Getting Away.

I spend a few hours a week “getting away” via Google Maps. While I’m not a big fan of Google (due to privacy concerns), I have to admit their data collection on places around the world is top notch. Being able to drag an icon onto a street and have a 360º view of that spot is awesome. I’ve traveled all over the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia by this means. It helps me escape.

A bunch of our friends like to take cruises; they want to go someplace warm and tropical on a big ship, lounge around, get waited on, and see crystal blue waters and a selection of aquatic life do their thing in the ocean. This type of vacation is enjoyable for me as well, at least until we get to the point where I have to baste myself in sunblock so that my primarily Irish skin doesn’t burn within ten minutes of the first whale jump. It’s probably because I grew up in the Lake Ontario Snowbelt in Upstate New York, but I don’t enjoy hot temperatures as much as I enjoy reasonable temperatures, and by reasonable I’m talking low humidity, a decent breeze, and something around 21ºC (70ºF).  One of the reasons we didn’t move to the South when we decided to leave the Empire State was because we don’t like hot and sultry at all. I like the snow, albeit, when enjoyed in temperatures that don’t require mandatory frostbite.

One of the places I’ve visited via Google Maps in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This city in northern Canada is very intriguing to me. You can’t drive there, you can’t even take a ship there year ’round, and the winter nights can be very long. It’s beyond the “tree line”, so there’s little foliage.  But I find the city to be very inviting. I really want to visit there. Convincing my husband that we should go there on vacation is another story. 

I found this video two folks made during their visit to Iqaluit several years ago. I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.

Vintage.

I was tempted to buy the Apple IIe pictured above. Earl would have wondered where I was going to put it, but it would have been a nifty thing to have in my office.

I took some time Saturday afternoon to browse and reminisce at the Vintage Computer Festival Midwest outside of the city. Earl opted to wait for me at the local Starbucks. I spent an hour so walking around, talking to other vintage computing geeks, and having a nice discussion with a guy running a full-fledged Digital VAX 11 in the exhibit space. (Think almost the size of a mainframe and usually found in a specially cooled room).

I’ve mentioned before that while we have plenty of technology today, it seems like companies are missing an element on innovation these days. We could be much smarter people if we used technology for worthwhile causes instead of using all of these devices for entertainment. Granted, many of the computers on display at VCFMW were demonstrating games of the era, but at least the games still made you think. When you’re playing a text-based role game, you have to use your imagination to know where you are in the game space. Today’s immersive technology doesn’t really engage imagination.

I had the opportunity to play around with a few of the older machines while I was at the festival and I was delighted to realize that my “muscle memory” of certain editing commands on ancient text editors are still quite intact. I haven’t used DEC’s EDT editor in a couple of decades but I was able to navigate around the screen like an old pro. That was kind of fun.

It’s fun to see such an effort to keep our computing heritage alive. I look forward to attending more of these festivals.

Participation.

On Saturday night we went to a party at the local Hamburger Mary’s. The event was called “Grrr, Woof”, and as one can tell by the name of the party, it was geared toward the gay bear set and their friends. We had a really fun time.

Since the marquee on the outside of the building said “Grrr, Woof, Tonight!”, I had to take a moment to wonder why there was a bachelorette party standing in the middle of the dance floor, not moving, when we arrived to a room otherwise filled with good sized men, most of whom had some sort of facial hair. Hamburger Mary’s isn’t in Boystown, where a lot of the bachelorette parties terrorize the streets along the gay bars in the traditional gayborhood. 

Now, I know that public venues are open to the public and I guess I wouldn’t want to see the bachelorette party thrown out of the place, but I can’t understand why they would want to be there in the first place. There were a couple of heavier go-go dancers from time to time. A fully bearded bear did a couple of drag performances on the stage. And there were a lot of sweaty, bigger, shirtless guys milling about the space quaintly named “Mary’s Attic”. But there in the middle of the dance floor was a smattering of women with short skirts, ridiculously high heels, and tiaras looking around looking for some sort of Twinkie fest and there was just none of that going on at this party called “Grrr, Woof!”.

The bachelorette party left after about 20 minutes of standing in the middle of dance floor looking uncomfortable. A second party came in about an hour later, but they bolted for the door as soon as they realized the aforementioned bear drag person was using the ladies’ room as a dressing room.

The gay ‘world’ is just as diverse as the rest of the world. I kind of feel like bachelorette parties are in search of the stereotypical, smooth, oh-so-cute, super thin, hyperventilating twink who breaks into tears every time Katy Perry walks onto his television screen. If you’re into that, OK, but don’t stand there in the middle of the dance floor gaping at the men with a disappointed look.

We know how to party.

Abbariffic.

Cher.

When I first heard Cher was going to be in “Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again”, I wasn’t really feeling it. But then Earl and I saw the movie and saw her role wasn’t as big as the trailer made it to be and all was good. Cher then announced she was going to release an album of ABBA covers and I was hesitant. 

Last month Cher released “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” to YouTube and I was kind of blown away. Her version is in the original key, the instrumentation sounds blissfully familiar, and Cher has done a respectable job of maintaining the quality of the original go at this track with her “Believe” auto-tune antics. I like it much better than Madonna’s sampling in “Hung Up” and it doesn’t detract from the simplicity of Erasure’s version of the song from the early 1990s (because Erasure was always way ahead of the curve on these things).

I have to admit I’m looking forward to hearing Cher’s entire album when it drops later this month.

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Upgrade?

Apple has announced their next big event. It is scheduled for September 12 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific. It’s called “Apple Special Event”.  They will undoubtedly announce new iPhones and iPads. This can mean only one thing: my iPhone X and iPad Pro will no longer be the latest and greatest from Apple.

And honestly, I don’t really care.

I’ve come to realize that Apple is now about evolution, not revolution. There will be nothing new and exciting about the iPhone XS (or whatever it is called); it will simply have a faster processor and probably a better screen and camera, but it’ll still do what my iPhone X does and not much more.

I read all of these reports of people being unhappy with the latest and greatest MacBook Pro, especially when it comes to the new designed keyboards. My tricked-out MacBook Pro from mid-2015 does its job just fine, even with the latest version of Mac OS (Mojave). This MacBook Pro was an emergency replacement for my older 2013 model, which was stolen out of my hotel room during a work trip. This 2015 model does fine for what it is, and I love using it, but I don’t feel a need to upgrade. Things are still snappy, I can still edit photos and videos without a problem, and the battery life is decent (though not nearly as good as when I bought it new).  I feel no need to purchase a new MacBook Pro, in fact, I don’t know what I’ll do if the day comes that my current computer can’t be repaired or upgraded to where I need it to be. Apple’s focus has moved to iOS but I’m not ready to shift my focus to exclusive iPad use (though I’ve tried on a number of occasions).  If I had an iPad Pro that ran the Mac experience I would be happier, but iOS just feels too simple and confined for me to enjoy a full computing experience. I wouldn’t say it feels like a toy, to me it just feels like a computer designed for casual use. My needs fit well into the upper half of “power user”.

Pundits have been tripping over one another to get the latest tidbit or juicy detail out there about what Apple is going to do at their Special Event next week. I’ll watch the event, because despite my criticisms, I still believe Apple brings the best computing experience available today to the masses, but the truth of the matter is, it isn’t the perfect computing experience.

It’s still interesting to see what they’ll do, though.

Stats.

In the spirit of Labor Day weekend, I am happy that 6 million Americans (according to the WH) recently received some sort of bonus check. However, as a reality check, please remember than there approximately 130 million Americans in the work force. Let’s do a little math: 6/130 (drop the millions) is around 4.6% of the workforce population. So, 95.4% of the workforce has not seen any benefit from these tax cuts. Additionally, it was announced this week that federal employees will not receive their annual salary increase in an attempt to fund the already completed tax cuts for corporations.

Lose Yourself.

After a 55 hour work week, sometimes you just want to lose yourself. A couple two, three beers at a local watering hole. Fun games of Uno with friends. A late nite diner experience outside of your Weight Watchers endeavors. All of this helps maintain balance. Balance is good. It helps one achieve an equilibrium so that everything makes sense and happens in a comfortable space. Lose yourself to find balance once in a while. It helps the world go ’round.

Breakfast.

I’m not a breakfast food kind of guy. Once in a while I’ll have pancakes or waffles, but generally I’m not into cereal or oatmeal. I will not eat eggs unless I have to, as I don’t care for eggs unless they’re used as an ingredient for something else.

Earl is always patient with my food requests, and since the kitchen is his domain, I am grateful. I enjoyed a nice chicken and bacon sandwich on an English muffin this morning. This was just what I needed to start the day. Low in Weight Watchers points, I’m finding myself feeling pretty good after this savory breakfast.