Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dell's Helpless Desk

Friday morning before work I attempted to make an order to Culinary Teas. I was on my Dell laptop and noticed that the numbers weren't working. So I switched over to my HP Desktop and made the order.

On Saturday I figured out that only the 5 and the 6 worked, and it was asking where I wanted to boot from. When I looked, booting from the hard drive was not first on the list. So I changed that. It didn't help.

I got on chat with India where the guy kept referring to me as Sir. I could not get on chat on my Dell computer because it required your service tag and mine has an 8 and a 1 in it. So the guy couldn't figure out why I wasn't on the Dell. I informed him I was on the HP that always worked.

Previously I had contacted Dell because when I put CDs into iTunes they would skip. Of course the solution was to take out my DVD drive and put it back in. The next time I contacted them I was told it was a problem with iTunes. Funny, iTunes worked fine on my HP desktop. So I downloaded Yahoo music (formerly known as Musicmatch) and guess what? Same problem.

So I'm not feeling good about talking to the guy calling me Sir. I told him it would take too long and I would have to take out my keyboard later. I then find out the screws will not come out. But it is bothering me that the 5 and 6 don't work. I google this and find that someone else had the same problem. Of course they didn't post what fixed it. So I download SP1 for vista, that didn't fix it. I try to do a bootrepair, but that needs you to enter a 1 to do the repair and I didn't have 1 to use. During all of this I discover if I leave the battery out, the computer works, till you turn it off and back on. Then the same problem. I dug out the vista repair disk and it tells me there is no problem. Then I just try to reload vista and it gives me an error. So it's back online with India.

The guy tells me it's the keyboard. I tell him it's not. So to humor him, I tell him that the keyboard won't come out. He asks if I used to bigger screw driver, I said yes. So he says, good, now take the cable off and put it back on. I said, I told you the screws won't come out. He says if he sends me a new keyboard, I'll have to get the screws out so I can put the new one in. I said there is nothing wrong with the keyboard, that there is a boot problem too, and that I had found this problem on the internet. So he tells me it's the customer's responsibility to put the new keyboard in. I tell him there is nothing wrong with my keyboard. So he asks if I spilled wine or cola on my keyboard. I told him no. And explained again that if I take the battery out it works fine once.

Finally I get through to him that I just want to reinstall Vista and that I couldn't do that. So he tells me what to do so that I can do it on my computer without the disk. Of course he tells me to do this without the battery in. As I recall my computer doesn't work without the battery in.

Funny thing is now my computer works just fine and I didn't have to take out the keyboard or get a new one. I wonder how many keyboards Dell sends out for perfectly good keyboards. And this is from the people that are taking away jobs from Americans! It took 2 chats sessions and I told the guy what needed to be done. He just read his script, oh, key doesn't work, means bad keyboard. He didn't listen to me about the boot problem too. He said that was because the F12 key was stuck down. Why would it stick down only if the battery hadn't been removed.

I bought a Dell because I could get a pink one and could configure it. I hear they are stopping the configuring. I should have gotten a pink Sony. It's a prettier pink anyway.

I worked at HP for 2 years on a contract and loved it. It's much closer to my house than my present job and I would have stayed if they had given me a permanent job, but Mark Hurd took over then and cut the program I was working on.

So I will not be buying another Dell. I love my HP desktop. It's great!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Montana May 17 - the flight back to Houston

We got up and packed everything. Then we went to Swan Lake. The town of Swan Lake was beautiful on the beautiful lake - Swan Lake. The only business was a gas station/ gift shop. Then we drove back to turn in the rental SUV and go to the airport. The Kalispell airport only has one place to eat. But a great gift shop. We got to Minneapolis which is a fun airport. Lots of places to eat - I had pad thai - and lots of shops!! There was a g2g shop which is gadgets to go, so I was in heaven!! Got on the plane then and back to Houston. When we got home, the house was spotless!! Shout out to Allison for being the best pet sitter ever!! The cats were all happy because she came and played with them. They love their Allison very much!

Montana May 16 - Kalispell

On the way back to Kalispell we stopped at Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge. We found Swans! They are so beautiful!! Then we drove up through Polson which was a beautiful little lake village!! Probably one of my favorite. It is on Flathead Lake. The snow melt was flooding a lot of places, but Flathead Lake was low for some reason. Then we got back to Kalispell and wanted to eat at our pizza place again, but people were sitting outside waiting. So we ended up at Pizza Hut, not too exciting. No one was there and the service was horrible. We stayed again at the Roadway.

Montana May 15 - Missoula

We spent most of the day going from park to park. But this is one of my favorites. We were on the hunt for the black backed woodpecker again. And we didn't find it. Missoula was so beautiful. That night we went to a Mongolian BBQ place. The boys had never been to one before, but they loved it. Of course Bill thought it was OK. I also loved it!

Montana May 14 - Great Falls

We went from Great Falls to Missoula. The drive was beautiful. We stopped at Rodgers Pass, which is on the Continental Divide. We met a truck driver that told us where to find Big Horn Sheep. He was right on, and we found them.

We were back in the mountains, so it was pretty again!! We got to Missoula and found a motel right away! We had pizza delivered to the room. Missoula reminds me of Austin in the 70's when I was in college. Cool little restaurants, lots of parks with walking trails. It's in a valley but the mountains are right there. So it was really nice.

The housing prices were outrageous though. We saw a 3 bedroom bungalow that was 972 sq feet. It did have a finished basement. the asking price was a mere $409,000. The lot was 7000 sq feet.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Montana May 13 - Malta

We woke up early in Malta and headed out to find grouse. They usually do their mating dance early so you have to catch them then. We were driving to one place we knew when the biologist called us at 6:30 am and told us exactly where to go. We found the Sage Grouse exactly where they said and the grouse were still doing their dance. So we hurried to find the Sharp Tailed Grouse. We found them too. Our luck had changed. The terrain has changed drastically, this is where the grouse live.

Then we went to find the Baird's Sparrow. They live in Prairie fields like this. We searched for hours with no luck. We then drove to Great Falls. When we got to Great Falls there were no rooms to be found. We finally had one motel tell us the La Quinta downtown had rooms. The Special Olympics were going on. The sun doesn't go down until 10 PM, so we had been out late every night and we were very tired. Great Falls was quite beautiful we found out the next day.

Montana May 12 - East Glacier

We left Kalispell for our drive east. We first stopped to see mountain goats. We looked up the hill they were supposed to be on but didn't see anything. Then a group of people stopped and said to look over at a fence, he usually sees a lot there. We could not see anything from where we were but could see some people stopped in front of the fence and looking for a long time. So we went to the pull out in the road, and looked up. There they were. So we continued to drive east and it started snowing. Here is Bill and Bryan in a snowball fight.

We then tried to go to the east side of the park but the roads were closed because of snow. So we started to Havre, pronounced Haver. We stopped at an Indian junk shop and bought gifts. We stopped a few places along the way to bird, but decided to drive all the way to Malta. We got there at 11 at night and ended up in the "best" motel in town. Barely made it before they locked the doors. It was quite expensive for a basic motel.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Montana May 11 - Glacier National Park

We got up Sunday morning to go back to Glacier. We hiked up another closed road so the boys could find a black backed woodpecker. They only live in burned areas. We hiked about a mile up and then there was hard packed snow/ice. I said forget it and walked back down. Then it started raining/hailing/sleeting and was cold as all get out. They came back several hours later and did not find Mr Woodpecker. The boys wanted to go back to where the bear chased Scott so Bill and I walked around the Lake McDonald lodge. Bill and I picked up a hitchhiker that wanted to go back to Apgar Village. It was a kid from one of the Russian countries but goes to the U of Arkansas. He had hiked up to Lake McDonald Lodge from Apgar Village. And decided he couldn't make it back. That night we stopped at a cafe for dinner.

Montana May 10 - Glacier National Park

Before we left Kalispell we stocked up on groceries so we could snack, eat during the day. Food was twice as expensive as home. We This is Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. Scott and I decided our pictures looked like back drops for MGM. I took this one with my little Sony. The Road to the Sun was closed from the lodge to the other side because supposedly the road needed to be plowed. I wanted to see Harlequin ducks so we had to hike up (and I mean up) the mountain for 4 miles before we saw them. We ran into another couple looking for them. They were from Dallas but have lived in Kalispell for the last 25 years.
The boys were planning on going 2 more miles up, I said forget it. There were some cool trails but Bill didn't want me going down them alone because if I fell, who knows when someone would find me. So I went back down the main road and ran into some women we met on the way up. I get down and about an hour later Scott shows up. He had gone down the paths and had been chased by a grizzley. And didn't have the camera, Bryan had it. He had gotten tired so he left Bill and Bryan. About an hour after that, Bill and Bryan show up. They didn't find the black swifts - we found out later that they weren't there yet. And at the end of the week when we were elsewhere, they had opened the road to where they hiked. We did not see any snow up to that height.
We had planned to look for the black backed woodpeckers but we couldn't hike any more.

Montana May 9 - Kalispell

We left the house at 4:45 to pick up Scott and Bryan and head to the airport. We had a flight on NW in the toy planes but we were pleasantly surprised that they are bigger than the Continental toy planes and were quite comfortable. Poor Scott got off work at 1:30 so he decided not to go to bed, then could not get comfortable on the plane because he got the 1 seat that was broken and didn't go back. I switched seats with him and he couldn't sleep on the aisle very well. We were worried about our connection since we had 32 minutes between flights. We got to Minneapolis early and managed to get something to eat. We get to the plane and Scott had left his boarding pass at Quiznos at the other end of the airport. So he ran and somehow found it. He was the last one on the plane. We arrived in Kalispell around 2 pm. We drove around and this is one park we saw.

The trees have not bloomed out yet. Looking at the mountains we could see it snowing. Check the middle of this picture. It was quite beautiful. Montana has less than 1 million people and only 1 area code. Houston has 3 area codes and around 4 million people in Houston proper and 2 million in the burbs. And it doesn't snow very often in Houston. We checked into our motel. It used to be the Big Sky Inn and was taken over by Rodeway. The room was huge, the beds comfortable and the price was reasonable. With 4 of us and all of our coats, junk, etc, the room was wonderful. We ate at a local chain for pizza and pasta called Mackenzie River Pizza. It was quite good. The sun doesn't go down till 10 and we didn't make it till then.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Xena the Evil Princess

This is Xena, our youngest but not smallest cat. We also refer to her as Roadkill. See picture to the left. She has short little legs and lays on her back, then whacks anyone that goes past her.

As you can see she loves to email, blog and IM. But her favorite activity is sitting in front of Scarlett who hates her while Scarlett is trying to eat.

Yesterday she had dental work done because of some infection in her mouth. She was such a trouper. She walked right into her carrier and then did not cry once on the way to the vet. Once she got there she was a good girl. When I went to pick her up she was ready to go home, she was shaking from being scared. She had some knots in her thick fur so the vet shaved them off. Now she has a reverse mohawk. See the middle of her back.

She is a sweet cat until she decides to gnaw on her your hand. She is very funny and we love her!