December 2008



HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE
MAY 2009 BRING YOU ALL THAT YOU WISH
And so ends 2008, the second year of this blog and while there have been some negatives for me in cyberspace, on the whole it has been a wonderful experience to interact with you, my blog acquaintances, some of whom have morphed into friends.

I said this last year and it still remains so true I’m will repeat it. You have all enriched my life in so many ways. You’ve challenged my mind with your posts, you’ve helped me with my tech problems, you’ve taught me so much about your different worlds, you’ve entertained me with your humour. Some of you have shared your poetry and stories and your beautiful paintings and photographs. You’ve welcomed me into your lives and shared your innermost thoughts and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity for 2009 and being half Scottish, I’ll close with the words of Rabbie Burns in Auld Lang Syne and make a toast (non-alcoholic, of course) to you all.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


or for the linguistically challenged English speakers

And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,
For old long past.

Eddi Reader, Scottish singer/songwriter, in a very different version of Auld Lang Syne

NB: Words and translation from the World Burns Club


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE
MAY 2009 BRING YOU ALL THAT YOU WISH
And so ends 2008, the second year of this blog and while there have been some negatives for me in cyberspace, on the whole it has been a wonderful experience to interact with you, my blog acquaintances, some of whom have morphed into friends.

I said this last year and it still remains so true I’m will repeat it. You have all enriched my life in so many ways. You’ve challenged my mind with your posts, you’ve helped me with my tech problems, you’ve taught me so much about your different worlds, you’ve entertained me with your humour. Some of you have shared your poetry and stories and your beautiful paintings and photographs. You’ve welcomed me into your lives and shared your innermost thoughts and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity for 2009 and being half Scottish, I’ll close with the words of Rabbie Burns in Auld Lang Syne and make a toast (non-alcoholic, of course) to you all.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.


or for the linguistically challenged English speakers

And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,
For old long past.

Eddi Reader, Scottish singer/songwriter, in a very different version of Auld Lang Syne

NB: Words and translation from the World Burns Club

Yes, this is my new “toy”. It is not a photo of my new MacBook Pro however. For some reason, unfathomable to me, my photo is uploading here sideways, so I cannot use it nor rectify it for the moment. I had to nick one from the internet and it is not exactly the same but you get the idea.
So since last Thursday I have been tearing my hair out as I try to master the OS X operating system which I have been told is intuitive. It seems all my intuition has been educated out of me or maybe I never had any but it is not as easy as everyone tries to tell you.

We actually went to buy a new high end PC laptop from the local huge electronic store which sells both PCs and Macs. The first salesperson was useless and did not convince us that anything was right for my needs. But we were hanging around discussing the situation when another salesperson came along. Miss Powerhouse. Obviously very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and she had just about convinced us to buy a Sony Vaio when we started to talk about her own computers. Yes her two Macs. She had switched some time ago. A very good salesperson and some thousands of dollars poorer we walked out with a 15 inch MacBook Pro.

Now of course one can return it up until Jan 5th, after putting it through its paces. So that is what I have been doing. Sort of. Naturally you want to connect to the Internet and I downloaded Firefox for Mac. No problems there. I am sure Safari is fine but I like Firefox so that was my choice. Mmm. The colours on this screen are a bit pale. My poor blog looks quite washed out. You must be able to change this somehow. But how?

I downloaded and printed out the manual which I have to tell you is terrible. Not only is it for the previous MacBook Pro but it keeps referring you to the help section online. Not good Apple. Some people are book people and want to turn from page to page and not cruise around the internet, getting totally lost. I have ordered a fat book, Switching to the Mac: the Missing Manual but unfortunately it has not yet arrived. So I am floundering around.

Of course I also downloaded Second Life immediately. With the help of several friends in SL who are Mac users I have tweaked a few things to make it better but I am a little disappointed that it is not vastly better, considering this is much more powerful machine than my Dell and considering it cost a small fortune. But it could be the limitations of Second Life. Who knows?

Today I went to the Genius Bar in the local Apple store for a consultation. I found a very helpful chap, who sorted out my screen problems in a flash, showing me where to change the settings to my liking and answered the questions I had written down in a long list to ask. I’m still a PC person, wanting to know how to do the same things on Mac. Actually I was very happy with my current system except for the keyboard not working, but I have to say I got my money’s worth from it. I hope I will be able to say the same thing from this one. So probably I won’t be switching totally to or from the darkside, depending on your point of view, but running both systems, at least for a while.

Today I signed up for what I think is quite a good deal. $99 (plus taxes) for a once a week one-on-one tutoring session for one year, which also includes transferring files from the old computer to the new one. Of course I will be away for a month in Australia during that time and the cost of parking downtown once a week will soon make it not such a bargain. But I still think it is a good idea.

After a few hours I go back to my old Dell laptop, with its clunky external keyboard and find it very relaxing in comparison. It is not a pleasant experience to feel so ignorant again. But I look forward to it as a new challenge. Something to keep the old brain cells firing on all cylinders. Well that’s what I tell myself.

OK, I promise not to turn into one of those awful smug Mac people who harangue you about how great a Mac is and how you should switch. But did I tell you how much I love my iPods? My old mini and my new iTouch. Now they are brilliant and you should definitely not muck around with anything other than an iPod. Just saying!

Yes, this is my new “toy”. It is not a photo of my new MacBook Pro however. For some reason, unfathomable to me, my photo is uploading here sideways, so I cannot use it nor rectify it for the moment. I had to nick one from the internet and it is not exactly the same but you get the idea.
So since last Thursday I have been tearing my hair out as I try to master the OS X operating system which I have been told is intuitive. It seems all my intuition has been educated out of me or maybe I never had any but it is not as easy as everyone tries to tell you.

We actually went to buy a new high end PC laptop from the local huge electronic store which sells both PCs and Macs. The first salesperson was useless and did not convince us that anything was right for my needs. But we were hanging around discussing the situation when another salesperson came along. Miss Powerhouse. Obviously very knowledgeable and enthusiastic and she had just about convinced us to buy a Sony Vaio when we started to talk about her own computers. Yes her two Macs. She had switched some time ago. A very good salesperson and some thousands of dollars poorer we walked out with a 15 inch MacBook Pro.

Now of course one can return it up until Jan 5th, after putting it through its paces. So that is what I have been doing. Sort of. Naturally you want to connect to the Internet and I downloaded Firefox for Mac. No problems there. I am sure Safari is fine but I like Firefox so that was my choice. Mmm. The colours on this screen are a bit pale. My poor blog looks quite washed out. You must be able to change this somehow. But how?

I downloaded and printed out the manual which I have to tell you is terrible. Not only is it for the previous MacBook Pro but it keeps referring you to the help section online. Not good Apple. Some people are book people and want to turn from page to page and not cruise around the internet, getting totally lost. I have ordered a fat book, Switching to the Mac: the Missing Manual but unfortunately it has not yet arrived. So I am floundering around.

Of course I also downloaded Second Life immediately. With the help of several friends in SL who are Mac users I have tweaked a few things to make it better but I am a little disappointed that it is not vastly better, considering this is much more powerful machine than my Dell and considering it cost a small fortune. But it could be the limitations of Second Life. Who knows?

Today I went to the Genius Bar in the local Apple store for a consultation. I found a very helpful chap, who sorted out my screen problems in a flash, showing me where to change the settings to my liking and answered the questions I had written down in a long list to ask. I’m still a PC person, wanting to know how to do the same things on Mac. Actually I was very happy with my current system except for the keyboard not working, but I have to say I got my money’s worth from it. I hope I will be able to say the same thing from this one. So probably I won’t be switching totally to or from the darkside, depending on your point of view, but running both systems, at least for a while.

Today I signed up for what I think is quite a good deal. $99 (plus taxes) for a once a week one-on-one tutoring session for one year, which also includes transferring files from the old computer to the new one. Of course I will be away for a month in Australia during that time and the cost of parking downtown once a week will soon make it not such a bargain. But I still think it is a good idea.

After a few hours I go back to my old Dell laptop, with its clunky external keyboard and find it very relaxing in comparison. It is not a pleasant experience to feel so ignorant again. But I look forward to it as a new challenge. Something to keep the old brain cells firing on all cylinders. Well that’s what I tell myself.

OK, I promise not to turn into one of those awful smug Mac people who harangue you about how great a Mac is and how you should switch. But did I tell you how much I love my iPods? My old mini and my new iTouch. Now they are brilliant and you should definitely not muck around with anything other than an iPod. Just saying!

Yes, I’m afraid we were snowed in on Christmas Day this year after all. My son could not make it here with his car and was unwilling to face the multi bus journey across town. So after lots of consultation with our friends we have postponed our Christmas celebration until later. Gifts sit under the tree unopened, for we still remain snowed in. In this part of the world we remember well the blizzard of 1996. Now we have the blizzard of 2008 to add to the books. At least we still have power, so far.

It does seem ludicrous in this day and age of four wheeled drives (no we don’t have one, although here many do) and modern equipment that in parts our city has come to a halt. Vancouver is just not equipped for snow removal on this scale. I guess with the four day weekend there is no need to be out and about except by necessity, so traffic has not packed down the snow on the roads. Everyone around us is hunkered down it seems, for there is no one going by on our street and we are half a mile to the nearest main road which is probably cleared for the buses. Not quite true, as another car was stuck outside our house this morning. But we are above freezing and it is starting to melt slowly, so now we have flooding to look forward to. Sigh.

I made the Christmas pudding which is still in my refrigerator. Uncooked it does not look so enticing does it? But I love Christmas pudding.


Ready in the steamer for the three hours boiling required to cook it. On the day you just re-steam it for one hour and serve it with Foamy Eggnog Sauce to which we add brandy and is absolutely delicious and much better than traditional Hard Sauce.


No you don’t get to see the cooked result, since it is resealed and ready to steam again. I wonder if we will ever get to eat it. But you can have a cookie instead. If these look similar to last year’s, it’s no wonder. I make the same ones every year and there are a couple of other kinds plus a Christmas cake which I will not bore you with here.

Actually it is not quite true to say that all the Christmas presents are under the tree. One, with a card marked JMB, I fished out and have been playing with since Christmas Day. I’m just about ripping my hair out with frustration over this new toy but I’ll leave it until later to tell you about it.

Yes, I’m afraid we were snowed in on Christmas Day this year after all. My son could not make it here with his car and was unwilling to face the multi bus journey across town. So after lots of consultation with our friends we have postponed our Christmas celebration until later. Gifts sit under the tree unopened, for we still remain snowed in. In this part of the world we remember well the blizzard of 1996. Now we have the blizzard of 2008 to add to the books. At least we still have power, so far.

It does seem ludicrous in this day and age of four wheeled drives (no we don’t have one, although here many do) and modern equipment that in parts our city has come to a halt. Vancouver is just not equipped for snow removal on this scale. I guess with the four day weekend there is no need to be out and about except by necessity, so traffic has not packed down the snow on the roads. Everyone around us is hunkered down it seems, for there is no one going by on our street and we are half a mile to the nearest main road which is probably cleared for the buses. Not quite true, as another car was stuck outside our house this morning. But we are above freezing and it is starting to melt slowly, so now we have flooding to look forward to. Sigh.

I made the Christmas pudding which is still in my refrigerator. Uncooked it does not look so enticing does it? But I love Christmas pudding.


Ready in the steamer for the three hours boiling required to cook it. On the day you just re-steam it for one hour and serve it with Foamy Eggnog Sauce to which we add brandy and is absolutely delicious and much better than traditional Hard Sauce.


No you don’t get to see the cooked result, since it is resealed and ready to steam again. I wonder if we will ever get to eat it. But you can have a cookie instead. If these look similar to last year’s, it’s no wonder. I make the same ones every year and there are a couple of other kinds plus a Christmas cake which I will not bore you with here.

Actually it is not quite true to say that all the Christmas presents are under the tree. One, with a card marked JMB, I fished out and have been playing with since Christmas Day. I’m just about ripping my hair out with frustration over this new toy but I’ll leave it until later to tell you about it.

Merry Christmas to you all from both JMB and me.

I have sort of come to the conclusion that Reindeer are maybe not all that nice, cute as they look. I figure there is a lesson to be learned from that for us all.

Now I have it on good authority from no less an expert than the Late Great Dean Martin…

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide mien sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudy the red-beaked reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!

That second verse… What does that tell us about Reindeer?

Rudolph had a slight problem, a red nose. Nothing too bad you might say. Lots of people get red noses around this time of year.. for one reason or another ^_^

Did Rudolph get sympathy and support? Did he heck. They laughed at the poor little guy. They were mean and called him names and ostracised him.

What’s more it looked like that was the way it would stay. That is until the most powerful figure in their lives thought he could make use of Rudolph’s unusual nasal properties.

As soon as Rudolph was accepted by their ultimate Alpha Male suddenly they couldn’t get enough of the previously not good enough Rudolph.

Well Rudolph hadn’t changed any had he? Just how they saw him.

Well we aren’t reindeer, maybe we can think about that Laughing at thing and the calling names thing, and the ostracising thing? Are we a bit like those reindeer sometimes?

Maybe we need to think about that just a little? Not just at Christmas…

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