This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Friday, August 9, 2013


I broke down.  After nearly 8 weeks without television, we had a very bad storm move around and across Fort Collins with tornadoes and I was totally oblivious to it happening until it was right on top of me and I realized being without a television may not really be safe.

I don't really know how many TV's I've bought in my lifetime.  I remember a small B&W in college and for a few years afterwards, probably had a 13 inch screen.  I did buy a color TV in Dallas in the mid 80's but for the life of me can't remember a damn thing about it. Which is probably good, I remember my stereo but not the boob tube.  I remember buying a portable TV once, then buying my folks two new TV's for their house.

The point is, you took them out of the box, plugged them in, attached the antenna and viola, you have 20 or more channels to watch.

But that was the old days.  We have a new improved system that is better for everyone except for one thing, it's not easy.  Technology is suppose to make our lives easier and better and all this switch to digital did was create a week long march of money, pain, and frustration.

So I order this small 7in RCA TV from Amazon.  Comes with it's own antenna too.  I thought, hey, this will be easy.  And it was, if you don't mind spending 80 bucks so you can watch two stations, well, two stations if you put the TV and antenna here, but not there, whereas over there you could get PBS stations though not necessarily PBS sound with the station, sometimes you got a whole other station sound with the PBS show.  Or in this room you could get almost 10 stations, the original two, PBS, and the rest were in spanish which might have been great if I spoke spanish which now apparently is the official language of the USA.  And the digital RCA wouldn't work with the cable coming out of the wall, like the old TV did and got about 30 stations.

So after two days of dinking around, I ordered a better antenna that was on sale and waited two days for it's arrival only to discover it's no better than the one that came with the RCA except at least the RCA didn't break in the first 3 hours of trying to get it to work.

Today, I said screw it, went to Best Buy and bought a digital antenna that cost as much as the damn TV.  But at least I did find out the reason my new RCA didn't work with the wall cable was last week Comcast started blocking local stations from being able to read the signal without an official Comcast cable box.  But I brought home the super duper nuclear digital antenna which I was promised would probably pick up not only every Colorado station but Moscow, London, and Kalamazoo.

Two hours later, even after I called the toll free "call to learn, don't return" number and worked with Katy for 30 minutes, I boxed my new super duper nuclear digital antenna after learning not only would it not get Kalamazoo, it wouldn't even get Fort Collins unless I put it in the west window of the bedroom, held it up with my hand while holding the TV with the other hand and then I could bring in over six english language stations!  Back to Best Buy to stand in line for 30 minutes to return the antenna and then I came home and boxed up the damn RCA 7" TV and got my RMA from Amazon to return it to them.

Isn't the advancement to digital signals wonderful!  I have that brilliant leap forward in technology to thank for a week of making something that use to be so simple to do and now you spend hours, miles, money, and everything to have the great technology not work.  Boy, I sure am glad we don't have that stupid analog signal that seemed to work for about 80 years just fine, oh wait, technically, we do because the digital ready TV will switch that new improve digital signal back to analog because the human ear only hears in analog.

So we all underwent the massive change to move from airwaves in analog to airwaves in digital and took something that worked and was simple and easy and made it a royal pain in the ass, more expensive, and who actually benefited from this change?  Well, the media companies benefited, the government benefited because you can cram more channels with a digital signal and the government gets to sell those, and all the companies that make all this crap in China now gets to sell multiple TV's, Antennas, and cables till someone can get it to work and, of course, cable companies benefit because so many will just give up and order cable because why?  Cable is simple.

Heck, I'm a geek.  I was a Novell CNE at several different versions, a MS MCP in several software packages and operating systems, hell I passed TCP/IP on one attempt!  But getting a dinky little TV to have a picture?

Have you noticed lately your cell phone coverage isn't quite as good as it was?  Areas it use to work now it doesn't?  I go walk the dog in the evening and there are now over 1/2 dozen people each night outside just to talk on their cells.  Heard people talking about it in line at Best Buy.  Notice recently all the people with server problems?  Didn't see that a year ago.  Our roads, bridges, sewers, and electrical systems are breaking down and we spent how many years and how much money to do what?  Move TV signals from analog to digital  so nothing would work.  Now phone companies will no longer be putting in copper wire phone lines.  Gee, why not?  Why eliminate the system that worked for over 100 years, the one way you could call in a power outage, the one way the government couldn't easily tap your lines.

Everything in our lives is more complicated, nothing works simply any more.  Our cars, our TV's, our music, our jobs, shopping, everything is more expensive, more difficult, less friendly, and complicated beyond all recognition.

Technology was suppose to change our world to make things easier and better.  Cars replaced the horse.  Calculators replace the slide rule.  Word processing replaced the typewriter.  But no longer, those days are gone.  Technology and change today is simply designed to make corporations more money, shoved down the throats or up another orifice of everyone who doesn't want it but must take it because the government has been bought off to force the change so the corporations can reap huge profits.

Back in the 80's, geeks had depth.  We were all Psych, Philo, Poly Sci, English, and other such majors and we understood you should always ask "should we?" not just "could we?".  Today, most computer graduates don't even take a single class in the classics, so to all you shallow geeks, guess which digital finger I am holding up.

There's a fellow roaming round the street
I think most of all I'd like to meet
I must consider him a clever lad
Making like a young sir galahad
Everywhere I go I think he's been
He autographs the walls around the scene
If you look hard enough you'll find him there
In rooms of public places everywhere

Kilroy was here
Left his name around the place
Kilroy was here
Thought I've never seen his face
On a short vacation with my friends
I found I had time on my hands to spare
Surveyed my telescope around the land
And saw his name imprinted in the sand