Saturday, May 8, 2010

Plan B, Again

I got an email from Jerry Otto this morning:

Hello TruckeeDave,

"As you know the fishing was non-existent. Water flows and temperatures were
off and the fish were lethargic to say the least. I fished for a total of
about 2 hours in 11 days. I caught nothing. This was the first time in about
3 years I was skunked in Markleeville.

I have several contacts in the area that will call when the fishing
conditions improve. I will keep you and SturgeUrge in the loop and I hope to meet
you up there soon."

Tech War
So I played along with Samsung Support today...I downloaded the firmware update, and installed it. meanwhile I discovered that my AV Receiver had Optical Inputs, and got the cable from my local hardware store and...voila! The Blu-ray Player lights up my subwoofer!

I don't know if it was the Firmware Update or the new Optical Cable...but It's good to go now! I watched three movies on Blu-ray tonight..."North By Northwest" "Gladiator" and "Master and Commander" ...great shit Maynerd!

I haven't let Samsung off the hook...they're still on my shit list...I am after all "settling" when everything possible on the player isn't up to snuff...but there's enough to keep me happy...

Friday, May 7, 2010

No Rest For the Wicked

It's already Thursday...and I'm up to the Tuesday items on my To-Do List.

I began the week with several victories over things on the To-Do list, and I seemed to be on top of my BodyClock Reset Regimen...

I'm still going to bed before midnight, still waking to the alarm clock at 0600, but I've been falling back to sleep for a couple more hours of late. On the bright side, I don't even feel like taking a nap in the afternoon.

iTunes continues to do my bidding! I won that one! (good thing too...I can listen to the podcasts of the radio show I fall back to sleep on later)

So, here I am dutifully sitting by the phone awaiting the return call from Samsung Support. You'll recall my whine about spending better than an hour on the phone Tuesday, where I worked my way up to "Level Three Support" (where they still didn't have anyone authorized to grant me a return on my brand new Blu-ray player...the Level 3 Guy said I'd get a call-back from an engineer within 24-48 hours...It's 45:15 hours and counting...

Though I'm ticked off with them now, I gotta give Samsung Support some props...everyone I spoke with was helpful...and English was their first language...I didn't ask, but I'm sure I was talking to a Support Center in America.

You're earning my loyalty Samsung. A few phones ago, I had a Samsung Flip-Style phone that I first phone with a color LCD. I retired it when the second battery went belly-up and my carrier offered the new phone I coveted for That phone is a Motorola Razr V3...I'm on my third battery in three+ may be old school, but it's served me well *Knock Wood*

This monkey wrench in the cogs of my game plan has me mightily frustrated...Live and Learn my Dad used to say...

I heard the cheeseburger birds about noon today. All the snow in the yard has melted. I'm itching to get my garden going, but I've got to get down the hill to the Ancestral Digs first!

I was supposed to be there Tuesday evening...famous last words. Buoyed by my iTunes Victory, I called Samsung and here I am...45:29 and counting... Gardening is going to wait until after Fish Camp...

This is all good...if a little frustrating. Thankfully, the weather continues to warm up, the Northerly Winds have abated, and the forecast for the week of Fish Camp look less threatening every day. I hope the trout are keeping up with the weather reports!

Reno's latest AFD says slight chances for precip Monday or Tuesday, though at this time models have it going by to the North...and tomorrow is supposed to be 10F-15F warmer that today!

OK...I gave up at 47 hours and called Samsung...they told me to update the Firmware! They couldn't suggest that during the first two rounds? I waited two days! Samsung is on my shit list. I'm gonna need a vacation from my vacation...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm Back, Baby!

Here it is nine days since I last strapped on my BR350 for an All Night Flight. I'm still using my alarm clock to wake up, but I'm sleeping through the naps for the last few days either.

I'm feeling all smug tonight...with time on hand, and my newly rested brain and body, I've been catching up with some of my more vexatious tech problems.

I finally restored my iPod Touch to a tool rather than an annoying, ongoing hassle. I found a website with Old Versions of iTunes, removed the source of my misery, the troublesome iTunes 9.1.1 and replaced it with iTunes 9.0.3. After about three hours of fussing, iTunes and my iPod Touch are playin' nice together, all my Apps are behaving, and I even got back a banned "sexy" App that Apple doesn't offer anymore! ("sexy"=bikini photos)

Feeling like Maximus in the Great Arena, I next braved Samsung Support...My new Samsung Blu-ray player isn't talking to my Subwoofer...In about an hour, I made it all the way to "Level 3 Support" They did their best, but they will have an Engineer call me back in the next 24-48 hours...I just need to know where to send this faulty unit to get one that works...I did World Class Triage on this machine before I called, and it's defective...period.

I can't wait for this to be resolved, the Video from Blu-ray is nothing short of Stunning! I'll probably die and go to Heaven when the audio catches up! Oh yeah, this unit (Samsung BD-C6500) will solve my TV/Internet Connectivity lust, too...streaming HDTV, here I come!

For all my bravado today, there is a downside to ponder...I may not make it down to the Ancestral Digs before Jerry Otto's Fish Camp...oh, and the Reno NWS office is calling for a chance of snow showers about the time SturgeUrge and I get to Fish Camp! You know me, eternally optimistic, I'm sure it won't snow...but if it does, it won't put the kibosh on Fish Camp! For sure it won't dump...flurries I can enjoy (read Photo Ops!)

So, while I await Samsung's call-back, there's floors to strip and wax, the pickup is due for an oil change, and maybe I'll get in a little trout fishing at Donner Lake...I won't lie, this new Fishing License is burning a hole in my pocket!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rollin' Along

Sunday 5/2/10 8:10AM
I might jinx things if I do my "Mission Accomplished" speech too soon, but I did sleep through the night again last night! The alarm jangled me awake at 0600...just in time to watch the DVR turn itself off after recording the Spanish GP for MotoGP Motorcycles...formerly known as "Formula One Motorcycles"

For me, Spring really begins when my two favorite Motorsports Series begin their European Swings. F1 and MotoGP begin their respective seasons in Asia before returning to Europe for the Summer. Today the motorcycles raced in Jerez Spain, next Sunday Formula One visits Catalunya in Spain as well.

The cars race nearly every weekend through October, save for a breather in August, before taking their show to Singapore, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and finishing the season in Abu Dhabi.

Formula One's European Swing is where Bleeding Edge Technology meets Motorsports History and Tradition. Monte Carlo, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza...all names from motor racing's Mt Olympus.

In American Motorsports, May means Indy. The Month Of May at the Brickyard was The motorsports Event of Summer ever since I got infected with Gearhead's Syndrome via the Slot Car Racing mania of the early Sixties. Every day news would emanate from the track...stories of daring-do, new speed records, setbacks and sometimes tragedy. The Indianapolis 500 used to be so big that it took two weekends to set the field in qualifying...four days filled with thrills and drama.

Indy still has it's hold on The Month Of May, but it's not a stranglehold these days. Economic Reality, the rise of NASCAR, and the Split in American Open Wheel Racing have taken their toll, but I still give myself totally to May and Indy.

Sadly, this year Race Day is gonna seem a little thin...Formula One, adjusting to their new economic reality, have moved the Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo) to a different weekend than Indy...destroying my Memorial Day Motorsports Marathon!

It used to go something like this:
1) Alarm goes off at up TV and watch the Monte Carlo PreRace and then the Race, LIVE. Next, more coffee and/or Bloody Marys and breakfast while watching the Indy PreRace Hype.
2) Ladies and Gentlemen, START...YOUR...ENGINES! The biggest spectacle in sports from where IndyCars got their name.
3) Stock Cars finish the day at Charlotte, NC...NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600
4) SpeedTV's Windtunnel Racing Highlights, Race Talk and Interviews

For a couple of years back in the 90's I hosted a small Ice Cream Social...cocktails and a couple of batches of Homemade Ice Cream...mmm, mmm, mmm! And plenty of racing on TV!

As May marches on, my other Wheeled Passion takes center stage: Bicycle Racing! I may get to take in a stage of Amgen's Tour of California. With a little luck, I'll find myself on the coast at Pacifica to watch Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and the rest contend for the Herbalife Sprint during Stage 3, before retiring to Pacifica Pier to angle for Dungeness Crabs...tides do look a little severe for crabbing though...maybe Striped Bass from the beach?

Summer proper means one thing in bike racing, The Grand Tours! 4th of July Weekend heralds the start of le Tour de France. Three weeks of racing, jaw dropping scenery, suffering, teamwork and triumph...throw in a finish in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe on Paris' Champs-Élysées, and you've got your Epic Sporting Event, much more Human than Indy or Monte Carlo, but just as exciting!

I'm sure my newly arrived replacement camera will be comfortable in my hands by the time the Amgen ToC peloton breezes by me out at Pacifica... It still irks me that I broke the camera's screen at work. A simple screw-up when a one quart stainless steel thermos full of coffee pile-drives a delicate camera in it's padded case as their Backpack home drops onto the floor of my BR350. I'm still feeling the loss of all those Photo-Ops on My Mountain.

Flip Side? I've already got plenty of photography to look forward to!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taking Stock

Here I am nearly one week into my Summer Phase. I'm still futzin' around the DaveCave, knocking out chores and finding more in need of my attention. The weather has finally taken a turn for the for the forecast winds out of the north...still they play havoc with my sturgeon fishing plans.

In the minutes and hours where I'm between chores or rewarding myself for a chore well done by lazing about, I've been taking stock of the season just ended...weighing the pluses and minuses, the highs and lows...on my way to filing the season into my pantheon of Seasons Past.

The verdict is still's still too soon to make an honest judgment. Eventually 2009/2010 will drift into it's place. Today, I'm leaning towards remembering 09/10 when I remember "The Good Old Days". I haven't found many negatives that matter. Don't get me wrong, there's a passel of little negatives...that's why it's called work. If you have a Work Ethic, these are minor annoyances taken in stride, forgotten by the time next season rolls around.

There is one's my own fault, but it still irks me. I broke the LCD screen on my digital camera. Thursday night, while lazing about with the internet, I won an eBay auction to replace the camera! Last summer at the Ancestral Digs, I finally made the quantum leap that enabled me to wield the Canon Point and Shoot with the facility of a Real Camera. I learned to control the flash. In photography, using natural light and properly controlling artificial light is everything.

This pocket-sized shooter has a half dozen flash modes, but doesn't accept filters because the lens retracts fully into the body when it shuts down. This camera came out in 2003, I bought mine in the Spring of 2004 for $260 online. It's taken thousands of photos, several good ones too. Still, I was beginning to entertain the idea of splurging on a Nikon Digital SLR when I hit upon the secret to the little Canon's flash.

I was taking a series of "Obscured Self Portraits" for Facebook and Twitter profile use, featuring my unshaven mug half hidden behind different 22oz bottles of Commemorative Craft Brewed Ales and Beers. All this fuss began when Facebook added that facial recognition "feature" that was "ON" by default! The dang flash was too hot, held at arm's length, so trying to salvage my idea, I took a white PostIt©, and held it over the flash, and Voilà instant, cheap Flash Diffuser! The reflection of the flash on the bottles and my sunglasses didn't jump out of the photo anymore!

This little epiphany turned the Point & Shoot into a bona fide tool to express myself with, though I do have to wonder about my creative side when I named one of my photo files, "Snarky One 2009"

Back to the eBay deal, if the replacement camera works as advertised, I will have replaced my original $260 camera with a used, $37 duplicate, while still lusting for the Nikon DSLR...not bad...rearmed I can play the wait-it-out game on the DSLR...the price will come to me, it always has.

Now, back to the Post Season Ledger...the broken camera cost me $37 in real world funds...but it cost way more in my way of thinking. I broke the screen just as we were getting the season under control. I'd been cataloging a number of photos I wanted to make for CorduroyPlanet once I could get ahead of the nightly grind's demands. I bought a dozen of the Beachballs to photo in every possible grooming context I could think of..either .as Logos, or just props.

Modern Groomers are a wonderland of angles, textures, colors and shapes. I could spend hours snapping pictures of just nuts and bolts...then there's the hoses, hydraulics, combs, mirrors, rams, tracks, blades, tillers...and on and year.

Not having the LCD makes just about everything about making photos four times the trouble. This week's series of Beachball Logo pix would have been impossible if I had to adhere to Bedtime and Work Nights.

So this Summer I'll be snapping away with the CorduroyPlanet Beachballs in tow...I'm already wondering if they still sell kid's kites in toy stores anymore...I'm gonna need some aerial shots!