The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system developed and maintained by the United States Department of Defense. While it initially enabled our service members to more accurately blow up unpleasant folks around the world, it is now better known for helping direct you to that hidden gem of a restaurant.
I spend a lot of time on the road. Using GPS ensures that at the end of that time, I’m where I hoped I’d be when I got started. Sure, I could still plot my course using a paper map, assuming I could find one; I could also make the effort to learn my routes. But I got hooked on using a GPS receiver to plan my travels and now that I can harness the power of those satellites to get me where I’m going using an app on my phone, well why wouldn’t I?
And there are so many options available now to help our GPS receivers guide us in ways that suit us. Don’t want to pay tolls or ride on ferries? Your receiver has settings for that. Prefer staying off the highway? There’s a setting for that too.
But the system is not without its flaws. I can think of at least two options that would make Global Positioning work safer and better for us all. Read the rest of this entry »
A rambling, stream of consciousness post composed on and posted from my phone from the discomfort of a car dealership service waiting room.
I’ve never known what it is like to be tall. The only way I’m going to see six feet is if I stand around with two friends.
But today, I feel tall. I feel like a giant. I don’t like it.
Perhaps I don’t like it because I know that I’m not a real giant. I am faux tall. I’m just sitting at a tiny table, in a tiny chair.
At the place where we have our cars serviced, there is a waiting area. The waiting area is more like a punishment area. You can sit in lovely Naugahyde upholstered chairs and be forced to endure watching Kathie Lee Gifford’s deranged ramblings or sit at a table.
I’m at the table. The choice between the Naugahyde seating and sitting at the table is hard. Here at the table, Kathi Lee is muffled, but that benefit comes at a cost – comfort and humility.
You see, the table is a kindergarten sized one, with four matching chairs. Its presence here would make sense if I’d ever seen a child here or if it had something other than car magazines on it.
So here I sit, on this tiny wooden chair. By my calculations, for me to be this out of proportion with a normal sized chair I would have to be at least nine feet tall.
I’m wedged into a corner. I’ve considered moving to the Naugahyde area whenever someone leaves, but by the time I get up, another customer comes in and sits in those plush, big people sized seats. No one seems to consider that the giant at the table might want to watch Kathi Lee.
I don’t want to watch Kathi Lee, but it hurts that no one considers a giant’s feelings.
So here I sit in my tiny chair, at my kindergarten table, pretending that I’m tall. I’m tall, listening to Marshall Chapman and writing an essay on being faux tall on my phone. I’d really like to get out of here. This tiny chair makes my ass hurt.
I’m sorry, that was rather strongly worded. You don’t understand what it’s like for giants like me. We’ve got our own special problems. Fe, fi, fo, fum, hurry up and fix my car, I want to be five foot nine again.
Yesterday, I was at the Post Office to mail a package. While I was there, I decided that there will be some changes made and I am the guy who is going to make them.
Now, I know that the United States Postal Service is an easy target for a lot of folks. I happen to think very well of The Postal Service. For less than a buck they will take something from you and bring it to anyone you care to send it to. They’ll take it to that person’s house or their office; it doesn’t matter to The Postal Service, they’ll just get it there in a day or three. And if you have something bigger to send, they’ll get it there just as fast for a few dollars more.
First Things First
When I become the Postmaster General I won’t change anything that will affect the way the postal service moves things around the country. My first step will be to design a really cool Postmaster General uniform. The uniform will help you spot me so that you can buy me beverages while I regale you with my tales of postal adventure.
But the second change that I will make will make your visits to my post offices much more enjoyable. No, not more enjoyable than hanging out and having drinks with me while I’m dressed in my Postmaster General uniform, but more enjoyable than going to the post office is now. Read the rest of this entry »
After a weekend out-of-town with friends, neither of us were really in the mood to make dinner when we got home. Fortunately, my wife is always thinking. “We could stop and get some phở to go”, she suggested.
Ahhhh… phở, the delicious Vietnamese soup. I love that stuff and she knows it. There would be no cooking happening in our house that evening, just two happy people with big vats of broth,veggies, beef and noodles.
We’d had a good weekend. We were home, enjoying one of our favorite dishes. We had great company. OK, I had great company, but my wife had me. But with all that was right with that scene, I felt like something was off. We chatted and ate our phở, but that feeling distracted me. Read the rest of this entry »
On my most recent visit to a physician, I had a great idea.
You kids at home can learn something from that. People like me are always open to inspiration wherever we find it. In this case, I was left alone in a room in a medical office. I didn’t get on my phone and text my friends to tell them how bored I was. Instead, I became one with my environment and let it spark my creativity.
So there I was, sitting on a paper covered table, looking around…thinking. Thinking about why I had to sit on the table for a hearing test. Thinking about how I hate tongue depressors. Thinking about the posters on the wall.
Thoughts From The Paper Covered Table
The posters in a doctor’s office are interesting. I’m not talking about the posters that say something like “Smoking is bad for you” or “Hey, that thing growing out of your neck – you might want to bring that up with the doctor”. What catches my eye are the posters that depict someone with half their skin removed to show where all their organs and inner parts are. Read the rest of this entry »
The last really good portrait of earth was taken from the moon back in the 1970’s.
Perhaps you think that the 1970’s were a long time ago. I don’t happen to agree. As you know, the standard method of deciding if something was a long time ago is if I remember it. Whether you remember an event doesn’t matter, I am the standard by which “a long time ago” is measured. I remember photos being taken from the moon so that was a pretty recent happening.
And despite that knowledge, NASA decided that we needed a newer photo of our planet. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have a photographer on the moon to compose the picture. This was inconvenient, but not discouraging to the engineers at the space agency. Read the rest of this entry »
A doctor has confirmed what my wife and I suspected. My hearing is somewhat compromised. I believe that’s what he said, but I’m not sure that I caught every word. But I did catch that the doctor and audiologist both used the word impairment. Looking back on my career, which included more exposure to explosives than most people have, I guess this was foreseeable.
And we’ve already started making adaptations to help make this easier on us. My wife has been great about making sure she faces me when she speaks. And I’ve stopped trying to fill in the blanks when I miss a word or two; I ask questions to make sure that I understand.
I Heard Denial Was A River In Egypt…I Think That’s What They Said
I think saying that I have a hearing impairment is like saying that I’m an amputee because I pulled a muscle in my leg. I’d prefer saying that I miss a word here and there, but the medical folks have science and a cool graph to back them up on the impairment thing. So I’m denying my problem even as I make adjustments to accommodate it.
What makes it hard is that most of the time, I believe that I hear normally. But then we’ll be in a restaurant and my wife will ask “what’s the name of this song?” and I think “what song?”. It is in those moments that I realize there might be something to what the doctor said. Read the rest of this entry »