Sunday, November 09, 2008


I just read this collection of AT&T/iPhone horror stories about international travelers who were hit with giant bills (thousands of dollars) for phone use outside the US. Most of the stories were about phones that downloaded data automatically. I'm making a note of it here, so that the next time I travel outside the U.S., I will remember not to bring the phone along to use as an iPod and camera, only to find myself facing a $4,000 "gotcha" bill when I return home.

I took an online survey from Apple/AT&T about the iPhone and let them know that I'm not particularly happy with my current plan or with the phone's features.

Along the same line, I thought I'd found a bargain when a friend recommended for low-cost cell phone accessories. I bought a car charger, a stylus, two cases, and an arm-band holster. The price including shipping seemed too good to be true at around $30. The stuff arrived this weekend. Guess what. The arm-band was too small for my arm. The stylus didn't work. I don't like either of the cases, and they both have a cheap feel. At least the car charger works (so far). I found myself at Best Buy this afternoon choosing a hard-case for the phone. With that $20, my grand total for accessories is now $50. Add that amount to the $200 for the phone and the $200 for the first month's bill, and this phone is totalling up to be less than a good idea, budget-wise.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I've spent the day talking on the phone with family and friends. We've been discussing the candidates, the issues, and our thoughts on America's future. It's been an energetic day spent in lively conversation.

The wait at my voting station was long, but the mood there was cheerful. I saw smiling faces of old friends and neighbors who I haven't seen in a while, and I managed to meet some new folks there, too. The long line gave me time to strike up conversations and time to reflect on the part I played as a voting citizen on this historic election day.

I'll bet if you looked at the statistics from today, you'd see that the call volume went way up. I know I wasn't the only one calling his family and friends. I think you'd also find that record-making numbers turned up at the polls and waited for record-breaking lengths of time. If my experience was common, that means that America stepped away from her other favorite pastimes and and joined her neighbors to share in the most important one - the democratic process.

Obama made a lot of campaign promises about uniting the country. I'm not sure if I should really give him the credit, but this election day I did feel more connected with my family, friends, and community.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


halloween candy, originally uploaded by spundekas.

I spent $40 on candy at CVS Friday after school, thinking I'd have tons of kids stop by my house that night. At least a hundred kids did pass by walking from my neighborhood park's parking lot to trick-or-treat the main street business district about a block from my house. Despite all the traffic, only five little monsters knocked on my door. Who knew? And now what am I supposed to do with ALL THIS CANDY?! I don't give candy as as a classroom reward anymore, after I noticed the effects of the sugar as a variable in the classroom behavior equation. I had Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for dinner last night and breakfast this morning. Help!

In spite of my lapsed judgment and recent candy consumption, I'm proud of myself so far this month. I vowed to stop moping around and get out and live a little. As part of that effort, I forced myself to walk the new bridge. Its walking path is 1 3/4 mile one-way and is always crowded with people trying to lose their post-Katrina depression weight. I'm already encouraged by the results of walking just a week. It's probably just a coincidence, but I'm down to 202 from 205. That's great news to me, since last Summer at Ben's graduation I was up to 220. Now if I can just stay at it and stay away from the chocolate.


IPhone 8Gb, originally uploaded by Lewosky.

I finally made the switch from GoPhone to contract. I love my new iPhone. Chris, Terry, Caleb, and I dropped by the Cingular ATT store last night before dinner, and I walked out the proud owner of an 8GB 3G.

When I got home and started checking out all the features, I was immediately disappointed and angry to find that the iPhone's web browser doesn't support Flash. I could still view youTube videos through a separate function, but not being able to access my account meant my subscriptions and favorites were worthless on the iPhone.

I'm glad I didn't return the phone before finding this simple solution:


Kickball, originally uploaded by richbrenner.

Sorry, in advance, for the bad pun...

In honor of kicking off this blog for the 2nd time, I thought I'd share about my kickball experiences last weekend. I signed up for a charity match, benefiting our local branches of the Boys & Girls Club.

I got there a little early and met the rest of the team, an assortment of teachers, coaches, and administrators. Other teams were made up of reps from local businesses, college student associations, and the like.

Much to our surprise, my team played our first two games exceptionally well, and we ended up making it into the championship round. The ref. called us over before the last game to suggest that we challenge the other team and win by default. Turns out, the team had been playing all day with one less female than the rules required. Since we were playing for charity, we decided to let the violation pass rather than win on a technicality. Turns out, the team was made up of kids from our local base, just out of basic training.

We didn't stand a chance. I won't report the score. What I will record here is how much fun we had, what a beautiful day it was, and how surprised I was that we got as far as we did. Way to go, team!