Thursday, December 29, 2005
Now, all I need is someone to send me some money for using them...
Check it out: http://www.painetworks.com/TNP024.html
If you want to see all of our submissions to PAI Newtorks, click here.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I sure am glad I chose XM over Sirius.
XM is all about the music while Sirius execs apparently think there are enough Howard Stern fans to keep them afloat. Sirius announced they reached the 3 million subscriber mark today. XM expects to have 6 million subscribers by the end of the year, i.e. Saturday.
I can't help thinking that Dylan is a bigger draw than Stern and will only serve to widen the gap.
Adobe Photoshop CS2 Upgrade
To install this upgrade successfully, you will need a licensed version of any version of Adobe Photoshop, on the same platform as this purchase.
I bought a copy of the Adobe Creative Suite, which included Photoshop CS, earlier this year and I registered it with Adobe at the time of installation. After visiting the Adobe website to check the requirements for the Adobe Photoshop CS2 Upgrade, I put it on my Amazon.com Wish List for Christmas. My son in Cincinnati ordered it and gave it to me on Christmas Day.
Yesterday, the day after Christmas, I sat down at my desk to install the upgrade. I typed in the serial number for my new copy of CS2 and waited for the setup program to find the already-installed copy of Photoshop CS as a prerequisite for installing the upgrade.
To my surprise, the program said it couldn't find a verified copy of Photoshop on my computer.
I re-ran the step, using the Browse feature to point it directly at the Photoshop CS subdirectory. Same result.
My wife was wrestling with a computer problem at her office and needed the phone, so I waited until this morning to call Adobe tech support to get a solution to the problem.
The pleasant young woman who took my call confirmed through Adobe's records that I had a verified, registered, legitimate copy of Adobe Creative Suite, which includes Photoshop CS.
The problem, she informed me, is that since Creative Suite includes several products: Photoshop, Go Live, Illustrator, Image Ready, etc., I could not upgrade just one of them. I had to buy the Creative Suite Upgrade ($500+).
The Photoshop CS2 Upgrade my son bought for me only works for stand-alone versions of Photoshop v5.5 and up.
I referred her to the verbiage on Adobe's own website where it says any version of Adobe Photoshop, on the same platform as this purchase.
She called up the website and confirmed that is, indeed, what it says.
How is a purchaser supposed to know that this won't work with the Creative Suite package, since there is no mention of this detail in the website description of the product and its requirements?
"Well, that would have come up in the ordering process," she said.
That's fine if you're ordering off of the Adobe website, but there is no such admonition when you order from Amazon.com. So you only get to know that if you order directly from Adobe.
"Amazon.com is not one of our authorized re-sellers," she said.
How the hell is the customer supposed to know that?
My only recourse, she said, is to see if my son had a proof of purchase and try to get a refund from Amazon.com.
Amazon.com, however, does not accept returns of opened software.
So I'm screwed.
Monday, December 26, 2005
We drove down to Cincinnati Saturday evening for Christmas with my son Steve, his wife Nicky and daughter Lisa.
Maria was official photographer and here are my two favorite shots of the weekend:
1. Lisa freaking out over being held by Grandpa and
2. Steve on the baby grand and Lisa on the embryo grand.
It was a splendid visit. Steve and Nicky are most gracious and generous when it comes to hosting and gifting and Nicky's extended family was lots of fun Saturday night.
Because we didn't have any real alternatives, we took the dogs along. Nicky's brother Rodney brought his dog Brutus along, so with Steve and Nicky's Frank and Emily and our Ruthie and Pete, it was a real dogorama.
Ruthie the Wonder Dog is getting crankier with age and tangled with Frank before we could even get from the car to the front door. Steve put Frank in luxurious time out in the master bedroom, but Ruthie continued to be unpleasant to the other dogs. We set up her kennel in the guest bedroom, complete with food and water, which we thought might put her a little more at ease. Unfortunately, Emily got too close to the kennel and Ruthie attacked her. Emily was on her back, being bitten and screaming when I rushed in and yanked Ruthie off of her. A careful examination showed no broken skin and no bleeding, but Ruthie spent much of her remaining time at Steve and Nicky's place in the slammer.
Pete, on the other hand, played his "adorable puppy" role to the hilt and had everyone fawning over him.
Friday, December 23, 2005
It will be a miracle if any work is done here today. Brandy came with her dog, for which she had permission, and her dorky husband, for which she did not. He's walking around wearing his cell phone head set.
And, of course, nothing goes simply with Brandy. The dog rolled in goose shit on the way to the car. They have to leave from here this afternoon to see family out of state.
So she called me on her way here to ask if I could make her an appointment with the dog groomer, which I did. The dog groomer rejected her in person, but on the phone gave me an appointment for him. I also found a pet store where my son works that does not offer grooming, but would let her bathe the dog in their sink.
In the meantime, Derek got Mary a darling beagle puppy, which also visited and is clad in a T-shirt. I swear I need to blog. The dog is named Emmy for Eminem the rapper. Em, at six weeks, is having trouble pooping today. Mary asked if she could keep the pup with her here.
How can I say 'no' when I've authorized the shit-covered dog? Mary is also worried the dog will contract Parvo and die like her other dog almost did. So she wants to keep an eye on this one. Em is on the floor now ripping into a cat-shaped toy. She won't walk without the leash in her mouth.
And Mary is on the phone with her fiancé telling him the dog has bad gas, but she doesn't think it hit me yet. I just sprayed Lysol as a pre-emptive move.
I haven't even seen Dan yet so I don't know if this will be a sober day.
It seems a little odd, considering the signing, addressing and mailing of the Christmas cards was a yearly ritual for my parents.
My mother kept a running list of friends and acquaintances, updating it annually with address changes and to include new people who had sent cards the year before.
When I was little, my parents and I would sit at the kitchen table one evening a week or two before Christmas. They signed the cards and addressed the envelopes and it was my job to lick and seal the envelope and affix a 3¢ stamp and a Christmas Seal to it.
The cards had varied themes - religious and secular - and I remember a few years when they favored Currier & Ives images because they thought they looked classy.
My parents never went in for long "Christmas letters" like some folks enclose with their cards.
My first wife and I did Christmas cards sporadically. I remember making photo cards for two or three years.
I guess she thought it was a good idea because she and her new husband still send cards. I just couldn't get into it. I don't know if it's because I'm cheap or because I think it's archaic or maybe I'm just lazy.
Some years, I compose an e-mail Christmas card with an appropriate photo and message and maybe a brief synopsis of the high points of my year, like a new granddaughter or Maria being named editor or me riding a zillion motorcycle miles. I do usually reply to e-mailed Christmas greetings I receive, but mostly I let it all slide by.
I admit to a faint twinge of guilt when I open the mailbox and find a fistful of Christmas cards from folks who won't get one from us. I take comfort in the thought that they toss their cards into the postal stream without any expectation of a return card - just the knowledge that they've sent greetings to friends and relatives.
So let this serve as my Christmas card to the world. It was cheap and it was easy and it didn't involve any 37¢ stamps. By the way, the first class postage rate jumps to 39¢ on Jan. 8.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Sitting in the Subaru in the Meijer parking lot while Maria & Morgan scour the store for last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers for the dogs. I've lost my capacity for courtesy toward other shoppers, so I'm hiding out in the car, blogging and listening to "Louie Louie" on the XM radio.
Sent from my Treo
Petition the Lord with prayer.
Petition the Lord with prayer.
YOU CAN NOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!
— Jim Morrison
Sorry. It's been running through my mind all day.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I say Cancerians because we are more tightly attached to our past – people, places, things and memories – than any other sign of the Zodiac. So the saying goes, once the Cancerian crab’s claw grasps something, it never lets go. That’s why we have a hard time parting with possessions and mementos that everyone else would toss out without a second thought.
So when I set my Wayback Machine for my childhood Christmases, I’m awash with memories of:
Lying under the Christmas tree, gazing up at the lights and my reflection in the blue, green, gold and red glass ball ornaments.
My dad’s fascination with the early Noma Bubble Lites.
Christmas presents like the Hopalong Cassidy cowboy outfit, the Gilbert Erector Set, the Gilbert Microscope, and the little Cub rotary printing press with moveable rubber type and later my first transistor radio – a Channel Master AM model that had an earphone that let me listen while slogging through the snow on my newspaper route.
My mother’s Christmas cookies.
My mother was a good cook within her culinary range. Being a Registered Nurse, she had a horror of parasites and disease and consequently she overcooked hamburger to the point of crunchiness. Her turkey often had the dry consistency of cardboard. But there were also some things she did supremely well. Chief among them were an absolutely spectacular version of pumpkin pie, a killer glazed ham loaf and her Christmas cookies.
I found myself hankering for cookies the other day, so I went up to the attic and rummaged around in the jumble of boxes until I found the contents of Mom’s kitchen tools drawer, which included a couple of aluminum 1950s cookie cutters. One is a Santa Claus in profile with sack of goodies slung on his back and the other is a Christmas tree. There’s a red plastic gingerbread boy cookie cutter floating around up there somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.
Maria understands and values my attachment to the past, which I find remarkable in a Gemini. But then she also had an empathy for my mother that no other woman – my first wife included – ever seemed to have. Maybe it’s because Mom was a Gemini too. Maybe it’s because she encountered my mother at a point in life where Mom was more vulnerable. At any rate, she uses a lot of my mother’s kitchen equipment and keeps Mom’s recipe file and red-and-white checked Good Housekeeping Cookbook in a place of honor.
So it was natural that Maria would be eager to whip up a batch of Christmas cookies using my mother’s cutters and what she supposed was the recipe.
I just finished the last two of them with my afternoon coffee and, for awhile at least, all is right with the world.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
My wife used to work in a dentist's office where this guy was a patient, so she knows a bit about him and was able to fill me in on his background and capacity for strangeness.
I became aware of him because his house is on one of my alternate routes to my doctor's office and various other destinations. He keeps a weathered old wooden Adirondack lawn chair in front of his house and spends a lot of his waking hours sitting in it and watching the traffic go by. For the past several years, I've gotten into the habit of looking for him. If I see him, I honk and wave and he waves back. I imagine there must be hundreds of other regular passers-by who have the same honk-and-wave relationship with Carl.
So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised this morning when I saw him standing at the roadside in 7-degree (make that about -14 Celsius for you Canadians) cold. He wore an unzipped parka with the hood over his head and his shirted chest exposed and had what I assume was a cup of coffee in his ungloved left hand while he waved with a bare right hand.
Cold enough for you, Carl?
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
We are now officially a two-dog family.
We picked up Pete - that's what we're calling him at this point - about 3 p.m. today after a brief bit of confusion over which puppy we had selected the other day. I settled the matter by calling up the picture of Pete from this blog on my Treo smartphone.
As of 10:20 p.m., the little guy is amazingly mellow and doesn't seem to have any separation anxiety over being torn from his mother and siblings.
He also seems to have passed the Ruthie test. According to plan, Maria took Pete over to her parents' house and I followed a few minutes later with Ruthie. The two went nose-to-nose and Ruthie showed no hostility. Mostly indifference after the initial sniffing.
After we brought them home, there were a couple of growling episodes when Ruthie thought Pete was getting too close to her food and water, but they were brief and non-violent.
He'd never been bathed and had some fleas, so Maria filled the kitchen sink with warm water and hunted up a bottle of puppy shampoo that she'd had since Ruthie's youth. She gave Pete a good scrubbing and after he was dry, I applied a couple of drops left over from Ruthie's monthly dose of Frontline flea and tick treatment.
Now she and Morgan are cutting up quilting fabric with Pete dozing in the corner.
It appears he may be easy to housebreak. After making a small puddle on the bathroom floor, he whizzed and crapped outside under Maria's watchful eye.
Today we pick up little Pete. But first, we had to go to the quilt store for Maria to use the 25 percent off coupon that expires today.
Then it's off to Meijer for groceries, all the while keeping a wary eye out for a loony relative who works in the dairy aisle and bends our ear with family dirty laundry to our embarrassment and the amusement of other shoppers.
And then, after taking the groceries home, we can fetch Pete.
We'll introduce him to Ruthie on neutral ground - Maria's mother's kitchen - before taking him home.
Sent from my Treo
Friday, December 16, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Meet the newest member of our household.
He's an Australian Shepherd puppy who will be 7 weeks old when we bring him home this Saturday.
He's also Maria's Christmas present. Well, the main one. There will be others.
Since Ruthie the Wonder Dog is past her 7th birthday and well into doggy middle age, Maria has been agitating for several months for a second dog. We tried out a red heeler last spring but he was too emotionally fragile and Ruthie drove him so deep into his shell we worried that anyone would ever be able to coax him back to life.
A couple of years ago, Maria noticed an Aussie at a farm she drives past everyday on her way to and from work. He seemed to enjoy herding everything in sight, especially a couple of horses that humored him even though they didn't have to.
The owners put out a sign advertising Aussie pups last year, but they were all spoken for by the time Maria stopped to inquire. She asked them to call us in time for the 2005 litter and, sure enough, a few days before Thanksgiving they called to say they had five new pups - two females/three males.
We checked them out and settled on this little guy.
Then we spent the next several weeks trying to pick a name.
At this point, "Pete" is the front-runner, but I'm not crazy about it.
A couple of years ago when my son Sean brought his fiancee Ruth for a Christmas visit, he seemed peeved that our dog was also named Ruthie. Sorry. We had the dog long before he met the young lady who is now his wife.
So I toyed with the idea of naming the new dog "Sean," just to tweak him up, but the joke didn't seem funny enough to risk bad feelings. Besides, the pup doesn't look like a Sean. I don't know what name he looks like.
What would you name him?
Monday, December 12, 2005
In my haste to get photos of the Newfoundland dogs and their owners posted to our photo sales site last week, I forgot to back up the originals and made irreversible changes to them as I prepped them for the specific needs of the site.
Mostly, that meant downsizing them from the original 300 dpi to a more manageable 200 dpi. When you make that kind of change, in the instant that you click on "save," you throw away a huge volume of image information that you can never get back.
And, to make matters worse, I didn't realize my blunder until after I'd put the CompactFlash card back into my camera and formatted it.
My stomach did a slow roll when I realized I had destroyed irreplaceable images, several of which could be stock photo money-makers.
Then I remembered the Lexar Media Image Rescue software that came with one of my CompactFlash cards. I was pretty sure I'd installed it on my computer, but couldn't find an icon for it. The "Find" program tracked it down on my C: drive and a few minutes later I was delighted to discover I had retrieved all of the images, even though the card had been formatted.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sharing a tidbit of information:
Yahoo is now using something called "Web Beacons" to track Yahoo Group users around the net and see what you're doing and where you are going (similar to cookies). Yahoo is recording every website and every group you visit.
Take a look at their updated privacy statement:
About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says web beacons. Click on the phrase web beacons. That will bring you to a paragraph
entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network." In this section you'll see a little "click here to opt out" link that will let you "opt-out" of their new method of
snooping. Once you have clicked that link, you are exempted. Notice the "Success" message on the top of the next page. Be careful because on that page there is a "Cancel Opt-out" button that, if clicked, will undo the opt-out.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Today was Newfie day at our favorite Christmas tree farm - the day a Newfoundland club brings their big dogs out to haul fresh-cut trees in from the fields on sleds and carts. There were about a dozen of the dogs and it looked like they were having more fun than the people were.