Best Laid Plans

As part of setting up this trip, I’d booked a few activities that were to take place today (Sunday, as I write this) and tomorrow.

Note the words “were to take place”.

It turns out that 30 years ago Kathy and I got married during “cyclone season”.

How … interesting.

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Bucket List item: check!

So when I started putting together an itinerary for this trip I asked Kathy if there was anything in particular she wanted to see or do or whatever.

She had only one request:

“I want to hold a Koala.”

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The Unlocked Cell Phone

Folks overseas probably thing this is kinda silly, but as it turns out our cell phones simply won’t work overseas. In our case our carrier (Verizon) uses CDMA technology which isn’t even used overseas. Other carriers use the more globally accepted GSM technology, but “lock” their cell phones to their networks. Get a phone from AT&T, and it’ll work with AT&T, and that’s about it.

With our upcoming trip, we don’t really need a cell phone, but we’ve come to rely on its convenience and security.

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The Dungeness River

The Dungeness River flows north from the Mountains on Washington’s Olympic peninsula along side the city of Sequim and empties into the Strait of Juan de Fuca which separates the United States from Canada’s Vancouver Island (and, coincidentally, my birthplace, Victoria).

Along the way from mountains to ocean, the Dungeness passes the small community where our vacation rental happens to be located.

So this morning I went for a walk.

Dungeness River
The Dungeness River

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A Few Days in Sequim

Sequim, Washington, on the north coast of the state’s Olympic Peninsula, is a two and a half hour drive and ferry-ride from home, and a world away. We decided to take a few days away prior to Christmas, staying at one of the Sequim Retreats vacation rentals owned by a very good friend.

Naturally I took the opportunity to dry-run some of the things I plan for our longer trip earlier next year.

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Year 6 of Wierdness

Another year of Ask Leo! and the questions don’t fail to inspire … and
dissappoint.

Here’s this years collection of the odd, the strange, the off-the-wall quesions.

As always, every question is a real question I’ve received via Ask Leo! within the last year, presented exactly as I got it
(except that any potentially identifying information will have been removed). Each “answer” is the answer that I’d be oh-so-tempted
to give…

(For perspective – remember that Ask Leo! is a tech site where I answer computer questions. Makes some of the following even more … puzzling.)

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Michael Jackson, Billy Mays and Me

The recent deaths of pop icon Michael Jackson and pitchman Billy Mays caught
me be surprise. Not that their deaths shouldn’t have been unexpected – they
were – and by everyone, not just myself.

No, the problem, and the personal impact, relates to the fact that they were
my peers.

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Providence Marianwood – Family Story and Ask

[I was asked once again to speak at the spring luncheon for Providence Marianwood, the long term care facility at which my father lived for his last 4.5 years. The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Robert Fulghum. I was also preceded by Gene Muren, whose wife Debra is a resident of the same wing that my father had been on, and who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Debra was diagnosed at the age of 46.]

I want to thank Gene as well for sharing his poem and story. Debra’s a familiar face to those of us who’ve spent any time in the Alzheimer’s wing. I also have to echo Gene’s characterization of the experience as both educational, and humbling.

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My EADS luncheon talk

This is the “Family Story” and “Ask” that I presented at the Elder and Adult Day Services luncheon on Februay 5th, 2009.
(Dr. John Medina of Brain Rules was the keynote speaker.)

I’m here to tell you some things that you probably already know.

Like my story.

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A Store Goes Empty

The doll shop is officially “between locations” right now – our brick and mortar location is not only closed, but as of today empty.

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5 Years. And some things never change.

August 10th marks the 5th anniversary of Ask Leo!. Technology changes, some things come and go, but one thing
that never changes is the stream of the odd, the strange, and the
downright … ok, I’ll say it … stupid questions that show up in the
Ask Leo! question queue.

As has been my tradition, it’s once again time to clean the question
barrel, so here are this year’s collection of odd questions scraped
from the bottom.

As always, every question is a real question I’ve received via Ask
Leo! within the last year, presented exactly as I got it (except that
any potentially identifying information will have been removed). Each
“answer” is the answer that I’d be oh-so-tempted to give…
[Warning: there may be “bad words” in some of the
questions. You’ve been warned.]

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New unit of measurement: The Bible?

The Bible turns out to be a handy unit of measurement,
particularly when you’re trying to help folks some grasp
large storage media or data transfer rates.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe in what’s in it, of
course, it’s just that most folks have seen one. I’d wager
that most folks have a reasonable concept of its size, even
if only in heft or “thud factor”.

I used it as an example way back when as I tried to convey
some concepts to my parents. This disk? It could hold X
bibles! And this connection here, we can send the entire
Bible
in Y seconds! Wow!

A random copy of The Bible, text only, from project
Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org) “weighs in” at roughly
5 megabytes.

With that as a unit of measure:

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Seattle has no full time news radio station.

Yes, yes, I know that the two heavyweights in the Seattle
marker, KIRO 710 and KOMO 1000 both claim to be news
stations. And yet…

KIRO changed branding some time ago from “News Radio” to
“News Talk” to finally reflect more accurately what they
really broadcast: News and Talk. More of the later than the
former, I’m afraid. Fair enough, at least they’re honest
about it. (And I’m a fan of the talk part … if
that’s what I happen to be looking for.)

The real offender, in my mind, is KOMO.

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Why yes, I do live in Seattle.

During my recent trip to San Antonio, I found myself in a small shop
(gourmet dog cookies, if you must know) across from a Starbucks.
I told the proprietor that I was visiting from Seattle, and she immediately
said, “Yes, the home of Starbucks!”

Indeed.

It made me realize that I’m really, really from Seattle, because:

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Geek is Good

So my credit card company (or rather, the credit card company that issued the
corporate cards used for my wife’s business http://dollsandfriends.com) “upgraded”
their card access web site recently.

Already you can see where this is going.

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Aging Gracefully: Caring For Dogs With Degenerative Myelopathy and Other Mobility Impairments

As our dogs age, a common scenario is the loss of mobility. Often the hind legs begin to deteriorate first, due to disease, injury or simply because our friend is getting on in years. The front legs can also begin to lose their ability over time as well.

All the while the dog frequently remains otherwise healthy and alert.

Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi Guido brought us to exactly that situation as he developed and progressed through degenerative myelopathy.

If you’re looking ahead to a time where your canine pal may suffer from partial or major mobility issues, here are some tips we picked up along our journey.

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