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Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Vietam Memorial. Washington DC (Columbia). Uni...
Vietam Memorial. Washington DC (Columbia). United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I respect the sacrifice of veterans who gave their lives to defend the United States and the freedoms we enjoy.  Their families should know that their sacrifice was not in vain and that the people of the United States are grateful.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

US Cellular needs to improve customer service.

English: Samsung Galaxy Ace
English: Samsung Galaxy Ace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How many tries does it take for US Cellular customer service to activate three simple Samsung Galaxy Prime cell Phones?  It takes a full morning of several telephone calls to customer service, a trip to the Hartford, WI store and finally telephoning one magical US Cellular representative that knows how to do his job while sitting in my car outside a US Cellular store.

I realize that my time and my families cheap little plan are not that important to a big company like US Cellular but I still find it mildly annoying to spend several hours activating cell phones when I could have been cooking hamburgers and puttering about in my garden.  It only took a short time to activate the cell phones after I got lucky enough to telephone the one representative who knew the mysteries of the plan.

ATT had better customer service in my opinion but US Cellular is a slight bit cheaper and has better deals if you read the fine print and are willing to put up with their partially problematic customer service.  Maybe I made some type of mistake but it just shouldn't be this difficult to activate a phone. ATT was easier and more professional.  I believe the problem with US Cellular is that they separate the responsibility to the customer into different organizational groups and this instills a culture in their employees of passing the buck to the next group.  It is at least clear that a US Cellular store does not take customer responsibility for cell phones ordered on a US Cellular website.

Oh well, the price is right and I probably won't be activating phones for a few years. I am just too old and ill for these type of adventures.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trump vs Clinton Media bias

English: Bill Clinton’s flyer as he ran for Pr...
English: Bill Clinton’s flyer as he ran for President of the student body at Georgetown University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am not a big fan of either presidential candidate but it seems that Trump does get negatively slanted press reporting of his campaign. Clinton seems to get a pass by the press on her gaffs and illegal emails.  I certainly wouldn't vote for either one of them but maybe someday there will be a candidate I could support.

The disruption at Trump events seems to be caused by external agitators and not by Trump supporters but the media does not differentiate this fact clearly.  Trumps words are extensively analysed for racism and inconsistencies. I do not trust Trump but I don't trust any politician so why should he be different.  Trump uses emotional statements to emphasize feelings he thinks people believe in and he clearly is not careful with his wording.  It is fair to give him significant criticism but not everything he says is wrong and he should not be automatically dismissed when he talks.  The liberal press has a knee jerk reaction to everything Trump says and that simply is not appropriate in a representative democracy.

The press seems to ignore Clinton's illegal emails and reviews of her comments are always slanted to put her in the best light. Her husbands sexual behavior while in office is a legitimate problem and he should not be in government.  Everyone may have sinned but that doesn't mean you should put someone in a public trust when they have used that trust inappropriately in the past.  Hillary plans to put Bill into some kind of public trust in her administration so his past behavior is fair game in politics.

It would be nice if we could just judge candidates by their policy viewpoints.  Unfortunately, most of Trump's policies change with every wisp of wind and the majority of Clinton's policies are not acceptable to start.  Third party candidates are not a viable solution at this time. There are not any presidential candidates that I would trust at this time.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

My grape vine planted last year is actually alive !

Example of old vine branch with ripening grape...
Example of old vine branch with ripening grape clusters. Some of the berries on the cluster are ripening unevenly with only partial veraison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I thought the grape vine I planted last year was stone cold dead.  I was wrong which is a rare occurrence that seems to be happening more often as I slowly approach middle age. The grape vine had two beautiful little leaves coming out of the vine which appears devoid of life otherwise.  Some day I hope to enjoy the taste of these table grapes developed for people in northern climates.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Garden didn't work out this year.....bummer.

Euphorbia wulfenii
Euphorbia wulfenii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wasn't able to make much of a garden this year.  Certainly not anywhere near my ambitious plans made during winter.  I was just too ill and didn't have the cash for a lot of frivolous luxuries. Plus I had bigger issues to deal with.

Still, I will have a few container veggies and some small fruit/nut bushes to be planted.  Scavenged containers from Craigslist help keep the cost down.  I recommend Guerneys seed and nursery mail order for some good deals on high quality plants if you wait for their sales. I don't care to plant anything that I don't like to eat so that limits what I grow.  Flowers are pretty but I want something that will provide me with a little return on my investment.

The existing giant trees in my garden area need a good trim to allow some light in for veggies and other plants.  We have a 27 foot manual pole saw that needs to be employed on a sunny day with no wind to get rid of all the shade producing branches.  Last year we even had some one foot puff ball mushrooms spring up over night under the trees.  Its time to let the sun shine in to this dark abyss.  I tried using the long pole saw on an extremely high branch but its a little tricky and my muscles are not like they were 20 years ago so I temporarily delayed until I have more time.  Its easy to use a 16 foot pole saw but these 27 foot honeys take some practice.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Alarm clocks should not be everywhere.

English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik
English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Years ago, I used to work for an engineer (lets call him George) who also happened to be a pilot of a small two engine prop plane.  I liked the person and he was good at his job but part of my job description involved being a passenger in the small plane he flew to a few job sites.  (I usually preferred large multi-engine jets with restrooms where the flight attendant doted on your needs.)  They would probably still have paid me to do my job even if I had used alternate transportation instead of flying with George but I wouldn't have felt right about it.  George liked me to sit in the co-pilots seat because he said my large weight in that seat helped make the plane easier to fly.

I noticed there was what appeared to be some type of alarm clock installed in the control panel.  Later someone told me that George would turn on the autopilot, set the alarm clock and take naps on long flights.  I never noticed George nod off when I was in the copilots seat but he did tell me to keep an eye out for any other plane in the area when I first started flying with him. This kind of worried me slightly because I am essentially blind in one eye and I greatly prefer someone with two eyes looking for any potential crash partners. He did put the plane into a deliberate dive once after I said I didn't give a damn what he did.

I heard numerous flying stories from other employees regarding George which I can't verify such as running out of fuel in flight and clipping power lines because the plane was over loaded.  Apparently he used a credit card once to scrap off accumulated ice from the front window during flight after something failed so he could make an important social engagement.  George is a Korean war vet and a good engineer so I didn't hold minor piloting irregularities against him.

G.I. doctors knowledge of Crohn's disease varies greatly.

Schematic of patterns of disease in Crohn's di...
Schematic of patterns of disease in Crohn's disease (CD). Based on diagram of human intestine in GFDL. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Don't be afraid to change your G.I. doctor if you have Crohn's disease.  I recommend going to a larger hospital with a specialty clinic even if you need to travel a little bit.  Crohn's disease is something that requires a doctor with specific experience.  If your doctor does not have that experience, it is likely that you will get more surgery than you need sooner than you need it.

When I originally started having mild Crohn's symptoms I was only being treated by an internist doctor that was unfamiliar with the disease. He ordered a bunch of tests that said I was fine.  He then suggested everything was in my head and that I should take up yoga to reduce my stress.  The pain finally got so bad that I staggered into his office and said I was going to die right in front of him unless he did something.  At that point it was obvious something was wrong so he finally sent me to the hospital where they proceeded to tell me that I had cancer and made a giant incision on my belly.  Fortunately it wasn't cancer.  After I woke up a nurse told me I had Crohn's disease instead.  "What's that?" I managed to wheeze.  She said the doctor would explain it to me and she walked away quickly.  That is when my new journey with Crohn's began.