Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Born Again American Video

Born Again American from Born Again American on Vimeo.


Tomorrow is my last day on the job with my current employer. I will certainly keep busy 'doing things' in the future, no lazin' around for me. I may even do work for pay in the future, but it will be under my control, and limited. I will certainly do some volunteer work, and will try to accomplish things that are not on anyone's budget, although they probably should be.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Truth or Hillary?

Recently, on the CBS Today Show, Lara Logan, CBS new Mexico City, interviewed Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton said,

"We have to recognize and accept, uh, that the demand for drugs in the United States drives them north, and the guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and the military, uh, 90 percent of them come from America."

See this YouTube video.

I will agree with Mrs. Clinton that the demand for drugs is our contribution. However, most of these drugs can be produced for pennies, so the huge amounts of money involved is the result of several governments' policy of criminalizing these substances.

As for the ridiculous claim about "90 percent of [the guns] coming from the US", the fact is that the most powerful weapons the cartels are using (rocket launchers, automatic weapons) can't be purchased in any US gun store, and there has been no case of large-scale weapon smuggling south across the US/Mexico border.

Consider this. Juarez is one of the 'murder capitals' of the world, while El Paso, Texas, just across the river, has recently been named the number 1 safest large city in the US. The difference? US citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, and can defend their own homes against criminals. Mexican citizens don't.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 Year Anniversary

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of my triple-bypass surgery. I've been watching my cholesterol religiously, and going to see my cardiologist every 6 months since then. My heart is in great shape.

Since then, I've (1) finished an advanced degree, (2) had a new career, and (3) attended SXSW five (5) times. I've met a ton of new friends.

I have now decided to retire, so I can pursue other creative endeavors. I have a couple of building projects in the planning, plus fence fixing and/or building, tree trimming, and assorted landscaping jobs. That's just for starters. Frankie and I want to do some traveling, and I may do some writing and painting.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Interesting use for a blog

I probably should have been using this way before now, but I haven't been good.

I was reading back through my blog entries, and on the May 25th entry, I read about starting a fire on a tree stump on May 21. Then I realized "hey, this is when my current episode of back pain and sciatica started!" I've been asked that question by at least 3 doctors, and now I know for sure. (great use for a blog, tracking dates)

It always happens this way. First, I strain or stress my back, and it gets sore. Then, other things happen, and I make it worse, until I wind up flat on my back for a couple of days. That gets my attention. Then, I take aggressive action (pills, etc.) and am very careful until full function is restored. It's okay until the NEXT episode. This has been going on since 1983! I only remember 3-4 bad episodes, but maybe I'm blocking.

Since May 21, my mother passed away (June 30), we moved all her stuff out of her apartment (July 7-8), I went to my doctor (July 11), had 2 MRIs and an ultrasound (July 16), and saw a chiropractor (July 23, 25). Then I eased off on the treatment until sometime in September, when I went back to the chiropractor. My leg started really hurting during the last week in September, but I still sat up in a tree on October 2 for about 4 hours, and by October 7, I was flat on my back for two days of pure misery. I went to the emergency room on October 9, and got some prescriptions. It's only been the last three of days that I have gone off the Ibuprofen, which upsets my stomach terribly. I still have some back pain, but I'm taking it easy and doing lots of stretching, etc. I also have an inversion table, which I use daily.

I think I'm on the mend, but promise to not re-injure it more in the near future. I have been feeling so bad and tired lately that I decided to retire effective December 31, 2010. More about that later.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Hitch

I created myself a problem just the other day. I am using Ubuntu 10.04 GNU/Linux, and the top panel wasn't showing me what I wanted to see, so I deleted it. I thought that it would be reinstated after I logged out or rebooted, but no, it wasn't. So there I am with a blank desktop, with just the bottom panel, which shows open programs, virtual desktops, and an icon to clear the desktop. Nothing to launch programs graphically.

The next day, I looked it up on the Internet, and read all about moving, resizing, adding and deleting panels, and how to add items to the panel. Last night, I created a new panel, then populated it with appropriate launchers, all by pointing and clicking. One of the items you can choose is called the 'Menu Bar', and it includes three drop-down menus. Now I am back in business. I have discovered that even with small hitches like this, and the ability to totally customize everything (which sometimes leads to confusion), I still like this version of Linux wa-a-a-ay better than Windows. It is just plain fun to use, plus I can do some development work, run a local web server, etc.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Day in Computing

Yesterday was a red-letter day for me. I ditched Windows Vista (Home Basic), and installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Linux as my one-and-only operating system.

I had been thinking about it for a while, trying out different programs, and working up my nerve to not use Spider Solitaire under Windows, with its cool graphics, ever again.

When I was about 97% sure I wanted to go for it, I started the process of backing up my files to a DVD. First, I was going to use the Windows Back-Up software, but it had so many restrictions on what it would back up, that almost put me at 100%. Then, I used Roxio CD/DVD Creator to make my backup, and it hung up, then wouldn't respond when asked to stop. That really pushed me over the top.

I inserted the CD of Ubuntu, and let 'er rip. Within about an hour, I had a basic, usable system. Today, I have been seeking out and installing some cool software that is not part of the basic system. You can do a lot of real work with the basics, but there are a few things I wanted. The first was GnuCash, an accounting program. I also downloaded Audacity, Gimp, a web server, a CD ripper, and some other interesting-sounding titles. When I was looking at GnuCash, I found two other "simple home banking" programs, and downloaded them, too. I plan to eventually set up a CMS package, such as Word Press or Drupal.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week in Review

My mom was sent from the hospital to a nursing home Friday. Friday evening, we took her some clothes and saw where she was staying.

I started two fires on some dead-tree stumps.

Saturday morning, two friends from work came out to pick Agarita berries. We helped them get started and tended my fires. We got cleaned up and drove to Austin to an Austin Ballet recital that our granddaughter, Emily was in. After the recital, we shopped at Sam's and ate at the Texas Roadhouse.

Sunday was a day of rest. I had to, I was so sore from working on the tree stumps.

Monday, one of my friends had a jar of agarita jelly for me. After work, we went straight to Luling to fill out paperwork at the nursing home, then met our new tenants at the mobile home we rent out. They are a very nice young couple.

This afternoon after work I have a meeting at Bedichek Middle School of our knitting class. It is a celebration and reflection on the semester we just finished.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back Again

I didn't intend to stay gone so long, but I was playing around with another piece of software and a free web-hosting site. I think I just need to write, and not worry about where things are kept, or exactly how they look.

I intend to do some writing about knitting, cycling, simple living, and probably my imminent(?) retirement (about a year away).

I have been busy with some volunteering in the public schools, and working with my land, etc. I really need to get back into writing. As I get older, I cannot do all the things I once could do, nor do I have time to do some things, but I can keep busy, I can do some things, and I can write about them. This will not be a political rant blog, so if you're looking for that sort of thing, this won't be for you.

Six of one, half dozen of another

Published on another website on October 7, 2009.

Very busy month shaping up for October.

I’m involved in AIR Austin, which culminates on Oct. 24 in an all-day rally. AIR is the Accessible Internet Relay.

Last weekend, we spent one day at the antiques/junk fair at Warrenton/Round Top.

This weekend, we’re going to Houston to see the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science (Sat), and the Central Texas yarn crawl (Sun).

The yarn crawl is actually Oct. 9-12, so I’m going to try to visit a few of the local shops on Friday during lunch and after work, then drive out into the hill country on Sunday.

I just got a new laptop, a Dell 1545. I will never buy another HP or Compaq computer again. This Dell has them beat all over.

Tomorrow night, Oct. 8, is the annual fund-raising banquet for Central Texas Life Care, which we will attend.

I’ll probably miss Octoberfish, Oct 16-18, because we’ll be painting cabinets on the 17th.

I’m hoping that November will be a little less busy.