QotD: Don't Worry, It'll Heal

How many bones have you broken? Yours or someone else's?

Broke my arm when I was 9. A car hit me and I broke the winshield with it. Then just a few years ago when around 52, I slipped on carpet and broke my nose on the counter. Woke up in a pool of blood. No I wasn't drunk!. I slipped on some orange oil clean I used to get a spot up on the carpet the night before. I'm tough though...I set my nose and went off to work.

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An Interesting Day at the Office

I usually run into some character and interesting stories in my travels but yesterday I hit 2 for 2. Both places I had been there to fix the computer before quite a while ago.

My first stop the guy is an artist and has a beautiful house and property. Out back is a huge art studio. He is into Encaustic Wax art. Basically, this is creating paintings or objects using pigmented beeswax. The practice began centuries ago in Egypt and around 100-300 CE (before the Christian era). Romans would use beeswax to waterproof the hulls of thier ships and later found they could paint fancy designs on them using pigments. The art died out until 10 years ago but is making a comeback because technology has made it easier to contol the heat of the wax.

Some university in Maine is asking him to come speak at a conference on the subject because he is recognised as the world authority on the subject. His art proves it.

His latest thing is to create pictures that have an ethnic type look on first appearance. Many of his new pictures look to me like indian art. Of course the component of his art are used tea bags, and use coffee filters, old coffee grounds, and electronic components like resisters and capacitors.

He also made an Executive toy. I think most of you have seen the rack of balls on wires that hang down off a rod that when the outside ball is swung and hits the adjacent ball...the one one the far end pops out. This toy, instead of balls has tips of missiles hanging down supported by small Loisville slugger bats with a flat map of the earth underneath on the base.

My second stop for the day I didn't change the part just showed him how to do what he was trying to do where Dell couldn't help him. Nothing was really wrong with the computer.

What made this stop interesting was I noticed a HUGE elk rack over his fireplace and commented on it. Turns out it was from a 900 pound elk he bagged in Idaho. He was showing me the pictures and I recognised one of the guys in the photo. He was the fire chief of Boulder Creek down in the Santa Cruz area. Turns out that this guy sold insurance to all the districts in the area for years and was also a BC Volunteer Fireman, We obviously knew alot of the same people since I was a fireman in Scotts Valley at the same time.

Small World!


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Waiting For Microsoft to call

Yesterday was kind of interesting.

I decided to call MS support line and pony up the bucks for a solution to a problem that has been plaguing me since I built my new computer. Only on MSN Video and while using Internet Explorer. Currently it plays the advertisements and the first video. Then crashes when it trys to play the next advertisement.

We were on the phone for 3 hours and he connected to my machine remotely and still no resolve. He decided to pass it on to Senior Tech Support and they are supposed to call today after 11 am sometime. He looked over alot of the things I had already done many times trying to figure it out.

It has something to do with IE though, Firefox with the beta pluggin can play several videos before it just finally stops.Never get any errors though and Firefox doesn't crash doing it. I just have to hit the refresh button to get it going again.

My guess is that it has something to do with javascript actually. But we will see if they can actually fix it.

Even if they can't. they decided to give the support for free this time and the Tech was very professional and knowledgable.

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Stove Pellet Shortage

Kind of nice sitting around the fire on brisk January day.

Our pellet stove is certainly getting a workout this year. It seems there is a nationwide shortage of fuel caused by a huge jump in sales of new stoves since Katrina and touble in the Middle East. Prices have gone from around $170/ton to around $250/ton.

The price isnt the real problem. We have people calling stores up here from places southof San Francisco looking for pellets. Right around the first I had to drive up to Burney and get some from Safeway up there....the road less traveled because it's an hour+ drive through the hills upwards of 4000+ feet climb.

Not sure how but our local grocery had a pallet of them yesterday and now after my purchace today I told them to start ordering now and you might get some.  All the pellets I've seen lately seem to be coming from Canada so that drives up the price. Trucking costs and plain old supply and demand take there toll.

Well we are up to $5.49/40# bag up from $3.99 when I bough the place. Seems like alot but I would hate to see what my electric and gas bill would be if I had an A/C unit and gas heat as opposed to a swamp cooler and pellet stove. My utility costs actually are fairly constant year round.

We may try something a little differnt this year because of the shortage. The stove will also burn corn but we need to mix it with pellets to keep the ash and sugar clinkers down that the decent pellets alone don't have. Not sure how much a 50# sack would run for corn but I need to get a barrel with a good sealing lid on it to store it to keep it dry and rodent-free. I'm sure I can get some corn at most any feed store.


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The new Camcorder

Not sure if I mentioned it but the camcorder finally arrived 2 days before Christmas. I haven't played with it alot as far as taking videos. One night last week we ran out of wood pellets and nobody in the area from Redding to Orland that was open had any. Safeway in Burney had about 30-40 bags so I decided we would go up first thing in the morning.

Took the camcorder and took some nice shots...of the Burney area with all the snow trying out my telephoto lens and the tripod etc. and successfully got some great shots. On the way home stopped and got some more pics of Montgomery Creek Falls, and an old mine in a 1 horse trough town called Ingot.

Somehow while previewing the video after I got home I deleted it all.

I was able to figure out how to use the camcorder as a webcam so I purchaced a mini tripod to set on the desk. Been playing with a few webcam programs and it seems to work ok....

I use a IM program called Trillian that I'm trying to get it to work with. I litterally refuse to install Yahoo or msn meeenger on my computer. I discovered that Windows XP actually ships with Netmeeting 3.01 even though there are no shortcuts to launch it.

Played with that today and setup the router and my firewall and tested ok. Seems that for anyone to see my webcam I have to place the call that is if they don't have a webcam.

Netmeeting has some other features that are now in MSN messenger I believe...whiteboarding, text chat and file transfer and desktop sharing  that I've been meaning to try out. It may be a great support or training tool or something.

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Happy New Year

After serious & cautious consideration.....your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2007 !

It was a very hard decision to make. So try not to screw it up!!!  

My Wish for You in 2007

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for  $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had, forget your home address! In simple words ............

May 2007 be the best year of your life!!!

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DVD Project Update

An interesting turn of events....

Ran into an old client the other day that just happens to be a marketing consultant. I told her what I was working on and my basic marketing plan. She offered to help which was really cool. The conversation spawned an idea that got me thinking of which road to take this.

I was so excited about this that I missed my turn-off twice on the way to the next sevice call. Haven't done that for years. Last time I missed a turn multiple times was back in Santa Cruz when I missed the turn exactly 4 times because I had something else I was thinking about.

Anyway, without letting the cat out of the bag, I plan on approaching some fairly big corporations to purchace advertising on my DVD. What I have decided is that first, I need to be able to prove that I am capable of delivering a finished product for them to even consider my proposal. This means producing a dvd to show them.

I'm also thinking about non-disclosure agreements etc which also means hiring a legal team to protect my ideas beyond copyright. The finished product actually will never be finished because the advertising is basically community based. This means that there could be several variations of the same theme.

Anyway, I figure if it flys, I could stand to make a bundle on distribution more so than production. I'm hoping to get commitments for orders that will drive down production costs enough that the advertisers could actually give the discs away and I could still make a couple bucks/ dvd in sales. Even 50 cents profit per cd would be quite a bit if I sell a million copies.

Moreover though, beyond the money, it's keeping me out of trouble.

Version 2 is starting to take shape. I believe the problems I was seeing with V1 is a thing of the past now. I've actually had some success by paying attention to details and maintaining consistency across the project. In the beginning. of course I didn't know how to do it and bumbling my way around.




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DVD Project update

Well the good news is that I have the first 7 mins done..but looks terrible when burned to dvd on the TV.

It looks fairly good on the computer but somehow I get distortions from some of the effects I'm using in the beginning few minutes  Also one of the effects I created was to have the drive-in itself gradually get darker. I should have tested to see exactly how dark the final 'this is the darkest it should get screen' would look on the tv as opposed to within only the video editor.

So basically I need to start all over.

The good news is that I have a completed version to use as a guide and learned many things over the last year. So I'm not totally discouraged with things. Some of the project probably can be used again but I might just as well give it all fresh start.


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