Monday, September 13, 2010

Sherlock's Computer Nearly Taken Hostage

Not too long ago, I had a frantic request for help from Sherlock Steve. As it turned out, his computer was taken over by something called Security Suite Antivirus. Unfortunately, it's not a normal so-called anti-virus suite of programs. What this thing does is it just badly takes over the computer. It claims that everything you try using and running are infected. In fact, the programs that are "infected" are not. It's the Security Suite Antivirus saying these things.

Here's more on Security Suite Antivirus and how it's a scam;

Remove Windows Security Suite. Description and removal instructions
Windows Security Suite

Security Suite is ransomware. Meaning, it holds your computer hostage, allowing nothing to work, claiming it's "finding malware." It says you must pay the fee in order to get your computer back. This is similar to scareware, which runs and claims you're badly infected but doesn't quite take over the computer like Security Suite does.

Internet Explorer didn't even begin to work properly, not even allowing a new browsing tab. It kept going to Security Suite's webpage. Task Manager wouldn't work, neither would a CTRL-ALT-DEL, etc.

Next was to go into Safe Mode via F8. He had Admin mode, another account. That was one plus that helped make things easier. We followed the instructions on this page;

How To Uninstall / Remove Security Suite Virus ( Removal Guide )

Malwarebytes Antimalware found quite a few as did SuperantiSpyware, Spybot, and AVG. All four are free.

Sherlock got his computer back up and working the same day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Post-surgery Knees - Part 4

It's been a little time since I last posted about my knees. I've had a couple milestones since then. I'm still swimming here and there and doing water walking.

We have an elliptical, so I'm just easing into the thing. It's tougher than it looks since I can only walk or tread on it slowly at the moment. Riding an actual bike will take a bit more time.

I managed to walk from the house to a friend's place, only stopping for a few minutes to rest, then walked right back home. It was a pretty warm day and I was sweaty by then.

I was also at Jamie's dad's place and managed to walk from his house to the lake. Getting there required me to walk downhill on a gravel and rock path. Fortunately, it wasn't too long a path. I wasn't able to go down it before the second surgery.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Funny Moment 4: Bark Goes the Microwave

But of course, some of us have dogs like I had some years ago. Man's best friend. Remember the egg I blew up in the microwave in a previous post? My dog loved eggs. This one egg didn't pop, but you could see it shake. I managed to get it out of there, but it was too hot for me to hold, so it went rolling rolling rolling...

...onto the floor with a bit of a pop...

The dog loved it but he first had to get past the hot egg, ears laid back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life's Little Musings

There's days that I wonder how things would have been different with me.

When I was adopted, mom was married to a highway patrol officer who died in the line of duty a little over a year later. I'm wondering how things would be different had he lived. Would he still be a patrolman? Would we still be living in California?

I started losing my hearing around kindergarten at 5 when we lived in Kentucky. Would I have still lost or kept my hearing if we stayed in California and adoptive dad not died? Things would have been totally different then.

Suppose I had not been adopted, kept by birth mom? I probably would be hearing. Would birth mom and dad still be married?

If I had been hearing, where would I have gone to school and college? Would I have been in the military?

Back in 1995, if I did not have that accident with the sign truck, I'm only guessing that my arthritis would not have gotten started and my knees would be in better shape today. Or maybe it would have had its onset delayed?

I'm also wondering how things would have been changed had I gone to MSSD and not gone to the School from Hell.

I'm wondering if it's possible to go back in time and check all the possibilities...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back from the NAD Conference in Philadelphia!

So I'm posting this a bit late! Whoa... What a week... I was out at the NAD convention in Philadelphia, PA, with Jamie Berke. We took Amtrak from the Alexandria, VA, station to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. Then SEPTA to the Marriott Hotel, two stops away on the 13th Street station. It was pretty much a relaxed ride getting there.

The hotel's Grand Ballroom was used for events like the College Bowl, Miss Deaf America, the Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony, and a few others. They set up large screens on both sides of the stage and captioned the proceedings underneath the video of those on stage.

And whoo... This convention has been like a who's who here and there. I had the interesting pleasure of "bashing heads" with Google's Ken Harrington during the College Bowl, trying to answer the trivia questions. Ed Waterstreet was there as well, though I didn't get a chance to talk with him. I did have a conversation with Jack Gannon (Deaf Heritage author), his wife, and Yerker Anderson (World Federation of the Deaf) during a Gallaudet breakfast Friday morning. RIT/NTID had their breakfast Thursday morning. Current Gallaudet President Alan Hurwitz and his wife were there as well, and they were often seen walking around talking with others. RIT/NTID's interim dean Gerald Buckley was there also. Karen Putz was there as well. We talked briefly about the Steak and Shake case as well as other things. Meeting up here and there with NAD's Kirsten Poston was good, as well as attending her workshops. There's others I've probably forgotten.

It was good seeing some old friends here and there, including someone I'd not seen for about 15-20 years from when I lived in Louisville, KY. NAD will have their next convention in 2012 out there in Horse Cave, KY. It's not too far from Cave City, which has some cave tours.

Update: The NAD convention is actually in Louisville, KY, July 3-7, 2012. The Horse Cave event, DeaFestival, is this September 3-5. Somehow, I got my information screwed up...

The workshops I attended had some good information, some that I knew, some that I didn't. Jamie and I had our workshop on HR3101/S3304 and that was fairly well attended. Then the next day, COAT's Rosaline Crawford and Jenifer Simpson had their workshop on the same thing, but it was more on how the two bills are different, what needs to happen for the bills to pass, and how they fit into the National Broadband Plan.

ZVRS had an invite-only event that was pretty well-attended at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe. Imagine being able to use VRS with your cellphone. That's exactly what the iZ is, but it uses the iPhone4. Limited, I know, but plans are being made for other phones to use it as well. I tried calling someone as well, but seems they weren't home, dangit. Amy Cohen Efron attended and she posted about it - ZVRS, AT&T, and Apple created iZ!

RIT/NTID also had an invite-only event where we had light foods and met the College Bowl contestants. Gallaudet had another invite-only event after the College Bowl. Jamie took a pic of Bob Weinstock there after someone poured some water or Gatorade or other liquid on him. Deafnation posted a video about it, NAD 2010: College Bowl Finals.

One landmark to visit when in the area is the Reading Terminal Market. It's a combo food court, grocery store, and gift shop, not to mention a candy shop, all under one roof. Amy Cohen Efron commented "I died and went to food heaven." It's literally foodie heaven. There's servers of Indian, Greek, Italian, Amish, and regular foods. Want to have a famous Philly Cheesesteak? That's where it started. That was one good sandwich. Only downside is that they close at 6 on Monday to Saturday, 5 on Sunday.

There's some other good restaurants in the area, and there was even a 7-11 across the street. A little walking time often got us to some of the good places around, including a gelato place called Capogiro and an Indian place called Bindi's. There was also Zio's Pizza along 13th Street which sold pizza by the slice. They had some pretty good stuff.

Other than the museums and City Hall nearby with easy access to the SEPTA stations, there's the large underground Mall underneath the Reading Railroad station which has FOUR floors of retail shops. The lower floor has two food courts. They close at 7...

The weather didn't quite cooperate much of the time there, It was over 100 degrees and rained part of the day on the last day. That heat wave made it hazardous for some people to walk longer distances for sightseeing. But the other good thing is that the entire hotel and area including SEPTA was quite wheelchair accessible for those attendees using wheelchairs and scooters.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recipe: Pita Pizza

I've tried making my own pizzas using various things, but one thing that stands out is making it using pita bread after using flatbreads. You tend to fill up on the bread rather than the toppings.

- hummus or regular sauce
- cheese (soy, veggie, or regular)
- 4-5 toppings, spread around evenly
- top cheese

Heat up the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted enough to your satisfaction. The pita bread will be a little soft or crunchy, depending on how long it was in the oven. I've put the pizza on foil squares. When removing from the oven, put it on newspaper so you don't lose it on the floor if the foil tears.

For a variation, open up the pita and put in some cheese and/or a topping.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Post-surgery Knees - Part 3

I'm feeling a bit more improvement here and there. We have an electric mower and there were some technical problems here and there in trying to mow the somewhat overgrown side of the house due to another mower that kicked the bucket. Normally, I don't do much except to make sure that the extension cable doesn't get mowed and damaged like it did one time, me sitting off to the side.

In this case, I was out there for about 20-25 minutes after resetting the electrical breaker box. Then I started mowing a few rows. No pain, just some stiffness on the left knee, which was expected. Later on, I used the edger in places.

Looks like I could get back to doing at least some mowing next year.

I did some grilling in the back yard's small brick grill with the help of Jamie's young son. He did a nice job in flipping some of the burgers and hot dogs and helping out in taking in the cooked items.

While watching the "See What I'm Saying" documentary at MSSD's Malz Theatre, I didn't use the wheelchair. I walked in, standing part of the time before the show, and standing much of the time afterwards, talking with others. That's pretty much another milestone right there.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"See What I'm Saying" Review

Last Saturday afternoon, I saw Hilari Scarl's "See What I'm Saying" documentary at MSSD's Malz Theatre. Many short films by other deaf have been done, but a documentary? It was pretty nicely done. So's the introductory music video by Powder. We see Robert DeMayo going from having an apartment to homeless to having a home, shared with the homeowner. It's a common theme we see throughout the movie, that it's much more difficult for a deaf actor to get jobs in the hearing world. We see CJ Jones, Robert, and TL Forsberg try to "invite" the hearing people into their world, but very few take up the invitation. It was especially disappointing for CJ to play at a hearing black-oriented convention in the theatre. Less than 20 people showed up total for 3-4 shows.

The most heartbreaking scene was when Robert's mother was in the hospital for the final stages of cancer which spread to her brain. Despite all the attempts with and without interpreter to communicate why he has an interpreter and his attempts to communicate without, he leaves the hospital. His mom passes away without even learning sign a few weeks later, despite him giving her a book on signs some time earlier.

The best parts were watching them perform including audience reactions and interviews. The Beethoven's Nightmare guitarist with the light gray top hat was kinda like a cross between AC/DC's Angus Young (without the extreme antics) and former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash (without the long hair), including other male rockers. TL had her own style that used elements from various female rockers. You have to give her credit for going so far as to make her signing more understandable with GLAD's help.

The post-show Q&A period was interesting, though a little hard to understand in places. It was an interesting treat to see Robert come on stage with Hilari. Outside the theatre, they sold tshirts, and there was mention of the DVD coming out.

Watch this documentary if you can. It's not just ASL-focused, but also has sound and subtitles for those who don't know sign.

Update: They've got a Facebook page!

See What I'm Saying on Facebook

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Post-surgery Knees - Part 2

It's getting easier for me to do things here and there. I'm able to walk a bit further than before. It'll be a bit of time before I can walk to the store just up the road as it's a one-way walk at the moment. The contracture is still there a bit, but I'm hoping to have it resolved within a couple of years.

I was out at an ASL dinner not long ago and was in line for about 15-20 minutes. I couldn't stand that long before the surgeries.

I also had to help out in getting a new electric mower working properly since it kept blowing the fuse. When I finally got everything working, I even went so far as to do some mowing, thus being outside and mowing some high grass for about 20 minutes. I was beginning to hurt a little and the left knee was stiffening up a bit. I'm hoping next year I'll be able to mow longer.

Will I be able to get to classes without using the wheelchair, just using the cane? I should know sometime soon.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Funny Moment 3: Oh How Waffle!

There's always going to be days that someone forgets the basic rule of physics when heating up things in the microwave. Never keep a container tightly closed. I just had to make that mistake when I was in the kitchen alone late night some time ago. 30 seconds later after putting a closed and upside down bottle with the last of maple syrup, there's a puddle underneath. All I had to do was open it slightly over the pancakes.

*POP!* Impressive mess.

I just had on shorts and tshirt. I got it all over that plus my legs, the counter, and the floor.

Fortunately, it was an easy 5-minute cleanup and one minute change.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exercise and the knees - Part 2

There is a park in northern Virginia called Clemyjontri that is designed to be accessible to children of all abilities to play together. Even the adults play as well. I've visited before and after my second knee surgery. It's had around 200,000 visitors a year, making it a very successful park in its own right. People from miles away, even as far away as New York State and Delaware have visited.

There's an interesting side effect to my last visit. It's a rehab facility in a way for me. A seesaw with springs becomes a knee stretcher with someone on the other end. A balance beam with handrails on each other allows me to do a little moving around and stretching my upper leg muscles as well as my being able to move along a narrow path. Another piece of equipment with alternating heights of steps allows me to work on my ability to step up and down on higher/lower steps. A couple other sets allow me to do other exercises.

Sometimes even the right type of playground can become a rehab facility, provided you're there at the right time and kids haven't quite taken over the place.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post-Surgery Knees

I'm seeing improvements here and there on the right knee and it's nearly there in being straightened. The left one still has the muscle contractures, but is straightening out here and there in little bits.

Two milestones came up...

I spent two hours each on a Saturday and a Sunday with Jamie in the back yard doing some planting. While I was sitting at least part of the time, I was helping out here and there in digging holes with something called a garden weasel and removing rocks as I broke up soil chunks. I was able to do more than I could before and just a little pain.

My sister visited with her family and we walked to the building next door which has a playground in back then back to the house. It was a little difficult, but no pain. I probably could walk around the building quite soon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hearing Aids vs Humans

I had to laugh when I read Eh? Huh? What?'s blog on What Not To Do With Your Hearing Aids.

I've had my share of broken tubing including ones that just plain split. In the split case, I was in class in high school and it was whistling the entire time. At the end of class, my interpreter told me. I wondered why no one told me at all.

Whatever happened to saving the dead batteries for recycling? Just fill up a small jar or something like that and go from there. Just don't toss it in the fire. I did that once at this camp and the resulting little explosion was interesting. For years I was wondering how big an explosion a 9V battery would have, as well as the big lantern batteries. A fireplace isn't the place to do it. Then i heard about this deaf camp where a couple kids tossed a couple dead batteries into the fire. Then there were the other kids who threw their batteries into the fire, even though they were still good.

Even I'm guilty of putting my hearing aid(s) into my pocket. I had a fairly good excuse when I was going to a local amusement park. It's great for when you're on the roller coaster. But I'd forgotten the plastic baggie and had to get a bag from a food counter when I was going to get on one of the wet water rides... Heck, best to double-bag just to keep the hearing aids dry. Most ride attendants won't even know what to do with them if you give it to them. It's rather easy to put them on the shelf, where a rider could easily toss something there, thus get crushed or dropped into the water...

Cleaning your earmolds with unconventional tools? What's wrong with using a pin (sewing or safety)? Sometimes even I've had to blow the tubing clear in some public places, hiding it in my hands and make it look like I'm blowing into them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Post-Surgery Right Knee - Part 5

A lot has happened since I posted Part 4. I'm done with physical therapy and the right knee has improved quite a bit, but isn't quite completely straight. I still use the local rec center's pool and hot tub with some stretches in and outside the hot tub. I still use the heating pad as well.

Walking around the house has improved, though I'm still a bit off-balance due to the left knee. That should improve over time as it straightens out. The surgical scar's still a bit red, but that will improve.

I got some walking challenges ahead of me... There's a building nearby that has some seats outside that I've walked around before the second surgery. I'm hoping that by the end of summer, I can walk around it without too much trouble.

The snow piles we had from that big snowfall last month are mostly gone. At the local metro/subway stop, there was this large pile that reached up to the second level of the parking garage. It's now about half that size. There was this big snowfall in Illinois around 1982 that had a large snow pile about 12-15 feet high. The local kids dug a cave at the bottom and a tunnel at the top.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Exercise and the knees

Another thing Marie of Booktoots's Weblog posted was Don’t Stop Exercising After A TKR. I'm still going through physical therapy, and may go through it for another 2-3 months. I should be able to walk around the building next door maybe around 3 months if not sooner with the assistance of a cane. I can see her point in saying that we shouldn't stop exercising. Walking is probably the best thing to do after this and even way afterwards. I had arthroscopies some years ago, and was a delivery driver around that time. That meant a lot of walking and using steps. That probably helped me out in getting back to walking quickly.

My doing water walking and using the hot tub at the local rec center before the second surgery most likely did a great job in my being able to walk further than I did the first time and head on home. After the first surgery, I couldn't even go far out of the hospital room and went on to a rehab facility for 3 weeks.

Either way, one thing that's been recommended by doctors and therapists is a heating pad. Wrap it around your thigh in a way that even the knee joint will get the benefit of warmth. Use a medium heat setting for about 30 minutes, then start doing stretches and other exercises. Using a hot tub or similar can have the same benefits. Electric blankets may sound like a good idea, but they most likely won't do as good a job as the pads. The ones measuring 12 x 24 are an excellent size. I use the medium setting for 20-30 minutes. This would be the second setting in a 3- or 4- setting control. Any higher and burns may occur in the surgical area.

I'm still not quite there in terms of pedaling a bike. I tried at therapy, but wasn't able to do the full cycle on a stationary. I'll try again, this time adjusting the seat higher.

Related post - Post-Knee Surgery Exercises.

I'm using a leg press during therapy, using 60 pounds, doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions. Check with your therapist if you're allowed to do this and what to use.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stairs and the knees

Booktoots's Weblog had an interesting posting on A Possible Stairs Maneuver for TKR Folk. Stairs are a concern for those with knee issues including post-surgery recovery. We know that the knees, hips, and ankles/feet are the most-used joints when using the stairs. It's a major help if the stairwell has railings. Some of us may never be able to take the steps two or three at a time.

What do you do with the wall if there is one on one side and the railing is on the other? Sure, we'll use it to steady ourselves, but after a bit of time, all that touching adds up to become black handmarks and streaks. A good scrubbing with a cleaning agent works wonders.

Marie's post mentioned an email from someone who was going down the steps backwards, but she wasn't able to do so. For some of us with knee replacements, it's a most logical method since our new knees may not be able to go downstairs the normal way at first. I've been using this method since my knee issues started. After I returned from a wedding my sister said that she was impressed by the way I "flew down the steps backwards."

There are hazards to this. Being familiar with your own steps works. If you miss a step, three things can happen. You'll hit the next stop down and nothing will happen, it will hurt, or fall painfully down the remainder of the steps. An alternative would be sidestepping down, a slow method. Work with a therapist on this to develop methods that will work for you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Can You Smell Me Now?

The person who cleaned the office refrigerator had allergies and had nasal surgery, didn't smell a thing.

Weird Al Yankovic's Like A Surgeon came to mind when I asked Sherlock Steve about it. He related the story of how he had to clean the refrigerator at work, putting on protective clothing and gloves.

Just leaving food in there piling up is pretty much asking for it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Upcoming 2010 Census

Reading Sherlock Steve's Use Caution with 2010 Census Workers!, I had the feeling this was going to happen sooner or later. They're brazenly going from email to doing it in broad daylight, especially in this age when some people have security cams on their front porch, guard dogs, weapons, etc. But some are still going to do it in email and in fake websites.

He's right when he says never invite them into the house. Perfect opportunity for a home invasion, burglary, and murder to happen. Ask yourself *WHY* these people need your financial and SSN info when all they're doing is counting people.

Here's a little more info from the Census site;

Are You In A Survey?

In the Household Surveys tab, there's "Is This Person a Census Bureau emploee?" and "Is this a legitimate phone call?" Important info there.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Beltway Sniper Execution

Back in 2002, it was a time of fear, with people reducing their activities or making themselves less of a target for the sniper. As time went by, I noticed he was hitting one target per county. Malvo and Muhammad's biggest mistake was stopping at a rest area to sleep, and it took an alert trucker and some other people to box them in and call the police. This, fortunately, stopped the shootings.

CNN had a story on Muhammad's execution.

Had the police not ignored the reports of a Chevy Caprice and focused on the white box trucks at first, the spree could have ended sooner. It was noticeable with people making fast tracks to their car or the store as well as sitting in their cars while pumping gas. There was even a gas station owner who found the largest tarp he could find and hung it from the roof above the pumps thus shielding his customers from being the next target.

When the sniper hit the FBI analyst, I had the feeling the FBI would take it personally. Seems they did. I was elsewhere 5 miles away finishing up on a bowling game and preparing to head home. Fortunately, I was stuck in the the beginning part of the backups, but it got much worse not long afterwards. I've been to the area where that shot was made. Law enforcement bottlenecked the traffic on the highway I was on, throttling it down from about 3-4 lanes to one. They did this to other major roadways. Many agents had automatic weapons other than their usual service weapons. Just about every highway exit had at least one law enforcement vehicle and agent standing there.

Out at the Newseum, they had a replica of the car used for the shootings, but this one didn't have the hole in the trunk the original car had. This hole allowed them to place their deadly shots. They also had the Unabomber's cabin on display as well. They may still be there today.

Personally, I'm glad they've removed both suspects from society...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking back on 2009

It's been an interesting year for me. Going through two surgeries (well, one in December 2008 and another in November 2009), being in a rehab facility, and a few months worth in physical therapy will pretty much tire out people. But I needed these two surgeries. I'm already feeling a whole lot better than I was in the last 2-3 years leading up to the surgeries. The left knee's bone on bone condition didn't just hurt there, but caused me to be in pain all over.

I spent a lot of time in recovery, just trying to get back to how I was before the surgeries. That may take awhile, but I'm getting there. I still have at least some exercises to do, mostly getting the right knee to bend more. I'll still need to keep up the exercises here and there. Swimming does a great job, and it helped out in my not needing to go to a rehab facility, just head home with home health services. The physical therapist I worked with at the hospital watched me go from walking just outside my hospital room the day after surgery to the other end of the hall the day I was to head home.

The surgeries helped out in more ways than one. But of course, you're going to be a captive in your home, with people helping you out with some things. I was a growly and grumpy guy before the first one due to all the pain both knees were in. Now, if any pain, it's quite manageable. I'd like to walk to the grocery store up the road and back home. Getting back to classes is another. This one may take awhile, maybe a couple years - bowling. At least some of us have had that painful experience of having the ball swipe our knee on the downstroke just before release. Let's hope I don't crack the ball when that happens with me. While there may be some things I may never do again, like running or some sports like basketball, I can still do other things.

Sherlock and I want to lose some weight. I've got a weight set here at home that took me several days to assemble alone just before my second surgery. I've not been able to use it since I can't get down to where it is since those steps don't have handrails.

I still got my volunteer job. They know I've been out for the surgeries, returning from the first one a few months afterward. Someone will carry a computer to my workspace for me when I'm unable to do so. Computer distributions are tougher. I can't carry the computers or monitors from downstairs to upstairs as there's only steps. I help out in other ways, though.

2010 leading into 2011 should be good years for me in terms of doing what I couldn't do before the surgeries.

Drive safely out there. Use a sober designated driver or a taxi if you've been drinking. Drunk driving demolishes more lives than one.