The organization of the blog is seriously lacking these days. Aside from throwing up random posts (usually uncategorized and untagged), I haven’t put any effort into it. I finally had a burst of inspiration and updated the look of it at least. I hadn’t realized how much I missed playing around in code and using my efficient keyboard commands in vi that become like second nature after years of using it! (that last part is pretty much just for you to understand Cliff and Brian). Anyway, I hacked up a lovely WordPress theme called “spectrum”, and this is what I’ve got so far. Considering I don’t even really know HTML or PHP, I think I hacked it well.
As I was playing around, I looked through all of my favorite digital photos for possible header images. There were a lot of great ones. Many amazing sunsets, camping photos and gatherings of friends. Plus, I found a pile of photos of me doing Yoga poses so I could appreciate my former body In the end, I settled on the same photo because it captures something about the feel of this blog that I like. I’m not even sure I can put it into words, but it just fits.
Matthias finally got his new baby on Friday – the new iphone. Which means that I inherited his 3G. Admittedly, I have been too excited about my new toy yet because of some kind of stomach bug that his us all on Friday night. I’ve mostly been sleeping and complaining. Clair has taken the opportunity to drag everything out of every drawer in our apartment since we have been too wiped out to put it back or correct her. Matthias has been having fun configuring everything and playing (between the pains from the stomach bug).
One of the things the new iphone does is make HD movies that you can upload directly on UTube, but if you upload from the iphone, the quality degrades quite a lot. A sample of a mixed version of his first videos is below, uploaded directly from the iphone. The original video is much higher quality. Of course, the video is mostly of Clair doing cute things. The last clip was taken from the front-facing camera, so you see Clair enjoying looking at her own image.
We eventually left the apartment this morning to walk across the street to the pool. It was worth is even though we only stayed about 2 hours. Hopefully, by tomorrow, we can all eat normal food again and have the strength to stop the toddler from creating chaos.
I have been having a problem with my computer for months now. The fan in my Sony laptop has been so loud it has been driving me crazy! I had taken it to a repair guy in town a few months ago, and he basically said he wouldn’t replace the fan for me. I thought it was strange of a repair guy to refuse to repair a computer, but tonight, I learned why. It just wasn’t worth his time. Wise man. I, however, am not a wise man.
After finding a couple of nice pictorial descriptions of taking apart a Sony Vaio, I got the courage to do it myself. The part arrived this afternoon, and I spent about three hours tonight doing what felt like open heart surgery. Luckily, one of the Star Trek movies was on TV tonight, so I had something stupid to distract me when I needed a break.
So, what I learned was that in order to get into the fan, you have to remove EVERYTHING from the laptop. It is on the back side of the motherboard! If the back panel of the stupid laptop were removable, you could simply pop it out, but NO, not with a Sony. So, I had to dig down to the fan from the top. I had to remove the hard drive, the optical drive, and the LCD on my way down, and I have to say that I didn’t quite get that last bit back straight. I may have to adjust it again, but I am tired now. Aside from that, I seemed to have put all of the pieces back together properly. It was fun. It’s kind of like putting together a big puzzle, and since I don’t own a crappy old car that I can experiment on, this was a nice project. You can imagine how happy I was when the laptop turned on after I put it back together.
The sound of silence obtained by the endeavor is priceless! A silent computer once again!
My assistant Matthias took a few photos to document:
Toys for us, not Clair, that is. Matthias just downloaded a new Application for his iphone that turns the camera into an makeshift video camera. The quality is not great, but it is perfect for blogging. Check it out (Clair is playing in the pool of balls at Ikea):
For the past few weeks, I kept seeing Segways whizzing by here and there in the old town. It is kind of a funny site to see in a medieval city. I always wanted to try to ride one, so I figured I would use my parent’s visit as an excuse to do one of the tours a company offers in Regensburg.
In the end, only Matthias and I ended up doing the tour. Dad wimped out because of some shoulder problems he was worried about irritating, and mom was happy to play with Clair while we were buzzing around.
We decided to do the ‘fun tour’ package because it was the cheapest, and it was only an hour long ride. The other option was the ‘city tour’, which was a 2 hour tour of the old city. We basically just wanted to ride around on Segways and couldn’t be bothered to stand around staring at old building when we really wanted to just goof around.
It ended up being a good choice. The fun tour goes from the shop on Gutenbergplatz up to the University Kilnik. The whole point of the the ‘tour’ was just to try riding the thing on different types of terrain and in different situations. It was a blast!
There is an introductory bit where you have to watch a video, and then the guys shows you how to get on and off of it (that last part is a little tricky). Then, filled with anticipation, you get to go out and try it out. They boarded us one at a time, and if you have a husband like mine, you may find yourself volunteered to go first. It was actually really easy to get on and control. I’m still not sure how the former US president managed to get himself thrown from a Segway. It was very intuitive to drive, but I found that I needed to remind myself to stay relaxed. If I got tense, it didn’t feel as comfortable.
Once all of us had a chance to practice in the platz, they took us through a few alleys in ‘turtle’ mood. Once we seemed capable of not killing ourselves, the guide showed us how to put it into the normal mood and we headed up to the University area of town to tool around. The Segways are some kind of registered vehicle here because they have license plates, and the rules of the road we followed were the same as rules for a bike. The hill up to the University was a heck of a lot easier to do on a Segway than on a bike!
I totally recommend checking it out if you are in Regensburg (or have guests). It was a fun way to spend a bit of time. I think doing the city tour could be fun too now that I had fun just goofing off with the Segway. They do private tours, and our guide said that they can ‘in theory’ do tours in English too. If some of the locals end up doing it, let me know. I want to come and watch you get on it for the first time. It’s funny to see people’s reactions.
Our trusty tour operator telling me how to get started.
As you can see from Matthias’ face, it kind of feels like you are going to fall off when you first get on.
We both figured it out soon though, and waited around to start the tour. As you can hear from this video, Clair was watching.
On Tuesday, just before the doctor’s appointment where we found out that there was a good chance that I might get induced over the weekend, my work computer kicked me off, and it wouldn’t let me log back in. I sent out an SOS to my coworkers for when they got in the office, and after some IT intervention and several reboots, it worked again. However, I had decided by that point to stop working then in order to give myself a few days to prepare in case the induction happened. It was as if my work computer was telling me that I have had enough time using it and should go away.
Yesterday, after a restless night due to some stronger pre-labor contraction, I was up at 3:30 AM. For the first time in out four years with this DSL setup, the internet wasn’t working! Since I wasn’t farting around on the internet, I did get to tune into the DNC live on CNN in time to see Joe Biden accept his nomination. I also had the chance to do a bit of yoga and just do nothing, which usually doesn’t happen when there is a computer around. Once the sun came up, I went out an enjoyed the day. It was as if the computer was telling me to get out of the house! Aside from a couple of long naps, I obeyed.
Anyway, aside from getting messages from the divine through the internet, I had a followup doctor’s appointment yesterday, and she said that things looked better than they did on Tuesday. She didn’t thinks we can let nature take its course and let the baby decide when she is coming out. She was sending out some ‘I’m ready’ signals yesterday, but she seems to have relaxed a bit today.
I have definitely taken up the pregnant waddle, which is not so much a choice as a necessity. Sarah seems to be the only one who can slow herself down enough to stay at my slow waddling pace, so we spent a lot of time walking in the past couple of days. They say it is good to walk a lot at this point in the pregnancy, and just by virtue of living in Regensburg and wanting to get out of the house, I get plenty of walking in. I also did a long yoga practice yesterday with a paparazzo nearby (Cliff, Actually). He kindly offered to do some early morning yoga photos for me with his fancy camera. I am really excited to see what came out of the shoot, but I can’t access his computer at the moment to see the previews (the computer gods speak again). Either Cliff or I will post a few good ones soon. I have no idea what I look like in a yoga postures these days, but I suspect it is a lot different than I remember.
So, Matthias has had quite a good time lately. On Friday, he got the new iphone, which he has been talking about for the last year! (actually longer, if you consider how he talked about the original iphone).
He only got it because of pure luck yesterday when it came on the market. He went to three stores, and all of them were sold out, and could only offer a wait list. He went to the Donau Einkaufzentrum to the big T-Mobil store there, and it was a madhouse. He asked if they had one, and there was one 8GB one left (Matthias wanted a 16GB one), so he offered to go on the wait list. The thing is, the people at the store couldnâ€™t find the list! There was one 16GB i-phone left, and the lady said â€œLet me call the guy who this is reserved for and see if he still wants it.â€ She called, and the guy already had one. After unsuccessfully finding the wait list, she asked her boss if she could just sell it to Matthias! So, he got it by pure luck! Things have been kind of difficult lately (it seems like every step forward requires such a larger investment of time and energy), and it was nice to see something just fall into his lap. I told him that maybe Clair is bringing a balance to the Universe for him these days and things will get easier â€“ maybe she has some good Karma already. Letâ€™s hope it spills over into our next apartment search!
Anyway, Matthias has been playing with it almost non-stop since then. It is actually quite hard to have a conversation with him as a result. He is so overstimulated that he can’t focus for more than 5 seconds on anything not related to the phone.
Last night was the one time he took a bit of a break from his phone to watch boxing and enjoy his new chair. Note the beer, the iphone, and the bathrobe (after a nice long bath) – he was having a god time. He didn’t actually put the iphone down to watch the game, but he did pay attention to the game a few times.
This morning, he did his yoga DVD (from his iphone), and now he is in the kitchen enjoying a big American style breakfast (Bisquik pancakes, bacon and eggs), so I think this has turned out to be one of his best weekends in a while – it takes so little for us sometimes. We just ran out of Bisquik though. I wish they sold that stuff over here. Importing it is such a pain, but we love the pancakes.
The mysterious man behind the Listerine is my new hero. That’s just Cliff, for course, but he is my hero this week because he saved my sanity.
You see, there is a construction site across the street from my apartment/home office (just in front of the train tracks). Starting around 6:45 most mornings the noise starts – and lit lasts all day. Apparently, it has been slowly driving me insane! I snapped on Monday. Trying to concentrate while blocking out the noise, which I have done pretty well until now, was taking it’s toll.
I sent out a call for help on Monday when I remember Cliff talking (or blogging, I forget which) about his noise canceling headphones that made the last flight back from the US much less painful. Cliff said I could test out his to see if they help. Sarah passed them on to me Tuesday morning, and OH MY GOD! It was like my brain came back! I hadn’t realized how much energy I was expending just filtering noise!
The headphone (Jabra C 820s) don’t block out all of the noise, but what I noticed is that when I take them off, there is this constant hum going on outside of my apartment from the equipment. I have been putting the headphones on and playing a nature track I have on a loop. It is the sound of Coqui frogs from Puerto Rico chirping in the background. When I put on the headphones, I disappear into the rain forest with the little frogs – my version of the rain forest is a lot quieter than the actual version in Puerto Rico that kept me up all night while visiting Arecibo.
Anyway, I am feeling much more relaxed sitting at my desk now. I think the vibrations were slowly destroying my brain……
So, my laptop has had a little problem lately, ok, more than one. First, I am receiving complaints from other Sype users (AKA Matthias and Mom and Dad) that my computer is too slow to run well with Skype video. That, and it, literally takes 5 minutes to boot up and download my e-mails, and once in a while, she just screams ‘too much information’ and shuts off. I have been patient with her though, and she does a great job at organizing my brain otherwise.
The bigger problem for me was that the monitor was loose. It’s been loose for a while, and it’s not a big pain, but it needed to be fixed. Being the super-genius I am, I decided that I can fix it. (note to self – don’t try to fix your own laptop). So anyway, I ‘fixed’ it. Now, the monitor has two stable positions – all the way open and all the way closed!
Life is trying to tell me that it’s time for a new laptop. I went to Dell and compiled a few configurations. I am going for the least heavy power machine I can find; the laptops are such bricks these days. I have gotten down to under 5 lbs, and I think that is as lite as I am going to get. Any input from the peanut gallery on things to consider when purchasing a new brain would be appreciated – that means YOU, my geeky friends.