Monday, November 1, 2010


It just hit me when I was taking Samson around the block for a post-work walk. I retired from the Navy three years ago today. Wow. Sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday and other times it seems like it was a lifetime ago!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


It was a heck of a week. I was in Cincinnati from Sunday-Friday for a business meeting. On Saturday morning we dropped Samson off at his happiest place on Earth for an overnight of boarding. After I dropped Samson off, Deirdre and I headed to Livonia for a wedding. The daughter of one of my cousins was getting married to a wonderful man named Stephen. Dee and I stopped in to see a couple of our nieces and a nephew, before we changed into our "Sunday go to church" clothes for the wedding.

The ceremony was officiated by my cousin Tom, who is a Catholic priest. The service was moving and the bride and groom could not have looked any happier. At the reception, I was hauled out to the dance floor my one of my aforementioned nieces, where I danced the Locomotion, the Chicken Dance and a few other dances I had never heard of before. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Deirdre and I stayed at a nearby hotel on Saturday night, and we hit the road for GR a little after 8AM. As is typical for us with a morning road trip, we stopped at a nearby McDonald's to grab a quick breakfast. The McDonald's we chose was on the way to the freeway and I assumed that it would be like most other McDonald's we have visited. Well, I was wrong. I walked into the restaurant and there were two older men a head of me waiting to make their order. The first person, let's call him Dave, ordered his breakfast and then stepped back from counter. He made eye contact with me and said, "Is that your red car in the parking lot? It looks like the new Fiesta, but it is not." I told Dave, "No, that is not my car." Dave then walked into my personal space, tapped my arm with his hand and said, "Well, I have a Mercury Marquis, and it gets lousy gas mileage. They are discontinuing the car because nobody wants a car that gets 14 miles to the gallon. See that Marquis in the lot? It is like mine, but that is not my car. I am trying to sell it, but nobody wants a car that gets 14 miles to the gallon" I took a step back to re-establish my personal space between myself and Dave and said to him, "Thanks. I can see why you are having a hard time selling it."

The next elderly gentleman, call him "Bill," made his order then stepped away from the counter, and then it was my turn. I placed a breakfast order for myself and Deirdre and we waiting for the McDonald's employee to fill the order. I stepped away from the counter and Dave reengaged me. He said to me, "Yep, that Marquis gets terrible mileage. I want to sell it, but nobody wants a car that gets 14-15 miles to the gallon. I got a great deal on it, but now I just want to sell it. I can't keep gasoline in it for very long" Dave once again violated my personal space to share that information with me, and he touched my arm again. I tried not to look annoyed, though I was, as in the span of about 2 minutes, this person I did not know tried to strike up a conversation with me and he felt that it was perfectly acceptable to tap my arm to make a point about his trouble selling a Mercury Marquis. Once again I stepped away from Dave and said to him, "I am sorry to hear that you are having a hard time selling that car. Dave got his breakfast order and walked away from me... finally.

Now, it was Bill's turn. Bill got his order and started to walk out of the restaurant. Bill looked at me and said, "Is that your Fusion in the lot? I have a Fusion and I helped my brother buy one. I am a Ford employee and I got him a deal on the Z program." I told Bill that the Fusion in the lot was not mine and walking out the door he said, "It is a great car."

What struck me is that these two people thought nothing of asking me which car was mine and that Dave thought it was acceptable to tap the arm of a stranger. And to touch my arm not just once but twice. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but it was just plain weird this morning.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another reason to Relay

A few days ago, I blogged about the 2011 East Grand Rapids Relay for life. Just a few days later, a good friend sent me the note below (names and locations changed to protect privacy):

Hi Paul,

Just wanted to give you an update, unfortunately a bit of bads news: a few weeks ago Amy noticed a lump in her right breast and had it checked out right away. She has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The good news is that every single subsequent piece of information since then has been the best that it can be, and her condition is expected to be curable. She is having three chemotherapy treatments, to be followed by radiation, and expects to be done by Christmas. Everything is being done at the hospital in Atlanta, which is simply one of the best places in the world for this kind of treatment. Also she has a very positive attitude and is not too crabby, which is a good sign! So while she can't travel overseas for a few months, she will basically be OK for other activities, and can continue to travel between Atlanta and Charleston. Her first session was almost three weeks ago and she did quite well despite a small adverse reaction to one of the drugs. The next session is Wednesday; I am heading out tomorrow to be with her for the treatment (she went back to Atlanta yesterday). We are coming back to South Carolina on Saturday and will be here until the next treatment in early Nov. The worst thing so far is that Amy had to get her hair shaved off today because it had started to fall out quite badly. More than anything this has gotten her depressed about the situation, but we keep reminding each other that it's a lot better than any of the alternatives. It is amazing how effective the treatments are today. Amy is lucky because she was an early stage one person when she started her treatment. The tumor, by the way, is now indetectable, after just the first chemo treatment.

Needless to say we have been crazy for the last few weeks. Amy got the diagnosis as our household goods were halfway between Atlanta and Charleston. Half of our things are still in boxes but we're getting there.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I wanted you to know what's going on. I will keep you updated. We are confident that Amy's condition is completely curable and neither of us is very worried that the therapy will not work.


I am reminded once again how fragile life is and how I must do everything I can so people like Amy can have more birthdays.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More birthdays

Last night I attended the first committee meeting for the 2011 American Cancer Society East Grand Rapids Relay for Life. I will once again be the Logistics Coordinator for the Relay. 2011 will mark my third year as the Logistics Coordinator and I am looking forward to the Relay. For most of the rest of the Committee, their work happens before the Relay, but the majority of my work is done at the Relay. I am tasked with creating the field layout, communicating that layout to the teams and committee members, then I am in charge of executing the layout. The first year I did this work because one of my neighbors, who is a cancer survivor, asked me to help. She said to me, "You military people are always so organized. You would be a great Logistics Coordinator." I agreed to help, but I thought I would then move on to something else.

Well, I did move on to something else. I accepted a new position with GE Aviation which would take up even more of my time and I decided that my first year supporting the relay would be my last. Then, I found out one of my former shipmates and close friend, Bob, was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Bob was diagnosed in November, 2009 and he was told that he had a year, maybe 6 months to live. The doctors were wrong. Bob passed away on 12 February, 2010. I dedicated my work for the 2010 Relay to Bob's memory, and I also decided that I would continue to work the East Grand Rapids Relay for Life as long as I am amble.

I am going to work the 2011 Relay and make it better than the very successful 2010 Relay. I am going to keep working to fight back against cancer so that there will be more birthdays for those affected by cancer.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Last days of Summer, 2010

It has been an interesting summer for us. In January, we purchased a cottage in Au Sable Township, just south of Oscoda, with 50 feet of beach front on Lake Huron. We named the cottage "East of the Equator," for obvious reasons. We needed to make some repairs to the property, chiefly new windows, installation of a slider where a door used to be and new flooring. That project was completed in the spring and we moved into the cottage in May, just before Memorial Day. We then spent the next few weeks getting the chi right in the cottage. We did our best to spend every weekend that we could there and we were pretty successful in that endeavor. We spent the week of the Fourth of July there, and Deirdre spent the last week of July and the first week August up there with Samson.

We just spent the week of Labor Day at the cottage, where we shared the first few days of our vacation with our friend Sue. We continue to learn our way the Oscoda to the north of us and Tawas to the south of us. There is definitely a different feel in Oscoda/Tawas. Life is more relaxed and people just don't seem to worry about too much. We are planning on spend a few more weekends there as fall approaches as the trees are already starting to turn from green to red and yellow.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

We miss her still

Three years ago today, we said goodbye to Allie. She was kind, loving and a little mischievous. However, a finer dog you will never know.

The last few years of her life were difficult on us and her, but she was always a good dog. We miss her still.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bald Faced Hornet

Last weekend at the cottage, I noticed a nest attached to the soffitt at under the northwest corner of our cottage. The nest was about the size of half of an American football, and it was a mottled gray in color. I thought about removing the nest myself, but I saw an ad in the Oscoda Press for Dad's Pest Control. I gave the number on the ad a call and Mike answered the phone. He said that he would be able to get to the cottage on Wednesday and take a look at the nest. On Thursday afternoon I called Mike back to find out of he had made it to the cottage to remove the nest. The conversation went like this:

Mike: Yes, I did get to your property. It was a good thing you called me. The nest was a bald face hornet's nest. They are particularly nasty and ill tempered hornets. The will sting you without provocation. I removed the nest and you are fine.

Me: Thanks, Mike!

Mike: Also, since we have a minimum charge, I also sprayed for ants and beetles around your house.

Me: Mike, I really appreciate that. What do I owe you? Can you e-mail me an invoice or a bill?

Mike: I am pretty bad with paperwork. If you don't get anything from me by Monday, give me a call.

Me: Mike, I will. Thanks again for removing the nest and spraying for ants. I will use you again.

This is sort of how it goes in Oscoda. Nothing moves that quickly and people sort of do things at their own pace. It is one of the reasons we love it up there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Once again, Comcast has taken time from me I can never get back. In the mail on Monday, I received two digital converter boxes which I needed to install in order to be able to continue to receive all the digital channels. Following the directions in the box, I installed the converter box on the TV in my bedroom as well as a TV in my basement. I received an error message on both TVs telling me that I had to call Comcast to active the digital box. I called Comcast and after 10 minutes waiting for a technician, I was able to activate the digital box and use the Comcast remote (which is a cheap piece of junk) in my bedroom, but I was unable to activate the box and use the digital remote for the TV in my basement. I tried all 12 codes listed for Sony (the brand of all my TVs) but none of them worked. I also tried to capture the code from the TV using the Comcast remote but that did not work, either. The technician told me that Comast has found that some of the remote have been faulty and did not work, and that she would forward my call to Billing in order to have a new remote sent to me.

I then sat on hold for 32 minutes and a then a person from Billing tried to help me. He asked me if I had followed the directions to program the remote, which I told him I had and that I was walked through the programming with the previous technician. I told the technician what the first technician had said to me, that Comcast was having problems with some of the remotes that were sent out. He said that was untrue, that Comcast would never knowingly send out remotes to the digital boxes that were defective. He asked me to try one more time to program the remote, and I obliged. I repeated the attempt to program the remote which did not work. I said to him that I was done doing anything more with the equipment that had been sent to me and that I wanted a digital box and remote sent to me. He said that he would, and I told him that I was going to throw out the equipment that did not work. He told me not to do throw the equipment away as I would be charged for the equipment. I asked him what I should do with it. He then told me that I could drop it off at a Comcast center, or be sitting at home and wait for a technician to get it, or I could ship it back via UPS.

I told the tech that under no circumstances would I take time out of my day and drive to a Comcast center, nor would I wait for a technician to get the box. I told him I would be happy to put the box and the remote in a plastic bag and leave it on my front porch for a Comcast technician to pick it up. He said I should not do that as if the equipment is not picked up or is missing when the technician shows up that I would be charged $30. He once again offered to send me the pre-paid shipping paperwork, which I told him to do. I told him that the defective box will sit in my basement until a UPS delivery person comes to my house, and I happen to be here, so I can give it to UPS.

On Monday night, I spent an hour and a half trying to get these two cable boxes to work and at the end of it all, only one set of the equipment Comcast sent to me works. I am then told that I have to be further inconvenienced and take the time and effort to return the defective equipment to Comcast. I told the technician that I will be happy to leave the defective box on the porch for Comcast to get it and I was told not to leave the box on my front porch. I was then asked to take up my free time and take the box to a UPS store and ship it back to Comcast. I will not do either. The defective box will sit in my basement until a UPS delivery is made to my house, and I happen to be home when it happens. I will not be charged for this defective equipment. If Comcast really wants the equipment back, they can come get it at my convenience.

To their credit, both the people I spoke to tonight were polite and apologetic, but at the end of the day, I was sent defective equipment. I was asked by a company to whom I am paying for a service to be further inconvenienced to return their defective equipment. The defective box will sit in my basement until I happen to be home for a UPS delivery, or until the sun grows cold. Hopefully, the next digital box will work. I do not want to repeat again what happened to me Monday night.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

East of the Equator

OK, I have had to do a lot of explaining the past few weeks. Since Deirdre and I moved into our cottage, I have made some postings on this blog as well as on Facebook describing our time there. I have had a few colleagues at work and Navy friends who have been perplexed by the name of our cottage on Lake Huron. Our cottage is aptly named "East of the Equator, which is a magical place where it is always a quarter past five." I served as a Surface Warfare Officer for 22 years, shot more stars and sunlines than I can remember. For two years, I was the Navigator of USS FLETCHER (DD 992), a SPRUANCE class destroyer, which required me to take and pass a Navigator and Celestial Navigation course. I am well versed in celestial and terrestrial navigation and I know that technically, one cannot be east of the equator. Well, there is such place just east of the equator if you want to disconnect from the world, watch the sun rise each morning, the moon rise at night from time to time, run your German Shepherd Water Dog into Lake Huron so he can chase Chuckit, and get 90 cent drafts of Killian's Red in a frosted mug at the VFW. Our cottage is a place where we can unwind, unplug and relax. There is a clock over the stove that has nothing but fives on it. At our cottage, it is alway a quarter past five, just east of the equator.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jos. A. Banks

Today, I freshened up my wardrobe for work. Jos. A. Banks is sort of like the Art Van of men's clothing: there is always a sale. A little more than two years ago, just before I started my civilian career, I went to Jos. A Banks to get a new uniform: business casual. With Deirdre's help, I purchased dress dress shirts, pants, socks, and shoes, so I would fit into my new work environment. Since then. I have picked up a few new dress shirts and pants along the way, but I had not purchased any short sleeve sport shirts. Well, I was a sucker for a mailer I received a few days ago, which offered 40-60% off sport shirts. I went to the nearby Jos. A. Banks to look at the sport shirts. As luck would have it, shoes were 25% off as well. After looking at a couple of shirts, I purchased five short sleeve shirts, a pair of Johnston Murphy shoes and a pair of Cole Haan shoes.

I am a little funny about shoes. One of the pairs I wear to work were the shoes I wore when I graduated from high school. They are brown Sebago loafers, and they have been resoled more times than I can remember. However, the leather is still good (probably because I polish them often) and if I did not tell you that they were 30 years old you would never know. I also sometimes wear a pair of 20 year old black Bates dress shoes. These black shoes have also been resoled more times than I can remember, but they are aging well. I have added two new pairs of shoes to my collection and I am ready to start breaking them in as the summer progresses.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The origin of East of the Equator

I have been writing this blog for almost three years and recently I have had a few people ask me what I meant by the title, "East of the Equator." As most people know, and equator is a dividing line of a planet or celestial sphere, marking the point where north becomes south and south becomes north. Clearly, one cannot be east of a line that marks the north and the south. So, here is the tale that tells the origin of the term "East of the Equator."

When I was stationed aboard my first ship, USS NIAGARA FALLS (AFS 3), my ship left Guam (its homeport) and we deployed to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf for 6 months. During those 6 months, the ship supported a carrier battle group, and this required my ship to make frequent trips to Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Diego Garcia is located about 7 degrees south of the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Dee-Gar, as it is also called, was a place where my ship could pull into port for a few days, get food and supplies for the battle group, then head back north to replenish the battle group. At one point during this deployment, we pulled into Diego Garcia for a six week long stay, where repairs would be made to the ship as well as to allow for a brief rest for the crew.

While we were there, the Wardroom (the officers of a ship form the Wardroom) was given access to a mobile home located a few hundred feet from the Officer's Club. Because of its position in the world, sunrise and sunset times do not change much during the year, and because there is no industrial pollution anywhere near the island, the sunrises and sunsets are usually spectacular. Me and my fellow officers would frequently go to the trailer for a beer, head to the Officer's Club for dinner, and then return to the mobile home, which had a commanding view of the Indian Ocean as well as a small deck that ended at the water's edge. One of my responsibilities was to keep the trailer stocked with cold beer, soft drinks and snacks. Many an evening were spent at the trailer, enjoying a spectacular sunset and a cold adult beverage.

We ended up calling the trailer "The Hooch," as every good watering place needs a name. It seemed like time stood still on those evening spent at the Hooch, and it always seemed like we arrived at the Hooch a little bit after 5PM. One evening, we joked that at the Hooch is is always a "quarter past five," meaning that it was always beer o'clock there. I then mused that any place where it is always a quarter past five must be a mythical or even magical place, and the term "East of the Equator" was born. Since you can't technically be east of the equator, I thought if I invented such a place, then I can make it any time I want there.

Fast forward 24 years, and Deirdre and I are the happy owners of a cottage in Au Sable Township, with 50 feet of beach front on Lake Huron. Au Sable Township is located about 3 miles south of Oscoda. Many of the cottages along US-23 are sometimes given names by their owners and have a spiffy sign that has the aforementioned name of the cottage. We decided, even before we owned a place, that we would call the cottage "East of the Equator." We have a design in mind for our sign, we just now need to find a craftsman to make it for us. Look for more updates about our time at the cottage, East of the Equator, where it is always a quarter past five.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Last night, following a wonderful weekend in Oscoda, I started on an update to my blog. I typed a few paragraphs and realized that I needed to go to bed. I thought I saved my draft post last night. However, I looked for it in vain this evening. Clearly, I did something wrong and did not properly save my text. I will re-write my post tomorrow night. It has been a tough day for me vis-a-vis technology. I lost a long and witty blog post, and my BlackBerry phone has stopped working. I am heading to the Verizon store after work on Tuesday to get a new phone. Grrr...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oscoda musings

In the very near future, a moving van will darken my door and take a few belongings on a road trip to the eastern edge of the Enchanted Mitten. The aforementioned van will travel to Oscoda, Michigan, where they will stop at the cottage me and the HR Maven purchased back in January. We had some work done on the place in March and it is now ready for us to put our personal imprint upon it. Look for updates over the course of the next few weeks as we make this property our weekend get-away.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What she said

I am pitifully behind in updating my blog. I admit that I have fallen short of my own expectations. Click here for a visiting blogger's update for me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Later this month, April 28th to be exact, will make my second anniversary of employment with General Electric. In the past 24 months, I have transitioned from military service to civilian employment, and I have learned much about GE's aviation business. Tomorrow, I will start a new phase with GE, as I am changing jobs from working in Engineering Services as the Reliability Group Manager to working as the Section Manager, US Flight Safety for the Chief Engineer's Office. Yep, it is going to be an exciting week on the western plains of the Enchanted Mitten.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One "holiday" I dread...

A retread, but worth repeating:

Those of you who know my heritage know that I am half Irish and half German. My mother's family came over from County Mayo in the 1800s and settled in eastern Pennsylvania. The Irish did not stray far away from other Irish when it came to marriage, so I come from a long line of Hastings and Clancys. My father, however, is a first generation German. His mother and father emigrated to the United States in 1921. My parents met when they were

both stationed at Parks Air Force Base in California. They married and moved back to Michigan where I was born and raised.Well, my mother is quite proud of her Irish heritage and when I was growing up, St. Patrick's Day was always a cause for celebration. We would go to the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Detroit, we would wear green clothing and sometimes put on silly hats and pretend to be leprechauns. One part of the celebration was the evening meal, which invariably was Corned Beef and Cabbage. For the life of me, I think that the reason why so many Irish left the Emerald Isle is because like me, they could not stand this vile cut of seasoned meat.

Back to my story. Each St. Patrick's Day my family would look forward to eating what was essentially boiled shoe leather. My mother would fill a cauldron with water, throw in a hunk of corned beef, some potatoes, cabbage, maybe some salt and
pepper, perhaps some celery for flavor. How one could ever flavor shoe leather is beyond me, but she would try nevertheless. The aroma of this dank cut of meat would fill the house, so I would try to spend as much time as possible outdoors whenever this "dish" was being prepared. After my father came home from work, the table would be set and the carcass of beef would be removed from the pot, along with the soggy vegetables and potatoes. My siblings would rejoice at the thought of the meat, while I could barely keep myself from retching at the stench of it.

So, we would then take our places at the table, grace would be said and then my parents and siblings would relish in the consumption of this thoroughly proletarian dish. I was forced to eat this wretched excuse for a meal, so I would slather as much mustard as possible between two pieces of bread, then put a slice of this offensive meat there as well. I would then try to gulp this down, chewing as little as possible so that I would not have to taste it, much.

So, while I applaud the celebration of the birth of the patron saint of Ireland, to this day I cannot
stomach the smell, taste or appearance of corned beef. So tomorrow I will probably have a beer or two, maybe even a green one. I will leave the consumption of corned beef to the peasants.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 10 reasons why Oscoda is a cool place:

1. Amazing views of Lake Huron.
2. Bald Eagles fly by your window with stunning regularity.
3. Sugar sand beach.
4. Tait's Bill of Fare.
5. Northern Accents.
6. $1 draft pints of Killians at the VFW.
7. Sunrises.
8. Winky.
9. Wiltse's Brew Pub.
10. How everybody wants to be your friend.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Furnace Troubles

Friday afternoon started like any other. Deirdre got home first and started to tend to Samson's needs. She then noticed that it was a little chilly in the house. I got home as she was noticing the chill and she saw that thermostat was not working correctly as the batteries that powered it were exhausted. We replaced the batteries and the thermostat appeared to be working correctly again. However, there was no warm air coming out of the registers. I went downstairs to check on the furnace (it is powered by natural gas) and I heard the vent fan turning on, but it was apparent that the burners were not operating. I called Kevin (a good friend who is a plumber/HVAC technician) and he talked me through the process of resetting the furnace. Despite his directions, the furnace still did not work. Kevin said that he would come by in a few minutes and take a look at the furnace.

Kevin arrived a few minutes later and after checking a couple of things, he discovered the cause of the problem: the ignitor. The ignitor is critical to the operation of the furnace as it ignites the natural gas that is sent through the furnace. There was a small white spot on the bottom of the ignitor, so the internal safety interlocks in the furnace worked as designed. What that meant is that we would not have forced air heat until Saturday at the earliest. Kevin said that he would get an ignitor in the morning and install it.

We have two electric space heaters, which we quickly brought on line. We put one of the heaters in our bedroom, and the other was put in our living room. We also closed off all the doors that we could to focus the heat in the bedroom and living room. We also turned on our gas fireplace in the living room, which helped keep the temperature in the living room at 68F.
We went to bed around 11PM and we stayed quite warm in the bedroom as the space was more than up to the task to heat the room. When we got up a little before 7AM, the rest of house was chilly. The living room was 64F. We turned on the fireplace again, and that helped make the living room a little warmer. The back room in our house was a different story. During the night, the temperature in the back room of our house fell to 44F. It was warmer outside than it was inside our back room as the image above shows.

Kevin arrived a few minutes after this image was taken and in about 15 minutes he installed a new ignitor and the furnace was operating again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All I wanted was a mission...

... and for my sins they gave me one. As some readers of my blog have pointed out to me, my posts have been a little lacking the past few weeks. Well, there is a reason. My employer, GE Aviation Systems, has been keeping me busy the past few weeks as we have been chosen as the avionics lead for a new aircraft that is being built in Shanghai, China. The Chinese company is called COMAC, which stand for the Commercial Aircraft Company of China. This company is trying to do what Airbus did in the early 1970s, to build a commercial airliner to rival Boeing. As I have learned since I started working for GE, building an aircraft is a complicated business and you do not have any margin for error. COMAC is trying to build, fly and certify a commercial passenger aircraft in a little more than 6 years. COMAC is located in Shanghai, China, and in a few weeks, it appears that I will be living the in a 3 weeks there, 9 weeks in Michigan, 3 weeks there, rotation for a while.

After being deployed and away from home for so many years in the Navy, I was in no hurry to travel in my civilian career. However, when the General asks you to do something, it is really not a request. I will know for certain in a few days, but there is a 95% chance that I will be racking up a bunch of frequent flyer miles in the near term.

Friday, January 8, 2010

So far, so good...

Last night Suresh from the Microsoft Windows 7 Technical Support Center told me that I needed to do a "clean install" of Windows 7. When I installed Windows 7 the first time, it was an upgrade to Vista. This meant that all my applications and personal files were not affected by the installation. A clean install would require me to format my hard drive and install the Windows 7 operating system. After spending 15 hours the past few nights on the phone with Microsoft, I was ready to try almost anything. I had all my personal files and applications backed up, so I completed a clean install of Windows 7. Since I formatted the hard drive and installed Windows 7, my computer has been stable as a rock. I am still trying to make it crash, but so far, so good.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

East of the Equator Cottage

OK, a disclaimer. My blog has been pretty quiet the past few weeks and the reason why is that I took the bold step of buying Windows 7. Yep, I fell for Microsoft's advertising and thought, "This time, things will be different. This time, it will just work." I have the sad duty to report that despite the fact that the Windows 7 Support website checked my computer for compatibility with Windows 7 and told me that my computer can run on this operating system, I have experienced nothing but problems with Windows 7. My computer is stable for maybe 45 minutes or so, then I get the Blue Screen of Death with the same error code: 0X000000F7. I have spent a couple hours each night since last Friday on the phone with a Microsoft technician trying to solve this problem. As I type this entry, I am waiting for another call. This, dear reader, is why I have not done much blogging. I have spent my evening hours trying to fix something that is just supposed to work. I am telling you, my next laptop is going to be a Mac.

On a happier note, we are about to close on a cottage located on the shores of Lake Huron. It will be known as "East of the Equator." Below are a couple of image of the cottage:

And this is a view of the beach. Life will be good, just East of the Equator where it is always a quarter past five.