The Flu – or how I lost a week and a half and gained a yard of flowers

I think that the flu is one of those things we’re all expected to get through.

That is to say, it is more like the closest thing to death that we’ll get through and everyone will just shrug and go on.

Having a cold, you seem to think “Hmm, I feel off” and you muddle through.

The Flu?  Each time I have had it, and I can only think of three times, it has been the same.

10:24AM – Yay, feel great, lets go do stuff!
10:25AM – Hmm, This isn’t quite right.

10:26AM – A cold?  Is this a cold?

10:27AM – I had better check the fridge, are there enough supplies, this isn’t normal.

It always is a Fast Onset like that.  Bang, you’re down.

The last two times I had it it I thought, Ok, well it’s going to be four days of down, plus a few days of the wobblies, but no worries.

Hah.  Just Hah.

That particular morning, I had a memorial service I wanted to go to.  A good friend had died and I was told about a month before that there would be a get together and I was specifically invited.   He knew that he wasn’t going to make it and wanted to make certain that I could get there and visit with family and friends.

Sorry, Emilio, but someone somewhere decided that I was going to have the flu that particular day.

I say it that way because it was a friend of a friend who went to work with the flu and inoculated her entire office.  I am collateral damage.

Being one of those people who never can just sit down and be sick, I got started on some projects.  Things that I knew I wanted to do but didn’t want to do until I was in the right frame of mind.  I had some sewing that needed doing because I went past the Stitch In Time and it needed about 100 stitches.  I had a laptop that had to be completely disassembled and put back together.

Laptops are usually one of those “Clear The Deck” things.  You never want to do that in a rush.  This one took me through lunch time and it worked.  In fact, the original owner, happy with having the data recovered, told me to keep the machine.

Oh no, please take it, I don’t need another machine, please, oh please.

It’s still here.  Along with another one.

Oh well.

Day two was full on Flu.  We laid in supplies and thought that it would be a total of another four days.  Blown weekend and all.

And then it hit like a tornado.  Around day five I realized that I was scheduling a trip out back to the yard.  As in “I have to walk the 30 feet to the back of the yard to pour a half cup of water into some bamboo I am trying to clone, will I make it” schedule.

I made it.  That day was day four.  It was not fun.

There are things that the world would expect you to keep doing.  If you look at tasks that you do, you realize that you have them on a schedule.  Every single day like OCD.

Mine is Spanish.
I log into a website called and practice with some basic Spanish quizzes.  I set my goal very low so that all I had to do was one quiz in case I got tied up.  See, I was thinking.  Be able to do it in case I got busy and was traveling.

Good thing that I did that.

I had been doing 30 questions a day for a very long time.  Duolingo has a graph on it.  When you hit a point where you skip, the graph dips.

Duolingo told me when the depth of the Flu was.  It was mid week, day 6 of a four day flu.  It took me all morning to get one quiz done.  It usually takes me about 10 minutes for all three.  By the end of the day when I passed out shivering in the cold, I had only completed two quizzes.

I think that day, my bamboo didn’t get watered either.  In the stand of bamboo out back that is about 10 feet across, about 5 feet off the ground there are two plastic bags tied to the stalk.  In the bags is a small handful of soil that I was keeping moist.

Luckily on Day 7, the soil was still slightly moist.

I walked out back, watered it, walked back in.

By Day 8 the coughing started.  I walked out to the bamboo, and the dog followed me.  I thought to myself, “How did Rack get walked last week”.

I still don’t know.

Coming back to the house, I noticed that there were orchids blooming that hadn’t bloomed before.  The Milkweed was in flower.  The Mango tree on the corner was in full flower.  My podocarpus cuttings were either dying or rooting, depending on the Gods of the Garden.

I had very little idea what caused it all.  Things just “happen” in a garden, whether you want them to or not.  Blink and it all goes wild.  I had had carrots, onions, green onions, and a rogue rutabaga planted back there.  It’s all under a layer of clover now.  Have to find that stuff, quick.

Long past a blink, this was an 8 day black out.

Spanish on Day 9 was all about medical terminology.  Enfermedad – sickness.   Muerte – death.

I was finally coming out of it enough to enjoy the irony.   The little laptop was telling me “Estoy amando tus labios” and I was thinking it was creepy that the machine that I breathed life back into was saying “I am loving your lips”.

You know you are finally coming back when you are thinking of all of the times when some fool said that Flu Shots don’t work.  Funny thing about that, I don’t remember getting one this year.  I will remember the flu.

And those lips that my laptop seems to like.


The Mother In Law’s Test

A Mother -in -Law decides to test her three Sons- in- law for their good nature.

For this she goes for a walk by a river with the first son in law and jumps in.

He saves her.


Next morning he finds a Toyota Corolla parked outside his house with note : from your Mother In Law.

Next she goes for a walk by the river with the second son in law and jumps in.

He too saves her.


Next morning he also finds a Toyota Corolla parked outside his house with note : from your Mother In Law.

Next she goes for a walk by a river with the third son in law and jumps in.

He just laughs and walks away.


Next morning he finds a BMW M5 parked outside his house with note : from your Father In Law!

Wally’s Wedding Night

At 85 years of age, Wally married Anne, a lovely 25 year old. Since her new husband is so old, Anne decides that after their wedding she and Wally should have separate bedrooms, because she is concerned that her new but aged husband may over exert himself if they spend the entire night together.

After the wedding festivities Anne prepares herself for bed and the expected ‘knock’ on the door. Sure enough the knock comes, the door opens and there is Wally, her 85 year old groom, ready for action…

They unite as one. All goes well, Wally takes leave of his bride, and she prepares to go to sleep.

After a few minutes, Anne hears another knock on her bedroom door, and it’s Wally. Again he is ready for more ‘action.’ Somewhat surprised, Anne consents for more frantic coupling. When the newlyweds are done, Wally kisses his bride, bids her a fond goodnight and leaves.

She is set to go to sleep again, but, aha, you guessed it….. Wally is back again, rapping on the door, and is as fresh as a 25-year-old, ready for more ‘action.’

And, once again they enjoy each other in the way only two people in the first flush of lust can… But as Wally gets set to leave again, his young bride says to him, ‘I am thoroughly impressed that at your age you can perform so well and so often. I have been with guys less than a third of your age who were only good once. You are truly a great lover, Wally.’

Wally, somewhat embarrassed, turns to Anne and says: ‘You mean I’ve been here already?’

(Senior Moments can have their advantages).

Thinkpad X201 Disassembly and The Flu

I have to ask myself what is this fascination of tearing apart computers when I have “a cold”.  In this case, The Cold turned out to be The Flu.  It wasn’t fun.  I’m at about day 5 and this is the first day that I’m clear enough to sit down and write.

The back story goes that I was handed a wee little laptop.  Thinkpad X201 if you are following along.  It’s a pocket rocket of a machine, i7 processor, 8GB of memory, 500 GB mechanical hard drive.  All of that was crammed into a 12 inch case.  It predates the whole “Ultrabook” computer thing where people started building machines that were thin, light, and powerful.  The Mac Book Air is a prime example of what they tried to emulate.

I think they got the power right.  I was told “I have data on this that I need recovered, then see what you can do with it, it’s got a heat problem”.

What Thinkpad doesn’t?  Lenovo switched to a heat sink compound a while back that has the consistency of Silly Putty or dried tub caulk.   That is to say that it dries out and flakes away.  I found that out later when I opened the machine and had little grey bits of goo fall out onto the table.

What I did was to recover the data, there wasn’t much because the machine was not trusted, and then reload it.  It came with Windows 7 so I reinstalled that, then I made sure that Windows 10 would never get onto the machine by turning Windows Update to manual only and checked each update on the list to make sure it wasn’t rumored to be either Windows 10 Related or Windows Telemetry.  I don’t like what Microsoft is doing to a once very stable operating system and neither should you.

There is also a registry setting that will help keep that horrible pest off your computer, but if you have that little nag box sitting in your task bar you can be guaranteed that you will be “upgraded” to Windows 10 Home.

No.  Not on your best day.  I am not allowing that.

When I was chatting with someone he suggested I put it on a torture test and recommended Prime 95 which calculates prime numbers.  It also turns any given machine into a furnace.  I was typing in chat that it was playing well when “Black Screen”.  The processor hit 100C and turned off.   Yes, as in Boiling Water Temperature.  Processors these days tend to run 50C or cooler.  100C under load is going to shorten the life of the machine.  It needed help.

I found a series of videos, one that showed how to disassemble the machine so that the motherboard could be removed.  The second one showed the reverse order how to reassemble it.  By the time I had fully tore this little machine apart, I had nothing left in the case and a mother board on the table with the heat sink below it with a few random coins for size comparison.

If you are curious, there’s a game token, a penny, a UK Pound and a UK Two Pound coin.

I ran that video in stop motion, and every time that the author removed a screw, I removed the same.  It took me about 20 minutes to tear it down.  The picture at the top is the result.  The blue squares are the processors and the heat sink compound.  They were cleaned with Rubbing Alcohol, and the lot was reassembled with the second video one screw at a time.

So if it was so straightforward, why am I writing about it?  So I have the info for later.  Complete with the videos.

Oh, make sure you have a little cup to put all those little screws into.  There were two sizes and they have to be put back in the same holes.  Luckily the video went “Large Screw” first, “Small Screw” Second.

Good luck, Future Me if you have to tear it down.  But after a week of beating it up, it’s a great little laptop to go onto its owner if I can convince him to take it back!

And if you are not “Future Me”, the Standard Internet Warranty applies – this is at your own risk, if your following these instructions turn your laptop into a dragon that consumes you or starts a fire, or causes any sort of damage, you are on your own because I can’t take any responsibility for that.

Besides, I still have the flu.

A Bunch of Short Jokes I Shamelessly Stole

(Everyone recycles jokes anyway!)

I have a friend who is a structural engineer.  He’s always complaining about stress at work.

I became a proud dad today.  My son is actually four but he was an annoying little kid for the first three years.

How does every racist joke start?   With someone looking over their shoulder.

Why did Batman rush to the Bat Cave?  Because he had to go to the Bat Room.

Back in the day there were only 25 letters in the alphabet.  Nobody knew y.

How do you kill a vegetarian vampire?  With a steak to the heart.

So a Harley Davidson rolls into a bar and the bartender asks what would it like?  RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM RUM

What do you call a French guy wearing sandals?   Phillipe Phillope

What is the opposite of Marshmallow?  Well, I guess it would be marshmadness.

Which is worse, Ignorance or Apathy?   I don’t know and I don’t care.

Why can’t a centipede fly coach?  Not enough leg room!

So I was in the bar the other day.  When i started hearing voices saying “nice shoes” and “lovely smile”, I started wondering who was saying it so i went to the bartender and said “Mate, do you know who keeps saying nice things to me” He replied “Its the peanuts mate” I replied “Peanuts, What do you mean” The bartender replied “Yea they’re complementary”.

I used to be addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but I turned myself around.

What do you call a factory that produces quality goods?  A satisfactory

Three Vampires

3 vampires are having a competition to prove who’s the most vicious vampire amongst them.


The strongest one started 1st, “watch this,” He said as he flies so fast, about 100 miles/hour.

After only 10 minutes, he comes back with blood all over his mouth. “what happened?” they asked.

“did you see that house over there?”


“well.. I killed the entire family and sucked the blood dry!”

“wow!? fascinating, as expected from the strongest vampire”


Then the eldest one takes the next turn “watch and learn,” he said as he flies even faster, about 120 miles/hour.

After only 5 minutes, he comes back with blood all over his mouth and his neck. “what happened??” they asked.

“did you see that village over there?”


“well.. I killed every last person on that village and sucked the blood dry!”

“wow!? magnificent! truly amazing, we can expect no less from the eldest one!”


Finally the last turn belongs to the fastest one, “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” he said as he flies really fast, even faster than the other two, about 140 miles/hour. After only a mere 30 seconds, he comes back with blood all over his mouth, his neck, and his nose.

“wh..what happened???” they asked. “did you see that big ass tree over there?”



“well.. I didn’t”

This Time Change Thing, My Dog Is Not A Fan And Neither Am I

The best time of the day to get a long walk in is before dawn.

At least for me.  Your mileage may vary.  Mine certainly does.

I am normally up before dawn, except the “High Summer” when it’s hot and the sun gets over The Bahamas at Four-Freaking-Why-Am-I-Up-Again O’Clock.  It is a holdover from when I was doing marathon inline skating workouts and semi-competing all over Philadelphia and Fairmount Park.  Going from City Line to Valley Forge as a third of a workout means you go early, you go long.

Bring plenty of snacks.

But this is much more mundane.  There’s a reason now to do these walks.  Keeping the dog sane.

He is Rack, the Mc Nab SuperDog(TM) who can run faster than the speed of light through a wormhole that we discovered behind the shed in the back corner of the yard.  He’s also tearing up the turf since he can corner sharper than a dime.  All those right angle turns will take energy and when you are leaning over to bank the turn at 89.999 degrees, you’re going to rip up a little grass.

Maybe I should put something up there, shift his path a little bit.

But I get up with my usual schedule at the Five O’Clock In The Morning Bonus Hour and get the walk in while it is still what passes for cool here in the place where weather can usually be described as “Being in someone else’s bathroom while they take a long hot shower” Warm.

Just go in your bathroom, turn on the water full hot, close the door and wait for the air to steam up.

Yeah, like that.

But it’s what passes for Spring, the highs are still in the 80s and the mornings are quite pleasant.

So time to take the dog out for A Long Walk of about a mile and a quarter.  Lots of switchbacks, and turns around my neighborhood so that I am not walking the same block twice.  You don’t want to do that at 5 AM because, things.  Someone might be out and about and wonder why you are too.

However that didn’t happen that particular day.  It is because we, and many other countries, have an insane habit of Spring Ahead, Fall Back.  Daylight Savings Time.  Like that really “saves” anything.  More like cutting the end of a string off and tying it to the beginning to make it better.

While you get the time back eventually, it never is actually lost.  Just annoys you while you readjust your schedule.  Has me thinking “Will you people make up your mind?”.

But nobody else was thinking that this morning.  By nobody, I really mean nobody.  Quiet like a tomb.  Creepy like a cemetery.  Chill down your spine creepy.

You see, when I walk down Wilton Drive, the spine of the business district in Wilton Manors, I expect certain activity.  Delivery Trucks bringing food to the restaurant to be restocked and cooked later.  The barbacks and crews cleaning the bars.  One guy sitting in the desk in the travel agency talking business to someone over in Europe somewhere.  Same stuff different walk.

This day?  Nothing.

I did say like a tomb.  Not a soul walking around except me wondering where everyone was.

It’s like someone decided to adjust their clocks or something!

I got off The Drive, and headed back on the second half of the walk through the neighborhood.  Past the darkened apartments where nobody had their yappy little dogs barking at the skies.  No airplanes overhead.  No other dog walkers.

Nothing.  Got that pin?  Drop it, I’m sure you could hear it.  Not even the breezes were moving that morning.

I did manage to spot Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, or what I believe are them, where they belonged and moving slightly each day.  They’re in a line, or more accurately, an arc, across the skies.  I’ll lose Mars first, then probably lose track of the other two.  But for now, it occupies my empty mind.

Looking down at Rack I say “weird morning huh?”

He wags his tail once or twice, then goes back to sniffing a leaf.

“Nobody out yet!”
Did I mention that his English is getting stronger?  He gave a vigorous wag to that as if to say “Definitely”.

“We’ll be home soon enough, this walk is just strange”

Even a stronger wag, and he looked back at me to nod “Yes”.

He knows what the concept of  “Yes” is since I taught him that it gives him things he wants.  You should see the little comic nodding his head to get out the door.  He’s about to nod that head off his neck.

But we plodded through the neighborhood, out of the apartment areas, past the McMansions, and into the Old Florida Homes that look much more reasonable here.  Low slung to hunker down in case of a storm, a one level home lets the trees block the winds for you in case of a hurricane and they’re much more likely to survive when the two or three level condo loses its roof.

That roof that will end up in your swimming pool, of course.

We get on Our Street and keep going.  Rack is tired now, after a mile and a quarter of walking.

“That’s it buddy, time to wash your feet.  Some day you’ll stop painting your white legs yellow!”.

He nods his head “Yes” again.

I grab the hose, wash them down, walk him through the grass to wipe the pads off and we’re done.

Another creepy walk down.  I guess that’s what happens when everyone is still asleep.

Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just a nice walk around town.