Author Archives: yogisd7_wp

Adios Android – Getting Rid of my HTC Desire Eye

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I got rid of my work cell phone last week. It was an HTC Desire Eye that I had for two years. I have had Android phones for years and I liked them because I could add memory very cheaply and I could replace the batteries very inexpensively also. I loved the phone for about a year and a half. It made excellent photos and synched very smoothly with our email servers. About six months ago the performance suddenly died. There was about a three to five second delay between I pressed a button and then get the response. Emails were impossible, text messages were very painful and the camera hopeless. I did everything. Got rid of all the apps, tried soft resets, hard resets, everything. ATT and HTC were both useless. It was awful. So earlier this month I became eligible for another phone. Yippee!!!!

I had resisted getting an iPhone mainly because I have the this deadly combination of being picky and cheap (I prefer the term “thrifty”). You see the company has a list of phones you could get for free and if you wanted something else you get to pay for it. The free iPhones had the minimum amount of memory and you know I like my apps and the memory wasn’t big enough for them let alone all the photographs I like to take. I had an iPod Touch with 32 gb that i used for apps including my favorite editing apps, Snapseed and I-Colorama. The thing is that the touch camera wasn’t that great. But I put all my photos on Flickr and I would download the pics to the Touch, edit them and post on Instagram or send them back to Flickr. So everywere I went I had my HTC cell phone, my ipod, and my Nikon point and shoot.

So the two year mark came up this month and I got the info on what the free phones are and much to my delight the IPhone SE with 128 gb of memory is included so that is what I got. And I love it. So now I am just carrying my new Iphone (in its tough otterbox case) everywhere I go including running an elsewhere. It takes great photos and I can edit them right there an post them. So I don’t have to carry three items any longer most of the time. I’m so happy.

A lot of tech folks look down there nose at the SE because it is kind of a step back from the newer iPhones and is smaller. True, but it didn’t cost me anything either.

So anyway, Adios Android. Hasta la Pasta!! and good riddance.

The Ape-Ocalpyse Now – War for the Planet of the Apes

The family went to see “War for the Planet of the Apes” and it actually turned out to be a decent flick. I was kind of dreading it because as a child in the 60’s I saw the original movies and they were pretty bad. This movie, a reboot as they say, has great costuming, and a pretty good story line. Basically the apes are the good guys and the humans are pretty much the bad guys. Woody Harrelson does a great job playing the psycho colonel.

The movie has superficial references to the film Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad’s novel  “Heart of Darkness.”

The film has some great battle scenes, especially at first, and the costuming for the monkey characters is truly phenomenal. Everybody keeps their clothes on but I think some of the battle scenes and other cruel scenes might be too much for some kids (and almost for this old guy.)

I loved this movie.

Skywatch Friday – Baseball Sky

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One of my favorite things to do is watch baseball games. I don’t give a flip about them on television but I love watching live baseball, everything from little kids playing tball on up to the major leagues. I love it all. Here in Tulsa we have a AA Professional Baseball Team, The Drillers, in honor of Tulsa’s legacy as “Oil Capital of the World.” AA is two levels below the major leagues but the players and the games are still excellent. A lot of the guys we see playing will be in the major leagues in a few years. The Drillers play in a beautiful downtown ballpark, ONEOK Field and the way it is situated, one can see some great skies.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – The USS Batfish, Oklahoma’s WWII Submarine

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Logan and I ventured down to the town of Muskogee, Oklahoma to look at the USS Batfish. A World War II United States Navy Submarine that is on display there. The Batfish has a distinguished war record highlighted by sinking three Japanese submarines in a 76 hour period. You can read about the history of the Batfish and its war record here.

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The thing about submarines is how cramped they are even though they look big on the outside. They are a war machine after all designed to sink other ships and so everything is secondary to that. Above Logan is standing next to the diesel engines that powered the vessel. I know a little bit about those engines. They are Fairbanks Morse engines and they pack a lot of power in a small space. They have two crankshafts and each power cylinder has two pistons. The crankshafts are linked together.

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Above is an illustration of how it works. I know about them because when pollution regulations really started hitting the energy industry in the 1970’s, somebody figured out that you buy these engines  and derated the horsepower , then the the NOx emissions were very low. So a lot of old submarine engines powered natural gas compressors until manufacturers developed the technology to make new engines very low emitters of NOx. The thing I always wondered about was that the Fairbanks Morse engines were notorious for being VERY LOUD. I don’t know how the submariners could stand it.  (Sorry for the digression)

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I don’t think my 6’3″ son should sign up for the submarine service.

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The vessel is packed with dials, gauges, valves, and all sorts of gadgets. The sub is open and there are very few “don’t touch” signs.

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The sleeping areas are very small. These are triple bunks with very little room. They had cots over the torpedoes. They only had enough beds for half the crew. The crew had to share beds. Yuck.

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All the areas had double duty, dining table, game table, conference table.

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Not too many toilets either and they were not that easy to operate.

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The USS Batfish is part of the Muskogee War Memorial Park and they have a nice little museum and other information. Before you visit check out their facebook page to make sure they are open. There is a small admission charge. The place is run by volunteers who really have a passion for the submarine.

How did a submarine come to be placed in Oklahoma The Wikipedia entry for the submarine has the backstory. The submarine was placed on six barges and towed from the Mississippi River to Muskogee on the McLellen Kerr Navigation System, a 445 mile long water way with multiple locks and dams that has made Tulsa’s Port of Catoosa the most inland seaport in the country.

We had a good time and spent a couple of hours and I “found” a virtual geocache placed in the submarine.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Gulf of Mexico Seascape

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A shot from our trip to Orange Beach, Alabama earlier this summer for vacation. I love hanging out at the beach. What you see changes every second.

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A full moon from earlier this week. I’m told it was the Thunder Moon or the Buck Moon. I captured not too long after moonrise so it had some color to it.

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From our trip to Bentonville, Arkansas recently. They have a charming town square. I noticed this confederate monument in the middle of the park. As far as I know there is nobody clamoring to have it removed. It is interesting to me that Oklahoma and Arkansas are right next to each other and you won’t see sights like this in Oklahoma. Arkansas was a state long before Oklahoma  is the reason I am guessing. Just as an aside, Stand Waite was a Cherokee from what was then “Indian Territory” who rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and was quite successful fighting Union troops and was responsible for keeping them out of Oklahoma and east Texas during the Civil War. He was the last confederate general to surrender which he did in Doaksville, in what is now Oklahoma on June 29, 1865. I stumbled across the ghost town of Doaksville years ago and wrote this blog post about it.

Well, I got off on a tangent. Sorry about that.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

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This is one of those books that I had to hang and I quit it once but came back to it and I’m glad that I did. One Perfect Lie is not about golf it is about a small town in mid America and this town is riddled with lies. The kids lie to the parents, the parents lie to each other and to themselves. The kids live almost parallel lives to the parents who are clueless about is going on.

Into this comes a stranger, a stranger with his own agenda and lies of his own and to make things worse he is going to teach at the local high school and help coach the championship baseball team. He has come with a cover story and has done his research using facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat on the kids and their parents. He has a list of those who are vulnerable and he sets to work to exploit those vulnerabilities.

So I was like ewwww!! and about plugged and abandoned this novel but I came back to it and I’m glad I did. Lisa Scottoline does a great job setting up this whodoneit and then peeling away the various layers to the truth below. That’s all I’m going to say without giving away the story.

I’m glad that I stayed with this book, it turned out to be a great read.

Spiderman Homecoming with Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr. and Michael Keaton

The family went to see Spiderman Homecoming this evening. My son tells me that it is a reboot of Spiderman and that this is the third reboot of the movie. I guess a reboot is where the studios say, okay we are going to try again. Anyways this movie is pretty good. Spiderman is only 15 years old this time, a lot younger than some of the previous ones. This Spiderman is a teenage klutz. He saves people and stops crime but causes a lot of collateral damage. It really is hilarious if you have ever had a teenage boy in your family.

So this Spiderman, well played by Tom Holland also has school status issues. He doesn’t have any status and everybody looks down at him. He so wants to be cool but of course he cannot reveal his identity especially to the girl he likes. He doesn’t get any respect from Ironman, Tony Stark, the leader of the Avengers. But don’t worry. I could tell you the ins and the outs of the plot but just take it from me that everything works out and is nicely wrapped up for a sequel next year. My son tells me that the plan is incorporate Spiderman into the Avengers.

So I give this film a thumbs up. Nice plot, lots of action and suspense, no language problems, everybody keeps there clothes on and the good guys win.

Check the movie’s web site for more trailers, lots of pics, background information, a game and all sorts of good stuff. Check their IMDB site for bios of the full cast, trivia and other interesting info.

Online Life – Closer to Home

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The photos in this post have nothing to do with the subject. I like breaking things up a little bit.

You know I really enjoy the internet. I love facebook, even the political posts. I adore Instagram. I live on Instagram. I have my own account (@yogiab) and I post on two other accounts administered by the Tulsa RiverParks Authority (@riverparks and @turkeymountain). I have a twitter account (@alanbbates) and linked in and so on. Of course I have this blog and I administer the Skywatch Friday photo meme and I just love it all. Maybe too much. I have looked at it as a addition to instead of replacement of a social life. Of course I don’t really have a social life so I may be just fooling myself.

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Things though are changing with the internet. We have a President who loves to tweet without too much thought about what he says. He just types it out and lets it fly. We have the new gizmos like Amazon Electra devices that are always on and can supposedly help you out with all sorts of things. I wonder just where things are going. It seems that blogs are getting phased out by twitter and Instagram. I get a lot more people “liking” my Instagram posts than read my blog posts. (I do love it when people read my blog posts and love it even more when they comment on them.)

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The internet has intruded on my life (or maybe its the other way around) in new ways this week. I have had a bad hay fever bout the last week and a half and over the years I have figured out how to handle them but this time it progressed to a sinus infection. Okay, still no big deal and then suddenly on Wednesday it got into my ears. Time to go see a doctor. Well guess what, my doctor is on vacation this week and I was told to call the next morning, first thing to see if I could be “squeezed” in sometime the next day. Hmmm that didn’t sound good. I hate urgent care places. My employer sponsors a clinic but it was getting late in the day. So I tried our insurance company’s online providers.

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They gave me the choice of two of them so I picked “Amwell” and it took about two hours as somebody somewhere was having technical issues but when I finally hooked up with the company doctor it went fairly well. She was very nice and unhurried and asked a bunch of questions that gave me confidence that she knew what she was doing. So she ended up writing me a prescription that she emailed to my pharmacy. All of that only cost me a $5 copay.

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The next thing is that I needed a small job done. The privacy fence between us our and neighbor is wobbly. I got with my neighbor and I was talking to him about maybe we could reset the fence posts and all that and he looked at me and said “Alan, I am not really into manual labor any more.” Which was great news to me because I am not either. I set my share of fence posts 45 years ago working for free for my Dad on pasture in Arizona and then later, getting paid, as a summer roustabout for Mobil Oil in the Permian Basin. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work digging down to the concrete and then breaking it out and resetting the post if the post were good or putting a new post in if the old one were rotten.

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My neighbor got laid off and found another job out of state and has a contract on his house and is hip deep in projects he needs done before he can close so I told him that I would find somebody to do the job. Do you know how hard that is now? Used to be everybody knew somebody who could do odd jobs at a fair price. I lived in a town north of Houston and I needed my house painted. Somebody told me to call this guy. The guy turned out to be an undocumented (cuz I don’t like calling people illegal) and he said he would do it for $400 plus the cost of the paint. I asked him how long it would take him and he said one day. So I said okay. Turned out he was an Assembly of God preacher and he and a bunch of guys from his church painted the exterior of my house in one day and did a great job.

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So where are these guys? I looked at the online services such as Angie’s list and was a little leary and when I checked further I got really leary. They charge the handyman a stiff price for the “lead” whether I hire the dude or not. So they are not really into estimates. They want hired to do the job and I don’t blame them. I wanted an estimate though since I was representing both me and my neighbor and I don’t mind paying for somebody’s labor. I just want to know what I am getting into. So I found a guy and he came out and made all the right noises and is going to get back with me and so we will see.

This online world is going to go on whether I like it or not and I can tell you that I have been around long enough to know that fighting change is futile. I am not a gung hoe embrace change kind of guy but I am a “choose how you deal with it” kind of guy. It just seems like we are losing the personal touch now days. The glue that binds us together. Things are so contentious and snarky and in your face.

So I’ll go along with these changes but I am going to do my best to make them on my terms and maintain my humanity and concern for others.

Alrighty, I’ll get off my soap box for now.

Baby Driver by Edgar Wright Starring Ansel Elgort and Lily James

The family went to see Baby Driver on July Fourth. Wow, what a movie. Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a getwaway driver for bad guys who hold up banks and such. He gets an equal share of the loot because he is so good at what he does. This movie has some incredible chase scenes made even more amazing because Baby does his thing in nondescript sedans instead of muscle cars. The other thing about Baby is that music is his thing. His whole thing, and only thing. He has tinnitus and he plays music to quell the ringing. He plays music all the time. Music is central to his life.

Music is central to the movie as well. All the action is set to the soundtrack, all of it. The movie opens with a bank heist and buddy times the whole thing to his ipod. The opening chase scene is one of the most mesmerizing chase scenes I’ve ever seen. It is like a ballet it is so smooth and flowing. A day after the getaway the movie shows Baby fetching coffee for his crew. His walk with the four coffees is also choreographed and smooth as he moves along the streets of Atlanta on foot.

He meets a girl (the cutest girl next door in ultra short dresses and high heel hiking boots you have ever seen!) in a diner who sings a song that catches his ear. They meet and fall in love and everything is great. Not!! The next job turns sour, and the rhythm is off, stuff goes wrong with the getaway. The next day is coffee walk is off also. Instead of elegance he bumps into people.

And the movie veers from cute and interesting to predictable. People get hurt, cops get kills (I hate to see cops getting killed in movies. One bad guy in particular turns into the indestructible enemy who just keeps showing up. I loved the first half of the movie and could do without the gratuitous violence and silliness in the second half. Sorry.

I’d go see it again though. Yes the first half is that good.

Leave the kiddos home because of the language and the violence. Everybody keeps their clothes on.

Skywatch Friday – 4th of July and a bit of Art

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It is incredible how they time the fireworks. Here is a double stack.

Of course this being an American blog, you can expect some fireworks as we celebrated the Declaration of Independence on July 4.

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A couple of my Brit friends posted “Happy Treason Day, You Ungrateful Colonists” on facebook. All in good fun of course. At least I think it was all in good fun.

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Quadruple Stack!!!

Enough of fireworks!!! How about a stainless steel tree!!

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Enough of fireworks and politics okay. How about a stainless steel tree?  It is a sculpture called “Yield” by the artist Roxy Paine installed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday