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Monday, August 1, 2005
(4:17 pm)

This year is just flying by. August already! August is tomato month -- at least it will be around here. We have one plant ready to provide us with multiple red balls starting this week. There are several others that will be ripening in the next couple of weeks, and a couple others that will relinquish their fruit toward the beginning of September. The tomato season is all too short. There's little in this world that pleases my palette as much as fresh, chilled homegrown tomatoes.


Quote of the Day: "The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we're ready for it. " -- Arnold H. Glasow


I've spent most of the day moving things from the old computer to the new one, setting the old one up for Ann to use to play her games on, and signing her up for a hotmail account, MSN Messenger account, etc. I've been pulling a lot of things on the old machine up by the roots, as well. I'm sure some of it will come back to bite me in the ass. I tried using the XP facility to transfer files and settings, but I couldn't get it to work right on the other machine, probably due to the Outlook Express folders being stuffed to the gills. Both the Files and Settings Transfer utility and the Outlook Express Blocked Senders List are examples of functions that need to allow the multiple selection of items. I had nearly 1000 file extensions associated on the other machine and somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 blocked senders. I had to select and delete all the blocked senders one at a time, including the dialog box that queried, Are you Sure?; and the file extensions had to be deleted one-by-one as well, albeit without the dialog query. Still, my forearms ache! Hey, Microsoft, how about exercising a little intelligence in your program design? Don't try to get all fancy at the sacrifice of functionality.

I've found a few things about Windows XP I don't like. A major one being that you can't manually assign different associations to file types, such as Open, Edit, etc. I had to sneak up behind XP and hit it in the head to get it to associate .JPG open function to one program and edit to another. SHeeSH!

Here's the latest photo of my oldest grandgirl, Hannah. It's a little big, but I don't have Photoshop transferred to this machine yet, so it'll have to stay a little large until I can get Photoshop or something else on here to tweak the size a little. I used to love Fireworks for that purpose, but it got too expensive -- actually it started out too expensive, if you ask me. Did some nice things though. . .

Digital Camera Image [2005_0723Image0001]
"That look. . ."
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Tuesday, August 2, 2005
(2:07 pm)

Another thing about Windows XP, or perhaps the Compaq Presario, that I don't like much is the inability to set both the key repeat rate as fast as I'd like it and to set the mouse sensitivity as tight as I'm used to. There are some things about XP I do like. I think it just takes some getting used to. One thing, it's stable as hell and if one program screws the pooch, the whole system isn't corrupted. Some things are a little harder to find and harder to do under XP, and that's frustrating both finding the methods and remembering them. This will undoubtedly save me work in the long run by making the system more idiot-proof, and thereby not allowing people to do things to their computers that they'd call me to help fix. Bonus!


Quote of the Day: "Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way." -- Eileen Caddy, Spiritual guide and author


Sounds like a plan!


My eyes are all dried out, and when they get all dried out like this I usually get conjunctivitis. Not the most thrilling prospect I can think of.

I can once more listen to CD's while I'm working on here. The DVD player on the other machine died, and it was the one hooked up to the sound card. I suppose I could move the cable to the CD burner over there as well, but really, the speakers on that machine are really crappy. I got a new case fan for it, and now I need to crack the case, blow a bunch of dirt out of it and install the new fan. I hate opening computers up. When I was a teenager and twenty-something, there was nothing I liked better than messing around with electronics. Well, sex and art excluded. Now I dread it when it's necessary. Oh well. Hi ho, hi ho. . .

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Wednesday, August 3, 2005
(2:20 pm)

One thing I notice about Windows XP SP2 is that Internet Explorer looks and behaves more like Mozilla Firefox. The fonts are smaller and certain tag attributes don't have any kind of effect on the size or weight of fonts. Nothing is the same across versions of windows. Win3X is not the same as Win9X is not the same as WinXP. Even the original and SP2 versions of Windows have significant differences. Oh well. . .


Quote of the Day: "As a caterpillar, having come to the end of one blade of grass, draws itself together and reaches out for the next, so the Self, having come to the end of one life and dispelled all ignorance, gathers in his faculties and reaches out from the old body to a new."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


Another week of 90 plus temperatures. My elephant ear plant's leaves keep withering and turning white in places, then dying. I suspect it's getting too much sunlight. I should have planted it out back near the beech tree.

I'm still trying to get my work environment set up. I couldn't attach my document holder to this new monitor. I didn't think of attaching it to the computer, but it's moot now, since I accidentally broke the arm trying to relocate it. Right now I have it screwed into the bottom of the shelf on the hutch for my computer desk. Another thing I've been working on today is setting things up to offload the pictures from my digital camera. The Fujifilm software doesn't install the same way on this machine and I can't transfer the pictures they way I did on the Win98 machine. Windows XP insists on taking over this function and doesn't name things automatically in the same way that the Fujifilm software did. Makes things more, not less, difficult.


(9:26 pm)

I'm having to make more adjustments in the way I do things than I care to make. I'm also having to reconfigure a shitload of programs. Not to mention, in my early-on ignorance I put labels on CD's I burned and lost a lot of the installation programs for applications I use. Now I have to go on the quest for lost program code. Oh, fun. . .

I went up and down the street a while ago taking photographs of anything that caught my eye. I was trying to get a few photos on the memory card in the camera so I could try to figure out how the Fujifilm program worked on this machine. Apparently, it doesn't. Seems XP takes care of such things itself. It doesn't handle locating the files or naming them in the same way that the Fujifilm program did. I tried both the card reader and the USB connection. Windows jumped on both of them. From what I can tell, the Fujifilm CD didn't even install that part of the software. Another adjustment to my reality. . . Damn!

Anywhich, here's one of the photos I shot for my test purposes:

Digital Camera Image [2005_0805Image0002]
"Primary Colors"

If you look carefully, you can see my reflection in the vehicle's finish.

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Thursday, August 4, 2005
(2:22 pm)

I'm starting to enjoy my computer again, what with the new machine and having the two machines networked together. I just need to procure a wireless card for the machine Sean has downstairs so he can access the files up here and the Internet. I'd like to have a wireless card for Ann's machine (the old Win98 machine) so we can get rid of the cable running across the edge of the carpet. I need to get a new graphics tablet, too. With the new machine having USB 2.0 I can get one of the Graphire ones that are only about a hundred bucks. I think I've even seen them online for $79 or so. I just need to come up with the money. We didn't win the lottery last night. Well, an additional $10 Million Saturday will be nice. Things have been slow lately -- nothing additional coming in. Even Ann's part-time gig has been slower than usual. Yeah, the economy is perking right along. . .


Quote of the Day:
 
"Due to having many parts there is no unity,
There is not anything without parts.
Further, without one, there is not many.
Also, without existence there is no non-existence."
-- Nagarjuna, "Precious Garland"


I noticed that on my webpages, nothing I've indicated as bold is actually showing up as such. I've changed the size of the font for most of the text here, but removing the font-weight tags for both normal and bold type has done nothing. It all still shows up as expected under the same browser running on Windows 98. How Microsoft! Of course, it works the same in Mozilla Firefox. I don't understand. Now, when I up the point size to accomodate XP, it will be too big under 98. Oh well, I suppose I should go with the majority. I still want to know what I'm doing that causes the bold tags not to work. Mysterious!


(3:40 pm)

Okay, I've got that straightened out on this page. Now I need to go back and correct the ones previous. Sheesh. . . a dabbler's work is never done. . . I've corrected all the pages back through when I began the new formatting. I've gotten both XP and Win98 to look tolerable, albeit not the same. I may have to use a different scheme to accomplish that. I'm not sure what. . . [Damn, lots of ellipses today]

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Saturday, August 6, 2005
(2:54 pm)

Today is the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I"m sure that using the two bombs saved lives in the long run, but what a horrible way to do it.


Quote of the Day: "An object never serves the same function as its image - or its name." -- Rene Magritte


The heat has gotten to me. I was motoring along, doing well, and now I've come to a skidding halt. Well, not a stop necessarily, but slowed way down. I was out and about for a while today. I was supposed to get gas for the car, but when I looked at the prices: 2.439 to 2.489 a gallon I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Maybe tomorrow.

These non-standard buttons on this computer keyboard are useful. I've been able to reassign all of them except the sound buttons, which I don't want to mess with, the help button, and the Club Q button, both of which I'd like to reassign. I'd like to find a way to reassign the help button to pause the media player. I see where some of the compaq keyboards have full media player controls. That'd be nice. I'd also like to be be able to disable the sleep button, since on this keyboard it's directly above the Escape key, which I use frequently. I've put the machine to sleep several times inadvertently. Ooh, Ooh, I think I just found how to disable it. . . Yes! I did, I did! I'm happy now. Okay, soon I'll shut up about my adventures with XP. Honest. I really will.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0616Image0011]
"Summer Sun"
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Sunday, August 7, 2005
(10:11 pm)

I can't believe they killed off Nate on Six Feet Under! I wonder if the show tonight with his funeral will be the end of the series. I wouldn't think so. There are too many loose ends, but, then, the show isn't the tidiest of shows when it comes to plot twists.


Quote of the Day: "The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us." -- Paul Valéry


I took another photo of the most recent assemblage work I did. It came out much better that the other one. I think it's because I limited the shot to the box itself and didn't attempt to include the bamboo sticking out the top of it. I touched it up a bit to reflect the actual darkness in one area, and here it is:

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0807Image0001]

I thought about just replacing the earlier photo with this one, but i hate retrograde motion. . .

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Tuesday, August 9, 2005
(12:44 pm)

This is for Pat, who mentioned my problems with XP and the digital camera we both own. I was wrong. Fujifilm does install the software to download the photos. I just wasn't looking far enough down the list of available options. I'd better call her.

Done. It's nice to have unlimited long distance calling. I guess that's becoming more common, with cell phones competing for land line business.


Quote of the Day: "To be intelligent is to be open-minded, active-memoried, and persistently experimental." -- Leo Stein, Journey into the Self from A Treasury of Jewish Quotations, edited by Joseph L. Baron, Jason Aronson Inc.


I've been trying for some time now to get in touch with an old friend from high school. I finally found out where he lives and looked his name up in the online phone directory. Well. . . There are about a dozen. I guess I'll start this evening and call each one in turn until I find the right one. . . that is, unless he has an unpublished number or lives in the outskirts of Cincinnati.

Computer problems today. My autoplay stopped working, and after getting agitated and angry with a hapless soul in India, talking to another inept Indian, getting a promise to call back, calling another HP number, getting another Indian who said his name was John -- strange name for someone from India, I sez, talking to an American finally, then another, I hear from some distant other person that there's no solution to my problem except perhaps to reinstall Windows. Oy! I'll fly VFR for a while.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005
(7:52 pm)

Not feeling very well today. I spent most of the day lounging, reading, napping a little. Lots of tomatoes in my diet the past few days. Our neighbor across the street, Charlie keeps giving me these large juicy tomatoes. I'm convinced we have more in the fridge right now than we can possibly eat before they go bad, and I've been having tomatoes three meals a day. Good thing i love tomatoes.


Quote of the Day: "Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain--and most fools do." -- Dale Carnegie


That'd be me. . .

Digital Camera Image (crop) [2005_0808Image0003]
"For the Greater Good"

Our tomatoes are turning out small, tough and flawed. They're tasty, but rarely is there more than two bites to one of them, once the stem part and bad bits are pared away. Speaking of tomatoes, yesterday I found a package of grape tomatoes that had been shoved all the way in the back of the refrigerator under the meat drawer. I don't know know how long they'd been there, but have you ever seen or heard of "raisin tomatoes?"

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Thursday, August 11, 2005
(4:31 pm)

Another day of not feeling well. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever feel right again. I suppose, in a lot of cases, not feeling like we want to is a part of growing older. Well, in that case, I want to grow younger now. I liked it better when I felt strong, vital, in a minimum of pain. Sometimes I'd sell the farm just to take five steps without one of them making me hesitate.


Quote of the Day: "The function of genius is not to give new answers, but to pose new questions which time and mediocrity can resolve." -- Hugh Trevor-Roper


I got the class photo and booklet from my High School reunion that took place on July second of this year in the mail yesterday. I looked at the photograph and thought, "Who are all the old, fat, bald, and gray-haired people?" I played along and saw how many of them I could identify without looking on the cheat sheet. Once I looked closer, a lot of my classmates were recognizable. Charlie Warner looked about the same -- as much of him as I could see -- save for the gray hair. Janet Jackson, if anything, was a little thinner. Out of 205 people who graduated in our class, there were 32 in the photograph. Only a few of the people I hung out with in school were there. Jim McQuain was at the reunion but left before the shot. Ed Yerkey, Henry Jack, C.A. Stout, Mike Ankrum, Roscoe Thompson, Clark Hickman, Scott Friend, Nancy Yoak, and Henry Singleton were not in evidence. The only people I really associated with who were there were Charlie Warner, Caroline Hopkins, Ralph Lloyd, and Sharon Powers. A lot of the people I was friends with in High School were either a year or two ahead of me or a year behind. A lot of my friends now are considerably younger, because, for the most part, I can't stand people my own age. Since my early twenties, this has been true.

Digital Camera Image [2005_0805Image0006]
"Petal Pushers"

I've been contacted by people from my past, tried to contact a few people from my past and now I've gotten this packet of information about the reunion I missed. My past doesn't seem very nostalgic to me, really. A large portion of my past has been spent with the same woman, eight years less than half. In another eight years it will be exactly half, and downhill from there. My life after high school was diverse and I bore scant resemblance to who I was in high school. It took me a long time to get on track, and maybe I'm still off-roading it.

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Friday, August 12, 2005
(4:26 pm)

Perhaps I should clarify. I said yesterday that I've never been able to stand people my own age. Well, maybe that's a bad way to put it. Instead, I should have said, I've never had many close relationships with people my own age. I seem to think younger than my years and feel affinity for people who are my seniors. I'm not sure why that is. A lot of the people of my generation are fairly to radically conservative, while I am edging right off the left side of the page. Maybe that's it. I was born in the wrong period.


Quote of the Day: "Hell is other people." -- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)


Blazing hot today. Upper 90's. I feel bleached.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005
(10:41 am)

The rainbow's back! In the spring I put two crystal decanters in the window of my studio. The cut prism stoppers caught the light and cast a spectrum on my studio wall, then on the carpet and at times on the ceiling, depending on the angle of the sun. As spring turned into summer and the angle of the morning sun changed, the "rainbow" went away. Now that the sun is over in that part of the sky again, the display is back, and seemingly to me, better than ever. I took some photographs of it the other morning, and thought I'd put them up here for you to enjoy as well. The first one is the spectrum as it appears on the floor. Our carpet is a cheap, ugly light brown, a tan even, so I enhanced the colors a little by placing something white on the rug.

Digital Camera Image (adjusted) [2005_0812Image0003]
"Through a Glass Lightly"

The next photo is the spectrum as cast against a vertical surface, in this case the back of a K-Mart Fathers Day sign on corrugated plastic that blew up against the side of our van while we were going through the drive through at Rally's (Checker's in some places).

Digital Camera Image (adjusted) [2005_0812Image0004]
"Split Spectrum"

The following are the decanters that, along with the sun, cause this marvelous display. I originally took this shot purely as narrative support as, while I was shooting the spectrum, I was planning this entry. After I saw how it came out, I liked it as a photograph in its own right.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0812Image0005]
"Duomo Decanters"

Quote of the Day: "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience... Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.
 
"Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. That's our problem."
 
-- Howard Zinn


I was going to rant about the price of houses and the unethical state of retail in this world. I was going to carp about so-called Technical Support, which I've had call to use twice in recent days, to which I say "Faugh!" I was going to complain about people with arrests and no convictions or convictions on minor charges being unable to get life-sustaining employment. I was going to address the problem of credit ratings determining whether you can rent decent housing and how much you pay for insurance, which has absolutely no bearing on your credit history. But I won't. It's too damn depressing. I won't broach the subject of the art market either. Everything is geared toward taking as much money and power from those who have very little of it and giving it to those who have more than they can possibly use. It's time we had a maximum wage law.

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Monday, August 15, 2005
(2:46 pm)

I've been researching galleries and artists to see where my work falls in the scheme of things. I see similarities all over the place. I also see faint reverberations of things I want to do, but can't for lack of room, resources, or a market for the finished product, in that a lot of them are too big for any house I could afford to live in. In America, art is marketing. Bill Gates is our generation's greatest artist.


Quote of the Day: "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." -- Winston Churchill


One thing I've noticed in my research is that a lot of galleries, including some prestigious ones don't have a web domain of their own. They rely on listings and free space from art organizations and magazines to advertise their existence. Do they think they're above doing web-work? Do they discount the ubiquitous nature of the Internet these days? Or, perhaps, they're just slow to respond, much like society itself, when it comes to art. From the plethora of art that abounds on the web, and the number of art pieces churned out every single day in this world, it would seem to be both common and uncommonly important. It's just the artist that has no value.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_0714Image0006]
"I Wish It Would Rain"

As I do my research, I see a lot of trends in art that I figured out on my own, without the exposure to the art communities in larger places, or without hanging around with too many artists here. I think my art retains a lot more integrity for it, but my reputation as an artist has suffered too. One thing I've noticed and don't quite understand is the trend of people to paint on aluminum panels (aluminium for our British and Aussie brothers and sisters). I suppose that once the back and edge oxidized the aluminum would probably last as long as any other support, but getting the paint to stick to it in the first place would be problematic. I suppose an acid wash, quickly followed by a prime-coat would do the trick. Something else to research.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
(3:16 pm)

Well, I guess my sympathetic magic of yesterday paid dividends -- it's raining! We surely needed it. It's been ages since it rained. We water the plants, especially the elephant ear and the tomatoes, but there's nothing like a good soaking-rain to keep them happy. Maybe the lawn will green up again now. It may be too late, though and the only green left may well be crab grass, clover, dandelions, and plantain.


Quote of the Day: "I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position." -- Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmens)


Personally, I am opposed to billionaires. . .


When I was living on Arlington Court, I had plenty of room to do things, including a fantastic porch where I could work in good weather. This had the added benefit of people walking by, pretty girls to look at, interesting lunatics stopping and chatting, friends killing time. When we moved to Lewis Street, I had a lot less space, but I was able, through clever arrangement, to have enough room to keep up with a prodigous correspondence, work on my web site, and accomplish some art. When we moved to Jackson Street, I was finally able to stretch out and got a lot done once more. Now my space is constricted and I realize that my declining output as far as mail art and other art is because I don't have the space to spread out like I need to do in order to keep several things going at the same time. Oh well. . .

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005
(3:12 pm)

My brand new computer has quit working, and am I pissed! Compaq is of no earthly help whatsoever. They either want me to box it up and send it for repairs, pay $50 for next day shipping of the part (cpu fan), or take it to an authorized service representative, which would be Best Buy in Huntington. I called Circuit City. They'll exchange it for me. Riiiight, and I spend the next three weeks getting rid of all the junk they put on new machines and reloading all the programs and setting up everything like I've been doing since I bought it. I will NEVER buy anything from Compaq/HP or Circuit City again. All this for a $7.00 fan. I am so pissed.

Anyway, I'll not be making any entries here until I get it fixed. I guess e-mail will have to pile up, too. I'm so damn tired of fighting with everything. Can't something run smooth for an appreciable amount of time? Did I mention? Our clothes dryer died the other day. Oh yeah, and I'm broke.


(3:35 pm)

Okay, I've got the new machine up and running, albeit in a hazardous condition. I had another machine that I took the fan out of and hooked it up to the power connection where the cpu fan is. The fan from the other machine won't fit this one, but all the machine cares about is if there's a functioning fan on the power connection. I have A/C going in here and a tower fan blowing toward the computer and the side off the case, so it should be okay -- better actually, but I don't like keeping cases open for extended periods of time.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005
(9:22 am)

No matter how bad things get, Robert Redford will always be ten years older than me. Happy Birthday, RR.


Today's quote has long been a favorite of mine. It was brought to mind by Beliefnet's daily Hindu wisdom mailing. The book from which this particular translation is taken is The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran, copyright 1985. It may be ordered here: www.nilgiri.org or by calling 1-800-475-2369. I am not affiliated with nilgiri.org in any way other than to provide a link with no remuneration as a courtesy to their organization in return for the use of an excerpted quotation from their translation of The Gita


Quote of the Day: "It is better to perform one's own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations he is born with, a person never comes to grief. No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke."
 
-- Bhagavad Gita 18:47-48


I've got my computer running under much better circumstances, although far from optimal. I have two fans running -- one, the small fan from the cooling system of a Pentium 4, the other an 80mm case fan sitting atop a pint mason jar blowing directly onto the heat sink for my Athlon processor. There are power supply wires sticking out the side of the open case. It looks like the Clampett's PC --before they left the Ozarks. I have the original fan out of the machine. Now, I just have to locate a replacement, as Compaq says it's not on the parts list. Okay, it's not on the parts list and they won't ship me the entire cooling assembly because it's dangerous. So is a society where someone purchasing a product can't get reasonable service on that product. As someone on one of the myriad of PC-related message boards said, support is now luxury. You can't treat a PC like a toaster. It's not something that comes totally pre-configured to do a simple task, or even a complex one, like a television. It's a general-purpose tool and 50 people with identical machines, after a short period of time will have completely different setups. I don't even want to talk about the outsourcing of support to India. One of the most difficult accents for English-speaking Americans to understand, then they put untrained people on a VOIP line that distorts and drops out. Maddening!


(11:00 am)

Dan Waber has put up an exhibition of 19 of my visual poems on his Minimalist Concrete Poetry site. I imagine the permanent URL for the site will be here, so don't freak if you go to the first address and find something different -- it is a blog after all, and things change. Thanks Dan, you do me great honor.

Speaking of cheese. . .

Digital Image (ArtGem)
"Glorious!"
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Friday, August 19, 2005
(11:19 am)

The 80mm fan that I have propped up on the mason jar cooling my CPU would fit the heat sink, and I have screws that are the right length and diameter. The only problem is that the frame clip that adapts the heat sink to fit the 70mm fan that came on it has four screws, three of which I can't get out. I swear they welded the things in there.


Quote of the Day: "Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder... And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles."
 
-- Eugene V.Debs


It was supposed to get into the low 90's again today and tomorrow, but from the look of the sky at the moment, that may be a little extravagant. It's only 77 right now, and the sky is overcast, threatening. This kind of weather makes me hurt and gets me down. I've gotten off to a very slow start and I'll probably spend most of the day lying down, reading. I'm working on a piece of art, but I'm at an impasse with it. I can say one thing for it -- it's bright! More later. . .


(1:00 pm)

Well, the sky cleared up. It's up to 80 degrees and the humidity is sitting on my eyebrows like sack of sand. It may reach the projected 91 today after all. You think maybe these meteorologists might know a thing or two?

I haven't been further than the mailbox since last weekend. Usually I'll go out once or twice a week at the very least, visiting or hitting the thrift stores, but with gasoline edging up toward three dollars a gallon, I've let the car sit. The price of gas and the price of everything else, plus a small financial disaster last week has left us with no discretionary cash whatsoever, so even spending a few bucks at the thrift stores is out of the question. I wish I could get some work. I don't even know where to look anymore, what with so much of what I do being done by amateurs on PC's and people doing without. I'd go work for Taco Bell if I could stay on my feet more than a few minutes at a time.

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Monday, August 22, 2005
(11:23 am)

Used to be there was a plethora of free programs available for PC's. Even the West Virginia Department of Education had a Bulletin Board with thousands of files free for the downloading. Now it's difficult to find a program of even the most trivial nature that doesn't come with a price tag. Even so-called "shareware" is now really "cripple-ware" in that it is limited to its function, time of operation, or number of uses. Nothing costs less than $20 either, it seems. I'm sorry but I'm not going to shell out $20 repeatedly until the trivial software that makes things easier, but not that much easier, amounts to more than the price of my computer. The price of computers has come down (unless you live on Planet Mac), but the price of "free" software has gone through the roof. There was a time when "shareware" was really to be shared, when payment for it was on the honor system. Even those who couldn't afford PC-Write could still use it with no restrictions other than feeling bad because they couldn't pay for it. It's a harder, flintier, meaner world these days.


Quote of the Day: "I was irrevocably betrothed to laughter, the sound of which has always seemed to me to be the most civilized music in the world. "
 
-- Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004)


It's over. Six Feet Under has run its course. I'll miss Lauren Ambrose the most. Her Claire was the most like me. Lauren is also perfectly gorgeous, too, as an added attraction. The rest of the cast were also great. The writing was quirky and funny and poignant and sharp. The show attracted the likes of James Cromwell and Kathy Bates. It also introduced us to actors we may not have been familiar with, who we have come to appreciate are in the same class as Cromwell and Bates. Rachel Griffith's American accent throughout the series (Ms. Griffith being Australian) was perfection. Michael David Hall's portrayal of a prototypical hysterical, self-destructive, father-love seeking gay male was absolutely convincing. You even started to belive both in ghosts and in the possible redemption of humanity, for the show was nothing if not consummately human. I'll miss the Fishers, and the Chenowiths and the Diazes. I'll miss my Sunday night ritual. I guess I'll have to buy some shareware game to play between nine and ten on Sunday evenings.

My use of naplesyellow.com is starting to gel in my mind. I think it will take on a separate, but related purpose to this site. This site may well change as a result. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
(12:52 pm)

If I was a squirrel, I'd want to be a city squirrel. They have it made. No real predators to speak of. Cats aren't really very good at catching squirrels. The occasional hawk can be evaded long enough so that it gives up and looks elsewhere. There is no danger, or little danger anyway, of being shot by a hunter, a misanthropic kid with a BB gun, perhaps. There may not be a lot of mast to feast on, but many times the human denizens of the city are careless with peanuts, and sometimes they feed the squirrels intentionally. There are plenty other sources of food, too. Unlike pigeons, the squirrels who live in the city seem sleek, healthy, well-fed, and happy. Pigeons are constantly scavenging around restaurants, parks, stealing the peanuts and popcorn intended for the squirrels and ducks. Yeah, I'd want to be a city squirrel.


Quote of the Day: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. "
 
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald


Charlie, our neighbor across the street, planted some "wild flowers" around his mailbox. I put wild flowers in quotes because the main flowers that came up and are threatening to obscure his mailbox are zinnias. I suppose in some part of the world, they may grow wild, as all domesticated plants do or have at some time in the past, but I always thought of zinnias as being a plant that was intentionally cultivated. Anyway here are some:

Digital Camera Image [2005_0822Image0007]
"Such a Buttery Pair"

Note the butterfly on the large yellow blossom in the foreground. It's almost the same color as the flower. Extra Butter!

Digital Camera Image [2005_0822Image0001]
"Master of His Domain"

I like this shot because of all the colors and textures. The shadow from taller flowers across the petals seems to add a whole other dimension to the picture.

[A note on the size of picture files: in the past I've erred on the side of quality and on the side of file size. I think, from this point onward, I'll err on the side of quality. Space to store larger pictures is not an issue anymore, nor do I think is transfer speed. Broadband and accelerated dial up are becoming the standard, so I'll go for larger file sizes where smaller files would compromise the picture quality.]

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
(11:17 am)

I had to share this photo with you. I'll see if I can't locate the Bullshit Protectors and provide a link where you can purchase them. We could all use a couple of these.

AP Photo, offsite link
 
"Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector"
flap over his ear while President George W. Bush
addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)"
 
For the related story, see The National Post.

Quote of the Day: "Give me liberty or give me death." -- Patrick Henry


Here's something else you have to see: Fascism Comes to the US. Download the video, if you dare. I have an Internet connection that usually downloads files at over 300 Kbps. This file downloaded at 19 Kpbs. I wonder who's listening in? This disheartens me like nothing to date. If I am ever in a position where I am illegally confronted by armed troops, I will probably be shot or beaten, because I will resist. I will not meekly submit to illegal, immoral fascist activities. This is the United States of America and this kind of nonsense should not happen here.

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Friday, August 26, 2005
(2:15 pm)

We're getting a much needed soaking rain today. The unfortunate thing about that is I needed to go out to the pharmacy and a couple other places. I made the pharmacy, a friend's apartment, and the bank. I did NOT make it to the computer store to look for a fan like I'd planned. There were apparently wrecks, as I-64 was backed up both directions, I-77 off of I-64 was probably at a standstill as well, and apparently it went east on 64 for at least three miles, because the boulevard was clogged with traffic, including big trucks which aren't supposed to be there and cars with Ohio tags which are rarely seen on the surface streets in any quantity. Washington Street was a mess, as were several others. I took some twisty, turny side streets that I rarely travel. I saw the left lane of the boulevard that turns onto the Patrick Street Bridge backed up to Florida Street (two blocks) so I took Florida Street to Seventh Avenue to Stockton and on home. And the way people are driving is insane. You'd think the rain was a tourist attraction as many people as are out in it. "Oh, look honey, rain. Let's go drive like idiots!"


Quote of the Day: "Setting aside a college professor or two and half a dozen dipsomaniacal newspaper editors, [Warren Harding] takes first place in my Valhalla of literati. That is to say, he writes the worst English I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls up to the topmost pinnacle of tosh. "
 
-- H. L. Mencken


I'm reading the Irving Stone book about Camille Pissaro. I think he's modernized things somewhat in his made-up scenarios illustrating the artist's life, but overall it's pretty interesting and makes me feel like I have a better insight into Pissaro, the Impressionists, Delacroix, Cézanne, and the other Parisienne artists of the second half of the 19th century.

Digital Camera Images [2005_0825Image0013]
"A Weed Out Back"

Rain! Glorious Rain! The grass is getting greener as I watch. The tomato plants are giggling (I swear! I heard them!). My joints all ache!


(5:45 pm)

I just realized I said "grass" and "joints" in the same paragraph. . .

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Monday, August 29, 2005
(12:50 pm)

The price for a barrel of crude oil went above $70.00 overnight. What level will it rise to today after a full day of trading on the commodities markets? Damn Reagan for loosening the regulations on such vital industries as utilities and raw materials. Now that the Wall Street gamblers can play with prices of things we can't do without, we're all sure to pay more and more until people start dying as a result. They'd better raise the chalk mark that indicates poverty level. Heating oil and natural gas prices are going up as well, probably by as much as 30% or maybe even more. Inflation is heating up, and the only thing that isn't increasing? You guessed it -- wages. Of course the Neo-cons will argue that allowing wages to rise will only fuel inflation. Well, what about dividend payments and CEO compensation? Doesn't allowing those to increase fuel the upward spiral as well? Of course not, it's only the little guy that causes all the problems in society. The rich and powerful make the rules and they can say and do whatever they want. I am so discouraged.

I try to keep certain things in mind, but the way the world is going makes it difficult.


Quote of the Day: "The greatest support we can have is mindfulness, which means being totally present in each moment. If the mind remains centered, it cannot make up stories about the injustice of the world or one's friends, or about one's desires or sorrows. All these stories could fill many volumes, but when we are mindful such verbalizations stop. Being mindful means being fully absorbed in the moment, leaving no room for anything else. We are filled with the momentary happening, whatever it is--standing or sitting or lying down, feeling pleasure or pain--and we maintain a nonjudgmental awareness, a "just knowing."
 
-- Ayya Khema, "Be an Island"


Hurricane Katrina is wreaking havoc on the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts. The stock markets are all up sharply. The prices of oil, gasoline and a lot of other commodities will skyrocket. The GDP will increase significantly because of all the goods and services sold in the clean-up and recovery efforts. It's a cynical and mean economy that profits so greatly from other people's misery and misfortune. There should be, and are, better ways of doing things. The so-called free market is nothing more than a device to allow the unscrupulous and cynical to profit illegitimately from the labors of others. An essentially unregulated market such as we have now is virtually a license to steal.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
(1:47 pm)

I want everyone to know about something that has been making the rounds via e-mail and groups. September first is going to be Stick It Up Their Ass Day. Well, actually the official name is a little more polite than mine, but not by much. Here's the text of the message as I got it. Please copy this and send it to everyone you know with the urging that they do the same. If the spammers want to make it up to us for all the penis enlargement, watch replica and hard-on pill e-mail they've sent us, they should pick up on this and send it out by the millions as well. Anyway, cut and past the following into an e-mail and CC: everyone in the world. Post it on the Usenet, put it out in the chat rooms, the message boards, everywhere anyone is likely to read it. I've cleaned up the grammar, spelling, and style as best I could without significantly altering the original. Let's go people, only two days left.

----------[ CUT HERE ]----------

It has been calculated that if everyone in the United States and Canada did not purchase a drop of gasoline for one day and all at the same time, the oil companies would choke on their stockpiles.

At the same time it would hit the entire industry with a net loss of over 4.6 billion dollars which affects the bottom lines of the oil companies.

Therefore September 1st has been formally declared "Stick It Up Their Behind Day" and the people of these two nations should not buy a single drop of gasoline that day.

The only way this can be done is if you forward this e-mail to as many people as you can and as quickly as you can to get the word out.

Waiting on the government to step in and control the prices is not going to happen. What happened to the reduction and control in prices that the Arab nations promised two weeks ago?

Remember one thing, not only is the price of gasoline going up but at the same time, airlines are forced to raise their prices, trucking companies are forced to raise their prices which affects prices on everything that is shipped. Things like food, clothing, building materials, medical supplies, etc. Who pays in the end? We do!

We can make a difference. If they don't get the message after one day, we will do it again and again.

So do your part and spread the word. Forward this e-mail to everyone you know. Mark your calendars and make September 1st a day that the Citizens of the United States and Canada say "enough is enough!!"

----------[ CUT HERE ]----------

I finally got smart. I have my computer set up now so that I preview this page in Mozilla Firefox and when I post it to the site, I see the "live" version in Internet Explorer. That way any problems come immediately to my notice. I should have done this years ago. Well, with Mozilla anyway. Firefox hasn't been available the whole time.


Quote of the Day: "The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it."
 
-- John Hay (1872)


Something I keep meaning to do is to throw in a plug for fantastic piece of software, without which it would be immeasurably more difficult for me to manage things on my computers. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it warrants a repeat performance. The software is a text-editing, text-database program called Yeah Write! It verges on being a word processor but is mainly for only slightly-adorned text. It will allow you to do things such as letters in whatever font you desire, use bold and italic text and the like. It does not do complex formatting or allow you to use multiple fonts in one document. The usefulness of the program is its ability to keep tabs on your information -- literally! It has a tabbed format that allows you to keep a database of free-form text documents. It's great for keeping things like recipes, various bits of information and lists of things with extensive notes. It has an address book style of tab, and one that does envelopes and even e-mail. I use it to keep recipes, my collection of quotes, Shakespeare's sonnets, computer tips and tricks, jokes, health tips, Handy and Thrifty tips, saved Usenet messages, and a lot more. It has been a great boon to the way I operate. The price is reasonable, too, only $29.99 for the whole package. You can also download a demo version that doesn't have all the features, but is still quite useful. Check it out at either the Yeah Write website or Word Place. I really can't say enough about this program. It uses multiple tabs and sub-tabs to organize information. It also uses multiple "drawers" so that you can further compartmentalize and segregate information. Multiple users may be set up in their own drawer with password protection. It's an amazing program and everyone needs to get a copy. I've had mine for years and it never stops providing me with new ways to use it.


(8:43 pm)

The Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida pretty much does not exist. The 29th largest city in the country has been obliterated. Best advice is to donate to the Red Cross, volunteer if you have time and skills that would be useful, and check on Craig's List to see what you can offer the victims of this hideous disaster. Officials, newscasters, and uninvolved talking heads on the news channels are predicting recovery times for certain parts of the disaster in terms of days or weeks. I got news for ya, folks, it will be months before preliminary goals will be accomplished, and years before intermediate goals are achievable, and, yes, decades before things are even close to the way they were before. Large sections of I-10 and I-90 have been destroyed. The entire infrastructure of the area is gone. Not damaged. Not impaired. Gone. It will be years and years before it's feasible for many of the residents to return, and by that time they will have likely made new lives for themselves elsewhere.

The good news? The GDP will be fantastic this year.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
(11:54 am)

Okay, I was a little on the impulsive side yesterday when I included the bit about "Stick it up their wazoo" day tomorrow. According to Swopes, this is a fraud and has been circulating for ages. Sorry, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. After I thought about it for a while it did seem a little flaky, but then again, so do I.

The obituary of a friend was in the paper this morning. It was a great photo of him. William D. Goebel was 54. I've known Doug for nearly 20 years. We weren't close friends, but it was always pleasant to run into him at Pro-Art or on the street or wherever. I'll miss him.


Quote of the Day:
 
"As the skin of a snake is sloughed onto an
Anthill, so does the mortal body fall; but
The Self, freed from the body, merges in
Brahman, infinite life, eternal light."
 
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad


I'll write more later. Right now, I'm just sad for losing Doug, and all the destruction in New Orleans and Biloxi, and gasoline prices over three dollars a gallon.

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