Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Oddness of Current Living

(Or how I learned to love the phone ... with apologies to Dr. Strangelove.)

I just got off the phone from a 90 minute call with a marketing madman in Russia. Let me put that a different way - I just had a Skype video call with a person about software development and marketing who happened to be located in Russia. Nothing odd about that except for handling the 10 hour time differential - the call started at 10pm my time, 8am the next day his time.

But, ... (You knew there had to be a but didn't you?)

My memorable telephone experiences began with a phone little different than this:
You turned the crank and asked the operator to connect you. Heaven forbid that you actually wanted to call outside of the local switchboard. Then the operator would have to arrange the circuit and call you back to connect the call.

But life went on and the dial phone arrived.
Do you know how much of my life that the idea of a 90 minute long distance call was petrifying for fear of the size of the bill? I remember when I was a kid and people didn't even talk on the phone much since there were *gasp* local message unit charges. By the time I was in high school, the local message unit charges were gone and most people had a private line rather than the party lines that preceded them.

Then came college and I was thousands of miles from home (and from the college L was attending). Calls on weekends and late nights were made for the incredible bargain rate of $1.25 for three minutes. I could sometimes afford to call once a week! People locked phones in the dorms by the simple expedient of a dial lock in the 1 hole. That prevented dialing any number or even O for Operator.

But some were clever enough to tap the pulse code the dial generated on the switch-hook, beginning the whole new enterprise of phone freaking.

After graduate school, calls were down to $0.30 a minute and the nascent idea of a cellular phone was hatching. Still, a 90 minute call would have been a true luxury. Not to mention a budget breaker. And the touch-tone phone started to become the norm and the surcharge for having a touch-tone phone on the line disappeared as well with time.

Then came the internet and cell phones and the break up of the AT&T monopoly.

Suddenly there was competition and phone costs began a long decline. Until today we think nothing of fixed price unlimited calling and free or nearly free calls. So my 90 minute video call? Cost me nothing per se.

We sometimes forget about the silent revolutions happening around us all the time. Having a video call with someone was the stuff of dreams and Bell Labs when I was young.

Now it is so common that my shock is not that I talked so someone half a world away on a video call, but the fact that it cost me nothing beyond my already existing internet connection.

Viva The Revolution!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Have I Been So Scarce Of Late?

When even my MIL remarks that I don't seem to be blogging as much of late, it is pretty clear that the spottiness of posting has been noticeable. {*grin*}

One of the unfortunate facts about real life is that it can intrude on fun activities like blogging. The medical issues of adapting to insulin use, with its attendant occasional glucose drop outs, coupled with getting the inaugural version of a special event up and running, has left me a bit short on blogging time. Of course cantaloupes and melons have been in the way as well. {*grin*} I really and truly do hope to become a bit more diligent in the coming weeks. As part of that effort, I am posting in the middle of the day since the evening will be taken up with meetings.

So what inaugural event have I been getting ready to go?  A hint may be gleaned from this little bit of original art work:
But an even better hint of what I'm blithering on about might be gleaned from the full schedule of events, etc. The full flyer/entry form for the even looks like this (click to get the full pdf):
This is what I have been getting set up.

Each part has its own story. The artwork was the winner of a contest at the prison outside of town (where I occasional am the graduation speaker) in the commercial art training program and the T-shirt mentioned has the original artwork printed on it. The fashion show is part of the effort by the local Maurices store for their corporate sponsored Rescues & Runways program. This is also their first such event, so we are all learning about delays and frustrations together. The group that cusses together stays together is what I say. {*grin*}

Time to return to real work. I have to attend the city council meeting tonight on some other matters for our new facility construction, so I need to get some stuff prepared.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Shirt Returns

(The picture in the previous post was taken at a pig roast and patio party at the no longer existent Sterling Country Club. It was a fun evening. You should have been there. I had to say that as a member of the board of directors at the time.)

Here is another appearance of that particular Hawaiian shirt - this time with the Son as we doffed our matching shirts for the Father-Son golf tourney. It's always important to establish a team identity, especially when neither of you is a particularly good golfer. {*grin*}
This picture is from 9 or 10 years ago. I miss being able to do fun things like this with the Son now that he is grown and on his own.

Speaking of golfing, I'll leave you with this picture of L and I golfing in the mountains from a few years ago.
Isn't the view spectacular?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Simple Question

Tonight I have but one simple question. Why am I dressed like this and where am I?

P.S. Remember that I warned you long ago of my propensity for loud Hawaiian shirts and farmer tans. So no complaints about the shirt!

P.P.S. The location is in Colorado.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Garden Weather

The weather here abouts has started turning odd as fall gets ready to set in. Saturday it reached a high in the 50s and was down right chilly Saturday night. Then today it reached the mid-80s and tomorrow it is predicted to hit the upper 90s or lower 100s - depending on when the thunderstorms roll in. Pretty much typical weather for this time of year around here. The problem is that one day it will be nice and warm and then by that evening it will have fallen to the 20s and that will be it for growing things. Thats life.

Right now we still have some cantaloupe ripening in the garden and a whole lot of honey dew melons. It is becoming questionable if they will beat the reaper and ripen before the frost. The rest of the peppers and egg plants and tomatoes are just about done. The second planting of turnips and radishes are coming up - and since they like the cool ground they will probably be fine. The beans and cucumbers and zucchinis are all but finished. The last of the acorn squash are still on the vine and the hard shelled squash are mostly done. The onions have been pulled and cured and stored. In other words, the garden is starting to wind down. That means it is time to start thinking of next year. {*grin*}

Maybe I need to think about growing all the ingredients to one of these:
What do you think?

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Unable to cope with the loss of my precious Seiko, I decided that a post mortem examination was in order. Out came the magnifying glasses and miniature tools and micro soldering iron plus a few test instruments. I set to work without much hope, but my old friend deserved at least one last ditch effort on my part.

Sparing you all the gory details, I traced the leads from the quartz crystal and low and behold - a tiny crack in the wire whisker. Fortunately, I was able to do a quick solder job and Seiko sprang back to life with all the energy of a teenager. Once I got his guts put back in place and his case re-sealed, he merrily ticked along. Here's hoping for another 37 years (by which point I may not be around to care ... {*grin*}).

Go Seiko!

So Long Old Friend

Seiko Wrist Watch
Came to live with me - September 1973
Departed to the great hourglass in the sky - September 2010

I knew it would happen some day, but I hoped it would not be so soon. My faithful watch now stares at me with the vacant gaze of the dearly departed. I thought it was simply a dead battery at first, but changing the battery had no discernible effect. I am forced to face the dread alternative that it has gone to the great hour glass in the sky.

This watch was only the second "serious" watch of my life. It was a replacement for the first "serious" watch, the one that was broken in the fatal accident I wrote about here. My wonderful Seiko has served me well all these years with nary a bit of trouble. It was on my wrist when L and I got married. It suffered through my PhD. orals with me. It calmly kept track of the universe when the Son was born and my grandfather died. It witnessed the death of both my father and father-in-law. It saw me through three terms as Mayor and innumerable rounds of golf. It lived a long and useful life, long enough to warrant a page in the book of rare digital watches, a fitting accolade for a 37 year old digital watch. And now it is gone.

Farewell old friend. You served me well. I hope you enjoy your rest.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Month So Far ...

I seem to be unable to get my bloggy groove running smooth of recent days, so here are a couple of the high points from the last couple of weeks. Hopefully just writing it out will re-start the groove thing. {*grin*}

We held our annual garage sale over Labor Day weekend. L and I have decided that this is the last one for a while. As you might remember from last year (described here), we had a big one. Here's a picture of a small part of the sale from last year:

This year was a bit more restrained because we have finally gotten rid of a lot of the junk that accumulated over the last 20+ years of living here. Now that we are down to normal levels of trashy treasures, it is time to let the stuff breed and grow for a while. Then we can have another big one. At least the MIL was able to sell her freezer for more than she was asking for it.

This year also featured L and I's anniversary falling on Labor Day. So on the 6th, L and I spent time together around the house and then went to supper with our mothers. What might be called a very high key celebration of 35 years of wedded bliss. {*grin*}  L and I have never been ones to treat the day as a cause for massive celebrations, but this was a very pleasant time because we got to spend it together with only a simple supper social obligation. For a number of years I played in a 3 day Labor Day golf tournament, so our anniversary almost always fell during the tourney. This year I did not and it made the day really laid back. A progression of L and I over the years:



20+ Years Married

Recent Times


I am still amazed how lucky I am to have L in my life, even after all these years.

Well, that is all I have time for right now. Hopefully I will be back to more regular blogging now that the garden, melons, and lawn have slowed down and the temperatures are starting to feel fallish. 
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