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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meeting Tess Gerritsen, Microsoft blows, Plasma flat screen

I'm a member of Sisters In Crime (both national and New England) and have gotten to meet a lot of my favorite mystery authors. When I read in the local paper that Tess Gerritsen was going to be giving a talk at our local library this past Saturday night, I figured I'd see if she could join Chris and I for drinks afterward.

Chris is a HUGE fan of hers (and this is no lie - he's read just about every book of hers), so he was excited. I emailed Tess and got a prompt reply that she and her husband, Jacob, would love to come to our house afterwards for drinks.

Chris couldn't contain himself - he was actually nervous. We went to the library for her lecture at 7 pm. She talked about her latest book, The Bone Garden, which is a bit of a departure from her Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles series. It goes back and forth between the late 1800s and present day, but of course there is a murder to be solved. She talked about the research she conducted for writing the late 1800s parts. It was truly amazing and interesting, if a bit gory at times. She told the audience how they practiced medicine back then, which was mainly badly and some pioneers of better medicine who advocated washing hands before working on a new patient. To think back then doctors actually were ticked off to be told to wash their hands. It's unthinkable now, LOL!

Afterwards, Chris got his book signed and I talked with Jacob while Tess signed a boatload of books for the audience. Then they followed us to our house.

Tess likes red wine, like me, and picked a Shiraz I had on hand. We sat in the living room and got to know each other. Turns out she and Jacob have a farm with four donkeys. Yes, you read right - donkeys! I thought it was cute. All I could think of was those long fuzzy ears and big brown eyes. Jacob told how one of the donkeys had an altercation with a porcupine. Then they said they were going to start a vineyard with white grapes and had ordered 125 vines to plant in the spring.

I told them how I'd planted one vine three years ago for the heck of it and how the grape clusters finally appeared this year - concord grapes. They were exicted to hear that.

They asked how Chris and I met (which will be a completely separate post one of these - online dating - and were fascinated. Jacob asked Chris some landscaping questions and we had a good time.

After they left, we watched TV for a bit, but Chris had a big smile on his face because he'd met Tess!

I got an email from Tess the next morning:

it was so much fun spending time with you and Chris! (And he IS a cutie -- I would've jumped at his profile too) Many thanks for the wine, for the evening, and for the chance to find out just what was up with that NUMA license plate!

If you all didn't know, NUMA comes from Clive Cussler, who is a friend, and is the vanity plate for my car.

Chris was tickled pink that Tess thinks he's cute!

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Microsoft just changed to a new version of Hotmail called Windows Live Hotmail. What a mess. There are no check boxes next to the list of messages you receive so that you can delete some or all at once. You have to open each message now to delete it if you want.

Another HUGE problem is that you can no longer show full headers, which is imperative for law enforcement and for the advocates of my organization, WHOA to be able to report harassment complaints to the originating Internet service provider. I've already gotten several emails from cops and victims asking for help with this.

The instructions on the Hotmail site tell you to open the message, then right-click, then click on View Source. No can do, chumps. There are no full headers when you do that. Nor are there any when you forward the message.

So I called all the numbers I could find for Hotmail, MSN and Microsoft. No one had a clue as to what I was talking about. One woman told me law enforcement would need to contact them with a subpoena for the info. I explained very carefully what full headers were and what the originating IP address was and how victims could file complaints to the proper ISP when full headers are shown. She said they could just file the complaint with Hotmail. I told her that wouldn't do, as the originating ISP needs to be contacted as well.

I gave up and called the law enforcement hotline I have. I avoided doing that until I exhausted all other possiblities. The people at Microsoft are clueless. Geez. I left a voicemail for the guy there and hope he calls back. I also emailed a Microsoft contact in Europe asking for his help. I hope someone gets back to me.

The new Hotmail sucks.

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I've been thinking of getting a flat screen TV for over the fireplace in the living room since January. I've been watching prices and keeping up with things. Chris keeps saying the big TV I currently have is fine and why spend the money? But I found a deal at Best Buy I couldn't pass up. It's a Hitachi 50-inch plasma flat screen with HDMI and HDTV for half price - the original price was $1999. I already checked the Black Friday ads that have been plastered all over and nothing came close to this.

So we went to Best Buy on Sunday, I talked with the guy in the TV department and bought the TV. I paid for the Geek Squad to install it, only because

1) If something goes wrong with the installation, Best Buy is responsible for it

2) They hook it up to the stereo - I have a surround system with a receiver, DVD player, VCR and the cable box

3) The salesguy dropped the price from the advertised $450 to $250.

So they're coming to install it on Saturday. I can't wait!

The TV currently in the living room will go in the bedroom and the bedroom TV will go downstairs into my new office (which I have yet to fully move into. I know, I know, I'm procrastinating. Pfft)

We plan on using an airbed to sleep in the living room Saturday night in front of the fireplace and watching the new TV. It'll be like camping out, LOL.

More later. . .

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