Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Down by the river....

If you said, "Neil Young, 1969," you must be as old as I am, and you get 200 bonus points for living this long.

We enjoy wandering around the Riverwalk area...

We started our walk through the area around 10:00 am - earliest in the day we've been there.  No crowds.  Eerily unpopulated.  In the boat below...

It isn't empty - the driver is doing the narration for that one guy onboard.  New boats here, by the way - electric propulsion instead of outboards.  Rounded edges with a rub rail that matches up to all the other new boats.  I spoke with a lady driving one of the boats: she had no idea what the propeller situation was, but she said they are much easier to drive.

We did some shopping, sight-seeing, had lunch at Margaritaville, then back to the coach to relax before heading out again for the evening... a Tommy Emmanuel concert.  If you aren't familiar with him, do a search and watch a few videos; this guy is an amazing guitarist.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A visit to the bar...

Not that bar - the one at the back of an Apple Store.

I have an older iPhone and a MacBook Pro.  Not saying how old, but they are both powered by a steam engine.  Other than I am wearing out the keyboard on the Mac, it still does everything I need.  I wanted to find out about repairing the keyboard... and looking at the newest MacBooks.  No question that the iPhone was due to be updated.

I thought we might be able to go to the nearest Apple Store in San Antonio (another reason for this trip) and have one of the genii (genuises?) give me a quick opinion on the feasibility of a repair.  Nope.  We got our name in on the "walk in appointment" list, with a 2-hour wait.  Oh well, it gave us time to thoroughly check out the MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs.  The newest, bestest is a little faster than my current model, but with really pretty keyboards.  And price tags.  Of course, the newest, bestest doesn't have the ports I currently use (like USB2, and my favorite slot on the computer: the SD card reader, for downloading photos).  Apple is good about going with the newest, fastest way to hook into their computers, at the rejection of the current technology.  Of course, you can buy adapters that allow you to connect your old peripherals to the new computer... or just by new peripherals that will be bestest and fastest with a new computer.

Or, for about 1/4 the cost of a new computer, put a new keyboard in the geriatric model.  I decided to think about it... a repair would take 4 to 5 days in the store, or have to be sent out; I don't have that kind of time.  Two hours of waiting for a 10 minute diagnosis.

On to the phone...

My good ol' iPhone has been getting a bit wonky with the battery.  Not bad for a phone that is now 5 generations old.  I liked the size of my 5s - all the newer iPhones are bigger... and much bigger.  I asked about an iPhone SE (same size factor as my 5s): "Well, that is the oldest technology we still support."

Damn whippersnappers!

I have a cell phone plan that Verizon would like to see go away: real unlimited data.  I have been a data customer since before 3G; grandfathered in.  At this point, more like great-great-grandfathered in.  I buy my phones outright.  The Apple sales guy (not to be confused with a genius) was a bit surprised - apparently most folks go with the pay-$39-per-month plan and get a new iPhone every two years.  Verizon has a similar plan, but you get to move to a different data plan.

I decided on an iPhone 8.  Glass front and back (doesn't matter much to me), faster processor (nice), better camera (I use actual cameras most of the time), wireless charging (nice feature), and no headphone jack (they did away with those with the iPhone 7 ).  I like a headphone jack, but this allows the phone to be more "water resistant."  Not to be confused with water-proof.

The sales guy switched the sim card from my old phone to this new one, so no activation fee.  Loading all my info/settings/photos/etc from the cloud took a while, but sure beat entering all those settings again.  "Oh, how about syncing up to my Apple Watch?"

"You have an Apple Watch?  Cool!"  That took longer than moving all my info from one phone to the other.  And I didn't discover until we had left the store that it wasn't working properly with the watch.  Nothing that another hour or so of fussing with it couldn't fix.  Yes, I really like the Apple Watch; and, yes, it is functional and handy.

And now, it is functional and handy once again, with a new phone.

So, that pretty much took the whole day.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Is anyone going to San Antone...

No, I don't need you to pick up something for me - that is the title to a song by Charlie Pride and later by the Randy Rogers Band.  No bonus points, 'cause this old rock 'n roller can't tell you much about country music.  ;-)

This morning, we hit the road with the motorhome, heading out for a few days of "Christmas spirit."  Or, in the way of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: "Are you serious, Clark?"  For the record, I would be the Cousin Eddie character, not the Clark Griswold persona... "That there's an RV, Clark."  Or: "Merry Christmas!  Shitter's full!"  Yeah, I'm digressing... but laughing out loud.

We didn't bring the motorhome to the house - just put a few things in the CR-V and headed to our storage unit; a quick load-up and we were ready to hit the road...

It was uncharacteristically calm - as in: no wind.  We seem to be able to generate wind when we are traveling in the motorhome... usually coming from the direction we are heading.  Flat terrain in south Texas...

Navigator and co-pilot, ready for some holiday R 'n R...

The timing was such, that we were able to stop for some fine dining for lunch as we passed through the Corpus Christi area...

No, the motorhome does not fit in the drive-up.

An uneventful trip north; we are looking forward to the Christmas lights on the Riverwalk, some shopping, and the main reason for the trip: a concert by guitar great Tommy Emanuel.  And, some kick back holiday time in the motorhome.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Coming out...

Nothing to do with anyone's sexuality, not that there's anything wrong with that (Seinfeld reference).

The dredge pipe in our canal has been getting closer and closer to our boat.  As the dredge moves further down the far end of the canal, they pull the pipe along; all the back-and-forth, side-to-side crap with the pipe is now down to one mostly straight stretch.

We have been looking for a good "window" to pull the boat and check the condition of the bottom (and clean it).  Today was that window: around 70ยบ, wind out of the north at only 9 mph.  The pipe that was now just inches from our boat was rising and sinking as the dredge pumped.  I prepped the boat and Joan hooked the trailer to the CR-V... just as I pulled away from the dock (in reverse), the pipe started rising.  With Joan spotting for me from the dock, I was able to get across the pipe before it came completely to the surface.

I brought the boat around to the ramp, Joan backed the trailer in.  I motored onto the trailer, she hooked the bow strap, and we were outta there.  Working together, it was fast and easy.

I backed the boat into our driveway and started the clean-up process.  The bottom was surprisingly... not terrible.  Between the pressure washer and some scrubbing, after an hour or so I called it "pretty darn adequate."  Until we find our what's going on with the dredge and that last canal, I'm in no hurry to put the boat back in the water.

The boat has been sitting at the dock a lot more than usual this past month.  Sitting allows bottom growth to accumulate faster.  I was concerned... but, the bottom paint is doing its job.

And now, time for a little holiday excursion.

Another day, another tune...

This one in mono, nothing off the PA, all recorded directly into the H4n Pro on 4 tracks; a cover of the Jimmy Buffett song, Son Of A Sailor...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hello, my friend...

Not a human acquaintance - we went out to the storage unit today, to take some things to the motorhome.  I knew I was missing it: this morning when I went into my bathroom at home, I instinctively reached out my foot for the pedal on the front of the toilet.  No, there is no pedal on the front of the toilet in our home, but there is one in the motorhome.  Muscle memory.  ;-)

From there, we made a quick stop at Sam's Club.  A "quick stop" at Sam's Club in December, you ask??  Yep, about 5 minutes, in and out - it took longer in the line at the door (where they check your purchases) that it took to get what we needed. 

Back to the car, and a stop at Sam's gas station - only $2.07 for unleaded.  The station was very busy, but there was a slot open at a pump when we pulled around... I must be living right.

For the record, we generally try to avoid weekend shopping in December... with 3 days of crap weather, we were ready for an outing.  Plus, Izzy was due for a stock-up on her food, and that means a stop at Petsmart for her recent change in diet.  They had dogs to adopt out front, and several kitties inside.  I wondered if Izzy would be receptive to an orange and white little sister... probably not.  I know - one at a time.

We even stepped right up to the counter and Joan found a table at Chick-filet-A... I really should buy a lottery ticket.  Joan asked, "Do you need anything at Bass Pro?"

"Nothing I can think of... who said that??"

Traffic was brisk on the roads - everyone is Christmas shopping.  We made it home unscathed.  And, it was a lovely day: sunshine, a bit breezy, but temps in the upper 60s - a delightful change from the 30s and 40s of the last few days.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Another track...

Not going outside today, so I played with adding the drums and bass again.  This time, a cover of the James Taylor song, Country Road...

A few tests in, I am enjoying this compact electronic drums.  And the bass.