Friday, March 9, 2012

Moving On

This is where you'll find me.
Hi Friend,

I am moving this blog to a new URL.  You can now find me at: secondaryrds.com.  Things will look a bit different there, but all previous content from here, along with your comments, can now be found at the new site.

This will probably be my last post on this blog.  Please continue to stay in contact.  I appreciate you very much.

I explained it all on the new Secondary Rds blog.  Please leave your comments there.

Finally let me repeat here what I said there:
I was not, and I am not unhappy or dissatisfied with Blogger.  Their product is excellent.  This move comes only because I am setting up a WordPress blog for our church under the church’s domain name.  I will be the administrator for that blog (as I am for their Website).  For that reason, it seemed good to me to use the same platform for both blogs.
I need to go rest my hand and wrist.  Thanks again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thinking of Warmer Weather


Cooperating with:
Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It Was Good News

Yesterday, we met with our tax accountant.  As we had anticipated, it was good news.  We'll receive a modest refund.  I'm happy.  Sylvia is happy.  Midnight yawned and went back to the serious business of napping.

Transition Begun

Yesterday after returning home, I started the process of changing from Microsoft to Linux hosting for my Internet hosting package.  This has required a lot of mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.  My hand is sore!

I'm hoping by month's end to have a self-hosted Wordpress blog up and running.  That blog will have its own domain name.  I'll keep you informed.

Now I have to get away from this computer and rest my hand.  Spring is on the way. Have a good day.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marching On

Wanted: Caption
What would you suggest?
Mondays here on Secondary Roads are frequently devoted to tales of our cat, Midnight.  He was a feral kitten that lived in our barn with his mother and three litter mates.  And then he lived alone in our barn.  It was early December and bad weather was coming.  That cute little kitten would not survive the winter living alone in an unheated barn.  We brought him into our house and did the things you need to do to make him fit to live with us and to make our house a suitable home for that cute little guy.

He was lonely.  His mom had been driven off in a very nasty cat fight.  His litter mates had been killed.  Midnight survived, but his tail was badly broken in four places.  It did not heal straight, and so his tail resembles a bent and busted corkscrew.  I sometimes refer to him as Mr. Funky Tail.  He doesn't seem to mind at all.

Midnight was about 8-months old when we brought him in the house.  He was a bit wild at first.  Over time he has calmed down and grown increasingly attached to Sylvia and to me.

Finances

This morning, we are meeting with our tax man.  I'm hoping we walk away after hearing good news.  The bank balance isn't up to taking a big hit--and it shouldn't.  This man and our financial adviser have saved us a lot of money.

Speaking of the financial adviser, we meet with him on Wednesday morning.  With the markets being up (almost back from the most recent long slide), we should receive good news then.

My happiness does not depend on taxes and finances.  They will be what they will be.  What more wealth does a body need than a loving family and a peaceful and happy home?  Thank God I have both.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Looking Out My Window

The snow started falling after sunrise this morning.  Yesterday had brought mild temperatures and rain--lots of rain.  (I'm glad that wasn't snow!)  In the evening fierce winds buffeted our house on the hill, and lightning lit the night sky.

Sylvia and I turned off our computers before supper, for which she had prepared a special pizza.  She had extra bread dough (honey oatmeal) left from the baking she had done that morning.  That became the crust.  Toppings were a variety of fresh veggies, pinto beans and two kinds of cheese.

Later we curled up in our recliners and watched Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.  We went to bed late and slept well.

After feeding Midnight this morning, I walked into an unusually cool and quiet office.  I settled into my chair just enjoying the peaceful start of the day.  My gaze wandered to the right where outside the window large fluffy snow flakes were falling gently toward the now [mostly] snow-free ground.  The breeze, which was shifting between west and southwest, would at time pick up speed and send the snow speeding past the window in a blur.  Soon, the the gentle breeze would return and guide the lazily dropping snow flakes to earth.

As I look out upon this peaceful bucolic scene, I see our secondary road running through the middle.  Nothing passes by--not even a farm vehicle.

I know that my car will never look clean for more than a few minutes or hours as long as I live here in this house on the hill beside the dirt road.  And yet . . .  I can think of no place I'd rather live.  Nowhere better for me to be.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Passwords and Lunch Dates

The two (passwords and lunch dates) are not related.  At least they are not related in this post.  They are two topics that are on my mind as I write this post.  I haven't posted much lately because my hand and wrist quickly exhibit signs of the carpal tunnel problem I recently had.  I have a couple of big tasks coming up in the near future and they will require me to spend quite a bit of time at this keyboard.  On to the topics . . .

Passwords

I was surprised to read in a CNN story posted on Yahoo! that, "the most common password used on business systems is 'Password1'."  It is more than 8 characters in length and contains an upper case letter and a number.  It would rank as a "strong" password, but it is easily guessed by a hacker.

I am not an expert and my advice might be worth as much as you pay for it.  Nevertheless, give some thought to your passwords.  Use those caps, numbers and special characters.  Use a series of (three?) unrelated words--it will help to make up a scene or picture to remember those words.  For example, think of a house with a tree beside it and a river behind it.  A password could be "housetreeriver."  Use caps on two or three letters in the middle or end of the words.  Substitute numbers and special characters for additional security.  That word is 14 characters long, so add to it (beginning middle or end) to use a maximum length password.  It will increase the level of difficulty for a hacker to crack your password.

Any password can be cracked, and it doesn't take a super computer.  For most of us we only need to make it hard enough for a would-be intruder to leave in search of an easier target.  For example, on my online banking account with . . .  On second thought I've told you enough already.  Just tighten up your security with a better, not-easy-to-guess password and make it as many characters as you can.

Lunch Dates

Sylvia and I had lunch with our son, Bryant, yesterday.  We do that most weeks.  I really look forward to that hour (usually) with him as we eat and share family news and our activities.  Sunday evenings, we call our other son, Scott, on the phone and we chat for about an hour or so.  Those are some of the best hours in my week.

Yesterday, I mentioned to her dad, that I had called Briana (granddaughter) and had a nice chat with her.  He said, "I know.  She told me."  She would do that.  She may be on campus, but she still talks and texts with her parents.  Regularly.

Back to my story.  I follow Briana's blog and check her Facebook page most days.  I like to know what she's doing and thinking.  I had been thinking about her and had read online that she had taken her microbiology mid-term exam.

As I thought about it, I decided to pick up the phone and give her a call.  I greeted her and identified myself in Spanish.  There was a pause.  (She must have been processing this strange event.)  Then she answered in Spanish.  We talked for quite a while about what was happening here and there.

As we were about to say goodbye, Briana asked if Sylvia and I would be meeting her dad for lunch again next week.  I said, "I think so.  We usually do."  She replied, "Good!  I'm on break and I'll try to see you then."  I hope it works out for her to do exactly that.

I am very blessed.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday After Sunset (Jupiter, Moon & Venus)





Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sleepy Tuesday Morning - Updated

Last night (this morning), I finally went to bed three hours after my usual time.  I was only able to sleep an extra half hour this morning.  The reason?  I was watching the Daytona 500.  The theme song for this years race should have been I've Seen Fire and I've seen Rain.

For the first time in the 54-year history of NASCAR at Daytona, the 500 did not run on the scheduled day.  Rain prevented the 1 PM start on Sunday.  Shortly after 5 PM, officials announced the race was postponed until noon on Monday.  As noon Monday approached, it was raining at Daytona Beach and the weather prognosticators were calling for an 80% chance of showers that afternoon.  Officials announced 7 PM as the new start time.  This time it worked.

It had been an exciting race when with about 40 laps (of 200) left to go, there was a caution on the track.  JP Montoya had a vibration in his car and he went to the pits to have it checked.  Crew members said it was okay.  Montoya went back on the track and was driving fast to catch up with the back of the pack.  (This is commonly done and happens regularly in situations like this.)  As Montoya was approaching a jet dryer, something on his car broke.  We could see sparks from beneath his car just before he began a long skid that took him violently into the rear of the truck and dryer that was cleaning the track.  The 200 gallons of jet fuel began to spill and a spark ignited it, which resulted in a spectacular fire ball.

Almost unnoticed in the film (available on NASCAR.com), a safety worker rushes to the stricken truck and helps the driver from the track.  The truck and driver were from Michigan International Speedway.  They were there to help with the "big" event.  The driver was transported to an area hospital, where he was treated and later released.

Montoya rode his badly battered vehicle into the infield where it came to rest.  He was able to climb out unassisted and limp away.

It took two hours to extinguish the fire, clean up the mess and resume racing.  I found it interesting that the final clean up step before drying, was to apply Tide detergent and water to the fuel-soaked race surface.  It did the trick.

Unfortunately, my favorite driver, Brad Keselowski, got wrecked in another late race incident.  It looked like he was going to finish in the top ten.  Oh well . . .  I'm ready for a nap.  Where's Midnight.  I need him.  A warm kitty on the lap is a great sleep inducer.  I probably don't need it, but it makes me feel good.

During the two-hour delay, Brad Keselowski pulled out his smart phone and began tweeting.  Soon, he had a group of drivers gather around him looking at the screen and kibitzing with him.  Race reporters in the broadcast booth, noticed what was happening and talked about Brad's tweets from the track.  When I checked into his twitter account before the incident, he about 130,000 followers.  This morning he has 205,000 followers.

Before you ask, my answer is "No."  I don't think he was tweeting or texting at 200 mph during green-flag racing.  How can you do that when these guys drive that speed with spacing that is about what you and are comfortable with when parking our cars?