Monday, September 22, 2014

Dr. Who Series - 8. Part Two.

Perhaps it was the time of day. Or, perhaps the problem came about because it was a weekend. Whichever it was, I suspect the reason I was unable to watch any of series #8 of Dr Who had to do with the high amount of Internet traffic - either in England or in Philippines - that was causing havoc with the bandwidth available at the time.

Today, Monday AM in Philippines at eight o'clock, I attempted once again to access the programs. It was 1 AM in London. At any rate, I was able to watch episode 1.

There were a few buffering problems, but that's to be expected. I was watching the program in Standard Definition and I did not experience the sound problems of yesterday.

Everything was going well until about 5 minutes before episode 1 was to end. Then, brown out.

For about an hour, we had no electricity in Sibulan.

When the power finally returned, I was able to reconnect with the BBC website and finish the first episode. It was on to episodes 2 and 3. Other than buffering glitches occasionally, I was able to see the first three episodes today.

There are only 2 more episodes from series 8 currently available on the BBC website. Episode 6 from the series will be aired on Sept. 27th. I don't know when it will be made available for viewing on the website.

According to wikipedia, there will four episodes released in October and two in November.

Just to let you all know, there will be no spoilers coming from me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dr. Who - Series 8.

As mentioned in Friday's post,thanks to my being connected to a VPN, I was able to connect to the BBC website to watch live coverage of the results of the recent Scottish referendum. Afterward, I searched the site for recent Dr. Who episodes.

I found five episodes from series 8 available for viewing. I watched just for a minute or two but decided to catch up on series 7 on Netflix first.

While in the U.S., I had seen all of the first six series available on Netflix at the time. Series seven had not be available. That series can be viewed on Netflix now, so I connected to the VPN server in Seattle and watched the entire 16 episodes in 2 1/2 days.

I was ready for series 8.

I had no trouble going to the BBC website, but there now seems to be a problem loading the series. I suppose it's a bandwidth problem. HD is out of the question. Standard Definition loads - albeit slowly- but I cannot hear the program in SD.

I've tried several times this morning with no luck.

The first episode of series 8 won't be available forever. I'll just keep trying. I suppose I wouldn't be so stubborn had I not been able to watch the BBC program on Scotland so easily.

If I'm never able to watch series 8 on the BBC website, I know that one day I will be able to watch it on Neflix.

How long will that be? I don't know. Sooner or later, the BBC will sell the rights to Neflix. Why they haven't done so already is anyone's guess.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Vote in Scotland.

Thanks to my PC being connected to a VPN, I can access the BBC website without fear of being geoblocked. As I write this,it's 4:45AM in London and the top story is the vote in Scotland concerning whether or not Scotland leaves the U.K.. The results are not yet complete, but right now, the "no" vote is ahead; "yes" being a vote to leave the U.K., with "no" being a vote against Scottish independence.

As they say where I'm from,I don't have a dog in this hunt. What happens in the U.K. affects me not one bit. I have no idea which result would be better for the Scots. It makes no difference to me.

That being said, I am glued to my PC, awaiting results.

The only such vote which might affect me would be a vote for particular States in the U.S. to leave the Union, but that issue was settled over one hundred years ago. Scotland may be allowed to vote on whether or not to stay in the U.K., but the folks in Georgia, or New York, or California, don't have that option in regards to leaving the United States.

It's 5:17AM in London, and the BBC is declaring a victory for the "no" votes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been having on-again, off-again problems with my keyboard. Right now, it seems to be working fine, although I don't know how long that will last. For all I know, it could start malfunctioning again while I'm typing this.

As it's doing alright now, I'll make hay while the sun shines, if you will, and write something today to be posted Thursday.

I've even written a post on Dumaguete website blog.

I have plenty of time of my hands and there's no excuse not to keep my blogs and website up to date.

In the past, I made a point of using this blog as a place to post my political opinions. I haven't done that in quite a long time and I don't see myself going back to that any time soon. There will be no editorials on ISIL or ISIS - or whatever the popular name is today. It's an incredibly horrible situation, but I have no desire to comment of Obama's actions or lack of action, which ever the case may be.

But, then again, who can say? I may renege on what I've just written and post something concerning BHO very soon. Unfortunately, this particular blog has been a bit too free wheeling. There has never been a consistent theme - the subject matter has jumped from pillar to post.

In the past, I've thought of breaking up this blog into a number of more narrowly focused blogs. That was the case with my now defunct D'offus of the Big-Doofus and the practically defunct Immigration Reformation. But, as I've said, I have plenty of time on my hands.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Keyboard Update.

I can't figure it out.

As recorded in this blog recently, I was having a bit of a problem with the keyboard of my desktop pc. Whenever I typed an r it would come out as rt; same with t. U became uy and y did the same.

Believing the problem stemmed from the keyboard being really dirty, I did a super-cleaning on it Sunday afternoon. That didn't help. Letters were still coming out caddywhompus.

On Tuesday,just as I had resigned myself to the fact that the keyboard was "unfixable", it started working properly again. No explanation. Letters were coming out exactly as they should.

I was unable to explain how it had happened; I was just going to accept it.

Of course, one can guess what happened next.The following day, the letters were all wrong again.

OK, here's an update:

It's Wednesday AM here in Philippines. An hour ago, the keyboard was not working properly. I had to send a few messages and r was coming out rt. The letter i was still i]. I could fix all that for the emails by using my backspace key. Now, an hour later, as I write this blog post, the keyboard is working perfectly. I am writing this on Wordpad and everything is fine and dandy.

How long will this last?
Who knows?

I haven't priced new keyboards here; I'm not at all sure what one will cost. If it continues to act up, I'll have no choice but to replace it. Right now, I put off writing more often due to a lack of privacy. That won't be the case when we find a new apartment. When the time comes, I don't want a malfunctioning keyboard holding me back.

For the time being, I'll continue to spend my time reading. I believe a writer needs to open up to better writers.

There comes a time, however, when the rubber needs to meet the road.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Books.

Looking for something to read, I downloaded a copy of Mark Twain's  The Innocents Abroad  for the Kindle app on my Android.

The wikipedia article on the book says it was the best-selling of Twain's works during his lifetime.

I don't know why.

I've read nearly half the book, and I can see that it's going to be difficult finishing it. I'll try. I don't want to leave it unfinished, but I find the book a great disappointment. The humorous and witty sections aren't and Twain comes across as simply snotty in the unfunny parts.

I'm aware that America was the home of a good deal of anti-Catholic bigotry during Twain's time, but I was shocked by the amount of vitriol coming from Twain regarding the Catholic Church. My opinion of him has dropped considerably.

Another difficulty in finishing The Innocents Abroad  is that I am also reading another novel on J.P.'s Kindle - Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage . I had read the book thirty odd years ago and became interested in reading again after watching the 1934 film adaptation (with Leslie Howard & Bette Davis) on Netflix. It's a given that films can be very different from the novels on which they're based, but I couldn't recall anything of what I'd read so long ago while watching the movie.

After downloading the book,and reading it, I'm tempted to believe that my memory of having read this book to be a false memory. None of the events in the book are recognizable to me.

In addition to Of Human Bondage , I've downloaded three other novels by Maugham as well as works by two authors mentioned by Maugham - Henry Murger and William Morris.

I'm enjoying Maugham's book more than Twain's and I will probably finish reading it first. I'm not quite sure what I'll start on next, but I feel like I should wait until I'm finished with The Innocents Abroad before starting on something new.

There are so many novels available for Kindle that are in the public domain, it's difficult choosing what to read next. I wish the Internet had been around when I was younger.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cantaloupe Update: Number Three - The Final Episode.

The cantaloupe plants are no more.

Ten days ago, my cantaloupe seedlings were doing fine. All the seeds had sprouted and the seedlings were coming along so well that the plants on the two mounds needed to be thinned out. I removed four seedlings from each mound, leaving an equal number in place.

No sooner has I culled the plants, when half were killed by some sort of insect. My brother-in-law didn't appear the least bit interested in the plants I had for him, so I could have put those seedlings back from where they came; I want to leave this house at the end of this month, so I didn't see much point in that.

Last night, the rain wiped out the remaining cantaloupe plants. So much for my little garden plot.

As an aside, I super-cleaned my computer keyboard but that didn't solve the problem I'm having with it. Looks like I'll be replacing it later in the week.

When it rains,it pours.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Keyuboartd P[rtoblems.

Last night, while watching Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan  on Netflix, I went to Google to search the quote from  A Tale of Two Cities   Kirk uses in the film.

Typing the quote into the search, I discovered a problem with the keyboard of my PC. Certain letters weren't coming out properly. For instance, when I typed the letter r, it would show up as rt. The letter i was now i] and u was uy.

"Tis a far, far, better thing" came out, "tri]s a fart,fart berttrert rthi]ng".

Perhaps the keyboard only needed a good cleaning.

Not having any canned air on hand, I did the best I could with cotton swabs. It helped with the letter t but a few letters still weren't working properly.

I'll try to find a can of air this week and if that doesn't help, I'll need to replace the keyboard.

I'm using the keyboard now; I can use the backspace key to correct the errors, but it's a pain, to say the least.

Long story short; there won't be a Saturday Cantaloupe Update this week. Maybe Sunday. No promises, however.

Until next time - or should I say?- UYntri]ll nextr tri]me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Barbershop's Tarantula.

Back in the early 1960's, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, I was a teenager and my dad was in his early 40's. For reasons I could not comprehend at the time, my dad wore his hair very short in a style we called a crew cut. Those were the days when I was longing to grow my hair like the Fab Four, and I just couldn't understand why he would intentionally have his hair cut that short.

Years later, when I began to lose my hair, I began to see why he had his hair cut the way he did. Nothing looks sillier than a balding man trying to wear his remaining hair long. Not even Benjamin Franklin could pull it off.

For several years, I've worn my hair as short as you can possibly wear it without actually shaving my head.The barbers use a "zero" setting on their clippers for me.In the U.S., my wife would cut my hair, until the blades on the clippers wore out and we couldn't find replacements. I didn't want to purchase new clippers because I knew they wouldn't work in Philippines without my buying another adapter. Also, haircuts are cheap enough here, so buying clippers isn't worth the time or money.

When I arrived, it was just a matter of finding a barber. The first one I went to was near Super Lee's on Perdices St. The shop was a bit upscale, with the man cutting hair for both men and women. He did an adequate job; I mean, cutting my hair isn't rocket science. The cost, without tip was 100 Piso. As I recall, I may have tipped him twenty.

120 piso isn't a lot of money. At today's exchange rate, it's about $2.86. Most guys, I suppose, would be satisfied paying less than $3 for a haircut; I was too, until I learned that my father-in-law was paying 40 pisos each to have his grandsons' hair cut. The barber was doing a good job on the boys, and I could no longer see paying 100 or 120 for something I might get for 40.

Yesterday after Mass, my wife and I, along with our son and my wife's youngest sister, went into Dumaguete for lunch and a bit of shopping. My son and I both needed a haircut and my wife wanted us to go down to the hair salon that we have gone before. I told her that I had seen a barber shop nearby on our last trip into town where the haircuts were only 40 PHP. I couldn't remember the exact location but it was not difficult to find.

Not only does this particular barbershop have cheap haircuts, but they also sell new and second hand digital cameras. I don't really see the connection, but you know, anything for a Buck.

On a table in the waiting area, there sits a small, glass aquarium, holding -not fish- but a tarantula. It's difficult to judge the size from the photo I've posted here, but I'd estimate that the body -not counting the legs - to be about 2 or 2 1/2 inches long.

I didn't see a price on the cage, so it may not be for sale. Perhaps, it's simply the shop's pet.

I didn't ask.

There are two barbers working in the shop; one cut my hair, the other one cut J.P.'s. My wife, my son and I were pleased with the new haircuts. I'll be back when I'm in need of another. Rather than paying 80 for the the two haircuts, I gave 100. That's a 10 piso tip for each barber. Not much, but both were happy.

Maybe next time, I'll ask about the tarantula.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cantaloupe Update: Number Two.

As promised in last Saturday's post, I'm uploading a new photo, showing the progress of my cantaloupe seedlings.

Thanks to an abundance of rain this past week, not only have the seedlings grown in size, but the total number of seeds that have sprouted has increased to sixteen. This is the total number of cantaloupe seeds planted in the two mounds.

Of course, not only have the rains been beneficial to my cantaloupes, but grass has come up in parts of my little garden plot. So, I was out this morning pulling weeds.

Sad to say, I may be wasting my time keeping the plot free from weeds. We've made a decision to leave this house and take an apartment the first week of October. We will be gone before the plants bear fruit, but rather than abandon the plot now, I'll continue to weed the garden until the move is final. If my wife's father wishes to maintain it, well and good. If not, then that's fine too.

The seedlings will need to be thinned out soon. I told my brother-in-law that he is welcome to a few if he wishes.