Photo Testing.

Some photos around the Desert Compound, testing out various settings on my iPhone 13 Pro.

We need to get furniture, but after the monsoon damage remediation is done.
Flowers and pomegranates.
A macro test out in front of the house.
A look up the side lawn toward the neighbor’s house. I had to reduce the image size by 25% to get it to upload to the blog. I have request larger upload size limits from our web hosting company.


My new iPhone 13 Pro arrived this morning. This in itself is amazing to me, because Wednesday evening it was still sitting in Korea, so the fact that it’s here in Tucson, Arizona less than 48 hours later, by way of Kentucky, no less, is incredible. I also used a lot of commas in that last sentence.

I decided to step away from the gray for the first time in multi-decade Apple purchasing frenzy and I went with the Sierra Blue, 256GB model of the iPhone 13 Pro. It is noticeably but not terribly heavier than my iPhone X, even without the new clear case. The display is gorgeous and I like the way the phone feels in my hand. Even though I’m only 100 minutes into ownership of this phone, it’s already setup, everything has transferred over, I’ve done all the updates, and the entire process went flawlessly. For the first time in a few months around all things Apple, I am without complaint.

A comparison of the color on the box and the color of the actual phone. Photos taken with my old iPhone X.

The accessories in the box. Note, no power brick. I have plenty of those.

Size comparison, both in cases. iPhone X on the left, iPhone 13 Pro on the right. Photo taken with my 2018 iPad Pro 12.9″.

Comparison of camera quality. Both photos taken out my office window by holding the phones up to the glass. First photo, iPhone X. Second photo, iPhone 13 Pro. I had to reduce the size of the second photo by 6% to meet the upload requirements of my hosting provider.

The second photo shows much more detail and color depth at full size.

And of course, Truman is thrilled that I have a new camera. I’m sure we’ll be seeing slow motion video of play time. He’d now like to get back to his nap.

Celebrate Your Rejection.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a new fan of actor Shohreh Aghdashloo. As Chrisjen Avasarala on ”The Expanse”, she commands a presence that I find most compelling.

Once in a while YouTube will suggest one of her speeches, presentations, or talks she’s given over the years. I took the time to watch this 10 minute clip from a few years ago. I love the way she expresses herself, and more importantly, her words of wisdom.

Celebrate your rejections. They make us who we are.


From 2019, somewhere over Northern Illinois in a Diamond DA-40.

I miss flying. I haven’t flown an airplane since our move to Tucson. Part of this absence from the sky has been due to trying to find a flying club that I’m comfortable with. Another part is the fact that I don’t know these parts too well, and more specifically, flying over the American desert. It’s going to be different, and I’m going to need to quite a bit of flying with an instructor to get familiar with these parts. We are situated near three airports; one of them is an Air Force Base. I’m sure I can navigate these parts just fine, it’s just the nuances of flying in the desert that I need to learn.

Back in our Upstate New York days I loved flying as much as I can. I flew with a great group of pilots. I completely trusted the airplanes I flew, mostly because I had an ownership stake in the airplanes and I knew them inside and out. When we moved to Chicago, I enjoyed flying, and I met some really nice folks in the aviation community, but I was never 100% comfortable with the airplanes. I had a few maintenance issues in the air. None of these issues with dangerous, they were just uncomfortable. I have to hand it to my airline and other commercial pilot counterparts: they fly airplanes they don’t know at all on a daily basis and they don’t think twice about it. Maybe they do. I really don’t know.

I shared my thoughts around flying again with my husband today and he is as encouraging as always. I’ll be in the air soon. With monsoon season winding down, I feel like the weather will be much more cooperative. After all, Southern Arizona has around 350 sunny days a year, and that means lots of flying opportunities.

There’s always a risk when soaring above the airplane in a man-made craft. I know too well what can happen when things go wrong. I’ve known too many pilots that have met their end doing what we love. It’s all about controlling the risks, being confident in our skills, and knowing our craft.

I’ll get this figured out. I have to. I’m excited to. I look forward to flying again. I’ll be learning lots of new things.

Never stop learning.


I can’t believe the movie “Inception” is ten years old. It’s one of my favorite movies of the 21st century. We need to sit down and watch this again, maybe this coming weekend.


My husband put an appointment on the family calendar indicating it was time for us to go through his online accounts and rectify all the compromised and repeated passwords he was being warned about.

I’m so proud of him.

Since we are primarily a Mac-based family, he’s going through the list of accounts in Safari and following the links to change his password from something dangerous to something nifty. We are both smiles, with Truman stretched out at our feet.

There’s no hollering and Truman is able to take an apparently much needed nap.


The pomegranate tree in our front lawn is coming along nicely. Apparently the more culinary inclined in the family know what to do with the pomegranates once they’re ready for picking. I don’t know what to do with them but I do know I will enjoy them.

It’s kind of neat having a tree like this on the property. As a Northeast boy that moved to the desert southwest by way of the midwest, I’m really appreciating the differences in flora and fauna in these parts.

I even avoided running over a tarantula in the road when driving home the other night. I’m sure it was thankful.


We decided to go for a ride this afternoon. We headed toward Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista to get a feel for the landscape in that direction. It’s a beautiful day, so we were riding with the windows down. We stopped for a cold drink at a drive thru in Benson. The car in front of us ordered over $100 in food with special requests for each of the burgers. These things happen.

We were smiling on the inside.


It’s a pretty low-key day in the desert compound today. Some of the family is still sleeping as I type this; Earl went and fetched us all some bagels, and I’ve been putzing around the house.

Truman has selected a couple of places to kick back. When I was putzing around upstairs he found contentment on the end table. Now he’s on his cat tree in the family room as I work in my office. Every once in a while he’ll open his eyes and see what’s going on. I stopped by to give him some scritches behind the ears and there were loud purrs, then he looked at me and I knew it was time for me to stop and for him to go back to napping.

The entire family is taking it easy today.