Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All systems operational...

We finally upgraded systems. The raging debate for months had been ‘to build or to buy built?’ My Beautiful Wife made the decision for me. She said that from her observations building, upgrading or just general working on computers was tantamount to working on the car…language and all. She requested that for HER sanity and peace of mind I just buy a pre-built system. I grudgingly gave in, especially since she controls the credit cards.

I have used and supported a variety of systems from HP, Dell, Apple, Toshiba, and Compaq at various jobs these last few years and must say that on the PC side of things after an 18 month stint doing Windows and IE support that there seemed to be the fewest problems with Dell computers. (Mac was never really a serious choice…see Jeremy’s excellent post on Mac vs. PC.) Mind you I’m not necessarily saying Dell’s are better than the others, just that I took almost zero support calls on Dell’s but had boat loads on HP’s, Compaq’s, Sony’s, and the dreaded Packard-Bell’s and E-Machines. Maybe Dell had better support…I just know what the numbers turned out to be. Also, after using Dell at work the last 3 years I’ve had zero hardware problems (can't say that about the OS but that's another post). I have NOT been a fan of the inability to tweak the BIOS and other system settings. But, that’s the sacrifice of going pre-built. Besides, when I get home from an 8-10 hour day working on a computer I’m not thrilled about the idea of working on one at home…I just want to turn it on and have fun. There’s too much else to do with my time. So, Dell it was.

An XPS 410.

The 710 was a too much for my needs and felt I would be paying $500 extra for a fancy case.
Here's what we got:
-E6600 Processor
-250 GB hard drive
-GeFource 7900 GS w/256 MB
-XFi PCI Sound Card
-13 in 1 Media reader
-16x DVD R/RW CD-RW combo drive (only one...I'll add another later)
-20 inch digital wide screen monitor
-Entertainment Edition of XP with a dual TV tuner
-IEEE1394 adapter—just for fun.
-For better or worse - a free upgrade to Vista

Ordered and received back before Christmas. So far: I hate Norton Security...I feel like my mother is standing over me and I'm in Jr. High again..."You can't go there" "Don't do that" "I don't want you hanging out with them"...sheesh. I've never had any kind of security package at home (if you're careful what you do and know what you're doing and watch where you go you probably don't need it). I've never had a virus attack at home...only spy ware. I've only used anti-virus at work. I can't get the stupid firewall and internet security part set to where it doesn't annoy the daylights out of me every 5 minutes. I'm beginning to think Norton is a virus.

Everything else is great. The speed is unbelievable and the graphics card, while not the highest out there, sure will run anything I'm ever likely to throw at it (Desktop Earth is more fabulous than ever). All the 'stuff' from my old system fits with tons of room to spare. So, even though a pre-built system isn't the best this one's not bad. It's better than any I've ever had and my Beautiful Wife loves it...and THAT's the most important thing of all!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Although it doesn't happen often in our area it does snow about 1 or 2 times a year. What's unusual is to have it happen several days in a row. The temp dropped Friday and hovered just at freezing until Sunday night when it got down to 24. It hasn't been above 30 since. We had ice Sunday night and Monday and now we have this...

This picture is off the north side of the building here at work. The tree line is the eastern tip of DFW Airport property. Granted, not too bad by some of your standards but considering the rarity it causes it's own share of problems. Makes a pretty picture anyway!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Iceman Cometh...

It's been a cold, wet weekend. Started raining Friday morning, then in the afternoon between 3:30 and 4:15 the temperature dropped from 65 to about 40. Saturday morning we woke to about 32 degrees and rain. Been doing that ever since. Looks like the shoe is going to drop tonight and tomorrow morning...down to 24...then the rain turns hard.
I love life's variety...especially the variety of weather we are blessed with. The only way I'd want it to stay the same is if I could live on the beach in those Corona commercials...don't think I'd ever get bored with that!!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Google Survey

Laura did a Google survey. Her's turned out great. She made up some phrases (in bold) and searched for them in quotes using Google then picked her favorites. Looked like allot of fun so I substituted my 'name' and picked my favs...

Beast was born with oversized hands and feet, remarkable agility and superhuman strength. Still, he looked mostly human, and was a football star in high school.

Beast grew up to 13 feet high at the hip and 40 feet long, tipping the scales at a whopping 2.6 tons.

Beast likes warm water, soft skin, music and kisses...every once in awhile, Beast likes to hit the sauce and play the fool.

Beast hates his mower and wants to retire it forthwith...

Beast spends most of his time resting on the bottom of the pool, but is the first to surface at feeding time.

Beast eats gold much like a rust monster eats rust.

Beast wonders if there will be bigger Scooby Snacks here.

Beast’s favorite food is "anything I cook myself".

Beast's hair is definitely an unnatural color.

Beast likes to wear sweaters and listens to opera.

Beast has traveled up and finally reached the Feeding ground.

Beast works in wonderful mysterious ways.

Beast has decided to be obliging this morning by actually starting.

Every Beast cries and every cloud falls.

Beast is happy to lend power and strength to him.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

13 Questions

Laura posed these 13 questions. I thought 'what the heck?' I haven't answered any in a while...

1. Pink or blue? If the choice is between these two I guess it has to be blue...although I used to have a pink Disco shirt that I really liked...
2. Odd or even numbers? Even. When I grab a handfull of M&Ms I compulsively check to make sure it's an even number...not only that but it has to be in multiples of 4.
3. Hair in a pony tail or down? If my Beautiful Wife an daughters would let me...pony tail. But, I have been threatened. If I ever do they will cut it off in my sleep.
4. Skirts or pants? (For dressing up, not for normal life) I like women in skirts. I can't help it...I think women's legs are attractive.
5. TV Shows or Movies? Other than Smallville, Supernatural, and a handful of Discovery and Learning Channel shows it's movies...hands down.
6. Shopping or playing on the internet? As neat as it is to get new stuff I just don't like the hassle of the shopping infrastructure: fight the parking lot, the crowd, all that walking, give me a web page any day.
7. Comedy or Drama? Both. I like the action-comedy stuff where the hero has really cool comebacks and one-liners.
8. Roses or Orchids? I've never missed with roses. Usually one perfect long stem in a vase given at the right time (left on a window sill 2 stories up outside a dorm room...but that's another story) works wonders.
9. Shaving cream or just water? I have a beard right now but when I get the mood to shear it off I use an electric in the shower. I have to use shaving cream or I wind up looking like a plucked turkey.
10. Left or right handed? Nearly ambidextrous. I can do most things with the left hand about as good as the right and in a pinch I can write passably with it. Both my daughters are lefties, so was my Grandmother.
11. Tofu or peas? Since peas are cousins of beans (as in re-fried beans) I'd have to pick peas.
12. Liberal or Conservative? Let's see: I believe everyone in government (hired and elected) is there to serve the public...they work for US and NOT the other way around; I detest lawyers; I think people should be free to pursue their dreams without some bureaucrat, politician, or government inspector trying to beat them down or tax them to death; I think the government should be there to take care of and help those who TRULY are needy and can't help themselves. Sometimes broad labels don't tell the whole story.
13. Dreamy or realistic? Realistic dreams. I love good epic fantasy stories. In High School I tore through Le Morte d'Arthur. In college I was mesmerized by The Hobbit and L.O.T.R. long before it was cool. I'm a Star Wars and Star Trek junky. Love that kind of stuff but there has to be some believability...passion and love...fantasy for fantasy's sake doesn't really move me.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hunting Report

We were about 17 miles down a dirt road outside the bustling metropolis of Eden, Texas. We were there from Thursday night the 28th and left Sunday afternoon the 31st. The weather Thursday and Friday was cold and rainy...perfect! Friday night it turned off colder...when we emerged from the tent at 4:30 Saturday morning there was a thick coat of ice on everything. Thank the Lord for heavy sleeping bags! The sun warmed things up to the mid 40's Saturday and Sunday and the nights stayed cold. We saw an abundance of deer each time we went out but nothing that would be considered a trophy. As I said before...I get the biggest thrill out of just watching the little critters.

Here's a few pics:

This is looking south-to-west-to-north out the blind. If you click the middle picture you can see the feeder right in the middle at about 80 yards. The blind is about 15 feet tall and seats 2. My friend Chris who took me works repairing over the road trailers and containers. They built it out of left over materials. Quite impressive!

Cold rain Friday afternoon. It did this most of the day Friday.

Here are 2 does and a spike buck late Friday at about 80 yards.

These 2 young ladies walked out about 40 feet in front of us. I bumped getting the camera up, hence the "what're you lookin' at?" stare!

Three nice 8-point bucks early Sunday morning. These guys will undoubtedly hook up with the young ladies above next fall and make a beautiful new generation.

Beautiful sunset Saturday evening. The only places I've found sunsets that compare to Texas sunsets are Arizona/New Mexico/Nevada/Utah, Montana, and of course a California Pacific sunset.

This was a wonderful trip. Took about 5 hours to get there but well worth it. This is the first time I've been hunting in a long, long time...for a number of reasons. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to go out and see the beauty of nature and wildlife...I had let other things block that memory out. I'm looking forward to next season. Many thanks to Chris, Shawn and Darcy for letting me tag along! You don't know how much it meant to me!