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Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Perhaps you heard about the 'Noreaster that's been dumping foot upon foot of snow on a bit more than the 'Noreast.  As far south as Georgia, and as far inland as Tennessee, my Facebook page is a wall of white.  New York City and environs are effectively shut down except for entirely enclosed subway service.  Long Island has problems of its own:

(That may have been photoshopped;)

Meanwhile, here at the North Pole of New York, it's been cold, but I haven't seen a flake in two days. (Well, other than Sarah Palin.) After a number of dum-dum-DUNNNNN! threats of Northtown lake-effect storms last weekend, we got maybe a couple of inches, then a general snowfall added several more early in the week. It's plowed, and piled.

Yet we're missing out on more than the accumulation.  Despite not having the inconveniences, and the runs on bread shelves, and the occasional danger, winter around here hasn't been inherently fun even when it has snowed.  I don't see kids in the neighborhood running out to build forts, or make snow angels, or decorate cars with motivational smileys-

-or go running out into it in shorts, as a blogger friend of mine did, just because the Mets just unexpectedly re-signed their best offensive player-

Even in a winter where we haven't had to "get used to this," we still are used to this. We plod, we plow, we put it in the background.  And maybe we don't appreciate enough of the natural beauty, and natural power, of it all.  It shouldn't take a Storm of the Century to do that.

Maybe I'll feel differently after my next drive stuck behind a tanker truck flinging snow turds at my windshield for 30 miles. But for right now, it's my story and I'm sticking with it
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So. 5:30something this morning, feeding animals, trying to keep the dog from barging in where Emily was sleeping, no caffeine.

Twobor turns on. Asks for my PIN (this is a new-to-10 security Thing they tried to explain as being more secure than a password). Sits with an empty black screen for what seemed to be several minutes.

Then, Words. Looking like 10 when it said "Hi" about a week ago, saying on a grey-black screen, "We've installed updates to your PC."

Mmmkay. But then the screen turns blue on the back and this shows up:


Huh?!?  This is looking more like a spoofed ransom demand (and I'm not the only one who thought that).

Next, this:

Sounds more legit.  And after a few screens of scare, the desktop appears, with relatively few seeming changes.

Yet there were.  It tells me that the start menu now "occasionally" serves up adverts; I find the setting to stop that.  Twobor began asking for PINnage every time I wake him from Sleep; fixed THAT.  At least I didn't lose any actual programs, which, word is, 10 will do to you, along with it changing back some default privacy settings that everyone with a brain opted out of.

I know, First World Problems. And on a $600 computer I basically bought for 20 bucks. But you have to watch these guys like hawks, or they'll control every decision, add every add-on, and delete the Technologically Immoral without you even knowing.
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Word came today that Steven Moffat will be departing the TARDIS after Series 10 airs in the spring of 2017.  All we will have until more than a year from now is a Christmas episode.  After that series, Broadchurch showrunner Chris Chibnall will take over.

All signs point to Capaldi's continuation as the Twelfth Doctor in the role- although Moff did atone for some of his past sexism by commenting that Thirteen could, and likely would, be female.  It remains to be seen whether the new Companion will be cast by next Christmas.

I find it interesting that the BBC cited this year's season of sport as a reason for the year-plus delay in returning the Doctor to its airwaves:

Explaining the decision to hold Moffat’s last series until next year, BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore said: “I have decided to schedule Steven’s big finale series in Spring 2017 to bring the nation together for what will be a huge event on the channel.   2016 is spoilt with national moments including the Euros and Olympics and I want to hold something big back for 2017 - I promise it will be worth the wait!”

There was a similar explanation for the relatively long delay in ITV's returning Endeavour for its third series: that World Cup fever in 2014 left no time on its shedule for the current crop of four episodes.


In other British media news, we watched the Shaun the Sheep movie last night and tonight, and enjoyed a number of special features on the DVD about the animation, modelmaking and  other fiddlybits.  We'll send it home with Emily, because the she and Cameron are here tonight:  his half bro is in his middle school production of Lion King Junior, one of the bowdlerized Broadway scripts MTI cleans up and sends out to kids to put on. (They even offer a sanitized production called Avenue Q School Edition, if you can believe that, replacing "The Internet is for Porn" with "My Social Life Is Online." Gack.) I told the kids they'd really enjoy the opening number, "The Semicircle of Life."

Thanks. I'm here for half the week. Try the small portion of veal.
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I spent the largest quantity of today driving- from home to court in Niagara Falls; from there to Rochester; and from Rochester home.The middle stretch was the longest in time and danger, at least 30 miles of which were spent on a snowy two-lane Route 31 behind a gasoline tanker truck.

So I got to listen to a lot of radio. There was the good, including my introduction to this Mexican guitar duo doing a song you probably know-

- but also plenty. good and bad, about a breakthrough in machismo professional sports coming out of our own back yard.

The Bills announced yesterday that they were hiring the first-ever coach-level female for an NFL coaching staff- a former administrative assistant for the team's head coach, here last season and previously serving with him with the New York Jets, who will now serve as a quality control coach for special teams.

The Internet reaction was a mix. Most local reporters and air personalities reported it as a good thing, but there were plenty of comments echoing this dude, a Cleveland radio host who almost played in the NFL in the 70s, whose knuckles could be heard scraping the ground as he protesteth too much:

Kevin Kiley, a morning drive radio host on CBS Cleveland’s 92.3 The Fan, has a problem with women working in professional sports. Kiley made some very stupid comments about the NFL’s first female official in April, saying the job “calls for a lot of ‘man traits,'” and he got even worse Thursday following the Buffalo Bills’ hire of Kathryn Smith as the NFL’s first full-time female assistant coach. Kiley included “There’s no place for a woman in professional sports, in football, coaching men,” and many, many more Neanderthalic hot takes in his rant....

Kiley’s take on how this applies to Hall of Fame voting’s particularly funny, and hypocritical:

This is the old conversation we had about having a woman vote for the Hall of Fame in football. It’s absurd. I mean do you really want your determination, whether you make the Hall of Fame in football, do you want a woman to have a vote on that, who’s never played the game and doesn’t understand the intensity of the game?

Let’s examine just how good Kiley’s own football career was, shall we? From Wikipedia:

Kiley played college football at the University of Wyoming, was cut by the NFL’s New York Jets before the 1974 season without ever playing, and then played one season with the World Football League’s Chicago Fire.

But hey, he says his genitalia make him qualified to evaluate excellence! Because he’s a big, tough man who can physically “impose his will” on others!

When you stand next to a woman are you bigger and stronger? Do you have the ability to impose your will physically on most people? Women don’t have that.

Kiley goes on to say he doesn’t mind equality outside of football, though, which is the equivalent of “I’m not racist, I have many black friends.”

Football is about physical advantage. [Women] are at a loss when it comes to the reference points of football. This is not discrimination against women. I don’t care if a woman is President, that’d be great. I don’t care if a woman runs a corporation, that’d be great. But don’t set people up to fail. …She couldn’t possibly be qualified to the same level that a man could be qualified to do that.

My immediate thought was this: most obstetricians, and until a generation ago almost all of them, were male.  The incidence of live births emanating from the vaginas of male MDs has historically been consistent at zero (0%) percent. And yet somehow, there are virtually no reported cases of births being messed up because the male OB "couldn’t possibly be qualified to the same level."

There are plenty of trogolodytes in and around this zip code; more than one of them called in to the local sports talk show expressing similar sentiments about female football coaches (and soldiers, and firefighters, and police officers). Yet they all support a team which,not only has just hired the first female assistant coach, but was also the first to hire a female scout (admittedly, the former owner Ralph Wilson's daughter).  We are also one of only five out of the 32 teams in the league currently owned, wholly or in 50% part, by a female owner.

These are among the few facts about this team that really DO make me want to SHOUT!
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Twobor is Mostly Back to where his previous incarnation left off. I still have a mishmash of music to clean up, but things are otherwise syncing as they're supposed to, I've got my home and office printers communicating properly with him (even though HP accused me of using counterfeit cartridges today), and all my daily work documents seem to be where they should.  I even started on taxes and got Emily a 500-plus refund lickety-split....

partly because she's not our dependent anymore. Wibble.

The lickety-split was delayed a bit by an oddity in the middle of the day: my email disappeared for about an hour.  It wasn't an Outlook issue; I use a Time Warner mail portal on my officemate's computer so I can transfer scans from the copier to my laptop via the preset folder on her PC. My inbox on that site was empty; nor did the phone receive a single one.  Then, as quickly as the outage came, it left, and the hour's backlog trickled in over the next 30 minutes or so.

Maybe the Republicans diverted the "series of tubes" through the Flint, Michigan water supply or something.  I've got no clue.


We also have no idea why content providers are asshats.

Emily was really enjoying the Marvel Agent Carter series on ABC, and recommended it to Mom, who'd watched a few of them on the network site. Then, earlier this week, just as the second season began, they pulled the entire first season from their site.  But they were still on Hulu, as of last night, and Eleanor planned to begin catching up....

and, just as lickety-split, they were gone from there, as well.

Netflix doesn't have them. Redbox doesn't have the first season DVD. It's apparently an Amazon exclusive, which is weird because I've also read that Netflix is in major distribution deals with the Marvel-ous Mouse.  I can't make sense of why a studio, or network, would want to pull back its back catalog just as a new series is premiering, especially one with a complex arc that virtually requires you to begin at the beginning. And unlike so many comic-book franchises where the Origin Story is well known, this is one of the newer efforts (at least to me) that you could really use the help.  But then, Marvel has made one of the most villainous plots in its entire history out of whacking up its character rights among Disney, Sony and Fox, and rebooting entire entourages after sometimes only one major outing.

Not that long ago, music was restricted like this, and then along came Superjobs to make it so that everyone could listen when, where and on what device they wanted.  I can't imagine it will take a radioactive spider to have the same powerful effect on films and television projects.
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* The NHL came to its senses (or something resembling them) and decided to allow former Phoenix Coyote John Scott to captain the Pacific All-Star team after all.  I guess the blowback against this stooge move was too much for them.  Now let's work on getting the clutching and grabbing back out of the game.

* A couple of months ago here, we were beginning to pre-mourn our oldest cat, who seemed to be failing.  By year's end, he was markedly improved in terms of eating and even playing at times, but we were still having regular incontinence problems with him.  Lately, even that has improved quite a lot.  I'd largely resigned to not letting him room-in after feeding time due to the number of times he peed on the bed, but this morning, when I gave into his cuteness and let him stay, just as I was beginning to sense something from him toward that end, he jumped off the bed, used his catbox, and came back.  I know it's a small accomplishment in a big world, but for a kitty we absolutely adore, it's a very good sign.

* We have now finished watching A Little Chaos, the final Alan Rickman directorial effort. Eleanor had today off, and watched it again just to catch more of the historical versus fictional plus illustrative things in it.  I'd forgotten that I'd put it in our Netflix queue before finding a library copy late last week. When I deleted the unsent copy just now, the program responded, A Little Chaos has been removed. Oh, if it were that easy all of the time.

* We're also caught up with (if not somewhat ahead of;) the current Endeavour series. Episode 3 is full of homages- to other films, music and even the future storyline of Morse-Lewis. Only one remains, which is sad but much looked forward to.

* And the @#$% hot tub next door has finally been moved. In subfreezing snowy weather after two months of incredibly mild temps that would've been so much easier for the idiot(s).  Hear me weep for them.
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No, not that kind.

In its going-on-30 years on the calendar, MLK Day has finally achieved an ideal level of respect: recognised but not exploited.  We get a weekday paper on national holidays as part of our Sunday subscription, and this is probably the only one that isn't loaded down with a ton of holiday circulars.  Perhaps because of Alan Rickman's death last week, I speculated about Madison Avenue's possible ad campaigns for the holiday as he famously did:

I have a dream- of fabulous savings!

Free at last, free at last- with purchase of an item of equal or greater value!

Okay, you can stop flinging the tomatoes now.

Not that the occasion isn't without plenty of real tone-deafness.  Donald Trump chose to speak today at the university founded by Jerry Falwell- who supported segregation, deplored King and his movement, and even preached the day after Selma that the marchers were "left wing leaders" trying to stir up racial tension. But they're showing a short film commemorating King's life, so that makes it okay, I suppose.


I spent the day mostly home, shuttling to the office a couple of times in between the endless process of installing and reconfiguring Things on this laptop.  It's easy enough to install software- much harder to restore things like playlists, macros and other personal touches.  My music, almost entirely restored, is a higgeldy-piggledy mess of sub and sub-sub-subfolders from at least four different sources. This is an actual file location:

C:\Users\capta\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\iTunes\iTunes Media

before you get to a single artist, album or song.  And I can't sync any of it to the phone until it's all cleaned up because otherwise iTunes will erase everything I have there.


I left early, planning a stop at the cable company. We, and especially Eleanor, can frequently get massively slowed down when streaming shows; Doctor Emily was called, and she quickly pointed out that we only have Standard Internet service and speed.  So my thought is to upgrade that service while dropping a bunch of channels we rarely if ever watch.

Alas, Time Warner was closed for MLK Day.  So I instead passed the time doing something I normally only do on threat of waterboarding: I shopped for clothes.

I wear clothes into the ground; there are undershirts in active use that are likely older than any animal in this house.  I have two everyday pairs of jeans for evenings, weekends and the occasional no-court day like today.  One of them is a little dressier, but the blue jean pair is starting to not have places in places I need places.  And so, Tarjay- where a cleaner, better fitting pair, with belt to almost match, is now on me.

And I didn't even need a spectacular holiday sale to pull it off.
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I've spent most of this day in front of four different computers, shoveling round various pieces of software and data.  Biggest glitch so far has been music; the OneDrive cloud did the same thing with THAT as with my 10-year collection of .pdf files, and they're mostly missing.  Fortunately, much if not all of it is still resident on my iPhones old and new, and I've been reverse-engineering from them into iTunes.

In between, I've occasionally checked news (dull and stupid), weather (we finally got some snow when and about as much as they said we would), and even sport.  From a coin that didn't toss to an attempted miracle comeback in Carolina, I didn't see a second of it.  I did, however, see this story- and it sucks:P

Meet John Scott.

That's him in the Coyote uniform he was wearing a week or so ago, but about four teams before that, he was a Sabre.  His primary job description is "goon"- an honourable profession in the NHL, protecting lesser fighters from on-ice attacks.  Following Buffalo's breakup of Team Tank at the end of last season, he drifted round the league, as mercenaries will, but in the past few weeks he became the latest current or former Sabre to become an All-Star Voting Joke.

It started a few years ago, when Rory Fitzpatrick, another less-than-legend in blue and gold (or black or red or whatever horrid color matched whatever horrid goat or slug on the jersey), got ballot-stuffed onto the Western Conference All-Star team. Greatest Player Ever Wayne Gretzky, and human test pattern Don Cherry, protested and Rory got booted oof after the league allegedly rigged the results.

Then last year, with the Sabres happily diving to the depths, their second-year center  Zemgus Girgensons got stuffed all the way to fourth place in the overall All-Star balloting- behind only  Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby. (Those are hockey players, in case you work at ESPN and had never heard of them:P)  He is the only Latvian player in the league, their national team was dripping with leftover 2014 Olympic Fever, and the entire population of the country apparently broke the Internetski voting for him.  The league muckymucks could find nothing wrong, and Zemgus took his somewhat premature place on the ice with all these future Hall of Famers.

Which brings us to Scott.  It apparently came out of a Canadian podcast where the hoosts suggested him as a gag-gift kind of selection. But with Canadians having little else to do than take such orders, Scott rocketed to the top of the balloting, not only making it to the Game on the basis of fan voting, but gathering the highest total in his division and making him one of the event's four team captains.

(Yes, four. Apparently it's round-robin, or something having to do with the blue lines.)

The league's lords were pissed, as were purists; never mind that they've been drawing up schoolyard-selected captains' choice squads the past several years and will play these games 3-on-3 instead of the usual 5-on-5.  But fans were loving it; the presence of such a goofy guy among the sport's biggest luminaries was PERFECT.

Until it wasn't.

With the game rapidly approaching, Scott was traded from his Arizona haunts to Montreal- the staidest, most tradition-loving team in probably any sport.  Next, Les Habs demoted him to their AHL team, and have announced that he will be staying there.

No place on an NHL roster?

So he'll be on a bus somewhere near Utica while the real best of the best spend three off-days doing their best to not hit each other.  And as the original author above analyzed, it's an embarrassing attempt to undo an earlier embarrassment of their own creation:

Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who immediately stashed him in the AHL and said they weren't going to call him back up. He's ineligible for the All-Star Game now. And everything about it was so transparent.

    John Scott was previously asked by both NHL and Arizona Coyotes to bow out of NHL All-Star Game. He refused. Trade likely takes care of that
    — Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 15, 2016

Add that to the fact that the trade was announced on a late Friday afternoon (universally understood as the ideal time to dump bad breaking news) and it's not hard to connect the dots. The NHL wanted Scott out of the All-Star Game, and they got their wish.

Family uprooted, experiences and contractual benefits sacrificed days before Scott's wife gives birth just to ... what? Ensure the sanctity of the All-Star Game? Get higher-profile players in? Keep the league from being embarrassed?

Too late on that last one. This is embarrassing for everyone, really. Sure, the campaign turned from semi-malicious intent to something meaningful at some point. The end result was still the same: John Scott and his family paid real-life consequences for our Internet fun.

Those consequences are real for such a journeyman: a major contract bonus for making the team, and a shot at a million-dollar pot if he'd been on the winning team.

I will not watch this mockery of justice if John Scott is not named captain of his former division's skating threesome.  Of course, I wouldn't have watched the shitty thing anyway, but we don't have to tell them that;)

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Say Hi to Twobor:)

Earlier today, $300 gift card in hand, I headed over to the Office Not So Max location nearest our home to see what they had left. The clearance sale is down to its last week or so, and the pickings were starting to get limited:


Still, there was one Toshiba on the shelf that looked pretty similar to what I had, only with a bigger screen, preloaded 10, and the usual better/faster/bigger generational increases:


Unfortunately, it had no power. Plus, I wanted to check out alternatives- so I tried the two Office Hydra heads that are a quarter mile either side of my old office. The alternatives were either much more expensive or cheaper and not functional enough. And they had one of the models I'd identified as a Contendah to fiddle with- and, as advertised, for twice the price.

So, back to Soon-to-be-Office Min to seal the clearance deal.  It was even busier than it had been earlier, with vultures circling round most of the office supplies and even the fixtures. I took that "talker" to the service desk and asked, optimistically, if they still had one.  They did.  Another employee was dispatched to obtain it.

This is what Mergers and Acquisitions do. Long-standing spaces get picked like carcasses, and employees get overworked with threats of no severance if they don't give 110 percent until the very end.  And they did: every one of them I encountered was kind, and professional, in getting me my new Thing, costing me all of about 20 bucks out of pocket (plus another 100 or so for purchase protection on it, since that worked so well this time, plus a couple of shekels for one odd-lot office-supply item I happened to see).

So far, all I've done to set the new one up is let Microsoft say "Hi," connect to my OneDrive (such as it is:P), install my formerly preferred Firefox browser with all my history and managed stuff, and get iTunes running to be sure my music all came down from the Cloud (looks like it did:).  Tomorrow, all the work software and data will come on board, the Chrome browser will likely take over since I've found it overall better on the backup for the past almost-month. Then, I'll try to install all the remaining fiddlybits so things like printer and .pdf drivers will come home to Papa.  Once all that's done, I can get back to work Monday on what will be an officially closed and hopefully quiet day.


Between all that shopping and a 9 a.m. workout, I was pretty beat by the time Twobor came home. Eleanor had also been out for things and needed a nap by mid-afternoon, so we each took one.  I was awakened by what turned out to be another Accomplished Mission:

Neighbor Dude was laying down his new deck for his stupidass hot tub.

As readers of this page and Eleanor's know, these neighboring tenants have been making us crazy since late October with an outdoor playpen originally set mere feet from our (now largely abandoned) master bedroom window. Communications to him, his landlords and his lawyers got absolutely nowhere through early December, so Eleanor sicced the town on him, and he was given until Friday to comply with silly little code provisions about Not Electrocuting Yourself And Burning Down Your And Your Adjacent Homes.

We wondered when, or even if, anything would happen.  Wednesday, Eleanor and I visited with the code enforcement officer who seemed surprised that nothing had been done- other than some vague and preliminary talks about moving the deck and its potentially hazardous contents.  Yet this afternoon- weeks after the original citation with 30 days to comply and the temperature now back down into the 20F range- Dude was out there, laying down wooden pallets to support the supposed new deck next to their one and only existing external electrical outlet.

Could he have waited a day longer? We doubt it; due to the same "hopefully quiet day" holiday on Monday, the inspector wouldn't have gotten out there to write him up for noncompliance until Tuesday.  So he's pushed the envelope as far as it can be pushed.

But in spite of that, and in spite of his obvious contrary nature, he's in the process of doing the right thing.

Once, at least:P
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Good news at almost every turn today. Me: case settled (mostly), bills paid (essentially), next week filled up (sufficiently). Eleanor likewise reported goodness on her end.

We got about halfway through A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman's final directorial effort with also a brief acting turn (so far) as France's Louis XIV.Plenty of echoes close to home, as Kate Winslet plays a female contractor in a 17th century man's world. Makes you wonder if she ever had to run conduit under a sidewalk, or if Versailles had any asshole neighbors next door.

Tributes to Alan's acting continue to pour in. This one's from Kevin Smith:


My gift card to replace Tobor arrived in today's mail, so this will hopefully be the last regular entry from Groot.
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With the news of Natalie Cole, I wibbled.

With the news of David Bowie, I wanted to weep.

But with today's news of Alan Rickman, I let out a loud and angry "FUCK!"  As I'm sure he would have, faced with similar news.

Fascinating, the Venn Diagram of performance he made up. The Potterverse let out a massive cry of anguish over Snape's departure.  Action film fans mourned the loss of Hans Gruber from the Die Hard franchise; that was Rickman's first film role, at the age of 42. That number, in turn, brings us to his unseen but wondrously-heard role as Marvin in the HHGTG film.  Much as Stephen Moore, the original  voice of Metal Man, carried the needed sense of droll and despair, Rickman out-drolled him.

My favourite two-ish minutes of his film acting came here- in Dogma:

Blow Dry. Galaxy Quest. Truly Madly Deeply.
Love, love and love. (Love, Actually, not so much love, actually, but that's not his fault.)

He also directed two films, 17 years apart, the last with Kate Winslet and Stanley Tucci joining him in the cast of 2014's A Little Chaos. I suspect that will have a Fucking Long Wait by the time Netflix gets our current two back.

Tomorrow night, we shall raise our glasses to a life well lived and beautifully seen. And unlike Metatron, we will not have to spit out the wine.
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I kicked in on eight Powerball number sets with one of my offices last week. We didn't win a plugged nickel.  So of  course I'm back in on the even stupider-bigger chance tonight, and I expect absolutely nothing more than I "won" the last time.

Work's been busy.  A bunch of people have been calling about bankruptcies after seemingly putting them off until after the holidays.  I've filed two in the past week, have at least two more that are at least partly paid waiting to be finalized, and a backlog of first appointments beyond that.  Court has been quiet this week, but I then have at least six BK hearings already scheduled over the following three weeks.

Monday was a stressful 6½ hour stretch of depositions in a case that shouldn't take that long to try in its entirety.  The defendant is throwing ridiculously too much money at defending it, and they're leaving no stone, or in this case pop can, unturned. It's a property theft claim- items stolen from a car- and the defense lawyer was prepared, for the second time in this case's history, to go line by line through close to 150 separate receipts for the stolen items. He finally backed off and focused on the maybe half dozen they had an issue with, but that's when it got even stupider.

One of the receipts was from Tarjay- a 20-ish dollar clothing item, and a $1.29 can of Diet Coke.  Insurance Lawyer actually tried to get my client backed in to admitting fraud because she drank the pop at the register and forgot to take it off the claim.

No. She swore on a stack of Bibles she bought it and kept it as a gift. For her daughter. Because it was a "share a coke" can with the kid's name on it and it had been very hard to find one.


He's applying salve to his newly cut second ass right about now.  Maybe, with over three years' interest on the purchase plus tax and deposit, she can afford to buy a Powerball ticket with the price of that can.
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They're up there.

Lots of them.

And, like most things in the air, they're largely free.

In the current iteration of Windows, they're integrated into your daily computer use. In my Windows 8-then-10 File Manager, I'd see this thing right on the sidebar, above the CD drive, called OneDrive. It looked like it was just another piece of magnetic storage actually attached to the laptop. More than once, I saved things to it by accident, because they defaulted there for one reason or another.

OneDrive, presented by Microsoft, is not to be confused with Google Drive, which comes with Anything G you might have (mainly Gmail and Chrome for me). It, too, appears to act like a real piece of physical storage. Lest you Macaholics feel left out, there's also the iCloud, which I experience in my phone world.  Browsers get in on the act, too; Firefox, for one doesn't store files in a cloud, but it does sync your bookmarks, add-ons and such to any other computer where you're using the Big Mo.

But the big clouds- OneDrive and Google Drive- they're all up there, with gigs and gigs available to you for no cost, and to some extent they're competing. The storage space is a loss-leader- to get you in their Store, to make you dependent on their Siri, or Cortina, or whatever Google's virtual assistant is or will be called.

They're also about as useful as a tit on a boar.


In theory, you should be able to use these virtual gigs of available space for backup. Because actual physical hard drives fail- or, just as often, are fine but either get wiped during offsite repairs or simply never return to you. The former was Eleanor's situation last summer; the latter is mine, now. We both tried. She used an external drive which, it appeared, was syncing all her documents, pictures, music every time she plugged it in. It wasn't; and some of what it did save wound up encrypted and is as good as useless.

I had days, almost weeks, to prepare for Backup Time when Tobor began his flickering power spiral of death. Much of it, I saved to my own external drive, but I also put some large files into various clouds. In particular, I copied my entire ECF folder to OneDrive.

Wassat? Only every PDF petition, schedule, official form I've filed in every bankruptcy since October 2005. These .pdfs are not "the originals," nor do they contain full Socials or other really bad thefty information, but it's always been a very handy way of quickly retrieving any document from the past decade when a client or somebody needed one.

And it was backed up to OneDrive. I did it; I watched it. I saw how much space it took up.

Then, yesterday, I needed one of those documents. I can access OneDrive from any computer once I tell Bill'n'Steve who I am. It promptly displayed all my folders up there, including the ECF ones, including all the client subfolders from Aegis to Zuccato (possibly not their real names).

But here's the thing. Every time the specialty BK software uploads something to a court, it creates a new sub-subfolder for that session's documents, including the .pdfs, logs of the session, text files and such- and names it something unique- Filed{Complete} for the original petition filing for that client, then a time-stamped name, like FileX{2016-01-10@1507} for each subsequent set of filings in that case.

They're all there.

They're all empty.

Wanna see one?


Now this is through my apparently non-upgradeable Windows 7 machine, so I have to do it through the browser, but you can see that Anonymous, Inc. is there, with all of its filings.  But O, those 0s. Let's drill down:


Yup. Going, going, gone goodbye.

If you're going to create a utility to sync data to a cloud drive, why in the name of Sam Dell would you not sync the subfolders within subfolders?

I found this out early in the afternoon; I'd worked from home earlier, due to threats of OMGSNOWMAGEDDON finally hitting our part of town. (It snowed sideways for about 20 minutes, about an inch stuck, it was sunny by 2:30. I don't understand THOSE clouds, either:P)  When I made it to the office and discovered my booboo, I didn't know how much onsite redundant backup I'd done.

Turned out, a lot.  In October, maybe inspired by the discovery that Eleanor's "automatic" backup was neither, I'd copied that entire ECF folder to an external drive, including all those sub-subfolders.  So all I'm missing are cases I filed from mid-October until I started using this old 7 machine temporarily in mid-December (maybe two or three), and any later filings in any of those cases.  It will take me infinitely longer to try to recover those drabbles than to just order them from the court when and as needed.  Presumably, they do a better job of backing up the "OFFICIAL FILED" versions of those .pdfs on their servers.

So, in the end, a small but stressful lesson learned: don't count on big companies to keep you from big problems.
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Despite their sharing the planet for over 30 years, many of them separately but famously, I never realized until this past Friday that Elvis Presley and David Bowie shared the same January 8 birthday. Friday's World Cafe featured both singers prominently, with both their own recordings and some awesome covers- including a Ry Cooder rendering of "Little Sister," but also this one (from an album that we have) of "Rebel Rebel" as reimagined by Seu Jorge:

So it made the shock of today's announcement of Bowie's death yesterday all the more palpable. From the well-named strains of "Space Oddity" I first heard in 1969, to the mid-70s ch-ch-ch-chords of "Changes" (a song I remember being a hit on AM radio out of Buffalo but not where I lived at the time), Bowie transcended categories- musical and otherwise.

A generation later, he expanded his performance range in our eyes and hearts forever, starring in Jim Henson's Labyrinth. Although the film never broke box office records, I was touched and surprised by the number of friends, from their 20s to their 60s, who referenced their RIPs of him today as the Goblin King. We probably would've watched it tonight, except we both had stupid long days, wanted to finish a re-watch of Endeavour, and most importantly the kids, not surprisingly (and quite appropriately), likely have our copy of the film. That should be righted by tomorrow night if I get to the library soon enough....

Commencing countdown, engines on. Check ignition and may God's love be with you:)
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Eleanor (mostly) painted the (mostly) final part of the kitchen today.

The bottom fell out of the thermometer round mid-afternoon, as the snow we've avoided to this point finally began arriving. I took Ebony on a brief late afternoon walk; at least it stays light later now, but she still seemed rather interested in mostly heading home from the moment we set out.

Tomorrow brings depositions in One Of Those Cases.  I didn't get to buy a potted plant, but it looks like I will get to Rochester relatively snow-free by tomorrow morning. Whether it will pile up enough to keep me from getting home? Stay tuned.

The icon is on account of a local cinema's upcoming annual tribute to The Big Lebowski next weekend, which features a pre-show open bar (including White Russians), a screening of the film, and then bowling thereafter. I've never done it, but I'm wondering if I would really tie the alley together.

All four road teams won in the NFL playoffs this weekend, as did the Sabres. Something is clearly wrong here.

Good night and good luck.

ETA. Oh, look: The Bills' head coach just hired his brother. Who, apparently, is The Dude:

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We're about to sit down to the season premiere of Endeavour, the ITV prequel to the Inspector Morse series, so I'll just share a few snapshots of my life from the past not quite 48 hours.

I mentioned last night that I was out of town yesterday.  I didn't mention that it started with me driving into the general direction of this:


Eleanor was up and out the door not much later than me, and got a similar view.

This morning, I had a work appointment in the morning; nice new client, one that makes you happy to come in on a Saturday.  On the way, I passed a corner church with this  as their weekly inspirational sign:


Kinda creepy if you ask me, God.

Then I finished my morning travels by heading home via a nearby street that had a total-loss house fire a few months ago, which originated from an unattended gas grill on a wooden deck connected to the house.  We'd both noticed that the house had been torn down over the past month or so, but today I finally realized that the Fire Department, or some other wag, decided to leave a memorial to the bad behaviour.  This is how it looked round 10-something this morning:


They left the deck, and the grill, and the propane.  As effective as one of those horrid Driver's Ed movies we used to endure,  only without the screams.  And if anyone thinks Eleanor is a little sensitive about our idiot neighbor placing a propane fire pit and badly-insulated electrical connections to a hot tub that close to our house, let this picture offer the necessary 1,000 words of explanation as to why.
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I'll say this for the first five workdays of 2016: they've gone quickly.

I only had court appearances on two of them, but this Working Five Days A Week bullshit, compared to the holiday-shortened previous two weeks, has overwhelmed my senses and made each of these past workdays seem quite full.

Today was my first road trip of MMXVI, and no single thing broke the one-hour mark, but the cumulative effect of the day, and week, was intense.

Bunches of new and newish clients, all needing care and feeding.

One client generating close to a dozen Action Items by the time the last of them unexpectedly sailed in to my inbox at 4:45 this afternoon.

And yet another One Of Those Cases.

This one was a referral from an attorney no longer on our general good side, which I've shepherded since early 2013.  The first significant event in it was a pre-suit deposition of the client, at an insurance lawyer's office on the other side of Rochester, which occurred while a major snowstorm was brewing and eventually kept me from even getting home that night. In that hotly contested pretrial deposition, where my objections were being ignored, I quoted a line from the 80s Oliver North case and compared myself to a potted plant. Now, not quite three years later, that case resumes depositions on Monday now that we've actually sued it; I'm considering bringing a dieffenbachia with me just to remind them that I know (what they think is) my place.

Oh, and they're promising the first significant lake-effect snowstorm of the year in these parts for, of course, the night before and the day of the latest deposition.

Maybe I should bring Audrey II with me instead:P
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I was hoping the second time would be the charm.

State courts are open again after their holiday furlough, and today was my first time back again into the breach. It's been a nuisance, living without a reliable computer; I'm entirely reliant on my phone for calendar information. So I somehow got in my head that today's hearing in One Of Those Cases, the fourth since getting into it last year, was at 9:30, since all the previous three were.

When my phone didn't pop up a reminder, I got a bit concerned. On the inbound expressway. So I pulled off at the first exit, about halfway to downtown, and checked. Sure enough: this one was at 11. So I looped back and worked an hour or so before the real appearance at 11....

Which was about as time-consuming and generally useless as the previous three had been. Plus, this particular civil case is assigned to a judge that mainly does something called the Intergrated Domestic Violence Part, so the whole courtroom is something of an armed camp, with half the room wearing badges on lanyards and the other half staring each other down.

At least it went relatively quickly once we finally got called- and the next date's not until late February.



Don't know why I expected the day to go swimmingly, considering how it started in the dead of night.

I've been bingewatching The Thick of It, Peter Capaldi's previous extended BBC series (with the spot of Torchwood above in between). He's recognisable for the acerbic personality he often displays as Twelve, only with a much fouler mouth.  The show even had a curse consultant on staff to create some of the more creative uses of the F-, C- and chiefly-British-T-words.

These views have come on my tablet, at the gym;  a full episode with commercials usually is just about right for a good hour-or-so of elliptical time.  Once home, I typically plug it back in sometime before bed so it'll be fully charged for the next go.  Round last midnight, something random (a power surge, or of course possibly a roaming cat) roused the tablet during its charge, and I was rudely awakened by Peter and Chris Addision sharing a mouthload of F-bombs and other creative talk in a SAC Ministry loo.

New rule: shut off the app at the gym each time now.

This was followed by an hour or so of random insomnia, a really intense nightmare that Tazzer woke me from at about 5, and then having JUST enough time to clean up and get out in time for court at 9:30....

or whatever it was:P
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That's rather pushing it.

The inspiration for it is, it's the End of a Century:

One hundred years ago today, one-half of my DNA entered the biosphere, on the Y side of the equation.  It was not my better half.

Like me, my father was the third of three children (that we know of). Like me, he was christened Raymond- a name not much in favor in baby name books for most of my lifetime. Like me, he married, and supported a family.  That's as much as I'll admit to without a court order.

There's a run of much nicer birthday milestones coming around me in 2016. Four months and a few weeks from now, my sister will turn 70. Two months after that, Eleanor will cross the threescore threshold. And at the end of October, my mother's birth will inspire a far fonder centennial recollection.

But 100 years is nothing to ignore. So I didn't. I spent a small but meaningful part of my day dealing with a small but meaningful financial issue involving Emily and Cameron. When they needed me to react and respond, I did so- thinking primarily of them. Had I come to my father with such a request when I was 24, the answer would have been "no"- or the strings attached to a "yes" would've been just as no-like.

Those genes may or may not be recessive, but my nurture has taught me to reject them.

As for the musical connection: needless to say, the Ramones never sang for my father Raymond. But I did see them live, once- on a college-era New Year's Eve show at a Long Island beachfront club.  The Original Four were part of my late 70s/into the 80s soundtrack with the song above, "I Wanna Be Sedated," and other light classics.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted them in 2002; the last of the four shown above passed away about a year and a half ago.

And so, to my father, still providing Maggot Chow to a Suffolk County cemetery since 1986, I say simply: Gabba Gabba Heypy Birthday:-)

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I got on the phone first thing with the Product Protection Team.  (I can just picture them, spanning the globe and wrapping laptops in giant condoms;) This was to raise my one and only concern about how they were resolving my computer repair: giving me a gift card for its original 2014 purchase price plus tax= GOOD; taking "10-15 business days" to deliver same= BAD.

The automated system of course spent a good three minutes trying to get rid of me, referring me to the website and then taking me up a slippery phone tree of options, but I finally got The Guy.  He told me, repeatedly, that there was nothing he could do to expedite that time period.

Se habla call center. I know most of the tricks.  One of which is, don't piss off The Guy.  So I gently inquire as to whether one could arrange expedited shipping of the magic Thing at one's own cost. Erm, no.

Okayyyy... what kind of gift card is it? Because if it's a general-purpose Major Credit Card type, we could jigger our budget, charge the new computer with other funds, and just use the gift card up for other expenses once it arrived. Erm, no. It'll only be good at the Two-Headed Office Hydra.

This  looks like a job for.... SUPERvisor! Is there anyone else there I can speak to who can authorize something expedited? Erm, erm, same as the firsts.

Can you at least email me when you have a tracking number through whatever service you use (UPS, Fedex, USPS, carrier pigeon)? Erm, they're just sent regular mail. (Of course. They HAVE inherent tracking on it through the use of the card, which people presumably gobble the instant they receive it.)

That's when the Little Victory finally arrived. Turns out it already was sent regular mail. As in yesterday. From either Louisiana or Virginia. So the damn thing will likely get here by Saturday,when our local store will be just about ending its GO AWAY WE'RE CLOSED clearance.  Just KNOWING that makes things infinitely better.


In other news, it's cold. In Buffalo. In January.

This is more newsworthy than you might think.  For most of December, we were breaking record temperatures- HIGH temperatures. We ate outside in the greenhouse the night(s) before Christmas.  For days, the daily high temperatures in LA were lower than the daily low temperatures in New York.  We got no measurable snow until last week, and still haven't had enough at any one time to merit a visit from our snowplow service. Finally, though, El Niño decided to take a siesta, and we got some cold air around here.  Not brutal, but shocking by comparison.

And us, with no gloves.

Eleanor did what she does; she knitted mittens.  I was more determined, though, to find the very nice pair I'd managed to keep through two straight brutal winters.  Not on the shelf by the garage door; not above the coats in the front hall closet.  Last night, I had the A-Ha! moment, and cleared crap off the top of my dresser, thinking they might be underneath the slag heap.

Erm, no. (But the crap did get cleared, so there's that.)

Still, one A-Ha! can lead to another.  Also in that pile was my sweatshirt from the December 2013 Frozen Frontier outdoor Amerks game in Rochester, played in 12F temps with me crazily in attendance.  Know what other souvenir I bought, out of sheer necessity, at that game?

This toque:


Now that I knew what to look for, the front hall closet yielded the prize, for within said hat, there were said gloves.

Hail to the Victors, no matter how small:)

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