Back to School Time, Again

Joe and I both work in academia, and with the kids both in school for some years now ... well, this is the time of year. Collectively we have 65 starts of the school year among us. Our mental calendars do not start in January, they begin in September.

So, we've purchased new sneakers for Matthew, new shoes for Emily. From all over the house, we've gathered pencils, erasers, rulers, calculators, scissors, crayons and put them into brand-new pencil boxes for our homework station. Em and I went shopping for her first-day-of-school outfit* (Matthew was given the same offer, but said he didn't really care). We've started setting alarms in the morning, again ... edging toward the real school wakeup time we'll need by next week.

All that's left to do is buy school lunch stuff. I already got a few new lunch boxes/sacks, but I like to stock up on juice boxes, lunchmeat, cheese, bread, snacky things, etc.


* This top and these pants, for those keeping score at home....


I Think We're Clean

Most of yesterday was spent downloading software, updating virus definitions and scanning the three large drives on my computer. I think I've finally found all my problems and that I'm now running Trojan and spyware free. *whew*

I started out by scanning my drives for junk, old temp files, that sort of thing. I pulled over a few gigabytes of garbage and dumped it all. (using Wise Disc Cleaner, the free version). I plan to run it again today and see what else is lurking about. Yesterday I only hit major directories.

Then, I ran Malwarebytes' AntiMalware program. It found a bunch of stuff. Nine infected or suspicious files, an infected folder and four registry entries/keys/etc that required cleaning or quarantining.

Finally, I ran full AVG scans of everything. It found and cleaned up a couple more items.

This morning after a restart, my computer is running somewhat faster than it was before, and I'm certainly not getting any irritating antivirus popups, "infected file blah-blah-blah requires action." I've uninstalled F-Prot, my previous virus protection, as it didn't find any of this stuff. It popped up occasionally with a warning about something, but repeated scans didn't actually find (or more importantly, eliminate) the trouble.

We'll see how this goes. The software I'm now using comes highly recommended by CNET editors and users, so I'm quite hopeful.



Arg ... and ... Grrrr!

Working to get a sneaky trojan off my computer. Driving me batty.



Rude Awakening ...

Joe and I were up late last night. Like ... actually really early late. Maybe 2am? (Yeah, our schedule pretty much falls apart in the summer once none of us have work demands.)

We finished watching season two of the very excellent Mad Men. It's altogether wonderful and thought-provoking and sometimes terribly uncomfortable, but that's a whole 'nother blog post.

I woke up off an on through the night (the downside of not having a regular schedule is that my really very circadian body doesn't know what to do with itself). But, sleep was definitely out of the question, once those dark red blobs on the lower right of the map rolled through. Starting at about 6:00. We live roughly at the X. Well, maybe a skosh south of there, but anyway ... it was a loud morning.

I started out counting seconds ... one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, RUMBLE! Soon it was just FLASH/BOOM! One bolt was close enough to be more of a FLASH/CRACK which we felt as much as we heard. The kids wound up in our bed after that one.

I love thunderstorms, always have. I think my Grandpa Christoph fostered that more than anyone. But, morning thunderstorms, rare and wonderful in their own way, certainly make for a rude awakening.


ps. 5:03pm -- another band of serious thunderstorms is now on the way through, the worst is mostly to the south of us, this time.


Relative Security

Even while my financial life feels less and less secure (school starts in a week, and I still don't know if I have the job I interviewed for ... which I guess means I don't ...), I'm working on technical security. Thanks, Chris!

Using True Crypt, I've created encrypted partitions to secure password files for randomly generated and secure passwords (created using PasswordMaker (mostly because I like their "one password to rule them all" tagline) in Firefox). So, now I have the ability to use wacko and complicated passwords and carry the file with me on my flashdrive in a secure and protected way.

I don't know that I feel any safer, but it's kind of nice to have at least made an effort.



Playing Catch-up

Look over there ----> Yeah, over on the right. See where it says "Where Do I Go?"? Those are websites I visit at least daily (except for the ones I know only update on certain days like Foxtrot or XKCD).

I like them. They inform, amuse, entertain. But sometimes they feel like such a chore. Sometimes (like when returning from a non-Internet vacation) it feels completely overwhelming to try to dive back in and catch the jist of a blog after missing nine episodes.

So, I'm quitting. Not cold turkey. And not entirely. But, I'm not going to worry about staying current with every little thing that happens out there in my personal hunk of Internet real estate. It's just not cool to spend more time doing that than ... I don't know ... name just about any useful and not-sitting-on-my-backside endeavor.

I'm still going to check family and friend blogs daily. And XKCD (Because it cracks me up and is brief). And Woot. And a few other things, I suppose. But mostly, a lot of sites are going to be diminished to "when I feel like it" or "when I have free time" or "when I'm bored" status.

That said, I'm going to attempt to blog daily, myself. Probably not with anything especially pithy. or thought-out or all that interesting. But, I like the idea of having regimens, routines, order. I like the idea of giving myself goals to stick to (or not).

Today I'm working on PhotoShopping the hundreds (upon hundreds) of pictures I took at Disney World. I also have a few errands to run (fall allergy perscription pick-up, watch repair (the second hand just fell off), eyeglass repair (I can't for the life of me shove Emily's left lens all the way back into place), milk (Why isn't milk cap color standardized? I reached for the light blue like I always do only to realize with much chagrin upon returning home that it was not fat-free, but 2%. *sigh*).

This link posted by my brother is my offering for the day. Until tomorrow. Oh, and this one, too ... I agree, Chris, it would make an awesome blog. One new Nardo email daily. Get permission from the author and go for it!



Random Thoughts

Happy 60th Birthday to my dad, yesterday!

Bon Voyage and good travel wishes to friends bound for Florida today!

Should I start sitting outside for gradually increasing amounts of time in the heat of the New Jersey summer day in order to arrive in Florida on the 14th better acclimated?

Recently enjoyed seasons of programming enjoyed (I missed so much pre-recorded television during the run of Moon Over Buffalo that the dvr started deleting things. So I downloaded entire seasons of show. Joe and I are now catching up on quite a backlog.): Rome Season 2, Dollhouse, 30 Rock. Now working on the entire last season of Scrubs.

I've created a set of entirely-too-detailed documents for our Disney Trip. And customized maps. Laminated even. It's what I do. I'll share via email with anyone who wants further opportunity to mock me.

Lasagna for dinner. Already made. Now regretting not buying some sort of bread to garlic up. Maybe I'll make rolls or something. Bread is a passion. So is cheese. So are cookies.



Bizarre and Fantastic ... Green Porno

If you have not yet seen Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno (she produces, writes and single-handedly stars in these shorts), you really should check it out. It's more or less safe for work, as it's not actually porno. Well, not actually human porno. The audio does include words like "sex," "penis," and "vagina," (with images to match) so let that be your warning. The costuming and origami-type paper sculptures are worth the price of admission (cheap as free!) in and of themselves.

It's basically the how-to manual of non-mammalian sex. And ... such .... variety. Impressive and ... disturbing variety.

Season One: spider, fly, earthworm, snail, bee, praying mantis, dragonfly, and firefly
Season Two: limpet, why vaginas and penises?, starfish, whale, anglerfish, and barnacle



Green Ideas

Taken directly from my recent issue of NEA Today, tips for teachers to started their classrooms off on a "green" foot:
  • Don't use plastic water bottles, or buy cases of bottled water. Use a stainless steel or glass bottle, and a water filter.
  • Turn off some classroom lights on sunny days.
  • Skip Dixie cups, etc. and ask friends/families to donate old coffee cups, mismatched metal utensils for classroom parties and celebrations.
  • Save memos, start-of-school paperwork, etc and use as scrap paper throughout the year, instead of Post-It notes.
  • Turn off your computers before you go home.
Just thought I'd share.