Monday, October 29, 2007

And The 'Good' News Continues….

Well, I went to the eye doctor today about my left eye. The bad news: It’s not a cataract. The good news: Not much. The doctor said I have a completely detached retina. A tear developed in the retinal wall, and some of the fluid in my eye leaked out and behind the retina, pushing it away from the back of the eye. Think of a camera with the film plane moved out of the focal area. That’s what I’m dealing with, now. The eye doctor sent me over to a retinal specialist, who thoroughly examined both eyes, and explained the options.

If there is any good news in all this, it’s that they think they can fix it to where the eye will be useable again. My vision will probably never be what it once was, but through a surgical procedure, they can drain out some of the fluid, put the retina back where it should be, and laser the tear shut. The operation has a success rate of 90% or better. The Surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, the 6th of November.

The doctor said I had a spot on my right eye that could lead to the same condition. After the left eye gets fixed, I’ll have a minor laser procedure on the right eye to prevent this from happening to it as well.

As you can imagine, this hit like a ton of bricks. As if we haven’t been through enough with all the cancer and other medical problems in the family, now we have this to deal with.

Updates to the website will probably be somewhat patchy for a while, but I’ll try to keep you up to date.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Update

I have an appointment for Monday the 29th to see what the problem is with my eye. I’m pretty sure it’s a cataract, but we’ll just have to see. If it is, it will mean cataract surgery. As I understand it, that’s no big deal, but the idea of pointy things in my eye just makes my skin crawl. Ehhhh.

My AMD machine is now back up and running again after it’s third format/reload in the last 6 months. I’m sure getting tired of this. Anyway, I dumped that CA piece of crap, and now have Norton through my Yahoo/ATT DSL service. It works perfectly.

My dad’s upstairs computer is now on my workbench in the shop to be formatted/reloaded again. I’ll probably start on it this weekend, but my main concern right now is getting my eye situation resolved. My dad agrees – he’s not in a hurry to get it back, so I’ll take my time and do it right once I can see again!

Speaking of my dad, he just called. Seems he ran into a guy from the old NPA camera club today. The guy told my dad that he’d been wanting to get in touch with me for months, and could he have my phone number. Wisely, my dad said “Rod’s kind of hard to catch, so I’ll have him call you…” So now I have this guy’s phone number, and that old familiar feeling in my gut. If one of these people wanted to get in touch with me just to say “Hi, How ya doin’ let’s catch up on old times and stuff..” it would be wonderful. But usually it’s something more along the line of: “Hi, Rod, how ya doin’? Hey I’ve had a lot of computer problems / I need a new logo for a business I’m starting / My second cousin thrice removed is getting married and can’t afford a wedding photographer…..” In other words, I need your services, and I don’t want to pay anything. I’m sorry, but I just have way too much on my plate at the moment to deal with that nonsense.

I could be wrong, of course, and frankly it would be a wonderful change if it was just that he wanted to say hello. I guess we’ll see.

Update - 9:35PM

I am delighted! And I feel a liitle bad for my rant a couple paragraphs ago. What a wonderful change! I called the fellow mentioned above, and it was - refreshingly - just to say hello and talk about old times. His dad was a good freind of mine, and for years, we both ran the camera club together. It was good to hear from him, and we're going to keep in touch. I'm just undone. And happy!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vacation Over – And Not Ending Too Well

It’s Sunday, and my vacation is winding to a close. It’s not ending very well. My left eye is pretty much blind at the moment. I’m having a little difficulty typing this, so it’ll be short. I’ll be calling Monday to try and get an appointment to see what’s up with my eye.

In addition, my main computer is pretty well useless, as well (I’m using the old Gateway 700 to post this). I thought it had a virus or spyware, so I bought a copy of CA’s Internet Security Suite 2007 and installed it. It seems CA is worse than any virus. Now, it takes the computer an hour to do even the simplest tasks such as opening up My Documents, or any folder. I get all kinds of undecipherable error messages, and blue screens of death. And it doesn’t seem capable of eliminating any viruses or spyware it finds. And the CA website is even more useless – unless, of course, you want to spend an additional 20 bucks to speak with one of their "representatives" on the phone. Pathetic.

Looks like I’ll have to reformat-reload the damn thing for the fourth time in the last 6 months. It’s almost to the point where I don’t even want a computer anymore. I’m sick and tired of having to constantly fight with the stupid things. It wasn’t 6 months ago that I reloaded both of my dad’s computers. Now, both of them are screwed up again.

At any rate, it may be a while before there are any updates on my website or blog. I’m hoping this situation with my eye can be resolved. Everything I do is visual, from my job to my website, photography, art, to the stuff I make in my shop. The cruelest thing God (if He even exists) could do to me would be to take away my sight.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post something more cheerful soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vacation Wrap-Up

Well, I turned 59 today. I’m beginning to feel all of those years.

We got home Friday afternoon, after a nice, sunny trip home from Eureka Springs. It was a great vacation, and I’m already wishing it was last Saturday. You look forward to these things for months, then they’re here and gone before you know it. We’ve already decided to set up a special saving fund for vacations. Three or four years between them is just too long.

The posts and updates may be a little patchy for a while. I’m starting to have some problems with my vision; especially my left eye. I started noticing it a couple weeks ago, but it seemed to be pretty stable. But, over the last 3 days, my left eye has rapidly gotten worse. So I’m going to have to go see what’s going on. I suspect cataracts, but I’ll have to see what the optometrist says. I’m going to try to get an appointment this week.

And of course, my dad is having computer problems out the ying-yang again, so I’ve got that situation to fight again.

I feel like I’ve never even had a vacation.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vacation - Thursday

Well, today we got a nice break in the weather! It was a beautiful clear cool day, perfect for getting out and about. Last night we had a heck of a storm roll through - it knocked the power out for a couple hours. But this morning was magnificent.

We started out at a place that used to be called "Eureka Gardens." Now, it's called Blue Spring Heritage Center. The lady there told me that it was more focused on history of the area rather than on the garden aspect. In my opinion, that was a big mistake. History is fine, and I'm all for it, but they had something extremely beautiful, and now, it's really pretty sad. I was very dissappointed in it. Unless they return to caring for the gardens at least a little, we probably won't. I did manage to get a few decent photos anyway.

After a bit of a rest break, we headed over to War Eagle, and went on a tour of the cavern there. As usual, my timing was impeccable, and we arrived just after the tour left. the tours last about an hour, so we decided to go ahead and wait. At the gift shop they have bags of tailing dirt that you can buy for $7.95 each, and take them outside to a little sluice they have set up there. You sluice the dirt, and get gemstones. She felt so bad that we had to wait, she gave me a bag to play with at the sluice. we got some pretty nice stones - no diamonds or Rings of Power, but some nice little colorful bits. Couldn't complain about the price! Afterwards, we took the last tour of the day in the cavern, and I got a few decent photos. We even saw a few hibernating bats - and yes, I got photos of them. Cute little bats. Awwww.........

By the time the cave tour ended, we were both pretty beat, and hungry, so we stopped at La Familia Tex-Mex Restaurant, and filled up on enchiladas. Yum!

Tomorrow begins the trip back home (long sigh), and back to the status quo. It's been a nice break from all the insanity of the last few years. But we've both decided it will NOT be another 3 or 4 years until our next real vacation. Time is much too precious not to live fully while we are able!

I've posted a few more photos on the Vacation 2007 Album. Sadly, that's probaby going to be all of them for this vacation. I'll leave this album up until at least the end of the year, and there may be a few more posted after we get home. For now, this will be my final post until we're back home tomorrow night.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vacation - Wednesday Update

We had a pretty nice day here in Eureka Springs, today. Mostly we did a lot of "antiqueing" and checking out some of the kitch-y tourist attractions. The weather has been so damn uncooperative that we haven't really had much of a problem filling up flash cards with our cameras the last day or so. We did manage a few photos during the few rare breaks in the clouds today. I've uploaded a few photos to the Vacation 2007 Album, so be sure to check them out!

We stopped and checked out the world's largest tuned windchime - the thing is huge, and weighs in at around 800 pounds! I had a nice chat with the chap that built it. He has a shop where he sell windchimes and lots of other goodies. I was admiring his handiwork, and we got to talking about making various types of chimes.

We also stopped at Lake Leatherwood, and managed a few nice shots - some actually have blue sky in them! We dropped by a place that sells colorful slag glass by the pound, and I picked up a few pounds' worth for a project I have in mind. We finished the day at Mertie May's Restaurant for some country fried steak, and fried catfish.

the lady at our motel said the weather for tomorrow was supposed to be nice and sunny - that would be a refreshing break! We hope to see Eureka Gardens, and hopefully one of the many caves in the area. Then, we'll head home on Friday.

Until next time...


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vacation - Tuesday

We're now in Eureka Springs - we got here about an hour ago, and unlike yesterday, the weather couldn't be more perfect! It's an absolutely gorgeous day.

We're staying at the Bavarian Inn - a MUCH nicer place than we had in Hot Springs! I paid a little more for the room, but as they say (whoever 'they' are), one gets what one pays for. The only problem is that the wireless signals are patchy at best. I'm out on the balcony as I type this; it's the only place I can get a halfway decent signal.

With this in mind, the updates may not be as frequent. I'll try to update at least each evening (we'll be heading back Friday). Probably the first place to check will be the Vacation 2007 Album for the latest photos. Then check here for any updates.

For now we're going to enjoy the peace and quiet, and walk over to the restaurant in a little while and partake of some culinary delights!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Vacation - Monday

Well, I really thought today was going to suck when we got up. It started raining in the wee hours of the morning, and continued steadily through most of the day. It didn't stop until just after sunset. Figures.

We got out anyhow, and explored the Hot Springs National Park on the "East Mountain" side. We went up in the observation tower, and both of us got some pretty spectacular photos in spite of the rotten weather. We came back to the room for a while, then got out for a nice supper - found a great place to eat called the Dixie Cafe. We also took a short tour of the downtown area after dark, and got some nice night photos.

You can check the Vacation 2007 album, and also the October link for some photos.

Tomorrow, we'll head out again, probably for Eureka Springs. Hopefully the weather will be a little more cooperative.

I'll check in again tomorrow, in the meantime, check the above albums for the latest photos.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

On The Road Again....

Well, we're in Hot Springs tonight, after a 7 hour drive from Independence. I used the travel itinerary from Google, and it was pretty darn accurate. It said 418 miles, and 7 hours' travel time. I really didn't think it would take that long, but it did. We only stopped once for gas and restrooms, and I only got lost once, so we didn't do too bad.

I've uploaded a few photos from the road on my Vacation 2007 Album. There's nothing spectacular, yet. There was a nice sunset this evening, but unfortunately, it was behind us, and we were driving through a heavily forested area, so there was not a good place to stop with any kind of view. You can see the photos at:

Or just click the links as noted in my previous post.
For now, I'm going to sign off, relax, and I'll have more photos for you tomorrow evening.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

You Can Tell it's a Rod Shelley Vacation....


It's the first day of my vacation, and it's been pouring steadily since about 4:00 AM when I was awakened by a loud thunderclap. This is a short video clip from my backyard security cam.

Well, I don't care - we're still heading out tomorrow, rain or shine! For now, I'm going to put on a pot of coffee, relax, and get some things ready for the trip.

Update: 11:00 PM:

I've got everything set up so my visitors can follow our journey. First, if you are not on my website viewing this, you can get to by clicking the link to your right, just below the Stealth Fighter photo. It will open in a new window, then you can click on the Latest News & Miscellany link. My blog will open in its own frame. You'll see links on your left for the Vacation 2007 Album, as well as the monthly sections. You can also click the Picasa Web Album there, or again, below the Stealth Fighter.

I've got my security cameras tricked up to upload to my web server periodically (sorry, only I have access to this area), and my neighbors will watch the house while we're gone - I've also stopped the mail. I'll still be able to get my e-mail, so if you want to send a message, just click the Contact Me link to the right (yes, below the Stealth Fighter).

We're looking forward to a great trip! I'm sure it will be over way too soon!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Vacation Is Here!!

It’s Friday, and vacation time is here at last! We’ll spend Saturday relaxing at home, and getting things ready, then we’ll head out on Sunday.

I’ll be updating my Blog in the latest news section each evening, so be sure to drop by often. I’ve also set up a special album in my Picasa Photo Album that I’ll upload photos to each evening. You'll find a link to it in my links area in the sidebar at right. Also be sure to check the October link on your left (if you're viewing this from my website - otherwise click the Rod's Lair link in the sidebar).

I’m looking forward to a great vacation, and lots of new photos. And maybe a few new additions to my collection of insulators and coffee mugs!

Today started out pretty busy, but things calmed down during the afternoon. I had several calls, but some of the other guys were a little slow, so they grabbed the calls I was backed up on. Thanks Guys! I have to say that I work with a great bunch of guys at KMBS. You guys really believe in teamwork, and it's a pleasure working with all of you. That's one reason I won't dread coming back after next week. I might be a little depressed that my vacation is over, but I won't dread it - much ;-)

But now, I'm going to take a break for a week, relax, refresh, renew, and maybe reboot the half-dozen or so brain cells I still have left!

For now, my stomach tells me it's suppertime, so like any good hobbit, I must retire to the table!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

All Fixed Up.....

I am sitting here at Sonic, inhaling a cheeseburger, onion rings and a Coke while I attempt to juggle my lunch, my laptop and this infernal Nextel that continuously beeps, chirps, whistles, tweedles, and chortles. I'd be more than tempted to throw the damn thing out the window at 65mph, but - in addition to having to pay my company for a new one - with my luck the stupid thing would hit a cop car or something.

Calls are coming in left and right, and it looks like I'm going to be working all afternoon on a call one of the other guys had some problems with.

In the seat next to me is a service receipt for getting my car fixed up from last evening's escapade. For a new rim, two new tires, labor, taxes, and all the other crap fees, it came to a total of $332.69. Jeeze. And people can't seem to understand why I don't want to fix their buddy's copier on a Saturday for free? I run an errand for a relative, and it ends up costing me over 300 bucks. No one gives me a break, so please, don't ask me to work on your copier, computer, website, or whatever unless you are willing to write a good sized check.

Now that I've got that off my chest (and my car fixed), I'm ready for next week's vacation. And if anyone within my earshot even mentions the word "multitasking" I'm going to beat them senseless with a wet fish!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tired - And Bunged Up

Well, today sucked. I should have gone to work yesterday, and called in sick today.
In addition to getting only 3 calls done - all of which were very involved and time-consuming, I managed to bung up my right front tire and rim.

Once again, right after getting home from work, we were running an errand for a relative - something we find ourselves spending more and more time doing of late. After leaving CVS, we were stopped at the light at westbound 39th St. and Noland Rd. As I made a left turn, the sun momentarily blinded me, and I made the turn too wide. I hit the curb pretty hard while trying to make the turn. It pretty well jacked up the rim, and took a few chunks out of the tire as well. Dammit!

I'm sure this will lighten the load in my wallet pretty well. What did I do to deserve this? Try to help someone?


Well, I guess all I can do is bite the bullet, and get a new rim, and probably front tires, too. The left front tire seems to have a slow leak anyway, so I might as well replace them. Then, maybe, if no other little disasters present themselves, we can get away next week for a few days. No phones, no copiers and NO MULTITASKING for a whole week. Maybe I'll get part of my mind back....


Monday, October 08, 2007

Sick day...

Just a short note today...

Didn't really feel very good today, so I called in sick. I don't do that very often; this is only the second time in nearly two years. But I just didn't have it in me to deal with it today.

I'm feeling better tonight, so I anticipate being back at it again, tomorrow.

Next week is vacation!! We'll start out on Sunday, and head for Hot Springs. I've already got our room reserved. We'll spend Sunday travelling, and get a good nights' sleep so we can explore on Monday. From there, who knows? I'll be posting our adventures and some photos from the road. It's going to feel sooo good to get away from all the chaos for a while. I just hope I don't start getting depressed about Thursday, knowing we'll soon be coming back to it. But a few relaxing days away will, I hope, refresh us enough to make it through the winter.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy October..

Well, it's October already! It seems like not that long ago that we were welcoming 2007; now it's rapidly drawing to a close.

It's just two short weeks until vacation time! And I'm sure it will go by like a shot - but for now, it's something to look forward to.

Well, the search for a new stereo is over! I found a nice Sony receiver at Circuit City today. It has all the inputs and outputs I need to record my music, and even start converting some of my LPs to CD. The only issue is that there is no "phono" input on this receiver. I can connect my turntable to the CD or VCR inputs, and it works after a fashion, but I have to turn the volume all the way up - and that still isn't quite enough. I just ordered a preamp from Radio Shack that should take care of that problem, though. It connects between the turntable and receiver, and should boost the output to the proper level. And even with having to order a preamp, it's still a lot less than that $550 Yamaha I was looking at.

Now, I'm in the middle of re-arranging the computer room so all the audio equipment is close to the computers. I plan on spending quite a bit of time this winter recording lots of music, and converting my 33-1/3 LPs to CD. As if I didn't have enough irons in the fire....