Flight.

Today was an intense day at work. Daydreaming about past flights got me through it.

Here is a picture of me from August 2014. At the time I was still a student pilot and my instructor signed me off for a solo flight to an EAA Pancake Breakfast at KFZY. I vividly recall the entire flight; Earl followed along in the car, listening to my radio calls on a handheld radio.

This flight was the first time I squeaked the tires on landing. It was an awesome day.

Temperament.

Shortly before his passing, when talking about his role as Major Roger Healey on “I Dream of Jeannie”, Bill Daily mentioned that Barbara Eden was one of the most even tempered person he had ever worked with, or for that matter, ever met. On the set of IDOJ she never got angry. Ever. Even when Larry Hagman was carrying on with his shenanigans all over the set (drinking champagne for breakfast, under the influence of drugs while filming, having hissy fits about the script, etc.), Barbara was the rock. Always steady. Always focused. Never angry.

I admire this about her.

I’ve been watching interviews featuring Barbara and she always has that pleasant demeanor and mischievous laugh she had way back in the 1960s. I had the opportunity to shake her hand once and she was very pleasant as she said hello, making her way down a line of fans during a “Nick At Night” roadshow in either 1989 or 1990.

I’m curious how she achieved this temperament. Was she just wired to be even keeled? Does she meditate? Do yoga? Chant? Float? What’s her secret?

I could use a few doses of this Edenism. I get way too passionately irritated about trivial things, especially things I can not change. “Set a good example for the world”, this is something I always say. I need to focus on that more.

But sometimes it can be so tiring.

No segue.

Back in 2000, Sony/Columbia Pictures had the black and white episodes of both “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” remastered and colorized. Like many colorization projects, some of the color selections for various shots are not accurate. On “Bewitched”, Endora’s robes are colored green and purple, which were absolutely accurate for the originally color later episodes of the series. But during the black and white years, Endora’s witchy robes were actually all shades of lavender.

Along similar lines, Barbara Eden’s Jeannie on “I Dream of Jeannie” actually wore a couple of different harem costumes that first year. In the colorized episodes they’re all shades of pink, but in actuality, one of the costumes was actually green, as shown in the picture above. There’s an early color episode from the second season where Jeannie wears the green outfit so we know it to be true, but the colorized first season episodes show that costume in pink. Next time you watched a colorized episode look for tassels hanging off her headpiece. The tassels were on the green costume, not the pink one.

She later wore the same costume when playing her dark-haired sister Jeannie.

Commute.

I have one of the sweetest work gigs I can imagine. I am a staff manager of five, I get to play with computers all day, and I like the company I’m working for. Plus, I get to work from home. I’ve been working full-time from home for over six years. It takes discipline, both to stay focused during work intervals and to not engage in work stuff too much in the non-traditional work hours.

When I go for my morning walk I am always aware of folks rushing out of their homes into the darkened Chicago morning. They’re making their way to the nearest ‘L’ stop or to their car parked nearby. As my morning walk usually takes an hour or so, there’s a lot more vehicular traffic in the latter half of my walk versus the first half. I think about these folks driving to their work. I then start delving in philosophical territory.

I wonder what it is about American culture that compels us to live in such reliance on our cars. Folks in our neighborhood have plenty of public transportation options: the ‘L’ has plenty of stops nearby, METRA (the commuter train) passes through from southern Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, and CTA buses are everywhere. We live in a very commuter connected part of the city, it’s one of the reasons we chose this neighborhood. Yet, many folks opt to drive their car to The Loop to work in one of the skyscrapers, or they drive to a work location in another part of the city, one that may well be accessible by public transportation.

Driving a vehicle reinforces one’s sense of independence. I get that, I know that feeling, and I drive for fun more often than I probably should in this era of Climate Change and the like. And it’s Climate Change that weighs on my mind when I’m thinking about this. Does working from home really help reduce my carbon footprint? Am I burning more energy in my home than I would using public transportation to get to an office building?

I might have to do some reading up on this so I have a better grasp of the numbers. Knowledge fires up passion when I’m intrigued. And learning is better than flipping through Twitter or something.

I still wondering how these folks can drive their cars to work everyday. I really don’t enjoy driving in the city. I find it incredibly annoying. Everyone is forced to the lowest common denominator of driver ability and my patience wears thin.

I shall now embark on my commute from the living room to my home office.

iHistory.

Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of the announcement of the iPad. I remember watching the announcement with great interest but it wouldn’t be until the end of 2010 when I bought my first iPad. Oddly, I can’t easily find any photos of my first iPad in Photos, but I did run across a photo of me and my very first iPhone back in 2008.

There wasn’t an app store back then, as the plan was “apps” would be served through HTML5 web apps on Safari. Looking at the photo, two things quickly catch my eye: I had awesome sideburns (in ginger!) and the row above the dock had a right justified app icon, something you can’t do today on the iPhone or iPad.

I found an early screen shot from my iPhone 3G, after apps had been introduced to the ecosystem.

There’s plenty of familiar apps on that screen, albeit with ancient icons, but I don’t remember off the top of my head as to what “Zite” did.

** One moment.

A quick DuckDuckGo search reveals that Zite was an aggregator: news magazines, videos, blogs, and the like all came together in one app called Zite.

I still don’t remember it.

So I started this blog entry by remembering the 10 year anniversary of the iPad. Once I had an iPad I remember it took a little while for me to warm up to it. At the time I was still quite much in love with my Macs and iPhone and the iPad seemed like an intermediate device. Maybe extraneous.

Fast forward 10 years and my 2018 iPad Pro is my primary computer. I have it in tow all the time and I keep tweaking and making my personal experience better. I honest believe tablet computing, when does as well as the iPad, which is far and beyond anything else currently offered, is the future. My mom has an iPad as her primary device, my husband has an iPad, my nephew has an iPad. We don’t really need huge laptops anymore. For basic computing, when it comes to browsing the internet, tweeting, email, Facebook, and chatting with others through the various channels, iPads fit the bill, it’s simply a matter of thinking outside the box.

Happy birthday, iPad! I wish I could find a photo of my original iPad because I’ve been quite delighted since I first laid my hands on you.

Pleasant Shopping.

When my husband and I decided to explore the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” over the weekend we did what all men our age do, we headed straight for the food court so we could use the washroom. If you’re a middle aged guy, you’ll know that it’s important to know where the washrooms are in relatively short order upon coming in from the cold.

The grass in the photo above does not represent the washroom.

But the other thing you see in the photo above is a row of beer taps, and that’s because the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” has a “pour ‘n go” beer and wine arrangement in the middle of the food court. That’s right, for X number of dollars you get a ‘pub card’ and you can pour yourself a beer and take it with you all over the mall. Looking for a way to deal with the crowds? Take the edge off with a good porter.

Not to discriminate, this location also offers wine along the same arrangement, so those with a wine bent can enjoy the same state of inebriation while spending money in the wide assortment of outlet stores throughout the location.

I was a little surprised by this but I happy to see the service was quite popular on a Saturday evening. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t have a beer while walking the mall but I was keenly aware of my calorie consumption of the day and wanted to save anything I had banked for later in the evening.

I don’t know that I’ve been to a mall that had beer and wine available in this fashion, most of the places I’ve been to have bars where you can enjoy a drink in between stores but you have to keep it in the confines of the bar itself, you can’t go walking about the mall with it. I like this concept though and I actually might go back to “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” to give this a try.

Cheers!

Annual.

Truman hasn’t quite got the concept of a selfie yet. You’ll notice my husband’s hand near the camera; he was snapping his fingers trying to get our feline family member to face the camera as I snapped a selfie of the three of us. Truman wanted to sniff my ear.

Then he wanted to look at my husband’s ear.

We were trying to take a selfie with Truman today because it was one year ago today that this guy joined our home. Technically, 3/4 of him joined our home because he is a bit bigger than he was a year ago. The vet didn’t scold us but she did suggest Truman might want to cut back on the treats a bit, as he’s a solid 16.25 lbs of pure feline. In reality, the entire family could probably stand to cut back on the treats a bit. It’s a theme throughout the house, the years, and the decades. Welcome to the club.

I mentioned to Earl that it feels like Truman found his real rhythm just before the holidays. He adapted quickly but he didn’t really find his groove, or perhaps we didn’t really understand his groove, until last fall.

Today the purrs are loud and the meows demand attention. He’s apparently, we’re apparently happy, and all is good with our happy little feline family member.

We skipped the celebration cake due to calories.

Availability.

I love when technology is used for something sensible. I’m not talking about giving us the ability to watch videos of people falling down on the ice or lending voice to anonymous rage fests on social media. No, I’m talking about technology that makes our life just a little bit easier without taking over the situation completely. You know, the stuff that actually helps us.

My husband and I ventured over to “Fashion Outlets of Chicago”, a mall situated near O’Hare. As the name suggests, this mall is loaded with stores and shops of an outlet and bargain basement nature. Amongst the gaiety is situated a food court. When I ordered a “diet pop”, a perfectly natural request in the Midwest, the clerk laughed out loud and proceeded to say “pop” in unnatural tones. Apparently I was on the wrong side of town for a diet pop.

I’m digressing.

To initiate our venture to “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” we drove the car. It’s always a bit of pain driving in the city, especially in the winter when everyone forgets how an automobile works, how roads work, and how various other necessities of a motorized society works, but nevertheless I ventured us over to the parking garage attached to the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago”.

I was pleasantly surprised with the technology in use in the parking garage.

  1. Electronic signs indicated how many spots were open on any of the multiple levels of the garage
  2. LED lights over each spot showed red or green indicating the availability of the parking spot, and these lights were easily seen from all over the garage
  3. Displays at the end of each row displayed the number of open spots per row, letting you know if you should venture down a row or not looking for an available parking space.

This practical use of technology made whipping the Jeep Cherokee around this garage just a little more pleasant than it otherwise would have been. The stress of parking was reduced just enough to make the “Fashion Outlets of Chicago” a bit more pleasant of an experience.

I hope this parking technology catches on elsewhere. It’s the little things that make a difference.

Simplicity.

This is my alarm clock.

After spending time on and off my nightstand for the past weeks and months I’ve decided that it belongs on my nightstand.

This alarm clock, purchased during my senior year of high school, has worked reliably since 1986. It keeps time as well as the power grid will allow it, it can tune in both AM and FM radio stations using the antenna built into the power cable and it’s simple to set and easy to synchronize to an atomic clock.

My mid-1980s vintage General Electric alarm clock doesn’t require updates, doesn’t need to reboot, and uses LED digits that do not blind me in the middle of the night. I can’t talk to it and it doesn’t talk to me, but it does wake me up every morning with the sounds of NewsRadio WBBM.

I have flirted with other alarm clocks, especially over the past year or two. An Alexa Dot that featured a round face, the eerie laugh of Alexa in the middle of the night, and a camera pointed at my slumbering visage. I most recently tried a Lenovo Smart Clock, powered by Google Assistant. Using a miniaturized version of the Google Assistant software found on the Google Nest Home Hub, it likes to update in the middle of the night and shine LED backlighting on my eyes. Sometimes I wake up with a sunburn.

Luckily, I bought it during the holidays for over 50% off. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

After swapping between my old reliable GE and the Lenovo for the past week I’ve settled with sticking with the tried and true. The red digits make no impression in the darkened room when we’re sleeping and the alarm is always on time.

Sometimes you just have to keep it simple.

Everything Changes.

I can’t believe this song is nearly 30 years old. I found myself singing it this morning as I was out for my morning walk.

Originally written for Taylor Dayne, who subsequently turned it down, Kathy Troccoli recorded the song for her debut secular album “Pure Attraction”. Like “I’ll Be Your Shelter” by Taylor Dayne, which Kathy sang backup vocals on, “Everything Changes” was written by Diane Warren. It peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Top 100 and number six on the Adult Contemporary chart.

I played the heck out of this song when I was first on the radio.

Kathy has continued her career as a Christian recording artist. I enjoy this song for what it is, a track full of happy energy.