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pita [Jul. 30th, 2015|11:28 pm]
My wife's workout class met at Zoe's Kitchen for dinner tonight, so I joined them. I found them all to be nice folks. Then I found a bit of documentation that I had set somewhere obvious a day or two ago, and then been unable to find. All in all, not a bad day.
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Mate in 2 [Jul. 29th, 2015|07:11 pm]
One of my postal chess opponents, facing checkmate in two, resigned. This was a nice miniature (under twenty moves) in which my London System opening transposed into a very favorable bad-bishop-already-exchanged Stonewall Attack, leading to a very early conclusion. My style is usually pretty quiet, so it was fun to play in a game with a bit of tactical fun. This leaves some five games still to play in this tournament. In one I am fairly likely lost, in another the other side has an edge, another is draw-ish and two more are too early to project.

This morning when I arrived at work I noticed one of the parking lot Northern Mockingbirds was very agitated. At first I thought the object of its ire was an American Crow. Then I saw that a Cooper's Hawk atop a light pole held a prey. I could not see the prey. The Northern Mockingbird guarded the next tree over, but it had no help in its effort to repulse the hawk.

I feel it wrong to begrudge a raptor a meal, but I hope that the prey was not one of the two younger Northern Mockingbirds who hang out in that parking lot. Indirectly, I suppose I then end up wishing ill upon the local doves, but I hope I am indirectly somehow more reconciled to nature than all that.

At lunch I drove to our old office, as some mail accidentally went to our address from a couple of years ago. A kind person gave me the small package. I then ate at the local Boston Market, where I used to eat a few times a week. None of the staff were the same as the old days. They were all earnest, if a bit inefficient, but my meal was grand. After lunch I went to Troth Ablon Park, where I saw Blue Jays, Eastern Phoebes and a Carolina Wren but got no great photos.

Now I am home. The movie "Legend" is on television. Beatrice is on the rug. The world is in good order.
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jump start [Jul. 28th, 2015|10:41 pm]
My right rear tire was low ths morning. I stopped at the convenience store at Alma and McDermott to air it up. The establishment modernized the machine. Rather than using a simple air-powered gauge, the machine allowed on to preset a figure to which one aspired to fill one's tires. Either through design flaw or user error, the car soon reported that the tire got a good bit deflated instead of inflated. I drove on to a nearby Tom Thumb,where I was able to fill the tire with ease.

At lunch, a stranger came up to me in the parking lot and asked me if I had jumper cables. I drove my car up to her second floor apartment. We got her Toyota going in good order. She impressively offered me a wad of bills, but I decided I am not yet in the mobile tech business and declined. At lunch I watched a Loggerhead Shrike.

After work I walked in the shady woods at Oak Point Park in Plano. After a dinner of turkey burgers, we settled down to watch a set of Les Blank films.b
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Dawn past Dusk [Jul. 27th, 2015|10:59 pm]
Up at 3:50 a.m. Flight, meeting in Austin, flight. Worked until 8 p.m. My sci-fi went from potboiler to Swiftian satire.
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Wandering [Jul. 26th, 2015|08:15 am]
I rode my bicycle from our house up the Watters Creek Trail, onto some little-used surface streets then at the movie theater entered the Cottonwood Creek Trail. I had a 2 1/2 hour grand time, seeing sunflowers, Barn Swallows, Western Kingbirds, dogs, Blue Jays, lots of walking folks and the warming Texas sun.

Last night we met our friends Scott and Donna at Gordon Biersch. Our waitress was great--she followed us from the restaurant when I mistakenly left my credit card there. She also made sure that my grilled fish was prepared sans butter.

We went to the Plano Angelika to see "Mr Holmes". We liked the film. As we walked back to our car a kind fellow restored to us a scarf Donna dropped.

I walked Beatrice this morning. Though she has the canine love of repeated routines, today she deviated from path to explore the elementary schoolyard. When a rabbit failed to flee but instead chewed a weed when she stood, restrained, a few feet away, it was almost more than a stout-hearted dog could stand. Fortunately the rabbit finally fled, restoring order to the universe.
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Penguins love enchiladas [Jul. 24th, 2015|10:45 pm]
Three of my on-line postal chess games are starting to wrap up at once. In one, I have an attack I believe will be decisive. In another, I am getting picked apart, being now a pawn down but with worse to come. In the third, I am slipping into somewhat worse, though not yet dire, circumstances.

We dined out tonight at San Miguel,where the chicken enchiladas verde flowed like a rainforest. I am trying to decide which outdoors thing to do tomorrow, besides walking young Bea. The weather is to be quite hot, so I want to get up early, go, do and be home before the real heat hits.

I am pleased that the indiegogo for the CSE Penguins is off to a dashing start. These middle schoolers run a computer club whose goals include recycling computers, installing Linux on them, and giving them to folks in their MN area or even a sister city class in Thailand. Their crowdfund seeks funds to buy refurbished computers and replenish the school's own computer stock. I approve of its focus on recycled computers and on teaching Linux skills, so I donated. I like for schools to be about helping makers do more than passive tablet spectators watch media.

Beatrice talked to me this afternoon, using the little sub-verbal vocalizations she sometimes uses when addressing people. It "worked", as I paid lots of attention to her.

It's been so hard to decide whether to bicycle in my neighborhood, drive ninety minutes for a real change of scenery or to drive 20 minutes to a city park. Of such choices are days made.

My current science fiction is a bit more pulpy than the past several I've read, but perhaps that's not a bad change of pace.
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hawk and heron [Jul. 23rd, 2015|10:56 pm]
Wednesday we watched the 1996 "A Little Princess". I like the children's novel upon which the film is based. We saw the film in the theater when it came out. I felt intrigued when I refreshed my memory that the lead child actress ended up as an heir to a substantial fortune from the Hyatt Hotels richesse. We are all princesses, indeed.

Thursday morning Beatrice and I walked at 7 a.m. From our next door neighbor's tree, a Cooper's Hawk flew over to the fence of our across-the-street neighbor. When I see him, he is usually in the park being mobbed by the grackles. But he was near our house today--perhaps hunting house sparrows.

Tonight I walked at Bethany Lakes Park. I saw two Green Herons. I ate two soft chicken tacos for lunch. I am sad tonight about a new movie theater shooting in Louisiana.
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Oriole! [Jul. 21st, 2015|08:43 pm]
I got a lot of work done on Monday and Tuesday. I saw a Baltimore Oriole in Bethany Lakes Park in Allen. I usually only see them in the Spring, and not often then. An old friend left a picture of a Pacific Northwest bird one of her friends is trying to ID, but I could not sort out which bird it was--but gave a guess anyway.

The less-hot early Texas Summer gave way to the 100-degree day weather that goes with late July. I found out the location of the local Makerspace, and figured out when the north Texas Linux Users Group meets. I had just decided that the Texas Linux Fest next month in San Marcos is too far to drive,so getting involved locally next month makes sense to me. I plan to revisit Cleburne State Park sometime soon, though, like many parks locally, it had a trail damaged by the rains.

I am almost over the spot of illness I caught in Scotland. If it is not all gone by Saturday,I'll go to the doc-in-a-box. It' s good to feel good again.

I downloaded two more sci-fi novels from Barnes & Noble. I've had a good 2015 run of enjoyable sci-fi. I caught up with most of my postal chess moves yesterday. I am not very happy with most of my positions, but the games are interesting.

My newish song "Naive" seems to get picked up for videos a lot. Someone posted a creative short film using it,so I left a social media post saying I enjoyed it. It's fun the way social media can facilitate instant communication.

Twitter searches for Baltimore Orioles feature way too much baseball.
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Good but tired [Jul. 19th, 2015|09:32 pm]
We got up at 8 a.m. to give Beatrice a walk. She exchanged a kind word with two neighborhood dogs. I made it to my Weight Watchers meeting at 9:30. I gained a little but held onto most of my vacation weight loss. I listed my old laptop on eBay It is priced low so we shall see if it sells. I went to church at First UMC where I attended the alternate Way service. I liked the sermon and the liberal use of old Cokesbury Hymnal hymns. I went to Golden Chick for roast chicken. Then I walked in the hot sun at Shawnee Park in Plano. I bought bananas on the way home. Then I fell stone cold asleep for three hours. My wife made bell peppers stuffed with chickpeas and quinoa.
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puppy! [Jul. 19th, 2015|12:27 am]

I arrived home in the early evening Friday from Pittsburgh, after getting an early flight home when my business meeting ended early. I was a bit disappointed to not get any time to walk in a park or look up folks I know or some such in Pittsburgh, but the schedule worked out that way.

This morning before the heat came up, Beatrice and I took an early morning walk. I liked the Blue Jay who posed for pictures. Then I went to Towne Lake Park and walked there. I had lunch at a Chinese buffet. Now that I count my portions assiduously, buffet restaurants pose little increased risk of poor food choices.

Recently, I realized that I had the 2005-era Dell Inspiron laptop I used a decade ago. I found it in working order, using Windows XP. In 2005, I stopped using it because the operating system got a bit wonky. Nowadays, I'd know enough to simply re-install, but, in that earlier time I was a bit less comfortable with installations. Instead of doing an install, then I bought my Acer Timeline. For some reason, I never sold or gave away this one. I decided to get it ready for sale.

First, I moved all its files off to a USB thumb drive, as there was some music and some pictures I wanted to keep. Then I tried to install Watt O/S, a Lubuntu derivative, as its new operating system. That operating system advised me that I would need to download drivers for the wi-fi. Porteus, too, another lightweight distro, did not recognize the wi-fi. I had a similar result with MX-13. But good old Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0 had the wi-fi drivers out of the box. Puppy Tahr editions can use software from the Ubuntu repository, but run them on Puppy's very lightweight desktop environment.

I had the install about done by 5 p.m., when I erred. I got too cute trying to clean up my Firefox icons (I had installed Firefox because the Pale Moon browser out of the box, a Firefox fork, proved a bit annoying). I accidentally trashed my firefox icon without trashing the browser.

I had problems on re-install, due to the way I had partitioned the hard drive. My wife came home at 6:30 p.m. from a day out with a friend. She found me a bit frustrated by my effort to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We dined together at Market Street. Then I solved my problem by using a Lubuntu live installation to re-format the hard drive again. I then re-installed Puppy, configured Firefox, added a couple of games to test the package manager, and got it all in good shape, hours later than 5 p.m.. I learned a lot about Puppy Linux, an idiosyncratic but useful light distribution for older systems. I also learned a little about patience, and perhaps a tad about Blue Jays. So it was a good day.

I looked up an old product review for this Pentium 4 laptop with a half GB of RAM and 40 GB of hard drive. It was described as a "low end" computer, because it cost just under 1000 dollars. I do not think I paid that much for it, but I am sure I paid north of $ 600 and perhaps as much as $ 800. Now it will sell for less than $ 100, and a new low-end computer is less than $ 200.
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