I Love My Mac But Damn That Spinning Beachball

I’ve been a Mac user for a long time.  My first one was a Mac Plus, that I bought way back in ’86, I think.  I eventually got a helpdesk job, supporting a network of 300 Mac users in ’94.  So I’ve been using these things for an extremely long time.

One thing that always annoyed me was the spinning beach ball.  For all you Windows users, that’s equivalent to the rotating hour glass.  However, on Windows, at least you can do a Ctrl-Alt-Delete, kill the offending process, and continue on your merry way.  On the Mac, if you’re lucky, you can command-Option-ESC, and it will give you the Activity Monitor, and you can choose the offending process, and kill it … I said if you are lucky.

If you are unlucky, hitting command-option-esc won’t do jack.  It just sits there, spins its silly little beachball, and gives you the virtual middle finger.  You’d figure after all this time, Apple would have come up with a way where you could kill a process, without having to power off the whole thing, and power it back on.

So when it came time to refresh my work laptop (I had a Lenovo laptop), I had the chance to switch back to Mac OS, which is what I prefer, and I am used to … or go with an upgrade on the same old Lenovo platform, on Windows.  Well, with all these spinning beachballs, hoops you have to go through to get the same functionality as on the Windows platform, sadly I went with the Lenovo route.

So Apple, you had your chance … I could have gone the Mac OS X route, but because of your spinning beachball hanging everything (including the ability to force quit), I had no choice but to continue on the Windows platform.  And no, I am not fluent enough on Linux to go that route (that would have been nice).

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Splish Splash on the Bike

I was going to take an early morning ride into work, but then I heard a shower outside my door.  Oooh, rain … I guess I should take my commuter bike with fenders.  The rain wasn’t too hard, so off I go on the bike.

VIRB Picture

There is just something about splishing and splashing through the road. Yes, the raindrops on my glasses can get a little annoying, but as long as it’s not a downpour, it’s fine.

I wonder what all the drivers on the road are thinking of this crazy cyclist riding in the rain.  Well, at least I’m not polluting the air.  It helps my psyche, and when I get into the office, I feel refreshed, and coming in with a good attitude.  Plus, I get a kick out of when people ask if I rode in or not … Why not … it’s not … oh … well at least it’s not thunder and lightning.  No tornadoes to worry about.  So I get a little wet .. so what!

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Jump Starting a Prius Can Be Very Challenging

I was parked at a restaurant, and was ready to drive home.  Press the brake pad, hit the Power button, and all displays light up on the console (it’s not supposed to do that), and the car won’t start.  I thought maybe I had a door ajar, draining the battery.  I checked all of that, and nope … so try a bunch of things, for a good 45 minutes, and nothing.

Bring out the owner’s manual … jump starting the Prius.  Well, this was interesting.  First, where is the battery (aside from the big one in the trunk that you cannot access).  There is a battery terminal, nestled inside the fuse box.  Well that’s good, but they position it in the hood where it’s hard to pry it open.  Finally get it open, and the battery terminal is recessed, in such a way, that it is challenging to get the alligator clips on the jumper cable to clamp onto the bolt.

After jimmying it for about 15 minutes, we finally get it jumped.  Radio turns on, so woohoo.  Oh, but wait … the engine still doesn’t turn.  We go through the same thing one more time, and still, nothing.  We got to the point where we may need to call the tow company in the morning.  We removed the jumper cables, and get ready for the ride.  I try one more desperation attempt, hear the radio, then go in reverse, and the engine turns.  Yes … don’t anyone make any sudden moves!!!!  Well, that was nerve racking!  With a hybrid, you’re not sure if the engine should turn on right away, because it is a hybrid.

Then, yet another message … I get a warning saying that my “P” lock mechanism is not in place, but yet I am able to move.  Screw it … I’m 3 miles from home, I can drive it, so I’m just going to drive with that big warning message.  I made it home, and that’s all that counts.

I shut my engine off, then start it again.  The engine starts, no warning message about the “P” lock mechanism … The computer was probably all confused from the original problem.

Hybrid’s and troubleshooting it, from a consumer perspective, is really different, and can be very stressful.  Now let’s monitor this for a few days.  Wow.

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Don’t See This Everyday


I took this 5 years ago during one of my visits to Southern California, and it seems like just yesterday.  This was on our way up Hwy 39, on our way up to Hwy 2, but I never made it all the way (quit about half mile from the top).  This guy did make the trip memorable … I mean how many times do you see a guy doing an epic climb, on a mountain bike, with skis?  And he was going skiing too.  Wonder how he did?

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What Would Prevent Me From Riding?

So what would take me away from my daily bike commutes?  Cold … nah, it would have to be in the teens (but even then, I’d probably be foolish enough to ride in it).  Rain … nah, one time I ride the river trail, in a downpour, and rode through the trail, even though standing water would go up to my waist.  Thunderstorm … now that’s a possible … a maybe.

No, that wouldn’t take me away … But getting a stiff neck .. yeah, that definitely would, and it did today.  But here’s the weird thing … I got up this morning, prepared my coffee, breakfast, then all of a sudden, whamo … neck gets all stiff, and moving to my right … really stiff.  How the heck did that happen?  Getting a stiff neck from sleeping in the wrong position … I understand that … but I already got up, and have no idea how I tweaked it.  Oh well … I guess I may not make it to 500 miles for the month after all.

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Cramps Really Cramped My Ride

My plan was quite ambitious … was going to climb over Skyline, then down the other side to the coast, then climb on the way back.  It would have been a 70+ mile, and 7000 ft+ ride.  Well, that would have been fine, except for the cramps that I developed over night.  Added to that, I woke up a little later than usual, so I didn’t arrive till about 20 minutes later than usual.

I still felt the effects of the cramps, as my knee felt a little stiff.  It was a little chilly, which typically is not a good thing when you have a cramp in your leg.


Page Mill Road

It’s kinda strange, that I was able to climb Page Mill, especially with it’s 12-15% grades, and I only felt weak when I was climbing 2-3% climbs, where I’m spinning with a higher cadence. We went down the other side of West Alpine, only to the point before the descent would come. I felt the smart thing to do was to turn back, instead of going down far, and having to climb up, with the uncertainty of how my knee would hold up. Instead, we went back on Skyline, over to Alice’s Restaurant for breakfast … :)

My knee started to feel better, only after we go down off the mountain, and the sun started to shine through. Perhaps it was a combination of the cramps over night, and the cold air. Well, at least we got in a good 41 miles, and 4400 feet of climbing … not a bad clip, considering. First thing to do, getting home is to stick the heat pad on my knee.


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Take It Easy

This past MLK Day was a sad one .. this was the day Glenn Frey, one of the founders of the Eagles, passed away.  It came as a big shock to many, and I still think about his brilliance.

They were the first real band that I followed closely, and I grew up listening to them.  I fell in love with their harmonies, the fusion of country rock, and even though none of the were originally from Southern California, us Angelinos adopted them as our own.

One of these Nights was probably what attracted me first, followed by Lyin’ Eyes … but I think I really became a fan when we got the 8-track version of the Eagles’ Greatest Hits .  Yes, you heard it … 8-track.  I love it … there was not a bad track on that.  But then, Take it Easy really caught my ears, and it just captured the sound that we all know and love.

Then, they had the Eagles Live album.  I remember the passage in Take it Easy “Well I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine site to see” … and they replaced that with “well I’m standing on a corner in Southern California, such a fine site to see” … and the crowd erupted (concert recorded at Universal Amphitheatre, I think).  When I heard that, I yelled “yeah!!!!”

It’s been a full day now, and I’m still listening to my Eagles Spotify playlist.  When’s the last time you were such a fan of an artist, that their passing away has pre-occuppied your attention so much?  I think the last time for me was John Lennon … Now I’m not going to make the comparison of Glenn Frey to John Lennon, but to me, he was that important.

So to Glenn Frey, we will all miss you.  You are such a talent, and you will be missed dearly.  Take it Easy.

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