I could watch this over and over

February 8th, 2018

I like cooking, and this popped up in my YouTube recommendations. Very interesting, and I think I’ll have to try some of the varieties. A lot of people in the comments complain about the wider shots, but I thought it was very effective and done quite well.

Under the weather

February 8th, 2018

I was diagnosed with Type B Influenza Tuesday. Not the really nasty Type A that’s been running around, but this one does offer GI disorders as a benefit. So much for the effectiveness of the flu shot I received. I’d started noticing symptoms Friday evening or Saturday, but I figured it was probably a cold. I got my flu shot earlier this year, so even though I knew this year’s shots weren’t all that effective, I was hoping I would be ok. Developing a fever Tuesday morning changed my mind, so I called for an appointment with my doctor’s office.

I was impressed with how quickly the diagnosis was made. It must be a new type of test, because I don’t remember this happening the last time I had the flu. They “stirred” an extra-long Q-tip deep in my nostrils, agitated it in the liquid in a small test tube, inserted a piece of indicator paper, and waited a couple of minutes. Bingo – instant diagnosis!

So, I’m now on the generic version of Tamiflu, which says it may not be effective on people who’ve had symptoms for more than two days, and whose major side effects include severe headaches and gastric disruption. Like I need more of that.

The one major warning I was given was to keep track of being out of breath, which is currently happening when I exert myself. If I experience it while resting, I’m to call 911, because “those are the people who are dying.”

Good to know.

Tuesday

February 6th, 2018

A couple weeks ago, I posted a video of ‘Tico, Tico’ that I liked. Since then, I’ve run across some more performances of it that I like. The first one is by Paco de Lucia. He gets pretty fast with his fingers on this. I used to have an LP or two of his. I’m not sure what the short bits that follow his performance are.

Here’s another version that’s pretty fun – it’s by Liberace. He gets some incredible speed in his performance.

Liberace was one of the more flamboyant performers I remember from my youth. I remember Bugs Bunny did a Liberace impression once or twice. Given his over-the-top wardrobe, I wonder if he had the same problem with the IRS that Diana Ross had – they were going to disallow the deductions she took for her stage outfits, but she demonstrated that most of them she couldn’t wear offstage – they wouldn’t allow her to sit down. He couldn’t make the same argument, since he performed sitting down.

Here he is performing ‘Malaguena’ and mugging with Sammy Davis, Jr.

And here’s another version of Malaguena, this time from Chet Atkins.

You can’t trust anyone anymore

January 21st, 2018

I’ve known for years that email addresses can be spoofed, and that phone numbers can be hidden such that you can’t tell who’s calling you – all you see is “Unknown number” or “000-000-0000.” What I hadn’t known is that phone numbers can apparently be spoofed, also.

Just now, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was local, but I get a fair number of local calls from numbers I don’t recognize. I never answer them; I figure they’ll leave a message if it’s not a robocall. Sometimes, even if it is. Either way, I’ve got some screening.

This one, however, had a woman’s voice saying, “Hi. I see that you’ve been phoning my cell phone several times and I would like it to stop. That number is XXX-XX-XXXX. Do not call that number again.”

Unless she dialed a wrong number, someone has been making calls to her, presumably without leaving messages, and making it look as though it was coming from my cellphone.

That’s not a thought that makes me happy. I’m torn between calling or texting her back to explain the situation, but what reason has she to believe me?

Tunesday

January 16th, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything on my website. In any case, I ran across the first video here, and decided it was time for a music post.

This is pretty funny.

I’ve long liked “Tico Tico,” and this is a very nice version of it.

Kimo Hussey is an incredible ukulele player. It takes a little time before he starts playing in this video, but it’s worth it.

I like this guy’s videos, and I’ve been working on figuring out how to play this arrangement. I’ve got the bare bones of it, at least for the verses. Still have to figure out what he’s doing for the solo, and pull out some of the melody he puts in that I don’t yet.

I’m back!

September 8th, 2017

Marion and I just returned from a European trip. Well, we actually returned last Saturday evening, but my internet was out. It remained out until last night.

I couldn’t get a tech over the holiday weekend; the first available slot was Wednesday morning, which I couldn’t do. Wednesday afternoon I was available, though, and when the tech came, it didn’t take him long to determine that it was a cable problem. The cable crew couldn’t come out until sometime yesterday, but they got my internet up and running again.

We were on a tour called “The Best of Eastern Europe.” The tour group leader (CEO, or Chief Experience Officer in the parlance of the company) didn’t agree that it was a tour of Eastern Europe; her opinion is that it was a tour of Central Europe. The company actually has a tour that goes to most of the same cities that they call “Explore Central Europe.”

The differences are that the “Eastern” Europe tour includes Poland, and the “Central” Europe tour is part of their National Geographic tour series. Joking around on the tour, we decided that that the tours were named as they were because the general public considers anything east of Germany to be “Eastern Europe,” while “National Geographic” readers are likely to know more geography.

We had a great time. I drank a lot more beer than I normally do on the trip – I’d have one or two half-liter glasses with most dinners. It was usually quite good beer, too. The only beer I wasn’t that fond of was the “smoked beer” that I tried in Cesky Krumlov. It’s a local specialty that was first brewed when part of a brewery caught fire, and they decided to use the barley that had come through the fire. It wasn’t bad, but I preferred the more usual beers, such as Staropramen. One of the other guys on the tour asked for “a good German beer” at a biergarten in Berlin, and was told that the really good beers came from the Czech Republic.

I was rather surprised at how hard it was to find restaurants serving traditional food in Berlin; the best meal we had there was actually at an Italian trattoria. Italian and kebab places seemed to be the most common.

Warsaw and Krakow were nice (I prefer Krakow). We got traditional food in each of those cities, and Marion acquired a taste for pierogi.

In the Czech Republic, we also got traditional food in both Prague and Český Krumlov.

By the time we got to Vienna, I was starting to tire of traditional foods. We attended a concert of Mozart and Strauss music in the venue that saw The Magic Flute’s first performance. The Instagram reviews the people sitting in front of us were reading described it as “cheesy but fun,” but we thought it was both good and fun, with no “cheesy” involved.

We’d been in Budapest before, so we hadn’t planned to stay there after the trip officially ended. We ducked out on the walking tour part-way through, because we’d already seen Heroes Square, and took a tour of the State Opera House instead. Much more interesting, and we took the tour that provided a mini-concert of two arias at the end. Beautiful building, with great acoustics.

We saw several castles, and took tours through most of them. We had a couple of extra days in Berlin prior to the start of the tour, so we took a day trip to Potsdam. We toured Schloss Cecilienhof, where the Potsdam Conference took place, then saw the gardens at Sanssouci. We couldn’t get onto the grounds of the third palace in the area (the New Palace, I think) because it was closed for a classical music festival.

In Krakow, we saw Wawel Castle, but didn’t take an “inside” tour.

We did tour Prague Castle, and attended a concert in the Basilica of St. George. If you’re there, definitely pay for one of the inside tours – St. Vitus’ Cathedral is not to be missed.

Český Krumlov Castle is nice, but not as impressive. The gardens are pretty nice, though.

In Vienna, we toured Schönbrunn Palace, which was impressive. We also had a very good meal at the palace cafe. The palace offered nightly Mozart/Strauss concerts, but we attended one downtown. The palace was on the far side of downtown from our hotel, and its concert ran later. Given that we were leaving Vienna the next morning, I wanted to get back to the hotel earlier, so we went with the concert at Palffy Palace.

I’ll probably post a few photos over the next few days, but it’s getting too late to do so tonight.

Happy Scotch Day!

July 27th, 2017

Not much time left in it, but I’m celebrating with a couple fingers from a bottle of Auchentoshan Three Wood that I’m close to finishing.

Job search strangeness

July 11th, 2017

I’ve complained before about the repetition and less-than-appropriate targeting of the job-search-related emails I’m receiving. After a month of it, I can say that it’s worse than I thought back then. Not only do I receive the same (or very similar) job listings several times a day from each source, and not only do I receive the same (or very similar) job listings from multiple sources, but even the ones that don’t necessarily sound similar in the emails often turn out to be the same jobs once I look at the detailed listings.

I hope that I haven’t applied to the same job multiple times through multiple sources, but it’s possible that I have. I’ve started a spreadsheet to keep track of which jobs I’ve applied to, and which I’ve looked at and decided not to apply to (and why) to help me filter the job links I get.

Some of the messages I receive don’t actually contain links to jobs. Instead, they tell me, “click here to see the jobs we’ve found that match your description.” Unfortunately for me, there haven’t been any jobs that show up once I click the link. Unfortunately for them, I’ve stopped clicking the links in these emails. Unfortunately for me, unsubscribing from them hasn’t done anything yet. Clicking the “unsubscribe” link produced an “it may take up to ten days” notice and no cessation of messages from those sources. I’m to the point of suspecting that unsubscribing actually does nothing, and they’re hoping that the “ten days” is long enough that I’ll have forgotten which sources I’ve unsubscribed from.

Ah, well. It is what it is.

It’s been a busy week

June 9th, 2017

Among other historic events, this past week has contained:

  • The 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests,
  • The 49th anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination by Sirhan Sirhan,
  • The 50th Anniversary of the Six-Day War, and
  • The 73rd Anniversary of D-Day.

I intended to write about some of these on their anniversaries, but we’ve been busy at work, and I’ve started looking for another job. The boss has decided to retire, and the company has been kind of limping along for the couple of years. We have also experienced some problems that have had major effects. Among the biggest, we had a dispute with Intuit that messed up our accounting for almost a year, so we never quite knew just how much money we owed or had available to us. Also, customers and suppliers have caused us cash-flow problems that have had significant follow-on effects (hey, we know the economy has been pretty bad for just about everyone, but we’re a small manufacturer, not a bank!), and everything has just added up into a perfect storm.

So far, the job search has been better than the last time I was looking: back then, my applications and resumes were sent out and almost all disappeared into a void … I only got four interviews and no offers over the course of almost an entire year. This time, I haven’t had any interviews yet (one phone interview that was scheduled never happened), but I’ve at least been notified that some of my applications have been received, and received two responses that said I wasn’t a match. One of them, I’m not certain if it was snarky or merely attempting to be “hip.” It was a response, though, so I know I didn’t disappear into limbo.

Dealing with email is taking more time, as well. I normally get between thirty and a hundred spam emails a day, mostly attempts at spam comments for this site. They’re running at the high end recently, and now I’ve got all the job notification emails coming in – around thirty to forty per day. Part of that’s my fault – signing up at one site got me signed up for about nine others, including two resume services. I get what is effectively the same message with the same job listings about three times a day each from around four different job sites. I’m tempted to look into writing some sort of app to filter my emails and only allow emails with job listings through if they contain any that I haven’t seen yet. The listings in the email are short enough and vague enough that I’ve clicked through to several that I’ve already rejected as inappropriate. And almost every one says, “Posted TODAY,” even though I saw it several days ago, and clicking the link produces a “This job is no longer available” message.

I’m also finding that targeting is not necessarily their strong point. While looking for embedded programming jobs in my area, I’m receiving job listing for jobs all over the country (and the world, there’s one job listing purportedly for Denver which actually lists the job as being in Hyderabad) and for things I’m not qualified to perform or have no relation to embedded software (sewage line inspector in Illinois, among others). Not to mention the repeated unsolicited offers to work as an Uber driver open my own State Farm office.

In any case, I’ll probably not be updating this website very often for a while (so, what else is new?), because I’ll be working, trying to get the company prepared for closing down, looking for a job and networking with my various social groups, getting the company’s GitHub page and my GitHub page updated with things I’ve done (I signed up for a page, but have done almost nothing with it yet), and doing anything else useful that comes to mind.

Memorial Day

May 29th, 2017

On Memorial Day I usually repost one of two things.

Today, I’m going to link to other people.

First, the Associated Press notes that many Americans have no idea what Memorial Day is all about.

Over at Unified Patriots, Vassarbushmills talks about the Bachelor’s Corner. It’s a good story.

Woodsterman has a nice set of photographs.

Mike at Cold Fury links to this powerful photo series.

Wirecutter points to the story of “The Lone Marine,” and asks that we remember those who are not normally remembered on Memorial Day.

Finally, Peter, over at Bayou Renaissance Man, has the text of Donald Trump’s Memorial Day proclamation.