Chill.

Truman was mostly chilled out at the vet today. It was his annual checkup and shots and he did just fine. He’s gained some weight and we have to watch the kitty calories (don’t we all!) but otherwise he’s in good shape and a healthy three year old.

He’s asked me not discuss the numbers from the scale. Just keep the kibble coming. And treats.

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CLOSEd.

I’ve posted this image on Twitter today.

Back in the days when cash registers had 7-segment LED displays, this is how they spelled out messaging indicating that particular checkout lane was closed. I always thought this was quite the nifty way to relay a simple message and I like the retro look to the message.

I posted it on Twitter because I’ve checked out of the dialog for a little while. A minute? An hour? A day? A week? Who knows. After seeing tweets praising Trump for posting photoshopped images of Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi in Middle Eastern type religious garb, insinuating their conspiring with terrorists, I came to the realization that Twitter hasn’t learned anything, despite the PR claims of being a better Internet citizen. Trump can post outright hate speech and Jack Dorsey and friends will never do anything about it.

Why should I contribute to any dialog on the platform, let alone lending my response to any political discourse.

I’m often too emotional in my responses to political discussions and debate. I am emotional because I’m passionate about doing the right thing in and for society. Belching and barking on Twitter isn’t going to change anyone’s mind and it just feeds the trolls.

So I’ve checked out. I’ve closed my lane for a bit. I’m on break.

Nope.

Yesterday I went for a walk through the neighborhoods and ended up at a Starbucks I had never been to before. On the edge of Boystown, this location was rather small with only a couple of tables and some stools along a counter, which was up against the window. At the time the window was all fogged up with moisture, making it difficult to see inside or outside, depending on where you were.

I picked up my order at the counter and found one seat at the counter available if one was playing by the “every other seat” rule so typical these days. I got situated with my iPad and I started perusing through some blog entries and the like. I was getting in the mindset to write a blog entry.

I realized I didn’t have a napkin so I turned from the window and stepped toward where these things were stored and a woman locked eyes with me. She was middle aged, rather disheveled looking but had a gigantic laptop in tow. She started walking toward me with an engaging look on her face. I knew she was going to talk to me. Her t-shirt proclaimed in very large letter, “You Need Jesus”.

I maintained the locked gaze, raised my hand in a signal of “wait”, and simply said, “Nope”. I maintained gaze for a second or two and she returned to her seat in the corner.

Settled back at my seat in front of the fogged up window, a large man sat down to my right. He was accompanied by a smaller man and they began talking loudly. There were lots of sounds of complaint, exasperation, and resignation coming from the both of them. Determined to settle in my space, I focused on whatever I was doing at the time.

It was then the man started receiving text messages.

I knew he was receiving text messages. Everyone in the shop knew he was receiving text messages because his phone would make a startling and very loud screeching noise each time someone sent him a message. There was no vibration. There was no ping or ding. It was a loud, clacking, banging, screeching sound.

What I would have done for silent mode. I would have even welcomed the comforting ring of a Western Electric telephone. But this noise was too much and I had already put the brakes on one person in the store, I didn’t need to bring down the rest of the population so I did the reasonable thing.

I picked his phone up and smashed it down on the counter. It was so easy to just reach out, pick up the phone, and using all the rage I was feeling at the moment, just slam the phone down so hard that it broke. The cheap Android phone shattered and I felt vindicated.

I didn’t actually do that, but I fantasized about it and I’m fantasizing about it again right now as I think back on the experience. What I actually did was pack up my stuff, put on my jacket, recycled my cup, and headed out the door.

I glared at him on the way out. He was too busy listening to his shrieking phone.

Shoes.

I have discarded four pair of shoes in 2020. I didn’t realize how much I walked during my daily activities but I’ve blown out two pair of gym shoes and two sets of dress shoes. The gym shoes were only six months old.

I spotted these shoes at Nordstrom’s shortly after Christmas and they were over 50% off as part of the post-holiday sales. I wore them for a couple of dressy affairs this weekend and they’re remarkably comfortable. I also have a pair of “urban ready hiking shoes” on the way. So there’s still room in my closet for more shoes, but I’m set right now.

I’m really particular when it comes to what I have on my feet when I’m flying an airplane and I have two pair of Converse High Tops/Chuck Taylors that are awesome for that. I’ll model them when the weather is nicer.

In the meanwhile I’ll be stylish in my new kicks from Nordstrom’s.

Window.

Taken at 11:00 PM Central Time.

We decided to take the curtains off the living room windows. Our condo is on the fifth floor and people can’t really see what we’re doing so we decided to have an open window to the civilization around us.

We didn’t like the curtains and kept them gathered up by a decorative rope (which was actually one of my old belts), so we were inspired by our neighbors identical approach to the windows, as well as the grand windows we see on various television shows and decided to do the same thing.

We’ll see how that works when the business on the other side of the alley decides to use their rooftop garden, which you can see on the left portion of our view.

I’m not really concerned about heat or anything like that, as we haven’t turned the heat on yet this year. We get enough heat from the surrounding units to keep us quite toasty to the point that we sometimes open windows even though it’s below freezing outside.

It saves on the utility bill!

I’m excited about letting a little more light into the living room. The openness seems rather freeing.

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Rain.

What many folks call “Interstate 90” or “Route 90” we call “The Kennedy”. Taken in the rain while my husband is behind the steering wheel, we are currently on The Kennedy headed home from the annual Flying Club Holiday Party. We had a very nice time at the Country Club with fellow pilots and friends.

I will never tire of talking airplanes. And I will never tire of my husband driving.

Weight Weight.

This is 110 calories.

The primary goal for maintaining and/or losing weight is so I don’t mess up weight and balance in the airplanes I fly. I enjoy flying with full tanks, especially when taking my husband on a cross country flight, and to do that in the current airplanes available to me we have to meet certain weight and balance requirements. We’re well within the margin of concern but I don’t want to mess that up.

Hence, at lunch time we throw around Pretzel Crisps with a smattering of something that resembles buffalo dust like their poker chips at a World Tournament.

I’ve been tracking every single calorie consumed since the day after Christmas and I’m happy to say that the yo-yo is swinging in the good direction again. My weight is below that which it was at Thanksgiving. With all the weight I’ve gained and lost over the years I should be the size of a thimble.

When a package says I can eat 10 crisps, I eat 10 crisps. The fun part is assembling the broken pieces to resemble full pieces so I know I’m getting every last morsel in the serving I am allowing myself to eat. Luckily, many packages now also contain the weight of a serving so we can use the precision scale we have for such a thing.

Going to McDonalds however can be cumbersome when you have to slide the weights across the bar to compute the weight of a Big Mac.

I know in the long run this will all be worth it. It’s the mathematics that are exhausting.

I need a 1.3 oz cookie.

Kres Mersky.

It’s amazing what runs through my mind when I’m writing code at work. When I get into my “awesome development zone”, that wonderful place where the code just flows from my fingers without an error or bug to be found, my mind goes into this multi-threaded mode where I’m writing amazing software without really thinking about it and daydreaming about something completely unrelated and random.

Today my brain started thinking about the 1970s television series, “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman”. Everyone is familiar with the Lynda Carter led show, and I specifically thinking about some of the music cues in a couple of the second season episodes before they went full-tilt disco with the “stepping” disco beat theme song.

Not only was the “transformation music” of the second season consistently awesome, there were other music cues that were quite fun. In the episode “The Pied Piper”, Martin Mull plays an evil flute player named Hamlin Rule has hypnotizes women, including Jan Plumb, to do his evil bidding. The audio processing on his flute tracks was super groovy, even for the 1970s, and one would think it would be confined to when he played the flute.

But no! There’s a brief five to ten second interval in the later episode, “Seance of Terror”, which features Bobby Brady/Mike Lookinland’s younger brother Todd Lookinland as a kid with psychic and telekinetic powers, who is being cared for by his evil aunt and uncle. Said relations want to sabotage peace talks and guarantee ongoing border wars for the country Tarmania, securing funding for the meanies that hired them.

I can vividly recall watching this episode in the spring of 1978 on my Mom and Dad’s 19-inch Zenith in the Family Room. I remember noticing the groovy flute music cue back then, and here we are 42 years later and I’m still talking about it.

I remember liking the actress that played “Aunt Theodora”, the mean aunt to Todd Lookinland, “Matt”. She was played by Kres Mersky. I really liked her speaking voice. When working the room with the ambassadors, she had such a classy presence, even though we all knew she was evil. There was a certain je ne sais quoi about the way she carried herself and I found it entrancing. It was perfect for the role, even though it was Bobby Brady’s brother that had the special powers.

I remember Ms. Mersky being on various shows in the 70s and 80s; she seemed like she was everywhere, but looking at her IMDB profile she wasn’t on as many shows as I had thought. I think I might have been confusing her with Lynnie Greene, who starred in the one season “On Our Own” the same year, and who also went on to play “Young Dorothy” on “The Golden Girls”.

Anyways, I got to thinking about Ms. Mersky again, she also reminded me of a woman I worked with back in my days at Digital Equipment Corporation, so I decided to look her up.

I found this website from 2010 around a play she wrote and starred in, “The Life And Times of A. Einstein”. It’s a one woman show about the life of Albert Einstein as seen through the eyes of his secretary Ellen.

Ms. Mersky’s latest entry on her IMDB entry is a short called “Rope” from 2008. It’s hard to search for a short called “Rope” on Google, but perhaps I’ll eventually find something further.

According to her bio, Ms. Mersky was 28 years old when she played Aunt Theodora on “Wonder Woman”. (My how the looks of 28 year old have changed in 42 years!). I found her personal website, but it looks like it hasn’t been updated in a number of years.

Nevertheless, I hope she is well and enjoying life and doing what she loves. I know seeing her today when I watched the entire Wonder Woman episode of “Seance of Terror” made my smile.

Now if she could have done something about Diana’s disguise wig.

Photo downloaded from wonderland-site.com. If you watch this episode, you’ll notice the housekeeper above doubles as an ambassador wearing sunglasses at the very beginning of the episode.

News.

One of my goals in this New Year is to eliminate much of the cruft that is nipping at my personal bandwidth. The vast majority of this extra noise is of my own doing; I willingly use apps like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to feed my need for information.

The thing is, it isn’t always good information.

I’ve always fallen back on the stance that I maintain a Facebook account to keep up with what’s happening with friends and family back East. I chat with other pilots, read about a geeky things in geeky groups, and follow people I don’t know but would like to meet in person someday. I’m intelligent enough to discard all the political misinformation and the like, but discarding the “keep scrolling!” hooks takes bandwidth and quite frankly, my bandwidth is more valuable than that.

I’ve been delving deeper into Apple News. I’m finding that I can keep tabs with what’s happening in the world through this fairly simple to use app and I’m noticing Siri’s AI is making things better on a daily basis. After consistently using Apple News for the past couple of weeks and providing the app feedback, what I like, what I don’t like, etc., I’m finding it’s giving me news I’m looking for. I will say News is not validating my viewpoint, there were a few articles highlighted today that wanted to make my blood pressure go up, but that’s a good thing. There’s too much tendency for apps to reinforce silos and narrow viewpoints. Apple News doesn’t feel like it’s doing that.

One of the best thing about using Apple News is that it doesn’t automatically show comments to articles. If you’ve ever dealt into the comments section on The Washington Post or New York Times, you know that it’s a dismal and hopefully inaccurate view on where society it is today. There’s no way of telling whether the author of a comment is a citizen, a human, a bad actor, or a bot. And as long as the engagement keeps ticking up the ad revenue for these outlets, we’re never going to know this. So I find it’s best just to stay away from the Peanut Gallery Commentary. That’s what Twitter is for.

If you haven’t given Apple News a try I suggest giving it a whirl. Try it out for a week or two, give it valid feedback with what stories you like and what stories you’re not interested in.

You might enjoy what you read.

Remote.

Taken just now.

So I’ve been working from home for over five years. Prior to my current gig I had a cubicle in an office building that I would visit every week or two; since taking my current job in 2015 I have been an official “virtual employee” at a Fortune 500 company.

I enjoy the gig.

Remote employees are quite commonplace here in the new Roaring 20s, especially with all the telecommuting technology at our disposal. Most of my team works remotely. I have employees reporting to me that I’ve never met in person, though I see them on an almost daily basis via videoconference. I like my team.

People have visions of remote employees kicked back in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, propped up on a couch, working on a laptop. For me that’d be a great way to lose focus and start slacking at my job. One of the things I never want to be is a slacker. There’s too much to do, too much change to make in the world, too much example to set. I have a routine that involves working out, eating breakfast, and getting cleaned up in appropriate work attire, even though I’m working out of an office here in our condo. I stay focused because I look the part of a corporate executive. I dress for success.

A few months into working from home full-time I realized I had a need to get out and about when I wasn’t working. Being at home all the time seems awesome, and in many respects it is, but there are times when I want to be outside, seeing other people In Real Life, and interacting with other humans. Occasionally I’ll jump on the ‘L’ just to walk around another neighborhood or The Loop or whatever just to get a change of scenery. It helps keep me sane. I also go for a walk in the morning and a walk in the afternoon, short walks mind you, and that helps me process whatever opportunity I’m processing in my head at the moment. Plus it gives me a chance to see something other than the grayish-green walls of my office.

I love working from home but I firmly believe it’s not meant for everyone. It takes extra discipline, extra focus, and extra effort to stay productive and be a prime contributor to the goals of your employment.