Thursday, October 19, 2006

Helping Dave Remodel

Today, I helped a friend with the moving, lifting and carrying required to update his daughter's house.  We moved a bathtub into the house from my favorite place, Manard's.  Plumbing came next then a quick ride home.  We didn't work too long so I have some time for 'Daily Rambles'.

I have been learning about printer cartridges.  For the last six years, I have been running my 'free' IJ300 Compaq printer with color cartridges.  Lately, I switched to a rebuilt cartridge sold by Wal-mart under the brand, Nukote,  It is  a simple black cartridge but it cost only $18.00 while the color version is about $35.00.  Great so far.  When I tried it out, I got a double print.  The page was useless.  What could be wrong.  Ah ha,  Sue had used the printer to produce a picture she was painting.  She's the culprit.  I don't know why but.. she did it.  More inspecting.  She didn't do it.  I had to reconfigure the printer to print black and white.  With that done, I had no problem except.  Except, I run my printer on a computer connected to a network.  It turns out that other computers on the network used different copies of the driver.  One can be set to black and white while the other is good for color.  I was quite proud when I figured all this out.  All is well now and I am having a great day.


UAV's, UUV's, UGV's-Unmanned Vehicle is the Future

Yesterday, I had the time to go over all those Google Alerts I have pulled don on unmanned vehicles.  For those of you not in the know, UGV is unmanned ground vehicle, UUV is unmanned underwater vehicle, and UAV is unmanned arial vehicle.  Before most of us have learned the acronomn, the US military has got over twenty different types in service or coming soon.  The immediate goal is to make them autonomic

 (aw''to-nom'ik) self-directed; self-regulating; independent. .  Next year, the military plans to conduct a combined exercise where different types of unmanned vehicles will conduct an exercise together.  The goal is to have many less human controllers than vehicles and to learn from the experience. 

Many companies are making parts for all these machines so I expect that civilian versions are closer than most people think.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Life as a Docent

Yesterday, I lived the active life of a typical retiree.  I was up at 6 am reading over my notes on the uses and abuses of the Great Lakes.  Fifty kids from White Lake , Michigan were on their way to the Bay County Museum in Bay City, Michigan and I needed to try to make sure the trip was worth the effort.  

I learned about the size of the Great Lakes, shipping on the lakes, stories about the was great.  When the kids came, they were great.  We learned about lampreys ... invasive species, and any thing else I could think of.  It was a great day.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Me and My Computer Network

Ah, my congoleration of old computers, printers, wireless, broadband, drivers- old and older, mazes of files straight from hell.  I love them all most of the time.  There has been nothing to show me better the confusion some old people have than my computer systems after about six years. 


In the past, I have killed the problem by getting a new computer and -even though - I told myself otherwise- never going back.  Now, with the network idea, I use all of these computers on the network. 

Yesterday, I used this system along with Google Notebook to produce a 30 page notebook on the uses and abuses of the Great Lakes.  It was a wonder of progress, but-at the end of the day--no INK.  Then NO Cartridge. Then, a trip to Walmart.  NO Cartridge, I try a refurbished cartridge from NuKOTE.  All types of strange things happened.  I think of all the things I would like to do to anyone from Walmart... The night passes.  Magic happens.  I pick a different instance of the driver on my computer.  All is well.  What happened.  I don't have a clue, but as I often say 'Trust the force'.


By the way, the Google Notebook is at

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hanging Around, Hanging Drywall

We had a great day at Rachael Deland's house in Bay City.  It seemed that all the slow going yesterday was replace by jobs that went well and showed a lot. 

Dave and I hung ten foot sheets of drywall in one bedroom.  I used the Roto Zip for the cut outs.  It was fun to be back in this business.  We applied the first coat of mud to the seams and screw holes.  Everything went well.  It is ready for the second coat now and then the paint.


We also scabbed three 2x6's to the side of the damaged floor joists in the bathroom.  I plan to go back to help him some more tomorrow.

There is a chance though that we might skip working and go south of Flint to pick up a snowmobile.  That would be a fun ride. 

I am giving a 'Ghosts and Legends%' Trolley Tour in Bay City this Saturday so I will have to go over that material.  I haven't done that tour since tall ships so a brush up is required. 



Wednesday, October 11, 2006

If it's Wednesday, Winter is Here

The laundry is drying and I am sneaking in some time to get my  blog entry done.  We just lost power for a minute and I am glad that this laptop has a battery.  Sue is  off to Tawas for her clinic and I am not with her since I committed to help Dave Deland with his daughter Racheal's house in Bay City. It should be a good day.

I watched the debate between Dick Devos and Governor Grandholm last night.  Devos lost Sue and my vote because of his obvious anger and non-specific answers.  Jennifer can lick him whenever she wants in a debate. 

Yesterday was a museum day.  I went through the Boutel Gallery we have just added.  I was caught short on this because it is a substantial addition to the museum and somehow I didn't know about it until later. 

The exhibit has several beautiful marine pictures by Sprague that a  delight to see.  It also has a video on Ben Boutel, a Bay City captain and industrialist.  He is one of my personal favorites. 

Today, it will be carry materials, make plans, and hopefully do something.




Monday, October 9, 2006

One of Sue's Favorite Pictures

This picture is one of Sue's favorites.  It shows her favorite colors and something of the styles she likes.  I like this style too which says something about why I am so happy with her. 

Bay City Tour of Homes

The Bay City Tour of Homes is an annual event in October.  It is one of the museum's most popular events.  This year, I was a yard guard at Gene Gillett's house at 200 N. Chilson.  It is a beautiful home with very interesting decor. 

We wrote it up as a four square house with elements of the prairie style.  The yard was very nice with many flowers and plants.  Gene had labeled the plants like you sometimes see in parks. 

The weather was nearly perfect.  It was a great day.

My Sixty-first Birthday

Strange, but the number sixty-one just bugs me.  I like some numbers better than others.  Some, I almost anthropomorphize, giving them them personalities that are hardly warrented based on any logical facts.  None the less, I dislike sixty-one. 

I did really like the party though.  We had about fifteen people here.  Sue got me a new, reversible hunting coat.  John, Nancy, Jim and Fran and LeeAnn got me a target for the bow.  Gene and Becky Solgate gave me a quart of cordial liquor.  Corby, Kris and Candice got me a gift certificate to Dick's. A good time was had by all especially me. 

I can't help but think of how lucky I am to have all this concern and interest. 

I have been putting quite a bit of interest into archery these last few weeks.  The target helps with that.  I had been trying to find one with no luck.  Now, I am set.  Modern bows have a tremendous punch.  My bow is set for sixty to seventy pounds draw.  The arrow shoots very flat.  This bow has sights and a release mechanism that makes it a very different thing than the fiberglass bow of my childhood.  Archery has probably advanced as much in the last fifty years as it did in the previous three thousand. 

My bow has a great deal of power.  My friend, Bob Nancarrow, killed a moose with a bow of this pull.  I think it is easy to discount just how effective these bows can be. 

Thanks to everybody for the birthday.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Google Notebook and Spreadsheet

I installed Google Notebook yesterday.  It will probably take the place of my usual habit of copying clippings from websites into a Microsoft Word document.  It seems faster and it stores a copy of your information on the net so it can be read from other locations.  Google is making it very easy to share information on the net and colaborate as well. 

Their spreadsheet is very similiar to Excel.  It is free and allows the writer to specify by email address who can view or alter the page.  I haven't used Writely, their word processing program, but I will when I need to share information with someone else on the net. 

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  Sue and I went out with our friends, Dr. Jenkowski and his wife, Jackie.  We did the art walk in Bay City.  This was the first time I did this.  I wanted to for many months but hadn'd done it.  We went to about eight galleries.  A & J on Washington Street was the best.  The owner of Larsen salvage,  had several pieces on display there.  He was working with metal and wood.  Most of his pieces were a version of modern art.  They avoided the problem of looking like they were turned out on a drafting machine.  I liked them quite a bit.  Sue did not care for them.  We went to the
Ward Gallary by Jimmie John's too.  I really like his work.  Sue did too.  I went into a photograph gallery in the Rosenberry building. and another in the Phoenix building.  It was a great day.


Wednesday, October 4, 2006

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery

user225937's AOL Pictures Public Gallery. 

Whenever I see these plants, I think of the day Katy planted them.  She was about twelve years old at the time. 

Vassar High School Class of 1976 Reunion

The big weekend had arrived.  Sue and her committee had been working on the Vassar Class of 1976 Reunion for over six months.  She had put in hundreds of hours.  Everything looked ready and it was.

The affair began with a meeting at Cheek's in downtown Vassar before the homecoming parade on friday night.  The parade route was different this year since the main street through downtown and across the bridge is closed off at the Moore Drain for the flood control project.  So, for the first time in my memory, the parade formed up on Jay Road and came into town on South Main Street. 

After meeting at Cheeks, the class gathered at the football field for the homecoming game with Frankenmuth.  Sixty to seventy people were in the roped off section.  The night was a little cold but the rain held off.  Everybody had a good time..  Some people even watched the game. 

After the game,  most people went to a party at Warren Bierlein's on Lorenzo Road just outside of town.  Warren had a barn set up for the party that was perfect for the informal gathering we had.  Everyone enjoyed it so much that the party shut down about 2:30 am. 

The next morning,  Sue was up with about four hours sleep.  That means that I was up with four hours and one minute sleep.  Off we went to golf at the Grill on the Green in Bridgeport.  Everyone thought that we were going to be rained out but the weather was perfect for our needs.  We had just enough rain that no one else was on the course, but not enough to get wet.  Some people spent some time with their eye off the ball and on the back of other golfers carts.  They would sneak up and unstrap your golf bag and leave it there.  When the cart moved, the bag would fall with a terrible clang. 

That evening, we had the formal party at the Grill on the Green.  Forty six classmates attended.  Sue and the committee had gifts for everyone.  I had made four bluebird houses for gifts.  Some gifts were worth up to seventy-five dollars.  When your ticket was drawn, you could choose a gift but.. anyone else had one chance to take that gift then they had to sit down.  Everyone really took part in all the activities.  A group picture for the Vassar Pioneer Times was taken by Greg Hall.  I made pictures for each couple on Sue's picture printer.  The party shut down about 12:30 am. 

The weekend finished up with breakfast at Bettylou's Restaurant in Vassar.  It was a great success.