Page December 2010
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I spent the day working on WordPress and Expression Web. I do some web hosting and development and had received a request to transform an existing site. That always has some hidden kinks, so I did some testing.
I've also considered converting this diary to a database-driven format, but every time I've looked into WordPress and other options, I have decided to stick with what I am using -- an old copy of FrontPage. I have Expression Web on this machine, and it is claimed to replace FrontPage but when I used it to work on this site, it gave me some problems, so I have continued with what works.
I had lost a wheel disk off this brand-new Ford on the freeway the other day and after phoning around, tracked one down for $70 at a dealer about a mile from where I figure I lost it. I could wrangle with the rental firm, since the loss was obviously due to bad assembly, but for the $70, I'll think just replace it and write it off myself. No hassles.
The kids went out the door at 7:15 and are off to school. After school, they go to their mom's for a week, so Jon and I are on our own. I have some things I want to do while here and the time is running out -- I leave on the 7th -- so I am free to get doing them.
It is also month's end, so time to do some bookwork, too.
I drove down to Dana Point to get the hubcap. I couldn't figure out how to put it on, so asked the service guys. They took the car into the shop and put it on for free. Apparently, they had to remove the wheel nuts to do so. I have no idea how it could have come off on the highway and neither did they and they figured it must have been faulty assembly at the factory. The car has 173 miles on it.
I like the car, BTW. It is a 2011 Ford Fusion SE. I think it must have a 4 cylinder engine judging by by the sound and the revs. It seems to use very little gas and is quite peppy. It drives very well and is fairly quiet. I wonder about the transmission, though. Some of the shifts sound funny. These new transmissions have to "learn", however, so hopefully that is what is going on.
In the morning we had been discussing the Mission San Juan Capistrano with Jon's cleaning woman who had worked there some years back. I had not been to the Mission since 1988 and had been thinking of going again, and it happened that the Ford dealer was about a mile away, so I parked, paid my $9 admission and spent an hour on the grounds. It was getting chilly and dark around closing time at 5, so I left a little early.
Jon and I were planning to meet in Dana Point for supper, but the furnace repair guy had shown up, so I bought some groceries on the way back and we had supper at home. The furnace repair is now completed and it is nice to have heat, although it is seldom needed in Laguna Beach. Sometimes the mornings are a little cool -- frost has been seen on vehicles early in the morning occasionally at this time of year.
Jon and I went to Frys to pick up a modem/router combination in the morning. That took a few hours all said and done. I must say that I was impressed by Frys, never having been in one before. They certainly have everything and the decor is 'way over the top, too!
After lunch I played around with Ubuntu 10 and in the evening, watched several episodes of "Lie to Me" on Netflix. I couldn't believe it, but $7.99 allows for unlimited watching for a month, and we have a free trial to boot. I watched on the Wii and widescreen, then on this netbook. The netbook consumed 242 MB for 42 minutes or so of watching. That is cheap with unlimited Internet, but could get costly at the $5 per GB that I pay at home. The Wii and TV ate up around the full 3 megabit bandwidth of Jon's Internet connection, though, so idea that is out of the question for my home Internet in Swalwell.
I was surprised that Ubuntu does not recognize the video hardware in this netbook and drops to a default resolution, and there is no solution. ...And here I was thinking that Ubuntu is ready for prime time. Guess not.
Time to go home soon. Brrrr. Minus eleven for a high on Tuesday does not sound too pleasant to me from the perspective of Southern California. It's too cold for good skiing, even. Minus ten is our lower limit for enjoyable skiing although years back, on ski patrol, we went out at minus forty a time or two.
I have the kids tomorrow and figure on the Wild Animal Park, or maybe the Zoo.
Sunday December 5th 2010
The kids and I went to Mission San Juan Capistrano. We also went looking for a good dollar store, but could not find any.
I had wondered about all the Spanish names of streets and areas and found the answer at the Mission. On the wall of one rooms was the map at right which shows how the whole area to the north as far a s Seal Beach was Mission land at one time, then was divided into ranches under Mexican rule. The names of the ranches have survived to this day in the names of streets, neighbourhoods and streams.
On the way back, we went to Thalia Street Beach right at low tide to see how storms have washed away the sand and exposed the rocks. Last summer we swam there and the rocks were nowhere in sight and the beach was much wider. I suppose another storm will bring the sand back again.
The whole area is shallow and rocky under the sand, and shallow offshore, and that is what keeps the whole neighbourhood from washing away. I never realized how shallow much of the oceans are near shore until I began sailing yachts. Of course there are places where the cliffs plunge down hundreds of feet below the water surface at shore, too, and there are trenches over a mile deep in the oceans, but many places there are shallows extending miles from shore.
In the evening, I watched a few episodes of "Lie to Me" and one of "Bones" via Netflix using both the Wii connected to the 46" flat screen TV, and outside using my 11" netbook and headphones. Both work well.
I'm home. I was up around seven and on the road to LAX at eight. Traffic backed up a few places on 133 and the 405, but I made the 49-mile trip to the car rental on Century near LAX in an hour and a half and was early for my flight.
Mike picked me up in Calgary just after 3. I did some grocery shopping on the way home.
It is cold here in Alberta and there is snow on the ground. That is a big change from walking in the beach last evening with Jon and Daisy.
Unless plans change, I'm home for the next month. The next trip planned is in January to the North American Beekeeping Conference. The early registration deadline is coming up fast.
I'm looking at the weather and thinking of skiing. I see some snow predicted, but, after today, the next pleasant weather appears to be coming Sunday and I am booked for dinner with friends that day.
Well, I did not write yesterday. I was up early after a fitful night of sleep and off to Red Deer for dentist's appointment. It turned out I was 3 hours early. Somehow I had put down 10:30 in my Google Calendar, but found out that it was supposed to be 1:30.
At any rate, I discussed billing, insurance and the number of appointments required with the receptionist and concluded 1.) She does not care and 2.) I am wasting my time there. I have a quote from Tijuana for three crowns, some root canal work by a specialist, and some other minor work for $800 US at a dentist I have visited twice. I know I can walk in and have the job done within several days by a good dentist with no distractions.
This Red Deer dentist wants $900 for one crown, and a ceramic one at that -- this is a molar and I have hard bite -- cannot do root canal work, and would require several visits requiring a 70-mile drive each way, each time. Did I mention it is cold up here? Tijuana is a short walk across the border from San Diego and about 90 miles from Jon's place. I usually stay in San Ysidro on the US side when I am there and walk to the dentist's. I have some reluctance to visit Tijuana much these days, though after encountering a police search and attempted shakedown on the bridge over the canal in broad daylight.
I'm kicking myself for not getting to Tijuana on my last two trips, though, I should really get this tooth capped again. I get busy withy the grandkids and don't go.
I should phone ahead, but phoning Mexico is just one other little thing that put me off. The other thing is the word about things happing in border towns these days and the knowledge that Mexican police are not to be trusted. Anyhow, I have Skype and means of phoning and should get on it. TracFone can call Mexico for no more money than any US call. The Tijuana dentist had given me an email address and I had written last summer, but got no reply. It is Hotmail address and who knows where the email went?
For a year now, a cat has been coming and going through Amos' cat door, sleeping in our building (we live in a huge old schoolhouse), eating our cat food and using the litter box. In summer, he was not around at all, but he came back this fall. He is a tom and is housebroken and well-behaved. He is very shy, though, and Amos takes after him whenever he can; they then fight and leave tufts of fur around the house. We seldom see more than the back of him disappearing. Ellen finally caught him on film the other day with the game camera.
In the afternoon, I went out and blew snow. The neighbour had thoughtfully plowed the drive, but there was some clean-up to do and I need to ensure access to the coal bin for the truck coming late next week. Wrestling with the blower in hardened drifts is not easy work. I'm out of shape.
The usual suspects came for supper and a good time was had by all.
Two weeks until Christmas
I finally arranged my flight to Houston and the hotel. I have another hotel reserved and paid, but now have someone to share a room, so have decided to move to the Holiday Inn. It is $89 + 15% tax instead of the $57 + 15% tax I had arranged previously, but this one has two queen beds instead of one king and is non-smoking. Now I have to cancel the original reservation and register for the conference before the discount expires on the 16th. Three weeks and a day from now, I fly out. I have no return ticket at this point. I may go to San Diego or I may got to Florida. I think I should go to San Diego and get this dental work over with.
We drove down to spend the afternoon with Mavis and John, had an early supper and retuned home.
Ellen had an eye appointment in Calgary, so I drove her in. On the way back we stopped at Crossiron Mall. This was my first time in the new mall and although it is huge, I did not enjoy it. It is noisy and the construction is cheap. I had spent a few minutes in the Chinook Mall while waiting for Ellen and the difference is night and day. Nonetheless, I am finding malls les and less interesting. I must be getting old, but there is very little there I want and row upon row of stores selling pretty much the same stuff.
Where did the day go? I got a cal, from the eye doctor's office at 9:30 wondering where I was. I was getting ready for an appointment at 10:30 and it turned out I should have been there at 9. My mistake. That one I can't blame on Google Calendar, other than it did not pop up the warning it should have. I'll have to look into that, but it was my own stupid fault. We rescheduled for Thursday.
The rest of the morning was wasted in writing on BEE-L and some of the afternoon as well. In the afternoon, though, I went downstairs and began cleaning up the north basement. Quite a few item, for the riding mower and snow blower to the extension ladder and van seats were clogging up the space. In addition there were 8 drums of ashes accumulated and in need of removal. seeing as the weather is mild, this is the opportunity to get the job done, so I took out the ashes as well and then swept up and tidied further. There is still lots to do.
Colder weather is coming. Looks like I missed my skiing opportunity for now. Seems I'm suffering from inertia. Years ago, we used to wax up the skis the night before and be up at 5:30 to head for the hills. We'd ski all day and be the last ones off the hill. These days, I tend to be out of here around ten and home by six, if and when I go at all.
I spent the day in the north basement and am making progress. In the afternoon, El and I went to town. She went o the library and I went grocery shopping.
It's snowing today. I have an eye appointment this afternoon to replace the one I missed the other day. I have on my list to file my hours and expenses for the inspecting I did this year. I hate filling out reports and have successfully procrastinated thus far...
Bob Hack has started a website. I don't know if he is ready to advertise, but here is a sneak peek.
I notice there is some action again in the Honey Bee World Forum
I went town in the afternoon and had my eyes checked.
I was looking at my vehicle records and it is now 6-1/2 years since we bought the '93 Merc and the '98 Toyota van. It is 5-1/4 years since I bought the '98 Plymouth van. All have been excellent value.
The Plymouth has put on 27,000 miles, the Toyota 48,000 and the Merc 64,000 miles. Each of them presently has just under 300,000 km on the clock. When we bought them, they were high-milers, but all in cherry condition
The Merc has needed a bit of minor work from time to time, but the others have been maintenance-free, other than oil changes.
We spent $4,500 (Merc), $11,000 (Toyota), and $7,000 (Plymouth) = $22,000 for 139,000 miles so far. The present value of the vehicles, I estimate at about $9,000, so $13,000 has taken us 139,000 miles at a capital cost of about 9 cents a mile. That's not too bad. Over that time, we have spent at least $20,000 on insurance and more than that on gas.
Here are some of my current BEE-L posts:
Today I checked out the free online scans that are listed at the bottom of every diary page. One is no longer current, since M$ bought them out, , but the other three are still going strong.
These scans tend to report cookies as threats, but I don't ever delete the cookies, since they are important for accessing sites where I remain logged in and I don't have any reason to hide my activities.
Kaspersky has been promising a free online computer scan for over a year now and hasn't delivered yet, but they do have a free online file scanner.
I had been planning to visit Jean and family yesterday, but Mckenzie had a flu and I decided to wait until today. Around noon, I drove to Red Deer and met Chris at Best Buy. I wanted his expert advice on smart phones and other new technology. We then drove to Lacombe, had supper and I babysat for the evening. They have unlimited high-speed and that allows me to use Netflix without cost. I watched the rest of the 'Collision' series. The Canadian Netflix subscription has a deferent and more limited selection compared to the US.
In the morning, Chris went downtown for supplies, then I put up his new weather station. I returned home in time for supper.
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