Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts

What a wild week it has been. The introduction of the iPhone 4S, the death of Steve Jobs. I want to address a couple of things here concerning the iPhone 4S and all those that are disappointed that it wasn't the iPhone 5. The original iPhone 4 was introduced 16 months ago. It was a leap above and beyond anything that came before it or you could find in any smart phone. It still was selling hand over fist up to the announcement of the next phone. In those intervening 16 months how many Android based phones have been released? Where are those devices in comparison to the iPhone 4? I honestly believe they have just recently caught up to and are slightly ahead of the iPhone 4. (4G speeds, cloud type features, 8MP cameras, etc.) I haven't heard of anything amazing or ground breaking on any of them, they have just caught up. Now the iPhone 4S is not breaking any new ground, if you don't include the Siri assistant in this mix. They have a better camera, a faster dual core processor a couple of new cool features in iOS5. Add in Siri and yes I know it's still 'beta', but there is pretty much the only leap Apple had to make. It's not just voice commands, it's moving into AI (Artificial Intelligence) territory.

A system that understands regular words, and can follow along the context of your queries. That was the killer "just one thing more" for this presentation. If you have an iPhone 4 already it's probably not worth you upgrading, wait for the iPhone 5. If you are in my situation, still using my original Motorola Droid for these past 18 months than it's one giant step into the future.

I feel we get bombarded with technology and the latest and greatest come out every two months. Some people have to live on that bleeding edge, I am not one of them. Because Apple has been gaining ground in the PC world, people now expect every new device to be revolutionary and ground breaking. That's easy to do when you've got 10% of the market. It's harder and harder as that percentage grows. The hype and rumors on the new iPhone started way back in February or March of this year. We've had months of leaks and people posting their wants and desires. I believe with this release Apple has kept to their philosophy of bring out technology that amazes and just works. Keep it simple and intuitive to use. No need to read a 500 page book to figure out how to turn it on.

How easily we forget the early iMacs and the small steps they took to transform into what they are today. What about the early iBooks and how quickly underpowered they were. Those same devices turned into the MacBook, and the MacBook Pro lines of laptops that will stand toe to toe with anything on the PC side from now to four years from now. (When I'll be trading my MacBook Pro in for a new one.) Apple has grown into an amazing company, and I for one, am excited and relieved that they are not sacrificing quality and amazing design just to 'keep up with the PC's". It's never been that way at Apple (Minus a few years there when they strayed) and I hope it never will be.

I know the arguments "Closed system", can't upgrade components, can't do this, can't to that. At the end of the day I've got a computer that I can turn on and use. I don't have to wait for a 3 hour virus scan to complete, I don't have to worry about some stupid virus attacking my computer. I can surf the web, chat with friends, get work done and not worry. Yes I know as market share rises more attacks will come, but there are far fewer holes to patch in the Apple world. Also Apple has a track record of just cutting off older technology when it becomes too much to try and support it. Having only used Apple for just over five years now I haven't had to face the situation where a program I use daily is now going to be cut and I've got to find a work around. Or 'gasp' switch to something new that actually works better. We do get stuck in our 'comfort zones' and yes people do not like change. (Just look to the latest Facebook updates to see how well that is received.) Just remember the world is ever changing. 5 years ago a phone with a touch interface was something that couldn't be done and would suck horribly. Today millions use their iPhone, or Android phone and if it's not touch screen it sucks horribly.

If you've actually read this far thank you. {*************************} HUGZ to you all. Smile a little more, hold the door for someone entering, or exiting a store, complement a coworkers outfit, inject just a little positive into the world everyday. See what amazing things can build out of the smallest efforts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One more step

So here we are one step closer to those dreams. "Don't ask, Don't tell" was officially repealed today. Gays and Lesbians can now openly serve in the defense of their country. It puts me in a reflective mode. Having actually been there and done that I can take time now, almost 20 years since I left active duty in the Army, to look back and possibly share what this means to me.

Funny how with a 20 year gap and the perspective of age(yeah I was young once and didn't believe that shit then.) how you can see events with a different clarity. Please don't take this as a sob story, or the plot for a really good movie of the week (showing my age there). So there I was a young man in his early 20's that knew it all but was desperately trying to figure out what was wrong, and why I was 'different' from all of my friends in that one crucial area. Sure we'd just returned from WAR and having 1/2 a bottle of MGD kick my ass was an affront to my proud Polish/Irish heavy drinking ancestry. Call us Alcoholics and we'd wear the badge with pride.

It's easy to blame your actions on the alcohol, it's much harder to escape the harsh reality when you're looking into the mirror two days later stone cold sober. All I 'knew' about gay men came from Hollywood and TV. The prancing queen that was over the top flamboyant and that was sooo far removed from the person I was I couldn't understand. I knew that was NOT me and I could never become such a thing, I'd rather be dead then end up acting like that. Things were still black and white for me back then, there were no shades of gray, no possibility that alternatives existed. So I wanted to be numb, if you can't think you can't face truths, you don't have to deal with it. As I'm sure any addict can tell you this is a classic behavior. It's a phase, it will pass, etc, etc etc etc.

Did I mention the Polish/Irish ancestry? To boil it down let's say 'stubborn' is a trait. Not to mention that I was raised much better than to just 'settle' and just take the path of least resistance. I have no idea what my outward projection was, but from what I can tell it was a totally different thing than what was going on inside. (This is not a sob story just let me get this out before you come give me a hug.) I end up getting out of the Army through a loop hole that will guarantee my Honorable Discharge (trust me in the early 90's before Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and holding a Top Secret security clearance this is a MAJOR plus) and end up making new friends. Life progresses.

So let's back up a little. Not to sound conceited but I was always a smart kid, curious, I wanted to know how things worked. Not the most co-ordinated of kids, but loved to be outside playing as much as sitting in the house reading a book. I remember the times Dad took me into work (Electronics Technician in the Navy) and he and a friend would show me how to tear down a radio or a radar rack and then they would watch me do it on my own. (Always ensuring I didn't electrocute myself or cause damage to their test systems.) On the times I got stuck they would show me again what to do from that point and then reset the failure and have me try again. Showing me what to do and explaining why and the theory as I went. I'll also credit and love forever my Aunt (Anut) Kathy who never would allow cable TV into her house. "You're better off reading a book than watching TV" she'd tell me. My parents read, and I read. Aunt Kathy would question me about the books I've read or what I was currently reading. It wasn't a 'test' it was a conversation. She'd ask me about the story, characters, what I thought, etc. One AMAZING person that the world lost WAY TOO SOON.

So anyway there I am. More a 'geek' than a 'jock'. I went from 5'4" and weighing prolly close to 175lbs when I was 12 to 6'2" and weighing just about 100 lbs by 14. The dramatic loss of weight and gain of height left me really uncoordinated. Sports were hell, my body would not do what I saw others doing and they laughed, so I avoided them at all costs. (I'm about 96.7% positive that anyone still reading this can identify with a good chunk of what I'm saying.)

You meet the person you are supposed to meet when you need to meet them. I firmly believe this as it has played out again and again in my life. (Blaine and Darrell to name but two.) From that skinny kid in Great Lakes, IL to the man that loved and learned from my partner (if even for the brief 18 months we had together.) Ronnie I am the man I have always been destined to become. A man that proudly supports our military and is in awe of the History unfolding infront of me. Ronnie served in the Navy, and I served in the Army, had we been allowed to serve openly and proudly would we have ever met?

Think on that as I close this post. Prolly one of the main things that spurred this post. As always I send my love and energy to you all {*********************}

HUGZ

Monday, April 18, 2011

The waiting is the hardest part......

So on Friday I was cleaning up my old MacBook Pro to send in for the trade in value ($420 for a five year old laptop). I decided to log into the Apple website and see about my replacement. On a whim I decided to check and see if I could qualify for their financing. (done this in the past and always been turned down, figured what the heck and tried it again.) I was pleasantly surprised when I was approved for just about the full amount of my new laptop. I was prepared to be without a laptop for 4 to 6 weeks while I waited for the Apple gift card to come in, and get my OT check for the plays.

The new MBP is ordered and is on it's way to me as I type this up. Went with the 15" with the core i7 processor. Tis a true quad core, 4GB of ram, and a 750 GB hard drive. More than I'll need for the next five years, but oh soooo nice to have it be mine!!! Gotta love the $200 Education discount. According to FedEx the laptop is scheduled to be here on Wednesday. My next post here will be from the MBP.

It's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. I've been wanting a new toy, and this will fill the bill. Yes I still want to upgrade my DSLR to that new Nikon, but it can wait until later. Learning what I have from my Olympus I know that the better the lens, the better the pictures I get. So I will not be satisfied with the cheap kit lenses that come with the Nikon, that brings up the price I'm gonna pay for my new camera. No sense in getting the better camera if I don't get some quality lenses with it. I'm thinking maybe for Christmas this year. Depending upon if the new Laptop is paid off. (yes there is a plan to have the laptop paid off within a year. I got the 12 month no interest financing on the laptop, so that's an added incentive to have it paid off.)

My other big news.... I now have a Lowe's credit card. Being a home owner I'm sure that will come in handy. I know there are a few things I need to get to do some projects around here, this will be a way for me to get those things. I'm really loving that Lowe's is here in Vallejo, finally another choice instead of just going to Home Depot. First item on the list an 8' ladder, second item(s) Power Tools!!!!

Spring is here, and I hope you all are enjoying the weather. It's been a mixed bag so far here, but there has been the few days of promising nice weather. I've done on BBQ so far, and yes this is just the start.

As always thanks for reading and HUGZ to you all. {*********************}

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vegas

So the week in Vegas is wrapping up and it's been a great time. Got to do many more things this time around. I definitely recommend coming here for a week. Hoover Dam was AWESOME and that new bypass bridge is just amazing to drive under. The extended tour of the dam is well worth the money, they are serious on the claustrophobic part. Trust me there are some tight areas and if that freaks you don't even think about it. Prolly the most amazing part was getting to see out of the ventilation shaft in the face of the dam. Pics will be posted when I get home. I put a few up on my Facebook, but the rest will require a faster connection than what three f us are sharing here in the hotel. It was a very good idea to bring along the Airport Extreme to turn the single hard connection in the room into a wireless signal for all of us to use.

Stratosphere was amazing at night. 1000 feet above the Las Vegas strip and the views were amazing. It's worth the $16 just to go up to the observation deck, even if you don't do any of the rides. The night shots of the strip didn't turn out that well for me, definitely need a tripod if I'm gonna attempt those again.

Gold and Silver Pawn shop, yes the one from the TV show is definitely worth stopping by. Very cool to see many of the items I've seen on the show there in the shop. The Old Man, Rick, Corey and Chum were not there as they are out on the road doing a little tour of the country and prolly filming new stuff to be shown on air.

Was much fun to have the time to do the 'tourist' thing along the strip. We went up in the Eiffel Tower and saw the fountains at Bellagio from that angle. Then we went down and caught two shows from ground level. Still blows me away on how they can shoot the water that high in the air, and have it all set to music. "One singular sensation" (yeah I know prolly not the title of that show tune, but you know what I mean) was just amazing. I think that's from the show "A Chorus Line", but I'm not Mr. Showtunes.

Nascar weekend here in Vegas so we've seen that crowd swell. Last night on the strip we saw the parade of all the team semi's going down the strip. Was kinda cool even though I know next to nothing about Nascar. Never did catch the Volcano, nor the Pirate show at Treasure Island, but that's ok gotta save something for next time. Vegas is HUGE, that being said with a rental car you see how small it is. According to our map from Mandalay Bay to Stratosphere is only 4.1 miles. They sure pack one hell of alot in that space.

Ok people are getting ready and it's going on 1pm. Time to venture out in search of Lunch. I'm thinking the food court over at New York, New York needs to be hit.


{*******************} HUGZ to you all!!!!



I'm coming home with a little money. No I didn't hit it big in Vegas this trip. I'm super rich on memories and in the end those are worth more than the $$$ anyway. Got to spend some good time with an old friend (yeah Darrell and I have known each other for going on 20 years now) and that is something that money just can't buy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Time to get it out....

It's been awhile since I've sat here and put some words on the screen. So many things going on right now that I better get some of it out of my head. LOL. There is a curse from the old country it says "May you live in interesting times." Well I'd say that's exactly what we're in right now. Can you believe that the hearings are going on and the repeal of "Don't ask, Don't tell" could happen before the new year. That is if the Republicans will let it go through. I find it extremely interesting that the biggest argument against it comes from John McCain. The one who would have been president if he had a running mate. (Don't get me started on Sarah "I can see Russia from my backyard" Palin) It seems the biggest fear on this is that some flaming queens will be on the frontlines the day after this policy is repealed and gays can serve openly in the military. They seem to forget that it's not gonna change a few basic things. You still have to enlist, you have to make it through Basic Training/Boot Camp. You still have to meet the standards and pass all the training. Take it from a guy that served his country honorably it's not gonna be the end of civilization they are trying to make it sound like.

You volunteer to serve your country for many different reasons. The pay is prolly the last thing that motivates you to join the military. I was listening to a talk radio show and they were discussing this issue. Many of the callers into the station that were against the repeal seemed to think that suddenly there would be guys making out all over post. In front of the barracks and flaunting their sexuality in front of 'decent, upstanding, christian soldiers. (Trust me this is the underlying feeling). There are standards and 'rules' that every soldier must follow, gay or straight. There are regulations governing 'Public displays of affection', and every other argument these people raise. Do you really think that once gays can serve openly that these regulations will go by the wayside??? Do you really think that Anarchy will reign supreme??? You've never been there and you'll never understand if that's what you think. Men and Women serve in the same units today and it's not an all out sex fest. Come on people it's 2010.

Ugh it's just really frustrating to argue against such stupidity.

So on to other topics. Had an interesting thing happen the other night. Was sitting at the computer surfing around and I saw that J signed on to Yahoo. Figured I'd say 'Hi' as we hadn't talked in over a month. Well we ended up talking for almost two hours. The upshot of it all is we're gonna meet up for dinner tomorrow. I'm not sure exactly what I'm feeling about this one. Back when it all kinda blew up many issues were brought up, and he told me I should think long and hard about things. Maybe not the best advice for me, or should I say he should be careful of what he wishes for cause he just might get it. I do know that there are some parts of me that aren't gonna change. A couple of those things are things he definately wanted me to change. I'm tough, I'm strong, I'm pretty independent. I'm not perfect by any stretch, but I do like my life and think I'm doing pretty well. I got here by my own two feet and no one can take that from me. We will see how things go over dinner and take it from there.

It was funny at one point while we were chatting on yahoo he asked where we were.... and I answered "Friends, I guess". That's where he left it, and I left the ball in his court. I realized awhile back that I never heard from him unless I sent the first txt. So I decided to just not send that first txt and see how long it went til I heard from him. After three weeks I was pretty sure that I'd not hear from him again. Ah Interesting times.....

Christmas is upon us and the best gift for me will be having family and friends together to celebrate the season. I've got all the 'presents' I need. I'll decorate the house soon and be ready for the big day. Yes I'll get a live tree for the house. Nothing smells better to me than that fresh cut pine decorated with lights and the ornaments that bring nothing but memories.

Looking ahead to the end of Feb and another celebration of my arrival here on this planet. The trip to Vegas is planned and will secure the flights and hotel in the coming weeks. The deals are there to be had, it really is a magical place. A grown ups play ground. This year Darrell, yes THAT Darrell, will be meeting up with Chris and I in Vegas. We're doing a week and I'll get to explore outside of the strip. Trips to Hoover Dam, Red Rocks and whatever else we decide. One day will be spent with Darrell and I in our "I love Las Vegas" t-shirts doing the tour of the strip. Hitting all the hot spots, fountains at Belliagio, Volcano at Mirage, etc, etc. Expect many of the 'tourist' type photos of us hitting the spots and having fun.

Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading. {*****************************} HUGZ to you all!

Monday, October 4, 2010

You've heard by now

About the Freshman at Rutgers college that jumped off a bridge after his roommate put up a video of him making out/having sex with another guy. I remember last week when I heard the quick blurb on the radio about it. The first thoughts in my head were 'he was gay'. Before I knew anymore details this I knew. If it had been a straight guy he would have pulled the 'Macho' card and been high fiving all through the dorms.

My calendar says 2010. How much longer will shit like this go on? When will those that are 'different' from the 'All American boy' mold be able to live their lives? For all the strides the gay community has made. For all the families with two moms or two dads, the thousands of us that are living our lives out and free, there are still the numbing number of cases like this. A boy finally free from his home town, who can start exploring life and finding his path through it. He took his own life because of the cruelty of his roommate. It was a 'joke', it was a 'prank'. Yeah pretty fusckin funny one there, a young man is DEAD.

Even in this day and age getting that courage to come out and be who you are is pretty tough. We are not cookie cutter images and our paths are not all the same. It's scary there in the closet. You KNOW what you are and you KNOW that no one will understand and you will be shut out of the only lives of people you know. I've been there, I've done that. It's really not that bad. You beat yourself up inside your own head more than anyone that truly loves you will.

Because of this, and because of the countless other stories I'll never know I strive to live my life and show others that you CAN be who you are. You WILL have friends. You can DO anything you want in this life no matter your 'orientation'. I have an amazing group of friends, gay, straight, whatever. Remember one thing... always be TRUE to yourself. You'll be amazed where your path leads you if you never forget that.

{**************************} HUGZ to you all!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thought provoking

FARTHEST STAR

[December 2006]

The will to greatness clouds the mind
consumes the senses, veils the signs
we each are meant to recognise
Redeeming graces cast aside
Enduring notions, newfound promise
that the end will never come

We live in times when all seems lost
But time will come when we'll look back
upon ourselves and on our failings
Embrace the void even closer still
Erase your doubts,
as you surrender everything

We possess the power
if this should start to fall apart,
to mend divides, to change the world
to reach the farthest star
If we should stay silent
if fear should win our hearts,
our light will have long diminished
before it reaches the farthest star

Wide awake in a world that sleeps
Enduring thoughts, enduring scenes
the knowledge of what is yet to come
From a time when all seems lost
From a dead man to a world
without restraint unafraid and free

If we fall and break
all the tears in the world
cannot make us whole again

copyright © vnv nation - all rights reserved

So that is a song by VNV Nation. I love the lyrics. In a reflexive mood right now. I need to look inside and see if what was there was really what I wanted. I set myself off as a positive force in this universe and will see where the winds blow me.

HUGZ to you all {****************************} Thanks for allowing me this time.