BarBQ, Airports and Texas

I had to take my brother down to the airport this morning at 3am!  Nothing like driving along the back roads of Texas in the middle of the night, alone, with the illuminated retenas of deer along side the road.  Not exactly ideal, but then traffic was a non-issue.

On our way down to the airport, my brother pointed out that he didn’t get the opportunity to have any barbq during his visit here.  I felt for him as you can’t come to the Texas Hill COuntry and not enjoy the lucious, juicy, smokey goodness of this fabulous Texas product.  From Rudy’s to Bill’s, you really can’y go wrong (unless they serve it with the sauce already on it!) with the choices.  He looked at it this way, barbq is the perfect reason to come back to Texas!

We arrrived at the airport shortly after 4am.  Not a soul was in sight.  San Antonio is a small airport and is currently undergoing a major renovation. In fact, the large terminal signs that navigate you around the airport are actually bigger than they need to be as terminal 1 and terminal 2 are within a hundred yards of each other.  Perhaps the airport is trying to be bigger than it needs to be. Either way, leaving my brother at the curb at such an early hour just seemed odd…  almost as if the world had become frozen in time.

Texas is a very large state that is very opinionated and really thinks of itself as its own nation.  It is fully of amazing wildlife, distinct cultures, and an amazingly bloody history.  Texas is an experience that one must have multiple times in their life.  From the joys of cow-tipping entertainment in the ranch towns, to the lively night life in Austin, to the cheap border towns like McAllen, Texas has it all.

This vacation isn’t quite over and I plan to enjoy Texas for a few more days.  Can’t wait for a beer and more barbq!

 

The Texas Family Boxing Ring

Yes, I am in Kerrville, Texas visiting family.  I flew from the central coast of California to join my aunt, grandmother, uncle and brother (from Seattle) for Thanksgiving.  I love my family, but there are many tense moments that drive us all crazy.

It is like being in a boxing ring, only we don’t throw punches at each, just non constructive criticism.  You see, we will all get together in the ring and have a great time, but then someone will get offended by a comment or get grouchy from lack of food. Then it explodes and we all go to our corners for a bit of alone time.  After that, we come back to the center and do it all over again.

Today it was my aunt that pointed out how badly she thought I drove.  Then my brother walked out on us at the grocery store.  Then the dogs wouldn’t stop barking at me so my aunt got a little upset (the dogs hate me!).  Then I started feeling exercise deprived and went out for a run which wasn’t authorized by the rest of the family so they feel abandoned.

You see, each member of my family is very independent, controlling and opinionated.  We respect each other a lot and we love each other, but when the conditions are just right, look out. 

I am in my corner typing this and updating my other blogs.  I realize that what they say about enjoying all good things in moderation is so true.  It applies to family.  Let’s spend two hours as a unit, then split off and have one on one time, and then lets all go to our rooms and relax.  Just because my brother is here for 52 hours, I am not going to spend every minute with him because I respect him and his needs. 

So, there you have it… the family boxing ring.

How A Droid Came Home With Me

I didn’t leave the house anticipating that I would have a new best friend upon arriving back at home.

I really went down to get a haircut, but the wait was so long, I moved on.  I parked a fair ways down the street, so I started walking back toward the car. 

Then the Verizon Wireless store jumped out in front of me and wouldn’t let me pass without going in.  Fine, I thought, this would be a great opportunity for me to check out the Droid again.  (You can read my first impression here)

It wasn’t long before a sales rep found my weak side and started probing with the the right questions.  Before long, he informed me that I was eligible for a phone upgrade and that the contract was a non-issue.

Then he really got heavy, he put a Blackberry Bold next to the Droid and started pointing out the features:

Video:  The Blackberry seemed tiny and not designed for video.  The Droid was theatre like and the sound awesome (it has a real speaker!) Droid won.

Email: The Blackberry wins for execution, but the Droid is designed to work with my Gmail account.  Access to my calendar and email is just a click away.  Droid narrowly won this one.

Web Browser:  The rep informed me that the browser on the Droid was more robust than the Blackberry, which he said was an add-on. Droid was designed for web browsing, so it wins hands down.

Camera:  Droid has 5mp camera vs a 3mp camera on the Blackberry.  I think the Blackberry wins for quality here, the Droid camera just doesn’t take as sharp of a picture as the Blackberry, despite the larger censor size.  Blackberry wins.

Apps: The sales rep pointed to the “Market” icon on the Droid and asked me to find a few apps that I liked.  Then he asked me to find a few apps that were similar for Blackberry.  I couldn’t and discovered that the open source Android OS has a lot more apps available to it.  The rep smiled.  Droid Wins.

I then asked about price.  For $75/mo, I can have full functionality, including 3G, wifi, unlimited data and text, and email.  Sold!

So that is how a Droid came home with me.  It is my new best friend and I am happy that I adopted one.  In my mind, the iPhone’s market just shrunk.

Grab your new friend and buy a Droid!

Note: If the ringer volume is quiet and you miss calls, reboot it.  Turn it off using the power button and then turn it back on.  Ringer volume will be back to normal.

How Smartphones Have Personalities

Today, I stopped by my local Verizon Wireless store to check out the Motorola Droid.  I will tell you that it looks better on paper and in pictures than it does in real life. 

I then looked at the Blackberry Storm2 for comparison.  While it looks really cool, it sings to a different tune that many people may not like.

Then I realized that the three major Smartphone players really have personalities all their own.  Here they are in no particular order:

Droid – A 1980's Apple user that just can't let go of classic boxy styling and clunky interfaces.

When you pick it up and look at it looks pretty cool.  The square edges are a little different, but cool.  The plastic is matte finish and looks cheap. Then you slide the keyboard (with actual keys) down and see phillips head screws holding everything together.  After clicking, sliding and keying you are left with the impression that this thing is stuck in the 1980's.  Boxy, clunky and keys are so 1980's.

Storm2 – Like an Bon Jovi impersonator that really likes to sing the Opera.  One genre trying to look like another.

Made by Blackberry.  Looks like an iPhone. The Blackberry OS is very sophisticated and admired by corporate professionals that I will say stereotypically enjoy the Opera. I might be dating myself here, but the iPhone likes to let loose a bit to the tune of something like Bon Jovi.  Add in the strange touch screen technology and it just doesn't come together as a seemless package.  It just feels like Bon Jovi is singing Opera.

iPhone – The king of the hill whose personality does it all well. It is not perfect, but well enough that no one comes close to shaking the throne.

The iPhone has been around for a few years and is growing in popularity.  It does everything well enough that no one else can come close to it in execution.

This was a rather unexpected pattern that I came across.  The concept of each phone having its own personality is nothing new.  Manufacturer's design their products around buyer personas all the time. 

However, I really can't help but wonder what Verizon and Motorola were thinking when they designed a 1980's clunky PDA and threw a clunky OS it it.  I am sure it will appeal to those that wouldn't mind being caught driving a Volvo 240… after all it is about features and functionality more than coolness and refinement.

Is there a Droid in your future?  What do you all think? 

Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott

Ten Rules for Being Human

by Cherie Carter-Scott

1.

You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s

yours to keep for the entire period.

2.

You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time

informal school called, “life.”

3.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of

trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much

a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”

4.

Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be

presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you

have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5.

Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that

doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are

still lessons to be learned.

6.

“There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has

become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again

look better than “here.”

7.

Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate

something about another person unless it reflects to you something you

love or hate about yourself.

8.

What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools

and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice

is yours.

9.

Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions

lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10.

You will forget all this.

These are so true! Number 8 is especially powerful.