December 31, 2018

Another Year Ends With RAIN

It's pretty amazing to look back through the blog to previous years, the exact date, to see how things change within that 12 month period. I can also search certain dates in my large Photos Library on my computer and see the changes all on one screen. It wasn't until I looked back in the older blog to see that last year it was -1° with a windchill of -9°. Consequently the hound walks were canceled for the day.
Then the foggy brain cells of mine remembered last year. The coldest winter in history here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana. For over a month from December 15th to January 15th it never was warmer than 32° and many of those 30 days had high temps of single digits ... some below zero.

I started this post this morning with on the first two photos of Stella. It has been raining all night. Add all of that water to the saturated field, it was not walkable. Stella knew it before she stepped off the carport. She stood listening to the rain drops that were falling from the tips of the tree limbs, but it wasn't raining. She knew we were not walking at 8am. It was too dark, much darker than those two photos show. She stood in the yard a little confused.
Heidi didn't think it was that bad by lunch time, as she snuck around the corner of the house. It was warm enough to be above her threshold but she didn't stay outside long.
After raining all morning it didn't look bad for standing water. Reinstalling a new drainage system is the first thing on the list for a March/April time. It's old and obviously not working as good as it use to.
Early afternoon the winds picked up as predicted and rain was blowing from the west
About the time I thought it was over, I had a "Weather Advisory" hit my inbox, telling me high winds are scheduled for later this afternoon or early evening. Will those 40mph - 60mph winds disturb my tv satellite signal while I try to watch two good football games?

A little after 2pm the lights flickered, the internet lost service as well as my tv signal, with it raining so hard I couldn't see outside. When you see the amount of standing water you will not believe that short burst of rain was less than 20 minutes long.

Stella doesn't like to walk through water. Just to the left of those posts is her way outside. She snuck around the car thinking she could bypass the large puddle
She stood and thought of a plan. She had gone outside this morning to dump her tanks but likes to always go out after lunch. Walks were cancelled today so she knew she would not be able to get to the field. She doesn't like getting her feet wet.
Not until I cleared all of the overgrown brush in this area a few years ago, did I have that water path down the center of the yard. In fact with all the heavy brush, I never saw standing water of any kind in that area.
When the neighbor's culvert is flooded, that's a sign of a lot of rain water. Before December 1st we were 10" above our annual average of 42". We have had three major rain storms this month.
As Stella walked along side the car ... she saw more flooding ... she was stopped and would not go any further.
Sniffing the air, she didn't see any way nor smell any way of getting outside into the field or yard. She slowly turned and headed back inside to wait for a try later on.

We decided to "button down the hatches" and prepare for high winds. With the ground so saturated I am never a fan of high winds. In 2008 with more rain than what we have now, straight line winds pulled every tree out of 80' of bank, landing those trees parallel to the house. The closest tree was 8' from the front door and the front yard was covered with fallen trees.

I hope the winds don't disturb my satellite signal. I'll be watching the Michigan State - Oregon game at 5pm and Northwestern - Utah game at 7pm ... right during range of time for the high winds warning.

62° today in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

Happy New Year !!!!

December 30, 2018

Thoughts From The Darkness

It's been a few days or weeks since I rambled a little bit. I can tell this blog is gradually moving back to the same direction it was going before I announced to the world that the subject matter would change. Plans of more transparency. No stone left unturned as those thoughts slowly crawled out from beneath the rocks. So what happen? What's the plan?

When you saw that title you probably came running to see how far my brain had dropped over the cliff ... wrong kind of darkness. Not quite true. The darkness is what is outside on a Sunday morning at 7:15am. Still the mind is active, maybe too active at this time of day.

In the past few days you have probably notice the blog has changed colors for less than five minutes, font changes but no format changes. I like the format and I've heard from a few readers that they like it to. It's easy to find stuff, and easy to navigate through. So the format will stay but you know how I like 'tweaking' the look when I get an overactive brain.

It was just a few years ago when I had this type of brain activity, I'd start looking through websites that had cars for sale. In most cases I'd end up trading cars or trucks or both within 72 hours after I started looking. The disaster in all of that impulsive buying was my bank account took a hit and the satisfaction didn't last long. I think the all-time record for owning a car before I traded it was 47 days, in December 2016.

Now I just look through website design (themes or templates) choices and fill the same urge to make changes. Yet there has been a battle for the past few months, thinking I would take advantage of those 'holiday deal' with drastically reduced prices, that have since passed by me.

The Apple Watch Series 4.

I don't really need one. I know it will only work with Apple computers and iPhones, which I have. I would have to add an app to track my sleeping habits. The battery life is too short for me. (18 hours) Nor would I buy the cellular version because I don't need emails, texts, music, coming out of my wrist. I'm looking at the health tracking features mainly.

On the other side of the view, it does have a proven heart health tracker, including an EKG reading. I was reading this morning that it does NOT have constant pulse reading but I think that might be an incorrect statement, I'll have to check. It does have 'fall detection' where it will call 911 if the settings are right and you don't respond in a certain amount of time.

Tied in with Apple Health in my iPhone, that 911 call will alert the friends I have listed as emergency contacts, all living out of state. That might be handy since I live alone but I don't plan to fall and see that as a feature that isn't needed for another 20 years when I will be in my late 80's. On the other hand it could replace my iPhone. How neat would that be to go anywhere without carrying a phone in one hand or slipped into a pocket in cargo shorts/pants?

Yet the iPhone has a fantastic camera for indoors or low light. Not bad for outside. Could you tell which photos in blog posts from Wednesday on, were taken with the iPhone ?? So that would be one reason not to have the watch replace the phone.

I currently wear a Garmin VivoSport that has a long battery life, constant pulse readings, GPS, sleep tracking, synchronizes with MyFitnessPal (food log) and feels small on my wrist. I would not have paid the $160 for it, but Garmin sent a new one to me free when I let them know in September that the band to my Garmin VivoSmart 3 broke. I didn't ask and really wasn't looking for help. I was just letting them know what had happened.

The Garmin gives me all the information that I was looking for two years ago. It looks good in casual dress, which is most of the time for me, and will look good as I mow the yard or do yard work in the warmer months.

So it's back to the question of 'a need' or 'a want' for the Apple Watch. Just like it was when I use to satisfy this urge by trading cars. I feel a strong urge to drive to Best Buy today and buy one ... a huge urge actually ... or I could buy a new camera .... see what I mean? That little man on my shoulder with his lauging voice, is tormenting me again today.

Something else I do when I get in these moods for change. I play around with different browsers. Safari for Macs, Google Chrome and Firefox Quantum. Even though I have always read the latest reviews in CNET, PCmag, and other tech websites about those browsers ... I still keep going back and trying all three of them.

Until a couple of days ago when RetroRoxie sent me a link, helping me find an answer for WHY Safari and Google Chrome was preventing me from making replies on some WordPress blogs plus logging me out automatically from my blog on Blogger, "Bhounds And Other Adventures".

It was due to the privacy settings for each. Safari calls it "cross-site" tracking. Google Chrome calls it "3rd party websites collecting cookies and data". I needed to switch them to 'off' so each could take place. Once I did that, both Safari (using it now) and Google Chrome did not prevent me with those two issues I had for months ... or since their last updates.

Many reviews say that Safari is the best browser for Macs. I have an iMac and a MacBook Air and it is what I have run for a browser most of the time until I had that problem two paragraphs above. I like that Firefox and Safari do a great job in blocking ads and stopping videos from automatically playing on news and sports sites.

I could tighten the settings on Google Chrome and add some apps to prevent ads and autoplay but I am not really keen on the brighter version of the new Google Chrome. Now, if I were using an Android phone I would tie myself into the Google system with docs, and all the other products they have available ... but I get all they offer in my Apple devices, all synchronizing with my phone, computers and tablet.

I know I will continue to bounce between browsers every few months ... but at least that is free. Plus it calms that overactive brain I get sometimes.

So where is all that blogging transparency? The change in direction for the blog?

My mind has been content I guess. I have not noticed a lot of deep thoughts surfacing. I have not noticed any inner crisis taking place. Both hounds are in good health, no emergencies, no drama going on ... nothing to bring thousands of blog readers rushing to see the latest, like they slow down to look as they drive past a car wreck.

I've continued to "glance" at tv news. I have also continued to turn off the tv or change channels within minutes, mumbling under my breath ... "what a bunch of shit". (yes I LOVE that periods OUTSIDE the quotes ... :)

So I don't have a lot of radical comments about what is going on in the news because I have stopped watching it enough to where I cannot make comments. In 2013 while working as a government contractor I was sent home when Obama shut down the government. Speaking only from personal experience ... I think I remember being gone for only 10-14 days ??? but I do remember to keep my health insurance and a regular paycheck, I had to go on vacation while wasting my vacation days.

I did write a post the other day and saved it as a draft. It was an idea I had for the blog that wasn't tried and may not happen ... a weekly collection of questions, weird or otherwise, that I have throughout the week. I still have that post in 'draft' folder. Which brings up the subject of 'drafts' ... not beer, blog posts.

I have a hard time writing blog posts in advance, filing them under 'draft' and posting them later. Most of the time my posts are time related, like current, within that hour(s) ... I cannot go much more than a day on subject matter for the post. Whereas some bloggers can write about where they were and what they did on a trip two months later ... I find that hard to do.

So due to my DNA, I'll probably continue to blog like I always have ... in the morning after our walk ... maybe late afternoon or early evening in the warmer months. I am outside a lot when it's hot doing anything, from yard work to sleeping under the sunshine. If I post something like this very early in the morning ... I'll probably have a second post late afternoon or early evening with a paragraph summary and all photos.

That is probably what will happen today.

One thing about this template (theme), I do not have to manually put a space between the photos so they show up on tablets and phones with a space between them. Nor do I have to change the file size like I did on blogger, so the photos were sharper. Which I have discussed that too many times in the past.

Just remember, new readers ... the hounds and I live a pretty simple lifestyle, laidback without a lot of drama. I'd say the post about the water heater a few days ago was the most excitement the hounds have had in months. Believe it or not I still have steaming hot water coming out of the faucet so that is a good thing, since I had no idea what I was doing to repair it.

The posts are usually more photo based than a post like this but sometimes I like nothing but words, content, thoughts, etc. I just have to come up with some kind of photo to add to the top so there is a small thumbnail on the front page. The look stays the same that way.

Much like me mowing the whole yard when only the backyard needs mowing ... or the "balanced" look where the punctuation is outside the second quotation mark. Or all those squares for each post lined up evenly on the front page.

That will give you a picture what my pet peeves are ... plus crooked photos on a wall in anybody's house.

Well that magic hour has struck ... 8am ... Stella has walked in the computer room to drink water, hydrating herself before she whines to get me to change shoes to boots, throw on my down parka, gloves and sock hat ... grab the camera and go out
to do 22 minutes of 'verbal herding" to get her from Point A to Point B. The walk last 5 minutes due to the sound of gunshots ... no verbal herding was needed ... I had to trot to keep up with her has she turned around and headed for home.

There was probably more I wanted to say in this post but like usual ... I forgot what it was.

It looks cold outside but I can see some sun here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

December 29, 2018

Hounds Brace For Cold Weather

Friday afternoon the temperature started its steep decline to the high 30's. The hounds  enjoyed what little time they had left of the spring type weather. Heidi got no further than just around those steps and came back the same way she went, as fast as she could. You could feel the freezing air rushing in a little past noon .
She was set until later that night, so she could sleep the afternoon away ... and she did. Friday afternoon was getting colder but with the bright sunny skies it was so much better than the dark overcast skies we had just a few days ago. Isn't it interesting how moods change when the sunshine is visible?
Stella thought it was a nice day for a drive. I just missed her laying her nose up against the back door checking to see if she could open it with a nudge from her nose. She feels her 'nose nudges' are the answer to anything that she wants to open. All of those marks you see on the top of the bumper are from her wet jowls in past attempts of opening the door.
Here is a better view of those jowl marks. I'll claim the fingerprints on the door are mine but everything else is Stella's. You cannot believe how hard it is to remove dried hound drool from car paint. It is worse the smashed bugs on the front of any car or truck.
With skies like these Friday afternoon it was hard to imagine bad weather anywhere else. What would this morning bring compared to what I was seeing on the national weather stations?
It turned out to be nothing more than a 27° drop in temperatures in the last 24 hours with most of that decrease taking place by 5pm on Friday afternoon. No matter what, Stella was ready to 'move out' by 8am this morning. The walk was windless, not too cold and extremely quiet.
I am finding on these morning walks I am having a hard time focusing the camera as I look through the view finder. No, I cannot take photos by looking at the monitor on the back of the camera. What is strange, the camera is always in auto mode and I flip between 'single point' and 'all area AF' ... I should be able to aim at Stella and have perfect pictures. Are my hands shaking that much to produce bad photos like these from this morning?
In the 'all area AF' mode I can choose to have Stella in focus or the foreground in focus with her blurred. Even when I try that I have a hard time seeing if she is in focus as I press the shutter button half way down, waiting for Stella to come into focus. I have no doubt my hands are more of a problem than anything else. Plus my left eye as the better vision of the two but you could never tell it from those photos.

Today and tonight is a big day for college football as the 4-game playoff starts tonight. I'll start the day of college football by watching the Michigan - Florida game at 12pm. I did some early grocery shopping this morning and passed by all the chips that were on display out in the open with price discounts. The only fruit I bought were bananas and red delicious apples but forgot the almonds. So there will not be a lot of things to munch on during all of these games compared to a few years ago when it was just one huge eating festival for 12 straight hours.

When I use to work with Microsoft Excel at work and used the Mac Edition of Microsoft Office at home, it use to be so easy to insert a bar chart into certain spreadsheets. Compared to Apple's Numbers spreadsheet program, Excel was so much easier. A couple of years ago when Microsoft Office stopped supporting the 2011 version with updates, so I would buy their new 2016 version of Office, I decided instead to try out Apple Numbers which came free with my computer.

There was a slight adjustment but after I started working with Numbers just here at home, I liked it. Both Excel and Numbers had their good points. Yet I am almost to the point this morning of converting all of my Number spreadsheets back to Excel. Since I rarely send these spreadsheets anywhere outside my computer hard drive
I see no reason that I cannot use the 'unsupported' 2011 version.The problem is Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 is a 32-bit software. Microsoft chose not to update that year to 64-bit, which is needed to run on the latest Apple Operating Systems. Their 'new' 2016 version Now 2019 as of October 2018 of Microsoft Office was 64-bit of course.  :)

Why the switch?  Making simple charts that will be inserted into some spreadsheets, like I already have in years 2007-2018.

I do know one thing ... including the time it will take to convert those spreadsheets back to Excel, I'll have those few charts made for some 2019 spreadsheets faster than it will or has taken me to read the Numbers manual on how to insert a SIMPLE spreadsheet !!!! I cannot remember how I did it on Numbers last year.

Good, that will give me something to do today before the first football game at 1pm.

Evidently HughesNet Gen 5 fixed their internet speed issues ... I believe that was the REAL reason that I had slow download speeds the past week. I never did believe their excuse of bad weather where my 'gateway' was located in Utah. Staring last night the speeds were back up to the normal range of 30-45Mbps. That's just my opinion because I've had great speeds in all kinds of stormy weather for the past four years.

After a lot of thought off and on the past few weeks, I went back to Facebook yesterday. It is a great way to stay in touch with old friends. Many of them do not read this blog or any other blog because they don't have time. Facebook is much easier for them and for me to keep in touch. They wanted to see the few pictures I post of the hounds. They are the same exact photos I post here, just fewer of them. I also find it easer to track my sports teams, favorite music, MacRumors forum and specific groups.

I opened my accout to the 'public' so it will be interesting who finds me that I know and will send a friend request. In recent years I never looked for many friends, 10-15 maybe. I did have an old friend find me last night after opening that account, then gave me a call. We played on the same basketball team in high school.

Instagram might be my next jump back into social media. I would only use that to follow friends that like showing pictures of their dogs. Plus a few blogs I use to follow do not blog anymore but write on Instagram instead. Again the good part if you use it responsibly is there is good information. Yet there comes a price with that, with lying Mark Zuckerberg at the helm.

I also went back to Google Chrome yesterday. Retro Roxie sent me a link inside WordPress giving me some ideas to check out, to find out why Google Chrome kept logging me out of my own blog plus not letting me make comments or hit the 'like' button ... the cause was, I had a setting not letting 3rd party website to collect cookies and data of where I have been on the internet. Once I unclicked that setting, it worked perfectly.

I don't care what Google collects or do. It's like I said a few times in the past few years ... if you spend any amout of time, little or a lot, on the internet then they already have the personal information THEY need and are looking for. That data collection happens so fast you cannot even back out of the website you just went to. No big deal ... let them make billions off of me in advertising while I use their great services for free.

It's bright and sunny today in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

December 28, 2018

Cold Weather? When .. Where?

With the day of rain yesterday that moved into the early evening and some overnight, both walks were canceled. Stella's trips were only to relieve herself and since she doesn't like rain, she did that as fast as she could ... then trotted back to the house. Today ... hot!!!!
I knew something was a little different about 10pm last night as I let Heidi out for her trip outside. It was 59° in the carport and the same on my weather app on my iPhone. This morning at 9am when Stella and I stepped outside, it was 56° ... according to the old thermometer in the carport.
I heard freezing temps were on the way and would arrive by tomorrow but looking at the 10-day forecast on Wunderground, it doesn't show that. A couple of days in the 30's but the rest a little above our average of 40° this time of year and back into the lower 50's to start January off right.

I seem to be a man of few words this morning ... so I'll let the photos do the talking.
I was happy I wore my North Face snow/rain boots this. For the first time ever (20yrs) I took a step on the path and sunk in over my ankles in mud. I guess one of those underground water spouts was too active with all the rain. As we move toward the back of the field, higher elevation, there is always more saturated ground water.
As you can tell Heidi is overcome with joy having temperatures in the high 50's for the second day in a row.

Another great day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.