REXTINE1   98,087
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Yard Work

Monday, June 06, 2011

When I'm out walking by myself I have all these neat ideas for a blog, but when it's time to actually write something my mind is blank. I guess I'm going to have to start making notes to trigger my memory. I have a new notebook started because I lost the one I had been using. That's pretty irritating, and may be an indication of advancing age because I looked in my two shoeboxes, and I even have a note from my fraternity when I was a pledge, telling me where to find pigeon droppings between Christmas and New Years. And I did find it. Since I have records all the way back to Case, I suspect that Alzheimer's is creeping up on me.

I mowed the grass this morning, ran the weedeater around the house, shed, fence, and sidewalk and driveway, and then broke out the blower and got rid of the mess left by the weedeater. This is a pretty neat blower - with the concentrator it puts out a 500 MPH jet of air that I used to clean out the mud and wet leaves in the gutter of our park model trailer porch. I was using it without the concentrator, of course, but I found out it could blow the sand out of the piles of the carpet I used to cover the sand on the east side of the garage. I had no idea how much sand was there until I accidentally hit the carpet just inside the gate. When it rains here it's usually a thunderstorm, and the water brings sand down the hill behind the house, over the sidewalk, and out to the street. Living on a sand dune has been a new experience for us.

After that I had a shower and shave and put on clean clothier, and my back hurt. I couldn't figure out why until I remembered picking up the top of the BW's concrete fountain yesterday, but I can't blame her much because after an hour in a recliner I felt fine again.

The Noble variety of muscadine grapes are still shooting up. Both vines put out three shoots after I cut off the growing tip, and I am keeping two. I did plant one cutting from this vine, pulling off the bottom leaf and leaving two baby ones. We'll see if I get another vine. Here are some picture of the south vine.

This is a view from the south, showing that the vine has two shoots - one nearing the top wire (about four inches to go to be at the 5 1/2 foot high wire) and the other unfortunately too high that I will train back down to the lower wire cable. The second picture is just the first one cropped.

These two show the same vine from the north. You can see the tendril wrapped around the clothesline and the highest tiny leaf if you look closely. It's getting close to a right turn, after which it will have 20 feet to go if the seedless grapes don't show a lot more enthusiasm. Three are sending out new leaves, but they look pretty sick to me. I can't wait to see what happens.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

S3XYDIVASMOM 6/7/2011 2:00PM

    Your newly thriving grapes are interesting. We had one of the most severe winters in memory here. It killed a lot of the wood on the roses. One of them I had to cut back to the root stock. But, like your grapes, the new growth appears to be in better shape than it was before the setback.

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SUNSHINE99999 6/6/2011 8:15PM

  Good luck with the memory. It's amazing to me sometimes how quickly I can forget something I thought was so important. Hmmm. :)

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MS.ELENI 6/6/2011 7:55PM

    I also will have great ideas on what to blog but then forget when I start to write mine.
Your vines are looking good. My blaclberry vine is coming back. I don't have high hopes for it but will watch it.
I am starting to think my recliner is what is making my hip hurt. Getting older is no fun for our bodies

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Is It The Schools Or The Students?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Today everything is back to normal. When I click on a browser or link to another page the display goes blink-blink, and I am there. Iím glad Brighthouse fixed the problem.

Our oldest daughter called today and bragged on her Kindle, and said you could check one out of most libraries, so we rushed down to Dunedin to beat their close. We started at 4:30 and made it there by 4:45, which gave us 15 minutes to turn in the old books and get new ones, as well as ask about a Kindle. It turns out the Palm Harbor library has them to loan out (if they are available) but Dunedin doesnít. So tomorrow Iíll stop by our library when itís open and see if I can get on a waiting list if they are all out.

On the way home, the BW had a chore for me in the back yard and was hungry. She didnít want to stop at a regular restaurant, but did want to stop at a Wendyís for a Chile. When we got there, they had a new kind of chicken salad, and she ordered that. I was sure it would make supper, so I ordered one too. They were $7.29 each, plus seven percent sales tax, so I gave the girl a twenty. Before I got my change another girl showed up and said they couldnít make the salads because they were out of strawberries.

Then the BW changed to half of a different salad, and I changed to half of a crispy chicken salad. Those were listed on the board at $3.99 each. I was offered six dollars and some change, which I didnít take. For some reason they said the salads werenít on the register, so I pointed out that each half salad was $3.99, which was a total of $7.98. With 56 cents tax that was a total of $8.54, so I was due a lot more change than six dollars. The manager and the two girls discussed it a little, then the cashier counted out $8.54 to me. At that point I repeated that was what the bill was supposed to be, and I expected $11.46 change.

Right then the fourth person, a boy, piped up and said I was due $6.40 change. I lost it, and just said give me back my twenty. After the third request I did get the money back, and we came home and had the rich home-made chicken soup and a slice of watermelon.

Then I went out to the back yard and disassembled the fountain so the BW could take in the pump to get an identical replacement.

I donít know if the registers were broken or the salads were too new, but the prices were posted and all four of the people behind the counter were at least in high school. When I was in school, we learned arithmetic in the second or third grade Ė addition and multiplication are pretty basic skills. No one offered to take a pencil and paper to work it out Ė they just seemed to want to wing it.

I told the BW afterward that she should have stayed with a small chili and a frosty.

One of our grandsons is in the National Honor Society, and Iím pretty sure he can add and multiply, and all the other grandkids can too. They all attend public schools.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIMDAB 6/6/2011 9:33PM

    I've experienced similar situations a lot. It is appalling how ignorant some of these folks are. I think it has something to do with digital watches and velcro shoes :)

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DJ4HEALTH 6/5/2011 11:25PM

    If they don't have a calculator then they don't know how to make the change and that is part of how they teach them at school. Sad to say it but it is the schools and the way they teach the kids now days. They even have them do a journal and they don't have to worry about spelling the words right as long as they write it down.

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PURPLESPEDCOW 6/5/2011 10:33PM

    Students today are not taught how to make change without the use of technology. They can't count back. With the use of the standardized tests, teachers do not have time to teach real applications even though that is what people are told teachers are doing. How do you teach real life applications and thinking if you are going to do a mulitple choice test. And as for the earlier comment of the students missing the only answer that made sense, that follows under test taking skills. It is a shame that teachers are blamed for all that is wrong with the education system when we have no say in what needs to be taught.

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MRDPOLING 6/5/2011 10:23PM

    I think it is a little from column A and a little from column B.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 6/5/2011 10:14PM

    Kids seem to learn math without realizing that there are real life applications. Most kids can get through a "facts" test, but a lot of kids seem to have trouble reasoning out what needs to be done to solve a problem. Last year I watched kids take the annual standardized test. There was a problem that involved putting two groups of items together. It was a multiple choice and only one of the choices was greater than what they started with. I was appalled how many kids missed it.

I honestly think many kids find it all tedious and don't see why it is important. After all, they all know how to use a calculator. Too bad they don't know whether they need to add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve a real life problem.

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MS.ELENI 6/5/2011 8:14PM

    If you really want to mess with their heads give them a bill and correct change. They have no idea what to do. Your experience doesn't surprise me one bit. The young ones today have no idea what a dictionary is either

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Bad Internet Service

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Yesterday and today my access to the internet has been difficult. At first I thought something had suddenly gone wrong with the computer, but after a lot of checking I found that everything is fine except that I fail to get to a web site frequently, and when I do it can take more than 30 seconds to show the page. That is true after you are on a site too Ė going from one part of Sparks to another may or may not happen, and when it does it can take from almost no time to nearly a minute. I adapt Ė today I had three different tasks on Sparks going at once, and I would simply switch to another one while I waited for something to show up.

I have the same problem with Netflix Ė I can see all the material available, but I canít actually show any video because the download never gets started. One movie once did start, but every other time I tried (maybe 20 different types of shows, from very short to standard movies) failed.

I tried measuring the download and upload speeds, and I got nearly 10/1 twice for Atlanta, and failed twice. The same thing happened for a little slower speed (7/0.7 for Seattle down to 3/0.3 for Los Angles). It gives you a speed sometimes, and fails about as often.

I had worked it down to possible the router, and to remove the router and plug the computer directly into the modem is a real chore because of all the stuff packed into this room, so I finally called Brighthouse, and their tech rep told me that they did indeed have a problem. I got tired of messing with things yesterday and gave up, but I went through my full routine today, except for the weights which I will do later.

I even ran PC Cleaner yesterday and did a disk cleanup and defrag check (which it didnít need), so everything is in fine shape except the cable coming out of the wall.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLJ35 6/5/2011 1:53PM

    Computers are wonderful - when everything is working correctly. I was frustrated the other evening when I couldn't even get on the wireless, went to bed with very little Sparkin' done. I get mine from son's house next door and his router needed reset. So next day I was back in business.
I have enjoyed your Spark Page and comments you left on another's blog. Keep up the good work!
PS I am in 16th year of retirement and DH is in his 19th. We are so grateful for this time!

Comment edited on: 6/5/2011 1:55:06 PM

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DJ4HEALTH 6/4/2011 10:51PM

    I too have been having problems with comcast popping up on my page and we don't even have comcast but bell south as our internet provider. Go figure !!

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MS.ELENI 6/4/2011 9:17PM

    Hope your internet is working better today

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S3XYDIVASMOM 6/4/2011 6:07PM

    Bummer! It's rough being without our internet fix. Maybe tomorrow the problem will be fixed.

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MIRAGE727 6/4/2011 4:16PM

    RoadRunner sucks! I have BH I-net as well. I have the tech coming this Monday. But what do I know? I was Chief of Web Operations for the AF in the Pentagon from 9/1 in 2006! I was Verizon FIOS but they haven't hit my neighborhood yet! I loved that service.

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USMAWIFE 6/4/2011 2:01PM

    call you provider.. could be something wrong with their lines and it is affecting yours.

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Flighty Computer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recently I have been cleaning up this computer - first to save money because I have been paying ten dollars per month to AOL for years so that our oldest daughter would have free antivirus software, as well as us. I figured it was about the same cost, even after the daughter (the last of five people who used the one AOL service that I had) bought high speed Internet service for herself, and AOL would let her keep her AOL e-mail address. Then Consumer Reports put McAfee down at the bottom of the performance list, and several free services much higher.

So I migrated, and stored all four of the recommended free services for future reference. I also learned that our son has four antimalware services running on one computer. Once I got started I cleaned up this old computer. It is a single 64 bit wide processor, bought just as the first dual processors were coming out about six years ago. In the end it now seems to respond at about the same speed as our son-in-law's liquid cooled quad processor computer. They're both HP computers, but his is nearly new and mine is pretty old.

Yesterday I wondered what would happen if I started two antimalware programs on this computer. I knew that I couldn't use one because it refused to share, but the Alvira and McAfee seemed to get along just fine, so I started to install the Microsoft program. It warned me not to do it, and I figured - "Everything is working fine now - why tamper and keep on until I mess something up?" So I quit.

Later, I couldn't answer an e-mail because Outlook couldn't open Word. I messed around a long time, and almost reinstalled the original 2003 Office software. I didn't because I know that Excel has been upgraded several times to run the latest version, and I could see no end of possible problems. I even went online and considered just using the Road Runner e-mail, but finally just left everything alone.

Today I logged on, and when I got around to reading my e-mail, EVERYTHING worked. There wasn't any problem at all. I wasted at least a hour messing around last night just because I have a flighty computer. In the old days, if a breadboard didn't work, it didn't work. Hardware almost never just gets well by itself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REXTINE1 5/31/2011 10:59PM

    What I didn't say was that when hardware does get well, it's usually called "an intermittent," which is short for "an intermittent problem." Those are the worst problems to fix. But a lot of times just turning everything off and letting the operating system start from scratch will fix a PC problem. I did that twice last night and it didn't fix this problem. So now I will keep my fingers crossed for a while to see if it comes back.

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MRDPOLING 5/31/2011 10:31PM

    I did a PC cleanup this past weekend and everything is moving so much quicker now!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 5/31/2011 10:11PM

    I've seen my husband "fix" computers like this and I always think it's just his aura. But he's like Brewmaster Bill, in that it drives him nuts when it's broke and he can't figure it out, and just as nuts when the problem spontaneously goes away.

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GLC2009 5/31/2011 8:33PM

    don't get me started on computers....aiyaiyai!!!

i am leaving home and going to a meeting right now, because my computer is driving me out of the house.

the meeting isn't really that important and i have lots of office work to do, but, i just can't take it anymore emoticon

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    Problems that fix themselves concern me, hardware or software.

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MS.ELENI 5/31/2011 7:12PM

    I know you have heard the old saying. If it ain't broke leave it alone. Everytime I try to do something new on mine I end up with a mess. Now I pay to have someone else deal with the headaches.

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Really Different Car

Monday, May 30, 2011

I slept in this morning, and didn't leave the house until 6:40. The sun still wasn't up, and there weren't any cars or people out anyhow, and I made good time with my walking sticks. I love holidays.

The first car I saw was at about 7:15, passing me on 19th Street. It is a late 1930's Ford that has been chopped and dropped, dechromed, and fitted with a V8 engine and dual exhausts and baby moon hubcaps. No bumpers, and a tan metallic finish that is completely spotless - the shine hurts your eyes. It looks like a custom car from the late 40's or 50's. I don't know where the guy was going - to a car show, or maybe just out driving it while no one was likely to scratch it.

I have seen that car twice before and I have no idea who owns it, but it is obviously someone's hobby. It's not the sort of thing you take to the grocery store.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRDPOLING 5/30/2011 10:06PM

    There are a few guys around me that have classic cars. I see them more in the sunny, warmer parts of the year. I've not seen them yet this year, but then again, until a few days ago, we've not had any sunny days.

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MS.ELENI 5/30/2011 5:07PM

    You call sleeping in leaving house at 6:40.LOL I call getting up at 10 or 11 as sleeping in.
There are some cool looking cars out and about in summer time.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 5/30/2011 12:24PM

    We have a neighbor about a block away who restores cars. We almost never see the fruit of his labors. I've always thought that that sounded like a very compelling (expensive?) hobby.

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