November 11, 2014

One of my neighbors is crazy

So I just opened my deck door because I wanted to take a clean picture of the creek:


And it's forty-brrr degrees out. And one of my neighbors has a charcoal grill going and is grilling some meat. I could definitely smell it.

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October 28, 2014

Into the den of the beast

My Oregon ID card was due to expire on my birthday (Thursday) so today my brother took me to DMV to get it renewed. (Acquisition of the wheelchair and slippers was part of the preparation for this mission.)

Actually, he took me there twice. The first time we found out that the rules had changed and I had to produce another piece of ID, so we had to return to my apartment to get my birth certificate.

It wasn't very crowded, and the woman who was managing the line recognized us as having been there earlier, and moved me to the front of the line -- which was nice of her. And it all went briskly. From start to finish, an hour and a quarter. (That's timed from when I left my apartment the first time to when I returned to it, so it includes two round trips in his car.) The actual time in DMV was less than 15 minutes.

Who says all government bureaucracies are terrible?

UPDATE: But when they took my photo they asked me to take off my glasses. So it doesn't look like me, because I always wear glasses. I can't see without them.

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October 27, 2014

Happy Birthday to me!

My brother came over today and took me on a shopping mission. It's the first time I've been out of this apartment since last Spring. My problem was that my feet have swelled up, and my shoes didn't fit any more, so I was stuck here.

We went to Beaverton Pharmacy, and I bought a wheel chair:


We also went to a shoe store and I bought a pair of slippers which were big enough to fit my feet.

Coincidentally, it's my birthday this week, and this is a really good gift. To me it represents freedom. I can now get out of this place, at least once in a while, and go further than the corner of the parking lot (which is about as far as I can walk anymore). I can go to restaurants. I can go to the transit mall and catch the train to my doctor's office. I can make it across Canyon to the Fred Meyer pharmacy for my prescriptions.

He also let me get a treat:


At my request we went through the drive-through lane at McDonalds. I've been dreaming about the taste of a Big Mac for a long time, and just now I got to taste it again, for real. It was just as good as I remembered. (It's the first time in about three years that I've had one.)

So today has been a good day.

UPDATE: No advice, please.

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October 22, 2014

Something or high water


It's been raining pretty hard today, and now the runoff is overtopping the entire culvert.

It's not supposed to be like this; there are two big concrete pipes under the culvert which are supposed to carry the water, but they've been completely clogged up for years. Unfortunately, fixing them would either require scuba gear or a back hoe.

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October 17, 2014

Phone Phollies

The main function of my phone (HTC Droid DNA) is to solve the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" problem. (And the "I've had another stroke" problem.) I'm proud to say that since my stroke I haven't lost my balance enough to fall, not even once. But I've come close a couple of times, and it's a genuine fear, especially as I'm gradually losing control over my left leg. So I keep my phone with me as I move around the apartment, to make sure that when something bad happens, then if I'm seriously hurt I can call for help. It's always within arm's reach. (Even in bed -- my stroke happened while I was asleep and another one could do the same.)

The only apps on the phone I use are the timer app (when I'm cooking) and Accuweather, neither of which are particularly power hungry. Accuweather is only supposed to phone home when I invoke it, for instance, and when it does it doesn't actually say much. The phone has a healthy battery, and I'm used to having it go from 100% charged to about 90% in one day.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, it began to drop a lot more than that. The phone is nearly two years old and maybe the battery is losing the ability to hold a charge? Well, that wouldn't change so radically so fast. So I looked at the power consumption tracking info frames, and it showed my wifi being a big power consumer, and wifi running when the phone was off. Oh, dear; have I become infected with an Android virus? Am I now part of a botnet?

Yesterday I found out the real answer: the phone popped up and said, "I've downloaded a patch; wanna install it?" I let it, so now I'm up to date, and now the power consumption is back to what I'm used to.

This is the fourth patch since I got the phone, and the other three times it asked permission before downloading, which happened immediately and only took about 20 minutes. (Then it asked permission to install, which took maybe ten more minutes.) I'm not sure why it did the download surreptitiously this time.

So now I'm running Android 4.4.2 and the latest HTC stuff, maybe. I'm grateful that Verizon is still putting out patches for my phone because I read somewhere that Verizon doesn't sell HTC phones any more. Kind of a shame.

UPDATE: I just looked at Verizon's web page, and I'm wrong. They are still selling HTC phones. What I read was that all "Droid" phones are now Motorola, and I overinterpreted that. (And anyway, Motorola Mobility, the phone group, now belongs to Google.)

So what distinguishes a "Droid" from any other kind of phone?

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October 15, 2014



This is Safeway's house brand of mozarella sticks. They're really good, too; 7 minutes in a 450 degree oven, and they're great!

But I like the name. Not too many house brands (or any other product, really) are willing to pun like this.

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October 08, 2014

Nightmare of nightmares

I was being interviewed on TV about alternate energy source...

moan, whimper... It was worse than a no-pants dream.

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October 04, 2014

Return of the beavers?


I noticed this a couple of days ago: the creek is as high as I think I've ever seen. It's not as if we've had a storm, either; it's been clear and blue for the last week

The only conclusion I can come to is that we've been recolonized by beavers, and they've built, or repaired, one of the dams.

(I'd go out and see, except that I can't any more.)

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July 03, 2014

boom bang pop-pop-pop

The neighborhood pyros are at it again, like every year. It's a day early, but who cares about that?

There's an Indian reservation about a hundred miles from here, and US26 goes right there from Portland, so there's never any problem getting fireworks if anyone really wants to.

The other side of the creek gets overgrown and by this time the grass has dried out, and it's perfect tinder for a huge blaze, so I'm always a bit afraid that someone is going to burn the neighborhood down. The complex hires someone a couple times every summer to clear it all out, and this year they did it about three weeks ago, so it's not a firetrap over there, thank goodness. Still, I'll be worried until the national celebration is finished, probably Monday.

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May 16, 2014


I guess "Selfies" are all the rage right now, and as ever I'm on the trailing edge of the fad. Below the fold are night-mare inducing pictures of me. (Gad.) more...

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