“Take an old record off the shelf”, with a twist…

Major twist and tweak…
Since only, seven people read this blog entry previously, and we are in Christmas time, I decided to majorly tweak, and repost an “oldie”. If you read it the first time, you can see everything that is new. If you have not read it, enjoy as it is all new to you.

“And now our feature presentation”

Turning my knight into day…(redo)
Trying to find the best new light bulbs for my house, I have done a lot of research on all of the light bulbs currently on the market. We have been using incandescent light bulbs since their inception in 1879. They have not changed much, over the years. The standard incandescent light bulb uses 70% of the energy that it consumes, as heat. As inefficient as the incandescent light bulb is, it took over 100 years until the light bulb was reinvented. Yes, a new lightbulb was badly needed!

The compact fluorescent lightbulb (aka CFL) was invented in 1976. These bulbs come in many shapes and sizes, and even several different colors. The CFL bulb has a higher up-front cost but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity cost over the life of the bulb. This energy saving bulb, last eight to fifteen times as long as the standard incandescent light bulb. These bulbs lost popularity, partly because they were filled with toxic mercury. This mercury complicates their disposal. Many countries have even banned the disposal of CFL bulbs with regular trash. Furthermore, they have established a special collection system for CFL’s and other hazardous waste. Also, LED bulbs took the position as a more energy efficient light bulb.

The LED, light emitting diode, light bulb is the more energy efficient bulb. The LED bulb tends to “sip” energy, and not “gulp” it like the incandescent bulb. It is hard to pin down an exact year, that the LED bulb was invented, for the residential light bulb. The date it was invented for home use, is so nebulous because it had so many other lab uses in its early days. The first diode was also extremely expensive. For this reason, it took a while before someone decided to simply group theses diodes together, for a light bulb for the home. However, in 1962 the first visible-spectrum LED, in the form of red diodes, was invented.

Many companies are currently going one step farther and making their LED bulbs “connected”. This means that the bulb is able to be controlled by your smartphone. Many of these new light bulbs look extremely different. And some people don’t like that these bulbs look so drastically altered. I personally spoke with a woman and her husband, when I was lightbulb shopping. She did not like the bulb I chose because it looked so different. (Let me pose this query to my readers. When was the last time that you looked at one of your lightbulbs, EXCLUDING INSTALLATION? Yeah, me either.) Some of these new bulbs look flat like they were sat on by a sumo wrestler. Yet, others look like they are wearing a medieval suit of armor. It is understandable, and even extremely beneficial, that these companies are making their smart light bulbs dimmable, as well. This dimmable aptitude means that not only can you simply turn a light on, from your phone, but you can also dim it as needed.

However, some of these bulbs are being made to do things that are feckless, in my opinion. The part that seems senseless to me, is that they also change colors…why??? This skill seems like an eccentricity that is simply pointless. Although, I suppose if you want to show off for your friends, it would be cool for a few minutes. But, after a few weeks, color changeability will become, as useless as a submarine with a screen door.

Sadly, the majority of these light bulbs are downright expensive! I have seen several of them go for over $50, PER BULB! I would definitely never pay that kind of money, for a “one trick pony”. I even saw a kit of three bulbs with some sort of “mini-hub” to control them, which costs over $200! The light bulbs I chose, for my house, are the Cree connected bulbs. They are one of the least expensive “connected” LED bulbs on the market, today. What I really like about them, is that they have a great customer rating, and the manufacturer stands behind their product, with excellent customer service. I also like the bulbs, because they are simple, and have no useless flashy “bells and whistles”. I mean if you want to pay over $50 for a bulb that allows you to change the colors, more power to you. However, I bet like most people who buy them, you will only change the colors a few times to “show off”.

Connecting light bulbs to a Smart Hub, to control them from your phone, is even more convenient. Even greater yet, is if you get a Voice assistant like “Google home” or “Amazon Echo”. For someone like me, it is especially advantageous. I go through a significant number of steps to do any of the tasks that are significantly simplified by various smart technologies.

Some have said that this technology is useless. I (sort of) get their point, however, I say it is extremely helpful for someone in my perfectly problematic predicament. When I am going to bed, after putting my PJ’s on, I would normally have to get back into my wheelchair and roll back to the light-switch and turn it off. At this point, in the dark, roll back and get into my bed. Now, I can simply use my phone and turn off the light, from my bed. When I am in bed, if the temperature feels a little off, I can adjust the thermostat from my Google Home. When I am sitting on the couch, and someone rings the doorbell, I can check who it is, from my smartphone. I can even see and speak with them. While sitting on the couch, and using my phone, I can also unlock the door, and let them in.

I knew someone when I was a kid, who was in a physically challenging situation. Although they too lived alone, they needed someone do a lot for them, including dealing with their money issues. I am a private person. I pay my own bills, thanks to internet banking. I can buy things that I need or want, thanks to internet shopping. Because of all of this technology like the internet and connected devices, it is possible for me to live an extremely independent life.

I used to think that smart technology was silly and a luxury only for the people who could afford it. I’m guessing some of you may have felt the same way. However, in many ways, we would be wrong. The more that I welcome these terrifically timely technologies into my home; I learn more about the benefits that they have. I also learn about new technologies that could also make my life easier and more comfortable.

Migro, Migro, Migro…

The Brady Bunch was a good TV show, which I enjoyed as a kid. This is my journal entry for today. I am eager to see what is on the horizon for 2088. If I have said it once, I have said it 1000 times: time is FLYING by. Honestly, I am never ready for the next year. Most days I feel like life is a soup and I’m a fork.
Only one time did I ever wake up to “rock” music. That day was like the first time waking up at boot camp for the Marine Corps. It scared me so badly, that my hair ran to hide, and never returned. In boot camp, to wake you up from your deep slumber, they would repeatedly bang on an old style metal trash can while yelling. It was like getting a shot of the caffeine from, 12 expresso coffees, in a fraction of a second. Waking up to rock music was quite the same way, especially in the home sound system of today. Of course, it did not help that the sound system was turned up from the party, the night before. Sure, it was a party of one (me), but I love playing my music loudly.
I am always surprised at the lack of socio-economic status of this time. It seems like in my thirties and forties people were always trying to be better than everyone else. It’s like they were thinking “I’m a doctor, I’m better than you”. And the nurse would say “but I’m better than the janitor”. I remember, in my 40’s, a woman asked me what I did, for a living. She apparently did not “approve” of my answer, so she simply cast me aside. She did not want to get to know the real me, the person who I am. I feel that to truly know a person, you have to have a decent conversation with them. A quick, one question and its reply, cannot tell you much about that person. Maybe, back then it was a status thing, who knows. Now it seems that an attitude like that does not exist. Now, you’re not an engineer you’re Bob. You’re not a janitor you’re Steve. You’re not a doctor you’re Janet. Life now is more of a “utopian” way of life.
I spoke with the inventor of the Sputnik yesterday. I was surprised to hear that he did not know anything about the actual Sputnik. His grandfather worked for NASA and had talked about Sputnik many times. But apparently, he did not listen to what his grandfather said about Sputnik. He did not know that Sputnik was the first artificial satellite, which was launched into space in 1957. He simply liked the word “Sputnik”, and a name was…reborn.
Although this Sputnik device, is annoying at times it also has its benefits. When they implant one into your head, they sync it to not only your brain but your house system, as well. This helps in several different ways. I personally like that I can be listening to music on the street, and as soon as I move into the house, it switches automatically to the home audio system. Also, you can say what you need out loud and the home assistant hears you and does whatever you ask of it. Ask it to: make a phone call, add something to your grocery list or to simply make dinner.
When you get a sputnik implanted, it actually boosts your memory, as well. Since I am in the human trials of the Sputnik they did not know all of the pros and cons. They did not mention how much the memory would be boosted. How else could I explain all of these detailed memories at 113 years old?! My dad forgot a lot in his mid-sixties. At 113, that is not the case, for me. After this trial is over, and they start correcting all of the issues, the Sputnik will sell like hotcakes!
Actually, hotcakes and bacon sound like a good breakfast, for today. Migro has done a few machines that are junk, but they do a lot of good machines as well. One example is the machine that makes food at your request. Migro made a machine that can make any food that you want. This machine reminds me of the “futuristic” movies of my past. It works slower than it did in old movies, but there is no effort needed. However, you do need to buy the groceries and have them in the “chill box”. For example, breakfast today will take 3 to 5 minutes. The good thing is that, again, I don’t have to do any of the work. Plus, it tastes much better than all of the TV dinners that I ate in the 2000’s.
Basically, I still live like a “bachelor”. Although I must admit that a bachelor lives quite differently today than over 6 decades ago. Now we don’t have TV dinners. As long as I buy the food and put it in the “chill box”, the house can cook it. The delivery of groceries is also a huge help. Lastly, we have the house assistant, to help us live better lives.
I will not be writing in this journal again until next year, 2088. WOW again, how time flies! It seems like just yesterday it was 2080. I say this every year, but I hope next year is my year of romance. Otherwise, 2088, and my 114th birthday will be another boring and lonely year.

The year is 2087, and 1 is STILL the loneliest number…

Captain’s Log 2087-11-12
Okay, even at 113 years old, I am still not funny. However, the original Star Trek was a great show, even though I only saw it in reruns. This is my journal entry for today. I have been writing in this journal for over 70 years now. The year is 2087 and I have been single for 87 years…I am not sure, but I think I am cursed or something.
This morning, as the sun Shields on my windows open slightly while the visors stay closed, I listen to the information coming across my Sputnik. They tell us that we are going to have a high “solar toxicity” day. This is our warning to wear our solar protection suit when going outside. I know that the suit is for our protection, but it is simply “AWKWARD AND UNCOMFORTABLE”, so I will avoid going outside today. The Sputnik implantation device, in my head, seems to be, malfunctioning sporadically. It is only 5 years old and yet it seems to be on the fritz already. I don’t want to go back for another surgery, to fix it just yet, no matter how unobtrusive they say that surgery is now. The Sputnik is a device that is implanted into the brain. It is a “turbocharged” version of the old “voice assistant” that was introduced 71 years ago, in 2016. The voice assistant started out as a simple “smart speaker”, and has grown into a device implanted in, and powered by the brain. Who knew that things could be powered by the brain?
The life expectancy of a human in 2017, when I started this journal was 79 years old. Now, in 2087, it has jumped to more than 150 years old. I LOVE my mom, but now I get to hear her complain about me being single, for even longer. After the Google and Microsoft merger, together they were able to skyrocket human life expectancy. In this merger, the two of them became the powerhouse “Migro” (the name sounds like something you put on your flowers to help them grow). Migro, as the largest and wealthiest company in the world, has purchased many companies like Facebook and Amazon. I heard on my Sputnik, that there was going to be a merger of Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. However, Migro was too powerful and Apple was left out in the cold, barely hanging on. Apple might have to close their doors for good.
At this point, I am known as a man of few words. I do this journal so that I have someone to “talk to”. Of course, I write in this journal, using old-school methods. I actually use a computer, keyboard, and type with my hands. Others constantly make fun of me for this. “Typing with a keyboard is so antiquated,” they say. I say “at least I am not using a typewriter”. That always stops the conversation in its tracks. I went out to dinner with my mom and some of her friends the other day. One of her friends said to me “my husband bet me, that I could not get you to say even three words tonight”. She then looked at me and said: “what do you say to that?” I simply replied “you lose”, and said nothing the rest of the evening.
We have all of this technology, which seems to help us. And believe you me, there is a lot of tech and it helps significantly. Yet, this journal shows me that, I am still an extremely boring person to talk to. As I said, I have been writing in this journal for 70 years and life has not changed much. Ok, let me clarify, “MY” life has not changed. Actually, my “ROMANTIC” life has not changed. Every year I thought “this or that” might change things, but sadly they did not. Having a significant other ALWAYS makes life better. After I moved into the house that I built in 2017-2018, I should have taken the recommendation to use a matchmaking service. We now know, if there is one thing that I am really good at, in my 113 years of life, it has been “procrastinating”. Yet, if there are TWO things that I am good at, then “making excuses” is the other.
In all of this technology that we have, we still do not have a time machine. No time machine means that I cannot go back and change anything. I would not go back to win the lottery nor would I invest in Google, although I’m sure many would do both. Instead, I would go back and talk to that woman that I used to work with, even though she said libary instead of library (kind of annoying). I would go back and ask that woman, that I met at the grocery store over 6 decades ago, out to dinner. The truth is that money means nothing without a significant other, and that is why I give so much away. I also would not have implanted this, very annoying, sputnik device. Although Microsoft merged with Google, apparently Microsoft still makes the computers and sputnik devices, and they are not very good. This “thing” in my head did not even go a full five years, without problems. Hopefully, tomorrow is a better day. Kirk out…nope, I’m still not funny.

Yule crack up…

Those of you, who know me, know that I am an honest person. Honest to a fault, some might say. So when I tell you this story, you know that I am being “honest”. WAIT! I don’t know where those quotation marks came from, sorry. Just know that I am telling you the “truth”. There they are again, those annoying quotation marks! Anyway, here are the “facts”…Ugh, of the story.
Over the summer I was on vacation. I cannot tell you the location, but it was sunny and hot, so you know that I LOVED it. Later you will see why I can’t say where I was. Anyway, I was sitting at a table, next to the pool of this gorgeous hotel. I saw a guy who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses. He was drinking an iced tea, reading while relaxing poolside. He had a white beard that was pretty long, which was surprising for a hot vacation spot, like this. He actually looked a lot like Santa Claus. So much so, that I kind of laughed at the thought. I wanted to talk to him, but I am a shy and quiet guy and did not want to “bother” this gentleman. However, several of my friends are constantly urging me, to step outside of my comfort zone and simply talk with people. So I decided to interrupt his reading. I asked him if he minded if I sat next to him and talked with him for a bit. He said “sure Scott”, and winked, “have a seat”. I asked, “How do you know my name?” He simply smiled and said, “I have been to your house many times, you are one of the good ones on my list.” I thought about that for a minute and then shrugged it off. Surely he would explain that a bit later. I said, “Do you realize that you look like…er…uh…Santa Claus?” He roared with laughter and said, “I’ve heard that, a time or two.” (Let me explain to my readers, his laugh was very…“Jolly”) We sat there for an hour or so, snacking on delicious finger sandwiches, drinking iced tea and talking about everything under the sun. The more that we talked, the more that I realized, this WAS Santa Clause! How could this be? I mean…I guess Santa needs a vacation too. He knew that I had figured it out. Just then a young kid came around the corner and said “hey…” he stopped when he saw me and then looked back and said, “hey, Dad I scheduled you and Mom for a massage at 2 P.M.” As the kid was talking, I looked him over a bit. I knew that this MUST have been one of Santa’s elves. I could not see his ears because they were covered up by his hat. It is hard to explain, but I was pretty sure…no, I was POSITIVE, he was one of Santa’s elves.
“Since I know who you are, and you know that I know who you are; can I ask you a few questions that I’ve always wanted to know?” I asked. He laughed, then took another drink of his iced tea, and said, “Sure, no one will believe all of this anyway”. “I’d like to ask you about your “delivery” job.” I winked, trying to help keep his “secret identity”? “You deliver all over the world, so how many languages do you speak?” I asked. Again he laughed and said “I actually speak fewer than you might think,” he said. “Remember, while I am in these other countries, it is at night while everyone is asleep”. Then he winked and said, “and don’t forget, I now have Google Translate.” Laughing he said, “Even an old man like me, knows about Google”. I laughed out loud at that.
“Well, I have also wondered, with all of the advancements in technology, why don’t you just order and deliver through Amazon,” I asked. He sat back and laughed (he laughed so often that, it made me laugh a lot too). “First, we still make more toys, by hand, than you might think,” he said. “Plus, there are 7.5 billion people on earth, now subtract out those on my naughty list. Do you think that Amazon and shipping companies could handle that?” I laughed at that and said, “good point, I didn’t think of that”. “So then how do you do it?” I asked. “Scott, do you remember when you went to Philmont Scout Ranch?” He asked. (I guess he IS always watching) I said, “Of course I do. I will never forget those 12 days of backpacking in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains.” “And how did you get your food?” he asked. I explained that we carried the food in our backpacks. “Yes, but not all 12 days of food at once”, he corrected. I explained that, from what I remember, they had food “drop points”. These “drop points” were at specific locations in our path, we would hike to those spots. When we got there, we would drop off trash, and then pick up more food. “Exactly, and that is similar to what we do. We have “military style” helicopters that drop new toys in my sleigh along the way,” He said. He told how these helicopters dropped more toys directly into the sleigh, as the toys in his sleigh run low. “This is all done mid-air,” he said. “Think about this, in the past when my sleigh was full of ALL of the toys in one trip, my sleigh was heavier and the trip was slower,” He said. He then told how, NOW, the trip is simply faster. “This means that, when I stop at a house, I can eat a few more cookies.” (For the record, I thought the cookie thing, was made up by parents, I guess not.) “A few houses even leave apples or carrots for the reindeer,” He said. (I guess the reindeer need snacks too.)
We laughed and talked for a while longer, not only about Christmas but about other things too. He even complimented me on my charity that I have to help children. I talked about my very small blog. I explained that I have only had it for a short time. This blog only has a small number of readers. “Chris” (I am hiding the name that he used) “Can I write a blog entry about our meeting here today?” He thought for a long minute, as he took off his sunglasses because the sun was going down. “You showed me the stats of your blog, and no one will believe you anyway”, he continued to think. I quickly told him that, if he said yes, I would send him a copy of the blog first. This way he could give his “yes or no” before I posted it. He said, “let me think about it, I will let you know”. He gave me a way to contact him, through a few other people, who also know his secret identity.
About a month later, he got back to me. He agreed to let me blog about it, but with one simple rule. As long as I waited until December to post it, the answer is yes. However, he still wanted to approve the blog entry. I later asked Santa to keep me up-to-date on how things are going. He told me that he would let me know how his “deliveries” went this year. I asked him about the possibility of coming up north to visit his “company”, still trying to keep his secret identity. He told me that would not be a very good idea. I then asked if there was a way that on Christmas when he delivered to my house if I could see the reindeer. He roared with laughter and said “what makes you think I’m coming to your house this year?” then he winked at me. (He was a very funny guy, who loved to laugh, a lot).
I now have a very different outlook on Christmas. I also have a new respect for the work that they all do, in the far north. He later explained that they vacation in a new place every year, so it is unlikely that I would see him again. To anyone reading this blog, I am good at keeping secrets, so don’t think that I will share how I contact Santa. I have kept much bigger secrets, so if you want to be on the “good list”, simply be a good person, do good things, and you too can be on that list.