December 30, 2011

Work discussion...

Some variation of this discussion happens every so often.  This is a compilation that is not too far from an actual conversation"

Member: Why are you so expensive?  I can buy this same set across town for half the price.

Sales: Really, that is a huge value.  They have this exact model with the same warranty?

Member: Yup, I have the flyer right here.

Sales: (reading over the flyer).  Well they are a bit different,  our set is a Samsung and this flyer shows a Colby. Further, our Samsung has true high definition resolution at 1080progressive lines this Colby is a 720.

Member: What does that mean?

Sales: The resolution is the number of lines the set uses to make a picture.  The higher the number the sharper the image.  Think of thread counts in sheets, the higher the count the better the quality.  Also, this Colby has a 60hz refresh rate, while our Samsung is 240hz.  That refers to the number of times the TV redraws the image.  The higher the rate the more fluid the motion.

Member: So the higher number is better?

Sales: More-so on larger sets.  Anything over 37  inch diagonal you want a higher refresh rate.  For a 46" set like this 240hz is highly desirable.  Especially for action films and sports or video games.

Member:  I don't play video games, so that really is not that important.

Sales: Do you watch football?

Member: Yeah, all the time.

Sales: A higher refresh rate would be better for football.  I see here that the Colby is not LED back-lit.

Member: The Samsung says it is LCD and LED, so which is it?

Sales: Both sets are LCD or liquid crystal displays.  Like an old 35mm slide they need light behind them for you to see the picture.  An LCD does not produce its own light.  A standard LCD, like the Colby, has some light bulbs behind the screen across the back.  Those produce light and heat, so the sets are thicker to allow for cooling.

Sales (cont.): The Samsung has LED or Light Emitting Diodes, to light the screen.  They look similer to those old light bright crystals, but they are solid state and only produce light.  So you get a brighter picture and a thinner set that uses less electricity.

Member:  I see, but why are your prices for a 46" set so much higher...

Sales: ...........................Gosh, I don't know, you should go buy the cheaper one.....

December 25, 2011


Once upon a time, in a job with Dell, far, far away.  I purchased an Epson Photo Stylus RX500 printer.  It was an excellent Photo printer with a device for scanning film negatives and slides.  This Christmas it stopped printing and threw up an obtuse error.  I did quite a bit of reading on various Epson forums and discovered that there was an ink-flow counter.  After it reaches a certain amount of prints the system requires maintenance.

This does not take into consideration that the printer had been cleaned out the year before.  Further, the forums suggested that you need to remove a component and use a specific device to re-set the counter.  This draconian methodology might be great for the bottom line, it is annoying to those of us who then decide that maybe Epson is not wanting my patronage...

In the back of my mind this seems entirely too improbable.  Consider, Epson sells thousands and thousands of printers.  Even so they are number 3 after HP and Canon (I would argue that Canon makes the best printers).  So some engineer decides that a counter would be needed to insure the working of the printer and there is some kind of kit that can be purchase to clean up the printer and replace the various wore down bits.  This would be targeted at those authorized Epson repair shops.  A search shows three on the West coast, my older printer is not even in the look up page.

Who would drive hours to a major city or ship a thirty pound package with pre-paid return postage when you can head to Costco and purchase a new printer for less?  Maybe that is the goal, to sell new printers.  I can see Epson not being a brand to return too...

Anyways, yesterday I found an obscure thread at that had some good information.

HOLD all following buttons: Power, Load/Eject, Stop, B&W, Color. RELEASE BUTTONS. After this printer turns on, you'll see "Init eeprom" on printer screen. Press Color button to clear protection counter. Hit the power button and restart it.

This did the trick and my printer is back in service.  Still the printer is plagued with some problems, like no drivers for windows Vista (which Tina has on her computer).

December 23, 2011

Working the solutions.

My job is sales.  I approach our members (customers) and ask to assist them.  Sometimes it is pointing them in the right direction or researching a product we use-to-could sell.  Mostly, I am answering questions about electronics and computers.  I have skills in translating tech-speak to plain English.  Further, I can successfully drill down to what the person wants instead of what they ask for.

Case in point:
A couple came in looking for the "Smart Blu ray players"  Samsung uses the "Smart" name so I took them to the specific  Blu-ray player.  They started asking a series of questions that made me back up from the specific to the general.  They wanted to drop cable TV and get the shows they like from the Network websites.

The "smart TV's" will not do this.  While you can look at websites viewing streaming content requires additional, unsupported browser based software (read: Java, Flash, Divx etc.).

So the "Guy at Sear", fed them a line of BS.  I suggested they buy a VGA cable and plug it into the back of the TV.  Of course, they did not like the idea of a cable running across the floor.  I wondered, out loud, if their home PC was capable of WiDi  (wireless display).  The age of the 'clunker PC' made mooted the idea.

Which brought me around to the solution.  To do exactly what they wanted to do, they would need a Laptop computer, a WiDi box for the Television.  On the downside, they came in looking for a $100.00 DVD player and left with a $450.00 Laptop and $50.00 WiDi box.

On the plus side, now they can do exactly what they wanted.

Here is the fun part.  In discussing various options, a few other members came to listen.  One of them asked if I was the person they should talk to about tech stuff.  The folks I sold the lap-top too emphatically stated I was "The One".  Over the next 15min, I sold three more laptops, a Tablet PC and two Televisions.

You have to Love non-commission sales at Costco.  Our return policy is such that our buyers only bring in quality goods and sales is more interested in matching folks up to tech in order to achieve zero returns.

Near the end of the sales spree, one of the members asked if I get tired of all the stupid questions.  I never consider them stupid, rather they are a way to provide solutions to specific problems.

Yeah, love my job.

December 17, 2011


I find that I wake up with tight muscles during my work week.  I do a few sets of sit ups and push ups to get the blood flowing, then hit the shower (sometimes the shower is first).  During the first cup of coffee I am feeling pretty good.  By the time I ride my bike into work I am alert, awake and ready to tackle the day.

Today my shoulders are tight and there is a muscle\tendon on the outer right side of my lower right leg that feels pulled or strained or something.  At certain angles and taking certain steps I can definitively feel pain.

My head cold is trailing off with just a little congestion.  I really notice the lack of strength during this cold.  I felt fatigue after four hours of moving pallets and stacking Televisions.

I deduced a time-line, I believe I caught this germ around our open house, last Saturday.  I had some tummy issues Sunday, but dismissed that as indigestion.  By Monday night I was having post nasal drip and the sore throat.  Nyquil night was begun.  I like Alka seltzer cold, as it masks my symptoms well.  After five hours of stocking, I noted we had enough coverage for me to head home sick, which I did.

I spent the rest of Tuesday, most of Wednesday asleep.  I woke long enough on Wednesday to assess and call in sick to work.  The Second time this year  (arrgh!).  By Thursday Morning I had slept 40 hours or so and was feeling pretty good.

I made it through my Thursday morning okay, but I was not my usual self.  Friday I was better, however I headed south to work on my Brother-in-Laws computer and that took its toll.

My head was muddled enough that reading brought on a pretty good headache.  The three hour car drive did not help matters.  Still, after a good nap I felt up enough to go skating.

Again, I got fatigued way too fast.  Today we are driving up to Portlandia to get my daughter from the airport.

I plan on resting most of the trip and bring along some meds.

December 10, 2011


This is what I love about working for a Company like Costco.  We have this return policy that states the following:

  • We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.
  • We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund.
  • The following must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund: televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, touch screen tablets, MP3 players and cellular phones.
Early on I asked a manager the following.  I purchase some eggs.  Six years later I decide to return the eggs for a refund.  What happens?  "You get a full refund," was his reply.

December 09, 2011


Last evening (Thursday).  We had our weekly TOPS meeting.  Tina had a later dentist appointment and that left me to my own devices to get to said meeting.  I abhor having two vehicles at the same location as it seems wasteful.  So my choice was to walk.  As walking seems so damn slow, I opted to run.

This availed me of the park walking\bike path.  About a mile into the run I had thought to stop and walk a bit, as I had not been running for a month or so.  As with any good run, my mind had gone off on its own and when it snapped back, I realized I had gone well past my "stopping point"  I shrugged and kept running.

This is when the weirdness kept into my thoughts.  I realized I had no idea about how far I could run. My breathing is steady, my pace is mechanical and the degree of difficulty in maintaining was nil.  This was just breathing more then walking. 

My thoughts crossed out to the distance thinking of what lies beyond.  Could I run all the way to the coast?  Could I make it over the Cascades?  Is the Canadian boarder attainable (given overnight sleep)?

I thought of ancient civilization that locomotion was THE travel option.  It was humbling and exhilarating. 

December 07, 2011


You cannot escape the news around ex-Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The sex abuse charges are horrific for sure.  However, when this kind of news comes out I am reminded of the McMartin Preschool case.  While the media pandered to basic instinct, the trial ended in dismissal and acquittal.  After seven years and 15 million dollars.

Do I feel Mr. Sandusky is innocent?  Nope...  Do I suspect he is gulity?  Nope...  If I was a jurist he would be innocent until proven guilty.  As an unwilling voyeur, I just pray that justice will prevail.

November 27, 2011

To get rid of income inequality

To get rid of income inequality, the simplest thing is for the IRS to take in the entire paycheck, every pay period of everyone who is working, average it out over the entire population, calculate and take out the taxes and mail the balance to each and every individual working or not.

As to the Big, Bad Corporations, have the IRS collect all the income corporations make, deduct what is determined by President Obama to be fair income for a corporation and mail the check to the CEO.

November 22, 2011


"Next time a liberal tells you they're upset about "income inequality", 1st, tell them you agree. 2nd, Suggest that they go to their human resources dept. and ask for their salary and the lowest earner in their company's salary to be averaged... for "fairness". If they agree, which they will, bc liberals ALWAYS practice what they preach--then, tell them you don't want to stop at "income inequality"--tell them to start a lobbying group where they tackle social inequities such as: "automobile inequality", "television inequality", "sneaker inequality", "hair weave inequality" ~Vanessa Jean-Louis.

November 17, 2011

Working hard.

I love my job.  It is hard work, early in the AM bike ride.  A five hour physical work out of moving pallets and hand stacking items with a few electronic hook ups and cleaning thrown in for good measure.

Next working with various Costco Members, answering questions on electronics, resolving issues with same.  Occasionally loading up something heavy onto a cart or into a car.  It is a blast.

The managers tend to leave me on my own.  Other then some direction on what new change they want implemented or some new merchandising set up.  For the most part I know what needs to be done or have a list my supervisor has left and I go, go, go.

It turns out that managers really like not having to manage someone...  Further, there is an art to seeing something that needs to be done prior to being told (which makes no sense to my way of thinking).

When you hear someone say, "Don't worry about that, Lee is here"

I love my job.

November 14, 2011

Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction

Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction
Daniel Avila
Posted: 10/28/2011
More than once I have heard from or about Catholics upset with the Church for its insistence that sexual relations be limited to marriage between husband and wife. Does not this moral rule force people with same-sex attraction into lives of loneliness? If they are born that way, then why should they be punished by a restriction that does not account for their pre-existing condition? God wants everyone to be happy, and for persons with same-sex attraction is not their happiness to be found in the fulfillment of that attraction? Some seek to change the Church’s teaching on marriage or have left the Church because of it. They believe either that God through the Church ignores the needs of people or that the Church misunderstands what God desires.
That is, if God causes same-sex attraction, and yet commands that it not be satisfied, then this is divine cruelty. Or, if God causes same-sex attraction, then it must be the divine will that those with the attraction should act on it and it is the Church that is being cruel in its teaching or at the very least tragically mistaken about what God wants. In either case, the belief that the Church is wrong on this issue starts from a faulty premise. God does not cause same-sex attraction.
The best natural evidence of what God causes and wants for us is our genetic code. Science has isolated certain genetic combinations that are typical to human creation and development. The most basic and the first genetic expression is that which occurs at our conception, when at the same time our individual human life begins our sexual identity as male or female begins. That which is genetically encoded, for believers, points to a codifier, and communicates through its design the codifier’s intent. Interpreting from a spiritual perspective the genetic code which supplies our sexual difference, we have to conclude that God wants us to be male or female.
No one has found a “gay gene.” Identical twins are always, of course, the same sex, providing further proof of male and female genes. If there was a gay gene, then when one twin exhibits same-sex attraction, his or her identical sibling should too. But that is not the case. The incidence of finding identical twins with identical same-sex attraction is relatively rare and certainly not anywhere near one hundred percent. Something other than the hardwiring found in the genetic code must explain the variance.
So what causes the inclination to same-sex attraction if it appears early and involuntarily and “who,” if anyone, is responsible? In determining the answer to the “what” question, the most widely accepted scientific hypothesis points to random imbalances in maternal hormone levels and identifies their disruptive prenatal effects on fetal development as the likely and major cause.
The most recent and most comprehensive discussion of this research is found in a book published earlier this year by a scientist who also happens to be a gay-rights advocate. Even though it discounts other environmental factors that other scientists believe also may play a role, Simon LeVay’s publication, “Gay, Straight and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Attraction” is worth the read.
LeVay is not interested in the “who” question and describes same-sex attraction as just a variation among other human inclinations. Catholics do not have the luxury of being materialists. We look for ultimate explanations that transcend the strictly physical world and that stretch beyond our limited ability to mold and reshape reality as we know it. Disruptive imbalances in nature that thwart encoded processes point to supernatural actors who, unlike God, do not have the good of persons at heart.
In other words, the scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a spiritual explanation that indicts the devil. Any time natural disasters occur, we as people of faith look back to Scripture’s account of those angels who rebelled and fell from grace. In their anger against God, these malcontents prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. They continue to do all they can to mar, distort and destroy God’s handiwork.
Therefore, whenever natural causes disturb otherwise typical biological development, leading to the personally unchosen beginnings of same-sex attraction, the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God. Applying this aspect of Catholic belief to interpret the scientific data makes more sense because it does not place God in the awkward position of blessing two mutually incompatible realities—sexual difference and same-sex attraction.
If in fact this analysis of causation and culpability is correct, then it opens new perspectives on the Church’s teaching in this area. Being born with an inclination which originates in a manner outside of one’s control is not sufficient proof that the condition is caused by God or that its satisfaction meets God’s purpose. Furthermore, a proper understanding of who is really at fault should deepen our compassion towards those who experience same-sex attraction and inform our response to the question of loneliness. Ultimately, an accurate attribution of responsibility for same-sex attraction frees us to consider more fully the urgent question of why sexual difference matters so much to God. These matters will be addressed in my next column.
Daniel Avila formerly served the Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts and now lives and works in the Washington, D.C., area.

Read more:

November 07, 2011

IPCC written by kids...?

link to read.

“We’ve been told that [the IPCC] is a responsible business man in a three-piece suit, but it turns out it’s a sloppily dressed teenager -- a spoiled brat that can’t be trusted,

November 05, 2011

Herman Cain's Gauntlet

By Cal Thomas

When it comes to sex, the media apply different standards to Republicans and Democrats.

Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton allegedly trolled for women, using state troopers as his procurers. As president, Clinton engaged in oral sex with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. He lied about it under oath and was impeached, though later acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Other sexual accusations tainted Clinton, including one that he raped one Juanita Broaddrick. That "everybody lies about sex" and "it was just sex" and didn't affect his public responsibilities, were just two of the exculpatory statements from Clinton's Democratic defenders. James Carville slimed Paula Jones, one of Clinton's accusers, by saying you never know what you'll find "when you drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park."

Many other Democrats in modern times have been caught with their pants down -- JFK, John Edwards. Some paid a political price. Most did not because their policies were favored by the liberal media, which gave them cover.

Now it is Herman Cain's turn and the rules have suddenly changed. Cain stands accused of sexually harassing two women more than a decade ago when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Many in the media wolf pack have already judged him guilty because he updated his initial statement denying the allegations. And yet The Washington Post, in association with -- which broke the "story" -- routinely updates its online pages when new information comes to light.

Is Cain, a relative media novice, expected to have instant and total recall of events that may or may not have happened more than 10 years ago?

The way this works is, if you can't give the media immediate and detailed answers to their questions, they "raise new questions" and then when you do provide them additional information they say you should have provided it before and must be covering something up, prompting even more questions.

One cannot say what, if any, political motives the anonymous female accusers might have, or even if they helped bring these charges to Politico. So much of this is subjective. What is known is that a charge of sexual harassment is not proof that sexual harassment occurred.

This story also has a noxious odor of racism about it. Historically, perhaps the worst stereotype directed at African-American men is that they are oversexed and constantly on the prowl for female conquests.

Cain's candidacy has unnerved the Washington political establishment. I have just finished his book "This is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House." In it, I learned that Cain is a self-made man who achieved success without government and without self-loathing. He is the enemy of big government, and of Democrats' "can't do" condescending attitude toward minorities. Cain exudes a positive and optimistic spirit.

Were Cain to become president, this "CEO of self" would threaten the political and economic prison liberal Democrats have built to keep disenfranchised minorities down and voting for Democrats for fear their government programs will end. Cain has a better way and he writes about it in his inspiring personal story, which is the embodiment of the American Dream.

This is why Cain is being excoriated by the liberal left. Even some in the Republican establishment wish he would just go away. There will be more on this as reporters and tabloids throw money at Cain's accusers, seeking to get them to talk in violation of their termination agreements.

If you're wondering why more qualified people don't run for office, consider what is being done to Herman Cain. People don't want every mistake or bad decision they've made trumpeted from the rooftops and so they avoid politics to the nation's detriment.

Cain may ultimately triumph over these allegations. On Monday Cain recorded his biggest fundraising day ever, netting $400,000. Still, the best defense is a good offense and what would be best for Cain is for him to get all the facts out, immediately, before his enemies do it for him.

October 30, 2011

Best Confirms Global Temperature Standstill

They pour over the data to convince skeptics that the overall planet has been on a warming trend.  This also shows that the warming has stalled or stopped or something not going up over the last 10 years.

If this was not enough there is this A skeptical physicist ends up confirming climate data.

Which turns out to be a poor snow job. Because, the other shoe dropped: Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleagu.

Meanwhile in the scientific world the actual discussion is on mans contribution and if we should become Amish (or buy carbon offsets from Al Gore).

Oakland Police provoked?

Mother Jones reporter says Oakland police were provoked.

October 28, 2011

Mitt Romney

Flip Flop

I am not wanting Mitt to get the nominee for President.  I can see myself voting for him over the current disaster that is Obama.  Over the last few months I keep seeing him change position on various items.  At first I assumed we had some out of  context reporting from our dear old MSM.

Having Cain getting higher in the poles is nice, as I like his policies and overall attitude.  I am also glad that John Huntsman is trailing by a good margin.  I am not sure why he is considered a Republican at all (other then he registered that way?)

Another election season is about to open!

October 16, 2011

Picture to follow

Robert, Robert and Lee.  Robbie, Robert and Lee.  Shoo, Bobert and Lee. Shoo, Robert and Lee.  When you have two friends for 44plus years and you have consistently been in contact, things like turning 50 are important.  Tina tried to get Robert and Shoo to come for my fiftieth.  Robert, unfortunately couldn't make it. I jumped at the chance to surprise Robert this weekend.  Robert has arranged with Shoo to surprise him on Shoo's 50th.

I got the call from Andrew, Roberts eldest, about the event.  We have an airline that does commuter hops to LAX from Medford. They do not fly on Friday, so I got Thursday flight out at 2:30PM with a Return from LAX flying out at 5:30AM.

Tina drove me to my Pops house on Wednesday after work.  We visited and ate, Pop is learning to play electric Organ.  I followed him around with his routine, Walking, Sherries restaurant etc., then a ride to the airport.

The flight was uncomfortable as I chose my seat poorly.  The flight dropped me at the maze of LAX and the walk to the street and Budget rent-a-car shuttle was a long one, augmented by the scaffolds and partitions set up for a re-modelling.  The car was rented, GPS was set and I was driving in that mystically fairy land known as  El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.

Traffic is horrid and my trusty Garmin tried its best to avoid numerous freeway blockages by shunting me to various freeways then, surface streets.  I got to tour Norwalk and Compton on my surface street route to Brea.  I got quickly disgusted with the sheer amount of commercials on the Radio broadcast (really, twenty minutes of each hour?)  So the XM came in handy, once I eliminated bulk of the stations down.

Two hours and thirty minutes later I was so happy I live in Oregon and badly in need of head ache meds.  My sis-in-law was gracious enough to give me food and medication.  We chatted, walked the dog, watched some tube and I slept soundly.  Next morning was some small bagels, then another treat of So-Cal traffix.  This time I was Garmin'd to the toll freeways.  This was really cool.  Not only do you drive over 10 mph, but you get a better sense of the sheer amount of undeveloped land.  I made good time and soon arrived at Shoo's domicile.

Due to the painters not finishing last Wednesday most of his houses furnishings where piled into the living room. It only added to the fun that only a chaotic atmosphere can bring.  Shoo took me on a tour of Laguna and then Costa Mesa where we snapped pictures of my old neighborhood and my old house.  It was unoccupied and the construction guys there let me inside for a few pictures.

We had a nosh at Togo's, played some WOW and relaxed in the jacuzzi prior to heading out for family dinner at a Vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant.  Shoo was not feeling all that great so he bowed out early.  Leaving his daughter Val and I the opportunity to watch the Ducks blank the Sharks.

Next morning, Saturday, was Roberts surprise.  I had a few hours to kill so I headed to Irvine Spectrum and looked at the sights.  Then headed off to the local Costco to spy on them.

Robert's daughter Hailey, had me hide in various spots as she enjoyed her Dad NOT seeing me.  Finally I got to step out from the shadows.  Robert was surprised and happy to see me.  We went to a favorite family restaurant, joked and got back in time for the festivities.  Andrew had set up linked X-boxes and we did some Halo followed by poker, then more Halo.

Just a pretty good set of downtime with Pizza and spaghetti.  As midnight approached I was more and more worried that if I slept I might miss my wake up call and not make my flight.  Seeing as I was open seating getting to the airport early was paramount.

So I headed straight there and waiting for the employees to arrive.  The flight back was much shorter, due to my sleeping through most of it.

What a whirlwind!  It is good to be home.  

October 03, 2011

Loss of a Mom

My Mom has been in a care facility for the last few years.  Alzheimer's is very hard on loved ones.

In August she had a fairly bad fall and we feared the worse.  Her head injury was treated but not surgically.  That may or may not have hastened her demise today.

Recently there has been a joyous occasion, a wedding of my Nephew and his beautiful bride.  My mother was in a pretty good condition and the care facility brought her to join in the festivities.  I had a very nice visit and she recognized me, introducing me as "Her Baby" for the first time, in a long time.

When she had her fall, I was in Canada and not sure how I would make it back before she died.  As I waited for a phone call, I had lots of thoughts about Mother and that last memory stood out as a good last one to hold onto.  I had placated myself with the possibility that good memory would be my last one.  She seemingly recovered and appeared to be on the mend, even regaining words to the songs she used to hum.

This Friday I got word that she had collapsed and the prognosis was not good.  The care providers gave her a week.  I had the option to head  South to say goodbye.  I wrestled with my August nice memory and haunting thoughts of the last time I saw my Grandmother.  Something that I wish I could have un-seen.  I decided to keep myself a little distant.  We went on an outing to Crater lake on Saturday with Connor.  Something he requested to do prior to winter closing the area.  I went to a going away party for a manager at work.  Although, I felt odd and detached from the festivities.  I left early and had a run home.  Neither night had me sleeping well.  Sunday we missed Mass due to a schedule change we had not heard about.

I had spoken to my Pop, who graciously gave me the option to come down or not.  I sent an e-mail to my two oldest friends explaining the situation.  They responded in kind, that being there was important and I should re-consider.  This struck me hard as I went to work Sunday, I actually felt a pressure above my heart as I kept busy and my mind off events.  I spoke to a few people, including management, who immediately suggested I take some time off to do what was needed.  I thanked them for their support and went about my work day.  I had a few well-ups of emotion but nothing I could not work around.  As the end of shift came around I realized that I had left my wife out of the equation.

It only shows how compromised I was emotionally that I thought I was going to have to go through this alone. My wife had a wonderful relationship with my Mom and equal rights to be there.  I called and asked if she wanted to go down and without hesitation she affirmed.  Which sent me relief as it exposed my wrongful thinking.  I asked her to come get me and told Management that I had to leave.

Now I felt an urgency to head south,  we hastily packed overnights and headed down the ninety minute drive.  My Pop and my sister Nancy were with mom.  We talked and cried and watched the care staff, who had genuine affection for my Mom.  Dad had spent the last few nights as had some of my siblings.  He constantly gazed at her and saw to her comfort.  He was jovial, sad, pragmatic and emotional.  As it got later, everyone needed rest.  Tina and I headed to Pops house as Nancy and Pop spent the night with Mom.

I gave her a kiss goodbye and told her that I loved her.

The next morning we got two calls.  The first call said she was not doing well and the second was she had passed.  I broke down sobbing, Tina was there.

We headed over and Mom had been washed up and lie in the bed.  Looking peaceful and asleep.

Early that morning, while her breathing was labored.  My Pop, holder her hand, leaned over and told her it was time to leave.  She died, with the love of her life gently holding her hand and a large outpouring of love which filled the room from her last few days.  The attendance remarked how amazingly peaceful her passing was, of the likes they  rarely see.

All things come to an end.  My Mom's passing was a beautiful example that matched her beautiful life among us.

September 30, 2011

Get into the BOX!

Test build successful!  On to the next phase!

The motherboard is attached to the case using stand-offs.  These are little brass fixtures that screw into the appropriate case holes to match the board mounting holes.  You can eyeball it pretty easily.  If you really want to be sure a template is a good choice.

Next up you want to mount the power supply.  Mine goes fan down on the bottom of the case (which is very common now).
My power supply is modular.  So you only need to use the cables you want.  The rest you store in a bag for later.
Next up are the drives.  For the DVD you remove a panel from the front of the tower and slide it into place. This tower is tool-less so it has some handy knobs that lock the drives down.
DVD in place!  Next the hard drive.
This case comes with some rails that snap onto each side of a standard drive.  Then you just slide it into position.

Finally the motherboard. Start with the back plate which labels all your various ports.  It just snaps into place.  Next you place the board slide it towards the back and secure using the mounting screws into the a fore mentioned stand-offs.
Using the back panel and some small black zip-ties you work the various cables through the channels to the proper position.  Less spaghetti cables mean better cooling.  I start by running power to everything, then data connectors to everything else. Including the case cables for the on off buttons and front panel USB and audio ports. Next I systematically secure the cables.

Any add-on cards, like a graphics card requires removal of a back panel (usually a screw, or you might have to bend-snap it off) and securing it into the socket.

Now you attach keyboard, mouse and monitor.  Plug in the power supply, hit the power supply on switch (if it has one).  Then push the start button.

TECH SUPERSTITION!  NEVER close up the side panels prior to starting up your system for the first time.  In fact, leave them off till after you install the OS.

Note how clean of cables this case is?  It is a work of art.

Here it is running!

Next up, Installing the OS.  This is something I may not blog about... Not sure yet.  Its a lot of looking at this:

September 29, 2011

Building a computer.

Lets say you want to make this metal box into a computer... Further you have all the other parts as well.

First thing is to set up everything and do a test build.  You start by putting the processor into the motherboard.

The insertion is minor thanks to the zero insertion force style socket.  First you open the mouse trap looking device, line up the slots on the processor with the socket and being careful not to touch the pins on the bottom or the metal on the top, you drop it into place.

The sound made while closing is not unlike fingernails on a chalk board.  It sounds like your destroying the pins and is very disconcerting.  Next you either apply some conductive paste and put the heat-sink fan into place.

It has four pins that push through and lock into place, you should make sure you plug in the fan to the appropriate place on the board.  This now becomes a nice handle for maneuvering your board.

Next up install the RAM.  Pretty easy and a little tricky.  This is one time you MUST consult your manual to find the placement.  This becomes simple if you have four matching sticks of RAM.

The packaging your board came in is perfect for a test build. I next installed the graphics card, hooked up my monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Finally run the various power supply cords to their various sockets.  In this case we have the main power the secondary power and Graphics card additional power.
Next you start the system up by gaping two little pins on the motherboard (RTFM).

If you have good components this is what you will see.

Now we know everything works.  Time to install the stuff.

September 28, 2011

My new Obelisk

My old computer died.  I tried to revive it, but the parts are out of stock and problematic to find.

After perusing Toms Hardware guide, I got a battle plan of what I wanted in a system. I checked out the usual vendors and was not happy with what I saw .vs. what I wanted.  Even Costco had some nice towers but too much $$ for too little power.

As I was pricing a system at New Egg when I came across a DIY system that was 90% exactly what I wanted.This little beauty was just perfect!

Here is my system out of the shipping box.  Big black tower in the back.  Motherboard, power supply and processor in front.  In the foreground the Hard drive and RAM.  I salvaged my DVD drive and Graphics card from my old system before recycling it responsibly.

Towers are very important consideration.  Airflow, accessibility and aesthetics all come into play.  The only complaint is the metal is a thinner gauge then I would like.  There is a lot of quality in the product.  The inside was painted to match.  Both side panels have thumb screws for easy access.  All the cables are clearly labeled and plenty long enough for any motherboard.  The front, back and top fans are large powerful and quite, bonus for the pretty blue lights in the front fan.  If you need additional cooling you can add three more without any problem.  The front panel has two USB, Headset and mic and eSATA.  Which is pretty standard.  You have huge add on potential for additional drives and devices.  I am considering a card reader.

The Motherboard is excellent!  It has the current intel chipsets, can handle two graphics cards and up to an i7 Intel processor.  No downside at all!  Everything is clearly marked and well laid out. The tech support is difficult to understand due to the accent.  However, the e-mail support works well, it just takes longer.

Intel i5 2500k is a great chip for gamers.  It is inexpensive and benchmarks above several i7 cousins.  It comes with a nice heat-sink fan and a manual that is good for something...

Hard drives above 500 gigabyte are more then enough.  1-Terabyte is cheap enough, so... why not? I like Seagate for no particular reason.

RAM can be tricky.  Matching the speed to your system build takes a little bit of research.  G.Skills have good RAM at a good price.  These are dual channel DDR3 1600.  They have a built on heat sink and offer a lifetime warranty.

Finally the power supply.  You need to have enough power to run everything and more.  Most manufactured PC's short you in this area.  Dell, HP, Acer, all barely squeak by with the minimum required levels.

This beast is by corsair, it also has the advantage of being modular.  You only plug in the cables you need for your system.  Sweet!

September 21, 2011


Because factory owners pay NO EXCISE TAXES for the support of the roads that carry their materials, raw or finished, and NO PROPERTY TAXES for the support of the schools that (mis)educate its work force, and NO CORPORATE INCOME TAXES for the support of the armed forces that keep the factory safe… Oh… you mean they DO pay all those taxes and more?

September 19, 2011

Rex Murphy: The media’s love affair with a disastrous president

As the bad economic news continues to emanate from the United States — with a double-dip recession now all but certain — a reckoning is overdue. American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since.
Much of the Obama coverage was orchestrated sychophancy. They glided past his pretensions — when did a presidential candidate before “address the world” from the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin? They ignored his arrogance — “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.” And they averted their eyes from his every gaffe — such as the admission that he didn’t speak “Austrian.”
The media walked right past the decades-long association of Obama with the weird and racist pastor Jeremiah Wright. In the midst of the brief stormlet over the issue, one CNN host — inexplicably — decided that CNN was going to be a “Wright-free zone.” He could have hung out a sign: “No bad news about Obama here.”
The media trashed Hillary. They burned Republicans. They ransacked Sarah Palin and her family. But Obama, the cool, the detached, the oracular Obama — he strolled to the presidency.
Palin, in particular, stands out as Obama’s opposite in the media’s eyes. As much as they genuflected to the one, they felt the need to turn rottweiler toward the other. If Obama was sacred , classy, intellectual and cosmopolitan, why then Palin must be malevolent, trashy, dumb and pure backwoods-ignorant.
Every doubt they hid from themselves about Obama, every potential embarrassment they tucked under the blanket of their superior sensibilities, they furiously over-compensated for by their remorseless hounding of Palin — from utterly trivial e-mails, to blogger Andrew Sullivan’s weird speculations about Palin’s womb, musings that put the Obama “Birther” fantasies into a realm near sanity. (We are now seeing an echo of that — with a new book promoting all sorts of unconfirmed gossip about Palin, including her alleged sexual dalliance with a basketball star.)
As a result, the press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as President. Under Obama, America’s foreign policies are a mixture of confusion and costly impotence. It is increasingly bypassed or derided; the great approach to the Muslim world, symbolized by the Cairo speech, is in tatters. Its debt and deficits are a weight on the entire global economy. And the office of presidency is less and less a symbol of strength.
To the degree the press neglected its function as watchdog and turned cupbearer to a Styrofoam demigod, it is a partner in the flaws and failures of what is turning out to be one of the most miserable performances in the modern history of the American presidency.

September 11, 2011

Thanks, Smokey!

Okay this is one of those videos that I was embarrassed when I laughed.

September 10, 2011

Devil's Dictionary, Obama Edition


The Devil's Dictionary, Obama Speech Edition
Abraham Lincoln: Not the founder of the Republican Party.
Basic protection(s): Any regulation(s) that Barack Obama believes will reduce the ability of financial, medical, or fossil fuel companies to earn a profit, especially any regulation based on the Progressive view that individual Americans are too stupid to be allowed to make our own decisions in the most important areas of our daily lives. Also, any regulation that strengthens the power of unions.
Different theory: Economic policy views supported by history, evidence, and research by Barack Obama's own (former) top economic advisor, but not supported by Barack Obama.
Doing nothing: If referencing a Republican-controlled chamber of Congress, not giving the president at least 90% of what he wants even while passing legislation. Not applicable to a Democrat-controlled chamber of Congress, even if not passing any legislation.
Fair shake: The additional amount of money the government can extract from society's most successful by turning success into a vice and lack of success into a virtue; similar to shakedown.
Fair share: More than you pay in taxes now, especially if you are in the top 1% of earners who already pay more in income taxes than the bottom 95% of taxpayers and who pay nearly twice as much as a share of taxes than they earn as a share of national income.
Fairness: A never-reached situation in which the "rich" are paying their Fair share and Warren Buffett is happy.
Help: Buy one group of Americans' votes with money earned by those who pay most federal income taxes by giving the latter group a Fair shake.
Jolt: A policy dramatic enough to increase Barack Obama's poll numbers. A cola I drank in college.
Listen to every new proposal: Tailor a bill based on "suggestions" from the head of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, or AFSCME; Suggestions from Republicans responded to with "I won."
Most fortunate: Hardest working, smartest, most entrepreneurial, most responsible for job creation, paying more than others in taxes, or being part of any other such category so deserving of income confiscation, over-regulation, union domination, or any other punishment the Obama Administration can implement over Republican opposition which is based on Rigid ideas.

Nothing controversial: Highly controversial.
Paid for: Funded by increasing Fairness. Spending increases andFair Shakes implemented now with the net deficit theoretically funded by a promise of spending reductions later.
Payroll tax cut: A temporary benefit to some working Americans and businesses to be Paid for by creating a permanent penalty on other working Americans and businesses.
Political crisis: See "Urgent time for our country."
Right now: When to pass a "jobs bill," in which there is Nothing controversial, because we are in an Urgent time for our country.
Rigid idea: A position based on reading the plain text of the Constitution and thus not worthy of serious consideration, especially if it impedes Fairness or the implementation of Basic protections.
Sincerely believe: If referring to a Democrat, believe sincerely. If referring to a Republican, must be stupid or crazy to believe.
Tax loopholes; tax breaks: Advantages in the tax code that go to companies or people who do not share President Obama's goal ofFairness and who do not contribute enough to Democratic campaigns and thus must be shifted to the favor of those who do.
Urgent time for our country: A period during which Barack Obama's poll numbers are falling, causing him to fear that he will lose re-election and therefore that oceans may start to rise again.