The War Against Pedestrians

Had to put a little cash in the bank today, so I went to the Bank Of America over on Park Boulevard just west of 49th Street here in Pinellas Park.  Unlike my debacle there back on December 3rd, things went smoothly this time.

On the walk home, I encountered three separate incidents where cars were parked in the crosswalks to where I had to get out of my designated areas because drivers couldn’t stay in theirs.  Maybe it’s the holidays, maybe people were just in a hurry today, but the motto of the day seemed to be: when it doubt, stick it out.

So I can only hope the Pinellas Park Police Department reads this blog and starts cracking down.  Pedestrians and drivers should share the road, and drivers shouldn’t be allowed to force pedestrians out of the crosswalk to get across the street.

Have a great weekend, and a Happy New Year.  I’ll be back on January 2nd, 2013, Lord willing and if the creek doesn’t rise.

The Pilgrimage To Wally World

So yesterday, I took the 40 minute walk over to the local Walmart when the store reopened at 6am the day after Christmas.  Wanted to get in, and get out.  As Bill Murray said in Stripes, it’s like going into Wisconsin.

I thought there would be a big crowd there when the store opened, but that was hardly the case.  You only get big crowds at a Walmart reopen the day after Thanksgiving.

So I worked my way to the back center of the building, the Electronics section.  I had to get one of those DVD-ROM games to go with the Xbox 360 I received for Christmas.  I was hoping that the Madden 13 game would be there.  No such luck.  You would think they would stock up on them during the holiday break, but not to be.

But I had given this scenario some thought.  And I decided that in that event, I would get NCAA Football 13 instead.  So, I may do a review of the game for The Wide World Of Simulated Sports blog that I also run.

These video games have very addicting qualities to them.  Reminds me of that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “The Game” where the whole crew gets addicted to this futuristic video game that uses the brain and eyes as controllers.  I found the realism of the NCAA game quite interesting, and five or six hours had passed before I knew it.

When distraction becomes an addiction, it can’t bode well for society as a whole.  Or can it?

The Unexpected Gift

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Still in shock that I was the recipient of an Xbox 360, December 24th, 2012.

I didn’t do too badly for someone who thought the world might be ending a few short days ago.  The Windows 8 computer was supposed to be it in terms of Christmas gifts for me, which was fine, since that’s all I wanted.

Over the weekend, my mother was peppering me with questions about Blu-Ray DVD players. as this was going to be a gift for her boyfriend for his Christmas.  So when I see her again on Sunday morning, she’s sporting not one DVD box, but two.  I asked her who else was getting a Blu-Ray, and she responds that I was getting one as well.  I wound up with a Sony, the boyfriend got a Panasonic.  My first thoughts were: why me?  I already had the gizmos a Blu-Ray player has on the Windows 8 computer, like Pandora and Netflix.  I guess she thought that I figured out how to set up the DVD system for myself, setting one up for her boyfriend would be a cinch.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve.  Just before I left the boyfriend’s house, I get this bag for Christmas from him.  Having been over to his house before to watch some Buccaneers games this fall, I noticed he had an Xbox 360 with a Kinect device, and he mentioned he was trying to get rid of it for a good price.  I open up the bag, and there it was.  My mom had bought it off of him!  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy the Christmas haul, but it far exceeded my expectations.

If I was 18, I guess I’d be saying “Wow!”

But at 41, I can’t help but ask “Why?”

So later on this morning, I’m off to Walmart, hopefully to quick up Madden 13, but I have several backup plans in place if the popular video game isn’t at the store for the big post-Christmas rush.  Might be there when the store re-opens at 6am, as the Tampa Bay area is supposed to get some stormy weather around midday as a cold front passes through the area.

I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday, as I know I’m already looking forward to 2013.

Merry Christmas!

This will be my last post here prior to Christmas.  I wish all of you viewers and your families a Merry Christmas, and I will be back posting away on December 26th.

The older I get, the more of a love-hate relationship I have with Christmas.  As I often say, I think Christmas brings out our best, but it also brings back our worst.  I’m not an overly religious person, I’m what I call a “social liberal” in many ways.

Personally, I don’t think it would hurt to get back to the values of what Christmas is; the birth of Jesus Christ.  I think the holiday often turns into a sideshow of commerce.  What about people how don’t have money and other assets to spend on the latest toys?

Just a thought.

Will This Wind Be So Mighty…

A lot of people think that the world will end or significantly be altered in two or three days, since the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st, 2012.

Whether or not that’s true, who knows.  But it does strike me as a bit silly.

Speaking of silly, here’s a sketch called “The End Of The World” by a comedic group called Beyond The Fringe.  Peter Cook plays the role of the doom seer, with Dudley Moore playing the role of the raspy voiced questioner.

Of course, both Cook and Moore have both passed on.  The rest of us will just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Hallelujah

I’m not a big fan of the talent based reality shows, mainly because I think these kind of shows could be easily rigged.  And I really didn’t want to talk about the Connecticut school shootings a third straight time.  Such sadness so close to the holiday season; it’s not a good place to be.

However, the NBC show The Voice did something last night that caught my attention.  I love a good version of the song “Hallelujah” originally done by Leonard Cohen.  K.D. Lang came along and (in my opinion) perfected the song, and there are other good versions out there.

Then there was this version last night….breathtaking.  If it doesn’t put a lump in your throat, check yourself for a pulse.

…To Touch The Face Of God

Our nation still reels from the shocking events that took place in Connecticut on Friday, where 27 people were slain by a mad young man, 26 at a school, 20 of them children aged six or seven.

It is a tragedy that defies words and logic.  Our President tearfully vowed change will come as a result, and his side of the aisle will follow in lock step behind him.  The problem is; will that other side of the aisle join him or oppose him?  The National Rifle Association are big players in the GOP, and I’m sure they will want to safeguard against what they may consider a power grab by the President.  And it’s quite right for a political process to have checks and balances.

Obama’s speech on Friday reminded me of how President Reagan consoled the country on another equally sad day on January 28, 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.  It didn’t matter what “team” you were on, you found the words soothing.  We all lost on that January day in ’86, just as we all lost once more on Friday.

I don’t know what the future holds, and I hope sanity and common ground will prevail when we answer the questions of how we can all prevent shootings like these from occurring.  All I know is that 28 people have touched the face of God, way before their time.

I’m getting tired of seeing these kind of incidents.

It needs to stop.

It needs to stop NOW.

An Unspeakable Tragedy

In the little over a year I’ve been doing this blog, this is easily the hardest blog I’ve ever done.

I heard of a school shooting in Connecticut this morning, but I had no idea how big the shooting was until I turned CNN on at 1pm.  Most of the time, I want to get the latest news of an ongoing story.  This is one of the times in my life I wish I hadn’t.

As of 1:10pm ET on December 14th (and remember please that these stories can rapidly change, so by the time you see it, it may have) there are reportedly 26 or 27 people that have been killed in a school in Newtown, Connecticut.  Among those killed, at least 10 but possibly as many as 18 on them are children.

Putting this post together, I was thinking about how I feel about gun control.  And I thought, well, I’m in favor of anyone but idiots being able to get guns.  Another thought came to mind: well, isn’t that in itself gun control?  I suppose so.

My own town of Pinellas Park has been hit with a school shooting, back in 1988.  When I was a junior at Largo High School when it happened, and the teacher wounded and the assistant principal killed each used to teach at LHS.

Do I have answers?  No.  I’m just getting real tired of seeing this over and over again.  At Columbine.  At Virginia Tech.  At Belsan, Russia.  At Dunblane, Scotland.  And now Newtown, Connecticut joins that list.

If you pray, doing so might not be a bad idea.  These are children that are gone that won’t get to open up presents probably already bought for them, and adults probably with children of their own who don’t get to share in each others Christmases this year and forevermore.

God bless the people of Newtown, Connecticut.  They will need the support of anyone who can spare it.

This Blog Returns After These Commercial Messages…

Now that I have the Windows 8 computer to work with it, I’ve been “cutting promos” on the books I’ve already written.

Actually, something I find comical happened with this promo.  When I edited it on Windows Movie Maker, I left my “3-2-1 cue” in.  The cue is something I learned in my radio days so that when you need to find your recording when rewinding a reel-to-reel machine, or if you need to record it to a cart machine (or nowadays, a computer) you know where to start.

So you know what, I’m leaving it in.  Yes it’s unprofessional for us radio guys, but being out of the business for nearly 17 years, I don’t take perfection all that seriously.  The minute a radio station knocks on my door if that ever happens again, then it’s a different story.

Masta Of This Pasta

Making Spaghetti, December 11, 2012.
Making Spaghetti, December 11, 2012.  Yes, I washed my hands.

It never hurts to learn how to make a good meal.  And prior to yesterday afternoon, I had never made spaghetti for myself.  Now linguine, that’s a different story.  You cook the linguine, you drain, pour in the sauce, and boom, you’re done.

Spaghetti?  Not all that different.

I’m thinking I should have been a cook.  After all, I’m a lot more sanitary than some of the chefs I see on TV, or everyday people on reality TV.

Even if you cook for yourselves, wash your hands, people.  A little hand washing beforehand might keep you from washing your hands after your meal more than you need to, if you catch my drift.  It’s just a little common sense for an era where sense isn’t so common.

Does this mean I’m germophobic?  No.  I’m convinced at this point in my life there is so much I can control, and so much that I can’t control.  If I go to eat Taco Bell or some other fast food, I don’t inquisition the servers whether or not they’ve wash their hands.  They are supposed to, and I can only assume they do as they are told, or they wouldn’t be working for a fast food establishment.

But then again, you get into another danger: making assumptions.  Sometimes when you assume, you wind up making an ass of yourself.

An Introduction To Netflix

So I did discovering something fun and worthwhile after getting a Windows 8 computer on Saturday: Netflix.

For those of you who don’t know, Netflix is an Internet streaming service where you can watch movies and TV shows for a little less than $8 a month.  I got interested in it because as a fan of the original Hawaii Five-O, I could watch each and every episode in the show’s run from 1968 to 1980.

Now, not every movie and TV show known to man is available on Netflix, but what they have is considerable.  Last night I watched a 70’s movie called The Long Goodbye, with Elliott Gould in the lead role as a modern day Phillip Marlowe.  I always liked Gould’s work, as I did Walter Matthau’s acting.  With those two actors, they left an impact on me not because they had such a sharp wit about them.  A shame they never did a movie together, to the best of my recollection.

So now I’m hooked on Weeds, the Showtime drama with Mary Louise-Parker in the main role as a pot dealing soccer mom.  Reminds me a lot of The Sopranos, without the setting of New Jersey and the violence inherent in La Cosa Nostra.  So, time to post this blog and get back to that.

 

Windows 8: Not So Great

My Intro to Windows 8, December 8th, 2012.
My Intro to Windows 8, December 8th, 2012.

Saturday brought a trip to the local Walmart.  A family member, pleased with my fledgling writing career, wanted to get me a new computer for a Christmas present.  Of course, we nearly get killed on the way there as some geezer cuts us off behind the Checkers on US 19 nearby.  It was clearly our turn to negotiate the five-way intersection with a stop sign each way, but the old coot just had to go get his beer or whatever it is he wanted to get at the Walmart Supercenter that given morning.

The new Windows 8 computer replaces the “lifeboat” Windows Vista I had been using since the Windows 7 computer crashed back in September.  Much like Jim Lovell on Apollo 13, I thank the old Vista workhorse purchased in 2008 for getting me by.  Farewell, Aquarius.

It took me about 45 minutes to remove the old Vista and get the new HP 2000 computer plugged in.  I was pretty insistent on getting a computer with 4 GB of memory to it.  More memory means more power, arrr, arrr, arrr, as Tim Allen used to say on Home Improvement.  As Saturday afternoon passed, I transferred the data I had on Vista to the Windows 8 computer via an external hard drive and got other devices up and running on it.  The process was pretty smooth, although the printer that I’ve had since 2008 gave me a bit of trouble.  After looking at the various drivers the printer had, “8” was able to figure it out.

As much as I try to ignore that times change and wonder why there’s such changes in the world of computers, I have to accept as fact that the computing industry is always going to change.  The whole “tile here, tile there, tiles and tiles everywhere” business with Windows 8: why?  That and the “let’s hide the Start button and see if anyone notices” deal, I guess I’m getting old, because I don’t get it.  It seems in my amateur observations that it takes up more memory that some of the older computers (when I say old, I’m talking 2008 and older here) probably can’t handle all that well.  For example, I’m typing this blog entry listening to “Rio” by Duran Duran on Spotify, on a Mozilla Firefox web browser.  That takes up about half of my 4 GB memory allocation, according to the memory optimizer program I have from Glary Utilities.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind clicking a tile and getting weather information, sports, news, the markets, and so on.  Early on, Windows 8 just seems full of sound and fury signifying nothing.