Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weather of the Fantastical Kind

That is the only way you can describe these past few days in Washington, DC — Fantastical. Well maybe amazingly fantastical. Better yet unbelievably amazingly fantastical.

Why you may ask. Look at the image below.

That's the temperature from yesterday morning. That's not the relative humidity; that's the actual temperature.

DC has had three glorious days that felt like the spring we didn't get this year. Now today the humidity and temperature have moved up some but still it is not bad out.

But the last three days. Bright and sunny with a little wind. Actually Tuesday had more than just a little wind. I was waiting in line to buy lunch at a food truck and a couple people in line said it was almost cold. How often do you ever get to say that in DC at the end of July. Like never.

Like I said the temperature and humidity are creeping up. But in the next ten days most of them are below the normal temperature. But that's in a few days.

For right now I'm just going to enjoy what has been just fantastical weather!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mavericks Mayhem Continues?

I have to say with all the problems I’ve had with Mavericks the last thing I want to ever do is upgrade to a new operating system. But it seems one will be available this fall. I have strong doubts I’ll be upgrading this fall or any fall to come.

Still haven’t got the scanner part of my HP all in one to work. It’s still producing those wonderful Jackson Pollock type prints. I have got Preview to scan things.

The next problem I had was with Time Machine. All of a sudden it stopped working. I got an error message saying there wasn’t enough disk space to do the back up. I thought that really strange because what is supposed to happen is that as the disk Time Machine is backing up to gets full old back ups are deleted. This obviously was not happening.

I did some research on-line to see if I could figure out how to solve the problem myself. What I found is you should be able to go into the Time Machine program and see old backups. There would be a list of the backups on the left hand side of the screen. You should be able to select a backup and then delete it. Thus freeing up space on the disk. The problem was I could only see one backup. There was only one back up listed on the side. I figured I'd probably have to reformat the drive.

But before I did that I decided to make a trip to the Apple Store in Georgetown and see if I could get some help. I took a couple of screen shots of what I was getting.

Sunday after a training session I headed off to the store. On the way into Georgetown I walked passed George Will. This should have been a sign of things to come.

I walked into the Apple Store and there was the usual six people waiting to help. I told my tale. I said this only seemed to have started since I upgraded to the the new operating system. I added I was less than happy with it and went through a quick list of the problems I had with it. I was told the best thing to do would be to bring my computer in for a genius appointment.

I said so I have to schlep in my computer and my hard drive for someone to look at. I said I thought that was a little much. The guy said all they were there for was to sell things. I was less than happy about this and expressed that.

The guy said he'd see what he could do. He took my screen shots and went back and talked to a couple of guys. He came back and said the best thing to do would be to reformat the drive. That there must be some file that couldn't get backed up that was causing the problem. I thanked him and left.

Last thing I wanted to do was reformat the whole damn drive. I went home and contemplated what to do. I contemplated for a whole day. I ran a verification on the drive. It came back saying the drive was fine and had like 100,000 files on it. So the backups were there they just couldn't be accessed.

I thought occurred to me that instead of reformatting the entire drive maybe I could delete the files on it. I opened the main backup folder and selected the folder under that and moved it to the trash. A status bar appeared keeping showing the progress of moving all the files to the trash. It took something like 25 minutes to move all of the files. After that I said delete the files. That took well a couple of hours to do. At one point the status bar said I had -15,000 files to delete. I thought that really really odd but the available disk space on the drive continued to go up.

Once that was done, I started the back up process. Since this was a full back up of all my files it took a long time to do. I'm not sure how long because I just left the computer alone. It did say back up successful. Yeah.

I checked last night and Time Machine was working the way it was supposed to. It was backing up. You could go to the various back ups that had been done (I think there were four). So far so good.

Hopefully this will be the last surprise Mavericks has in store because I'm not in the mood for any more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Snoopy's House Cleaning, Part I

I did some more research on scanning. Turns out you can use the Preview program to scan. Took a little while to set things up but then I was able to scan. Not as good as using the program from HP but it still works. 

So here's a very funny series from Peanuts about Snoopy's dog house being cleaned.

Snoopy's House Cleaning, Part II

Here's the end of the series about cleaning Snoopy's dog house.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Upgraded to Mavericks OS — Not the Smartest of Moves

Over the last few years I’ve approached with a degree of dread upgrading my operating system on my computer or iPhone. It used to be such a simple, easy, straight forward process for upgrading the OS and software for that matter too. Now, well as I like to say, Apple is becoming more and more like Microsoft every day.

The upgrade to Mavericks certainly proves that.

I will start off by describing the fun of downloading the software to start the upgrade. It took three times. There was no indication one way or the other what was going on. I had to restart. I finally got the program to start downloading when I was told I need more disk space. I then had to do a safe start up which would free up space. I did that and finally got the upgrade to start.

It took a couple of hours for everything to download. Then you restart and the upgrade started. It took a long time. It was on 20 minutes left for a good half hour. Finally everything was installed.

Everything seems like it was a go. But really no where near it.

I went to the Nats game on Sunday. I took some pictures and I wanted to use those in the story. I plug my iPhone in to the computer. Up pops iPhoto. It says in order to upgrade it need 6 gigs of space to do so. I start trying to figure out where I can free up that much space.

I decided I’ll move my iMovie files. They take up 100 gigs. More than enough space. I go on line to see how to do that. It looks like you just move the program on to an external hard drive. I try that but that’s not it.

I then read you go into iMovie and it will list the drives that you can copy to. You then just hold down the command key and the files will be moved to the new drive. Not only moved to the new drive but deleted from the old one. There are no drives listed in iMovie.

I decide to call Apple. I get an automated voice that actually knows my name (a little creepy). It gets my serial number and what product I’m calling about and sends me to a human. This person I can barely hear. I ask several time for them to speak louder to no avail. I’m then passed on to another person. Who takes the same information about what my problem is and my serial number. I’m then passed on to yet another person.

This guy can actually help me out. He says I have to go into the last version of iMovie to move the files. It makes a certain amount of sense because the two versions of iMovie are two different programs. The movies in folders by years. The problem is you can only move the files in one folder at a time. It takes some time.

I finally get enough space for iPhoto and I upgrade the product. Before I do the upgrade I’m told if I do this the photo files will not work with any previous version of iPhoto. I go ahead and upgrade. It doesn’t take very long.

I now decide to test various programs to see how they work with the new operating system. I started on the Creative Suite. I had problems with all of the programs. I tried InDesign. If I clicked on an actual InDesign file the program had problems opening. I then tried opening the InDesign application itself. That worked better.

My next move was to restart and see what that would do. The seem to make things work better.

Next on the list was to get the printer up and working. I downloaded a new set of drivers. Tried to print something and it wouldn’t work. I got an error message saying the drivers were installed incorrectly. Did I want to fix this. I clicked yes. Everything seemed to be working.

That is until I tried to scan something. That didn’t go so well. In fact it didn’t work at all. I was going to post a Peanuts cartoon. This is what I got.

Sort of like something by Jackson Pollock.

This began my investigation of searching for how to get the scanner to work. Turns out there are many people that have this problem. It looks there might be solution which I might try tonight (I wasted the entire evening on this last night and I actually need to get some things done). I’m still not certain it will work.

A whole lot of hoops to jump through to get the OS and everything associated with it up and working. Not like the old days of Apple when you got a disk and an hour or so later everything was loaded and working. I can only recall a couple of programs that wouldn’t work when I upgraded the OS in the past. And most of the time you knew what would have a problem before hand. Never occurred to me that there would be no drivers to make your scanner work properly. This is an HP product not some strange exotic brand.

I have to say I’m disappointed with Apple and HP on this. Next time I just might not upgrade at all.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday at Nats' Park

Yes it was another bobblehead day. I’m four for four so far. And I’m going to the game where they’ll be giving out the one for Ian Desmond.

But on to the game. Gio Gonzalez was the starting picture but just didn’t have it all together. He got out of several jams but in the top of the fourth down 2-1 his day ended.

One of my favorite pitchers Craig Stammen came in to bail out Gio:

With the Nationals trailing by a run in the fourth inning Sunday, Stammen was summoned from the bullpen just behind the right field wall at Nationals Park. Starter Gio Gonzalez struggled with his command against the Milwaukee Brewers and was pulled after 31 / 3 innings.

Stammen didn’t have any qualms with being inserted into the game so early. It was the second time in his last three relief appearances that he was called upon in the fourth inning.

“There’s a reason I go down there in the first inning,” Stammen said. “You always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Gio’s been pitching really well, but today his pitch count got up there so I try to back him up as much as I can because he’s helped our team out a bunch.”

Stammen mixed a late-moving two-seam fastball with a slider to retire the eight batters he faced. He recorded two strikeouts on just 29 pitches (20 strikes) in 22 / 3 scoreless innings.

But just as important at his pitching was Stammen’s at bat in the 4th. To set the stage Adam LaRoche walked and then Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run which tied the score. Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond were the next two batters and the next two out. Jose Lobaton then double. Next up is Stammen. Stammen’ gets an infield hit which allowed Lobaton to advance to third. On a wild pitch Lobaton is able to score. That gives the Nats the lead. Yeah.

The next couple of innings both teams get guys on base some even in scoring position but no one scores. It’s the top of the 9th in comes Rafael Soriano. I have great adminration for Soriano. But (and you knew that was coming) he allows too many guys to get on base. The vast majority of the time he gets out of the situaiton. But that was not to be the case today. He allowed a run in and the score was tied 4-4.

Suddenly a nail biter became even more of a nail biter. Would the Nats be able to score a run or was it off to extra innings. With two outs and Anthony Rendon on fist base up comes Jayson Werth:

As soon as the ball flew off Jayson Werth’s bat with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday at Nationals Park, Anthony Rendon turned and took off from first base.

The ball rolled into the left field corner, and Rendon wasn’t stopping after he rounded second. The right arm of third base coach Bobby Henley spun like a windmill. And once Rendon ran through home plate to secure the Nationals’ 5-4 walk-off win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Werth pumped his fist around second base and ran toward his teammates.

A very exciting ending to a very exciting and close faught game. Rendon and Harper both made plays that were outs that could have easily lead to runs. It was fun to be back in the park.

Ryan Zimmerman crosses the plate after his two run home run

Teddy and Abe greeting the crowd

Jayson Werth is mobbed by his team mates after his double to win the game.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill — Fantastic Performance

What an absolutely incredible show. Audra McDonald becomes Billie Holiday. From the first moment she steps on the stage McDonald is Billie Holiday. The set is actually a night club. And there are actual audience members that are the audience in the club. The rest of us had to sit in regular seats.

About 15 minutes before the show actually starts a trio comes out and starts playing — Shelton Becton on piano, Clayton Craddock on drums and George Farmer on bass. They are execellent. And then suddenly McDonald is on stage.

From Entertainment Weekly:

The most remarkable aspect of McDonald’s performance comes at the very end, just after she exhales the last notes of the elegiac ‘’Deep Song.’’ Instead of retreating backstage before the curtain call, she remains at her microphone and the lights are dimmed before coming up again. And in the blink of that blackout, the actress transforms once more. The light and vitality return to her eyes, along with the familiar glow. It’s Audra McDonald before us now, accepting heartfelt thanks for one of the most exquisite and haunting performances we’re likely to see on stage this year.

From the Huffington Post:

She’s offering the superb vocalizing as Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, and since this is a limited engagement, anyone who has an interest in seeing five-time Tony-winning McDonald give the performance of her career had better get to Circle in the Square pronto. Indeed, anyone with the slightest curiosity about hypnotic acting should leave for the venue this very minute.

These two reviews give a good idea of just how incredible McDonald is. It is also a very sad story of an incredible talent that died far too young.

It is also a performance that took my breath away. This becomes the fifth such performance I’ve been to since 2009 when I started going up to New York on the bus.

Here are the other performances with links to my post about them:

Exit the King


Kinky Boots

The Glass Menagerie

The Heavens Open Up — Twice

Two huge storms have come through DC in the past two days.

Monday the storm struck on my ride home from work. The skies had darkened as I was walking to the Metro from work. As the train moved above ground after Union Station, the rain hit. It was coming down really hard. When the train reached the NOMA station and opened its doors everyone by the doors got soaked. The rain was coming down sideways and that's why people got wet.

 I had to wait at the Rhode Island Avenue stop for about 10 minutes until the rain abated.

Here are a couple of pictures from my wait at Rhode Island Avenue.

The second day of storms started yesterday afternoon. These were earlier in the afternoon then the ones from Monday. There were a couple of waves of these storms that lasted until evening. But the worst of it came down around 2 or so.

Here's what the storm looked like from out an window at my office.

The one plus of these storms is that the heat and humidity has finally broken.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Love Fireworks and I Really Love 4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall

I went down to the Mall for the July 4th Fireworks. This time I did something a little I got on to the grounds of the Washington Monument.

I think in the 30 plus years I've been in Washington I can count on one hand the number of times I've missed them. To me this is one the quintessential experiences of living in Washington. To me it wouldn't be July 4th without seeing them.

And it's not seeing fireworks unless you can feel them in your chest. If you can't feel the explosions in your chest you're not close enough to them.

So here are a few shots of this July 4th celebration on the Mall.

More Fireworks!

As I said I was on the grounds of the Washington Monument this year. There was a large set of speakers playing music. At the start of the fireworks display the songs being played were really random. Didn't seem to have much of a tie in to July 4th or anything for that matter.

But finally they got it right. Here are three excerpts including the grande finale.

Playing Catch Up

I'll be playing catch up over the next few days. It's been a very busy time. The 4th of July and then heading out to celebrate my uncle's 90th birthday. Also toured around the town I grew up in. That was strange and I'll talk more about that as well.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Another Nats Game

It's a little toasty tonight. 86 but feels like 96. But that doesn't stop the president's race. Abe wins!

At the Bullpen by Nats Park Watching World Cup

They set up a screen to show the US match. 

Bryce is Back

Bryce is back in the Nationals' lineup. How appropriate because it's Bryce Harper bobblehead night!

Let's go Bryce and let's go Nats. 

Tried to post this using the Blogger app for my iPhone. Per usual it didn't post. In general, in my opinion, the app is not very good at all.