture was of a chromed version of the rim, like I have, but the rim they shipped was a silver flecked paint, like I ordered.  That explains why it was $100 cheaper than others I'd seen.

Tired of having to pump up the tire every time I wanted to drive my car, I declared, "Close enough" and we took the rim to Car-X and got it mounted.  (While we were waiting, we took a walk around to kill time.  We got back, and 2 minutes later, there was a down pour!  Dodged that bullet!)


So, here's the car.  The rims are different, but not too bad.  And the chrome one would have looked off, too, since it would have been clean also.  There one dent, between the back tire and the tail light.  For a 2002, not bad looking.

And once I grunge up that rim, it should be less noticeable.  And, if I need to replace the other rims…

I can tell you, it's been a relief not to have to run down to the car 10 minutes before you need to leave to inflate the tire.  It's the simple things in life, sometimes.


Forget Batman–The Green Arrow Is My Hero

Forget Batman.  The Green Arrow is my hero.

No, not that Oliver Queen chap from the DC comics (I've always been a Marvel fan myself, anyway), but this wonderful bit of LED magic.


Finally, our intersection has green left turn arrows.  I feel so… FANCY!

But, this is Chicago, they can't make it smooth.

They actually installed the 5 light signals lights last winter.  But they left the old 3 light signals sitting in a pile on one of the corners.

And we got excited, we're getting a turn arrow: like we are moving into the 80's or the suburbs or something.

But they covered the arrows sections of the signals with plastic bags.  So, nothing changed, except we were living with a tease for a couple of months.

And then one day, we saw the crew remove the pile of old signals that had been sitting out in the snow and mud.  And they were messing around with light control boxes.  I couldn't believe it, we were getting the signal, FINALLY!

Let me explain.  We live right off Western Ave., one of THE primary north / south road in Chicago.  And when we go shopping, we almost always head south, so coming home, we have to try to cross the two lanes of traffic at the intersection.  I'd given up on trying to do it.  I would use the red light to "throw a block" if you will, then turn a couple of blocks early, and wind around on some narrow neighborhood streets to get to where I need to go.  This turn arrow coming up from the south will save me maybe 4 or 5 minutes getting home.

And then the Lord said, "Let there be light."  And there was.  And it was good.  For maybe a week or two.

After enjoying the gift of the turn signal for about two weeks, one day, I pulled into the left turn lane, and I didn't get the light.  Now, these aren't your fancy suburban turn arrows that sense if a car is there before activating.  These are dumb lights.  They follow the same pattern, no matter what.  I got robbed.

My green light had been taken away.  And the next day when we were at the bus stop on the corner, I noticed that south bound, the green light and green arrow light at the same time.  This wasn't simply a matter of the north bound green arrow not working.  The north bound traffic was specifically getting screwed.

As I was getting ready to write the alderman, and ask why we were being treated like second class citizens…

The green arrow returned!


Car Wars 7–Tired and Retired

My car, a 2002 PT Cruiser just crossed over 65,000 miles this last weekend.  If you're doing the math, that's under 5,000 miles a year.

2001-10-PT 2

It gave me fits last year as documented HERE.  But it's also been having flat tire issues.  CONSTANTLY.  I learned a long time ago the aluminum rims on it are hard to get a seal on and will leak air.  Right after New Year's, I ended up with two flat tires that my little Target air compressor just couldn't keep up with.

So, I got two new tires at Car-X.

And the next week, they were both flat in the garage.

So I pumped them up.

And the next week, they were both flat in the garage.

So I went back to Car-X, and they tried resealing them.

And it WORKED!  Smile  On one tire.  Sad smile

So I put up with filling the tire once a week for while, because I can't take the car in constantly.

I took it in a few weeks back, and they warned me that they were going to try sending it our for grinding and polishing and if that didn't work, we may be in the "replace the rim" territory.

It didn't hold.  It was flat in a week.

So I took it in on Monday all ready to get the rim replaced.

So, they sent my old rim off, and the people found a crack in it that they guessed would leak out in a week, and were able to weld it.  We'll see if it holds.  If not, they are going to need to replace the rim.  But since they are so leaky, they are also hard to find, and it might take up to a week for them to get a replacement in.

But, for the fiddle-farting they've done with my car, they haven't charged me since replacing the tires.


I just went and checked on it.  It's only been a few days, so the jury's still out.  Man I hope it holds, but I'm not holding my breath.

If my tire isn't going to hold it's air, why should I?


What the… WHAT?


To The Daughter's paternal grandmother:

You say you're confused.  I'll say you're confused.

Or in some kind of mega-denial.

After that last stunt of yours, I know that if you read this, you won't believe it. Everyone's tried to explain this to you, and you still claim not to understand, so here it is:



Is that clear enough?  I know you are only hearing part of the story, so let's make sure that you have all the facts.

TIMELINE – First, let's make sure we have the timeline set. (All dates are rough estimates)

Spring 2011 – Skype Incident – RAS was on Skype with The Daughter (as she is known on this site), when he needed to leave the house to pick up his wife at the transit station.  So, he told The Daughter, who was physically 2,000 miles away, to watch the kids, OVER A VIDEO LINK, while he left his house, got in his car, and drove off.  He saw nothing wrong with this.  The Daughter was traumatized, watching the other kids panic at being alone, terrified something would happen to the kids while she watched on, helplessly.

While this is far, far from the only issue between the two, it was the triggering event for what came next.

Spring 2011 – Counselor – The Daughter starts seeing the counselor, henceforth, "KT" to deal with the damage caused by the Skype incident and everything else.  As I understand it, this marks the second member of his family that has gone to therapy due to RAS.

Spring 2011 – Spring Break Court – RAS's visitation was suspended, and a Guardian Ad Litum (GAL) was ordered.  With that, the court case begins.  While RAS's contact with The Daughter was suspended, that restriction WAS NOT extended to the rest of your family.

Summer 2011 – GAL – The Daughter met with the GAL, and told her side.  The GAL also met with RAS and KT.

Court Case/s – There originally was one case that covered both child support and the parenting plan.  While these dragged on, RAS and his lawyer kept doing head scratching things, that kept running up the legal fees for no obvious reason, including splitting the cases and requesting a detailed financial interrogatory.  RAS split the case in two, and had his lawyer expedite the child support aspect.  While he succeeded in getting his monthly child support reduced from $460 to $109 a month, his attempts to also transfer all his legal expenses on to us failed.  Later, in counseling, he stated that he ran up the legal expenses because his lawyer assured him that we would get stuck paying his legal expenses.  So it was his attempt to bleed money out of us, money that might have gone to support his daughter, that backfired.

Unlike what her cousin told The Daughter, this case is not the reason why none of her half siblings will go to college or why he lost his house.  And even if it were, it was RAS's decision to run up the bills on the child support case, which could have been handled with county administrators, not judges and lawyers that burned up his money, and left him to not have a lawyer for the parenting plan portion of the case.

During time, RAS, The Daughter, and KT were performing group therapy.  KT and the Daughter were also doing one-on-one therapy.  And RAS, KT, and my Wife were also negotiating the parenting plan.

LATE SPRING / EARLY SUMMER 2012 – Child Support – As mentioned above, the court decided child support, and denied flipping his legal fees on to us.  RAS decides to separate from his lawyer, too, and to represent himself for the parenting plan case.

LATE SUMMER 2012 – Earlier the GAL stated that this should be worked out in therapy, not in court.  With the help of the counselor, KT, and our lawyer making sure that all parts of the agreement met Washington law, the parenting plan was signed.

Some key aspect of the agreement:

  • Visitation would resume when KT determined that The Daughter was ready.
  • If she was not going to attend a scheduled visit, it was upon The Daughter to notify RAS in advance.
  • RAS would pay part of The Daughter's airfare for visits, but once tickets were purchased, he would have the right to find a cheaper, comparable flight.

Around this time, The Daughter was to spend some time with RAS's family, to try and mend their relationship.  Instead, they tried to convince her that she was wrong about RAS and pressure her into seeing him.

SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2012 – During counseling, plans were being made for the first face-to-face meeting between RAS and The Daughter.  It was going to be Veteran's Day weekend.  1 hour in KT's office.  If things went well between them, they might spend some time together the next day.

OCTOBER 2012 – All RAS had to do was play the game for 1 hour a week, and he was going to get the visitation he wanted.

He couldn't.

The visit was canceled.

And his insistence that all communication between The Daughter and her siblings go through him caused an end to the Skype talks between her and them.

WINTER 2012 / 2013 – RAS's participation in counseling ends.  KT advises him to get his own counselor, and work on his issues.  He never rejoined counseling.

The Daughter continues counseling, and life continues on.  RAS pops up on occasion, but then slinks off to the shadows.

NOVEMBER 2014 – The Daughter turns 18.  Like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, not so much as a card from RAS.

FEBRUARY 2015 – You write to KT that you don't understand what the problem is, despite everyone telling what I told you at the start:



MARCH 2015 – The Daughter sends you a poem and an explanation regarding her relationship with RAS, and within hours, you comment on Facebook, that she is just like her father.

Was that a complement?  "You are just like the man that you cannot stand to be around, talk to, or even think about."  Really?  She tries desperately to explain it to you.  Show opens up to you.  And THAT is your response?  "You're just like him."

Even if you really don't get what the problem is, you MUST understand that there is a serious problem between them, and that she would not take your comment as anything like a compliment.


So, to recap:

THERE HAVE BEEN NO LAST MINUTE VISIT CANCELATIONS – If they weren't even able to communicate via Skype once a week in counseling, they were not going to have overnight, unsupervised visits.  Any last minute texts notifying him that she would not be attended were simply a perfunctory task required under the parenting plan.

If you are being told that the things are being called off last minute, then you are not being told the truth, and I would question the motivation of the person/s doing so.

NOT HELPING YOUR CAUSE – If you want a relationship with your granddaughter, you are REALLY going about it poorly.  The Daughter has told you that there is a problem between them.  The therapist told you.


This is a real, serious, long term issue.  It is not something The Daughter will just "get over".  RAS will need to perform some serious soul searching and realize that he's the source of the problem.

THE CHOICE – Your family can continue to do what it has, line up behind RAtSo, view this all as The Daughter's problem, and nothing will change, except that the gulf between you will get wider and wider.

Or, maybe, you can accept that your Golden Boy isn't so golden, and convince him that he needs to do some work on himself, and then, who knows.

What I know is this, if you want to help, do something helpful, like believe your granddaughter.  Otherwise, you are just part of the problem, and please stop being part of the problem.


The Great Sky Mall In The Sky

As you know, I have a great love for the Sky Mall.  I've visited it a few times on these pages:

Here:  For the "Seed of Life" shoes.

Here:  For the remote control spider.

Here:  For Hagrid's folding chair.

Here:  For adult footie pajamas.

Those catalogs kept me and millions upon millions of travelers amused on long airline flights.  I looked through it on almost every flight.  Never bought anything, mind you, but loved leafing through them.  And that may be why they filed for bankruptcy.  Lots of lookers, not enough buyers.

Some are blaming iPads and in-flight wi-fi for giving people other distractions in-flight, rather than purchasing a rain coat for their dogs.  I think it's a bit more like the Sears Christmas Wish Book.  The times are changing, and people have new ways to find useless junk, wherever they are.  It's called the "internet".  It has places like, Think Geek, eBay, Amazon, and of course…

SkyMall.  As of right now, it is still functioning as an on line store.

One company that may now be so sad to go is American Airlines (and all the others that carried the catalog).  They may save about $350,000 in fuel, not dragging those dead trees around (Wired).

But then again, if we are now all dragging around iPads and laptops, there goes the savings.

Maybe that's why, even with fuel costs plummeting to around $50 a barrel, they still have all the baggage fees in place that they put in place when oil shot up to $100 a barrel.


An Open Letter Of Apology to Conan O`Brien

Dear Mr. O'Brien;

I wish to offer you an apology for any discomfort we may have caused you and hope we did not ruin your Christmas shopping list.

On December 22, 2014 (my 49th birthday), I was in Westlake Mall in Seattle.  As we were leaving the food court and heading toward the exit (and then on to the gum wall), you passed us and turned into Claire's.

The Daughter and I did a quick triple take, while the rest of our group continued on down the escalators.  My wife, Cora, another ginja ninja, came back to see what we were looking at.

Trying to not totally invade your privacy but also trying to determine if it was really you, or just some look-a-like, and maybe snap a picture for the scrap book without drawing attention to ourselves, and by extension, you.

This, we refer to, as our "Big Foot" photo.  Maybe there's something there, maybe not.


But this one is pretty definitive.  We still weren't 100% sure, but we knew that you knew that we were there, and it was starting to get as uncomfortable as an unrequited "I love you."


We descended to the first floor, met up with the rest of our party, and left the mall headed for the Gum Wall.  The Daughter then used her phone to Google a picture of your wife, which sold us on the fact that it was, in fact, you.  (We later learned that she was from Seattle and that you have a young daughter, and then everything made sense.)

So, please accept our apologies if our actions caused you any undo stress while you were out Christmas shopping.

If it is any consolation, we chose to stop gawking at you to go gawk at a wall covered in used chewing gum.  I'm not sure if that says more about us than about you.

I hope you had a merry Christmas.


Scope & Cora

P.S. – Thanks for creating Jub Jub.  And The Daughter about died laughing when you uncropped the Justin Bieber photo the other day.

#CoCoInSeattle #CoCoAGoGo


Tech Tuesday–When A Window Closes

So, last Tuesday I was home sick as a dog.  102°+ fever.  Sweating.  Couching.  Runny nose.  The works.

So, of course, I was still working.

Anyway, my laptop decided to try this new trick on me.  Every 30 seconds, just like clock work, all the windows would minimize to the task bar.  They wouldn't close.  Just minimize.

It didn't matter what app: Word.  IE.  Chrome.  All minimized.

It didn't matter if you let the screen be or were typing.  All minimized.

Trying to Google what the F* the problem is?  It would minimize 3 times while trying to type the search terms into the bar while you're trying not to hack up a lung.

So, I tried using the system restore points.  No good.

How can you possibly (app minimizes)…

… use a laptop when every time you (app minimizes)…

… try typing something it seems like your (app minimizes)…

… computer is performing some sick torture on your (app minimizes)…

… already tortured being.

I fired off Norton to see what it would tell me, and it reported an error.  So, I went to the Norton site, entered the error code, and started a chat with "Team India".  The guy on the other end was oddly helpful.

I have Comcast internet, and it appears that somehow they had given me an app called "Fast Connect", and it was seriously messing with things.  We uninstalled that, uninstalled Norton, reinstalled Norton, and then re-downloaded all the security updates.

And now, all my windows say open.