bright are the stars

Just another weblog

Really? July 31, 2009

Filed under: England,Irritations — Misa @ 5:52 pm

I do not like it when the BBC uses a Twitter post as a legitimate news source. It just doesn’t seem entirely legitimate and besides I could make up lots of things to post on Twitter that are not true, but sound true.


That was my random thought of the hour provided to you free of charge. 🙂


Les Miserables

Filed under: England,Misa,My Pilot,Travel — Misa @ 3:33 pm

Tomorrow we are off to London to visit Buckingham Palace in the morning and to see Les Miserables in the evening. How exciting! I’ve heard good things about Les Miserables, but am not generally a fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it even if it doesn’t end up as my favourite musical.

We also have plans to visit Harrod’s and to go to one of our favourite and easy sushi places Yo! Sushi. A busy, but fun day.

Right now I need to do more home inventory stuff. I leave the country on Tuesday for about a month and a half and don’t want to have to do an entire home inventory upon my return as we will be busy with other stuff. Have a good Saturday everyone!


Rain, Rain, Rain July 30, 2009

Filed under: Books,England — Misa @ 2:09 am

It seems like it has been raining non-stop for the past week. Fortunately, I really enjoy the rain especially if it is an absolute downpour. I might feel differently if I had to go out in the rain to go to work, especially since I don’t have a car here.

For now, it’s nice to just sit on the sofa with a blanket and some really bad television or a really good book. In an effort to become more attuned to British culture and history I’ve taken to reading local history books and fiction by British authors. Books that take place in England even if they are not written by British authors are also good. Some of my favourite authors have been Terry Prachett and Douglas Adams who both write light science fiction, Bill Bryson who writes observational and historical comedy books and Ken Follett who wrote World Without End and The Pillars or Earth respectively. Of course I have also re-read all of the Paddington Bear series just because I think he is super cute! Obviously, Harry Potter is another English author and setting. The only book I have on my list for Texas is Texas, by James A. Michner. Does anyone know of any other Texas books?

The rain is also helping my terrace herb garden so I have loads of tasty fresh herbs. Few things are as easy to make as homemade pesto and it is delicious! As an added bonus you can also freeze your homemade pesto and it still tastes just as good as when it’s perfectly fresh. Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm!!!


My Computer is FIXED July 28, 2009

Filed under: Misa — Misa @ 6:15 pm



My Computer is *almost* Fixed

Filed under: Irritations,Military,Misa,Travel — Misa @ 1:45 pm

The computer technician should be here in about an hour to fix my poor laptop so you can expect much more regular posting in the very near future. I know you are all excited!

Yesterday my pilot and I made a trip to base. For most military spouses this is not a blog-worthy post, but since we’ve been here we’ve made the trip to base less then 10 times (we’ve been here almost two years!). We don’t have a car here so we are limited to taking taxis to get to base which is pretty expensive – though not as expensive as having and maintaining a car here. In the morning we attended the “Smooth Move” seminar to make sure we are doing everything necessary for our PCS. The presentations were good, but I couldn’t help but thinking that the whole process could be made much, much, much more straightforward.

The one interesting thing I learned is that due to US agricultural restrictions you must be absolutely certain not to have any “outdoor debris” in your household goods or unaccompanied baggage shipment. You even have to get the bottom of your car washed before you can ship it. I won’t be moving my herb garden, but I’ll probably stick the pots in the dishwasher just to make absolutely sure I don’t bring any nasty critters back to the US.

After a quick lunch my pilot went shopping while I had the joy of going to the dentist. Ugh. I am always embarrassed to go to the dentist now because to make a long story short my childhood dentist was awful. I didn’t know this at the time, nor did my parents or obviously I wouldn’t have gone to her. I had braces on for eight years and even though I kept my teeth meticulously clean the bottom line is that teeth really aren’t meant to have stuff glued to them for that long. My molars were severely decalcified due to the braces and the cavities were inevitable. Not a big deal. Most people get cavities. My old dentist filled these cavities and the only problem I realized at the time was that I was no longer able to floss between my back teeth -seriously, I could not get even get the dental floss in! Finally, many, many, many years down the road the air force dentists actually investigated this and believed me when I told them I honestly couldn’t floss back there. They have been repairing her damage ever since. The latest discovery is that she put in a filling that over hangs part of my tooth and makes it impossible to clean and that she used really inexpensive filler material. Ugh. Perhaps I’m more upset by this than I should be, but I only have one set of teeth and because of her they aren’t as healthy as the could be.

I feel really fortunate that the dentists are catching this now as opposed to when my teeth start falling out or something, so that is something positive I suppose.

Do you have any dental horror stories?

PS – I find it quite funny that the spellchecker on word press does not recognize the word “blog.” 🙂


Thank Goodness for Small Miracles July 24, 2009

Filed under: England,Misa — Misa @ 4:50 pm

The computer gods must be smiling on me because Dell has unexpectedly decided to let me renew my warranty, thus allowing me to get my computer fixed.

The on good thing that came out of my computer hiatus was that I was sufficiently motivated to experiment with some more traditional artistic mediums. I usually spend most of time creating with my computer and pen tablet, but this past week I’ve enjoyed using pen and ink and even some charcoal. This creative spurt has also gotten me out of an artistic rut! Hurray!!

I went in to town this afternoont to have lunch with my pilot and had an interesting experience on the bus. The bus driver nearly came to blows with a driver in another bus because the other bus was blocking traffic AND was in the wrong lane. I have never heard such colorful swearing! It was pretty creative swearing too. I won’t repeat any of it here, but it was certainly amusing.

On Monday, the pilot and I will be at the Smooth Move seminar on base so that we can be prepared for our upcoming PCS this October. I’m pretty sure I know the general gist of what will be said, but we really need to ask some questions at the end of the seminar since we are in a kind of special/unique (read: the air force doesn’t really know what to do with us) situation. A big part of my computer getting fixed is that I will not have to redo our entire home inventory. I went a little over the top and itemized everything down to individual CDs, DVDs and video games. It also comes with attached photographs of said items. This was a BIG project and it’s one I’m glad to not have to do again in the near future. I used a home inventory template that you can download for free from the Microsoft website. If you have never used their free templates you should check them out – they have serious things like budget worksheets and inventories (for home and small business) and more fun things like calendars and reward certificates. Overall, a very cool service. I don’t know why more people don’t use it.

I’ve challenged my pilot to a game of Go and he is demanding that we play. Does anyone else out there play Go? If not, what are your favourite board games?


My Dell XPS m1330 July 20, 2009

Filed under: Irritations,Misa — Misa @ 2:45 pm

I am livid over the state of my computer right now. The failures that I have experienced with this Dell have been beyond what I would consider as acceptable. Let’s recap:

1. 1.5 months after purchase the entire motherboard, heat sink, fan and other innards need to be replaced. In addition, the actual covering needs to be replaced because the Dell logo has peeled off.

2. The technician who did the previous repairs did not install the computer fan properly causing it to severely overheat. All the above parts are replaced again a week after the first repair.

3. 6 months later the graphic card fails and needs to be replaced.

4. 2 weeks after the warranty expires the computers battery no longer holds any charge whatsoever. The replacement cost for this battery is $250. I don’t think so. I am not paying that much for a batter to last a year.

5. 1 month ago the computer’s fan begins mysteriously starting and stopping in quick succession. A Dell technician connects to my computer and flashes the BIOS which is not exactly the safest thing to do to a computer.

6. This week something else is broken. It seemed like a similar issue to the graphics card, however now the computer will not turn on at all. It is no longer under warranty.

For numbers 1-5 I was still in graduate school with all my work and scientific data on this computer. Furthermore, I had to sit around and wait for the Dell guys to come and fix my computer. I missed two days of class because they told me they would come on one day and then didn’t show up. I’m smart enough to back up my data, but I still couldn’t study and couldn’t do anything related to school because I had to sit in my room without any type of computer. Now I haven’t lost anything that essential, but I am still extremely annoyed.

I have been a loyal Dell customer for about 10 years and due to the malfunctions of this dreadful machine I will never purchase another Dell again. Many other people with this computer have had similar issues which leads me to believe that there is a major design flaw in this particular laptop. Dell isn’t going to give me a new computer and I don’t expect them to, but I would appreciate some form of compensation. Of course I won’t be getting anything. I do not think I will ever purchase another Dell and would not recommend their products.

I apologize for any egregious spelling or grammatical errors in this post, but my pilot needs his computer back so he can work now.