Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Parody and record jacket covers

The previous blog post contained some artwork I created in an art class I took almost 10 years ago. This post includes one of the other projects, a record album cover. The images are pretty simple stuff but are kind of cool in the creative sense.

The original artwork size matches that of a typical LP and as such was too large for the scanner to handle in one pass. I scanned and seamed these images together so there are several unwanted visual artifacts as a result. There is also a problem resulting from scanning and shrinking the image to note on the back cover. The image containing the numerous butterflies obscures the underlying object due to the rescaling. The image beneath is much more evident on the physical jacket cover.

Front cover:

Back cover:

Looking back at the design, I dropped the ball with continuity. The fact that the front cover is all computer generated collage images while the back cover is a mixture of computer generated, hand drawn, and magazine based print material. The logical connection between the front and back covers is a bit subtle but does exist. On the plus side, there is is a solid sense of my warped humor embedded in the project.

Note: I consider the back cover a parody, not satire, hence the usage of images from various sources. The original intent of the back cover artwork was to poke fun at the browser wars happening in the late 90's. There is no message about disapproval, which is would have in fact been contradictory to my beliefs at the time of creating the image.

Hip to bee hive!

I was monkeying around in the house this morning and found something from the past. About 8 years or 9 years ago, I was taking night classes at North Seattle. One of the classes was an art class for pen and ink. I recall that the class was actually a lot of fun, primarily because the instructor was quite the interesting character.

We had worked on a number of pen and ink exercises for the class. Sadly, I had thrown away most of the assignment results. Yet, there were two drawings that managed to survive. One of the surviving artifacts was an assignment to create an advertisement for a business. We were told to come up with a fictitious company and produce an ad for the product or service offered.

Usually, we used pen and ink, but in this case, we were to use digital tools. I remember trying to come up with an idea just by randomly trying things with the program. By chance, I came across a way to create hexagons and started lining them up. That flipped a bit in my brain and made me start to think of a honeycomb. My fictitious company would be a small apiary that sold honey.

I have one other piece of artwork left but need to piece together the scanned images as it is a bit larger. I'll post an image later if I can finish the jigsaw puzzle.

Obligitory stuff: This image is something I created from scratch and retain ownership of. Of course, feel free to copy (not that anyone would want to). Just provide attribution to the original author.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buckets, batteries, and bearings.

For the first day out from work, it was quite the busy day yesterday. I started off with trying to replace the bench seat in the truck. The old seat is totally worn out and is quite uncomfortable so I was attempting to swap in a pair of bucket seats. I was successful to the point of removing the old seat and installing the drivers side bucket. Unfortunately, the donor bucket seats from a Frontrunner have some differences. The mounting brackets for the drivers side seat will work on either side, driver or passenger. The passenger side is a different story. Toyota in their infinite wisdom decided to use a different bracket arrangement such that it won't fit on a standard 4x4. I'm not really sure why they changed the mounting bracket pattern for the Frontrunner because the 4x4 certainly uses a symmetrical arrangement. Tooling wise, it seems using the same arrangement would have been more cost effective but from some reason Toyota made changes. So, after two hours of fiddling around, I had to pull out the drivers bucket and put back in the old bench seat. Damn! Back to uncomfortable seats for a while.

Next up on deck was a trip down to Phinney Ridge with one of my brothers. He found a decent washer/dryer combo that someone was giving away for free. It was a first come first serve basis so we just had to hope we could get there in time. Unfortunately, it was a 30 minute drive and someone beat us to it by about five minutes. While we were sitting there where the washer and dryer had been, about 5 different trucks drove by looking for the same thing. These first come first served offers are a loosing deal. I guess I'm only out the gas money and an hour of time so no major loss.

As always, the story doesn't stop there. When we stopped to ask if the washer and dryer were still available, I shut the truck off. As we prepared to take off, the truck wouldn't start. I mean it was totally dead, not even a faint click from the starter solenoid. The battery is old but it hadn't given any signs of a weak cell. We were able to jump start it without any problems. I suspect the battery cells are fine, but there is probably an issue with a security mechanism in the battery. The battery came from Sears and had one of those remote operable kill switches. Basically, you can disable the battery internally so it doesn't supply any power as a theft deterrent when you park it at night. Well, I haven't used that feature in ages. I think the internal relay mechanism is going bad and inadvertently activated itself. That's probably why jump starting it worked so easy because the battery has sufficient power, but was simply isolated. Guess I'll have to buy a new battery as I can't have the damn thing activating at some inopportune time.

After all that hassle, we decided it was time to upgrade my washing machine with something better since the brother has been obtaining a number of washers recently. We stopped over at his house and I picked out a front loading unit that had some nice features. Keep in mind, since these are machines he has picked up for free, they all require repairs. This unit had a damaged bearing in the transmission. Fortunately, there was another similar machine that had a good bearing. So we loaded up both washers and brought them over to my house (being mindful of the bad battery in my truck). We spent the evening using the donor machine to repair the good machine. Basically, we had to remove the tub assembly from the donor and install it in the good machine. After a couple of hours we had a working washing machine. Let me tell you, those tubs are heavy! My back is a bit tweaked this morning as a result so I'll need to be extra cautious that I don't slip a disc.

I'm going to run a load of clothes through the washer this morning to see how it works. At a minimum, the front loader is way more water efficient than the water hog top loader I am replacing. I'm trying to be "green" to some extent. One other nice aspect is the front loader washer is much quieter than the Amana washer I'm replacing.

I still need to look for a new job but I have more repairs that need to be done around the house. Tonight, my brother will probably stop over again and we'll work on the pellet stove. That should help save a bit on the heating as a pellet stove is cheaper and more efficient than the natural gas furnace I have. Saving money is always good, especially when you are unemployed during the Holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ergonomic design of controllers

Yesterday, I was browsing around on the Internet for information about design history for games from the Golden Age. While looking into information about a game called "Crazy Climber", I stumbled across reference Dragons Lair for the Philips CD-I consoles. A few of the rustier neurons in my brain began to fire and I realized there was a CD-I console sitting in my spare bedroom. I had acquired a Goldstar CD-I 450 from a thrift store about a year ago for around $10 but never had time to tinker with it.

It only took a moment to find the CD-I console and drag it back into my workroom. Time for a quick check to see if it still worked. I popped in the Dragons Lair CD and hooked up the RCA composite signal into an old 1708 monitor from a C64 system. Hitting the power button yielded good results as the Philips logo popped up on screen. Unfortunately, Dragons Lair requires a Digital Video Cartridge (DVC), and more memory. Sadly, I don't have the DVC and doubt they would be easy to find, or even very affordable.

Okay, so I wasn't about to put the CD-I back in mothballs just yet. A quick scan of software turned up a NAMCO arcade collection CD. This turned out to be a bit more successful as the menu screen displayed the titles for 3 games: Galaxians, Ms PacMan, and Galaga. With a bit of messing around, I figured out how to use the controller. Machine to my dismay, the controller is almost useless. I doubt the controller I have was designed with gaming in mind. More than likely, it was intended for use with educational software so it isn't really fair to judge the design in such a manner. None the less, even for educational software, it still feels like a poorly thought out implementation.

The design of the controller appears emulate a mouse without the need for a flat surface. The controller is gripped in one hand and the thumb is used to operate the buttons. It has two buttons that surround a circular 4 way control pad. The two buttons function as selection buttons while the control pad moves the onscreen cursor in the corresponding direction. I do like the minimalistic approach to the design but other than that, it gets it all wrong. The shape of the controller body does not fill well in the hand and feels awkward. More specifically, the base portion of the controller does not follow the contour of my fingers well at all and feels out of place. The scaling contributes to this as the button placement seems to be laid out for a larger hand size while the length of the base handle feels like it was designed for a smaller sized hand. So what we end up with is a controller that doesn't feel like it works well for either a larger sized hand or for a smaller sized hand. Simply put, the button placement is too far apart for small hand while the base seems like it would be too small for a larger sized hand. Seems like the worst of both worlds.

The selection buttons are the key complaint though. My thumb would tire so quickly using this device that it wouldn't even be funny. Think about being a kid and playing thumb wars with someone for more than a few minutes. I'll pass on unnecessary muscle fatigue thank you!

In my opinion, a better design would have been to move the two selection buttons. The right button would have worked better as a trigger placed on the bottom side of the unit. This would make the motion feel more natural and less tiring. The amount of movement required by the thumb would be cut by a third. That savings of physical motion alone would have added substantially to the comfort of the controller.

Using a trigger button doesn't feel like a completely natural solution, as it would require a bit of training to coordinate properly. One main issue is that you still have to move the thumb between two different points which is wasteful motion. Maybe a dual stacked trigger beneath the controller, one trigger button for the pointer finger and the other for the index finger. This would allow selecting left or buttons with only constriction of a finger muscle. To reduce the thumb motion a stick could replace the existing 4 way disc. The disc currently requires that you lift the thumb to move to any one of the four different directions. Again, wasteful movement. Using a thumb stick would allow simply pushing in the direction of interest.

One other change would be to modify the contouring and length of the handle. A large groove for each finger would have helped the hand to quickly find a comfortable position. A minimal increase in the length for the base would also accommodate a larger sized hand but not overwhelm a smaller sized hand.

In all fairness, it's way too easy for me to complain about a design from the early 90's, especially considering I don't know what kind of budget the engineers had to work with. Still, I've seen some well designed controllers from that era so it's not like ergonomics was an unknown at that point. Of course, training the hand to use three fingers for my design suggestions would probably prove to be equally as difficult so my redesign isn't the most effective. Hence the probable evolution of the two handed controller. Just my two cents.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas lights for the flamingos

During the morning yesterday, I spent a bit of time updating my profile on LinkedIn. It's a fairly handy network for business connections. Hopefully, I can use the network to my advantage for finding a new job. I ended up tracking down a few workmates from about 20 years ago. That's actually a kind of cool thing finding people I worked with so long ago.

The sun was out yesterday so I spent part of the afternoon repairing my Christmas lights for the house. Some of the lights are the incandescent series style mini lights. Man, those are nothing but a pain. Each year, it takes half a day or more to repair the strings of lights due to bulbs being burned out. Yesterday was no exception. I have three strings of lights that only partially work. I may have to go with less lights than normal this year since finances are bad at the moment. On the positive side, some of the strings of lights are the new style LED lights which have been very reliable so far.

I managed to attach some lights to the rain gutters on the front side of the house. As of last year, I also put a string of lights on the plastic flamingos in the front yard. The flamingos always get attention from anyone passing by, especially when they are lit up with Christmas lights!

I'm not sure what I'll do today. The main problem is that I've got a million tasks to do, just not a lot of money to work with at the moment. Guess I'll figure out something as the day progresses.

So what is Geomancy?

Recently, I heard reference to the term Geomancy. I am familiar with the term but didn't really know much anything about it so I did just a bit of research. Like most things on the Internet, there is always a chain of searching that ensues. The pages I found talked about Geomancy, Aeromancy, and Necromancy. That made me wonder if all the natural elements had some form of magic pratices associated with them. Sure enough, there is also the art of Hydromancy and Pyromancy. Normally, I'd make some wise ass joke here (which I did but ended up editing it out) but I'd run the risk of offending someone which isn't my intent.

Reading about these magic practices made me curious about other religions and philosophies. I think I'll read a bit more about the Rada practices in Voodoo as it seems interesting, excluding the animal sacrifice concepts of course. Petro practices seem a bit on the darker side. Although I must say the concept of a zombi is kind of funk-ay! I think I'm having a flash back to watching the "Serpent and the Rainbow". Way cool movie!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bingo machines and assembly language.

Well, my contract ended on Friday so I'm out in the wild again. I have numerous ideas on things to investigate as career possibilities. Unfortunately, none are truly financially viable options.

For example, I've always loved pinball. In the distant past, I've fabricated several machines, albeit primitive machines. I've been tossing around the idea of work on a pinball prototype recently. Especially since there is only one manufacturer of pinball machines, Stern. It's an almost non-existent market but I definitely like the creative aspects of working with machines like this. There are opportunities for low level programming, artwork, and mechanical fabrication. Quite interesting indeed! My most ambitious project at this point has been to work on a prototype for a Bingo machine. A Bingo machine can be described as a sort of a pachinko machine implemented on a pinball playfield. I grew up seeing Bingo machines in the local taverns and never really had much opportunity to play them since they were primarily for gambling. Occasionally I would get a chance to play and always had a blast. While they don't have the action of a pinball, they have enough challenge to keep you coming back for more. My current prototype progressed to the point where I had a playfield, a workable ball return mechanism, and a very interesting mechanism to detect what hole in the playfield the ball had dropped through. I originally started the project in the early 90's but was stalled until the late 90s. I once again tackled the prototype and made some progress but stalled once again. It's been almost 10 years since I last worked on the prototype. There are many problems to resolve before it is usable but it looks like there is sufficient and affordable technology to implement what I couldn't do 10 years ago.

As for other ideas, I'd really like to get back into assembly language programming again. During the early part of my career, I spent considerable amounts of time working with a variety of different assembly languages for various CPUs. While high level languages are definitely the most effective and affordable solutions for projects, they aren't necessarily the most interesting. Assembly programming lets you get down to the bare metal and revel in the bits. Yes, it can be a nightmare to implement some feature or worse yet, to debug. But it truly is my language of choice. I'm going to take some time during my stint of unemployment and try to implement something in assembly. Specifically, I intend to work on a standalone Forth system to use for my Bingo machine prototype. The intent is to use something like a PC-104 system to monitor IO from all the little PIC processor nodes that I will use under the playfield to monitor each ball return hole. The PIC processors will detect when the ball passes and also control the RGB LEDs for the return holes. Ah, I'm off on a tangent again. Needless to say, I'm going to be doing some form of assembly programming during my free time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Long commutes and a failing furnace

What an evening I had last night! First, heading home from work, the commute was terrible. Some guy driving an emergency response vehicle apparently crashed into something at a bus stop. Traffic was so messed up it added an additional hour to my commute.

Once I arrived at home, it didn't improve much. The temperature in the house was still sitting at 51 degrees F so I had to start the furnace up for the first time this year. Of course, having not been run since last spring, it wouldn't start. When I turned it on, all it would do was run the blower. The electronic pilot light wouldn't start the burners. A diagnostic light was flashing indicating problems. I found some documentation about what the flashing sequence meant. It merely told me what I already knew, that the blower fan was starting before the electronic pilot was lighting the burner.

It took over 30 minutes of trying different things before I stumbled on a way to get the furnace started. There were some instructions about shorting a test pin on the logic board to 24 VAC to start some diagnostic test. After a few failed attempts, I figured out how to start the diagnostics and waited the test out. It was successful. After I put the access panels back on, the furnace started up without a problem. Well, at least I had heat finally. What a day it was yesterday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ice Station Zebra

And it gets colder! I've managed to keep from turning the heat up until now but it looks like I've reached the limit. I usually wait to turn the heat on until the first time the temperature in the drops below 52 degrees fahrenheit. Anything below 52 degrees F seems to allow excessive moisture to build up in the windows which would lead to problems.

The temperature in here this morning is 51 degrees F so I'll probably have to turn the heat on tonight. This is the longest I've ever been able to go without turning on the heat. In the past, I've only been able to make it through to the end of October before it dropped below 52 degrees inside the house. At least the sun is out this morning so the temperature will rise from this point so I won't have to deal with starting the furnace until tonight.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blue Monday

There is a lot of fog out this morning. If there's a lot of fog here at my house, there will be a lot more in some of the other areas I have to commute through this morning. Should be an interesting drive in to work. Hopefully the traffic won't be too messed up.

One more week left to the contract. Once work is over, I'll tackle replacing the bench seat in the truck. It's totally worn out as the springs are poking me in the back and the seat is partially collapsed. The second hand bucket seats I have are a bit worn but should be more comfortable. I just need to find some mounting hardware such as metric bolts for the brackets.

The other task I need to tackle is cleaning up the pellet stove and moving it into the house. The stove is really heavy so it will be quite the task to move. On the plus side, if it can be repaired, it will save a bit on the heating bill.

Not much else going on.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Decisions decisions.

I just watched an animated movie called "Beyond the Clouds." In my opinion, it was a fantastic science fiction flick. The flow of the movie was dead on. Longer sections of drama were lightly peppered with action. Overall, it had a melancholic feeling to it but it really was quite enjoyable. I'm not so good at understanding symbolism, but to me, there was a lot about friendship and carrying forth with actions. If you like science fiction, I'd highly recommend the film.

Watching the movie highlighted the point that I need to figure out where I'm going to go from here with my life. With my contract ending on Friday, I need to come up with a plan to move forward. Do I want to continue contracting? I'm not so sure about that. I really don't like being unemployed every six months to a year as contracts never seem to last longer than a year on average. The pay is good but being out of work for so much time is a bit problematic. Like everyone, I have some simplistic goals and being out of work at the moment interferes substantially.

For the time, I may need to simply find another contract to buy some time as I have at least two more items I'd like to acquire in the short term. One of those items is a common sense item, a smaller car. Currently, my 4x4 truck is pretty old with having 259000 miles on it. What's more, the gas mileage of the truck is not so good. It costs me about $50 a week to drive back and forth to work. A smaller car would pay for itself pretty fast. I've been eyeballing the Honda CR-X of some time now. They are an older vehicle as Honda stopped production in 94 I think but it I don't really mind. I don't need a new car as the montly payments are usually quite high and something older is usually easier to work on for repairs. The CR-X HF series actually got excellent gas mileage, upwards of 50 mpg. Compared to my 15 mpg with the truck, a guy could save a bit of money after gas creeps back up in price again next summer.

The other thing I'd like to acquire is a bit more childish. I've been wanting a motorcycle with a sidecar for a long time. Don't ask me why as I don't really know but I like the idea. I guess it just fits my personality or something. I'm quirky that way which accounts for why I've been single for the last 20 years. Not that I have anyone that wants to ride around with me but you never know. I might find a girlfriend some day who enjoys riding around. A guy can always dream.

Watching "Beyond the Clouds" brought back a few memories. In my profession, keeping the sense of humor managed is a requirement. As a contractor, one needs to present a reasonable level of professionalism, or at least attempt to do so. That choice has led to the need to suppress aspects of my sense of humor to a large degree. It haven't always had the same viewpoint though. In my younger days I was more driven by reactions to my surroundings. There are both good and bad points to that. It gives rise to more a more passion personality but it also leads to unique scenarios that reflect different priorities.

As an example, about 10 years ago I worked at a company that designed and manufactured scientific equipment for biological research. At times, there was considerable stress from the need to finish demanding tasks in unrealistic time frames. After you've spent several months working seven days a week for 12 to 14 hours at a time, the stress begins to creep out. In one instance, we were building an autonomous device for collecting data. The device was housed inside a metallic cylinder and was only opened when it required special servicing. I don't recall who it was exactly that sparked the idea, but several of us decided we should leave "our mark" on the product. A number of ideas were tossed about before we came up with the winning choice. When we were younger, toys were a bit different. Kids played with plastic guns and toy soldiers. One of the ubiquitous toys was the green plastic army man. Most every kid had the infantry man with the bazooka or the flame thrower. So, as luck would have it, someone still had one of those toy army men in their possession. We took nylon wire ties and strapped the army man to one of the circuit boards inside this nice little high tech device. I'm sure it was quite the surprise for the next engineer who opened the device when it required service. Regardless of the fact that it was far from professional, it's one of those things that shows some people still have a child hidden inside.

It didn't stop there though. About five years ago, I was working in a warehouse doing manual labor. High tech jobs were a bit hard to find at the time so I had to earn income through any means possible. Working in the warehouse was one of those types of jobs where stress builds from the typical politics that happen. I recall this young guy joining the company straight out of college. Management viewed this fella as a "golden boy". The term "golden boy" refers to someone who can do no wrong in the eyes of management. Golden boys are typically placed as the shining example of how everyone else should be. So there's this common feeling that the rest of us are being treated like we are incompetent jack asses. About half the workers were older fellas like me and we didn't find it too amusing to be degraded in such a manner. Anyway, at one point, we had to pack up some machinery to send to a new warehouse. The golden boy was sent off to manage the new warehouse. I was one of several grunts that had to pack the machinery into wooden crates for shipping. While packing up one of the larger machines, we hatched up the idea to toss in a few empty beer cans. Nothing like giving the new manager a little something to explain when the grunts in the new warehouse unpack the machine and find some empty cans from really cheap beer. It may seem like a strange thing to do but it served a purpose for letting off steam. Guess it's one of those things that you just had to be there to understand.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out of work again soon

Looks like I need to prepare for the hideous task of interviewing again as I was notified that my contract will end next week. This was unexpected turn of events as I had expected the contract to continue at least another full year or more. With a poor economy and the holiday season coming up, things aren't looking so good.

I'll probably have to pick a technology and try to refresh as I've been a jack of all trades recently. Currently, I'm looking into development for Windows Mobile or Windows CE as I like embedded and portable devices. My experience base is in the desktop originating with Win32 and eventually moving into .NET with C#. It's a good foundation but not enough to sell my skills as a mobile developer to any company.

Not much else is going on. There's a used pellet stove sitting in my garage that I have to find time to install in the living room. The cost of heating with a pellet stove is cheaper than natural gas so hopefully it will reduce my heating bill. In the past years, I've kept the house quite cold, typically around 54 degrees. I'm hoping I can warm it up a bit in here this year since I'm going to be out of work during the colder part of the year.

The other task I need to get to is replacing the seats in the truck. I currently have a bench seat that is completely worn out. My brother found someone giving away some bucket seats from another Toyota truck so I'll see if I can make them fit. The replacement seats are a bit worn too but at least the springs are fatigued. My current bench seat is very uncomfortable on the back because the springs are worn out and kind of poke a guy in the back. Maybe I'll tackle the installation attempt this weekend if it isn't raining.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The letter for today is "T"

Today's task are brought to you by the letter "T"! I ended doing stuff today like working with tires, telephones, and t-shirts. I feel like I'm on Sesame Street or something... dang! One task was to start replacing the tires on the truck. The tires are pretty worn out. I discovered just how little tread one of the tires had yesterday while I was coming down a very steep hill in the rain and had to stop. The truck didn't want to stop and almost slid past a stop sign into an intersection. So today, like it or not, I jacked up the truck and took off the tire that was in the worst shape. The tire I took off had almost no remaining tread. In fact it even had a section of the tire that was completely worn smooth with no tread at all. The plan was to run the tire over to one of the Les Schwab shops but I discovered they are closed on Sundays. I ended up stopping by this used tire shop on Aurora and bought a used tire for $45 without tax. The price was a so so deal for a used tire, $40 would have been better but I didn't feel like trying to bargain the price down further. I'll continue swapping tires one at a time for the next three weekends. I've got two good tires in my garage so I only need to buy one more tire. I could swap the tires all all in one go but I just don't feel like sitting in a shop for two or three hours waiting around. This way, I just take in the spare I have off, have them remount on the spot, and head back out. Today, it only took about 15 minutes so it wasn't too bad.

The next "T" task was fixing up the worthless phone setup I have in the house. I had patched together several different cordless phones for the different rooms in the house. Unfortunately, of the four cordless phones I had, only one worked without any problems. Two of the phones had serious problems and would only work occasionally. One of the phones received calls OK, but couldn't dial properly. It's always a challenge whenever anyone is over at my house and wants to use a phone. I have to explain how to use the phones which is too much hassle. Phones should simply work. So with that in mind, I went to Frys today and picked up a DECT 6.0 four phone cordless system. I replace each of the phones scattered about the house with the new handsets so things should work much better now. It will be nice to not have to explain to people about how to use the phones.

One of the other "T" related tasks was related to clothing. It's been a while since I bought t-shirts. My old ones were starting to show some wear and tear so it was time to buy new ones. Man, I ended up spending $50 on t-shirts and socks. I must be getting old or something because I've reached the phase where I think everything is expensive.

For a non "T" related task, I finished hooking up the audio receiver in the living room. I used the older Onkyo receiver for the living room so it was much easier to set up than last weekends A/V system setup task. There's still a bit of work to do but at least the LaserDisc system is hooked up and running.

One of the bad things that happened this weekend was my windshield on the truck was hit by a rock and now has a pretty big crack line in it. I was on the freeway when a minivan in front of me kicked up a pretty big rock. It hit the windshield on the drivers side and put a crack about fairly large crack in the glass. I doubt the windshield will last too long now as a crack that size usually increases in size rather rapidly. The police usually pull you over and write up an equipment violation on that pretty quick too so I'll probably have to buy a new windshield soon. Since I only have liability insurance on the truck, I'll have to pay for it out of pocket which will probably be pretty expensive. Oh well, sometimes things just don't go the way you expect or hope.

I won't even go into one of the other problems that happened yesterday as it kind of got my blood pressure and temper up a bit. That particular annoyance is handled though and is now out of the way so I can just forget about it. So much for a relaxing weekend! Well, there's always next weekend. I just have to tough the week out because I'm starting the week out in a worn out state.

I just remembered something else on the Farm that is not unfortunately a thing of the past. When I was a kid, I had a comic book collection up in my old room. Last time I visited the farm, I found the collection but didn't have time to bring them back with me. Unfortunately, they would have been sold in the auction today as I forgot to tell my sister to pull them off to the side and keep them. The comic books probably could have sold for more in a comic collecting shop though as I had some fairly old comic books such as some of the early "Iron Man" series. I recall that I started reading them somewhere around vol 70 or so. Seems that one of my brothers bought a number of comics for me as a Christmas present too. Oh well, I hadn't read the comics since I was a kid anyway.