Wrong Universe

A look inside the head of a bitter, lonely guy.

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Dreamblog – Ants!

I woke up one morning to find ants crawling out of the alarm keypad.  I got some and spray to take care of them.  Shortly after that I notice them coming out of switch plates, ceiling tiles and everywhere.  I kept spraying everywhere.  I was able to jump up to the high ceilings and float there while spraying.

My brother and some other people were there.  I was talking to them when I looked up and saw huge bug legs coming out of a light fixture hole.  A large frog looking animal came through lowered by two flying insects.  They were carrying him to the kitchen table.  It was a weird looking frog.  I hoped he was there to help me with my bug problem.



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Letting in the coolth!

opnwndwI woke up this morning to find that the world had cooled down.  The morning temperature was 64 degrees.  This is so amazing to me.  After so many long months of 100 degree, humid, temperatures during the day and a minimum of 76 humid degrees at night I awoke to a foreign land outside my window.

The first cool front of the year slipped through San Antonio.  Earlier than usual.  If this is a result of climate change then I’m all for it.

64 degrees is just plain weird.  Even though the humidity is still high it was nice enough to break open the sun-melted seals on the windows and let the coolth in.  Cool!  Fresh!  Air!   Freaky!

I can’t tell you how I envy people who experience cool summer weather all the time.  If it was like this during the hot summer months then I could be so much happier.  Running your Air Conditioner 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 7 months is not cheap.  It always amazes me to experience free cool air.  Now that’s what I call Magic!


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Lithium Orotate – Preliminary Report

lithoroIt has been around a week since I’ve started taking Lithium Orotate.  It is a supplement that is supposed to help calm the brain and help treat symptoms like depression and stress.

So far the results, if any, are subtle.  I would like to say that I am more able to control bad thoughts.  It may be too soon for actual results because depression comes and goes and I may be in a “goes” state right now.  There could also be placebo effects.  I also seem to be able to fall asleep faster.

I have been more successful in banishing bad thoughts when they start.  If that is a result of the lithium or even placebo then I am grateful.

More time is required for a complete evaluation.  So far so good.  Want to give it a try with me?  Get some from Amazon.com.

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Quick Fast Food Review – Little Caesar’s Pretzel Crust Pizza

Pretzel Crust PizzaNothing in the kitchen sounded good today so I decided to go out and pick up a Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready Pretzel Crust Pizza costing me $7.54 (or something.)

It smelled good in the car.  I got it home and tried my first piece and was surprised to find something completely different from what I expected.

This pizza replaces your regular tomato-based pizza sauce with nacho cheese much like you would see on concession stand nachos.  I’m pretty sure it is the same thing.  It is interesting because it gives the pizza a creamy consistency.

The crust is brown and chewy like a soft pretzel but not as puffy as their pictures seem to advertise.

But then no product looks as advertised so nothing new here.

The crust under the toppings is pretty much your standard thin-crust style.  The pretzel outside ring was very salty.   Almost too salty.

But then if you are trying to be a pretzel then salty is expected.

Personally I would have preferred the regular tomato sauce but it was nice to try something different even though I had no idea what I was getting into.  I didn’t read the description.

It looks like Little Caesars also has a few new kinds of crust like Stuffed Crust and something else I can’t remember.  Their website is not responding right now so I can’t look it up.

thLittle Caesar’s Pretzel Crust pizza was an interesting experience but I don’t think I would buy another one in the future.

Still.  Thumbs up to Little Caesar’s for finally trying new things after decades of cardboard flavored pizza.  I look forward to trying some of their other pizzas.

Now they can at least compete with Dominoe’s new style.

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Memories – Poisonous Wallas

wllsI was just squeezing some limes to make some limeade when a memory from my childhood came back to me.

Back when I as about 9 or 10, my sister had moved to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands with her boyfriend.  We were invited to visit for a couple of weeks.   I remember a lot of our trip.  It was a really cool place.

They had a small house that felt like it was in the rainforest.  Rainwater was harvested off the roof in a cistern for drinking and bathing.  It was a neat house with a back porch with hammocks.

Behind the house through a small forested area was the neighbor’s house.  There was another boy about my age living there with his little brother.  My brother and I spent time with them in an adjacent field where we hacked weaving trails in the tall Johnson Grass.   We had so much fun running around in there.

In the field was a lime tree.  My friend and I decided that we would keep the limes to ourselves and told our little brothers that they were poisonous Wallas so they wouldn’t pick any.

I don’t know where I came up with the name but it makes me smile to this day whenever I see a lime.


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DIY – Prius Transmission Fluid Change

trnsfldI tend to keep a car forever and forever.  Usually until I crash it.  My last car, a 1993  BMW 325is lasted me 16 years until I bent it.   I could have repaired it but after 16 years I was in the mood for a new car anyway.  Had I not had the accident I would probably still have it now.  A BMW will last you forever.  I should have kept it AND bought a new car.

I bought my 2008 Prius in 2009.  I really wanted a hybrid and no car gets better gas mileage than a Prius.  I get 52-53 MPG average.  Sweeeeeet!

Perhaps not as manly as my BMW or my old Porsche 911 but I like it.  I smile every time I fill the tank for $15.00.

Anyway….  After racking up 86,000 miles I decided it was time for a transmission fluid change.  Something as complex as the hybrid transmission deserves quality treatment.  It is suggested that you change it every 30K but Toyota says you can go to somewhere around 120K.  86K is a good midpoint so I did it.

You can see in the picture how dirty it was compared to fresh.  It still wasn’t too bad.  I bet it could have made it to 120K.

I’m not going to cover the procedure because it is really simple and there are instructions all over the internet.  I suggest these two links:

Video:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=037cAvY5y3Q

Instructions:  http://priusdiy.com/tutorials/transmission/transchange.html

It’s not hard.  Don’t pay anybody to do it for you.  Get your hands a little dirty and you’ll feel better.

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Inside the DirecTV HR34 Genie

Inside HR34My DirecTV Genie HR34 box has become seriously laggy in the menu control area.  Sometimes I have to wait 30 seconds or more just to move up or down a notch.  Not an enjoyable experience.  Internet searches indicate that the hard drive may be failing.  Not being afraid of a challenge I decided to open this baby up and see what’s inside.

The hard drive is just a plain anybrand 1 TB SATA computer hard drive.  I happen to have a few laying around so I decided to swap them out.  Sure, you can use the eSata connection on the back but that is for tech-wimps.  We’re hardcore so OPEN ALL THE DVRS!


Secret LatchThere are no screws to remove in order to take off the cover.  All you need is a couple of phillips screwdrivers and a flat-head.  Anything could work.  It doesn’t have to be screwdrivers.

Turn the HR34 upside down on your work surface.  Locate the four holes as pictured.  Working one side at a time, insert two screwdrivers.  One in each hole.  You may need extra hands for this if you are not adept.   Use the screwdrivers to gently pry the latch inside the hole towards the center of the unit.  You should be able to lift the metal bottom upwards.  Hold it up with a flathead screwdiver or other thin object. Do the same on the other side.


Hidden Latch holeOnce both sides are free, there, there is a third catch in the front of the unit.  If you are feeling extra devil-may-care then poke a hole through the warranty void sticker where you will find the last catch.  Pry it gently to the rear to release it.

You could remove the sticker completely and then clean any evidence of it with WD-40.  It is unlikely that any brain-dead DTV inspector looking at it will notice that it is gone and therefore not even notice that you voided the warranty.

If you don’t want to mess with poking a hole or removing the sticker, just pry gently but firmly on the top of the cover where it meets the face.  It will eventually release without having to damage the sticker.

Easy peasy.

Another question I had was, “Can you swap drives back and forth.”

I quickly answered my question by trying it.  Place a new drive in the unit and it will be automatically formatted.  You will have lost all your programs and settings of course.  Swap back to the old one and it is back to normal.  This is great during your transition period.  Leave the cover off until you are completely done then snap it back into place.

Another reason I wanted to go with an internal drive swap was because I didn’t want an external housing with more cabling and power supplies.   This is much nicer and more portable for use in my RV when needed.

I still have a yet unanswered question.  Can you use imaging software to make a clone of the drive?  I could have experimented with this but that would involve taking my desktop computer apart to connect drives to it.  That sounds like too much trouble for now.  I’ll investigate that another time.  Perhaps someone else has done it and can chime in.  Seems like it would work.



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