Big Brother?


big-brother-watching-you1

I got to thinking the other day about life. Not just my life but life in general and how it seems to change on a daily basis. It is worse now than ever it was before namely due to the ability at which the word can be spread throughout the world.There is barely a time lapse for information of an event in say New York City reaching London, or Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world in just the blink of an eye.

In this electronic age of internet and Facebook, there are no secrets as people fall over each other in an attempt to be the first to share the news, any news. In this country, the USA, people are so addicted to their cell phones that I swear they are an extra attachment to their wrist. When I walk around the Supermarket and as I like to do, study the people in front of me, I am amazed at how many times they check their phones walking the length of the store. It is as though they are willing a text or a call to come in just to keep them amused. I can see they are NOT checking a grocery list that some people keep on their phones as that list doesn’t change. If this isn’t bad enough, even more annoying is that person in the checkout line that insists on continuing her conversation even while trying to deal with the check out clerk. How rude is that? Good manners have gone out of the window along with common sense and decency as far as cell phones go.

Maybe it’s because I am old stodgy geezer that is set in my ways but I do worry about where we are heading with all of this technology available to the world. If people are already so connected to their cell phones, what it to prevent a “Big Brother” from sending subtle messages of unrest or something similar?

In a way, it is already happening. I am a creature of habit one of which is to take a drive late in the afternoon and head for the grocery store. Then I generally buy a Latte from the Starbucks next door and take a drive listening to the current Audiobook before heading home. I always know when it is time for me to head out the door as a message appears on my phone around the time I leave, telling me that the traffic is light and it will take me 15 minutes to reach my favorite HEB store! This is before I even leave the house. I certainly do not send the message to myself and it is not coming from one of my friends but someone or something is certainly keeping an eye on my actions. It’s kinda scary in a way as what else is being compiled of my everyday actions and habits? As I said before, I am an old geezer and hardly a threat to anyone. I am not involved in any illicit actions that I know of and have no know vices. Hell, I am even too bloody old to appreciate beautiful women when I see them.

What if by chance, I was a double agent or a drug runner or any of the things that one would normally associate with being kept under close scrutiny. Is the scary message that I receive also watching those sort of people from afar compiling proof of some sort of wrongdoing, waiting for the moment to send in the SWAT team or the FBI? How many other people have the same thoughts as I do and just how secret are our lives? I guess we shall never know as the word here is secret.What people don’t know about, the less it concerns them.

As for me, I am going to change my habits and start my routines in the morning at a totally different time. See if I am afraid of Big Brother…

Written 8/24/2018

The Beauty of the Moment.


HEB

First HEB Store in Kerrville, Texas

 

I was in the checkout line at where else, yeah you got it, my friendly HEB Grocery Store and in front of me was this young mother with her son riding in the cart as kids are wont to do. I would guess the kid to be between 3- 4 years old and in his hands, clutched as tight as he could grasp them, were a couple of toys that she had purchased for him  on the way round the store.

She was busy unloading the basket and not paying much attention to her son at least not as much as I was and as she placed her items on the counter. She reached back in for more and as I watched,  he carefully put his hands behind his back to hide his new toys for fear that he was going to lose them. I burst out laughing as it was so funny to see the reflex action of this little fellow trying desperately hard to hang on to his new playthings. The Mother looked at me with a smile as she knew what I was laughing at and exclaimed. “He is so afraid he won’t get them back”.

She finally persuaded him that he needed to pay for them and would get them back after they were checked out and he very reluctantly gave them up but kept a very careful eye on them as they proceeded through the checkout line. The cashier, who had also been watching the proceedings with a close eye, after ringing them up, made a big show of handing the toys back to the little boy whose worst fears had not been realized and all was going to end well.

The whole thing was a beautiful moment from the Mother who made the kid understand that things had to be paid for to the checkout clerk who made a big deal out of handing them back to the little boy after the transaction was complete.

Me, I just felt all warm and fuzzy inside happy to just have witnessed a step in this young boys life and it was so funny to watch him try to hide them. Made my whole day…

Written 8/23/2018

Friendship…


Santos1982_InPixioNU_InPixio

I am sitting here waiting for time
to pass and then I can get ready
ready for what I do not know
only that I need to change into something
better than I have on now
as shorts won’t cut it.

A dress shirt and a nice pair of dress pants
should do the trick so I don’t stand out
in a crowd who would all rather wear shorts
but all have come with the same purpose
to honor a lifelong friend
for his services to the cause.

We are all members of a group
who in our free time
kicked a ball around
the game played with the feet
and called football
to the rest of the world.

My friend who I have known
for forty one years
welcomed me on his team
with open arms
even though
he had never seen me play.

Tonight we honor our friend
for services to the football community
for his dedication to the sport
in helping to form the League
so that enthusiasts like me
had a place to play.

Now forty one years later
he gets the recognition he deserves
as a founder member
and as a true soccer enthusiast
and a real gentleman
in every sense of the word.

A Lawyer by trade
dealing with the misfortunes
of broken marriages
a more warm and caring man
you could not hope to meet
in any lifetime.

I consider myself very fortunate
to be a  part of his circle
and to have known him for so long
even as I played against him
on different teams
still a true friend.

Poem by Francis Allcorn
written on the occasion of
Phil Friday and his 45 years in the
Austin Soccer Community.

Written 8/12/2018

Real Money?


circulation-coin-rolls

I was in the store the other day and as I usually do, paid for my goodies with my Bankcard. I got back in my truck and it got me thinking when was the last time I used cash for anything and quite honestly, I couldn’t remember. I always have cash in my billfold, just in case, but generally, the only use that any of it gets is to give to some of the poor unfortunates that stand at just about every stop light in Austin. Even then it is limited to a couple of dollars unless they happen to have a dog in which case I give more. Gotta feed those pets most of which actually look in pretty good shape. It says a lot for human nature that they may be down on their luck but they look after their four legged friends. I was in Bastrop and had just stopped at the store when I noticed this homeless man and his dog sitting on the curb. I stopped and gave him a couple of dollars and a couple of cans of dog food that I had just bought. He couldn’t thank me enough for thinking of his four legged friend and was more grateful for that than the couple of bucks I had given him. This small gesture made my whole week.

I had already stopped at my Bank to enquire how I could turn in some loose change that I had collected over the years. Way back when in my working days, I was in the habit of turning out my pockets when I got home and depositing the loose change into various jars and containers. That started directly after my last and final wife moved on to greener pastures in 1992 as then I was able to control all of my actions including saving the loose change without fear of it disappearing.

This probably went on for more than 15 years until with the progression of time, I started to use the Bankcard and there was no more loose change to save. At one point, I purchased one of the little machines that would divide the change and put it into the paper rolls provided for this project. I kept this up for a few years and then got bored with the whole process and started to unload the change into any available receptacle which included some of the bowls and trophies that my soccer teams had won over the years, various vases and containers and even a 5 gallon plastic bucket from the local hardware store.

Eventually as I have stated, the whole thing came to an end with the advent of the Bankcard and the various containers that held both the rolled money and the loose change was scattered around all over the house including the spare bedroom. Then, last year, my friend George came back from England and stayed with me for a few days. In order to give him access to the bed in the spare bedroom, it required that we move some of the money containers from off the bed and the furniture. I’m glad there were two of us as those containers had gotten awful heavy over the years. It required George’s help to move them yet again, this time into my old home office which no longer sees any use other than to serve as a room for the  cat’s, at least when I still had cats. As the cats have all gone to Cat Heaven and I don’t intend to get more, now just one more empty room to collect stuff and dust. By the way, I love cats but having a doggy door for my canine friends makes it impossible to keep the cats indoors and safe away from the coyotes that inhabit the woods behind my house. My neighbors on both sides have lost pets to those critturs.

George moved on and I forgot about all of the loose change just laying around. Well, maybe I didn’t really forget but put it at the back of my mind as something to handle later..much later. It would probably have stayed that way if I hadn’t tripped over one of the trophies which being full of loose change, did not budge. Luckily, I managed to catch myself before taking a tumble and decided there and then that I had to do something about it. So, next time out,  as I mentioned before, I stopped at my Bank to enquire as to what I needed to do in order to transfer all of that money back to them. They explained that I had to get it to them however I could and they in turn, would take over the counting to credit my account with the total amount of which I had no idea. I don’t think they realized just how much of it there was.  Come to that, I don’t think I realized either…

Next day, feeling somewhat energetic and knowing what I needed to do, I set about locating a couple of 5 gallon plastic buckets that I just happened to have. They had previously been used on a fish rescue so I had to spend some time cleaning them with a scrub brush. They didn’t take long to dry in the 100 degree Texas sun and I brought them back inside and began to fill them with the contents of the various bowls and containers that currently held the loose coin. Needless to say, I never figured as to how heavy all of that change really was and put way too much in both buckets to where I could barely lift them let alone put them in my truck. So, back to the drawing board and this time, I located one of my Igloo type containers and filled it with the surplus loose change  from each bucket making sure that I only filled it enough to where I could still lift all three. This took care of all of the loose stuff but I still had all of the rolled coin to load. I found another container and carefully placed all of the rolled quarters into it testing it all the time to make sure I could lift it. I already had a wooden serving tray that was full of the other rolled denominations and was really very heavy for one man which was ready to load my truck. I struggled to get it loaded but eventually managed.

Since purchasing my truck, I have thought about this many times and have often wondered why the modern pick up truck is built so far off the ground and with such large wheels. It’s as though, the manufacturers expect all pick up drivers to be a minimum of six and half feet tall in order to load anything into the bed which of course makes it hard for us five foot eight (and shrinking) guys. Still, with a little ingenuity and a lot of cussing, I managed to get all of the containers out of the house, through the garage and onto the pick up truck. I managed to wrench the muscles in my upper arm as I was lifting one of the heavy containers which gave me a bit of a jolt but other than that, everything went fine.

I made my way to the bank and walked in the door and this young healthy looking male individual approached me and asked my business. I explained what I had in the truck and he volunteered to help me bring it all in. I was very glad of the help as my arm had stiffened up and was now more than a little sore. He actually carried in most of it as every time I turned around from dragging the containers from the back of the truck, he was back for another load.  Oh the strength and energy of a young body! We spent the next half hour first counting the rolled coin packages and then emptying all of the loose money into three very large and really heavy duty plastic bags that are made specifically for the job. Just like the sacks in the old time movies except now it is a modernized  version and the sacks are made of plastic.  I say WE but in reality, I just stood and watched although I did help with the coin pickup after we managed to spill some of the loose coin and there we were on our hands and knees picking it back up.

They gave me immediate credit for the rolls of coin which I had them transfer into my savings account figuring that now at least, it could collect interest as opposed to sitting at my house where all it collected was dust and took up space The loose coin in the plastic bags had to go to the Home Bank in San Antonio where they have machines that could count it to give me the credit again to my Savings account but it would take a couple of weeks. What’s a couple of weeks compared to the many years that it has sat at my house gathering dust and it is not like I was looking to spend it. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend money along with the best of them but at eighty two years young, there is really not much that I need that I don’t already have and like I said before, I haven’t had a wife for twenty six years…

I should say that it was not just pennies that I collected. It was everything all the way through dollar pieces and there was a lot of loose change. You are probably wondering how much had I collected over the years. Lets just say, it was more than a couple of thousand dollars.  Like so many others, that sort of opportunity for me at least will never come around again as I no longer use cash and therefore no longer get loose change.

How times have changed in this modern world with our monetary transactions. If someone had told me twenty years ago that I would no longer have the need for money that I could feel and handle, I would not have believed them. But then again, there is a lot I would not have believed if I knew just what the future was going to be like.

That’s one more project to cross off my to do list and luckily for me, a one time job. For me, it will be interesting to see what the final numbers are after the bank count in San Antonio.

Written 8/2/2018

Back at my Ford Dealer – 2


Audiobooks-Webinar-LOGOHere I am as I sit and wait
yet one more time at the place
that lately has been my home
even though I would rather roam
than be sitting here writing these words
to fill the time that I have on my hands
although I really do understand.

Two weeks ago when I was here
they took a look and as I feared
said that it would take some time
to order the part by going on line
and that I should wait for their call
before bringing back the truck
and so with these words I was stuck.

This time the unit that lets me hear
Audiobooks or shows me a map
decided that it would not work
leaving me to listen to my phone
to hear the story as I drive alone
which although not very loud
did the trick with limited sound.

I settled down expecting a wait
and it wasn’t long as I started to write
that my service lady came to me
and told me that I was free
to go as the truck was fixed
and everything should be just like new
as I shook her hand and said Thank You.

I tuned in the unit so I  would hear
the story from the speakers instead of the phone
as I took the highway home
along with the traffic jamming the roads
I did not really mind the slow drive
as from all around loud and clear
came the voice of the storyteller in my ear.

Written 7/12/2018

Back at My Ford Dealer-1


bluetooth-logo

Well, I am sitting in the waiting room at my Ford Dealer and this time, they are taking a look at my truck to see why the Bluetooth and GPS System only works spasmodically. As I have mentioned many times in previous blogs, listening to Audiobooks is one of my favorite pastimes. I always use the Bluetooth system to have my I-Phone play through the speaker system on the truck and usually, the system works very well.

A couple of weeks ago, the level of consistency dropped considerably and the Bluetooth started to lose signals causing a very disjointed playback. At first I thought that it might be the I-Phone as mine is an older model even though it is loaded with the latest software but it suits my needs very well. I took it to my ATT store and they ran a few checks and told me the phone is just fine. Back in the truck, I began to have problems with the GPS system as well as in just making the Audiobook connections and so I knew it was time to make yet another trip to Covert Ford which is located a little over 20 miles from my house. To get to it means travelling up a super highway affectionately known as Mopac to the locals, which during regular daytime hours is the second most heavily traveled road in Austin with IH35 as the busiest. During rush hour, this road is bumper to bumper with the traffic crawling along at a stop and go rate.If ever there is a wreck, then you can almost guarantee lots of sitting in place in the middle of hundreds of vehicles all with their engines running  and polluting the atmosphere. Not a great place to be. Mopac, also known as Loop 1, connects the North end of town to the South end and has just undergone a major rebuilding from Town Lake almost all the way to West Anderson Lane. This has improved the situation dramatically.

Monday morning rolled around as if by clockwork and I made a big effort and got up at 6:00 am which to me is an ungodly and unhealthy hour to be awake. I was out of the house by 6:30 am and on the road. To my surprise, there was hardly any traffic on the road compared to later in the day and I made the trip to Covert in no time flat and was fifth in line. They open at 7:00 am and are usually very busy almost all day long in their service areas.

My Service Adviser is a young lady who goes by the name of Whitney and she took down all of the details. I thought that I would be leaving the truck with them while I waited in the Lounge Area writing this blog but it turned out that because it is a Factory Warranty Item, Whitney had to wait for paperwork to come through before going forward with the repair and that she would call me as soon as it does.

So, I drove home and was going in the opposite direction to the early morning rush hour traffic and made good time. I was greeted at the door by two very excited little dogs with the third one out in the yard who also made a big fuss of me when I went out to check the ponds. Now if only my wives had been this affectionate…

The following day, Whitney called and we set up an appointment for the next day which was a Wednesday. Again, I made the tremendous effort and dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6:00 am and was back up at Covert Ford by 7:00 am. I handed the truck keys over to Whitney and settled in with my Surface Tablet to write this blog. Since my last trip, Covert has installed a new fancy coffee machine that dispenses all kids of coffee drinks. I went with my usual Latte as I settled down to write this blog.

An hour later, Whitney walked in and said that “They have finished on the “discovery” part of the work and that they were going to have to order the part which would take a couple of days and I will call you to set up the next appointment”. She also explained that the next part of the work to actually install the part would only take 45 minutes which was good news. I have never been to Covert Ford and been in and out in 45 minutes so I am a little dubious that it will be that short.

I packed up all of my stuff and made the journey back home and again and as I was going in the opposite direction to the rush hour, made good time. Again, I was greeted at the door by the same little dogs as before only this time all three of them gave me a cheerful welcome home.

So here I am at home continuing to work on the the most recent events with the ongoing saga of “Me and Life at Covert Ford”.

 

Looking for a Subject


nothing
Some of the blogs that come into my mail box that I take the time to read are obviously written with the Author struggling to find a central theme for that particular blog and at the same time, they are having the uncontrollable sensation that they ABSOLUTELY MUST post something or all kinds of bad things are going to happen. The end result is a single picture or a bunch of words apologizing for not having anything to write about and almost begging the readers to forgive the Author for being so dumb (literally).

Guess what folks, in the big scheme of things none of your fellow bloggers will really care if you post or not. In fact, if you are one of those that post several times a day, your followers are probably glad that you have nothing more to say so they can have a rest from you and spend time with other bloggers. The same is true of those of you who for whatever reasons have not blogged in a while and then when you do, are full of apologies for not being active. Your readers are not looking for an apology, all they want is another good blog to read and admire so even if you have been away, if your stuff is worth reading, your blogger friends will find you. Bloggers and blog readers are a fickle lot and if your blog is missing for any length of time, they will quickly move on to someone new to follow.

Guess what started this tirade, Yes, you got it. The lack of a subject to blog about. Therefore, I am in the same category as those of you with nothing to say and yet managed to put together a blog to say just that…nothing.

Written 6/26/2018