Saturday, July 17, 2010


At work I have twin computer keyboards as they access twin computers. As a necessity, each is off center compared with this one. I find my muscle memory of where keys are is growing worse as each offset affects my typing (is it even called typing?) I also seem to have become slower here on this centered keyboard.

Monday, July 05, 2010

WILLIE'S 4th of July Picnic

It was up the street a few miles this year. We had free tickets. We spent 3 (of 12+) hours, finally found a seat on the grass (a 7500+ person sellout) and enjoyed the music and warm breezes, The crowd is a mixture of cowboys, hippies, yuppies... they sold a TON of merch - my favorite was the Willie Nelson First Aid shirt with a large leaf of pot on it. But I bought a cap at a way overpriced $30, instead. I wear caps at work due to the track lighting which would shine into my eyes if I didn't. Plus, there can't be too many like this show.

Later we came home and watched 9 more fireworks displays in the near and far distances! A warm breeze made it perfect.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


I was such a fireworks kid! I LOVED them. I bought them illicitly whenever I could (illegal in my home state - Pennsylvania). I made my own. Oh for fireworks. And the chemicals we bought back then would surely trip a terrorist list investigation today! Some of the stuff was highly dangerous! All of it could burn things (like fields (check), fingers (check)) or blow up big time. Probably the largest explosion was in a three foot rocket (aluminum tube) which, when it blew up, echoed around the hills for some time. It was the loudest explosion I had ever stood close to - I was about 16 at the time. The kid who lit the fuse and ran was passed by shrapnel from the explosion.

The must be angels.

What I cannot understand is that as I aged I lost my enthusiasm, and I cannot figure out why. Last night we had a great place (private home) to watch a great display but I was feeling lousy and didn't go. Out our TV room window we could see several displays in the distance and other than a few more creative rockets, it was ho-hum.

Maybe the years of 'syncing" radio music to fireworks displays drained me (they cannot sync well and very few people ever bring radios.) In Minneapolis (actually St. Paul) we were supposedly involved with the largest fireworks display 'this side of the Mississippi.' That would be hyperbole. But it was a huge display.

As a young kid, I remember sitting in an alley by the beach in Ocean City NJ where some grownups (no doubt hammered) had several shopping bags of fireworks and set them off right THERE, right in front of the assembled kids. That was SO cool.

One fourth of July my dad and uncle (hammered) went down to the beach and shot 45s at the moon over the water (loud.)

One fourth of July a bunch of us went late to a display and somehow ended up closer to the zone than the crowd, and stood right under where the shells were exploding. I remember 'coming to' on my knees. I felt hammered into the earth by the explosions.

I still love the smell of gunpowder - the sulfuric smoke. But in our 5 1/2 years here have avoided buying ANY fireworks at the many stands open in the next counties for 10 days twice each year. And I don't know why.

Maybe if they sold Cherry Bombs?


Our $270 all-in-one printer/fax/copier just cratered. Here's the scam: it holds four sources of ink - three colors and black. When any of them (in this case, yellow) runs dry, the printer will not allow printing 'to preserve the health of the printer' even if the black ink is full and the item to print is black!

However, after an online search, I found ten pages of disgruntled HP owners writing about how replacing that yellow ink DOESN'T GET RECOGNIZED, and there's no work-around.

My dilemma - do I go buy yellow and try? Risk another $22 to feel like a fool? Or save whatever the cost of a new printer? (I will try the yellow.)

Apparently if you call HP they will try to sell you another printer. IF you can understand the foreign tongue on the associate you get in India or wherever.

Yes, I have loaded the latest drivers, rebooted, restored, etc. BTW: their instructions SUCK.

One guy took an axe to his HP before going out to buy a Cannon.

Man I just hate it when machines or devices make decisions for you - presets forcing A or B when you want "A and a half." We have lost so much control in our busy lives to industry, or government - it's a shame.

The last thing I want in this world, right above blood blister, is another printer.

- Later -

Well, after my replacing yellow ink, The HP 8500909g went through a lot of introspection and decided... I needed a 'blue'. Very warily I bought both cyan and magenta inks and loaded them in... as by sheer coincidence (cue suspicion music) I received an email that we should extend our soon-to-expire warranty on this beast (huh? --- didn't realize it was under a year old!) But after replacing the remaining two inks, the machine whirred and clicked and whirred and began to spit paper. IT WORKS!

Now I will walk away while I can.