Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday 5 for July 23: Eyes on the prize


The following questions are taken from its usual source. You can view them here.

1. What gadget did you most recently obtain, and which gadget do you have your eyes on?

Recently bought: Google Pixel 4a smartphone. I am mostly pleased with it, especially the camera and the fact it did not come with carrier installed bloatware that you can't remove. It's not an iPhone and it will never be. But for a mid range Google phone, I think it is excellent. Plus it is way more affordable than an iPhone and many other so called "flagship" phones in the Android universe that most people buy just to make a fashion statement or be trendy. I expect this Pixel 4a phone to last at least 5 years and hopefully push on to 10. The one thing I hate is the built in battery that has made this phone and all devices with built in batteries that users cannot easily replace, doomed to failure. Sad.

I always have my eyes on various gadgets, most of which I can't afford. I could probably use a new MacOS desktop computer (looking mostly at the Mac Mini) and a newer Chromebook. 

2. What business establishment did you most recently visit for the first time, and which do you have your eyes on?

I rarely venture out to "visit" new businesses unless I have a pressing need to do so. But for the most part, in my set routine world of searching for the cheapest bargains and avoiding any exposure to the public in general (thanks COVID-19), there is no incentive for me to "explore". 

I am contently happy to shop at the same places, for routine stuff that I usually buy... which means Don Quijote store for groceries, Target, Walmart, Longs Drug and occasionally Foodland Farms, Times Supermarket and Safeway. Most of my purchases revolve around eating and replenishing household items like soap and toilet paper.

I stopped eating out at any restaurant and I rarely get take out from them either. Thanks COVID-19. 

So in that department, I haven't been to anyplace "new". I bought my previously mentioned Pixel phone from Amazon. That is where I go lately to get those once in a while things that I want.

I used to love to go to record and book stores to browse and often purchase (especially records and CDs)... However with the advent of COVID-19 and some record stores (we only have 2 that I know of) placing restrictions on entry, it is safe to say I haven't been record shopping since the last sidewalk sale at Ideas Books & Music since February 2020.

The good thing about that is I have spent way less money on physical music media, though I miss browsing through stacks of used records or CDs and finding a stupidly priced album that I know should be selling for more. It's cool to find some kind of radio promo or compilation album for only a dollar.

That all said, for some reason I look forward to visiting both Hungry Ear and Ideas Books and Music sometime in the future. Granted these are not new businesses, but they are around.

Oh yeah, I did hear the Friends of the Library are operating a temporary music store somewhere in the Ward area too, though it could be closed if and when I get around to going into that area.

3. What movie did you most recently see, and which do you you have your eyes on?

I watch all my movies streaming on one of the following services:

  • a. Amazon Prime 
  • b. Hulu (I have their year-long $2 deal until November)
  • c. Tubi TV

Movies at the theater are totally out for me, due to high ticket prices and COVID-19. The last movie I saw at the theater was the Star Wars movie The Rise of Skywalker.

The last "new" movie I saw was on Amazon Prime: Sound of Metal - a tale of a hard rock metal band drummer who goes deaf. It was nominated for an Oscar this past year.

I also completed watching The Beatles Eight Days A Week on Hulu, a 2014 documentary by director Ron Howard that chronicled the band's touring years and the rooftop concert of 1968.

I haven't yet made time to watch Amazon Prime's The Tomorrow War. It is on my list of hundreds of movies that I bookmarked on that service to watch at some later time. I don't know when, but I will get around to it. 

I am also looking forward to watching the latest incarnation of Dune, though I am not too optimistic that I will watch that anytime close to its October 2021 release date. I'd either have to pay big bucks to watch it in a movie theater or fork over one month worth of big bucks to HBO Max to get it online in its first run. Since other productions of Dune never measured up to the book, I think I may be able to wait this release out until a much later date on a cheaper streaming platform.

At the current time I watch more TV series on streaming services, the long form ones with many episodes that all tell a larger story. Just finished Fringe at Amazon Prime/IMDB-TV and am in progress on the following:

The Handmaid's Tale - Hulu, trying to slowly binge through this before my subscription expires at the $2 price. Last episode was Season 2 Episode 5. This is a leftist dystopian sci-fi story. If something like this happened in real life, it will be the extreme left, communists, or Islamic fanatics that will ruin our country.

The Expanse - Slowly going through this one, currently on Season 2 - Amazon Prime.

321 McCartney - Hulu, six part interview series with Sir Paul and record producer Rick Rubin. Last viewed Episode 3.

Debris - Peacock or Hulu: NBC sci-fi TV series that was new this year and also cancelled this year. I'm at episode 6 and I think it has either 10 or 13 episodes.

4. What reading material did you most recently consume, and which do you have your eyes on?

I probably need a definition for "reading material". 

I read a lot of "stuff", mostly online at various websites and blogs ranging in subjects from tech to politics and a whole lot more. Just this morning I read this article: I Repeat - AM Radio is Dead, which to me is a sad commentary on the cheapest form of free entertainment we can get... the radio. AM radio is in decline sad to note, but FM is still around. I regularly listen to both AM & FM radio.

Books: I guess on a higher level you probably mean books. OK, lately I haven't read many "books", though I have and am listening to several audio books. Most recent book I completed was Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. It's a good science fiction novel. You must like spiders. 😀

Currently still listening to the ever sprawling Dune by Frank Herbert, a book that I read in paperback form in the late 1970s. It is so much fun to catch up with the world Arrakis once more and all the kingdom building going on there. All hail to Muad'Dib. All hopes for a good movie adaptation of this book later this year.

Just acquired: American Marxism by talk radio show host Mark Levin. I will probably plow through this one before I finish Dune. 😄

5. Which current event has been of greatest interest to you this week, and which do you think will grab your attention next week?

Current event? I'm keeping up with local news surrounding the horribly expensive Honolulu Rail project that is billions of dollars over budget, the ongoing Michael Miske organized crime case and the on and off again criminal case surrounding Honolulu's former police chief and former deputy prosecutor wife Louis and Katherine Kealoha.

Future event? Next year's congressional elections, local elections, rail... probably not next week, though rail seems to come up every week here since the $12.4 billion shortfall continues to grow and the whole mess continues to be mismanaged and costing all of us more money. Ugh!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Friday 5 for July 16: Everything in its place + chips

Back from a short hiatus, here is this week's Friday 5 from Scrivener.

1. What is the least organized area of your daily life?

Generally my house (again), all kinds of paper and some mail to sort... those are just the physical stuff. I still need to sort out my life which is always being sorted out.

2. What is the most organized area of your daily life?

1. Record collection (LPs / 45s are unsorted but I scaled down that collection)

2. CDs

3. Cassettes

4. DVDs & digital video collection

5. Books - regular books and audio books

6. Most of my photos are organized between multiple hard drives and Google photos. Just started to use Amazon photos as a new organizer for some photos since June 2021.

7. MP3 music files - sorted on hard drives into playlists as well as backed up (for free) to YouTube Music, which sadly succeeded Google Play Music which I used for many years. Google Play Music was better than YouTube Music.

3. How well do you handle disruptions of your routines?

Not very well. I like my set routine. It takes me awhile to adjust to change. What I hate the most is if I am watching a TV show or movie, and I get interrupted during that program, especially if it is something I am watching for the first time.

4. How do you respond to unexpected blocks of unstructured time?

I'm ok being unstructured. I just do whatever is.

5. How structured is your time this weekend? 

Nothing planned so I would say not very structured.


Taking on last week's Friday 5 on "Chip Chat"....

1. What’s got you feeling chipper these days?


The world is still dystopian. I avoid most crowds and large social gatherings... but then I am not a crowd person to begin with unless I have to... like photograph some event or something.

2. About what did you decide to let the chips fall where they may?

Some personal decisions I made which shall not be disclosed here.

3. What are you chipping away at?

Very slowly writing the story of my life, which for several decades I would consider "dull", but it is still my life. I am doing something that perhaps could be considered a memoir. Currently I am uploading some of the completed stuff to a site called Family Search where you can write stuff about your relatives who have passed on. 

I decided to fill in the information on my own life before I die. I get a chance to control what I want said about my life before someone else messes it up. The nice thing about the Family Search site (which is a huge genealogy database), is that you I can upload and write stuff about myself, and it all remains private until after I die.

I'd like to also publish some kind of book about the back stories of some of the photos I've taken over the years.

4. What potato chips did you most recently consume?

I think about a month and a half ago I had a bag of Lays potato chips. I am not supposed to eat potato chips. Too much salt and oil.

5. When did you most recently toss your cookies?

PUKE is so pleasant. I can't remember the last time I PUKED. I think it was many years ago when I had a case of bad flu or something.

Otherwise I routinely clean out the cookies from the web browsers I use on my various devices. These cookies are more evil than vomit.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Friday 5 for July 2: Touched By Your Presents Dear

 Touched by Your Presence Dear - Blondie - OK so it is not presents.. heh.

This week's Friday 5 questions from Scrivener....

1. For what ability do you seem to have a natural gift?

I think I have a good sense of timing. I am keenly aware of deadlines and when I should be at a certain point at a certain time of the process, like making it to the airport in good time to beat the raging crowd at the TSA checkpoint and settle in the waiting area early before all the chaos that precedes the boarding of a typical flight begins. 

I hate being late for an appointment.

2. What’s pretty good about the present moment?

Peace, solace, quiet. I'm at home, on the computer.

3. What nearby, everyday object would be a good symbolic bequest to someone in your life?

Looking for someone to donate my entire record and CD collection to after my death. 

4. What recognitions, large or small, have been bestowed upon you?

I was honored about 2 years ago for being an "unsung hero" of the year for Assistance League of Hawaii. They make awards to volunteers who excel in doing work that is largely behind the scenes. In my case I completely revamped their website and moved the content from an old server to a new one using Wordpress.

5. What was your most recent charitable donation?

I am a regular member volunteer contributor to Assistance League of Hawaii, Since their thrift shop is within walking distance to my home, I was recruited about 7 years ago by a photographer friend to help him sort out donated cameras and prep them for resale at their thrift shop. After he moved out of state I took over the camera inspection and prep duties and still do that today.

Over the years I got more involved with them, to the point where today I am their newsletter editor, photographer and website administrator. I worked on a minor update to the website today. I also post to their Facebook and Twitter pages. I am part of the marketing team.

Assistance League of Hawaii is always looking for donors and volunteers. You can find out more on our website.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Friday 5 for June 25: ℞

Scrivener's Friday 5 questions of the week.... Rx..

1. What’s your prescription for a case of Weekend Uncertainties?

Deny it all, listen to music, read or watch videos all day.

2. What’s your prescription for a persistent case of Restless Munchies Syndrome?

Eat something or at least drink water.

3. What’s your prescription for Streamer’s Indecision?

Keep on adding more movies and TV shows to the watchlists I have on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and TUBI-TV. After that go to YouTube and watch short videos of just about anything, discover someone's new channel there and add that to my long list of subscriptions or add videos the hundreds of playlists I keep there. Many, many music videos, aviation videos, automotive videos, computers, Android, record collecting and other stuff. So much indecision.

And then I go watch something on some other free streaming service that I don't always view. Hello Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Crackle and Shout Factory. Heh.

There's audio, and while I pay for almost none of it, I do have massive playlists and stations on Spotify, YouTube Music, Accuradio, Tuned-In, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and Audible. Time to listen to another good book or an episode of Classic American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. Yay!

4. What’s your prescription for a hypersensitive Get Off My Lawn reflex?

I live in a condo, so I have no lawn to shoosh people or stray animals from. Simple! Now I just hope my aging multi-story building does not decide to crash down on me in a big pile of concrete and steel. Ugh!

5. What’s your prescription for an inflamed FOMO?

I don't really have a fear of missing out on anything. I am not that much of an "experience" or "thrill-seeker" type of person. I am just happy to be an observer with my camera or at my computer doing stuff or watching a video.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Friday 5 for June 18: Heights


I thought this week's Friday 5 was going to be about aviation or flying... hmm... Heights... somewhat of a disconnect here.

1. What’s the best non-animated movie musical you’ve seen in the past several years? 

Non-animated movie musical? Haven't seen any in recent years but from my old age and long ago movie list I compiled this Top 5 + 5.... all of them OLD. Sorry.. nothing recent. I don't go to the movies or buy new DVDs anymore.

Just to keep the heights, here are my Top 5 + 5.

1. Grease (1978) - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

2. A Hard Day's Night (1964) - The Beatles!

3. That Thing You Do! (1996) - The Wonders!!!!

4. The Sound of Music (1965) - Julie Andrews

5. Blue Hawaii (1961) - Elvis!!!!

6. Help! (1965) - The Beatles!

7. Footloose (1984) - ok nobody sings but a lot of good music & dancing in it.

8. Dirty Dancing (1987) - same reason as #7

9. Mary Poppins (1964) - cheating here; there are a few spots of animation.

10. Singing in the Rain (1951) - Gene Kelly

2. How are you most likely to pass the time during a lengthy blackout?

A blackout would definitely be a low point with no electricity. Ugh!

Top 5 things I would do:

1. Sleep (mostly if it is night time already)

2. Look for all the batteries 

3. Listen to the radio - search for news why power is out

4. Call or text someone if cell towers are working. In this instance I would really miss the landline that I discontinued a couple of years ago.

5. Read (if it is daytime. Not good to read if lighting is bad and you want to save on batteries).

3. When were you last in a swimming pool?

Walked by one recently, did not go in. Underwater is pretty low.

4. What do you remember fondly about the neighborhood where you grew up?

OK... one thing... all of use kids used to ride our bikes around our yard and up and down the neighborhood road. When the paved the road, they first laid a foundation of crushed coral over the old road. They paved it over and later we learned that you could use coral rocks to draw lines and pictures on the road. Next thing we had hopscotch squares drawn on the road and also white lines to mark the lanes on where we would ride our bikes. I was between the ages of 7 and 12 at this time.

5. What language did you study in school, and what’s something you remember how to say?

One  year of Spanish because I think it was required... The only things I kind of remember are:


"Como estas?"

"No comprende espaneol."

And that's the lowdown on "heights." Adios!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Friday 5 for May 28: Aha!

The following questions are taken from its usual source... The Friday 5 blog.

 1. When did you most recently find money?

Last week I found a penny on the ground. Picked it up and kept it. How many of you see pennies on the ground but don't bother to pick it up? 

2. When have you lost something and got it back because someone submitted it to a lost-and-found?

I thought I lost my wallet last month, but it turned out to be in my car after calling the "lost and found" department. Oh well. Better there than being permanently lost!

3. What did you discover about yourself at your favorite place of employment?

There is always someone that will take your place. You can be dropped just like that, on a whim because your supervisor may no longer likes you.

4. What was the last thing you peeled? Orange, last week.

5. What was the most recent gift you unwrapped? High end shampoo block.

Since this topic title came up, this band and their famous song has been on my mind....

Friday, May 21, 2021

Friday 5 for May 21: Watch your phraseology

I haven't done one of these in several weeks. So here is the one for May 21. Questions from Scrivener's Friday 5 blog.

1. With whom did you most recently exchange words?

Yesterday with my friend Lisa regarding rewinding an audio book back 30 seconds twice. Errr.

2. Which of your weekend activities will feel like your sentence for a crime?

Laundry... been putting that off for a few weeks now. Running out of you know... need renewal, a new wash and dry. Quarters... ugh.

3. What have you loved or hated upon reading its first paragraph?

Hate: Tax form instructions or instructions for other kinds of bureaucratic government forms. Working at the State Legislature also forced me to read a number of bills and resolutions. Most of them are simply awful.

Like: I will probably pour through the instructions of my new Google Pixel 4a phone that I am supposed to get this week (through Amazon). 

Liked but not read: Project Hail Mary - I just completed this Andy Weir audio book. The story revolves around a lone astronaut stuck light years away from home who has to make some tough decisions. If you liked The Martian, then you may like this one too. The premise is similar but the setting and story is very different.

4. In the story of your life, what will be the title of the chapter beginning tomorrow?

"The Dystopian Unknown Continues".

5. What are the best and worst books you were assigned to read in school?

Best - For some reason I still remember enjoy reading the book Siddhartha by Hermann Hessee. Can't remember all of the plot points but it was a study of the deep contrast of class structure that prevailed in India. Interesting.

While this was not assigned reading, I also read The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx in 9th grade or so. I was just curious as to what communism was all about. After reading that mess, I decided that is not for me. Nope. I think I did a book report on it.

Worst? I hate to say, William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I found it to be mostly too long, and for me it was hard to get by the use of the language of Shakespeare's time. I knew it was supposed to be good, but I never got into it.  Watching a movie helped.

Romeo & Juliet had its moments of difficulty but I think watching the movie first and then reading the book helped a lot. Gotta love the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of the famed, tragic story. It is the defining R&J movie for me.

Elementary school books were more fun to read... My Little Red Story Book, The Little White House, On Cherry Street and We Are Neighbors are school readers that I still remember with some fondness. I shudder to think what school kids of today are using as school readers....

Here's a very dated, behind the scenes clip on the production of the 1968 Romeo & Juliet movie.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Friday 5 for April 23: Re:

This week's Friday 5 questions from Mr. Scrivener.

1. What’s due for renewal? 

In the coming months...

  • Car Registration & Safety Check (ugh)
  • Amazon Prime
  • Dreamhost

2. When did you most recently replace something good with something inferior?

It wasn't recent. I had to replace my old Sony receiver with something less than stellar. May the STR AV560 rest in peace (2012). 😞 

3. What statement did you recently have to recant?

Can't think of anything significant in recent weeks or months.

4. What’s refreshed you this week?

Food usually, but that is nothing new. I had a really great pumpkin custard pie thing from Foodland this weekend. Was very good.

5. What’s a fond memory you have of elementary school recess?

That was eons ago... hmm... I think in the third grade when the crush I had kissed me on the ear... not mentioning any names here. Everyone's grown old and moved on many, many, many moons ago.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Friday 5 for April 16: Aca-scuse me?

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday 5! Please copy these questions to your webspace. Answer the questions there; then leave a comment below, so we’ll all know where to check out your responses. Please don’t forget to link us from your website!

Apologies in advance.

1. In what way have you recently been rebellious?

It's a small way but I hate wearing these government mandated masks. So often I am walking around with it on my face but below my nose. I have a hard time breathing sometimes... the mask is muffling. Hate it.

2. What fond memories do you have of camping out?

I haven't camped since the weekend of July 11,  1991. Camped in my car on the Big Island the night before the solar eclipse in Waikoloa... and saw everything except totality because a damn cloud covered the sun right at the moment. Arrrrgh! 

So it was a somewhat "fond" memory because I was with my friends, but the ultimate experience that I had been planning for a few years in advance was a major bust and disappointment in my life.

3. When did you last have a snow cone, or something similar?

In Honokaa we call it ice shave. Other people call it shaved ice. And I guess they're snow cones on the mainland. It's been ages ago since I last had one... more than 15 years I think. Can't remember. My favorite flavor is just plain old strawberry or half strawberry and half orange... only the ice and nothing else.

4. Where do you have difficulty fitting in? Where do you easily fit in?

While it doesn't occur often, partisan politics at work.

Where do I fit in? At home... by myself. I am not a group oriented person.

5. How do you feel about bananas?

Apple bananas are great. Regular bananas at Target are cheap. 38¢ each. Like most fruits I like my bananas a little more on the green side and I won't eat over ripe ones especially those with a lot of those black spots on them. Ugh.

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.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Friday 5 for January 29: Sound Tracking

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Friday 5! Please copy these questions to your webspace. Answer the questions there; then leave a comment below so we can all check out your responses. Please don’t forget to link us from your website!

1. What are you listening to?

Most of the time music. As you know I track many of the songs I hear at Last FM. Music plays during most of the time I am not at work. Here are my top 10 artists that I listen to over the years. Today I mostly listened to The Beatles... again.

2. What are you hearing?

Besides Lisa, the sound of the fan running, cars passing nearby and myself typing this.

3. What are you turning a deaf ear to?

Progressive politicians, everyone on the far left and hard core rap music.

4. What have you recently overheard?

Can't share that here. It is confidential.

5. To whom have you recently lent an ear?

Lisa just about every day.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Friday 5 for January 22: Every family has one

This week's Friday 5 questions from Scrivener.. I don't quite get this one, especially the first question... "who"????

1. Who’s the nastiest flavor in the ice cream parlor?

I haven't been to an ice cream parlor in ages. Ice cream is so pricey these days. It is a luxury that I can ill afford at times. That said, if there is such a thing, I would hate Black Licorace Ice Cream with Raisins. 

2. Which item in the produce aisle is most likely to spoil the party?

Beets. I hate beets.

3. What’s the most embarrassing song by your favorite musician or band?

Top 5 Worst Songs by The Beatles (in reverse order with #1 being the worst)

5. Christmas Time is Here Again - came out in 1967.
4. Wild Honey Pie - McCartney must have been smoking something funny.
3. Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove - this doesn't even qualify as a song. 
2. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) - when they just goofed around.
1. Revolution #9 - Just taking up space on an album.

4. Which part of your body is always in trouble?

All of it. Getting old sucks.

5. What’s the worst film in your favorite actor’s* filmography?

Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors. Worst films include the following:
  • Road to Perdition
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Volunteers
  • Joe vs. the Volcano
I haven't seen everything he's been in, so there may be a few others. Overall though I like many of his movies. My favorites are:
  • Apollo 13
  • Forrest Gump
  • Toy Story
  • That Thing You Do
  • Castaway
  • A League of Their Own
  • Captain Phillips

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Friday 5 for January 15: Groovy, rad, lit - It Is What It Is

Questions are taken from the weekly Friday 5 blog.

1. Which slang term from your youth, no longer in common use, do you remember fondly?

I think this one is a pidgin term that I haven't heard for a long time. I am not sure how to spell it either.

Footoo - pronounced foo-too - kind of like tutu... maybe even spelled like tutu...Futu.

Definition - 1. Funny, strange, ugly, gross.

Oh look dat car... da paint job is soo footoo.

2. What slang do you still use, ‘though it’s no longer in common use?

I can't think of one right now.

3. Which current (or sorta recent) slang terms do you particularly like?

It is what it is! - Yes.. my favorite. A great substitute way to end all discussion. Can't fix it? It is what it is! Huh! I love the finality of it. And while you  may not like it, a lot of people use it to end a conversation or topic. There is no further discussion. It is what it is.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. - Why should I buy the latest Android phone while mine running Android 7 just simply works. Plus it has a removable battery! Ugh. It's not broken. I don't want to fix it. It goes the same for the constant, nagging updates that pop up on MacOS, Android, iOS and even Windows. Ugh. The current version of my software is working perfectly fine... there is no need to update. It's not broken. I don't need to fix it.

4. Which slang terms, past or present, do you especially dislike?

I hated "Puuinsai"... gross! Figure it out if you are not from Hawaii.

"Eh brah!" - I hate when people call out at me with that term. A bra is something women wear. I am not a bra. I am a human being.

5. What slang terms are specific to your geographical region?

The two listed above as well as the kind of obsolete one in question #1 are all generic to Hawaii. Additional Hawaii specific slang terms, most of which I don't like.
Shaka brah. - I don't much like it and when it is combined with brah, ugh! I don't much care for "shaka" by itself either, nor the hand sign.
Da Kine. - I hate it when I occasionally catch myself saying this. Too local! Ugh!
Grindz - I don't much care for this one. What a bad substitute for "food". Name food for what it is. A hamburger... plate lunch... bento are all better terms that "grindz".
Aloha - I guess this overused word has reached epic slang proportions in Hawaii. I use it in professional correspondence, greetings, whatever. I try not to overuse it, but I still do. Be there... aloha! (Jack Lord)
Haole - This slang word for caucasian people has recently become politically incorrect. I try to avoid using this.
Popolo - The opposite of white, is black. This term is sometimes used to refer to black people. I never use it. In today's world it is probably more polite to use the term African American... though I think Black is still OK... Popolo rises about a few steps over the much hated N word.... but is way below other words.
Mahalo - Thank you. Used a lot I think second to "aloha".
Kanaka - It was once frowned upon to call Hawaiian people "kanaka". Many Hawaiian people like to now refer to themselves as "kanaka ma'oli". Whatever. I rarely ever use either terms.
Lua - Toilet. I rarely ever use this term. I just say I am going to the bathroom.
Benjo - Toilet. Same as above though I think this one is Japanese in origin.
Pau Hana - Done working. A popular term to describe that and then the gathering afterwork for "pupus" and drink. I use the term occasionally but rarely ever go out to socialize afterward.
All Pau - Done, finished, the end.
Pake - (pronounced pa kay - short a after p) - Chinese, tightwad, frugal.

OK... that is good enough of a list. There are probably many other words unique to Hawaii. Most of them contribute to our mix of English, Hawaiian and terms from Asian cultures, which turns out to be "Pidgin" that linguists probably argue over or at least study in academic circles. Do they?

It is what it is!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Friday 5 for January 8: Watching my figure


Mel's Figurines

Friday 5 for January 8, 2021: Watching my figure

Questions from the Friday 5 blog.

1. What are some figurines you own?

I don't have much and they barely qualify as figurines. What you see in the photo above is what I have. Michelin Tire Man, Chinese Lucky Cat (the only one that I think is a figurine), Rubber Duckie with Lei and a small glass floater ball that I found at a North Shore beach more than 35 years ago.

2. What are you trying to figure out?

Life's complexities. Why can't life be simpler?

3. Two circles or one continuous motion: how do you write the figure 8?

For me on continuous stroke.... the same way I do a treble clef. Which brings me to this:

4. How do you feel about Fig Newtons?

I don't like them. Next...

5. What’s a good metaphor to describe your first week of 2021?

Trying to figure life out, related to #2. Plus I have work.... again. Can't think of anything metaphoric to it... it's just all routine. So far 2021 feels the same as 2020, though work is a good thing.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Friday 5 for January 1: A-M-Z

Friday 5 for January 1: A-M-Z

It's a new year (2021) and another round for the ever-going Friday 5.

First questions of the new year:

1. What’s better in its middle than in its edges, beginnings, or ends?

The center aisle seats half way up in a surround sound theater. I think you get the best view of the screen and the sound from all directions. But then it depends also on how large the auditorium is too. The bigger, the better I think.

Also I think the center of hamburgers are better than the outside edges. Ditto for sandwiches of all types.

2. Why is a sunrise better than a sunset?

It is not as crowded during sunrise as it is during sunset at the more popular places. I can't say if the photo opportunities are better during sunrise or sunset. Whatever light you are shooting in, it usually is coming into the golden hour or waning into the twilight hour. Sunrise or sunset. I am not partial to either. I've gotten decent photos at both sunrise and sunset settings.

3. What’s better in retrospect than when you experienced it?

At this point in time, security lines at the airport were better prior to 2019 but not as great as it was prior to 9-11-2001. Before then, security was adequate but over the years things have been tightened down way too much. Now to travel, it takes more effort and sacrifice of personal information, government tracking, additional wait times, health testing and social distancing. All of this has made travel so bad, that at this time I have no desire whatsoever as to go traveling by airplane or any mass transport mover. Easier, safer and cheaper to just stay home.

4. What songs have wonderful endings? Hmm... have to think about that one. are three in no particular order.
  • Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin - love how it starts as a ballad, slowly builds up and then rocks out for several minutes before settling down and ending on a rather soft and somber note..."and she's buying the stairway to heaven"....
  • A Day in the Life - The Beatles - Gotta love that sustained full note at the end that holds longer than it should, and then after a few minutes of silence you get the "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove" which is just a loop of some guys saying some kind of jibberish... Paul, John, George and Ringo I presume.
  • The Streak - Ray Stevens - Damn funny song about streaking.. you know "running naked as a jailbird" and how the husband is trying to protect his wife Ethel from seeing what's going on... "Don't look Ethel!" ... Too late, ran out of the cheap seats and made the free shot.... Minutes later.... "Here he comes again. Who's that with him? Ethel? Is that you, Ethel? What do you think you're doin'? You git your clothes on!"... oh yes they call him The Streak fastest thing on two feet.... heh. FYI- The song went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Billboard Country chart, both in 1974.
5. What was the first thing you unwrapped in 2021?

A new roll of toilet paper!