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ARCHIVES: November 1-7, 2003


November 7, 2003 - Friday

I Used to Believe

When I was a kid, I used to believe that dolls came alive at night or played when we weren't looking. Perhaps one of the saddest experiences of my life was when my daughter was around three or four. My husband and I had been talking about having another baby for weeks. One day, my daughter came up to me with big sad eyes and asked me where she would go when we got the new baby to replace her. I was shocked - we had never mentioned anything about replacing her ever, but being an only child and very young,  she thought every home just had one child and that getting a "new" something meant throwing out the "old" one. I explained that we were trying to get her a brother or sister of her own and explained that it would be a playmate and keep her company and she would stay with us forever.


It still hurts me to think she ever believed we would kick her out. We were never able to have more children, but we filled the house with plenty of animals and she eventually acquired a batch of younger cousins.


At any rate, to see what other children believed, visit http://www.iusedtobelieve.com -- amusing stuff here.



Dumb Alabama Laws

For a list of unusual Alabama laws still on the books, check out DumbLaws.com. Other states and countries are listed here, too. Some of the illegal Alabama activities include - playing dominos on Sunday, putting salt on a traintrack, having an ice cream cone in your back pocket, spitting in front of the opposite sex, wearing blue jeans in Anniston, staking a horse on the highway and more.



MusicMatch & iTunes are Incompatible

Got an e-mail from MusicMatch to iPod owners. The program will cease to work correctly if iTunes is installed. MusicMatch recommends completely removing iTunes from the system if you want to keep using MusicMatch with an iPod. Apparently iTunes overwrites necessary MusicMatch files. On a related note, Leoville.com reports that online music sales have exceeded CD sales.


I can understand the reason -- iTunes and iPod are owned by Apple and Apple wants to promote its own sales, but it seems a bit mean to completely disable MusicMatch when they had served the iPod for Windows group so long and so well - maybe a nasty little business trick?


Speaking of the iPod, I bought a refurbished cassette adapter (all the new ones were sold out). The iPod hooks up to the cassette and plays in any car or stereo. It works great on my home stereo -- I just had to turn up the volume a little more, but the sound was pretty decent.


My humble little 10-meg iPod will wear out soon. I use it every day. At the time, I thought a 10-meg was plenty big, but now I wished I had the 40 meg one. It's as true with iPods and PDAs as with computers -- get as much memory or hard drive space as can be afforded.



Adobe Photoshop CS is Shipping

Following in the footsteps of Windows XP Home, the new version of Adobe Photoshop (Version 8/CS) is out and now requires a login to "unlock" the program. Otherwise, it will only run for 30 days. I suppose this expensive program has been shared too much. If anyone wants a legitimate, registerable copy, they are often available on eBay for around $200.



November 6, 2003 - Thursday

Can't Anyone Write Clear Instructions Anymore?

Now that my daughter is gone, I am turning her old bedroom into a library. My husband and I love to read. He put bookshelves in the garage and made a large library there. I am using the old bedroom. I bought a couple of "assemble-it-yourself" bookshelves at Wal-Mart. (The saga is photographed at Building Shelves - just click on "NEWER IMAGE" a few times to follow the progress.)


I had to drag them into the house - they were so heavy (but I wanted to do all this myself since my husband is heading to the doctor's tomorrow to check on a possible hernia) - and when we were first married, I assembled a lot of stuff.


The hardest part is decifering the instructions. They contained no textual explanations, just a few diagrams, although they did offer a website with videos. I went to the site and was disappointed that it did not cover the exact assembly of my shelf. It did have a few helpful pointers, though.


After a little trial and error, I got the things assembled. What would it hurt to have better instructions, though? It would save people a lot of grief. I think writing clear instructions is almost a lost art.



Crazy Weather

It was over 70 degrees on my outdoor thermometer this morning. It's one of those crazy months. We've been down to 39 in the morning a few weeks ago and now it is almost hot outside -- well, that is pretty hot for early morning here. According to local weather reporters, this is as warm as it will get today. I hope so. I want the cool air -- much easier to walk in since cool air is usually less humid, too -- and I want to wear my comfy sweatshirts.


On mornings like this, you can see the fog literally rolling in. I watched it pouring over the bank and into the creek -- could actually see it moving.



November 5, 2003 - Wednesday

November Holidays

November is "National Georgia Pecan and Peanut Butter Lover's Month." It also has "Better Conversation Week" (Nov. 24-30), according to Reader's Digest. Other November special occasions include:


Nov. 1 - Sadie Hawkins Day

Nov. 2 - Plan Your Epitaph Day (Heck, just plan your whole funeral while you're at it.)

Nov. 6 - National Men-Make-Dinner Day

Nov. 8 - Cook-Something-Bold-and-Pungent Day

Nov. 18 - Mickey Mouse's 75th Birthday (Keeping those copyrights renewed, by golly!)

Nov. 18 - Married-to-a-Scorpio Support Day


Who declares these anyway? Can I start a "Donate-Chocolate-To-Bloggers" Day?



November 4, 2003 - Tuesday

AP Story on Abandoned Blogs

This talks about specific blogs and why they were stopped or old blogs and why they stay up inspite of not being updated for years -- and if they are worthwhile.


In my online work, I've seen folks going strong one day, thinking they will go forever and then suddenly burn out the next day. I don't think I will be that way, but I know anything could happen.


I've been disappointed with The Dullest Blog in the World. It got hundreds of comments, was one of the most popular blogs out there, seemed very simple to write, yet the author quit last July. At first, he promised to come back in September. Then he changed his promise to come back at some indefinite time. Check the past entries, though. They are funny.


That's how folks burn out. They say they need a vacation. Then they come back and write one or two more entries out of guilt, realize they really don't like it anymore, then they stop forever.



More Free Files

Here's a good source for free files that have been reviewed and tested: Call for Help's Free File List. There are a few treasure here including a file that takes a Favorites List from IE and checks every link - another way to clean out useless information.



Better than RegEdit

On TechTV's Call for Help, they recommended a great free file that works better than RegEdit called "RegSeeker." It sounds like this will clean up a registry better than most and it does automatic backups - so any registry key can be restored.


I ran it over my fairly new system (only a few months old) and it found 769 useless registry entries! Whew! Since it does an automatic backup, I held my breath and told it to delete everything. So far, so good. The Windows Registry sure is a junk collector.



November 3, 2003 - Monday

Messing Up the Neighborhood

Earlier I showed a photo of a neighbor's yard that got covered in foam packing peanuts. The next day, I saw him using a leaf blower to blow the foam into the street. I figured he would find it easier to sweep up that way. Instead, he left the foam IN THE STREET! Wind and cars blew it all over the park across the street and into the yards of several houses, parking lots and a field. It's a huge mess, covering a large area now -- and these do not appear to be the biodegradable kind. I get to walk through this muck every day. It looks impossible to clean at this point. <sigh>



Seventeen New Alabama Blogs

To echo Far From Perfect, there are 17 new entries in the Alabama Bloggers List. I remember being asked by the Montgomery Advertiser if I thought blogging was a thing of the past. No way -- I think it is still picking up steam.



Do You Live in America's Most Fun City?

I read this in a newspaper -- Cranium Games has ranked cities according to which is the "most fun." If you like lists, check the top 50. The information came from Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live" author. Here are the top 10:


1. Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN
2. Orange County, CA
3. San Jose, CA
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Chicago, IL
6. Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill, NC
7. Washington, DC
8. Oakland, CA
9. Salt Lake City - Ogden, UT
10. Seattle - Bellevue - Everett, WA


November 2, 2003 - Sunday

Removed the XML and RSS

I can no longer continue with the RSS feeds. I started blogging before I knew of programs that would take care of all the details like this. RSS has been fun to do, but I've had to do it all manually. It's taking more time than I want to give to it.


Some bloggers say that RSS/XML is the future. For myself, I prefer to visit sites personally to get the entire effect, but I know this is difficult for those who want to save time through RSS. If you stop visiting my site, I will understand. There is much more Internet than hours in a day.


I know there are programs that automatically do the RSS, but I don't want to put the time into setting up and learning those right now. I imagine they don't do a perfect job on a self-written site, anyway.



Spring, er, Fall Cleaning

Due to the cooler temperatures and the added space since our daughter moved out and taking stuff with her, giving us more room, we've been cleaning up and throwing out things. My husband threw out a frisbee in an unopened package which I rescued from the trash. I figured someone would want it - if nobody other than the dogs next door.


It's hard to know what to throw out sometimes. We are not pristine and things clutter up easily. I will probably never install a webcam here. I don't want anyone to see what's behind me.


We are not much into doing the garage sale thing and have been hauling stuff to our local veterans donation truck. It's usually parked at the local grocery store and someone stays with it. I was pleasantly surprised when they accepted old computer equipment and glad they could find reason to take it. (On the other hand, my daughter has no problem holding a garage sale with her friends and has made good money.)


We also gave away a rocking chair. With cats underfoot, we did not want it anymore. My aunt accidentally killed one of her cats with a recliner, mom tells me. We have a recliner, but we are very careful when using it.


We visited the newly-opened Home Depot. It was nice with very large aisles and plenty of helpful employees running around. We were looking for tiny little kitchen shelf supports. I think we spent all of two dollars there (so far). I am looking for bookshelves, but I want something that looks more like it belongs in a room than in a garage. I am redoing my daughters old room into a study - books, desk, comfortable chair and reading light, etc.


My husband and I love to read. Between us, I think we could start our own library. Most of the time, I donate paperback novels to the library, but once in a while, there's a treasured book worth reading over again. For fiction, I like science fiction, fantasy and romance. I also like how-to books on using software, etc.


My husband has a wide range of interests. He is a rocket scientist and reads math books as a hobby. These days, he reads math history, inventors, chess books, gardening, computer programming and an occasional Star Wars novel that a friend talked him into reading who lends him books from his own collection. After watching him read so much scientific stuff, it's interesting to see him enjoy fiction although in the past, he collected comics books. That stopped when our home flooded a few years ago and he lost all of them.


We both love the newspaper (okay, for me, its mostly for the comics, but I usually find something to read on the other pages). In our home, the TV is not used that much although we have a few shows we like -- Stargate, Star Trek, McLaughlin Group (on PBS - good for news and how to intrepret it), Dilbert (which comes on late at night so we record it) and a few other sci-fi shows and news shows like those on Tech-Live or Fox News.


I guess that does not add up to much taking the whole week into account. Most evenings, we just read or compute. We are real homebodies who prefer a quiet evening to anything else. While we listen to music often, sometimes its soothing to have a quiet house and read in silence.



November 1, 2003 - Saturday

New 26 Things to Hunt

Thanks to MedicMom, I learned about the new 26 Things Scavenger Hunt. The one held in July was fun -- a lot of work to come up with new photos -- but fun. I spent much time going through nearly everyone's photos.  The idea is to take one photo for your interpretation of each topic. I can't wait to see how folks interpret "the end."


high point
too much
2 PM
the end

close up
new old


Here's a link to my old project -- July's 26 Things.



Morning After

We enjoyed a few visitors last night - more than last year. (My brother lived in Madison last year and had about 200 visitors because he lived on a popular street near the elementary school. He received much less this year since moving to Huntsville.) Our neighbors stayed up until 4 a.m. (They are louder than they realize but we don't complain -- it was Halloween and we had fun, too.) My daughter was planning to go to three parties -- whew -- oh to be young again.


My daughter bought glow in the dark face glitter and nail polish, then found spray on hair color that would glow under a black light. She was in gothic dress.


We stayed home, listening to music, etc. AOL Radio was fun. We enjoy answering the door to trick-or-treaters. One of our neighbors woke up to foam packing peanuts strewed all over their backyard. I wonder how hard that is to clean up. They don't seem to do much damage.



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