Monday, October 31, 2011

A bicycle

IF, and thats a big IF, things work out tomorrow, then I will be getting Ajah from boarding on Wed and moving tomorrow. Then I will be getting a bike. After working out that Ajah does great on plane rides, does her usual walking bit, and gets along with people; I am considering taking her on a bike, YES a real bicycle. She has walked, sat on my bookbag, attended cat shows, been in a carrier of every sort, and the carrier I had for her on the plane could sit on the back quite nicely, or a front basket. There is a holistic vet down the road, the bus is noisy, and filled with curious people. It wasn't a bad experience, but the bike could be just as fast, and give her some fresh air.

The apartment I am looking at is .25 miles from a bus stop that runs hourly. The other is about 3/4 miles to a 15 min bus, and so having a bike makes sense. Besides the fact, I could easily fit everything I took on the plane, plus most of my 2 boxes being packed (has my camping gear mostly) on a bike. Add a bike trailer and it would all fit just snazzy (including the cat). Yes, I am considering a small bicycle tour with the cat in tow (a weekend to start). Wonderlust is there, but its not financially possible to get a van right now, and I have grown to enjoy biking since being car free for the past few months.

Then, when I do get a van, it will easily fit the bike on the back or in the van, have room for my cat, and my stuff. I am also investing in furniture that can travel, but still look civilized, and follow my minimalistic preferences. I do need one a duffel and medium wheeled bag for future shipping of stuff, instead of the two boxes they keep getting shipped in. Aside from that, the two duffels that travel now can fit in ortlieb bags and that could work well. 

So, furniture being looked at, a camping table with cloth, and a camping chair with a good pillow for cushion. Then a convertible foam chair to bed with some collaspible dinner trays, and a nice futon (that can hang out in a friends garage). Then, I was thinking on building a box for the foam as a bed type contraption, with room to store luggage and a basket.

For Ajah, I am going to put a pvc tube around the camp table and glue/staple sisal rope to it, in addition to her door hanging scratcher I brought along, and cardboard scratcher. It will be very lightweight, cheap, but yet sustainable and easy to move stuff, and clean under. I am hoping the bed contraption, or at least the wood used can be used in the van.

Only thing is that the van will be a class B or C, or a trailer because I need facilities, and am not mechanically inclined..... And so that is the update for now.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Update thus Far

I rented a casita for 8 days to find a place to live. Ajah is currently in boarding. She did awesome with the flight. I would prefer to have her with me, but its safer and better for her during the transitory period to be in a stable environment. Not to mention its fiscally better than a deposit or pet fee for the week. I miss my girl terribly but the boarding place is doing great with her, and she has her own room with a floor to ceiling cat tree. Its emotionally difficult without her because she is my emotional support, and I react worse without her. She has visited elderly, and visited some folks in wheelchairs while in the DFW airport.She is an awesome cat.

So we took a taxi from Toledo to Detroit, flew to Dallas, then flew to Tucson. The flight was late, so we spent the night at the airport. She spent the night on her leash. Then I took her to to boarding and I went to the casita rented for the week.

I interviewed a potential roommate, and I have 2 exams tomorrow, and some final homework to finish.So hopefully by the end of this weekend, I will have a new home, and can get Rajjah from boarding. I haven't actually signed up for classes yet as I don't want to commit until I know I have a place to live. I will sign up for online classes this week at least. But in person will depend on how things go. What happened last semester can't happen again. Right now I am going through a wanting my normal life back. A camper van, my cat, a job, and a few online classes would satisfy that urge. Mentally, things are a bit challenging at the moment, but that is outside the scope of this blog (no I am not nuts lol).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apps on a Android 2.2 Archos 10.1 Tablet

Having had an Archos 10.1 entertainment tablet bought off ebay with accessories for 300 for a few months, here are a few apps that have come in handy. This is the simple 8 GB model with an SD card for additional space. There are 5 possible home screens to organize apps and a index grid accessible from all 5 screens. I use 4 of the 5 screens for my main apps as well as a few lesser used ones and background type programs in the index.This tablet didn't come with the Android Market, but it did come with Arch Tools that had a market download. So I have both the apps lib and Android Markets to choose from. I also have the Amazon apps store, and use it along with the Droid Market for all my app needs. Below are some of the apps I currently have... and I will also give mention to Dolphin browser and Ever Note as wonderful apps, but I chose my ebook and Office Suite Pro over the previous two. Color Note, a separate calendar app, and the Opera/Native browser handles the web side.

Lets start with the ereader apps: Google Books, Kobo, FBReader and Moon Reader.  Google books is accessible from anywhere and is stored on googles server, other than when you actually read a book, it will download individually. Kobo is from when I had a Kobo ereader, which got returned due to only being an ereader. I enjoyed it, but my laptop can function as a multi purpose ereader, and now the tablet. My books are synced from any device and the selection is okay. FBReader is great for a simple reader, mostly used for easy access to Gutenburg, while Moon reader is great for large print. The last two are great for epub downloads. Amazon has a books app, but I haven't found a need for that, as I have a lot of books that I haven't read yet. 90 percent have been free. Reading on a tablet is nice, and having multiple readers for multiple sources of books that would normally require several ereaders, all on one device is nice. I like e-ink, but this works well.

Games: Angry Birds, all versions, Solitaire combo, Mahjong, Jewels, and Jewels Deluxe, and 4 in a row. I have a few others on the SD card that aren't played often, but are indexed. The ereaders and games are on the fifth screen.

Music and Media are throughout the 3rd and 5th screen. Tune in radio, news and weather, BBC,, occupy together, Mediafly, the native Music app, Cineshow Time, native Photo Frame, Gallery, Video, and Camera.

I already talked about the browsers. But, the main difference is that Opera Mobile gives you the mobile version of web applications, functions faster, and has a great touch interface. The native browser includes flash and is preferred for seeing full websites. I have had Mozilla and Dolphin as well, but decided for space reasons that Mozilla is too slow and Dolphin is fun, but isn't a priority right now. I may download it again in the future as I really want to explore it more, along with evernote, but those are later. Those two programs are great for a computer and tablet to connect together, but I don't sync my tablet to the laptop.

The Acer Aspire One, which I am typing this from, is now running a full version of Microsoft Office 2010, has a HUGE ebook for my computer class, along with the usual ebook, music, and school paper, graphics, ect, and is pretty bogged down right now, with both backed up on an external HD. I am definitely looking at getting a MacBook Air in a few months for the graphic programs and GarageBand software. Then, the Microsoft Office 2010 can be added later. I want to do web design again and the little netbook isn't going to work for that. My main desktop is not working any longer. This little netbook will remain a back up and then the MacBook can do more. I used to have a Mac and I miss it, but the pricetag for one is a bit steep right now. Eventually, I will replace this Acer Aspire One with a dual OS tablet (Windows and Android 3.2 coming out next year). Touchscreens are much nicer and user friendly on the 10.1 screen, and will be able to write papers, do research, and still enjoy the Android app interface on one machine, but they need to work the kinks out.

Mac: I am really sad to see the rags to riches Steve Jobs pass away. He created art work with his technology. Apple isn't the best in everything, but their products are sharp, thin, great out of the box functionality, and pretty; just gorgeous to look at. The price is still high, but the programs don't need a for dummies manual, it just works, and there is a great customer support team on the other end. I look forward to a lightly used MacBook when the budget has it, and I will remember the guy some say was temperamental, as a treasured part of the Apple legacy. I read somewhere he said that Microsoft doesn't bring culture to their programs. I have to agree. Windows isn't pretty like Apple, and takes some getting used too. Windows office programs make nice, simple programs. Word and Power point come to mind. But then again, some of the Apple presentation programs give some very nice results. So, both have their place: Windows is cheaper, somewhat functional, and is more easily adaptable to other programs; Apple is very customized and locked down to work with Apple, and that comes with its own issues, but they have a nice selection to compete.

The new computers coming out with Google chrome that are a web based OS are something that I simply can't wrap my head around. The idea that a computer is only functional in the cloud and web based, just isn't something I can work with. There are plenty of times when I am away from an internet signal and want to play games, listen to music, or work on a presentation for uploading later. I would be stifled by a web only system, and even with an internet signal, those other offline items are still done, it just doesn't seem functional. Why have a portable device that is only a web device? So, I am skipping Chrome, which I actually got rid of over a year ago. I tried it again recently, and just don't like it.

Android is by far my favorite. It still has a way to go with the word processors and other more intensive software, but it has come a long way with games, media, simple notes, calendars, photos, and communication. The Android screens are pretty with some Zedge software, the apps work nicely, the market is constantly updated, with many things for free.The USB ports, additional SD card storage, and the very customizable interface makes for an easy user experience. I use my tablet for as many things as I can except for intense typing, and even that can be done with a USB or bluetooth keyboard. Too bad Office or Open Office weren't available in their desktop forms on an Android tablet. Netflix also needs to get with the program.

Also, Sony gets huge kudos. I bought the Sony Walkman and silicone case USB chargeable MP3 player 2 months ago. The FM tuner works great, the download and upload is easy through a variety of stores and formats, as well as the video (if you are so inclined, I haven't added anymore than what came with the MP3 player). My older Sony camera also works nicely, and the warranty folks have been more than helpful.

End of technology post: also, got a new phone a Samsung 401G from Net10 for 25 bucks with 750 minutes included. It works nicely so far, good long battery life, but its an older style qwerty phone. Its a simple slider, decent screen, good for text and talk. The WAP browser is no fun, but the E71 is broke at this point. I miss my old phone and will get the old one fixed as soon as possible, but this one works for a cheap back up phone, or one I want that is more stable with better battery life.

A College Paper

For college, I have to write an argumentative paper. After engaging in many political debates, as I support the Occupy movement, I didn't really feel like writing more on it, as the research for a paper at this point would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. The Occupy movement is still in full swing, and I don't agree with every commonly used demand, nor folks quitting their jobs to protest, but I do feel the rich should pay taxes equal or more than the poor man OR invest in business. Business expenditures need to be looked at closer. Fancy dinners, vacations, and expensive golf outings should not be tax deductible. Common sense needs to prevail; Uncle Sam needs to but out including giving money to Bank of America and other corporations who are buying out the little guy. Let capitalism work.

On Facebook, there was a graphic that stated our country was not founded on Christianity. I was curious as my entire life has taught me different. So, I went digging and found out it was indeed true. Thomas Paine, the writer of Common Sense, was actually an Atheist. So, that is only the beginning, but it’s a solid beginning since Thomas Paine little booklet was such a large motivator in the US gaining freedom from Britain. I am not an Atheist, but I can respect his ideas and support the separation of Church and State. I am glad our founding Fathers saw to make it this way. And thus, I opted to write on the idea that America was not founded on Christianity, but that Christianity was merely part of the culture back then. It was the accepted spiritual guidance of the day, but there were other competing thoughts, as well as room to grow, and that's why we are a nation with elements of Christian culture, but were founded on Greek and Roman thought. The Greeks brought the world democracy, and the Romans brought us military tactics as well as how to govern very large spaces of land.

 Further, many of the first British colonists were debt prisoners, those with differing political thoughts who were imprisoned, and then there were those that opposed the Church of England. The founding Fathers chose to include in the Constitution that there was to be no religious requirement for political leaders. The Spanish were Catholics, and then there were Protestants, Quakers, those of the Enlightenment, as well as the Native Americans. Not to mention the early Middle Eastern immigrants and Jews. We were a melting pot from the beginning. True, some of the colonies, like Plymouth, were founded on a specific religious requirement, but that changed with time, and it was one group of people. Right and wrong, morality, and a general respect for life were characteristics of all the early faiths that have survived through modern times, and hopefully into the future.

When a specific religion gains a foot hold, bad things have historically happened. Look at Israel, the three Abrahamic religions have been fighting over a small piece of land in the name of religion. The Crusades, and the Church of England that at one time, allowed people to buy pardons for their sins. I am not calling a specific religion bad, or a specific group bad, but the facts remain that man, when one group becomes anonymous and the conditions are right, will become savages. So, that's the basis of my paper, and I attend a private Christian college. I will include some early Christian leaders as well, and attempt to balance it out, but this is my blog, so I get to point out how I see it. The paper will reflect both sides and show both room for Christians and respect for the early 10 Commandments on courthouses, the Bible in oaths, and so forth as a respectable aspect of the early American culture that should be preserved as much as an Indian burial mound or old building. But as a nation, we are a welcoming melting pot of each to many cultures, religions, ideas, food, and architecture, and in order to do that, we have to keep religion and politics on separate grounds, to allow for everyone to have a chance at the American dream.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Got the Flight Booked

Today was eventful, fruitful, and good. The flight is booked for Oct 24 for Ajah and I with a leave date of Oct 24. I mentioned previously wanting to take the train, but they don't allow pets. There were some awesome people who offered to drive her there, and for that I am grateful, but the little amount of time we will spend flying, will be low stress and cost compared to several days in a strange situation. Iulia went to the neighbors who have been pining after her over her for several months, so Ajah and I are are both adjusting to a one cat situation. I haven't ever had only one cat, so this is an entirely new experience for her and I, in some ways good, and in some, not so much. I miss the girl, but she was a foster to begin with, and traveling with 2 cats is more than I can do at this point. Not to mention the odd fighting that was becoming characteristic due to energy level differences. Ajahs coat was looking rough and the spats over cardboard boxes were overwhelming, so it is better in that regard. On the other hand, Ajah is more vocal, seems bored to some extent, and would prefer a buddy. To compensate, I have been taking her for more walks, having more interactive playtime, and being more generous with the treats. She has tons of toys for her amusement, so its a win and lose situation. She has gained more weight in the past few days, been more relaxed and more willing to try new toys and events. She has even been friendly with the dogs, which is a hot and cold subject historically.

  I ordered a new soft carrier for the flight as well (picture taken from ebay petspecialtystore, I will taken some of the actual carrier when it gets here). Its a soft carrier with thinsulate insulation and mesh windows on either end. It folds flat, and compresses in size for the flight, but is still rigid enough for my big girl. The insulation will be good with an ice pack on one end for the heat of AZ. Her portable litter box (a sturdi box), and my Stanley mug will work for food and water. It comes with a flat bed, but I will put the fold up picnic blanket in there as well. The color is green and tan, not my favorite, but doesn't scream cat carrier, the pockets will hold her stuff, and when we are through, it can be put away.

As for the portable litter box, let me tell you about the sturdibox. It is made by Sturdi products, and is waterproof and can be washed in the washing machine. This beauty is great for grocery hauling, washing dishes while camping, or yes, as its intended purpose, a litter box. I have been using it as a second box for my cat(s) for a good long time, and as someone who has both done quite a bit of showing and fostering, lets just say the box has been tested.

My beloved Nokia E71 is at its end. I have used and abused it for over a year, and now the screen is flashing between the home screen and the camera, so I backed it up with Nokia PC suite and have all media and apps on the mini SD card, so I ordered a net10 refurbished phone with 750 minutes for 25 dollars. Shipping is free for 3 day, and it will have an AZ number. I will be keeping my Nokia for now, in hopes I can get it repaired in AZ as a backup. It is on the ATT network, which is great in AZ, but horrible in my area of OH/MI. The new phone is also on the ATT and T mobile networks. Its a Samsung T401G. Its APP capable, but not quite as "smart" as the e71. The Nokia E71 has WIFI, bluetooth, runs on symbian OS, and is great for pics, push email, texting and talk. But, it doesn't work and I don't have time to send it in for repair at the moment, so 25 bucks seemed reasonable. Right: picture taken from, and below: Samsung phone picture taken from

Also, keeping in mind, I practically lived off the E71 for a long time. I used it as a camera, MP3 player, map program, text, talk, as a WIFI hotspot, calendar, basic email, voice recorder, and even read pdf on it. Great little phone, but to get it repaired requires a shop to set it back to default and reset the OS. The new phone has a SD card slot, so my old one can slide in, has an MP3 player, can get the Opera web browser, sync with my computer, so no reloading my address book by hand, and has a slide out qwerty as well as a numeric keypad for dialing out. Reviews are good, and given that I now have a netbook, tablet and USB chargeable MP3 player, I don't need as many features on my phone. This phone is a bit heavier, but as a former user of the numeric slider, I look forward to having both, and can deal with the weight for the slide out qwerty which looks comfortable and great for texting. It doesn't look cheap, and it feels durable. On the other hand, I would have Panasonic toughbook and a field blackberry if I could afford it, because I am rough on my electronics. I am seriously considering a child ereader for better durability. Touchscreens are great, and I love my tablet, but it is in a portfolio case daily and then packed in a netbook case for more screen protection. The laptop has a bubble shock proof case, MP3 has a silicone case, and my cells just get the crap beat out of them on a daily basis. So cheap is better.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of selling off my stuff left here. Rehoming the cat, researching cell phones, staying up to date on homework, packing, booking the flight, and day to day affairs have been a bit much. All I can say is that I am glad I came back to deal with everything, and hopefully I won't need to be back soon again. My flight was 172.04 and Ajah will be 125 dollars for our way trip. We are using American Airlines with only one 3.5 hour layover in Dallas Fort Worth.

 So, for everyone's enjoyment, below is Ride to California, featuring the old style camper van many of us love. Even has a port hole window, very retro; great band, love the hair curls, and the song is an awesome get up and go, live out your dreams vibe.