Welcome to ToTG!

January 30, 2013


This wasn't a good idea, for several reasons.

January 28, 2013

The People Vs. Winter

I'll admit to have been a drama queen about certain things before. With that disclaimer out of the way, I'll also confess that I have raked people over the coals for saying they loved winter and the snow. I usually just tell them it's a sure bet they never have had to work out in it or had to drive miles and miles in it. Sure, snow is "pretty", if you can sit by the roaring fireplace looking out at the winter wonderland with a glass of brandy in one hand. It's also a certainty that people who say that never fretted about their heating bill or had their pipes freeze. Go ahead and love winter if you want, it's a free country, but as for me, I'm always looking forward to spring.

This video serves as a reminder why I don't like winter.

Data Usage

A few months ago, I received a warning that I had gone over the 150GB limit AT&T had imposed upon people using their Internet service. I was warned that they would give me three warnings and after the third one I would be charged an extra $10 for each 10GB over the limit. The very next month I got another warning, saying I was within 65% of the limit. The email gave a link to a page where I could view my data usage, but it didn't work.

They did give examples of what that amount of data could be:

(click for larger view)


I saw what they were trying to infer, that no "normal" person - the average Internet user - would use such huge amounts of bandwidth.  There was also this explanation:

AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network. A single high-traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers' access to and use of the network.

150 GB is far more data than most customers ever use in a month. Our average AT&T High Speed Internet customer uses only about 21 GB per month.

What they were not-so-subtly saying was that slobs like me were responsible for the restriction, not only for myself but for others.  Nice try, but no cigar.  I understand that the company can change their policies - I don't agree with it, but I understand how these large corporations operate.  I didn't agree to it when I signed up for it, but I'm sure there was some wording in the "contract" I "agreed to" by using their service that the agreement can be changed at any time without notice to me.  I resent that, but I also resent being made out to be the bad guy.

After having connection problems for nearly a year and not being able to get satisfaction from AT&T, I finally took matters into my own hands.  Without going into details (because I'm sure I broke several company rules) I finally managed to get my problems sorted out.  After getting my promised speed back, I made up for lost time, downloading all sorts of videos, movies and music.  (acquired legally)  I could finally view the videos and listen to podcasts from the Dallas Cowboy website, catch up on YouTube videos I had bookmarked and watch all sorts of programming such as movies on Hulu, program episodes I had missed on Discovery and The History Channel and other network websites.

(in case you're thinking that my usage STILL seems excessive, just let me add that just an audio only mp3 podcast from the Cowboys site can be 40-50mb with the videos being in the 2GB range.  During the season, the site would have two radio shows and sometimes 6 or more videos posted each and every day, plus interviews and highlights after games.  I also bought quite a few mp3 albums from Amazon, d/l a few movies I had been wanting to see from the same site.  A fairly low-resolution movie on Hulu can be 4-500MB.  As you could tell from the graphic posted above, 25HD movies can account for a significant part of the entire total.  That can add up, maybe not in a hurry, but over the course of 30 days it can be a significant amount.  I would also make the mistake of leaving my Internet radio on even when I lay down to sleep)

I've not received another warning and since I've signed up for U-Verse, the cap has been raised to 250GB. I also found out the bandwidth meter is working for me now.  Here's a screen shot of my data usage history over the last few months: (I've snipped out my phone number)

Anyone else notice the similarity between the graph and a certain obscene gesture? It's pretty much my sentiments towards AT&T.

January 26, 2013

They Have My Number

You Are 5: The Investigator

You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.

You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.

Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.

You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.

At Your Best: You are sharp, inventive, and creative. You have the skills to lead the world.

At Your Worst: You are reclusive, weird, and a bit paranoid.

Your Fixation: Greed

Your Primary Fear: Being useless or incompetent

Your Primary Desire: Being competent and needed

Other Number 5's: Bill Gates, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Bjork, and Stephen Hawking.
What Number Are You?

Even though these quizzes seem to say exactly what I want to hear (think: flattery) they're mostly #2...if you get my drift.

January 25, 2013

Mind-Warping Animations

The Mind-Warping Animated GIF Art of Paolo Čerić

From  Colossal:

Digital artist Paolo Čerić is currently studying information processing at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Croatia where his experiments with processing and digital art have resulted in a steady stream of fascinating animations which he publishes on his blog Patakk. Čerić tells me that he began about two years ago knowing very little about digital art or animation, but was fascinated watching other coders create art with code. For a while he simply tried to mimic other animations he’d seen, but lately has truly developed his own personal style that varies from pulsating geometric patterns to glitch art and everything in between.

See more at Patakk.

When I first got online, I was fascinated by animated gifs, but I "outgrew" them as I found better, more interesting things to do with a computer. These, however, have renewed my interest in them. I never was able to create anything this unique,though and never will be, but they're still fantastic.

Looking through the examples on the Colossal site, the first one made me laugh, serving as a moving Rorschach test.

This is a screenshot and not the actual animation, so that's why it's not moving, but when I first saw it I thought:

"A full-figured female convict"!

January 24, 2013

U-Verse Woes

If I don't have a post for a while, it's because U-Verse is playing up again. I was without internet for a good bit of yesterday evening and I finally called tech support and a recorded msg. told me the outage had started up again and to NOT reboot my modem. So, I didn't.

After being without Internet all day today, I called again and got a real-live person who told me to reboot my modem. So, I did.

All was well for a while until about an hour after getting back online when I was knocked off again. I did the modem thing again and so far, so good.

Yesterday I got an email about my telephone bill.  It was nearly twice the usual amt. and I was floored.  I went to the AT&T site and paid my last month's bill (not due for a few more days) and tried to find out why it was so high, but the site is really hard to navigate (for me), esp. trying to find detailed information about the bill.   I made yet another call and yet again had to wade through the computer prompts to find out what the deal was. 

After being put on hold - again, for the umpteenth time this week- (I think I've spent more time on hold than I have online since Friday) I got to speak to another real-live human.  I voiced my displeasure as politely as I could (my tongue is still bleeding from biting holes through it) and found out I had been charged $49 for service connection and $100 for the modem.  I was not told about either when I signed up for U-Verse.  I mentioned "Deceptive Trade Practices" and "Duplicitous" several times and reminded them they were "not the only game in town", telling them I could get phone, Internet and cable from the cable company for about what they had been charging just for phone and 'net PLUS they offered much greater speed. I  managed to get a credit for twenty bucks for the outage and half the service connection fee reduced off the bill.

During the brief time when I was online, I did some research about the outage and AT&T is blaming it on a software upgrade that "only" affected 1% of their customers. I was in that 1% but it didn't make me feel special.   I read a post by a woman in the AT&T forums that said she had been offline, surprising to her because she had had U-Verse for three years and only been knocked offline a couple of times.  Me?  I had had U-Verse for six days and been offline for four.

They'll not be getting any recommendations from me.

January 23, 2013

Let's Do the Lindy!

Not Fat, Just Brainy

Did you know 60% of the human brain is composed of fat?

So, the next time you call someone a fathead, you might be complimenting them.

January 22, 2013

Across the U-Verse

"Oh boy!" I thought. Twice the speed for half the cost. That's what I was told by the AT&T representative and I believed her...and for one brief day, it was true.

Then came the outage.  At first it was annoying, getting knocked offline, then after an hour or two, all the lights on the modem were green and it was clear - and fast - sailing again.  Then came Black Monday (which started late Sunday afternoon into the early parts of today) when I didn't have any access at all.

AT&T spokespeople and techs are being deliberately vague about what's causing the problem; some articles I've read are blaming it on various conspiracies, while others say they think it's the work of hackers angry at the "Six Strikes" policy.  I don't care WHAT is causing it, but I just want my Internet.

I guess I'm lucky; I only have U-Verse for my Internet;  others have also been without their cable TV and phone if they've signed up for the complete package.  Made me glad I decided to hold off on that for the time being.  At least I could get on the phone to complain and although my cable is outrageously expensive for what I get, it was good that I could watch TV while I was offline.

I even took the time during a short window of opportunity when U-Verse was up to go register on the AT&T website forums to see if there was a workaround;  I saw a few and will try them if the outages persist.  Reading a HUGE thread of complaints on the subject - well, I didn't read ALL of the complaints, but was glad I skipped to the very last posts in the thread - and saw this.  One holier-than-thou jerk said this, a message I've seen at least a hundred times before in some form or fashion:

(excuse the caps, that's the way it was written)


The outage has almost been worth getting to read the reply to it:

Look. No internet, TV, or PHONE. OK? Couldn't even call 911 if there was an emergency. It's 6 degrees outside. So why don't you go out there?

Anyway, this is the tune that used to go through my head when I'd see anything about U-Verse;  if the outages persist, it will be AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".

Across The Universe - The Beatles

January 20, 2013

Wish You Were Here - David Gilmour

The Eyes Have It

Deep Down You Are Sensitive

You're the type of person who notices everything and forgets nothing. You are very in tune with the world.

You feel deeply, and sometimes the silliest things can effect you. You are easily brought to laughter or tears.

You don't show the world how fragile you are. You instead show people how insightful you can be.

You are good at anticipating what's going to happen in your life. You are often the first one to see what's coming.

January 17, 2013

Baba O'Riley - The Who

One of my most favorite songs, a reminder of my youth.

January 16, 2013


I burned my hand on one of those Dinty Moore cupboard meals last night, was steak tips and brown gravy.  I was carrying it in to sit down in front of the TV to watch a movie when the gravy slopped over the top and scalded my hand.  Most people would have dropped it, but I didn't let go as the gravy kept pouring onto my hand.  Hey, I was hungry!

The bad news is that it still hurts today.  The good news is I expect the hair on my palm won't come back.

NFL Bad Lip Reading

Zamboni Google Doodle

Zamboni Google Doodle

(say that three times really fast)

Maybe Google is celebrating the return of ice hockey, but it's also the birthday of Frank Zamboni, the inventor of his namesake, the iconic ice resurfacer.

The game is easy to play; Press the arrow "start" button and a little skater will come out, skate around and leave a trail on the ice.

Then, using the arrow keys, drive the Zamboni around to resurface the ice.

Not an exciting game, but like most doodles done with a pencil and paper, it's simply a way to pass time.

As if there's not enough ways to do that on the Internet.

Here's another time waster, but at least it will increase your trivia knowledge:

8 Things You Don’t Know About the Zamboni Machine

January 15, 2013

I Love You, Cassandra

Even though I've never seen you.

Just spent a couple of hours on the phone trying to deal with AT&T.  My phone bill has been steadily going up for a couple of years, ever since I called them and tried to reduce the monthly cost.  At that time, I was told by getting a certain bundle, I would save five dollars/month, yet when I got the next bill, it was five dollars MORE.

It was maddening going through the hassle of doing all that, so I just let it slide.  After getting the last bill and having it be nearly five dollars more than the previous month, I decided enough was enough.  I tried to alter my plan online, but after jumping through hoops, I got a page saying the service wasn't available and giving me a number to call.  Funny, you can add all sorts of services online - for an increase in cost - but you can't do anything to lower your bill.

So, earlier today I called the number;  as is almost always the case on these things, I get the computer.  After having to repeat my information multiple times, I'm finally connected with a human.  In India.  With a thick accent.  After telling her I could barely hear her and when she made adjustments (prob. just putting the microphone closer to her mouth) I then couldn't understand her.  I told her so, not once but several times and I could hear the frustration in her voice.  (and I was making no attempt to disguise my own frustration)  She finally said she'd transfer me and did so...but to the California branch, who told me I'd have to deal with the Texas office. 

Oh, did I mention I was put on hold with each and every transfer?  Each took at least five minutes.  I've been on the phone for over an hour now without having accomplished a single thing.

I finally get the Texas office, but I can barely hear them.  I complained about it and they told me their volume was up as high as it could go, that it must be MY volume at fault. I took the phone away from my ear to check my volume and saw it was at the maximum, but when I held it back to my ear again, there was nothing but silence.  We had been disconnected....but I think they just hung up on me.

Letting out a scream (yes, I did, I was full of rage) I redialed the number, got Mr. Computer again and was connected again to a human "Hello, this is Cassandra, how may I help you?"  A sweet voice, one I could hear.  Thank God.

Long story short, she listened to my complaint and what I wanted done with my service and I wound up with the options I wanted, a fiber optic connection, free equipment, much faster Internet speed, all for $30 less than I've been paying.  I also found out that I can drop the phone land line and get a cell phone (you could have DSL and not have the phone service, but the speed was reduced to a minimum) and she's going to call me back tomorrow to discuss plans and phones. 

I may get a cell phone, not sure.  I also may ask her to marry me.

January 13, 2013



eurhythmic eu·rhyth·mic [yoo-rith -mik, yuh-] adjective
1. characterized by a pleasing rhythm; harmoniously ordered or proportioned. 2. of or pertaining to eurhythmics.

Not a word I use in every day life, but it reminded me of this song.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) - Eurythmics

Used to love Annie Lennox and her "Tangerine Marine" hairdo.

January 12, 2013


filch verb (used with object) to steal (especially something of small value);
pilfer: to filch ashtrays from fancy restaurants.

I knew this word, but I didn't think of it straight off when I saw it as the word of the day.  Instead, I thought of this character:

I guess it's time to quit watching HP movies every time they come on the tube.

French Translator

Do you want Do we really have Do you know how
Is it be possible Will I manage

to sleep with to find to eat to buy
to show me to look like to stand to get in

Gerard Depardieu perfume a pair of frog legs
good cheese the Eiffel Tower
a genuine Parisian my wife my pants

in your widest dreams? to cover the smell? while drinking red wine? without speaking French? right after breakfast? without being too arrogant? when my mother-in-law is around? after eating 300 croissants? ? (nothing)

January 11, 2013

The Oldest Woman in the World

Has a radio show.

Am listening to sports talk radio at the moment and the hosts are talking about the Academy Award nominations. They're raving about Lincoln, a movie I want to see but not enough to break down and go to the theater.  I'll wait until it comes out on video or go to one of those sites that doesn't much care about copyright infringement.

They're especially gushing over the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis and from the short trailers I've seen, he does resemble President Lincoln. One of the male hosts asked the woman on the show if the actor did a good job portraying Lincoln and she said "Spot on! Captures him perfectly!".

Uh, I can understand saying he LOOKS like Lincoln, but how the hell would she know anything else about the man?  Lincoln had his photograph taken several times, but there's no recordings of his speech or film of him.  Photography was still in its infancy;  there were certainly no movies, records or tapes then.

Aw, hell...these idiot talking heads don't know much about sports, why would I expect them to know much of anything about movies?

Yep, they're stupid...but maybe I'm more stupid for listening to them. 

January 8, 2013

Look Out Below

I'd like to be a bird if for nothing else as to be able to fly over *some* people and crap on them.  I'd also be a bird who was constantly flippin' one.

You Would Be a Pet Bird

You're intelligent and witty, yet surprisingly low maintenance.

You charm people easily, and they usually love you a lot more than you love them.

You resent anyone who tries to own or control you. You refuse to be fenced in.

Why you would make a great pet: You're very smart and entertaining

Why you would make a bad pet: You're not interested in being anyone's pet!

What you would love about being a bird: Flying, obviously

What you would hate about being a bird: Being caged

I had another "bird" quiz in here a while back, but the music video posted along with it has been taken down. This isn't the full tune, but it's funny.

Bomb Sight

Bomb Sight
From the site:

The Bomb Sight project is mapping the London WW2 bomb census between 7/10/1940 and 06/06/1941. Previously available only by viewing in the Reading Room at The National Archives, Bomb Sight is making the maps available to citizen researchers, academics and students. They will be able to explore where the bombs fell and to discover memories and photographs from the period.

The project has scanned original 1940s bomb census maps , geo-referenced the maps and digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the original map.

With Bomb Sight you can discover what it was like in London, during WW2 Luftwaffe Blitz bombing raids, exploring maps, images and memories.

Bomb Sight

January 7, 2013

Giveaway of the Day

Giveaway of the Day

A fantastic website offering a different program for free each day...but for only a period of 24 hours.

Not everything they offer is fantastic; all too often (usually on Fridays) worthless (IMO) screensavers are the choice. The site is still worth a visit on that day if only to read the comments (complaints) in the message board. (some people would gripe if you hung 'em with a new rope) They also offer up software that can be done by always-free programs. GOTD has had many, many audio file editing programs, some of which I have found useful.

Be sure and scan through the comments as often there will be some helpful advice or even a consensus of bad reviews for the product.

Blade Runner CAPTCHA

Earlier today I had to get through one of those usually infuriating CAPTCHA screens in order to view a video. Most of the time they're almost illegible to read, a combination of fuzzy letters and numbers, but those such as these aren't too bad, only having to copy the phrase in order to proceed. I had to laugh at this one because having watched Blade Runner several dozen times, I immediately recognized the dialog.

Here's the scene from the movie; it's all very dramatic, but the CAPTCHA code line is spoken a little past the 2:00 minute mark:

January 4, 2013

Won By a Nose

Did you know there have been three Oscar-winning actors who wore fake noses in the parts for which they won?

They were Nicole Kidman as writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002), Lee Marvin as Kid Shellen's twin brother (aka Silvernose) in Cat Ballou (1965) and José Ferrer as the title character in Cyrano de Bergerac (1950).

January 3, 2013

Turning the Page

I've given a lot of thought to getting a Kindle, but have always resisted, thinking that I would always prefer to hold and read a paper book.  I've tried before to read books on the computer and I think that's biased my opinion because I have always done most of my reading in bed just before I go to sleep. (can't curl up with my PC, after all)  Thinking about it, I've decided that holding an e-reader wouldn't be much different than a regular book and might even be better.

You Are a Paper Book

When it comes to reading, you really value quality over quantity. You are a devoted reader.

You don't like to rush through anything you are reading. You like to get up close and personal with your books.

Paper books suit you best, even if they are pricier and more difficult to obtain. Like a good story, they are worth it for you.

Besides, there is nothing you like more than having a beautiful bookshelf full of books you love. No eBook can do that for you. 

Paperback Writer - The Beatles

The Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page

January 2, 2013


Bossaball mixes soccer, volleyball and gymnastics on trampolines and inflatables.

Spam payback: webmaster@antalyacelikgroup.com abuse@antalyacelikgroup.com mail@antalyacelikgroup.com

January 1, 2013


 UPDATE: (again!) There's a new clutch of eggs!

UPDATE: The University of Nebraska - Lincoln has another clutch of eggs for their 4-H EGG Cam.

These eggs were set on January 13 and should hatch in about 21 days - on or about February 3! We'll be candling live this week to see how the embryos are doing. The camera will zoom in much closer when candling. We'll post the candling date/time on Tuesday, January 19.

The eggs are from chickens bred to lay a lot of great eggs - Hy-Line Layers.

4-H EGG Cam

Looks like I missed the candling, dadgummit.

UPDATE: There's a new clutch of chicken eggs, set on Feb. 10 and will take 21 days to hatch.


(original post)

University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a webcam set on a clutch of eggs in an incubator.

Can't wait; only 21 days until they hatch!

Off to make the popcorn, am glued to the monitor!

EGGCam Update!!!

The eggs hatched, and not even a peep out of Garazon!

New Trivia Tournament Begins!

Play the Top of Texas Gazette Daily Trivia Game!

Easy to do;  register at the site, sign in and play the day's trivia game.

What's NOT easy to do is get all the questions correct.  All the categories are set to the most difficult ones offered.  There's General Knowledge, Literature, Science and Technology, UK Trivia, History, Movies and starting today, there's now Music.

Top of Texas Daily Trivia Game

Auld Lang Syne - Glenn Miller Orchestra


compotation com·po·ta·tion [kom-puh-tey-shuh n] noun

an act or instance of drinking or tippling together.

Anyone doing this word probably can't pronounce it right now.