I just pulled up a stool at the bar

I made an appointment at the Apple Store Genius Bar.

I was hoping they wouldn’t give me any grief for buying my new machine at MicroCenter. But, now that I think about it, it’s actually their fault. It’s not my fault that they no longer carried the machine…


They didn’t.

I told them my predicament, the Genius plugged in his special gadget and 15 minutes later, I was headed back to the car with OS 10.6.8 installed.

I like Apple.



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Hey, it’s not working!

Aahhh, the excitement of a new computer…

How quickly it begins to fade!

Before I bought my new laptop, I asked the salesman if this computer would run Snow Leopard (Max OS 10.6). After talking with the tech geeks in the back of the store, he assured me that it would.

So, imagine my surprise when I stuck in my Snow Leopard disk, clicked the button to install the operating system and received an error message that I have never encountered.

“OK…fine…there is more than one way to skin a cat.”

I changed the settings and rebooted the machine directly from the Snow Leopard disk.

Everything was going fine until a grey curtain would start slowly dropping down from the top of the screen letting me know that I had caused a kernel panic.

For the uninitiated, a kernel panic is a message that basically says, “Dude, you have really screwed up. You are freaking this machine out!”

I got my old laptop out and did a quick search on the ‘Net…

“Good…I’m not the only one.”

I then tried the method recommended by the author…

The machine replied, “Sorry…you can’t do that!”

I went back and found the last ditch suggestion. I tried it…

The machine basically said, “Seriously? Is that all you got?”

“You are kidding me! Am I going to have to return this machine?”

I was a little animated when I called MicroCenter…

“Hey, I asked you guys specifically if this machine would run Snow Leopard and I was assured that it would.”

I then described the difficulties that I had encountered.

I heard the tech guy’s keyboard clicking away while he pulled up my order, then pulled up the specs on my specific machine.

“I am on Apple’s website and it says that your machine is designed to run OS 10.6.6 through OS 10.7.2.”

“Then why can’t I install it on the machine?”

“What are you using?”

“The disk I bought at the Apple Store.”

“That’s the problem.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Your disk is the retail version of Snow Leopard.”


“That is OS 10.6.3. The machine will only run OS 10.6.6 or later.”

“Where can I get a later version of the operating system?”

“You can’t.”

“Then what am I supposed to do?”

“I’m afraid you will have to go to the Apple Store.”

New computers are SO FUN!!!


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My bank thought I was moving a little too fast!

When we got home from church this afternoon, I called Apple regarding the status of my order. I DID NOT mention my recent discovery at MicroCenter.

When I asked the young man what was the problem with my order, he replied that there were no funds in the account!


That gave me a little cause for concern because when I made the transfer, I confirmed that the money had been transferred from my checking account to the account that I use for purchases on the Internet. When I say that I confirmed it, I mean that I checked the balances in both accounts. The money had definitely been deducted from my checking account and had definitely been added to the Internet account.

I quickly headed down to the family room and logged onto my bank’s website.

The balances in both accounts were now back to what they were before I made the transfer!

After talking with the young man, we concluded that because I completed the transaction to purchase the computer within seconds of transferring the funds, I must have triggered some type of consumer protection mechanism against bank fraud.

I asked the young man, “Can we just cancel the transaction?”


I don’t really know what happened, but to quote the Grinch…

“That worked out nicely!”

I say that because I am now the proud owner of a brand new 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro that is covered for the next three years with AppleCare!!!

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MicroCenter has what???

Oh the thrill of anticipation…

As you probably know, I am expecting delivery of a new laptop in about a week.

I hate to admit to thinking like a woman, but what is a new computer without a few new accessories?

Back in 2009, I was a regularly visiting the local Apple store trying to iron out some software problems with my new laptop. During that time, a company called Henge invented a vertical laptop docking station.


But, alas, it only worked with the Unibody MacBook Pros.

Well, now that I am expecting delivery of said machine in a little over a week, I decided to see if they are still available.

They are!!!

In fact, my local MicroCenter has them in stock!

But, wait…

They also sell refurbished Apple products? How can that be? The local Apple store doesn’t even do that.

What is this…They have the the 17″ version of the very same configuration that I just ordered from Apple last night?

And it is only $70 more than the 15″ unit that I just bought? That is $200 cheaper than Apple’s price!

I told my wife of my latest discovery.

“Honey, I have to drive over there to see if everything is as it appears. If it is indeed the same computer and I can get AppleCare for it, I am going to cancel my order with Apple.”

Before leaving, I went down to find the e-mail from Apple that had my order number. There was a new e-mail from Apple. For some reason they were having problems with the payment.

I wrote down the order number and the contact phone number and then headed off to MicroCenter.

Yes, it was the same configuration.

Yes, they had ten 17″ units in stock.

Yes, it would run Snow Leopard.

Yes, I can get AppleCare.

This is the computer I wanted from the beginning of this oddysey!


…know what I’m sayin’?

Ya-“you have got to be kidding me”-hoo!!!

Now if only I can cancel my order with Apple…

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Bunch has a change of heart

This morning, I was just about to grab the shovel to begin my third attempt at planting the shrubs along the front of our house when my cell phone rang. It was my mechanic…

“I was at the junkyard yesterday and saw a 1978 Ford F-150 that had a seat in excellent condition. In fact, the whole truck is in really good condition. I thought you might be interested.”

Well, I am interested. Wild Bill is a 1979 F-150 and back then trucks didn’t change that much from year to year.

When I started thinking about what I needed to do to actually take advantage of this opportunity, reality started slapping me in the face.

“How am I going to get parts at the junkyard? I can barely walk…

“How am I going to get my tools out there?…

“How am I going to be able to get that (bench) seat out of the truck? Shoot, how am I going to carry it through the yard and load it in the SuperCrew?”

But I have to take advantage of this! When will I ever find another one? I’m not going to go looking…

Then, I got an idea!

I hobbled back in through the front door and with as much positive energy and upbeat attitude as I could muster, said, “Honey, do you want to go the junkyard with me?”

“For what?”

I then relayed the “exciting information” that our mechanic had just given me.

“When do you want to go?”

Well, I didn’t need to be asked twice!

As non-chalantly as I could, I said, “Right now” and immediately turned to go back to the garage to start gathering the tools that I would need.

“Do you need me to go with you?”

“Well, I can’t very well carry that seat by myself in my current condition, can I?”

I guess watching me hobble around the past two weeks has caused her to have pity on me…because SHE SAID YES!!!

Well, you have to know that I could not let this delicious opportunity go to waste!

While we were driving, I kept looked wistfully at the freeway ahead of me, would lightly sigh and shake my head softly in wonderment…

About the second or third time, my wife noticed. I was hoping that she would


I just kept looking ahead and every so often lightly and slowly shaking my head.

“What are you thinking?”

“Oh, nothing…”

“Then why do you keep shaking your head like that?”

“I just never thought I would see this day…”

“What does THAT mean?”

“I just never thought that you would change your mind and decide that we should fix up Wild Bill!”

Well, that got her going…

“That is not what this is…”

I interrupted before she could get up a full head of steam, “All I know is that I asked you if you wanted to go to the junkyard to get parts to fix up Wild Bill and you said ‘Yes’…It’s amazing…I just never saw this coming…Wow!”

“Oh, brother!”

The truck was in very good condition and we ended up having an enjoyable time and got quite a few parts for “our” old truck.

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Taking the plunge again

Two months ago, I stumbled upon the fact that I can actually buy a new computer that would still run my old word processing software.

I decided that tonight was the night…

We have finally built up our savings enough to where I felt like I could take the plunge and buy a new computer.

I went to Apple’s Refurbished Mac web page.

The 17″ MacBook Pro that I had seen back in August was gone. I looked at the 15″ models. There were two different  configurations available: a 2.2 GHz model for $1,529 or the 2.5 GHz version for $1,699.

Since I am not producing videos, performing complex spreadsheet calculations or participating in online gaming, I decided to go with the cheaper model. After all, a guy can only type so fast. That extra speed isn’t going to make any difference to me.

Besides, the chip powering this computer is two generations later than those on my current laptop. So, I do not think I will miss the 19% increase in processing power at all.

Although I had talked with my wife on several occasions about purchasing a new computer, I went upstairs to run it by my wife one last time.

“Don’t ask me…Be a man! I’d rather you come up and tell me, ‘Honey, I just bought a whatever it is.’ ”

While I appreciate the fact that she trusts me, it is still a wad of cash. If she had even a slight reservation, I would take that as a sign that I should wait.

But, she didn’t!

So, I went down, re-analyzed my thought process a few more times and then clicked on the “Add to Cart” button. I then added 3 years of “Apple Care” and proceeded to checkout.

I noticed that they had the card that I use for Internet purchases on file.


I opened another tab, logged into my bank’s website, transferred the necessary funds into my internet account, logged out and went back and completed the purchase.

The package is supposed to arrive on 10/22!

Stay tuned…

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D-I-Y gone too far

I am a D-I-Yer.

For 19 years, I remodeled our home in California.

Since we bought our house in Kansas City, I have remodeled our master suite, installed a side door and built a workshop in the garage, built two bookcases in our family room and three raised bed planters in our yard. I think you get the picture…

Last winter my wife was driving me somewhere. When the front windshield began to fog up, I watched as she pulled out a pair of needle nosed pliars to adjust the airflow.

“What are you doing?”

“Adjusting the air.”

“I know that…why are you using a pair of pliars?”

“Well, the knob broke so I just went into your toolbox and found the smallest pair of pliars that I could find.”

I was taken aback. First, I was proud of her. Since when did she get that kind of initiative? Maybe some of my do-it-yourself attitude has rubbed off on her…

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I don’t know…I just thought of this.”

When we got home, she gave me the broken knob. The inside of the knob was made of such thin, fragile plastic that it looked like it was designed to break. The engineer who designed it should be fired. But, then again, it is a GM product so maybe it is par for the course.

I’m just sayin’…

Well, as I said in the beginning of this post, I am a do-it-yourself kinda guy.

So, while on a trip to the junkyard, er…I mean the automotive recycling facility looking for some parts for our Nissan Maxima, I looked for the offending knob. I looked at over a dozen cars and every one was missing the same knob. It seems that I am not the only one who has encountered this problem.

On to Plan B.

I managed to crazy glue it together. But, I had to do something to strengthen it.

Since I work in a machine shop, I found some very thin metal chips and slid one between the inner and outer plastic rings. I figured that would provide some strength when I pushed the know back on the metal post.

Well, it worked…all summer long.

Since I can’t bend my leg right now, I can’t get into my 5-speed Toyota Paseo. So, I have had to drive my wife’s car to work.

Well, last night, the weather suddenly turned cold. A few minutes into my drive to work, the windshield started to fog up. I turned the knob to direct the airflow toward the windshield. the knob turned all right. But the post that controls the direction of the air just stayed put. The knob was once again broken!

When I pulled into the company parking lot, I pulled the knob off of the post and took it to one of our better machinists.

“Mike, do you have any ideas what I can do to fix this?”

He laughed and said, “You probably should just buy a new one.”

What I am about to write will probably make you shake your head in disbelief. It made me shake mine.


How obvious could it be? Isn’t that what anybody else, no, make that everyone else would do?

I went to the local Chevrolet dealer on my lunch break…


All of the time and effort I put in to fixing that thing and all it cost to buy a new one was ten dollars and thirty eight cents?


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Saved by the missing title

My title sounds like a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book…

I spoke with my mechanic today. I told him that I found the title to Wild Bill.

He replied, “Well at least you’ll see your truck again.”

“What happened?”

The guy who borrowed his truck was pulled over by the police the night. They took him into custody for violating parole in Colorado. They released his “pregnant wife” who promptly disappeared with my mechanic’s truck!

Ask me if I’m glad that I couldn’t find the title to Wild Bill.

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Someone wants to buy Wild Bill

When I left work, all I could think about was climbing out of the car, limping into the house and getting off of my leg.

But, no…

My mechanic called. He had a “young kid” who wanted to buy Wild Bill (my old 1979 F150).

I was not prepared for this…

I mean, it is good news…

I have tried to sell that truck several times but when I try to sell it, no one wants it.

After the last time, I parked Bill in my mechanic’s parking lot where it has been sitting for the last year and a half.

“That’s great…”, I said weakly.

He then proceeded to tell me that this “kid’s” truck was stolen. The cops had found his truck and impounded it. But they never called him to tell him. So the impound fees were so high that he couldn’t afford to bet his truck back.

I asked to talk to “the kid.”

He doesn’t have any cash right now…

He is a tree trimmer…

He’s got worked lined up for the entire week but nothing to haul the cuttings away with…

He should make $3,750…

I told him that I needed about 45 minutes to get a bite to eat, find the title and drive over to his place.

I looked through our folders labeled “Cars”, “DMV”, “Important Papers”

I found the title for every other car (and I have 5 of them if you count my project car) but guess what…

I couldn’t find the title for Wild Bill! I checked again…nothing.

My wife checked…nothing

I decided to go and meet the prospective buyer.

They weren’t there. We waited for 45 minutes.

While we waited for them to get back, I told my mechanic that I was thinking of letting them borrow Bill for the three days, make the money and then buy him if they still wanted to.

He assured me that the woman who had introduced him to them was a good woman from his church who he had known and trusted for more than 30 years.

Finally, a guy with a long blonde pony tail covered with tattoos walked in.

“This is a kid?…He’s got to be in his 30’s.”

His newly “pregnant wife” came in with frizzy, curly hair done up in pigtails. I began to get the distinct impression that she was trying to play her “part” because she definitely had a few miles on her.

Then the guys “brother” came in. He was about a foot taller, had black hair and was juiced up on something.

I told them that I couldn’t find the title but that we would either find it tomorrow or get a duplicate title.

Then things took an unexpected twist…

My mechanic offered to let them borrow his truck so he could get to work and I could find the title.

Stay tuned…

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That’s not supposed to move like that!

So far, my 55th year on this planet has been a roller coaster. In the last 16 days, I have…

  • burned my arm during an emergency oil change on my lawnmower
  • had my first physical in over 6 years confirm that I am in great health
  • been informed by my dentist that I needed a root canal
  • stumbled onto a great deal on a tree and some shrubs for our house
  • been unable to plant said items because I couldn’t get out of bed!
  • been master of ceremonies for our Sunday service
  • and been pulled over for driving 36 in a 25 MPH zone!

So you can understand if I have a blank look on my face when someone asks me, “How’s it going?”

When I got home from work yesterday, I was cautiously optimistic that we were actually going to get our plants in the ground.

I had managed to convince/persuade/cajole/command my wife to help me. We bought a bag of soil amendment and got some last minute tips on successful planting at the nursery.

When we returned home, I grabbed the shovel and carefully finished digging the hole for the maple tree that I had started on Thursday night.

The next step was preparing the soil. Now, in my mind, mixing 2/3 soil with 1/3 compost is kind of like mixing ingredients in the kitchen. And my wife is REALLY good at that. And I am not. So, although I didn’t say it quite like that, my wife bought my sales pitch and agreed to do that part.

I grabbed the bag of compost from the bed of our truck, brought it over, tossed it on the ground, grabbed my utility knife, squatted down and cut the end of the bag open.

The story then takes an almost unbelievable twist at this juncture (pun not intended at all!!!!!!!)

When I went to stand up and take a step back, the bottom of my leg twisted one way and the top twisted in the other. I grabbed my knee and fell to the ground like a freshly cut tree!

As I was writhing in pain in my front yard, I started saying,”No! No, no, no! I refuse this!”

I managed to lift myself into an upright position. I tried walking it off while my wife mixed the soil.

After we finally got the tree into the ground, my wife suggested that I stop and go inside.

But I was not finished…

I grabbed the shovel and said, “The pioneers wouldn’t have stopped” and started digging the next hole with my right leg.

By the time I started the third hole, my knee was trying to move in directions that it was not designed to move. It occurred to me that many of the pioneers probably spent the rest of their life walking with a limp.

As we got ready for bed, my wife made a splint out of one tightly rolled towel running down the inside of my leg secured by a second towel wrapped around my leg.

As I swung my leg into the bed, I laughed out loud at my pitiful condition. How was I going to get out of bed in the morning? I can’t bend my leg…but what if my back locks up? I can’t do my usual stretching exercises.

Well, the good news is that I did make it out of bed. By  the afternoon, we had found a full length knee brace on Craig’s List for $25 and a friend loaned me a set of crutches.

But for the second consecutive weekend, I am completely immobilized!

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