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      Sunday, July 23, 2023

07:18 AM - 07/23/2023

The topic: Monthly update

It's been a busy month.

We started walking again. A couple of weeks with a short walk, then a little longer, now we're back up to a mile. We'd quit walking because my body had decided that it would wait until we were halfway through the walk and then let me know it urgently needed to visit a restroom. That seems to have stopped. This aging stuff is weird.

After months of not going outside at night to count the satellites, due to the cloud cover (San Diego actually went a full month with zero sun - we had some inland, but it was always cloudy at night), we started going out again. Since the heat wave (once again, we skipped spring and went right into summer), it's cooler at night outside. We've been closing up the house in the daytime, running all the fans, trying really hard not to turn on the air conditioner, because money. So, when the various thermometers through the house show it's cooler outside than in, we open that area up. And when we go outside, I turn the whole house fan on. It sucks the air from outside into the house and the hot air up into the attic, where it vents to outside.

Earlier this month, we saw something amazing. Satellite after satellite. We counted thirty-one in a row, a string of them. I looked it up and it was a Starlink drop. Cool. Well, this past week, we saw another drop with a count of forty-six. And a couple of nights later, fifty-one.  I'm sure there were more, but that's all we could see. Well, guess what? It's a common occurrence and there's a website that tells you all about it and gives a link to another website where you can track when they're visible in your area! We also saw the recent launch from Vanderberg AFB. I tried to get a video, but I was not prepared at all. Here's the local story with photos. This stuff is so very exciting to watch. Being almost seventy years old, I'm happy to be around to watch. I remember the first moonwalk. How far we've come with technology.

I'll go to my death believing that electricity is sorcery. Don't get me started on radio and television and wifi and cable and Alexa and Hey Google. We have eight Alexa devices (one is outside, under the eaves, so we can find out what time it is when we're watching satellites). We have at least thirteen Google devices (I like having music throughout the house and at least two speakers in a room to have stereo). Three smart televisions (Roku) and a couple of Roku devices (office, bedroom and home theater). I can set them up, and I can get them to work as I like, but I have no idea what makes them run. We have a ton of streaming channels, right now, our goto is BritBox. I am constantly amazed at what is out there. I was raised on three stations and rabbit ears. AM radio was the rage.

So, I still have the childlike feelings of "wow!" when I think of how far we've come.

Let's see...oh, I'm going to make our own calendars for this coming year. I have the stuff. I have a Cinch machine. I have a wide format printer (I finally gave up on getting the R1900 to work). I have the paper. I have the software (WinCalendar, an addon for Microsoft Word). So, I'm gonna do that.

Something that's not a positive about time passing. How much things cost. The paper? I tested one sheet that's 12" x 18" with a photo of Natasha. It didn't bleed through which is good and the image was very nice, crisp. I can print on both sides. Of course, I'll have to trim it down (that's a whole 'nother issue). The problem is I don't want to run out of it and I couldn't find out where I got it. After hours of searching websites, I found one that had a paper this size and I tried logging in. It worked! I checked my account (it's been years) and there was the paper. So, cool. The thing is when I first bought it, back in 2014, it was under $35 with no shipping charge. Now, it's just under $60, shipping additional. UPS shipping was $41!!! Holy cow! Fortunately, I was able to use our UPS account and that won't be as much.

I finished the front portion of last year's holiday cards. Guess they'll be this year's holiday cards. Best intentions...

Oh, and we got another cat. Well, he got us. Was in the yard on the morning of the 8th. We got our cats in, opened the gate and this cat ran out. He was back the next morning, he was nice enough and we figured, screw it, we're keeping him. We named him Loki.

Made an appointment for him at the vet's, he was tested and neutered last Wednesday (19th). He was flea-covered, had bad ear mites, was a little anemic, and tested positive for FIV.  I kind of figured that would be the case because he was so nice, not fighting with the other cats at all. Ike was being his normal asshole self, but not as bad as it could have been. I had a little go round with the vet about vaccinations (hey, the barn door is closed, the horse is out, what good will vaccinating do now?)  Explain to her that we don't vaccinate, we test. "But the other cats aren't protected!" From what? We don't have a bunch of  stranger cats in the yard. We've had FIV+ cats in the past (Handsome, Skipper) and they were just sweethearts. FIV is transmitted through deep bite wounds. That's not happening with a cat who won't fight.

We've had over seventy cats since we've been here and not one died from something that a vaccination could have prevented (from the time we had them). The two cats who were disease positive came to us that way.

Anyway, here's a little video of Loki eating.



loki    geekstuff    craftstuff    catstuff   

04:02 PM - 07/23/2023

The topic: Streaming

I mentioned BritBox in my previous entry. I've subscribed to Acorn in the past. We didn't watch it much so I cancelled it.

Earlier this year, I got a trial subscription to BritBox through my Roku account and ended up subscribing for a full year.

We've watched a couple of different shows, binge watching. The first one we watched was Suspect. That was interesting. Then we watched Vera, that was a lot of fun. Waiting for the next season to drop. After Vera, it was The Tower. There are only two seasons of that so far.

And now, we're almost through season 11 of 12 for New Tricks. That is a great show, very entertaining. Old people. We can relate.

What we find ourselves doing is "where do we know that actor from?  What show?" and then shout out who it is. If we don't know, I'll grab the Fire tablet and look it up. A fair amount of Game of Thrones actors. And I'm not just looking up actors, I'm looking up slang. A "tosser" is a derogatory word for a masturbator. A "grasser" is a snitch. I'm waiting for the perfect time to yell out at Brian "OI!" instead of "hey" or "yoohoo, honey!" (which I've been known to do in stores when I can't find him).

Anyway, the day turned out to be not so miserable, we got a few sprinkles this morning. It's still cloudy, but the sun is trying to break through. It sure was nice to not have the house closed up and the fans off. Quiet.

      Friday, July 28, 2023

09:10 AM - 07/28/2023

The topic: Excuse me while I gush

I've been honest about how bad I've been about cleaning for these past few years. Ever since my hip went rogue. Brian had heard that someone told someone he knew that they knew someone who had problems and didn't take it easy until the problem could be taken care of and by the time it could, the problem had gotten so bad that it couldn't be fixed. The pain was so bad, I had a hard time getting in and out of the passenger seat in the car, let alone drive anywhere. My right leg had this thing where it would just wet noodle and all muscle tone was gone. Not something you want happening when you needed to step on a pedal, be it gas or brake.

So, I spent years sitting in my spot on the sofa. Years.

Then I got surgery and the pain went away. But the mental crap of just sitting on the sofa did not. Then COVID hit and Brian didn't want us getting sick, so why should we both take a chance out shopping? He'll do it. Okay.

So, more time spent sitting on my spot on the sofa.

I guess my mind is finally getting over it. I've gradually picked up the pace on cleaning. Getting back to that place where I couldn't sit still if something that needed doing caught my eye.

One of the things I've been joking about for a very long time is the state of the floors. (No carpeting.) They're so bad with just normal use, then the cats tracking grass and stuff in, that I took to wearing socks indoors. Because I didn't like the feel of the grit on my feet. And those socks would get dirtier inside than out. I'm not proud of it, it's just how things were.

Over the past year, I've gotten some new vacuuming equipment. And I started using it. And it's not big and bulky like my original vacuums were. A lot easier to maneuver. The old vacuums went to the recycler and the new ones are a utility closet. I pretty much gave up on the robot vacuums (I have a couple) because I had to move too much furniture for them to do the job. And then pull them out of situations where they were stuck. It was just quicker to vacuum.

Then we come to cleaning. I have a couple of floor cleaners, Floormates, two different flavors. They do a fair job but are just a hassle to use. So, the stars have to be aligned perfectly before I'll even consider floor cleaning.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad for a steam cleaner. I have a Shark steam cleaner, but it just uses pads and with these floors, I'd be using a lot of pads for one cleaning. But this one was different. It had a tank for water. It had a tank for dirty water. I was intrigued. Especially after I saw that besides the cordless cleaners, they did have a cleaner with a cord. A twenty-six foot cord, so you could do a big area without having to move to a new outlet.

And I bought one. It got here last weekend and I put it together on Tuesday.  I ran the Shark cordless vacuum (btw, one of the other things I got was this accessory for the Shark last month and it works like a dream! years of cat hair gone from the cat trees in a flash) to pick up most of the grass, litter, and dirt in preparation for the steam cleaner. Yesterday, I took it for a test run in the kitchen.

Oh. My. Gawd.

I love this thing. It did a great job on a very dirty floor. Kitchen, right? I used it again this morning in the hallways. The hallways that had old cat gack on them (you know, when a cat pukes and up comes grass and foam and you don't catch it when it happens, only see it when it's dried out and the light hits it just right and you think to yourself "I'll get to that later").  Not even an hour and both hallways were done. They're clean!

Tomorrow I'll be doing the bedroom. The tile in there is light colored and really shows dirt. Then maybe the dining room and family room on Sunday. (With any luck, it will have cooled down by then and I can get more done, it's hard to work in the heat.)

So, what is this amazing machine? Let me show you. (This is a link to Amazon, but I got the machine cheaper on their website, so if you're interested, check for pricing before you buy). It's a Tineco Floor One S5 Steam cleaner. It's fairly quiet, easy to push and easy to clean. I did think there was something wrong with mine this morning, it was making a really weird noise.  Turned out it was out of clean water. Filled the tank and I was back in business.

I'm limiting myself because I know what will happen if I don't. I will overdo and end up on my spot on the sofa and I really don't want to do that.


12:16 PM - 07/28/2023

The topic: When I get bored I watch stuff online

And I do that a lot. And some of it has me trying to figure out the best way to pay for it. I'll be frank with ya, I got my IRA money back in May and I've been getting stuff I wouldn't get otherwise. I'm saving the majority of it, I have it in an interest-bearing account.  But having a little fun as well. And I still have funds on the California Middle Class incentive card we got at the beginning of the year. The money I was GOING to use to replace my audio receiver, but when reorganizing the equipment, realized that the old one still worked fine. The last time I used the incentive card was for supplies for Chloe. (Who was only here a month, she was pretty sick when she came to live with us.)

Anyway, I'm sure it's obvious I like techy stuff. When my dad passed away my mom gave me all of his camera equipment. I still have it. I got into digital photography. I still have my first digital camera. It was huge and so were the memory cards.

The first video I was able to take was an Olympus camera (I think, I probably still have that one). It took fifteen-second videos with no audio. I took lots of videos of the cats. DaNiece, Autumn, Opie, and Richie were just tiny kittens. And I have video. But it's tiny. There's no audio on some of it (it wasn't available yet in affordable cameras).

Well, here we are in 2023. I found some little videos dated March 2008. I'm sure I have earlier ones, but these are what I was using with this new software. David Gerrold over on Facebook has shown videos he's worked with using this software and I figured I'd try it out.

I did and I think it's swell. The name of the program is Topaz Video AI, Right now, until next Friday, August 4, 2023), you can purchase it for fifty dollars less than it's normally priced. I downloaded the trial version, worked with a video of Mystie, and loved the end result. So, I bought it.

Here's what I did this morning. The first video is 320 x 240 (and that's why it looks so pixelated). The second is 1920 x 1080. Watch in full screen mode. Reminder, there is no sound.

I am really looking forward to upgrading these old videos.



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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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