Saturday, October 11, 2008


This is the AWV archive. Aurora Walking Vacation was originally an AOL journal, and was ported over to the service when AOL ended their support for journals/blogs in November of 2008. This archive contains every entry and every comment made between June, 2004, and October 2008.

Because this blog contains many graphics files that were stored on AOL's ftp servers, and was part of a community of blogs on the AOL service, when AOL discontinued support of those products, this archive became a collection of broken links and little red Xs. All of the text entries remain, but many of the links will no longer work, and virtually none of the graphics will display after November 1, 2008. I may attempt to repair some of these entries as time allows, but it will not be a high priority.

From time to time, I may choose an old entry from this archive, and reproduce it on the new Aurora Walking Vacation. This blog, however, will not be active at all. If you find something interesting, and would like to comment, please do not do so here. Please direct all comments and questions to the new Aurora Walking Vacation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another one makes the move...

   My Cowboy Poetry blog now happily resides on the Blogger network. This time I did the transfer from the Firefox browser instead of from the AOL client, and it went much more smoothly. The AOL browser has many 'modifications' that makes it behave differently from other Internet browsers, and I suspect it just doesn't mesh up with the transfer process software properly. If you are having difficulty with the transfer of your journal, try doing it from outside the AOL client.
   However, I had the same result with the pictures on this journal as I did on my previous one. Blogger says that the graphics in your journals will be ported over to Google's Picasa service, but that did not happen. More when I figure it out.

More information about going to Blogger

   Karen, of Outpost Mavarin, has posted a more detailed entry about transferring over to blogger. Read it here: Tips For The Great AOL-J Migration. Thanks Karen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hello Blogger!

   The tool to transfer your AOL blog to is now available. Read the post on Magic Smoke for more details. Those of us attached to AOL USA, Canada, or Mexico received an email updating us about the change, and directing us to the Blogger page where the import process begins. Those who are members of any other AOL service (e.g. AOL UK, or Europe) will not have gotten an email. Never fear, the import process will work for your journals as well (so I have been told). You'll just have to spread the word throughout your communities yourselves.

   I experimented with the import tool by transferring my poetry blog,
(not cowboy poetry), to Blogger this evening. This was my experience.

   I went to the
AolToBlogger page, and began following the directions there. I signed into my Google account. I entered the journal address of my blog in the box provided, and clicked on the "sign into your AOL account" button. That took me to an AOL sign in page, where I entered my screen name and password.

   If you are concerned about the security of your password, don't worry. You are signing into AOL's secureID service, so all Blogger gets is a message back from AOL saying you are who you say you are. They never actually see your login information.

   After that, I was taken back to a page where I was invited to click to begin the transfer process. I clicked, and was taken to a page that said my journal was being transferred, and that it might take a few minutes. I waited for almost fifteen. I never got an error message, nor did I ever get a message telling me the transfer had been successful. I got nothing.
   I gather that the next step should have been my blogger dashboard page, where I could complete the publication process of my new blogspot blog, but that never happened. I closed the page, and manually logged into blogger, where I found that my new blog was there in my dashboard, with a message that said, "click here to complete the import process." So I clicked there. And it completed the process. And now
(not cowboy poetry) lives on blogger.

   The reason I chose to use that blog for the first test was that there were not very many entries in it, so it would be easy to tell how successful the transfer was. As far as I can see, every post, and all of the comments were successfully transferred over. One note of importance. All of the pictures and graphics are still hosted on AOL Hometown, so when that closes at the end of the month, they will all turn into little red Xs. The pictures will have to be moved to a new home, and all the posts will need to be manually edited to redirect the urls to the pictures' new home. That'll be tedious.

   So, I was successful, but with a couple of tiny snags. The process was certainly not completely seamless, and I can see that many who are computer neophytes may have problems. My suggestion is not to wait. Start now. If you have difficulty, you'll have a couple of weeks to get it worked out before the axe falls.

   I'll try to transfer another one of my journals tomorrow, using a slightly different path, and report on how that went. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not enough time

   Just archived the month of November, 2004. At this rate, I'll be done saving all my old entries by sometime early December. I'm not going to make it, am I?

Best. Quote. Evar.

On the demise of AOL journals...

"I shall miss this blog, but it's just a vessel."
    --Dornbrau, of Dust Bunny Club of North America (new address pending)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And the spit hits the fan...

   AOL today announced they are "sunsetting" several products, including AOL Blogs/Journals. As of October 31, 2008, every AOL Blog will disappear. They claim they will be offering a way of automatically migrating our blogs to another blogging platform, but you know me; I'm skeptical. So, I'll be spending every spare minute over the next few weeks backing up Aurora Walking Vacation to my home computer, so when the migration plan either doesn't materialise, or doesn't work, I won't have lost anything.
   I already have a blog set up for AWV. I've never posted in it, but I created it way back when the banner ads bruhaha erupted. So for all three of you regular readers, never fear, AWV will go on.

   More details as they are available.

edit 2:28 PM: I have been told that International AOL Journals and Blogs users may not be in the loop regarding information about the plan to migrate to another platform. According to my information, a plan is already in place, the new platform will be, and even though we lowly non-Americans will not be kept abreast of developments, the migration system will work for all AOL journals. So, if you are an International AOL user, keep your eyes on the people connection blog for instructions for all US users, and remember that we can use those same instructions for our journals. This in no way mitigates my strong recommendation that we all take pains to back up our blogs long before the end of the month.

Friday, September 26, 2008


   I've been working out.

Picture Will Farrell saying that. No, wait...Picture Colin Farrell saying that. Maybe Colin Firth? Never mind.

   I've been going to the gym. Prime motivations: strengthening the core muscles for golf, and strengthening the muscles that support the knees for curling. Also, the whole not having a heart attack any time soon factors in there.
   Here's the thing, though. Exercise is boring. Seriously! Doing a half an hour on the treadmill (while maintaining an average heart rate of 142-152) isn't that much of a struggle...physically. But by the time I'm going on ten minutes, I'm so excruciatingly bored I'm begging for it to end.

   I noticed that many people at the gym wear iPods (or other mp3 players). "Hey," I thought, "I have an iPod." I decided to try it out. I went out and bought a pair of headphones, and took my iPod with me the next time I worked out. Didn't do anything for me. I mean, there's already music playing at the club. Sure, my iPod has my music on it, but it's still just music. It fades into the background, and my mind wanders. And the place it most commonly wanders to is the thought of how mind numbingly boring exercise is.
   Then, I had one of those oh-so-infrequent brilliant ideas. Podcasts!

   For those of you not in the know,
podcasts are simply Internet "radio shows" that you can download to your iPod (or other mp3 players) and listen to at your convenience. There are hundreds of podcasts on dozens of different topics available for free download on iTunes.
   Me being me, I downloaded several with a skeptical theme, like
Skeptoid with Brian Dunning, Skepticality, and The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. Some of them are short and sweet. Brian Dunning's podcasts rarely go for longer than about eleven or twelve minutes. Others are longer, with Skepticality and The Skeptic's Guide both usually ringing in at just over an hour long - which, as it turns out, is almost the perfect length to listen to during a workout.

   You know what? It works. The subject matter is intellectually engaging enough to pass the time, while being light enough to allow partial attention to be paid to other things. Like the soccer moms doing their Dancercise class.
   Yeah, this whole iPod thing is really working out for me.

And 'cause we're talkin' 'bout iPods, here's your Friday random ten:

1) Cheap Day Return - Jethro Tull
2) Carefree Highway - Gordon Lightfoot
3) G Minor Medley - Leahy
4) Mailman - Soundgarden
5) Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby - Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
6) Rocky Mountain Way - Triumph
7) Atom Tan - The Clash
8) Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
9) The Cool, Cool River - Paul Simon
10) All Canadian Surf Club - The Tragically Hip

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dems may have misjudged GOP strategy

   Left wing mouthpieces all around the blogosphere have been laughing and pointing at the Republicans recently. Actually, they've been laughing and pointing at Republicans for years, but they've been even more outspoken recently over what they perceive as a major strategic blunder by the McCain camp.
   I'm speaking, of course, about the appointment, by John McCain, of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The initial response by the lefties was to call out the McCain strategists as fools for actually believing they could steal votes from the Hillary Crusaders. Because that's what this move immediately made people think - that the GOP was hoping to garner votes from those militant feminists who claimed they'd vote for McCain before they voted for Obama, just because he had the temerity to take away the nomination to which their girl was entitled.
   The idea is, of course, patently ridiculous. Hillary's supporters would no more truly vote Republican in '08 than they would move to Canada if the GOP won in '04. I mean, hundreds of prominent bleeding heart liberal celebrities vowed to leave the country if the Dems lost the previous election, but last time I checked Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon haven't moved their shit into the empty townhouse around the corner from me.

   Anyone who really believed that cadre of screeching feminists would vote Red before they'd vote Black is just plain stupid. And while the GOP rank and file might
benefit from the use of spell check at times, the high uppity-ups of the Republican strategy machine are not stupid. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
   No, the choice of Sarah Palin as the vice-presidential nominee was not born of any delusional thinking on the part of the GOP team. It may, however, have been born of general delusional thinking on the part of the largest and most powerful voting block in America over the last decade - the Christian Right.
   You see, the evangelical nutcases that put Bush over the top in '04 just didn't seem to be cosying up to John McCain in quite the same way. Johnny's just too damn... reasonable. And God knows, we can't have that. No, the fear that women in the USA might be allowed to make procreative decisions for themselves once in a while; the fear that court decisions upholding the constitution, like the one in Dover, Pennsylvania might continue to happen; the fear that your children might be taught about the real world in school, instead of some fanatasy world based on a three thousand year old novel; the paralysing fear that the annual town Baby Jesus diorama might have to be taken out of city hall, and displayed somewhere inexplicable - like a church - had taken hold of the bible belt, and McCain's people could feel the wackaloon vote slipping through their fingers.

   Enter the white knight of the Republican party. Sarah Palin, riding to the rescue, Bible in one hand, twelve gauge in the other. She can kill, clean and cook dinner, homeschool her children, quote Scripture, govern an entire state, and look hot for her husband all at the same time. Truly, she is the perfect woman.
   Well, the perfect Republican woman. When she starts telling people that the war in Iraq is a holy crusade, the Democrats start whispering behind their hands and snickering. They shouldn't, though. They should beware. Because a whole lot of pick-up driving, rifle-toting, bible thumping, wife beating American voters just got a whole lot more comfortable with the Republican party in 2008.

   Advantage McCain. Obama? Your move.

Chapter 84

   I had a couple of things I wanted to ask you all about, but right now I can only remember one. Hopefully the other will come to me.

   I'm looking to buy a tenor saxophone for Matthew to play in the high school band. We've rented one each of the last two school years, but for what that will cost over the next four, I figure I can just buy one. I would probably be more interested in a good value for a half decent used one than a cheap new one, but I really have little idea of just what it's going to cost. Is there anyone out there who has any knowledge in the area and can offer some advice?