Changes here at EFD, hopefully for the better

The Blue Ridge Mountains during a visit  in July 2016. Why is this here? Why not? Photo by Dick

Okay my friends, for many years my longtime college friend from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, Paul W. who has for quite awhile been a resident of Tokyo, Japan, provided a site for my almost 12-year-old blog. For some of those years we were on the free blogspot site. But for varied reasons we chose this paid site.

We discussed trading the site and all it involved. We decided it would be in our best interest to transfer his Website account from him to me. Not only does that make it more fair for him financially, it is something we figured it just made great sense.

It took a night of Sunday night, or Monday morning in Paul’s case, cussing. But hopefully I will have the ability to make some changes here and hopefully make improvements that will lead to my spending more time on my writing.

I have the ability to add a few other pages to my account, in case Paul wants to restart his Japanese horse racing site. Whatever he wants, short of a dangerous site that will get us sent to some CIA hellhole, he is certainly welcome to a web spot on my account. I cannot thank him enough for his help and patience. Best of luck, Bro!


Navigating the world with a nagging Siri

Sometimes this digital world gets really crazy.

I have always wondered what would happen if I said something particularly vile to Siri, the automated personal assistant on my iPhone. Nevertheless, I try to be a polite and not-so-profane person, even to Siri. I don’t believe the time I spent on a ship in the Navy was particularly helpful toward such an aspiration. But I honestly try to control my profanity although sometimes it just busts on out there.

Yesterday was a hot summer day in Southeast Texas. I am without air conditioning in my truck, supposedly because I need a new compressor. I had an appointment this morning at the VA Hospital in Houston with my podiatrist and it was scheduled sort of early in the morning. So I rented a car to drive to Houston and to overnight at a hotel in order to beat the early traffic in the morning.

Well, that all worked well this morning but yesterday was a different matter.

The rental agency didn’t have the kind of car I had requested. I had asked for a compact, but they didn’t have one clean. So I ended up getting a 2016 Jeep Trailhawk for the same price. Sometimes you get whatever you get at a car rental agency and sometimes you get even better. I liked the 4 x 4 Trailhawk, although its dominant color was red, but at least I could see where I had parked it in a large parking lot.

Siri, Do you know the way to San Jose?
Siri, Do you know the way to San Jose?

I left Beaumont Tuesday on I-10 just after 3 p.m. All was going well. I stopped off at Winnie for gas and some iced tea. I noticed the skies in the west were growing increasingly dark. It was probably five or six miles after Winnie when I ran into rain, and I’m talking heavy rain.

The heavy rain probably didn’t stop until I was almost halfway to Houston. Then not long afterwards, I heard on the radio that a left lane was blocked on I-10 in East Houston  because of water on the road. Well, I saw water on the road but none that was worth closing the highway. Then, what else? Traffic. Bumper-to-bumper traffic was all the way to only a few miles from my destination.

My destination was a hotel on South Main near the NRG Stadium and the Astrodome. But I was still unsure just how I should proceed there on the city streets. Well, that is when I clicked onto Siri for help with directions.

I don’t like nor recommend talking on the phone when you are driving, but as long as Siri understands what you are saying, she is pretty good at directions. I mean, there are problems. But yesterday Siri heard me loud and clear. Not far from my destination, I encountered a blocked lane with someone pulling in front of me. Talking to no one — especially Siri — while trying to negotiate traffic I uttered: “Bullshit!”

All of a sudden Siri retorted: “I hope you don’t kiss your mother with that mouth!”

Well, I could have become indignant what with my mother having died more than 30 years ago. But instead, I laughed out loud. I suppose Siri is not fond of my profanity. But I could not help cracking up. It was just too f***ing funny!

The trip back home today was much better. No rain, no traffic.

Best of all, there was no scolding from Siri. Maybe I should really have really gotten married all those many years ago.


While I will post even less during the next 2 weeks.

Yes, yes, I know the old saying that excuses are like — televisions. Everyone has one — or more. I am taking a break from this blog for about two weeks. I haven’t been contributing as much as I did for quite a few years. But I suppose when you get older you have only so much energy to devote to making a living. And as most of you know, I work for Uncle Sugar, only eight hours shy of working full-time. The days seem to get longer. And I think as a second consideration, I’ve been doing this damn thing for more than 10 years, that’s a while. I kind of feel as if I deserve a little time off, don’t you think?

I didn’t come here to rationalize. Not so much, at least. The real reason for a break is that I have reached a point on my data limit with Verizon that necessitates cutting back on my usage. That means when my 20-gigabite limit is reached, and I assume it will happen soon, I will pay overages of $15 per extra gb used. I supposed that is what they still charge. What raises my hackles is that I have raised my data limit several times over the past few years. I keep going over the mark. I now have 20, up from 15 gigabite a month or two ago.

It seems the more data you have available, the more you are hell-bent to go over the limit.

I don’t know if I was doing a little consumer judo or was just duped into a plan that is for everyone. I’d investigate, but it just takes too much energy, mentally speaking.

A while back I added a Ellipsis to my line for $10 a month. I like reading books on it. I haven’t given up reading “real” books, but one can find some remarkable reads for as little as $10 sometimes. The problem is that the tablet had problems freezing upon start up and once started, it would again freeze. I would ship the tablet off to Verizon and it would come back, working, for an hour or a day. This happened about a third time, and I called Verizon, understandably — I think — frustrated.

I told the person at Verizon that I either wanted a new tablet or we would “go ’round and ’round.” I told her that I had already checked into some different companies’ plans, ones that would pay the early out fees. The woman said: “Oh no, we don’t you want to do that!” I told her that I continued to have overages and hoped to stay that by signing up with a liberal plan — whether that really exists in the U.S. is anyone’s guess. So perky Ms. Verizon person offered an increase of 5 gb and would actually pay less. “Yeah, I bet,” I thought to myself.

I realize that I have become somewhat reckless with the data usage. I do download music or music videos. Of course, I mostly read on the internet. I don’t download movies or using much live streaming. I would say the overages are  basically my fault. However, I have difficulties trying to keep the annoying pop-up videos. It seems as soon as I do something that keeps away these pain-in-the-ass commercials, back they come in full force. I’d like to find out how much these ads add to overages.

There you have it. I will probably post something between now and Jan. 8, 2016, when my data account resets. But if I don’t, you can find my rationalization reasons here.

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year!

GOP senators want more guns. Local students call the cops.

It turns out this shooting in San Bernadino, Calif., is more complicated and much likely terrorism of some sort.

This incident takes many paths much like 9/11 but, the pathways are potentially more dangerous if you can get a handle on that. We face threats ahead, some are from our own political hacks. Republican senators shot down (sorry) a bill that would allow those on the FBI’s terror watch list to buy even more guns. The GOP says nothing can be impeded in buying guns. It’s guns, guns and more guns! Our own Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, was responsible for that great legislative move. Old bastard, he needs to retire so our Texas voters can vote in another crackpot like Ted Cruz.

I was thinking yesterday how the NRA and its supporters here in Texas want everybody armed and that those Texans should wear those weapons on their hip. That might pose a challenge for some people carrying long guns. I mean, people armed with a handgun would be outgunned with people like this couple in California. Unless! Unless the NRA decides everyone should buy AR-15s or big freakin’ tanks!!!

At least our younger Americans are learning a good history lesson, Unfortunately, some of those lessons are not so good.

Police in Beaumont, Texas, where I live, received several calls during the early afternoon yesterday, saying gunshots were being fired at a Beaumont school district alternative disciplinary center.

 “On Thursday, December 03, 2015 at approximately 2:40 pm Beaumont Police dispatchers received a 911 call of “Someone shooting at Pathways Learning Center, Beaumont Police Officer Jose Ornelas, said in a press release.

“First Officers arrived at 2:47. the caller called a second time at 2:52 saying they are still shooting, Officers began to enter the school and searched room to room and hallway to hallway. The caller made two more calls and said they were passing ‘Target’ (the store) at that time it was determined that the caller was on a school bus. Dispatchers contacted the Bus Dispatchers and advised the bus driver to stop the bus.”

Police found three students, ages 11, 15 and 17 on the bus. Ornelas did not say what the officers did with the kids. Officers did file reports for “Abuse of 911 System.”

The police spokesman said 15 Beaumont police officers responded to the call along with a school district police officer.

Just another day in the life in Beaumont, Texas, USA. The land of guns, guns and more guns,

Programming my remote raises more questions than answers

Really. Should I use such a serious headline to introduce my internal psychobabble?

Here it is Black Friday. I am sitting at my computer, having just programmed my remote control. Now, if we put those two statements together one might surmise I have bought a new TV set or something else which operates with a remote control. But one might be wrong in their supposition.

The truth is that the TV remote controls works fine. That is, it works fine unless I press a wrong button. Whatever the button I pushed may have made my remote temporarily inoperable. When I say “temporarily inoperable,” I mean that I hope that that is the case. This has happened on more than one instance.

I have to always refer to the manual for the type of remote that I  have in order to reprogram it. It was hard enough to find the manual so I have the URL stored in my bookmarks. I suppose it might seem to others that if I had to do these type of technical gymnastics very often — which it seems I do — then reprogramming the control should be a snap. Yeah, it does seem like that.

Some may say: “Big deal! Go out and buy another remote.”

Right. Why not just buy another television? Why not buy one of those big honking suckers that is half as wide as your double wide and enables you to see a football game in such detail that you can see the bugs in the grass having sex?

Well, until this remote, or this TV, or both, decide to give up the ghost then I believe there is no reason to spend money on something that only causes a modicum of irritation. So does that mean peace of mind has a price tag affixed to it?

Uh, why are you, I mean, me, asking me all these questions?

I don’t know. I have better things to do. And yes peace of mind sometimes come with a price. I  likewise don’t know whether it is better to watch the television. I am watching the news after all. But since some of my time today was spent reprogramming my damned television remote, then does it not seem that I should at least spend some time using that instrument?

Questions, questions. I have no answers. If I watch more TV I may not find any answers. I probably won’t find answers. So what is the result of this exercise?

Well, it’s making my head hurt. Maybe I should go out and buy a new TV and remote. No, I don’t think so. Maybe I should have my head examined. But I did that earlier this week. I think I will watch some TV after all. Another couple of hours shot to hell!