Christmas Letters

Posted December 6, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Uncategorized

About ten years ago, I was frustrated at the lack of information shared in our Christmas cards. So, I decided to start writing a Christmas letter.

Every year I send out a Christmas letter about 120isth of our friends. At one time, my list numbered upwards of 200 people on my list. So I tried to pare it down to a manageable number, This year, my list is about 120 people. So figuring at 120 addresses, I come up with about $60 in postage.

I try to hand out copies to people that I see during the Christmas season. 20 copies means I save $10.

So, I start working on my letter in October. I absolutely need to keep the letter at two pages printed on both sides. I try to include recent pictures of our family.

One year, I tried sending my letter mostly by email. I was not pleased with the feeling. I felt it was important for our friends to receive a piece of paper in the mail and not another piece of email. There are still a few people that get the email version, but the number is low.

So in October, I print out my first version. Then I pass it by my editor (Paula) for comments. By the time I get to December, I have gone through several editing passes.

In parallel, I start workin on my address list. I use an app on my iPad that generates my address labels. I check for major faux pas like sending to a couple where one of the couple has passed away. I check for correct addresses. Invariably, mail comes back with “addresses not found” on it.

Once the final copy is approved by my editor, I start printing. Invariably, I have to go to Costco to get more ink cartridges. I always seem to run out of ink in December.

So order the paper and envelopes. This year I have Santa and his reindeer. Attach labels then start folding and stuffing envelopes.

This year I have about 20 envelopes for local hand delivery for folks that I see regularly at church and lodge.

There are some envelopes that Paula wants to write a personal note. Go to the post office and buy stamps and they are on their way

1 Second Everyday for November

Posted December 1, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

Tags: ,

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Posted November 28, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Movies, Reviews

Tags: , ,

Last night we went to the movies to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” starring Tom Hanks.

I should say this right at the beginning. This is not a movie to take the kids to see. It is rated PG and tells the story of relationship problems

This is the story of a writer for Esquire magazine who was tasked with writing an article on Fred Rogers for the magazine. The writer’s name was Lloyd (played by Matthew Rhys). Lloyd was having problems with his father. Lloyd was not happy about the assignment.

So Lloyd tries to blow off Fred Rogers attempts to help him get right with his Dad. Mr Rogers persists and manages to get Lloyd right with his father.

So Tom Hanks nails the performance of Fred Rogers. All the mannerisms and affects are there. By the end of the movie, one really believes that you are watching Fred Rogers.

We went to an early show so that we could have time to go out to dinner after the show. Wednesday’s are usually $5 for Seniors, but not last night. Apparently producer has rule about no bargain nights on first two weeks of theater run. So price was $10.

Dinner at a small Chinese restaurant in San Pedro. Hot and Sour Soup, Moo Shi Chicken and Beef Chow Mein. Now we have leftovers for this evening. We were the only people dining in the restaurant, though lots of take out orders getting picked up.

Highway to Heaven (or???)

Posted November 22, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: California, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Pedro

Tags: , ,

So I read that Mass is changing its exit numbering from the extent sequential numbering to mileage based numbering. So for instance, I90 (the MA Pike) would change from exits 1 in the west to exit 140-something in the East. Other highways would be renumbered similarly over the next few years. They say this is being ordered by the fed’s. That will undoubtedly cause widespread mayhem.

So that made me think, what kind of mayhem would that cause in Los Angeles? Luckily, I don’t have to commute on a daily basis on the LA freeways. But renumbering would be crazy.

So I thought I would give my east coast friends a test. Match the freeway number with its commonly used name. Some of the freeway names are a no brainer, some are a bit obscure. I had to look them up. No fair for west coast peeps. No using Google. [I’ll publish the answers in a couple of days, or you can google it]

  1. I-405
  2. I-10
  3. I-5
  4. I-710
  5. I-605
  6. Rt 60
  7. Rt 2
  8. I-215
  9. Rt 91
  10. I-105
  11. I-10
  12. Rt 101
  13. I-110
  1. Harbor
  2. Hollywood
  3. San Diego
  4. Gardena
  5. Santa Monica
  6. Glenn Anderson
  7. Santa Ana
  8. San Gabriel
  9. Pomona
  10. Glendale
  11. Golden State
  12. Escondido
  13. Long Beach

Web Sites

Posted November 19, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Internet, Los Angeles

Tags: ,

Today I discovered two new websites (well, new to me). First one is theavocadola. Think of it as an LA version of theonion, Satire for Los Angeles.

The second one is LAist.com  This is a news web site that focuses on Los Angeles.

If you live on the west coast, you might like these two web sites. If not, well maybe you will still be amused.

Long Beach Symphony

Posted November 17, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Long Beach, Music, Organs

Tags: , , ,

Last night we had the pleasure of attending the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra at the Long Beach Center for the Performing Arts. We had been given tickets by a friend of Paula’s. What a pleasure. We had seats in 3rd row of the orchestra section.

The performance consisted of pieces by French composers. The symphony was directed by Eckert Preu. Mr. Preu appeared about an hour before the concert (I’m told that he usually does this) to talk about the music.

The performance consisted of:

  1. Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy
  2. Intermezzo from Notre Dame by Franz Schmidt
  3. La Chausseur maudit by Cesar Fanck

Intermission, then

  1. Symphony No. 3 in C minor, op. 78 (Organ Symphony) by Camille Saint-Saens

So the opening piece was quite light and airy. It kind of gets you comfortable in your seat before the heavy hitters come along.

Le Chausseeur maudit” means “the Accursed Hunter”. It takes you along on the adventure of a wild hunter in the woods. The story begins about a hunter who would rather hunt on a Sunday morning than sit in the pews in a church.

The four sections of the work are:

  1. Peaceful Sunday Landscape
  2. The Hunt
  3. The Curse
  4. The Demon’s Chase

Then we had the intermission where we get to calm our nerves over a glass of wine. Then he started on Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. So called because the fourth and last movement  has a pipe organ added to the mix. I told Paula to expect that the theme will be rattling around in your brain. The finale was strong and loud. I wanted to shout out, “Crank it up”. Indeed, Paula told me that she had the theme rattling around in her head.

And finally, I have included an organ recital of the last movement of the Organ Symphony. Play it on a speaker and crank up the volume. Enjoy.

 

Apps

Posted November 7, 2019 by joebowker
Categories: Apple, apps

Tags: , , ,

I thought it might be worth writing about how I use my iPhone and iPads. I currently have an iPhone 8 plus and an iPad Pro. I was thinking of upgrading to an iPhone 11, but decided to put it off for a while. Primary reason for upgrading for me would be improved camera. Maybe next year.

My wife has an iPhone 7 and an iPad Mini. We are not an all Apple family. I still have a Windows laptop.  Last time I was looking for a new laptop, I couldn’t justify paying the exorbitant price of a Mac Book. I am pretty much the head of IT in our family. If something is not working right on her iPhone, she hands it to me and says “Fix it, please”

Having all Apple devices makes it easier to keep them all working and sharing data and apps between devices.

So here are some of my favorite apps.

ForScore

ForScore is an app for managing sheet music. I play the piano for our OES Chapter and my Masonic lodge. I primarily use this app on my iPad Pro. I first started using this on my iPad with the 9″ screen. When Apple announced the iPad Pro with the 12″ screen, I I bought one right away. The old iPad got handed down to one of my sons. I keep a backup on my wife’s iPad mini, just in case.

Evernote

Evernote is an app for storing documents. I use it for storing everything from bills and tax documents to recipes. Recipes storage is particularly handy in the grocery store. My wife will ask me to look up a recipe to see what ingredients are required. I also use a companion app called DayEntry that enters daily notes in diary fashion sorted by date. Evernote has a companion app for Windows PC. Makes it easy to store PDF’s direct from the scanner.

Microsoft Office

Gone are the days of my using Powerpoint, but I still use Word and Excel. Shares nicely with Windows. Click here for Microsoft Office for iOS

Games

First and foremost, I do crosswords. The New York Times has a decent app for the Times crosswords. For other crosswords, I use app called “Crosswords” by Stand Alone, Inc. I can start working a puzzle on iPad and continue on my iPhone.

I use a solitaire app called “Solitaire Deluxe“. It does all of the standard solitiare apps like Canfield, Klondike, etc..

I am fond of doing Sudoku puzzles.  I have several variations. Nothing to write home about here. Here’s my favorite Sudoku game by Boy Howdy.

Grocery Lists

For grocery shopping, I use an app called “Grocery IQ“. It allows me to share our shopping list with multiple devices. I’ve tried other grocery lists apps. This puts the others to shame. It can be customized to set order for all the aisles in the store.

I would usually provide a link, but it seems that Coupons.Com is no longer supporting the app. Not found on iOS app store.

There still is a link for Coupons.com

Banking

Nothing much to write here. All the major banks have apps to access and manage accounts. Functionally they all do pretty much the same things like check balances, make payments, etc.

Social Media

Also not much to write about. All of the social media sites have free apps. Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Entertainment

Lots of stuff here. IMDB is a really useful app for looking up movie information, both historical and current movies in theaters. IMDB stands for Internet Movie Data Base and has been around for a long time, even pre-iPhone. Free.

SeatGeek is a handy app to show you where your seats are for a show or game that you might be going to. Available for PC, iOS and Android. Free.

Sports are covered pretty good on iOS. Major League Baseball has a decent app and NFL does, too. Other sports probably do but I pretty much only follow baseball and football.

That’s enough for today.