Archive for February, 2018

DVD Player Without Remote – Free to a Good Home

February 28, 2018

Let me make it perfectly clear at the get-go here: I am not hormonal. My body is well past menopause and I no longer succumb to hormone-induced fist-slinging mood swings or irrational outbursts. Right?? Think ‘mellowed’ … ‘calm’… ‘collected’.

Unless something happens that totally, rationally, logically, and justifiably pisses me off. Then, well, you’d better get out of the kitchen.

So yeah, I suffered a meltdown recently. Over a Samsung DVD Player we bought not even a year ago – Wi-fi, HDMI compatible, high definition, with remote. Except, somehow, we lost the remote (not going into it). And the player doesn’t function without a remote. Well, there are two buttons on the front of the device, ‘on/off’ and ‘eject’ but every other function, for example, ‘play’, ‘fast forward’ ‘stop’ – is controlled by the remote.

“No problem. I’ll just go buy a universal remote and hook it up.” I said, ever so calmly.

Drove to Best Buy, bought the remote – not bad – 15 bucks!

Problem solved!

RCA. Made in America. Simple and EASY to Use. Okay!

Get out the instructions.

Step 1: Manually turn on the device you want to control.

Yeah, sure. How about YOU turn it on? Our DVD Player has no power indicator light – giving you no clue as to whether it’s ‘on’ or ‘off’. If it’s ‘on’ vs. ‘off’ shouldn’t a little red indicator light turn on, or something, telling you that, yes, indeed, the device is on? I pick the thing up – look all over it – is the light on the side, the bottom? Surely there’s a power indicator light! Nope, there isn’t:

Is it ‘on’ or ‘off’? You tell me …

Oh but maybe you can’t open the sleeve that holds the DVD unless the device is turned on? Nada. No help. Even if the player is ‘off’ – you can still open the sleeve for the DVD.

Here, I took this demonstration video of our DVD Player (note: the root word in demonstration is ‘demon’):

There. You see. You plug it in – push the ‘power’ button and nothing happens. You plug it in, push ‘eject’ button -and ‘Ta-da!’ the sleeve pops open, even though the machine is ‘off’. But there is no “play’ button, so what the heck good is that? YOU NEED A REMOTE!

Well, whatever, I’ve got the remote now. So where was I??…

Step 2: Find the Code List that came with the remote. Find your device and brand in the Code list – Circle the codes for your brand and keep them handy:

The Samsung DVD player codes are handy

Check.

Step 3: Press and hold the device key (VCR key on the remote) – hold that key down and use other hand to enter the first five-digit code for your brand in the code list …

Okay. This I can do.

Then there’s Step 4. Here – I took a photo:

Short version of step 4:
‘Prepare for meltdown’

Okay, to review, you turn on your DVD player manually. (Problematic in this case.) Then hold down the device key on the universal remote, while entering the code for your brand of DVD that you got off the code list. To test whether the code took, you point the remote directly at the DVD player and press POWER on the remote, DID YOUR DEVICE TURN OFF?

WELL, I DON’T KNOW IF IT TURNED OFF, DO I? WAS IT EVEN ON?

If the remote hasn’t turned off your DVD player, then you try the next code. If that code doesn’t work, then you enter the next code, and if that code doesn’t work then you enter the next …

Note the tip in fine print at the bottom of step 4: TIP: Because there are so many codes, you may have to press the POWER key many times – possibly hundreds of times.

WHAT?

Did you notice the number of codes on the code sheet for the Samsung DVD player?:

10 different codes for Samsung?

How many hundreds of times will I need to push the power key, and HOW DO I KNOW WHAT CODE WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T SINCE THERE IS NO POWER INDICATOR LIGHT ON THE FRIGGIN’ THING SO I DON’T KNOW IF AND WHEN THE SORRY-ASSED-&%*$%*& DVD PLAYER IS ‘ON’ OR ‘OFF’!

I was screaming this at the inert DVD player sitting on our kitchen counter, when David walked in from upstairs.”Do you have a problem?’ I sucked in a gulp of air and attempted to explain to him, using a seething inside voice, how I got to this moment and the horrible situation I was in with this crappy DVD player with no power indicator light (who bought this thing in the first place?) which rendered it impossible to connect to a universal remote where one of ten codes might work and I would probably figure out which one did if only I could communicate telepathically with the DVD player about whether it was ON, or OFF, couldn’t the DVD player give me some kind of sign?

“Why don’t you violently stab the front of the DVD player with an ice pick, honey?” I said. “Smash some holes through front panel to expose the mother board so at least maybe sparks will fly out of it when we turn it on.”

“Spare yourself, Jody, and buy a new one.” David suggests. “They don’t cost much.”

I headed back over to Best Buy. Gave the strapping male clerk an earful about the last DVD player we bought here – how ridiculous! No power indicator light! Had he heard other complaints about this? (No. Not a one…) Well, it was a Samsung DVD player, and while one is interested in such features as HD, wireless, HDMI compatible, and such, who would even think you’d have to ask for a POWER INDICATOR LIGHT! What a rip-off! So what else do you have – NOT buying Samsung again! It must cost maybe a penny to add a tiny little indicator light, don’t manufacturers in Korea understand human nature?!! How can I be assured the new one I get has an indicator light? Oh. I see. From the picture on the box.

Came home with a new player with all the current technological bells and whistles for 70 bucks. You can see from the photo on the box, it’s most precious quality – a power indicator light. Whoopee!

I still have the Samsung player. I hate to donate it to a thrift store, even though it’s practically new. Someone will buy it for almost nothing thinking they’re in DVD heaven, all they need to do is program a universal remote to operate it. Yeah. I don’t want my actions to impel some poor soul, maybe already living on the edge, to drive him/herself off the deep end trying to figure out whether that DVD player is ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Aloha, Kauai – Hello Winter

February 21, 2018

In the words of Nelly Furtado:

Flames to dust
Lovers to friends
Why do all good things come to an end?

Alas, the sun is setting on our 10-day trip to Kauai. I try to stave off the melancholy that worms its way into my consciousness toward the end of our trip. As a culminating celebration on the evening of our last full day, the five of us – David and I, Steph and Vic, and my brother Eric – always go out to dinner at the Baracuda in Hanalei. My brother Eric sits on the end of the table, to my left, and I turn to him. “Do it, Eric …”

Eric knows. It’s become a yearly ritual – his duty to cheer me up with his “My heart beats for you” routine:

There. You’re feeling better now too, aren’t you? So sad to leave Kauai.

Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll share a few last photos before we head to the airport.

A last Kauai sunrise:

And Steph and Vic’s bird feeder – which not only attracts hoards of birds, but Nene geese and an egret as well:

One Layson albatross hung out about every day behind Steph and Vic’s house, as if waiting for the swoop of an interested suitor, making the mating noises with the clapping of its beak, and the whining – one day another albatross swooped in several times and then landed and they danced together.

Often though, this albatross would wait there patiently, occasionally flap its wings and finally fly off.

The Albatross is a totally different bird in flight:

Layson Albatross in flight above Larsen’s Beach

Our last day, Saturday, Jan 27, Eric, David and I climbed the Nounou Mountain Trail East to the top of Sleeping Giant. You don’t want to do this hike under wet conditions. We had had a couple of sunny days and decided to do it. The path that takes you up on top of the Giant’s head is about 4 miles round trip with about 1000 ft elevation.

Sleeping Giant’s Head

The hike is considered moderately difficult, but you’d better wear good shoes:

David

Eric and David

Almost to the top of his head now..

You can do it!

On top!

Here’s my video of the panoramic view on top of Sleeping Giant

Eric on top:

Headed back down now.

David

We beat Eric down. I caught a picture of him coming out at the trail head.

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018

Okay, time to wash the mud out of our shoes, take a shower, get our shit together for the airport.

Wait! One last photo of Kauai – near Anahola …

And my favorite photo of Eric on Larsen’s Beach:

And my sister Stephanie with the sea turtle:

Larsen’s Beach

Stop it, Jody.

Okay. Facing the inevitable. We’re at the airport in Lihue now – waiting to board the 11:15 pm red-eye to L.A.

Goodbye, Paradise!

So sad…

Vacation’s over!

Except Eric. Eric is interminably happy.

David and Eric fall off to sleep as soon as the plane to L.A. takes off. I know because I’m wedged between them, in the middle seat, hardly able to move my arms or legs, wide awake. The plane is pitch black dark so we can sleep. But of course, I never can sleep. Or I perceive that I’m totally not sleeping. But I must doze a bit. How else to endure that petrified seated position for six straight hours?

Descending for the landing in L.A. – 6:30 am, Sunday morning:

We arrive at Gate 50 or something and just need to go to 52A to catch our flight to Salt Lake. Great – look it’s just ahead there to the left! Oh… then down this staircase…

Into a long line to an outside door to … catch a bus?

Outside now on the tarmac … Waiting for the bus…

‘Good morning, L.A.!’

Get a seat on the bus!! We did. Sat and watched the line and luggage pile in, one after another – cramming into the seats and then filling the standing room in the aisle clear up to the bus driver. I picked up my phone from where I was sitting and captured a photo:

Happy happy joy joy

It was a ten minute bus ride to our gate in the far flung American Airlines terminal. We unload and head into the terminal – oh that’s right, I remember! There is one food concession in the whole terminal. Jump in line! We’re starving.

We thought we were half nuts to get in line since we were about 20 people back. But we still had a good 45 minutes until boarding our flight to Salt Lake. No. We were totally sane. Look at the line piling up behind us! (Yes, I took photos. How else to entertain myself as the line inched forward?)

I stepped out of line and took a photo of David, with the line ahead of us –

David in line with his calm ‘whatever’ face

Then photos of the line building behind us

Eric, David and I ordered 3 ham, egg and cheese mcmuffin type sandwiches with coffee – so hot we couldn’t drink it. But it didn’t matter so much, when it cooled down enough to take a sip it was so bitter I couldn’t stomach it anyway. Not that I didn’t try. I knocked a wave of hot coffee on my leg before boarding our flight to Salt Lake.

Here we are in flight:

Flight to Salt Lake, Sunday Jan 28

11 am – landing in Salt Lake!

From here we drove the nearly 3-hour drive home to Idaho Falls.

This area of the country has enjoyed one of the mildest January’s on record. These peaks are usually blanketed in snow this time of year. In Idaho Falls the temperatures have been hovering in the 40’s, 10-15 degrees above normal.

We’re home in Idaho now. A consistent ‘Where’s Waldo’ activity keeps our minds and bodies busy in the back yard, complements of our miniature poodle, Rudy.

Find the dog turds:

There’s actually two of them, should I zoom in?

Yea, getting back into the routine. Here’s what our back yard looked like yesterday:

Feb 20, 2018 – 11:19 am

A skiff of snow hoisted on 20 MPH winds with a forecasted high of 16 degrees.

So yeah, winter in southeast Idaho is not going anywhere …

Kauai “Where’s Waldo” Brain Plasticity Adventure

February 17, 2018

Still in KauaI!

View of North Coast from Sea Lodge Beach

I have so many Kauai nature photos to share, with no cohesive story, thought I’d do a ‘Where’s Waldo’ activity of sorts – combine my “find the critter” photos into a 10-minute brain exercise, if you will … think, brain plasticity!

I will identify where I took each photo – say, for example, in planning your next trip to Kauai, you want to avoid spiders, or something…

Like this spider I spotted on the trail to Larsen’s Beach:

Find the spider

Do you see it? It’s directly above center in the photo. Zoom in for a closer look… I know you want to:

Common Kauai garden spider

Beautiful! How many spiders in this web above our heads? Zoom in on the web and count them:

How many spiders in this photo?

You’re not that curious, you say? Ready for the answer? ……………………………………………………….

Eight.

(You seriously don’t want to be the first person in the morning breaking trail.)

Walking toward our car now, at the trailhead to Larsen’s Beach. Whoa! A big honking snail!

Find the snail

Crossing the road. Oh no! I took a video:

About as much action as you will capture from a snail…

David rescued it:

One hunk of a snail

Put it on Stephanie’s shoulder

‘Aloha’

Not shy, but surely soon dead had we not moved it to the grass…

Find the lizard:

In Stephanie and Victor’s garden

Now find the lizard, on our hike to Sleeping Giant:

Hint: upper left quadrant

Don’t make yourself cross-eyed. The sun is shining on her head and she is looking right at you. Same lizard is a bit easier to find in this photo:

See its head sticking out?

She’s just above the center of the photo.

Find the ‘Sleeping Giant’:

Sleeping Giant – ‘shhhhhh!’ don’t wake him!

That whole mountain, Nounou Mountain, is Sleeping Giant- Local legend has it that a giant who attended a party given in his honor feasted so much that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Follow his head, on the left, over his chest, to his feet on the right.

Sleeping Giant’s Head:

Hike to the head of Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant, near Kapaa, is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai. Here’s a fun, informational link about Sleeping Giant. It’s 4-mile hike (and 1000-ft elevation gain) from the trailhead to the top of his head and back. Once you are on top you can hike from the hair on his head to his ‘chinny-chin-chin.’ Here we are on top – can you find the two other hikers on top in this photo?

Easy to see one hiker, where’s the second one?

Quite difficult to find the second hiker. Here – I’ll zoom in!

‘On top of the world, Ma!’

Back down to the beach now – Aliomanu Beach. Among the ‘rocks’ ahead, which one is a monk seal?

There’s a Monk Seal?

Hard to guess. Not so hard when you practically step on it. It’s the shape furthest up on the bank. Sunning himself… Here – I took a video, brace yourself for the action:

Just enough action to prove the shape isn’t a rock

Speaking of rocks, find Eric:

Hike to Hissing Dragon – where’s Eric?

Find the horse on the trail ahead of us:

What horse?

We were hiking the Mahogany Plantation Trail. The trailhead is right at the Kileua Farmer’s Market. It is flat and beautiful. There were several horses grazing and signs that read “Do not touch the horses” – which seemed like a set-up because this horse would not move out of our way, until David swatted it on the butt.

Here’s more photos of the Mahogany Plantation hike:

Find the bird in Stephanie and Victor’s back garden:

Find the bird

‘You’re giving me a headache!” you say. Okay this one’s difficult. Hint: It’s perched underneath the bushiest blossom on the flower that’s furthest left. (Read that aloud five times for extra brain boosting.)

This one’s a bit fun: How many chicks in this video? (taken at the top of the “ANGER US CONDITIONS” trail to Anini Beach in Princeville):

I don’t know either. They really don’t want you to count them. 5?…6?

Find the way around the mud:

There isn’t a way.

But we’re on a great hike – the Kuilau Ridge trail near Wailua – a 2 1/2 mile hike through the rain forest, only muddy in places. Here’s a couple of photos I took near the summit:

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Lastly, what’s wrong with this picture?

Two highly-paid consultants

We all piled in the car in a big hurry to shop at the Waipu Farmer’s Market, near Hanalei – had to get there – quick! with the mob, when it opened. Not sure what David’s excuse is with his shorts, but Victor did put his sandals on in a hurry.

Finally, dear reader, here’s a beach video for you. To help you decompress after all that brain exercise:

A walk on Kahili Beach. Yeah, that’s better…

Who friggin’ needs brain plasticity exercises anyway?

Kauai and the Love-Struck Layson Albatross

February 12, 2018

Back to Princeville on the north shore of Kauai … I always look forward to watching the magnificent sea birds, the Layson Albatross. There are 22 species of albatross ranging widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic. So if you live on the east coast of the US you won’t see them. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to 97.5% of the Layson Albatross.

Layson Albatross near Steph and Vic’s back yard

Check out this Audubon link for a marvelous photo of a Layson albatross and her young. Albatross breed on Kauai during the months of November to July. They leave their breeding grounds and evidently most go northwest toward Japan, then northeast toward Aleutians, before turning south toward Hawaii again. Non-breeders may wander anywhere in the North Pacific at any season.

Incubation for a albatross egg is 64-65 days. The period from hatching to fledging is 165 days. A young albatross returns to its breeding grounds three years after fledging, and first breeds at the age of 7-9 years. (Check out this wikipedia link on Layson Albatross.) It takes several years of courtship for a male and female to bond, but they bond for life. The courtship involves the use of ritualized dances – up to 25 different movements. So if you visit the northern shore of Kauai between November and July, you can witness their courting – ritualized dances. It’s quite entertaining!

On Saturday, January 20, 2018, David Eric and I were walking near the golf course when we came upon a group of four adolescent albatrosses engaging each other in a mating dance. I captured a video. They make such a racket with their whirring, clucking, whistling, and beak clapping, you usually can hear them before you see them!

We stood 30 feet away and kept watching them. They seemed a bit oblivious to us, they were so engaged in each other.

Soon two albatrosses wandered away from the others to continue their dance. They look so clumsy and awkward on land the way they waddle! (In the background of the video you will also see another albatross nesting near the bushes.)

Be patient with the video and see what happens when one albatross walks away …

I think of the Beatles song “Hello, Goodbye” when watching the Albatross mating ritual.

You say yes, I say no
You say stop, and I say go go go, oh no

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello

I don’t know why you say goodbye I say hello

I say high, you say low…

Here’s a link to marvelous video I found on You-tube of two albatrosses engaged in, shall I say, a ‘passionate’ mating dance – (Oh, you might want to skip the ad and turn your sound down – they make quite a racket!) Well worth watching this video, however, warn the person in the next room that you are about to play it… based on the experience at my house … (I ran David out of the kitchen when he heard it, Megan hollered at me from the next room, ‘What’s that?” – Hey, just a pair of love-struck Albatrosses!)

Albatross look so big and awkward the way they waddle on land, you wonder how they launch their bulky bodies into flight. I caught an albatross on video taking flight right near Steph and Vic’s patio (January 25, 2018). It nestled by the golf course as if waiting for someone, clapped its beak a bit, then as if running out of patience, went into a running take off toward the ocean …

At the end of Larsen’s beach there is a large protected albatross nesting ground, off limits to hikers. Larsen’s beach is probably our favorite hike, I’ve blogged about it several times – link to the blog I wrote last year – Besides the albatross flying overhead, you will likely run into endangered monk seals and large sea turtles sunning themselves on the beach.

Anyway, in case you think these birds are too goofy and awkward to be impressive in flight, think again! Albatross are highly efficient in the air, covering great distances with little exertion. I took a couple of videos of albatross in flight at Larsen’s beach:

They fly in formation – move over Blue Thunder air show!:

Here’s a photo I captured last year on Larsen’s Beach of an albatross landing.

Dropping in for a landing

Look at those webbed feet! Yeah, that’s because they are swimmers too, going after fish, squid and krill in the ocean with squid as their main staple.

Here’s a photo I took at the trailhead of Larsen’s beach.

Trail to Larsen’s Beach

Hike down through the grasses and across the beach to a point where you discover the arch. Here’s a video I took of the arch in January 2016 …

Sit down and picnic above the arch and enjoy the air show, as there are scores of albatrosses nesting on the bluff right above you.

Maybe humans could learn something about courtship from the Albatross, who engage in mating ritual dances over several years and bond with their mate for life.

You’re welcome, my fellow humans, yea, as we muddle awkwardly through one of our courtship rituals – Valentine’s Day.

Just sayin’…

Kauai’s North Shore: Princeville, ‘Puff’, Starfruit, Giant Surf, and a … Mermaid?

February 4, 2018

When we visit Kauai, we stay in Princeville on the north shore. It is the rainier part of the island, but on most rainy days showers give way to mists and rainbows, and sun again. Below is a (admittedly rather crappy) visual of the Island. Locate Princeville on the northern edge and you can see that to get to sites on the western side of the island you have to drive around the perimeter of the island.

Island of Kauai

Kauai is small enough, though, that you can reach any area of the island by car in an hour or so. Just for fun, here you see a topographical map of Kauai. It is very mountainous, which explains why you can’t drive across the island.

Our favorite places around Princeville include Hanalei Bay, Lumaha’i Beach, and the Queen’s Bath, all of which we visited this last trip. Hanalei Bay is about a 10-minute drive west of Princeville on the North shore, home of “Puff the Magic Dragon” made famous in a song in 1963 by Peter, Paul and Mary. (OMG! 55 years ago?)

We walk to the end of the dock and then down the beach along Hanalei Bay

Steph and Vic walking the beach at Hanalei Bay

Here’s a picture of David on the beach. Do you see the girls in bikinis?

Nothing wrong with David’s vision


No?

David does. Wading in the water by the dock …

By now, being so very hungry and thirsty after our walk on the beach, we head to the Kalypso in Hanalei for lunch and libations. When my drink arrives I find myself staring at … Yoda?

You’re going to eat me?

I shouldn’t eat him, right? Well, he is a slice of starfruit. It’s quite tasty. The pulp is crisp and not too sweet.

Steph and Vic have a starfruit tree in their front yard, with ripe fruit.

Starfruit tree

Here you see one being sliced:

Okay, to make this blog extra special I’ll include the video I took of Eric with his assignment from Victor to harvest the ripe starfruit on their tree:

Despite the rigorous requirements of the job, Eric seems up to the task.

By the way, after you visit Hanalei you absolutely must drive 8 minutes further west on Route 56, pull off to the side of the road and park, and walk the path down to Lumaha’i Beach! We visit this beach every year. It is magnificent with high surf, albeit it is unsafe for swimming and surfing most of the year. This beach was made famous for a scene in the movie ‘South Pacific.’ The surf was low when we visited this year and I didn’t take a video. But it is worth sharing the video I took last year…

Although I do catch a rooster crowing three times (??) in the background, my video doesn’t hold a candle to a video I found on You tube of the same spot: click on this link – taken on January 20, 2016, during record high surf with an added bonus of lots of girls diving into the crashing waves in bikinis. (You’re welcome, honey)

I took a photo of the short climb back up…

Onward now, to the Queen’s Bath, again, only a few minutes drive from Princeville. Here, a visual of the area:

So high tech – screenshot of a Google link

You can practically walk to the Queen’s Bath if you’re in Princeville, however, the path down to it is treacherous after a rain. David, Eric and I hiked down to it on a sunny day, after a few rainy days. Boy was it slick! We didn’t follow too closely behind the people in front of us.

The trail takes you down onto a ledge of rocks

Follow the rock surface along the shore to the point – where you have marvelous views of the distant coastline.

We have been to the Queen’s Bath several times but have never seen the bath because it was covered by high tide. But today – we hit it at low tide. The ocean has retreated enough to expose the bath, and the waves crash over the edges of the bath replenishing the water. As the bath comes into view – we notice a swimmer in it.

It’s a mermaid

A mermaid? She must have washed up into the bath from the ocean with the other fish? Hey if fruits can make eye contact with you while perched on the edge of your drink in Kauai, then why would a Mermaid encounter surprise you?

Pretty certain she’s a mermaid

Suddenly the mermaid disappears from sight and humans of all sizes scramble to the edge of the bath like clusters of crabs.

They jump in, swim around, climb out, and another group lines up along a descending ledge, climb in, and swim.

We watch the swimmers a while, then decide to hike back out. (Maybe next time we’ll wear our suits, or flippers or something.)

Hiking back out now.

The muddy path weaves through what looks like a Giant’s petrified potato patch.

Hiking back up from Queens Bath

Toward the top of the trail I pass a very large spider. Do you see him/her? She’s right in the center of the photo – a yellow blotch.

Spider is dead center

Here, I’ll zoom in on her so you can get a closer look:

See her striped legs? I think she’s a common Kauai garden spider. Pretty exciting. When was the last time you saw a large garden spider?

Okay, well, we blast our muddy shoes, legs and feet with the hose nozzle before we announce our arrival to Steph and Vic back at their house in Princeville.

So … why do I keep writing these endless Kauai blogs??? Just think! I could have been outside instead, picking up dog turds strewn across our back yard that dropped like pine cones out of the winter snow melt.