Monday, September 22, 2008

I will miss you, dearest Beverly...

I was planning on putting up a posting tonight about the hurricane and power outages here in Ohio, and some musings about some of the stupidity and interesting things that went on during the extended blackout. I swear I had it all ready in my head, complete with pictures!

That, of course, was in a perfect world where I could come home from an extremely annoying day at work and vegetate. This, alas, was not to be.

Mother called me over to her house tonight, as per usual. However, when I arrived, she started crying. This is a prime indicator of something extremely bad. And, well, it is. My mother's dearest best friend, Beverly, passed away suddenly last night. It may have been a stroke or a heart attack, no one if for sure yet. She was 50. Mother worked with her at the nursing home. Mother is the personnel director and Beverly was the Director of Nursing.

It was only a few months ago that we attended a surprise birthday party for her 50th. In more recent memories, she came over numerous times this summer to swim in mum and dad's pool and shoot the breeze.

I remember clearly the last time I saw her was this last Friday. I went to the nursing home to work on a faulty computer and she stopped to visit with me for a while. I was whining to her about how I still had no power and how mother was getting pretty close to her wit's end being in the same situation. She gave me a back rub. A good one. She gave great backrubs.

Beverly will forever be close to my heart for helping me deal with having cancer, since she had gone through chemo and radiation herself. She was also integral in helping my mother cope with my treatments and what understanding what I was going through. She was a great friend to mummy as well.

Going to the nursing home will not be the same without seeing her there, ransacking her office for candy, a backrub and the inevitable two-way street of venting about life, the universe and everything. I will miss her very much, as will a lot of people.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

The bits and pieces of Hurricane Ike blew through the Dayton area on Sunday afternoon knocking out power and throwing full-grown trees around like matchsticks. There were wind gusts of up to 75 mph throughout the area and this went on for hours and hours. About 225,000 people are still without power.

I have been powerless since Sunday at 1pm EDT. Other than that, I have come through unscathed. My house in fine, no damage to any of my trees. Mother and father's house, next door, is undamaged as well. There are, though, vast quantities of leaves in both our yards.

I have a few pictures which I will post as soon as power comes back on. They say it may be the weekend before that happens, though.

My relatively boring life has just increased its boredom factor by 10x. I've been turning in early every night. Sleeping with the windows open has been quite refreshing; thankfully the weather has been really nice and the evenings unusually cool.

No one in Ohio expects a hurricane.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Fig. 1: The remains of Mailbox No. 2

When I moved in to my little house, one of the first things I did was replace the mailbox. The mailbox that was here was kinda funky and falling apart, so I decided to get a new one to start my house on its way to a non-amateur-pharmacy identity.

The post you see in figure 1, above, I purchased for it and bought a heavy duty mailbox made out of thick steel. I painted it in green and put it up and had many a month of mail deliveries in it. That is until a nice, older gentleman driving with his wife turned the corner a bit to shallow and struck the edge with the passenger side mirror.

The guy stopped and was quite woeful of my mailbox. The leading edge was bent such that the door would not open. He wanted to pay for it, but I told him to put that money towards a new mirror on his minivan, that I could bend out the damage on the mailbox with a plier and that it was no big deal. I was more impressed...well, shocked, really...that the gentleman even stopped. Where are classy people like that now-a-days? What followed was many more months of trouble-free postal mail.

As winter came and went, it started to get harder and harder to keep the mailbox closed. The piano-style hinge holding the door was beginning to rust, as were the welds holding the top to the bottom, and the area the I bent out to get the door to open and close. I decided to take action this spring. I bought a new mailbox, the one you see in figure 1, above, to replace it. This one was a bit flimsier, but bigger and painted in a nice shade of brown that would compliment my home.

That is until someone knocked it down in the night this last Friday night/Saturday morning. The results are what you see, above. Just what I needed.

So, I went to the local DIY store and bought a new post and mailbox and some nice numbers. This time I painted the box and numbers the same shade as I did my front storm door, a flat, textured forest green. I think it turned out pretty well. It was certainly a better paint job than the original mailbox, which I painted with a "hammered" finish bright green...and did a terrible job on it.

Fig. 2: The new mailbox, No. 3

The new mailbox makes the third mailbox I have had in as many years. I only hope that the bastard's car looks as bad as mailbox number 2.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another Pointless Victory

Fig. 1: Screen capture of my record Solitaire score.

I play Solitaire way too much. It is pretty much a mindless game that can be easily worked in while waiting for something, to alleviate boredom or whatever. It is an interesting game because each deal results in a different combination of luck and skill required to complete the game. A lot of the time it works out that you can't place any of the cards you flip, like the one that I played right before the one shown, above.

In the one shown above, I got a bonus of 8,022 for completing the game in 84 seconds (the fastest I've ever played) for a total score of 9,029. This is the highest score I have ever achieved, handily beating my previous record being 8,222 in 93 seconds on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.

Just to be sure, the parameters of the game are standard scoring, three-card flip, and I right-click to move valid cards to the upper-right completion piles. I do not use the SHIFT-CTRL-ALT cheat, because that is cheating!