27 November 2006

Computer Crash

It all started when Grandma's mouse decided to take on a life of it's own. It suddenly reversed the buttons so that the left button became the right and the right button the left. To make sure it was just the mouse and not other things, I hooked up my mouse and it worked as it should. Then I hooked Grandma's mouse to my computer and had the same problem. So a new mouse went on the shopping list.

I forget (mental block) what exactly happened next, but I wound trying to perform a system restore, which would save the files but restore the system programs to an earlier version. Unfortunately, I used the wrong function, which not only set the programs back to day one, but erased all of Grandma's files.

So we've been working to add her records and files back into her computer. The one saving grace is that I had copied her files to an external hard drive not too long ago. That allowed us to bring everything back, except the many changes she had made to her genealogy records. And all her e-mail addresses and favorite web sites were gone. But she has been making progress to get everything back to a usable level.

We walked over to Office Max to buy a new mouse and happened to see a Maxtor OneTouch III 60 gb external hard drive on sale, so we bought it. It is now hooked up to Grandma's computer, and programmed to copy her "documents" file every evening at 10 pm. I highly recommend an external hard drive to one and all, in case of one of those unexplained "human error" tragedies that occur without forewarning.

26 November 2006

Trapping Rats

When I worked at James Cunningham Sons & Co. in Rochester, NY, I worked for an inventor named Andy Vincent. One day, he told me about his experiences developing an electric rat trap. The story goes something like this:

Sibleys department store had a grocery section and stored their goods in the basement, where they were plagued by rats. Somehow, they got in touch with Andy, who spent some time at night in the basement observing the rat behavior. He found their main "road" and placed a trap on it. But the rats wouldn't enter the trap; it had one end closed, with the other end activated by a switch in the floor. So he changed the trap by adding another open end, activated by the same switch.

The theory was that the rats would be trapped and in their panic would go into an adjoining chamber where they would be electrocuted; the bottom of the chamber would open to drop the dead rat out. Well, the rats would go into the trap, the doors would close, and the rats would just sit there analyzing the situation, until the doors opened again, then walk out.

So back to the drawing board!

The next step was to install a pad that would give a tickle jolt of electricity to the rat in the first chamber, causing it to go into the adjoining chamber and meet it's fate. Success at last! And that's how an inventor claimed victory over a common pest.

The reason this all came to mind is that I have seen rats in our back yard twice recently. They are known locally as "roof rats", but are a black rat. They eat citrus fruit. So instead of trying to build one of Andy's ingenious devices, I bought some D-Con. It's up on a wall held down by a brick so it won't fall into reach by our two Corgis. So far, the first box has been cleaned out, and the second box is untouched. Hopefully, my rat problem has been solved.

13 November 2006

Free at last - well, kinda

My time and energy have been taken up with preparations for last weekend's art sale. This has been in the works for months. It's taken me a long time to get the correct color mats, find suitable frames, then mat and frame my watercolors, and finally to build the display panels. The last detail was to rent a truck to get the panels from home to the show, then back again; they won't fit in our Ford Escape. I had reserved a U-Haul pick-up, but at the last minute, a fellow student said he would be happy to help out.

All went well at the sale as far as I was concerned. I sold three of my paintings. My instructor bought one! (I must be doing something right.) My first show ever, and three were sold. I still can't believe it.

So now I'm trying to get back into the normal routine. A Board of Directors meeting this afternoon, a movie tomorrow, yard work the rest of the week, etc. It's good to be back.