My New Cell Phone

When I accidentally dropped my phone into a storm drain last spring, I had a decision to make. I had been carrying insurance on the phone so I thought it would be simple to just get a free replacement – Hah! The phone was a Verizon Pre Plus running webOS ‘Meta-Doctor’ version 2.1. I’d had the phone a little over a year but had only just begun to discover the magic of webOS HomeBrew via webOS-Internals and I was finally excited about webOS.

First of all, to replace the phone using the insurance required an $89.00 co-pay. I had not realized it would cost that much – I should probably pay more attention to what I sign, huh?  I suppose that it might have been a good deal if I had just gotten the phone and had no upgrade available. But it wasn’t a good deal for me at all, since I could get an upgrade to a Pre 2 (faster cpu, same webOS) for just $69 with a 2 year commitment. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the insurance policy before that event, but I realized at that point that paying $7.99 a month for insurance (almost $100 a year!) is not such a good deal when you can get a used phone on e-bay to at least temporarily (until your contract expires) replace a lost or stolen phone for about the same cost. Now I know.

Anyway, I opted for the Pre 2 upgrade and I have continued my exploration of the magic of webOS and Homebrew.

My first Palm device was a Palm Pilot III, that I got sometime in the 90′s.  Continue reading My New Cell Phone

Starting Over

Okay, so more than a year has passed and I still have no clue how to answer the simple question “Now What?” After 10 years of eldercare and daily interaction with my parents through the veil of dementia and the infirmity of old age, I’ve lost all connection with the person that I was before I began the journey, now more than 11 years ago.

The last time I was this unsure of who I was, I was 15 years old – hanging out in cemeteries, watching Harold & Maude over and over again, and going to midnight showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

So after spending a great deal of time and energy revisiting many of the familiar pursuits from my past and finding them unsatisfying and, in fact, utterly unfamiliar, I am finally resigned to starting over from scratch. Certainly, the experience of my past pursuits still informs my future choices. But I guess what is still not clear to me is how the time spent attending to the inevitable mortality of my parents is informing my current perspective.

With the passing of my parents, my own mortality is now clearly visible. I was 25 when I first had the thought “I’m going to die someday.” It was remarkable at the time. To be sure, I had my doubts about making it to 30. Now, at 53, mortality is not a surprise, but rather, an inevitable direction that simply requires choosing a course. That is, it is not about when, but about how. Will I ‘rage against the dying of the light’? Or will I be be taken by surprise, in the midst of some all consuming pursuit.

It isn’t about morbidity. I’m not really that concerned about dying. But I’d like a roadmap that makes sense.

Taking A Walk

I decided to take a walk this morning, even though the weather was threatening.  I was thinking about dad. One of the last things that he could really take pleasure in was taking a walk through the neighborhood. I was remembering him as I walked our familiar route.

On the walk, with the cold spring wind blowing all around, I was thinking about the difference between feeling grief and feeling loss.  I didn’t feel grief when my Dad passed away and I think that’s because he was in so much pain and confusion when he died that his passing was, frankly, a relief. But I did and do feel loss.

For whatever reason, the feeling of loss has been strong recently, six months after his death. I’ve also been recalling my mother and a couple of close, dear friends who also passed away while I was focused on taking care of my father. Maybe it’s because the weather has been gray and cold, even this far into spring.

There was a  stark and sudden change in routine that came with his death.  One day, I was completely and utterly focused on his care and the next day, he was just gone – forever.  Since the day he died, I have been slowly but surely finding my way to a new routine or, at least, seeking to make some decisions about what I want my new routine to become.  The sense of loss is slow to build, like the buildup of cigarette smoke on a windshield.

I haven’t been taking walks much since he died but it felt like a way to remember some of our best later moments.  On the way back, I went to kick a cigarette butt into the storm drain and missed it.  I bent over to flick it with my hand and my phone slipped out of my shirt pocket and dropped into gutter.

I use my phone as an mp3 player and I had Don McLean’s “American Pie”  playing through the ear bud.  Just as the phone slipped under the grate and into the water, I heard “This’ll be the day that I die. . .”  and then silence – nothing.  That phone, I thought, is gone forever.

But there’s a new one coming in the mail.


Dropping Names

I sometimes wonder what things might have been like for me had I resisted my instinct to personally care for my parents and stayed in Portland or headed to Seattle or LA to further pursue a career in performing.

Where I went to College, Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon, they offered a term-long internship program in New York City.  Housing and tickets to shows and museums were all part of a regular term of tuition, as well as a stipend for (Subway) transportation.  In my final term of college, 25 years ago, I went on the New York trip after securing an internship at The West Bank “Downstairs Theatre Bar”.  I love saying that I did my college internship in a bar.  The college set up accommodations for all of the students at The Wellington on 54th at 7th, right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The daytime doorman at the Hotel was a fellow, about the same age as all of us ‘interns’, named Ned Vaughn who told us he, too, was interested in performing.  I remember that he showed us his head shot.  He had red-blond hair, a nice smile and pretty good looks. He was a very friendly guy although I didn’t think much about it at the time. But the first time I saw “The Hunt for Red October” I immediately recognized Ned Vaughn as the second radar operator – not bad, I thought. Continue reading Dropping Names

Virtually Complete

As I said in my last post,  my next step in my Web Server transformation process would be to use Oracle’s Virtualbox software to install a trial run of Ubuntu Server so I could better familiarize myself with the in’s and out’s  of both Ubuntu and Apache 2 Webserver. My only previous experience with serving a website was with a Windows Server (NT 4, Win-2000 & Win-2003) running IIS 4 through 6.  There is now a new version of IIS (7)  that requires Windows Server 2008 to run (only another $200-$400 or so to upgrade!).

But I was ready to make the switch to open source software, dammit.  Ubuntu and Apache webserver are well supported through online resources and they are free!

Continue reading Virtually Complete