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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 22,301

Journal Archives

A bluebird wants inside my house!

We have a bluebird nest about 50 feet below the house and normally they are happy living there. But this morning there has been one male bluebird flying at the windows and hanging off the screen in the library where I spend most of my time.

One window, the one he started flying at first, doesn't have a screen on it. I took it out last summer when our house air conditioner was out of service so we could put a window unit in. Since the mesh needs to be replaced, we didn't put the screen back in. At first I thought the bluebird was trying to eat the spiders that live on that window, but he doesn't seem to be doing that.

He keeps flying back and forth between various windows and the trees near the house. Now he's brought a buddy - I can't tell if it's another male or a female.

Obamacare saves the day again!

A couple my husband and I have known since their college days just ran into a major problem. Both have significant health issues and just recently were approved for full disability. They were both on Medicaid and have been trying to catch up with their checkups. One pressing need is for the husband to have his eyes checked - he's been having trouble seeing clearly enough to read. He had an appointment this week for that checkup and my husband was going to give him a ride to the eye doctor.

We got a call this morning - they had gotten a notice that their Medicare was cancelled. BOOM! No coverage at all. They were in complete panic. Their medical bills would run in the tens of thousands of dollars a year if they didn't have coverage. They had no idea what to do on such short notice and they have no computer connected to the internet.

I spent a few minutes looking up contact information for them. Gave my husband the toll free numbers for HealthCare.gov and for the Florida managed care system. They called the first number and got coverage set up. Even though they only get about $1800 a month in disability - and I believe that is their only income - they will have to pay $115 a month for a silver package. They went for the higher quality plan to reduce their out of pocket expenses.

I'm sure part of the problem with their Medicaid coverage is Rick Scott's refusal to use the Medicaid expansion in the ACA. Since they vote Republican, I won't discuss health coverage with them but I told my husband he should mention it to them so they can think it over.

I'm really happy they can get healthcare. Without the ACA they would be completely uninsurable due to their health histories. I hope they appreciate that - and I hope the SCOTUS doesn't take away the help they are getting to pay their premiums. Without a subsidy, they would not be able to afford insurance at all!

Working with very old negatives and slides

I've posted about some of this before but I will add updates as I work with the old film I have from my father.

My Dad took lots of pictures over the years, but he didn't store his slides or negatives - or even the prints from them - very well. Some slides are in old leatherette boxes, some were just thrown loose into drawers, sometimes in baggies, sometimes in paper envelopes. The negatives are even worse - many were in paper envelopes, some in the original ones from the developers.

But the worst was the cache we found in his dresser drawer. Here is a partial inventory:
11 reels Univex 8mm cine film - 2" to 2-3/8" reels. Some are very curled side to side, some are held closed with tape, some have lengths just hanging out.

8-9 rolls 35mm negatives, unknown number of exposures. Very tightly coiled, some very brittle. Need unrolled and flattened, maybe scanned.

Under the 8mm film were newspaper clippings from 1939. Other negatives and prints found in the drawer date from the late 1930s and 1940s - pictures of dowtown Tampa, Florida in the late 1930s and baby pictures of my oldest sister taken in 1946, for instance.

3 rolls undeveloped Kodak Plus-X PX135 - 36 exposure film

1 roll undeveloped Kodak Super XX 135 - 20 exposure film

2 rolls undeveloped Panchromatic (made in Belgium) exposed, unknown number of images

1 roll undeveloped Agfa A-8 exposed

There were also a number of individual medium format negatives just loose in an envelope along with some contact prints of some of the negatives but not all. Those I have scanned (without cleaning). They date from the late 1930s by the cars in some images, and the age of my uncle in a couple of them. Some of those negatives are of historic interest and they have been lent to the Florida Photographic Archives to be scanned.

After talking to the experts at the archives I tried to work with the tightly coiled negatives. I put them in room temperature purified water. So far three rolls completely disintegrated. When the archive experts looked at those, they didn't give me any hope of recovering them so I was not surprised.

One roll was too fragile to hang to dry but it held together enough for my husband and I to lay it out full length on a clean white cotton sheet. We can see images but who knows what will happen when it dries?

Two full rolls are in decent shape and are hung up in the upstairs bathroom to dry. The other rolls were groups of short strips - they are hung up also.

Progress of sorts!

Florida's top elections official under fire on two fronts

Florida's top elections official under fire on two fronts

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau April 8, 2015 Updated 12 hours ago

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections official is in big trouble with two key groups: state legislators who write the voting laws and county election supervisors who run elections.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner can't afford to alienate either constituency as Florida heads toward a presidential election in 2016, when the eyes of the nation will again be on the biggest battleground state.

Lawmakers blasted Detzner on Wednesday for fighting their plan to let people register to vote online by October 2017. Elections officials were livid to learn Detzner released private data on more than 45,000 voters, including judges and police officers -- and didn't alert them immediately.

Detzner's office acknowledged the security breach on so-called high-risk voters -- who should have been exempt from disclosure -- included judges, police, firefighters, prosecutors, public defenders, and crime victims and their family members, among others.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2015/04/08/5736012/floridas-top-elections-official.html#storylink=cpy

The three questions that I had immediately - when even the Republican dominated Florida Legislature is dubious of this guy how can he be effective? Why hasn't the information about his department's security breach made headlines all over the country?

And the most important question I have - if his department is that incompetent at controlling private information on individuals how can we trust them to run elections at all, much less online voting?

I have a new but hidden cat

No, not the cat named Lily that I thought I was going to adopt. Some friends of my husband had to reduce the number of their cat at least until they can move out of the decrepit mobile home to another location. So he agreed to adopt "Blackie" a adult neutered black male cat with one eye. The description I got was that he spent most of his time outside, didn't answer to his name and would eat anything.

My husband brought him home Monday afternoon. He had set up the bathroom upstairs for the cat with food, water and a litter box. My plan was that we would leave him in there for a few days, let my cat interact through the door and take it from there. My cat went upstairs but seemed unaware there was another cat in the house.

Yesterday we had an appointment in town. Without telling me my husband left the door to the bathroom where Blackie was living open. When we got home, Blackie was no where to be found. We still have not seen or heard from Blackie. We've looked all over the house and haven't seen the cat. Although we have a cat door to the outside, Blackie doesn't know where it is or how to use it.

Upstairs, Blackie only had access to the bathroom, the hallway and my husband's office. The way down the stairs is completely open, but Blackie was very frightened, in a new house with new people and the smell of an unknown cat all around. My cat has not reacted at all, so he's not giving us any clues to where Blackie can be.

I don't think Blackie has made it down the stairs. I think he found some place upstairs to hide that my husband hasn't found.

My only theory at this point is that Blackie crawled up inside the recliner in my husband's office as a place to hide. But we can't get to the back right now and even if we could we wouldn't be able to see all the crevices a cat could hide - we know this from past experiences.

We're still putting fresh food and water out and my husband can check the litter box to see if it's been used - but my cat can now get in to use/mark it so that may not help.

At this point, I am not sure what to do to find Blackie and try to make him more comfortable here.

Found some 60-70 year old negatives and 8mm film!

Some stuff from my Dad that he had tucked away in his dresser. None of us ever even knew he had a 8mm camera - but the camera was in the drawer, too. There might still be some unexposed/undeveloped film in the camera, but that will have to wait for my next trip down.

The 8mm film is going to a local camera place that has the equipment to scan frame by frame, clean the images up and put onto DVDs. This stuff is in terrible condition since it was stored badly for decades in a Florida house with no air conditioning. I'll discuss it with the technicians, but if they can get anything off of the film it will be a gain since no one alive has ever seen it before.

So far I have been able to get three rolls of 35mm negatives uncurled and into negative pages. It's far too curled to scan, so I am weighting the pages to flatten the film and hoping I can work with them in the future. What I can see of the images seem to be of my older sister as a baby in 1946, so we're talking nearly 70 year old negatives! I can identify some frames from the old prints we have of her as a baby - but we only have one or two of the images from that roll of film so it will be exciting to see what other pictures are on there.

The rest of the negatives are too tightly coiled to uncurl. I'm taking them to the camera place, too. Even though I have the technology to scan them, I don't have the equipment or supplies to uncurl them. I've researched on the internet suggestions for how to uncurl old film, but I think I will be better off letting the professionals work with this stuff. Even if all they do is get it flat enough for me to scan, that will make me happy.

One roll may be old nitrate film - it is very brittle and the edges are disintegrating. I'm scared to touch that one again.

There were several rolls of never opened film, both 35mm and some called Panchromatic on fairly wide spools. I'm not sure what size film that is. And there are also come rolls of each that seem to have been exposed but never developed. I'll see if I can get them developed and see if there is anything on them.

Another clue as to the possible dates of some of these things - under the 8mm reels were a lot of clippings of a trip my Dad as a Boy Scout took to the 1939 World's Fair. His entire troop and a Sea Scout troop traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, took a Coast Guard vessel to New York, arriving just as a German ship was escorted out of New York Harbor. This was just after Germany invaded Poland and Germany and the US broke off diplomatic ties. My Dad told us that out to sea the Scouts could see other ships waiting to escort the German one out of US waters.

A last clue is that none of this stuff seems to date to as recent as when I was born (1952). That year Dad started his own business and the family had to move out of the company owned mine town and into a house of their own. I suspect the birth of a third child on top of all of that stressed his finances and time so he didn't have money to develop the film or continue his photography.

Manannán Mac Lir - the Celtic Sea God has been found!

The statue made by a Game of Thrones designer that had been part of a sculpture trail in Ireland was stolen by religious fanatics some time back. The damaged statue was found a couple of weeks ago!

Manannán Mac Lir: Games of Thrones sculptor's statue found

23 February 2015 Last updated at 18:36 GMT

A 6 ft sculpture of a Celtic sea god that was stolen from Binevenagh mountain, near Limavady, in County Londonderry has been recovered by soldiers on a training exercise.

Manannán Mac Lir, which is made out of fibre glass and stainless steel, was stolen last month.

BBC News NI's Keiron Tourish reports.

No more to the printed story but there is a video at the link.

ME-TV is running a Columbo episode with Leonard Nimoy as the villain!

Season 2, Episode 6 - "A Stitch in Crime" (11 Feb. 1973). "A surgeon has an ingenious plan for murdering his partner in a research project, but a nurse catches onto the scheme."

Ah - Me-TV is running a tribute O Leonard Nimoy. They just started a Twilight Zone with him!

Spicy without heat - my homemade sweet curry powder!

As I've gotten older I've gotten more and more sensitive to capsaicin - the stuff that makes peppers hot. Anything on the Scoville scale not only blisters my lips, it makes me sick for a couple of days.

So I thought my days of enjoying curry dishes were over - but then I found a recipe for a sweet curry. I mixed some up last week and tonight tried it for the first time. Yum! The chicken curry I made was not anything special, but the curry mix was great. It still has a kick, just not a capsaicin kick.

Here is what I mixed up:

3 teaspoons powdered turmeric
2 teaspoons powdered coriander
1.5 teaspoons powdered cumin
1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamon
3/4 teaspoon powdered mustard
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered nutmeg
11/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
(optional) 1/8 teaspoon cayenne (obviously I left this out)

For dinner tonight I diced a small sweet onion, cooked it in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. At some point while the onion was cooking, I added about 1.5 teaspoons of my curry powder. Then I stirred in 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken breast (that's what I had in the freezer, I could have used raw chicken breast cut up instead, it would have had plenty of time to cook through) and some College Inn Thai Coconut Curry Broth (the recipe I was improvising from used coconut milk, which I didn't have). Simmered that for a while then added a 16 ounce bag of frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). Simmered until the vegetables were just cooked and broth was reduced. Stirred in a small container of vanilla yogurt (should have been plain, but apparently the local supermarket doesn't carry plain - or my husband can't find it). Served it over brown rice cooked with more of the College Inn broth. Mango chutney on the side.

My original worry was that the curry mix would be too sweet - not at all! It was very spicy and had a nice kick, but not that unpleasant burning that hot peppers give. Even the sweetened vanilla yogurt didn't make it too sweet and just blended with the other flavors.

I can eat curry again! Maybe never again in a restaurant so long as this "spicy means hot" trend is going, but I can make my own!

Simon's Cat Valentine's Day video - Butterflies

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