Dave's Journal, Jan2015

Hard to believe that I just typed "2015", but there it is. This morning, I am sniffling, watching the Rose Bowl parade and wondering what will happen between now and when ( if ? ) I type "Jan2016" up above.

The plan at the moment is


I get fussy about statistics when I hear them, and I am feeling that fussy-ness right now. This topic came up last night talking about vaccines.

Note: most of my readers here will be happier if they just skipped down to the next topic, because this gets kind of mathematically philosophical (which means that I barely understand it myself).

Here is the statistic: "Based on a sample of 1000 people, the shingles vaccine is known to be 50% effective in preventing shingles."

What does that mean to YOU, when you are thinking of getting a vaccine? Most people assume that the vaccine will reduce their probability of getting shingles by 50%. But ..... that is not correct. That 50% number is NOT a probability prediction for an individual. It's a statistic of a sample of people.

Let me explain.

Due to their own personal DNA make-up, every person reacts differently to a vaccine. For example the vaccine may have a very positive effect on one person and completely, 100% protect that person from getting sick. On the other hand, the vaccine may have no effect on the next person, because of their DNA or body chemistry. The sample average statistic is that the vaccine is 50% effective in preventing sickness. But the underlying truth is that the vaccine is 100% effective for some people and 0% effective for others.

So, the statistic really should say that the vaccine is 100% effective for 50% of the population and is 0% effective for the other 50%. It does NOT reduce everyone's probabilty of getting sick to 50%. It reduces 50% of the peoples' probability of getting sick to zero, while having no effect on the other 50% of the population.

Where do YOU fit into this? Are you one of the winners? or losers? ...... good questions.

Portlandia, rediscovered: it's not everyone's idea of humor, but it makes me laugh, it is so stupid and smart at the same time. Try this one: Police Interview.

The software update alert popped up on Dave's computer 2 weeks ago.... "New software is available for your computer, including important security fixes. Would you like to update now?"

Dave hesitated ..... measuring his faith in people, specifically computer software upgrade kind of people. He decided "no". Then .... changed his mind, and punched the "Update Now" button, and watched the little "% completed" bar scroll ever so slowly across the bottom of the screen.

At 100% completed, his computer automatically restarted and his new, large external, expensive 23" HP photo-editing monitor went black.

And it stayed black through numerous restarts.

Dave: You moron, I knew it. I told you.
Dave: It's not my fault, all I did was update the software.
Dave: You knew this would happen. When was the last time an update went correctly? huh?
Dave: Okay, let's cool down and try to fix it. Okay?
Dave: You have been, and always shall be a moron. Go ahead, try to fix it.

Dave began an internet search for "Ubuntu > update > external display > problem" and was delighted to get 50 pages of links to various discussions on exactly this topic. "I'm home", he thought. And started reading, reading, reading. Discussions like:

Bill: I need help, my external monitor went blank after my last software upgrade.

Expert #1: Have you checked theses other websites for an answer ______, ______, ______, ______.

Bill: No, I came here first because it was top on Google's hit list.

Expert #1: Google sucks.

Bill: Well, okay, maybe they suck, but can anyone here answer my questions?

Expert #1 never comes back to this discussion.

Bill: Is anyone here?

Expert #2: Did you check those other links Expert #1 posted?

Bill: Yes, but they were all discussions similar to this one, sending me from one discussion to the next, never answering my questions.

Expert #2 never comes back to this discussion.

And discussions like:

Bill: I need help, my external monitor went blank after my last software upgrade.

Expert #3: You need to deconstruct your kernel and extract and edit your #$@%&*&#/config/xml/deconfig.bsh file. Be sure that you log in as ROOT, and save backups before editing these.

The discussions went downhill from there. No one ever came up with an answer. A few people suggested workarounds, hacks and temporary patches. But the problem has beed around, Dave discovered, for 4 years. The reason no one has constructed a permanent fix is because these hackers around the globe find the . . . um "hacks" that patch up these bugs enough so people stop complaining or go out an buy new computers.

Dave gave up after 16 hours of "research", picked up the phone and dialed Mike, who (after an hour on Dave's computer) came up with a hack that Dave is now using as a workaround.

After editing some pictures, using Mike's fix, Dave typed in ...... "shutdown -h -y 1"..... and went upstairs. The network alert popped up on the screen behind him ..... "The system is going down for a halt in one minute. Log out NOW!"

Every now and then I return to this picture I made of John Sargent's famous painting, and put another spin on it. Here is my latest . . . .


Debbie out for a walk today .....


.... in the meantime, I stayed warm and cozy and wrote up a new page on how to get some special "Chiaroscuro"effects using the Gimp: More Special Effects

Elaine Hits 80 ! !

Deb's mom is now officially 80, and we ("them" and me) did a sleepover thing at Rick and Karen's.

"Pictures, or it didn't happen ! " ..... I know ..... here they are:
Elaine's 80th

Report from the Field (Mike's sub-zero hammocking excursion)

jpg Well, I survived.

It was only supposed to get down to 10f, but it got down to -5f (yes, minus five!).

My new winter clothes kept me warm during the day and my super insulated quilts kept me warm at night.

However....there's nothing (other than a house!!) can protect you during the transition from dressed to pjs and back again in the morning!

And while I was warm, the problem was the condesation that formed on my pillow, hat, tarp and the top of my blanket which because and icey cold mess right at my face!!

Well, I hope these pictures make you appreciate your nice warm homes that much more: Hammocking

jpg A quick trip to the vet tonight for Lexie. Acting sick all day - yep, she's sick. She'll be on medicine and strict diet for 2-3 weeks.

Same as raising kids, I tell you !!

A "Selfie" from Cousins MaryLu & Maria
(Down in Naples, FL)


(While up here it is 12oF this morning.)

In case you missed this one the first time around . . .

Turn down your speakers, put on those headphones and click this over to YouTube.


Nothing exciting up here (cold and drizzling outside). I revisited some pictures I took last summer at a car exhibit. Here's my interpretation of the classic T-bird . . .


Back in the olden days, when they made real motorcycles, this was one of them . . .


They're back online! ..... Chrissy & Mike have restarted their 'blog: The Happiness Report.

I love how they write up their travels. (Hint: click the 3 horizontal hashmarks at the upper right, to bring up the sidebar index.)

jpg Well, I am down in Alabama with Ramona, Nick & Bob. They cancelled my flights home, and even cancelled the flights that they booked me on after they cancelled my original flights. But I think that I am set to fly home on Thursday, although I have not received a confirmation about that yet.

From Mike's 'blog . . . . We are 24 hours away from the storm being touted as one that will shape up to be ranked in the top 10 storms of all storms.

Big storm just starting up there. Mike set up the gas and generator at our house. Deb has a guy lined up to plow the driveway throughout the storm. Theoretically, I can stop worrying about what's happening back home. Right?

Back home (Mike's house) .....


My car back home . . .


According the EarthCam in TimesSquare, this was the storm that wasn't. And, from today's New Yorker web page ....


Back home, our town got 32"-33". That's the most snow in one storm since we moved there 20 years ago !