A New Life in Seattle

A New Life in Seattle
August, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Electric Cowboy

2018 is already turning into an electrifying year.

From New Year's Day through June, these changes have entered my life:
--The move to a new studio, with everything from rent to PayRange laundry paid online.
--Home internet for the first time in my life.
--Amazon's Echo Dot--with Alexa as my personal assistant and Stage Manager for my place.
--Today, a good as new used Panasonic Blu Ray Player
--Experimentation with Facebook boosts and Amazon sponsored ads.
--Savvier use of smart phone and a widening range of apps
--Acquisition of a MoviePass

As we mosey along on our timelines, it's easy to lose track of the number of ways we've grown stuck in our ruts...or the ways that we've fallen behind:
--The stunned looks I get from the young and the hip when I talk about buying DVDs.
--The even more stunned looks from younger writers when I say I write in longhand, then type it all
up and input corrections through at least five drafts.

Through the remainder of this year I want to take better advantage of some cool-sounding things that are out there. After all, the two lead characters in my new series are still in their twenties, And they'd know of these things so I'd better know too.

Immediate plans:
1) Become Alexa's Lord and Master, empowered by her wizardry.
2) Find a method of converting my scribbled manuscripts to text--Dragon Speaking, One Note, Evernote...?
3) Learn from the kids how to build a music library
4) Learn how to connect my new Blu Ray player to the ethernet
That'll do for now, I think. The new words I plan to live by are:

Know what you want, pony up--and ride, Electric Cowboy!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

On getting what we pay for

What do the following things have in common?

Armani Code Eau de Toilette
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new replacement battery
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new stylus
Under Armour compression t-shirt

They're all top-quality items sold as the real deal online...but not what we receive
I'd used Armani Code for years and gotten rave reviews from customers and ladies. But the ood, compliments stopped the day I started wearing the bottle bought from Amazon. It was convincingly packaged and seemed to smell the same. But it had no projection and the scent faded in only an hour.

Sure enough, I did what I should have done in the first place: :checked out the 1-star reviews. Same complaint around the board. So back I went to Macy's.

But I drew the wrong conclusion: that fake toiletries were a class unto themselves.

When my phone battery died, though, I needed a replacement fast. And when I couldn't find one in a brick and mortar store, I didn't' hesitate to order one from Amazon. Not just any old one that was listed. No, I chose a best-selling original new Samsung battery. It arrived in two days and looked like the real deal: neatly wrapped in a sealed Samsung box. But daily the charge it would hold went down: from 90% to 53%...and lower. When I had to recharge it every couple of hours, I ordered a replacement, this time expecting the worst after reading the one-star reviews. One of the reviewers posted photos of authentic Samsung batteries and packaging--with photos of the fakes. (E.g., the backside of the inner wrapping has a Samsung code. My second replacement battery had no inner wrap.)

I could go on. The 'original' styluses were junk, some of them breaking within a few days. And one clever clone maker even mimicked the Samsung shadow logo on the silver top--though they neglected to color it white.

There's no sense blaming Amazon, which can't police all of its vendors and will cheerfully refund any misadvertised merch. Besides, we have ample protection:

1) The 1 and 2-star reviews.
2) Common sense, which should remind us that we really do get what we pay for. If the Samsung store sells a stylus for $30,  we should be wary of buying it online for $9.99. Ditto an authentic Under Armour compression tee--be prepared to spend $30 if you're concerned with quality.

I'm troubled a good deal more by the growing unawareness of the difference between the real deals and their clones in fashion and in art.

Here's to the distinction, with hopes it never dies.