Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Journey With Windows 8 Revisited

"Man is a slow, sloppy, and brilliant thinker; computers are fast, accurate, and stupid."

~John Pfeiffer

Lock Screen

It's been a two months to the day that I gave my first review of the new Windows 8 operating system. To say that Windows 8 and I got off to a rough start would be an understatement. But now, like I said, it's been a couple months and I have had a chance to work through learning the new program and there are some conclusions I have come to. For one thing, it's never a bad thing to learn something new... even if it challenges you in ways you couldn't imagine. Alan bought me the new Toshiba laptop to make my life a little easier, but from the outset I wondered if maybe I should have gone a different way entirely. After not giving up... and working through the rough patches... and doing a little troubleshooting online... I am glad I stuck with it. Am I a big fan of Windows 8 now? Um... no. But I don't absolutely hate it either.

It's complicated.

Here is the thing. Once I learned how to maneuver through the new Start Screen and folders formats I am cool with the rest of the program... well for the most part. It took me the better part of a couple weeks of trial and error, plus hunting around because of how bad those two parts of Windows 8 that confused me. I HATE the fact that there is no longer a simple Start button, which made life, and Windows much easier to use, and the for the LOVE OF GOD what were they thinking with that silly, area on the right that takes you to that stupid ghostly "WhatchaWannaDo" sidebar that appears with only the slightest of brushing against the right side pane of the display screen? Microsoft... just put the Start button back and banish the idiotic ghostly sidebar menu! Just let users boot straight to the desktop!

Ghostly Sidebar...

Start Screen


Log Out Screen (Original)

Visually speaking, it's a gorgeous program. As a photographer, I enjoy being able to customize my screens to suit me. What I don't appreciate is the fact that when you first start working with Windows 8 you are beat over the head to use a Microsoft account. Take it from me... it's not necessary. My Toshiba laptop came loaded with a lot of apps that I simply didn't need. After I took the time to remove the apps, most of which you had to pay to operate, I customized my Start Screen with the programs and apps I actually use. That rubbed me the wrong way from the start, but in fact computers tend to come full of useless crap, so that's really not a new thing. It's up to each individual to figure out.

I have read there is a possibility that there will be a Windows 8.1 coming in the future, possibly later this summer, that addresses some of the issues I have bitched... ummm... complained about in this post and my previous review. You read about it here. Whether or not there will be a charge for the update is any one's guess. Hopefully Microsoft will realize their folly and be decent about the situation and just fix the stupidity. Either way, I have learned my way through the darkness that is Windows 8 and I am satisfied for the moment. I have learned about sites where you can download a program that puts a Windows Start button into the program for you, but it's just not the same. A nice try though. Somehow it would always bother me that it wasn't a real Start button. LOL. Yes, I obsess over stupid stuff like that.

Ugggg! And Mumpfh!

Simply said... Microsoft Windows 8 isn't as bad as all that once you get used to it, but it does take a little feeling around in the dark though. Of course there are books you can by through to help you figure it out, but personally, they aren't for me. I prefer to figure it out for myself, and once learned, never forgotten. But that's just me. Hey if nothing else, at least it's not Vista. Right?

As for my new Toshiba Laptop C855D-S5106... I couldn't be happier with it! As laptops go it's pretty darn nifty. It's fast. Quiet. Has a great display. It's perfect for all the basics. Browsing. Photo Editing. It has a decent sound quality and the battery life is great! It's lightweight and easy to carry.  The DVD drive seems a bit flimsy, so I am extra careful with it, but that's the only negative that I have come across. I paid $279.00 on sale at Best Buy. For the price I am impressed! It's perfect for someone who needs a computer on the go, or to simply play a movie on (with headphones) when the neighbor's damn dog won't stop barking! LOL. I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Mood: Tired

~Me :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Orange You Glad You Read My Blog?

"Orange strengthens your emotional body, encouraging a general feeling of joy, well-being, and cheerfulness. Orange vibration foods are: oranges, tangerines, apricots, mangoes, peaches and carrots."
~Tae Yum Kim, The First Element: Secrets to Maximizing Your Energy

I didn't have a chance to get out and do new photography yesterday, so I tip-toed through the archives looking for something that I hadn't previously posted on Ellipsis, and as I searched for new images a general theme began to emerge... the color Orange. So, here are some of my favorite orange things! Each on never fails to make me smile, I hope you smile to.



About that last one. Self portraits do not make me smile, but I have to confess I did enjoy doing that one. If memory serves me, it was for one of John Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot assignments. When I first heard the topic I considered sitting the challenge out, but somehow that just made me feel like a bit quitter! Hey, what's the definition of a challenge? Something that challenges us to rise to the occasion... right? Anyway, at the end of the day, I met the challenge, and I did it by showing what I consider my best feature, my eyes. My one eye in particular. MY CREATIVE EYE.


Mood: Happy

~ Me :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Face In The Crowd: In My Garden

"I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that."

~Lauren Bacall

I can't believe I hadn't noticed it before, but there it was! A face! I have to admit that I hadn't even noticed it the other day when I took this picture to show the property management company a small amount of damage done by time. It wasn't until I uploaded the photos for editing that I spotted this nice little face looking back at me. The face seems tired methinks. Worn. Maybe a bit sleepy. But such is the life of a fence I suppose. They get animals crawling on them. Rain sometimes. Hot sun. Even the occasional basketball thrown against them. A fence works hard keeping property lines, well, within the lines. And what does the fence get for all it's hard work... well... I have a feeling this poor fence will be replaced soon, but now that I have seen it's face, I almost wish it could just keep on keeping on. Hey, it has an actual personality now, doesn't it seem a shame to just cast it off as if it never did it's job at all? Poor fence! :(

I told you I was overly sentimental. LOL.

Mood: Silly

Barenaked Ladies "If I Had A Million Dollars"


~Me :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cooking and Photography

Japanese Maple (Spring Deep Cinnamon Colored Leaves)

"Cinnamon bites about kisses simultaneously."

~Vanna Bonta


The garden is officially off and running toward harvest. That is a happy things. Just this past week I sprinkled cinnamon all around the yard, with taking special care to sprinkle it a bit heavier around each rose bush and each planter that has vegetables or potatoes growing in it. The yard smells wonderful, and it's nice to know that all those pesky aphids and ants will have NO place to stay while in my yard. I owe whoever discovered that cinnamon drives off garden pests a million thank yous! It is so lovely on warm nights to open the window and let the smell of lavender, and cinnamon, fill the room. As a lifelong insomniac I have always looked for natural ways to get a good night's sleep, and in my search on the Internet I found out that lavender is one of the best scents for relaxing and sleeping, and come to find out that not only is it true, but now I almost can't sleep without it!


Both cinnamon and lavender can be found in my kitchen as well. I have a small lavender plant that I purchased at an organic gardening center that I use for cooking. It is amazing when used in small amounts. Lavender Chicken is delicious, but so is lavender honey cupcakes! YUM. YUM. YUM. I have been wanting to try a recipe for lavender ice cream, and with summer just around the corner, doesn't that sound particularly good for dessert on a hot mid summer night? I been considering cooking with edible flowers, and lavender seemed like the perfect one to begin with. The plant itself is low maintenance and very nearly pest free. And the scent... Mmmmmm!

Cooking and photography go hand in hand as my two favorite creative outlets!

So tell me, do you enjoy photographing food? Have you done any organic gardening? Have you ever cooked with edible organic plants and flowers? If so, what did you make, and did it come out as good as you thought it would? What were the pluses and minuses?

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

50 Watts

"I travel light. But not at the same speed."

~Jarod Kintz, The Days Of Yay Are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.


Dim like a burned out light bulb, or dim like a 50 watt bulb?

The question was certainly a poser!

Wait, wait, wait... let me think. Dim like a 50 watt bulb, but you have to understand, if I were one of my really cool, really decorative and trendy purple lamps, well they are actually more of an eggplant color, I would require a 100 watt bulb to work properly. I could take a 50 watt bulb, but there wouldn't be the maximum output of light you would be used to. No. I would cast a much dimmer light. And the light wouldn't go as far into the room. You wouldn't want to read by me, but if you were needing to surf the Interwebs on your laptop computer machine, and you needed a little bit of light to see by, I would probably work out ok.

That's how the conversation went. I was describing what it feels like to experience a case of Fibro-Fog. In case you don't know what that is, it is what those who are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia feel like when they will go to say a word, and something completely different comes out. Like, for example, if I were having a conversation with a friend and they asked what the best utensil for flipping pancakes would be, most people would say a spatula, where I might say a ladle. Even when I am thinking about the word I want to say, and picturing a spatula in my head, somehow, and I have NO idea how, it will come out ladle. But hey, at least I thought of a word on that occasion, sometimes I will be thinking of a word, and again picturing the object in my head, and nothing will come out. No word. Can't do it. Can't think of the word! LOL.


Never dull.

Frustrating as HELL!

And yes, I even laugh at it sometimes! LOL. What else can you do? It is what it is. It's all good!

I am much more of a visual person anyway. I will just let my pictures tell the story, in any words the viewer chooses. I like it better that way I think. My photographs tell a much better story than I ever could!


Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

So. Monday. We Meet Again.

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."

~Pamela Vaull Starr


Mondays have gotten a bad rap methinks. Like black cats and broken mirrors. I have had long irritating Wednesdays, and Fridays that didn't live up to their promises, but Mondays have always been the best chance to reinvent the way I spend a day. Today we get up and its all new. New things to learn will be learned this week, and for the most part it begins today. Of course all things being relative, maybe this isn't Monday at all. From Alan's perspective, today is Friday because he works Thursday to Sunday 6:00 am to 2:00 pm, but his last shift of his work week is Sunday 10:00 pm to 6:00 am making this, in his world, Friday.

Some days of the week I have two of. Others only one. Maybe that's why some days seem months long, and some months years long but some moments, only seconds. All of it goes by so fast that sometimes my heart just pounds when I realize 20 years ago, wasn't 5 minutes ago. I think the powers that be were right in not allowing us to travel back in time. Can you imagine the mess we mortals would make?

Life. Time. Maple Trees. The Moon. Black Cats. Mirrors. New Beginnings. And Of Course...      


Mood: Hopeful

~Me :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Here Comes The Sun, And I Say Blorift

Common Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

"I was a little excited but mostly blorift. "Blorift" is an adjective I just made up that means 'Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.' I have been blorft every day for the past seven years."

~Tina Fey, Bossypants

If Only I Could Have Found My Blorift...

I read Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, and couldn't put it down. She is amazing! Truly, she is this generations Lucille Ball! Can you imagine if she and Lucy could have starred together? Wow, it would have been comedy GOLD! Recently, I saw her in her latest film, Admission. She impressed me yet again with her ability to entertain. This time, she took a bit of a break from her usual comedy escapades, to show a different side, her dramatic ability! She had me in tears at one point, but in a good way.

As I was mentioning in my post yesterday, movies give us a chance to shake off the stresses and distractions of everyday life, and when you can find a movie that is so good it actually makes you forget your cares for an hour or so then it's a not just a fun way to shake off the stress, but a smart one as well. Stress is a bad thing for the soul. I know of what I speak, because this past week was really stressful. For me it began last Sunday, when the current owner of the property I live on decided to help herself and walk right into my home. I have warned her before that under our contract that I am to have 24 hours notice, but there she was, once again, trespassing, and this time she brought friends!

People I have never even met!

As I said, this happened last Sunday afternoon, and the stress from that resulted in the headache from HELL! Then Monday came along, and well, we all know how the week played out from there. Compared to what some went through last week, my petty problems seem just that... PETTY. And in the grand scheme of things I suppose it doesn't compare, but that's just it, can you really compare problems with other folks, or can you just do the best you can do with the problems you own? Most of us are just doing what we can do to get by, for me that means explaining one more time that not only are my landlord's actions annoying... they are illegal! And remedying things by purchasing a decent little security system and installing it so it will be able to document the illegal entry.

I wish I didn't have to do that. I like the lady very much.

She doesn't want the fact to be true, that she can't walk into my home just because she owns it.

Stress happens... right? And with each new event, my headache seemed to pound harder. What can you do? I did what I could to get rid of it, but didn't have much luck. My usual coping mechanism, in lieu of a day at the movies, is watching General Hospital. It was preempted several times last week, so there went that! LOL. I get the news needed to report about the the terrible things that went on last week, but after a while the wall to wall coverage became downright horrifying and several times I found myself rethinking what leaving the house means. I hate that! I want to just live my life, but who knows what living in America is really about anymore. Things have changed so much from when I was a child. Sometimes it doesn't seem like America. Like it's something different, but I don't understand how to feel or think about it or who to trust.

Like I said. Stress. It was the word of the week! But like with everything, the stress did pass!

After the capture of the Boston bombing suspect Friday night, I went to bed happy and relieved for the people of Boston, and slept deeply for 7 straight hours, which seemed to be just what the doctor ordered! Of course it didn't hurt that Dylan cuddled into me, and Hendrix bit my toes all night, in that cute little way he does when he wants to play! And when I woke up yesterday morning, the sun looked a little prettier, and I actually felt like working in the garden! The headache had moved on, and my body was ready to play. Since there wasn't any movies I wanted to go see, I thought it would be good to finally get the Heirloom tomatoes planted, and start our newest project of growing Yukon Gold potatoes!


And if all that wasn't enough to put a smile on a stressed out girls face, look who fluttered by to say "HI"...


It was a sunny day! Don't you love sunny days and little blue butterflies?

"Here Comes The Sun"
The Beatles

Here Comes The Sun
Here Comes The Sun
And I Say It's All Right...

Mood: Happy

~Me :)