Saturday, May 24, 2008

Boo. Freaking. Hoo.

Russian Communist Party members condemned the new "Indiana Jones" film . . . as crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history and called for it to be banned from Russian screens.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nope, No Fire Here

For those who may have heard that half of California is up in flames... the nearest fire is over 30 miles from me, and the wind is blowing the other way, so no chance that one's going to get me.

So far, 3000 acres have burned, and they have it only 15 percent contained. Several homes have been lost--but no injuries have been reported.

Good friends Caro and Suzanne are nowhere near the path of the fire, for those who might be wondering. To get to them, it would have to travel several more miles, take a sharp turn to the west, and jump across at least one major highway. So I think they'll be fine. At least, this time....

Earlier this evening I was at a dinner. The man sitting next to me took a phone call from his elderly mother, who lives 7 miles from where the fire began--upwind, thank heaven. She wanted to clear some brush around the house--but he had to admonish her not to try to start up the chainsaw on her own. In fact, he left the dinner early so he could go wrestle the chainsaw out of her hands.

Ah... life in rural America. Nothing quite like it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Geekery Wins Out Every Time.

I'm a geek. I admit it. And I like gadgets.

Which is why it's a bit surprising that I bought my very first Palm Pilot (gasp) yesterday.

What finally pushed me over the edge?

Well... of all things, it was the search for an e-book reading device.

Just a few months ago I discovered that my local public library is plugged into a network of regional libraries with the capability of "checking out" e-books. For a while there, I had fun downloading and reading e-books on my laptop, lounging around in my bedroom. I can check out 8 books at a time, and they expire after 2 weeks, much like regular library books.

Then I got sick of schlepping the laptop around the house; plus, it gets HOT, so I kind of gave it up.

I did some research, and finally figured out my best (and cheapest!) bet for a reader would be a Palm Pilot Z22. It was in stock at the local Great Big Electronics Superstore, so I brought one home.

Then I found out that only one of the two e-book download formats available through the library would work--and that was, of course, the one with far fewer titles than the Adobe PDF versions. Supposedly, the latest (and allegedly greatest) version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (8.0) does not support transferring e-books to a Palm. Why, in heaven's name, I have no idea.

I got out my big shovel and after a whole lot of digging, found out that version 6.0 WILL support transferring to the Palm. The only catch is, you can no longer download version 6.0.

Here is where my famous pack-rat tendencies come in handy. I have gazillions of old files stashed on my computer... and among them, in my software download directory, is the install file for 6.0.

Since you can't run more than one version of Acrobat Reader at once... I uninstalled version 8.0, and then installed 6.0. Then I ordered it not to look for automatic updates.

And now I have two books in PDF format stashed on the Palm, as well as three in the Mobipocket Reader format. I'm partway through reading one book already. My only gripe is that the Adobe Reader on the Palm does not allow you to choose your screen colors so I am stuck with black text on a white background. In the other reader, I've got palest gray text on a black background, which is very easy to read and easy on the eyes.

And now, when I go traveling, I won't have to lug actual physical books with me. Yee haw!

Meanwhile... I have, of course, uploaded a Moody Blues concert photo into the Palm to serve as my "wallpaper." You knew I would. Admit it.

I have also figured out that I can actually make notes on the Palm much faster tapping the little on-screen keyboard than I can trying to use the Graffiti handwriting program. It's not bad but it's just a little fussier than I like, so it's the keyboard.

I also discovered it's really, really easy to misplace a black stylus when you set it down on your black computer keyboard, just above the function keys... so my stylus now sports two bands of magenta nail polish, and a white stripe made from wrapping a tiny sliver cut off the edge of a label. Now I can see the darn thing a lot easier.

It's been an expensive month so far, because only a week ago I brought home a new faux-pod to play with. The week before that, it was a new portable hard drive because traveling or not, the work never stops.

They talk about boys and their toys. What about girls and their toys??

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bungle In The Jungle-Updated

Question: What's it like living with a sexually confused (and frustrated) gecko?

Answer: You never know what you're going to get when you put your hand into his cage....

Poor Geico. He's not getting any, and it's highly unlikely he ever WILL get any, because my house is already too crowded with five cages, and I just don't have what it takes to add babies to the mix; even if I did raise them only to sell. They have to be housed in the meantime. Besides... my girls still are not big enough, by a long shot, to breed.

A few months back Geico got aggressive, but the best guess at the time was a territorial dispute. Back then, he bit me a couple of times, hard enough to actually draw blood.

In the last couple of weeks, he has shown an inordinate interest in my hand--complete with tiny little squeaking noises. The first time he started squeaking while I was holding him, he very gently latched onto the side of my finger.

Uh oh.

I sprayed him in the face to try to get him to let go, and he just looked at me as if to say, what do you think you're doing, I'm trying to get busy here and you're spraying me with water! So now, if he lets out the slightest little squeak, he doesn't get anywhere near my hand. I've explained to him over and over that I don't date outside my species, but he persists in pretending not to understand English.

This morning, because it's supposed to be very hot today, I went to mist all the cages an extra time. Geico was up and around, way past his bedtime (at 11 o'clock in the morning, no less), front feet in his food dish--and the squeaking started the moment I unzipped his cage.

Very, very confused. The poor boy.

Update: At 2:15 in the afternoon I did nothing more than walk past his cage--and he poked his head out of his hidey-hole, a glint in his eye, and started across the cage toward me.

I told him to go back to bed.

I wonder if they make teeth-proof girl gecko blow-up dolls??

Friday, May 9, 2008

Nice "Solution."

Some time back I blogged about a person of my acquaintance who used to send me every urban legend that made the rounds of the in-boxes. After numerous return e-mail spankings admonishing the person to for cryin' out loud CHECK on things before "sending this to everyone you know" I was informed I am now off the list, meaning the spamming would go on; I just would not receive it anymore. Thanks... I think.

Fast forward to today. This person is a musician, and I thought the Station Inn audio files might be interesting. So I sent off a message, explaining what the gig was all about, along with links to the files.

The e-mail bounced, with the message that this user is not accepting mail from my address.

So, because I am a compassionate CrankyBeach and wanted this person to have the opportunity to hear some great music, I re-sent it from another address, and it hasn't bounced yet.

What a total moron.

Meanwhile... if any of my faithful readers would like to hear the entire gig (and it's well worth it), links to the files are posted below. You want to RIGHT click on them and save the target/file on your computer. (Mac users, you're on your own.) Thanks to Bob in Texas, whose audio it is. I recorded it myself, but the quality of his recording is better, especially on the chit-chat parts, which are just as much fun to listen to as the music. In my not so humble opinion.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And for good measure... a photo of Justin Hayward singing "Nights in White Satin" for the how-many-bazillionth time since 1967, and still pouring just as much passion into it as he did 40 years ago. Amazing.

And let's not forget his sidekick... the fabulous Norda Mullen!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Share The Laughs!

No, I don't actually have permission to reproduce this here... but I rather doubt its author would mind. The author is someone known only as "Leslee." This appeared on a members-only board, and the discussion concerned Justin Hayward's desire to keep his private life private, and the fact that he has moved several times in the last few years.

Do swallow your beverage before reading further.

I'm here to report that Justin and Marie are well and good. Awhile back, as I was gazing through their kitchen window, Justin spotted me. I put my arms out, and said, "I'm an elm!" in the hopes he would mistake me for the landscaping. The Haywards closed the curtains after that, and moved in a couple days.

It took a week before I stalked out the new place. It had a chimney, so I slid down and watched when they weren't looking. They were fine here, too. Winter came around, and I'd occasionally shriek and go, "Oooo!" when they would light a fire. That was when Justin wrote, "Haunted." Fortunately for me, they moved before December rolled around.

I hid in the plumbing of their next flat. Yes, they were getting along famously here, too. I can report that the rumors that Justin does those foul human things that the rest of us do are totally untrue. In four months of hiding in the toilet, not a single time did anybody use it.

At another place, I hid under a coffee table. I put a skirt around the bottom so they couldn't see me, I sawed a hole in the top, and I put a hollowed-out TV over the hole so I could look through at them. I figured they would think I was a talking head. Clever, huh? Marie walked in, and I started my first political analysis. She ran for Justin, and they moved out in less than an hour.

Another place, I came in through the bathroom window protected by a silver spoon. Sunday was on the phone to Monday, Tuesday was on the phone to me. The little dog laughed to see such fun, and the dish ran away with the spoon. Eek! The Haywards were getting along swimmingly, though.

The list goes on and on. I'm not sure why they keep moving, but yes, they are well.

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