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Bright day today, the second in a row with thin white wispy clouds overhead. The temperature outside is 41 degrees F and rising slowly. The sun room has warmed to 65 degrees. When it reaches 80, I will open windows and vent the heat into the house. Today will be the second day this year that we solar heat. This has been a good winter for free energy from the sun.

The red-tailed hawk who winters next-door is taking advantage of the temperature inversion by soaring high overhead, doubtless looking for its next meal. While I enjoy the company of the hawk, I have mixed feelings about it. It has been a year now since it displaced our last neighbor, a small peregrine falcon. I really enjoyed watching the falcon hunt. It often floated above the grassy field across the road, effortlessly hovering with just a wing flap every now and then. The falcon had wintered here for years, sometimes even roosting under an overhang on our house. Then last winter about this time, the red-tailed hawk showed up to steal the territory. The considerably smaller falcon was thrown off his game. It became nervous, erratic, and unable to hunt. After several intense sessions of harassing the bigger bird, it just disappeared. I haven’t seen it since.

My laptop is kaput. It’s in pieces on my worktable upstairs. First, the left mouse pad key became intermittent. I switched to a left mouse configuration where the main key is the right one. Switching the mouse keys messes with ones mind. I was barely used to the switch when my power supply plug failed. Another intermittent problem that quickly got worse.

I backed up my system, first to my backup USB hard disk, then to my old desktop. I was careful doing this because I have a decade of email notes (1.2 GB), that I don’t care to lose. Before I loaded my files on the old desktop, I installed Ubuntu 8.10, a popular version of Linux. That’s all done and tested; I’m composing my live journal entry on the old machine right now.

This morning I started tearing into the broke Toshiba A35-S157 laptop. Fortunately, there is a well documented how-to online. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly like mine, but it's close enough. I’m on step 21. So far, I’ve removed 37 screws of varying sizes.

Meantime, I’ve hedged my risk of ever getting the laptop back together by ordering an Asus Eee PC 1000HA 10-inch Netbook from Amazon. I think the little guy will be a better fit for my needs. Kathy will inherit my old laptop, if it ever works again.

I’ve been multiplexing while I disassemble, uploading several months of photos to my flickr account, and of course writing this. Those of you who are interested can view sets of my wife’s family’s Christmas and my family’s Christmas as well as the party for the kids that Kathy tutors.

This winter, it would have been better to call our Christmas cacti, Thanksgiving cacti. The all bloomed early with the exception of a white one. I end with photos of it, Kathy’s mice cupcakes, and a nice December sunset.

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