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.