Aug 27, 2014

The stuff of dreams: My grandparents at the Bellagio

Photo courtesy of
I had a dream last night, so I thought I'd share it. For a little background info, my maternal grandparents passed away more than a decade ago.

I was driving in Las Vegas, trying to find my hotel for a conference. There was a lot of construction, so getting around town was difficult. At one point, I made a right turn and ended up in the valet drive in front of The Bellagio hotel. A man, dressed to the nines and speaking with a foreign accent, stopped me.

"I'm sorry. I am just trying to find my hotel and I made a wrong turn," I told him. He looked down at me and raised his eyebrows.

"Well," he said in his haughty tone, "this is The Bellagio. Drive forward." He pointed in the general direction ahead of me.

For some reason, the drive was nearly impossible to navigate, as much of the drive turned into steps. Before I could get out of the drive, another man came over and handed me a bill with my name on it. The bill was for something like $146 for "sightseeing" in the valet drive. I got out of my car and went in to talk to someone about the bill.

As I entered, I saw my maternal grandparents sitting near a fountain on lounge chairs! They had not seen me.

"What are YOU doing here!?" I was so excited to see them, they both jumped when I startled them.

My Pappap (as I call him), looked at me with his trademark grin. It was the one he seemed to have permanently placed on his face. It was the he wore just before he would say, "Hey, Pal!" My grandmother smiled and said, "We're meeting the man who designed the White House!" She was excited as she added, "We're going to take a tour with him later!"

"In Washington!?" I exclaimed. "But, that's in DC and you are in Vegas."

"Yes, we're flying in his private jet!" She then asked, "What are YOU doing here?"

"I have a conference, but I made a wrong turn and now I have to pay a bill for driving through the valet parking," I said, as if all of this made perfect sense.

"Well, why don't you just stay here?" My grandmother asked.

(I am not sure what happened, but as often occurs in dreams, the next scene is a jump-cut to an elevator)

I am riding in an elevator, trying to find my hotel room at the Bellagio. Much like the construction, riding the elevators proves to be a difficult task. Suddenly, I am inside my grandparents' hotel room.

"I'm not supposed to be in here!" I try explaining to my Pappap. We were in the Penthouse Suite. "I am supposed to be on the second floor!"

I was trying to take in the scenery while also trying to figure out what I was going to do next when the dream came to an abrupt end - an upset stomach woke me from my sleep, but that is not a tale I wish to share.

Aug 16, 2014

Response/Thoughts: 11 Smells That Are Slowly Disappearing

This is the comment I left in response to an article I read (linked below):

#1 - SPIRIT DUPLICATORS: Miss those days! I was in AV specifically so I could run the ditto maker. Probably what's wrong with me today!
#2 - BURNING LEAVES: You don't live in the South. Leaf-burning is alive and well down here.
#3 - DIESEL EXHAUST: Again, come to the south. I grew up in Pittsburgh, but since "transplanting" to the south, have rediscovered that smell by way of massive farm equipment.
#4 - FRESHLY-OPENED POLAROID FILM:  loved that smell as a kid. Man, I miss Polaroid.
#5 -MAGIC MARKERS: Um, now they specifically make markers WITH smells, and "old marker" is one of them! Haha!
#6 - BUBBLE GUM CARDS: As a card collector, this is one I miss greatly. I loved getting gum the packs, breaking the gum into bits and sticking them into an apple - instant candy apple!
#7 - CAP GUNS: You can still find cap guns, but they are certainly fading as the world has gone insane by banning such toys. We truly live in a paranoid, foolish world these days.
#8 - (OLD) NEW CAR SMELL: Today, new cars smell more like formaldehyde than anything. Yuck.
#9 - VACUUM TUBE ELECTRONICS: I love the smell of old electronics. Again, being in AV as a kid helped me take in the smells available of the day!
#10 - TELEPHONE BOOK:  love the smell of old books and newspapers. Even if "smello-tablet" comes to be, it won't be the same as the actual thing.
#11 - CHALK DUST: You would be surprised how many classrooms still have chalkboards. I know I was, given how many classes are all large-format monitors or interactive white boards... Chalkboards will still be around due to budgets.

Neat write-up! 

Original article:

Aug 14, 2014

Writing: Mirror, Mirror

This is a piece of flash fiction (100 words or less) I wrote for a contest. One of the judges contacted me regarding the anecdotal tone. It is not based on a true event. I just write as if things had been true. Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

Mirror, Mirror by David W Henderson, copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

As Abby sang “Hakuna Matata,” it darted into the road from the underbrush. Should I swerve? I held my breath. My indecision thrust the vehicle forward.  It sat on its haunches and turned toward me. Disappearing from view beneath my hood, it darted leftward. The steering wheel wiggled against a small bump. “Thudathump” echoed from the rocker panel. In the rearview, I saw the small, furry grey squirrel lying in the road – tail raised stiffly in surrender. 

“Did you kill him, Daddy,” my daughter asked from the rear seat as our eyes met in the mirror.

Note: the story above is fiction and not anecdotal. It is owned and copyrighted by David Henderson living in Redland, Prescott, Arkansas at the time of the writing. All rights reserved.

Aug 11, 2014

Writing: Bobby Pins in the Vent

Note: From time to time, I will post some free writing on here. This flash fiction story came to me this morning:

Bobby Pins in the Vent
I sat on the edge of our daughter's bed for the first time since her accident. Since she died, is what I should say. I looked around her room at everything. At nothing. I saw posters she hung, paintings she had done, stuffed animals she kept on her pillow. The room was full. It was empty. I lowered my head, resting my face in the palms of my hands, trying to make sense of it all. When I finally pulled my hands away, my eyes fell upon the vent in the floor near my feet. Inside, I saw two bobby pins and I cried.

Note: the story above is fiction and not anecdotal. It is owned and copyrighted by David Henderson living in Redland, Prescott, Arkansas at the time of the writing.  All rights reserved.

Aug 4, 2014

Work Life: Mysterious Floating Sound Mixer Volume Control

At the office, I noticed that when I clicked on the Volume Control, the slider was floating in the middle of my left screen! I have dual monitors and that may or may not be part of the culprit. In any case, I was able to solve the problem and thought I would share my problem and solution.

First, the problem:

When I click on the volume control, it jumps to the middle of my left-most monitor:

Now, in my case, it was something to do with an ATI Catalyst update. So, if you are running ATI, you may see this issue. If you are NOT running, ATI, there is another possible solution at the bottom of this post. 

Open the Catalyst Control Center, and expand "HydraVision." After that, click on "Desktop manager:"

At the bottom of that dialog on the right, UNCHECK the box labeled "Enable Dialog Repositioning:"

After that, click APPLY and you should be good to go:

If you are not running ATI Catalyst, you might be able to fix it by doing this:

  1. Right-Click the Taskbar 
  2. Click Properties
  3. Click "Customize..." in the Notification area section
  4. UNCHECK "Always show all icons..." at bottom.
  5. Click OK

See if that fixes the problem. If it STILL doesn't fix it, try repeating the steps above, but this time CHECK the box for "Always show..."

Hope this helps!