Archive for July 2014

2013 Red Sox

July 26, 2014

Today was the day that I officially gave up on the 2014 Boston Red Sox. You see I get a monthly subscription to MLB.TV so that I can watch Red Sox games on my iPad or PC out here in Los Angeles. It costs me $25 a month. So I get the subscription through iTunes and it auto-renews every month on the 25th unless I decide to put the end to the pain.

I suppose I could start rooting for the LA Dodgers, but I can’t watch Dodger’s games on MLB.TV unless I am out of the area.

There was a little hope with a winning streak of several games. The Red Sox had clawed their way up to 7 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Then the Red Sox dropped three straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays putting them solidly in last place 9 1/2 games behind the O’s.

So the trading deadline is July 31 and I seriously doubt that the Red Sox will be buyers this time around, Luckily for Red Sox fans, that the Yankees suck too.

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Amazon Unlimited

July 25, 2014

So last week, Amazon announced a new product called “Amazon Unlimited” whereby for the monthly price of $9.95 one could down load Kindle books for free. If you read a lot (as I do), you might say “wow, pretty good deal”? Well, not so fast bucko. As always, the devil is in the details.

This announcement comes a couple of months after a similar product called “Oyster” appeared on the Internet. Same price, $9.95 a month, unlimited down loads.

One major difference between Oyster and Kindle Unlimited is that Oyster has it’s own app. Where Kindle Unlimited is integrated with existing Kindle apps and devices. So if you have a real Kindle, Oyster won’t work for you.

I tried Oyster for the four week trial period and then cancelled. The content was just not worth the money. No “A-List” or even “B-List” authors. There is no app for reading on PC or MAC.

So Kindle Unlimited works nicely with the existing Kindle devices and apps. No need to load an additional app.

So what about content. It’s a little tricky to find the titles that classified as “Kindle Unlimited”. Certainly, none of the A-List authors or books on the various best seller lists are available for Kindle Unlimited. Perhaps that might change, but I kind of doubt it.

So to look at it another way, if a book is selling north of $10, it is unlikely to appear on Kindle Unlimited. It’s seems that many of the books on Kindle Unlimited are by unknown authors. Here is search results for “Kindle Unlimited Books“. There seems to be a few bestsellers from years gone by. (eg. Life of Pi, or Water for Elephants). In looking at the list there is a lot of junk. Books that aren’t likely to sell for $3 or less.

Some current best sellers are on Kindle Unlimited, but it’s tough to tell from the Best Seller screen. Here is a screen shot of the best seller list:

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Two books in the top six are on Kindle Unlimited. You can’t tell without clicking through to the book info. A clue is that the price is under $5.

It is not clear what publishers are participating in Kindle Unlimited. Perhaps more will get on board. My brother Richard Bowker (the author) has books on Kindle but his publisher is not doing Kindle Unlimited (yet). Okay, shameless plug: Go check out Richard’s books on Amazon. All good stuff. Most of his books are in the $3-$5 range.

So as time goes by, I expect that Amazon will sign up more publishers to participate in Amazon Unlimited. Time will tell. I am board for now.

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Rosy Beef Stew

July 10, 2014

Here is the recipe for beef stew mentioned in my previous post. Note: click here to down load the document.
 

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Mary update

July 10, 2014

Time for an update on Mary. It’s been about a week and a half since we arrived back in San Pedro.
 
 First a word about the trip. We got Mary loaded in to the rental car at Jordan Medical Center and headed on up the road to SLC International. I can’t say enough good things about Delta Airlines and the support staff at both SLC and LAX. I dropped Mary and Paula at the Sky Cap station. The Sky Cap got a chair for Mary while we waited for the wheel chair to arrive. Then I headed off to drop off the rental car. The wheel chair attendants at both SLC and LAX were patient with Mary. They made sure that she had an opportunity to use the bathroom. They got us on to the 737 ahead of the rest of the crowd.
 
 One of the reasons we chose Delta rather than American was American flies commuter jets from LAX-SLC while Delta flies either 737 or 757. We figured 737 or 757 would be a lot easier to board. We booked our seats in first class. It wasn’t all that more expensive and it was worth it. Mary didn’t ask how much it cost and I didn’t tell her. Gin and tonic as soon as I sat down in my seat 2B. I could get used to that.
 
 Mary is getting comfortable with using the walker. We’ve cleared out some of the junk in her bathroom so that all of the trip hazards are gone.
 
 We took her to both OceanView Sr. Bible study on Wednesday and church services on Sunday. Everyone was happy to see her.
 
 On Tuesday, Mike, Theresa and Jonathan were over for the usual Tuesday dinner. She looks forward to Tuesday family dinners, especially to a visit with great-grandson Jonathan. Beef stew. Mary has been raving on how good it was.
 
 Sometimes, food can be a challenge. I never quite know what she’s going to like or not like.
 
 This morning while Paula is working at the Assistance League Gift shop, we went for a short walk around the condo. It’s a pleasant sunny 80 degrees.


Paula will likely take her tomorrow to see Rosemarie for a hair wash and set.
 
 We will probably be going to some OES functions this weekend. Receptions, meetings, etc. Usually Mary decides on the day of the event. In sports talk, it’s a game time decision. We try to go over our calendars to keep her aware about our activities. She has trouble remembering stuff, so getting her to write it down in her calendar helps.
 
 For now, any travel is off the radar. We try to keep someone at home all the time. Paula and I managed to get out to an OES meeting on Monday, leaving Mary home alone. As time goes on we will feel more comfortable with leaving her alone. We have California Grand Chapter in late September. We’d like to go to see Roger N. installed as WGP, but we’ll just wait and see.
 
 Later,
 
 Joe
 
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Good News, Bad News

July 2, 2014

Okay, let’s get the good news out of the way first. Mary is doing fine. We took her with us to Ocean View Bible study this morning. She had a little bit of trouble getting into the Jeep. But she managed. Jonathan and his family came over for dinner last night. That always cheers her up. Jonathan saw the ice cream scoop on the counter. And he let us know that he knew what it was for.

Now for the bad news. We heard from a friend that our investment/financial adviser, Rodney Thomas at Morgan Stanley died suddenly yesterday of a heart attack. Another friend had recommended us to Rodney back when I had been laid off from HP/DEC/Compaq in 2008. Rodney is one of the main reasons that we are living comfortably in retirement. He will be missed.

The second bit of bad news is that our tenants at our condo at Tenney Mountain will not be renewing in August. We had thought that they would be staying another year. So now we have to either find new tenant(s) or put the condo back on the market. Here’s hoping that the RE market in New Hampshire has recovered enough so that we can sell the condo without losing our shirts. I expect to hear back from our RE agents soon. Renting the unit is at best a break even proposition. Anyone, looking for a nice 2BR condo in Plymouth, NH let me know.