Summer 2014 August 20 Wednesday (Earthquakes)

79 degrees this morning. Walk of 55;41 minutes. (bicycle ride yesterday morning of approximately 44 minutes)

Happy Birthday Katherine! 12 years old today!

Earthquake measuring around 4.2 yesterday, probably about 20 miles away. Anyway, strong enough and near enough to show up on the iPhone “App” as an earthquake. (It only reports at least 2.5 minimum earthquakes). There are about three 2.5 earthquakes per day around here, according to the app. Most of them are about 20 miles away

Aliene, and many other people, felt the earthquake. I was out riding my bike and I didn’t feel a thing. Aliene said she felt it and she didn’t really care for it! It was large enough that social media posted on it a lot and the quake made the news.

Some of the damage is street cracks etc. The image of the street suddenly opening up as I ride isn’t a nice thought!

When we moved to Memphis, I heard about the “big one” (Earthquake- which was coming. I wondered if I rally wanted to live with the possibility of such an earthquake. In 1804 Memphis had an earthquake so severe the Mississippi actually flowed backward.

We never did buy earthquake insurance. At first, our insurance policy covered earthquake damage with a $25,000 deductible, then they canceled it completely.

We are seriously thinking about not buying a house here, just based on the number of earthquakes here and the fact it is difficult and expensive to find insurance. Of course there is also a school of thought that if the “big one” comes, it really doesn’t matter whether you have insurance or not.

Our orientation continues. We had an appointment with our primary card doctor today, I feel we will be happy with him and the clinic. We finally got our drivers license yesterday and are taking car of similar “getting established” items.

I have my final work on my teeth implant next week. Should be a relatively simple procedure. I would recommend it, although I would highly recommend getting a detailed estimate of costs. My procedure is costing about $2,000 more than I was led to believe it was going to cost, and that it still isn’t over.

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Summer 2014 August 19 Tuesday (Food)

75 degrees this morning. Walked 57.17 minus. Rode bike about 44 minutes yesterday.
Weather has been threatening, but so far it has gone around us.

School is starting for Kali and Katherine today. Seeing them go to school reminds me of when I was that age.

Going in to get our new Drivers License today. They have an unbelievable requirement that we have to go in and bring our current license plus our birth certificate. What is so bad about it is we went to the Drivers License Office and there was a four hour wait, even if you just wanted to ask a question. Of course,most of the people there were waiting to get take their driving test etc., and no provision was made for someone who just needed to get some paperwork completed.

Somehow, time got away from me this morning. I am always amazed at how time early in the morning seems to go so fast (I call it “hyper time”) and if I’m not careful, the time seems to disappear.

Plan to be starting work in two weeks and I think I was thinking about how I will adjust my schedule and I learned very fast how not to reschedule my activities! I know I will need to adjust my actives, or maybe the better term is to set priorities. My top priority will be my walk, and obviously I need to take time to eat breakfast and take a shower/shave etc and take a nap.. I would like to keep my bike ride and the timing on this journal, but everything may not be possible.

I will need to make some difficult decisions about my morning schedule, but I knew it would happen eventually.

Over the past several years, I have become much more aware of the influence of the food I eat on my life. Aliene’s experience with Gluten intolerance, my experience with the positive results of restricting carbs, indicates it is important.

I am getting several books on this recommended to me. I am especially interested in foods that can supply “natural” energy plus are healthy.

As I have mentioned previously, peanut butter is one of my favorite foods. It has a lot of good qualities, but I realize everything should be in balance and avoid extremes. I’ll keep researching it and try some different approaches.

Currently I emphasize avoiding carbs, except the carbs I get in fruits and vegetables etc. I don’t try to restrict. I try to avoid bread and potatoes and just eat them infrequently.

Going for my bike ride.

That’s it for now, Tuesday, August 19, 2014.

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Summer 2014 August 18 Monday (Toothbrush Test)

79 degrees this morning. However, there was a fierce looking storm coming in. By the time I finished my walk, the wind was up and it looked like it was about to storm.

Walk was 54.21 minutes. I realized this morning that I need to develop another route, for possible stormy weather. At the furtherest extreme, I am 25 minutes away from home. Around here, 25 minutes can be a long time if it starts raining. I can only run so fast! I was surprised to see how fast it came in (from the north) on what seemed a storm a long ways off.

I read a quote tho morning about Google’s decision on how to purchase companies, the “Toothbrush Test” something to the effect of “Buy it only if you are going to use it at least once or twice a day and it is going ot make your life better”.

I think I will start using the “Toothbrush Test” as a consideration when I buy something! May be a way of reducing “stuff”. I may take it one step further and make it a test on what I keep. While the “use it once or twice a day” may have to be relaxed somewhat (such as clothes etc.) and I would need to use some common sense (for example, luggage isn’t used every day, but it would not be smart to not have any), it still makes a good test.

Another interesting item the story mentioned (it was a story in the New York Times), was that many tech companies have their own Investment Bankers and don’t pay the huge fees investment bankers etc. received. Made my heart feel good to hear that. Ever since I heard about investment bankers ordering $8,000 bottles of wine, I figured they had to be overcompensated for what they do, and probably make huge contributions to make sure they can keep charging excessive huge fees. Same as with “Private Equity” companies.

Anyway, I will start reviewing stuff to donate/toss/sell with the “Toothbrush Test” in mind and see how I have to modify it as I implement it. I will also think about it before I buy anything.

Interesting program Saturday morning streaming live on the computer, the “Bagpipe finals” (this may be a very loose translation). Anyway, it was interesting because it was live, and the commentators gave their frank opinions of the performances. The performances seemed to me to be perfect. I don’ t know how they can blow so long, I guess long time practice.

A friend who is a very accomplished bag piper mentioned it was on to me (it was streamed live, which means it was on from about 3:30 a.m..

That shows the difference in just the last few years, when I read the New York Times on my computer or iPad and watch a live bagpipe contest on my computer! I do wish I could have recorded it , I think I can do it. Another item for y “do do list.

My experiment at reading something I ordinary wouldn’t read “15 minutes a day” is not proceeding well. It goes well when I think of it, but it just seems like there is too much to do! I have a stack of “Cliff Notes” (actually a lot of different summaries) about a foot high. If I don’t start reading them I am going to give up and donate them! Not really, not as long as the possibility exists I will eventually read them. Maybe the “Toothbrush Test” should be applied here! Or maybe not.

Maybe the Toothbrush Test should be changed to “once or twice per year” for some items, such as luggage, clothes,

I just realized my tooth implants are costing a lot more than I was led to believe and the final stage may even include additional charges. One Dentist I had gave me detailed charges before I had anything done, and I am going to insist on that after this. I think it is only fair.

The “Toothbrush Test”. It always makes me happy to find at least one thing I can use in may daily reading etc.!

That’s it for today, Monday, August 18, 2014.

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Summer 2014 August 17 Sunday (Wired Magazine)

66 degrees this morning.

Wired magazine is one of those magazines that I may read one time and wonder why I continue subscribing and the next issue is full of wondrous information that I wonder why this is the only place I read the informaton.

Probably the most memorable article was the one about Twitter, before it became popular. I got some Twitter accounts in my own name (@RobertWherry, @RobrerPaulWherry) as well as some other favorite names before Twitter became popular. The article was generally positive although the author couldn’t really say why he or she was positive about having it restrict a message to 140 Characters. They just said it was a new means of communication and I don’t think even they forecast the social and political impact.

I also read Chris Anderson “The Long Tail” article in Wired and read the book by the same name, the concept that (I hope I get this right) that on the internet, the cost of carrying unlimited selection (niches) approaches zero. (Maybe I need to reread the book). However, it is early in the morning and I really haven’t thought about this concept for a while.

Another Wired article was about the concept of using living cells for computing to speed up computers and storage. Haven’t heard much about this lately, although the other day I did read something similar to this (on Twitter, oddly enough).

Oh the other side, I read about the novel “Snow Crash” in Wired and read the book. Not the normal type of book I read, but I was fascinated by it. I also was amazed that,at the time, a copy of the original book (I got a reprinted paperback) sold for something like $3,000! Just for the heck of it, I checked e-Bay and found a signed, first edition for $750, still more than I would pay for a book! They also had copies for .99.

Anyway, it is one of those magazines that are well worth the time and money, even if I toss some issues and wonder why I continue to subscribe. The next issue will probably have at least one article that makes me think!

The latest one (that I read anyway), has an article on Quantum computers, rather “A” Quantum computer (there is only one and only one chip) built by a company called D-WAVE.

The article states that “if” this actually is a quantum computer (no one knows for sure what one is), and “If” they can figure out how to use it, it will be as big a breakthrough as the computer itself, since it will be so much faster and performs calculations in a completely new way. That is roughly what I took from a quick scan of the article. This is one of those articles I need to read when I can concentrate and dissect exactly what it is trying to say.

Anyway, Wired magazine is one of those magazines that occasionally has a lot of valuable information among the fluff.

I recently read where Twitter officials were agonizing about how to change Twitter, with one expectation being that the 140 character lime would probably be raised, although I haven’t read that anywhere else.

I recently subscribed to “Next Issue”, which has over 100 magazines I can read for around $9 per month. I still haven’t decided if they are abridged copies or not. I am going to compare an actual magazine to it and see if it really is an exact copy of not. It does give me the opportunity to read magazines I normally wouldn’t read, which I enjoy.

The main problem is, I enjoy reading magazines while I take a long whirlpool bath after exercising. A magazine on my iPad or iPhone doesn’t do me a lot of good there! I know I can buy a waterproof case (my granddaughter, Kali, had one from a friend I believe that she even took into the swimming poo), so l’ll need t check that out.

I had planned to write about food, and some interesting books I was referred to, but I guess that is for another day.

That’s it for now, Sunday, August 17, 2014.

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Summer 2014 August 16 Saturday (On Being A Fan)

66 degrees this morning. Almost feel like winter is coming, except it does warm up during the day.

Expect some information to confirm about employment situation in the near future!

Other than that, summer is rapidly ending, at least the summer as measured by swimming pools being open, school vacation, baseball etc.

Speaking of baseball, somehow, the St. Louis Cardinals have probably become “our” team, although the Chicago Cubs are still “our” team also. We watched the Memphis Redbirds and saw so many players promoted from the Memphis Redbirds to the St. Louis Cardinals, the players became “our” players and then morphed into the St. Louis Cardinals being “our” team with players we had literally watched come up from the beginning. It was fun and we will miss the Memphis Redbirds very much. We hope to go to one more Redbirds game at Autozone. (If you need any tickets, let me know, we have a bunch we can’t use!)

There is an AAA minor league team where we live, but it just isn’t the same. We can’t really develop any feeling of loyalty to a new team right now, especially one that plays our beloved Memphis Redbirds. Maybe next year, maybe never. Sometimes you just have to move on, sometimes you never move on and you just remember the good memories. (Maybe we will attend the games when the Memphis Redbirds play and cheer them on as “visitors”.)

We are lucky that where we are at now, almost every St. Louis Cardinals game is televised for some reason we aren’t sure of. We just hope it continues. They are televised more than the team that has the logical local support.

Although we aren’t pro basketball fans, the Memphis Grizzles will always hold a special place because the team, both as a team and the individual players, were so good to and for the Memphis community and they kind of grew up with us. The Memphis Grizzles were just starting when we came to Memphis, so we kind of grew up with the excitement.

Of course, we will also always follow and support the University of Memphis Basketball, football and baseball teams (actually all sports, but especially the basketball). Except when they play OU, if ever!

I was pleased to get some reinforcement feedback that it shows I am losing weight since we moved. Maybe the exercise if paying off! Now, I need to start controlling my eating, especially peanut butter. For a while I actually quit eating peanut butter when I realized how many calories (especially fat calories) it had. However, I soon made an exception for peanut butter, just as I do for Oatmeal for carbs! I still eat too much and I hope to start limiting myself. It is especially difficult when I eat out, especially when I am traveling.

Next week, we will begin the process of associating ourselves with new Doctors etc. You always feel a little tentative when starting with a new medical professional (Doctor, Dentist, specialists etc.) and are relieved if they appear to be ok. I have decided if I feel the slightest discomfort about whether the Doctor/Dentist etc. is “right” for me, I may am going to go to another one. Life is too short to see a medical professional I don’t feel comfortable with. My comfort level is actually fairly high. As long as they take the time to listen etc., I will probably be all right.

Happened to go to a Starbucks with the new “Google Internet”. That internet is FAST. Since then, I stopped by a Starbucks with regular internet and really noticed the difference. The Google Internet literally flew on the page!

Enjoy McDonalds coffee occasionally (it’s the only cup I can drink while I drive). I miss the “breakfast parfait”. It is a real bargain for just $1.00! However, I really don’t have any reason to go by since I now have internet at home.

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Summer 2014 August 15 Friday (Shorts , Tee Shirts and Scandals-Summer of 14)

Summer 2014 August 15 (Friday)

63 degrees this morning.

Thinking yesterday that it is probably the first time since I can remember that I spent most of my summer days wearing shorts, a tee shirt and scandals, with some exceptions when I wore a suit or “business causal “ for a specific meeting. Probably the last summer I will do so for years also. I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it!

Completed the next to last appointment on my “tooth implant” procedure. It was more uncomfortable than I expected and about twice as expensive as I anticipated. Ouch! The final procedure is scheduled in two weeks, which means it will be just a few days short of a year long process.

Read this morning about private investment firms again “betting” on the misfortune of the “common person”, this time “betting” on electoral outages and “winning’ millions of dollars in a day. Sounds familiar to the banks that “bet” on people losing their houses and then generally taking actions to make sure it happened. When is this going to stop? The money is coming from customers who can’t afford to keep supporting these rackets!

The story in the New York Times was the first time I had ever read of the “betting” on electrical outages. What a racket! I am sure, that just like the “special tax preference” that “private equity” firms receive, it is a result of “political contributions” and “connections”.

A recent story by he New York Times on a Starbucks employee and the irregular hours apparently is resulting in Starbucks starting new policies on employee scheduling. Again, computers are used for scheduling resulting in employees working on extremely short notice, being sent home after only a few hours of work and then called back etc. Again “financial profit targets” are used to justify this. (I’m not sure what to think of this yet, except I can see the frustration and inconvenience it creates for probably the lowest paid personnel, especially persons with families. On the other hand, I can see the point of businesses that they can’t pay personnel just to sit around. Seems like there is a good answer someplace that is fair to both parties. Maybe businesses aren’t planning very well and need to plan better and utilize personnel better.

On another subject, I often (will, occasionally anyway) wonder about the little certificates attached to gas station pumps and elevators. Who really inspects these? What does the certificate really mean? I don’t think I have ever seen a gas pump shut down, so I wonder who really inspects the pumps for correctness? While I expect gas stations owners are generally honest, when I see the number of gallons sent through the gas pump, only “cheating” by a small fraction could raise a substantial amount of money.

I’m sure it has happened, but I have never seen a gas station owner charged with having mis-measuring gas pumps! I will run an internet search on it and see what I find.

Same with building elevators. I wonder who actually inspects them? Are they like airplanes, they have to do a certain amount of preventive maintenance each year? I don’t obsess on this, but I wonder about it enough that I occasionally have a queasy feeling when I get on an elevator that creaks and moans. Again, I need to do an internet search on this!

I think it is easy for me to say, concerning the above, especially the electrify racket, and how to schedule personnel that ‘“I can’t do anything about it, so I won’t worry about it”, but if I don’t worry about it, who will? Nothing would ever get corrected with that attitude!

Looking forward to visiting with some friends this weekend. Good food, good friends, good coffee and warm weather. Hard to beat that combination!

That’s it for now, Friday, August 15, 2014.

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Summer 2014 August 14 Thursday (Dentists, Doctors and the Wheel of Fortune)

64 degrees this morning. I am somewhat amazed by the low morning temperatures, I’m not sure if this is normal or if Memphis had higher morning temperatures due to the low altitude.

Appointment today for getting the molds for the final teeth implant procedure. Then one more visit to get them installed and it will be complete. The real pain will be in my wallet! Fortunately, a large part of the procedure was paid by dental insurance, although since I no longer have dental insurance, it is on me now.

Health and dental insurance is one of those “wheel of fortune” items. If you have it and need it, the Wheel of Fortune stopped in the right place. If you don’t need it and have it, at least you don’t have to worry about it. if you don’t have it and need it, well…..tough! Fortunately, I have some medical reimbursement funds set aside that will help, but it also means my balance will decrease for future medical expenses!

Dental visits are always somewhat difficult for me. Over the year, I have learned to deal with it, but I always wonder about the high rate of “crowns” that are installed. I saw one dentist for almost ten years and then finally quit going to him when it seemed that he had gotten money hungry, trying to prescribe all kinds of procedures and crowns. The first few years he was pretty good, but then something must have happened. The final “straw that broke the camels back” for me was when he charged me $53 for a replacement brush for a electronic toothbrush he had sold me. (I should have known better than to buy it from him, I”ll never do that again.). I never returned after being charged that and I never used the toothbrush again.

I hate to give up the dentist I am seeing now, it is so hard to find a new dentist you can trust not to try to “goldplate” everything and recommend high cost procedures like crowns. You really think about it, dentists have no oversight. Dental Insurance limits are so low and are really prepaid dental costs, not insurance, and they will approve almost anything recommended by the dentist, I have found.

I emphasized that I have found most dentists are professionals and I trust their judgement. It is just that one bad one can do so much damage and undermine your faith in dentists when they prescribe too many crowns, or super expensive procedure etc.

We are finally getting into the phase of moving I dislike the most, which is having to change to all new Doctors and other service professionals (I include barbers etc. among these.) We have appointments next week with a potential new main doctor and then I have a slew of specialists (Dermatologist, foot doctor etc.) I need to establish a new relationship with.

Probably the worst part is when they feel they have to run all the basic tests again (not just the normal physicals etc.). I am going to make sure I like the Doctor before I get involved in that.

Oddly enough for me (and those of you who know me will know what i mean), a new barber can be the hardest fo me. I tried a new barber and got an absolutely horrible haircut. It was right before the family reunion. One thing about a bad haircut is that it will grow out. It isn’t like a an unneeded dental appointment or unnecessary medical procedure!

On to another subject, my favorite, the passage of time. As I wrote in the date “August 14”, it just hit me how fast time has gone. I also realized that I had missed the August 13 deadline for getting the free dessert at Firebirds! (Those of you who have eaten at Firebirds will know what I mean!) However, 2015 will soon be here.

I think it is especially (difficult isn’t the right word) when you are “in transition” and know that your entire world will change at some point, as I wait to see where the Wheel of Fortune stops.

That’s it for now, Thursday, August 14, 2014.

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