Migrating from XP to OSX

Having recently bought a Mac Powerbook Pro, I had to come to grips with using a new operating system. I have used Windows XP since it was a beta in 2001. This being the end of summer in 2009, you could say that I’m a tad set in my ways when it comes to my computing tasks.

The original Macintosh
The original Macintosh

The Mac Powerbook Pro was so enticing a piece of hardware though, that I was willing to look at Mac OSX. I was no stranger to Macs having used them since my roommate bought an original Macintosh back before time began. Though at the time I liked my Tandy 1000 better, the Mac was pretty darn cool too.

Still, having one around and using one as my primary mobile computing platform were two different issues. I’m a working consultant, so I need my laptop to work – period. I also need to not be trying to figure out how to use my computer while charging my client by the hour. That’s just bad form. (more…)

Annie and the Shower Trash

There is a large kitchen sized trash can in our bathroom. It’s not that we have large trash-can needs in our bathroom – far from it. What we have is a trash security problem.

Many years ago we bought a very nice stainless steel trash can for the kitchen. This wonderful container cost over $100, and has a spring-loaded latching lid. In order to open it, you push down on the top which then pops up under its own power. When you close it, it latches closed. It is an engineering work of art that serves a necessary purpose in our house. (more…)

Why I Bought a Mac

Apple Macbook Pro
Apple Macbook Pro

I hate laptops. In fact I have a statement that I repeat whenever anyone asks me to recommend a laptop:

“All laptops suck – buy what you like”

The purists will note that we haven’t seen a laptop in the market for over 10 years. Laptops were huge beastly things that harken back to the days of floppy disks and orange plasma screens. What we’re talking about of course, are notebook computers. The word laptop just rolls of the tongue better than notebook does, so I, like most people, will continue to misuse the word. Besides, I use it on my lap all the time. Thanks, I feel better.

At any rate, I found myself recently needing a laptop because my HP widescreen laptop blew a hard drive and developed an LCD problem that I couldn’t live with. I fixed it up as best as I could, and donated it to my youngest daughter who now uses it exclusively for important tasks like surfing Webkinz.com. (more…)

Annie and the Mashed Potatos

Would you trust this face?
Would you trust this face?

Today, as usual, I spent some time at my local  Starbucks to enjoy a tripple espresso con-panna and to write. While I enjoy writing at home, the distractions are many. Between children, dogs and the ubiquitous toys of my many hobbies, I simply cannot focus on what I’m writing long enough to finish a complete thought. Why as I was trying to write the last sentence my eight year old walked in to tell me about the latest development in her Wii game. Of course she isn’t to blame for my short attention span, but I digress.

At any rate, today after writing about my Cozy, I came home to an empty house and two happy dogs. After petting them I walked upstairs to discover what looked like snow all over the floor. Since it’s August, I cleverly deduced that it couldn’t be snow, and as I got closer I noticed a destroyed box of mashed potato mix. I also found popcorn, some wrappers and a bra. I’m not sure how the bra was related to the mess, but it caught my attention none-the-less since being a man, I am helpless in the presence of a bra to do anything but stare.

I knew at once that Annie had been here. Who else would have caused such wanton destruction of foodstuffs? Certainly not Guinness. Annie was the puppy in the house, and though now over a year old, was still the prime suspect in this crime. She had a known history of plundering food stores. She had previously been found guilty of eating whole avocados and bananas right from the counter. Turning to look, I saw that Annie had come up to the landing and was sitting there looking at me with her head hung low. She exuded guilt. I gave her my best disapproving voice, Annie what have you done. Her head hung even lower.

When Lauren and the kids got home, and I came in from mowing, I commented on how Annie needs a hobby, and how we need child locks again. It was a happy day when we finally removed all the child locks. Years of fancy finger work to open the cabinets and drawers were finally behind us. That is, until now.

Guinness, who loves Lauren most, was sitting by her enjoying the cool breeze from the open sliding door. The screen, long since destroyed by Annie leaned uselessly against the outside wall. As I leaned down to pat Guinness’ head, I moved in close to tell him what a good boy he was. That’s when I noticed little flecks on his nose – little flecks of mashed potato mix.

It would seem that there’s more to this crime than I first expected. I think a full inquiry is in order.

GAD

GAD the Cranky Consumer

Many people like to shop, and I’m no exception, but I tend to shop for very specific items after doing a lot of careful research. I know what I want, I know how much it costs, and I’m not an idiot. That’s worth restating:

I know what I want

I know how much it costs

I am not an idiot

It would seem that everywhere I go, I am assaulted by retail employees and shop owners who cannot understand these three simple truths about me. I feel that I am not alone, as I have heard other people complain of the same sort of things I will rant about here. Still, the American retail experience is one filled with frustration, arrogance and sometimes downright anger.

If I walk into a store knowing that something sells for $399.95 everywhere, and the sales associate tells me that the store’s cost is $445.00, they obviously think that I’m an idiot. It’s not always the sales person’s fault of course. I’m sure many of the big box stores train their employees to treat us all like cattle being led to slaughter. I would hope that some poor retail sales associate might refuse to play this game, but my hope seems misplaced. Perhaps the associates that refuse to play are fired. That would probably make me sad if I weren’t so often angry at the way I’d been treated.

Gibson Les Paul R9 w/ Rare One-Piece Top

I tend to buy specific high-end items. If I walk into a guitar store and ask to see a Gibson Les Paul 1959 reissue guitar (commonly called an R9), chances are that I know it’s made in Gibson’s custom shop, and that it will be significantly better made than the Les Paul Standard. The mere fact that the reissue retails for over six thousand dollars while the Standard retails for less than half of that probably indicates that it’s a better guitar. Granted price does not always equal quality, but in this case it does. Please don’t tell me that the Standard is “just as good”. I know what I want, and I’m not an idiot. Just tell me that you don’t have any R9s in stock please.

At any rate I have a pile of these stories, and I’ll be sharing them here. I’ll eventually complile all my ramblings into a book or at the very least a pamphlet to hand out during parades and such, so enjoy them now while they’re free.

GAD

Grimace and the Smoke Detector

Original Newf-Net Post: http://www.newf.net/Forums/showthread.php?t=84421

I’m sitting in the home office working, when I hear “beep”. A short while later “Beep”. Hmm.. something needs new batteries.

“Beep” then the sound of thundering hooves down the stairs. In roars Grimace with a look of Oh CRAP on his face. He pushed by me, and proceeds to curl up under my desk, leaving no room for me.

Seems the smoke detector not only beeps, it says “Low battery” out loud in a scary man voice. Seems also that Grimace had tried to get in the shower with Lauren before he come seeking solace in my cave.

Such a brave boy.

He did not leave from under my desk for a good 45 minutes.

…and yes, I still call him Grimace. They wouldn’t let me change Annie’s name, I’m not changing his.Besides. He likes it.

Now he’s associated Lauren taking a shower with the smoke detector going off, so he runs and hides with me in the office until the shower is done.

GAD

Grimace is Home!

Original Newf-Net Post (By Lauren) here: http://www.newf.net/Forums/showthread.php?t=83862

Our big boy Grimace (possible name change to Guinness) came home on Thursday. (see NJ Newf on Petfinder in the rescue section). He looked sad and confused when his foster family left and sniffed at the door wondering where they went. This boy was only in his foster home for 2 weeks, after spending his first 3.5 years with what was supposed to be his forever home.

We were warned he might not eat, not take treats, etc. After about an hour of he and Annie playing outside we came in and it was lunchtime. I generally give Annie a lunchtime ‘treat’, (a few smelts or some cottage cheese, green beans, etc). I grabbed a few frozen smelts and gave Annie one, gave Grimace one and he gobbled it down. He ate the next 2 as well.

He ate all of his dinner with no problem as well. I’ve gotten a little undercoat off of him and taken care of a couple mats, I just don’t want to overwhelm him. He seemed fine with what I was doing.

Annie is still such a baby and loves to play. It’s as though this boy hasn’t played in a while but she is reminding him how to do so. They have chased in the yard, nibbled on each others ears and backs, and kicked around the soccer ball.

Annie, now 8 months also wants and demands to be the center of attention..much like our youngest daughter. 🙂 Annie seems to constantly approach him like ‘wanna play? huh, huh, wanna play’? When he appears to have enough I try to give him a break. He seems very patient.

He doesn’t appear great on the leash but right now our driveway and front are still a sheet of ice from the last storm. We’re working on that, I think he just needs some reminders. He also needs to be reminded to be gentle when taking treats. We won’t let the kids give him treats until we can be sure he’s gentle.

He’s really an awesome boy. Very sweet, a very square head, very broad, and very loose drooley lips. I think he beats our Cozy in drooling.

I’ll just post a couple pix since GAD is the official photographer of the house.

Welcome to your new forever home big guy!

Annie and the Cream Cheese

Original Newf-Net Post: http://www.newf.net/Forums/showthread.php?t=82063

So Annie is keeping us busy. She’s still trying to figure out her place in the new house. She’s still not sure where she’s allowed to go, but she learns quickly. In fact some things she learns so quickly it’s frightning – especially when you consider this; if she can learn so quickly, then surely she knows what’s right, and often chooses to ignore it.

A case in point:

The little one, age seven, made herself a bagel with cream cheese. She, being seven, happily wandered off with the cream cheese still on the counter.

A few minutes later I happened to go upstairs where I discovered an empty cream cheese container on the living room floor. It was perfectly clean like we had used it for something else, which I thought was odd, because we don’t often do that. I pick it up, look at the counter, and quickly figure out what happened. Little miss counter-nose grabbed it and had a feast. When I looked at her, she slunk away with possibly the most guilty expression I’d ever seen. When I went towards her, she slunk into another room.

If she’s learned one thing early on, it’s that I’m the alpha male. She knew the alpha-male boomy voice saying “Bad Girl” was coming. She knew it was wrong, yet she did it anyway. Interestingly enough, she didn’t eat the jar of peanut butter on the other side of the counter left by the nine year-old.

Annie doesn’t need nearly as much training as the two-legged variety it would seem.

After she got over her guilt, she discovered that the cream cheese container made the most WONDERFUL toy! When it was upside-down on the floor, she couldn’t quite pick it up, and every time she tried, it would bounce out of her mouth across the floor. She played with it for hours before we took it away afraid that she would cut the plastic. Made me remember Cozy playing with empty soda bottles at about this age.

GAD