Monday, October 31, 2011

Little snow here but 2' in other spots.

A good portion of New England was clobbered with as much as 2' of snow in an unprcidented early storm. Here along the coast the forecast was right on. About an inch or two. That;s what we got. Still it didn't stop people from buying up a storm, so to speak, on Saturday. It was a crappy day to be sure. Sun in the morning. Rain in the afternoon and wet snow in the evening. When I went out yesterday morning there was about an inch or so of slushy snow on my car and a bit on the ground but that was it. I had menetioned previously that I was going to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery for som fall shots. I did in fact go Sunday morning. It was a beautiful day but as it is on my street there still much green on the trees. It was very disapointing. Don't get me wrong it's still a beautiful place and there were splashes of color here and there but we seem to be behind schedule in the color department and way ahead of schedule in the winter weather department. I ended up pulling into the cemetery and as I drove around a bit I decided to come back next week hoping for a better color showing. It's a big cemetery. 175 acres. I took a wrong turn and found myself driving around a maze of little roads. I knew I would eventually find my way out but I ended up doing a bit more driving than I expected. So I plopped the camera on the dash and starte video taping (although no tape was involved) my meandering drive. My plan was to make my way to the outer edge and drive until I got back to the gates. The gates close at sundown and I wouldn't want to be trapped in there for the night. OK it was only 10:30 in the morning. The place is encased with a rod iron fence about 8 or 10 feet high. The top of the fence has these spikey things so trying to climb it in the dark wouldn't be advised. As far as I know nobody has escaped at night. My friend Chuck who lives in the area tells of a night he was walking down the street at night, (The cemetery is on a main road.) and he heard someone calling for help. I guess it's quite easy to get lost in the dark on 175 acres. As I write this I am uploading the video I made yesterday. At the end of the video I included pictures that I ahave taken in the past during the fall at the cemetery. Those of you from the old days of Spaces will have seen them before but I still love these photos.

Back to the snow. We dodged a bullit along the coast. Others were not so lucky. Just last Sunday I was at Mt. Greylock near the upper left hand corner of the state. It was a nice day. The temperature was about 60 degrees. Now it's under two feet of snow. As the old saying goes, If you don't like the weather,wait a minute. I can understand people wanting to stock up on food with a big storm coming. As I write this there are still about a half a million people in the state without power. What I do wonder about is the rush on snow shovels. What happened to the shovels you had last year. It did snow last year. Quite a lot really. There was a rush on them last year and the year before that... Did they all break? Are there breakthroughs in shovel technology every year? Ive had the same shovel for ten years. The places have lived in in the past I didn't need a shovel because the lots were plowed and everything was shoveled for you save for cleaning you car. Then there are all the people locally who stocked up on food to weather the inch of snow. It's great for business. I guess most people just hunkered down on Sunday and stuffed there faces.

As I said I am uploading a video to YouTube. You do get a better quality by making your video in high def. Well as high a def as my camera will allow. And you can make them substantially longer than Blogger will allow but it takes forever. I have been uploading for over an hour and I'm only at about 45% there. It's 12:45 Monday and it will be another hour plus before I can publish this. The video will be directly below. Time to do some work around here.

I'm outta here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I was asked a question that I have asked Nancy several times concerning the opening of my video on my last blog. "Where do you get these things?" I put it all together by collecting all the bits and pieces from the Internet. The theater picture came from just using the google image search. I then did the same with the curtain that went up. That came out rather crudely. I did that by using my photo program and the movie maker that comes with Windows 7. Actually if I had used the older movie maker with Windows XP it would have come out smoother. Though the newer Movie Maker has more features, they removed some features. I won't go into it because it will put you and me to sleep. The MGM logo and the picture of the turkey and the trumpeters came from an image search. The opening "Feature Presentation" clip came from a website called "Internet Archive Data Base". It's a collection of thousands of clips, commercials, television shows and so on in the public domain. In other words free. You can find sound effects for free on many sites. That's where I got, the gobble, drum roll, and opening fanfare. The music came from another site that had royalty free music. I've used this site many times. There's actually a lot of great music on it, It ranges from classical, hip hop, blues, mood music and just about any genre you can think of. All of it free.  It was then a matter of putting it all together with my photo program and movie maker. It took longer to make that 40 second opening than it did the rest of the 8 minutes of video but I had fun doing it.
I have a night shift hanging over my head tonight. It looks like I may not be going to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery tomorrow. It appears we around here are in line for a snow storm. I don't think we will get much but it will be slushy, cold and windy. Too bad because I think the foliage there is at it's peak. There are still a lot of leaves on the trees and about 25-30 miles west of Boston they could receive up to a foot of snow. So they are predicting power outages because of the heavy wet snow on the power lines. They are also predicting trees being toppled over because the ground is soaked with water from all the rainfall we have had. So I guess I'll just hunker down on Sunday. Make a nice breakfast, maybe make a slide show from my pictures of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in the fall. I really can't tell you how beautiful this place is and why it is so special. Here's a link.

OK. It's time for me to brood for about 2 hours waiting to leave for work. When I return tonight it will be rainy and windy. The snow will happen overnight around here. At least that's what the weather people are saying at this moment.

I'm outta here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My first YouTube video and not much more.

On the left is a video/slide show offering of Mt. Greylock. I uploaded it to YouTube. It's of a much better quality. It's also much longer than anything I have ever posted. It took me longer to put together the opening than it took to put together the rest of the video. It's over 9 minutes long. If you click on it and go to YouTube you can watch in the full screen mode.

   What a rotten day today is weather wise. I had to go to a show and sell program for my company. This involved highway driving in a driving rain. The best part was it was over by 2 o'clock. So my day ended two hours early. The was the best part of the day. Last night I finally turned the heat on. The temperature tickled the high 30's. There is also an outside chance that some parts of this area might receive (four letter word coming up here) snow. Not a lot but still it's just a sign of things to come.

This Sunday, after going out for breakfast, I plan to take a ride to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. It looks to be a nice day. It can be spectacular in the fall. I might take the tour so I can find the graves of some of the famous people buried there.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes-Studied medicine in France and wrote articles on how disease spreads and that health care workers should regularly wash their hands. It was considered extreme at the time. Imagine that.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-poet
  • Fannie Farmer
  • Edwin Land-Polaroid
  • John Bartlett-"Bartletts Quotations
  • Edwin Booth-Actor,Brother of John Wilkes Booth
  • Charles Bullfinch-Architect. Re-designed Boston after the revolution including the statehouse. Later on he desiGned the U.S. Capital Building.
  • Mary Baker Eddy-Founder of the Christin Science Church.
  • Curt Gowdy-Sportscaster
  • Homer Winslow-painter
  • Anne Revere-Actress. Not a household name but she was nominated for best supporting actress in "The Song Of Bernadette" The next year she was cast as Elizabeth Taylor's mother in National Velvet, Taylor's first film. I never heard of her.
So those are my plans for Sunday as long as the weather holds out. It looks to be sunny.

OK. I'm in the process of making chicken soup. I'll be back to visit after I eat.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Road Trip/Mt. Greylock

Sunday was looking to be a nice day and overall it was. I took the opportunity to make my way west. The foliage around here is beginning to turn, but the western part of the state is very hilly, and it seemed that they had passed peak color.

The entire drive out took about 3 hrs including a pit stop. The complexion of the terrain changes and so does the lifestyle and vibe. Many small towns in valleys. Mt. Greylock is near the upper west corner of the state. The drive out was essentially a two road drive. The Mass. Turnpike takes you in a southwest direction then Rt. 20 takes you back in a northern direction. Apart from passing some population centers like Worcester (pronounced "wissta or "wussta"), Chicopee (derived from a Native American name), Springfield, that has a metropolitan area population of 680,000+ which surprised me and Pittsfield.
Outside of the population centers the landscape is dotted with little towns and farms. A whole different world from where I live. The last city you come across is Pittsfield.  Named after a British Nobleman and politician William Pitt. Whoever he was. 48,000 people live here. Less than my city and yet they had a very impressive downtown. Put my local one to shame.

Mt Greylock is the highest point in the state at 3400+ ft. Not much when compared to real mountains. It's just the biggest of all the hills in western Ma. Still It's a beautiful part of the state.

Though the weather was fine. One in the afternoon is not the best time to take pictures due to the position of the sun, a need of a better camera for shots of a big scope, better knowledge of photography and better timing. The pictures are what they are.
The Visitors Centers at the base of the road to the summit. This is taken late in the afternoon as we were leaving.
A stop at a scenic overlook on the way up the summit road. This is composed of 3 pictures stitched together. The colors were muted and the sun was bright.
A shot from the top.
Though I was less than thrilled with some of the pictures there was one that came out surprisingly well. At least it's my favorite.
 Most of these shots were taken the very limit of my zoom. Still it is a record of my trip there. Below is a slide show with most of the pictures I took. It's a small file. I am working on a video that will include larger version of the photo's dispersed between video clips. It will be an extravaganza by my standards. I even have a new opening for the video. I hope I can pull it off before I pull out my hair. I'm talking strictly amateur here. So here's  the little slideshow.
 Overall it was a very nice day. I got to see a different part of my state. Indeed a different way of life, from the one I am accustomed. The drive home took almost an hour longer because of a seemingly inexplicable traffic slowdown. A large traffic jam 50 miles from Boston. Then we have the tolls. I don't know if I could be a tol taker. Talk about monotony. On the other hand we had a local TV news station do an expose' on the the highway dept. and found that many toll takers were earning $60,000+ a year for basically making change. Still hundreds of car a day. Taking money and tickets a giving back change. I celebrated arriving home by stopping off at a local regional restaurant. The "99" and and have one of their very good cheeseburgers.

I got home at around 8:30. after almost 7 hours of driving. Apart from the traffic slowdown on the way home, it was easy and uneventful day of driving. The car performed well.

So that's that. I be back in a bit.
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arghhh! Passwords and more passwords.

Today I installed a wireless router. Another user name and yet another password. I hooked up my aging desktop and soon realised that it was not wireless capable. I was going to leave it up anyway but I couldn't log into msn because I couldn't remember my password. That's the one password I couldn't find. So I click on "forgot your password" phrase to reset it and then they ask me the answer to my secret question. Well it's is a secret question and it's still a secret because if I wrote it down I can't find it. I know the answers to my secret questions I only have a few but if it's not worded exactly and in the proper case then it's tuff tomatoes for you. I chose tomatoes instead of what I was really thinking. Your only other alternative is to call a help line or purge everything from msn, including email addresses, and start all over again. No thanks buddy boy! I was in no mood to call somebody in India and try to understand english through a thick Indian accent. I called customer service about six months ago to cancel a particular anti virus service that had automatically re-billed me when I didn't want to use that service anymore. The rebilling was my fault as I didn't check the little box that would have prevented it. You gotta watch out for things like that. A very nice woman answered. She had the accent but she was understanable. What made me laugh was when she answered the phone she said, "Hello. My name is Arlene. How can I help you?"
Yeah right! You're Arlene and I'm Bhadrak. It means handsome, good and virtuous. Pretty good I must say if you're Indian. That's what companies do. They give their overseas help desk people western names perhaps to put westerners more at ease. But they really aren't fooling anybody. Now I'm not complaining about this woman because she did what she was supposed to do and was very nice about it.

Still I was ticked off about msn. Also not the word I really wanted to use. Why must they make it so difficult. When I lost my google password it was simple to reset it. I typed in my email address. They sent me a link to reset and it was done. It's been the same with other services. Very simple to do.

Apart for all that I got the wireless set up done without any problems on my laptop and my little Eee computer. That's what it's called. It's a little machine 10"x7". It won't take a disk but you can email and surf the web. Perfect for travelling. I took it to Martha's Vineyard. It's much lighter than my laptop.
I aparently need a wireless card for my desktop which is getting a bit long in the tooth. It's from 2006 but it still works well enough for my needs and besides it has Windows XP which is not as fussy as Windows 7. I am not a computer whiz. I just want it to work when I turn it on and do what I know how to do.

My other complaints about Monday. The phone rang all day. Most were people I know. It's not that I didn't want to talk to them. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I have had the last 3 days off and the first two were filled with things to do and places to go. I wanted Monday to be just for me. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything outside the home. Don't get me wrong I am grateful to have friends and family who want to call me but they all decided to do it on the same day. I am not counting the 800 number calls because I don't bother to answer them. Bless their little automated hearts. I did get stuff accomplished like finally clearing and cleaning up my computer room. That's the place where everything gets stashed until I decide what to do with it or where to put it. In the closet or in the trash. A sort of staging area. I did get that done.

My trip to Mt. Greylock is all set for next Sunday. The weather looks to be good and the foliage should be at peak. They turn earlier in the western part of the state because of the elevation. At least that's my very unscientific reason. The leaves around here are begining to turn. They're about a week late because of all the rain we had this passed summer.

Alright that's enough bitching for now and that is the word I wanted to use and did.
It's approching 10 pm Monday and I have to get back to work tomorrow. Ah nuts (not the word) back to dealing with the great unwashed masses.
Over and out.
I'm outta here.   

Monday, October 10, 2011

My friend Beth/Contemplating things

Before I say anything else I want to send my best wishes to Beth. I have not met a sweeter, nicer person since I began blogging back in late 2007. She calls me her little bro and I call her my big sis. A speedy recovery Beth!

As the title of this blog says I am contemplating things. Not only in my personal life but here on blogger. I am wondering if I should continue. I can't muster a blog everyday. At this point I can barely manage one a week. Truthfully I have watched the comments drop down to essentially two per blog. To these people I say thank you. You know who you are. I'm not mad or upset. If those are the only people that are interested in what I have to write I have to face the fact and quote the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, "It is what it is." This does not mean I'm quitting. At least not at this point. I also admit this does sound a bit whiny. I guess I do miss the old days at Spaces. It was a lot of fun for about two years and I really liked how it operated until they "improved" it out of existence.  I had a lot of personal contact with people. People from all over the country. I had phone conversations. I miss many of them though some came over to Blogger for which I am thankful. I'll say no more about this though it is on my mind.

I am trying to work on setting up a little trip across the state to Mt. Greylock. It's the highest point in the state. As mountains go it's not all that impressive at 3400 plus feet in elevation but it's all we got. Western Ma. is a beautiful part of the state. Very rural, very hilly. The remains of an ancient mountain range scrubbed down by glaciers. Of the roughly 6.5 million people who live in Ma. 4.5 million live in the greater Boston area so the western part of the state is a different world. I am hoping to catch the foliage at peek. Around here the experts say we  are a week behind concerning the leaves changing due to all rain we have had. So I hope this all works out.

It's another gorgeous day as it was yesterday when we hit 87 degrees. It's not a warm as yesterday but it still will hit around 80. Truly the last gasp of summer.

Here's a little video I made of some vintage television commercials featuring some stars before they were stars. In fact I have found a ton of old commercials and television shows. Where I won't say except that it's online. In fact there are a lot of old shows and movies all of which are public domain. It's a lot of fun to hang around a view this vintage footage. I had to make the clip small because of the limited space they give you for video uploads.
So that's it for now kiddies. I've got to run a few errands and I will check back later to check for any updates that I've missed.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I got nothin' to write about really.

So here it is Saturday morning. I've got a late shift hanging over my head (Here's where you feel sorry for me). It has been a relatively uneventful week save for the fact that I ran out of checks for my checking account. Oh yeah. Our hometown baseball team, the Red Sox reverted back to the Sox of old by giving us their best choking performance yet. Prior to 2004 this was the norm. Very competitive until it really counted. A beautiful swan dive out of contention. Before the season started this team was touted as possibly one of the best teams ever and in the middle of the season they sure looked like it. But when it counted in September, down they went in flames. Still if you're a sports fan around here you really have nothing to complain about. We here in the Boston\New England area have lived through the most successful decade in sports with seven sports championships in ten years. All our teams have won. Yup, we got spoiled. Still it's only sports. A diversion. Entertainment. Nothing more. The Atlanta Braves performed a similar el foldo. I can't imagine what it would be like around here if the Braves were still a Boston team. I will root for all the underdogs.

Apart from that I really don't have much to say although that may change as I continue writing. One week removed from my trip to Martha's Vineyard and I still smile at the lovely relaxing time I had. Just three more photos of the place and I will put the Vineyard in my rear view mirror for this year.
The beach across from the hotel in Oak Bluffs.
Looking back from the beach at dawn at some of the inns and hotels that line the road along the beach.
The beautiful beach and cliffs in Aquinnah at the opposite end of the island.
 Well that's about it for now. I must get ready for work in about an hour. At least I will have Sunday and Monday off. See you all in a day or two.
I'm outta here.