Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last sunset of October, 2009

Another of my fading twilight after dark shots on the Pentax X70... it seems to do these better than the Canon G9 for some reason.

Autumn colours in British Properties, West Vancouver

Looking up the hill at the high rent district... It's like owning a yacht - if you have to ask 'how much?' then you can't afford it.

The last sunrise of October 2009

October exits not quite smiling, but not raining either, so I'm not complaining. And it's been quite a month. Although it took a lot longer than I expected, I did get the
newest computer fixed under its warranty, with a new hard-drive installed, and then I replaced the re-installed Vista on it with Windows 7 - the thinking man's Vista.

So now, both computers are running Windows 7, and as we end another month, I've got the retail discs of Windows 7 Home Premium on hand if I need to do any re-programming. But I'm using this Windows 7 Ultimate for another few months, until its time-limited trial period runs out next spring. Why not? It really kicks ass!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The neighbourhood today...

Not "a lovely day in the neighbourhood" but not bad either. Could be worse. I could still be living back east among those Flatlanders...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Not a very nice day to be on 'lookout duty' in the rain. Poor thing looks quite miserable in that treetop.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The retail version of Windows 7 came today...

Back in June, while in the thick of testing Windows 7, we were offered a deal if we pre-ordered a copy (or copies) of Windows 7, for delivery after the official retail release on October 22nd.

I pre-ordered one copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, and it arrived by courier from back east this evening. Since I ordered it, I've wished I'd maybe chosen a different version but what's done is done now. And I did get a nice deal - $72 instead of the usual $120 or so. This was Microsoft's way of saying 'thanks' for helping them test this new and improved Windows.

Am I going to install this right away? Nah! I'm not in any rush - if I install it now, I'd be downgrading from Ultimate to Home Premium, and this Ultimate RC version is good yet until March of 2010 before Microsoft starts reminding us to get a retail copy installed. So I'm going to enjoy the Ultimate for a few more months - or maybe longer, if I decide to buy a retail copy of that. It's a nice operating system, and unlike some I could name, this one has worked very well even while in its beta test versions - so I'm quite confident there won't be any cussing, swearing or gnashing of teeth as we get familiar with it. I've been familiar with it now since this past January, and I really like it. I think you will too. It has a lot of nice refinements and improved features that make it very user-friendly.

Those pop-ups and their URLs

Even though I have the latest version of Firefox, and it is set to block popups, and I've also added several of the more obnoxious offenders to the 'Block' list, I still got one the other day that made me curious.

I clicked on its little window in the upper left of my screen, and then I dragged the edge of its window to the right - far over to the right - until I was running out of desktop. All this time, the URL is stretching out more and more, but not ending yet. Finally, just before I had dragged that window frame right off the right-hand edge, I got to the end of that long URL.

Just for fun, I grabbed a plastic ruler and measured it. That URL, from its start to its end was fifteen and seven-eighths inches long! It's a good thing this is a 22-inch monitor, because I needed the width on that one. And whose was it? I can't duplicate the whole thing, because I finally got the blocker working again, and can't re-visit it just now, but it begins with: and then runs on from there for about a week and a half, or so it seemed. If you get anything like this, add it to your 'blocked' list. Copy its URL before you delete it, and then paste that into your block list. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hardly a blizzard yesterday....

And there's no sign of snow anywhere down here where most of us live, which is more than I can say about the Swine Flu...

Help! I've come down with Swine Flu Overkill in today's Globe and Mail is Margaret Wente's response to all this madness that's going on over it.

We're into our second outbreak of it now, and a lot of us, including me, have had it already and still the government continues to fumble the ball and waste time, and taxpayers' dollars on publicity about it, instead of acting responsibly when they had the chance last spring or summer. The population of Canada at the last census was something like 33 million, yet they ordered 50 million doses of vaccine, and
latest polls indicate that over half of us aren't planning on getting a shot - likely because we've already survived the disease - so if this is correct, then we're going to be stuck with half or more of those doses untaken and wasted.

In my latest blurb to 'Dear Editor' at The Globe, I ended by asking, rhetorically of course, "Can anyone in Ottawa count to more than twenty without taking off their pants?". Personally I doubt it very much.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My attempt at getting 'artsy'....

Night comes to West Vancouver much earlier this time of year. This was a hand-held shot with the Canon G9, and I like how it came out.  Not really 'artsy' but close.

Today's snow report - and there is some...

I was going to post this about 2 hours ago, but the power went off for an hour and 20 minutes, because of a problem here on nearby Capilano Road. It's quite windy here today, so maybe a tree hit the lines. It's a bright sunny day, luckily, so seeing inside here wasn't a problem, and my little crank-'em-up emergency radio still works like a charm. That's how I found out where the problem was. Technology is wonderful - when it works.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

The hiking and biking report for today....

It's going to be one of those winters, I betcha - no snow until half-past February, like 1978...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The weather's improving slowly....

This is a tree at the far end of the development across the street, next to the freeway, and shows the contrast between trees in differing stages of turning colours. Some are quicker than others, just like people.

And this is a cute little bush beside the footpath in that development across the street, taken using a lot of zoom (around 30X) and I'm not sure just how much, because up at that end of the scale, everything's very close together, because it's into the digital zoom part.

Moving along here, I added an update today to the blog entry below about cleaning up your PC and throwing out the trash. This update should help you find all of that, and it also points you to a website where there's more information.

Are you using Vista or Windows 7 and missing that old Powertoy from XP for resizing images? Well, there's a clone of it, designed for these newer programs, and you can get it
by clicking here.

Friday, October 23, 2009


After pouring buckets all day, a pleasant surprise - a glimpse of the sunset just before dark.

Slower PC ? Empty the trash....

If your Windows PC seems slower now than it used to be, and yet you're a bit suspicious of all those myriad of programs offering to scan & fix it for you (a lot of those can easily plant their own malware to be suddenly "found"), there's something very simple you can do for yourself on a regular basis, and it only takes a moment. Bring up your 'Prefetch' and 'Temp' folders, click on 'select all', and then delete the contents of each of those folders.

Both of those will have their contents re-created automatically again, as decided by your operating system's requirements, and the presets included in your Startup sequences. And I can almost hear you asking "Well, if that's so, then why bother?" Because: over time, and with varied surfing, searching, downloading, and so forth, a lot of entries are placed in those two folders which aren't absolutely necessary for an average routine reboot or start-up procedure, and during those operations, the system has to hunt through these folders to find anything that it ought to be including in a reboot or start-up sequence - and if there are hundreds of those little muckets in there, it naturally takes longer, right? So the fewer things it has to check, the less time it takes. It's that simple.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

At last, ready to use again....

The monitor's new, and a 22-inch instead of the old 19-inch that died, and the operating system is Windows 7 Ultimate, instead of Vista Home Premium, and I've now got most of the essentials loaded into it. The rest will come over the coming days, as they are wanted.

Until I tried wrestling my way through Vista again, I hadn't realized how comfortable by comparison Windows 7 really is. It will sound corny, but I'll say it anyway - I could write a commercial for Windows 7, and mean every word of it sincerely. And I hasten to add right here that I never thought I'd ever say that about any Microsoft program. But to be fair, they have shown a wonderful improvement in their attitudes toward the end users lately, and we all fervently hope they keep that up. We were not amused at being talked down to even if we aren't in the same league as those Redmond experts. And it's nice Microsoft's people have finally realized that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar for sure. Is this the start of a 'new era'? I certainly hope so. It's definitely time.

Goodbye, Windows Vista - Rest In pieces!

After I spent hours getting the freshly-replaced Vista updated and equipped with a few programs, it decided to quit rebooting, and I had to punch and hold the power switch on the tower to make it shut down, and then restart it again to do a reboot. That was the very last goddamned straw! Out, Out, Damned Spot!!!

I grabbed my DVD for Windows 7 RC, and my memo of spare Key codes for that, and put Windows 7 RC onto this freshly-repaired Vista PC. And I'll never be sorry. Vista happens to be the most frustrating computer program I've ever seen, touched, or been forced to work with - and I will absolutely never do that ever again. Whew! Am I glad to be rid of that!

And you haven't enjoyed computering until you've tried two PCs with Windows 7 on them. Why? In a word, HomeGroup. With that (only available for computers using Windows 7) you can share libraries and their folders, which is Windows 7 talk for exchanging the contents of your "My Documents" folder, or your "My Pictures" folder, and etc., between the two or more member computers sharing a common HomeGroup. Your own private little network, in other words. You should try it. It's a lot more fun than creating disks or hooking up special cables to move stuff from one computer to the other. You do it all with a few mouse-clicks. Windows 7 is a light-year or two ahead of Vasta Vista - trust me.

There really is a difference....

I'm now able to do this on the 'spare' computer - the one that self-destructed on September 13th, and just came back from the Acer Repair Center yesterday. It was a long afternoon and evening getting this all re-programmed to (A) clean out the several many programs that were loaded on top of Vista Home Premium (ugh!) and then (B) get it properly up-to-date with all its sixty-some updates, especially including Service Pack 2. 

That Service Pack really had me worried there for a while - it didn't want to finish installing, and then it didn't want to do its preliminary reboot-to-finish-installation routine, and then it didn't want to give me back the mouse control after all that, and I had to fumble around with the arrow keys on the keyboard until I manually rebooted, not once, but twice before it decided to begin working normally again. Thank God that Windows 7 is coming down the road even as we speak about this. I can hardly wait to kiss this Vista 'Goodbye Forever' and replace it with something that really works

And what happened with that blown 19-inch flat-screen monitor? Nothing much - it's still somewhere at the service shop where I left it - the one that's in the midst of moving from one location to another, and not done with that yet. Being the impatient type, and also knowing where to find a bigger monitor for less than I paid for that 19-inch, I'm not worried about it. I bought another 22-inch flat-screen the same as the one on the other PC here, and everything's working nicely again. Except me, of course - I've got a hitch in my gitalong, my get-up-and-go has all got up and went, and my sex life is only two-thirds as good as it used to be - I can still think about it, and still talk about it. That's the trouble with old age, Kiddies - you can remember when you weren't. And that's what really hurts!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Today's Trivia: a little of this and that....

It's a dreary day outside, so here's a 'flashback' to last summer's flowers in one of the big pots outside our front entrance. I'm quite clueless about their names, but I do admire their looks - much like with pretty girls that I happen to see. 

Today's Trivia Question is:- "Can choosing different bedtime snacks influence the kinds of dreams you have during the night?"  The reason I wonder is because a sandwich made with chunky cheese bread and a couple of slices of medium cheddar for filling seems to have something to do with dreaming about travelling and aircraft flying overhead. That's how it all developed last night anyway. I was going someplace, and when I looked up, there was this cute little Learjet circling around overhead. It had blue wings and a blue roof on the fuselage, and part of the tail was also blue. The other parts of it were white. I remember thinking it would be fun to throw that around the sky for an hour or so on a nice day.
Then I woke up. That's the trouble with dreams...

It looked like this, except colored as mentioned above. I have no idea why, but it was a nice dream anyway. Where those dreams come from still mystifies me, and how they get edited is another puzzle. What or who decides on their contents? And what does a cheese sandwich have to do with Learjets?  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of these days, the whole system is going to break down...

I'm only a sometimes user of the sewing machine, and needed more thread for it, so while at the mall yesterday, I went into Fabricland to get some. I got four spools of thread, and three little packages of elastic, to replace the dying elastic in my favorite snuggies. I obviously hadn't been there for a while, because I got a shock when the gal on the cash said in her Korean accent, " Twenty dollars, seventy-five cents". Hell, I just wanted some thread, I hadn't planned on renting the place for the afternoon.

Then today, I went to the supermarket, like I do almost every day or two, and bought $20.00 worth of stuff, and handed the girl my debit card - the one that's been working fine for months, since its last renewal. She scans it and it comes up saying "account not activated". We tried that again, two more times. Then when it still refused to work, I paid her with cash, and got out of there. I went directly to the Credit Union which issued the card, and said, "Something's wrong today - this isn't working." 

The gal on the cash there said, "Yes, we're sorry about that - our system is down today for ATMs and Membercards for certain members, while they make some changes. We expect it will be fixed by tomorrow."  I said, "That's a relief - for a while there, I was wondering if some hacker had figured out how to get into the system and grab our money and then de-activate our cards, or something." She said, "Don't even think about anything like that!" I answered, "Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean the world isn't out to get me, Darling."  She said, "Well, not this time, anyway... have a nice day."

Then, on the way home, I stopped at the supermarket again, to tell the little gal at the service desk the whole story about our cards, in case more Credit Union members found out at the check-out that their cards aren't working today, and asked her about it. Some days, I get the feeling the whole thing is just hanging by a thread and the thread is slowly coming unravelled.... ever get that feeling?

Computers: My new Acer X3200 is coming back from the shop...

I got an email yesterday from Acer America's service depot back east telling me that they are sending back my Acer Aspire X3200, after replacing its hard-drive. This was new on August 12 and only sometimes used during the next 30 days, until it quietly self-destructed on the morning of the 31st day, as I was trying to get it booted up to use it. 

So, Dear Readers, today's question is:- "How did Acer just manage to take over the number two spot in the computer manufacturers pecking order lists, behind the number one, HP?" In the past 13 months, I've bought two new Acer PCs, and have had troubles with both of them. A CPU fan in one, and the hard-drive of the other. We will skip over my stupidity for a moment, and go straight to the alternate question of the day, which is: "Are the Acer folks so busy pushing product out the front doors that they can't spare the time to make sure it will work when it gets to the end user?" I could easily be convinced that that's just what's happening. I'd love to know how many returns for warranty service they get out of the total units sold. And I have my own suspicions about that, because they seem to have a very well-oiled service organization ready to revive whatever dies prematurely.

And having my 'new' computer returned with its hard-drive replaced isn't going to help much without its Acer monitor which suddenly decided to die at the very same time that the PC it was attached to lost its hard-drive. I'm told the one thing isn't likely related to the other, but I'm not convinced that all this is just blind coincidence. The 19-inch flat screen monitor is just over two years old, and is under warranty for three, and it had been working perfectly until that X3200 hard-drive died. So what killed my monitor? So far, nobody has offered any possible explanation. Without a monitor, I can't even test this freshly-repaired X3200, because this 22-inch Acer flat screen monitor on this one I'm now using will not connect to the other PC, because this one requires two VGA connectors and the X3200 only has one of those. You have to buy a special kit and have it installed to get the second VGA terminal added to the X3200. I'm just a little reluctant to spend more on that until I find out how it is now working. If the hard-drive died of natural causes or due to a design defect (it's a new model, they say) then what's to say it won't do it again?

And all this is happening right when I'd like to have a spare I can use to try out the retail version of Windows 7 coming out in a couple of days. I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate in its RC version on here, but I don't want to remove this to install the Home Premium version, because I can use this for another several months before Microsoft switches it off on us. And the Ultimate definitely beats Home Premium for features, of course.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Uncle Ray's Microwave Cooking Hints....

"Who is Michelina?" you ask. Who, indeed - probably some bewhiskered old coot who looks nothing like the kindly old Italian Momma image on the cover. The back of the box says it comes from Bellisio Foods Inc., of Duluth, Minnesota, 55802. 

Duluth has long been famous as a Great Lakes port, shipping coal, iron ore, and grain to other places, but it has only been recently that it is becoming known for shipping frozen dinners to the starving singles of the world. And that's where my helpful hints get into the act. What do I know about Italian cooking? I don't know any Italians, and I've never tried to cook one, but I've been a healthy eater for going on 77 years, and that qualifies me to say something about the process.

What I'd like to say is this: these frozen dinners tend to dry out in storage, because ice, like water, evaporates into the surrounding air over time. So to get a nice properly moist result from cooking a frozen dinner, you should first add two or three tablespoons of water to it. I add that through a short slit made in the clear plastic covering, rather than lifting a corner as they suggest. Sometimes, a lifted corner allows food to escape during cooking, while a slit near the middle does not. Next, when they tell you to peel back the top cover after five minutes to stir the contents, your Italian dinner will taste a lot better if you add a couple of inch-wide or inch-and-a-half wide slices of real cheddar cheese to the top. Then replace the clear plastic cover (to prevent splashing during the final stage of cooking) and again nuke the whole thing for a minute or minute-and-a-half. Just long enough for the added cheese to melt into the top of it. And I don't stir the contents when told to, because they're happier the way they were. You will be too, when you try my recipe. Take that, Michelina! 

Today's Snow Report....

Better luck next time, Kids! I thought after this past couple of days of nasty weather, that when the clouds lifted, we might have some white stuff on the peaks, but no deal....our Indian Summer continues - but who's complaining?  

Lest We Forget.....

Who could forget 'Mistress Lisa' (Dana Delany) in 'Exit To Eden'? Not me - I've even turned her into an icon on my desktop, suitably employed for the program 'Task Manager' - and what else can I say?

Eolake and I were talking about this movie yesterday, so I thought I'd dredge up an old image from down Memory Lane for our viewing pleasure. Admittedly, the quality of it is not what it once was, but there's only so much I can do with an old JPEG image that has its pixels all clumped up in bunches in the wrong places. I've put this through PhotoStudio about three times, and through Neat Image, the noise-removal program about 3 as well, and then I used the Wacom Pen Tablet to clean up some of the stuff those others could not do anything about, and it still leaves a lot to be desired. But I tried, Folks.... This is the best I can do for Mistress Lisa, fifteen years later. 

Dana, in an interview, says that this movie turned her fans right off, because it ruined her 'America's Sweetheart' image, and so it was a box-office turkey. Maybe so, but I'm only one of millions that loved it, because among other things, it proved that Dana could wear something other than a stethoscope and army fatigues, and look wonderful.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

More autumn leaves....

This is a little tree along our main entrance drive, with some interesting patterns in its leaves.

A rose is a rose.....

Who said "summer's over"? I have proof it isn't quite over yet. And now, so do you!
Enjoy your day, everyone.

Want a nice monitor background ?

This is for Monsieur Beep and anyone else who enjoys a colorful picture and would like to use it on their monitor as a background. Just click on it to enlarge, and then save it to your file, and enjoy. This was taken looking down from my 16th floor balcony at the leaves along our back lane, Saturday morning during the rain. It has been enhanced a little with PhotoStudio 5.5 to bring out the colors a bit more vividly. I hope you like it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cookies: The hidden ones, and how to remove them

This shows an add-on for your Firefox browser which will detect hidden and invisible 'supercookies' that get placed on your computer by Flash objects, and are there forever, unless you know how to detect them and remove them. This 'BetterPrivacy 1.29' does that. So if you use Firefox, and you probably should, then do yourself a favor and get this little extension for it. On its Options page, you can set it to automatically find and remove these otherwise unknown cookies. Why the big deal? Because these have a much larger capacity for storing information and sending it back home to 'Mission Control' where they came from than any ordinary cookies ever had before - and these can be programmed to do other things besides reporting back to headquarters. They can make changes to your setup, and you don't even know they are there, so you don't know why something has changed, or more importantly, where to look for whatever did it. So this program could save you a lot of headaches. Cleaning out that whole nest of hidden supercookies also results in reducing the demands on your RAM - mine dropped about 100 Mb after removing all those things.
So this is definitely a good thing, as Martha Stewart might say.  

Why shopping malls are so popular here....

This was taken at about a quarter to eight this morning, and it's a Saturday morning in the middle of October.  This is why Vancouver had the very first big indoor shopping mall in Canada, away back in the early 1950s. We've still got it, and it now spans both sides of the main street running through West Vancouver, and contains some 200 stores and businesses. It's only a few blocks away from here, and I'll probably be in it later on today - because it's not a nice day outside, as you see. Ah, 'The Wet Coast' - we just love it here! Why? It's easy to shovel, that's why.... If we want winter, we go twenty minutes up the hills. It works for us!


Friday, October 16, 2009

My friend Eolake's newest website....

I've only shown a portion of the website's front page, so as not to upset those delicate prudes among us who sniff and snort and run to their closets to hide whenever a girl exposes more than her ankles and wrists to public view. For the rest of us, please be assured that Eolake presents the ladies tastefully and with respect for both the models and his viewers. He has a reputation of presenting nudes with both dignity and class, and has the respect and admiration of both his peers and his clients. He has been doing this since 1997, and there's no substitute for experience. Click here to visit the site, and be aware that this is adult material you will be viewing.

Vega de San Mateo, Gran Canaria....

When they say this is in the northeastern mountainous region, they obviously aren't kidding. When you have to terrace the hillsides to keep the cows from rolling down the slope into the valley below, it's mountainous alright. This reminds us of China or maybe parts of Switzerland. (Heidi, where are you?) Monsieur Beep's elusive hammock still has not been located, but I think we're getting warmer....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Uncle Ray's Handy Household Hints, continued...

See this dead housefly?.........

Well, here's how you do that without staining the place all up with industrial-strength and toxic stuff like 'Raid', which doesn't go well with either unhealthy lungs or your munchies.
You go to the pharmacy and get the pure version of rubbing alcohol, like this:-

And then you put it into a small plastic pistol-grip type pumper sprayer ( the sprayer from an empty jug of window cleaner works fine if you trim the length of the intake tube to match the depth of the bottle you use - you don't want one holding litres) and then you're ready for action. 

Why? Because: Full-strength rubbing alcohol is strong enough to kill household insects and other little buggers that fly or crawl in your windows, and do their best to take over your space. Its main advantage is that it doesn't leave an unsightly stain on carpets or woodwork and it evaporates fairly quickly, saving you a clean-up. 

Naturally, you should remember that this is also toxic and flammable (works in those old-fashioned Zippo cigarette lighters in place of lighter fluid) and should be kept away from food, children and pets.  But if you're in a high-rise residential condo like this one, and find that little creepy-crawlies are coming visiting from places where the pipes and the wiring enter your place, then you can quickly zap the little rascals with this, and kill them before they run off with your lunch.

And if, perchance, you have a problem with those tiny little pharaoh ants imported from you-know-where by our newest residents in their luggage, and need the heavy-duty solution, and you don't have any 'Raid' or similar bug killer handy, try the carpet spot-cleaner, such as 'Resolve'. Sock it to them with that foam, and let it sit until it disappears. Then simply vacuum up the victims, and you're not only done, but the rug looks better too. Any questions? 

 I'm adding this last photo, to show the finished sprayer full of alcohol, with its recycled 'Windex' sprayer unit on a small bottle originally from the notions counter of the supermarket. Beside it, sitting on an upturned lid from a ketchup squeeze-bottle, to give you some perspective, is a lacrosse ball. That's another handy thing to have around the house, or if you're travelling, and need an emergency stopper (or regular one) for the sink or the bathtub. The lacrosse ball, available at most sporting goods outlets, or from the folks at Goalnet Sports, on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, works as a stopper for the drain of sinks and bathtubs because it is heavy enough to hold itself in place even while the water is running full force to fill the sink or tub, and sitting up above the drain as it does, it is easy to grab when you want to 'pull the plug'. I've tested mine by letting it hold a full bathtub of water for an hour or so, to see if it would leak away, and it doesn't. You have to remove the ball to drain it.

Tourists, and foreign holiday resorts...

While exchanging our comments about the sights in foreign climes, Monsieur Beep  reminds me that all is not always as it seems. This got me thinking about a little book written by a retired newspaperman from our east coast, who spent his winters for years down in Florida. The book's title is 'Add Ten Years to Your Life' - A Canadian Humorist Looks At Florida, by Stuart Trueman.

It's all a collection of little short stories, just a page or two each, and most are quite amusing. In one of those, he describes admiring from behind this cute little thing with tight pedal-pushers accenting her attractive posterior, a brief little top, and long blonde hair falling gracefully down her back. Then, she stops at a bus stop in front of the mall, and he gets a good look at her front. She's obviously seventy-something, with a face like a train wreck!

This is why I don't take cruises and foreign vacations to exotic destinations - I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars just to sleep in a strange bed and look at the same kinds of wrinkled old prunes that I can see at home for no extra charge. 

And just for fun, I'm including my favourite 'Got Milk?' poster, for your viewing pleasure.
It's an oldie now, but still a goodie.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monsieur Beep replies to my Monday's posting

Hehe! Thank you for posting these wonderful pictures, of which I do recognize the third. It shows the beach/promenade area near the Orchidea hotel resort. Where's the hammock? Keep on searching - you will find it some day.

I insist: there ARE beautiful señoritas around! Especially at the weekends when the locals come from the mountains or Las Palmas to the beach for a swim. Some (most) of them are of a breathtaking type, black-brown hair, wonderful frame and skin.

Those which you're talking about abound too: they're British tourists haha!! But generally the feminity is worth watching (:-))

Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos, Ray. They do represent the place to a large degree.

And my comments on the above:-

I was afraid that I might have scared you off with my little bit of fun with the hunting for the hammock, and I'm glad your sense of humour is still intact.

To get the pictures, I used Google Earth to fly around the area, and then I 'borrowed' a few images from its feature 'Panoramio', some of which when clicked on will enlarge to quite nice pictures. I'm hoping our friends at Google don't mind too much. It's a great program and it needs more exposure - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

When I first used Google Earth to visit Gran Canaria, I missed most of the best greenery because I was looking in the wrong places. This time, I remembered what you said about the climate, and paid more attention to the areas along the coast. It looks like a very pleasant place to relax in your hammock. I really do envy you, Monsieur - it sure beats the rainy season here on Canada's west coast. 

 This is a larger view of the old Douglas DC6-B out in front of the Aero Club at Bahia Feliz.
The first time I flew out west here from the region where I grew up, part of the trip was in a plane like this, operated by Canadian Pacific Airlines. It was very comfortable, and the trip was quite an adventure for me. I remember the plane I was on had a length of 2-inch pipe about six feet long hanging down from under the tail, and I never got the story on why it was there, but it obviously served some purpose, and had been there a long time. You could see where the end cap on the bottom end had been dragged on the deck quite a few times. Its top end was on a swivel, so it could swing freely. Very strange! 

Today's invention is....

In response to an old problem in this little condo bathroom, the re-invention of the dispenser for bathroom tissue. The builders put the standard-equipment version on the side of a small cupboard which holds the sink, and you'd have to be a contortionist to enjoy using that one while on the throne. So, enter latest invention:-

Made from an empty and upside-down Aspirin container, label removed, held onto a board covered with Mactac, with one large wood screw through its lid. Here it is loaded and ready for use:-

The big advantage of this being that it goes wherever there's a flat surface to put it on - the edge of the tub, an overturned plastic pail, the floor, the counter-top, - anywhere. Anywhere within easy reach. It's inexpensive, and it does the job, just like that famous 'John Wayne Toilet Paper'. 

Haven't heard that one? One of our 'buckskin brothers' goes to the Service Counter at the local supermarket, and asks little Julie, "What's the best deal on toilet paper?" Being the diplomat she is, she smiled sweetly and replied, "It all depends: if you want the most for your money, the house brand is the one. If it's comfort you're after, then something else." Our bargain-hunting shopper grabs the big economy size of the house brand, and pays for it. A few days go by, and he returns, this time for cigarettes. Julie, having a good memory for faces and customers, asks him "How did you make out with the toilet paper the other day? Was it OK?"

He looks at her a little bit funny, and says, "Do you mean the John Wayne Toilet Paper?" Julie asks, "Why do you call it that?" He replies, " Because it's rough, it's tough, it's all over the west, and it don't take no shit from no Indian!"

Today's 'Question Everything' - Lotteries: What's the deal ?

I went to bed too early tonight, I think. I woke up again just at the end of Letterman, and now that silly Craig Ferguson is babbling away in the background. Actually, his stuff is a lot fresher and funnier than most of his competitors these days.

But I digress - sorry about that. I started off thinking about lotteries, and I'll continue with that for a moment. Here in Canada, we've got a couple of national lotteries that are sold locally by our several provincial lottery corporations, each of whom gets its own cut, I'm sure. The twice-a-week Lotto 649 was the first to double its prices a couple of years ago. That left only one with halfway reasonable ticket costs - the huge-odds Super 7, in which you had to get lucky on all seven numbers to make any real money. So you know right away how many of us got rich with odds of something like 68-million to one.

As if that wasn't bad enough, and apparently it wasn't, they've now changed its name and doubled its prices too. This is their response to the public's obvious resistance to being so flagrantly ripped off by bullshit gambling schemes. Originally, and I do go back to Day One of our lotteries, these were flogged on the basis that they'd provide a painless source of funds for charities and health care. The only 'charity' involved here is yours in donating your hard-earned cash to some flim-flam scheme, and the only 'health care' involves the health of the government's General Revenue Fund, into which profits are being funneled. Trust me - would I lie to you? 

To stand a reasonable chance of winning 'The Big One' on any of these multi-million-dollar lotteries, you'd have to buy tickets for every draw, and live to be 640,000 years old. And by then, God Knows, you're going to be much too old and tired to enjoy that tour of the world's best tropical resorts that you've been day-dreaming about on your way to the lotto ticket booth. Want to double your money safely? Fold it and put it in your pocket! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking around here....

There's bad weather this afternoon in the high country....

And closer to home, the leaves around the neighborhood are changing.

And I'm fairly sure the bikini season is over for another year here, once again.  I got one of those 'junk mail' type phone-calls again today from some telemarketer south of the border telling me that Macy's, Sears, and even Saks Fifth Avenue have their winter displays up already and I should check it out. The recorded message was rather faint, and I suspect the people initiating it had no idea that I'm nowhere near New York City, Boston or Chicago. I'm on the opposite coast, in fact, and I've never been to New York City, and don't want to go there. But the news was interesting from a historical perspective if nothing else, because usually, those big American department stores don't wheel out their Big Guns to grab the Silly Season trade until after their own Thanksgiving, which isn't until November 26th, almost six weeks away yet. So they're starting early this year for sure. I'm not.

Windows 7 = This just in from Microsoft about the Family Pack

You were inquiring about whether the product includes licensing for multiple computers. The licensing for Windows 7 allows for only one device per license, with the exception of the Family Pack which includes 3 licenses for Windows Home Premium upgrade only. Unfortunately, there is no licensing available for different versions.

What you may be interested in would be the Windows 7 Family Pack. The Family is going to come with Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, 3 licenses for the price of $149.99 and will be available for pre-order starting October 18, 2009. If you wish to read more about the Family Pack, please use the following link:
I had asked if they could provide a common license to one user with 2 PCs, each of which would be running a different version of Windows 7.  So essentially, the answer is "no", they can't. But if I was willing to settle for Home Premium on both PCs, then I could buy the Family Pack of three licenses allowing installation of Windows 7 Home Premium on up to three computers in the same household.
There has been some speculation about whether and when such a multi-PC offer might be available and this clears up that mystery - it will be available beginning October 18th, 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A collage of today's autumn colors -

This was made with Google's Picasa, and if you don't already have it, you should get it. It's a very handy 'freebie' from Google, and it works just fine for cataloguing all the pictures on your computer, and then letting you do some nice things with them. It has some basic editing features, as well as provisions for creating these collages, or for uploading pictures to web albums, or emailing them to friends, family and etc. 

One of Picasa's editing features that I really like is its ability to straighten images taken with the camera on a tilt to its horizon. There's a grid superimposed over the image to be edited, and then a simple slider button will adjust the image relative to the grid lines, until you're happy with it. Gunnar and the guys at Picasa deserve a big thanks for this one.

And if you don't like black for a background in the above example, no problem - you can pick whatever makes you giggle from a complete color chart. Do yourself a favor - get Picasa and have fun with your pictures!

Monsieur Beep writes from Bahia Feliz, Gran Canaria....

He says that he likes to read my stories while in his hammock in Gran Canaria....

I looked here..... and didn't see one -

And I looked here..... and didn't see one -

And I looked here, ..... and still no hammock....

And when I looked here, all I found was this gal who had lost her top, and couldn't find it.
So tell me, Monsieur, where the hell's that hammock anyway?  

And while I'm asking all these questions, what about all those cute, hot-blooded senoritas you've been telling me about? Most of the ones in these pictures are fat & fifty and they don't do anything for me but make me run for the nearest exit. What's the matter, there? Is this the Fat and Fifty Season, or what? Can I trade one of those fat & fifties for two hot twenty-fives? Have you tried? Please let me know.... ( to be continued)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yesterday's sunset - nice one!

This one turned out better than many of my attempts. (I'm patting myself on the back, OK?)

That old 'recycled' lighting fixture from the Big Blue Bin

The standard equipment on this fixture is three 8-inch milk-glass globes, and I have them, but instead I'm using these three other glasses, also 'recycled' from that Big Blue Bin. And if you're wondering "Why would the Old Fart use 30-year-old fixtures and obsolete milk-glass shades, instead of something newer?"

Because: (1) Dear Old Granny, rest her fanatically-religious soul, had among her many sayings one that goes: 'Waste Not, Want Not', and (2) Being old myself, I like old things that remind me of my misspent youth, when I knew better but didn't give a damn. I hasten to add that I have to qualify that last remark: it doesn't include ex-wives, or mothers-in-law affectionately known as 'Old Fang'. Any questions ?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A little this, a little that - mostly that...

Today's Snow Report: Summer continues, Folks! And we're lovin' it, I must add.

And this is Ralph, one of our downtown, big-city, I'll-yell-until-you-feed-me crows. This is what I get for tossing out bread to a couple of nesting crows in a treetop down below my window here about five years ago. It started a whole colony of them, and now, nobody around here needs an alarm clock. And we aren't allowed shotguns so forget that idea. Seriously, these little guys make better neighbors than some of the other tenants in these high-rise condos here. A better type of wildlife too. They don't keep me up with slamming doors and loud partying sometimes until 1:30 or 2:00 A.M. - and I hate loud parties when I'm not invited.

The newly concreted driveway and walks are looking good, and already have begun collecting stains from parked vehicles, even before the original purchaser gets to do it.

How about those TV commercials, eh? What kind of girl lets her boyfriend paw her nice smooth leg in public, even if she does use the latest hair-removal product? And how many of you think Jay Leno should not only sit down, but shut the hell up? And who told Conan O'Brien he's funny? And what's it say about Letterman's show, when he has to ask his audience "How many of you still want to see me?" Fewer and fewer, Dave - fewer and fewer. Trust me - would I lie to you? 

I finished my fall 'housecleaning' today. Among other things, I cleaned off the top of the upper kitchen cupboards - the ones I can never ordinarily reach from the floor without a stool. I seldom use a stool in the kitchen, because it's very small, and if I stand on a stool in there, I must be very careful not to bang my head on a big recycled lighting fixture that I moved there from its former location downstairs in the Big Blue Bin. When I finally got up on the stool for a look at the top of those cupboards, I had to make a big decision: 'Do I go to a lot of work to clean all this, or do I simply add some fertilizer to this topsoil being formed by the collected dust & dirt, and plant some veggies?' I cleaned it, reluctantly, while imagining a nice little patch of greenery handy to the stove and the sink. I could install grow lights, trays of topsoil, a drain joining the one under the sink, and enjoy some fresh lettuce, or herbs, or maybe hothouse tomatoes....I can almost taste them now.

Friday, October 9, 2009

How not to take pictures - continued -

(1) When shooting a sunset, don't wait until after dark. 
(2) When the camera needs help holding steady, use the tripod.
(3) For sharper images, don't use maximum optical zoom.

Aw, Hell - I love breaking the rules. I've got decades of experience at it.

We're not on Google's Street View - just Google Earth

Pardon me for whining about their technology, but I suspect their two cameras for capturing stereo images weren't placed in the best relationship to each other, because these buildings appear here as too short and flat. The one in the upper left corner, for example, is a 20-storey building, and I'm in it, so I know. But nothing's perfect, I guess. Still, I think they could have done better....  Maybe next time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Something we should look into....

Have a look at this website while there's still time...

And now, for tonight's sunset...

Fire in the sky. Wasn't that a movie title many years ago? If I last long enough, almost anything will be. Enjoy another lovely evening, everyone!

And the sequel looks like this. Just lovely.