Friday, July 9, 2010

Tails of the D.. Creature

My wife Karen has been looking after a very sweet and lovable dog, its kind of your non-descript rescue from the shelter kind of dog. Her disposition is very playful but sweet, though Karen says this 20lb dog thinks its a lap dog.

Well it just so happens Karen decided that the dog needed a bath in the most urgent way so she bought her up to our apartment, If you have read my blog you know there are 3 cats that HATE any new creature in their territory. 

Upon bringing Pippy (the D creature) in we had three very fluffed out cats. Tess was the most amusing of the bunch as she is a black cat who took on the most amazing persona of  "The Evil Halloween" cat, fluffed up and arched her back so much that her front and rear legs nearly touched. it was to funny to see. The other girls Scout and Silver also bristled up at the insolence of the intruder entering their home.

After Pippy had her bath and did she need it, from the one second that Pippy was in the Craft Room it smelled very very doggy. After Karen had washed her and got her mostly dry and I herded the cats into a corner of the room (and yes everything you heard about cat wrangling is true) Karen marched Pippy out the door and back to her apartment. Scout decided to make a break for it and attack the dog on the way out. I headed her off with a spray bottle, and no she didn't back down she just did not advance further. Even with repeated blasts from the spray bottle she stood her ground. I guess she really hates intruders.

Karen has realised that there is little hope for us having a dog in this apartment. Probably for the better as we really don;t have the space, though I think a smaller dog like a Chiquia or a Bichon or some such would probably be okay. So long as they are not bigger than the cats.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tails of a marriage...

My wife and I went to the FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage seminar. We learned alot there that bought us very much closer together. I will add more to this blog as we process the information we received at the seminar.

By way of preping ourselves for this I chose NOT to bring my laptop or take my phone off silent. I wanted to learn how to make us a better couple and found out we were'nt as broken as we thought. Yes we have problems EVERY married couple does.

The biggest problem with marriage is that you start out as two people, each with drives ambitions and baggage. What the seminar focuses on is oneness (two becoming one in spirit with God/Jesus at the center). Yes its faith based, since I am a Christian we chose a faith based seminar rather than a secular one.

One of the important things I learned is to MAKE TIME, nothing in life is free, you make the time, you sacrifice something else in order to accomodate the togetherness time. Simply put at 10:00PM we STOP what we are doing and go and do our devotion and spend time together, talking

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tails of a masochist 2

Being the masochist I am, I decided to build my wife a computer rather than buying off the shelf. There were a couple of reasons behind my thinking but the main one was cost/perfomance.

Yes I could buy her a Dell on the cheap for about 400$ less becuase we just bought the monitor. Or I could using parts on-hand build her a 3ghz dual core PC for about 200. I chose the later.

First off let me say I am NOT a novice computer builder. I have been making my own out of components for at least 15 years. I know what to do and how to do it so (Don't try this at home, unless you KNOW what you are doing) is the MOST Excellent electronics store. I caught a break in that first I got a combo-deal and then they took an additional 10$ of  the price of the system board.

I had the following for Karens computer:

Antec Super Lan Girl*Computer Case
Samsung 22" Flat Panel
16x and 22x DVD Burners
Roswill Memory card reader
Silverstone Fron Port Bay Device

I bought the following at NEWEGG

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor Processor (3.0ghz X 2) (AM3)

Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H Mother Board
2 GB of Muskin DDR2 PC800
500 Watt Coolermaster  Power supply (Compusa)

AMD really was the only choice for price/performance. Its steady under load and gives her computer a much needed kick it didn't have before. Passmark score of 1566 with onboard video.
The motherboard was a good choice I actually bought 2 one for Karen and one for me. The mother board has 5 SATA Ports and HDMI, DVI, DSub ports, 6 USB ports and headers for 6 more. It supports AM3 Chips using the 785 Chipset.

I formatted the 250 and loaded it up with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit (which I found out is incompatible with Webshots Desktop :( ). Luckily that won't be an issue as we are not re-newing the subscription. Sorry webshots.

The masochistic part is that I asked a friend of mine if he knew anyone who wanted a computer (my wifes old one) and a couple of days laer he said yes and when could I get it for him. I told him he could have it once my parts came in and I had Karen's computer working ( I figured the parts would come in Monday, Tuesday for testing and Wednesday he could have the computer, Yes I know I'm an idiot). 

Parts were right on time, build went smooth right up until I tried to start it. Power Supply under wattage. Ran off to CompUSA and bought a 500watt. Problem solved, still wouldn't start. Removed all the cables and traced my front panel cables and oops I missed the little pins to connect the power button. Oh well connected it up and it started.

Verified all the settings and began loading 7, wow the OS loaded quickly and I was ready to load the drivers put the disk in and loaded all the drivers and then began the software load. That went really quick too.

Below is Karens computer in her Antec Super Lan Girl Case.

*Karen stickered her case for one to cover a broken SATA port and 2 to make the case look like it was owned by a girl.

** About 2 weeks after I had her computer up I noticed a problem and I was correcting it in the software when the computer crashed taking all of her data with it. Thankfully I had backed her data up but not the software. Oh well its fixed now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tails of brotherhood...

I had a slow week at work last week. I had literally no calls. I don't really get stressed about it, but I am in a new position and I would like to be valuable from the start. Well I thought this week was going to more of the same. Monday I went to an office and checked in and updated my calls that I do have. Afterwords I went to see my brother, who is recovering from esophageal surgery because of cancer.

When I last saw him he was about 220 lbs, and prior to that he had been over 300 lbs. Yesterday when I went to see him he weighed in at 165 lbs. Mind you, I am a BIG guy but I think I'll pass on cancer as a weight loss program.

We are all very very happy to have him home and healthy, BTW he was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer with limited prognosis. He is now cancer free, even before the surgery (though they didn't know that at the time). When the surgeon went in they found a lot of scar tissue and severe damage to the esophagus but no cancer cells.

Amazing what prayer can do, Pat's wife Mary Ann (my sister-in-law) is a real prayer warrior and I am proud to have her as part of the family.

My brother was partly responsible for my Salvation, he may or may not realize it. But I do.

I am very glad that my brother is still around and happier still to see his recovery is doing well.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tails of the first day...

Well for those who know me, last week was my first week in my new position. I prefer not to go into details on the position, because of security and the like.  My new boss came in to train me on the new system I will be using and to generally fill in the gaps in my understanding of the job and my responsibilities.

Suffice it to say I am pretty happy with it. It will take some getting used to and I might have to turn Sirius back on as there is a lot and I mean A LOT more driving.

My territory has grown again basically I cover South Florida from St. Lucie county to Monroe county and probably as far west as Okeechobee county. I used to cover a portion of  Broward county with 5 other techs.

My first impressions of my boss, is that we are a good fit. We both have the same concept of what the job is and we are out to take care of the customer, not just make money. I have always believed if you put your clients first you will prosper.

He went back mid -week and I began my new position, which I actually have been doing for nearly 3 months before.

Whats really funny is that I was hoping to be moved over in January but the timing I guess was wrong. I was hoping to be transfered over before I had to fly to Michigan in Mid-January.
Yes the white stuff in the Photo is actual snow. Funny thing is when we arrived they had just started a warming trend. We were only sub-freezing for 2 days then the weather warmed right up. When we left Friday night it was a balmy 44 degrees Fahrenheit, I almost put on my swim trunks!!

I actually had fun in Michigan, haven't driven in snow in nearly 20 years. But it seemed like a waste of time and money to send me off to train on the new equipment that I was not going to work on.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tails of the well trained...

All this started after we got our first two cats, I noticed that we were almost perfectly attuned to their wants and desires.

I was in AFCA (Alt.Fan.Cecil.Adams) and was reading a post and I realised that we were trained almost literally from day one.

I know this becuase I love to hear my little furry girls purr and will almost do anything including loose sleep to make them happy. I am not joking about that. Silver has been know to climb up un my pillow and meow until I wake up and pet her bringing her to full purr. Then nod off again.

I guess you could say that I am well trained. I put my cereal bowl on the ground when I am finished so that the cats can lick it. When I eat a yogurt I lt the cats lick the yougurt off the foil lid.

We considrer them our little furry children and often times they are.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tails of a cease hostilities...almost

Well it's another day and the girls have settled down a bit. There is still a bit of animosity in the air but they seem quite a bit calmer than they were.

Tessie is still the object of their aggression but I think she is beginning to loose that "UNWELCOME" smell that we tried so hard to get off her with a bath. Scout still hisses at Tess but Tess isn't backing down. She is beginning to assert her self again. Which is good to see.
Unfortunately this afternoon I heard growling and hissing from Tess, the other had cornered he in the litter box of all places. The litter box should be a sanctuary. She wasn't plussed she fought for her "Right to potty".

We forget our little furry girls are wired by millions of years of evolution, they are territorial predators, its hard to imagine that when they sit on your pillow purring their little furry heads off. Then they turn into all claws, screeched and yowls.

Still I have to admire our little Tessenator, she is absolutely insane. She chased off the Tommy cat a cat nearly double her size and He RAN.

BTW Tommy was back for breakfast today soaked but here (was raining this morning).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tails of Violence

My wife Karen and I were up early this morning at the insistence of our gray tabby Silver, affectionately known as Silly Billy. Upon rising I did my morning rituals and was heading to the "Craft Room" aka my office. When I head a cat fight and a scream, my wife was out feeding Tommy our local stray cat.

Well as luck would have it Tess decided that now is a very good time to give Tommy a piece of her mind so she slips past Karen and goes on the attack. Tommy is about 12lbs +/- and a hardened veteran from the "Big Out". Tess on the other had weighs in at a very light 8lbs+/- and has been living inside for a 4 years now.

She went straight to him and attacked mercilessly, paws flailing and Tommy not knowing what hit him ran like the Devil himself was chasing him.

But somehow the fighting outside triggered fighting on the inside so Silver and Scout were both fighting with each other, Then Karen screamed again and I hit Silver and Scout full on with at least half a dozen streams from our spray water bottle. They cut and ran until Karen brought the now Tommy scented Tessie back into the house and they go on the attack against Tess.

I grabbed Tess (in the process getting scratched and cut up) and plopped her in the sink, turned the water on and began giving her a bath. Karen grabbed her and held her while I removed her claws (sharp claws BTW) out of my arms and hands.

We shoved Tess in the bathroom with kibble and water, (her favorite source is our toilet) to dry herself off and compose herself. After church Karen came home and let her out of the bathroom and she made a beeline for under the bed. Where she stayed until about 15 mins ago.

She is now sitting on my chair in the bedroom onto of the tiger stripped blankey she loves and having a good clean with the bedroom door closed. Seems we might have been forgiven but her two sister are another matter.

Signing off and praying for détente

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tails of the Miami trip...

A co-worker and friend told me that he had a 22" wide screen Monitor for sale. I thought about it and decided it was just what my wife needed. So  told my friend and today we went to Miami and got the monitor.

The girls (cats) are really interested in the new thing that is taking all of the meowmie's attention away from them. I did not realize how big it was until Karen was able to open up distributed proofreaders and work with the test to be proofed and the actual text side by side. Its nearly 1.5x the resolution of the 19" she had because she thought the text was too small to read.

I now have my dual monitor setup again with both panels pristine and I will use the the old one for repairs and testing. Now my desk actually looks complete except as my friend stated the cabling is a mess. Well I am addressing that today.

The cat's interest was short because we stopped on the way home and picked up a roast chicken at the grocery store. Cats are like 5 year olds, fascinated by every thing but with the attention span of a house fly. Actually I should give them a little more credit, if you have food on your plate they will sit there for as long as it takes in full begging or as the wife calls it Vulture mode.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tails of Innovation

Everyone has heard of the mouse, and it has now become a house hold word, even the computer illiterate can point at it and say its a mouse.

Well without further ado I bring you

The Cat

And for those with laptops

The Cat Lite

Preliminary reports tell us the cats tail can be used for clearing dust monitors off, knocking things to the ground and blocking airflow from the computer. They also help in high wind office environs keeping important papers held down with great precision minus the edges for taste testing. Further we have found a decrease in productivity followed by an increase in purrs from those user who have one or more on their desks.

We are still in the development phase...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tails of massive excavation

When I arrived home today I decided to do a spring clean on my computer desk. I had Karen bring me every thing that I had boxed up and then I went into my desk.

Let's just say that my desk and a black hole have the same mass and do exactly the same thing (eat everything around them. I once lost a cat for almost and entire day only to notice faint mewing from behind the drawer. Now I know how curiosity can kill a cat. (Note: No cat was harmed in the making of this photo)

Well I have been clearing my desk in anticipation of my transfer to a different department at work.

Anyway I am getting away from the cleaning. I emptied the desk drawers, I mean emptied them, found stuff that I haven't seen since Wilma (Hurricane).

Restocked my build box (the screws, back plates, cables, dressing and the like needed when you build a PC from components). And restocked my cable box and found 5 more network cables and 4 wireless cards from where I went from wireless G to wireless N.

This morning I had to have words with my cable provider. It seems they are determined to send a tech out to my house to install a modem that is already installed. Its beginning to get really annoying. At 3AM I woke up and went into the "Craft Room" I share the space with my wife Karen, and clicked on the Internet Explorer button and nothing. I checked the router and it was not connected to the INTERNET, so then I reset the modem and when the router reconnected I could not get past the cable provider self install screen. I called them up and they said I could get back on line immediately but I would loose the deal I got last week, or I could wait until after 8AM and contact my local office and they would correct the issue. Well I decided that waiting was the best idea as the regular price is 2x what the deal price was.

Anyway its back on and hopefully correct this time and correctly billed as well. I left cable provider becuase their reliability was terrible. But that seems to be a thing of the past. The only time I loose signal is when they shut off my modem and I can remedy that with a phone call. While my DSL provider required a great deal more in the way of work to stay connected and still could not provide a decent connection for more than a day or so. I used to have to rotate my DSL modems in order to re-establish my connection.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tails of two kitties

In 2004 about 2 weeks after my then fiancĂ© and now wife Karen came to this country we went to an animal shelter, Animal Aid, Inc. We found two lovely sisters in a cage all by their lonesome. We were looking for a ginger boy we ended up with 2 silver tabbies Silver (right) and Scout.(left), The person who showed us the cats said they were returned by their owners for eating too much.

Karen and I decided to give it a week as we hadn't kitten proofed the house yet and well its an important decision, as we are responsible for them. The next weekend came around we went back to the shelter and there they were. Well we knew we were licked and the lady gave us a really good offer as they were sisters and really were close to one another. So we said yes.
When we got them home they were a bit skittish but Silver became the dominant one and started wandering around the apartment.

When I moved here I bought my queen sized bed, dresser, TV, computer, computer desk, computer chair and recliner and little else to say the apartment was empty would be an understatement. The cats LOVED it. Karen on the other hand was thinking of booking the next flight back to Australia.

Over time Silver and  Scout developed their own personalities. Silver was a daddy's girl, and Scout was more of a Mommy's girl.

Karen and I love our two little gray girls very much and are very thankful they are in out lives helping complete our family

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tails of a TVaholic

Well all has proceeded as expected, went to church today and ended up running the power-point, not my favorite thing because you have to stay focused on doing the presentation rather than following whats going on.

Well after that there our monthly dinner, was nice, someone bought in their laptop for me to look at. Ever notice, an IT person could be at a funeral (and YES it's happened to me) and someone will want to ask you about an issue they are having. It used to be in the 70s and 80s that everyone would chat up doctors, now its IT people.

I have been watching this show on NetFlix Play Instantly called the "IT Crowd", love the show. Have been in more than a few of the situations but luckily for me the emergency number is still 911, not "0118 999 881 999 119 7253"

Have also been enjoying the Season 3 and 4 of "Weeds" though I am thinking Nancy has de-evolved into someone with the morals of an alley cat. And of course one of my favorite shows is "Dexter"

NetFlix has really ruined me for television anymore, that and the "Roku" box.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tails of a masochist...

OK I am an IT person, for those of you who don't know what that means, it means I get paid to fool around with computers all day. Some people might think, gee that sounds like fun, it actually is up to a point.

I am by no means an expert, but I have seen a lot of things in my time, some good Windows 7, XP, 2000, some bad Windows ME (Millennium Edition), Vista (sort of).

Well I decided last week the wife's computer could use some upgrading so I had a copy of Windows 7 Premium Edition, I checked her hardware against the compatibility guide, no real surprises, so okay lets upgrade.

Well as luck would have it, I had a few hurdles to get over. I did in the end and now she is running Windows 7 Home Premium.

Well this weekend I decided my Server (fancy name for a computer that shares files and printers with others) needed to upgrade, I was given a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit to replace my ailing Vista Ultimate 64bit (trade up policy).

I started at 1PM noted the drive I was going to use for the upgrade was prepared as I was going to keep the OS boot drive intact just in case. Well the drive I prepped failed at 30% of the load. I was thinking to myself should I pop in an old 80Gb I had laying around but I noted that 64 bit Os's tend to use a lot of space and I have a fair amount of apps to load as well. So I opted to go to "Comp-USA" and pick up a new drive.

I thought about getting a 160Gb Hard disk but the price difference between a 160Gb and a 500Gb was about 10$ so I opted for more space.

Got back to the house about 4PM and began, Windows took a good 45mins to install and I was back up with the barest essentials by about 9PM including the BULK of the updates for Windows and Office.

Sunday afternoon I started on the other software, by 5PM I had most of that installed and working. There were a few odds and ends to fix but all in all it was working as planned. I decided that I could remove the 160Gb drive (the original) boot disk and also remove a 250Gb hard disk that was no being used. Really if you can't fit most of what you have on 2TB, you don't need a computer you need a server farm.

That getting done I reconfigured my hard drives by partitioning them. With 250Gb of space for the OS and Applications  1.75Tb for storage I think I'll be okay. I'm a PC and Windows 7 DOESN'T S*CK!

Tails of the Tessanator and the toe...

The Tessanator is a really INSANE cat who is part master thief and part Zena Warrior Princess right down to the flip and the battle cry.

She was bought into our household when she worked her wiles on my wife Karen who is a sucker for a sweet purr and a rub. My wife's argument was that she was God's Valentines day present to her.

Knowing that I was NOT going to win this I knew that the kitten about 3 months old or so would need to be quarantined and then we would need to make sure that she wasn't lost. So off the the ASPCA. Okay, okay but I was not being heartless or cruel I was being sensitive to the people that had lost their kitten.

When we arrived at the ASPCA the guy behind the desk looked in our carrier and told us, a) there was little likely hood that her owners would come for her and b) she was a black cat and they don't like to put them up for adoption due to the cruel acts that were perpetrated on black cats.

I still feel like he knew he had a soft touch on his hands. He told me that if she wasn't adopted (slim) or found by her owners (no chance) then in 3 days she would be euthanized. Well I asked if there was a way I could get her checked for diseases and set an appointment to have her fixed. He stated I could adopt her, so I called my wife back in who had been bawling in the car, and explained to her the options and we adopted her.

3 days later we got our previously healthy cat back from them with a case of kennel cough and worms, neither of which she had when she was bought in.

But we had our baby and from the start we knew there would be trouble, Scout our large 16lb cat took exception to Tes (The EVIL stranger (note: we had no idea how apropos that was)). I think Tess has watched one to many prison movies on TV because Scout is a M A S S I V E, and M U S C U L A R (she must have been born in East Germany), anyway the first thing Tess does is sidle up to Scout and wap her right on the nose and then box her ears, the caterwauling was horrendous followed by a loud THUMP of a very dazed and dizzy Tess as she bounced of the wall.

Well as luck would have it our little Warrior Princess has taken it that the apartment is not nearly big enough anymore and has decided to run out the door nearly every opportunity. Well it was sort of cute but dangerous so we put a collar on her and she promptly destroyed 2 before we found one made of sterner stuff. Well she suddenly was a ring necked cat, poor thing so we took off the collar and bought her a harness and a lead so that we could walk her.

Well its more of a drag than a walk as she doesn't quite know what to make out of the harness yet.

Well two nights ago about 12AM our neighbors were a bit noisy so I went next door to ask hem to lower the TV as I had an early morning, by in large my neighbors are pretty cool and they obliged immediately. I thanked them and turned to see a little black blur take off going down the catwalk. I gave chase, well I walked really fast after her, then she turned ducked around me and ran the other way, when I caught up with her she dodged again and ran back to the other end then as I was chasing her my toes slammed into the edge of the balcony, unfortunately she didn't stop and went down the stairs, limping I made my way down the stairs and she tried to dodge me again but I got her tail, long enough to pin her down.

All this while my wife the soft touch was asleep.

Tails of a lonely guy...

Sometime in 1999 I met a woman who was very sweet and I thought, hey if she weren't on the other side of the world I might consider more than friendship.

As time went on I began to consider the possibility and sometime in 2000 I asked her to marry me. But I am getting ahead of myself a bit.

Hi.. I am John.. Welcome to tails of... and yes I know that it should be tales... or maybe not as you will see.

In 1992 I was a wreck of a person and was in some serious need of help. Having started drinking at a fairly early age and with copious amount of alcohol around me, I guess the inevitable was going to happen.

Well I got the help I needed from a Christian residential drug an alcohol program. In 1995 I went to their advanced program and in 1996 I ended up working for their corporate office as an intern, and eventually was hired on.

Well back to 1999, I was working for the ministry and at night I could get on the Internet and relax a bit. While relaxing I found newsgroups and decided to get my feet wet. I met a few people online an even had met up with a couple in real life.

I met my now wife in a news group that I used to post to religiously, I had been reading the NG for about 2 years and was a regular poster. Karen and I use to reply and read the same messages and occasionally chat . Chatting became calling and calling became a 2-3x a day habit. I should mention she lived in Melbourne,VIC Australia.

In 2003 she and her mother came to the states to visit/site-see I asked her to marry me again. January 2004 we filed our K-1 and it was approved in July 2004, She came to marry me in November 2004 and we were married in December 2004.

With 3 cats and 1 wife I am not so lonely anymore...