Monday, March 29, 2010


I rarely watch television - mostly because I find most shows to be absolutely dreadful. Still, I almost always have it on as background noise when I am home in the evening - usually Travel Channel or Discovery Channel - something that at least sounds educational (though Man Versus Food and America's Worst Driver on Travel Channel have dumbed it down significantly).

Tonight I was just settling down to Travel Channel and a beautiful nature show on Alaska and started eating a nicely grilled steak when, "snap" the picture goes out but the sound continues. The bulb burnt out (I have a rear-projection television). It was not really a stressor because I knew the bulb had a limited life-span and there is a panel that pops off the back of the set for easy bulb replacement.

I called the local big box chain appliance store where I purchased the television. They don't carry the bulbs, but there is a convenient link on the website for ordering.

Easy enough.

I know my set model and type it in.

With shipping - $219.


Granted - it is a fancy light bulb, but it's a LIGHT BULB!

Still - it is cheaper than a new television and I almost have this one figured out after three years, so I pulled out the card.

But I keep thinking: It's a LIGHT BULB!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ahhh Spring

For most of the past week, the weather here in Austin has been about as perfect at weather can get. I actually described it as "San Diego weather" today at lunch with some friends as we sat on the outdoor patio.

Immediately after lunch, I came home and took my computer out to the back yard to test the network strength - and it works, so I was able to work outside for a while with some issues - namely, the computer's metal case is so shiny, there was a great glare on it that made it almost impossible to use. After moving around to a few places, I found one shady enough that the glare was no longer a problem.

It was so nice to be able to get the work done while I am out in the peacefulness of my yard makes means I get the best of both worlds - I can be productive and relax at the same time. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not, but I'll take it for now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rolled Over

Saturday afternoon as I was hurrying off to the next event of my day I noticed an overturned wheelchair in a lane across the intersection where I was stopped. Initially, my thought was that the wheelchair would make it hard for the vehicles in that lane to pass until enough cars has brushed and crushed it into a speed-bump of unrecognizable metal. I was glad I was not in that lane.

On a second glance, I noticed cloth fluttering in the breeze under the wheelchair. Then I noticed that the cloth fluttering under the overturned wheelchair was not fluttering in the wind, but contained the body of the wheelchair’s occupant. He was there squirming and moving as ineffectually as a days-old kitten separated from the rest of the litter.

The cars passing through the intersection created a strobe-light effect on the immobilized man’s struggle. They only allowed me to see that bit of motion visible in the space between bumpers as the cars sped by, oblivious to the desperate attempts of the man in the street.

Fairly quickly people stopped a the intersection in the lanes across the median off which the man had tumbled jumped out of their cars, picked up the man, and wheeled him across the street. For those few moments, from first noticing the man floundering on the ground until seeing him safely in the parking lot, I actually considered the possibility that the man would be left there in the street. At first glance that seemed his destiny.

Driving away, I could not get the image out of my head. The thought of being so helpless in such a treacherous situation haunted me for the rest of the weekend. It is easy to drive past the neighborhood panhandlers, wondering whether the apparent disabilities such as the limp, the lame arm, or use of the wheelchair are genuine and put the wondering out of my mind the instant that person is out of sight.

This time it was not so easy. The man’s feeble attempts at motion continue to replay themselves in my mind. His most determined efforts at first appeared no greater than cloth blowing in the breeze, mere twitching. The minimal pathetic actions all combined did not move the man even an inch. In his wheelchair, he somehow made his way into the intersection almost every day, but out of that contraption, he is utterly unable to function.

Even though I now know this one panhandler’s case is sincere, I still don’t give him money. I choose to donate to local charities that serve our indigent community and I feel even more justified in doing so. If this guy is helpless with an overturned wheelchair, he is equally helpless against the thugs and thieves who hang out in the homeless camp in the grove of trees just off the street. I’ll let the local agencies provide the services on my dime rather than doubt the direction that dime takes when it gets into homeless hands.

Now I wonder about the backstory to the overturned wheelchair.