Clever radio

27 03 2009

The radio in the rental car I picked up at LAX yesterday is pretty darned clever. I noticed that when it’s playing a song, the metadata for the song is also displayed — specifically the artist’s name and the song title. I have no idea how this is done, but I’m impressed! And no, I don’t think it’s a satellite radio — this is a fairly cheap rental car, not some high-end fancy thing.

400 years of experience

27 03 2009

I had breakfast this morning with my uncle and three of his buddies. My uncle is 85, two of his buddies are of a similar age, and one is 90. Add in my years and the combined age of the table was about 400 years! That’s a lot of experience and knowledge in the one place. Oh, and in case you were thinking this was just a lot of old blokes (and me) having breakfast, they are all highly intelligent men and very mentally fit (if not quite so physically fit as they used to be). The conversation ranged far and wide — from the current economic crisis, to Obama’s presidency, to the careers they had when they were in working life, to their military experiences, their antecedents/genealogy, etc. We covered a lot in 90 minutes!

The 90-year-old, an ex Merrill Lynch broker, told several jokes, including this one that I remember: “What’s the definition of liquidity?” Answer: When you check your stock portfolio and pee your pants…

Care and maintenance

27 03 2009

My uncle is 85 this year, and last year he broke a femur — in the same place as a previous break about 5 years ago. He was in hospital for some weeks, then in rehab, and then at home with a 24 hour a day carer for a few more weeks. He had to learn to walk again, was then on a walking frame, and now uses a cane occasionally. I’m concerned about him and have been for some time, as he lives at home alone. Being an ornery sort of guy, he won’t consider moving into a care facility. And really, he doesn’t need a lot of care at this stage — he’s still able to drive, still cooks, still does his laundry etc. However, he is getting frailer and if he has a fall, there’s no-one to help him in a timely manner.

So I was delighted to find yesterday that he’s now employing a caretaker some 5 hours a day, 4 days a week. She’s lovely. She keeps the house clean and tidy and makes sure he’s OK. Right now she’s cooking lunch for us all (chicken fajitas). I’m really pleased my uncle has decided to employ her as he really needs someone to keep an eye on him. His son lives in Texas, his daughter lives some 400 miles away, his adult grandsons live at least 70 miles away, and his granddaughters are in Georgia and Arizona respectively.

Earning my keep

27 03 2009

Whenever I stay with my uncle in California, I have to earn my keep! 😉 He always has a list of computer issues he’d like me to take a look at (and fix if I can). So yesterday afternoon we tackled the list. I could fix most of the issues (they were small things like re-sorting a list of names into alphabetical order by clicking on the column header), but there was one I couldn’t fix. He gets a message similar to ‘This copy of Windows may not be genuine’ when he’s on his computer and when he tries to open Windows Media Player etc. I asked where his Windows disk was — he says some local guy made his computer and he doesn’t have a Window disk, so I suggested he contact this ‘local guy’ and ask why he’s getting this message and where the original Windows CD is (I’m a suspicious type…).

I solved another problem too — he couldn’t get a DVD to work. There was a reason for that — he only has a CD drawer in his computer, and of course a CD unit won’t read DVDs. This morning he said that maybe the thing in his room would read it. Yes, he had a DVD player! So I put in the DVD and he switched over to the correct channel but nothing happened. Then he said what about that loose cable in the back. It was a coaxial cable. Once I removed the TV’s coaxial cable from the TV and replaced it with the one from the DVD unit, it worked! Of course, if he does this himself, he’ll have to remember to swap the cables each time — and remember to put back the TV coaxial cable. There has to be an easier way…

But I think I’ve earned my keep already!

Small world

27 03 2009

Yesterday, after I got to my uncle’s place near Newport Beach, we went to lunch at Rothschilds restaurant on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Macarthur Blvd in Corona Del Mar. Why? Because when I was chatting to Monika, the travel agent who did my ticketing in Perth, about where I was staying before heading to Seattle for the conference, she mentioned that her family owned Rothschilds in Corona del Mar! So we went there for a lovely lunch. And we met Monika’s sister, who now owns and runs the restaurant. BTW, I’ve never met Monika as all our dealings were over the phone and via email.

Small world.