Closures.

I’m growing weary of businesses in our neighborhood closing down. In the past year we’ve had two comedy clubs, several restaurants, some barbershops, a couple of bars, and one or two other storefronts all close down. All of these locations are within a half mile radius of our home.

The pandemic has been hard for everyone, especially local businesses.

We’ve tried to support local business as much as possible during these COVID times. When safe to do so we’ve walked to pick up food. We’ve even picked up alcohol from a favorite local pub when they were doing that. The city of Chicago banned alcohol sales after 9:00 PM for much of the pandemic, and closed bars at the same time. This was to discourage people from congregating in groups. I’m sure many just gathered in their homes.

As restrictions loosen up I’m hoping to see businesses open up as well. Resilience. It’s what we all need. But it’s going to be a couple of years, at least, before the economy fully recovers. At least we’re heading in the right direction again. It was touch and go there for a little while.

I’m ready for whatever the new normal will be. I’m sure everyone else is as well.

Ring Ring.

My ears ring. My ears ring a lot. The left side rings more than the right side and it’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I have memories of laying in bed in our mobile home when I was a youngster and wondering why my ears rang so much. The ringing wasn’t as loud then as it is now, but I guess having ringing ears for as long as I can remember has made it manageable for me. It’s just there.

Years of DJing in clubs and on the radio probably didn’t help the ringing situation, but I believe the initial ringing may have been a result of having spinal meningitis as a kid.

As far as I can tell, there are no cures for ringing ears. We sleep with white noise going in the bedroom, which is more to muffle the sounds of the big city instead of my ringing ears, but the ocean waves coming from the HomePod in our bedroom certainly helps combat the constant ringing in my ears. I’ve always had white noise or a fan or something going in my bedroom.

Luckily, the ringing doesn’t overpower my ability to hear. I actually wonder if my tinnitus has actually made my hearing better, because I can hear the faintest of sounds as long as it’s not the same exact frequency as the ringing in my ear.

Perhaps the constant sound has contributed to my eccentricities. Oh well, it’s part of who I am, might as well enjoy the music.

1 Comment

Comments.

I was reading an article about the HBO Max mini series “It’s A Sin” and stumbled upon comments posted below the article.

Our society is doomed.

Apparently there are people that believe AIDS was just a hoax, much like COVID-19 is today. I can’t believe people say these things out loud, let alone believe these things.

I’d like to say that it’s the Internet that has given a voice to all these crazy people, but back in the early 1990s a local newspaper had a page of comments folks could call in. They’d collect messages on an answering machine, transcribe, and publish a week’s worth on page two of the paper. Even back in 1992 there were some batshit crazy people out there and because they could say their asshattery anonymously, you’d see some really stupid stuff on the page. I’d be dumb struck by just how stupid people were and I’d escape to the beginnings of the World Wide Web where you had to be quite clever to get online and even more clever to exchange words with others. There was an understood code about online behavior, but then AOL and Windows 95 happened and all hell broke loose. Pile on social media 15 years later and here we are today, on the eve of what could be another attack on Washington, D.C. because some nut jobs think Trump will become president tomorrow.

I really can’t take the stupid anymore.

I did take a look a Twitter briefly this morning, and when I saw jubilant yet idiotic comments about Texas and Mississippi lifting COVID-19 restrictions, I decided I’d had enough for the day and closed Twitter. Then I deleted it off my phone. If I want to see what’s going on in social media I’ll force myself to use a computer to do it. I don’t need to let my fingers do the walking.

There’s no reason to read comments from stupid people. And unfortunately, there’s too many stupid people.

Rules.

Grandma Country had many yearbooks from our school district. They date from way before any of her children graduated to several years afterwards. I think she liked following the progression of families in the community. She was a lifelong resident of our little town. If zip codes had existed in the 1920s, she would have had the exact same zip code her entire life.

I inherited these yearbooks as they were retrieved out of my dad’s attic when his house was sold. I went through many of them this week as we started sorting and packing things for our move to the desert. In some of the yearbooks were programs from graduation services she attended and some student guidebooks. I found this page from the 1965-1966 school year interesting in regards to the dress code and proper etiquette.

My how times have changed, particularly around the expected dress of teenagers.

Surveying.

Tomorrow we are scheduled for a tour of the house. I’m really looking forward to seeing the house in person for the first time; all interactions have been with the real estate agent via photos and video tours. I need to “feel” the house. I am confident that we’ll love it and we already have a contract on it, but tomorrow is inspection and tour day and after that is complete things will be full steam ahead.

Since we don’t have the code to the gate, we drove around the area best we could to get a sense of the lay of the land. We like it. We actually love it. We are minutes from Saguaro National Park East and Mt. Lemmon. The landscape is beautiful and just what I’ve always wanted for a desert home.

Three of the five of us are here; Chris flew into Tucson International Airport and we picked him up at lunch time. As an experienced pilot that can work iPhone applications, I was able to snap a photo of his arrival

We toured another home along the Rillito River. It was quite a nice home but not quite what we’re looking for. Interestingly, the house has an elevator that reminded me of something from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Augustus must stay away from the chocolates if he moves into this house.

I could never bring myself to get inside that tube. I’ll fly an airplane miles above the earth but I do not enjoy elevators.

We took a drive a bit up Mt. Lemmon today just to enjoy some desert fun in the nice weather.

Our stay here in Tucson is too short and with pandemic restrictions it’s not like we should be overly sociable at this time. However, when we move here in a month or two I’ll look forward to meeting up with folks that we’ve chatted with over the intertubes over the past decade or two.

I looked back on my blog entries here and realized that back in May 2006 I blogged about the fact that I’ve always wanted to live in the desert. It’s quite fun that we’re able to make that dream come true 15 years later.

Chilled.

I am very much looking forward to our move to the desert Southwest. After living through 52 winters, the vast majority of them in frigid cold and/or feet of snow, I’m in the mood to celebrate this time of year with a light jacket and a cocktail on the back porch overlooking cacti.

Last night was the second of two major server migrations at work. I had the activity planned to the moment, but the Database Tech carrying out the migration of critical company data was confused and for a bit seemed to have lost two weeks of customer orders. The data was found and finally placed it in its proper place, but it was touch and go for a few moments. I had to remember to keep calm and carry on.

The migration went later than planned and I ended up clocking in about five and a half hours of sleep last night. Today we had a few support requests as a result of the migration, but for the most part things went well. I’m just exhausted.

Exhausted and cold.

I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight. I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures. Soon.

Decade.

Ten years ago.

I’ve been working through cleaning up my online presence and decided to tackle Tumblr today. Surprisingly, I had more than a dozen Tumblr accounts under various email addresses. I’ve spent the last hour cleaning all of that up. Do people still use Tumblr?

Following the Tumblr links back to my blog and then following comment links brought me to a couple of different LiveJournal blogs that are still active! This is exciting as I didn’t know LiveJournal was still around. I must catch up.

One of the things I found was a feed pulled from my original Instagram account, which contains photos that never made it to MobileMe back in the day. At the time I did not have an iPhone; between my original iPhone and my iPhone 3G I was working in a more rural part of Upstate New York. This area did not have AT&T 3G service at the time, so I had moved the family to Verizon. The iPhone 3G was not initially available on Verizon, so we all had the original Motorola Droid phones on Verizon. They worked well for what they were. Here’s a blog entry about the experience from back then. I’m happy we moved back to the iPhone.

It’s interesting to read about what I had to say about the original iPad and my state of mind 10 years ago. In some ways I may have grown older but am I wiser? Probably. I’ve accomplished a lot in these past 10 years and realizing this makes me feel better about my place in the world. I’m happy with the career choices I’ve made along the way and I enjoy my job much more than the position I had 10 years ago.

While I’m hesitant to say 2021 will be better than 2020 for the world in general, I am determined to make sure 2021 is better for my family than it was in 2020.

Glasses.

I’m slowly getting used to my new reading glasses. Spending 10 or more hours in front of a computer for work and then various recreational activities on my technological devices have taken its toll on my eyes; however, I was always destined to need glasses sooner or later. All of my relatives wear glasses; I’m lucky I made it this far with only needing occasional glasses.

The new frames are lightweight and quite comfortable to wear. I’m embracing my middle age. I probably need to drop a few more Dad jokes to complete the experience.

Voices.

I grew up in a small town. I actually grew up outside of a small hamlet outside of a small town. To many in our school, we lived on the “other” side of the Interstate but on the right side of the tracks. Political maneuvering a small school district is interesting. Even though we live in a major city, I never forget where I came from an I am always interested in driving through small towns on our road trips.

Many of the towns and villages in Illinois are struggling. Those of a appreciable size have a Walmart and maybe a couple of chain convenience stores or supermarkets on the outskirts, but the “downtown” area or business districts are often seemingly forgotten. There might be a pizza place, a barbershop, and maybe a diner. Often there are a couple of bars and particularly in Illinois, gaming rooms where folks can try to win their millions at video lottery terminals.

All of these things have been closed during the pandemic.

Times were tough for these small towns before COVID-19 came to town; isolation and mandatory closing of businesses have just made it worse. These areas have been in a steady decline for decades and many of their citizens have been clamoring for something to change for a long while. I’m sure some feel forgotten. In that regard I get why rural communities leaned toward Trump; he talked about “draining the swamp” and “the American farmer” and the like and they bought into his shtick. They feel left behind by the D.C. establishment and they were promised something different. It’s unfortunate that Trump was just using them for votes to stroke his own ego.

Will Main Street in Anytown, U.S.A. return to its former glory? Gosh, that would be nice. There’s something to be said for a smaller, closer-knit community that takes care of one another. I’m probably a bit pollyanna in my thinking, but I hope that big box stores and the like will eventually dissipate in favor of local and smaller establishments again. I would love to see mom and pop shops augment the growing Internet experience, instead of being wiped out by some large conglomerate that couldn’t care less about the small town bypassed by the Interstate.

In 2021 we should all strive to listen better. The folks in the city should listen to the folks in the country and vice versa. I bet there’s a lot we can learn along the way.

Hype.

Photo from vice.com

I’m not a fan of hypey headlines. Social media is notorious for this tactic, with idiotic blasts such “You won’t believe who did this!!!” or “The Sad and Empty Life of Adolf Hitler!!!”. It’s not a social media appropriate headline unless someone’s mouth is agape and there’s an unreasonable number of exclamation points or question marks.

I’ve been on a crusade to clean up my various news reader and video watching subscription lists, and am deleting any YouTube content creator that uses this banal approach to getting attention to their featured videos. If a “tech expert” needs to resort to “Ugh!” in huge letters or has to assemble an image with hair flying around, expressions of disbelief, and floating laptops placed at jaunty angles, I’ve got better things to do than watch whatever they’re shilling to make YouTube cash.

They can stay off my lawn.

I’m all for content creators sharing their creations, or presenting information, or relaying their point of view on a subject. I’m also a proponent of money being made with these endeavors. What I don’t enjoy are these schoolyard tactics to grab my attention and bribe me to click. I’m not falling for it. I didn’t call the Psychic Friends Network when Dionne Warwick started flashing her toothy smile for the service in the late 1980s and I’m not falling for these goofy belches of exclamation points, garish fonts, loud colors, or UNBELIEVABLE images. It’s not my jam.

So stay off my lawn.