HAWK.

As an almost Traffic Engineer and full blown road geek, I’m a fan of videos by Road Guy Rob. This week Rob talks about HAWK signals. These are yellow/red signals at pedestrian crosswalks that are activated almost immediately when a pedestrian pushes the button. It flashes yellow as a warning to motorists, then solid yellow, then solid red. After a few seconds it switches to flashing red, so if the pedestrian is no longer on your side of the road, a motorist can continue through the flashing red, which is treated like a stop sign.

I’ve been a fan of HAWK installations since I first read about them a number of years ago. They’re pretty neat and they really help keep pedestrians safe. What I didn’t know is they were invented right here in Tucson.

Road Guy Rob explains it quite well.

100.

Betty White would have turned 100 today. We won this book in a hospital charity auction back in 1999. I read it back then and it just occurred to me that I need to read it again. We also made a donation to Pima Animal Care Center here in Tucson in Betty’s memory.

We need more people like Betty White in the world.

Snow.

We had to drive Chris and Mike to Sky Harbor (airport in Phoenix) for their flight to the Midwest so my husband and I decided to make a day trip of it. After the stop at Terminal 3 we headed north out of Phoenix and meandered our way up to Prescott.

Prescott is home to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I know a few pilots that have gone to Embry-Riddle in both Prescott and down in Florida, and I wanted to see what the campus was like. We’d never been to Prescott before but it’s a seemingly nice city situated in the typical scenic surroudings of that part of Arizona. The campus of Embry-Riddle is very nice. It feels quite new. We then made our way over to Prescott Municipal Airport where there’s a bunch of Embry-Riddle airplanes as well as the typical things you’d find at a municipal airport. Everything felt quite new. There was the unmistakable sound of a Cessna 172 doing engine out landing practice. We watched the pilot do a very good landing.

On our way home we made our way up to Camp Verde and then down through the Coconino and Tonto National Forests. We stopped to see some snow in memory of our winters in the Midwest and back East.

Caturday.

We have a couple of storage closets accessible only from the roof. Truman supervised while we put the outside holiday directions away.

Vintage.

A business owner in Ohio stopped by my Vintage Point of Sale website and about gave me a heart attack with a photo he shared. He has kept every cash register he’s ever had at his store of many decades, and in the 1980s he ran his business on an electronic cash register made by Data Terminal Systems. The model in question was a Series 500 cash register.

This is no big deal to the vast majority of people walking amongst us these days but as a true blue geek I was excited to see some of this vintage technology enduring so many decades later. Alas, it is too far away to get my hands on it, but it helps me continue the belief that other businesses here in the desert southwest may have vintage technology in their storage areas.

I’ve placed an ad on craigslist in the business equipment “wanted” section to see if I jar any memories. Wish me luck.

Co-Pilot.

I’ve literally been having dreams about flying. I’ve always dreamed about flying, both in an airplane and just flying around like Captain Marvel, but lately I’ve been having flying related dreams. It’s probably because I’m working on my instrument rating with instructor Prabesh. Learning the intricacies of flying in the clouds can make an impression on the subconscious.

A few of my pilot dreams have involved my Dad. The other night I dreamed that I was my age and Dad was alive and his age and we were at the airport not too far from his house. There was a Cessna 150 and I said to Dad, do you want to go flying? You can ride right seat. And I remember smiling big at him.

I don’t believe in regrets; life is lived on purpose and we choose our path and we follow it. No regrets when looking at the past. However, I do wish I had earned my pilots certificate when Dad was still alive. That was always my plan. It was always something I wanted to do, but I wasn’t in the right place in my life (nor did we have the funds) to get it accomplished. I’m happy that I did. I do wish I had flown with Dad in the right seat at least once, though. That would have been very nice.

Have A Javelinas.

We have a family of Javelinas that enjoy our neighborhood. They move from one part of the neighborhood to another on a regular basis. Occasionally they stop by the rub their bodies on a cactus on our property or they check out the patio.

I usually just give them their space and let them do what they want to do. They’re not hurting anything and frankly they were here first.

We should live in harmony with our environment and neighbors.

What’s Important.

Since its creation, I’ve spent too much time on Twitter. A couple of years ago I deleted my original Twitter account and created a couple of new ones with the intent of honing and rebuilding friends lists and dividing the focus of each account to specific topics. It did not improve my experience. In the short term things were better, but then Twitter’s algorithms figured out who I was and started throwing things into my feed to try to up my engagement. I switched to one of the third party apps to get rid of notifications and suggestions and the like. Still no good. Aside from a few folks I enjoy spending time with online, I don’t really care about Twitter that much these days.

At the first of the year I removed Instagram from my phone. My time on the app was mostly spent on weeding out requests for friendship from bots and I just got tired of it.

At the beginning of the week I removed Twitter (and its third party apps) from my phone. Banal content aside, I don’t need the distraction in my pocket and it was the next step to removing apps from my phone that provided “infinite scrolling”. If I can never get to the bottom of an app I don’t need it on my phone. This includes Instagram, Twitter, Apple News, Google News… anything that encourages mindless scrolling or even worse, doom scrolling. There’s plenty of doom in the world. I don’t need to dwell on it.

I’ve been removing data mining oriented apps for a while. I had replaced Twitter with Tweetbot, simply because it didn’t mine my data from my habits on my phone. In mid December I gave up on MyFitnessPal and went with Lose It! because MyFitnessPal was sharing its information with too many data extraction agencies (including Facebook for some reason) and while Lose It is far from perfect in that area, it’s a heck of a lot better than MyFitnessPal.

So what am I doing instead? I listen to two podcasts, “A Bit of Optimism” by Simon Sinek and “Your Undivided Attention” by Tristan Harris. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to podcasts, since we lived in Chicago in fact, simply because I was enjoying the desert beauty while out on my walks. I still enjoy that beauty, but I listen to these podcasts for an interesting perspective on the world and on life. It’s nice to step out of the chaos.

The other change I made was in my news consumption. I am now consuming news via the AllSides website. This website offers the news from different sources and viewpoints. It’s good to get out of the echo chamber of Fox News or MSNBC and see what other sources have to say. There’s a little “blue-purple-red” meter under each story and it helps one find a more balanced approach to the reporting of what’s happening in the world. I need that.

I don’t know if this is part of my ongoing personal mid-life crisis but I feel like we’re on the precipice of something big happening in the world. Maybe it’s pandemic fatigue. But I feel like I’m at a point of my life where I need to spend less time worrying about what’s appearing on my iPhone and pay more attention to the real problems of the world (climate change, political unrest, rampant idiocy being the top three concerns).

I don’t know what I can do to help make the world a better place. I hope I figure it out soon.

Smarter.

15 years ago today Steve Jobs spoke at the Macworld 2007 keynote and introduced the world to the iPhone. It’s safe to say technology shifted that day and our world is much different because of that keynote presentation.

Steve Jobs was the master of presentation. I could watch him lead a presentation all day long and not complain about it.

Sunning.

I’ve been writing about Truman a little more than usual. He’s taken up standing on the cat tree behind my office desk every morning to watch the world out my big that overlooks the front of the house. He seems to be happy and this makes me happy. I occasionally pause to give him so soft scritches behind the ears and tell him he’s a good cat and that I love him.