The Story of a 1980 Corvette

In car years, this 1980 Corvette is getting up there. Her original owner was a lady named Wendy. Wendy had always wanted a Corvette. She bought her dream in 1980 and it was a head turner – deep burgundy in color with white leather interior. Wendy never ever drove the car. She didn’t even have a drivers license. But her husband did, so the two of them  logged 60,440 miles before their first child was born in 1991. The Corvette wasn’t roomy enough for a baby seat, so the car was driven into the garage for what turned out to be Wendy’s last ride in her dream car.

The Corvette gradually disappeared under dust, cardboard boxes, lawn hoses, and anything else that needed to be stored. A mouse or two moved into the engine compartment. The battery lost it’s charge. The air gradually leaked out of the tires.

And then, sadly, Wendy died of breast cancer. The sight of Wendy’s Corvette was not comforting to the family, so they decided to sell it. The buyer was my spousal unit – The Car Guy. He agreed to take Wendy’s car home on the condition that he could get it started. Seventeen years of accumulated junk was taken off the car. A battery was installed. The tires were pumped up. The carburetor was primed. The key was turned on. And Wendy’s Corvette roared to life again.

Burgundy white leather interior

The Corvette was trailered home and the task became fixing everything that was broken on this Road Warrior. Hubby didn’t want to make her just like new, he just wanted everything to work. He and his dad spent countless hours troubleshooting and repairing. Every time they got one thing working they discovered another thing that didn’t. Of course, most of the cars idiosyncrasies were blamed on the fact that it was a Chevy. They are Mopar men…  But they couldn’t deny the fact that the car was a real fighter. So in honour of it’s first owner, they called the car “Wendy.”

“Wendy” is in pretty good shape again. Oh, her paint is a bit scratched and rubbed in places, and she doesn’t look at all brand new. And she is not fully restored in any sense of the word. She has been out for a few short trips into town, but hasn’t accumulated any significant mileage. But she is happy to be back on the road again. She’s looking for a new owner, though – someone who has always wanted a burgundy Corvette with white leather interior…

UPDATE: Wendy was listed in Kijiji for a few weeks before a buyer was found. After a short test drive, the new owner hopped into Wendy and drove her all the way home without incidence – a distance of about 400 miles.  Happy Trails, Wendy.

 Post 24

How to Fix Your Bed so that it is a Snore Stopper

Laugh and the world laughs with you.
Snore and you sleep alone.
– Anthony Burgess –

The QuipperyIn the Inventive Uses for a 2X4 category, the most recent one I am test driving is the enticing promise that it will reduce (if not stop) a person from snoring! In our household, late at night, now and then, someone might be lying awake in bed – listening to the saw like sounds of the person who lies beside them.

Enter the 2X4, a dimensional piece of wood that is actually about 1.5 by 3.5 inches. Depending on the length of the board, it could be used to poke the snorer until they woke up and quit snoring. But, we have inadvertently found that if the 2X4 is used to raise the head of the bead by 3.5 inches, snoring is reduced significantly. At least, so far the snoring is reduced. We will see what happens in the long term.

We raised the head of our bed for quite another medical reason.  The jury is out as to whether the other medical condition is improving, but if the snoring is alleviated, we’ll both be pleased!

Raising the head of the bed can be as simple as putting a few blocks of wood under the feet. Or it can be as time consuming as ripping some 2X4’s obliquely to create long wedges that attach to the underside of the box spring. Much depends on how stable you want the result to be, and how much you care about the damage to your carpet from the blocks of wood…

Be warned! For the first few nights you might feel like you are slowly migrating towards the end of the bed while you sleep. You probably are, but you really don’t slide very far. You will also find that your night tables are now too low, by about the same number of inches as the bed was raised. The Car Guy has some creative suggestions about how to raise the night tables – with 2X4’s, of course…

Post 23

How to Change File Formats

In the not so distant past, it wasn’t all that easy to change the format of a file. Today, there are any number of programs that will change one file format into another with just a click of the mouse!

Data, or document files can be converted using some of the following:

  • Sometimes I want to create .PDF documents. They are a great way to turn a big Word or Publisher document into a small high definition bundle to send to my friends. I use Primo PDF Converter to do this, but there are lots of other programs of the same ilk. Once the program is installed, I simply open the document I want to convert and then request that it be printed. In the Print dialogue box, I choose Primo PDF. Nothing seems to happen, but eventually the Primo PDF dialogue box opens, and I make my selections. I attach the PDF document to an email, and send it off. Within minutes my friends and family have received my Annual Christmas letter or all the recipes from the Ukrainian Feast.
  • Conversely, sometimes I export material from a program into .PDF format, but ultimately want it to be a Word document.  For that, I use Smart PDF Converter. To use this program, open it up, and then drag the file you want to convert into the Smart PDF Converter window. Follow the rest of the directions. The free version will convert up to 3 pages of material.
  • Microsoft Access is a database program that I use a lot. I like the extreme flexibility it gives you in producing reports. It is limited, however, in how to save the reports for viewing in another program. Depending on the version of Access, reports can be converted to .PDF, either with an external program, or from within Access Version 2007. The report can also be exported to Word by selecting Tools, Office Links, Publish as Word.  Both of these techniques are reasonably successful if the report is in a single column, and is quite simple. Lastly, the report can be exported to the Snapshot (*.snp) format which lets it be viewed by someone who doesn’t have Access on their computer. There are programs that will convert .SNP files into .JPG, etc, but I haven’t tried those out yet.

Image conversion is supported by a great number of programs. Sometimes the only big choice you have to make is which format to convert to from the dozens of files that are supported. I am very big on converting images into the .PNG format. This format creates relatively small files with lossless compression.

  • Microsoft Office has a nifty program called Office Picture Manager that can change your pictures from one format to another with an export tool. This option is on the toolbar on the right hand side of the screen. The program exports into JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF. Most importantly, for me anyhow, is that it lets me view all the WMF clip art that Windows 7 no longer supports. It also lets me bulk convert these WMF files into something I can see in Windows Explorer. Office Picture Manager will also bulk resize graphics files.
  • I  use several programs for viewing and rotating graphics files. One is FastStone Image Viewer and the other is  XnView. Both of them support lossless rotation of .JPG files, which is the best reason to use them. FastStone supports all major graphics formats (about 20 or so). XnView  will import about 400 file formats and export to about 50.

Movies can be converted too. Windows Users can open the Windows Movie Maker. It comes with Windows XP and Vista, but not with Windows 7. For Windows 7, you have to download Windows Live Movie Maker. This program makes it easy to compress movies into a size that you can send in emails. There are likely other programs with far greater functionality than Windows Movie Maker, but I haven’t tried any of them.

Just when you think you’ve got all the answers, they change the questions.

Post 22

A Few of the Many Types of Wit, Wisdom and Wordplay

I collect humorous quotations and combine them with photos. Then I print them and put them into binders and give them to my family and friends. I’ve made quite a few of these books over the years. Some day I’d like to recreate them on my computer so that I can look at them too!

Many of the quotations I collect are Epigrams, which are short, clever and memorable sayings.  They are wit and wisdom presented in a concise statement. Ingenious, thoughtful, pithy and sometimes caustic or satirical, the definition of an epigram can be longer than an actual epigram itself!

To be safe on the Fourth
Don’t buy a fifth on the third.
– James H. Muehlbauer –

I also like the Pun, or “Groaner“, which is described as being verbal acrobatics. It is a play upon words that uses the ambiguity between similar-sounding words for humorous purposes.

A vulture boards a plane, carrying two dead possums. The attendant looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carry on allowed per passenger.”

And I can’t resist the Understatement which makes a situation seem much less serious or important than it actually is. British humour often makes use of the understatement.

If the movie ‘Apollo 13’ had been set in the UK, it wouldn’t have been “Houston, we have a problem”, but “Hello Milton Keynes, we’re in a bit of a pickle”

A Malapropism is either the intentional or unintentional misuse of a word. The ‘right’ word is substituted for another with a similar sound.

My sister has extra-century perception.

Absurdity is humor that obviously lacks reason, which makes it particularly appealing to children. It can be foolish, ridiculous, preposterous, incongruous, fantastical or whimsical.

Why did the elephant paint its toe nails red?
Answer: To hide in the strawberry patch.

Visit The Quippery to read many of the quips and quotations I have collected.

Post 21

Unique Sights if you Travel in India

IndiaA street scene in Delhi – The overhead electrical lines form an amazing canopy.

IndiaCows wander and rest  in the urban streets.

IndiaCamels at work.

IndiaA work crew.

IndiaThe Taj Mahal.

I believe that in India “cold weather” is merely a conventional phrase and has come into use through the necessity of having some way to distinguish between weather which will melt a brass door-knob and weather which will only make it mushy.
– Mark Twain –

Post 20

An Alligator at Gatorland, Florida

Florida Gatorland

Notice – It’s easy to forget that your original objective was to drain the swamp when you are up to your neck in alligators.
– Sign at Gatorland, Florida –

Gatorland, Florida, is an interesting place to take the Grandchildren, particularly if they like reptiles of all sorts.  It is a 110 acre park with alligators, crocodiles, tortoises, snakes, birds and many other interesting critters!

Post 19

2010 Vancouver Olympics

pickets maple leafThe 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada Olympics have come to a close.

There are certainly more than a few bloggers who made negative comments about these Games. Some people were unhappy with mechanical glitches. Some didn’t like the dignitaries chosen to carry a flag or a torch. Some didn’t like the musicians or the speeches. Some didn’t like multiculturalism or bilingualism. Some didn’t like the weather.

I happen to think, however, that the games were a perfect success. Their perfection came from everything they were, and everything they were not. They WERE a blend of all the ordinary people of Canada doing an extraordinary thing. They were a mixture of our ancestors, cultures, heritage, languages, music and symbols, offered with humour and pride. They welcomed the athletes and the world to our shores – for a day, a week or a lifetime. They were NOT Hollywood glamorous, Disneyland immaculate or Martha Stewart perfect. And that’s a good thing.

I am one of those ordinary Canadians who watched the extraordinary events of the 2010 Olympics. There are about 34 million of us living in Canada today. We couldn’t all travel to Vancouver to join the crowds on Robson Street, or at Whistler. So we formed our own crowds in homes, community halls, pubs and streets – all across the country.

Winter Olympics Demonstration Sport Suggestions

Savage Chickens, by Doug Savage: http://www.savagechickens.com/

There are about 2.8 million Canadian citizens today who currently live somewhere other than Canada. There are many reasons why they live in the far flung reaches of the world. I know, because I have lived in three countries other than Canada. Regardless of where I lived, though, I was first and foremost a Canadian. I expect most of those 2.8 million other expat Canadians would say the same thing. Being a Canadian is not so much about where your body resides, as where your heart lives. So, around the world, groups of expat Canadians also joined together in homes and halls and pubs to watch the events in Vancouver. And a lucky few came Home to be part of the festivities.

The Olympic games continue to adapt and change with the times. While some people might not have agreed that the Olympics should allow “professional” athletes to compete, this resulted in a new leveling of the playing field. The very best athletes in the world DO compete at the Olympics now. How they get to be the best is evolving too. Specialized training centres, state of the art facilities, and expert coaches in places like Canada mean that more and more athletes live and train away from their home country for part of the year.

This international trade of knowledge and skills is a good thing. Maybe it won’t feel so good to Canadians when the Chinese Women’s Curling team takes a medal at some future Olympics. But the good folks in Leduc, Alberta, Canada will smile and say, “The hearts of these ladies may belong to China, but their skills were honed on the ice of the Leduc Curling Club…”

Time on the ice… it might be hockey ice, or curling ice. It might be the icy slopes of a mountain, or the ice on your driveway. If you have spent any time on any ice, well, you are well on your way to being a Canadian…

Tom Brokaw explains Canada to Americans:

Post 18