Monday, July 20, 2015

55 and counting

Good Monday to all.

It's my fifty-fifth birthday today, for those keeping score!

I don't feel any different, of course, but I will admit that I plan to get and use the AARP membership that I feel sure is on its way!  My wife won't, of course, but I'm far cheaper than she is, so we can consider that a certainty!

I did give in to a little middle-age restlessness over the weekend and rearranged the furniture in my office.  I have been thinking of switching a few things around for a while, as I thought moving my pieces (desk and credenza-with-hutch) into an L-shaped arrangement could be good.  I did this Saturday morning, and think I'll be moving it back to the more traditional desk in front of credenza setup.  Gotta try these things, I suppose.

I've been watching the Open Championship (the British Open to us unrepentant Yanks) over these last few days, and can certainly feel for the participants and organizers (and fans, too) having lost most of a day to bad weather, since weather has played such havoc on everything in our part of the world throughout the spring and summer.  I have it on via my computer this morning and am hopeful that the young Texan Jordan Spieth can turn in another quality round and win the thing.  That would make it three majors in a row, with only the PGA remaining for the Grand Slam, something that hasn't been done in a LONG time, not since Bobby Jones.  And what's the story with everyone suddenly referring to that historic golfer as "BOB" Jones?

Speaking of golf, I haven't played in several weeks, with company here and other stuff going on.  I am due to play a round with some friends next weekend, but weather will most likely be a factor, one way or another.

One of my readers told me that a great part of my blog is when I mention "new" stuff---new computer equipment, cellphones, household items, etc.  I have a couple of those types of items to mention today.

The first to mention is Yeti Coolers, a brand of rugged, high-performance coolers and drinkware that I became aware of recently.  I think this line of products has been around for a little while, but because I hadn't visited an outdoor store or department within a sporting goods dealer, I wasn't familiar with it.

Anyway, we celebrated family birthdays while our daughter and family were visiting recently (they've gone, but left our granddaughter with us for a few weeks).  Our son and his wife gave some very nice and creative gifts to our daughter and son-in-law, and one of them was a Yeti Rambler tumbler for my son-in-law.  I remarked that it looked pretty solid, and my son then mentioned that it was highly rated for its ability to keep drinks hot or cold, does not sweat, and is extremely durable.

I then mentioned this in passing to a friend via phone who said that he had a Rambler, and commented that he has filled his with ice and water early in the morning and at day's' end would still have ice cubes intact.  I'm sure I sounded pretty impressed, and we talked further about how hard it is to find a good travel mug or tumbler, etc.  He then mentioned that it's a small part of a line of products that includes soft-side and hard-side coolers, can holders, bottle openers, the reusable ice bricks.  Pretty neat, I thought.

The following day this friend called me back from his home area and asked if I had run out to buy my own Yeti Rambler.  I said that I hadn't, and he said that was good, because there was one on its way to me.  Said he wanted to do something for me for my recent help with a project that he's undertaken recently (I haven't helped THAT much, but he's like that), so I was pretty excited.

It arrived a couple of days later and I washed it out and read the material that came with it.  "Keeping your drink as cold as science allows" was the message of this item.  And my friend knows me well, since he sent me the LARGE version!

I've used it nearly exclusively since then, for coffee, water, soft drinks and iced tea.  All maintain temperature very well.  No carryover flavor or odor from what was previously inside, either.  I have a trip coming tomorrow and am excited to see how it does and what kind of response I get when I walk into a McDonald's and say I want to fill it up with coffee or a soft drink!

Next Yeti item I want to find is the Colster, wherein the Yeti people apply the same kind of science to a can holder that they did to a tumbler!

The other recent enhancement to life at the Smith house is a new variation of the universal television remote.  For quite a few years we've relied on a Harmony universal remote to control our entertainment devices.  I really like the concept...press one button and all of the right items come on in the proper mode and setting for what you may want to watch at a given time (cable, DVD, or something else).  We've had a couple of these, and they all eventually begin to wear down.  The current one, a Harmony One, is no exception.  Our cable system has all of its HD channel clustered in the 900 range of the dial, so, not surprisingly, the 9 key is beginning to give us trouble, sticking, repeating, etc.

I researched this a little bit and looked at some a while back, and finally settled on the newest iteration of this product--the Harmony Smart Control.  This consists of a box not unlike an Apple TV or Roku in size (think tapered hockey puck) and a companion remote that's pretty simple and straightforward.  The kicker is that you can use the remote OR your mobile device, which requires a free application and a signin.  I bought and set this up on Saturday and it has performed flawlessly so far, using all four of our iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) and the remote.  The best and perhaps most ingenious part is that it does not require you to point anything directly at the TV---works through wi-fi.

So that's what's happening here.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take my old-age pills....

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