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Chocolate Ice Cream Vodka Milkshake

Add the following to a blender:
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup vodka (3oz)
enough chocolate ice cream so the mixture will fill a tall glass

Blend until smooth.

Drizzle chocolate syrup on the inside of the glass, then pour in mixture.

Drink with straw.

Careful, it's easy to slam this in 15 minutes and forget there's 3oz of vodka in there.
I don't understand why some Windows updates block legitimate (and expensive) software, but it's frustrating and annoying. I have to install any Windows update one at a time, reboot, and then ensure Corel VideoStudio still works. Every time I try to bulk install Windows updates, one or more ends up blocking the software, and then I have to uninstall them all and go one by one anyway. *gnashes teeth*

I wrote about this in a previous entry, but for brevity's sake I wanted to consolidate here.

If Corel VideoStudio (vstudio.exe) won't open, and you see an error like this in Event Viewer:

Faulting application name: vstudio.exe, version: 14.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x4e1fb85d
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 6.1.7601.19160, time stamp: 0x56bcd5c3
Exception code: 0xc06d007e
Fault offset: 0x0000c52f
Faulting process id: 0x1508
Faulting application start time: 0x01d1839da8774512
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\Corel VideoStudio Pro X4\vstudio.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\syswow64\KERNELBASE.dll
Report Id: e9de57c0-ef90-11e5-8906-f4b7e20324be

Uninstall the following Windows Updates, which are blocking the software. I will update this list as I discover more.

KB:3126587
KB:3126593
KB:3140410
KB:3146706
KB:3147071
KB:3153171


I hate to not be able to install all relevant security updates, but what am I supposed to do? I know I don't rely on my video editing software to make a living, but I do still want to use it from time to time. I've considered installing a second version of Windows (and not updating it) as an alternate boot option and using that for when I want to edit videos, but that's obnoxious. And besides, I shouldn't have to!

Alivan's vs. Ollivander's - Wand Review

If you’re looking for screen-accurate (looking) wands, the Harry Potter Shop or Ollivander’s at Universal Studios Florida are your best bet. However, I personally feel that Alivan’s wands are far superior. Alivan's wands are carved from solid blocks of wood and stained, giving them a naturally beautiful appearance. The resin wands may look like wood on the Harry Potter Shop website, but in person I feel they look like plastic, and the trademark/copyright stamp is an unfortunate choice. And frankly, who ever heard of a resin wand in the books and movies? These wands are supposed to be made of wood! The resin also doesn't hold up to wear as well as the wood, chipping when dropped. While the wood requires some care with wax/conditioner, I expect the wood wands to hold up well over time.

Click the image below for a larger view:
Comparison Detail

Details:
Official Title Elder Wand Twisted Cut Mahogany Xenophilius Lovegood's Wand
Store Alivan's Alivan's Harry Potter Shop
Material & Design Stained, carved wood Stained, carved wood Painted resin
Weight 21.8g 21.5g 79g
Length 15 3/8 in or 39cm 15 7/8 in or 40.1cm 14 13/16 in or 37.6cm
Screen Accurate Replica? No
Click here for screen accurate elder wand from Harry Potter Shop.
No
Not a replica
Yes
Notes No detailed markings
Sustained no visible damage from being dropped on concrete
No detailed markings
Hasn't been "out in the wild" yet. (Hasn't been dropped.)
Runes etched towards bottom
“TM & © WBEI  (s14)” painted about a quarter of the way up from the bottom
Bottom has chipped from being dropped on concrete a few times, milky white resin visible

Sarma: Bosnian Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

Sarma

My beloved Buu and I discussed what to make with the remainder of our ground beef. We'd made delicious burgers with the first half, and could do so again, but I wanted to do something different.
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Meet Ulysses

My husband and I held annual passes to the Tampa Bay Ren Fest this year. We attended every Saturday and Sunday while the faire was in town, 7 weekends in all. There are two shows that we love above all others: Emrys Fleet, the Rat Catcher, and Ash's Knight Wings. We caught each of these shows at least once per day (more like twice, sometimes three times). This means that we saw these shows on the order of 28 times each, this year alone. (I grew up with Emrys's show, so I knew most of it by heart already.) So believe me when I say, we know the text and cadence of these shows, including their subtle changes over time.

One of Ash's birds is Ulysses, a Eurasian Eagle Owl. He calls him a European Eagle Owl because apparently most Americans don't know what "Eurasian" means and he gets tired of explaining it.


Meet Ulysses

One of Ash's frequent lines is this: "I don't like to think of him as AN owl so much as THE owl. How many of you are a fan of a wizard by the name of Harry Potter? *pause for applause*" - You see, Ulysses can be a very good hunter when he wants to be, but mostly he likes to camp out on his kills for four hours while Ash hunts him down, which is no fun for Ash. So Ash stopped hunting with him, and started putting him in film. Because one thing Ulysses can do fairly well (when motivated) is fly from Point A to Point B. So Ash says "Ulysses is featured in the opening of the first Harry Potter film, and is carried on the arm of Draco Malfoy in the second. Don't blame me kids, I didn't cast him." - Apparently many children came up to Ash, kicked sand onto his boots, and shouted "GRYFFINDOR RULES!"

Here's an example of Ulysses doing what he does best:


So my hubby and I were totally excited to re-watch the Harry Potter films with a keen eye for Ulysses.

He's actually pretty easy to spot. With a wing-span over five feet, huge talons, and startling orange eyes, we could spot him in the first movie in every scene in which he appeared.

Apologies for the color in the below screen-caps, but check the movie at the stated time-stamps to see better resolution.

Here he is on the literal opening shot of the movie, 20 seconds in:
0020.PNG

And then seven seconds later, showing the skill that he usually does with only moderate incentive:
0027.PNG

Actually Ulysses REALLY likes to just sit there, much to Ash's consternation.

Here he is at 10min, 26sec:
1026.PNG

And again at 21min, 19 sec:
2119.PNG

Here's Ulysses delivering mail, at 53min, 59sec:
5359.PNG

(Actually there were a few times at the Ren Fest when Ulysses absolutely refused to leave his perch, which I hope didn't reduce Ash's tips too greatly. Ash excused Ulysses as "full", being kind, he's probably just stubborn.)

But watching the second movie with an eagle eye (please excuse the expression), we never saw Ulysses. "Maybe his scene got cut?" I thought. So I re-watched the opening of the movie, and all of the deleted scenes on the DVD.

Alas, going through the deleted scenes I can't find Ulysses. So I beg your help! What am I missing? It's possible that the scene didn't even make the deleted scenes... or maybe I'm just missing something. So if you spot Ulysses in the Chamber of Secrets, please let me know!!

Windows Updates Blocking VideoStudio.exe

As I wrote in my previous post, Corel VideoStudio Pro stopped working for me at some point between October and a few weeks ago. I'd try to open the application, I would get the "wait a minute" mouse pointer for a second, and then nothing. The Event Viewer would log the following error:

Faulting application name: vstudio.exe, version: 14.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x4e1fb85d
Faulting module name: KERNELBASE.dll, version: 6.1.7601.19160, time stamp: 0x56bcd5c3
Exception code: 0xc06d007e
Fault offset: 0x0000c52f
Faulting process id: 0x1508
Faulting application start time: 0x01d1839da8774512
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\Corel VideoStudio Pro X4\vstudio.exe
Faulting module path: C:\Windows\syswow64\KERNELBASE.dll
Report Id: e9de57c0-ef90-11e5-8906-f4b7e20324be

I tried reinstalling VideoStudio, but that didn't resolve the issue. While searching online for answers, I learned that some versions of Windows (not mine) have a watchdog program that can kill an application because it thinks there's malicious intent involved, even if it's legitimate software. But since I don't have that watchdog program, I didn't know what to do next. But then I started finding threads about how some Windows updates can do the same thing. The following two updates were listed as offenders:

KB:3126593
KB:3126587

I uninstalled those two updates, but VideoStudio still wouldn't open. So I uninstalled every single update from October 2015 onward, because I know VideoStudio was working fine last October. I have since been going through and reinstalling updates, a couple at a time, to determine what else could be causing a conflict.

Well, I've found a third update that disables VideoStudio:

KB:3140410

I still have about 17 "important" and 40 "optional" updates left, so I will update this post if and when I find any additional updates that disable the software.

I already inspect and install all Windows updates by hand. I want to filter out any updates that either prep my machine to install Windows 10 (which I won't be doing), or convert Windows 7 to adopt the unacceptable spying policies of Windows 10. I guess Microsoft has figured out that some of us will not be swapping to Win10, so if they want to execute their nefarious data collection scheme, they need to trick Windows 7 & 8 into taking on the same behavior. Well I'm not having it, Microsoft.

And now I will just add to my list "test VideoStudio after every update" to ensure I don't lose access to my legitimate software again.

Woe is the computer

Paragon, my computer, has been acting funky as of late.

First, it randomly thinks the F1 key is being pressed. This has the unfortunate side effect of opening the HELP window of whatever software I am in. I have renamed the Windows HelpPane.exe file so that can't open, but it's still a pain in Microsoft Office programs and in PhotoShop. They key itself is NOT stuck, I have in fact removed the key entirely. I can often interrupt the string of phantom key-presses by hitting another function key, but sometimes it starts right back up and I have to keep pressing F2 until the keyboard starts behaving again. I have purchased a replacement keyboard, but I have yet to take it to Best Buy for the replacement procedure. This will cost $140, and worse, I will be without Paragon for several days. There's also no guarantee that replacing the keyboard will fix the issue. I know it's technically possible for me to replace the keyboard myself, but I did try fiddling around with Paragon's innards and it's very complicated. I'd rather pay someone else to do it if I'm going to go that route, I just wish they offered same-day service.

But wait, there's more!

Corel VideoStudio won't open. There's an error in the event viewer. Some sources say a couple of windows updates disabled some software due to perceived (but nonexistent) security issues with said software. I uninstalled said updates but VideoStudio still won't open. I am now in the process of uninstalling all of the Windows updates since October. There are a lot of them, and they have to be uninstalled individually, as you can't select multiple updates to uninstall all at once. I know VideoStudio worked in October because that's the last time I uploaded an edited video to my YouTube channel. I am desperately hoping that once I get all of these updates uninstalled and reboot Paragon, VideoStudio will work again. I can then reinstall the updates one at a time (rebooting each time in between, which will be slower and more arduous than the uninstall...) and make sure VideoStudio keeps working. Maybe I can find the offending update. I did try uninstalling and reinstalling VideoStudio, but that didn't help, so at this point it has to be Windows. I don't know what else it can be. The Nvidia control panel says my video drivers are up to date, and haven't been modified in a while.

But wait, there's more!

I am also having issues with PhotoShop. Up until a few weeks ago, I could open the 32-bit version of PS and import video frames to layers. This allowed me to make animated gifs, which I was uploading to the Ren Fest Gallery on my site. Alas, PS will no longer import video frames. It pretends like it's going to, but it just hangs there indefinitely. I have to use Task Manager to shut it down. I am hopeful that this roll-back will resolve this issue as well.

Of course, I have been installing Windows Updates by hand, excluding all of the files that are essentially just a sneaky installation of Windows 10 files. Windows 10 allows unacceptable levels of spying on Microsoft's part, and I want nothing to do with it. Unfortunately several updates convert Windows 7 and 8 into the same behavior, so I have been researching each update by hand and excluding those that do so.

If this little project doesn't work, I'm afraid my next step is to do a clean install of Windows 7 and start over. I don't know what else to do. Not my idea of a good time.. But then, it's probably better to do a clean OS install every couple of years anyway, right?

Actually, that makes me wonder. The My Documents, My Pictures, and My Videos folders all point to the second (technically third, since there are two SSD drives combined as one in the "first" drive slot) internal hard drive. If I reinstall Windows on the primary drive, will it leave the second drive alone? I may not have to reload all my files from BackBlaze if that's the case, which would make the clean install much less painful. Still a little painful, as I'd have to reinstall all my software, but significantly less annoying. I'm not sure how that works though.

*sigh*


Edit: Uninstalling all Windows updates from October 2015 onward did indeed resolve the problem with VideoStudio. It now opens. PhotoShop still won't import video files, but at least with VideoStudio working, I have options.

Now to find the particular Windows update(s) that caused the problem with Video Studio. I'll have to install updates one at a time and re-open VideoStudio to figure out where the problem is, and then add that update to my "hide, and then re-hide if Windows tries to install it again" list. I will also have to test VideoStudio every time I install new updates to ensure they don't bring back the problem.

Well, at least I don't have to reinstall Windows from scratch!
I've been a customer of T-Mobile since 2002. Actually it was called VoiceStream back then. Usually I can call up and the reps will bend over backwards to answer my questions, solve my problems, and do whatever it takes to make me happy. Today was my first really bad experience with not one, but two customer service reps.

The website chat support and telephone support were both terrible.

I wanted to add a new phone & line to my plan for my mom. I wanted to ensure the new number used HER area code instead of MINE.

So I asked the website chat support: "How do I pick the area code for the new line?" The rep asked me several questions which had absolutely nothing to do with the question or the answer. The answer is "the new line has your area code by default. Once you receive the device, you can call T-Mobile to change the number." This is not an answer I wanted to hear, but I would have been less aggravated about it if I'd gotten this answer in two minutes instead of 20.

So then I called customer service. Keep in mind, I have never had problems with customer service in the past. Every rep I've talked to has been WONDERFUL. Until today.

The first person who answered needed to transfer me to a different department to add a phone and line. Okay, no problem. This second person confirmed with me that I wanted to add a new number and device to my existing plan. Yes. Then he immediately tries to pitch me "free data for life on up to two iPads." I said "I'm not calling about iPads, I am calling about a phone for my mom's birthday. I don't want to talk about iPads right now, I just want to get this phone ordered for my mom."

So he starts working on the order with me. And he gives me bad news: indeed my mom is going to get the device with MY area code, and will have to call to get the number changed to HER area code. This is absurd. Why can't you just assign the freaking area code before the SIM card ships? So he "notates the order" with her area code. I am betting she's still going to get the wrong damned number tomorrow, and I will have to call and sort this out.

Then the rep says "I know you don't want to talk about iPads Kelly, but this deal ends tomorrow. And you've been a customer for such a long time, you qualify for free data for life on your two iPads. You don't have to pay anything on your monthly bill, and I'll even waive the SIM starter package for you." Oh, I think, that's how they make money on free data for life. They charge for SIM Cards. Except neither of our iPads has Cell Data anyway, they're both WiFi only. The rep insists that all iPads have SIM cards. "Look for the small hole that you could stick a bobby pin in, and that slides out a little tray where you can put a SIM card."

First, no bobby pin I've ever seen will fit in those holes. You need a special tool, or a sewing needle. Second, I've put SIM cards in about a dozen smart phones in my life, if not more. I know what the hole looks like, I know what the tray looks like. It's not invisible. You can totally see the tray if there is one. So I start trying to take my iPad out of its case to look for said tray, just in case for some reason Apple decided to ship me a Cell Data iPad, even though I specifically ordered and paid for a WiFi only iPad.

And then I broke my iPad case getting the thing out of it.

And then I said "No, no tray." The rep kept insisting I look for the hole. I was like "Look. There's a little hole near the volume buttons, but no tray. There's the volume buttons, the power button, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the power port. There's no SIM tray. I promise I know what they look like. I specifically ordered a WiFi only iPad, and that's what I got." The rep was incredulous. He'd never heard of an iPad that is WiFi only.

So then he started asking me about my mom's iPad. Because giving her data on her iPad would be like giving her TWO birthday presents! Again I had to insist he drop the subject. I am not interested. Stop trying to sell me on something I didn't call you about. Instead, HELP ME WITH THE THING I DID CALL YOU ABOUT.

And now I have to get a new iPad cover. The damage isn't huge, but there are breaks in two places, and plastic is sticking out from where it should be. I tried super glue to no avail. And knowing my stuff, edges sticking out will catch on stuff and break them further down the road.

I considered asking the T-Mobile rep to pay for the new case, because honestly I'd never have taken my iPad out if he hadn't ignorantly insisted that all iPads have SIM card slots. I mean ... really? Clearly you've never actually even looked at purchasing an iPad. Apple's site is very clear on the subject.

I realize a lot of people who call customer service have no idea what they're talking about, but a good customer service rep can identify someone who has a clue. I've been a customer service rep, a tech support rep, back-up (in-person) tech support, and an administrative assistant (pseudo-tech support) for long enough to identify ignorance from experience. The problem is, this guy clearly doesn't have a clue, so he can't tell when anyone else does.

So now I have a broken iPad cover, super glue on my thumb, and drastically increased blood pressure. I foresee vodka in my immediate future. >:[