Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Today is the day that I meet with our painting group, down at the Art Center. It's a 9 to 12 meeting and once a week. We have said that we would do it 5 days a week if circumstances permitted it...but they don't. It's a nice sized room for the 8 of us and there are tables and even some easels if you wish to use them. A small number of us (only 3) met today as the others had medical issues or real estate problems. Did I mention that I'm the only male in the group? There used to be another, but he died recently. He was the one that opened the room each Tuesday and locked up afterwards. I now have that job. Should I be worried? The pay and the retirement plan stink!

One of our members was going through her old paintings and putting them in the trash. She pointed to one as the kind of paintings she was tired of because they weren't worth the trouble to frame. I looked; I liked it and asked her to give it to me. But, I told her that she had to sign it first! Reluctantly, she did. I found a mat for it when I got home and I will look around for simple frame.

Sure, it's just a pleasant and well crafted watercolor and really not what excites my soul. But it reminds me of the artist and that's important.

This Tuesday found me painting something from a far different school of painting; Abstract Expressionism was my choice for the day. Joan Mitchell (1925 - 1992) is one of the artists I admire. Jackson Pollock speaks to me. Franz Kline's works are exciting to me. Emil Nolde and Mary Heilman are not always Expressionists and do some wonderful work as Abstract Impressionists. I could go on...but I won't.

I have 3 paintings in my 'studio' that are close to being finished. This morning, just before I left to meet with my friends, I grabbed a paintbrush and added something to one of the paintings. It was something I visualized while having my coffee a few hours earlier.

Here is a snapshot of my work from today. I will be doing something with them later. I always set a painting here on the hearth and just let it 'be' in the room for awhile.

You can't see the richness of the colors in the painting on the left. It's there...trust me. The one on the right reminds me of Joan Mitchell's work. That wasn't my intention, it just came out that way. The one on the left reminds me of Emil Nolde's paintings. His darkest paintings always contained a light that I would like to duplicate. No, this is not a duplicate. I wasn't thinking of his paintings while I was working. Perhaps I was 'channeling' him? And I may be comfortable with this one without doing much more to it. The one on the right needs blue. That's all I know so far...

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Good Book

I have just finished reading a very good book. It's title is Being Mortal and it's written by Dr. Atul Gawande, a most wise surgeon. I recommend it highly if you are an elder or even more importantly, a member of the generation with living parents and their own adult children. (I know there is a name for this generation but I can't remember it)

I think it's important that, if possible, all three generations read this book. It's about dying. But it's also about living to the end and being in control till that time. It's about ending with joy. Oliver Sacks, himself recently dying, praised the book. I think quite highly of Dr. Sacks and his books are always worth reading.

Look up the title of the book, Being Mortal, on Google and read some of the descriptive reviews for a 'feel' of the book. I think you will find it to be a book for your library. Mine is; as soon as my family finishes reading it.

Speaking of Department Stores

Got back from the gym & swim and was browsing through Pinterest (yes, I pin) and ran across a site named Department Store Museum. Now here is something I know a lot about! Starting with my grandmother, Nana, she worked in downtown L.A. at a store named J. W. Robinson's. She worked there till she retired at age 75. She worked in the lamp department 7th floor. Sometimes, dad would take all three of the kids (myself included) into L.A. to pick her up on a Friday afternoon. Once, I rode the bus, by myself, from Manhattan Beach to downtown. It wasn't my first trip and I remembered that I had to transfer once. I was ten or eleven at the time. I remember taking the elevator up to the seventh floor. I had to tell the elevator operator which floor I wanted. Then I walked through a maze of lamps till I found my very regal looking Nana. She always wore black with a simple pearl necklace.

But I didn't always go to Robinson's. My mother would take me to May Co., The Broadway (with wooden escalators) and Buffum's. I found them all fascinating.

Fast forward to the early 70's and I was making a living in construction; building department stores. Topanga Plaza Mall was being built and we built the May Co. and Montgomery Wards. After those came a long string of Broadway stores. We built them in Las Vegas, Reno, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Phoenix, Scottsdale and half a dozen or more throughout the Los Angeles basin. In between building new store we also remodeled existing stores including the iconic Broadway store on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

We didn't limit ourselves to Broadway stores and we built half a dozen May Co.'s, a Buffum's or two and some ritzy ones in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs. As you can tell, we did a lot of traveling and it wasn't always on the west coast. We built a G. Fox store in Waterbury, CT and a Buffum's in Edison, NJ. I think the last store we built was a single story department store for Gottschalk's, in Chico, CA. Twenty years later and I'm living in Chico. (that last store has changed owners and is now named Forever 21)

Yes, the Department Store Museum website brought back a ton of memories; going all the way back to when I was five years old!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

You're Fired!

I was reading Schumpeter/Digital Taylorism in the Economist from last week. It's a great article and should be read. 

The short version; Frederick Taylor was an influential management guru of the early 20th century. He advocated breaking down each job to it's simplest components. Measure everything that workers do and link pay to performance. Bonuses to the best workers and pink slips to the lowest performers. Sounds far too familiar? 

For most of my career I was the guy that made the decision to let someone go. Even as an apprentice I was given the job of foremen. Let me tell you, it was painful for me to lay someone off that first time. For the journeyman that I was letting go, it had to be particularly galling to see an apprentice handing him his final check. But, as time went on, I found a management style that suited me and most times I was able to avoid laying someone off for cause. At the end of a job and without another job to go to, we all would be given the final check; that was expected and accepted by all of us. 

I found that if I respected the workers for their talents and was honest with them when I saw them falling behind in some area, I was given respect and loyalty. After awhile I had a crew that would go with me from job to job. Commercial drywall/steel framing work is hard and it's dangerous and so there is a certain sense of brotherhood that bound us together and it was gratifying to know that these men depended on me as much as I depended on them. I rarely had to say anything to correct them or to encourage them to work faster. Once a week at our safety meeting I would tell them of our progress and how much we needed to do to stay on schedule. As the foreman, I would usually have my tools on and would work all day, by myself, and only see the crew at lunch or at a break. They would come to see me only if they had a problem they couldn't solve themselves. 

Sounds like a nice setup doesn't it? Well, it was for quite awhile; then there was a change. We went to work for someone new to us. I was soon getting called in to the office because I wasn't 'pushing' the crew hard enough. We had been getting bonuses and praise for some time from other contractors. This was startling to me. I asked if we were behind schedule? I was told that we weren't but we could go faster and maybe I should layoff some guys so that they knew I was serious. I did a cowardly thing and said I would think about it. I should have quit.  

I didn't lay off anyone and told myself that I wouldn't work for that guy again. Easier said than done. It became increasingly difficult to find a contractor that was comfortable with my style of leadership. The years went by and for a time I was a contractor myself, trying to use the same style and it generally worked. Then I moved to N. California and found myself looking for work in the Reno area. There were lots of high rise hotels being built and that was something I knew quite well. I went to work as a journeyman; enjoying the fact that I was working, and at the end of the day I would go home and never take the pressures of leadership home with me.

That didn't last long; the higher-ups saw that I had some talent and asked me to be a foreman. I said yes  and it was back to the same demands; "why wasn't I pushing the crew harder?" "You ought to try yelling a little more often". Reno was a much smaller job market than Los Angeles so I didn't have the freedom to do as I wanted every time, though I did try. I'm not proud of some of those times. 

Fast forward 15 years to my first salaried job. I was now an estimator/project manager for a very large, nationwide, construction company.  In December of that first year I was called in to the Manager's office for a 'review'. When I first heard that I was going to be 'reviewed', I thought they were kidding me. In my long history of working in the construction industry, the only review you had resulted in keeping your job. Are you still working? Fine. End of review. I really felt insulted to be reviewed. If you don't like what I'm doing; fire me!

Well, I retired from that corporation and had plenty of reviews. All good. But I was never comfortable with the process. I'm still not. 

It is the way things work these days and the days of work that I truly enjoyed are gone forever. You can read the article and you will agree...


Saturday, September 19, 2015


It's so depressing. As you drive around the city you see brown lawns and dying trees everywhere. The drought has become very real. We're on a water budget based on our water usage in 2013 and because we used a lot of water that year, our mandated use this year is not so bad. We've managed to put a lot of water in 'the bank' and haven't felt the pinch as much as others. Even so, our backyard is brown; dead lawn. Plus three dead trees; birches that were depending on lawn watering for their own use. The front yard, a 12'x20' piece of greenery survives with a few brown patches. The parkway grass is dead. Very few homeowners have bitten the bullet and ripped out their lawns to plant drought resistant plants. Those that have done it now have nice looking yards. I've never been a fan of lawns (my wife likes the green but is resigned to the change) and won't miss it. We are waiting for our daughter, the nursery owner, to recommend a landscape architect for our backyard. In the meantime it's very sad to see.

Friday, September 18, 2015


I'm still downloading photos; this time from the U. of Oregon library website. I just downloaded a particular photo and that had wandering down old memories lane. As I said, I was never a logger, but this photo is of a 'Steam donkey', the power behind a series of large cables that would drag the logs from where they lay, up a hill to a spot where other cables would drag them away to be cut, stacked and loaded. I have increased the size of the photo so that you might see some detail. The 'donkey' was powered by a wood fired steam boiler. Water had to be piped from a nearby stream or spring; uphill from the 'donkey'. The 'donkey' is sitting on a skid made from logs...imagine that! At the end of the log is a short and heavy log with the top made flat so that 'blocks' could be attached to it. Some of what I'm writing is conjecture as there are no details included with the photo, but I'm using a short life time of heavy construction knowledge to fill in what's not included. One heavy cable goes straight out and down on the right side while a second cable crosses over and goes down to the left. Down near the feet of the tall man on the right appears to be a 'snatch block'. Blocks are best described as small pulley wheels, held in a metal framework. A snatch block has a swivel at one end so that it's free to move and always be in the direction of the pull. So you have a straight line pull from the donkey that is converted to a downhill and to the left pull by using a snatch block. Any time you want to change the direction of a fixed line pull, you use a snatch block.

All of this leads up to a memory. The memory of the building of a 14 story office building in downtown Sacramento. Our job was to cover the outside of the building with pre-fabricated panels. The panels were trucked over from our plant in Reno and then, while we blocked traffic on a main street, we would back the trailer down a narrow alleyway alongside the building. When we began the project, there was only a steel structure about 5 stories in height. Ironworkers were adding steel every day. We followed close behind them, welding on the supports that would carry the weight of the panels and allow us to move the panels in or out to maintain a flat exterior. We were also doing the fireproofing; the spraying on of a cementitious material to the steel. Once the building steel was topped out and floor slabs began to be poured, our fireproofing crew could begin. Our panel crew followed the fireproofers. We used machines we called a 'dinosaur' to do the lifting. These were made of a steel framework to hold a heavy duty single phase electrical motor, a winch, a short boom with a snatch block at the end that extended outside of the building  and a steel basket at the opposite end to hold about a ton of counterweight iron. All of this rested on six heavy duty wheels.

Here is a website that shows some of the lifting equipment that we used, including snatch blocks.

It all seems simple. Use a heavy duty lifting machine to lift the panels off of the trailer.. Hoist them up and weld them in place. Exactly. Except for the fact that buildings have four or more sides and our panels could only be stored in one place and alongside one side of the building. We had three 'dinosaurs' and half a dozen snatch blocks and that was what we used to move the panels around the building. The panels were usually about 16' long and 6' wide. Made of structural steel and a synthetic plaster finish on one side, open on the other side. We would attach our lifting cables to the top of the panel and rope 'tag' lines to the bottom. One 'dinosaur' would lift the panel off of the trailer while two men held the 'tag' lines. These ropes would help us to control the panel and stop it from spinning as it was hoisted. Once it was free of the trailer we would hoist it straight up about thirty feet and then use clamps to temporarily hold it to the building while we prepared to lift it again, but from a different angle, using a snatch block. The second dinosaur would then begin hoisting and the panel would now move up and sideways across the building. We would do this as many times as needed till we had the panel at the correct side of the building and at the right height. Then it was safely welded in place. I forget how many panels we had on this building but I do know that we never dropped one and we never hurt anyone. Those were my two biggest fears as this was not 'normal' construction. We had just made it up in our heads. I was blessed with having two very clever journeymen working for me and between the three of us, we made it work. We only needed a conventional crane at the very end of the project. We needed a special permit to block 7th Street for the crane and then only for 6 hours while we rushed to finish the job. The building still stands at the corner of 7th and L in Sacramento. I have worked on lots of taller buildings but this one stands out in my memory because of the complexity and danger.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I'm taking a break from coding. Yes, I'm writing code for a computer. It's my third project with my Arduino and although the computer is small in size, it does have some real power. I'm hooked on it now. The Arduino 'code' is written in C+, or that is what I determined it was. The instructions are a bit fuzzy about details. I've written lots of HTML code and a little bit of Ruby. When I was working, I went to a class in Magic. Magic is a piece of Israeli software that is called a RAD tool, or Rapid Application Development. You would write code in Magic and it would translate all of that into C++. We used it for all of our company software. I barely made it alive through that class. It was a five day class and I was lost on the second day. Afterwards, I knew just a little Magic and decided to remain an Instructor and part time IT guy.

The Arduino code is starting to make sense and that's comforting. Then, the other day I read about Udacity. There was a great article in The Economist about this on-line school and I decided to check it out. You can read about it here; after you read the article (you have to read it to the end) you can click on this link: and read the article in the New York Times about Udacity. After that you can go to Udacity and check out their website and what they offer. I did that and now I am enrolled in a free course, an intro to coding. I figure that even if I do know some of the code already I also know that it has been at least a dozen years since I last used any of it. And if Udacity doesn't suit you, there are half a dozen other free code instruction websites. I've been using CodeAcademy to learn Ruby.

The Arduino, Udacity and an Apple computer are all part of a plan of mine. I want to stay mentally sharp for as long as I can. My short term memory is the pits! And if you want a laugh, just follow me around the kitchen as I open cupboards instead of the refrigerator, put the milk in the microwave and various other insanities on my part. That may be funny but it scares me. My neurologist and his clinical psychologist say I'm fine and normal for my age. But...they don't see me in the kitchen!


A clear sky and bright sunshine again. I do love the sun now that we are a solar power family. I know that we need the rain and I welcome it, but I also love to see my power bill disappear into the sunshine. We are heading into the months of declining solar power and at 'True-up' time with the power company, in January, we may actually owe them something. But next year, with a full year of sunshine we should come out even at True-up. True-up is the power companies term for the date when they compare what we sold them to what we bought from them. Then one pays the other. One time a year.

I have not looked at the news this morning. We were too busy getting ready to go to the coffee shop for our weekly socializing with our middle child; our second daughter. But...I bet that the $100 that I bet yesterday is safe. I'm sure the candidates did not mention anything of substance. No, I did not watch the 21st century version of the old Laugh In show. Do you remember that one? Well, these debates are a poor imitation of that show. Imagine all the candidates mixed up with the characters from that show... now that's funny!

My ASD is in full gear these past few days and last night, and this morning, as I've been collecting old time logging photos. I've been getting them from the Universities of Washington and Oregon. Also Pinterest and various other sites. I already had a few hundred of them and now I have twice that. I was never a logger. My first daughter's first husband was a logger and we lived in a county that depended on the timber industry. My grandfather on my father's side was a timber cruiser in Minnesota; not for very long. My great grandfather on my mother's side was a lumber dealer in Seattle and a grand potentate in the Hoo-Hoo's... look that one up! So I guess you could say I have a slight connection to logging. Either way, I love to look at the old photos of these men and the magnificent trees that they were falling. Huge trees! The they would haul the logs out on plank roads, through the forest, using oxen or horses to do the hard work. Now I have done a little bit of falling, just enough for firewood each year while we lived in the woods; and I can tell you that even the small logs are very heavy. They are filled with hundreds of gallons of water and they are dense. So I can imagine just how hard the work was. No chain saws and no heavy duty Caterpillar tractors. They didn't even have 'hard hats' to wear and protect them from the 'widow makers' that fell from high up in the tree while they were intent on sawing and chopping. Then there is the ugliest side to this old logging business; they left a devastated landscape behind when they moved on to the next stand of big trees. Stumps that were four to six feet high, smaller trees crushed by the fall of the giants, rutted and churned up forest floor. In some places, a hundred years later and you can still see the damage they caused.

As expected, my pain is back. It had me awake at three this morning and I had to go back to drugs after two days without any at all. The people that want to highly restrict pain meds say that with meditation and yoga you can control pain. Which pain are they talking about? A headache? A toothache? I suppose meditation might work for those. I've tried that with my pain and I cannot clear my mind of the pain long enough to 'meditate'. And yoga? With a fused lumbar spine and inflamed bursa in both hips? I couldn't even consider it. As usual, the 'do gooders' don't know what they are talking about and they're trying to use one remedy to fit all.

Okay, enough about the pain...I must meditate now.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015


A light rain is falling. Something we really need! I hope this small storm is a precursor to the events of the coming winter.

I'm also enjoying a pain free day. First one in a long time. But I am a fatalist. This is all temporary. The pain will return soon; I'm usually right. I saw my pain doctor last week and she wants to use epidural injections on the vertebra above my fused ones. Unfortunately, I have a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted into my back, on the left side. The cable from it runs up along my spine until it ducks in closer to the spine and then delivers programmed bursts of electricity to a specific nerve. Very low current. Anyway, this device is in the way of her work. We both want the device out; me, because it never has worked.

Now I'm waiting for a response from the surgeon that she has referred me. It's the same one that put it in and I like the guy. I just hope it can happen soon. Now that I'm 75 years old, I want as many pain free days as possible. And when the battery and the cable are gone I can have MRI's once again. All diagnostics have been with a CAT scan. That's a lot of radiation and the images are not as detailed as the ones you get with an MRI. Besides, I like all the weird noises you hear in the tube!

There is a 'debate' on television tonight. It's not really a debate; it's ten or eleven candidates loudly insulting one another and lying in public. Trolling for dollars! I can safely bet $100 that nothing of substance will be 'debated'.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Short Vacation

We just came down the hill about three hours ago and we have emptied the suitcases while listening to the grinding and roaring of the excavators and other earth moving devices that are shaping the ground work for a 19 house subdivision...immediately behind our back fence. I might be a little bit angry if today was a Saturday. I would be even angrier if it were Sunday; but it's not, it's Monday and it's Labor Day. I'm not angry now...just resigned to the fact that the institutions that created this national holiday, the labor unions, are forgotten and losing strength every year. I have serious doubt that the guy on the 'dozer' that is interrupting my my peaceful afternoon is being paid overtime pay for his efforts.

We spent the past three days at Lake Almanor. It's a medium sized lake and my son-in-law's family has owned a nice two story cabin, that is right on the shore, for at least fifty years. They have a nice deck right off the living room and they have purchased a new dock for fishing, swimming and a place to tie up a boat. The dock has wheels so they can push the dock out as the level of the lake decreases. And it's gone down about 20', measured laterally, from where it was when I was last here. The lake's water is used to create power by going through about three powerhouses on its way to the Sacramento River. Everyone living near the lake is anxiously awaiting the promised El Nino winter.

From where I was sitting, the dock, the water level looked fine and I was enjoying a few days of fishing. Not 'catching', just fishing. My grandson was catching while I watched enviously. Okay, I wasn't really envious, I was proud to know he was my grandson and that he enjoyed fishing alongside of an old man.

The lake is only an hour and a half drive to our house but we anticipated a holiday crowd that would slow us down. It turned out to be a nice drive. There were lots of cars ahead and behind us as we made our way through the many curves of this road and yet, the speed was fine and we had just one car that was passing. Sure enough, it was just ninety minutes from door to door.

Our granddaughter, who is currently vacuuming our carpet, even as I type, came down the hill later today and she said that the traffic was terrible and a lot of the delay was caused by cars returning from the Burning Man event in the Nevada desert; the Black Rock Playa. She said they were easily recognized by the fact that they were covered in dust from the windstorms that are almost a daily occurrence on the playa. A friend of mine has gone to the Burning Man twice and she loves it. I am envious! Burning Man is on my Bucket List; my shortlist. I wanted to go, back in the days when it was held on the beach near San Francisco. But life interfered with all of those plans as it often does.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cars etcetera and more Cars Part lll

Ken, while working at the gas station, had met this guy that was really involved in drag racing. As a trio, Ken, Dan and myself loved going to Lion's Drag strip in Long Beach; the premier drag strip in southern California. We went every Saturday we could as that was the day that you could buy a pit pass, enabling you to wander around among the contestants and their cars.

Back to the guy that Ken met. We all went over to his house one morning and we woke him and his room mates up. It was around noon. We were invited in. These guys lived a little bit differently than we did. There were a lot of beer cans scattered around. The furniture was minimal and the drapes were bedsheets. But they were into cars! One of them was rebuilding a Chrysler Hemi. In the kitchen dining room. All the parts, including the pistons, were carefully stored off the floor; on the kitchen table. There were assorted carburetors and magnetos scattered around the living room and among the many beer cans. Outside there were half a dozen vehicles in various state pf repair or abandonment. This included two 'rail' dragsters. One was minus an engine and the engine was the one being rebuilt inside. All in all, we were in heaven! Car lover heaven.

Despite their quirks, they were all very nice and they suffered all of our questions with good humor. It was obvious that they were at least ten years older  and they could have told us to get lost, but they didn't. They even helped me rewire my Austin Healey overdrive so that I had 8 forward gears and 2 in reverse? That project came from their own imaginations. They knew that I loved to go to the drags and run my car. It was just a four cylinder with a 3 speed transmission. I had installed a 'hot' cam in it with the hopes of securing a trophy in my class, 'E' Sport. For some weeks now I had raced and beat everything in my class except for a Porsche Speedster. He would always show up late in the morning, just late enough to drive in, beat me in one race and take the trophy. I'm sure he delighted in it.

I tried out the newly rewired overdrive the following Saturday. I made two runs and had beat all the competition. And then, just before the drags were over, my nemesis rolled through the gates. He made one run and beat my time easily. That was the end of drag racing for me.

Many years later, a curious thing happened. My best friend was showing me a new book. It was a small coffee table book with lots of photographs in it. It was all about Los Angeles. I was going through the pages when I noticed a photograph that was titled "Racers at Lion's Drag Strip" I looked closer and I spotted myself! I was in my Austin Healey and was waiting my turn to race; just a car back from the focus of the photo. Most of my car was obscured by another, closer. car. But I couldn't help but recognize my dark horn rimmed glasses.      

Odds and Ends

We just got back from a trip to Costco. We just bought the necessities of life. Pork loin chops, popcorn, Danish butter cookies, shredded pork, cough drops, calcium, vitamins and 9 volt batteries. We went to the store for the last four items. Okay, we were shopping pretty light for Costco shoppers. But, there were plenty of shoppers making up for our stinginess!

On the way home we stopped at Cash and Carry, the store where restaurants shop. I love walking through this store and seeing all the restaurant sized cans of ...everything! Plus, they have lots of restaurant equipment and tools to buy. A four foot long pizza spatula. A three foot long potato masher. On and on. We weave through all the serious shoppers and bought our four little boxes of Stash Chai Spice black tea. It's my favorite.

On the way again, the dash screen told me that the car had successfully connected to my phone via Blue Tooth. I remarked on the fact that our cars are now loaded with technology. Dealers used to advertise horsepower and now they stress connectivity. Speaking of horsepower; I  have looked at the engine in my car one time and I doubt that I will look again. Why bother? There is nothing that I can do with the engine. Time was, you would lift the hood and imagine how the car would perform with a four barrel carburetor on it, or better yet, with three two barrel carbs! When I looked at the engine of my new car I could not identify the carburetor. Maybe it doesn't have one?  

The SI joint pain still has me on Norco and so I have not been able to enjoy the new backup camera that my son installed. Of course he used YouTube to help the install go smoothly. You know, Blue Tooth and YouTube and all the rest...they make life so much more pleasant. The 'good' old days simply weren't. In fact, I would probably be in a wheelchair if this was 1950. And would I have lived to be 75 back then? Sure, there are lots of little irritants in our lives but you can find those in every era. In fact, some of the things I will be sorry to have missed when I die will be the marvelous new things that technology will bring us. I'm pretty sure I will miss the final development of the quantum computer and that computer can or will change the world.

I have my own little computer to play with now. The Arduino Uno that my wife gave me for my birthday. Basic and very simple. I have a tiny 'motherboard' and a 'breadboard' to use when adding resistors, transistor, capacitors and all the other stuff I need to make this computer work. I've never done this before. I started my life's career hanging drywall and although I ended my career in construction as an instructor, showing our employees how to use their pc's. I was very good at repairing computers and networks and I had changed out various elements on the motherboards, but I really didn't know computers at their most basic level. Maybe I will now.