Shall we play a game?

This morning the movie War Games was on cable. It came out in 1983, and it was, at the time, trying to show some state of the art computers. The computers are all dial-up, green screen and five and a half inch floppy disks. The computer used by Matthew Broderick’s character even had toggle switches. I have no idea what those switches were for, but it sure looked high tech. In the world of technology so much has changed since 1983. Computers were complicated and very technical and not very user-friendly. They show NORAD full of computers. I bet my iPhone has more capability than that whole room. I have to say the old computers, or at least the fake ones in this movie, had a lot of pretty lights. Yeah, I can watch the whole movie on my phone, and I don’t need an entire mountain of people to push buttons to find out where a plane is in the sky. I do wonder thou, where this all ends up. Where will technology end up, is there an end? Will they implant computers into our bodies or just plug us in like the matrix? Eventually, there will be no more high technology everything will finally reach some theoretical limit. I have no idea what that technology will be, I just hope just like war games and many other movies, the final use will be to the betterment of us all instead of what most predict or assume.

Just plain stupid!

I’m sorry but the older I get, the less tolerant of stupidity I am. It is baffling to me the levels of just plain stupid that are out there. Take this couple in Europe for example. They would only feed their new baby gluten-free, lactose-free diet giving the baby things like quinoa milk. Call the milk advisory board we have another impostor for them to prosecute. They never took him to a regular doctor only to a homeopathic doctor, so no one knew the baby was only nine and a half pounds at seven months old when he died. They said they thought he was gluten intolerant so they tried other things, none of which was taking him to a real doctor, or seeking out medical help even to his last days.
Look, I still believe that parents are the best advocate for their children and in most cases, I see parents, especially those of children with a special need, doing awesome things to get their kids all the support they require. What I can’t stand is to see is idiots who choose a ridiculous path of action. I am not saying that they needed to do everything a doctor would order but did you even bother to get the simple test which would determine if the kid was having the issue? I can’t understand why no one interceded on behalf of this child when I hear stories all the time of great parents getting their kids taken from them. There is a line in the 1989 Steve Martin movie Parenthood which Keanu Reeves character offers up to the mother of his girlfriend while explaining his upbringing. He says ” You need a license to buy a dog or drive a car, hell, you need a license to catch a fish, but they will let any (expletives here) be a father.” And I would add a mother too!

Traveling angels!

I had a rough time getting home the end of last week from a conference. The airline got us all on the plane, made us sit there for an hour before we were taken off and told the plane was broken and a new one would come in five more hours. Which meant I didn’t get to connect to the next leg of my trip that night, so the airline had to put me up in a hotel for the evening. My luggage didn’t show up, so I had to wait for them to find it. While waiting another passenger came up to the counter looking for her luggage which had not shown up as well. She was an older woman, and what I was to find out, she had no business traveling alone. At this point, the story becomes very complicated, but the short version is I got to be her assistant from the counter to the taxi to getting her in the door of her hotel room. All this was happening at 3 am so it wasn’t when I was at my finest, but I did what was needed to get her safe in her room. I doubt that this lady would be able to tell anyone who I was or remember that someone helped her but it doesn’t matter to me, I am just glad that I got to be her angel for a few hours. She was trying to get to her family due to a sudden death. Who knows if she would have made it without help, and I am not saying I was the only one who could have helped her, I am just glad God put me there to be the help she needed. It is one of the wonders of how God works and one of my favorites things to be able to do. To be in the right place and willing to be used when he asks!

There’s no place like home!

I will just admit it now, I have a few quirks. Some of them show up when I travel. Things that make me feel just a little off when staying somewhere that is not my home. First one is, I can’t stand bed and breakfasts. I do not want to share with the hosts who are usually colorful characters who love to share and hear all about you. I don’t want to share, especially a bathroom down the hall with all the other guests in the hundred-year-old home that has floors that creak anytime you move. I like the anonymity of a hotel, but there are things that bug me about them as well. There is always the curtain that leaves a crack down the middle so you can see flashes of people walking by. I always wonder if they can see in the room. Of course looking to see me sitting on the bed flick the tv channels would be so exciting(sarcasm included). This is only a problem if your room in on the main walkway where everyone has to traverse to get to their room. Then there are the wonderful guests who assume everyone is still awake at 1 am and so carry on a lengthy conversation just outside your room. Hey, buddy, I did not stay till the bar closed, and I want to get to my conference tomorrow with a few hours of sleep. That is what your room or the lobby are for. That and a stranger coming in to clean the room when I am gone always make me glad to get back home no matter how great the trip. At home, my toothpaste and the unmade bed are just like I left them. I find comfort in that.

Dieting on the road!

My wife and I have been on a diet for almost a month now. Diets are hard enough to stay on when you are in a routine, but when you travel, it gets even tougher. I am heading out of town to a conference, and I will be alone in a far off town with nothing but buffets and restaurants to tempt me. The question will be if the free carbs will make me falter or will I stand strong! I have been doing good I don’t want to start over but, come on, how can I stick to a carb free diet when dinner rolls and bagels are stacked in front of me like an edible pyramid. Did I mention that most of this will be included? Look. I am going to do my best, even take my running gear and try and get at least one run in, but I am only human, and one who really likes to eat at that. I will let you know when I get back how well I did, but I figure going in with low expectations makes any success that much sweeter. Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t even mention the deserts till now, this is going to be tough!

We don’t need no Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo, the largest excuse for drinking and wearing derogatory hats and costumes since Saint Patrick’s day! This day that is significant to the people of Puebla Mexico because it marks the end of a battle they won over the French despite overwhelming odds has been turned into something that does not resemble Mexican pride. Like the fourth of July, but instead of breaking out the hot dogs and hamburgers and American flag shorts, it is tacos and burritos with sombreros. I guess the bottom line is several times a year we need some reason to drink heavily and over eat so we have created these days, and I include Thanksgiving in this, in which it is socially acceptable to do so. I don’t think we have to work so hard to create these kinds of days when I was growing up, we just called it Sunday dinner. As many of our family as was in town got together, and by family, I mean anyone who ever was a roommate, friend or dated a family member was also invited. My uncle fired up the barbeque and everyone eat and drank till the mariachi music started cranking. Then it really got interesting! Never needed a special day of the year, just family!

Well that was smart!

I am running late today. I have a problem with something I am working on, and it is not working how I want it. This makes me do things like not paying attention to other things I should. I will tend to keep working on it till I get what I want, but I have been on this one for a few days. I am frustrated and annoyed that it is not working. When I was young, I had a boss who was more than a crusty character, this guy acted and looked a little like he should be on a pirate ship. He knew everyone in the business and had worked at every shop in the area at some time or another. With all that is was still a good boss, he understood the work and knew how to talk to you when you were frustrated or stuck on something. He would come by my cube and see me struggling, and he would say ” Bob, it is an inanimate object, it isn’t smarter than you.” He then would tell me to walk around the building once or twice to clear my head then get back to it. You know that worked for me, and it still does. So the last few days I have walked around the building a few times a day. The building I worked when I was young was a lot smaller, but so were my problems.

A little internet common sense!

What has the internet become? Yes, it is a marketing tool for businesses, and it is full of celebrities in various stages of undress or meltdown. But after all this time other than the dark side of the web it has become an invaluable tool for things from DIY auto repair to medical self-diagnosis and recipe finder. The only problem with this is that mixed in the links you get when you search for “is this mole cancer?” are the billions of people who have a home remedy to cure cancer and every kind of ailment know or unknown. You have to become a data sifter looking through sites for reasonably accurate information. I would not take the advice to use skydiving as a cure for constipation, but some may. While I am sure skydiving would make anything I had in me come out, I think there are simpler ways to get the job done. It is amazing the sheer numbers of links for the most mundane of subjects. I looked up how to flush an automatic transmission on a Subaru Forester and got 1,030,000 results. As for recipes, those can be more of a trial and error. Not everyone has the same tastes, and on a no carb diet, most of the recipes have a lot of substituting of good things like pasta, rice, and potatoes with almonds, cauliflower, and some strange and unnatural things. The same can be said for medical advice, you can get some awesome information and not all of it from doctors and professionals but let’s use some common sense. Essential oils and tribal chanting are not going to cure everything.

Creative Genius!

I have mentioned this before but, this blog is a writing exercise for me. I wanted to get better at writing, so I figured having to come up with something every other day would make me better and more creative. It isn’t always easy to come up with subjects to write about, sometimes I sit down, and it just flows out of me, other times I stare at the keyboard and wonder if I ever had an original thought. It isn’t like ideas are always flowing and not always when I sit down to write. For example, this morning before I left my house for work, I came up with an idea for a post, it was about visiting the Doctor, and I know it was funny because it made me laugh. The problem is I didn’t write it down, and now I have lost it. I hate that for two reasons, one is at my age that seems to happen more, walking into a room and forgetting why I am there, looking for my glasses that are on my face. The worst being not able to find my cell phone while I was talking to my wife on my cell phone. The second reason is having that idea was like a little flower that bloomed in my brain, the remnant is still there, and I would love to be able to find it again but-but all I can do is be bummed about it being gone. It is more like an itch I can’t reach on my back than a fond memory now, and I will spend the day scrunching my face trying to remember that great idea. Wait, I just remembered, it had nothing to do with going to the doctors. Well, I am not starting over now. I wrote it down so I can remember it for Wednesday unless I look at it then and decide it is no longer funny. That is how it works for me anyway!

Museum of old computer cables.

I get that there are collectors for just about anything, old toys, clothes, and baseball cards. I do not collect anything of much value. I just can’t throw away old computer cables because I keep thinking I will need one. Some people though are just off the weirdo chart when it comes to collections. I googled the weirdest collections in the world, and I was slightly disturbed by some of them. One lady has over 3000 miniature chairs, what? Another person has 8,650 different water bottle labels. Another guy has close to a thousand umbrella covers. There is, of course, the customary collection of belly button lint and toenail clippings but come on, traffic cones and Airline barf bags? Look I am no judge of what is collectible or what is not I just don’t get what makes someone choose the things they do to start keeping. Most of these are not sick like collecting clowns or dolls, and yes those people are out there. And I am sure more than a few will show up on that hoarder’s show, but hey, if it isn’t hurting them or others I guess it shouldn’t matter what they decide is of value to them. Perhaps when I am older, I can open a museum of classic computer cables to show off technology which is no longer in use, or start selling them on eBay to all the folks still using ten to twenty year old computers.