Friday, February 28, 2014

Last sunset of February, 2014.

More fun with Windows Themes

If this is done right, you get some interesting effects, not to mention better use of an image. This is one of the plug-ins for Paint.NET and it's very configurable.

Galaxies: What's at the center?

Beautiful, - but what's at the center of all this? And why does it suggest to me the same pattern I see above the bathtub drain as it empties, with everything swirling around a vortex? Are we going down a drain?

The answer to what's at the center: a black hole. And the answer to 'are we going down a drain?' is 'Yes, but so slowly, none of us will ever need to worry about it, because the process takes billions of our years.'

And today's Question Everything is: "Where is all this material going when it goes beyond the event horizon of these black holes?" If our material universe is steadily disappearing down these 'drains' then is it forming another universe in
some other reality? We will never get the answer to that, but it's something that
adds to the mystery of it all.

Your smile of the day....

An old nun who was living in a convent next to a construction site noticed the coarse
language of the workers
 and decided to spend some time with them to correct their ways.

She decided she would take her lunch; sit with the workers; and talk with them.

She put her sandwich in a brown bag and walked over to the spot where the men were eating. 

Sporting a big smile, she walked up to the group and asked: "And do you men know Jesus Christ?
"They shook their heads and looked at each other. Very confused.
One of the workers looked up into the steelworks and yelled out, "Anybody up there know Jesus Christ?"One of the steelworkers yelled down, "Why?"
The worker yelled back,  “’Cause his Mum's here with his lunch."

A 'RotoRooter' for Malware...

You can get this 'freebie' from Malwarebytes, and you probably should...Please click this link for its home page.

How it looks...

This is how it looks...

A USA Today Windows 8 Theme....

First, the Desktop Backgrounds for your folder DesktopBackground -

With these sized to match your own monitor's native resolution, and placed inside a folder called DesktopBackground, you can then place that folder inside another named USA Today.  Then, navigate to the following folder:-
C:\Users\(your name)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes.
Drag and Drop your new USA Today folder into the Themes folder. Then open the folder USA Today, open the folder DesktopBackground, choose 'Select All' in the taskbar, then right-click on one of those selected and choose 'Set as desktop background'.  Your new Theme is now on-screen.

Now, right-click on an empty area of your desktop, and from the drop-down menu choose the bottom item, 'Personalize' and when the window opens, you can enter a name for your new theme (so it gets filed properly in the Themes list) and then set the other variables, like how long each image should remain on screen before changing to the next, and what color for the frames tinting, and etc., and then remember to click on 'Save Changes' and 'OK' before exiting.
Enjoy your new theme. If not, make yourself another one.... it's fun.

Thoughts for the Day:-

Raquel Welch is 74
Ursula Andress is 78
Brigitte Bardot is 80
Bo Derek is 58
Sex is even older...

In the news....

God would like us to know that another son is not required because no retirement is being contemplated and we are urged to continue following the Ten Commandments, eating our vegetables, saying our prayers, and believing in the word. And the word is, 'Jesus Saves - Others Invest'. Any questions?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Royal Bank of Canada - Royal *%$#-up!

In a previous blog, I was tooting my own horn for having already filed my income taxes, and received my refund  six working days later. Now, today in the mail, I get another T4A slip from RBC Investor Services, the Royal Bank's department which oversees my BC Hydro Pension. They sent out the regular T4A for the pension itself three weeks or so ago, and because I had the other slips I required from the federal pensions people, I went ahead and filed the return.  Now, another T4A, more income needing to be entered, and a first-rate F-up!

Our Canada Revenue Agency people are working late these days, because it's their 'busy season' so I phoned them tonight to ask what to do. They said they will send me a Security Code to use with my log-in, and when it arrives, to call them back, and they will help me fix this up over the internet, and I won't have to submit another return to correct the error. 

I worked at their District Taxation Office on Security  for a few months after I retired from BC Hydro, so I know what those folks have to deal with, and it isn't a whole lot of fun. They are quite helpful though if you give them half a chance,
and not enough of their customers are inclined to do that I discovered. So if I have any problems, I make sure everyone is cool while we figure it out. I wish one of them could have a little chat with those slack-assed turkeys at the Royal Bank's Investor Services about getting those T4As out faster. When you're retired and it's past the end of the year, there's no reason why those slips couldn't be sent out smartly. Nothing's going to change while sitting on them,
except your popularity with the customers. Murphy's Law is still alive and well apparently. And the next time I want financial services, it sure as hell won't be from the Royal Bank.

Golden Oldie from 1929 - Louise

Got my New Year card from Radio Habana Cuba today....

And a pocket calendar.......

With a picture by a famous artist on the other side...

Why have I a theory of Mars' ancient destruction?

Because: Everywhere the camera looks, it sees nothing but broken rocks and sand and gravel, and there's no bedrock that isn't fractured. Why?

Because: The planet was hit by a meteoroid of between 100 and 200 Km in diameter which struck it near its equator and punctured its crust, which means
it would then enter its molten core, creating an unbelievably huge explosion as
that frozen body from space hit the molten core material inside Mars.

That meteoroid from deep space was likely covered in ice, and (for example) water turning to superheated steam increases in volume by a factor of 1200 or so. Mars was probably blown up like a balloon for a brief time, during which it
lost most of its hard surfaces of its outer shell or skin, exposing its inner core to the sudden cooling of space. I'm assuming it had land masses and oceans like
Earth, and those got launched into space from the blast. Following that, the remnants of the core reformed into its existing globular shape prior to solidifying from the drop in temperature.

So we've got basically the core of a formerly earth-like planet, now composed of mostly broken and fractured rocks with some visible evidence of ancient geological formations suggestive of a much different past prior to that disaster.

If you're looking for the land masses missing from Mars, try the Asteroid Belt, where it too is mostly sand, gravel, and broken rocks. If you're looking for the
former oceans of Mars, try the periodic comets flying by, at least one of which recently exhibited evidence of sodium in its gaseous tail, suggesting perhaps 'frozen salt water'.

And I would love to have someone prove I'm 'full of shit'. So please do! 

From the Moscow Times this morning....

You can't get there from here!

The hand of man will never set foot on any of these cute little foreign planets.

But it makes nice Wallpaper...

This one's more realistic...
Brings out the midnight astronaut in me...

An escapee from 'Star Trek' ?

A distant cousin of 'Captain Kirk' ?
("Beam us up, Scottie!")

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why the rest of us are amused by America

Most countries don't have the balls ( read: temerariousness) to claim enough intelligence to warrant a director of it. Some would say a country which elects a President like 'Dubya' really needs to do more homework before advertising their presumed intelligence in front of God and everybody including critics like myself. Having a Director of National Intelligence implies a level of cognition not demonstrated in actual practice most of the time.

Remember the S.I. Swimsuit 25th Anniversary Issue?

Of course you do! How could you forget Kathy Ireland in a yellow bikini looking absolutely gorgeous? Well, here's Kathy in the 50th Anniversary issue of S.I.'s Swimsuit Edition, and she's still gorgeous - just a lot richer now, and good on her! I hope she lives long and prospers.

And on a completely unrelated subject, the above image also does something else for me - it proves that my new scanner program for PC-BSD 10 is properly installed, and working alright. This was its first test, and it passed it OK. As soon as it was downloaded, it automatically installed itself. When I opened it, the first task it performed was to look for an installed device. It found my Canon flatbed scanner, and the rest is history... They are now friends. Isn't technology just wonderful? I'm almost superfluous in this whole operation - almost, but not quite...

Necessity: The mother of Invention

No candle holder? Candle too short? Float it in a bottle of water. And yes, this is the kind of morning I'm having today. I really don't have anything better to do.
But I'm damned good at it. There's no fool like an Old Fool because you simply can't beat experience! And when you're too old for Makin' Whoopie you have to find something else for amusement. It'll never replace sex, but beggars can't be choosers. Considering my exploits with prostate cancer and fast motorcycles and wild women and strong whiskey and more than my share of stupidity, I'm extremely fortunate to still be here and able to tell you about it.

This just in from Moscow....

Meanwhile, Putin has the military flexing its muscles along the borders of the region, in yet another effort at intimidation. He doesn't seem to be a big believer in the dissolution of the old Soviet Union. No word lately on his recent butt-smooching efforts in China and India, both of whom could eat him alive.
And probably should.....

Edited, from News Bento's PopCrush...

A picture is worth a thousand words...

I can't believe...

...that anyone this old needs to take time to think it over before vetoing a bill such as this. What's to think about? How they spell your name on the trophy as
the Nation's Greatest Bigot of 2014? Time is marching on, trampling everything underfoot..... including you and I. Get out of that wheat field, Granny, you're going against the grain! 

I like USA Today on Windows 8....

Nice big pictures that make great desktop backgrounds - you should try it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Up-to-the-minute Theme for Win-8

It doesn't get any fresher than this, Folks...
This is tonight's sundown,
With the fog creeping in,
On little cat's feet.

Cugat - again....

Making a Panorama with Image Composite Editor

Take (for example) ten overlapping shots of the scenery, preferably with the camera on a tripod so you can keep it steady and able to pivot across the scene.
Don't adjust the settings between shots if you want consistent results.

Use a program like Zoombrowser or similar to download the pictures into your computer, and then select all of them in the folder, and using 'drag & drop' move them into the open window of the Image Composite Editor. It will scan and then assemble them all into one long and hopefully interesting panorama. You can then use the automatic crop, which selects the largest image with straight edges which it can find. You can manually do the cropping if you prefer, but the auto is probably your best choice, and is much simpler and quicker.

When the crop is finished, choose the option to 'export to disk' to move your new panorama into your folder inside your pictures folder, where you are saving these panorama pictures. Then, you can close the Image Composite Editor program - you're finished. The option to save your unsaved work doesn't apply to your exported image. It only applies if you wish to save a copy in the editor's own file format, which I almost never use - but that's your choice. Enjoy.

Before the fog rolls in off the Pacific...

Taken on a Nikon Coolpix P510 - seven images assembled using Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor, and you can have yours right here. This is the best panorama program you've ever seen! You should try it.

Remember 'Dubya' ? Well, he's still around...

He would have been a lot more help to veterans if he hadn't started that whole idiotic war in Iraq on the 19th of March, 2003, looking for those mythical weapons of mass destruction. I vividly remember this nitwit on TV reading to us from the Book of Isaiah, and I recall thinking 'if this shit-disturber had one more brain cell, it would be terribly lonely.' I've seen nothing since to change my mind about him.

Trouble in Paradise

Dear Julie, you Sweet Thing you: I loved what you did with Windows 7. Not so much what you did with Windows 8. It's really hard to get a second chance to make a first impression, isn't it? Let's face it, Babe - the thrill is gone; your packsack's in the hall. Happy Landings!

Looking for Walmart and took a wrong turn...

That guy between the two girls - in the army fatigues - shouldn't he be at Walmart with the other fashion-conscious trend-setters of the unwashed masses? And where are the screw-nails and the two-by-fours and the duct tape?

Twerking: Side effects...

'Twerk' rhymes with 'jerk' and if brains were dynamite, some guys would have to get help just to blow their noses. Replacing one forty with two twenties usually doesn't work out in practice nearly as well as the theory might suggest.

Nice wallpaper...

Monday, February 24, 2014

A little more music...

Canada Revenue Agency....

I am not usually known for singing the praises of our federal government's various branches, nor the inhabitants of that tree, but I have to make an exception for the folks at our Income Tax Department.

Recently, they've been encouraging us to file our tax returns over the internet using a pre-approved special program which converts our data into a code suitable for digestion at the District Taxation Office. I tried that for the first time last year, and it worked like a charm. No heavy lifting involved. Simply fill in the numbers in the proper spaces on the forms it displays, and 'zippitydoodah' - it does all the calculating and displays your balance owing or your refund to come.

They say if there's no mistakes or problems, you can expect to receive your refund electronically at your bank in as little as 8 days. I submitted my return on February 15th, and my refund arrived in my bank account this afternoon.
By my calculations, that's six working days. I think that's fantastic! 

I can remember when the tax department hired about 600 housewives every spring in Ottawa, and gave them each a red pencil, and they fumbled around 
for about two months to get your taxes verified and your refund into the mail.
This is a huge improvement, and I have to say "Well Done, Everyone!" And there wasn't a single red pencil harmed in the performance of this task. Buy yourselves a beer, guys! And Thank You!

Good Guys vs Bad Guys, continued...

Was it Einstein who said, "We cannot solve a problem using the same level of intelligence which created it."?

Let's run the Operating System in an encrypted shell, and everything else in a sandboxed or virtual O/S where it can't screw up the cookin' or cook up the screwin' - depending on which way we're going here... we're making it too easy for these nefarious nitwits who are messing up our programming.

Weather report

Our weather today, as seen on the program 'Gimp' while changing its size and its file extension from the native Gimp extension to a PNG file. This is one thing I don't like about Gimp - it has its own unique (from the Latin, uno meaning one, and equs meaning horse) file format, imported from some small foreign planet, requiring that to be changed before filing it with anything you expect to ever use again. Otherwise, it's a hell of a good program. It's kind of like making love with the world's most beautiful and desirable courtesan, and then discovering that she has a very nasty and persistent STD.....

"She Didn't Say Yes..."

This has been edited, possibly to maximize Ella's vocals and cut out the rest, but it's still a unique and catchy little ditty... Enjoy!

Looking at PC-BSD 10

This is what you see when you click on the desktop icon for the AppCafe. It's a list of categories for its various programs. Select a category by clicking on it, and another list of its actual programs opens..... this.... and the second one on this list is the office suite from OpenOffice
which can do everything you might normally expect to do with MS Office. If I click on that item, I'm asked if I really want to install this program, and I make a choice ( yes or no) and then proceed. After it is downloaded, it installs itself.
You can pay more, but you can't do any better than this. Would I lie to you?

Are you still wondering why Microsoft and its Windows 8 are playing 'Catch-up'?

...and yes, you can install any background wallpaper you wish. Have fun!