Power, Pandemics, and Eating Alone

On a business trip to Florida this week, an experience in learning how much I have forgotten.

One thing I have quickly learned an iPhone in full travel assist mode eats power. With the GPS enabled, making lots of calls, and using the e-mail function to keep up with the office this thing is throwing 10% warnings by 5:00 pm. As I type this over dinner, the phone is hooked up to life support on the table in front of me, drawing power from the emergency recharger that I keep in my briefpack.

As a travel tool the iPhone is a “killer app.” I found the restaurant I am eating at tonight Finz Waterfront Grill using the iPhone app LocalPicks from TripAdvisor. The restaurant got good reviews and said it had a great view. Being a Wednesday night they are not too busy, and watching the sun go down over the boats was a nice complement to my meal.

Back to my teaser what I have forgotten. I used to travel a lot in my consulting role, but since I “went corporate” I have been only an occasional air traveler. Going through security I forgot to put my wallet and phone in my briefpack, so I set the alarm off and had to back up and retry. Fortunately it was not a rush time or I would have been justifiably lynched by my fellow travelers.

I put my laptop through first rather than last, almost forgot to pull out my liquids in short did just about everything wrong at the security checkpoint I could. How soon I forget. I used to be so proud of my ability to clear a checkpoint without a hitch.

However, not traveling has been nice also. I have sympathy for those guys who make high profile statements of “leaving to spend more time with family.” I was very glad to be a part of my daughter’s high school activities. It’s been great fun being a part of the Band Boosters, being at the games and working the concession stands. That is important stuff much more important than clearing a checkpoint in record time.

So on to pandemics since none of the band kids read this blog (I think) I feel safe saying that the band trip to Corpus is canceled. It’s the right decision even though based on fear rather than fact. However, with the long incubation period of H1N1 and the fact that Corpus is really close to Mexico, it’s a decision that I can support.

The kids will be disappointed but the school cannot take a chance that even one child will become sick. With end of year activities in full swing and graduation on the horizon, I can think of nothing worse than packing a lot of tired kids on a bus and exposing them to potential infection.

However I feel for the seniors they will miss their last opportunity to have fun together. At least the seniors in the Wind Ensemble had San Antonio with the Honor Band concert for TMEA. I only hope that they reinstate the final concert that was canceled I would like to hear Kathryn and all the Wind Ensemble kids play together one more time.

The pandemic combined with the economy and the state of the US Government makes me wonder what’s next. US business really needs this a way to halt all remaining global projects and tank another part of the farm economy. I sympathize with the pork industry swine flu is not something that you get by eating bacon!

So I sit here at Finz, eating alone and typing on this blog entry. I just took a photo for a table of people eating next to me. They are obviously down on vacation. The waitress has decided that she does not need this table for a while so is not hinting about the check, and a guy in the bar just starting playing guitar, so it’s a nice place to be. There is even a breeze coming through the open window next to me, cooling as the water gives up the warmth of the day.

I am not used to eating alone anymore. It not as much fun when you can’t comment on the food, people watch, and share the experience with someone else. Eating should be a social activity something to be shared with special friends or family. Even the best food is not as good without someone to share it with.

Tomorrow I get to go home. Please don’t read this wrong, at least I am not in Iraq for a year or two just in Florida for a couple of days. It does make me appreciate my wife and kids at home though and just puts a double underline under my appreciation for those men and women in the armed forces who make the daily sacrifice of leaving home and family while putting their lives on the line so many days. Thanks guys for your dedication to keeping this country and a big chunk of the world safe.

So I am down to coffee while the guitar player does the Eagles the coffee is good and the breeze is fresh. My phone has drained all the power from the emergency charger, and is once again ready to guide me back to my hotel. I may have forgotten much but have also learned a great deal. I have learned that pandemics and computers problems may separate us from things that we want, but that friends and family are the real treasure, and those we keep in our hearts.

Thoughts on a Hot and Windy Night

In Texas spring turns quickly to summer. Today reached ninety degrees, leaving it hot even after the sun went down. However, the wind has kicked up setting the chimes in the back yard alive and howling through the trees in the back yard.

I can’t sleep.

Not sure what is keeping me awake the disappointment with our home mortgage re-finance process, the thoughts of Kathryn leaving for college, the sudden news that I will have to be away next week on business. All of these individually are small things; however I think that with them all together my mind is racing just a bit too fast for sleep to come.

Trying to take advantage of the low mortgage market seemed to be a no brainer. Reading about it on the bank website back in January made it seem so easy. Of course I would want to keep the loan with them. They have been like any other company that I have a recurring transaction with they take my money on time and automatically, they get statements out on time, and each year I visit their website to see what to put on my tax forms.

However refinancing your mortgage is like buying a house all over again just without the joy of a new home at the end. You pay a great deal of money to a lot of people you never see and at the end of the process you have the same crabgrass and squeaky door that you had when you started. The only difference is that you have a larger mortgage.

I know – reducing my rate is a good thing. Over twenty years I will save a lot of money. However, I am worried about the short term. While I don’t have to pay the interest, I also lose the interest deduction so I am not sure if I come out ahead or I just pay the black hole of government what formerly went to the bank. Continue reading “Thoughts on a Hot and Windy Night”

Over Mashed?

This is great – a few days ago I posted that I was experimenting with tying all the different sites together through the dunns.org site. I have Twitter updating, Facebook and the blog, the blog updating Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn showing the blog content.

Now I think I have created a loop – My mashup has turned to mush!

Lesson (actually expected result) – must think through what updates what and how it all works together. Now that I have a handle on how it works, going to have to go back and determine how to make it work well.

I feel a change coming on

I feel a change coming on. This blog page (http://www.dunns.org) has been consistent for a couple of years. Yes – I have changed the images on the top page but the last two themes have been pretty consistent.

Recently, I have been spending more time on LinkedIn and Facebook. Although the Web 2.0 features of the world mean that you may be reading this post on Facebook of LinkedIn.

While I have Gallery on this blog, I also have posted photos on Facebook and have a Flickr account that I have not used that much.

So why have a separate blog page?

Good question, not so sure I have a good answer. In some ways it is the independent streak in me. I want to have a space that I completely control, not one that I have to follow the format and tools of someone else.

However, I also am a fan of what works. Facebook has a great community. I joined Facebook to keep an eye on Kathryn’s Facebook page and ended up starting to reconnect with people from College that I had lost track of for years.

LinkedIn is a great way to find people in business – although my LinkedIn page had turned into a hash after my experiment with Open Networking.

So how to tie it all together? Recently I used the new applications on LinkedIn to tie this blog to my LinkedIn page, and then tied this same page to my Facebook profile.

Photos is the interesting question. I like Flickr – but since we already pay for one Flickr account for Rebecca to post her knitting projects I am not sure that I want to commit to another account, and if I don’t I know I will use up the size limitations on a free one.

Music – a whole new world. Tonight I added a Pandora application to my Facebook. Will have to see if I can add that to the WordPress also.

So what to do. Gallery takes a lot of maintenance in integration – but I want to see what the new Gallery 3.0 brings to the table.

So at this point I think that spring cleaning is going to be just that – a brief spring freshening up of the site. So not much in the way of change – but don’t get comfortable. Change will be coming. I just don’t know what or when…