pulling the plug

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Heading out from Brenham in a short while, the truck is 90% loaded.  Computers, cold food, cat are the primary items to add to the freight balance.  I am packing on the heavy side.  I’ll get to Austin before rush hour.

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Got everything done that was on my todo list, from jury duty cancellation to insurance interviews to vet visit to doctor’s appointment, and all points in between.  That includes a trip to Bryan.  I’m pleased to say that Doug is doing much better, getting around on his own for the most part.  It was a good three weeks, productive and lots of LZB commiserating.  Got to visit Julie a couple of times, and we played music one night.

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Heading for Austin to housesit monsters and tootoos.

week

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Well, waiting for a return call from UHC, so that I can get that nailed down.  Taken care of HHSC, Aetna, and Medicare, this is the only one left.  Then I have Social Security Friday morning.

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As is, I can make the doctor’s appointment, and Myka needs her vet visit. Those are the last four chores to tackle within the next week.  Hopefully I can get them done by the end of this week.

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Tree limb knocked out the electric feeds across the street (from the same tree as did it before).  I hope I get this posted before they cut power to reattach the cables.  They were out in the dark earlier cutting up the tree.

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Got to play music with Julie for a few hours a few evenings ago.  That was refreshing.

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Taking off for Austin in a week.  Myka will get to stay at Alicia’s for ten days.  Won’t that be fun…  But then the stay will move back to Elgin until the house is finished here.

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Still haven’t cut my hair.

A/C change

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The air conditioner died a couple of days ago and I went out and bought a new one.  Tired of hoping that used air conditioners last.  It’s a smaller unit (5k btu compared to 12k that died), but it’s sufficient and very efficient.  It was worth the $120 not to wait days for a replacement, as the days are into the mid-90’s with a dew point around 80°F.  It was impossible to get the body core temp low enough for proper sleep function.

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Been catching up on sleep in the last couple of days.

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It’s time for the annual haircut.  Summer has arrived.

Faux Pas online

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One of my hobbies is studying gaming sites that use Flash in coordination with javascript and databases.  The study is two fold, one is the way the code is developed and deployed, the other the way that they’re managed and promoted.  This entails creating accounts and playing the games to some degree, as well as studying the browser inspector and decompiling the Flash apps.  I’m not a serious player or looking to start my own gaming site, it’s just a hobby.  The only advantage I’m seeking is an awareness of the processes in general.

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Some of the gaming sites are fairly passive in their promotion, while some are very ambitious.  The one I have been looking at recently, a slots site, is pretty ambitious, using email and Facebook to promote the site.  The email has been categorized as spam by Gmail, which shows their level of ambition.  But their Facebook is even more ambitious.

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Slots appeal to a passive gamer, they press a button and hope for luck to grace them with an epinephrine rush.  It requires no skills other than to recognize a losing streak and backing off when they strike.  Naturally, the thrill of winning is overpowered by the losing streaks, and the tendency is to lose steadily when the losing streak is not heeded.  This is the money maker for the site, because credit can be purchased when it runs out.  But to keep people hooked and playing long enough to make them buyers, they offer limited amounts of free credits, in this case, email and Facebook supplying promo codes (making them familiar with the buying process).  There is also a trickle of hourly free credits available by logging in and bonuses for advancing levels.

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The freebie promos are usually worth about $0.05 to $0.50, enough to purchase a few spins, but not enough to sustain play indefinitely.  Sometimes the promos require assembling jigsaw puzzles, voting and being in the majority, multiple choice guessing, etc.  Sometimes the code is just given on the page or in the email.

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Well, yesterday, a code was just given on the Facebook page, offering 50k credits ($0.10).  However, the reward given for entering the promo code was 50M credits ($100.00).  (Value is set at a discounted price, which is very common, base value is twice that.  There isn’t any single value of a credit, it fluctuates quite a bit with the specials offered, as mercurial as the slots’ luck.)  The code was posted late in the day before the staff closed shop for the night.  So it went for 11 hours before the error was noted and damage control began.  My estimate is that several hundred of their members entered the code, a small enough percentage of the total membership.

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Their first step was to change the reward amount to the correct amount, then to delete the comments to the article that mentioned the 50M credit database error in programming the reward, keeping those that simply said thanks.  So far, there has been no attempt to reclaim the 50M credits (at least from my account).  It would be easy enough using a search of the accounts database.  If they are intelligent, they will just accept the error on their part and go on as if nothing happened, letting everyone who benefitted keep the credits.  The credits will depart those who collected them quickly enough, as the slots offer many levels of betting, from 10 to 1M credits per line (X the number of lines selected).

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Now there are some big time winners who have achieved a total in the trillions or quadrillions of credits, but they are rare.  So 50M is not that big of a deal if only a small portion of the members benefitted.  And letting it go as if it never happened, is a better solution than the bad publicity from reclaiming the credits would generate.  Too many to correct, too few to fret.

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Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if it was taken back.  I’m not a gambler.  I’m there to study code and practices.  Part of that is being able to guess when a down streak is in progress from coding patterns.  After all, it is an algorithm in the Flash code that defines the luck, not physical random process.  I will probably move on before the riches dissipate.  I am more involved with making the total grow by pattern recognition (50k starter > 4M +50M thus far, counting the promos and bonuses, they have not seen my credit card) than punching the spin button and waiting for the up or down emotions from experiencing luck.

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The process of feeding escape to the masses via the internet is a tricky business.  It’s not good enough to simply come up with a killer interactive web site.  It has to be managed properly 24/7 with safeguards for human error.

Sleepy head

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I took five naps yesterday and slept eight hours last night.  That is usually a sign that I am worn out, pooped, weary, tail dragging, etc.

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I have been cleaning up the bathroom and kitchen to make them usable, not a huge chore, but not light weight either.  The place was pretty trashed out from all the work being done.  It’s far from final, but it’s also usable now, in a limited degree.  The fridge is stocked lightly, not big cooking items, but quick fix stuff and sandwich makings.  I can eat and bathe and sustain myself.  Some of the hard drives are on the desk, but not all of them.  I have a burn session to do one day soon.  It’s slowly coming around between the naps.  I am functional.

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And it hasn’t affected my sense of humor.  Myka is getting back into her routine and letting me out of her line of sight.

Sitting

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The phone recording last night said that jury duty selection was still on, so I went down to the courthouse today and was told that it had been cancelled.  I remind myself that the phone message was on a Sunday and probably not very timely.  But hey, I’ve still never served on a jury, and I only need to get through the next few years to make it ironclad.

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But I have some government appointments that will keep me here this month.  So I won’t be on the road until the last week of June (well, maybe a quickie to Bryan).  I ended up not going to Bryan a week ago and went back to Austin instead, where I got to pay a visit to Leonard’s Garage on S 1st to extract a frozen bolt on the alternator mount.

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Nice to have the truck fixed.  I will be here most of the time for the next three weeks, and I won’t have to inflate tires and charge the battery.  It feels nice to get all these woes behind me (muffler, tire, alternator, headlight switch, etc.)

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I might try to record a few songs while I’m here.  I’ll have a little time to spare.  As long as I don’t get too wrapped up in the renovations.

 

East

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Went through Wahine/Sister Jane rehearsals on Thursday night for Saturday night at the Good Luck Grill, which was a joy.  In between on Friday, I discovered a frozen bolt (now a stripped head frozen bolt) on the alternator (model 7744), so it hasn’t been replaced.  Was a Mac security expert today.

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I’ll be in Brenham tonight and in Bryan tomorrow morning.  I have been rolling…

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Been very warm last couple of days, a tropical bulge ahead of a norther w/ rain.  The front is moving in, not too many miles off.

5 years

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Five years ago today, they cut me loose from the hospital after surgery.  Some anniversary…

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In Austin for a few days, at least until the show on Saturday night at the Good Luck Grill (Sister Jane and Nani Wahine).  My body is tired from the party (which was fun) and bouncing around since.  Got in a lot of much needed rest this afternoon.

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It’s been very bouncy for the last couple of weeks.  Here for a couple of days, then elsewhere.  I need to stabilize.

Post-party

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The party was enjoyable.  Lots of music, plenty of food, all went quite well.  I played until my pads blistered, though my voice persisted.  I got to play and sing with a lot of friends.  Cooked a couple of pork loins (kept half of one), mesquite marinaded, mesquite sauced.

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Running an errand for Franci before I head back, as she needs to be in three places at once today.

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Rain all over the area, but it looks like it will be clearing out today.

Transition

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Sitting in Austin, waiting for the party in Elgin this evening.  Marinated pork loins are my contribution.  Not sure if it will rain tomorrow as the forecast predicts.  But I’m ready to play music.

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Health issues seems to be the main news in the last week, and none of it particularly good.  Fortunately, I’m doing pretty well, all told.  I lost some weight being in Elgin.  I’m just tired and sore from all the baggage toting.

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I look forward to being back home next week.  I need the rest.

departure

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I’m finally departing Elgin.  This PM I’m finishing packing and loading the truck.  Tomorrow morning I’m heading east to drop off Myka and a bunch of stuff, then head to Austin, then back to Elgin for the party, then back to Brenham again next Sunday or Monday.

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I get to sit still for about three weeks while I take care of a list of things that have been waiting for me to get back.  There is also a jury duty appearance in early June.

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After that, I have a housesitting appearance in Elgin and Austin that stretches into July.  After that is unknown and too far in the future to speculate.

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The last month here has been eventful.  Parties, a new mixer board, and a bunch of other things too numerous to mention.  The food has been good, Myka has been happy, I have been comfortable, the stay profitable for my wallet.  But it’s time to move on.  I have things to do elsewhere.

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I am looking forward to spending some down time in my La-Z-Boy.

Staying busy at nothing eventful

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Not a lot to report.  The weeds are starting to overtake the wildflowers.  I’m still sitting in Elgin.

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Starting to look at Vince’s site.  That will be coming soon.

Long spring

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It has been a remarkably long spring in Texas thus far, starting early and holding quite constant for February and March, with another month to go.  A full three month spring is a rarity in Texas, and I am loving it.

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The knee is much better, though still not 100%.  I’m still taking ibuprofen, but not as often as I was.  Another week without mishap ought to see it back to normal.

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Not sure how much longer I’ll be in Elgin.  No word yet.  Coming up on five months away.

Recovering

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A few neglected items…

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While staying in Bryan, I came down with an upper respiratory infection, brought back from the hospital in Houston and passed on to me.  Hack hack.  Actually, the cough wasn’t bad, and neither was the sinus gunk that followed (usually the other way around).  The main symptom was the fever, which provided two overnight bed soakers.  But that has faded to almost non-existent.

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Also fading is the strained knee (ligaments/tendons/muscles) that caused swelling, considerable pain, and a Chester hobble (Gunsmoke).  With a few 880 mg doses of ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and make the pain bearable, I have managed to bring it back into the fading away state that can be endured in stride and not cause discomfort while lying in bed.

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So it was a less than joyful return from Bryan, but I have been managing and am now feeling much closer to my normal self again.  So I’m hanging up my “Mr. Dillon” routine and moving on with life.

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I am hoping that the light at the end of the tunnel on the return to Brenham is not a train.  Five months is a long time to be displaced.

Myka in the Bluebonnets

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I generally don’t stoop to photographing bluebonnets to avoid being in the same class of photographers who pull off on the side of the road and have their kids sit in the wildflowers for a photo op.  It’s considered rather gauche in serious photographer circles.  (Unless there is a paycheck in it.)  So this is rather tongue in cheek.

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No bluebonnets were crushed during this photo op.

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Bryan and Myka AWOL

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Well, I have spent my third night in Bryan, helping out in the aftermath of Doug’s cornea surgery.  Everything has run pretty smoothly.  Doug did have to go back down to Houston on Friday to have the protective contact lens replaced because of irritation.  But all is smooth on this end.  I have fed the critters for three days.

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However, back in Elgin, Myka has turned up missing after being let outside on Friday.  She was last seen late Friday, hanging out under the porch of Grandma’s.  So that is two nights that she has spent outside.  She was in a bad mood when I left, so I find her behavior less than surprising in hindsight.  However, she has worried those taking care of her in my absence.  I may make a run there today to see if there is something I can do to call her out of hiding.  (Assuming that she has not come to harm…)  I need to make a phone call first to see the results of the treat test that was done yesterday, to see if she showed up to eat it.

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I wil be back either today or tomorrow.  I still have business to conduct (truck registration, etc.) here in Bryan.  So I’ll be packing light if I go.  If nothing else, I’ll get an extra dose of wildflowers alog the way.  They are pretty this year, and it’s still early.

Myka’s trees

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Pictures of Myka’s favorite two trees in spring glory.  The long, low horizontal limbs are her niche.

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Spring

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It’s spring.  A lot has happened in the last two weeks, and then again, nothing has happened.  Still in Elgin, passing time watching the flowers bloom, Myka enjoying her extended vacation.  It rained yesterday, today we are having the backside of a cold front on the east coast.  Its not cold, but it’s cool and windy.  It’s a definite break from the warm spring weather we’ve been having.

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Still waiting for the house to be finished up so that I can go back to Brenham.

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Doug goes in for cornea transplant surgery tomorrow.

Yoga Hosers

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I watched the movie Yoga Hosers recently (the 2016 Depp nepotism film), and that changed my definition of yoga hoser.  Today changed it again.  Two lanes at the grocery store reserved for 15 items or less.  One lane has nine people in it, each with a few items, the other has one person wearing yoga hose with a basket holding over 80 items.  “Damned yoga hosers!” (to quote the movie).

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(See the render below.)

The Offline Drones

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(written one day before restoration of internet services and the publishing of this entry)
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The storm Monday morning was quite a blow, damaging structures, snapping trees, and generally making a mess of things. Fortunately the property here was spared the brunt, and only one cedar tree was snapped, putting a dent in the swing set. It could have been much worse, considering the force of the winds.
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I feel pretty good about how I handled the 6 day, storm-induced internet severance. (Dropping by the neighbors with the jPad for email checks doesn’t count.) There were some cursor rituals, to see if there was any magic in the microwave transponder up on the pole here. But over all, I kept my dignity. I chuckle a lot too.
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I did get reading material on Muse, getting myself oriented while the net is down. I think I see the mentality behind the process. Some InDesign, some Photoshop, some something else, GoLive maybe? I haven’t designed anything yet, but I am starting to see the tools available and what they do. Here we go again…
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Not sure what will happen in a week. Myka may be returning to Brenham. I’ll face that in a week when it happens.  (Update, looks like I’ll be heading back to Brenham around the first of the month.)
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The refurb is handling quite nicely, though it still feels a little barren. No permanent collection folders yet. Most document files get sticked over to the old one right away. It’s still my trusted library index. (And it still has QT7 on it.)
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A couple of renderings in modo.

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Alphas

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Here is a quick render from modo 10, using a TIFF alpha image (ZBrush, etc) as a displacement texture.  The refurb seems production ready.

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I’m also experimenting in Muse, starting to learn the ropes.  I’m hopeful that I will be ready to use it for production soon.

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Done

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Okay, the refurb is done.  All the apps, all the plugs, all the tidying.  It’s ready to roll as soon as I add a few folders.  It’s still not my mail machine, but that is a matter of time before I decide to move the preference folders over with the mail since 1/1/17.  But for all intents and purposes, it’s ready to start working.  I wish I was.

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Next few days are lazy days.  Get back into the routine of grazing.  Do laundry.  Start checking the mail box by the road.  Feed the fish.  Check phone messages.  Tomorrow is a heavy rain day by the forecast, so not much to do except sit tight.  I have plenty of movies to watch.

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After that, I start the learning curve, starting with Muse.  After all, the reason I purchased this refurb was for modern internet production.  It’s time to start learning how.

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Two and a half weeks before I return to Brenham.  Spring is popping out here, red buds, honey suckle, hawthorne trees are all blooming, the grass is turning green.  The wild flowers should be starting by the time I head back.

Done

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The refurb MBP1 (from which I’m typing my first entry here) is officially loaded.  That doesn’t mean it’s entirely prepped, but the software is all there on the hard drive.  I still need to do navigation config, setting preferences, moving documents over, and other things that make a computer one’s own.  But by and large, the refurb is ready for production.  Yes, there will surely be more applications to accumulate over time, but for now, the installation frenzy has been completed.

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*sigh*

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It’s been an arduous twenty days whipping the rascal into shape.  Some things I’ll miss, like QT7Pro, GoLive, and so on, but the digital world moves on, whether it’s for the best or not.  Then again, it sure is nice to have the browser not be rejected because it decrepit and ancient.

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My USB sticks got a real workout.  And I added a 32g stick to the collection, as they have dropped to under $10 (my traditional standard for buying one).  Now I have a 4g, an 8g, a 16g, and a 32g, and each is a different style.  It’s easier than using the WiFi here with file sharing.

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One issue with the WiFi is the introduction of the Amazon Fire Stick on the TV at the main house.  It has been playing havoc with the DHCP on the old dlink.  So tomorrow I’ll be installing a Linksys with a lot more capacity and power.

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Only a few more days before I take stewardship of the property for three weeks.

New month

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I just changed the strings on the Maha.  First time they’ve been blessed with fresh strings, the set removed was the store set (manufacturer supplied).

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The refurb is 80% there as a production tool.  Most of the primary tools are on board.  There is still work to be done though, to bring it up to full specs.  But I can do it at a more leisurely pace.  The focus is starting to lean toward the learning curve, and Muse is the primary study at this point.  It works much like InDesign, so part of the curve is already behind me.  But the variables for multiple formats (browsers, phones, tablets, etc.) is something I need to tackle.  Ah, virgin computer systems and the headaches they generate.

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Been eating very well.  Stephen is on a very pleasant run of Caribbean recipes with tamarind in the fore.  I can’t complain a bit.  Had fried boudin for the first time ever…

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Myka is not complaining.  She is having a great time.  Today was cool and windy and she came in shortly after noon and slept the rest of the day away.

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One more month before I head east again.

Deep in installations

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In the nut and bolt stage for almost a week.  It’s been a lot of relatively slow downloading, with much of the stuff piling up in a folder.  Mixed in with this is looking at the new features of the ones I have installed, some massive learning curves ahead.  This is going to take several more days to get everything squared away on the hard drive before I put installation brain behind me.  (This doesn’t mean that I won’t be adding software for quite some time, it just won’t be the big ticket stuff.)

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Been eating a lot of traditional meals lately, lots of bird in the mix.  Turkey dinner, chicken pot pie, etc.  Not that it’s all been traditional.  I am eating quite well.

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Sleep has been pretty erratic, too many technical details bouncing around in my head, keeping me from easily falling asleep except after a big meal.

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But the end result is that I am getting back in the digital swing with the new refurb.  It should be a lot fun to play with in a few weeks.