Another Deep Dive

Posted September 19, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Pictures

Tags: , ,

Last week I spent about three days scanning three boxes of slides. Paula’s Dad was always taking pictures, mostly as color 35mm slides. This batch was about 350 slides taken (best I can tell taken in the 1950’s and some in the 1970’s

I have decided to post about a dozen or so. These pictures were of Mt Lassen National Park and other mountains in California and the west. Click or tap on each picture to see the detail.

Harold worked as a high school teacher of biology in Long Beach. In the summer, he worked as a park ranger at Mt Lassen National Park. The Stanley family would head north on the day after school closed for the summer in June. There was no one happier than Harold heading north to Lassen in the summer.

Here’s what the area looked like in June. There was much snow left. The cabin was at Summit Lake where they would live for the summer.

Fixing the Leak in the Drain (part 2)

Posted September 16, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Plumbing

Tags: , ,

Plumbers were here today to work on the drain. The plan was to replace the main drain pipe from the unit 301 on the third floor down to our unit 101.

The plumbers were from Radisic Plumbing in San Pedro. They did a good job including laying down drop cloths.

Next step will be to repair the holes in the wall and get a new mirror.

Here are my pictures:

Fixing Leak in the Drain (part 1)

Posted September 14, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Plumbing

Tags: ,

So back in February, we started seeing a leak in our bathroom. The leak was flowing down from the unit above us. Whenever they used one of their sinks, water would flow down from our ceiling.

Then we had the Covid-19 pandemic, so all work pretty much came to a halt. We got the neighbors above us to stop using the sink, so no more water. That was a temporary fix.

Our management company agreed to pay for the work. The problem is inside their walls.

So today, two men came to remove the mirror so that the plumbers could get behind the wall to look at the drain pipes and fix where it is leaking.

Needless to say, the mirror was very securely attached to the wall. They managed to break the mirror.

So now I don’t have to worry about damaging the mirror. It was put in the dumpster. Management company owes us a new mirror.

The plumbers come on Wednesday. We’ll see what happens then. Stay tuned.

California Wildfires

Posted September 10, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: apps, California, Uncategorized

Tags: ,
California Wildfire Map as of 9-9-2020

Click here to get Wildfire APP. It’s free.

As many of you know, my wife and I live in California. California is on fire. This is one of the worst fire seasons ever. The fires are leading the National news almost every night. It will be some time (if ever) before we see any significant rains, Pray for rain.

That being said, we are safe. We live in an area south of Los Angeles called San Pedro. Look at the fire map that I’ve posted. You don’t see San Pedro on that map, but it is just south of LA.

Starship Troopers

Posted September 10, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Movies, Reviews

Tags: ,

Last night we decided to watch a film that was dropping off of Netflix at the end of the month. The film was “Starship Troopers” starring Neil Patrick Harris, Casper Von Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meger and Jake Busey. Directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Usually, the Times does a piece about the movies that are aging out of streaming services to allow you a chance to watch before they are dropped. Here’s a quote from Wednesday’s New York Times (on 9/9/2020):

An astonishing (embarrassing, frankly) number of film critics blew the call entirely on Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of the 1959 novel by Robert A. Heinlein, dismissing it as a dopey sci-fi-action-monster mess while missing its pointed indictments of “patriotic” militarism and government authoritarianism (and mainstream cinema’s frequent carrying of those messages). In retrospect, Verhoeven couldn’t have made his intentions clearer: From the flag-waving propaganda sequences to the purposefully plastic acting, this is political satire with real teeth.

If you want to watch this on Netflix, do it before Sept 30. Else see it on Amazon Prime for $4.

So here are few of my comments:

  • There are no ugly people in this film. The guys are hunks and the gals are beauties. Everyone is beautiful. I suppose this is a general rule on this type of movie.
  • The giant bugs are great. I don’t know who did the special effects, but I loved the bugs.
  • None of the good guys ever run out of ammo. Another general rule for shoot’em up films. James Bond doesn’t run out of ammo either.
  • I wonder if any of the veterans who managed to survive would have PTSD. The film ends before you see any of the survivors heading home.
  • There’s a great bit where the head bug gets his nose out (I guess it’s a nose) and sucks the brains out of one of the troopers. Delightfully icky.

We loved the film. It was so outrageously bad. It made it worth watching.

Streaming Video

Posted September 9, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Television

Tags: ,

There seems to be more and more choices for streaming video. Plenty of companies trying to persuade you to sign up for your $7-$10 a month. I thought I would take a few minutes to write about the streamers that we have chosen.

First here are the ones that I like and intend to keep. Then I will tell you about the services that I will likely drop.

Netflix

Back in the day, Netflix rented movies on DVD’s. Remember DVD’s? We still have a DVD player and a few DVD’s, but we haven’t turned it on in over a year. They switched to the streaming opertion in 2007.

Lots of quality content. They seem to be ruling the Emmy awards these days. One show that we like has been “Schitt’s Creek”. This is a comedy about a family that lost all of their considerable fortune and forced to move to the podunk town of Schitt’s Creek. It’s a sort of reverse Beverly Hillbillies. Developed and starring Eugene Levy. Very funny.

We recently watched “Fiddler on the Roof”. Seems to be plenty of quality material.

HBO

HBO seems to be the grand dame of streaming. They been around for a long long time. Recently they have been going through some churnwith name changes. First it was HBO Go, HBO Now then HBO Max. Confusing.

So best I can tell that “HBO Max” is all of the streaming and HBO on the cable outlet for $15/month or maybe it’s $12/month. It’s very confusing.

We usually watch “Last Week Tonightwith John Oliver.

The other series we usually watch is “Real Time with Bill Maher“.

Disney+

We first got this channel a few month ago in order to see “Hamilton”. Hamilton was the hook. We had tickets to see the show in Los Angeles in June, but that got cancelled. Sigh. So we have watched Hamilton three times.

There seems to be plenty of other shows and movies to watch. We recently watched “Annie” (see my post on Annie) and a few other movies.

Amazon Prime

We watch a fair amount of movies on Amazon Prime/ Mostly, when we can’t find it on Netflix or Disney. Most of the good/recent movies show up here to rent, generally for $4 or $5. Rental is for 30 days, then once you start watching it, you have to finish the movie in 3 days. Some movies can be purchased for about $15.

It seems that when the theaters closed, much of the newly released films showed up for rent on Amazon Prime.

CBS – All Access

Here we watch a lot of our favorite CBS shows without ads. We watch Late Show with Stephen Colbert, CBS Sunday Morning and sometimes the national news. Also, they have a funny show called “Tooning in the News” Cartoon characters give their spin on the news. Very funny.

Peacock

This is the NBC equivalent of CBS – All Access. I cancelled within a week. No support for ROKU. They couldn’t come to terms with ROKU. I am not going to watch stuff on my iPad instead of my 43” flat screen TV. Enough said.

Apex

We got this a few months ago for a show a few months ago. Haven’t watch anything recently. I’ll be dropping it soon. Not worth the $7/month.

Acorn

Heard about this from our friend in San Diego. Mostly British TV. Will try it when I get a chance. It’s $7 / month.

Fiddler on the Roof

Posted September 2, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Movies

Tags: ,
Fiddler on the Roof Poster

We watched another musical last night. This time it was “Fiddler on the Roof” on Netflix. The movie stars Topol, Norma Crane and Leonard Frey. It was released in 1971 following the successful run on Broadway.

The film is a bit on the long side (3 hours). We watched act I on the first night and Act II on the second night.

This is the story of Tevke, a poor Jewish man who lives in a small house in the town of Anatevka in pre-revolutionary Russia. Tevke lives with his wife of 25 years and his five adult daughters. Here is the storyline from IMDB.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jews and Orthodox Christians live in the little village of Anatevka in the pre-revolutionary Russia of the Czars. Among the traditions of the Jewish community, the matchmaker arranges the match and the father approves it. The milkman Reb Tevye is a poor man that has been married for twenty-five years with Golde and they have five daughters. When the local matchmaker Yente arranges the match between his older daughter Tzeitel and the old widow butcher Lazar Wolf, Tevye agrees with the wedding. However Tzeitel is in love with the poor tailor Motel Kamzoil and they ask permission to Tevye to get married that he accepts to please his daughter. Then his second daughter Hodel (Michele Marsh) and the revolutionary student Perchik decide to marry each other and Tevye is forced to accept. When Perchik is arrested by the Czar troops and sent to Siberia, Hodel decides to leave her family and homeland and travel to Siberia to be with her beloved Perchik….

So why is Tevke playing his fiddle up on the roof of his house. It is not exactly explained, but my idea is that where else is Tevke going to get some peace and quiet in a house (a small house, at that) of a wife and 5 adult daughters.

So the music was written by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Hamock. The 1971 film won 3 Oscars (Best Cinematography, Best Sound and Best Music). The original Broadway Production ran for a record setting 3,642 shows starting in 1964. Click here for the complete Wikipedia article. That Broadway run was finally broken by Grease.

SPOILER ALERT

In the end all of the Jews of Anetvka are told to sell there homes and get out. The small community is broken up. They all go off in different directions. Some to New York, Some to Chicago, Some to Jerusalem. A very sad ending but one feels the hope of starting a new era.

1SE – 1 Second Everyday for August

Posted September 1, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: 1 Sec Every Day, 1SE

Tags: ,

Here it is (runs about 1 minute.)

Firmware

Posted August 29, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Hearing Aids

Tags: , , ,

It sucks getting old. Over the past few years I have been experiencing hearing loss. Right now I am working on my second set of hearing aids that I bought at Costco back in January.

My particular hearing aids have a feature whereby one can connect to your TV to pipe the audio directly to one’s hearing aids. It does this by way of an audio streamer device that connects to the audio output of our TV.

So what exactly is “Firmware”? Here’s the def from Wikipedia:

In computing, firmware is a specific class of computer software that provides the low-level control for a device’s specific. Firmware can either provide a standardized operating environment for more complex device software hardware-independence), or, for less complex devices, act as the device’s complete, performing all control, monitoring and data manipulation functions. Typical examples of devices containing firmware are embedded systems, consumer appliances, computers, computer peripherals, and others. Almost all electronic devices beyond the simplest contain some firmware.

My hearing aids also have Blue Tooth capability which allows me to control them with my iPhone. So I can adjust the volume or bass/treble with the ReSound app.

So what does this have to do with firmware? Yesterday, I had to visit the folks at the hearing aid dept. at Costco. My complaint was the I couldn’t connect to the audio streamer. Sometimes I could, but mostly not.

So I explained the problem with the technician, she took my hearing aids and started working on the problem. First thing that she had to do was to update the firmware on the hearing aids. So who knew that hearing aids have firmware? Not me.

So many devices that we use everyday operate with firmware. Generally, there is never a need to update the FW. But in this case, the FW can be updated by the hearing aid technician. So that’s where my problem started. The update failed. That means that she has to ship the hearing aids back to the factory to get fixed. 🙁

So that means I need to wait for 7-10 days to get my hearing aids back and hopefully working. Luckily, I still have my old hearing aids that still manage to work. It’s just that the old devices can’t connect to the TV audio. 🙁🙁🙁

One last thing. I don’t want to sound negative about Costco. I have nothing but praise for their support. The people at the Costco (in Torrance, CA) are the best. Good prices and great support.

Annie

Posted August 26, 2020 by joebowker
Categories: Broadway, Movies, Reviews, Uncategorized

Tags: ,
Kathy Bates, Victor Garner and Alicia Morton

We decided a couple of days ago to start watching some musicals on TV. So last night, we watched “Annie” on Disney +. There seems to be plenty of musicals available either on Netflix or Disney+. Also, there are some on Amazon, but I usually avoid Amazon because they typically charge $4 to watch.

I couldn’t find an IMDB entry for the 1999 version which is weird. I did find an extensive article in Wickipedia. Clicke here for more than you would ever want to know about “Little Orphan Annie”. The reason there was know IMDB for this version might be that is was made for TV.

There have been several movies made on Annie. First one was in 1982. Next one in 1999/ And one in 2014. We watched the 1999 version on Disney.

In the 1999 version, Annie is played by Alicia Morton. Daddy Warbucks played by Victor Garner and Kathy Bates played the evil Mrs Hannigan.

So the movie(s) Annie is based (of course) on the smash Broadway show of the same name. The Broadway show first premiered in 1977 and was based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”. It initially ran for about 6 years and won numerous awards. There have been numerous revivals and touring shows over the years.

And finally a little bit about the comic strip. First published in 1924 by Harold Gray. Gray died in 1964 but the strip continued until 2010.

Finally, here is a sample of the comic strip art work.