Friday, April 2, 2021

Friday 5 for April 2: Play ball!


T-Mobile made me an offer I could not refuse. Free MLB games for a season.... a $129 value.. I'm not a baseball fan by any sort, but some of the highlight clips from yesterday were kinda funny. Heh. Will have to check if this works on my Mac. It works from my crippled T-Mobile Android phone and I did not even download the official app. Duck Duck Go is a good browser. Heh.

A Now Let's Play Ball... or so... Whatever.

1. In what area of your life are you on a roll?

I am rapidly getting older every day! Another birthday recently passed. My age caught up with this song. I am in my twilight years.

2. What’s the most recent spherical food you consumed?

They sell sugar and cinnamon coated Andagi balls at Don Quijote on Wednesdays... used to be 4 for $1 but now it is 3 for $1. Ugh, to the price increase but they still are sugary good. They are not perfect spheres but the come close enough.

Oh I also ate a round musubi the a few days ago.

3. In what way has your life taken a strange bounce?

I fell off an electric motor scooter last year. It was the first and last time. Done with those.... My head bounced and hit the cement. Ouch and lots of blood. Ugh... totally healed now but with a scar.

4. When did you last hit a home run?

I suck at sports. Never had much interest in participatory team sports since I was no good and the kids always teased me when I was young. That said I did hit a home run during a P.E. game of baseball when I was in the 4th grade. I did not know what I was doing except everyone told me to just keep running.

Today I can't run. Oh well.

5. When did you last attend a special event for which you needed new clothes?

I think it was my high school graduation and that was four decades ago. For college all I did was just throw the cap and gown over whatever I was wearing at that time. I don't like dressing up nor buying one shot event clothes. It's a waste of money. I don't go to any events that require me to buy new clothes, and if I go I am usually the photographer, so don't really need to dress up special for that.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday 5 for March 26: Obstacle course


Questions come from Scrivener's Friday 5 blog.

1. What did you most recently leap over (or past)?

This week I have been driving around two big potholes along King Street in Honolulu between the new transit center and Straub hospital. They are on the right hand lane but not the one the bus uses all of the time. Be careful!

As for leaping, I haven't done that in ages. So I can't remember the last time that was done.

2. When were you most recently forced to crawl?

When I had to retrieve something between a nook at my place. Off the top of my head, trying to get to a power strip that is in an odd place to pull a plug.

3. What are you sprinting from?

I don't run. I don't sprint. I am old. I am slow. I try to slowly escape from danger as quickly as I can... but I don't run.

4. What has recently required you to step carefully?

Sometimes I have to step carefully when I am at work. Don't want to ruffle feathers with my opinions. Go along to get along.

5. Where is your next finish line?

Termination of my temporary employment status is coming up soon. I next have to either re-apply for unemployment, find another job or process my social security claim early but with an age penalty. Ugh.

A more immediate finish line is to wrap up the next Assistance League of Hawaii newsletter by this weekend.... the April edition.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Friday 5 for March 19: Consumer reports

Expensive stuff should last a long time.

1. What tool did you most recently purchase, and what tool will you purchase next?

I recently purchased a Canon 100mm macro lens for my Canon DSLR camera at a thrift shop.

My next purchase? Probably sometime this year a Google Pixel phone of some sort. Haven't quite decided.

2. What toy did you most recently purchase, and what toy will you purchase next?

Toy I recently purchased? None, though last year someone gave me an old iPad. The thing is stuck on iOS 9.x, so it is limited to what it can do since Apple has long stopped supporting this OS. So the iPad is relegated to "toy status" since I have a bunch of useless games on it for when I want to veg out. The basic apps that came with the iPad works OK, so it is still good for some stuff... like camera, though it is kind of clunky to carry around and use it as a camera.

Next toy purchase? Huh... can I dream on for this... computers, new cameras and anything else expensive that I cannot afford will probably make good "toys", though I tend to buy these types of things because I need a new "tool". For now I am just putting all or most of them off for a later time.

3. What staple did you most recently purchase, and what staple will you purchase next?

Food is pretty much a staple.. and I will probably keep on buying more food in the future until the day I die. 

4. What did you most recently purchase to give away, and what will you next purchase to give away?

Electronic massage "peanut" for Lisa.

I don't know what I will purchase next.

5. What are you most recently glad you did not purchase after consideration?

Not very recent but at one time I considered purchasing an Apple iPhone or an iPad... but the built in battery experience does not make the expensive purchase last very long. A shelf life of 5 years or less for anything made by Apple is abominable! 

I have always had this unwritten rule. If you buy something that cost over $100 it should last at LEAST 10 years before it breaks or you need a new something of the same thing

Things that I have paid a lot of money for that lasted a long time (and I still have them)....

1993 Toyota Corolla - yes, Toyota makes good cars, at least the older ones. I don't know about the newer models with all the computerization built in.

Power Mac G4 tower - Still works, bought it new back in 2001. Though I hardly use it, when I want to boot into something with Mac OS9 or an older version of OSX, it is still there. Unfortunately the monitor went bad about 5 years ago, so now I have to use a standard VGA monitor with it. Still good for what it is.

MacBook Pros (2009 and 2011 models) - Bought these brand new, and they still work, despite the built in battery.

Canon Digital Rebel 6 DSLR - Bought this in 2011 and 10 years later it is still working. The batteries are removable! Yay!

I have several other older digital as well as film cameras, and all of them still work. My Minolta XD11 and X700 are two of my favorite film cameras and both still work. Bought them years ago. And someone also gave me an old X700, more than 15 years ago, and that still works! Yay.

Other things that I own that still work and stood the test of time for longer than 10 years... Technics turntable, Optimus Cassette Tape Deck, and Tandy analog mixer among sound system stuff.... appliances? Kenmore refrigerator... had that since 1986 and it still works! 

That all said, why don't many devices today last a long time????

I was most disappointed with my Apple iPod Touch 4 that I bought back in 2010. It cost $500 had 64 gigs of storage and worked fine with most of the same apps that you could run on an iPhone. However after 7 years, the battery started going and about a year later the dam thing would not even boot up, even connected to the AC circuit. Ugh! I should have known that damn built in battery would not last.

The same fate has rendered most of the 7 standard iPods I have of different models useless or nearly useless. The built in batteries have either lost the ability to hold a charge at all or can only be used for 10 to 15 minutes before the battery has to be recharged. 

Those batteries like those of the iPod Touch and other Apple iDevices are all sealed in shut and cannot easily be remove and replaced by owners. This practice really sucks. The iPods were great players... but the shelf life is just too short. The same can be expected for all new iPhones, iPads, copycat Android devices that have also adopted this stupid Apple mantra of sealing the batteries in.

Consumers should have the option to buy the same type of devices with removable batteries. 

But I get it. It is manufacturer's desire to sell us products with built in obsolescence. The built in battery is just the ideal symbol of that built in obsolescence, which is followed by too frequent operating system upgrades that eventually render useful devices useless, especially if that device has to connect to the internet.


I hate built in batteries. 

Sadly if I want to get something new like another Android phone I will probably have to get one without a removable battery. That is a major reason why I do not want to buy a really expensive phone. Planned obsolescence is a bad thing.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Friday 5 for March 12: Twelve months

When life comes close to becoming a dystopian, science fiction movie, it is either the aftermath of a nuclear blast or an ongoing plague or pandemic. Fortunately for us COVID-19 hasn't created flesh eating mutant sub-humans yet or even a virus that melts our skin off. 

Still the COVID-19 pandemic was and still is a somewhat dystopian experience. The first few months of lockdown and not knowing what to expect next were seriously dystopian-like. Closed stores, closed beaches, closed parks, no work, unemployment, sick people, hospital wards filling up, uncertainty, fear, avoidance, annoyance, inconvenience, "now normal", masks, social distancing and more. Whew! I'm tired just thinking of this stuff.... again.

Let's see Mr. Scrivener. What else do you want us to dwell upon? Bring on the Friday 5 Dystopian Questions....

1. In what ways has pandemic life been positive for you?

I started listening to new music regularly again after losing interest for a few months. More so I re-started my Mel's Current Top 20 song chart which I had published off and on from 2009 to 2014 and then again in 2018 and finally again in May 2020. I listened to a lot of newer, mostly top 40 pop and rock music while avoiding most of the rap crap that still pollutes the airwaves today. 

Early this year I updated my Spotify playlists after letting them sit idle for many years (the last time I actively used that service was around 2012). Today I am somewhat active but still refuse to pay them a plug nickel for a subscription. I am just happy that I can share my playlists with other people who access Spotify even though I don't keep track of followers or even know if anyone is listening. The commercials there are just too annoying.

2020 was also a good year to sit around, grow fat while watching way too many hours of YouTube videos, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access and Pluto TV. Half the fun of video streaming is finding some new, free streaming service and see what they offer... Oh there it is again... America's Funniest Home Videos, Fail Army, Car Crash Videos, and Airplane Disaster Investigations... plus dozens and dozens of independent video bloggers who cover everything from old 8 bit computers, Brownie film cameras to Flight Disaster re-creations, living in vans, walking around steaming fields of black volcano lava, raising families in Utah, record album reviews, Android news, and God knows what else.

I bet a lot of people became couch potatoes instead of spending time in bed making new people. There was a recent report that I read where the expected December 2020 baby boom never happened. 

Yep. Too much streaming video. Thank you Netflix and Disney Plus. Good thing I don't subscribe but then I have never made a baby. Ha!

2. Where (and how often) did you get your pandemic news this past year?

More often than not, local online news sources: Honolulu Civil Beat, Honolulu Star Advertiser, Hawaii Tribune Herald plus the websites of the State of Hawaii Board of Health and other government departments... Plus there was and still is social media..... Facebook, Twitter.... sometimes national and world news sources... Fox News, CBS News, NBC News, BBC World Service just to see what the rest of the world is doing regarding this. 

I think local news is more important to the COVID-19 pandemic than the national or world stage. You need to know where you can get the vaccine and what level of opened places the government is allowing. There were too many closed places happening in the first several months of COVID-19. Honolulu was like a ghost town... especially Waikiki.

3. Where did you find unexpected comfort in these crazy twelve months?

Staying home was and still is my comfort zone. I don't really miss people all that much. Since COVID-19 began I avoid most congested and crowded places.. restaurants, crowded beaches, airplanes, busses, and wherever else people are allowed to tightly congregate. 

I can't avoid supermarkets and some other retail stores such as Target, since I have to get stuff to support my semi-hermitic lifestyle. I mean food and toilet paper are quite essential.

But then I am always most comfortable at home, by myself mostly but also with Ms. Lisa.

4. What are some little things you miss most about what used to be normal life?

  • Freedom - from masks, people who may snitch on you, social distancing, etc.
  • Hopping on a plane and flying to a neighbor island without any restrictions beyond standard security protocols. No mask, No Safe whatever tracking... our freedom of movement.
  • Massive used book and record sales. Hello Ideas Books & Music, Friends of the Library Record sale... miss those.
  • Being in public without a mask!
  • Not worrying about catching COVID-19

5. What do you think life will be like twelve months from now?

I can't predict the future. It will probably not be totally free as it was in 2019 and before. The leftist governments we've elected love to control the people. Don't go out without masks. Social distance. Whatever. Some of the crap I am complaining about today will probably still be around 12 months from now. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Friday 5 for March 5: Just Vegging


Moms everywhere always told us to "eat your vegetables." When I was a kid I did not care much for veggies. Over time they have become a major part of my diet. Vegetables are good for us, especially green leafy ones. This week's Friday 5 is all about vegging... let's go.

1. What’s your favorite root vegetable, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?

Root veggie? Hmm... I'm not sure if these are root bound, but my top 5 would be...

1. Onions - with just about everything, fried, raw, microwaved, whatever.
2. Potatoes - mashed, baked... and while not healthy, french fried, 
tater tots, etc.
3. Carrots - raw or with beef stew, steamed. I just hate peeling them. 

Whoops... I can only think of those three. Are onions root bound? Never saw an onion plant. They just show up in the store.

2. What’s your favorite leafy green, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?

My Top 5:

1. Broccoli - Love it. Steamed by themselves or stir fried with chicken, beef.
2. Manoa Lettuce - expensive but good with sandwich, salad
3. Lettuce (in general) - same as above, good with hamburgers, fish-burgers
4. Cabbage - often used as filler, with diced spam or corned beef and fried.
5. Kale - Good with salads, sandwich, Amy's Kale Bowl

3. What’s your favorite legume, and what’s your favorite way to eat it?

I had to look up "legume"... heh. Another top 5.

1. Peanuts - Boiled peanuts, local style... yum.
2. Soybeans - As edamame - yum.
3. Peas - with carrots, in salads, by themselves, explode in my mouth.
4. Beans - with chili and rice.; other varieties with whatever.
5. Lentil - Lentil soup, Amy's brand.

4. What’s your favorite vegetable to put on a pizza?

Foodland Farms makes a great vegetarian pizza... I think they now have two varieties. Very good. I love black olives but Lisa does not. Oh well, everything else is good. Bell peppers on pizza would be my second favorite... followed by mushrooms. Are mushrooms a vegetable? Or is it just fungi????

Also love plenty of onions on my pizza.

5. What’s your favorite fruit to eat in a green salad?

OK. I have to go with TOMATOES. I consider them a vegetable but others say it is a FRUIT... so for all its fruity goodness, I go with tomatoes. Love em.

Somewhere along the line I forgot broccoli. Love them too... Steamed broccoli by itself is good or prepared mixed with other veggies, stir fried chicken. Yum. Is broccoli a leafy green? I guess it would be... 

Onward now to veg out on YouTube videos.. heh. Can't eat em but they're entertaining.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday 5 for February 26: A clubhouse ain’t nothin’ but a sandwich

The Friday 5 for February 26 dealing with telephones. I am not a big fan of telephones yet I have about 6 of them, of which only two are activated. Got 2 landline phones (non-active), a Samsung Galaxy J7 smartphone from 2016 that still kind of works and is connected to TMobile, Alcatel Flip 3 phone through Tracfone (now my primary phone) and two other older, 3G Alcatel smartphones that work but are not connected to any service. They make good radios, streaming music and wifi enabled devices, All of my cell phones have batteries you can easily replace and all have the good old analog headphone jack. That all said, there is not an iPhone in plain sight of me. Too expensive and you cannot easily replace the battery,

Now onward with the Friday 5 from M.K.D.

1. What is the longest you ever spent on the phone on one call?

I don't like to spend time talking on the phone. I especially hate using the telephone when I have to call one of those places that put you in menu and voicemail hell... and then if and when you get to a real person, you are connected to a call center in India, the Philippines or some other country where English is not very good and they know nothing about Hawaii. I am calling you out Hawaiian Airlines for having a stupid call center in the Philippines (though I haven't used it in years... maybe they moved it back to the U.S.A.)...... The good thing is that due to COVID-19 I am not flying to anywhere.

Getting back to the core question... I hate being placed on hold for 20 to 30 minutes and some places for more than an hour. Arrrrrgh!!! And the dreadful hold music... AAAAARRRRRGGGGGH!!!!  Being on the phone for a long time, on hold, listening to dreadful music truly sucks!

2. When you were a teen, how important was the phone in your daily life?

The most important thing to have access to a phone for was to either call someone up to pick me up, or try to be caller #3 or whatever to the local radio station so that you could win the great prize. It was fun back in the old landline only, analog phone days where you could figure out how to be the right caller to the radio station to snag the prize.... usually some record that I wanted for free of course.

3. How much do you use the actual telephone function of your phone today?

Not too often. I used to use it more when 1. my parents were still alive and 2. Lisa was not living with me. I still call my sister, so I guess that counts for quality phone time... and a few of my friends far and between. I think like most people, even in my advancing age, we use SMS texts, email and other less personal, online methods of communicating remotely.

4. How well do you handle phone calls at work?

"Good (morning, afternoon) this is Mel from XXXXX's office. How may we help you?" or something to that effect. And then we listen to what the caller wants and see if we can actually help with whatever question they have or at least take a message and forward to call to someone else who can help. Just have to be pleasant even if the caller is irksome... we get a few of those.

5. What are some good telephone-themed songs?

OK let's try a 5 +5 list for this one.

1. Don't Call Us, We'll Call You - Sugarloaf (1975)
2. Call Me Back Again - Paul McCartney & Wings (1975)
3. 867-5309 Jenny - Tommy Tutone (1983)
4. Hanging on the Telephone - Blondie (1978)
5. Payphone - Maroon 5 (2012)

6. Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels) - Jim Croce (1973)
7. Telephone Man - Meri Wilson (1977)
8. Echo Valley 2-6809 - The Partridge Family (1971)
9. Star 69 - R.E.M. (1993)
10. Syliva's Mother - Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show (1972)

Top 5 + 5 Telephone Songs (10 tracks)

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Friday 5 for February 5, 2021: Big Game

This weekend it's all about the BIG GAME... sports fans know it, advertisers love it, the network showing probably loves it the most.... revenue, ratings, money! It's Super Bowl weekend and Scrivener has a game themed Friday 5 for us. So here goes... may your best team win! 

1. What item in your house recently ceased (or is likely soon to cease) Operation?

Total failure: Air Bed. Good thing it is backed by a 5 year warranty. 

Likely soon to die? My Samsung Galaxy J7 smartphone. The back panel is cracked, the battery needs replacement, and today I found a small hairline crack on the bottom of the screen. These damn things are not built to last. For the price you have to pay for them, even on the low end, with my J7 costing $265 back in 2016, it is still disappointing that I may have to replace this smartphone with something else.

Granted for someone who resisted the thought of owning a cell phone of any type over the years until mid 2014, I have to admit, I now have two of them. The Samsung is the primary phone. 

Last year I bought an Alcatel flip phone for only $20 at Target. Good thing. The Alcatel has emerged to be my primary carry around phone. Being an old school flip phone device, it is small and convenient to pack away. It seems to be durable, has a removable battery and I don't worry about it breaking. Plus it is 4G LTE compatible and has a low end operating system known as KaiOS

KaiOS can do internet. So the phone is not as dumb as it seems. It has simplified, web based apps that can stream music, play podcasts, YouTube videos and Twitter among other things. Runs on its own network (TracFone in my case) and can connect through wifi or its own data-stream.

The Tracfone plan is not bad. Unlimited talk and text for only $21.18 a month with a 1GB data plan for each month if you use their network. Unused data is carried over to the next month and the next and the next.... so after several months now, I have close to 6GB of data stashed on the phone. The cheap phone also doubles as a mobile hotspot, so I guess if Spectrum goes down I can use their data to run m Chromebook or something. 

The $21 is cheaper than the nearly $30 I was paying for a basic landline. So that went, and I now have two cell phone plans. The other is from T-Mobile and on my shared 55+ account, I pay my portion of $35/mo. Not too bad... Unlimited talk, text and data. Oh well.

I have gone beyond the scope of this question.

2. If someone were to poker ’round in your refrigerator, what item might he or she have questions about?

Whatever forgotten food is fermenting in the back of the fridge will be the item or question. Toss it!

3. What’s in your backPac, Man?

I have never ever owned a backpack. I have played PacMan in the past but I am not good at it. I become lunch for the PacMen very fast. Not good.

4. When did you last run into an old Flame?

I have been lucky enough to avoid "old flames" except for one that I re-connected with on Facebook. I would not consider her to be an "old flame" per se, but she comes the closest for purposes of this question. Luckily for me nearly all of them live far, far away from Hawaii. They are not on social media so that is good.

5. With what object are you frequently playing Hide-and-Seek?

This is worthy of a top 10 list... top 10 items that I frequently can't find when I most need them.

  1. Wallet
  2. Keys
  3. Comb
  4. Scissors
  5. Scotch Tape
  6. Remote Control
  7. Garage Door Opener
  8. Mask
  9. Memory Cards for Cameras
  10. Flash Drives - all in a drawer unlabeled... where did I put the back-up installer for OSX??? That kind of stuff.
11th hour prediction (Sunday 2-7-21 @ 7:30am HST): Tampa Bay by 3. I suck at this stuff. CBS will be the big winner ($$$$) if the game is exciting and the AC Nielsen numbers are high. The advertisers have more to risk than the two NFL teams in the game.