Monday, January 15, 2018

. . . and then Came Joyce

Joyce was a cyclone a few days ago.  Starting up in the North of Western Australia she has slowly lost strength as she wended her way down to the coast and this morning she arrived in Perth as a rain-bearing depression of mammoth proportions.  So far we have received 80mm of rain and it doesn’t look as though it is going to stop any time soon.  It is not cold and the wind is only light but there has been no pause in the downpour all day.  When the rain finally stops and the sun comes out again it is going to be unbearably humid.  Thank goodness for air conditioning.

I still have The Blue Screen of Death on my main computer.  There was a short paragraph in the website of the Australian Broadcasting  Corporation on Friday morning suggesting that there is an epidemic of the BSOD around the world and Microsoft has decided that some of their automatic updates are incompatible with some of the Intel Chips, causing the problem, and have suspended updating until they can find a solution.

There has not been any follow-up that I can find but googling BSOD Intel Chip brings up a great deal of information but sadly nothing which is any use to me.

Techie has not been back to take away my computer and replace the hard drive so perhaps he is  waiting for a solution; I can see problems if the new hard drive has the same problem and goes blue as well.  I would like to get the problem fixed and re-download FTM as I feel rather as though I have lost a limb  -  which is silly because there are great stretches of time when I hardly look at it at all and then get spasms of researching and adding.

On Sunday D2 and I cleaned up the oil left by her incontinent cars but it is going to need some more work.  Unfortunately the builders left the concrete in the residents’ parking area quite friable and the oil has soaked right in in some places. A bit of wind might help to send the rain over the area and get rid of some of the dust and dirt.  When it all boils down it is not really my problem  -  I just provide the parking spaces and buy the degreaser.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fire and Fury Mk II

I have just returned from a tour of the local bookshops to try to buy a hard copy of Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff but to no avail.  It has supposedly been available in hard copy for a couple of days now and the “Proper” bookshop (The Lane Bookshop) has been inundated with orders for it but so far has been unable to get it in.  Dymock’s  will have a problem with space unless the book “flies off the shelf” as reports of its sales suggest.

I am reading it on e-Book and am up to chapter 12 but with an e-Book it is hard to  bookmark parts for future reference  or to re-read some of the earlier pages  -  hence my wish for a hard copy.  I am in no hurry since I am able to read it anyway and have had it on my e-reader since 5th January, but . . .

Techie came this morning to try to fix my main computer but I still ended up with the Blue Screen of Death and I have asked him to take it away and do whatever is necessary to get it up and running again which he said might mean a new hard drive and then load everything back.  My main concerns are Family Tree Maker which should be no problem since I have a backup CD and all the documentation needed for the upgrade to FTM 17 but I am concerned that I might have to pay for a subscription to MS Office.  Fingers crossed that Microsoft will allow me to reload Office 16.  I have all the documentation for that as well so I might be lucky.

I only have a few rows more to knit to finish the back of the possum sweater I am knitting and they are all ever decreasing rows.  Next up is the front where I am going to modify the pattern in order to give the sweater a cowl neckline, the pattern for which I have stolen from another sweater pattern but it looks fairly simple so I am confident that I will be able to do it.  If not it will end up having a V-neck; no big deal but a nuisance.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Fire and Fury . . .

. . . the way I feel about my main computer at the moment.  If it had to blow a gasket then I would have preferred that it did so any time except at the beginning of the Christmas season when getting it fixed was going to be a long-term process.  I'll try phoning Techie next week.

I am still managing with my surface Pro 3 and am gradually setting up and adding tiles and links to sites which I frequent but the screen is small and that irritates me somewhat.  I realise that I could plug it into my big screen  -  I have already plugged in a standard keyboard and mouse but it seems to be a bit of a slap in the monitor to simply use it as a conduit.

As for the title of this entry  -  I pre-ordered the above-named e-book and it appeared in my Kobo reader this morning.  I am looking forward to reading it although I realise that it could be part fiction and only loosely based on fact.  However, I have been following American Politics for the past year and am prepared, at this stage, to believe almost anything generated by the White House.

As an Australian I have been able to stand back and tell myself that "there but for the grace of god go I" although insulting Kim Jong-Un seems to be akin to stirring up a nest of fire ants . . . but we are in the danger zone on a couple of counts.

Christmas is over today  - last night was Twelfth Night and I have dismantled the tiny Christmas Tree which I placed on top of one of the cats' scratching posts.  All but one of my Christmas cards came from a couple of my financial connections and organisations to which I donate and I have no regrets about binning them, except the one from a friend in Malta; I collect them as her husband paints beautiful water colour Maltese scenes and each year one of the paintings features on their Christmas cards. 

I received a couple of emails from people apologising for not sending out cards this year; it seems to be the latest trend as the Post office becomes more parcel orientated because now we shop online for a lot of things.  Yesterday I received a consignment of heavy degreaser to clean up the mess left by on of D2's incontinent cars.  For some reason it is something which Bunnings doesn't stock so I had to get it from the other side of the country.

Today we watch the cricket  -  tomorrow we degrease.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Blue Screen of Death Mk II

On 20th December 2017 for the second time I have been faced with the blue screen of death on my computer.  This happened only 16 months since the last time and then I had to purchase a new computer.  I must confess to being somewhat miffed about this and since I bought the last one sort of under the radar from Techie I am not sure what will happen regarding replacement and warranties.

Since it is the Christmas season and I emailed him (no response) I suspect that he is taking a well-earned break and spending Christmas with his family.  I will phone him in a week or so and find out what sort of  recourse I have.

In the meanwhile I have set up my Surface Pro 3 tablet and plugged in a keyboard and mouse which is working well in the interim but am wondering if everything would have transferred here if I had saved all the information on my main computer to THE  CLOUD which I have so far managed to avoid as I worry that at some stage it could be hacked.  To be honest, the only thing which is at all sensitive is my Family Tree Maker program and that all automatically syncs to but Ancestry blocks people who have not died or have not had their deaths recorded in FTM.

FTM is really the only program which I would prefer not to have to reload but I did it last time so it should be easier this time and I have all the documentation just in case.

Christmas is over, thank goodness.  I had the family for Boxing day this year and next year I will have them on Christmas day.  The joys of split families.  I suppose that, in a way, it is telling that I mostly received chocolates and things pertaining to cats.   I am glad, though, that it is over for another year and life is starting to get back to normal again.

D1 flew over from Sydney and stayed until Boxing Day Eve which was lovely and the cats were very happy to see her again. She is, and always has been, a cat whisperer and it is great that after many years of living in rented accommodation she finally has a cat of her own.  Strictly illegal in her apartment block and it is a very talkative Tonkinese but she suspects that it's presence is known but ignored.  We are lucky here  -  pets are allowed within reason; one animal weighing under 7 kilos except with permission from the board of owners.  I have written permission to have two cats (Parsifal weights in at just over 7 kilos) so I am legal but most pet owners here have dogs.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mad Cat Lady

After cleaning out the cats' litter trays the cats always line up to be brushed and this evening I caught myself discussing with them their bowel habits. OK  -  so I talk to my cats.

My fixation on their bowel habits stems from the three of us experiencing an unusually sudden transition from winter to 36 degrees Celsius within 24 hours which triggered a sudden and heavy moult.  Parsifal managed alright but Poppy got fur balls and blocked up, needing medication usually used for people to unblock her.

We have had some weird weather this year with unseasonal storms, gale force winds and hot, humid days.  Thank goodness for air conditioning; at least I can regulate the temperature in the apartment and all the shops are just downstairs in an air conditioned shopping complex.

Cricket lovers who watched the last day of the third Ashes Test Match yesterday would have sampled a bit of our current weather.  The day before yesterday there had been intermittent rain and with possible storms predicted for overnight so the covers were put over the pitch.  They blew off and play was delayed for a couple of hours while leaf-blowers were used to dry a wet patch, and the pitch was scored with cracks  -  a bonus for the bowlers  -  and there were near-gale force winds.  Australia won . . .

The odd weather has triggered my asthma and I have been wheezing for several weeks and my hayfever has been worse than usual but all is settling down now.  A good thing as Christmas is only six days away.  D1 is flying in from Sydney on Friday evening but is only staying for five days.  Tomorrow I need to "do out" the spare room which is usually kept closed and therefore easily ignored until it is needed.  

I will be spending Christmas Day cooking for the family for Boxing Day as Ex and Exette are officially having the family for Christmas Day this year but the family seems to have dug in their toes and D3 will be cooking dinner for them on Christmas Eve.  Maybe it is time for me to dig in my toes and pass on my recipes for potato salad and trifle and let someone else do it.  I wish!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sumer is Icumen In . . .

Despite what the calendar says, today was not very warm although tomorrow is predicted to be hot.

Management  sent around an air-conditioning person to check our systems today.  Mine was fine but I need a couple of new screens as the ones which I have are showing some sign of wear; not surprising since I have been here for over six years and they have not been serviced in that time.

Poppy is finally a well little cat again after a rather traumatic time was had by all.  A couple of weeks ago she ripped out a claw so that it was hanging by a thread so I took her off to the vet who sedated her and removed the claw.  When I got her home she was a very happy little cat and because I know that she has arthritis I assumed that it was the pain medication.  Back for a check-up and the vet suggested that maybe she should have regular pain medication. 

That was fine and she liked the taste so it was easy to give to her but she became very constipated (but no vomiting this time around) so the vet decided that the constipation might be caused by the pain medication and put her onto faecal softeners instead, which worked after a couple of days and she hasn't looked back.

The two of them have almost finished moulting and are looking very sleek and shiny but I am still vacuuming up great heaps of black fur.

COTA has finished for the year, just in time for a huge upgrade by Microsoft which left me floundering in a mass of requested passwords and exhortations to register to the Cloud, a thing which I have managed to resist so far.  I am keeping my options open as to whether or not I keep teaching next year.  Windows 10 is not easy to teach and I feel that I should not have to provide on-line access for my clients if they bring their own computers and twice now a client's computer has totally drained my hotspot of all its 4 Gb in short order.  It will cost me $50.00 to recharge it so I will see how I feel closer to the start-up date next year.

I seem to have reached the limit in my genealogy research into the descendants of one of my maternal grandmothers.  I am a bit short of data on a couple of the families and in one case I have gained far more information from the archived newspapers than I have from the cousins themselves but there is no information at all on a few and they will have to be delegated to the great unknown as even "Lady Kitty", the queen of the Advertiser Newspaper's social column in the 1950s did not manage to glean any gossip about them.

But it was fun reading through some of her writings; so many familiar names.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thunder on the Right

The night before last we had the most amazing thunderstorm.  It lasted for over three hours and I had a panoramic view over the river, followed by a short burst of torrential rain directly from the south which washed my windows.  They had been so dirty that, at night when the light shines in I, could hardly see through the dust and dirt.  Usually the management sends around a team of window cleaners a couple of times per year but so far there has been no sign of them.  They have to abseil down from the roof and negotiate an overhang.  A very bad design fault and I am not surprised that it is hard to find anyone to do it and must cost a fortune.

The cats are moulting and I am being swamped in black fur.  The fact that they are brushed morning and night has not stopped them from getting fur balls and vomiting all over the carpets.  They prefer the carpets  -  softer on their paws while they get down to the business of ridding themselves of their dinner.  I am very practised at cleaning up cat barf  but it is a bit hard to do before I have had my morning coffee.  I have been feeding them Catlax but it took Poppy five days for it to work.  One of the joys of keeping indoor cats but I wouldn't do without them.

I have bought myself a little carpet shampooer.  It is a Bissell which is the only one of its kind to be recommended by Choice Magazine.  It doesn't have a very big capacity which is exactly what I needed and it is very effective.  Yesterday I finally summoned up my courage to use it  -  it arrived just before the 'flu and when I started to recover I  had a panic about where I had put the accessories and instructions.

The most urgent bit of carpet was the strip where I groom the cats, outside their bathroom, and although vacuumed regularly it looked pretty grotty.  So yesterday I gave the area a thorough vacuuming and them washed the carpet.  It needs doing again but the amount of dirt and cat hair which was sucked up was staggering and the carpet now feels nice to walk on  -  it has lifted the pile and released the embedded cat fur.

Now I just have to vacuum and mop the huge acreage of off-white tiles which cover most of the floor area, right in the middle of the apartment and which are firmly resistant to detergent and mop and show every footmark when wet.  I have evolved the habit of doing the job over two days so that I can get from one end of the apartment to the other without stepping into the newly washed area until it has a chance to dry.  There has to be an easier way.