Crazy Dogs Do Crazy Things

My mother had some kind of reaction to the chemotherapy and has been incoherent for the last sevveral days, and had trouble breathing Wednesday night and has been moved to the ICU. Otherwise, nothing new to report. So It thought I'd focus instead on something related to her, but not as somber.

While she's in the hospital, I am caring for her chihuahua. My mother wanted a pert for a long time to helpkeep her from being depressed, and had a recommendation from her doctor for one, but she probably shouldn't have gotten a dog. Even before the leukemia onset, her health fluctuated a lot and she is unable to keep any kind of schedule, not even a vague "daily" schedule. A cat would have been easier to take care of, Another kind of dog would have been easier to train.

But she has a chihuahua. A chihuahua with separation anxiety. She's been staring at the front door quite a bit, expecting my mom to come walking back through it any minute. And she goes in my mom's bedroom periodically to see if my mom is hiding under the blankets. Since the dog was spayed a few days before the emergency, she probably thinks this is all part of some kind of deliberate torture. She's been pretty calm lately, as long as I keep her in my lap and stay still. But man, if I take the trash out, she screams like she's being beaten or something. First time we went to see my mother in the hospital, we took the dog with us, with the idea that one person would stay outside with the dog while the other went in. Second time, though, my sister insisted we had to leave the dog at home, alone. First time ever.

No furniture or other items were chewed, but she seemed pretty hoarse when I got back.

Of course, when the dog is in a good mood, that's not necessarily a good thing. As a chihuahua, she's bossy. What she likes to do for hours on end is play. And play, to her, means biting your sweet, sweet flesh and tearing at your clothes, although occasionaly she will tear a toy instead, as long as you are holding it, and can occasionally "accidentally" bite your hand. She's not mad at you or snappy, she just thinks it's fun. I call her a "hand vampire".

Oh, Great.

After verifying that the computer was working after The Ferocious Microsoft Incident, I spilled ice tea all over it. I know some got in the vents, because I turned it upside down to shake liquid out. Only a little drained out, so maybe it wasn't much, but I have it unplugged and upside down right now. Later, if we have some alcohol, I'll think about taking it apart to wipe it down, but I don't really have the tools to do this right.

And I'll have to skip using the desktop for several days. Blech.

Stupid Computer Stuff Detected

So, I've been having a problem with the new desktop computer recently. Five days or so ago, Microsoft pushed an update my way. A day or two later, I had incidents where the computer would hang for anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, perhaps forever, but I would force a reboot... and usually get the same problem within about an hour. It was a very weird behavior: I could move the mouse cursor, and when I moved it over to the upper right, the charms would (usually) pop up, but slowly. But whatever I was doing at the time was locked up pretty tight, and I couldn't close that program or start any new ones. Not even the power button control. Ctrl-Alt-Del seemed to have no effect, or maybe after five minutes it would get me to the screen where I could select the task manager, but that would never open.

First thought was that Chrome was doing some bullshit. But then I had the problem on reboot before I even touched Chrome.

Second thought: since I installed Dropbox close to the same time, I thought it might be that. Exited Dropbox after a reboot. Few minutes later, system was hung again.

After one reboot, I thought about opening task manager right away and leaving it open so I could see what was happening. Guess what? Disk activity went to 100%, even though there was only a little CPU activity. Searching for that revealed that this is a frequent problem with Windows 8/8.1 and Microsoft pretends not to know about it. Just about every Tom, Dick and Harry has his "solution", but since other people report those solutions didn't work, it didn't really look like a "solved" problem to me. Still, I tried a couple things: disabled VM paging, turned off live tiles. No real result.

But one guy's longish solution mentioned a good strategy, at least: open Resource Monitor and find the specific thing that's hogging the disk. Of course, I had to open this before the problem began, just like task manager, because there was no way it was going to open after the problem began. I did not get the same result he did: part of the time, the resource hog was "system" -- good luck fixing that -- but Soluto was also showing up quite frequently. This was installed on my computer by the manufacturer and is something I never use, so I disabled the service... and so far, problem appears to be solved. Also disabled Dropbox on start up, just in case.

My 1 Theory: the MS fix I downloaded specifically mentioned correcting a problem with update requests being pushed on the stack. Unfortunately, this has hosed every app that does automatic updates, including Soluto. In my case, I didn't want that program in the first place, so disabling it was no big deal. But I pity the people who have had their systems effectively bricked because a program they use regularly is no longer compatible.


Not California's Gold

One thing I've been wondering lately: who are the equivalents of Huell Howser for other states or regions?

For my friends in other states who aren't completely aware: the late Huell Howser was a California TV personality who made several TV series for the California PBS stations, the most famous of which was California's Gold, in which he visited any place in California he thought was precious, beautiful, or of historical interest. He had a couple other shows as well: Visiting, which seems to concentrate more on people and businesses, California's Parks, California Missions, Road Trip, etc. Obviously, almost everything was about California, since I think he financed almost all his travel himself, although he did a couple shows on Alaska, Las Vegas, and Moscow (Russia.) Many, but not all, of his shows have been digitized and put online by Chapman University as part of the Huell Howser memorial archives.

There's one other California-centric PBS show which is sort of like Huell Howser's shows: Rob on the Road. He may be local to KVIE/KQED only. But the stories tend to be much shorter and to the point, and aren't quite the same as Huell's.

But what I've been wondering is: if I wanted a wealth of information about roadside attractions, points of interest, tiny bits of local history, and the like for another state or a region, via a TV show similar to the Huell Howser shows, where would I look? Surely, there ought to be local travel shows for New England, or Massachusetts at the very least, since WGBH seems to produce nationally-distributed PBS shows. Some other stations might produce regional-interest travel/history shows as well.

Minimal Who

I have two cousins who, not long ago, got into the new Doctor Who, and then discovered that the show had been going on for a a few more years than they thought, and kind of balked at the huge backlog of stuff to watch. But obviously, you don’t need to watch every single episode, because not all of them were great, and even the good ones are probably too numerous for anyone except a die-hard fan to slog through.

So, I pared it down to just the essential stuff: enough of each Doctor to give a taste of what the past incarnations were like, focusing on episodes that fill in important details of the “mythology”.

And I published it on Facebook. Big mistake, as I discovered when I tried to track it down again for another person. Facebook is terrible for finding specific stuff you or a friend wrote. I eventually found it, though, and edited it a bit, and I’m finally republishing it here, so that I won’t lose it again.

First Doctor: An Unearthly Child (4 episodes) and The Daleks (7 episodes.) Optionally, The Dalek invasion of Earth (6 episodes.)

Second Doctor: Just the last one, “The War Games” (10 episodes.)

Third Doctor: Spearhead from Space (4 episodes) and Terror of the Autons (4 episodes).

Fourth Doctor: Genesis of the Daleks (6 episodes), The Deadly Assassin (4 episodes), The Invasion of Time (6 episodes), and The Keeper of Traken (4 episodes). Optionally, The Pirate Planet (4 episodes) because it was written by Douglas Adams, and Logopolis (4 episodes).

Fifth Doctor: Castrovalva (4 episodes), The Five Doctors (90 minute special), and Resurrection of the Daleks (2 episodes).

Sixth Doctor: The Trial of a Time Lord (10 episodes).

Seventh Doctor: Time and the Rani (4 episodes) and Remembrance of the Daleks (4 episodes).

Eighth Doctor: It’s just one two-hour movie, but not very good. Skip it, unless you feel up to it.

Written with StackEdit.


Parents of Adult Children

Parents of adult children, attention!

If your adult child expresses a feeling of not really having accomplished much and a sense of no real direction to go once you, the parent, have passed on, and perhaps even a lack of connection to the world at large, the correct response would be something like:

"We all go through moments of doubt, but I want you to know that, even if you don't feel you've offered anything to the world because you haven't done anything big, really, you *have* made an impact. Everyone makes an impact on the world at large, in small ways if not in big ways. Everyone will be missed."

What you, o adult parent, should not say is something like:

"Grow up! This just proves you are immature!"

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You Made Your Own Bed

I'm a pretty anti-commercial guy. Not in the sense that I boycott mass-products products and make all my own clothing out of hemp. But I hate being sold to. I hate intrusive ads.

On the World Wide Web, I've used ad-block programs in the past, but for a couple years I haven't. My eyes just automatically move away from the ads. It's usually only the pop-ups and the like that really annoy me, and I avoid sites that use those regularly. (For example, Upworthy is getting really popular for sharing, but I avoid them because they want you to sign some petition or some other BS related to the article you haven't even read yet. Jackasses.)

There's this one forum I visit daily that is hosted on ProBoards. Love the forum, don't mind the forum software, but the banner ads frequently slow down page loads or even cause the browser to hang. My anti-virus software -- I've tried three or four of the front-runners -- reports that it blocked malware in a ProBoards ad about once a month. Today, the site kept locking up repeatedly, and I would have to close the browser or the tab to do anything else.

So, I installed AdBlock Plus. The site now loads superfast and has none of the previous problems. And, I get to see this in place of the banner ad:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
Please consider supporting this website by disabling your ad-blocker.
This website does not use audio ads, popups, or other annoyances. Thank you!

The irony being, of course, that it was their annoyances that made me install an ad blocker. You guys had your chance...


So, my mom gave me a couple simple presents, like a neck pillow that turns into a pillow for your tablet. But also, an R2D2 candy dispenser than makes R2D2 sounds.

So the fun part of my birthday was watching her dog's reaction to the robot noises. Of course, even before I unwrapped the presents, she thought *all* the presents were hers and wanted to play with them all, but the robot turned out to be the most fun.

I should probably torment the dog again and try to get video of her reactions.

"I Met Her on the Live Journal!"

"I have been BLOGGING!"

Looks like I've finally got internet on the new computer. I had a Linksys USB wireless adapter, which worked on the other computer back when I was staying with the Vampyrecat/Vajra family. But it wasn't working on this computer. It would connect just long enough to download half an update of something, then die. Chrome was not working. I bought a new USB wireless adapter and now it's working.

I just happened to have the Linksys USB because the same thing happened before: I had a D-Link USB wireless adapter that worked fine on my laptop, then a couple years later, I tried to use it with the previous computer and it wouldn't work. I'm beginning to think that USB wireless adapters are designed to fail every four or five years.

I'm glad this is working, because extensive writing on the Nexus 7 is *hard*. I didn't much like blogging on it, although quick little Facetybook comments weren't too bad. Tablets are great, but they are very much a popcorn media machine and not a meat-and-potatoes writing tool.

Although just writing this post on the new computer tells me: this keyboard SUCKS.

Plans Get Tied in a Knot

The update from when my plans went awry: I went digging through a bunch of boxes and found a USB wireless adapter, which I figured would let me connect the new computer to the network without having to move it next to the old computer and make that space all crowded and stuff.

Oh, wait. You have to be connected to the internet to download the wireless router drivers so that you can connect to the internet.

I went to the old computer, downloaded the Vista drivers for the adapter (most recent version Linksys had on their website,) and put it on the USB drive. Nope, Windows 8 doesn't even recognize that .sys file as being a driver. Hell, it was pretty hard to figure out just how to manually add drivers instead of relying on it checking the non-existent internet.

So I went to the Tom's Hardware website or whatever it's called, downloaded the program that supposedly will install drivers for that wireless adapter... oh, it doesn't actually include the drivers, either; it wants to connect to the internet. Useless piece of shit.

So I caved in and moved the new computer. Downloaded the driver for the wireless and a couple other things I needed to install, let it do its update. At one point, Windows told me it had an update it wanted to install, I told it "I will do it later". Thirty minutes later, Windows says "fuck you, I'm doing it RITE NOW, IYKWIM."

Eventually, I moved the computer back to the less-crowded location, connected it to the wireless network, and now I'm finishing setting it up. I figure I won't actually move it back until (a) I'm sure all the stuff I want on the old computer is copied over, since it's going in storage; and, (2) the cables and thumb drives I ordered arrive, so I can set it up properly and have a recovery thumb drive ready.