Dave's Journal, Nov2013

Plymouth Rocks

A few days ago we took a trip to see Judy and Peter in Plymouth, MA - the Plymouth of Mayflower fame, and Rock fame and Pilgrims and such.

Beautiful day. Here are some pictures:


Chardonnay (Australian)

jpg Picked up a box of Chardonnay grape crushings to start my next batch. White wine happens a lot faster than the 1 - 3 years that red wine takes to get ready. Will kickstart this batch after we get back from Alabama.

"Clean, crisp and rich in varietal character, fruit flavours abound. It's golden-hued and slightly tart while flavours of vanilla, cloves and butterscotch tantalize the palate."

Old Friends

We haven't connected with Jim and Audree, two of our very best friends for over a year. I've known them for 25 years, and worked with Jim at GE, and he helped out when I was teaching at Wentworth. I was expecting that he would replace me at Wentworth but they went and shut down the department.

Anyway, Deb had me convinced that I pissed them off last year (skip the details) and I was sure she was right. Actually lost some sleep over it.

Found out today that all is well, they missed us as much as we missed them, they were never pissed off, just busy busy you know how that goes.

As I don't have many friends, this is good news. Dinner with them is now in the planning stage (he is off to Poland for GE business at the moment).

Stolen Comics

Shamelessly stolen from the New Yorker : NYCOMICS

The Healthcare Rollout

Few years back, I predicted that it would take a decade (10 years !) to get the healthcare bill debugged and up and running somewhat smoothly, if everyone in the government nurtured it's development (what a joke, huh!).

I predict that it will NEVER get running well if they all keep pissing on each others' shoes in Washington. They don't care - they have health care and pensions for the rest of their lives, plus most of them are multi-millionaires to start with ! To our federal officials these Bills are nothing more that political footballs they kick around the field to get us to cheer for (and vote for) their teams (the R's or the D's). These Bills mean nothing to the people running this country, just a chance to kick the ball one direction and get half the country to cheer, until the other guys kick it the other direction and the other half of the country cheers. What a circus !

Oh well.


Well, my re-awakened disgust for party politics had me pondering . . . What if . . . ?
so I wrote this . . . President Dave.

Today's Complaint - People Who Make Stuff Up

Do you know someone who makes up whatever BS they want to believe? And then they make it your job to prove why it's not true?

Moron: What do you think of these gay people taking over Hollywood?

You: I don't think they're taking over Hollywood. There have always been gay actors and movie people. They are just coming out of the closet, I guess is what they're doing.

Moron: So you think that's okay?

You: I guess so. Mostly I don't care one way or the other.

Moron: You think they have a right to keep making movies and TV programs after telling everyone they are gay? Letting kids believe that it's okay to be homosexual? You think that's right?

You: Not any worse than all the famous athlete heroes doing steroids and dope or whatever.

Moron: So you think it's okay for people to be gay.

You: Yeh. Sh#t. I guess so. Why is it any of my business anyway?

Moron: You must be gay then.

You: What?

Moron: I mean if you think it's okay, you must be gay.

You: What are talking about. I'm not gay. Never was. Never even thought about it.

Moron: Well if you defend these people all I can think of is that you're gay.

You: Anyone ever mention to you what a f%#*ing moron you are?

Or how about something like this . . .

Moron: Can you explain something to me?

You: Probably not, but I'll give it my best shot. What is it you need to understand?

Moron: Why can't you _______________

You: Because ______________________

Moron: Oh, so you mean "________________________"

You: No, I mean what I said, " ___________________________"

Moron: You mean " _______________________________"

You: No, I mean what I said, " _____________________________"

Moron: You expect me to believe that?

You: Yeh, actually.

Moron: Well, I don't believe you. I think it's because ____________________

You: No, actually, it's because what I said, " _______________________________"

Moron: I don't believe it. I think that you __________ because ________________

You: That's like the fifth wrong theory you had because you won't listen to what I said.

Moron: I heard what you said. I just don't believe it.

You: So . . . let me get this straight, you won't believe what I said, so you're going to make up some bullsh#t and believe that?

Moron: What else can I do?

You: Anyone ever mention to you what a f%#*ing moron you are?

Bad Things Happen - Backup Your Computer Files

A guy on the photo forum got a malware attack that encrypted all his picture files. Impossible to uncrypt or open. He gets a message that says they (some bad people out there) want $300 to unlock his files.

He got this by opening a *.pdf file that someone e-mailed to him as a UPS delivery notice ! . In fact it was an executable file (in MSWindows language).

Poor bastard.

So, the weather is awful and I just spent a few hours making backup copies (actually 2 backup copies) of all my important files (which are mostly irreplaceable pictures).

True - I use Linux and this virus program could not attack my ssytem, but, you know, sh#t happens - do backups.

On another note, I shipped off my very cute little Panasonic LX3 to a guy (I sold it !) in Maryland this morning. That will help pay for the very cute little Fuji X10 that I bought to replace it. The Fuji has big shoes to fill - I loved tha LX3, but it did not have a viewfinder and I cannot hold a camera steady out at arms length when shooting at ISO80 or ISO100. The Fuji has a viewfinder (even though it's a small point-n-shoot job).

I am reminded now that I am sitting on two of Mikes film (film ?) cameras that I have to figure out out to sell. Nothing is simple these days.

Back Home from Alabama


We made the long overdue visit to Ramona and Bob, and had a ball.

Alabama Pictures

Do you know anyone who tells only half-truths? You know, what they say is technically correct, but they leave out very important pieces of the story so that you will come to the conclusion they are trying to trap you into.

Half Truth: "He just hit me. Yeh, him. He hit me."

Whole Truth: This guy just kicked the other guy (but he didn't tell you that) so the other guy belted him.

Half Truth: "I had to finish the garage job myself. He just stopped and walked away from it."

Whole Truth: The other guy just built an ultra-modern three car garage with a full plumbed and heated apartment above it, but he forgetfully left the light on when he closed the garage door and left for home. The half-truth person had to turn the light off.

Half Truth: "I never hear from him anymore. "

Whole Truth: This person changed their phone number and set the new phone to block calls from the other guy who they are complaining about. (Of course this person skipped telling you that detail.)

Half Truth: "I had to do it all myself. He never helped one bit."

Whole Truth: The other guy asked 1500 times "Do you need any help?" and the answer was always "No, I'm fine. I'd rather do it myself anyway."

Half Truth: "He said that he hates [_____] people."

Whole Truth: The other guy actually said "I hate [_____] people who cheat and steal and then blame everyone else when they get caught".

So . . . get the whole truth before deciding who the jerk is.

I was thinking about my grandparents who came to America about 100 years ago. They settled in and applied for citizenship (and got it) and merged themselves into the system.

Then I was thinking about people who illegally enter the US and take advantage of the loopholes and the generosity of "the system" to earn money without paying taxes, get medical treatment without paying for it and generally benefit from living inside the USA. In many cases, these are now older folks, who had kids here and some grandkids here who are then (by birth) US citizens. I am talking about the people who never caused any trouble, and worked hard at low paying jobs that we folks mostly did not want to do. Should these old folks (who never became citizens) be deported? Should they be given a pathway to citizenship?

Whatever the decisions are (that's for Congress to figure out), I have a demand that must be met before they are granted citizenship. They have to pay (in one lump sum, up front) all the back taxes (federal and state) and Social Security / Medicare payments that they should have paid over the decades they have been here. I'll let Congress make the rules how that $$$$ amount gets calculated, and it has to also include a calculated interest payment as well.

We all pay our dues.


Let me guess . . . it's time for kitty treats ?

Our (Extremely) Good Friend and Neighbor, George . . .


Mr. Fregeau, retired Fitchburg firefighter, was born in Fitchburg on July 4, 1943, to George and Alice (Mossey) Fregeau. He lived in North Leominster until he was 8, when moved to Mason, NH. He resided there until he entered the U. S. Navy at the age of 17.

He attended Mason Elementary School and Spaulding Memorial High School in Townsend. He graduated from Spaulding in 1961, at which time he entered the U.S. Navy. During his Navy years, Mr. Fregeau served in the Cuban Blockade and later in Vietnam where he received the Purple Heart. Upon completing active duty with the Navy, he joined the Navy Reserve, was a Navy Corpsman, and a life member and former Chaplain of the North Central Marine Corps League.

Mr. Fregeau dedicated his life to serving his country and selflessly helping others. Over the years he was an EMT, a member of the National Ski Patrol, a retiree from Fitchburg Fire Department, a member of the Leominster Lions, he managed the local Toys for Tots program, passed the boot for the MDA, and served the NEADS organization where he trained service dogs and co-founded Canines for Combat Vets.

I can truthfully say that I never knew anyone who served the needs of other people better than George did. I will take a handful of painkillers to go to his funeral.

Life goes on . . .


My parents did not prepare me well for the sticks and stones of real-world life. They loved me too much, or at least they protected me too much and made me feel too too "special" - like I was to be immune from the bad sh#t that happens to your common everyday person. I, they led me to think, was destined to be special.

Well ..... being special is a sharp sword on both edges.

On the one edge, being "special" implies that everything you do must live up to higher standards than everyone else has to live up to. Getting a B grade is the same as getting an F grade, you know. You can't make mistakes. You can't do the wrong thing. This is not an easy standard to live up to. It wears you out after a while.

That is true, but . . . at the moment I want to talk about the other edge of the "being special" sword - the edge that represents your life. Being "special" implies that your life will be perfect, because you're special and special deserves a perfect life. . . right?

A big part of my late-in-life disappoinments and cynicism are my fault, because they derive from the fact that I actually believed my parents viewpoint that I was (supposed to be) "special". I am not. I have problems, same as everyone else. But they (the problems) are not The Real Problem.

The Real Problem is that I don't know how to deal with the common problems of everyday life. I mean deal emotionally. I get a bill for something I didn't expect, and I collapse. Something in the house breaks, and I collapse. They miss picking up my garbage, and I collapse.

I envy people who expect only reasonable things from life, and who have realistic perceptions of who they are, and what they can and cannot do, and who can manage others peoples' demands on them, and who don't feel like a failure when that B grade shows up on their report cards.

From Rick's 50th, tonight . . .

jpg jpg jpg jpg jpg jpg

be patient

A Self Portrait: Testing the Fuji X10 & a Tiffen Filter


Look who showed up in my mail today - The Flat Stanley ! !


Flat Stanley is my grandson Jacob's friend, and I promised to take him on an adventure with me and send pictures and story back to Jacob. I have the feeling this is going to be a spectacular adventure !

I am also very sure that the other Flat Stanley (you know, Rachel's friend Stanley) is going to arrive at Mike's house tomorrow for a totally separate (but, I am sure, equally great) adventure with Mike.



Ladies and Gentlemen, and Children of all Ages . . .

I give you the Best, the Smartest and the Prettiest Ever

Dr. Who


Armed with supreme intelligence (not to mention her Sonic Screwdriver) The Doctor keeps all the universes of Time safe from Dalek's and other bad stuff (when she is not doing her advanced math homework, that is).

November Ending

There's an undiscovered Law of physics that says "Time goes faster, the older you get", and since I could not find such a Law in my search, I hereby claim it as "Dave's Law of Accelerating Time". Or maybe it's just a theory at this point, but . . . it is whatever it is . . . "Time goes faster, the older you get".

But . . . this month has been exceptionally good, and I have this journal page here to remind me just how good.

The house is back together after yesterdays dinner party. The cats are still hiding, even though everyone went home last night. Mike and Chris put the furniture back in place last night and Sharon, the cleaning chick, tidy-ed up the details while Deb was at work today. (My job in the cleanup process was to stay out of the way, and so I did - but remember that I got ever so many compliments of how well the turkey was carved.)

Lexie in People-Shock


I am struggling with Dr. Who episodes from 2011, trying to catch up. Some of the Time-Displacement topics are not easy to hold on to. Like who (or what?) is Dr. River Song? And how (or why?) does her life travel in reverse time, and exactly what are the implications of meeting up with her when you (Dr. Who, that is) travel both forwards and backwards in time with a chick (these days it's Amy Pond) whose life only progresses forward in time.

The only time (no pun intended) that any of this is clear to me is after a few glasses of Red Hook Ale or Old Speckled Hen. I once tried to deal with the Time-Space dilemma with some Belhaven Scottish Ale, but that only made matters worse.

Phryne Fisher: Wicked Good Bad Girl

Stumbling through Netflix, I found this very enjoyable girl-detectve series. She's naughty and smart and "always gets her man" (there's a hidden joke in there) - hard combination to beat, huh ! Miss Fisher's Mysteries