I am sitting safely in my chair this evening, waiting for the the grand jury decision from Ferguson, Missouri. I’m not waiting for the verdict with the same expectations as those who live in that town. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to matter what the decision is because I believe, either way, that town will continue to suffer the consequences of the decisions made by one troubled teenager. If the officer involved is exonerated, I suspect the town will burn due to the perceived injustice. If the officer involved is deemed guilty of misconduct, I fear the town will burn as the result of celebration by people who probably don’t even live in Ferguson. A pretty sad state of affairs, I’d say. Really sad for both families involved, and sad for the town.


Microwaves, Comcast, Metal Art, Shopping, & Sports

The microwave tech from Stan’s showed up right on time. His name was Steve, I think. I had to rip a cabinet door off to access the power cord so he could dismantle the unit without fear of electrocution. I would have done it without unplugging it. That’s just the way I am because I have good insurance. The diagnosis was a bad fan motor so it’s down hard. Now we need to wait while a new motor is shipped from China, or maybe El Paso, so the tech can install it. To do so, he said, will require me to rip off another cabinet door so he can access the screws that keep the micro from falling on the stove below it. That part of the cupboard, in case you’re interested, was made unusable because I had to modify the space and couldn’t find a cabinet door to fit. So, I used two small ones, for which I didn’t have hinges, and just nailed them to the frame. I don’t think Diane was a fan of that nifty move. Might have to rectify that since the doors will be off. I guess I could just make a single door out of a chunk of plywood.

I went to Comcast to get another cable box to replace the one I turned in a few weeks ago because we didn’t really need it. Turns out that was a mistake on my part. It has been rectified, and I had them boost our internet speed just for the fun of it. Right now we’re running at 55.93 Mbps download and 11.93 Mbps upload. I figure the reason it’s running a little slow is because I’m going through the wireless router that’s at the other end of the house from the modem which means they are about 1/4 mile apart. That’s a lie, of course. Our house isn’t that big. It’s only about 40 feet separation, but there may be 1/4 mile of wire involved. Can’t remember where I strung the wire when I connected the router to the modem. I know what you techies are thinking … I’d need a booster in there someplace because the signal would attenuate to nearly nothing well before reaching the 1/4 mile mark. So it’s probably only about 40 feet, like I said.

I made another stop at a machine shop to see about getting some metal wall art created to cover  holes in the front of the fireplace. The holes are actually missing bricks that would allow hot air to vent into the living room from the heating chamber associated with the fireplace when it was actually a fireplace. We had a gas insert installed so the heat exchanger is no longer needed and the holes in the front have been deemed to be unsightly by one of the occupants of our home. So, I talked with John, who owns the shop, explained what I was looking for and he got some creative juices flowing. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with. For sure it will be one of a kind. I’ll take a picture for you when it’s done. It will be colorful, I’m told.

Diane went shopping for sustenance after I returned from my voyage of discovery. While she was gone I connected and activated the replacement cable box then tried to program the remote for the family room setup. With all the work Diane’s been doing downstairs there’s actually room to walk into the room and sit down on the couch. There’s even talk of moving the big TV down there, a discussion we’ve had in the past. Maybe this time it will happen and we can use the living room as a living room instead of a TV room. Then we’ll spend all out free time down there, in the family room.

I will end this with news that the Portland Trailblazers made short work of the Chicago Bulls, winning their 6th straight game. I have no idea where they stand in their division, but don’t really care at this point. I’ll get more interested toward the end of the season and hope they make the playoffs.

Tomorrow the Oregon Ducks, #2 in the nation, plays Colorado in a Pac-12 game. Then it will be the Civil War against the Oregon State Beavers. The last one is always a fun game to watch. If the Ducks win out, they will be in NCAA playoffs.

Today it rained all day which is just fine with me. I feel the pain of those folks in Western New York who are going to go from 7 feet of snow to serious flooding when it melts. A little rain for us is insignificant by comparison.

Sorry. I really thought I was ending this a couple of paragraphs back. I will do so now. G’nite.

MELCA, Wood, Jerry, Work, & Drones

MELCA Coffee was at 0900. Although I was right on time, I was late. All the other guys must be on Mountain Time. Once again we solved many of the worlds problems, but no one was listening. Everyone knows what MELCA is, right?

Fireplace Mantel is coming along. I glued a couple more pieces on it today, and sanded the top, again. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be able to put it all together so I can figure out a way to attach it to the wall. My Gorilla Glue seems to be working OK so maybe that’s the solution. That, and some two-sided sticky tape.

Jerry 3 decided that our women should conspire to schedule a group meeting at which we will ingest food of some kind. This is for the group we normally have lunch with about once a month. You know who you are. Hopefully the decision will be made in such a manner that nothing associated with a goat is considered good. Yes, they are cute, generally, but I personally don’t think they taste good.

While I was enjoying coffee this morning, then researching “stuff” this afternoon, Diane was wearing herself out organizing the Big Room In The Basement (BRB). Up until today, it’s been a gathering spot for a variety of things that were never assigned shelf space, or arrived here without warning. Things like that are what comprise a single layer that makes cleaning the floor impossible because we can’t see it. That’s changing now, however. Diane found lots of extra stuff that is going away and we’ve already made arrangements for part of it. The old curtain rod was removed, a new one installed (with new curtains), and the furniture has been rearranged. Doing that opened up access to many more items about which decisions will have to be made. I’m sure that none of you reading this have similar problems. Everything is in the right place, nice and tidy, right? That’s exactly the way our house is in one of those alternate universes I’ve mentioned in the past. I must point out that whenever Diane wanted me to do something, I did it without question. Ask her. I even did some things without asking. Those are the ones that get me into trouble.

Tomorrow the repair guy is paying us a visit to see if he can resurrect our microwave. In Diane’s words, “it’s tits up.” I thought it was just broken but apparently it’s worse than that. So, just in case, I’ve been researching replacements at DISCOUNTMICROWAVESTOREPLACEBROKENONES.COM. They claim to have distribution centers all over the country and can deliver a new microwave to their customers within three hours of placing an order. They use drones, just like Amazon, but bigger.

Footfall is on now so I’m going to quit.

Family, Friends, Golf, & Crafty Stuff

Last Sunday Daniel flew to Houston to attend Intel training this week. He arrived safely, but his bags didn’t. Nifty. I understand that an Alaska Airline representative told Daniel to go out and buy some clothes while they searched the world for his luggage. They eventually found it on a beach in Hawaii. Well, not really on a beach, but pretty close since the airport in Honolulu is very close to Hickam AFB which is, essentially, on the beach. The luggage has since been returned to Daniel.

My psychiatrist visit on Monday went well. I completely fooled her and passed with flying colors. Turns out I’m not totally whacko after all. She wants to see me again in three weeks anyway. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s so I can pick out the color of my straight jacket. Rumor has it they come in an array of hues, not just white.

I’m still in the PC resurrection business it seems because I worked on Diane’s yesterday. Turns out Microsoft’s operating systems haven’t outgrown me completely after all. Granted, I’m more comfortable dealing with DOS and Windows XP, but Diane is using Windows 8.1 with a touch screen. The latter aspect is sometimes an issue because I am prone to pointing to areas on the screen to make a point. In my old life as a PC nerd that wasn’t a problem because all I did was leave smudges. Lots of them. Diane’s screen, however, reacts to touch causing it to open all kinds of programs I don’t necessarily want to access while ferreting out solutions for the issues she complains about. I’ve discovered, recently, that many of those issues are the result of one update or another to the operating system. Love those things.

I’ve been doing surveys on online lately to earn a little extra money. In doing so, I’ve learned that I’m not really a specific age, I’m 65+. Apparently survey people just lump everyone 65 and over into one large group while everyone else gets to put down their real age. I think that’s discrimination and may rise up and be heard.

Today I went golfing with Junior. It was therapeutic for both of us, but mainly Junior. His Mom passed away recently and her service was yesterday morning. I joined him, and his brothers Doug, and Jerry, at a reception they held yesterday afternoon. Normally, as most of you know, it’s usually Doug, Junior, and me who go out and amaze all the other golfers, but today it was just Junior and me. We were all alone on the course, like it was our own private club. It was really nice and we took bonding to a new level.

After golfing I returned home to find Diane working furiously in the basement, picking through an array of “things” we don’t need, making piles and lists in preparation for removing the vast majority of it from the house. This is something we’ve discussed numerous times in the past. Turns out she was serious about it. While she did that, I fiddled around with the fireplace mantel I’ve been working on. We bought it at the Restore Store a couple of months ago, knowing it was too wide. But it was pretty, and there was a good chance I could tear it apart and rebuild it to a more appropriate size. So, that’s what I’ve been doing. The parts are cut and all I have to do is glue and screw it all back together so it can be varnished. Then I’ll have to figure out how to attach it to the fireplace.

Just before it got dark Diane made me go down to the Lion paper boxes to find her a Sunday paper. She’s always loved reading newspapers but we had to cancel our prescription because she would always wind up with a stack of them next to her chair and couldn’t get anything done. But, she can handle one paper a week so I go down and dig out a couple once in a while to keep her happy. The other one is for Mom Jean. While I was at the paper boxes I figured I may as well straighten them up a little, like we do every other Wednesday. I insisted that she stay home because she’s got the sniffles and i don’t want them to get any worse.

On that note, knowing the truth that there’s punishment in my future after Diane reads this, I must quit. Hope everyone had a great day. I suspect you did, unless you live in Buffalo, NY, or thereabouts.

Garage Doors, Microwaves, Diabetes, Pintrest, Movies, & Soccer

Yesterday I played indoors working on the fireplace mantle. It snowed and showered us with freezing rain so I wasn’t allowed to go outside. I was happy about that because it was really cold.

Today was really beautiful – clear and sunny, but still cold. Like 9 degrees or so. I worked some more on the mantle, and we ate lunch of BLTs made with refried bacon. It’s a new treat. Diane found the cooked bacon in the back of the fridge and, since it wasn’t fuzzy, tossed it in a skillet to warm it up. Turns our even refried bacon is good. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me because bacon bits are good. I put them in pretty much everything I eat, except ice cream.

When trying to leave the house, the garage door went TU again. Guess I don’t know how to fix them after all so, at Diane’s urging, I call Metro Overhead Door. They’ll be here next Tuesday.

Went to church to ensure the movie would play for tonight’s event. It was in B&W until I put the video cable in the yellow Jack instead of the green one. Don’t know how long it’s been that way. Before doing that, we went to Columbia Heating in Scappoose to get furnace filters for the church. There weren’t any and the one in use was horribly dirty.

Sadly, I’ve discovered there are things on Pintrest that interest me. Now I have my very own page. As soon as I saved it people started following me which I think is pretty funny because at the time there was only one things there. Now I have one more thing to keep me occupied in my copious free time. I started putting fun projects ideas on it and figure I could do that every day instead of actually doing any of them.

My VA doctor has decided to punish me by making me attend a diabetes class because my A1C is too high. I went to one a long time ago and they gave me a BS Meter and everything. I used to check my BS level once or twice a day and it was always OK so I started checking once a week. That was OK, too. Well, not all the time, but it gave me enough info that I could do something about it with my bad eating habits. Finally, from lack of use I suppose, the meter kind of disappeared. I believe it just up and left the house one day in search of someone who needed it more than I did at the time. Now I’ll go to class and get another one.

We had movie night at the church this evening and Diane & I hosted it with a showing of “Heaven Is For Real.” It’s a good movie. We’ve seen it twice. We don’t see many movies twice. Lot’s of times Diane only sees half a movie so I guess watching this one twice may only count as one viewing. We were at the theater the first time, though, and I’m pretty sure she was awake the entire time. Jeran went with us.

Lydia got all her hair whacked off and now looks like this …

IMG_1058She tried out for a travelling soccer team in Hillsboro so she could extend her playing time and was chosen to join. She’s going to be the only goalie on the team. Being on the league team will get her goalie training that’s not available from the high school coaches. From their perspective, the objective is to keep the ball away from their goal so the goalie won’t have anything to do. If the other team gets by them, then the goalie is pretty much on their own to figure out how to keep the ball out of the net. She finds that a bit frustrating, so this will be good for her.

Now it’s time for bed.

Kids, VA, & Free Food

Greetings – it’s been about 13 days since my last post and I don’t’ have any good reasons for my absence that would satisfy those who, for some obscure reason, follow me. The good news is that during that time I was finally given an appointment with a psychiatrist at the VA Hospital here in Portland. This is especially good news for Diane because she’s been trying to have me committed for many years. I have until Monday to get all my communications out. After that I’m not sure I will have access to a computer. As far as I know, the psych ward doesn’t allow inmates to use electronical equipment of any kind. Especially those that require AC power. Batteries may be OK, but I’m not sure. I’ll let you know.

Let’s see … what’s happened during my sabbatical? I checked my calendar, and the bits of memory floating around in my head, and tangible information is surprisingly sparse. Not a surprise there, huh? Because of that, the following information isn’t necessarily in chronological order which, as you know, is important to me. Some times it’s important to me. Not so much today.

Gilligan and Baylee spent Saturday afternoon with us, and were going to spend the night so they could go to Sunday School. I took them next door to meet Kaia and Brooklyn, our new neighbor girls, who reside with their parents, Scott and Whitney. They moved from Hillsboro because they’d heard we were awesome neighbors and couldn’t pass up the chance to live next to us. Turns out, they’re pretty awesome neighbors, too. Anyway, Kaia and Brooklyn are 5 and 2, respectively, I believe, which dovetailed nicely with Gilligan’s 7, and Baylee’s 4. The adults, and I, sat and talked while the 4 little girls ran rampant throughout their house. It was a joyous time with good conversation and all the girls made new friends.

At bedtime, Baylee decided she’d rather go home so Daddy retrieved her, leaving Gilligan in our tender loving care. She mentioned that it would be good to have a night-light on somewhere in case she had to go to the bathroom, or get up to get a snack. She slept all night, no problem, and I had to wake her in the morning so she’d have time to get ready for Sunday School.

SS was a hit mainly, I think, because she made even more friends. She even sat through church service with minimal problem, sitting behind us with her friends, whispering the entire time.

After lunch we asked if she was ready to go home and she said, “No, I’ll just stay here.” So, we confirmed the extended visit, and she stayed. Baylee even came back to give it another shot, and did very well. It was a joy to have them both.

One of our conversations touched on the skill of cooking so I shared with them how their Dad, Jeff used to cook for us all the time when he was 7. I told them that he planned the menu, shopped for the food and prepared it all. When asked how he got to the store I said he used the car. Baylee believed me but Gilligan wasn’t convinced. She wasn’t a bit skeptical about it, either. She just flat-out didn’t believe me. I don’t understand. But, there’s lots of time left to sway her thinking.

Monday morning we had to give the girls a bum’s rush to get them home so we could be in Scappoose by 0900 to attend a free breakfast at the high school. The Leadership class sponsored the meal and a program for all Veteran’s in honor of the day. It was very nice and we got to sit with Jack and Wynette which made it even better.

After the meal, we adjourned to the auditorium to watch a movie about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight Program. In case you don’t know, it’s a program that gives free flights to Washington DC for WWII vets so they can view the memorial created in their honor. Sadly, it wasn’t completed in time for all of them who survived the war to visit. They are dying at the rate of about 900 a day and will soon be gone.

The movie was awesome and we highly recommend it.

So, except for a couple of random visits to my primary care physicians, I have two of them, that’s all I can remember about the past 13 days. I’m sure there were a few days in there where I actually accomplished something. Then again, may not.

Oh, ya! My pending visit with the psychiatrist was arranged by my VA PCP and I’m looking forward to that visit. Should be a hoot and you know I’ll share the results.

It’s going to snow tomorrow.


Bacon Bits Rock

Tonight I made the most incredible spaghetti ever.

It was both delicious and exciting.

The delicious part was obtained by adding a large handful of Kirkland Bacon Bits to a normally routine rendition of Ragu Spaghetti sauce. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time now, but keep forgetting. Then, earlier today, I stripped the meat from the remains of a dead roasted Kirkland chicken, purchased more than a few days ago, shredded part of it, added some mayo and other things, and called it Chicken Salad. I also added Kirkland Bacon Bits to the mix which made it more than perfect. Really. The flavor combination ensured that anything I may have added was pretty much irrelevant. All I confirmed with this discovery, as I’m sure all of you already knew, that if you add enough bacon to anything, even cake, you can’t go wrong.

So, I added more than enough to the Ragu.

The exciting part came when I sat down in my recliner and almost got my tray to my lap before it tipped just enough to allow the bowl, into which I placed my spaghetti and sauce, to keep it from spilling, slid off my tray in slow motion, and landed upside down on my stretched out legs. They were stretched out because I was in the reclining position.

Needless to say, Diane was less than pleased. She kept repeating, “Oh my God, look what you’ve done!” and, “I can’t believe you just did that!”, and “Don’t move!” These instructions were issued by a semi-hysterical lady who had a more detailed view of the damage than I did. All I saw was an empty bowl laying on my spaghetti-stained pajama-clad legs. Intuitively I knew there was a big mess in front of my chair, and a bit on Diane’s favorite carpet.

The dogs were, of course, delighted and had a hard time waiting to help solve the cleanup problem. We all maintained our positions, obeying the “don’t move” order, while Diane went to the kitchen to fetch a plate so she could salvage the remains of my supper. I ate it without a thought as I’ve eaten many other things that I’ve found on the floor.

The dog’s efforts confirmed my wisdom in adding bacon bits to the sauce.

The Garage Door, My iPhone 6, My Glasses, & The Garbage

Yesterday afternoon I only had two things to remember; put the garbage can, and the recycle can at the street. Technically, I suppose that’s only one thing to remember. Also, technically, neither of them are cans, but it doesn’t sound right if you call them ‘plastics’, ya know? So, they’re cans.

I knew right away I’d missed the garbage man when I frantically rolled the can to the street when I woke at 0710 because the neighbors garbage can lid was upside down, the garbage man’s way of saying, “I was here.” Still, I left it at the street with the plan of hauling it back to the house later in the day, between rain storms. I did get the recycle out on time, so that was good. Still, I got into a minor bit of trouble when I told Diane about my failure.

Technically it was the dogs fault because neither of them woke me at 0530 like normal. Had they done so, I’m sure I could have beat the garbage man to the street. I’ll have to talk with them about that and reinforce it with a piece of cheese.

There are a couple of other reasons I may have failed to remember those important chores that are worthy of mention. First, my iPhone 6 arrived yesterday and it was mandatory that I configure it and test all the functions I’ve been studying for the past 1.5 months. Second, my new glasses arrived from the VA facility that makes them, somewhere in Idaho. Boise, I think. There’s a little difference in the prescription so there was an adjustment period getting used to them. I hardly ran in to anything so it was a successful transition. The main problem is that they have transition lenses that require me to wobble my head around to focus on things because the magic little focus spots are a little off from my old ones.I got gold frames, which Diane doesn’t like on me, so I envision a trip to Costco in the near future to rectify that fashion failure on my part. I only chose them because I liked the nose cushion. It’s comfy.

My new iPhone arrived while I was working on the other garage door. We have two of them. Diane’s has an automatic opener and mine is manual. Everyone should be very proud of me for taking the phone to my desk where I left it, all wrapped up, then went back to work on the door. My task was to attach a new seal to the bottom of the door. It’s kind of a problem because I got the kind that has an extruded aluminum bracket into which one must slide the seal after the bracket is mounted to the bottom of the door. Sounds easy, right. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s far from that. I did Diane’s garage door on Saturday and it about crippled my right hand all over again. The problem is that the rubber part arrives flat and must be formed into a “U” as it’s slid into the bracket channels and this covers the screws quite nicely. Looks good. But, the door must be completely open so the bottom of the door is located at the curve where the door goes horizontal so the bottom is not blocked by the frame in which the door rollers roll. Got it? Even then I had to undo the bottom roller on one side in order to clear the roller frame thing. With a little WD-40 and lots of effort I managed to push, yes, push, the rubber seal across the entire 10 foot span of the door. It was brutal and my right hand wasn’t working very well when I finished, but I got it done, by golly!

So, yesterday I figured I’d make things easier by propping the door open, about chest high, then remove the bottom rollers from BOTH sides thereby allowing me to swing the bottom panel of the door into the garage where I could easily insert the rubber seal. I tied off the bottom rollers to heavy things I found on the garage floor to keep the door spring from coiling up and beating holes in the ceiling after being ripped from my grasp. On one side I used a trailer hitch and the other side had a propane tank attached.

Everything was going nicely until I took the last screw out of the second roller bracket. At that exact moment I realized the error of my thinking as the door pushed the wood clamp I’d used to hold the door up aside as if it wasn’t there and slammed with a resounding crash to the floor. I’m sure it shook houses on both sides of us. On the way down it hit my sprained left wrist which hurt a bit, but I wasn’t concerned about that right then. I was waiting for the pain to race up my left from my left foot that I thought might be trapped under the door, but it never happened. Looking down I was relieved to see that my foot was actually OK.

Right then Diane appeared in the door to the house and calmly asked if I was OK. Having already assessed myself for possible crippling injuries, I assured her that I actually was OK. Then, just to get it out of the way, I told her what had happened, she nodded knowingly, and retreated back into the house after suggesting that I call Jeff for help.

I eventually did call Jeff, after re-learning that a 10 foot wide wood garage door that isn’t hooked to its spring weighs about a ton and a half, far beyond my limited lifting abilities. Once Jeff got here we managed, after a bit of testing, to get the door open and propped up so we could insert the rubber seal and put it all back together. However, noticing a small dent in one of the channels, into which the rubber gasket would slide, closer inspection revealed that nothing was going to slide through it. Ever. The door landed on some “things” that slammed those grooves shut tight in a number of places to the point where I knew the only way to make it neat was to get a new rubber gasket bracket. If I’d been thinking properly I would have reattached the bottom rollers, that are attached to the big spring, but I wasn’t so we didn’t. Instead, we lowered the door to the floor, gently, where it will reside until the new brackets arrive from wherever they’re made.

Last night Diane went to play bunco with her friends so I was left along with strict instructions to not do anything that involved lifting heavy things, or plugging anything into a wall socket. That pretty much limited me to my new iPhone 6 which I opened and got it all set up for use. I worked on the puzzle we have living on a table, too. The pieces are very light so there was no danger of violating the lifting restriction.

Now it’s Tuesday and I’m home alone again because Diane is working today. She didn’t leave me any instructions so I’m a little bit concerned about how I should conduct myself until her return. I’ll figure something out. It’d not raining very hard so maybe I’ll just go out and mow the yard.

Hope you all are doing well.

My Jennie Lynn

Yesterday I received all the material I ordered to waterproof our garage doors so this morning, after my nap, I donned my dirty clothes so I could get to work. Before that, however, I had to finish the church newsletter that I pretty much promised would be done shortly after noon. Normally I would print a copy for my live-in proofreader, but she made a date with her Mom to go shopping. It’s for food, so I’m not complaining. The thing is, however, I felt like I was under the gun to get the newsletter into the hands, or ‘eyes’ in this case, sooner than later. I did print the copy and it’s waiting for her input. Should there be errors, I’ll fix it and resend, but I don’t think she’ll find any. I’m guessing, of course.

We’ve been wanting me to work on the garage door for the past 7 years so I suppose it was time to do it. One of the reasons for delay  was finding the “stuff” I needed to do it. Researching the internet revealed lots and lots of choices and, as you may know, making choices isn’t one of my strong suits.

Take menus, for example. When we go to a restaurant, or Burgerville, everyone knows to go ahead and order what they want, leaving me until last because I need to investigate all the possibilities. If pressed to order first I almost always get something I don’t really want just so people will quit making suggestions because they want me to place my order so they can place theirs. It’s very difficult. So, I go last. I’ve always said that the best menu in the world would be one that has only one choice and if you don’t like it, go somewhere else. I would go there no matter what they served, just for the experience of a no hassle order. I guess that’s why I like going to Hometown Buffet where you pay on the way in and just eat whatever they have available. It’s like a Costco for things to eat.

Oddly, that brings me back to the garage door because just as I ended that last bit, my proofreader returned with a butt load of bags full of food. And a new iron and a cake. The cake is for Jennifer’s birthday party which we’re having tomorrow afternoon. Her birthday was really two days ago, because she was born on the tropical island of Guam and they are 17 hours ahead of us time-wise. I know that’s true because Diane looked it up and told me. Bet lots of you didn’t know we had a little Guamanian in the family. Here’s what she looked like about 3 years after being released into the world …


… and again at 5 …OCT-1980-1What a cutie. Now she’s 39 and that totally flabbergasts me because she’s still my little girl and I don’t see a lot of changes from the above photos and she still calls me “Daddy” when she want’s something. Well, not only when she wants something. Sometimes she does it because she wants to see me melt.

Today is a super windy one and I don’t want to open the garage door any more but I will anyway, and deal with whatever blows in the door while I’m working. Might work out OK, but I will be using a drill for part of this evolution. It could get tricky. I’ll submit the standard injury report should one be necessary.

I hope everyone is safe and dry.

To iPhone or Not To iPhone

I recently discovered that I’ve paid my debt to AT&T, honored the terms of their elaborate contract, and can embark on a new 2-year lease for one of the new, fancy phones available on the market. Or, I can switch providers and engage in a different contract that, in the end, will provide me with cell service anywhere in the USA and afford me a gaming experience beyond my wildest dreams.

So, I began shopping and doing my research in order to make the best decision possible for someone my age, with my background. Thinking that what i discovered will be useful to others, I’m going to share my thoughts about all this hoopla, and what I learned.

To put “things” into perspective, I’m 70 years old. Not your typical gamer looking for the biggest, baddest phone around that will meet my need to play Halo, or some other shooter game, while sipping a latte at Starbucks. No, I’m actually looking for a phone that that I’m less prone to drop, whose keyboard is large enough that I can actually type on, or whose voice recognition is good enough that I can simply talk to it and get things done, if I want to. I have an IT background, but that was my second career after spending the better part of 30 years in the US Navy. Just the guy you want to review your phone, right? If that’s a problem for you I’ll remind you that what I write here isn’t something you have to read. You can stop any time you wish. If you do that, however, you might miss some perfectly valid insight about the potential of this new world of communication gadgets. Or, maybe you won’t. It’s a crap shoot, so read on at your own risk.

I’ve had cell phones since they were first made available. Somewhere in the basement is a box containing a few of the flip-phones I’ve owned in the past. They all did the job just fine and I was happy with every one of them. I suspect they would still work OK if I could convince myself to be happy with GSM or EDGE service. Some of my friends still use them and we talk quite often so I know they still work.

Then, along came texting, a new way to communicate without getting instant gratification by interrupting the person you called while they are in a meeting, eating lunch, or in the bathroom. Instead, send a text that can be answered at a more appropriate time. I loved that idea even though it took me a while to rid myself of the incessant need to respond immediately so as not to offend the caller. Getting the hand of texting on a flip phone was a serious challenge that i eventually met, the the Blackberry show up with its standard QWERTY keyboard layout and the teeny tiny little buttons that I thought I’d never ever be able to hit just one of them. Happily, it turned out I could do it just fine and I learned to enjoy sharing information through text messaging.

Without drawing this out any longer than  necessary, I’ll just share that I progressed through the phones with physical keyboards and into the world of smartphones with those cute little keyboards that work quite nicely. I will add that the only rendition of a smart phone I’ve ever owned is an iPhone of one version  or another. I think I’ve had every version from the start and currently use an iPhone 3.

“Why,” you may ask, “are you still using an iPhone 3?” My response is, “because it still works.” Oh, I had my iPhone 4G just before the iPhone 5 was released, and was on target to get the 5, the  I started dropping “things”, and cracking screens. Most of us have done that, but it took a long time before it started impacting my cellular experience. To aid in my move from the 4G, I upgraded Diane to a perky yellow 5C, took her 3 that was encased in a nifty Hello Kitty case, and gave my 4G to Jeff whose screen was in worse shape than mine. I also gave him a screen repair kit knowing he had friends with fingers more agile than his or mine. Life was good after swapping the SIMS around to get things working.

The Hello Kitty case didn’t last long. I was perfectly OK with it, but Diane felt I should have something a little more “manly”. Being a really good husband, I folded and sadly moved my phone to a new case and I’ve been using it to successfully communicate for the requisite 2 years without fail. And, I haven’t dropped it until recently. Thanks to the case, it didn’t break anything, but dropping it is a concern. I have this vision of wandering abound in Costco, or another equally large retail outlet, with a broke phone that just dropped and will not allow me to communicate with my beloved wife, Diane.

Since we actually were at Costco, I visited the phone kiosk and talked with Seth to learn to advantages of, say, a Samsung G5 over the new iPhone 6. Seth whipped out his Samsung Note 3 and gave me a dazzling exhibition of how accurate Samsung voice recognition is, and how incredibly accurate it’s ability to decipher notes jotted with a stylus and stuff the info into his contact information. He displayed another neat feature that allowed him to wake his phone up simply by talking to it. It was readily evade that he’s done this numerous times and has the spiel down pat, and that he’s a diehard Samsung Guy. He had me convinced that I should abandon the iPhone in favor of an Android unit running an OS with a cute name. I was totally hooked and called AT&T right then to cancel the iPhone 6 I had ordered the previous day. Yup, I was moving on to a platform that would do everything I asked without ever having to touch it. How convenient is that?

I couldn’t do anything about “moving on” for 24 hours from the time I cancelled my order so I had some time on my hands that I put to good use researching The iPhone 5, Samsung G5, and the new Samsung Note 4. I read dozens of reviews from analysts who switched from Android to the iPhone and from iPhone to Android all for valid reasons that fit their needs. Some were full of technical data about how good, or bad, one camera was compared to the other, but the one that resonated with me, after a long dissertation about the merits of each platform, simply said, that if the platform you’re using works for you, does what you need it to do, there’s really not a reason to change. Changing, for me, would entail learning an entirely foreign system and I’m just not inclined to do that. So, I got back online with AT&T and ordered my new iPhone 6, again. It will be here in 7-14 days. I actually toyed with the idea of getting a 6 Plus, but figured the 6 was about the perfect size for me to wrap my arthritic fingers around and engage my trigger fingers to lock it in place without fear of dropping it. The 6 Plus, though nice, would to allow me to engage the trigger fingers, however, so the 6 is it.

Now, if I’d just ignored Seth, my new phone would have been here tomorrow. Now I must wait.


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