Where Are We?

Nearly a month, and no post.

So, why, and where are we at this point in life?

I have been ill off and on. Nothing serious, but kind of not feeling like doing much.

The car had started dripping oil again, finally got it into the shop. The oil pan gasket was leaking. Yes I had that replaced by them a short time back. The claimed it was the crankshaft seal, which was seeping but not enough for a drip. At this point I have decided that Ross Chrysler here in Boone NC is just dishonest. A case of dishonest people working for a dishonest dealership. It was not mainly the money, $192 after much arguing, the wanted $231, + the original $391, but that they keep lying. Quote you may remember was $259 the first time, and 170 this time. The actual problem when I first took it there was the oip pressure sensor was leaking, a $100 repair at the most.

I also have been slowly getting the video kit together properly. Not that it was not to the point where I could actually do something with it, but any excuse not to get out and actually do something seems good enough. On the other hand, isn’t getting things set up “doing something”? Maybe I am too hard upon myself.

Let’s see:

I figured out what the problem was with the audio on Camera 2. First the #1 mic connector quit working, then just the other day the #2 quit too. I had just the day before tried out the mixer with that camera and I was scrared that it had burnt out the XLR adapter. But it turned out the connector between the XLR adapter and the camcorder was dirty. Some connector deoxidizer fixed that.

The mixer, I mentioned, seems to work fine despite being rather old. It is a Shure FP42 from maybe the 1970’s. It works on AC or 3-9v batteries, only the cord is not removable.  I have bought a syamised cable to connect it to the camcorder. And just ordered a AC power socket so I can use an unplugable cord on it. With it in a bag or with a shoulder strap, I will be able to use it as a somewhat heavy ENP mixer. I will have less than $100 in it, the real thing would cost a lot more.

Another piece just received is a microphone blimp windscreen. Got a pretty good deal on a made in India one. About 1/3rd the usual price. Those are the big thing on the end of a stick you see in photos of film shoots. They eliminate the wind roar you get recording without them.

Well, that is about it for this month.

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New Video Stuff

I recently bough a used Audio-Technica AT4073A microphone, then a woolly wabbit windscreen for it.


I call it a Woolly Wabbit because the Novo claims it is artificial rabbit fur. Actually they call it a WS180. Seems to work okay, but a serious test has gotten put off because the local greenway is smothered with acres of weeds in bloom. My allergies cannot deal with it.

Today I just got an old microphone mixer from a guy on eBay. A Shure FP42 4 channel field mixer:


By removing those plastic end pieces you see laying on top I was able to fit it into that bag. I will have to do something about a way to connect the mic and output cables through the bottom of the bag, and convert the AC power cord to a plug in type so I can remove it when using the mixer in the field (it will run on three 9V batteries.

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No Name Chinese Microphone v Sony ECM-NV1

That first Sony DSR-PDX10 I bought a couple of years back came with a cheap Chinese microphone instead of the correct Sony one, and the one I recently bought came with no microphone at all. So when I saw a Sony ECM-NV1, the mic that originally came with the camcorder for fairly cheap on eBay I put in a low ball bid. I won it!

It arrived today, and I immediately did a test of the two.

I discovered that the under $20 Chinese mic was more sensitive, looked much better built, and sounded about the same. The cheap mic was also about one inch shorter than the Sony.


The mic on the camera in front is the Chinese one, the one in the back the Sony. Note the difference in overall length.


Here you can see the Sony just has some holes in the plastic at the front, while in the previous photo you can see the cheap mic has a real grill on it.

Now to tell the truth, I do not know if the very low sensitivity of the Sony is normal, or if it may be defective. But I can tell you the Sony cost me $52 while I have seen the other mic for as little as $12.50 on eBay.

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Moans, Groans, and a couple of Hurrahs

The Car Gods are demanding another sacrifice. Looks like it may be the radiator this time. Or, if lucky, maybe just a hose. Anyway next week is as soon as the garage can look at it. Also the wonderful State of North Carolina has raise the price of tags, which I just had to pay. That extra money had to come out of my food budget. Oh well, I am getting too fat anyway.

Computer problem. From the last post you know I upgraded the CPU’s. Looks like somehow I damaged the socket on one of the CPU’s. As a result one stick of ram is not recognized. That means the bandwidth is down. Since I only have the workstation these days, I will have to replace the motherboard eventually. On the lucky side it is still more than twice as fast as it was with the old CPU’s, so not a “right now” needed repair.

The desire for a heavy duty industrial sewing machine has bit the dust, due to all the other demands upon my credit card. Sigh!

One of the things, that bothers me, is between the developing cataracts, and shaky hands, I do not do as much tinkering as I did. Long time readers will have noticed that.

I recently  bought another Camcorder from an ebay seller. Turns out his “I know it works” was not very realistic as it had a head problem. Turned out to be a cheap repair, and the camcorder was cheap enough that I am OK with this. But I do not like those kinds of surprises. Anyway, I now have two old Sony DSR PDX10 camcorders so I can shoot overview and detail shots at the same time, so things do not have to be done twice every time.

Health continues to hold good, knock on wood. I would rate myself doing well for someone going on 73. I know quite a few people younger than me who are not doing as well. Geting off all those med’s they had me on has helped a lot. And, with the crazy that was living next door gone life is much more peaceful around here.


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Faster Computer

My workstation just had an upgrade. Changed the 6120 Opterons for 6276 Opterons. That moved it from 16 cores to 32 cores. With only that change the Cinebench 11.51 scores went from 3.68 to 8.48 a 230% improvement.


Don’t know how much an improvement I can get going to 6300 series Opterons. I think a video card upgrade would do more good.

By the way, the left side of the image is the vertical control monitor and the right side is the horizontal main monitor.

Previous posts describe the system, the only thing changed were the CPU’s.

Everything, so far, seems a lot faster than before.

The latest version of Firefox (48.01) does not seem to like the new processors, I had to go back to and older version to do anything on the web. I upgraded due to my banks site saying my browser was obsolete. Normally, I do not fix things that are not broken. However, I have noticed that newer version of Firefox are often broken. This is being post with Waterfox, at least that seems to be working.

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Follow Up on Printer & Problem with CitiCards


The only place in town to buy a printer anymore is Staples. They had nothing in the store, so I ordered a new Epson Artisan 1430 photo printer for delivery at the store.

While checking on the web to see if my current CISS would work with the new printer (it will not, Epson programmed it so it wouldn’t), I came across a link to a program that resets the whole printer. Now the Epson Print Counter could only be reset once. That is the reason the 1400 went into total lock down (To force us to buy a new printer). The printer reset software took care of that and the printer is working again.

Kind of makes you wonder is one wants to do business with a company like that? Anyway the guy who posted the link for the reset software said to only use it 4 or 5 times because by then the printer would really be worn out. That by my reckoning would be about 100 ink cartridges worth of printing, or $3000 for ink in other words.

So that software saved me about $300 as I canceled the order this morning.

While talking about companies that cheat their customers, I want to mention Citibank. Now I used to think they were the best company’s credit cards to have. But when my card went to charging interest, I called them and asked a simple question. Could they extend the no interest period?

I spent like an hour on the phone with them being transferred from person to person until they put me back with the first person I had talked to and got a, “no”. OK, that was their choice, my choice was to get a card from another company and transfer that balance to that. Then I get a letter from them offering no interest on new purchases for year and a half, but the link on the letter did not work.

Then today I received my statement. Zero previous balance, but a $1.61 interest charge!

I went on their site and left them a message that I had put in a Bill Pay payment for the $1.61 and that was the last business I will ever do with them.

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The Good and the Bad

Okay, the car finally seems to have the oil leak fixed. $400 to replace the oil pan gasket did not do it. So another week and got it in and they replaced the oil pressure sensor. That was replaced just awhile back, by the other shop but apparently not well. Since I had asked for them to fix the leak rather than replace the oil pan gasket, the dealership did the OPS for free. Since that was a $100 job, I figure I am only out $300 in unnecessary repairs. There is still an oil drip, but I am hoping that is just from oil on the chassis.

Drove all the way down to Charlotte (240 mile round trip) to get some leather dye. Living in the boondocks sucks. Then trying to touch up the leather jacket I dropped the bottle of brown dye. What a mess.

Yesterday the Epson 1400 died. Showing a fatal error. Checking my records, I have only had it about seven years, and it has not been heavily used in the past three of them. If I had been using Epson ink cartridges I would have put about $5000 worth of ink through it in that time. Instead I spent more like $200 on ink with the Continuous Ink Supply. I think I will just replace it with a $100 letter size printer, as I have not even run a pack of 11×14’s through the 1400. No one seemed willing to pay for the larger prints anyway.

Healthwise: I am doing okay. Now that I am treating the Fibromyalgia rather than the multiple symptoms that come with it (only one med rather than eight nasty ones), I am doing a lot better than in the past. More energy, don’t need the cane as much, and the symptoms (afib, apnea, sinus, and a host of others) are only about 10% as bad as they were when I was on all those meds. Still have ups and downs, but nothing I would call depression, just bummed out now and then.

That is due mainly to stress. I just read something interesting about stress. It said that stress multiplies up rather than adds up. That is if you are worried about, say, money. Then you get sick. Then you have car problems. Then you have problems at work. It is not 4 times as bad as just the money problems it is 16 times as bad. Now add all those other things that are not going as you would like them to, and it is strange that anyone is not depressed. I try to avoid stressful situations, but seem always to have at least 4 and sometimes 8 or 10 things bugging me. You folks with a family and a job to worry about in addition to my kind of problems; well, I feel sorry for you.

However, please note, that things are much better than before I got off all those extra medications, and it is much easier to deal with the problems nowadays. Add in that the crazy next door is gone and I can not complain too much. Would wish it was easier to sort out the other problems in my life, but can deal with them.


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Without a Car

Hopefully, not long.

It is in the shop have the oilpan gasket replaced. A little oil leak is not much to worry about normally, but the Sebring’s exhaust pipes run under the oil pan. And dripping oil on hot exhaust pipes is scary. At least to me it is.

This has been a month long problem. First there was another problem, exhaust oxy sensor. So, I figured to wait on parts for that. Then that problem turned out to be another problem, it was the plug on the wiring harness rather than the sensor that was bad. So, wait for that plug. Finally while putting on the plug they looked at the oil leak problem. They decided that they did not want to mess with that. So, off to the Chrysler Dealer, had to wait a week for and appointment. Then wait for the part.

Dropped the car off this morning and they give me a ride home. Now I am waiting for them to call and say it is done.

In the mean time I had been driving around with a fire extinguisher in the car, and not going very far from home. Lots of things not getting done because of that.

As Pooh used to say, “Oh bother”!

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Four Months???

You would think that nothing was going on in my life, since I haven’t been posting anything.

That would be wrong. Doing things, car problems, evolving interests, and better health have had me not paying much attention to this blog.

Car problems: It has been one thing after another, mostly nickel and dime stuff. Sensors going out, radiator fans clattering, and now a major oil leak. The leak is the latest and is not going to be a nickel or dime problem. My usual mechanics are not interested in fixing it, so it goes into the dealer’s shop next week. There goes another few hundred bucks.

Doing things: For awhile I was doing this and that with a friend. But that turned out to be a bit expensive, then those car problems on top of that mostly put a stop to that. I will admit, life is a bit more interesting when you are doing things, however.

Evolving interests: The last month or two, I have been thinking of getting into some serious heavy duty sewing. That will be a big expense, if I do it. Thoughts of making canvas tents, I would like a reenactor style tent with modern amenities (floor, zippers, bug proofing. And I am thinking of redoing the car interior myself. Those two projects would save me almost what a triple feed (walking foot & needle feed) sewing machine will cost. But only if I actually do them. That last is the thing mostly holding me back.

Health: I do not know if I mentioned about the fibromyalgia. It was diagnosed a few years back, but I kind of ignored it because what I read on the web did not seem to apply to me. But looking it up again a few months ago, they are now saying almost all my chronic health problems are actually fibro symptoms. So we changed my meds based on that, mostly dropping things, and I have been feeling a lot better ever since.

So, despite my lack of posts, life moves on…

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What’s new?

I am setting up a new blog Connections!. In it I will explore making new and keeping old connections with people alive. I seem to have forgotten, myself. As the years have rolled by I find I have fewer and fewer others in my life. Really need to change that. And, if I, I think there are other in the same boat. Thus the new blog. I will try to maintain weekly posts on that one.

Happy St Paddy’s Day. A friend and I met for lunch at a Irish Pub here in town. St Paddy’s Day, Irish Pub, cute Irish colleen looking waitress with an Irish name; so I teased her that because of that she had to kiss me. She did, very chastely, I might add. Then I found out that she wasn’t Irish at all.  Who was that joke on?

I mentioned this to another friend(?) later in the day, and he said, “You’re lucky she didn’t slap your face.”  Hum…. I think I like the world I live in better than the one he lives in. In his you get slapped, in mine you get a kiss and a hug.

Still need to order that computer for the Chrysler. Money is real short, so I wonder how long I can get away with continuing to drive it with a flaky computer?

I have been having a lot of ups and downs. Feeling good then feeling bummed out. Admittedly, there have been some negative events in my life, and some positive ones as well. Anyway, I found one of those are you suffering from depression questionnaires on the  web and took it. Said I am “very slightly” to “slightly” depressed. I translate that to “bummed out”.

One of the ways I have found to help deal with being “bummed out” is to write something on this blog. Must be why you guys get to read so many negative sounding posts, heh? So thanks for listening.

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