HOW A LITTLE STUPIDITY BECOMES A MAJOR PAIN IN THE ASS


I have been getting junk phone calls to my house phone for years and I do not even bother to answer – I just let it ring. However, I am beginning to get these type calls on my cell phone. About a month ago I answered a call on my cellphone I suspected was junk call. I answered for reasons which escape me now. It was a call to inform me that the company making the call was contracted to make refunds to former customers of a company that I used to use to perform maintenance and repairs to my computer. In order to do so, I had allowed the company technician to access my computer. I never had a problem in doing so. My relationship with the company ended when they went into bankruptcy. This all happened several years ago. The call seemed legitimate but I was very wary. It did seem odd they wanted access to my computer to give me a refund. Anyway, to make a long story shorter, I let the caller take control of my computer. (This was HUGE mistake!) The caller quickly made it appear that I owed him $10,000 and he demanded that I pay him immediately by withdrawing $10,000 in cash and send it to him with a money order I was to purchase. The person in control of my computer was very good at confusing and distracting me.  I came to my senses about this time and turned off my computer. My computer is password protected and when I rebooted, my password no longer worked. I had been had! I got on the telephone and reported the whole episode to the Police and the fraud department of the bank. The fraud people quickly assured me I had not suffered any monetary loss but I would be required to change all my bank accounts and have my computer ‘cleaned’ and certified as ‘cleaned’ before I would be allowed to use it for online banking. This was the start of my major pain in the ass. The police report went nowhere because the ‘crime’ could be properly categorized.

I arranged to have the computer ‘cleaned’ and the technicians assured me I would not lose any of my data files but my computer would be in the same state as a new one. All my files would be on an external hard drive that I purchased for that purpose. I would have to ‘build’ my computer from scratch. I was allowed to use my computer for banking business after I sent the work invoice to the bank’s fraud department. I have been slowly rebuilding my computer since it was certified as being ‘clean’. It is a process that has some positive aspects. Some of my do overs incorporate ‘lessons learned’ and are better than before. It is still largely a pain in the ass for me, however. New bank account numbers means that I have to change all of my direct deposits and get new checks. Another pain in the ass several time over.

I cannot complain too much as I basically did it to my self. I am motivated to not do it again but one never knows.

 

SOME POST ‘CELEBRATION OF LIFE’ THOUGHTS


I thought the ‘Celebration of Life’ event was huge success. It was a fitting tribute to Patty’s life and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, which by itself would be enough to render the event a success. I want to thank everyone for their participation and thank my son John for the work he did in coordinating the event and making sure the lunch itself went well. Thanks to those who made menu suggestions. Sue flawlessly managed the two mailings, perhaps the most critical task. Nick was kind enough to be the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ and I thank him for that. The choice of music for the slide show was the work of Patty’s friend Bea Saldana. I am sure Patty would approve. I am absolutely convinced that the enthusiasm and participation of the members of my extended family and our friends was essential to the success of the event. I thank you all.

Personally, I was overwhelmed the by the kind words and expressions of love that were bestowed on me. The memory of these will provide me with comfort for the rest of my days. Thank you all. My memories of the sixty six year long marriage, that Patty and I shared, comfort me each and every day. I miss her more than words can express; the pain of my grief will be with me always. I tried to set aside this pain as I endevoured to greet everyone. However, I suspect that I fell short in that effort. I was especially pleased to see so many of my friends there. My extended family has grown to such a large group that I am no longer sure of ‘who belongs to who’.

We ought to do this again to memorialize those members of our family who have departed this world and have some fun at the same time. I am willing to bankroll such an endeavor if a committee can be formed for this purpose and present me with a plan. As a resident of the City of Lakewood, I can rent a 150 person capacity park for a day. The park is less than a mile from my house and it is very nice. Something to think about.

I have 120 size B/w and 35 mm color slide images I took starting about 1962. These are nearly all scanned into files on my computer. There are thousands of them including about 8000 railroad images. I also have about 100 rolls of 8 mm color movies which I had professionally digitized. Copies of these are yours for the asking, but I caution you that my energy level tends to be low so it may take a while to satisfy your requests. This collection was the source for the pictures of Patty in the slide show. It would be a shame if this resource was lost to our family. Keep in mind that today memory on computers is cheap and plentiful.

 

ROUNDED EDGES ARE A PLUS


I fell! I fell while getting out of bed to pee last night. I am OK as of now. The emergency room doctor told me to be alert to any changes in how I feel. There is a slight chance of cranial bleeding as I take blood thinners. I feel fine. It is my good fortune that my brain implants were not damaged. My head hit a heavy oak night stand that thankfully has substantially rounded edges and I did not suffer a penetrating blow due to sharp edges. The impact was near my left temple. The impact point is slightly swollen but not discolored. We applied an ice pack immediately and that seemed to reduce the swelling and discoloration. I am very fortunate to have not suffered a serious injury.

My memory of the events of the fall are only partially available to me. I remember throwing the bed covers back, nothing of the fall itself until the impact, and complete disorientation for a moment. I never lost consciousness and was able to walk out the bedroom to seek help. I think what happened is that I slipped off of the edge of the bed and lost control of my movement and fell, hitting my head in the process. My only recourse is to be very deliberate and move slowly when getting out of bed in the future.

I view this falling event as a valuable wake up call. I will certainly be more aware of the hazards I face as I go about my daily life. I must be much more careful.

 

WORN OUT FAUCET, NEW FAUCET, ALL IS WELL – WRONG!


David, my son, and his wife Jeanie are constantly hard at work maintaining our home to the high standards set by my wife Patty. David and Jeanie pointed out to me that the the kitchen sink faucet was worn out and leaking and they proposed that we install a new one. I readily agreed and David purchased a new faucet and installed it without any significant difficulty. We did not suspect that we were  engaged in an enterprise which would provide absolute proof of the truth of the old adage “No good deed shall go unpunished”. We later realized we had a problem when the area under the sink was discovered to be flooded. The connecting lines were leaking! After a brief interval of finger pointing and blame assignment, we decided that continuing down that particular path was not in keeping with our mutual goal of fixing the leak. We then went through a period of time involving the inspection of relevant washers and the purchase and installation of new ones.The end result is that we called our plumber and made an appointment for him come the next day and fix the leaks. Later, after the plumber said he would be delayed by a day, we resolved to fix the leaks ourselves and cancelled the appointment. By unanimous consent, we agreed that my continued active participation in the work would cease. It had already proved to be somewhat counterproductive. By then I had come to the realization that my only proper role in the project was that of a spectator. David and Jeannie were unable to find the source of the leaks and, after an overnight timeout, we reexamined the various washers. David discovered that the the shutoff valve washers, installed on the advice of a ‘big box hardware store’ clerk in the beginning, were made of an inappropriate material and were too small in diameter to work in that particular shutoff valve in any case. A case of the blind leading the blind. A trip to our local Ace hardware store, where the correct washers were purchased, led to the elimination of the leaks. Problem solved at last! Jeannie then proceeded with the task of cleaning up the mess accumulated during the period when the faucet was being installed. She ran the garbage disposal and was very surprised when the waste water discharged into the area under the sink and onto her shoes instead of down the drain. We quickly determined the drain pipes were misaligned. They were probably disturbed sometime during the ‘fix the leaks’ work described above. Fixing the pipes was easy but the cleanup was not. Wiping up all that ground up uneaten cat food was not fun.

As of now, the new faucet is working OK and we are recovering nicely.

SHOULD I LOOK FORWARD TO ANYTHING?


I read SCIENCE magazine as a way to maintain my awareness of what is going on in the world of science. In the 23 November issue there are several articles which caused me to question my ongoing lack of interest in subjects which seem to require that I must live a long time so that I might learn the outcome of work being done in the present. I am 86 years old and this line of thought seems reasonable for me. However, my recent reading of SCIENCE magazine articles caused me to uncharacteristically hope that I would be around in order to bear witness to what the outcomes of these projects would be. Also, I recently read the summary section of the US Government climate change report that was released the Friday after Thanksgiving day (2018). What I read made me comfortable with the certainty that I would not live to see the worst of what is coming for the humans of our world. We are now seeing for ourselves the early effects of climate change. I am convinced we Humans are in line to experience some terrible events. Read the report for yourselves if you believe I have succumbed to an unwarranted alarmist point of view regarding climate change. This was the context of what I was thinking about when I read the SCIENCE articles. It is confusing to me to entertain draconian thoughts about the future effects of climate change and at the same time try to look optimistically toward a future reward of increased insight into science subjects. I suspect I am not alone in being confused in this way.

The first of the SCIENCE articles is entitled “ASIA SET TO TAKE CENTER STAGE IN HIGGS STUDIES”. The existence of the Higg’s Boson was confirmed in 2012 by tests conducted at the CERN proton beam collider, located in Switzerland. This is a very large and expensive machine by any standard. It will be used to conduct more Higg’s tests over the next several years to refine the original confirming data. However, the exploration of the physics of the Higg’s boson depends on future tests which require higher energy levels than which is available using the CERN collider. The article informs the reader that China  and Japan are the only nations that seem willing to provide the several Billions of dollars necessary to build the higher energy colliders. The US Government does not seem to be interested in pursuing the matter. The work has the potential of lifting our understanding of the physics of matter to a higher level of understanding. Another article, with the title CRACKING THE CAMBRIAN, advances the notion that fieldwork now underway to obtain newer fossils of life forms from the Cambrian era and new technology instruments, that will be used to analyze them, will combine to provide a much richer understanding of how life evolved on Earth, perhaps we will learn more about how life began on Earth. New advances in artificial biology are described in ARTIFICIAL CELLS GAIN COMMUNICATION SKILLS. Other articles include LUXE RESEARCH SHIP TO EXPLORE THE DEEP OCEAN and NASA TO PAY PRIVATE SPACE COMPANIES FOR MOON RIDES. Taken together, these articles suggest to me that the next ten years will be filled with many new and exciting discoveries in the world of science. However, I am convinced the World political order will be challenged as never before, in the same period of time, by deleterious environmental changes. It is obvious to me the collective response of the human race in mitigating and adapting to the World’s climate change will determine the fate of mankind. The present political situation in the United States does not tempt me to believe the prognosis for us is anything other than grim!

 

 

 

 

A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR ME AND A BUG BITE ADDED


I have been undergoing a new experience for me. My body is retaining water and this is evident in my swollen legs. My doctor had prescribed a diuretic to deal with the leg swelling when he was first presented with my problem. When I returned for a  followup visit, he saw that my legs were not improved and he immediately put me into the hospital. He said he wanted to “dry me out” and run some tests. I informed my son, who had brought me to the doctor’s office, that we were undergoing a change in plans; we were going to the Lakewood Medical Center and I was going to be admitted as a patient and I was going to be ‘dried out’. After a short drive to the medical center, and the signing of many, many consent and acknowledgement forms, I was reintroduced to the ‘hospital gown’ and its drawbacks (pun intended), the joy of trying to find, by trial and error, a suitable location for the IV needle, and a pee bottle to measure my ‘output’. I quickly learned that ‘diuretic by IVee’ plus a Pee bottle plus a hospital gown equals big mess. Ballet it is not, but I learned some new moves in a short time and managed to avoid any major spills in so doing. Soon after we began this ‘drying out’ process, I noticed that the IV pump was very frequently signaling its ‘displeasure’ with the status of the IVee line (flex tubing) by making a loud, periodic, and irritating noise. The  noise seemed to be an alert , aimed at everyone in the vicinity of the IVee pump, that something was amiss and some action must be taken. The action finally taken was to relocate the IVee site to yet another place on my arm to minimize the chance of arm movement causing a IVee line kink and more alarms. Now I know why my wife Patty said she felt like a pin cushion when she was in the hospital.

While in the hospital I was put on a special diet that required low sodium  food preparation. That, and my age related loss of my ability to properly taste my food, meant you could have fed me cardboard and I would have been just as satisfied. Take away taste and one is left with presentation and texture (mouth feel?) as the remaining factors that allow me some satisfaction in eating my food. The food that I was served at Lakewood Medical Center was uniformly good; I cleaned my plate at each meal even though I could taste very little of what I ate. Loss of appetite was not my problem. The quality and consistency of these two food  factors are largely controlled by people and this demonstrates to me that LMC must have a very capable staff in their kitchen. 

In the hospital I was bitten on the back of my left hand by some kind of insect. I first noticed the bite while I was washing my hands and I  felt a sharp pain in my left hand. When I investigated I observed a rapidly increasing swelling on the back of my left hand. I showed my hand to the nurse and she drew a line round the area of the swelling with a felt pen. We watched in amazement as the swelling doubled in area as we watched. There was little pain. After a short while, my skin began to appear as though I had been bruised. Although several nurses were involved in the incident, no further mention of the bite was made by hospital personnel. Since I was experiencing no great discomfort, I did not pursue the matter and I was discharged from the Hospital. Since that time the discoloration has almost gone away and there has been no new swelling or pain. There is however a hard lump at the original site of the swelling. I do not know what I will do at this point except I will mention the episode to my doctor when I see him on Monday. I am moderately concerned about the possibility of future problems such as Lyme’s disease.

 

JUST THROW THEM AWAY!


Several years ago, as part of a garage cleaning frenzy (Parkinson’s has now  freed me of that particular malady), I had concluded that my practice of using Kodak slide carousels  for the purpose of long term storage of slides was not very smart. So, being a person who thinks of himself as being not ‘not smart’, I  transferred the slides to newly acquired storage boxes in anticipation of someday “doing something with my slides”. The remainder of my slides stayed in the familiar yellow Kodak boxes. I had been wondering what I was going to do with the now surplus carousels and I had concluded it would be a shame to deprive someone of the opportunity to own these ‘like new’ wonders of days past. I had what seemed a good idea – give them to the Goodwill store. I tried to do that without success. They informed me they had learned the hard way the truth of the matter – no one wanted Kodak carousels with the exception of the trashman. This is the point in my narrative where I confess to having vague fears of retribution action that would befall me if I did actually throw them away. The fears that I harbored turned out to be unjustified because nothing bad happened to me (that I know of – one never knows for sure) when I did throw them into the trash bin and they became somebody else’s problem.

Recently, I started the work associated with ‘doing something with my slides’. This ‘something’ entails transfering all my slides into archival storage boxes where they will await my scanning of each slide into a digital file where they will reside, in digital format,  for a long while. This enterprise frees up a lot of ‘useful’ yellow boxes that I will eventually have to deal with. Here is my problem: I am feeling the same vague fear of retribution that I experienced when I contemplated throwing away the carousels. Is this fear somehow related to the bad vibes I  feel when I use my digital camera? I hope this is not some kind of  universal, Kodak related, psychic backlash leftover from the loss of the film camera market because of  the advent of digital technology. But the bad vibes are easily dealt with by recounting to myself the many ways new, image related, tasks are accomplished with digital files. I have still yet to determine the fate of the yellow boxes. Its true, they are useful, so maybe I will find a good home for them.

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