Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Patient Joan's Intuitive Instruction

I had my 3rd One to One Apple course today, and the second one with my instructor Joan Vasconcellos at the Mission Viejo Apple store, and indeed it was a productive training session.  After my stumping of Genius Paul on several fronts at the beginning of this month, I dubiously went back for a 2nd class the day before my birthday, and had the luck to get Joan as my instructor.

Joan patiently listened to my Microsoft-centric paradigm and practices, and showed me better ways to do things on my new MacBook Air.  It was an hour long session 2 weeks ago, and a learned a great deal - and she corrected some of Paul's previous points, which impressed me as well.  Today's session was inspired when I took a bunch of pictures over the weekend of wine and beer bottles (to be posted soon) and wanted to water mark them, crop them, and post them without taking 20 or 30 minutes per picture to manipulate them in iPhoto.  So I set up a 30 minute session on Monday for today after work.  I got there 5 minutes early, and created my wish list:

iPhoto Notes
  • Importing Just the pics I want, Not EVERYTHING from my camera memory card
  • Saving in a name I want, not DEFAULT name
  • easily cropping 
  • easily changing to Black and white 
  • how to Blur / make fuzzy localized areas (like a face or an address) (or ANTI re-touch)
  • easily changing border size 
  • easily saving to PICs Folder (not an album, not a card, not a folder or smart album or library…  just "SAVE AS")

Note:  I used to use MSPhotoEditor, and I was very good with MSPhotoeditor.  I could "import as new image", crop, rotate, touch up, change color to gray scale, and SAVE AS in less than 2 minutes (or 90 seconds) per image.

Well, as Joan showed me, iPhoto LOVES drag-and-drop.  To and from iPhoto to the desk top, to a folder, etc.  The retouch feature is about 10X better than MSPhotoeditor.  The "rotate" and crop feature is easy and seamless.  Color modification is simple.  Not needing to use MSPowerpoint is liberating.  There is some kind of bug in Mountain Lion that doesn't want to save to a new named file, but that's fine, I can 'rename' very easily.

I very productive and fun training session it was.  I used JustJoeP for material from which to copy, modify, and start to reblog.   Joan encouraged me to come to the Apple Store and blog from there, in the group learning area, so that if I ran into more issues I would be able to seek instructor assistance easily... but I had other stops to make after the training session in the Mission Viejo area.   Thanks Joan!

Fun fact about the Mission Viejo Apple store:  Bill Gates stood outside of it, for 3 hours, watching everyone go in and out, leaning against the outside wall of the Banana Republic across the mall from the Apple Store, before he opened up the very first Windows Store about 4 doors down from the Mission Viejo Apple store.  As smart of a guy as Bill is, and as nice as his Windows stores look, the ones I've walked past typically have more employees in them than customers, and the few customers who are in them (in Glendale AZ & Mission Viejo CA) are often working by themselves on a computer without any Microsoft employee standing nearby.  It is sort of the inverse of what you see in any Apple store.

Claude Chatelier VS - Affordable Heaven

In California, Trader Joes sells not just beer and wine, but liquor as well!  I picked up a bottle of Claude Chatelier VS Cognac there back around Christmas for a whole $19.99, with the contingency plan that "if this doesn't taste good, we'll cook with it, it'll be better than cooking brandy".  I normally drink VSOP Cognac (Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martel, or Courvoisier... which typically is the $22 Hennessy from Costco).  Total Wine's Cognac is usually (in Greenville SC, Glendale AZ, Goodyear AZ, and Phoenix AZ) locked up in a glass case, and you have to get a store attendant to come over and unlock it for you (1st world problems, yeah, I know).  So it was nice to try a new brand that was not kept under lock & key.
Claude Chatelier Did Not disappoint.  It is smooth, delicious, and full of eau de vie, just as every Cognac (by law) must have.  And I am additionally delighted to know that this delicious, healthy, high quality French spirit is also wonderfully inexpensive - cheaper even than Jameson, Bushmills, Maker's Mark, or Woodford Reserve, and better for you too!  Thanks Trader Joes!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Argo, Good Flick

Dr Desert Flower and I saw Argo this evening - in a theater full of 40, 50, and 60 somethings - and it was pretty good.  Yes, it was a little over-dramatic and exaggerated beyond what really happened, but it was a good film.   There were no cars chasing them down the run way, and Iran didn't figure it out the DAY OF the escape, in reality, they figured it out the Next Day.  The Americans got out, the Canadian Ambassador & his wife got out, and everyone was safe and fine... but Ben Affleck is a good story teller.  I think Ben Affleck is a better story teller than Clint (the Chair) Eastwood, and Clint's already won Oscars for that.

After the movie, we went out and ate Persian food in Laguna Niguel - very appropriate.  =)  .. and delicious.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Brightest Comet In 300+ Years, Q4 2013?

If the ISON comet (link here) survives its elliptical orbit close to the sun this year, it should be visible from October 2013 to January 2014.  One can track the progress of ISON at earthsky (link here).

It is interesting to me in this age of models and projection, that we can't get something as huge as a comet's elliptical orbit predicted with absolute precision, when Kepler and other scientists 400 years ago used to do it with hand calculations fairly predictably.  Yes, there's all sorts of variables to consider, that's true, but it strengthens my paradigm that complex models (financial, climate change, ocean rise, political election predictions) are often subject to unexpected forces that will skew the models.  Kudos to NASA for not stating the ISON will Absolutely be Brilliant in 2013 Q4... especially if it burns up as it gets to within a million miles of the sun.

So many moving parts...

Spot The International Spacestation

NASA has set up this handy link:  http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/index.cfm
(link here) ... that lets anyone with an email address or text-message equipped phone get an email or text message to alert them when the international space station will be within view of their city.

I signed up today, for both morning and evening alerts.  =)

AirPort Extreme's Excellence

Back in December, the weekend before Christmas, my 5 year old Cisco Linksys 2.4GHz 802.11g router decided it was time to stop transferring electrons efficiently, and to act intermittently as the sole device through which data was entering and leaving my home.   Our son was visiting, I'd just gotten a new MacBook Air, Dr Desert Flower had just gotten her new corporate iPhone 5, and our son brought his Visio PC and iPhone 4 so there were no shortage of devices wanting to connect to a router that kept saying "internet connection cannot be found"  (yes, first world problems, I know).

So I jumped in the car at 830pm that Sunday night, drove to BestBuy, found the router aisle, and perused the wide selection.  They had routers from $49 to $300, and a chart that showed number-of-users on one axis, with a "grade" on the other axis, and all the different makes and models in columns.  Cisco Linksys were conspicuously absent from the BestBuy offerings.   (the $300 was a 20 connection business hub, more than what I needed).

A mom and dad were about to buy the lowest, or 2nd lowest end router, and a blue shirted BestBuy drone was telling them about their selection, as I looked over the routers that BestBuy claimed could handle 7+ connections.  The failing Cisco router had 4 hardwired LAN ports out, and I was using them all (work computer, work fax/printer/copier, personal desktop, and DirectTV uplink [yes, sad that DirectTV needs/wants a LAN connection when it's supposed to be a satellite device. What's that DirectTV, you have problems with data quality, and are subject to the weather?  hmm? Sure, Cox Cable and your customer's bandwidth can bail you out]).

After helping the mom & dad, the blue shirted drone saw that I was not pleased with the "just 3 wired LAN outputs" on two of the higher end routers, and asked how many connections I needed.   I rapid fired off the hard wired and wifi connections I needed, and the drone instantly picked up the AirPort Extreme 802.11n WiFi box "this is what you need" he told me with confidence.  I was still skeptical.  The  AirPort's $179 price tag made me balk, when the Cisco Linksys (Netgear & Asus) were $99 each, and I was still uncomfortable with most-things-Mac. Not being a good poker player, it clearly showed on my face, and the drone countered "Your new Mac Book, and the iPhones, will connect instantly to the AirPort. Mac devices always get along".

His words were true.  I recalled the problems my work laptop had in finding the 95% dead Cisco router initially, and how my son's laptop PC couldn't find or connect without painstakingly reconfiguring, compared to  the seamless inherent fluidity that DDF's Mac Power Book from her former job, or the iPad, iPhones, and my AirBook had in easily finding whatever router is within range.  I grabbed the expensive AirPort Extreme box, made a beeline to the cash register rat maze, and begrudgingly forked out nearly $200 (with 8% tax), dashed back the 4 miles home, and opened the elegant Apple packaging.

No CDs, no configuration disks, a simple pictogram instruction manual explaining which cables to plug in first, 2nd, and third.  Powered up, my AirBook instantly found it, asked me what password I wanted to install upon it (good thing I was at home, without any neighbor squatters coincidentally logging on at the same time, as would happen in a large city like NYC, London, or other densely packed population centers), and the data stream was restored.  Everyone's device connected, readily, and the intermittent disconnection activity was vanquished from our happy home.  Merry Christmas, chez nous.

The Cisco Linksys gave me 5 solid years of service before POOF, giving up.  It had a bank of lights on the front, indicating data in and out, displaying which of the 4 LAN connections were active, and 2 unwieldily antennae sticking out the back, in a complex geometry black and blue plastic injection molded case.  The AirPort Extreme on the other hand has one big glowing green light, appears to be a large white plastic coaster for a 2 liter pitcher, and "just works", efficiently.  I am impressed with the beauty, simplicity, form, function, and quality of the AirPort Extreme.  As with most things in life, for the ones that are quality purchases, you do get what you pay for.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wine, Puscifer & Blogging

Thank you to my buddy Ryan for this gem. (link here)   I never would have found it without his head's up.

If you speak German fluently, it is not that funny.  But if you have only a working knowledge of the Germanic language (as I do), it is hilarious and the subtitles don't match anything at all about Hitler or Stalin of WWII campaigns.  But it is intensely funny.  =)  I laughed so hard I cried,

"Donkey Punch the Night" - LMAO!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Inertia Creeps

And after listening to Daybehavior, I am in a Massive Attack mood.  Inertia Creeps is an awesome tune to have in one's head when slowly, slowly, slowly do yoga.

Ciao!   I am outta here!

Daybehavior - Train To Moscow

JustJoeP visitor Paulinda emailed links to me to Daybehavior's song "Train to Moscow" (from the 2012  album "Follow That Car!") that reminds me alot of Berlin (the band, not the city), Massive Attack, Moby, Erasure, Communards, and a little sprinkling of Mazzy Star.  The singer  - Paulinda - has a lovely voice.   It's light euro-techno-synth rock from Sweden, and not bad.

If it REALLY is Paulinda who emailed me (and not Daybehavior's publicist, manager, or some PR firm), then it is the nicest birthday present I've ever gotten from Sweden, and such a pleasant surprise!   Thank you Paulinda  =)  Your voice has an ethereal beauty about it, and Daybehavior's music is very easy to listen to and soak-in as one's work day finishes and you're getting ready to go practice yoga, oceanside.

Other songs - Silent Dawn, Hello, CityLights, It's a game, and Godspeed.  are similar in genre to Train To Moscow.  Have a listen, and enjoy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Delicious Monkey Balls And No Pig Rectum

So I made it down the 1500 descent about 10X faster than it took to climb it.   Posted "speed limits" are 15 mph.   I tried my best to keep it under 20 mph, but my disk brakes experienced massive brake fade, and I think I need new rear brake shoes.  I know at times I was doing 30 mph, and on several straight aways perhaps 40 mph.   The rough, bumpy pavement made for a bone jarring, up-on-the-petals, downhill run.

The killjoy ladies at the Conservancy office who sold me my bike pass of course showed big, 8-1/2 x 11 laminated pictures of smashed windshields where caress bikers had crashed through bus and truck windshields when they came around a blind curve.  Yes ladies, I am not 21 years old, and I am Well Aware of my own mortality.  I didn't need to see broken glass images.  I know I am not invincible.

I found the Lobster Trap in tiny little Avalon, and the bike rack that is 2 shops away.   I was able to loop my cable lock through helmet, front tire, rear tire, frame and seat, all in one easy loop, and then staggered into the bar.

Deon the bar keep let me try a small shot of Lost Coast Downtown Brown.  It was delicious, so I got a double pint for $4, and ordered some Monkey Balls.  Monkey Balls are portabello mushrooms stuffed with ahi tuna, and then deep fried.  So delicious!  We'd first tried them when DDF, our son and I sojourned to Catalina in December.  They were even better yesterday!

Lobster Tail Ambiance
Then, since I was still hungry & thirsty, I ordered a Lost Coast Porter, and thought about some calamari.  I asked Deon if there was any chance that the calamari was actually pig rectum masquerading as squid, and he assured me "I've watched the cook slice it, pound it, and fry it. It's really squid".  10 minutes later when he served me the plate, he joked "enjoy your pig rectums".  By this time I was 1/2 way through the porter, and feeling no aches or pain whatsoever, so laughter ensued.

Lost Coast from Eureka California is a small craft beer producer (48th largest brewery in the US, at 60K barrels), started by Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound, who have a fascination with English Beer. I will be looking for more Lost Coast beers in the future!

At the end of the second double pint (or my first 1/2 gallon of beer), Deon asked if I wanted anything else, so I asked him what his favorite shot was?  He made me an anchor baby.  What's an "anchor baby"?  Cinnamon spiced Fireball whiskey, Tres Leche, and a cream rum that was similar to malibu.  It was creamy, and tasty.  Finishing with A coffee with Kahlua, I headed to the dock with 10 minutes to spare for the ferry ride back, enjoying nearly the entire 2 to 4pm happy hour at the Lobster Trap to the fullest.
A nearly empty return ferry, on a Wednesday night

A Murderous Ascent

One of the multiple murders I witnessed on Catalina Island; most were about a dozen birds each.
 After paying the $35 tourist extraction fee (extracting money form tourists) at the Catalina Island Conservancy, I began the Murderous Ascent up the airport road.  It's "paved" but think about the worst, hundred year old, poorly maintained, eroded, mountain road, with blind turns, rock slides, and a 1500 foot climb in just under 2 miles, and you can get an idea of how steep it is.  I call it "Murderous" because I saw (and heard) at least 3, but possibly 4 different murders as I climbed the road.

These were not little, cute, starling or black bird flocks.  These were Edgar Allen Poe's Raven sized creatures who CAWED, CAWED, CAWED, chirped, whistled, and even growled at me when I paused to take pictures, drink some water, and look over the scenery.  Each of them could have easily taken a chihuahua into the air with little difficulty.  They were eyeing me to see if I was going to drop any food, or wrappers, or anything they could scavenge, and when I only quaffed water they turned their territorial rivalries against other murders who were coming by to see what was happening.
Hey, you American Foxes!

It was a very good thing that I paid the $35 extraction fee.  It turns out that the road from Avalon to the Airport is NOT a "public road".  It is owned, entirely, by the Catalina Island Conservancy, gifted to the Conservancy by the Wrigley family, who used to own the entire island.  There's a gate at the upper north end of Avalon before the roughest ascent begins, and if you don't have a $35 bike pass, you're supposed to turn back.  I'd read on-line of other bicyclers who "didn't get a pass and never saw a ranger all day".  Well, lucky me, at the top of the ascent the Conservancy was sealing the bumpy road with some kind of sticky white, soapy sealant, and I saw at least 8 ranger pick-up trucks during my ride.

The first ranger who saw me cordially asked to see my permit.  I showed him the little wallet card the Conservancy ladies in Avalon gave to me, and he went on to press for my green tag bike tag.  I told him it kept falling off so I put it in my backpack (as I tried to catch my breath).  The friendly ranger smiled, and said "please put it on your handle bars, and I'll stop getting calls about the cyclist without a permit. I've already gotten 3 calls on you this morning".  I acquiesced, and put the tag on my bike.

Once up on the crest of the mountain, the road generally followed the crest line towards the airport.  It was 8 miles more to get to the airport.  I made it mostly there - to within a mile and a 1/2 of the airport before I turned around to head back into town and not miss $2 craft beers at The Lobster Trap's happy hour.

Yes, there's Buffalo on Catalina Island

Another Murder at the reservoir

Camera pointing east - those are the San Bernadino Mountains in the distance.

6 Miles In 20 Minutes, to Dana Point

It's 6 miles from our California homestead to the Catalina Express Harbor dock at Dana Point.  Ferry leaves at 9:30 and they recommend you get there at least 15 minutes in advance.  I figured it might take me 30 or 40 minutes to do those 6 miles, even though the elevation change is about 800 feet downhill, to sea level.  The ambient temperature at 830am was about 45F, so I dressed warmly, but also knew that it would be closer to 70F when I'd be on Catalina Island, so "layering" is was the right strategy.

I rolled into the Dana Point Harbour 20 minutes after I left the house.  That's an 18 mph average speed, but keep in mind, there were 5 large hills (about 100 ~ 200 feet each) that I had to climb in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears (of the 21-speed) after I lost my downhill momentum, and 8 stop-light intersections (3 of which were red when I got there).  I felt more like I just turned 74 years old, as winded as I became from this downhill jaunt.  Getting to the dock early I had a solid 20 extra minutes to catch my breath,  wrap my bike's crank, brake discs, and seat in plastic shopping bags, to keep them dry.  Catalina Express puts the bikes (and tool chests, oxygen tanks, and other heavy roll-on items) on the stern, and some salt water spray can get on the items.

During the ferry ride out to the island (which takes about 80 minutes) I saw several seals, a few human paddle boarders, 3 pods of dolphins including 3 individual dolphins who jumped out of the water in parallel with the ferry, and hundreds of sea birds.  So-far, so good for the day's trip.
A Large Carnival Cruise ship anchored off of Avalon's harbour.

Starting Off With A Flat

What greeted me yesterday in the garage at 630am.

I had a plan to go on a bike ride on Catalina Island for my birthday.  Catalina Express ferry service gives you a free round trip ticket on your birthday if you register online, saving the traveller $75 (not an insignificant amount).  Bringing a bike is an extra $3.50 each way (as opposed to renting one, pot-luck quality, on the island, for $50), so I registered online, told them I was bringing a bike, prepared my Camelback, water bottles, almonds, fresh organic plums and apples, sun screen, helmet and bike gloves the night before my trip.  Lacking complete foresight, I neglected to check the garage to make sure that my bike was in full working order.  Duh.

I last rode it 2 weeks ago with Dr Desert Flower in Aliso Canyon, and incorrectly assumed it would be fine.   The flat tire on the rear axel almost threw a wrench in my day's plans.   I scrambled to find the patch kits that my son had recommended, and inhaled some breakfast rapidly, before Dr Desert Flower suggested the obvious "didn't you buy spare inner tubes?"  Indeed I did!  Thorn resistant, 29 x 1.75 Arvenir tubes with Presta vales!
So I removed my first-ever Presta valve nut, drew the tread out of the rim, extracted the flat inner tube, and inserted the replacement.   Then, I tried, in complete futility to inflate the new tube.  I didn't play close enough attention to how my son had changed a flat on DDF's bike in December, and had a Schrader vale mentality, which is completely counter-productive to inflating a Presta valve.  BUt being an engineer, I figured it out after a little trial and error (I should have googled it here, but my hands were dirty and I didn't want to trash this brushed silver anodized aluminum Airbook's elegance).

Without too much trouble I found a very small but very tough small gauge wire that had penetrated the tread and punctured the OEM tube.  Pliers were required to extract the little wire.  I wanted to make sure to not just install a new tube that would immediately puncture from any lodged in debris.  I remounted the tire tread, double checked the Presta valve, and my confidence grew that the bike would be in good shape again soon.

Tube inflated, then I deflated it (as my dad always taught me as a kid, to 'get the kicks out first') then re-inflated it again.  Remounted the wheel back into the frame with surprising ease.  The Shimano de-railer  had good slack, the axle quick releases tightened back up without any issue.  I tested the brakes, all was well.  The 8:30am departure time from the house would not be missed!

Such Terrible Weather

It was a hard decision today as to whether to do yoga in the sunny backyard, or to do yoga at the Salt Creek Beach up on the grassy knoll.   I went with the back yard, as DDF and I are going to go out to dinner tonight, and I didn't want to have to Rush Back Home in the late afternoon to get all cleaned up for dinner.
This was the local weather forecast that was shown on the Catalina Island Ferry last night on my return voyage.
Yeah, it's rough to live in Southern California.  =)

And I wonder, how many different adjectives can be put in front of, or behind the word "Doppler".  Here we have "megadoppler".  In SC there was "superdoppler".  I've seen "accu-doppler", "doppler now", and "local doppler" in other TV markets.  Sad that most Americans couldn't explain even the most basic principles of the Doppler Effect.... =\

Sunday, January 13, 2013

China Breaks Its Own Record, Again

Beijing China again broke it's previous record for polluted air, but going off the charts for particulate matter suspended in the air.  (links here and here) As reported by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center this week, the level of 2.5 micrometer sized particles exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic meter (US Embassy Twitter feed stated a 755 level, which corresponds to 866 micrograms), or 35 times the maximum unhealthy level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter set by the World Health Organization (WHO).  According to the Chinese Government, anything greater than 300 micrograms triggers "emergency conditions".

Beijing, January 13, 2013 (not an alien landscape or an enhanced image)
It's not just Beijing.  Shanghai has filthy air too, as do all the major Chinese cities.  Yeah, developing nation, yada yada yada... sure.  See how well that works out for your people, image, and the planet.

So if your company is thinking about sending you to China for a temporary assignment, ask them if that comes with a free lung transplant at the conclusion of the assignment.  Or maybe they'll increase your life insurance pay out so that your beneficiary can get a larger sum since you'll be shortening your life inhaling all those pollutants? (doubtful, but good to ask about anyway)
Shanghai smog
Jinmao Tower, 2nd tallest building in Shanghai

Friday, January 11, 2013

Anger Management for 2013

Anger Management Tip -
"Holding onto anger is like swallowing poison, and expecting the other person to die."

This "quote", often wrongly attributed to Buddha, the Dali Lama, and others (see link here) is still a good 'anonymous quote'.  Since moving to California, I've been trying to practice the "right thinking" and "right acting" Karmic principles of letting my anger go, not letting it fester, hand in the stream, let the water rush around your hand... you cannot stop the stream, nor can you significantly speed it up.  Your hand is wet, and you've felt the temperature and current, but you are not entirely one with the stream.

Pigeons, Doves, and Murders

On the west side of Phoenix, we had no shortage of pigeons.  Big, stupid, messy, fornicating frequently, roof residing pigeons were everywhere, leaving their droppings abundantly and flocking occasionally.  From time to time a hawk would come by and nail one, but most of the time the pigeons just kept posturing and copulating on all the roof tops surrounding my back yard.

There was also no shortage of morning doves.  (Mourning Doves?)  They tried to nest unsafely on the tops of the 6ft high cinder block walls.  They'd tried to nest on the top of a 8 foot ladder I left leaning against a wall.  They even tried to nest on top of the blades of the covered patio's ceiling fan, when the blades were no turning.  They were dumb, cooing, clueless, paired up birds that were slightly nicer than their big, fat pigeon cousins, but it was hard for me to love such a dumb avian creature - I like smart birds; hawks, hummingbirds, road runners, cactus wrens, fly catchers, tohees, etc.

But here in Orange County, especially 5 miles inland from the coast where we live now, one can see (and hear) massive murders nearly every day.  These are not small murders, they range from a dozen crows to more than a 100 crows.  I think Hitchcock must've seen these kinds of massive murders in Southern California before he directed "The Birds".

When I am in my car, they don't bother me, or cause me any concern.  But when I am on my yoga mat in my back yard, or when DDF and I are walking through the neighborhood and are many blocks form home, and the sky is blackened by these nearly-raven-sized birds, and their CAWS are deafening to the ears, it gives me a little bit of pause.  What if I was wearing a suit made of popcorn?  What if I was severely injured, immobilized, and had open wounds (like road kill, after a bike accident)?  The murders are very aggressive, and territorial.  When they flock to a deciduous tree devoid of its leaves, they blacken it, as if making it a "crow tree".  Yick.

I did figure out that when I am doing yoga outside, and the CAW, CAW, CAWING gets really close and loud in a nearby tree, that I can scare them off by CLAPPING my hands as LOUD as POSSIBLE, simulating a gun shot.  I've actually seen the murders change their flight paths when I CLAP LOUDLY, thinking they are averting a shooting death.  You see, 30 years ago, I participated in a hand percussion section clapping ensemble (similar to this link here) while in High School, and we actually took it to the State Band Association competition for solos and ensembles, and medalled there =)  ...so I can clap REALLY Loudly when I want to.

I never previously imaged that my hand clapping skills could be used to redirect a murder.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stumped Another Apple Genius

I went to the fancy smanshy Mission Viejo mall today for my first "Apple One on One" training session.  This is where they are supposed to help an old, decrepit, XP Windows user like me, to learn how to use the glowing, amazing, ultimate user experience Apple product.   I admit, my Mac Book Air has grown on me a little, but I still had MANY questions.

Some of my questions the Genius COULD NOT answer.   I stumped him,  I stumped his more senior helpers.   HA!

First of all...   when training a former windows user - since the Reagan administration -  on how to use a Mac, the phrase "I've never owned a Windows device, I've had a Mac since 1996" should NEVER be used.   My "genius" trainer used that 4 or 5 times.  I wanted to SMACK him.  Really?  Before 1996, what did you do?  Use smoke signals?  I wanted to grab his little chin beard and face plant him into the very thick "personal training" table on which sat my $1500 airbook.

I plugged in my two-button-and-scroll-wheel mouse into my Airbook's USB port, and my genius laughed "my son uses one of those too" he chortled.  "Good for him, so does the rest of the world" I replied with a degree of venom in my voice.

So I ran through my electronic list of questions.  Some of which he answered (the ones in red below, he couldn't or had to use "Template" which he said they Never do in the store.   

I HAVE to use a Dell PC for work, so I CANNOT divorce myself from PC thinking.

Here's my list of questions:

Back space key - where is it??   Fn Del

Paste JUST TEXT (no format, no styles, just plain test) - use text drop-downs (he also tried to sell me Mac Word, which I dont want)

Control Panel - where is it?  System Preferences, Black Apple or, the Gears on the Dock

Screen Capture - Command Shft 3 - whole screen, Command Sht 4 - Window

HOME key (to get to the left side) - No Home, No End..  just use your cursor to get there (really?   honestly?   oh well)

Repeat Key (hold down)   "Ahhhhhhhhh!!"   requires TERMINAL - NOT done in the store, defect of "Mountain Lion release"

Cntrl-Alt-Delete, to SUSPEND STUCK PROCESSES (task manager and rebooting)   Option Command ESC

System Status - like the right mouse key on the desktop of a windows machine used to do, to tell me version of operating system, how much free memory I have, name of computer, etc….  COMMAND I

Virus Check (have I been infected by an attacking site?) Nada, not needed


Auto Correct off, when I want to turn it off, and then back on, when I want to. (we didn't get to this)

No sleep when plugged in - System Pref - Energy Save

Face Time - synchs with my email, only works on Apple devices, period.

Rotating Photos, enlarging, shrinking them, cropping them -  I photo (which he tried to sell me on the AWESOME touch pad, to which I told him AGAIN "three decades of learning otherwise, no thanks"

... so I stumped them on several things.   The "genius" did say I was asking "very hard questions".     I told him that's the same thing people in India tell me when I am reviewing their work  =)

I have another One On One schedule next week, before my birthday, to try and blunt my hatred of my iPad and to answer the rest of my Mac Airbook questions...    I'll letcha know how it goes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Backyard Yoga Upgrade

In Phoenix, I used to do yoga in the back yard, next to the pool, when it was not over 100F in the summer time, get a dose of vitamin D, and try and focus on the pool as a source of tranquility and calm.  The backyard was surrounded by 6 foot high, gray cinder block border fences, and 2 story homes that blocked out the sunset, and kept neighbors from seeing into our backyard.  It was making the most of a not-so-great situation. I'd get to see many hummingbirds, and the occasional road runner or hawk, but there were still the ubiquitous yapping dogs from 4 of the 5 neighbors' lots, the stench of industrial dairy farm feces when the wind blew from the south, the revving of Harley engines or '26 Ford hotrod engines, and the whine of fan jet engines from planes landing from West-to-East into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport combined with the persistent rooftop pigeon copulations to make it a less than desirable location.

So last weekend, when Dr Desert Flower and I walked down the beach at Salt Creek, just north of Dana Point on the Pacific Ocean, and I spotted a large grassy picnic area about 10 feet elevation above the beach sand, I thought to myself "I want to do yoga there".  The crashing of the waves into the shore, the ocean breeze, seagulls and pelicans and cormorants and spoonbills and egrets (instead of pigeons), seals and otters bobbing in kelp beds off shore (instead of yappin dogs), and a clear view of the sunset not occluded by under-valued neighboring homes made this spot a clearly better choice.

After DDF and I rode the Diamondback mountain bikes that we got each other for Christmas through Aliso Canyon Park in the morning, we headed over to Salt Creek in the afternoon in Celeste witht he top down, and did couples yoga together, on the grassy picnic area over-looking the beach, from 230 to 330pm.  It was a little cool at about 60F - but it IS January, and even Phoenix was colder than that yesterday, and much of the midwest and northeast is blanketed in snow, so I have heard.  The grassy overlook proved to be an excellent location to practice yoga.   I will be re-visiting that location again in the future.

And after dinner we drove up the PCH to Laguna Beach, where we walked along the board walk at sunset - along with people from most of the countries of the United Nations it seemed, tourists visiting the CA beach before the January 6th Orthodox and Latin American tradition Christmas (feast of the 3 kings), then had drinks and appetizers and lobster bisque on the terrace at C'est La Vie as the sun set west of Catalina Island and eventually under-lit the cloud cover in a spectacular dark red-pink-purple .  It was a very enjoyable day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stone Brewery Loves To Brew Beer

Stone Brewery LOVES to brew beer.  Real beer.  Quality beer.  Not mass produced swill.  Craft beer.  Not industrialized, corporately mediocritized, least common denominator beers, like InBev, SABMiller, Molson-Coors, and Heineken.  These "big 4" control 95% of all world beer.  That's Ninety Five Percent of ALL World Beer.  The true Craft Beer producers make and sell just 5% of the beer in the world, but that 5% is the good stuff, the high quality stuff, the stuff that is not padding the wallets of corporate titans in mahogany paneled board rooms.  That 5% - Stone included - is being loving made by small companies that understand beer making, who are fiercely independent, and who are some of the nicest people on earth.  My beer drinking dollars will go towards supporting their efforts, going forward.

For a FULL list of the corporate lords who dominate the industry, see the bottom of this listing.  I bet you find one or more of what you THOUGHT were your favorite "craft beers" there.  Now, those former "craft beers" are being made in massive industrial processes, the profit from their sales siphoned off to make the 0.01% even richer, and the big four are driving forward their predatory acquisitions of the remaining 5% of the independents.
5 Amazing and Unique Ales from Stone Brewery

The Sublimely Self Righteous Ale had a hint of mint and parsley in it; it was interesting.  The "Perfect Crime" was very good.  The "Vertical Epic" (aka 12-12-12) was a bottle of Christmas, with clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice, al combined.  The "Double Bastard" is one of the best beers I've ever tasted.  And the Smoked Porter was smooth and delicious.  Awesome, all around.  Highly recommended.

And at the Stone Brewery in Escondido, they have a large restaurant and bier garten, where they not only pour Stone products, but Huntington Beach Brewery, Rogue, and other craft brews as well!  They're not cut-throat assholes.  They're genuinely nice people, who want to make as many converts to craft beer as possible, and preserve their industry from the corporate behemoths who are trying to destroy them.  They'll talk to you about craft beer, sustainable agriculture, helping the homeless and food banks, being localvores, and even chat about bicycles.  They're very nice people.

For a list of beers that are now part of the 'big four borg' or assimilated corporate profit driven culture, the list below is provided for your reference, and as an obituary to the small craft beers they obliterated:

InBev in the US, aka: Budweiser, Michelob, Natural Light, Natural Ice, Bare Knuckle Stout, ZiegenBock, Ascent 54, Redbridge (gluten-free), Rolling Rock, Landshark LagerShock TopSkipjack Amber LagerWild Blue, Sun Dog, Beach Bum Blonde Ale, Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale, Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale, O'Doul's, 180 Energy Drink, Stone Mill Pale Ale, Wild Hop Lager, Bacardi Silver, Tequiza, Tilt, Jekyll & Hyde, Bluecoat Vodka, Cape North, Hammer and Sickle Vodka, Ku Soju, Margarittaville Tequila, Purus Organic Wheat Vodka, Vermont Spirits, Hurricane Malt Liquor, King Cobra, Red Hook Brewing, Widmer Bros. Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co., Kona Brewing Co., Ray Hill American Pilsner, Starr Hill Brewing, Fordham Brewing, Dominion Brewing, Harbin Lager, Tiger Beer, Kirin, Bass Ale, Boddingtons, Beck's, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Stella Artois, Löwenbräu, Tennent's Ale, Budvar Czechvar) .... and if you want a comprehensive list of all of InBev's international brands (many of which you probably thought were still micro brews or true craft beers, but are now governed, distributed, and manufactured and controlled by 

InBev international:  Absolut Cut (Sweden), Alexander Keith's (Canada), Andes (Argentina), Antarctica (Brazil), Apatinska pivara (Serbia), Jelen pivo, Pils Light, Aqua Fratelli Vita (Brazil), AstikA (Bulgaria), Baisha (China), BagBier, Bass, Beck's, Belle-Vue, Bergenbier (Romania), Boddingtons (United Kingdom), Bohemia (Brazil), Borsodi Sör (Hungary), Boomerang (France), Borostyán (Hungary), Brahma (Global), Breda (The Channel Islands), Cafri (South Korea), Caracu (Brazil), Castlemaine, Chernigivske, Diebels (Germany), Diekirch (Luxembourg), Dimix (Germany), Dommelsch (Netherlands), Double Deer (China), E-Generation, Dutch Gold (Holland), Franziskaner Weissbier (Germany), Gilde Ratskeller (Germany), Guaraná Antarctica (Brazil), Guaraná Brahma (Brazil), GuoGuang (China), Haacke-Beck (Germany), Hasseröder (Germany), Hertog Jan (Netherlands), Primator, Oud Bruin, Grand Prestige, Tripel, Dubbel, Winterbier, Bockbier, Meibock, Hoegaarden (Belgium), Hougaerdse Das (Belgium), Jinlin (China), Jinlongquan (China), Julius (Belgium), Jupiler, KK (China), Kamenitza (Bulgaria), Klinskoye, Kokanee, La Bécasse, Labatt Family (Canada) Acquired in 1995, Lakeport (Canada), Leffe (Global), Liber (Brazil), Löwenbräu, Marathon (Brazil), Mousel (Luxembourg), Pivara Trebjesa (Montenegro), Nik Cool, Nik Gold, Nikšicko pivo, Nikšicko tamno, Noroc (Romania), OB (South Korea), Oranjeboom (Netherlands), Permskoye Gubernskoye (Russia), Piedboeuf (Belgium), Quilmes (Argentina), Red Shiliang (China), Rifey (Russia), Rogan (Ukraine), Safir (Belgium), Santai (China), Sedrin (China), Sibirskaya Korona (Siberian Crown)(Russia), Skol (Brazil), Spaten (Germany), St. Pauli Girl, Staropramen (Czech Republic), Stella Artois, Sukita (Brazil), Taller (Ukraine), Tennent's, Tinkov Russian Lager (Russia), Tolstiak (Russia), Vieux Temps (Belgium), Wolters (Germany), Whitbread, Yali (China), Yantar (Ukraine), Zagrebacka pivovara (Croatia), Božicno Pivo, Ožujsko, Tomislav, Zizhulin (China), Zhujiang (China)

• Aguila
• Aguila Light
• Americana
• Arany Ászok
• Arequipeña
• Atlas
• Bahia
• Balboa
• Balimi
• Barrilito
• Barena
• Blue Sword
• Brava
• Brutal Fruits
• Carling Black Label
• Costeña
• Costeñita
• Castle Lager
• Castle Lite
• Castle Milk Stout
• Chairman's Extra Strong Beer (ESB)
• Chibuku Shake-Shake
• Ciucas
• Clausen
• Club
• Club Colombia
• Club Especial
• Club Pilsener
• Club Premium Lager
• Club Shandy
• Cristal
• Cusqueña
• Cusqueña Light
• Debowe Mocne (Oak Strong)
• Del Altiplano
• Dog In The Fog
• Dorada
• Dorada Especial
• Dorada - Peru
• Dorada Pilsen
• Dorada Sin (Low Alcohol)
• Dreher Classic
• Eagle Extra Lager
• Eagle Lage
• Frisco
• Fusion Banana - Botswana
• Fusion Banana - Zambia
• Fusion Ice - Botswana
• Fusion Ice - Zambia
• Fusion Pineapple - Botswana
• Fusion Pineapple - Zambia
• Fusion Tropical - Botswana
• Fusion Tropical - Zambia
• Gambrinus
• Gambrinus Dia with lower sugar content
• Gambrinus Premium
• Golden Light
• Golden Pilsener
• Gran Riserva
• Green Leaves
• Grolsch
• Hansa Marzen Gold
• Haywards 5000
• Henry Weinhard's Amber Light
• Henry Weinhard's Blue Boar Pale Ale
• Henry Weinhard's Hefeweizen
• Henry Weinhard's Northwest Trail
• Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve
• Hansa Pilsener
• Huadan Dry Beer
• Huadan Yale
• Icehouse
• Imperial
• Kilimanjaro
• Knock Out
• Kobányai Sör
• Ksiazece Tyskie
• Largo
• Lauretina Clara
• Lauretina Preta
• LECH Free
• LECH Lite
• LECH Mocny
• LECH Pils
• LECH Premium
• Legenda
• Leinenkugel's Amber Light
• Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss
• Leinenkugel's Big Butt Doppelbock
• Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark Lager
• Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss
• Leinenkugel's Light
• Leinenkugel's Northwoods Lager
• Leinenkugel's Oktoberfest
• Leinenkugel's Original
• Leinenkugel's Red Lager
• Lion Lager
• Lowen
• Malta Arequipeña
• Malta Cusqueña
• Malta Polar
• Maluti Premium Lager
• Manica
• Mickey's Malt Liquor
• Miller Chill
• Miller Genuine Draft
• Miller Genuine Draft Light
• Miller High Life
• Miller Lite
• Milwaukee's Best
• Milwaukee's Best Ice
• Milwaukee's Best Light
• Mosi Lager
• Moya Kaluga
• Nastro Azzurro
• N'gola
• Nile Special Lager
• New Three Star
• Olde English 800 Malt Liquor
• Peroni
• Peroni Nastro Azzurro - International
• Pilsen
• Pilsen Callao
• Pilsen Trujillo
• Pilsener
• Pilsener - Ecuador
• Pilsener - El Salvador
• Pilsener Light
• Pilsner Urquell
• Poker
• Port Royal
• Radegast Birell
• Radegast Original
• Radegast Premium
• Raffo
• Raiz
• Redd's Apple
• Redd’s Dry
• Redd’s Premium Cold
• Redd's Sun
• Regia Extra
• Rhino Lager
• Royal Challenge Premium Lager
• Safari
• Salva Vida
• San Juan
• Saris Light
• Saris Dark
• Saris Premium
• Sarita
• Shengquan
• Shenyang
• Singo
• Sip
• Smadny mnich Light
• Snow beer 11°P
• St. Louis
• Stejar
• Sterling Light Lager
• Stone Strong Lager
• Suprema
• Tianjin
• Timisoreana
• Topvar
• Tusker
• Tri Bogatyrya Bochkovoye
• Tri Bogatyrya Svetloye
• Tropical Pils
• Tropical Premium
• Tyskie Gronie
• Ursus Premium
• Velkopopovický Kozel
• Velkopopovický Kozel Cerny
• Velkopopovický Kozel Premium
• Velkopopovický Kozel Svetly
• Vitamalt
• Whisky Black
• Wührer
• X-Cape
• Yingshi
• Zero
• Zolotaya Bochka Klassicheskoye (Golden Barrel Classic)
• Zolotaya Bochka Svetloye (Golden Barrel Light)
• Zolotaya Bochka Vyderzhannoye (Golden Barrel Aged)
• Zubr (Bison)
• 2M

Molson Coors owns:
Coors "Banquet Beer", also known as "Coors Original"
• Coors Light
• Killian's Irish Red
• Blue Moon
• Keystone
• Zima
• Winterfest (Seasonal)
• Wildwood Westlake lager
• Coors NA (Coors Non-Alcoholic)

Outside of the U.S.:
• Allbright
• Arc
• Breaker
• Caffrey’s Irish Ale
• Carling
• Hancock’s
• Lamot
• Mitchells & Butlers
• Stones Bitter
• Toby
• Worthington

Molson beers
• Molson 
• Black Ice
• Carling Black Label
• Old Style Pilsner
• Rickard's 
• Laurentide (Ale only available in Québec)
• Black Horse (only available in Newfoundland)
• India Beer (only available in Newfoundland)
• O'Keefe's Extra Old Stock (only available in Newfoundland)
• Dominion Ale (only available in Newfoundland)
• Old Vienna

And Heineken owns:
  • 1 Heineken brands
    • 1.1 Heineken
    • 1.2 Buckler
  • 2 Subsidiaries' brands
    • 2.1 Europe
      • 2.1.1 Heineken Italy
        • Birra Dreher
        • Birra Ichnusa
        • Birra Moretti
      • 2.1.2 Affligem Brewery
      • 2.1.3 Athenian Brewery in Greece
      • 2.1.4 Amstel Brewery
      • 2.1.5 Beamish & Crawford
      • 2.1.6 Bochkarev Brewery
      • 2.1.7 Bralima Brewery
      • 2.1.8 Brand Brewery
      • 2.1.9 Caledonian Brewery
      • 2.1.10 Cruzcampo Brewery
      • 2.1.11 De Ridder Brewery
      • 2.1.12 Fürstenberg Brewery
      • 2.1.13 Krusovice Brewery
      • 2.1.14 Murphy's Brewery
      • 2.1.15 Pelforth Brewery
      • 2.1.16 Skopje Brewery
      • 2.1.17 Starobrno Brewery
      • 2.1.18 Zagorka Brewery
      • 2.1.19 Zlatý Bažant Brewery
      • 2.1.20 Żywiec Brewery
    • 2.2 Africa and the Middle East
      • 2.2.1 Almaza Brewery
      • 2.2.2 Al Ahram Brewery
      • 2.2.3 Nigerian Breweries
      • 2.2.4 Sedibeng Brewery
  • 3 In partnership with Fraser & Neave
    • 3.1 Asia Pacific Breweries
    • 3.2 DB Breweries
      • 3.2.1 Tui Brewery
      • 3.2.2 Monteith's