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The other night, while checking the thermostat in the hallway, I heard a thump against the front door. Both dogs were inside, in the other direction. So the sound gave me a momentary fright. (Who is out there?? Did someone throw something at my door?) But it might be the neighbor's dog which occasionally gets loose (he can climb/jump fences like it's the easiest thing in the world, but he's friendly so I'm not afraid of him)... I walked to the door and looked outside, first through the window, then by opening the door. There was nothing there, even though it had only been but a few seconds between me hearing the noise and looking outside.

I sometimes hear similar thumps from other parts of the house, as if something is hitting the outside wall or a window. It must be due to thermal expansion, or maybe sometimes squirrels or birds.

The curious thing is that no matter how odd and unexpected the sound, and how much it makes my heart jump into my throat, once I've determined that it's inexplicable and there's no apparent danger, I quickly forget about it. "Don't know what it was, no way to find out, got other things to do."

Today while in the bathroom with the door open, I heard a distinctly fluttering sound from the next room. Like a bird fluffing its wings. Followed by silence. There's definitely no bird in that room. Oh well, who knows. Maybe the dogs in the room at the other end of the hallway made some noise, and it only sounded to me like it came from the nearby room.

There have been other times I've heard other more inexplicable noises. Things which people who believe in ghosts, might attribute to ghosts. But I don't have any clear memories, just the knowledge that it has happened before, more than once, and it's not that unusual.

There was one strange noise which I did figure out. This one has happened both in my cube at work and in my kitchen at home - an intermittent quiet hissing noise from close nearby. It's from air escaping out of (or into?) the top of a bottle, when I haven't tightened the cap all the way, and the temperature difference between the bottle and surrounding air is right. At home, I store tap water in liter-sized glass bottles in the fridge, because I like my drinking water to be cold. But sometimes I'll leave a bottle standing on the counter. When I go to work, I take a small glass bottle of water with me, and during the day, fill it up from the drinking fountain.
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Yesterday after work, I drove to Congaree Park with my mom. From the status updates posted by the park, the peak firefly activity might have already been over. But even if so, I thought it would still be neat to be in a wilderness area after nightfall. Most other parks around here close at dusk. The forecast was for clear skies, so maybe there would also be a nice starry sky - here in town there is too much ambient light to see more than the brightest ones.

I looked up directions on how to drive there. I found that the Google Maps app has an option for downloading a zoomable map of a selected area. You can download maps of where you are planning to go using WiFi, and later on use them to navigate with GPS, without using any cellular data.

But my car also has a built-in navigator. So once I reached the outskirts of town, I turned it on and entered the address. I just wanted to be sure that I didn't miss the turn-off way down on Bluff Road. The expected route displayed on the screen, but once I started driving, it told me to turn right when I was certain that I should turn left. I stopped to verify on Google Maps that my memory was correct. Then I turned left and drove on. It started nagging "Turn left... recalculating", "Turn left ... recalculating", "Make a U-turn!" and so on and so on. I have no idea where it was trying to take me to. I wanted to turn it off, but neither my mom nor I could figure out how. Finally, after parking the car again and pressing a bunch of things on the screen, I turned it off.

The park's website had said that only flashlights with red filters or covers should be used, to avoid disturbing the fireflies. I happened to have a flashlight, plus a small BugLit flashlight, plus a headlamp, all with red LEDs. As my mom was coming too, I also brought 2 other flashlights, with red/pink cellophane covering the lights. But they weren't necessary. I only needed a flashlight on the way out. My mom only used the BugLit. The ones with the cellophane covers were still really way too bright anyway.

The parking lot was full already at the park, so I parked behind another car on the side of the road. It was already dusk. On the boardwalk, we walked past a lot of other people. We finally stopped at what seemed a good spot. (Beset by thoughts of "Maybe there are more fireflies further down. Or maybe there are fewer. Maybe that would only take us closer to that crying baby.") There were a lot of people noises. In the beginning, people were also constantly walking past behind us in both directions. Later on, much of that subsided and it was more peaceful. Surely there are places in the park where one could see fireflies too, without the crowds of people. But you'd need to be familiar with the park to know where to go.

There were a lot of fireflies, but not as many as I had hopefully envisioned. The peak activity must already be past. I didn't notice much synchronicity going on, although there were moments when a small group of them would flash at nearly the same time, and then go dark, and then do that again a few times. But there were also other fireflies around them doing their own thing, so it wasn't very obvious. The status posted by the park today said "Fireflies were again active last night (Friday, May 26). Visitors reported that separate groups of fireflies were synchronized (as opposed to all of them being synchronized together)." Maybe it was more obvious in other spots, than where we were standing.

When I see fireflies in my yard, the color of their flash is bright yellow. But the flash of the ones in the park was more white, like moonlight. (Maybe that was only because they were further away - the ones that were closer did have more color). But that white light made them look like twinkling stars in amongst the trees. Very magical. Twinkling moving stars. The kind of thing which might make you believe in fairies. In the moments when people were being quiet, you could hear the nighttime insect noises all around. There were occasional owl (I assume) calls. (Not hoot-hoot sounds. Though now checking YouTube for owl calls, it didn't sound like those, so maybe they weren't owls after all.)

We stayed after most other people had left. It was nicer then, without all the distractions, even though the twinkling fireflies seemed fainter by then, more misty and dreamlike. As we were on the way out, a few other people arrived. Perhaps they wanted to avoid the crowds too.

Other than the fireflies and the flashlights of people walking by, at ground-level it was quite dark. But looking up, you could see the sky a lighter blue between the dark outlines of trees. Even when we left, around 11pm, the sky still was that color. Not pitch black pierced by white stars, as I'd expect. Although the stars themselves were plentiful and beautiful. Does the night sky never really get black, even in the countryside? The moon was almost new, so the light wasn't from it. Maybe it was still ambient light from town; the park is only about half an hour away. Or do the stars always make the night sky seem a lighter color?

On the way out, I stopped at another small parking lot to get a better view of the sky. It was beautiful. I wasn't able to see the milky way (would it be overhead? I don't even know where to look). I think there was a pond nearby, but it was too dark to tell. There were some weird animal noises coming from the other side. I have no idea what it was. My mom guessed it might be a male deer. Maybe, based on this - the sound was sort of like that, though it's hard to remember now.

darkoshi: (Default)
you had inserted a DVD into the DVD player, but still had the TV source set to a TV channel which you were momentarily watching.

And then you hear a strange noise like muffled music... where did that come from? Must be a car driving by outside with their radio on very loud? Then a moment later you hear a roaring noise like a gigantic aircraft, so you run to the window and look outside, somewhat nervous... until finally realizing that the sound isn't coming from that direction after all.

snap crack

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 09:58 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Two months later, and my neck is still doing that weird cracking thing every time I twist it in the right way. Fairly often during the day, I feel the need to do a quick twist of my neck to make it crack and momentarily get rid of that feeling of stiffness.

I'm getting so used to it that I've even started doing it while other people are around, at work. Today it occurred to me that I should take a video of myself doing it, to see how bad it looks/sounds. Because maybe it's something I really *don't* want to be doing around other people.

So I just took a video. Yegadz! It sounds awful! I should really go to a doctor or something. Except that I can't imagine a regular doctor being able to do anything about it. Heck, my spine has been cracky like that all my life. But when I stretch/unstiffen my back, it's good for a while. It doesn't keep on cracking like my neck can do. Maybe a chiropractor could do something to help, but the few times in the past when a chiropractor has adjusted my neck, it was scary! It makes me tense up... I'm afraid they might break my neck. So yeah no, I don't want to go to a chiropractor either.

It doesn't make sense to me, why my neck would have started doing this all of a sudden, without me having suffered any injury or trauma. If something had happened to cause it, surely I'd remember it? Unless it came from falling asleep in a bad position, maybe.


These exercises may help:
How To STOP Your Addiction To Cracking Your Neck

day do day dah

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 02:35 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Today (or rather yesterday), I:
- got more than 8 hours sleep
- turned in some old/broken electronics for recycling at Best Buy
- took some clothes & other stuff to Goodwill
- returned an unopened wireless doorbell to Lowes (Qiao bought it, but I wanted to get a different one that can be plugged into an outlet rather than requiring batteries)
- went grocery shopping

While sleeping, the last part of a dream involved a long flight of marble steps, outside, which I sat down on and slid down. I was expecting a somewhat rough ride on my butt, but it was gentle, comfortable, so I laid back all the way and closed my eyes for a bit. I reached my right arm out to slow down and stop myself. The steps went down into a large body of water (which wasn't there to begin with, but appeared while I was descending) and I stopped before reaching the water. But then all of a sudden before I could get up, this guy sat his heavy self down on me and started pressing hard on the jugular vein on one side of my neck, as if trying to make me pass out. Though I suppose he would have needed to do both sides of my neck to accomplish that. Then I woke up.

While shopping, I picked up a case (12 units) of Tofutti non-dairy American Cheese slices which I had ordered, since no stores in the area carry it anymore that I'm aware of. It goes on my lunch sandwiches for work, along with Vegenaise and Tofurky vegan pepperoni.

The intersection of Forest Drive and Beltline Blvd has some kind of noise device installed that must be intended for helping visually impaired people. Something like an Accessible Pedestrian Signal, I suppose. But it doesn't make a chirping, beeping, or cuckoo noise. It doesn't have a voice saying "Walk". It makes a HORRENDOUSLY LOUD SCREECHING BUZZING noise. I can't imagine who thought such a thing would be a good idea. I feel sorry for anyone who has to work in the area. Is the noise intended for people who are both blind and almost deaf?

If the noise only came on when a visually impaired person was walking in the area, it would make more sense to me (though if it were me, I'd avoid walking in that area at all costs, to avoid the horrible noise). But it never turns off from what I can tell. Surely in this day and age, where nearly everyone has a cell phone, apps could be available to allow people to trigger the noise makers only when they are nearing the intersection and actually need the audible assistance.

I've encountered a few other intersections with way too loud noise-makers (beepers and tickers), but this one has got to be the worst. I wouldn't want to live within a half mile of it.

I tried to find a video of the noise, but failed, even though I found a video of the intersection from February. Either the noise-maker is very new, or the news station edited that sound out of the video, or maybe it doesn't make noise all the time after all.
darkoshi: (Default)
Driving to work this morning, my mind was distracted. I didn't notice the train coming from the other direction towards me, along the track that runs parallel to the road. Trees block some of the view of it. The locomotive happened to blow its horn right as it was passing me, and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest.


After getting to work and parking, I started to open the door but then closed it again, as I wanted to put on my scarf and headband before exiting. The car emitted a long BEEEP and showed "Key Detected in Vehicle" on the display. I uttered (more than a mutter) a "F-U, I know the key is in the vehicle!"

The car's seat-belt-related beeping is an on-going sore subject for me. I can't turn on the car's power before having the seat belt on, without being beeped at. There are reasons for turning on the car before putting the seat belt on. I refuse to be badgered into doing something because of a doggone badly implemented beep, and so the beeping continues to be ... a sore subject.

Then I realized that this was actually a warning/beep that I approve of, as I wouldn't want to forget my key in the vehicle. So then I felt bad about my language and said, "I'm sorry".
darkoshi: (Default)
My dog Zorro gets on my nerves with her licking sounds. In the evenings, she wants to come into the room where I'm at on the computer. When I let her in, then she's all content and starts licking herself. It goes on and on and on and on.

Often, she'll also lick the other dog. Serena seems to like it, though I'm not totally sure. Maybe she just puts up with it. It goes on and on and on and on. Every evening.

I turn on the radio to cover the sound. Having music playing feels stressful sometimes though, when I'd prefer silence.


Now Zorro is in the other room but Serena is licking herself! At least she doesn't go on and on at it like Zorro does.


Now Zorro is back, and she plopped herself right behind my chair, and I bet you can't guess what she's doing again. :::Aaaaaaaaaaghhghghghg!:::


Saturday, February 7th, 2015 07:20 pm
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I keep being startled by unexpected beeps/chirps/whistles/whatnot in the house. We've got so many gadgets and devices that make noises nowadays, that it's hard to keep track of them all. Especially when it's a noise I haven't heard before, or when I didn't even realize the gadget made any noises.

Sometimes it's been a cordless phone, beeping that is is starting to charge (odd, as it was plugged in the whole time).

One time, the wireless doorbell chose to play a different tune than usual, when my mom came over. I was wandering around the house wondering "what the heck was that?" when she knocked on the door.

One late night at my computer, I heard a nearby whistled tune, as if someone was in our yard whistling nonchalantly. Creepy. Later I found out it was a notification sound on Qiao's new phone.


I upgraded my Notepad++ to the latest version today. I won't give it away, but it does something special after the install. You might want to check it out, if you use the program (unless of course, you already upgraded it a month ago when this version came out).
darkoshi: (Default)
It's so easy nowadays with the internet to look up information and to share information with others.

When I was a kid, if I wanted an answer to a question, I'd have to ask people, or look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary that we had at home, or go to a library and search through books. But even if you did all that, the answer might not be found.

That isn't to say that I spent much time as a child searching the library for answers to hard questions.

But still. Even if you had a whole library of books, where would you look up the answer to a question like, "Why do my shoes squeak and creak, and how can I make them stop?"

Sometimes you can figure out answers by yourself. In the past, when my shoes squeaked, it was usually due to friction between the tongue and the top of the shoe, or due to small holes in the sole. I found ways to prevent those noises.

This time, the culprit was neither the tongues nor the soles. Internet searching provided some answers I hadn't thought of. The foam layers on one of the insoles* were coming apart. So I glued them back together with silicon sealer. That fixed one of the squeaks. I also sprinkled talcum** powder under the insoles, and after a few repetitions, that got rid of most of the creaks. One of the creaks kept coming back, which I now suspect was due to a thick thread that was under the insole, perhaps letting air in. I trimmed the thread. For the time being, the squeaks and creaks are all gone. Yay.

*I originally thought that insoles are glued in, but in many cases they aren't, and you can simply pull them out.
**Corn starch didn't sound like a good idea, as it might get pasty when wet. Nor did I want my shoes to smell like baby powder. Luckily, I found that non-baby-scented talcum powder can be found in the pharmacy foot-care section. The one I got smells like wintergreen!

Anyway, I was thinking about the above, and also thinking about what will happen to that kind of data over time. People die. Then what happens to the data they've posted to the internet? If they had their own website domain, and if no one takes over paying the domain fees or web hosting provider fees after they die, their website will be gone. If they've posted data on other sites, then it will depend on how long those sites stay around. Websites are not permanent, and most will disappear or radically change over time. Some data may get archived on various sites. But the Internet Archive, for instance, while it has old webpages, isn't very searchable in the normal sense. Google's cache is sometimes useful, but I'm not sure how long Google maintains cached data, once the original websites are gone.

So the answers that I can find today while doing an internet search, may someday no longer be there to be found. Or may no longer be found in the same places. New people will have to post the answers in new places.

Another useful piece of info I found today is that if your Lotus Notes locks up for a long time whenever you paste rich text from a webpage into an email, check the Lotus Notes proxy settings. Make sure it doesn't list an old proxy server which is no longer valid.
darkoshi: (Default)
When I walk by the ponds at work, I often hear a squeak followed by a splash - frogs jumping into the water upon noticing me. No matter how quietly I walk or how intently I look, I never see them; I only see the rippling water after the squeak!splash!. I don't know how big or small they are or what they look like. I assume they are frogs though.

One day while leaving work last week, it was already dusk. Outside, I saw a large frog hopping across the sidewalk! It stopped a moment while I gleefully watched it. But it was too dark to see any details; I only saw its general shape. It hopped away in a very frog-like manner.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've gone through a few more old family documents. A couple are written in an old German cursive script that was hard for me to decipher. But I was finally able to read them using the charts shown at the top of this page.


There are so many weird noises in this room. I saw a cockroach a few days ago; it hid before I could catch it. I think it must be making some of the noises. Several times over the last months, every once in a while I hear a distinct chewing/crunching noise from inside the wall at the top of the doorway to the kitchen. It usually happens late at night. I've wondered if a squirrel could have gotten in between the walls. Or a mouse or rat. But maybe that is a cockroach too; it's weird how small things can make big noises sometimes.

Tonight, while watching Downton Abbey, I heard a noise to the right, looked over, and even saw the cup on top of the small cabinet move/shake! I picked up a flashlight (there are bunches of flashlights in this house) and carefully peeked behind the cabinet. Nothing there. I peeked into the cup. Nothing there.

If I believed in ghosts, I'd think there was a ghost in this room.


Sherlock season 3 is being aired on our local PBS station on Sundays right after Downton Abbey. It starts at 10pm and is scheduled for 2 hours each episode. That would make me late for bed. I decided to watch the rerun instead, which starts an hour earlier on Thursday. Last Sunday I was tempted to stay up and watch part of it anyway, but had to nix that due to dealing with a malfunctioning washer.

I ended up watching it online on Tuesday and on TV on Thursday. For the TV broadcast, I turned on closed captions, to catch some of the dialogue I missed during my first viewing.

Today I was good again and turned off the TV before Sherlock came on. I'm still up late for other reasons, but I'll surely be in bed earlier than I would be otherwise.


Oh gosh now a noise is coming from behind a different cabinet.