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I have an item due Friday and good prospects for a week-long interpreting gig in early June, so things are looking up.

I clicked on something innocuous yesterday and suddenly had an "extra" toolbar from some outfit with the domain name "". Putatively, the toolbar looked like it was looking out for dangerous sites, but Googling the name turned up some bad juju, and despite a scan with Ad-Aware, webster seemed to be acting strangely (Explorer crashing several times), so I installed Spybot and scanned using that application and performed an extra scan with AVG to boot.

That pretty much tied up webster for most of the day, but in the end I saw no reports of anything amiss, so I'll keep my fingers crossed and press on.

Somewhere along the lines, someone somewhere missed watering my seedlings while Galina and I were off fetching stuff from New York. As a result, the Venus Flytrap is gone, along with pretty much all of my cucumber seedlings (except for the two that I had inserted in the "Topsy Turvy" device, and they were looking pretty puny).

All my free-standing tomato seedlings became dehydrated past the point of no return, or seemed to, as one of them has since shown signs of recovery (although one of the two tomato plants in my other "Topsy Turvy" has withered, leaving me with the task of carefully inserting the recovering plant - if it recovers - in its place).

The AeroGarden herbs are doing quite well, despite having experienced a dramatic reduction in the water level. In fact, they are almost "snipping" size, which reminds me of a joke about a heroic pig (but that one will have to wait until all the children are asleep).

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The neat thing about programming with C++Builder is the ability to create applications out of components that, in a programming sense, already "know" how to do things. For example, a directory list box object knows how to display directory names hierarchically, and double-clicking on a directory name will shift the focus of the component to that directory and will display any subdirectories.

Aside from basic functionality, other actions typically associated with "events" (clicking, moving the cursor into or out of, and so on) have to be defined. A good example is a button object, which can - among other things - be clicked. However, what actually happens when that occurs... well, that's where the "programming" comes in. And the same is true when it comes to "dropping" things that've been "dragged" over an object.

I was fortunate enough to find a web article that provided a general explanation of how to go about doing this, which included a high-level plan (1. Tell Windows that your application will accept dropped files. 2. Catch and handle the WM_DROPFILES message. 3. Process the dropped files.), leaving the well-known "implementation details" to me.

Somehow, I managed to figure out how to copy files, and the application works.

The app runs with no seat belts, in that the code doesn't do much checking of function return codes (though I do have a couple of try...catch loops in there in case of exceptions), and though it would be nice to be able to change some configuration information without firing up C++Builder again, for now, good enough is good enough.

* * *
Natalie came by last night for dinner, during which we discussed various combinations and permutations associated with the fact that (a) her roomie is moving out soon, and (b) Galina wants to put this house on the market (or get it rented again), which will put me in the market for a place to stay. We still have a little wiggle room as far as deciding anything is concerned in this regard, but I'm already flinching about Yet Another Move™ (though why that should bother an old veteran like me doesn't really scan).

Galina (and, indirectly, Lily) convinced Natalie to leave Lily with us last night (Lily ran under the bed and up through a hole in the box spring), and we promised to bring her back today. In fact, Galina and I took Lily back to Natalie's today about noon, and we all went to a place called Auntie Chang's Dumpling House, at the intersection of Westheimer and South Shepherd. The food was reasonable, and the company was excellent. Natalie had to rush back to muster some of her WoW friends and go kick around some virtual bad guys online, but I'm sure we'll have an opportunity to connect soon.

* * *
Gardening ideas must've come together in my unconscious, because today, it occurred to me how I could go about constructing two "self-watering" containers for the tomato plants bought about ten days ago. The basic idea consists of slicing apart one of several Omaha Steak styrofoam coolers we've accumulated, and then using the thick "boards" to create false bottoms for containers having a square cross-section. The styrofoam is easy to work with, so inserting a hole for the watering tube and another hole for the wick was pretty easy.

Of course, there remains the question of whether the contraptions will work over the long term.

Speaking of tomato plants, I found basically the same size plants at the flea market in Pearland today, for $2.00. While I didn't buy any more tomato plants, I did buy some mint, some rosemary (I think), and something that looks like basil with a strong hint of mint, each for $1.00.

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I was pretty focused on my work last night, and so didn't really have the time (or inclination) to muse about what's been going on generally.

Moneybookers finally came through with the transfer to our checking account a mere 5 business days (7 calendar days) after my request, so I'll keep this in mind for the future. In this regard, they seem to be about as responsive as PayPal. Speaking of banks, I sent a fax to my bank in Pontarlier, but although eFax shows that it was delivered, I have not received a confirming email from them about it, nor have I heard back from the bank. I'll give it until Monday morning; if I haven't heard back by then, I'll call again.

I got some walking exercise in yesterday, from our real estate agent's office to the Borders bookstore near I-45, while Galina discussed various details about some imminent issues. We have a contract from one of our tenants, who had rented with an option to buy, and if everything goes well, we'll be free of the property in a few weeks and there'll be one less worry on my plate.

Apropos of Borders, I caught sight of an interesting book there the other day while browing, all about the use of self-watering containers for patio gardening. I got the gist of the method while skimming the book, so when Galina took me along to get some more landscaping soil yesterday (we've engaged two young ladies to landscape our current property), I bought two tomato plants ($5.99 + tax, each), both to try out the method, but also to scratch a very old itch, because I really miss summer gardening.

Getting back to exercise, the distance I walked was, according to Google Earth, just about 1.7 miles, and I got to Borders at just about the time that Galina did, so there was no time to browse. Later, after Galina went up to Natalie's to pick up a box of mail forwarded by Andrew, I walked to the Kroger and back for some stuff that, upon returning home, I had lost most of my appetite for.

Based on the way my weight has been behaving, I'm starting to believe that there are certain "quantum" levels that one's body will assume, and that it takes some bit of prodding, as it were, to move out of any given level. For quite a while, for example, I was hovering around 232 lb. and would quickly recover from occasionaly excursions of a few pounds. However, after about a week of too much food - my fault, no excuses - during last month's interpretation assignment, my weight shot up to 240 and is pretty much staying there, so it seems I'm back to square one.

In a way, it's good that Galina is planning to go to Pagosa (she was going to go today, but now it's looking like she'll leave tomorrow), because I find it a lot easier to not think much about food if there's nobody around to remind me "I'm hungry" from time to time.

I've been playing chess over my BlackBerry for a while, and it's not been very satisfying, as the opposition has been pretty weak. However, I've finally hooked into a position in the Alapin French that I should probably pay some attention to, when the opportunity affords itself this weekend. The Alapin is a distant cousin of the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, which is to say: an aggressive opening for White that is easy for Black to go astray in, and I means for Black to go astray!

If I was under the impression that yesterday was a rest day, I was, um, misinformed. By the time I hit the sack, I had translated nearly 2700 target words during the day, which is a fair piece of work. Currently, the "state of the plate" is two documents, one of which arrived a few days ago, comprising 11,000 words, due Monday, and a second document that arrived this morning, 2,200 words, which has a Tuesday COB deadline. My best client, who was responsible for the 2700 words yesterday, will soon send along a few hundred more words, due for Monday.

The basic approach is straightforward: plan to do 4,000 words per day today and over the weekend, which should not be unduly difficult, except for maybe today, as it's very nearly 11 am and I haven't laid word one down on phosphor yet.

Time to go remedy that.



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