Monday, August 30, 2004

Wonderful Weekend

Back home again after a wonderful weekend. The wedding was great. Steph looked almost grown up. Watching her pretend to be an adult on Saturday was reminiscent of watching her think she was an adult so many years ago. As I have said many times Steph was always aware that there were different rules for adults then for kids, she just never seemed to grasp that she was one of the kids. Now I have a hard time grasping that she's not a kid anymore. But the wedding was beautiful and Steph was an adult. Making adult decisions, I guess that's the scariest part for me. The world will soon be in the hands of people I helped raise, what the hell do I know about raising people, kids was one thing - people is a whole nother world.

For those of you keeping up with the blogs you know one of Steph's worries was that she would be stuck with a lot of fish at the end of the wedding. I stated that I would not be bringing any fish home, well Steph had nothing to worry about and I was wrong. Megan brought a fish home, on the way home she decided the fish needed a name. I thought Cat Chow would be a good name but Megan didn't like it. So we decided on a name that commemorated the occassion on which we got the fish - Stephanie and Arn Got Married - so his (or her) name is Sagm (the g is silent). I think Cat Chow will be more appropriate in the end, but what do I know.

Jackson was adorable, his range of motion has widened to the point where nothing is safe anymore. Erika put a box over the cord from Mommy's lamp so he couldn't chew on the cord, Jackson was terribly pleased with this as he could pull himself up on the box to reach where the cord plugged into the wall, who would of thought his Mommy could be so accomodating? Rumor has it that he had a rough night, but I slept in the living room and the only problem was a cranky Erika about 2:00 in the morning.

Texas Hold 'em was fun on Sunday since the weather was not swim appropriate. The forecast for Saturday is much better.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Just a few things that drive me crazy

Pop up ads - where do they all come from? My ISP now has pop up ad blocker and it has successfully blocked 75% of the pop ups that I get but I still get way too many. The most irritating this is when the pop up ad contains a bad URL. At some point many moons ago somebody on my computer downloaded, accepted, signed up for, or in some other way put something called incredifind on my computer, this program intercepts whenever it takes more than 5 seconds for a URL to come up. It eats up all the system resources, stopping everything that I want to do, to tell me that the URL I have requested is not available. It gives me 100 choices for similar URL's and then lists 1000 categories if I just want to use one of theirs. It's annoying enough when it is a URL I wanted (I get it a lot on Stephanie's Blog, her's seems to take longer to come up), but when it is a forced URL that I certainly never wanted I get really frustrated. As for just pop up ads that one that looks official telling you that there might be spyware on your computer has confused even some of my brighter friends.

The Bank - I am still in arrears with my bank for the fraudulent charges they gave me provisional credit for the charges but had to leave the overdraft charges and are charging an additional $5 per day of overdraft. I got a computer generated letter last week stating that I needed to bring my account current immediately as it had been overdrawn for over 30 days. I called the bank to talk to the signatory on the letter (and kept very calm and reasonable now that Mel is signatory on similar letters). She said "did you contest the charges?" I told her that I had and that they had removed the charges but not the overdraft fees, she said "that takes a couple of weeks" I told her that it had been over a month. She told me she would look into and call me back. She did call back and say that they were just about done and would be removing the overdraft in a few days. Today when I checked they are still there. However I did earn .27 in interest last month. A month when my account was in overdraft status every single day. Go figure.

Dish satellite service - I have never been happy with these people and I am sure I will never be happy, I did settle into a lull of contentment after they gave me all of the credits that I wanted. For those of you not in the loop when I had Dish installed in January I was supposed to get 2 boxes each working 2 TV's, they did not have 2 in stock so they gave me 1 that worked 2 TV's and 2 for individual TV's and then charged me for the additional box. Early last week I received a call from Dish telling me that they were going to be in my neighborhood installing and asked if I wanted a satellite dish - I asked if this was in addition to the one already on my roof. They said "Oh, do you already have dish satellite?" I said "yes, unfortunately" that last word was of way too many syllables so they asked "how do you like it so far?" I replied that I hated it but was stuck with a year's contract, reading from the script they then asked "can you give us the name and phone number of a few friends who don't have dish network?" keeping in mind that they called (and hung up on) me I replied "Are you out of your freaking mind!" I thought that was that, silly me. The way the two TV system works is there is a box in my living room that controls both the living room and my bedroom. The remote in my bedroom is some kind of special remote that goes through walls. Megan's remote will not work in my bedroom to change my bedroom TV, but will work in the living room to change the living room TV. My remote no matter where it is in the house changes my bedroom TV. This all seemed cool, until they were in my neighborhood installing a system somewhere else (possibly next door as we have new neighbors). I was set to tape poker yesterday morning as I screwed it up Tuesday night. When I went to watch it all I had was my system going through a series of test things, you could see how someone was arrowing over and selecting stuff. Point the dish, select the transponder, and then the fun part set up a favorites list for the channels that you watch all the time. They set up a list to include food network, game show channel, and A&E only. The way the system works is you select guide and it shows you the current listing of channels each time you hit it, it scrolls through you favorite lists and then finally all channels and then all subjects. We keep it on all subjects because this shows you only and all the channels you actually subscribe too and have never set up a favorites list. Most of what I am telling you now I learned the hard way yesterday since when I turned on my TV it was on A&E, this did not make sense to me since the last thing I had taped was ESPN. I thought shit I forgot to set it up to change to ESPN to tape the poker I'm going to have two hours of A&E, but we hardly ever watch A&E. Oh well, I rewound the tape and saw that I had all of this other stuff - system set up stuff - I still wasn't understanding why. I stopped the VCR and tried to change the channel on the TV but if the channel I tried was under 110 it went to 110 food network, if it was over 118 it went to 118 A&E. I thought I had lost all of my other channels, but the living room was working just fine with all the channels through the same box. Maybe this is just God's way of keeping me in touch with trouble shooting. Because I quickly went to guide and saw that only those three channels were listed and that it said Favorites 1 on top, when I hit guide again all channels appeared and then once again for all subjects. I deleted the favorites list completely from the system and put the system back where I wanted with all my channels, still without poker though, good thing they run it all week long. Now my concern is did this just happen because they were setting up the system, or does this work through walls remote travel through the neighborhood? Everytime they change their channel will it change mine and vice versa (is that right?)? So far it's been alright but we shall see.

and I shall keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah

So let's catch up -

Job Interview in Tawas, rejection letter almost beat me home.

That's about all that is new, but I will probably go on for another 600 words or so.

I'm not sure of our plans for this weekend, Gordon has to work on Friday - oh yeah did I mention that while I spend hours each day reading newspapers, combing the internet, perfecting cover letters, updating resumes, dressing up for interviews, driving zillions of miles, and have only to show for it a dozen or so rejection letters, Bob mentioned to Gordon that they needed a dishwasher at G's in Houghton Lake was he interested, Gordon of course said yes. He has Saturday off and we are waiting to see for Sunday, but I just talked to Steph and we will definitely be there for the wedding. Steph had called to see if Megan could spend Friday night with her. Megan would have loved to, but Gordon doesn’t get off until midnight. If he doesn’t work on Sunday we will stay down there and hit our Saginaw meeting on the way home. What is Jackson’s schedule?

Melody is coming home soon, again I have no plans. I just know she wants to see her babies, I'll just be playing chauffeur. Quite frankly I am not even sure if she is planning on staying here.

We went up to Cadillac last night and saw way too much orange and red on the tress for this early in the year; the yucky weather is going to mess with my fall color.

Still totally captivated by the Olympics. The men's gymnastics judging was more like the ice-skating this year, makes for good drama but no so much for the sense of sport. I preferred the swimming set up to the track and field, I liked the way before each race was a blurb on the bottom of the screen that told you what the race was, what stage it was, and who the held the records. They probably tell you this stuff if you aren’t in fast forward mode, but I could read it all in FF mode for the swimming.

BB – I am tired of the twins, I can’t believe I ever actually rooted for Natalie to be able to come into the house on her own. The whine that Nikomis put them up for no reason, I guess they felt that if they said it often enough and louder it might become true. A of course had a great reason for putting up Will she didn’t think he was playing the game to his fullest ability. Whatever. I am liking Nikomis more and more each episode.

AR – what a difference an attitude makes. Chip is the greatest antithesis to Colin. Before the last night's show started I said I would like to see the twins gone, and am a bit disappointed that it was not an elimination round, but I really don’t want Colin and Christie to win. Colin because he is a jerk, Christie because she apologized to him because he was such a jerk.

What’s going on for Kewadin after Thanksgiving? Since it is a two night, we can drive and then we will have the car for Saturday to go to Brimley and Canada if everyone brings their birth certificate. We can even ditch the bus in St. Ignace and take the long way home past Victories and Turtle Creek. We are more than willing and happy to host Thanksgiving the schedule that I got has the bus boarding in West Branch.

Megan starts school tomorrow; she of course is absolutely thrilled. She exhibits this by moaning every once in while, “Why do I have to go to school.” I tried to help settle her down by having her clean her room and go through her clothes, I remember how much fun that was for me when I was her age. But she is just at that age when she doesn’t appreciate all I do for her. Oh well.

So you all know everything I do now. If I learn anything else I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What do you say when there is nothing to say in 2789 words or less

One - Yes, the Lions trouncing the Steelers is reality tv, preseason reality but reality none the less, the have to let the fans get their hopes up for the maximum effect when the real season starts.

Two – What happened to the ads? I only see ads on Steph and Mel’s blogs. On Erika’s where she has Jackson’s age the line is partially cut off. Like the screen is too small to hold it all.

Three – The Olympics are awesome. I loved the Greek synchronized divers, and the Japanese male gymnasts. Watching both you hoped for an error so the US would get the gold – or at least a medal for diving – so Megan and I are yelling “Fall, Fall, Fall, Wow.” We watched the rowing repechages after reading Mom’s blog, but not Dad’s definition, so later after the definition I went out all intelligent into the living room and said to Gordon you know those repechages we watched this afternoon, he said “Yeah, for the loser boats” I said, “Never Mind.” I read an interview in Time Magazine today with Bob Costas, when asked if he could be an athlete at the games what would he want to be doing, he said that the coxswain of the rowing team would be manageable (Megan wants that job too). The US female gymnasts reminded me of the Russians last time, visibly disappointed in the silver. They were lucky to get that with all the mistakes they made, what happened to little Courtney McCool (I’m not sure if that really is her last name, but we seem to have forgot what it was), she didn’t do anything in the finals. Gordon is a bit disappointed to not see Curling in the schedule; we all have fond memories of watching curling on channel 9 as kids. The swimming is great, I loved the enthusiasm Michael Phelps showed when winning the gold for the relay, much more it seemed than for his individual one earlier in the evening. I vicariously feel part of the team. I watched Iraq win a soccer game, the commentators talked about how the game is becoming more popular with the fall of Suddam as one of the mean sons liked the game so much many people were afraid to play as there was harsh punishment for a bad play, reminded me of learning to play Euchre. Soccer just seems so hard, the field is huge, bigger than a football field, and yet they are constantly using the whole thing, not just a little piece at a time like in football. Sort of like the field hockey but that was just to hard to figure out what was going on. Water Polo was cool though, that goalie has a tough job. I like beach volleyball much more than regular volleyball, both of them are much better this year with the rally scoring. I watched some ping pong, are the tables smaller? The equestrian stuff is okay, but slow, on fast forward it looks really cool. In fact it looks a lot like the white water stuff, which those of us here have agreed would be awesome to do if it was motorized and we didn’t have to paddle. We watched some Judo, but it is too much like wrestling, the fencing was interesting but what did they do before they had light up helmets?

Oh yeah, I have a job interview on Friday with the Tawas Chamber of Commerce. It is for a full time temporary position running through November or December when they are restructuring the staff based on hiring a new head person. I have to write a paragraph of no more than 100 words on the benefits of visiting the Tawas area. So expect something to proof for me tomorrow.

I think that is all the life sucking stuff I’ve got.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Real Reality TV

So after watching the Lions trample the Steelers last night our CBS station ran BB at 12:30. The football broadcast had Detroit UPN up in the corner so I am assuming that Mom got it on channel 50, and BB was on at normal time on channel 62. We don't have a UPN station (thus no Amish Kids). So I had thrown a tape in to tape the Olympics to watch after BB. At 4:00 am we are on the edge of our seats as Sandano comes oh so close to taking the Gold. Even fast forwarding through the Road Race (wow did they go fast on FF), we didn't finish the tape until close to 5:00. It was interesting watching the Men's Gymnastics, I loved the way the commentators kept showing us how far the Russians had fallen in their program, showing one Russian slip up after the next. I'm sure the Russian Channel had a similar tape of American slips as we had no shortage of those last night. Of course we were privy to the reasoning for the American's problems, the change in judging for Blaine Wilson and Brett McClure, I'm sure the Russians have no such excuses or we would have been told.

Tonight we have a meeting in Saginaw and are taping 5 hours of Olympics, 2 hours of Poker on Travel Channel, 1 hour of Poker on Fox Sports, and 1 Hour for the Days on ABC. It's a good thing I don't have a job to get in the way of all of this.

Other than that not much new here, Megan is home and back in routine. I trounced her in Tri-Versity last night. Tonya, Mike, and Jake were up last week, camping about 2 miles from the house. We visited them on Wednesday, it was way too cold for the kids to swim but they had fun at the park and putt-putt. We had a campfire with roasted hotdogs and S'mores (note correct spelling thanks Ris). There are some pictures up on Yahoo, nothing spectacular though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Memory Like A Hawk

Time to get the Megan. When I took her to the airport we had a bit of a hassle getting me to the gate to wait with her. As you can read in my post of July 20th when she left. So I told her then that to pick her up I would try to get to the gate but if I couldn't I would be right outside the security checkpoint that she walks past to get to baggage claim. She was not happy about this, but felt she would be okay. I explained to her that when Grandma picks someone up, she doesn't even leave her house until the plane has landed and the person being picked up has called her, that way she gets to baggage claim about the same time as the person is picking up their bags and is ready to go.

So plans have changed just a little, I am going to go to a meeting and Grandma is going to drive Gordon to the airport to go in and pick Megan up. I explained this to Megan yesterday, assuring her that he would try to get to the gate, but if not would be at the security checkpoint. And that I would then meet them at Grandma's probably about the same time they got there. We talked about the time change how she would be leaving at noon and not arriving until almost 8:00, and I would be at Grandma's around 9:30.

Then today I get a call from Kathy, as she is sitting at the gate with Megan waiting for her plane to leave. Megan has told her that Grandma is picking her up instead of me and that Grandma doesn't even leave the house until the arriving person has called after the plane has landed. I reassured Kathy that we were aware that Megan is only 12 and that Gordon would be there to escort her to baggage claim, at the gate if possible and if not at the security checkpoint. And yes, the security checkpoint is on the way to baggage claim. And that Grandma was willing to leave prior to the plane landing and wait outside of the airport carefully dodging Airport Security.

Kathy has explained where the air sick bags are and Megan will be taking her Dramamine one hour before takeoff, so hopefully she will arrive in her own clothing, and Gordon will recognize her.

Keep in mind Mel, that I am much like my own mother, and you are not 12. See you on the 4th.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Blasts from the Pasts

On Saturday Gordon and I drove up to Petoskey for an open speaker meeting. We got there early and walked around downtown Petoskey for a little while. At one point we passed a little hole in the wall bar that looked closed, but much of downtown Petoskey looked closed. There were tons of people walking around and 75% of the stores were closed at 7:00 at night. So anyway, this bar had a board outside with coming attractions and listed for the 22nd was Pete Kehoe. Couldn't be our Pete Kehoe, I read the rest of the board from the 22nd up and noticed on the top it said December. Sure enough the last entry was 31st, New Year's Eve bash. We got home very late, and went to bed, but I couldn't sleep so I got on line for a while. I did a google on Pete Kehoe and sure enough it is our Pete Kehoe, although you will see from this link that he is using pictures of his dad on the web site, maybe he wants to convey the more mature look.

Then on Sunday I had a 2:00 meeting in Troy and a 7:00 in Saginaw, so I left Troy about 5:00 and needed a soda. I didn't want to stop at one of the main freeway exits (Jocelyn Road, Baldwin Road - remember those from going to Grandma's and the beach - Jocelyn Road had a drive in - key word had - now it has a major mall and tons of restaurants and Michigan left turns and yuk!) So I got off and the first non-commercial exit - Dixie Highway - to avoid traffic hassles. Sure enough there was a gas station right off the exit - Erika would have been proud. Coming out there were no left turn signs, and once you made a right there were signs that said North I-75 straight NO U TURN. So I continued along Dixie highway expecting an entrance at some point to I-75, as I passed the Whoopee Bowl, having seen no further signs for I-75, I turned in and made a left out back to the original entrance. The Whoopee Bowl was closed for the day, but appeared to still be in business.

Gordon was not much impressed with either of my discoveries, thank goodness for blogging.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Common Sense Everywhere But Not A Thought to Think

I got the camera back. I loaded the pictures, I wrote a blog. I put the card back in the camera, turned it on to make sure my new batteries worked and it beeped with an i in the top screen. Having no idea what the i meant I tried to take a picture the LCD Screen lit up with card full. Funny I deleted all the pictures. So I closed the camera and went to look at the pictures on the disk - the screen lit up No Pictures. Hmm, I opened the camera it beeped showed me the i and said Card Full. If I was on Jeopardy I would have said "what is TV Guide" for full with nothing in it. I did this three or four times with the same results - can we say what is the definition of insanity? I tried formatting the card and still got the same results. I tried reformatting the card, and still got the same results. I tried holding the camera upside down.

Now mind you I didn't have a manual, as this was a hand-me-down from Erika and not Mom. (I got a hand-me-down phone from Mom recently that had a post-it attached to the manual that said battery changed 06-24-96). So I went on line.

total digression - I couldn't get the living room vcr to timer record the other day - I don't usually need the living room as I use the office and the bedroom but on Tuesday I had three things at 9:00 to record. I had been unsuccessful in the past in the living room so I tested it by setting it for two minutes from the time I was doing it to have it record, I turned the VCR off and it did not record. I re-programmed it and left the VCR on it did not record - Again I did not have a book since it was a hand-me-down (trade) with Robin. So I went on line to see if they had a manual on line I could download. They had a manual for sale for $1.67 but the shipping and handling was $5.50. I sent an email to customer service and they replied immediately that you have to hit the timer record button for the VCR to put itself into timer mode.
Olympus had a wonderful site where I could download the manual in PDF format. I recommend this even if you have the manual at home. In PDF I could search "Card Full" and it brought me to each place in the document where those words appeared. Unfortunately they recommended formatting the card. Been there done that. I searched Error Messages for the i and it meant the camera had information for me such as Card Full. This was all so very helpful. The manual came in four documents a quick start guide and manual broken down into 3 49 page sections. So I started reading the quick start guide. The camera has lots of buttons and stuff on the back, before which I had no idea what they meant. I had figured out the basics, change the time to Michigan not Indiana time, turn the flash on, view the pictures. But that only used 2 out of the 8 buttons. The quick start guide showed card set up as what I had thought was a trash can with the lid up, I had assumed this was delete. In a way it is, it allows you to delete all pictures on the Card, there weren't any but I tried anyway - still didn't work. It also allows you to format the card in the camera, hitherto I had formatted on the PC, so I tried that - still no luck. It was getting close to time to leave (if Robin was on time) but I really wanted to take pictures. So I looked at the top screen for any information and I noticed an SHQ in the corner. I did a search on that, this indicated that I was storing High Quality photos and you can store less of these on the card. So working with the manual I figured out how to change this and lo and behold my card was no longer full. This would be common sense. But now I am home and I have time to think.
So I go back into the set up, on SQ - the lowest quality picture my camera shows that I have room for 160 pictures. This number is smaller than it used to be back when it was working fine for the higher quality pictures. So I go back into the menu and set it for HQ which is the medium quality pictures and my camera says I have room for 588 pictures, dare I try SHQ which totally freaked out the camera this afternoon. Of course I dare, 294 pictures. So why...oh who cares, it works. I now have a manual and I may even read it. In the mean time Deer Acres pictures are up on Yahoo, and later I will tell you what a rip off tourist con it is.

Catching Up

Okay, Okay, I know I haven't posted in a while. But really nothing is new here. We did go out on Saturday to Dustin's house, but I forgot the camera there and I was waiting until I could post pictures with the blog. So here it is. The pictures are on yahoo click on this and it will take you there.

For those of you who don't know Dustin is a friend of ours that recently found his biological mom, and has gone to live with her in Mesick. Mesick is halfway between Traverse City and Cadillac and consists of an IGA the size of Mark's Market, two bars, three gas stations, and a church.

Dustin's Mom is Connie, his sister is Brandi, and his step-dad is Pete. The most important occupants of the house however are Rocky and Aurora. I was told they were pit bulls, but very well trained pit bulls. Somehow, I think I have managed my whole life to never see a pit bull before. The picture I had, I now realize, was more bulldog, than pit bull. So I was very surprised by there appearance. They were however very well trained and behaved. Seanie would keep asking, "are they letting the dogs out?" with a slight tremor in his voice, but everytime the dogs came out if they didn't run right up to him he was chasing them down. Brian took a few pictures in the house of the dogs, Aurora is the one poking her nose through the coffee table. One of Bry's better shots.

Pete came home and made wonderful burgers and hot dogs on the grill. I was extremely impressed, as I am not a big fan of gas grills, might as well cook on the stove. But the burgers were grilled. I'm not quite sure how he does it, and don't want to know as barbecuing is not a skill I want. The boys then 'helped' Pete load up some wood out of the garage for our fire. We had a wonderful campfire with some mores and everything. It was a good time. And with a fire pit, these guys have now become my favorite people and I intend to spend more time there. The batteries died before the campfire so I didn't get any pictures of it. I have to learn either to bring extra batteries, or not let Bry take pictures. I am getting extra batteries now.

We left late, and Gordon forgot the camera. He was in charge. So really blame him for the delay. We are leaving soon - I think - for Deer Acres with Robin, Jeremy, and all the boys. So I should have more to post later. Unless Gordon forgets the camera.