Treat Yo’ Self

On Friday I decided to buy a new iPhone for myself. I was really bad with my last phone. The 6+ was too big. I broke the screen 3 times (four if you count the pixel lines that appeared down the side). It pissed me off one time that I had to write about how stupid I was: Aw Dang. I never broke my iPhone 4! I treated that thing like gold. I took some Parks & Rec advice:

Since we are going on a trip I don’t want a piece of poop iPhone with a broken screen or dying battery to try and make memories with. I wanted something that works. Convincing my wife was easy… I had to buy her one as well.

This time around I bought the phone in white. Last year I mentioned how I associate white cars with Luxury so I figured, maybe I should do the same with my iPhone. I should be able to treat it better now. It’s smaller and easier to see. It feels slick and clean as I type today’s blog post. I had to spoil myself for my birthday…

I’m also excited to utilize some of the new features available for video and photos. I’m going to force my children to participate in some fun while we are gone!

I love my new phone.



I can’t live without technology. Over the past 15+ years, I also can’t live without access to the internet!

Ya I know I could “live” without it. But it has become an integral part of my daily life. In fact, once I got a smartphone- I have been unable to remain offline for extended periods. I’ve come to terms with this. I do however know when not to go online or use my smartphone; for example- driving.

Since the world is connected and Google is everywhere- I figured that our trip out of the country to Japan would require some sort of access to the World Wide Web. After speaking to some people at work who have been to Japan recently, I came to the conclusion that access to Google would be a necessity.

I’ve been using Google Maps on my computer and my iPhone for the past few months studying up on Tokyo. I’ve been trying to get my bearings of where we are staying in relation to the various sights. I’ve already printed directions and train times for each day. But I know that I will also need access to a live map periodically.

Having access to “Google Translate” also seems like a great idea. Since none of us speak Japanese- nor can we read it- having quick translations both written and in speech will be handy. Knowing my personal limitations when it comes to other languages and cultures is humbling to say the least.

It all comes down to the question, “How am I going to access the Internet abroad while on the go?” I had a couple of options:

The first was to fork over $12/day on my personal cellphone to “Roam Like Home“. The second option was to get a SIM card or a “Burner Phone” and pay as I go for the twelve days we are there. But the option I liked best was “Pocket WiFi“. This is $7/day and I can connect up to 10 devices. This will also allow my wife and children unlimited access to the internet as we travel around Tokyo.

This option seemed like a no-brainer. I pre-ordered the Pocket WiFi from Econnect and it will be delivered to our hotel the day we arrive. I had the option to pick up at the airport, but it was on the far side of the airport at the Domestic Terminal. I have decided that we will try and manage a 15 minute train ride from the airport to our hotel without use of technology. This may end up being the longest 15 minutes of my life as I stress about what stop we are getting off at and which way to walk afterwards.

The benefits of having WiFi in a foreign country won’t make me feel so nervous. It’s a common ground that most of the civilized world understands. Who knows, after this trip I may try and venture further out of my comfort zone.

Note Taking Skillz

At work, I am constantly taking notes. Always scribbling on pieces of paper- tidbits of information needed throughout my day. Before my day is over, I review these notes a few times during my shift to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I don’t take any long term notes in notebook form anymore. Over the past few years, I have begun using my iPhone as my note taking device. It has become invaluable to me. (As in having lots of value, not having no value.) I use this because of the simplicity and ease of using the “Search” bar to find keywords. Much easier than flipping through notebooks.

I’d also like to think I have a decent memory. But some of my computer skills would tell you otherwise. I often forget the DOS style commands and end up fumbling through until I discover the correct code. At that point, my phone comes out and I figure out where I went wrong. I’ll probably die with a bunch of memorized codes after 25 years of work. But by then, we’ll all be integrated into the Matrix and my mind will just be another battery…

Group Messaging

I’m hardly a fan of text messaging. Most emotions or ideas get lost in a text. As well, you may inadvertently say or share something you wish you could take back. Texting has all the evils of misunderstood email, only quickly shared and quickly misinterpreted.

But group messaging is far worse.

It’s already bad enough having the regular messaging issues I mentioned. Now you have more people judging you. If everyone is active, sometimes the discussions get jumbled up. A question posed five comments before gets answered, but it could be relevant to the last message. It all becomes so convoluted. Even as simple as asking about getting together becomes a chore.

Humor also doesn’t come across very well in text messaging. In a group setting, suddenly someone could be offended and drama unfolds. Words are feverishly typed and sent. Then a second group message is created to talk about the first one behind someone’s back. More drama.

I just want to live in a simple messaging society of emojis and gifs. Don’t ask me to call though. Talking on the phone was so 25 years ago. Basically, I just don’t want the hassle anymore of deciphering group texts or phone calls.


A couple of days ago, the heat in our home began to act up. It would either be extremely hot upstairs or freezing cold downstairs. No idea why.

As the temperatures outside drop, so is the main living space of our home. We hit 15° the other day… not the best while winter is approaching. So I have taken it upon myself to figure out how to fix our heating issue.

The last time we had an issue was back in 2013. I had to change out the part that spins to allow water to flow through our radiant hot water baseboards. It was obviously a success at the time. I tried shutting off the breaker and it just resets this and I hear it work. So it must be something else entirely. I figure it’s the thermostat.

This morning I installed a “smart thermostat” called ecobee3. Hopefully I did it correctly. There were so many wire terminals, but I only had 3 wires. It at least turned on… soon we shall see if my family will live comfortably or have to wear numerous sweaters and blankets.

If anyone has used this system or knows about heating and thermostats, I’d love some tips. I love learning new things and becoming more self sufficient in the DIY area.

Always Updating

Anyone who has a cellphone, tablet or computer knows all about “updates”. So we think about it, and postpone it.

Then there is the frustrating moment that your device needs to configure and change settings. You can only ignore them for so long before it feels threatening.

So you update. And wait. And wait. And wait. Then everything pops back on. Shiny and new and nothing like the old software. It forces us to relearn everything all over again.

But we all do it. Partly because we want to, but mostly because we have to. We have to update our software to keep up with the rest of the world. Unless you’re These people still using a Commodore 64. Then you’re totally going to rock, 25 years later. For a brief internet article. But hey, they didn’t update their software.

The Death of Social Media

Is social media dying? One word:


I am among most people who have been groomed into social media sites over the past few years.  In its infancy it started as using a computer having an identity on ICQ or later on, Messenger.  Advertising began as little ad bars along the top or sides of your message windows.  Easy enough to ignore. Typing took a lot of focus!

Then Facebook boomed. There were no ads, a bit of freedom to share statuses and tidbits of your life.  All you had to do was log in.  Facebook started to allow links to websites, photos, and simple word based games that forced you to log on repeatedly to get further on.  All of it exploded into a worldwide phenomenon. People staring at screens for hours on end, logging in hourly, hoping to connect.

Even as Twitter and Instagram grew as alternative options to Facebook, the freedom to just spend time with online friends soared. Someone out there realized that there was an untapped advertising market.  So now as you scroll through your smartphone, trying to see what’s new with your friends, every third of fourth thing is an ad. 

Much like the way movie theaters know that they can put 20 mins of commercials at the start of a film because they already have “bums in seats”. There was no where to look but directly in front of you. Now, we do it to ourselves.  The amazing computer in your palm spewing advertisements when all you want to know is if your friend had a good birthday the day before.

Social media we once knew is dying. It is no longer “Social”.  At some point, there will be something new and everyone will jump on board because of the lack of initial advertising.  But it too will become a stream of commercials. We need to start calling it like it is:

Sommercial Media

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

One Last Item?

Back to school shopping was completed yesterday. Most of our supplies have been the leftovers from years gone by.  Saving money 101! Don’t throw it out or give it all to the kids at the start of the year! We have found that oftentimes the supplies requested aren’t all being used throughout the year.

We have a cupboard under our stairs that we have named “The School Supply Cupboard” – it’s a very original name. It also looks like it was ransacked and looted. No one wants to clean up, so it’s barfing out the contents everywhere.

We still needed a few things this year from Staples and Walmart. As I entered Staples, I remembered my childhood of back to school shopping. The K-Mart near us would have a list of the schools and the supplies needed to be picked up.  There wasn’t much selection back then- so nearly everyone had matching items on the first day. Sure, some of my fellow classmates had fancy pencils or pencil toppers, but nearly everything was the same. Nowadays there are too many options.  Many being far too expensive.

The last item we needed for our daughter going into Grade 8 was a cellphone. Giving a phone to a child isn’t ideal. But with the amount of after school activities and the difficulty of communication ahead of time, we knew this was a necessity. We had done the same for our oldest daughter when she entered Grade 8. Of course our two year contract was up on her phone as well, so she wanted an upgrade. Both of our daughters each now have an iPhone 7. A better phone than my wife and I at the moment.  My wife originally didn’t want to allow this. But with news that an iPhone 8 was coming out soon, she was ok having a lower model until the release date in a month or two.

These phones were the last big expense prior to the start of the school year. Next week, I’m pretty sure there will be hundreds of more dollars being requested. Ugh. It leaves me to wonder:

Why is free public education so expensive?

Independence Day 2017

As we have done every year, we are watching ID4 as a family. Last year I mentioned the story of how I made my children believe that this film was a documentary based on real events: ID-4. This year I cannot help but feel that if I were to tell my children that now for the first time, they would almost believe it again. 

That’s because there is far too much “Fake News” going around.  And that scares me. My example may seem far fetched, but is it?What if our history books get rewritten?  Or legitimate news articles get buried and erased from existence?  At what point will we as a species completely forget what is real or the truth? Stories handed down from generation to generation and then forgotten or lost. There’s nothing stopping this.

And so we watch on social media.  We watch and interact with one another.  We eat it up. And we yearn for the next story. We spark up conversations about hot topics and buzz words.  Have you heard the term “Flex for the gram”?  That’s what we all do on social media.  We portray the perfection of our lives that we want shown. We don’t share realism.  We share what we think others want to see.  We share our own “fake news”.  I’m guilty of this. I know I am.  I’ve also shared some unfunny and darker stories, but I’ve kept much of it private. I love sharing the adventures of my family.

Tonight as people celebrate Independence Day, my family and I are just hanging out.  A quick dinner in the backyard and the movie on in the theater room. Family time as we start the summer break. Watching this film is our tradition. Laughing at it and pointing out the flaws is so much fun.  On a side note- President Whitmore would be a better man to run the USA at this point in time… if he were real.

Customer Support

About a week ago I wrote about having a Spam issue with my blog: iOS Spam? I received numerous messages from friends and readers taking screen shots of the issue.  This was great for two reasons:

1. It showed me this was a problem with not just one or two people.

2. It showed me that I have diligent readers of my blog.

Immediately after posting that day’s blog, I contacted WordPress and told them the issue.  They responded quickly. At first they suggested my friends try rebooting their phones and using a different browser to read the blog.  Obviously, this tactic didn’t work and my blog continued to have pop up ads preventing readers.  So I contacted WordPress again.

This time they worked on resolving the issue on their end.  To much greater success. I don’t always commend companies or websites because oftentimes I’m just a little voice hardly worth hearing.  But I was rather impressed with how WordPress took the time to help me out and I had a direct responder who must’ve been assigned my case.  

Chrissie- You were very professional and prompt with the responses.  It may not seem like much, but I appreciated the time and courtesy you gave to me.

And to all of those who read my blog on a regular basis- thank you again!  I love writing every day.  I know that it’s usually nothing life changing or world altering, but it’s something I have grown to enjoy doing.  Having readership and excellent customer service just proves to me that I should still keep on writing.