Thursday, March 15, 2018

I fall to pieces...

I just learned that I need rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder.  I'm left handed of course.  The doc says that there is a six week no moving it at all and then a 4-6 month limited movement recovery time.  I absolutely don't want to do this but the pain is now keeping me awake at night so it appears I have no choice.

The surgery will take place in about a month so I am in a count-down to do the things I like to do and want to do before I am immobilized.  Did I mention no driving for at least some of the time after the surgery?

I feel this will be the times that try men's and women's souls.  I don't do well as a patient and the Missus is good for about 3 days of being a nurse.  After that her first sergeant persona kicks in and she expect the sick, lame, and lazy to get out of bed and get back to work, or else. 

This isn't going to be fun for anyone.

Stay tuned.

Written in concrete

On my walk today with Kerby the wonder dog I noticed someone had written their name and date in the concrete of a driveway, presumably when the concrete was poured.  It was from the 80s. 

I've seen this sort of thing many times over the years in my daily rambles.  In the older sections of Los Angeles I noted where the sidewalk constructors had stamped the company name and date from the 1920s.  In Glendale I saw the same thing from the '30s.  One route that I walked 5 days a week from the train station to my job and back had the outline of baby shoe soles, a name and a date from the mid '80s.  That baby is possibly a father himself by now.  Does he take his child to see his shoe marks that his parent did for him 30 years ago?

The sidewalk not too far from my house used to have the names of two boys and the date of 1971 scratched into the then-wet concrete.  One boy was Lance and the other name escapes me but it seemed so perfect for the era.  In 1971 I was a junior in high school.  What grade was Lance and his pal in?  Where are they now?   Sadly, several years ago the city had to do some work on the that section of the sidewalk and Lance's name was jackhammered out and carted off.  So much for eternal fame.

Somewhere around Grouch estates the Missus inscribed young son's name and date in wet concrete on one of our building projects.  I don't know where it is but when the next owner moves in, will they wonder about his name and date and ask the same questions that I have when I see this sort of thing?  Who was he and where is he now?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Movie review: 'Annahilation'

Young son talked me into seeing the movie "Annihilation" this past Saturday.  I must admit I was cool to the idea of seeing it as I had seen the trailer for it previously and it seemed like the usual monster chase/women in distress/science mumbo-jumbo type of movie.

I was wrong.

The movie is a very thoughtful yet suspenseful movie that will require you to pay attention, connect the dots, and understand why things are happening in the movie.

It has gotten great reviews and has resonated with people who see different meanings in the purpose of the movie.  One blogger feels that it is an analogy for the experience of cancer in people.  Another sees it as a metaphor for emotional depression.

Don't let the trailer fool you - this isn't a monster horror movie (although there are some scary parts) 

I must admit that the main character greatly shocked and disappointed me in a personal choice she made in her life, but that choice was integral to her motivation.  Pay attention - the clues will be there as the movie unrolls.  I missed them until the choice was revealed.

A great movie and one that I will keep in my emotional collection of great flicks.  Go see it.

4 out of 4 stars.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Mysterious Light

In our bedroom resides a ceiling fan that is a marvel of modern technology.  It has no switch nor pull cord to turn it on and off.  Rather, all functions are controlled through a remote, just like a TV.  This remote does all sort of nifty things such as turning on the light that is in the base of the fan.  That is, we turn on and off the light and use the remote to do so.

At least, that's what we thought until about a month ago when the Missus told me that she was finding that the light was turning itself on around 6:30 in the morning about 2-3 times a week.  Then it stopped.  Then it started doing it again.  But never on the weekend (thank goodness!).

So, I thought the remote's batteries were getting weak and causing the light to come on (why, who knows?) but no, even with a change of batteries the light still came on randomly during the week, now between 6:10 and 6:30 in the morning.

I finally broke down and called for help.  I spoke to the nice lady at the fan company who reminded me that the remote is, after all, a radio transmitter and the fan is, after all, a radio receiver.  Furthermore, due to the limited frequencies available to such devices it is conceivable that someone else's remote device is triggering our fan's light!

Since this just started in the last couple of months possibly our neighbor installed a similar fan in their house and when they roll out of bed around 6 to 6:30 in the morning and turn on their overhead light, it is turning on ours too!  Why, the nerve of them!

So what's the fix?  Change the frequency settings via the teeny, tiny DIP switches in our remote and fan.  No sweat for the remote because even with my weakening eyes I am able to see those teeny, tiny switches (all four of them) and turn one of them from 'up' to 'down' and presumably change the device frequency.  No problem.

The problem lay with the fan itself.  It is a low clearance model which means it is smack against the ceiling.  The teeny, tiny DIP switches are in a tiny opening that is on top of the fan housing with no way in God's green earth to actually see them!

The fan.  Isn't it lovely?

The solution?  Yankee ingenuity!  The tools?  One each aluminum stepladder (check).  One each stainless dental pick (check).  One each Samsung Galaxy 7 phone with camera (check).  Ok, ready to deploy.

the tiny port to access the teeny, tiny DIP switches.  Notice the ceiling?

Standing on the ladder with my head scraping the popcorn ceiling material off and onto my hair, I positioned the phone over the tiny port for the teeny, tiny DIP switches and used the view on the phone to probe with the dental pick.  Of course the image was reversed so I had to move opposite of what I was seeing on the screen.  Most of the time the image was out of focus but randomly and just for about 5 seconds it would solidify into perfect clarity at which time I carefully positioned the dental pick by a switch - any switch, it didn't matter dagnabbit, and tried to pull it to the down position.  Let me say it was harder than it sounds here, and I think it sounds hard here.

Ultimately I succeeded and after coordinating the remote to the same setting, everything worked!

The true test is if the light comes back on again.  If it does, I'm going next door and telling my neighbor it is his turn to change his DIP switches.  Good luck to him.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Happy 40th!

Happy anniversary today to my love of 40 years.
The Missus followed me across the ocean and then across the country as we made our home in Germany and five states.
She has been my everything and my reason for being for these 40 years. to paraphrase a movie character: "She makes me want to be a better man". I love you so much, dearest!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lord Huron

Notice how TV shows these days employ songs as part of the show?  I don't mean like as in a musical but as part of the dramatic flow of the show. 

I've listened and liked several songs from various shows and used my mad internet skills to find a website that identifies the songs from the shows.  It is

All that said, here's my latest find, the group Lord Huron.  Their videos are pretty cool too!

The Corporate world and stress

Regular readers of this blog know that I recently exchanged the life of a wage slave for that of the contentedly temporarily retired. 

The upside of this change has been for my health:  While laboring as the before mentioned wage slave my blood pressure was regularly in the 135/90 range and that is with leading a fairly active life with walking 3 miles a day and eating sort of ok.   Since leaving the daily grind my blood pressure as been in the 120/80 or less  when checked at the doctor's office (I'm doing a lot of catch-up on doctor appointments).  I also lost average weight since stopping work at the stress factory.

Once I knew I was leaving my job I was able to watch and really listen to my colleagues during the boss's staff meetings.  The anxiety in their voices and on their faces was telling.  They too were being squeezed in that stress vise. 

Stress kills and we all need to somehow figure out how to negate the effects of it on our bodies and our lives.

I feel very fortunate to have escaped before it did me in.