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My Last LJ Entry

I am giving up on Live Journal. It is up. Then it's down. This blog will remain here but I will not be posting to it anymore. This is many years of my personal history.

But my saga will continue on WordPress at Charlie's New Blog, http://texascreek.wordpress.com/

So swing on over and sign up for my updates by e-mail or RSS. For all my LJ friends, I highly recommend WordPress as an alternative. It isn't as easy to set up because there are lots of options so ya keep dinking with it. Lol.

And it wasn't designed as a social site like LJ was, which is why I will keep this journal of mine active, just will not post. I have some good friends here and wanna keep in touch.

And, of course, entries on my New Blog will link back here.


Harry Potter

We went to see the new Harry Potter movie. I managed to restrain myself from snarky comments. Barely.

Yeah. Seniors in a matinee! I couldn't believe there was an ad at the bottom of the ticket. But the other 25 people didn't bother us much. Once the movie started.

There was lots of dramatic special effects but they missed some good lines, IMO.

[I had to look up the names of the characters! This is NOT my preferred milieu.]

Spoilers ahead!Collapse )

Once Harry learns he has a part of Voldemont's spirit within him, I expected at some point for Lord V. to say, "Harry, I am your Father.". Didn't happen.

When Voldemont addressed people, I expected them to say, "Yes, Lord Vader.". Unless he killed them.

Voldemont was disfigured and had no hair or nose. Through the whole movie I thought of him as No Nose. He reminded me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings; Every time one of the valuable magic things were in his possession, I expected him to say, "My Precious"!

After the battle, the three young heroes were standing on the causeway to castle. I expected the brash redheaded guy to say something like, "Let's go kick some more bad guy's ass!". Instead they just faded to black.

Other musings.

After Harry died, he was hanging with Dumbledore, a grandfatherly figure, in some misty afterlife place. Exactly like Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. But with less accent! But both dead.

There was a magic sword, like Arthur's "Excaliber" or Prince Valiant's "Singing Sword". It was mostly something to argue about but did get used once by the anti-hero equivalent of Han Solo (Neville) to cut the head off a magic snake, saving Harry's life once again.

The ghost scene was not believable to me. This is not how ghosts would act who have come back to hang with the living and encourage them. OTOH, they were British ghosts!

And come on, huge Orcs (I presumed) fighting stone men? I know it was a magical place but this was over the top to me.

And the wands. They look like little sticks they point at each other! At least Light Sabers looked like weapons!

Sigh. It was an OK movie for $5. But not my chalice of magic.

Charlie's Kindle

It finally came today! My new toy!

The lower edge was interesting.

The MAC (Media Access Control) number is on the box so they can set it up as assigned to me without opening the box. The box WAS easy to open: pull the zipper on the other end and lift the lid! No shrinkwrap or other cumbersome packing. Once the box was open, I could just lift everything out. There wasn't much: the Kindle, the power cord, and the "quick start guide". The guide told me how to turn it on; from there, it was a self-guided tour!

It booted up quickly and the "Welcome" book opened. I read all that to learn about all the cool features. Donna said she was amazed: a man who read the manual first! Lol. My experience as an instrument tech made me do that!

I told it how to connect to our wireless network and that went smoothly.

It said I could buy content on Amazon's website. That didn't go as well! It is slow to load a page; the webpages are in B&W and too small (each page had to be manually enlarged for me to read anything); and the cursor controls are slow (due to the page refresh rate) and clunky. So I went on Amazon via my PC and "bought" some free books.

I was amazed how quickly they appeared in the Kindle! That worked well. But that is what it is made to do. :)

Reading on it is nice.

As you can see here, the text is easy to read with good contrast. This is a page from the book, Flirtexting, as noted in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Once you page forward, the top bar disappears. The cable at left is connected to my USB bus for charging and is also used to loading stuff from my computer onto the Kindle. The progress bar at bottom shows how far into the book you are.

The "Home" button calls up the contents of the machine.

It came with the last four items. The top four items are books I have downloaded. The banner at the bottom for CoverGirl is the "plus" part of the gadget! The ads vary; while I was writing this, a full screen ad for Visa appeared! The top banner has the name of the Kindle, a bargraph of the wireless signal strength, and the battery charge. If I type something in, it does a Google search for it and will also search Wikipedia but I haven't learned how to do that. Yet. I can also post on FaceBook with it. I haven't tried that yet, either.

It charged up within an hour of plugging it in. So far I like it as a "book". If I can keep my fingers off the page buttons on the sides!


Cat Rescue

I found these pictures on a financial blog I subscribe to.

I don't have any back story on these.


The Cactus

There are non-descript cacti all over our land. They aren't noticeable until they burst into bloom, usually with yellow flowers, like most plants up here. I was taking the trash up the drive to the dumpster yesterday and saw this gem next to the Escape.

The color is amazing! And six flowers! I knew this little guy was there and have avoided stepping on it every time I got out of the car. But have never seen it bloom before.

That is a small rabbit brush behind it.

This morning when I went to town, it looked like this.

I assume it accomplished its purpose: procreation. Cacti often use flies to pollinate since they are everywhere. So the show is all over for the year. But there were 7 blooms it appears.

I am just glad I got to see it!


A Science Experiment

I had been postponing testing the chlorination of our water for some time. Today was the day. And of course lots of things went wrong! This was supposed to determine the concentration of the bleach solution the chemical pump needed to deliver. I had about a gallon of water in the chemical tank from getting the feed pump operational.

I reprimed the pump then added an arbitrary 2 ounces of Clorox bleach. And found the first problem: the gallon jug of bleach I had been using for the water tanks was barely bleach! No wonder I kept having to keep adding bleach to our water tanks! Donna had a bottle in her bathroom so I borrowed that one. I had to mix the bleach and water by shaking the tank then running the pump long enough the lines were full of the new concentration.

Finally I was ready to run the well pump; I haven't figured out how to connect the well controls for remote operation so I enlisted Donna for turning it on and off. That was when I discovered our two way radios had dead batteries and we did not have any AAA batteries in our stash! For some reason I thought about our cordless phones; I thought they had a paging system. Only it turned out they have a real intercom system between the two handsets! And it turns out they work from the well to the house, about 100'. So we learned something before we even started the project!

I had borrowed a 17 gallon tub Donna had used for her horses to run off batches of water. First batch: no residual chlorine. In fact no effect on the well water; when bleach hits the "clear iron" we have, it turns dark red from the iron oxidizing and coming out of solution.

I added two more ounces of bleach and purged the lines. Batch #2 was dark!

Normally our well water is perfectly clear so obviously it had reacted! And the test strips verified this. But I had cheated by purging the feed pump into the line from the well.

The pump is for removing the "used water" from the tub into the drain I had built.

When I repeated this test, the water was not so turbid. :( Since I was running out of bleach in my borrowed jug, I added 1 ounce directly to the tub and stirred. The results looked -- and tested -- exactly like the one above!

So the results indicate that I will NOT be using the expensive chemical pump (maybe I can sell it on E-bay!). We will just pump the well water into the first (reaction) tank and add the bleach by hand (somewhere just under a quart!) until I get the right level of chlorine. This is not a big deal since we were planning to operate the well pump manually anyway. We can put a few hundred gallons in the reaction tank as needed; it is a 550 gallon tank. At our current usage, we would only have to do it once a week or so.

It took two or three minutes to pump the 15 gallons we used for each test so each batch for domestic use will take about 45 minutes to an hour to deliver from the well. The limiting factor for volume will be the actual water in the well: about 350 gallons.

I am sure our water usage will go up with the treatment system in service. But the recharge rate for our well is about 1.5 GPM so it will refill easily between batches even if we use two well fulls a week.

And I can now remove the chemical tank for the feed pump, making a bit more room in the Water House! This is more Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) than I expected even for our crappy water but this stage should remove a lot of the iron and all the sulfur.

More Baby Llama

It is so cute! And so alert with the ears up. The babies do look nicer because they have short fur so look neater. We are amazed how every baby, regardless of mother, looks so much alike.

This is year before last year's baby.

And last year's with three generations hanging out. Mom is on the left, nearly all brown. At least she got a break this year!

The other animals are gone and just the llamas live on this section of land now.


Putting Up Bell Peppers

I found a good deal on colored bell peppers at MalWart Thursday. Most of them were overripe but I managed to find two yellow and two orange ones which were pretty good. They really don't taste much different than the green ones but add a lot of color to whatever we put them in, especially fajitas.

I core them then slice them lengthwise and put them in plastic bags for the freezer.

They were such a good deal, the register rang them up for twice as much as the posted price, $1 each but the resourceful checker (a rarity there!) figured out the right code to make it right.

While I was doing this, I saw the tags on them: the orange ones were from Holland and the yellow ones from Sumatra! These peppers had big carbon footprints so I could have color in my food!

Interestingly, the juice from the orange ones was stickier than from the yellow ones, for some reason.

Two of these peppers will just about fill a quart Ziplock. For most dishes, we will chop the strips further.

And, yeah, I was doing this at my computer desk!

Something New in the Neighborhood

Yesterday I noticed when I went to town, that Blondie, the white llama, was off by himself on the east end of the school land. He does this when there is a new baby. OTOH, we hadn't seen one so I figured he was just POed at the rest of the herd.

But today, I saw this.

There was a wee one in the herd!

It is so cute! Earlier it was nursing and it still hangs close to mom. I guess Blondie will be on the east end for months now. I guess he just hates kids. Or moms hate him around them.



Y'all are gonna get tired of hearing about this subject! Lol. Donna gave me the go-ahead to order my new toy even tho it is a bit early!

Its official name is "Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers". The "special offers" part are ads but Amazon makes it sound like a preferred feature! For $25 more, you can get a model without this "feature". Reviewers said the ads are not intrusive.

It was $114 with free shipping; it'll take about a week to get here. I have lots of books I want to put on it but to do so, I have to buy a Kindle version again. :( My SFBC does NOT offer Kindle versions. Savings vary on hardback vs Kindle versions; the book I am reading now, Fuzzy Nation, comes in both. The hardback is $15.23 and the Kindle is $11.99. Most prices run around 10 bucks but it varies by publisher, popularity of author, and best seller status. There are lots of 99¢ books, some full length novels and others short stories. The free books are generally pre-1923 or by authors I never heard of. And for some reason, SF books are nearly all over $10!

I am sure I will be "buying" free books to test drive this thing! Like Space Junque - An Apocapunk Romance (Apocalypto 1). For some reason this is not in the SF category on Amazon.

Other sources have free e-books but not all have Kindle versions. OTOH, it will read PDFs. Nook and Goggle Books versions are NOT Kindle compatible! In fact Google says, "Anything but a kindle!". Lol.

This is gonna be an adventure! But it will be hard to stuff receipts and papers in the Kindle to carry them!



Charlie Green

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