Monday, April 20, 2015

It’s About Star Wars

This post is about Star Wars. You have been warned.

I might have mentioned somewhere along the way that I am a rather big (in the love sense not in the size sense) Star Wars fan. I am not going to go to any fan conventions and you won’t see me slipping on my “Leia buns” of a weekend….

But I love Star Wars.

And I have a legitimate claim to loving them because I saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, or as we knew it then, Star Wars, 7 times the summer that it came out. Yes, seven times thankyouverymuch. We saw it the week that it came out and there was nothing else like it. The first time those words came rolling across the screen and the music started, life was never quite the same for me moviewise. And perhaps I saw The Empire Strikes Back just as many times when it came out….plus there was that, cough cough, bootleg copy that I borrowed for a while from a patient of my father’s.

Longtime, legit Star Wars fan. I might have drawn Cartoon Girl into the cult…that cannot come as a shock to you.

So when the “prequels” came out there was much anticipation in our household. How could we not love them. And then we saw The Phantom Menace. What a steaming pile of Bantha doodoo. Really George Lucas?!? Mitachlorians? JarJar Binks??Not even the cool Sith Lord’s apprentice couldn’t overcome the disappointment. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were better, barely, but it was decided that George Lucas should never be allowed to write a script for Star Wars ever again.

And then, there was a divergence in the Chez Knit force. George Lucas decided that he was going to digitally remaster the “original” three movies, adding some scenes and tweaking some things. I didn’t really like that idea but those are his works and he can do as he chooses. It sort of seemed like da Vinci saying he didn’t really like how the Mona Lisa turned out and he was going to add some things.

Cartoon Girl had a completely different, and shall we say more forceful reaction. She declared that she would never watch the remastered ones EVER! She owns my original VHS tapes and I am not sure she has ever seen the “newer” versions of them. You will need to ask her.

And now we get to what I really wanted to tell you about. It only took me about 300 words to get there. Not bad I think.

It has been MANY a year since I have watched any or all of the Star Wars ouvre. I just couldn’t think about putting Star Wars I, II and II before the frankly older but better IV,V and VI (using the George Lucas numbering system. Don’t get me started on that one!) But awhile ago I heard rumblings and writings about a different way to shuffle the movies around that actually made better sense. Way, way, way better sense.

The Machete Order.

For a full description of Ron Hilton’s reasoning just click on the link above. It is too involved to sum up here but let me just say that the man is a genius.

This weekend HHBL was at a conference. So once I had done all the things I needed to do on Saturday I decided to indulge myself and watch Star Wars in Machete Order. It took me two days but I have done it.

Why Machete Order? If you look at the order that I watched them in you will understand.

Star Wars IV: A New Hope
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars II: Attach of the Clones
Star Wars II: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi.

What is missing? Why Machete? If you look closely you will see that Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace……is completely gone. Erased. As if the mitachlorians and JarJar Binks had never existed. Well, you have a bit of old JarJar in III, where he is hoodwinked by the Emperor, but other than that you are back to pretty much the basic story.

Treat Star Wars II and III like flash backs after the startling revelations at the end of V and the story flows much better. You still have to deal with some of the stupid dialogue that Lucas wrote. And there are a few inconsistencies that cannot be digitally remastered out. But other than that……

I am a much happier Star Wars fan. Try the Machete Order. It is much better to cut out JarJar that to cut out Star Wars completely from my life.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Gem Of The First Order

One of the good things about the whole “re-naming the photo folders” endeavor is that I actually sit and look at old photos.

Top-123 (rev 0)

This is generally how the progeny felt about having their picture taken for the umpteenth time on any given day.

Or it may just be their natural reactions.

I am afraid to ask.

Friday, April 3, 2015

What is Really There.

Sometimes, it is only when we look very closely, that we can see the cracks.

Everyday Things_salt shaker_b-0382

This is the top of my very old silver salt shaker. You wouldn’t know, unless you looked with the help of a macro lens, that there were even any cracks.

Sometimes I think it is the same way with people. If you take them at face value you don’t see that we are all broken in some way. It is only when we slow down and take the time and really observe….

That we see what is really there.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Do As I Say and Not As I Have Done

Because I do not have anything else to do I have decided to rename all of the folders on my hard drive where the photos reside.

ALL of the folders.

That would be around 100 folders and all the sub folders that reside under them.

I thought that I was being SOOOOOOOO organized with my folder system. And I was, I really was. It isn’t that the folder system is all discomboobulated. It is just that sometimes when I was putting pictures in a sub-folder, I might give that sub-folder a general sort of name like “Christmas”. That generically named sub-folder could be found in the master folder named “2012”….but it still had a generic name that was the same as “Christmas” in the “2005” folder. And then there might also be a sub-folder in “Christmas” that was “RAW”. All this works perfectly well if you are just looking at the photos in the explorer mode on your computer. But when you decide that you are finally going to seriously begin to learn and use your Lightroom 5 software that you purchased…….well we won’t talk about how long ago……Lightroom doesn’t really like that way of naming your folders and sub-folders. Oh, it will let you do it that way.But it frowns at you when you do it. And then it gets confused as to what you want to do with all of these foggily named folders.

I am actually loving the way that Lightroom keeps track of photos on your hard disk and your external drives. But I want everything to work just like I want it to. And it wasn’t. It took me time and effort and reading Scott Kelby’s book (my Lightroom guru) and watching YouTube videos before the light dawned on me. I am slow but I get there eventually.

So besides the fact that I am trying to knit a sweater to wear at the Niece’s wedding…coming up in 7 weeks…and I might possibly want to knit something else too. And the fact that I have office work and Hidden Moments work and house work to do.

I am renaming all the folders.

Take this as a lesson kiddos. Be VERY specific when you put your photos in folders. You will be very glad you did later when you don’t have 50 folders all named “RAW”.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ding Dong the Beast Is Dead

In the appliance world here at Chez Knit, it is never a dull moment. Even though we now live in a small place (THANK GOODNESS) with fewer gadgets that can act up and stop working or work strangely (old septic pump I’m looking at YOU), that doesn’t mean that things done go BANG! on occasion.

Yes, it’s time for another addition of Debbie Deals With Appliances. Sigh.

You might want to get a glass of wine, this is going to be long…and painful. I am certainly having one.

It all started on Tuesday. An ordinary day was Tuesday. I was home in the morning, then out to spend some time with my boyfriend where we ate apples and watched Winnie the Pooh. Then it was back home for more “home stuff” before starting dinner. I had cooked a chicken earlier in the day and we were going to have fajitas for dinner. Fajitas require generous amounts of things like lovely fried onions and peppers. I set about doing that very thing. I should probably start by telling you that for some time now the right front burner on the Beast (as I shall now call the stove) had been, shall we say, temperamental. Sometimes is worked fine, most of the time it only worked if you had it on the “fires hotter than hell” setting. Sometimes not at all. I adjusted to it. On Tuesday it seemed to be in the incendiary mode which was good because I was frying onions and peppers. I had my earbuds in and was deep into “I, Claudius” when I heard what I can only describe as a sonic boom in my kitchen.

Mother Mary and all the saints in heaven, what was THAT!

It wasn’t good. The Beast was dead. Well shoot. I figured that something had caused it to trip the circuit breaker, which was true. But I couldn’t get the circuit breaker to go back on. Not good. No amount of pushing or pulling or muttering imprecations under my breath was going to make that breaker pop back into place. Thank goodness the onions were cooked and the chicken was all ready, HHBL and I could at least eat dinner. But what to do now!! We didn’t know, then, whether it was something with the breaker/outlet that had caused the death of the Beast or whether it was Sir Beast himself. Is the Beast dead forever? Do we have to buy a new stove? I didn’t want to buy a new stove at the moment. I am wanting Sir Beast to last for a bit until maybe we can remodel the kitchen at some point. But even if we have to buy a new stove it is worthless unless it can actually be plugged in and work. So the first thing to do was to find an electrician…..because we don’t actually HAVE an electrician at the moment.

Angie’s List to the rescue. I sent “Big Lou” an email and he suggested that I unplug the Beast from the wall and try to reset the breaker. Nope, that didn’t work. So Lou came out today to take a look. The outlet tested fine. The breaker wasn’t bad. He was stumped. But he unwired and rewired and we talked and badabing! the breaker could be reset. I gingerly plugged Sir Beast back in and gave a shout of joy when the digital clock flashed on. We were in business!

Big Lou did suggest that I not use the burner that seemed to be possessed. I thought that was a good, if very inconvenient idea.

2015-03-27 17.21.19

Just in case I happened to forget I employed the tried and true “cover it with electrical tape” method. All set!

And we would have been all set….if I hadn’t still been nagged about why that burner didn’t want to work. Not only didn’t it want to work, I couldn’t even get the housing to to let go of the burner coil. So I had the bright idea to open the top of the stove. It lifts up like the front hood of your car and stays propped open. Cool! I did that. I looked in…..

2015-03-27 15.45.53

Hmmmmmmmmm, well that doesn’t look good. That doesn’t look good at all. I may not be appliance repair smart but even I know that a pile of ashes inside an ELECTRIC stove might just be telling me something.

And then I looked up.

2015-03-27 15.46.06

Ummmmmmmmmm, that is really not good. Scorch marks tell you something. I think I found the source of the problem. Well, I am not going to use that burner anyway so all was good……..

That is until HHBL came home and I wanted to show him what I had discovered. I opened up the top of the stove (that was still plugged in by the way) and showed him the badness lying underneath. And I pointed at the badness……and I touched the badness….and giant sparks flew out of that place and landed on the floor. And the Beast was dead again. And the breaker was tripped and could not be reset.

Well shit. (sorry)

Lou will be coming back to our house tomorrow to re-fix and replace the breaker.

I can tell you that the stove is now unplugged and waiting to be removed. Yes, I know that it most likely can be repaired. But to have a repair person come out, charge me a service call fee AND labor AND parts would cost almost as much as replacing this inexpensive stove with another one. HHBL and I can do many things, but appliance repair is not one of them.

Home Depot is bringing me my new stove on Wednesday.

2015-03-27 17.21.11

Sir Beast you are DEAD to me!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Deep Sushi Mourning

Back in the far distant past, well OK really just Christmas of 2013, HHBL and I spent the holiday in the Big Apple. We hung with HHBL’s sister. We hung with Cartoon Girl. In fact, we managed to talk Cartoon Girl into spending an entire day with us doing all the touristy things that she abhors.

HHBL and I are the ultimate in touristy…..especially if it makes Cartoon Girl roll her eyes in disgust. You know my motto, “Live long enough to be a gigantic bother to your children.” As part of our carrot at the end of the stick for her doing touristy things with us, we consented to go to Cartoon Girl’s favorite sushi place, Sushi Park. It is….or should I say was… unassuming little first floor restaurant. There are so many of those in NYC, places that are unassuming from the outside but serve pretty darn good food.

2013-12-24 13.11.04

I don’t remember what this actually was, I just remember that it was pretty darn delicious. That is saying something because I am still on the fence about sushi.

This afternoon I got a text message from Cartoon Girl telling me about a huge explosion at a building in NYC and the collapse of said building. Lots of fire, multiple injuries.

You guessed it.

Sushi Park_edited-1

Sushi Park is no more. We are praying for those who were injured and for the business owners who have lost their livelihood and for those who have lost their place to live and all they possessed.

And Cartoon Girl is mourning her favorite restaurant.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Always Remember to Open the Box

If you are a seller on Amazon, consider this your PSA for the day.

Or your cautionary “Do not do what I did” tale.

Or your, Geez Deb you are idiot tale.

Take your pick.

I occasionally put something up for sale in the Amazon Marketplace. Not all that often but if I have something that I think will sell I go ahead. I had an old digital camera hanging around, not being used, so I put it up on Amazon to sell. When I say old digital point and shoot what I really mean to say is that it was the first point and shoot I ever had and it was given to me back in 2003 by the parental units. I will be honest and say that the camera sat in the box for three solid months before I got it out to play with it. I didn’t think I needed a digital camera.

I know. Idiot.

Since 2003 I have moved onward and upward in the camera department but I hadn’t ever actually gotten rid of this little workhorse. So I figured that I would put it up on Amazon and see what happened. I had the camera. I had one memory card. I had two batteries and the charger. By the way, I should tell you that all of this actually happened in 2013, before we moved from OCK to Chez Knit. Where was I? Oh yes, so I put the camera plus the batteries and the card up on Amazon and sure enough, someone bought it. A whopping $30 but that is still, you know, $30. So I wrapped everything up carefully and sent it off to the buyer, whose name I do know by the way but won’t actually put up here….although I am sorely tempted to do so.

Sorely tempted.

I sent the camera off and didn’t think another thing about it. We had just sold OCK and were in the midst of trying to pack up the house, find someplace to live and execute a wedding. We might have been a tad busy you know. Imagine my horror when about three weeks after sending off the camera I got this email from the buyer,

Hi! I want to return this camera for a refund because it is defective. 
I took about 100 photos that were put on a memory card which was already inside
the camera.... next, to charge thebattery, I took out the Canon battery that also
was already in the camera and inserted it into the Rechargeable Battery Pack
(wall charger unit) which is what the seller included with this camera as stated....
and finally I put in the extra battery which, likewise, was included with this camera
as stated by the seller. All 3 steps involved periphials which are completely wrong
for this type camera, and as a result: 1.) I've not just lost all my photos since
inside was a FUJIFILM memory card which obviously is not the original-and while it
may have let me transfer my photos to my computer and upload them via the
USB port-- this USB cord was NOT included, and before I could even consider where
to buy a replacement USB cable my photos were already lost so as this type
Fujifilm CompactFlash memory card went completely defective upon switching
the camera battery... as soon as I switched batteries and turned on the camera
I got a screen message "Memory Card Cannot be Read". 
Farewell, photos, and 3-4 hours of worthy time and efforts spent meticulously
shooting..2.) The extra battery, I found out while literally writing this.. 
is not even for this type of Canon Camera - it reads on its backside that its
"For: Canon POWERSHOT S100, S110, S200, S300, S330" and this camera is 
the Canon PowerShot S500. 3.) And, finally, the battery pack included was also
completely wrong--its backside of says its a "CB-2LS" model--again
different/ incompatible with this camera that expressly states it is "Powered
by rechargeable battery pack NB-1LH (included with charger)"..and To Note on
the above-- NO I also did not receive the aforementioned "charger" 
(..??) I'm definitely willing to work w/seller on the refund & leave pos feedback
too as I'm assuming this all may not even be their intention fault(s).Thank you ".
Holy Digital Destruction Batman! I was horrified at the thought that I might have contributed
to anyone losing pictures. But I was also confused as I had used this camera and both batteries
and the charger without any problems. They had all been kept in one spot and weren’t allowed
to breed with any other cameras so the whole business about not being the correct battery 
charger etc was a bit on the confusing side. I didn’t have time frankly to investigate further 
and I felt horrified because I thought that somehow I had made a mistake so I refunded her
money AND I paid her postage to send the camera back. She was oh so grateful. The camera
came back and I promptly threw the unopened box in another box and packed it all up to 
That unopened box has been sitting on my desk in my Woman Cave since August of 2013. 
I kept thinking that I should just open the darn thing and deal with it. I am usually not that
procrastinational about these sorts of things but in this instance I just kept shifting it from 
here to there. Then on Saturday I decided to actually open the box and do something about it.
And imagine my, shall we say, rather volcanic rage when I did open the box and found that
the purchaser had obviously at some point PRIED THE MEMORY CARD DOOR OPEN 
AND BROKEN THE CAMERA. What the ever loving! Oh, and she only returned ONE of the
batteries that I sent her. AND the charger was the correct one for the camera.
She was just a lying person who broke the thing and then wanted her money back. There are
words. There are SO many words. But I am trying to remember that this is a family blog. 
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits lady!
Of course, if I had opened the box when she sent the camera back I probably could have done
something about it.
Like I said, Idiot. Both she and I.