Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Computers! Argh!

So what kind of computer geek are you? PC or Mac? I'm a PC geek for a couple of reasons. When I started my current job my lab bought 4 computers, 2 PC's and 2 Mac's. The Macs, which cost more, were always slower and more problematic than the PC's. Those over 10 year old PC's are still chugging along and being used from time to time, while their two Mac contemporaries where retired years ago. So I've just never quite believed it when all the Mac aficionados go on and on about how superior macs are, about how they don't crash and how stable they are.

Lately I've been working on a project that has required me to use a Mac. Today the program (on one of those "perfect" Macs) glitched and gave an error message:

Could not complete the "For Preliminary Report" command because.

Because??? Because why?? Because what???

What a ridiculously silly message!

In all fairness, I imagine the silly message came from the software maker, and not from Mac. But I'm kind of convinced everyone in the computer industry has conspired to make us crazy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spring Fever!

Ah... spring is here... or at least for the last two days it has been. After weeks of back to back snowstorms the last three days of sunshine, blue skys and warm (40') weather have seemed positively spring like. The six foot tall icicle no longer adorns my house, and I can even see a one foot wide swatch of green along one side of my driveway. I actually had friends call me up and invite me to a barbeque last night. Of course it wasn't quite balmy enough for outdoor eating, but the nice weather was certainly a great excuse to grill some sausages, sip some wine and enjoy the ducks swimming in their backyard duckpond. The taste of spring will be short lived; another snow storm is scheduled to arrive this afternoon. At least the enormous snow piles beside my driveway have a shrunk a bit so it will be easier for me to find a place to chuck the snow when I shovel tonight, and the skiing should be good again this weekend!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Little Projects...

I'm going to guess that I'm not the only one out there that has a long list of little project that I'm meaning "meaning " to get around to. The problem with "little" projects is that they don't always stay little; they often take longer than expected, or aren't as easy as expected, or spawn other bigger more time consuming projects.

One of the things on my "list" is getting that big ceramics kiln I inherited up and running. It's sitting in garage, but I need to move to my laundry room where I have a 220v outlet to plug it into. I need some sort of cart to put it on so I roll it into place when I want to use it, and can roll it into a corner when not in use. I finally decided to build my own cart; a simple assembly of 18 inch 2x4's and 4 wheels. A quicky, no brainer project. I had the wood cut at home depot so I didn't even need to get out my saw. A few self tapping screws, some lag bolts to attach the wheels, my drill and socket wrench and I should be able to make short work of this little project. My first problem was not being able to find my screwdriver attachment for the drill. Crap! Then after searching the garage shelves I found not one, but two plastic boxes containing sets of various driver bits. Hallelujah, I didn't need a trip to the store. Then I go to drive in the first screw. It goes 3/4 of the way in, and the drill screeches. The stupid driver bit has stripped. Thank goodness I had all those extras. I change bits and try again... the same thing happens....and again, and again. I used up every Phillips head driver in both those driver sets. I don't know where I got those sets from, but they must have been really cheap ones. Did I buy them? Did someone else at my house buy them? I have no idea, but I sure learned my lesson: Do not buy cheap tools! Back to the garage to search the tool box, as I know there must be a better drill driver somewhere. Finally I found one, so I could finish my 30 minute little project. Of course by now my little project has taken up half the morning... argh! There is no such thing as a little project!

Yeah, that's right... I do carpentry projects on my living room floor!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More snow days...

A photo of all the snow down in Durango Colorado, courtesy of my boy Matt, I image that building is somewhere on the Ft. Lewis campus. He's had two more snow days this week; which he of course turns into ski days. Lucky brat, I'd say!

We keep getting the snow, we received a few more inches this morning so I guess I will get my shoveling work out yet again tonight. We have had more snow this year than we've had in about 6 years, and I've sure been enjoying it. I've been needing more upper body work outs!

Speaking of cold weather exercise...

Yesterday morning as I stepped out of my car at the polling place a guy on a bicycle rode up. It turned out to be a guy from my neighborhood, an acquaintance of mine because for one season, many years ago, he was Matt's soccer coach. I see him on his bike in the neighborhood all the time, so it shouldn't be surprising to see him pedaling, but yesterday it was 7:30 AM, all of about 13 degrees, the roads icy, and the polling place up a pretty good sized hill from where we live. I commented to him that he was ambitious, and he told me he didn't have a choice, as he didn't have a car, although he "supposed" he could have borrowed his wife's car. I told him it sounded like he made his choice. Talk about dedication. Talk about me feeling like slacker. I like to ride my bike, but I can't make myself get up early enough to ride to work in the summer, no less in the frigid winter! I think when the weather is nice I'm going to make him my role model and start using my bike for transportation (as opposed to joy riding) more often. One more thing for this years goal list!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Another good weekend

Gotta love mountain country weather. Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day, but today we where supposed to have another storm. A smart person would have picked Saturday of this weekend for a ski day, as blue skis and fresh powder are hard to beat. Of course I'm not always a smart person, so I made plans to ski with my girlfriend on Sunday even though a storm was suspected. The wind was howling at my house this morning, and I actually considered bagging my ski day. My girlfriend invited me down to her house for homemade waffles for breakfast, and her husband, the ski patroller, checked the weather. It didn't storm in the valley at all Saturday night, but as it turned out that Brighton received 24 inches of fresh snow. So we decided to hit the slopes after all, and it was a glorious, albeit snowy day.

I'm a decent skier, but not a great powder skier, so a good powder day is always a challenge for me. As a working person who just gets to ski weekends, I simply don't get enough powder practice. Today was one of those days where the snow was almost too deep to ski. At one point we headed out on a trail that hadn't been skied much, and I decided to try out some untracked powder. Next thing I know I'm in powder up to my thighs, but the slope wasn't terribly steep, so my skis stopped and were totally mired under the snow. Getting those skis out of the snow and back on the skiable trail was not easy. After that I tried to stick to spots that had been skied on and packed down a little. A little later I missed a turn and found myself in the same predicament. Talk about a work out! One of these days I'd like to become a good powder skier like my ski patroller friend. He makes it look so flippin' easy as he skis throught the trees in search of the powder shots. Of course one nice thing about skiing is that folks of different abilities can have fun together. We can all ride the same chair, but when we reach the top my patroller friend can do the extreme stuff, while his wife and I ski slightly tamer places. I'm faster than she is, so I just stop and wait now and then. We then all meet at the lift to do it again. What a great ski day!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Still snowing...

What a nice snowy week this has been. I have done the snow shovel workout everyday, although today I didn't really have to, as we only got a half inch in tonights "big" storm. Yesterday, after clearing my and my next door neighbors driveways I decided I shoveled enough, so I skipped my deck, which left me some shoveling to do today.

My son had a treat on Monday - he had his first ever "snow day"! Monday's storm hit Durango, Colorado especially hard, and Ft. Lewis College actually cancelled classes. Durango even got a mention on NPR Wednesday morning. Apparently they had so much snow that were warning people that even sledding hills could be avalanche prone. Of course that prompted me to call Matt and remind him to be cautious. I was relieved to hear that they do avalanche control on the single rope tow ski hill adjacent to campus where he and his friends have been building jumps and playing around after class. Matt says there is just a ton of snow everywhere. I'm anxiously awaiting the pictures he said he'd email me.

My excitement for the week came the other day as I returned home from work. As I pulled into the driveway a deer ran across my driveway and pranced through my front yard. Not just any deer, but a nice sized buck. I have occasionally seen deer in my yard, but never a buck. The buck headed to my neighbors back yard where apparently it has been hanging out this week. I think the deer siting solved a mystery for me. Numerous times in the last few weeks Daisy has wandered up my backyard hill and into the brambles behind my neighbors house. This is something she never does, she is not a roamer at all, so I was rather perplexed by her recent behavior. I'm guessing she's been following deer scent. I guess every now and then she liked to pretend she's a real canine, instead of pampered pooch.