December 2004 Archives

We went to the French Quarter on this last day of 2004. Things seen en route or there:

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Takes a very courteous driver to drive a vehicle with this license plate.

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Parking isnít scarce enough in the French Quarter? This thing takes up about 150 parking spots on a prime lot. Of course, Nokia is the main sponsor of the Sugar Bowl so I suppose a little inconvenience to the citizenry is no big deal. I took this picture from the balcony of the Jackson Brewery ( Jax Brewery ). They'll do a smaller version of the Times Square ball drop tonight.

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The French Market is still decorated for Christmas and very, very busy today. Hustle, bustle.

Happy New Year

As time winds down on another year, I've once again been pondering the expression, "don't have the time" and its brother, "can't find the time". Did so quite similarly last year, too. Everyone says it. Have you thought about what the person you're saying it to thinks about it? Spoiler alert: Do not expect any grandiose conclusions or Earth-shattering insight in this post. The more I thought about it over the last year or so, the more I realized I still have no position on it.

About the time: A 91-year old person shouldn't take on a 35-year project with hopes of finishing it. He/she probably doesn't have the time. There are also instances where an arbitrary deadline is imposed. Someone called and is coming over in an hour. "I don't have time" to cut the grass before they get here.

Where age or deadline is not a factor, is it really true when someone says that? If so, wouldn't the person youíre telling it to know it? There are 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, etc, etc... (If you get less than that, you're exempt from these foolish thoughts). So, what you're really saying is, "I don't wish to use my time that way". To say it that way, of course, is kind of rude so we say, "I don't have the time" instead.

A task could/should be done and both of us are capable of doing it. I tell you, "I don't have the time". How should you react to that? Is my time more valuable than yours? Am I implying that you DO have the time? Am I simply saying I don't want to do it? Am I over-analyzing? Yes, absolutely, to at least two of those questions!

I planned to add considerably more thought to this essentially self-plagiarized ( Auto-plagiarized? ) entry after having another whole year to think about what I am trying to say but I have somewhere to go this morning and..................

I don't have time to do it now!

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Cleaning my office is like an archeology dig. Most layers are just garbage, but occasionally there's a gem."

Thursday Soap

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We finally got through Soap: The Complete First Season last night. We got through the first 17 episodes a few months ago in no time at all but then we slacked off. We watched all 8 remaining episodes last night. Richard Mulligan's Burt is an original character if ever there was one. I just ordered Soap: The Complete Second Season and Soap: The Complete Third Season. I havenít seen any of these episodes since they first aired back in the late seventies, donít remember seeing any of them more than once, but I still remember a lot of the lines and a lot of what happened. Ultimately, I want to get all but the last season. By the last season, it was no fun any more. Critics can talk about its groundbreaking social commentary if they like. I only watched it because it was very funny.

The CFFL Super Bowl didnít turn out the way I wanted but Congratulations to the 12oz Curls. My other fantasy football team is in the finals of a Crazy Eights tournament. The Crazy Eights is a consolation tournament of sorts for the non-playoff teams. Winning that might take the sting out of this yearís lousy 0-9 start and 3-10 finish. Might, but I doubt it.

The CrabAppleLane Bowl Pool continues tonight. Getting exciting now.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "We blogged about this almost a year ago, but it's back in the news: the inevitable penetration of HDTV broadcasts has some interesting implications for television actors and actresses. OnHD.tv takes a brutally honest look at those celebs who will benefit the most from HDTV exposure, and those who will (or should) run away screaming before the audience does."

What is this?

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Totem???

I have been passing this thing every night on my way home for a long time now. I have no idea what it is but I like it a lot. The owner illuminates it. You can see the light on the ground. It has not weathered to any degree that I can notice but I suspect it is well-tended. I have never seen one of these before. Does anyone know what it is or what it is supposed to do?

I'm probably cursed now for photographing it, right?

Lazy Wednesday

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The red-tailed hawk above must have had a full belly because there were 30-40 squirrels and probably double that number of birds beneath his perch. He was only about 12 feet above ground and was totally oblivious to the squirrels and birds feeding below and they were oblivious to him. He blended pretty well with the now browning pine needles. The result is a less-than-satisfactory auto-focus. He was off and away before I could correct things.

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Trying a reflection. Seemed more dramatic 45 minutes ago.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Bottom line is that this court allows Harrah's to sexualize its employees against their will"

From Bush, LA:

When the day is like this:

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You kinda have to get out in it. This was taken about 30 minutes ago. Three days ago on Christmas Day, it was snowing and freezing. Today, we have 60ļ and sunshine. Five minutes before, I took the picture below. This house, under construction, will probably have nicer sunrises than sunsets on that pond. The long shadow of the photographer and his new bicycle is also on display.
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From Covington, LA:

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Saw the sign above on the building below. I have no idea what that means but my guess is that it will be expensive when it opens. The railroad tracks ( No longer used ) once intersected this small town like they did just about every other town in America

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Covington Cemetery is right across the street from Covington City Hall on a fairly busy ( For Covington ) street corner. The only thing I might have to say about that would probably be in extremely poor taste. That said, I donít think there is anything more poignant than an old cemetery. The vast, vast majority of the markers I read in this one were of people who died quite a bit younger than I am now. A sobering thought.

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Just behind the corner post by the bright red bow in the above image is the marker below:

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I had no idea it was there. I just stumbled upon it.

For what it's worth, Bush is about 12 miles northeast of Covington.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "There is this cemetery about three blocks from my house that I walk by almost every day on my way to Zoka. I realized the other day that this is one of the best parks in the city, it has a great view, great big trees, and a bunch of nice paths all through out it."

Monday Movies

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We watched McLintock last night. It is one of the many movies we received for Christmas. It was one of my dadís favorites and I hadnít seen it in many years. I always liked it, too. In watching it this time, I couldnít help but notice that this movie could never get made today as is. The stereotyping would never pass muster. Not sure how the spanking would go over, either. Still, it was/is a fun movie.

We went and saw The Incredibles today. This was pure joy. Any movie where the kid brother says ď No force fields Ē to the older sister is high entertainment. I think a sequel is in order.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Looking through water at the rest of the world. There's nothing else to do in the carwash."

We built our house almost 6 feet off of the ground. It was not required. Thereís zero danger of flooding here. We both just like living in a raised house. We decided we wanted a ramp in addition to the stairways that were going to be required. We had two old dogs at the time and they would have never been able to make it up and down our stairs. We also thought it would be nice to be able to roll or slide things up the ramp rather than carry them up the stairs. It wasnít intended to be a handicapped ramp but I kinda wish we had done more research on those. The builder grabbed a 2x12 board and put it up against my back deck where the ramp was to go and asked, ď How does this look? Ē. The angle looked OK to me but I had him extend it another foot just to be safe. Neither of us had any idea of how it would turn out. It is entirely too steep and treacherous.

Ramp

In this picture taken yesterday, the darker portions of the ramp appear to be wet. Theyíre actually frozen. I was up here inspecting the progress of the construction one early morning ten years ago and it was a day like this and the image was very similar. There's a concrete walkway at the bottom. I did not have the experience with this then that I have now. I wanted to see things from the vantage of the back deck so I hopped up onto the lower left portion of this ramp to get there. I hit one of those frozen sections with my work shoe, slipped, and went high into the air like Ethel Merman at the end of Itís a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World ( Youíll have to see the movie if you donít know this reference ). I landed on my wallet on that nicely hardened concrete. My wallet usually doesnít have much padding ( On an average day, maybe a five and a couple of ones. ). This slapstick comedy event left a wallet-sized bruise that made it painful to sit down for a solid week.

On the fantasy football front, my opponent continues to rack up points putting pressure on my guys to do the same in the CFFL Super Bowl. Go Ragpickers.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "This is a legitimate debate, but a week and a half before Christmas? Yuck."

Quite a lovely surprise today. Snow!

Moisant Drive

An old neighbor's house. Don't know if they still live there.

Mom's House

These are two of my nieces catching snowflakes in front of Mom's house. This is where I grew up. That tall tree in the backyard to the right is a pecan tree that was shorter than the fence when I was a kid. I ran over it with the lawn mower many, many times.

More Christmas Blogginess

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Ice & Snow on the birdbath on Christmas Day 2004

As cold today as it was yesterday here at CrabAppleLane. Weíre getting some sleet and some snow flurries. I surely didnít need that since weíll be traveling today.

We had Christmas with Patsyís family last night. We got The James Stewart Hollywood Legends Collection on DVD. Patsy and I are both big fans of James Stewart and have many DVDís of his films in our collection. We have some VHS tapes of his films, too. Weíll convert or replace them sooner or later.

The CFFL Super Bowl continues today, tomorrow, and Monday night. My guy had a decent day yesterday but my opponentís guys had a great day. Hope today will be better for me.

Once again, Merry Christmas to all from CrabAppleLane.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Northern Ireland bank robbers who made off with over $50 million dollars last week may have a small problem - spending the money."

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from CrabAppleLane

Merry Christmas Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve

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Merry/Happy Christmas Eve

Merry/Happy Christmas Eve from CrabAppleLane. This is a little too cold here for my southern bones. I think Iím a reasonable person. 65ļ to 75ļ is a range I could work with. Christmas down under might be manageable.

The CFFL Super Bowl gets underway today. Go Ragpickers!

The CrabAppleLane Bowl Pool continues today with a game in Hawaii. Eight entrants are 4 for 4. Thatís against the spread and is a pretty tough thing to do. Thereís a long way to go. I still need to make my downward move towards my annual dismal finish.

ALL LSU fans are holding their breath today hoping Nick Saban stays in Baton Rouge for another season. Heís been offered the Miami Dolphins job. If he accepts, I wish a pox on Tom Benson, owner of the poorly-coached, poorly-run Saints, for letting this guy out of Louisiana without making a run at him. I donít know if anyone can succeed in New Orleans with Benson running the team but Saban would have a little more grace from fans than the next guy is going to get.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "What's more exciting revising macroeconomics or dressing the tree and covering the flat with fairy lights???"

Last Day Minutiae

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Last day of work this year for Patsy and I. This will be the first time Iíve had the holiday week off since I got out of school. No major plans this time although we hope to take a couple of day trips. We are surely going to have a French Quarter tourist outing one of those days. I love strolling in the French Quarter. Wouldnít mind going down there next Friday as the Auburn crowd gets into town for the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech will also bring some folks to town but they will surely be outnumbered. Itís fun down there during Sugar Bowl Week. Fans coming in for that game are always a happy lot.

My Ragpickers are in a tough spot this week for the championship. The team didnít play well last week and was fortunate to advance. My opponentís team played even worse. I donít like the matchup this week at all. I donít expect Ragpickers to play any better this week and I don't expect my opponent's team to play any worse. Iíve changed my lineup about 8 times since Tuesday. The game starts tomorrow with the Vikings-Packers kickoff. I will not change it again. At least, I hope I wonít.

There was fog on the Causeway last night. Thereís always fog on the Causeway ( And just about all of the other over water crossings ) this time of year. As I was driving across it, though, I noticed my visibility was quite good. I was a mile onto the bridge when I realized why. My new truck has fog lights. My old one didnít. I always thought fog lights were mostly ornamental. They looked good and maybe would help an oncoming vehicle see you. I was totally wrong about that. They are low to the ground below your bumper and shine their beams onto the road below the fog. The difference in visibility is amazing. These were not on my list of requirements for this vehicle. They will be on the next one. Theyíre worth the extra bucks.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "(2004-11-26) -- After a week of tough negotiating by France, Germany and Britain, the Islamic Republic of Iran has conceded to reduce the size of nuclear warheads it will use in the eventual bombing of Paris, Berlin and London."

Just stuff

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Central Grocery

Lunch yesterday came from the Central Grocery in the French Quarter. Iíve been kind of craving it since I was down there back in October.

Muffuletta

Muffulettas are large and the Central Grocery cuts them into quarters. This is the sole survivor from lunch. It didnít make it past supper, though. For people who like to diet, these are a great cause. Think Iíll have a Lean Pocket today. And tomorrow.

The CrabAppleLane Bowl Pool is underway with 48 entrants and a blog friend is leading the way. I have a strategy this year. I entered once choosing the teams that I have the strongest feelings about. That was 10 days ago or so. I placed a second entry yesterday choosing exactly the opposite teams. The two entries were 10 days apart and my feelings may have changed. It wasnít necessarily an exact opposite entry because I didnít compare the two beforehand so this might be foreboding. Think maybe I should have used a blindfold.

Upgraded Movable Type yesterday also. So far, so good. The hurried, haphazard way I went about it was a concern. That almost never works for me.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Out of a perverse sense of curiousity I popped the DVDs back into the player this morning."

Arthritis

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Iíve been fighting through arthritis for a few weeks now. Iíve known I have it since my knee surgery about 6 years ago. It was mostly just there in that left knee then but seems to have moved to just about every joint I have. I think it was brought about this time by the cold weather and itís particularly acute when I first get up in the morning. The pain is brought about by certain movements. It is not constant. Iím not in pain as I type here this morning. When I got in the hot shower Sunday, all of the pain and movement restriction everywhere went away so this doesnít concern me greatly. If I could just stay there all day...............

When I get out of the shower, the pain and movement restriction in my surgically repaired left knee is manageable. It comes and goes. The pain and movement restriction in my left index finger has been manageable but steady for a couple of weeks now. I know what gives it more pain and I can avoid it or be careful about it. All other pain subsides as I get up and get moving around. These are nuisance pains. They donít stop me from doing anything I want or need to do. They just aggravate me. As Carly Simon says, ď I havenít got time for the pain Ē.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "After our second child, Randi, completed her education at the University of Texas in Austin, it was still unclear what career she might pursue in the future."

Monday Morning QB

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The 4-8 Saints, dead as a doornail two weeks ago, are now in the playoff race at 6-8. If that doesnít tell you how bad the NFC is, nothing does. The Saints are awful and donít stand a chance against a good team. However, if they somehow make the playoffs, they wonít have to play a good team until they get to the Super Bowl. As a Saints fan, I find all of this amusing. Maybe even amusing enough to watch their game this week against the Falcons if itís on TV. The downside is that this pathetic Saints regime may survive for another year.

On the fantasy football front, my Ragpickers may be headed to the Super Bowl. My opponent has Adam Vinatieri tonight but he needs a lot of points out of him. Itís not altogether unheard of for a placekicker to get 22 or 23 points in a game but it doesnít happen often.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Yeah, that looks pretty accidental to me too."

I wouldn't buy that it was accidental, either. -Rob

Sunday Nothingness

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We watched Elf the other day. It had moments but it was very uneven. James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Zooey Deschanel turned in their typically reliable performances and Bob Newhart is perfect, as usual. By the way, Zooey can sing. The problem, for me, was Will Ferrell. I donít get him. His big kid act wears off pretty quickly for me and then he becomes kind of painful to watch.

We watched Some Like It Hot on TCM last night and recorded Monkey Business, which came on after. Iíve seen bits and pieces of Some Like It Hot many, many times over the years but hadnít actually watched it from start to finish in 25 years or more. I didnít remember that there were gangsters in it. The American Film Institute rates it as the best American comedy of all time. Itís funny but not that funny. Born Yesterday at 24 is funnier, The Odd Couple at 17 is funnier, and Whatís Up, Doc? at 61 is also funnier. Monkey Business at 73, which we will watch today, is at least as funny.

Facing south at sunset

This was taken yesterday from a Winn Dixie parking lot on Hwy 59 in Covington. I was facing south toward Lake Ponchartrain. The night is starting to fall in the east to the left but it's still kind of bright near the setting sun in the west to the right. The moon is riding high.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "I know. I might as well just set up a sunset blog and be done with it."

Changing of the guard

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Old Truck
Goodbye, old truck.

Finally took the plunge and got a new one. The time was right and the deal was right but Iím surely going to miss that old red one. It was my first truck and it is easily the best vehicle I've ever owned. I took delivery of it on August 2, 1990. It was a special order truck and it only had 2 miles on it when I got in it for the first time. It and I went 352,000 miles together and we were pretty good to each other in that time. I didnít wash it as regularly as some wash theirs but it got the routine maintenance ( Oil changes, tire rotations, etc ) it needed. I surely got my moneyís worth. Its next owner will get a very good truck for next to nothing.

New Truck
Hello, new truck.

The new one is essentially an updated version of the old one. Why change? Had good luck with the last one. This one had 15 miles on it when I got in it for the first time. Itís got way more bells and whistles in it but itís essentially the same truck. I hope I get half as good service from it.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Don't do it. They love you at LSU, and with a National Championship under your belt you could likely retire in that job. How long will the fish keep you? Only until you have a losing season or two."

Geico & Google

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After reading a blog entry from yesterdayís BOTD, I started to ponder the Geico/Google dispute. Geico has a point but it should have been kept in their strategy meetings and out of court. Google accepts ads. The ads are displayed when someone searches for a product that the advertiser offers. Fair enough. Do a Google search for Geico and ads pop up for their competitors. Geico is naturally upset about that. However, I think theyíre going about it wrong. Rather than fight Google in court, they should fight fire with fire. The ads I saw on my search this morning are mostly small-time, independent insurance brokers. Geico is a 900lb gorilla. They should buy a couple of hundred Google ads of different varieties at probably a fraction of the price of this lawsuit. Then, when someone Googles Geico, the several ads on the resulting page will be theirs and their ads may also show up in searches for their competitors brand names. Thatís a war those little guys donít want. Fighting Google in court just brings more attention to the problem, more Google searches, and more competitors ads popping up. Dumb.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "When you see a fat person in McDonalds, you have no way of knowing whether that is the first time s/he has eaten at McDonalds in a year, or whether s/he eats there every day. Same with the thin person who is next in line."

Excellent read. -Rob

More Bourne

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Started watching The Bourne Supremacy late Saturday night but we were too tired to finish it. We finished it Sunday evening. That was a good idea, anyway. I restarted it about 20 minutes earlier than we had left off and picked up a few things I missed the first time. I really liked The Bourne Identity but this sequel was even better. Itís a fast-paced, very smart thriller with sharp, fresh dialogue all its own that makes enough sense so that they donít have to slow down and explain it to the audience. It had a pretty smooth plot without a lot of surprises if you watch these kinds of movies as much as I do. It was loads of fun. They made mention of the headaches again but only to mention that the assassins get them. Probably saving the explanation for a future film in this series. OK by me. Iíll certainly see the next one. Might even have to try one of his books again. Whereís that Ludlum book I put down about 15 years ago?

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "A news story about GEICO and Google sent me to Thesaurus.com this morning, trying to find just the right word for the lawsuit the insurer filed against the search engine."

Interesting take on the Google-Geico dispute/lawsuit. -Rob

Hard Freeze

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20ļ here just a few miles outside of downtown Bush this morning. Not too cold for the northerners, particularly Hoot and Margi, but a bit chilly for us. According to Margi's weather advisory, it's colder here this morning in Bush than it is in Spokane, though. This is our first hard freeze this year. It surely killed our mirliton vine and any mirlitons that were still on it but we canít complain. We had a bumper crop. What you see below is whatís left. Multiply that by about 6 and that was our yield. Not bad for the same two vines that only produced a total of 14 mirlitons last season. What to do with mirlitons? Iím glad you asked.

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MT-Blacklist is working here again. My host resolved the issue after Jay Allen figured out what it was. Iím going to leave all of the other anti-spam measures in place, too, because they donít seem to be bothering the readers making comments and because theyíre working pretty well. Iím in this fight to the death.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Little can describe the rhythmic chaos that ensues during a firefight."

Image illustration

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In yesterdayís entry, I mentioned that I had registered JASC Paint Shop Pro on Sunday. On Saturday, I took the ď Before Ē picture below and reduced it with the unregistered trial version of PSP for a blog entry. The trial version came with my new Dell PC. My camera takes images in the 3MB to 5MB range so image reduction is a must here. The result was a 87.59kb image. I try to keep them under 100k with few exceptions.

This morning, I loaded that 87.59kb image into the now registered version of PSP. All I did was open it and then save it with a different file name. The result is a 26.79kb image.

If this software did nothing else, it is already worth the money to me. I still have to learn the ins and outs of it. I brighten an image now and then but thatís about the extent of the " doctoring " I do to my images.

Before
Bradford Pears - Before

After
Bradford Pears - After

Can you tell the difference?

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "Every single time I hear these two songs together, I am on Hempstead Turnpike with thousands of other people, hoisting Stanley Cups made of tin foil, screaming our throats raw and celebrating the greatest hockey team ever."

Old Pics

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Rob in 7th grade with braces

Rob in 7th grade (1969-1970) with braces. Sister Catherine remembers me like this, I'm sure.

Rob on 17th birthday - Krewe of Hesper

Dressed for the Mardi Gras parade, Krewe of Hesper, on February 16, 1974. The only time I ever rode in a parade. I had a blast. My float was all pink bunny rabbits. It was also my birthday. Don't do the math.

Monday is here

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Fantasy Football: My Ragpickers look like theyíll advance to the next round of the playoffs to play a team that trounced us about three months ago. If they play as good next week as they did this week, it might still not be enough. Nine Inch Nails broke the all-time scoring record in our league this season and his team is playing very well right now.

Digital Stuff: I decided to register the imaging software that came with my new Dell. Itís Paint Shop Pro Studio Dell Edition from JASC Software. It appears that this one will do what I need it to do at a price ( $59.95 ) that doesnít break my very fragile bank.

The Fight Against Spam: One twit managed to find his way through my withering array of spam defenses here and got some of his trash posted. He/she started getting through Thursday and it was Saturday night before I was able to get rid of him/her. It was a minor nuisance to me because it was only a few messages and they werenít up for long but it was a few too many. Iíve added a couple of more layers of defense but it is undoubtedly only a matter of time before another one finds the way in. These are attacks, folks. There is no other way to describe them. Even if you stop 99.999999% of it, theyíre still bombarding your server, probably still causing your server to generate 404 error messages, and undoubtedly costing us all money. Itís intentional and itís malicious if you ask me. Spammers are in it for the money. There ought to be a way to get at that and get at all of the companies that wink and nod at this practice. If theyíre advertising on my site, I ought to be able to at least charge them on a per instance basis for it. I think $1000 per wink would be fair. Iíd have to charge more for nods. Any lawyers out there?

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďI hope I haven't forsaken all of you... In the immortal words of the afro inspired 80's power rock junket, Boston, "it's been such a long time... time doesn't wait around... it keeps on goin'.""

Lazy Sunday

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Pine straw, anyone?

Iím told people will actually pay hard earned cash for pine straw in other parts of the country. Wouldnít mind meeting some of them.

The Saints won today and Ragpickers are clinging to a lead this afternoon. In the Saints case, itís too little, too late. In Ragpickers case, itís nail-biting time.

We saw The Polar Express last night. It was fun but it doesnít quite have the feel of a classic to me. Aerosmith should have been left out. Thatís a topical reference that will mean nothing to anyone in 20 years even though Aerosmith might somehow still be around.

Blog of the day via Kittysays is here.

Quote from said blog: ďPart of the problem is that the corporate environment is different from a law firm environment. Itís more politically correct. Also, the Evil Defense Firm was a very swaggering male kind of place."

Saturday Stuff

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Castle

Fishing is very big in Louisiana and fishing camps are quite common along the Gulf Coast. One person had a different idea. Iím pretty sure these are fishing camps but I have never been any closer to them than this photo so I donít know for sure. This castle stands out and is recognized by anyone who has taken I-10 east out of New Orleans or I-10 west into New Orleans.

Tallow Tree

My colorful Tallow tree. My brother-in-law uprooted this thing during one family outing at his place in Madisonville. Itís doing fine here in Bush about 40 miles from where it originally took root.

Bradford Pears

The first Bradford pear tree above is no more than 20 feet from the third one and all three get almost identical exposure but theyíre all in different color phases.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThe little one, Krishang climbed all of the 700 steps !!!"

Orion and other miscellany

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Orion themes have been coming up lately in my blog readings. Kim has named her new addition Orion and Sheila posted an essay on Orion from one of her readers. Orion is special to me, too. My old BBS ( Bulletin Board System ) was called Orionís Sword. This is how it got its name and how Orion impacted my life in ways that could best be described as one thing leads to another.

When I bought my telescope back in the mid-eighties, I thought I was going to go outside with it and see awesome sights. I didnít. At least, not right away. There are skills and techniques that have to be learned to get anything out of a telescope. Finding dim objects in the night sky for a beginner is a skill that takes time to acquire with a manual scope like the one I have. There are somewhat affordable computer-aided telescopes now. You have to stay away from bright lights and allow your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. This is particularly difficult in the city. You have to allow the telescope to warm up or cool down to the outside temperature because dew will get on all of your optics ( Step out of the air conditioning into the outside humidity and your glasses fog up. Same principle ). And last, the glow of the New Orleans city lights rose a good 30 degrees above my eastern horizon, my western horizon was entirely blocked by streetlights, and the north was blocked by trees. I had a narrow observation window to the south from my Metairie home. It was very frustrating and I finally just set it aside and didnít touch it for a year or so.

About a year later: One evening, as I was doing something in the backyard, I looked up and saw Orion. It is the most recognizable constellation in the sky and there was nothing special about that ( Aside from whatís always special about that ) but I also saw a fuzzy patch just below the belt. I had never noticed it before. I went inside and got my telescope and pointed it at the fuzzy object. Itís the Orion Nebula and itís quite famous but I had never seen it or heard of it until then. If you have seen pictures of it such as the one in the link by David Malin, who is probably the best astro-photographer ever, it should be noted that the nebula doesnít look like that in any telescope that anyone but maybe Bill Gates could afford. I must have looked at it for an hour with my 90mm telescope and it was just awesome. I was excited. The next morning, I got up and went outside to see what I could see and I pointed my telescope at a bright yellowish object due south above my roof and I saw Saturn and its lovely rings. I was hooked.

Not long after that, my sister bought a house on the NorthShore. I used to go to her house to observe with the telescope and to get away from the city lights. Her sky was much darker and the Milky Way was visible on most nights. I was also in the Ponchartrain Astronomy Society at that time and they were looking for a 5-acre tract of land away from the city for their club to go to for observing. And, soon after that, we went to a Christmas tree farm for a tree at a place about a mile up the road from here. The air was crisp and clean and filled with the scent of pine. I told Patsy the night after we brought home the tree that we ought to start looking for 5 acres on the NorthShore. That we ended up buying a 5 acre lot a mile from that Christmas tree farm is just karma, I suppose.

When I finally started my BBS a few years later, Orionís Sword was a natural. I almost named the blog Orionís Sword.

Found some odd items while I was rummaging through my old computer disks, like this, and also online looking for my old BBS stuff. I had nearly 400 users at one time. One of my early users was a real hoot. I'm pretty sure Brent would like him as much as I did.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThe detail here is incredible. Cross-beds here seem to alternate in direction. The variation could show change in current direction or show broad, trough-like features in cross-section."

Randomness

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I used to open Quicken every day, sometimes two, three, or four times. I used to go to my online bankís website several times a day, too. In this day of identity theft and fraudulent charges, I always thought that was a good and cautious but somewhat anal approach to finances ( Yeah, like people should take financial advice from me ). Anyway, I havenít done either in a few days now. Laziness cures anal-retentiveness and over-cautiousness. If you see a plume of smoke to the south today, itís probably my ATM card.

Rain, rain go away.

Spent a little too much time reading blogs this morning. Thatís not a statement that might have occurred to me a few years ago.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďThis class was taught by someone who can only be described as the SPAWN OF SATAN."

Project Honeypot

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CrabAppleLane has joined Project Honeypot. Itís another anti-spam measure. It seems like a noble project. It only affects the spammers and email harvesters that come here. Itís invisible to everyone else. Added bonus: It may keep some spam off of your doorstep, too. Blogs are prime hunting grounds for email harvesters because almost all blogs require email addresses in their comments. They will not easily be able to get them here any more. Theyíll have to come here and do it manually. If theyíre willing to do that, itís impossible to stop but itís a lot of work for them. Other spam efforts implemented here based on the same concept are working beautifully. If interested in what I did, email me. I am not publishing it again anywhere.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďLike many people I know, Iím addicted to the ABC drama Lost. Well, I knew there had to be one out there."

Woe is, well, never mind

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It was the day from hell yesterday. My truck wouldn't start yesterday morning and I had to have it towed to the shop. Nice way to start the day. Because I got to work late, I was hopelessly behind most of the day. I hate, hate, hate being hopelessly behind.

The CrabAppleLane College Bowl Pool will get underway sometime today. Drop me a line if you're interested.

On the fantasy football front, my Ragpickers are in the playoffs. I get to play this week against the team that trounced me last week. Isnít that special? Being in the playoffs is better than not being in them. I can say that with some conviction as a person who is consistently not in them Iíve managed to do OK once I get in them, though. Hope that good fortune continues.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: "They went out to eat last night and she brought up the subject of honor killings."

But seriously folks

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I may be guilty of understatement when I say that I think sometimes blogs take themselves too seriously. I guess if we donít, who will? This one was guilty of that for a time. Renounced our ways in that endeavor. More on that in a minute. I even made a conscious effort to stop blogging about blogs but, sometimes, itís just simply irresistible. The 2004 Weblog Awards are a contest to see who has the most determined voters. Just voting is not enough. You have to vote a lot. At least once a day. If anyone is counting on me to be that kind of supporter, theyíre going to lose. On the bright side, the ones I like are doing quite well in the early going.

Some may think the BOTD is a way of taking myself too seriously. I realized that when someone emailed me a few months ago asking me to make them BOTD. The BOTD is not an award. Itís more my way of saying thanks to a blog that made me smile, made me think, made me angry, made my day, or maybe I just liked the writing, the photos, or the effort. Thereís no set criteria and thereís no way to get it by asking. Donít bother.

I have voted this year. Just once and just for the ones I like.

That said, Go Ilyka, Go Goldie, and Go Simon.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďI'm on the doorstep of my 27th birthday (12/14) and spending alot of time trying to quell 26 and get prepared for the transition year. It's no secret that this past year has been a big old gnarly struggle for me, with sneaky little demons that pop up with will and without warning."

Last week, Patsy found two mirlitons that had gotten over-ripe. They had hidden in the extra-thick vines this season. We didnít have that problem last year. There were so few and the vines werenít as robust last season. Since she found those two, sheís been a bit more watchful of them. Weíve had a pretty good crop this year.

Mirliton - I see you

How is it you get hip deep in a Microsoft Word project and you need the Word installation disk to complete the task? Because Gateway hadnít installed all of the components, thatís how. Whatís that about? There was plenty of room on the drive. Iím not wailing on Gateway, alone. Iíve run into a similar problem with my new Dell and Microsoft Office. I guess they want to limit their liability/responsibility as much as they can. Itís damn inconvenient for us, though.

The New England Patriots have returned the opening kickoff for a TD. It is the 17th straight regular season game in which the Pats have scored first. Hear that, Saints? Thatís one of the many reasons why they win and you donít.

Pretty dreary here today. Overcast and wet. Not wild about this time of year.

Some movies: After three tries, I finally got through Van Helsing this morning. To say it was silly is a bit of an understatement. They threw everything but the kitchen sink into this one. It was James Bond ( Really, they even had a Q ) with vampires, werewolves, and other assorted monsters. In a reprise of her Underworld role, Kate Beckinsale has found her two best acting qualities: Looking fetching while running at full speed and speaking with a posh British accent. Underworld was equally ridiculous and over-acted but that one was more fun and less boring than this one.

We also watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night. That one was better but also difficult to get through. Itís one of those movies that I donít know what to make of but donít want to sit through it again to make up my mind.

And, finally, Love Actually is somewhere in between the others. Not bad enough to say Iím sorry I sat through it but not good enough to ever sit through it again. I feel like I already saw it 88 times, anyway. There was not a single element you couldn't see coming long before it actually did. Totally predictable.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďLondon Taxi for hire."

Every now and then

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It's like this:

Sun peeks out

And you have to get out in it and maybe stop and take in the scenery.

A view near CrabAppleLane

Taken just a little while ago from two of the many roads Iíve embarked on near home in the last few weeks. The sun has been fighting through the overcast here all morning. It has succeeded two or three times. The weatherman says rain is coming.

That's all for today. Hope you're having a great Saturday.

PS - Got the seeds and the lovely Christmas card today, Susan. Thanks and same to you.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďI donít knowÖ Maybe if it was some of that atonal modern music he was playing, or bluegrassÖ But then, that would be torture for the soldiers, not him."

Going Home

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From Ilyka, I found that Jim at Snooze Button Dreams is collecting theme music for a blogosphere soundtrack. A little theme music around here would be OK by me. I chose Going Home, the Theme from Local Hero. Everyone knows that music even though they may not know what it is. Unfortunately, the clip in the link I provided is not the recognizable part to anyone but a Knopfler fan ( Iím one of the biggest ). The first time I heard him play it was on a Showtime special that was recorded during Dire Straits Brothers in Arms Tour back in 1985 or 1986. It closed the show and Hank B Marvin with his red guitar did a guest performance on it. It was awesome. That was before I saw the movie and I had only owned Brothers in Arms of all of his records at that time. That performance made me start seeking the rest of his material. I own the movie and all of his records now.

Another, totally different but also excellent, Going Home is a famous song by Alvin Lee. Lee and Ten Years After performed his version of Going Home at Woodstock in 1969. For the younger readers who donít know Alvin Lee, he is one of a group of young, mostly bluesy British guitar players who came up in the mid to late 60's that included Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, and Peter Green among many others. In my opinion, Going Home is the best song on the Woodstock record and is the best performance in the movie as well.

Music formula for today is
Title: Going Home + Great Guitar Player: Mark Knopfler or Alvin Lee = Great Song

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďKids growing up like this view their entertainment and multimedia very differently than the rest of us. Heck, as an adult I'm completely spoiled by this revolution, and the desire for this functionality spills over into other mediums (why can't I press a button to go back 7 seconds and hear what I just missed on the radio or pause it?)."

Hosting woes

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My former hosting company has this on their web page today:

storm.bloghosts.com experienced several blips today and finally went down at about 5:30PM. While we have confirmed that there has been no data loss, a piece of bad hardware is certainly to blame. We are currently investigating the source of this failure and will make the necessary replacements. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

I am not terribly surprised. From the message they had posted about why they were going down for good and from their inability to process refunds ( My refund requests were sent on November 8 & 9. No refund or even acknowledgment has been received here ) in a timely manner, I could tell that this might not end nicely but I still hold out hope and itís not over yet. I re-sent my refund request this morning ( They owe me about $75 ) in case they didnít get it or it was overlooked. Thankfully, I moved all of my files soon after their announcement and my website wasnít substantially damaged. I lost my bulletin board and I regret that loss but another one was started without too much trouble. The only realistic thing for me to do now is wait and see and hope for the best.

Not as bad here as elsewhere. They only owe me money. I own my domain and have control of it at Network Solutions. Most hosting companies offer free domain registration for new accounts. I did that originally with Dellhosts. I wrested control of it the following year but with some difficulty. They were going to let it lapse in July when it was due and then they had the nerve to charge me for a renewal a few months later that they didnít and couldnít execute ( Because I had already done it ). Free domain registration is a very attractive offer on its face but I donít recommend it. I recommend you register your domain on your own and then decide on your hosting company. See the BOTD.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďSo now we are entirely at their whim, if we wish to move hosts. I wonder what happens in January when Jace switches off the servers. I wonder if he will have signed the domains over to the many people that he needs too."

Wednesday Silliness

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Nice and chilly outside this morning. All of my arthritic bones and joints ache but I still like this weather. Could do without the rain, though.

My Ragpickers (9-3) won their division this past week and a win this week will give me a first round bye in the playoffs and a slice of the prize money. I want it but it wonít be easy. The team Iím playing is trying to secure the last playoff berth. A championship would be nice. My team is playing pretty good right now but the playoffs are a whole other story. Anything can happen. In another league, my Erasers (2-10), who I surely thought was the better of my two teams at the start of the season, will be gearing up for a consolation tournament we call the Crazy Eights. Itís a winner-take-all tournament and the winner gets his ante back. Theyíre playing better now than they have all season so I think I have a chance.

Want to thank those commenting and those lurking here. I appreciate all of your comments and I appreciate you stopping in. A few months ago, the number of comments here surpassed the number of entries and my server stats have jumped a bit since the last time I looked at them in April. Those arenít really any kind of goals ( I have no goals for this blog other than to enjoy the experience and maybe share some of my world ) but, still, it gave me some joy. Comments crossed the 1000 mark recently. Thatís not much by Sheila standards or Dooce standards but itís something, I suppose. Anyway, thanks again, for stopping in.

Blog of the day here.

Quote from said blog: ďA couple of posts ago, I was wondering where the punch-line was in the joke of a law school just opened by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. The joke my firiends is the curriculum itself."

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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