Saturday, October 12, 2013

This and that

1.  Spider season

Seems like an invasion, sometimes. They're everywhere, they're everywhere!

A couple of years ago I wrote a little poem about spiders:

They Must Hate Us

They must hate us, the spiders,
and see us as monsters.
each morning their intricate night spun webs
shimmer in sunlight
and shiver in the faintest breath of wind
until demolished --
we take a broom to their masterpieces
we cringe with disgust when we feel
that light filament on our arms,
our necks, our faces
and grasp at it in a mad frenzy
the spiders bide their time as the monsters
complete their madcap dance
and spin their webs again

And who can really look with disgust at those jewel-like creations? Especially when they do is such a service by catching pesky insects.

2.  You can usually count on YouTube to be there when you need them the most.

The other day I watched The Bourne Identity on TV. For some mysterious reason my PVR did not record the last five minutes of the movie.

Sure, everything had been solved and Jason Bourne was safe. But did he reunite with the woman who helped him?

First chance I had, I googled "last five minutes of The Bourne Identity."

And there it was, on YouTube. Perfect.
And a perfect ending, as shown below.

[Now I'll have to watch the other shows in the series.]


3.  Seen while driving--

How many times does waiting for the green light bring a smile to your face?

We were driving down a busy road when stopped by yet another red light. In the turning lane ahead of us, a very yellow pickup truck sported a sign on the tailgate in big dark letters -– Tonka.

My husband and I looked at each other. When did Tonka [so well known for their toys] start making big trucks?

And then we "got" it. The truck owner painted the truck the exact shade of yellow so well known as belonging to those toy trucks, and transferred a big Tonka decal onto the tailgate.

Cute. Had to smile.

And to top it all off, the owner had a yellow rubber duck at the top of the aerial.

It was one of these – I have a picture of four because they're so darn cute.

Double cute. Double smiles.

Thank you, driver. Made our day.

4.  We were sitting around talking, husband, son and I. Topic of conversation – Roxie, son's Shih Tzu.

When they take her for a walk, they complain that every time they pay attention to or pet another dog, Roxy growls, sometimes barks. It's like at times they can't take her out in public.

Well what do you think, I said. Take me out, go chat up and pet another woman, I would for sure growl, and bark. I'd probably even take a bite out of someone.

Guys can be so dense sometimes.

Right Roxie?


Sunday, September 01, 2013

Hell and devils

So, the teens were talking about Hell Night, a night before school starts where I gather all sorts of, well, hellish activities take place.

Speaking of that fiery place, I say hell hath no fury like a woman whose computer has been compromised by devils.

It all started a few days ago when I updated one of my program. I often get the "you need to update X" message. And it usually works fine – the program is updated, life goes on...

The last program I updated came with the usual message – quick installation [recommended] or custom. I chose recommended. Hey I trust these people. But, as there often is, a certain program bundle comes along with it unless you tick the box that you don't want it. The little box appeared for about three seconds. The program began downloading. Whether I wanted them or not, I was getting those.

All was fine, and I almost forgot about the extras, until I clicked my browser and found that an unknown search engine, which I will call Devil Search, was now in charge.

Not only that, but the other two browsers I commonly use were also hijacked by Devil Search.

Now it may be a perfectly innocent search engine, it may work well, it may work better than my other one. But the very fact that I didn't invite Devil Search onto my computer made me slightly angry.

I hope Roxie the dog was closing her ears when I let loose with some unwholesome vocabulary. It wasn't pretty, and I'm glad no one else was around to hear.

Now the wonderful thing about the Internet is that you can go to Google search and ask anything and the answer is there. So I typed in, "waaah-- how do I get rid of Devil Search?"

And the answers were there, dozens of them.

Naturally it wasn't as easy as uninstalling Devil Search, because along with the Devil came about five of his imps. They had interesting names, but I found the easiest way to find them all was to look for anything downloaded on that day and uninstalling it.

Then I had to go to each browser, disable the add-ons that were added, find my preferred page and make it my homepage again.

This took to nearly two evenings, because once devils and imps try to play with my computer, I do not allow any lingering cookie crumbs to litter the chambers. I deleted every last one and then had to put back the ones I needed.

I am grateful for all the people who advise know-nothings like me how to fix what's wrong and get rid of the evil devils. And I learned to always use the custom installation. That way you see a list of devils and imps you can unselect.

With everything fixed, I sat at my computer the next evening prepared to actually do something.

And then Hell Night began. Lightning, thunder, gale force winds, buckets of rain, and THE POWER WENT OUT. I have often heard the words plunged into darkness, and now I know exactly what they mean.

My office was black. And I mean black. Words Roxie had heard the night before, and some she hadn't, fell around her ears.

I waited for the power to come back on – sometimes the outage lasts only a moment. No such luck. How long, I wondered does it take for someone's eyes to get used to the dark. Surely at some point I would see shapes of things so I knew where they were. I moved away from my desk but didn't want to go too far because I COULDN'T SEE WHERE I WAS OR WHERE I WAS GOING.

I started a countdown. 99-98-97-etc. sure that when I reached 0 the lights would magically turn on. It didn't happen. My eyes were not getting used to the dark. I have a flashlight on the desk, but couldn't locate it. I found my dumb phone, but couldn't tell if it was backwards,  forwards, up or down, and I couldn't find the on button. I thought about doing another countdown, then realized that's what you do when you're getting anesthetized. Yeah, sure. I'd go to sleep.


[It sucks that we're so dependent on power. I want a generator.]

My daughter-in-law came home about fifteen minutes [it seems like hours] later, and we found the flashlight, candles, lanterns.

The Hydro company promised us the power would be restored at 1 AM.

Well, they lied. The power came on at 4 AM, all lights blazing. You'd think we would've had the foresight to turn off the lights before we went to sleep. My husband had to go through the house and turn them all off. He also had to go outside and make sure the septic tank pump was working again.

Sitting in the dark is better than coping with devils of any type.


I now have no doubts about the saying "bad things come in threes."

Two days after the power failure I turned on my computer and my monitor grunted, groaned and the screen remained black. I heard the little song that Windows plays when it comes on, but the screen stayed black.

We followed the usual troubleshooting format as outlined in the instruction manual. Nothing happened.

Was this some kind of devil's revenge for having purged my computer of his handiwork? Was this maybe revenge of the divine sort for having used some foul and, let's face it, abusive language?

Well, I believe it was neither. There had been hints and warnings that the monitor was about to take its swan song. The power failure probably clinched it.

So I was without a computer for another day. Another LONG day.

This morning I got another monitor. Bigger than my last, maybe not better, as the price came down hugely, but as the salesman admitted, no electronics are made to last long.

I guess that's why they're all so cheap right now.

Yeah, I know they're obsolete the moment you buy them.

So, I'll have a few more good years with this new one, and find a gentle resting place for the old one that expired.

Thus I end this very long message on a somber note. And live with the hope that they [whoever they are, the bums] who said bad things come in threes were correct.

I can't handle, and neither can Roxie's ears, any more computer-related trauma.

– Cat

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Musical interlude -- Allan Taylor

Folksinger Allan Taylor was born in Brighton, England, in 1945. His career has spanned 47 years, and has taken him from playing clubs in London, the United States, and Europe, to recording in New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.


Love his music!


Monday, July 01, 2013


Happy Canada Day!

Molson beer -- truly Canadian

--Cat --  proud and happy to be Canadian.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My brief flirtation with a smart ...

For years I've been carrying around and using what has now become a 'dumb' phone. All I've ever done with it is make calls/receive calls. It's small, it fits nicely into the palm of my hand, and has a voice activation feature so I don't have to dial numbers on the tiny keyboard. I can take pictures with it and email them. I can text and receive texts [mostly from my provider urging me to upgrade], but don't enjoy the procedure.

My husband and I were on a reasonable phone plan, and after we finished with the contract we  continued on a month-to-month basis.

My kids, my kids' friends, my grandchildren, my friends' grandchildren, my relatives, my neighbors, everyone in town, everyone in the world it seems now uses a 'smart' phone.

A smart phone does everything a dumb phone can do, plus a million things more. These 'things', called apps [applications] congregate all over the screen and I'm sure when you're not looking they multiply, procreate, regurgitate [well not quite, but somehow the word fits].

I'm not knocking the handiness and multiuse functions of this device. I mean, you can tell exactly how many feet you are above sea level. What the weather is like anywhere in the world at any given moment. Who starred in what movie and sang what song in what year. Important stuff like that. Well, I'm sure it's settled just as many arguments as it's begun.

And of course the popularity of these devices is staggering. People of all ages walk through a mall texting their friends, family, husbands/wives, bosses/employees. When a disaster or a fight or an argument occurs one thousand videos will capture the moment for posterity to be shown on YouTube, Facebook, twitter, wherever.

So, we were passing a phone store. Maybe, I thought, it was time to finally upgrade. I admit I was dazzled when shown all the different things I'd be able to do with a smart phone. I picked one out, got our plan changed, signed a new contract for three years, and went home to set everything up.

I should've known when I saw the instruction booklet. It was 1 inch tall by 4 inches wide and had the tiniest print I had ever seen. [Yes, an instruction manual is available over the Internet. A good size, too. I could print out all sixty or so pages if I felt like, or sit at my computer and work on it there.]

I should've known when some of the apps began to replicate themselves and I could find no instructions for stopping this. I should have known when I typed a contact in wrong and could find no instructions for deleting it. I should've known I would never use a thousand apps, because all I really wanted to do was make calls and receive them.

So we returned to the store, returned the smart phone and all the paraphernalia it came with, including the inch-high instruction manual. Everything was refunded, the contract was nullified, it was as if I had never even gone there. My weekend nightmare was over.

I was overjoyed to have my precious dumb phone reinstated in all its glory.

-- Cat [forever dumb, but happy]

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy birthday Willie Nelson!

Happy 80th birthday!

Thanks for all the great music throughout the years.

1962 - a medley of songs, at the Grand Ole Opry 

2012 - Just Breathe with his son Lukas Nelson


Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Word

The acronym YOLO, You Only Live Once, has become an annoying catchphrase for young people indulging in reckless, tasteless, or immoral behavior.

Well, yes, the meaning is literally true. [Unless you're James Bond, in which case the word would be YOLT.]

I recently heard a new acronym – YOYO, You're Only Young Once, which is basically  another way of saying YOLO.

I think it's even better when spoken to those young persons whose incessant YOLOs have become excuses for everything they do.

As the young ones, who may be anywhere from 18 to 48, pack their things and head out into the real world, the parent cheerfully calls YOYO – You're on Your Own!

– Cat

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I thought I was past . . .

watching movies about aliens invading earth.

I believed it was a phase I had gone through, similar to watching movies about vampires, zombies, werebeings, evil puppets, evil dolls, monkeys who talked, fellows named Michael, Jason, and Freddie, men dressed in black, and my favorite–the original Star Trek.

Over the years I enjoyed watching all these types of shows–including cataclysmic end-of-the-world stories.

Then I simply lost interest in them. Maybe, I thought, you need a younger imagination to get caught up in something that was so out there. Maybe I had lost the capacity to believe in the unbelievable.

The other night we inadvertently started watching Cowboys & Aliens. Instead of watching just two minutes, then laughing and switching channels, we watched, and watched. Okay, so I was caught up in the story. A good classic Western with a twist. With producers that included the names Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg, and stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford putting on serious faces [not playing for camp as I originally thought], how could you go wrong?

After watching alien fighting ships blast a typical Western town and snatch up some of the townspeople, I had to see what these scumbag creatures looked like and how these people from 1873 were going to save the world [and themselves].

So, there for a little while I was able to believe in the story. It was well made and had a good ending.

Here's a trailer for Cowboys & Aliens

I'm sure I heard the title of this movie mentioned a year ago when it first came out. And I must've laughed at the absurdity of it.

I need to wake up that sleeping imagination.