Spelling Hints.

Here’s a helpful guide to avoid some of the popular spelling mistakes seen in today’s modern world:
 
 They’re going over there to see their new sofa.
 
 He will lose weight so his pants will be loose. This doesn’t make him a loser but his pants could be looser.
 
 They were at the salon lightening her hair with highlights during the thunder and lightning storm.
 
 He deserted his friends to eat an ice cream cone for dessert while sitting in the Arizona Desert.
 
 The animated French Fry’s plan was to group together with the other French Fries.
 
 If you’re one ass out of a thousand, there are many asses. Assess how many asses there are.
 
 You’re going to your graduation.
 
 Apostrophes do not appreciate when you use the apostrophe’s claim to fame inappropriately.
 
 
 
 

The Real Reason I Dislike Winter.

I’m in a bit of a ranty mood this afternoon. I’ve been watching my Twitter feed fly by with bogus winter storm names, graphics depicting nearly Armageddon-like events and general idiocy regarding the Nor’easter winter storm slated to hit the East Coast metropolitan corridor starting today. I keep reading how this is “the storm of the century”. By my count, this is the 20th or so storm of the century to hit this century. It even has a name to make it easier to discuss online. Because everyone loves an online discussion about the latest catastrophe. It’s what drives the American public.
When I gripe about the hysteria that strangles Washington, D.C. and related cities during this type of event, many are quick to tell me that the affected areas are not used to this kind of storm and therefore they don’t know how to prepare for it. Apparently, preparations include raiding every grocery shelf of every morsel of bread and milk possible, lactose intolerance and gluten allergies be damned. The fact of the matter is, I must be smarter than the average of American because if I went through “the winter storm of the century” one or two times, I would certainly be well prepared by the time the 20th storm of the century blew through. It’s not that difficult to figure out, storms are allegedly growing more intense, therefore, I must be more vigilant in making sure that my family is prepared for the next big storm. That’s just a small portion of what we call Common Sense®. When I point this out to people, they say they’re prepared but the municipalities are not keeping up with the changing times. It’s someone else’s fault that they can’t get their precious rats named Mabel and Finster to their baton lessons. Well, if the municipalities can’t keep up with the changing weather, then logic would dictate that folks are electing the wrong people into the wrong positions for the wrong reasons.
My biggest question is, why are you so dependent on someone rescuing you from catastrophe? Why is their responsibility to make sure they can plow you out, provide you water, etc? Ma and Pa Ingalls did just fine in the middle of a Minnesota winter without electricity. Build a fire, light a gas stove, fire up the barbecue. Do you need water? Melt the snow.
The truth of the matter is that I don’t really dislike winter. I actually like winter better than the mud season we call spring, with water and melting slop all over the place. I can do without the bitter cold we get up here in Central New York (bitter cold being below zero Fahrenheit for days on end, not the balmy 30 degrees that folks in New York City are always bitching about), but snow doesn’t really bother me. Snow doesn’t cripple me. It slows me down to a sensible speed, but life does not grind to halt when we get a foot of snow, or even two feet of snow. I might get bummed out about not being able to fly, but I can always go out in the Jeep and play in the snow. It’s called Independent Thought® and that’s something that I wish would become contagious throughout the entire country. I feel that I could easily ride a winter storm out on my own until the sun peeked through the clouds again.
It’s the mindset of the general populace that I really dislike about winter. This is fueled by a media building an empire built on hysterics. Ever since 9/11, people love drama, they love catastrophe and they love chaos. It’s the new normal. The media successfully gets everyone so whipped up about things that wouldn’t be a big deal even 30 years ago that it needlessly cripples vast portions of the population. Gone are the true meanings of “epic” and “massive”. Open your front door to a wall of snow or climb out your second story bedroom window onto the snow in the lawn sometime, then let’s talk about the full wrath of Mother Nature.
In the meanwhile, please, by the universe of all that is sane, please calm down. 

Fuck Cancer.

My mom called me yesterday morning to let me know that my aunt and godmother had passed over to the other side after falling asleep on Sunday evening. This was not unexpected as she had been living with cancer for the last couple of years. A breast cancer survivor of several years ago, cancer had returned to other parts of her body. An expectation doesn’t make the news any easier to process. I’ve been musing over some pleasant memories and smiling. It’s funny in that it’s odd for me and my usually rock-solid memory for these things, but I don’t know how old she was. I know she was older than my mom by at least four years but I don’t know the specifics. You would think that a godson would know that about his godmother. The services are this coming weekend.

Hence the reason for my tweet yesterday morning, “Fuck Cancer”.

Over the past six months or so it seems like a lot of people in my life are affected by cancer. Radiation, chemotherapy, it all seems like such a shitty way to live but that’s part of surviving cancer, I guess. In a similar situation I don’t know if I would make the decision to go through all that, I don’t know if I’m strong enough. I know that people that live with cancer don’t deserve to do go through all those treatments but they’re very strong people to do so. That takes a lot of courage. The tin foil hat guy in me briefly wonders if there is a better solution out there but it wouldn’t benefit the pharmaceutical et. al. companies as much as the treatments for cancer, so that’s what’s available in Western medicine. I leave those thoughts for fleeting moments because they shouldn’t be focused on. Celebrating the lives of those that live with and pass on from cancer should be the focus, so that’s where I focus my energy.

I just know that my godmother was a pretty nifty lady. She was fairly soft spoken, had a wonderful smile and such a positive energy about her. A heart of gold. She was a strong woman, even before the cancer. I’m going to miss her.

Fuck Cancer.

Relax.

I had my annual physical today. My family physician of over 20 years abruptly decided that he no longer enjoyed the weather of Central New York and gave little notice when he departed at the beginning of the summer, so today I had my physical with a new doctor at the same location. We reviewed my medical history, the dosages of my blood pressure and cholesterol medication. He was surprised that I survived Spinal Meningitis when I was just shy of my second birthday. I guess I just kind of take that for granted. We talked about flying and my FAA Medical Requirements. I like the new doctor. After the first visit I am comfortable with seeing him again.

The nurse that readied me for the entrance of the doctor weighed me, took my temperature and blood pressure and the like. She thought my temperature was low (97ºF) but I wasn’t surprised, normal human temperature is approaching a fever for me. I usually hover around 96.8 or so, so the 97 wasn’t unexpected. My blood pressure was up at 144/98. She weighed me in kilograms. I enjoyed seeing the Metric system in use. I weighed what I thought I should weigh with clothes on so I was comfortable but not happy with her assessment.

The doctor commented that my blood pressure was high; I asked him to retake it and it was much lower. He asked if that happened often and I replied to affirmative; I have high blood pressure because they’re checking my blood pressure. I hate the cuff on my arm. The second time it was much better (but not great) at 130/88.

I think a lot of what elevates my blood pressure is the way I see the world. I choose to look at Facebook and I come to the realization that there have been a lot of ignorant people in my life. I watch all sorts of ridiculous outbursts take place on Twitter and I can’t help but get angry; people are having incredible hissy fits and screaming things about a “War on Christmas” because Starbucks didn’t make their holiday cup festive enough. Hell, they even talked about the Starbucks Red Cup on the latest round of the Republican Debates, which, by the way, is depressing, infuriating and maddening enough to make my blood pressure go up. And we have a whole year to go before we decide who gets the big chair in the White House.

I was going to continue with this blog entry but I felt my face starting to warm, a sign that my blood pressure was going up. I’m going to sit back, wind this down and go watch a video about kittens or something.

Countdown.

In just under 54 hours from the writing of this blog entry, the Eastern Time Zone of the United States will be back in sync with the sun. Noon will be noon and we won’t be jimmying around with the clocks to make the sheep (and I’m not referring to farm animals) think they have an “extra” hour of sunlight.

Every time I hear someone comment that they’re happy that the day is longer during Daylight Saving Time (there is no “s” at the end of “saving”) I want to smack them. Instead I start to rant about time being relative and if they want a longer day perhaps they should get their butt out of bed earlier.

I go on and on about Daylight Saving Time around this time of year every year because for the past three weeks I feel like I have been trapped in a constant state of jet lag. It was bad enough when Daylight Saving Time ended on the third Sunday in October, but then George W. Bush pushed it to the first Sunday in November so that the trick-or-treaters could do their thing when it was still daylight, except that at 19:06 EDT, it’s not still daylight. It’s still just as dark when though rugrats go trick-or-treating, so we’re not really saving anything there.

Others counter that the “extra” hour of daylight gives folks the opportunity to enjoy daylight after work for a longer amount of time. I went for a walk during sunset this evening and no one was jogging, running, walking or spending time outdoors. The only activity I could see was the glimmer of computer monitors through unlit windows.

We need stop messing around with the clocks twice a year. We should just set the damn things one half hour back this weekend and never touch them again. If you want more daylight, get up earlier. If you want more daylight after work, go to work earlier. If you want to run around in the daylight, go running earlier. Time is relative. For those of us whose bodies are in relative sync with the actual time as dictated by the sun, going to bed when we’re not tired and getting up when we’re tired just so we can hear how much the farmers love Daylight Saving Time (they actually hate it as much as I do) is getting, well, tiresome.

In less than 54 hours it will be light in the morning again and dark in the evening and I, for one, will not be so blurry eyed and cranky because our arbitrary assignment of time will actually match what’s going on outside.

And just for that, I will go for a walk, in the dark, because I’m not afraid of the dark.

Fraud.

This morning I received word from our bank’s Fraudulent Activity Department that my debit card had been used for purchases at Office Max/Office Depot for $413 (where the purchase was approved) and another business for $250 (where it was denied). One minute before the Office Max purchase, I had used ApplePay here at home. They turned my card off immediately but I still had to go down to the bank to dispute the $413 charge.

After bouncing text messages back and forth with Earl, we both came to the realization that the Office Max in question is near the mall we were at Saturday night, where I used my debit card to purchase movie tickets, the aforementioned concession items and then a quick bite to eat at TGIFridays. The staff at the TGIFriday’s in question seemed a little shady and the server took an unusually long time to process my credit card transaction to pay the bill. I’m willing to bet that’s where the theft took place, but I have no way of proving it.

Of course I engaged some brief hysteria where I made declarations such as, “I’m never using my debit card for a purchase again”, “I’m moving all of our money into the mattress and paying only with cash” and “I need another American Express account to act as a buffer”, but Earl kept me off the ledge and I simply ordered a new debit card. It should be here in 10 days and it will not be based on mid 20th Century technology (with the stripe) but will have a 21st Century still chip embedded in the card, much like Europe has used for a decade or so.

I have also pledged to try to not use my card where I need to relinquish the card to a third party or where I can’t use ApplePay to pay.

When speaking with the folks at the bank to file my fraud claim, they remarked that they highly recommend the use of ApplePay because it’s nearly impossible to steal. The numbers are changing, everything is encrypted and there’s no physical card. No one at the bank branch has an Apple Watch but they use ApplePay on their iPhones and they recommend that customers do the same with either ApplePay or the Google payment mechanism on Android phones.

It’s hard to believe that the “greatest country on Earth” is still reliant on 1950s technology (which was perfected in 1969) to process computerized information when it comes to payments. I really don’t know why U.S. citizens put up with it. The woman that I filed my fraud claim with remarked that she has to do it several times a year because she uses her card everywhere.

This has got to be costing somebody lots of money somewhere.

I’ve doubled down on my ApplePay usage and I’m getting smarter about where and how I use my debit card. Until American retailers stop arguing on how contactless payments should work (and trying to sabotage the efforts of companies like Apple and Google), maybe we need to move to Europe where everything is chip based.


Reference material:
ApplePay
Android Pay
Credit Card Magnetic Stripe Technology

Regurgitation.

I’ve been deleting many blogs from my blog roll over the past week. It is becoming very common for “bloggers” to simply link to another person’s blog entry or to simply cut and paste the article with maybe some effort to identify the originating source. The copied blog entry is then framed in ads, click through requirements and other money grabbing experiences, all so that the “blogger” can make ad revenue with little effort.  

This irks me.

What happened to the time not so long ago when people generated original content and shared it through a blog or other sort of medium? Do people no longer have the will to think? Do they rather to be fed the same drivel repeatedly until it becomes the truth?

I’ve mentioned many times before that I am not a fan of advertisements. I don’t mind a static ad in a magazine or a newspaper. I’ll even tolerate ads in the margin of a web page, but when the entire page is blocked by an ad or I’m forced to answer a survey or I have to search for a “close” button to get an auto playing video to stop blaring at me, I lose* all interest in consuming whatever I was intending to consume by falling for the click bait.

I think one of the reasons that we have such stupidity front and center in media these days is because people keep regurgitating the stupidity in an effort to grab more ad dollars. Every time I read a headline that says, “you won’t believe it when…” or “your jaw will hit the floor when you see this…” or “what happens next will astound you…” I want to slap the three closest people to me across the face and/or throw a lamp across the room and scream “please stop the insanity!”

The fact that my Facebook stream has become a constant source of this idiocy, despite my best efforts to hide, delete, muffle, silence or stomp out this sort of thing adds fuel to the fire that makes me want to throw a lamp. One of my recent revelations about my childhood is that there were a fair number of idiots that were part of my past. The regurgitation of the idiotic has amplified this. I miss my ignorance.

There is no solution to all of this because it’s just going to continue and no one has the gumption to stand up to this sort of content presentation on the Internet. 

Get rich quick by doing nothing. Welcome to the 21st Century. 

*please note the way I spelled that word. 

Go Away.

There was an event at the Apple Store in SoHo yesterday, a “meet the developers” event that apparently featured the Kardashians. Admittedly, this made me vomit a little in my mouth. Naturally, my take on this is that it’s the perpetuation of everything that is wrong with our society, what with having a game where you can be a Kardashian or something. I think the latest version of AbFab said it best when they likened the Kardashians to spreading the herpes and multiplying like head lice. I don’t know why I care to be angry about the existence of the Kardashians, except that their existence is constantly in my face. It’s bad enough that they infest my Twitter feed, are all over the television, are constantly referred to in casual conversation by people with little to talk about and are thrusting Caitlyn Jenner at us constantly, but now Apple events as well?

Another reason to seriously consider moving to Linux (again).

Digital Manners.

There is a woman with a busted up Android phone sampling all the music on her non iDevice. Without headphones. At full volume. In the Barnes and Noble cafe.  The staff has spoken to her several times about this but she doesn’t care.

Because she’s entitled. And she has no manners.

All smartphones and the like should default to vibrate mode. I don’t want to hear your ringtone, I don’t want to know what you’re watching on Facebook (because it’s never as hilarious as the headline claims it will be) and I certainly don’t want to hear your phone call with your divorce lawyer over your speakerphone.

What the heck happened to respecting those around you? Have people completely forgotten about common courtesy?

The answer seems to be “it would appear so.”

It’s like these folks that can’t be bothered to park between the lines in a parking lot. They just don’t give a damn anymore. They don’t care about the people around them and they don’t care about anaything outside of their little world.

Though I’m one for a smaller government, I believe that people should be licensed to use anything with more tech horsepower than a Speak ‘n Play. If you don’t have a license, you can’t get on the Internet..

Ignorance. It’s what’s happening in 2015.

Escape. 

There’s too much bad news on the Internet today. I wish I had the time to go for a flight during my lunch hour but that would irresponsible. Instead, I’m watching a boat go through Lock 20 on the Erie Canal. 

I enjoy our local park.