Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Status Update

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I am getting over a nasty little cold. I have not been doing much of anything, including reading, just sneezing.

I ordered a new pair of glasses online at quite a savings. I got the eye exam at a department store and I am waiting for the glasses. I will blog about the results when the glasses arrive in the next few days.

I registered for the SAO short course in Astronomy. The international balance of trade make it somewhat affordable again. I have received the welcome letter with instructions on how to get started. I will blog about this regularly.

I have found a farm within driving distance that sells beekeeping supplies and they will have a shipment of bees ready for me on May 9th, if I want it. Getting started costs around $350, but there is twofer deal, so I want to talk to Larry about it. I’ve have to drive up just north of Albany to pick up the bees and hive. It would take about 3 hours up and 3 hours down. There is another site that will overnight the bees and hive to you for a total of $400 if I decide not to drive. I want to do this, but I don’t want to kill the bees.

There is a satellite launch on March 5th at the Kennedy space center. You can view the launch from a beach in Cape Canaveral. Air fares to Florida have dropped so much that it is silly to not go. I will ask Larry or the poker boys if anyone is willing to go down and share expenses for a motel room and the rental car. We could go down the night before, watch the launch and then get our ears at Disney World, or just hang at the beach all day. If I can pull this together I will post the hotel where we are staying and anyone out there who wants to meet us there can join the party on the beach. I’ll be bringing my harmonicas.

I have been taking a course in web design. I know, I know, I have been designing web pages for years and even taught 4 semesters of a course in it. I decided that I did not have a well enough grounding in the actual esthetics of the design process even if I have the mechanics down pat. Everyone agrees that I make ugly web pages. I would like to see how another instructor deals with the topic. I have been in some interesting disagreements here at work about creating simple effective pages without all the fancy clutter.

I got a rewrite request on my story The Dinosaur Dance Floor, but I have not been able to get myself excited enough to do the work. Antihistamine pills take all the creative oomph out of your life. had a bang up Valentines day, even better than Christmas. It has slowed down since then, but I am still running better than 50% over the same period last year.

I have a camera full of pictures from January and February. I have not found time to empty it out and now there has to be a dozen blog entries worth of stuff in it so I am shirking this. I will try to get to this on the weekend.

In order to save money, all contractors working for the county of Westchester have to take an extra week off without pay. This may go up as the year goes on. It means more free time for me, but less money in the bank. It also means that I may be staying home on a few Fridays over the summer in order to catch some of those Friday afternoon garage sales.

Using a Net Name

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I recently received a couple of invites to be a friend to someone whose name I did not recognize. I get these from time to time and they are usually spam bots. The name seemed familiar, so I clicked through and there was my cousin’s face smiling at me on facebook. She had used the surname Mansfield, which is an old family name on my mother’s side. The Mansfields were an interesting branch to the family and we have a diary written by one of my ancestors. It is from the 1830s and is mostly a list of disasters like train crashes, steam boats exploding and large city fires. My cousin used her own first name, but used the Mansfield surname to hide her real world identity.

My real name is scattered all over the internet, sometimes in places I would rather not think about. I wrote shareware in the 1980s and many of my programs were quite famous. I received a shareware writer of the year award back in the 90s. My program txt2com allowed someone to take a text file, wrap a reader around it and then compress it. The file was self contained and not easily altered. It was used for bomb making recipes, really dreadful porn and many other things that I did not know about. The bad thing was that my name was embedded in the file as the copyright owner of the software. I was not the owner of the contents. Searches on my name find some dreadfully bad stuff attributed to me.

In the world of the internet, I have been writing articles about harmonicas, science fiction, and web development since 1993. Yahoo shows 53,000 pages with Keith P. Graham on them.

I was thinking that it might be better to assume a Net-Name like Keith P. Mansfield to protect myself. It is like closing the barn door after the horse escaped, but in the future it might make a difference.

This and That

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

The house was too warm last night. The heat is working much better, although not balanced. It seems to only do one zone at a time and I am fiddling with the thermostats to set the heat on and off in different areas to keep the house comfortable. Last night it was a little cool downstairs, but comfortable. Upstairs was actually too warm, after a couple of weeks of being 62°. I am going to go on Google and see if there is a home thermostat with built in wifi and the ability to program from a remote site.

My brother Larry broke down and paid for cable internet. He got all three, Cable, Phone and Internet for the $99 package deal. It works for him because Mom can get on the phone to her sister in Florida and do $20 of gossiping without thinking. He is actually saving money. I have been collecting cheap wireless routers with the idea of flashing them with a super router software and reselling them on the internet, but I never have time. I gave him one that I bought for a $1. He no longer has to aim his antenna out the window at a weak signal to an open router. He is amazed at his speed and for the first time he can surf YouTube. He is taking lessons from a guitar player from Croatia that he says is the best teacher he’s ever had. Mom has rediscovered Turner Classic Movies and Larry says that she has been watching black and white movies 12 hours a day.

Electric Spec held my story “RepFix” for vote. They keep, so they say, about 20 stories and pick a few from these for the next issue. I submitted to Electric Spec because I saw Tyree Campbell there. If Tyree is submitting there then they might like my stuff because Tyree often accepts my stories. I read on the SamsDot discussion area that Tyree has also been held for a vote. At this moment our stories are duking it out in a cyber death match chamber.

My blogging software has made considerable progress. I still need to add all the standard blog features like rss, archiving, comments, pings, image upload, and link backs. This will be a lot of work. I have to do security next. I spent several days over the holidays working on this, but everyone is back into “work” mode here and the adult supervision has started again, so I may not get to it for a little while.

Koch called me. He is home, but goes to physical therapy at Burk three times a week. He has three vertebra fused in his neck and he can’t turn his head from side to side. He is feeling much better and says that he is coming back to work in a few weeks. If I were him, I would take this as a sign to retire and collect disability. He sent me his son’s laptop, which is so full of viruses and spyware that it stopped booting. He wants me to format the disk and reinstall XP. I will try to get to it one night this week.

I started working on my iPhone app. I discovered that to actually test on the iPhone I would have to pay Apple a $99 registration fee to be a certified developer. I have been testing the sample code apps on their emulator. I guess if I ever get my apps written that I will have to pay the fee.

The Home Inspection course that I wanted to take has been discontinued. It might not have worked out anyway because to be a certified inspector you have to have 40 hours of experience working with another certified inspector or else a PE license. I want to go back to school, but I am not sure what course to take. I don’t think that I want to take any more computer courses, unless it is for something fun. I am way over educated for what I do. I would like to have a fall back career in case the bottom falls out of programming. I don’t want to go back to work in the City.

Pictures from Mom’s House

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I Went over to Mom’s house. I had the camera so I took some pictures of stuff on the wall while I was waiting for her to get off the phone.


This was Larry and me. I’m around 6 and Larry is about 4.

Next is a picture of my Great Great Grandmother, Fanny Fay Mansfield.


And here is a picture of the Nyack Semi-Pro baseball team some time in the 1890s. Alexander Galbraith, my great grandfather is the only one without a mustache.


Click on images to get a larger view.