Monday, March 21, 2005 I feel like I’m sitting here with an invisible axe in my forehead, between my eyes. My God, I can’t believe how bad it hurts. I think it’s a combination headache. Stress (the new guy) and allergies (the pine trees). I took two Excedrin about ten minutes ago, they should kick in before too long.
Last week I had a cold. It never got really, really bad, which was good. Sore throat, slight cough, runny nose, a little sneezing, not much more than that.
We also had gardeners out, a couple of gals that my mom recommended. Brian asked “how much will you charge to do these areas?” The owner says “let me check with my partner.” She does, comes back, says “how about $240.00?” Brian just looks at her. She drops it. “$200.00?” Brian says “how about $300.00?” She just stares at him. Then she remembers to answer. “Okay!” Brian can be so hard to read if you don’t know him. They worked their butts off. Got all of the weeds pulled around the pool, behind the shop and up on the bank. It’s looking real good out there. Brian wants to order the new ground cover and have these ladies put it down. And he wants to see about replacing the wood retaining wall on the bank with brick. The wood is rotting and won’t be much of a wall for long.
I came online this morning to find that my router died. From the last updates on the weather page and catcam page, it would seem that it died when I turned on my computer. The last catcam picture that went up was at 5:46am this morning. Of course, my first thought is that the cable was out. I called our provider and there was no outage in the area. I disconnected the ethernet cable from the router and put it directly into my computer and voila! I had internet service. This was really frustrating because this was one of the first things I’d tried earlier. Doesn’t it always go like that? And I couldn’t see the other computers on my network. So, it was the router. I unplugged the router and attached the modem to my computer and started checking out who had the better prices, Best Buy or Office Depot. They had the same price on a modem that was a level down from the one I already had. I figured that I’d be able to keep all of my settings for the cameras. I didn’t need the printer server that the dead one had, so I figured that’s the one I’d go with. It was $49.99 at both stores, so I check their hours. Office Depot opens at seven and when I order through my store affiliation (at the top of the page I’ve got a link about “if you like the page” or something similar that will take you to my store affiliations, I always use those links when I order via Amazon or Office Depot) I get a little commission. I order it online for store pickup. The receipt page comes out. “Your order should be ready in 4 hours for pickup.” Four hours! I can’t wait four hours. I call the store (it was a little after seven). They weren’t busy and I could go in and get it now. Which I did after I took a quick shower.
So, I come home, pull the old one out from its spot, put the new one in, connect the power, the computers and plug it in. It lights up. But I don’t have internet yet because I have to get the computers to recognize the new router. And my computer just wouldn’t do it. It worked on the Gateway. It worked on Brian’s. But no luck on mine. So, I tried it using Netscape as a browser and we were online by nine.
While I was at the store, I checked the notebooks and notepads and guess what? I found some little notebooks called “mini composition” books and bought three of them (I never did have any luck previously and I just gave up looking online). They’re a little thicker than the ones Brian used before, but they aren’t spiral bound. So, that was pretty cool.
The past couple of weekends, I’ve spent my time trying my hand at making DVDs. Transferring stuff over to DVD that’s on tape. I’ve got VHS video of Disneyland, rides that are no longer there. The People Mover. The Skyway. The old Autopia (the new one kind of runs both Autopias together, the one in Fantasyland and the one in Tomorrowland). I’ve got so many different applications for making movies, I used the MyDVD, since it seemed pretty simple. When I get better at this, I’ll try the ULead video maker. It does lots of fancy stuff. Last weekend, I burned one disk, then fussed around with stuff and started getting a message that my hard drive was running out of space. I should have had an easy 10GB open, so this was just another annoyance in my life that sometimes seems to be built on one annoyance after the other. I searched my hard drive, looking for some humongous files, but I had no idea where to start. And you know what? You can find just about anything you need on the internet. I found this software called foldersizes, downloaded the trial version and found those big files. I moved them over the the external hard drive and got my space back. They were some sort of temporary thing for the movies I was trying to make that didn’t get cleaned up properly. So, that took up most of a day (I spend so much time looking for stuff on the computer).
I made one DVD on a RW disk (I learned this when I was first burning audio CDs) and copied the info to a disk that wasn’t rewritable. I got some Verbatim disks last year that I’d never used. The first two worked, but so far, none of the others I tried has. Another annoyance. I got these as a buy one stack of 25, get one stack free deals. I don’t even remember where I got them. Office Depot? CostCo? Whatever. When I’d put one in, my computer would quit running. I guess it was trying to read an unreadable disk. Luckily, I had some other sample disks as well as the printable ones I got earlier this year. When I finally was successful, I was really happy. So, this weekend I tried making a DVD with pictures that I had from the Disney meets in October. I didn’t have anything for the years before 2002 and only a few from 2003 (which I’d have none if it hadn’t been for Allyson…same for the year 2004….I took a little video, she took still photos, which she burned over to a CD for all of us who were there). Then I discovered the “add music” option. At first, I didn’t realize I had to burn the songs onto my computer, where they’d be saved in the MPEG format. Copying directly from the disk didn’t work. So, I spent a little more time in the learning mode and got that going.
Saturday night, I had a completed DVD. Video, slideshows and music. Brian sat down with me in the family room as I played it on our older DVD player. And it was good. It was really good. There were a few things I needed to fix, but overall, I was pretty happy with it. I came back to the office after nine that night, made the corrections and reburned it. I watched the problem places which were no longer problems and burned ten copies. One for us and the others for our friends. Oh, and I’m going to give one to my mom. Now I have to design the disk cover and the insert for the jewel case and I’ll be ready to send them out.
One of the things I found extremely frustrating was the limitation of the buttons available in MyDVD. Now, from what I understood, there was some plug-in that would allow me to make my own. Yesterday afternoon, I started trying to find out how to do it (hey, my headache’s almost gone! Yay!). I’d spent some time last week searching for this mysterious Sonic Style Plug-in for Adobe. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I clicked on the “Sonic University” link in MyDVD and there was a teaser at the side “Use your own images in MyDVD menus”. Well, this was just what I wanted. But the only way to get it was to join the university. I figured what the hell, I want to make my own buttons. So, I join. Guess what? Another annoyance. The University is no longer the University. It’s some sort of media learning center. I spent $70.00 for a year’s subscription to something I most certainly wasn’t the least bit interested in. There was nothing about using my own images for MyDVD buttons and styles.
I want my money back. I emailed them last night with no response. So, this morning, after I got the router working, I started making some phone calls. The man at the media center was super nice, he was really apologetic, said that Sonic just bought out Roxio, who is a much bigger company than Sonic. Think Jonah swallowing the whale…. And things just aren’t running smoothly at all right now. He tried to get me one of the plug-ins, but he said they’re for developers and the styles are really hard to make. And you need the full versions of Adobe, not just the Elements, like I have. But, he said, the next version of MyDVD will have this capability and it should be out by the end of the year. He gave me a couple of Sonic phone numbers and I called them both. The first one was for paid tech support. Well, I can’t see paying money to tell someone I want my money back. That was a no brainer. So, I called the other one and they wanted an extension number or just leave a message. I left the message of my phone’s handset being placed back in the cradle.
Then I went back to the Sonic website store, found my order, found my invoice, found a contact number and called it. Once I actually spoke to a real live human, it didn’t even take two minutes to get my money refunded. Which is a good thing.
So, between the cold, the gardeners, Handsome, futzing around looking for stuff on the internet, housework has kind of fallen behind. I was able to vacuum yesterday, something that was badly needed as there were lots of fur bunnies along the walls and under chair legs. And all of the litter, too. Let’s not forget all of the litter.
And, I haven’t even begun to work on the taxes for last year. So, I’m going to have a busy couple of weeks. Right after I design my coolamoondo new DVDs…...