Ramblings, opinions, and general meanderings from the Deep South

Saturday, March 31, 2007

And Now There Are Four

Ahhhh yes, Miss Purple Giraffe has a cousin. It's so neat to know that with God's will I'll be able to watch these two grow up and interact. If they bond like their Mothers (always capitalize Mother) they will be fast friends. Tickles me that Beagle and Mudslingr had "business" in Jackson yesterday and called saying they were detouring a bit before returning home. Beagle phoned and said, "Guess what we're doing?" My reply was, "Going to Baton Rouge of course." Her report several hours later confirmed a beautiful little girl that's at peace with the world. What an awesome begininng. Big sis was sure suprised when lil sis came through the door. You can't imagine what an overwhelming joy is in my heart to know that these two love each other so much. They are truly 'Daddy's girls' and now there are four of 'em! God is an AWESOME God. My cup runneth over.

Beagle, tyvm for the text msg informing me y'all had made it home safely. I must go wipe the tears then start clean up and prep for the LAN Party this evening. Festivities start at sixish. Later.

"Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood."
~Louisa May Alcott

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mallory Elaine is Here!

She arrived around 10:00 AM, 18" long, just a little under 6 lbs, has blond hair and blue eyes. Rumor has it she's been asking for Big Daddy. Her Mother is resting and her Father survived as well. Whew! I need a Clonipin! Later!

"Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next."
~Franklin P. Jones

C'mon Mr. Stork!!!!!

Today I am distracted. My daughter that lives in Baton Rouge is having a baby. Now. She went into the hospital late last night and we've solicited one report and everything is as to be expected. God knows I'd love to take off and be there for her, but the hooptiemobile is not that dependable. Anyway, Dr. Walker will see his wife through this and she'll have family there to get in the way trying to help before the day is done. She was scheduled to enter hospital this coming Tuesday so they were prepared.

Haven't talked to her since midnight, but reassuring Dad is probably not high on that priority list right now. Please pray for Kristi and Jay. Please pray for Mallory Elaine to arrive safely. It'll be so nice for Miss Purple Giraffe to have a cousin! Anyway, Big Daddy is in the house for now and may run late or reschedule you today. Bear with me. Beagle, you hang in there - Sis will need ya. Now it's time to take the morning meds. Later.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on."
~Carl Sandburg

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Noticed That Curry Powder Smell in Your Hewlett-Packard?

Down through the years I have constantly recommended Hewlett-Packard hardware, even own some of their product and it is online at the beach house. This is a company that has made a minimal amount of mistakes with product and consistently delivered superb service. Their ability to replace a warranted product overnight is a standard unheard of in today's market. All this said, my opinion is changing quickly for one reason - English comprehension.

Possibly the worst thing to happen to computer technology is the massive outsourcing to foreign countries for service reps and tech help. My concept of a global village never included making English a second language. Nothing is more frustrating than to have someone read from a script in broken English over and over again no matter what you say to them. Their goal has to involve getting the customer so upset that we finally just hang up in despair. I ordered recovery disks for a HP XP machine around 2.5 years old. After five conversations, increasing the shipping rate, some severe talk about putting someone on the phone that had a grasp of the English language, the disks have been shipped.

This started the last week of February. After a month the disks should arrive today fifty miles away at the customer's address (that's a story that can stand on its own). Today I will drive over 100 miles round trip to pick up these disks and hopefully get the computer back online this coming Monday. This is bullsh--!!! HP needs to revamp their service. If anyone knows of ANY company that still utilizes people that comprehend our language please let me know. At this rate Packard-Bell could even make a comeback with an intelligent service department!!!

We must protest this fiasco. Talk to your Congresspeople. Write the board of directors of your computer manufacturer and raise holy hell. This is an abuse of customers on many different levels. If you have such horror stories please email me or post in the comments. Too many people have voiced similar frustrations over the past year; this is a widespread problem.

The soap box is being stored and I must remember to put gas in the hooptiemobile so this little jaunt can be made to pick up these disks. At least the drive is pleasant and understanding people await me. If you have to speak to a service rep today demand someone that is coherent and NOT reading from a script! Peace out.

"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself."
~Derek Walcott

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Protection Monks ala Geek (and you can be one too)

The two most recent posts have been repetitions of subjects often discussed at the beach house. Folks if you don't want to update, run the right applications, stay away from known spyware carriers then every few months expect to pay a tech to do it. Don't begrudge her or him because you won't use these free tools and try to exercise good computing habits. Research has been done on the programs listed in the previous two posts. These utilities have proven to be an extremely good first line of defense against the bad guys.

Please remember that technicians cannot read minds nor anticipate every wish. Yes, I realize that most techs are strange, sometimes down right hateful and other times know it all pains in the butt. The key word here is most. There's a few of us that even smile early in the morning and late at night when receiving inquiring phone calls that we usually don't invoice. Y'all have a casual day.

"No one wants advice - only corroboration."
~John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Computer Protection, Free Mode

NOTE: A reader requested this to be posted again. It is VERY VERY important you protect your computers at work and at home. It takes just a few minutes and will save you many dollars if you update and run these programs. Please remember, I didn't make the rules for the bad guys (actually, I despise spyware, adware, virus writing people) and these utilities will thwart most of their attempts to sabotage your machine. Also, take a look at AVG's new Anti-Spyware program on MajorGeeks.

The following list is protection software that can be found at various locations on the web. All of these links point towards MajorGeeks.com. If the following five applications are installed on a clean computer and the updates and scans are done on a regular basis, your PC will stay free of most infections and malware. Nothing in the world of computers is a rock solid truism so this is not a bulletproof defense. It's sure a great start though.

AVG Antivirus Free Edition

SpyBot Search & Destroy

AdAware SE Personal



Now let's take a look at each individual application and briefly explore its purpose and some details about updating and the way it scans.

AVG Antivirus Free Edition: AVG is usually seen in the free version although many folks will upgrade and pay their inexpensive fee in order to gain more flexibility and protection. They have very good tutorials on their site concerning the initial install and maintenance of the program. AVG is not only great protection for your PC, it's easy to use. If you boot your computer and the AVG four colored symbol that resides in the system tray (bottom right corner of the screen) is grayed out, open the program and do an update. This usually occurs when your PC has been off for an extended period of time (like several days). This seems to be more apparent on dial-up connections because the updates are usually through by the time a machine on broadband completes its boot process. Remember, your PC HAS to be online in order to update. Again, it HAS to be online to update. ALWAYS, ALWAYS let AVG finish updates. You can continue to work while this is being done, but the machine may slow down a bit. On rare occasion the updates can be lengthy; just let it work. Most of the time they finish within a minute or so, depending on the speed of your connection.

SpyBot Search & Destroy: This is a super program that is very powerful. Patrick Kolla has given us this nice utility that performs many functions. I encourage people to donate so the program can stay alive. Spybot has many uses and the initial setup is important. Read the tutorial about installing . It's located on their site. If you need help with the initial setup please email me. Due to the vast depth of this program an explanation will take several pages and the way it is installed varies according to individual needs. Most people can read the tutorial and decide how to initialize the program. Updating is simple. Hit the update button and then go to the top and click the 'download updates' bar. One thing to remember is to always immunize after receiving an update. Click on the immunize button. If you have an update go to the top and click on the green immunize bar. It has a green + sign to the left.

AdAware SE Personal: From Sweden comes a nice program that removes a majority of malware from your PC. There has been some rumors that Ad-Aware is in bed with Claria and lets their garbage pass through the scans. Claria, the "wonderful" folks that bring you Weatherbug, Precision Time, Gator, Gain, CME and other such invasion junk. Anyway, Spybot finds these horrible things so 'not to worry.' Ad-aware also finds MRUs that are being called on to report into their respective parent company. If you look at the details you'll find Microsoft is usually the major culprit in this arena. MRUs? Stands for Most Recently Used. It is usually Word, Excel, Access type documents. Now why does Bill Gates need this information? He really wants to know what I've written? Let me state that this is actually legal. Read the EULA that you agreed to when you installed Windows or Office. Updating Ad-Aware is simple. Just click on the 'check for updates' line on the intital page and follow directions.

SpywareBlaster: Great program. Easy to use. Once or twice a week click on the desktop icon and do a check for updates. If it updates then click on 'enable all protection.' That's it. This program runs in the background and silently stops many types of malware from invading your privacy.

CCleaner: Great utility that cleans out cache, temp, and invalid registry files. If you install a program that requires a cookie to retain settings, be sure to go to 'options' then 'cookies' and move the cookie for that site from the left column to the right column. I always scan and delete files it finds and then perform the 'fix issues' function after backing up. I am disappointed in CCleaner though. They have started including the Yahoo Toolbar as default install and this sucks. Still a good program, but I am exploring other software that performs the same functions without dropping unwanted junk on your PC. Anyway, when installing be sure and uncheck the Yahoo Toolbar box. CCleaner will let you know when there is an update available.

Hope this helps. Be very careful about what software you use. Some of the "protection" software is actually malware disguised as good guys. Again, nothing is bulletproof. Tutorials with screenshots are in the process of being made available about these great utilities. You'll know when they are online. Recent requests prompted me to respond with the above information. Tomorrow we will go back to possum watching and beach house casualness. Got an opinion? Know of other software? Use the comments or email.

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
-Albert Einstein

Monday, March 26, 2007

Why I Abhor Yahoo

NOTE:This article was originally posted August 24, 2006. If you Yahoo please take a few minutes and read this explanation of my intense dislike of the web's worst portal. This is being republished due to a reader's request.

Scenario: You are away and a window is unlocked. A sleazy individual knows it's open and proceeds to come in and go through the house pilfering and gathering personal information about your bank account, finds out all about credit card transactions, goes through your personal belongings and places his mark of felony on your property. He leaves the window unlocked while leaving, but makes it appear secure. This is so he can return at any time and perform other unholy invasions. How would you feel?

The very sad thing is that you know this person. You have met him on several occasions and he discovered the open window because you let him. You think he's a swell guy and won't do harm. He may even seem helpful. His names are numerous. He's known as spyware, adware, thiefware, garbageware, badware, malware and his sole intent is to deceive and belittle you. Some of you even know he's bad and still let him enter and sift through your belongings.

Damn it folks, why are you using Yahoo? Claria, the jerks that bring us Weatherbug aka Weatherscope, Gator, and many other hideous forms of "adware" or whatever you call it, brags on their site about how Yahoo generates a large percentage of their revenue. 180Solutions partners with Yahoo as does eXact and several other "adware" companies. If I become Emporer of the Known Internet by some strange twist of fate today, Yahoo will cease to exist before nightfall. The "adware" companies will be shut down and I'll do my best to send all of them into the Sun.

Quit using this horrible site. Or if you like people browsing through your personal material by all means leave that window open. On occasion I've mentioned this in the past which has them visiting here every few days. They haven't confronted me so far because of their inherent nature that smells of sneakiness and cowardice. This much needed rant to open someone's eyes may change their wormy attitude.

Still not convinced? Take a look at these links:

Yahoo Called Spyware Pusher in Lawsuit

How Yahoo Funds Spyware

Yahoo Spyware Toolbar

Yahoo Plays Favorites with Spyware

Still blinded by the Yahoo light? As I Googled the phrase "Yahoo and Spyware" there were 32,500,000 hits listed. Don't like my selection? Pick out a few and gander at them. The above links were found on the first page of listings along with some links to Yahoo. Now if you keep using this junk and want me to work on your computer for $65.00 an hour please make note that removing this garbage is usually a process that requires several hours. Don't expect any mercy if your home page is My Yahoo. There is no quarter in this war against invasion of privacy. I'll keep you posted if the Yahoo or "adware" slobs harass me.

"Things do not pass for what they are, but for what they seem. Most things are judged by their jackets."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Whad'ya Know Show

Beautiful weather, nice easy drive to Oxford, saw some old friends, and then 2 hours of hilarity. Michael Feldman and crew did not disappoint us. His ability to keep a smooth pace and never drop the ball is amazing. The music from the trio was also good. They are very polished and the banter was non stop. There were several props on stage with a very nice Ole MIss display in the background. When he opened the show with an "is everyone doing okay?' the response was Hotty Toddy from the entire audience. He seemed amused and this set the tone for the show.

Mr. Feldman is a learned man. It was fun to watch the few that tried to be clever (heck, they were being smartasses) with blank looks on their faces as he responded. Michael asked a member of the Taylor Grocery Band his name, etc. and the fellow responded,"Brian, you want my social security number?" Feldman immediately quipped ,"Yes, and I'll have that Visa card too."

Before the show people passed out cards so questions for Michael could be read during the program. One lady asked if he wanted to meet a 70 year old local ex-hooker. Not being able to pass this up he put the spotlight on her in the audience and promptly inquired. She was very articulate with a heavy southern accent and announced that it was her birthday. Then she proceeded to explain that Hooker was her maiden name. Before this was over there was a room filled with LOLs and maybe even some ROFLs.

The show was broadcast live and nationwide. There is a list of affiliate stations on his site. After trying to listen and download from the Wisconsin PBR site I gave up when they wanted my life history and firstborn. If I find a good link it'll be posted. It was a good day. David and I laughed all the way back to the beach house. Thanks for the invitation Brother Dave. This was a hoot!

"Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch it to be sure."
~Murphy's Law

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Sun's Coming Up, the Sun's Coming Up!

There's nothing like arising at 5 in the morning and continuing spring cleaning. The smell of Lysol in the air, the whir of the washing machine, the coffee maker sound of the coffee maker, and there's an info commercial on the boobtoob telling me to take a concoction of legal speed to lose weight. Yes, it's springtime. I know, am on my next to last pot of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - it's a seasonal thing. In a few hours we will head to Oxford to see Mr. Feldman's dog and pony show. See yesterday's links, am in a hurry this morning.

Have a great Saturday and think about smiling at someone today. Won't kill ya! Resolve to NOT worry about one thing today. And don't hurt yourself on that mop if this horrible rambling inspires you to embrace the seasonal activity.

"If we quit voting, will they go away?"
~Ludlow Porch

Friday, March 23, 2007

All the News That Isn't...

It's rare that my internet connectivity fails. Sometime yesterday afternoon there was an outage that affected several ISPs in this area. Don't know the details and won't quote rumors. Yes, it was an inconvenience and no it wasn't too much of a trauma. At 9:28PM the signal returned and has been solid. Instead of whining and bitching I'd like to thank Vista3Media for a diligent effort to resolve the problem. Their delivery of signal has a very good record and let's hope it continues. Besides, their customer service reps are nice and polite. In the coarse, ill-mannered world of service today, they are a refreshing bunch that smile when they answer the phone.

Tomorrow a trip to Oxford is planned. Brother Dave landed tickets to attend a live broadcast by Michael Feldman, who will broadcast his show Whad'ya Know? from the Ford Center at Ole Miss. Of course, this invitation was accepted. You can download the RealAudio player and listen to previous shows, but beware it has adware and states that in the EULA. A better solution may be Wisconsin PBR (home base of the show) since it gives several alternatives including WMP and Podcast. Anyway, it'll be broadcast live so local folks can tune to Mississippi Public Radio and lend an ear. Okay, okay in the past fun has been poked at PBS and they have been called socialist radio and TV once or twice. But hey, never said I didn't look and listen, lol. It's a state thing not national. Programming locally is forever inconsistent and weird. Stop messing with my Britcoms on Saturday night!

RealAudio fans please don't start flaming me. It is an excellent service, but as long as they use adware I will NEVER link to them. We have enough problems with that garbage and the beach house won't promote it. And yes I know that Rhapsody is a really kewl service. Yes, it's known that the ads go away if you subscribe. Why don't they offer the free player without the adware? I think that would increase the customer base.

Sorry, I prefer using the resource hog, MRU crazy, clunky Windows Media Player. Old habits die hard. And yes, I know that Microsoft lurkers spy on us and are probably the worst offenders concerning this violation of privacy. But hey, what's a guy to do? Switch to Linux and use their multimedia stuff? Nahhhhh, that makes too much sense. So every day I use a program that erases all MRUs. Wait a minute...RealAudio is not sounding so snoopy. This bears a second looksee, ya think? BTW, transition to Linux for music, etc., has been implemented and will be finished eventually.

Wow, I've managed to offend RealAudio users, Windows Nazis, and PBS patrons. Time to go. Everyone have fun at work and TGIF.

"The revolution will not be televised, it will be blogged."
~Michael Feldman

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean There's Not Somebody After You"

Often you see opinions here. They usually come from good research, the heart, experience, comments, emails or word of mouth. 100% of the people that have passed on information about Windows Home Basic absolutely hate it. Seems there are many driver compatibility issues and one client told me yesterday that QuickBooks Pro will not run on this operating system. Also, to the person from Redmond Washington that is visiting the site, if you are with Microsoft and don't like these comments we can talk. You don't have to snoop around with some voodoo address. Talk to me! Change my opinion!

Another story pertaining to Microsoft is one of their bloggers that has had three years free rein to say what he wanted has decided, Microsoft Sucks. Read this article please. Seems they are too busy trying to compete with Google and not spending enough time writing good code. If they run off Steve Ballmer that might be a very positive step. This task will probably take a very large stick because he appears to be an idiot everytime he opens his mouth. Maybe it's the media being prejudice? The beach house vote is nay.

Hey, I like Windows. There is a change pail at the beach house used to save my pennies and dimes to purchase Vista Ultimate. I'd like to have a copy of Ultimate, the Business version and Home Premium all running beside my Linux and FreeBSD machines. But I won't buy Home Basic. May be that it will be put in the exclude list as far as service, don't know yet. We'll see how many people are suckered into buying this OS that has had extremely bad reviews.

Running Windows 2000 or XP? I'd wait a while before making a purchase. If you are buying a new PC make sure it has Vista Home Premium or above on it. What about Apple and the claims in their TV commercials? They are building a good, average, expensive product with a great operating system which they ripped off from FreeBSD and even admit it. They own only 3% of the market share while Microsoft has somewhere around 90%. So don't believe the commercials. They get virus infections too. The software catalog for Apple is minimal at best while PCs are overflowing with application availability. Besides, Quark, Maia, Photoshop, etc., all run comfortably on PCs so the absolute need for an Apple is not viable. Your money so spend it however.

Yes, I know some of these things have been mentioned several times. Just trying to help. If you think this is annoying wait until my next post about the spyware creeps. It's possible that anyone associated with that industry may have a seat by the fire in hell. To all others let me close by quoting that great and most awesome Texas philosopher Ed Coffin, "Have a better than expected day."

"Bill Gates is a very rich man today... and do you want to know why? The answer is one word: versions."
Dave Barry

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March Madness at the Beach House

Ahhhhh, it is the first full day of Spring. The weather is awesome, the birds are singing and there is a pig living in my house that has to be hunted down and shot. After this past week, the realization has set in that I can never take another vacation in this lifetime. My primary job is now to keep watch on the house so the pig doesn't invade again. Can we say squalor? Truth be known, watching for the pig is secondary to STARTING spring cleaning.

It amazes me how sloppy the beach house appears now. Shucks, about half a day and it can regain it's old status. Hey, half a week and the yard and garage can be included. One of these days a wash job will even hit the hooptie parked in the driveway. Then it'll be a clean car going for a drive down the parkway. That pig has been driving it too. Damn pig HASN'T been on the Harley though! It shines like a new dime. Hey, as Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta' know his limitations."

Meantime, it's 'aching for bacon time - spring cleaning mode.' Anyone have a pair of extra large rubber gloves?

"Nature abhors a vacuum. And so do I."
~Anne Gibbons

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Support? We Don't Need to Give the Customer Stinkin' Support!

Sorry about the title to yesterday's post misleading some folks. No, Commodore is NOT bringing back the 6500 series processor created by Steve Wozniak. They are using Intel Duo Core, take out the garbage, walk the dog, fuel the jet airplanes, change the baby's diaper CPUs. C'mon folks, remember the big seller for this company was called a Commodore 64 for a reason.

Anoither great line of gaming machines is Alienware. They even sell refurb machines on their site. This was a stand alone company that made uber PCs for several years and they still make great machines, but are now owned by Dell. Not a bad deal.

Dell? Hey, when they used cheap parts, had poor assemblies and horrible support I detested this company. But, they wised up. The Dells you get today are pretty solid machines. . .I honestly do pray to God that ALL the manufacturers will stop using these horrible, ignorant non-English speaking people to fake support. Yes, Michael Dell, your tech help by phone is barnyard material at its best.

You know, there may be a plot amongst the major manufacturers to stop support period. They've almost achieved this goal in my opinion. Let me tell you friends and neighbors, I'll gladly pay even $100.00 more per machine to have a sharp, ENGLISH speaking tech support department available. Too lazy to learn our language? Get the hell out of our country!

That's my story n Ima stickin' to it!

"English is the clothing of thought."
~Samuel Johnson

Monday, March 19, 2007

Return of the 6502, well, sorta'

Interested in a new gaming machine? An old player in the computer arena has returned with several models that will interest the people seeking high performance in a PC. Take a look at the different models available soon from Commodore. Be sure and check out the specs on the XX version. Can't wait to see actual reactions to the performance of these machines. Commodore...wow, flashback city.

"Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn."
~Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Dance Marathon

Windows Vista is causing the widespread confusion predicted here some time ago. DON'T BUY Home Basic! Make sure you purchase at the very least Home Premium. The decision is still out on the Business edition. Of course Windows Vista Ultimate is the big daddy of the bunch. It comes with 32bit and 64bit disks in case you are brave enough to venture into the world of 64bit processing. Seems the prices are fixed for right now so where you buy it won't matter much as far as cost. Be sure and ask about return policies.

It is probably a good idea to do the wait and see dance, especially if you are running XP or 2000. If you do purchase a new computer, again, make sure you get Home Premium or above. Why not Home Basic? It's not that much of an improvement over XP. And don't be afraid to install your new computer. Follow the instructions on assembly and then turn it on. Microsoft does have an easy installation tutorial.

Hope this helps.

"After growing wildly for years, the field of computing appears to be reaching its infancy."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Time on Your Side?

After some extended discussion with several people, it seems that everyone should check their computer, clocks, wristwatch, cell phone, and the dreaded VCR clock to make sure they adjusted to the new Daylight Savings Time zone thangy. It is two weeks early and one week later this year. If you haven't updated your Windows operating system lately there is a chance that the time is wrong. Just checked all my devices and the cell phone lagged an hour. Not sure about the time? Go to time.gov, click on your state/time zone and the correct time will appear. Ain't livin' in the U S of A great?

He's muttering, "This right hand or my other right hand?"

"Fonzie was asked what he could see in the rear view mirror on his motorcycle and answered,'Don't care about where I've been, just wanna look cool where I'm going.'"
~David Stephens

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Vibrations, Excitations

This week is busy. Many things need to be done in the field and I am trying to catch up. Vacation is nice, but having work to do is nice too. So, not complaining just asking everyone to have patience. All will be done.

Like a dumbass I forgot the annual license plate sticker, but my buddy CC is picking it up for me tomorrow. Hey, the first of the month my mind was on motorcycles and Daytona. While up home on Friday the inspection sticker will be updated too. At least it hasn't expired. And I have service calls in Tishomingo County anyway.

Here's a photo of some of the scenery from THE trip. The stress had dripped away at this point and I was soaking in the good vibes.

Murf did a great job of shooting this as we were rolling along A1A.

"Best view of a storm is in the rear view mirror."
~H.D. Murphy

Monday, March 12, 2007

Slight Teamspeak Glitch

Teamspeak users, please do a web search for the server and the passwords are the same. During the trip there was a power outage and the server still exists as does the password. It'll take a few days and everything will be reset and even better. Sorry for the inconvenience, nobody has been banned or anything. The numbers just changed. Call if u need to...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Easy Like Sunday...

Today is a day of rest and thanksgiving. We had a safe journey with some really neat experiences. It's nice to be home and back in the flow of things. Several PCs are running in the background: Diagnostics on a hard drive that looks hopeless, a laptop that is whacked by display problems, spyware and invalid registry entries, etc. Will be transferring pixs over the next few days, I'll post more. We took many.

Everyone have a casual Sunday.

"Laughter is an instant vacation."
~Milton Berle

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Few Things Learned on THE trip...

Nice people seem to gravitate towards bike riders. We were aided and abetted along the whole route. It may be that many folks possibly have a wish to change places with you. People from all walks of life will stop and talk to you when fueling, eating, or just sitting.

Florida possibly has either a lot of evil people or very strict laws. We passed 7 prisons, the huge ones with the big rolls of barbed wire and towers. What is this all about? Almost everyone met in this beautiful state was very polite. Go figure.

There are a few dumbasses left that like to play chicken with bike riders. Don't they realize we all carry weapons? Of mass destruction?

Ice will form in Florida outside the freezer compartment of the refrigerator.

Some folks are just lost as a goose. Their directions are convoluted and make no sense. If seeking directions the most dependable and helpful are officers of the law. Seems they actually like bikers...they may not know about our weapons of mass destruction.

70 miles an hour on a bike? No. If you have a blowout death is almost certain. 50 miles an hour? Chances of survival are MUCH better. Sometimes you have to travel fast, but gosh, please be careful. And don't expect to see much of anything along the way. You'll be too busy concentrating on the road ahead and making sure you don't anger an 18 wheeler.

Three things are important to all bike riders: helmet that has the best range of vision, a really good pair of gloves and by all means don't forget the sun block.

If you don't know that you shouldn't ride drunk, then please check into rehab, now. They are waiting for you and so is the morgue. After a very brief experiment in motion let me further say that riding hungover may be just as bad.

In south Georgia folks are crazy about something called wiregrass. Even named a highway after it. I must Google this...

Someone named Pike musta' really done something in south Alabama. And someone named Pratt made an even greater impression in middle Alabama. There was Prattsville, Prattown, Pratt Highway, Pratt creek, think I saw a Prattmobile etc. Probably won't Google this because someone from Alabama will quote the Alabama State History textbook and let me know.

Birmingham is a dangerous city when it comes to expressway driving. As that great hunter/philosopher Mr. Fudd once said, "bee varewee careful."

Every state we visited was fun. But hey, there's no place like home. Mississippi rocks!!

'Hoppa said it best in the comments, I am a blessed man. My friends and family really came through to help my clients during my brief absence. My neighbors are the greatest period. They kept a watch on the beach house.

There will be more pictures during a wrap up post. Give me a day or so.

"Sometimes the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes."
~H.D. Murphy

Friday, March 09, 2007

Parting of the Fellowship, day 7

We had a fantastic trip. We covered 2104 miles and saw some wonderful country. The ride up A1A is recommended to anyone in or on any vehicle. We drove almost 500 miles yesterday and arrived home at 7:15PM. We sacked out; murf was asleep almost immediately! LOL. Here's some more shots. BTW, you can click on them for a larger view:

This is murf casual on the beach house veranda.

This is the Sportster parked in the front yard.

This is the Harley of Harleys, Mike's Heritage Classic.

This is the engraved engine cover on the Heritage, it says "Murf's Toy"...kewl huh?

Murf's last minute check before launching for Jonesboro.

Murf rolling on the last leg of the trip.

In the road and loving it!!

We had a blast. Both of us have laughed constantly. There is a cheerful air and spirit of freedom when cruising. The mind clears, the head works better, a sense of relief washes away the stress developed while NOT riding. It's not only nice to have a yearning for adventure at my age, but to have a great friend with a similar mindset. BTW, Murf arrived home safely. And hey my friend, thank you for the opportunity to fulfill a life's dream. The Good Lord brought us together for this ride, blessed us in many ways while on the road and watched over us. My gratitude cannot be expressed in words.

"That's all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel."
~Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Vury vury tired, day 6

K, back at the Saltillo Beach House. Had a great ride today from Thomasville, Georgia. We r tired, and collapsing. Will upload more pixs tomorrow. Halo says the comments are working again to some degree and they are fixing the other problems. Please don't be po'ed if it says banned or won't post. But TRY!! lol.
no smilie and no quote - tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Closing Shots, day 5

Here are a few pixs taken before leaving Daytona. Murf grabbed some great shots:
We like Harley, but all MOTORCYCLES rock!

We think Peter Fonda might chill with this build.

Can we say bikes for days?

People, they're EVERYWHERE!!

We are in Thomasville, Georgia. Tomorrow we hope to make landfall in Tupelo. The ride today was long and started with a trip up A1A. Gosh, we finally did it! A1A, what a dream ride!!! Then we cut and ran to get home. This has been a trip for the RIDE and the road has been good to us. We hope to arise early, enjoy the rest of the return trip and post from the beach house tomorrow night!

"Don't argue with an 18-wheeler."
~H.D. Murphy

West=My Favorite Direction, day 5

Murf caught this earlier while watching dolphins play. Yes, this is a great view, but it's time to head home. To me, this is the fun part of the trip. My corner of paradise on earth suits me. So the heels have been clicked three times , the bells rung (Harley rider thang) and we will make our way towards Mississippi and Arkansas. BTW, is anyone from Arkansas gonna' comment? C'mon! Just click on comments and have ur say. Remember to hit the publish button at the bottom. Mississippi is doin' a great job. Keep it up!!!

Thanks to all for the encouragement. Makes the guilt about my first vacation in 30 years go away. I may do this again in the next 30. Will post at the next stop. Later.

"A wasp across the windshield will increase the vocabulary."
~H.D. Murphy

EDIT: Halo is having probs with comments, they should have things repaired today, so if u get banned, or ur comment is deleted (several have been) don't post them again. Halo assures me they will show up again. This happens on rare occasions and they always come thru so keep posting new comments! Sorry, glitch happens..

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's All Good, day 4

We made it. We left Perry, FL this morning before 8:00EST after literally wiping the ice off the seats. The ride across Florida was awesome. We made good time, had an easy trip with solid directions and rolled into Daytona several hours ago. Wow, there were and are motorcycles everywhere!

We got separated and I ended up on the promenade for over an hour trying to escape. Did get to see Paul Jr. talking to a crowd though. Didn't stop. Couldn't! After making a mad dash escape around a traffic cop I found a semi quiet spot and tracked down the Murf via cell phone. He said quit bitching and meet at the Holiday Inn where we had reservations. I did both. This is the view from the balcony:

Okay, Murf n I always said if we ever made this trip we'd sit down and have a boat drink (tropical to non-parrothead types) to celebrate our arrival. That took place at the outdoor bar photographed from the same balcony:

As we sat down to enjoy the festive libation none other than Mr. Jimmy Buffett started singing over the house music system (a recording, not really him performing live). Imagine, parrothead music in the foreground, waves crashing on the beach in the background and a faint hint of sea gulls making their sea gull noises. God is so good to me.

We owe a lot to the sturdiness of the iron horses that have done a slam bang job of getting us here. I can't say enough about my first Harley experience. And to think the trip will end up over 2000 miles if the Good Lord is willing:

That's the '05 1200C Sportster with FULL Screaming Eagle Mod on Murf's left and the Heritage Classic El Supremo on the right. The Sportster rode like a dream with the new rubber motor mounts and let me tell ya brothers and sisters this particular unit is FAST! And what else can be said about the Heritage? Beautiful, comfortable, roadworthy and THE classic.

As I sit looking out the window opening onto the balcony, off in the distance there are stars on the water. Yes, our Amazing God has truly blessed me once again. Murf agrees wholeheartedly.

"Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul."
~H.D. Murphy

Monday, March 05, 2007

Podunk Internet Connection, day 3

Perry, Florida. According to Google Maps we are 197 miles or 3hrs 33min away. Our trip today was to make up for lost time yesterday. I-10 was traveled for a while and then we went to the parallel hwy 90. Much easier ride and much better roads. Here's Murf still wrapped up for cold weather:

We arrived about 2 hours after sundown, ate, discussed the ride today with positive attitudes and are turning in early which will help with an early start tomorrow. This Day's Inn has nice folks employed, but a horrible internet connection, so if this post is poor, it'll be corrected at our next stop.

We did stop by the Harley shop in Tallahassee. Murf went in and I sat on the bike resting. It's a new facility just off I-10. Here's a shot of the front entrance:

Finally had to take the laptop to the lobby to finish this post. More from another town. High speed wireless my ass!

"Late night bugs taste best."
~H.D. Murphy

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Florida Myth-Direction, day 2

It's cold in Florida. We started the day trying to decide to have frog legs or soft shelled crabs and eggs for breaksfast. Being true southerners country ham was selected. Hey, it's vacation = no diet thangy! Next, here's a shot of Murf grinning beside his premo Heritage Classic: He is standing in front of the USS Alabama which is docked in Mobile Bay for display purposes. Did I mention it's cold down here? After a great ride yesterday we decided to set off on our coastal ride adventure.

We headed south and stopped in a town called Foley, Alabama. As we drank coffee perched on a picnic table admiring our bikes and feeling good, a dude approached and struck up a conversation. After tales of rides past he finally recommended a route that was scenic and full of neat stops where we could dine, purchase trinkets, get patches, etc. So off we go lickety-split headed for the ocean. We found it.

Here's a picture of lardass...uh, uh, myself astride the mighty 1200C Sportster: Note the sandy beach and blue sky in the background. The ocean is back there somewhere. Soon after this shot was taken we pulled over and made a decision; it was wayyyyy too cold to be riding beside the ocean. Besides, you can't see the ocean because of all the damn building projects.

We laughed at our mistake and backtracked to the original route. No more route advice was now our motto of the day. As we crossed the Florida state line, Murf wanted a picture of the sign. As I pulled off the road and put my feet out to stop the sand gave way and down I went. Nothing was hurt but my pride. What an idiot! Travel over 400 miles without incident and then something stupid like this has to happen. Did I mention that it's really, really cold here? Several people stopped, a dude coming back from Daytona on a Street-Glide, a nice looking lady in a van that offered us a beer for some reason (no we didn't take it - it's cold down here) and another fellow in a pick up. We picked up the bike amazed that it's unharmed and continued our journey.

Then we got on Interstate 10. I HATE this #$';&XXX road!!!! It's old, full of weird grooves, the supreme pot hole demon from lower hell has had a field day, every one speeds and even on Sunday trucks were everwhere. This was miles and miles of anxiety attacks and wind blowing me left and right. There was some mighty praying going on every time we crossed a bridge and Florida has plenty of them. You realize it's cold here, right? If this is normal wind for this area the next time a hurricane comes through I am going NORTH of the Mason-Dixon line instead of staying in Tupelo thinking I am safe.

After several hundred miles of ridiculous attempts at heading further east, we gave up and stopped at a Holiday Express somewhere east of Milton, Florida. This post is actually being finished at 3:30AM. My body core temperature has just returned to normal. And my fingers are working again. After double the normal meds taken throughout the night my anxiety is slip sliding away. I can look out the window and see that damned I-1O. But, we almost have to travel it since we lost so much time.

Two people just walked across the parking lot. You can see their icy breath as they converse. Murf is sleeping soundly I guess. He's taken all this in stride. The laughter has helped us survive a great friendship all these years (33 years). God willing, Monday will be a better day,lol.

"O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"
~Percy Bysshe Shelley (Percy never owned a Harley)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Alabamy Bound, day 1

Murf n I left Tupelo around 10:30AM after a stop at the hardware store to pick up a bolt for the windshield on the Sportster. We cruised about 50 miles before stopping in Prarie, MS on the side of hwy 45 due to a badly needed glove change. Temp was in the 40s and numbness prevailed. Next stop Huddle House in West Point. After mega doses of caffeine and choking down biscuits n gravy we hit the trail again. Miles to a gas station somewhere around Meridian and then to another gas stop 30 miles north of Mobile.

Mobile is a huge town. We traveled hwy 45 until it came to an abrupt halt. The ocean has a way of terminating highways. Made a left, crossed the bay and stopped at the Best Western next to the USS Alabama. I can see the lights on the ship out the window. It was nice to stop. It was nice to look up and see a palm tree. Late and my lardass is leaning towards the bed. Pictures will folllow. Beyond any doubt, best ride ever!

"Palm trees relieve stress."
~H.D. Murphy

Friday, March 02, 2007

Trip Notes

Since the frogs and catfish were on the veranda and knocking on the door chanting please let us in - out of the rain, our trip has been delayed for 1 day. Sorry, may have to ride back in bad weather, but NOT gonna' leave in it. I have a million things to do and will fail trying to accomplish all goals. Shucks, be back in a week and remember the cell phone and laptop travel with me. Don't hesitate to call.

Saturday is a better start day anyway. Traffic will be minimal and we are expecting awesome weather. After finishing some work projects the evening will be devoted to packing and plotting the course. Remember, there are several techs standing by if you need them. Just call me and they will show up.

Will try to post before we leave, Thanks to all for the support concerning this trip and especially to those that are house sitting. My mind will be at ease knowing the beach house is secure.

"Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window."
~H.D. Murphy