When I was in high school the days of the week were pretty similar. Get up and go to school, get out of school, after school was either sports practice or hang out then head home. As long as I was home before my parents all was good. My parent commuted to work so they would get home together many nights while dinner was getting prepared I was starting a fire in the fireplace, which was my job, and the TV was on. My recollection was that reruns of the original Star Trek series was on. I know this show only ran for three years but I have watched the reruns for the last thirty-five years. I never got into any of the other variants and off shoots to me it was always the original. I know that I am not the only one. It is a great memory I have from my youth. Today when I went to Facebook, the feed is littered with the fond farewells to Leonard Nimoy, Spock to all the fans of the show. As I get older and older more of my childhood is being lost to time. Actors, places, music, cars. They all succumb to the inevitable fate none of us can avoid, time eventually will take it all from us including the memories. Today however I stop and look through all the pictures of Mr. Nimoy as one of my favorite characters from my youth and I smile. Thank you sir for those memories, thank you for not tarnishing that memory by doing stupid things with your personal life in your later years. I wish more of the heroes of my youth had simply done that much, you will be missed.
I read a lot of technology based news. It is part of my job to stay up on what is happening and how it could affect my role and the people who I work for. These days I have seen a lot of stories about robots. They seem to be a big thing, they show them off by making them dance or talk, play chess or even ride a bicycle. That is nice and everything and I get that having them do those things is just a demo of what else they can do, but I don’t think they will really take off until they prove they can do some really practical things. I thought I would make a list of all the things I would buy a robot to do for me.
1. Take out the trash. If it could remember that Thursday morning the trash needs to be at the curb, gather all the cans in the house, dump them in big one and put it out. I would buy it today! No amount of money would be enough to keep me out of trouble for forgetting that one.
2. Stop the dog from barking. Just stand in the yard and yell at my dog to shut up every time a leaf falls or a car goes by. I tried one of those annoying sound machines but the dog didn’t seem to notice. Since my yard is now under a foot of snow, the robot would also have to figure out how to not freeze or stuck in the snow.
3. Make dinner. Let’s face it ever since the Jetsons we have looked for a way to say a voice command and have dinner appear. If it could have it on the table when we all get home and do the dishes after no man or woman would not take on a second job just to pay to have it. I would deliver pizza at night just to make the payments on that robot, of course the flip side is less pizzas would be needed for delivery, but hey, I can dream can’t I?
If you have ever checked luggage when flying somewhere, you know the joy of waiting on your suitcase at the baggage claim carousel. Maybe it is because most of us are conformists but most of the suitcases look the same. They are all black or dark green colored with very similar features, the only way I know mine is that the zipper is broken on the outside pockets so I look for the open pockets as they come out from the back. Usually it is bag after bag of the same but on every flight I have been on there are the two or three odd balls. Once it was a giant trash bag, 30 gallon at least, with a roll of duct tape holding it together. Another time I saw what looked like reminisce of a cardboard box with shirts and pants spilling out between the twine which held it together. I do not watch most folks pick up the luggage, but I always watch to see who picks up the oddity. While it is not always the case but most of the time the owner matches the bag. In the case of the trash bag the guy, if found frozen in a snow bank, would have been carbon dated to prehistoric man. Most of us may be far from dragging my knuckles on the ground anymore, but if our baggage was required to look like our life, I think we would see a lot more twine and garbage bags coming off the plane.
When Madonna first came onto the music scene I remember the uproar about the stuff she was doing and saying. People were coming out of their skin over her. Last week a large radio conglomerate sent a memo to all of its radio stations saying they shouldn’t play her stuff anymore because she is “old and irrelevant”. It seems in the music industry you get famous by either making good music or making a statement. By statement I mean either good or bad people ruffle the status quo lately it seems it is only in a bad way but they go out and offend beliefs or wear meat suits or no cloths at all just to shock. The problem with the shock and awe fame is exactly what is happening to Ms. Ciccone. The initial shock always becomes the norm. The first person to do it gets the press but after that you have to keep doing new and worsening things to keep our attention, and at this point there isn’t much we haven’t seen. Yes, I do remember one or two of her songs but not for the song themselves but for the moment in time and what they changed about our society. I cannot imagine those who are twenty years younger than me even remember any of it. The bottom line is fame will come and go but memorable music and also art, those are things that last.
I was at a department store with my wife the other day. I was there because that’s what guys who want to stay married do. I thought that maybe I would look for a few dress shirts, I have to wear them for work and I could use a few more. I was thinking a light blue or white, you know something traditional. What I found were the most hideous colors I have ever seen. What happen to shirts in normal colors? I found an orange not found in nature, glow in the dark green and some other colors I swear I saw in a baby’s diaper once. If they were a “normal” color they were very shiny or unknown materials which looked like they could save you from a fire. What happened to plan business shirts? I wasn’t at some trendy shop this was a vanilla department store. I guess I am getting to the age where I have to go to the old guy suit store if I want to buy something I can wear to work. I am not that old but I am not going to spend my day explaining the color of my shirt to everyone who comes to my cube, nor do I want to have to hand out sun glasses to everyone I work with. If I am going to buy a shirt it has to be something that I can wear every day and not make me stand out for the wrong reasons.
I am a man, this of course means I am terrible at Valentine’s Day. Yes I have done some stupid things. I have purchased fake flowers. I have bought really stupid cards and gifts. It is not that I can’t do the right thing it is that it requires weeks of preparation and frankly I don’t have the attention span of a nat. I also don’t have ESP. Ladies you have to spell it out for us. I know, you want us to figure it out on our own. You think it means we really care if we take the time to know the right thing to do. It isn’t that we don’t care it is that it takes most of our brain power to keep us from drooling on ourselves so what is left over is for remembering to breath and how to find the drive through window for fast food. It is also true that thanks to groups like Hallmark, Jewelry stores and flower shops, if we don’t go all out we are in the dog house. And every guy knows it is a lie if she says she doesn’t want anything. Penguins, when they want to show their love give the potential mate a round pebble. He doesn’t have to pick a fight with a walrus, catch the biggest fish is the ocean or find flowers on a continent of ice. He has to find a nice round simple pebble and hope she likes it. Help us out here, if we do make an effort at least fake a smile!
Well it looks like this week the classic mac and cheese has been bashed by the First Lady. She said that it isn’t real food. While I have to agree with her, I cannot help to respond with, so what? I love that stuff, I love the fakeness of its color and texture. It is to me the ultimate in comfort food. I even love the lies it has on the box. “Made with real cheese” so you took perhaps the tiniest sliver of cheese dumped in a vat with bad for me chemicals and safety vest orange coloring, then took the bad for me concoction and turned it into a powder which I add to milk and gobs of butter then combine with a cardboard box of pasta to make heaven! I am not advocating eating this stuff every day or even every week but when you are having a hard week and you get home late from work and have a house full of people looking at you for a dinner. I say chop up a few hotdogs (another mysteriously made item) and add them to a box of day glow goodness to turn that day into a win! I don’t need anyone to tell me what I already know. I can tell on my own the food that has colors not found in nature is not the best for me. But I still solute Kraft for coming up with what has to be one of the best man-made things on earth!
So I am trying to figure if one of these fitness bands is right for me. I don’t want to shell out a bunch of money for something that will just sit in my drawer. So I got a really cheap one to wear for now while I do my research and I am starting to realize how addicting it can be. Wanting to check out my sleep time and how many steps I did before work, calories burned and percentage of my goal I am at. I like it now which one? They go from skinny small thing with no screen to an iPad strapped to your arm. You can just have steps all the way up to heart rate and sleep monitoring. I also just read an article about a company working with Apple who have created an under your skin monitor for glucose which will give real-time blood sugar monitoring. I assume we are in the infancy of these things and soon when we are born they will insert some junk on us when we are born that will send signals to our parents when we are young and to our smart watch when we are adults that will monitor everything. Which will then start a disastrous trend of the government and health care companies monitoring us to figure out ways to charge and tax us more. Come to think of it, maybe I should just hold off on the thing for now.
I know I have mentioned this before but, we should be under no illusion that our information is safe! Today I read Anthem had a data breach of more than 80 million records. Whoever was in charge of data security is now standing on the curb with a box full of office supplies and a last check. But if we went and looked at his emails to his superiors you would probably find that he had warned them about the issues and said they needed to spend more on the things that would make them safer. What nobody out there knows is that all information is at risk. How much a company spends on keeping data secure can be measured in a straight forward way. They will spend as little as possible to comply with any standards they are required to, plus 10% for possible damage a breach would cause to the company brand. I used to watch a co-worker at a previous job walk around with his face all scrunched up looking at reports of all the leaks and vulnerabilities we had. I am not sure he slept well at night because he knew just what a house of cards it all was. I am telling you this not to scare you or to trivialize it either. You need to know that the best defense you have is you. Every time you hear about one of these if you have an account with that company go change your password, and when you do sign up give as little information to them as you can. It won’t prevent it, but it can prevent it from being used against you.
So my hair has always been a bit of a mess. When I was young and it was long it went out into a giant fro. Even when I let it grow to be half way down my back it still came up to my shoulders and then went out at a right angle. On hair stylist convinced me to try straightener only to declare it impossible after the failure. One very over-sized glandular behemoth in high school used to call me brillo pad after the dish cleaning rags found in most sinks in the eighties. So in recent years to keep it somewhat subdued I have had my wife and other use the clipper with a #2 guide and have them perform what I call the sheep shearing. Every hair cut I look at the ground and see what can only be described as gerbil sized balls of hair which used to be dark brown, but sadly are now mostly gray. Giant hair was cool, now the old pictures look ridiculous. Short hair was in, now I see kids with big hair. It seems that if you wait on fashion and hair styles they come back around every thirty years or so. Some people seem to never change waiting for it to come back around others change and never go back. I think my big hair days are gone for good, mostly because I just don’t care to have to deal with it. I am not sure that with age has come wisdom or laziness on my part.