Sunday, May 25, 2008

Still Alive

Sorry about the lack of posts and visiting. Heavier load than usual at work and the whole back thing is still going on.

Lovely wife and I went to the beach Sunday evening and it was gorgeous.

But we need your prayers because her purse was stolen. No cash involved but there were credit cards and other much needed documentation like her driver's license and so forth.

Trying to get everything in order and to guard against identity theft since her Soc. Security card was in there too.

I'm hanging in there, and will try to visit soon.

Here are three pics from Sunday evening.

The view northward up the beach, the view straight ahead toward Africa, and the view a bit southward.

All from where we sat on our bench.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fire Update

The Palm Bay Police caught an arsonist trying to start another brush fire here in town this morning at about 4AM.


One of Number Two Daughter's good friends came and spent the night with us last night, as their home is in an area where the power lines were destroyed by the fires and Lord only knows when they will get power back up in those areas. I totally understand the desire for a hot shower and a night's sleep under air conditioning.

It's just hard for me to wrap my massive cranium around the idea that someone sets these fires on purpose.

The grass around here is semi green and crunchy, so it's prime real estate for a good fire to get going.

Plus all the pine trees and palmetto is really meant to burn from time to time to open the seed pods and whatnot, but having these fires in residential areas isn't a good thing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mothers Worry

I got a semi-frantic call from Sainted Mother yesterday evening.

Palm Bay was right then on CNN showing homes burning and dramatic helicopter shots of various fires in the area.

The headline across the screen said "Homes Burning in Palm Bay, Florida" and she was naturally worried about her little chicks, one of whom lives in Palm Bay with his family.

Most of the fires are at least 5 miles or so from our home and south of us, so that the typical easterly and westerly (night time and day time) winds are tending to keep the fires away from us.

They keep closing I-95, which is a huge deal, but the fires are very close to the highway and the smoke blowing across I-95 is dark gray and thick.

Anyway, I think I got her calmed down, though later at night Lovely Wife talked to her too and hopefully she's no longer so worried.

Palm Bay is a decent sized city of about 110,000, so it's a big area that only small parts are on fire, but that's hard to convince your Mama of when she's 500 miles away.

We're ok so far, and God willing, we'll stay out of the fire's paths.

We're mostly affected by the closed highway, which Lovely Wife and I both use to get to our jobs. Going though town's a bummer, both in time and gasoline consumption.

It usually starts getting rainy in the afternoons here around the beginning of June. Hopefully the summer afternoon rains will start early this year. We sure could use the rain.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A New Panorama

I took the seven shots that make up this panorama about a month ago, but just got around to trying to put it all together. I still didn't have the patience to get the differing light values in the sky to blend better, but I like how it looks anyway.

I posted this on my photography blog yesterday and thought I might as well put it here too.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Obviously, I have had nothing to say for a few days. And I haven't tried the text message thing again.

Here's a couple of photos from last year of Lovely Wife's mechanical Nemo in our pool.

As Dori would sing, "Just keep swimming, just keep swiiiiiiiiiiiming!"

If you have seen these before, sorry, but I ran across them on my computer this morning and they made me smile.

That's good enough reason for me to post them, probably for the second time.

That movie was a grand-slam home run in my book. It's been a couple of years since I've seen it and need to watch it again. If for no other reason to hear Dori's "You are MY Squishy" and her "Speaking whale" routines.

Also where the boys at schools scare the little girl octopus, and she complains, "Aw, you made me ink!"

Good stuff.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Bumblin', Stumblin', and Fumblin'

John sends his first text message.

It started out as a moment of insanity, an idea how to make Lovely Wife laugh.

I've been married 23 years, but it still means something to me to be able to get her to laugh. We haven't quite reached the Milburn and Mildred Drysdale stage of marriage where we barely tolerate each other, and in fact STILL enjoy each other's company. (M&M Drysdale were the Beverly Hillbillies' next door neighbors for you young whipper-snappers.)

But a moment of insanity turned into thirty minutes of gritty determination and a fight for survival on my part.

Lovely Wife twisted her ankle and I wanted to send a clever text message, in perfect English, and then act as if I messed up and then retyped the message as the younguns do. You know, like, "waz up RU gon 2 thu prty tnite" as if THAT was how a text message should be written.

To give you a basic picture, I truly had never, ever sent, or even attempted to send a text message with my cell phone before.

So, first, being a guy who believes in reading the instruction book, I look it up on the internet. I have the most basic bar phone without a camera that AT&T offers. It is a Nokia 2610.

I read for a few minutes and then spend a full ten minutes trying to adapt what the manual I looked up says versus what options and commands are actually on my phone. I almost decided to take up cussing again, but held firm, though dangits and darnits were flying. Plus, a few bad vibes sent out to the writer of the Nokia cell phone manual for not getting the commands exactly right, making what should be a relatively easy task much harder.

Eventually I slogged my way through learning to type a text message using a numeric key pad, and learned something along the way... NO STINKIN' WONDER EVERYBODY WANTS A DANG BLACKBERRY WITH A "QWERTY" KEYBOARD ON IT!

I'm a fairly patient man, maybe even a little too proud of my reputation for cool-headed-ness, but let me tell you, I also learned why the whipper-snappers type their text messages in almost unreadable code: Typing text with a numeric keypad is asinine under the best of conditions.

Note, I had no time limit except a self-imposed one to try to get the message typed and sent successfully during one of my evening Non-smoke breaks. (That's when I take a break the same time as the smokers at work, only I don't smoke.)

So as I FINALLY finished my typing, and my co-workers were filing back in, I was a jumpy, twitchy, nut case about to have a nervous breakdown.

It was almost as bad as the first time I went grocery shopping for the whole family and was totally intimidated and almost reduced to tears by the veteran women in the grocery store. They spotted this newbie man shopper a mile away and bumped my buggy and generally harassed me until I finally got mad and gritted my teeth and finished the shopping with grim resolve. It was either finish or curl up in a whimpering ball on the toilet paper aisle.

But that's another horror story.

What I ended up typing and sending was something like this: " Lovely Wife, this is my first ever text message. How is your ankle? Love, John Ooops I gess I shd say wuz up hz UR Nkl xxxooo" (Though actually, I used her name)

That's all I wanted to do. Type in something simple, hopefully cute or funny enough to make her laugh.

Then, when it was finally over, I went to close the .pdf file of the Nokia phone's instructions and realized that I had pulled up the instruction manual for the Nokia 6030 that Cell Phone Thief stole from me a few weeks ago. That's why the instructions were off between what the manual said and the options my phone actually offered.

Just for fun, I pulled up the Nokia 2610 manual, and not only were the instructions dead-on accurate, they were written much clearer and easier to understand than the other manual. Grrrrr.

But noooooo, I ened up wrestling with the electronic equivalent of a 12 foot python and at the very least shaved a full year off of my life expectancy.

I can troubleshoot and repair electronic cards, each of which cost 3x my yearly salary, without getting too stressed, but trying to send my first stupid email sends me teetering on the very brink of sanity.

Need me to design you a digital circuit card? No problem. I'm all over that.

But DO NOT ask me to text message again.

The world is truly upside down.

I'm going back to calling and leaving her voice mails from now on. That's a slam dunk, and only takes about 45 seconds total.

Sending a text message was, in an analogy, roughly equal to wanting to make a run through the drive through of Taco Bell for one (or two) of their ultra-tasty Caramel Apple Empanadas, but instead of taking the Camry, I decide to instead hitch up the horses and take my Conestoga wagon, a la The Oregon Trail, and take the wagon to Taco Bell.

It's truly much less efficient as a way of communication.

If that means I'm now officially an old fart, then so be it.