Monday, January 10, 2005

The last sputterings of the season

Went to Mom and Dad's for our Christmas get-together with them and the brothers. Had a nice turkey dinner and we had a pretty good time.

Mom had Jeff and Joel bring salt in to kick up the water softener that they hadn't been using, and we had a little trouble with that-- the salt got under the tube that protects the float valve from getting jammed by salt -- and -- well, it all had to be cleaned out again. But once that was done everything was ok.

Carrie, a friend of Mom and Dad's, was out. She seems like a nice girl -- probably in her mid 20's, real cute. They say they've "adopted" her... you know dad always wanted a girl.

I brought them a Doris Day Christmas album and some Classical and Big Band Christmas stuff, as well as the Stanley Black "SPAIN" CD. We also brought out a coat tree -- they'd wanted an oak one with oak pegs, not metal. We found a maple one here in town very similarly colored -- for like $30. The places they'd been looking wanted $160. They are quite happy with it.

Mom and dad got us in the drawing -- and we got a bunch of hot spices from Penzey's. Like 8 or 10 bottles of various stuff from crushed red pepper to chipotle.

Had a bit of trouble hooking up my old (better) scanner last night after I cleaned it. One thing lead to another and at one point I had to reboot -- then there was some sort of spyware thing that installed itself on my box -- "Freshbar" -- and I searched all over for how to remove it. Every solution involved a freeware product called "HijackThis" -- which I eventually got and got rid of it.

The clever little b*stard even swapped the names of itself and the google toolbar in the toolbar control list so that if you went to disable Freshbar you actually ended up disabling the Google toolbar instead (however, once you figure this out you can disable Freshbar by disabling the entry that says "Google". That wasn't enough for me, though, I wanted it GONE.)

And I finally did get rid of it. It wasn't for beginners.

And I got the scanner working, though I can't use my 10 foot USB cable for it because it allows too much noise.

So -- I'll be using the shorter cable. I have a lot of old photos from Mom and Dad's that I need to scan for posterity. I opened the scanner and cleaned it out to get rid of that vertical line that was the reason I'd stopped using it. I have an HP Printer/Scanner/Copier, but the scanner (even though it's 2400 DPI) is a very crappy 2400 dpi. My old one is 1200, but the quality is much better. Cleaned the glass, ran another test scan -- I think we're good to go.

Bart took to peeing again at the bottom of the stairs. Oddly, if he were some wild animal that came into the house I'd have no problem just killing him -- but we've had him for 10 years so I feel obligated to find ways to deter him. We can't use the CatScram 9000 there because he has to go through that area to get to his litterbox and food. I'm going to try to build a CatScram 200 -- with a motion sensor and an old hair dryer fan.

He hates hair dryers, and cats won't linger in a place they're being blown on. I hope.

Well, hi-ho. Off to work.

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