Archive for January, 2012

29
Jan

Warning To All Boys

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff, Not So Funny Stuff

So Beware

29
Jan

Darth Tape

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff

Ancestry

28
Jan

Fired

   Posted by: John    in Not So Funny Stuff, Rants

Well, today was the day I had enough.  After nearly 7 years I fired Sprint.  In the middle of a contract period even.

We have had 4 phone lines with them.  3 of them were these spiffy HTC Evo Shift Android phones.  They were sure promoted as these fantastic things, upgrade price of only $200 each when we got them.  And they were nice for a while.  Mine has seemed to hold up well for quite a while.  Karen and Crystal had to have theirs replaced last December because within 2 weeks, the screens quit working, and they started doing stupid things.  So they got replacements, what looked like nice new ones.  Naturally, they are refurbished.  A month or so later, Crystal’s quit working.  She took it in, can’t fix it, have to get another one.  11 days later, no phone yet…it’s on backorder.  This week, Karen’s went stupid to the point where it would not even turn 0n. (At least Crystal’s will let her make a phone call, but the touchscreen does not work at all.)  She took it in.  Can’t fix it, have to replace it.  Oh, it’s on backorder, don’t know when it will come in.

Getting the picture?  Two of four phone lines nearly unusable because the phones do not work.

So, I call Sprint.  They can’t won’t do anything.  I go to the store.  They can’t won’t do anything, but they will give me the number for customer retention.  I spent an hour on the phone with “Customer Retention” and made it to tier 4.  They can’t won’t do anything.  I wanted to have them change the two offending phones to a different phone.  They would not do ANYTHING in regards to price or swap, or refund, or even credit for not being able to use the phone lines because the phones would not work.  Oh, and yes the replacements on backorder and they don’t know when they are going to get them.

Hello T-Mobile!  4 new phones later, we have 3 Samsung Galaxys and a Samsung Gravity for Ashley.  Unlimited everything for me and Karen.  500 minutes each, lots of data and unlimited text for Crystal and Ashley.  Even including the phone financing the way they do it, we will be paying less per month, and when the phones are paid off, we will have better service for nearly half of what Sprint was charging.  And I am going to fight Sprint on the early termination fees.  I have had issues with them before about a variety of things, and this was the final straw. 

Not quite how I planned on spending the day, but I think it turned out all right.

24
Jan

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff

My wife is a wedding officiator.  I have given her a little grief for performing a couple weddings at the jail.  In fact, I even wrote a jail wedding ceremony.  Well, I suppose if they want to be married, far be it from her or me to stand in they way.  Like this mom-in-law to be, who is not standing in the way.  Of course, it can’t be said that her feelings for the upcoming nuptials are, um, pleasant.

Bitter

23
Jan

Trouble

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff

Trouble

22
Jan

Extinct California Signs and Stores

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

My friend Larry sent me this email with a bunch of pictures of California signs and stores that no longer exist.  It will be interesting to see if my sister remembers any of these.

FedMart

FedCo

GemCo

Kinney Shoes

Thom McAn Ad

I remember going to FedCo and GemCo with my Grandparents when we were down there.  I remember Thom McAn and Kinney shoes, but I do not recall ever going to a store or owning any.  I do not remember FedMart at all. 

One store I am sure my sister remembers is this one.

Lucky

Lucky, just up the street from my Grandparents house.  It was purchased by Albertsons some years ago and I remember Grandma just not liking it much after that.  (Took me 20 minutes to find this picture!  I must have 40,000 pictures and/or scans to look through.)

Surprisingly, Lucky is still in business, but it appears they are limited to the San Francisco area now.

21
Jan

Why It Costs So Much

   Posted by: John    in Rants

My basic thoughts are that clothing is overpriced.  Big time.  I don’t hardly buy clothes if it isn’t on a clearance rack or a very good sale.  Well, today I found a couple of dress shirts on the clearance rack, paid $12 each for them, which is not too bad.  However, the normal price is $40 each. 

They were all nicely pinned and packaged up.  It took me about 5 minutes and a pair of scissors to undo the packing.  And here is everything that was in that shirt.

Amazing, isn't it!

Yup, cardboard, plastic, stickers, tags and pins.  Not a lot of money in parts, but someone had to engineer those pieces, and they likely were not all put into the shirt by machine.  By the time it is all made, packed, shipped, etc, the price tag is $40.  Would have been $25 without all of this stuff to make it so nice to look at on the shelf.  Of course, all of this stuff has no value or use to me, so in the trash it goes. 

And if it was $25 instead of $40, at 70% off it would have been $4.50 less on clearance!

20
Jan

Friday Pipe Organ (20 Jan 2012)

   Posted by: John    in Friday Pipe Organ

Liturgical and sacred music has been around as long as people have worshipped God.  Some is simple and light, some dramatic, some is thought inspiring.  And much of it is not in English.

The well known romantic French composers of the 19th and 20th centuries were largely Catholic.  They were titular organists of the large churches and cathedrals and enjoyed some measure of prestige because of those posts.  Many were prolific composers, not limited to organ and choral music, but also writing symphonies for orchestra, concertos for small ensembles, and sometimes opera. 

Cesar Franck was one such composer and musician.  He had not written much music before 1859 when he became titular organist at the Basilica of Saint Clotilde, Paris.  Aristide Cavaille-Coll had just installed a new organ, and Franck fell in love with it.  He started writing music for organ and choir, music that is still part of organ reportoire and considered the most important French contribution to organ music for a century at that time. 

This piece is a motet called “Justus ut palma”, sung by baritone Jacques Bona, with Diego Innocenzi at the 1880 Cavaille-Coll organ in the Church of Saint Francios-de-Sales, Lyon, France.  Yes, there is a choir as well!  Throughout the video, there are some amazing pictures of the interior of the church.  Enjoy!

18
Jan

Wisdom

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff

Never argue with an idiot.  He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

17
Jan

Douglas DC-6

   Posted by: John    in Aircraft

In the 1930s and 40s, the Douglas Aircraft Company was well known for building multi-engine commercial airplanes.  The twin-engine DC-1 first flew in 1933, followed by the DC-2 the year after.  The famous DC-3, launched in 1936, was built by the thousands (with many going to the military as the C-47), and several hundred are still flown around the world today.

In 1942, Douglas started building the DC-4, a four engine aircraft, capable of higher speed and payload.  This developed into the DC-6, first flown in 1946. 

The DC series aircraft were known for their comfort, reliability and being fairly easy to fly.  This video is of Air Atlantique’s DC-6, tail number G-SIXC.  It is no longer flying, having been converted into a grounded diner in 2011.  Turn up the sound…there is nothing in the world like the bass rumble of big radial engines!

15
Jan

It’s Either Laziness or Ingenuity

   Posted by: John    in Fun Stuff

Lost Remote

13
Jan

Friday Pipe Organ (13 Jan 2012)

   Posted by: John    in Friday Pipe Organ

People ask “Why do you need all those keyboards on an organ?” 

Well, the answer is, because there are all kinds of different instruments in an orchesta.  A pipe organ is intended to be an orchestra, only played by one or two people.  The symphonic organs of the Romantic era were designed to be orchestral in nature.  Aristide Cavaille-Coll broke some long standing traditions when he started building in the 1840’s.  He created, adjusted and invented several instrument stops, such as the basoon, oboe, english horn, and harmonic flute.  He introduced divided wind chests that allowed higher wind pressures.  Reed stops could be enabled or disabled by pedals.  These innovations, among many others, set his instruments apart from others and helped define the Romantic Symphonic organ.  By the time he built the organ in the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris in 1862, his style was well known and sought after. 

The symphonic organ was not just a development of the builder.  Organ design and specifications were also being driven by the music being written.  For example, Cesar Franck, a well known and prolific French composer and organist, was friends with Arisitide Cavaille-Coll and the two men collaborated in regards to organ design. 

As in an orchestra, different instruments and sounds coming at various times add color, variety and richness to the music.  Having several keyboards with different sounds allows the organist to give the music those characteristics.  Keep in mind that in the 1800’s, there were virtually no presets, no combination actions, and no electronics to assist the organist.  As many of these organs are still in existance and use (and in some cases, still original), they are played today just as they were when built.  Human assistants will change stops and engage couplers (as well as turn pages) for the organist, simply because it is impossible for him to do so while playing.  Even then, rapid registration changes are difficult if not impossible to accomplish.

With all of this in mind, this video is Pierre Pincemaille playing the Scherzo from Louis Vierne’s 2nd symphony for organ, finished in 1903.  The organ is made by Johannus, a digital instrument that is designed to sound like a Cavaille-Coll instrument.  Pierre makes use of all 4 keyboards to present the different sounds this piece requires.  It is easy to picture the sound just as Vierne would have written and played it on the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris organ, without the use of the electronic assists.