Summer 2014 September 22 Monday (History Lessons)

64 degrees this morning. 54:13 minutes walking.

Start of a new week. Enjoyable weekend, did a little of everything. Upgrade all devices to IOS 8 except for Aliene’s. I found it works a lot better if I do it through iTunes. Also, I decided in the future I am going to get the maximum memory. The iPads had a problem with insufficient memory.

We made another small dent in “stuff” we have to donate, throw or sell to reduce the amount of stuff we have to store and haul around! This involved some of the items we relate to “events” or people, so it was a good hurtle to get across. Still need to do a bunch of books and other “stuff”.

For years I have saved some items (Persimmon Hill magazine etc., some books etc.) on the basis that some day they might be “worth something”. They probably will be “worth something” to the library to sell at their book sale.

It does make me feel good to know the items are “released” to find new owners who may use them more than we did!

This is the last day I will list “Summer 2014”. (Unless If forget!) After that, it will be “Fall 2014” and the cycle will start again.

Reading (or rather listening) to history always surprises me at something I didn’t know, forgot, or maybe just didn’t see it in the same context.

I’m listening to an audiobook on the Civil War, which currently is at the point where Lincoln is going to Washington D.C. for the inauguration.

He mentions the “Wide Awakes”, a group of really strange people, to say he least in the time around 1859 or so. I’m going to look up some more on this. It might be part of the “psychology of mobs” (and groups and perhaps cities) who end up causing people to do really strange things.

I remember an experiment in college and it was surprising (and somewhat unsettling) at how short of time it takes for mob psychology to take effect.

Another really interesting observation was about James Garfield. He was, what today, we would call a “hoarder”. He saved everything and his house was a warehouse of receipts for the smallest purchases etc. It was said he was so smart he could write in Greek with his left hand, Latin in his right hand, while lecturing on a totally different subject!

Of course, this was long before Garfield became President. At the time of the election of President Lincoln, he was a newly elected state senator and college instructor.

When I read about Lincoln, I think about our visit to the “Lincoln House”. It was a small house where Lincoln would go to get away from the White House. I had read about it and asked our guide to take me there.

I actually spent some time there just thinking of how Lincoln felt at peace at that site, getting away from the White House and the pressures of the Civil War etc. It isn’t that well known, but I saw it as a major place to visit.

The other unexpected site that somehow seemed really meaningful was the Air Force Memorial. Not just because I was in the Air Force, but because of the care and dignity in how it was done.

Another memorial that always catches me by surprise if the Korean War Memorial. It is like they are living persons actually coming out of the dark.

That’s it for now the last day of Summer, 2014, Monday, September 22, 2014.

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Summer 2014 September 21 Sunday (IOS 8)

71 degrees this morning. 55:05 minutes walking. (new walking shoes)

Strange, I always thought Fall/Autumn started on the 21st of the month, this year it is the 23rd. I didn’t research the reasons for it, but so much for my assumptions.

Completed upgrading to my iPhone to IOS 8. I always hate the way the upgrades messes up your iPhone, it seems they could do better.

However, IOS 8 is worth it, what can I say. I love being able to call “Hey Siri” and he (my voice is male) will respond, when the phone is plugged in. No need to push the button or ever look t the phone! I love it! I literally danced with joy when I found out it worked. It will work even in the car as long as it is plugged in.

While it may seem somewhat of a parlor trick, it is practical for making phone calls, sending texts and especially making notes about random thoughts you may have during the day, navigating etc.

Kali, my granddaughter, upgraded her iPhone 4S and she is equally happy with IOS 8, especially the screen keyboard, which is a lot easier to use. .

Also, the keyboard is a lot better and there are some good new apps that came with IOS 8. I am still playing with it.

I think of a lot of notes and meetings and appts. while driving, so it will be really wonderful for me.

Now, I need to upgrade Aliene’s phone and two iPads, which promises to be fun, especially if they all come up in Chinese!

Service light (not the check engine light, the service notice light) came on our car today, so we will see what our new dealer is like, when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Since we only have one car we are very careful about following preventive maintenance procedures and making sure we keep it in excellent shape.

Time is passing fast, as Aliene has the Halloween and Fall decorations up. It always brightens the house and outside area of our house up. One of the “witches” no longer lights up and moves, but it still brightens up the house.

“Data Exhaust” is the concept that we all leave a detailed record of our lives through our use of data, credit cards, etc. I kept a record last week and anyone who cared (and probably in reality no one cares), they would know exactly the time I get up (sign on to computer, etc.), time I stop at McDonalds on the way to work (credit card), time I get on the turnpike (pike pass record), time I enter the office (the security pass keeps a record), etc. throughout the day. Probably no one will ever care, but it is there anyway.

Picked up my business cards for my consulting business yesterday. Now, if I just develop some business. I don’t plan on being too active in soliciting business right now. A person who has his own consulting business is planning to provide me with some consulting opportunities. I”ll see, but at least I”ll be read if the opportunities do develop.

That’s it for now, Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Summer 2014 September 20 Saturday (It’s all Chinese to Apple)

Summer 2014 September 20 Saturday (It’s all Chinese to Apple)

72 degrees this morning. 53.33 minutes walking. (no Earthquakes!)

Update my iPhone to IOS 8 (the new operating system for Apple). It came up in CHINESE and I couldn’t change it, since I don’t read Chinese.

Most of the evening was spent with Apple support (since my iPhone was basically out of service) until finally I got with a person who knew how to correct it without the dreaded “restore” option.

Again, sometimes I think there is way too much hype in technology that is in advance of reality frequently. Not that technology isn’t wonderful, it just isn’t all it is hyped to be.

Of course, when you upgrade, it messes up all your settings, wifi etc. It seems they could take the time to make upgrading much easier.

I have Aliene’s iPhone and two iPads to upgrade so this could get interesting! At least i know it can be reversed if possible. (I also am going to back up all my devices. While they are connected to the iCloud, a lot of information would be lost if I had to restore the phone.)

Interesting day “in the field” today. T:he very first visit involved a very friendly dog with very muddy feet and he jumped up on me. I ended up with a very muddy shirt and I had to stop and buy another shirt!

I held my hand out to the dog and realized later it was good he didn’t bite!

Otherwise, the training day involved a number of new twists that indicate it will be a very interesting job with a lot of variety! Plus the bonus of a “home office” and work involving days out of the office and travel. Anyway, something different!

After a disruption of five days, my newspapers appear to have resumed delivery again (hopefully). I know the option of reading them on the internet is there, but for some reason I just don’t do it, except I usually do get a chance to review the paper I can’t get out here. I really miss the New York Times, which I feel deserves the reputation of the best newspaper printed and I do try to read it on the internet.

I still enjoy the on-line USA Today more than I like the regular newspaper and I read it during breakfast. I only read the “news”, “money” and “tech” parts and I skip all the videos, all the stories about “stars” and tv and movies and sports, so it doesn’t take me all that time to read it.

My change in schedule to taking a shower right after I walk has made a world of difference for the better. For some reason, it just makes me feel better. I know my nap is much better if I take a shower after I walk. Now, if I can just stop ”piddling” and save about enough time for a 12 minute nap right before I leave!

I actually enjoy my drive in the morning. I may have mentioned, I swing by McDonalds (no Starbucks on the way!) and get a coffee and parfait, and head down the interstate to work. It is an easy drive, and I won’t even have to worry about that after I start working at my “home office”.

Started reading Loren Easley, “The Night Country”, a book on my “round tuit” list for at least 30 years and possibly more. It was copyrighted in 1947 and my book is copyright 1971. I probably got it in about 1989 (at the library book sale), but I had planned on reading it before that, so I have had it in my possession for at least 25 years. I will read it and send it on for someone else to read. So far, I am glad I am reading it and it is making carting it around for 25 years well worth while.

I have a library card, but, oddly enough, we haven’t checked out any books. I tried to check out some audio books but haven’t had the patience to figure out how to download the books on my iPod. I am sure when I want to, I will figure it out. For years, we always had 5 or 6 library books checked out. Of course, I am behind 7 or 8 books without adding any library books and I am behind even more audio books.

Listening to a book about the Civil War during my walk. Thus far, it has been interesting and actually have provided some information about the period prior to the Civil War that I wasn’t aware of. (At this point in the book, Lincoln still hasn’t been elected.)

Enjoy your weekend!

That’s it for today, Saturday, September 20, 2014.

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Summer 2014 September 19 Friday (Remembering Fridays)

70 degrees this morning. 54:42 minutes walking. Five earthquakes during last 24 hours (one 3.40)

Training, especially field training, emphasized this week. Field Training Thursday (I started taking action rather than just observing) and a field day tomorrow. I am learning, and as I start actually doing the job duties, I learn what I don’t know as well as what I do know.

However, I know what I will learn faster if I try actually doing everything that will be part of my job when I am in the field. There is actually a lot involved, but I don’t think I will have any problem with it and find it enjoyable in a lot of ways.

Got my employee number today. Probably not a big deal in the overall scheme of things, but it is important in that I had to have it to get some access to some computer programs, sign up for health insurance etc. and some other items.!

Strange weather, a storm came in this morning and when I looked at my “weather app” (actually, I use the Memphis Channel 5 app), it showed the forecast was for “sunny” at 8:00 a.m., while actually it was high wind and rain. (Not the fault of the Channel 5 app.). I’m sure Dave Brown would have gotten it right if he was here!

Baseball season is ending, it has been a lot of fun this year. As I mentioned previously, while we are still strong Cub fans, we have become very strong St. Louis Cardinal fans. We became St. Louis fans since we saw so many of the Memphis Redbird players now playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Where we live now, we can pick up St. Louis Cardinal gams almost every night, and they are playing terrific. When the Cubs and Cardinals play each other, we just cheer for each one!

There have been a lot of really excellent Cardinal gams this past several weeks, and we have really enjoyed it. We will miss it when baseball season is over.

I like Avia walking shoes, not just because they are inexpensive, but because I really like the way they are so light and the way they fit. I used to buy them at J.C. Penny for around $27-34 a pair.

I need another pair (badly) so I went to J.C. Penny and they only had a few pair. For some reason, they had an over abundance of another type of shoe. So I decided to check the internet. I check Amazon and found a price of $70 per pair. I checked the Wal Mart internet site and found the very same shoe for around $19. Unfortunately, it was labeled as “out of Stock” , so the low price doesn’t help me much! I’ll keep checking.

Trying a new scheduled in the morning. I was walking, then checking e-mail, then taking a nap, then showering etc, and then breakfast. I decided to try to do i the way I did in Lakeland, where I walked, bicycled, showered, napped and than ate. So this morning I walked, then took a shower, shave etc., and then checked e-mail etc, then took my nap and then ate.

I think it cut down on my time (or rather time wasted), but still piddled to much.

Friday. In Lakeland I really enjoyed Friday’s, especially our evening out with friends. Still like Fridays and weekends, but I miss the activities we did in Lakeland.

September 19 of 2013 actually marks the beginning of the end, and I was actually well aware of that on September 19, It just took a while for everything to happen. I’ll go into that sometime in the future.. The result was an unfortunate end of some routines and friends we really enjoyed and well always remember, but at least we had the good fortune to have the experiences and friendships. I wouldn’t have known it if we hadn’t had the experiences and gotten to know the people we knew, but I’m sure somewhere I would have know I missed something important.

That’s it for today, Friday!, September 19, 2014.

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Summer 2014 September 18 Thursday (Car?)

75 degrees this morning. 54:06 minute walk. 8 earthquakes within the last 24 hours!

I should note most of the earthquakes are about 30 to 90 miles from us, none closer than maybe 20 miles. However…. I really don’t know what distance means to an earthquake.

Finished “Capital in the 21st Century” yesterday as I noted at the end. Finished right as I just finished lifting weights which is when I normally shut my iPod (nee iPhone) off for the morning. I think I’ll listen to something about the civill war next, have a short change of pace.

The book on Capital in the 21st Century was very interesting, especially on income inequality, the influence of debt and how wealth is passed through generations, the impact of inflation etc.

Probably the scariest thing is what happens when the 1% control the political process for their own goals.

It was good until he started presenting his ideas. Good ideas, but it will never happen.

Now that I should have time on my hands (so to speak, since I’m not supposed to work on “work” on nights or weekends like I have for the past 40 years), I am caught up in a cycle of what I can do. This has just started, so I’ll still do some thinking about it.

Used the “Consumer Reports” internet car buying service (it is a free service) and I was amazed at the results. I haven’t bought a car yet, (I will do a lot of traveling for my job and my option is to use rental cars or use my own car with limited reimbursement to the cost of the rental car in most cases) but the deal three dealers offered me was impressive to say the least. I was looking at a Toyota Camry Hybrid, since the only way I can make out on the deal is to get good gas mileage and the Camry is larger, but gets only about 5 mph less than the Prius.

The policy is if you live within 5 miles of the rental car company they have a contract with, you have to check on the cost of a rental car (including gas) if the trip is over 100 miles. ALL of my trips will be over 100 miles, so it will be a continuous thing. And, of course, I live 4.8 miles from the rental location! (We probably will move next July 1 and make sure we are at least 5 miles away from one!)

I am weighing the tax advantages of my own car, with limited reimbursement, with the hassle of having to move everything from car to car to rent a car, go pick it up etc.. Of course, the rental car has the advantage of no cost to me at all, even for insurance or gas. (We would continue to just have one car and rent a personal car for the infrequent times we need a second car.)

Since I will have a “home” office, I will basically only need a car when I am traveling. Decisions, decisions. Some of my trips will probably be as much as 500 to 750 miles or more a week, so it isn’t a minor decision. I won’t really know until I start, so I may put off the decision for awhile and talk with an accountant about the tax advantages.

I am getting closer to probably going out on my own, al least with my head trainer. I realize now an “office job” where I could never get out “in the field” would never work for me. If this job doesn’t work out, I’ll simply retire if I can’t find anything but an office job, except for trying to start a consulting business. Of course, you never know. I’d like to stay at least 6 to 8 years, I may like it so much I stay 10! Actually, so far it is a very interesting job with a lot of really nice people and the home office and travel is a real bonus.

We are starting to look at getting rid of stuff again (especially if I get a car, since we’ll need the garage!). Somehow it seems a little easier to think about getting rid of stuff again. I have a lot of stuff I hate to get rid of, but I’ll never use it, so it is best to donate it to someone who can use it. It is still a little difficult.

I find it much easier now not to buy “stuff” that I may or may not use. If it is large and I don’t know if I will use it, I don’t buy it. I try to use the “toothbrush test” with the slight (major) change that if I won’t use it at least yearly, I’m simply not going to buy it.

I really feel like some of my exercise clothes and bicycle jerseys will last forever. They just don’t wear out. Or maybe they do and I just haven’t worn them enough yet. Maybe eventually they start to sag, stink or unravel, but they haven’t yet. I’m not complaining (for what they cost they should last forever), I say that in admiration and also caution since whatever I buy I probably will have to live with the rest of my life!

Still on “hypertime” in the morning. I don’t know where in the world the time goes in the morning. I have changed my schedule (shower right after my walk) to at least give the illusion of more time.

That’s it for now, Thursday, September 18, 2014.

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Summer 2014 September 17 Wednesday (If You Can’t Win the Game, Change the Rules)

73 Degrees this morning. 54:19 minutes walking. 4 Earthquakes (one 4.2) in last 24 hours.

(Finished listening to audio recording of Thomas Piketty, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” during walk this morning. Ended right as completed weights, which couldn’t have been more perfect. Now looking forward to selecting another book to listen to during my morning walks)

I read an article today that stated “if you can’t win the game, change the rules”. Obviously that caught my attention.

It seems to make sense, in a way. Of course, you could say “if you can’t win the game, you’re in the wrong game”, or even “if you can’t win the game, who cares”. etc.

Since the article I read said “If you can’t win the game, change the rules”, I’ll dwell on that for awhile. Not sure if I will have much to say about it yet (I just read this a minute or so ago), I do plan on thinking about it.

I know a lot of people who I think “changed the rules”, depending on how you define “changed the rules” and not “changed the game”. Maybe there is no difference.

I like the concept in a broad sense. I think there are many cases where I “changed the rules” when I couldn’t win the game (or wasn’t interested in even playing the game), so the concept keeps getting a little vaguer, or maybe a little confusing.

Of course this also is one of those times when someone might say I am missing the point if I dwell on the definition of “game”, “rules” and even what “change the rules” means.

My conclusion (at this time, this is something I need to mull around in my head while exercising etc.) is that you “change the rules” by defining your own game as to what you want. Therefore, you probably aren’t even playing the same game as someone else, so your performance or progress or even if you are “winning” may only depend on how you define what the game actual is and what winning actually is.

In my mind “winning the game” means doing what is important to you and not letting anyone else define what your game even is, much less the rules or if you won or not.

Looking back, I can see instances where I “changed the rules”, even “changed the game” and certainly times I didn’t even realize there were any rules, much less a game.

I think my objective in the future will be to avoid being in any game I don’t want to be, recognizing a games if there is one, defining my own “rules” and even what “winning the game” is. That is the only way to play it.

Well, that discussion certainly turned out different than I originally intended! One of the reasons I love writing this blog.

I still like the concept of “changing the rules if you can’t win the game”. I think it has a certain flair to it.

Head cold is just about through. Still a few little reminders of it, but basically, thank goodness, I am almost back to normal.

Completed a “field day” of training today after the “office day” of training yesterday. I realize I won’t know how much I actually know until I try it myself.

One item I will need to emphasize is the need to document absolutely everything I do (officially that is). The documentation of exactly what actions you take, who you talk with (and why) etc. is new to me. Since I understand the need for this documentation, I think I will adjust swiftly to it.

One aspect I really like about it is that it is something different every day, I will have a “home office” and it will be enjoyable working “in the field” with people as part of the job. Did I change the rules or the game, or did I just find the right game?

That’s it for today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Summer 2014 September 16 Tuesday (Training)

73 degrees this morning, 56:09 minutes walked. 3 earthquakes since yesterday morning (4.2, 3.2, 2.6)

Spent day yesterday training in what I will do in my home office. It was interesting and I could see how many of the records wove together with the field work. It involves a lot of paperwork just documenting what you did.

My head cold is almost over, thank goodness. I felt somewhat “under water” yesterday, but generally just felt tired and and generally without a lot of energy. At last I am feeling better.

Hopefully I can get back to bicycle riding soon. Seeing bike riding posts on Facebook reminded me of my “ride with the summer”, which I am still planning on doing, although 2014 and 2015 were possibilities and I doubt that I will be able to do it in 2015. Of course you never know.

I thought of the “ride with the Summer” , starting off in south Texas and “riding with the Summer” to Canada on my bicycle, meaning riding as the warm weather arrives, not literally the June 21 of Summer. In fact by June 21, I would expect to be well done with the “ride with the Summer”. In fact, last Winter when I thought about it, I realized I would need to define how I would define “Summer”. I think it would have to be dependent on the starting point and then just a steady ride north.

I though about it last Spring (or actually as the winter progressed), I decided I had more important aspects to look at. Of course, “if I had known what I know now.” I probably would have gone ahead.

On the other hand, I doubt that I could have gone on the China trip if I had decided on “riding with the summer bike ride and, “knowing what I know”, I never would have missed the trip to China. Things just fell together.

I am still working on the photographs of the China Trip. I enjoy seeing the pictures, they really bring back the memories of the trip.

I hope the “ride with the Summer” has the same impact on my life. I am still saying “when” I do it and not “if” I will do it. I do plan on setting up some goals for me to make the “ride” so I can start progressing towards the actual “Ride with the Summer”.

In regard to my MacBook Air, thus far the screen has not cut out at all. I am keeping it away from magnets and helpfully that is really the problem.

The local paper has not been delivered for five days straight! I am amazed that this could occur. (The Wall Street Journal is delivered with the local paper, so it also was not delivered). I adjusted well, I think. I believe they were doing a major update of their computer system or maybe had a major problem with the carrier in this area, or maybe both. Today I got an e-mail stating that the problem had been resolved.

What is really strange is that Sunday, after I complained about not receiving the Sunday paper, I receive the Saturday edition (of the Sunday paper) and the Sunday New York Times, which I had been advised was not delivered in my area yet! I expect there is a lot more involved in printing a paper every day and delivering it that I realize!

Soon it will be a year since the election in Lakeland, with my realization that my world was going to change. Obviously, it did. I’m not going to say it was “for the best” because it frankly wasn’t. But it did allow me to things such as the China and discover aspects of myself and life I otherwise wouldn’t have know. Perhaps, in ten years I will look at it in perspective and say it was “for the best”, but I really doubt it.

That’s it for today, Tuesday, September 16, 2014.

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