They Say It’s Your Birthday

What’s more personal then your birthday? It’s perhaps the most personal thing you could put on your own website. However, sometimes what makes your special day so personal is that it is actually tied to others. There’s a picture of my first birthday sitting bare-chested in front of birthday cake that I was entrapped into destroying. Next to me is my Uncle Lonnie. Lonnie and I share the same birthday and seeing myself as a brand new one year old sitting to what appears to be grown man has always stuck with me. Now that I’m 45 today, and Lonnie is 70, seeing us next to each other doesn’t seem to be such a radical age gap. Having a relative with your same birth date is pretty cool, but having the same birth date of a super star is super cool.

Frank Jr's first birthday 1970 in Alaska

September 21st seems to be a popular date in the stars. Fellow same-day Virgos that I know of their works are Stephen King, Liam Gallagher, Faith Hill, Alfonso Ribeiro, Larry Hagman, Luke Wilson, Ricki Lake, Leonard Cohen, H.G. Wells, and Cheryl Hines. However, for me, my favorite special day person is none other than Bill Murray. I have always liked Murray’s work since seeing him on Saturday Night Live. Over the years he just seems to be getting cooler and cooler. He’s got 19 years on me, but I think it would still be fun to party with him.

Perhaps better than sharing a birthday with a real-life super star would be sharing it with a fictitious one. For me it’s not just one, but TWO. The first is Doogie Howser, M.D. I’ve only ever seen a few snippets of the show, but on one that I did see they made a reference to it being September 20th and Doogie’s birthday was going to be the next day. After a bit of Googling and Wikipeding, I’ve discovered that the first episode of every season is tied to his birthday. A show I did watch religiously and discovered a related birthday was 30 Rock. In season 3, episode 13 “Goodbye, My Friend,” it is revealed that Dot Com birthday is September 21st as he’s filing his nails: “My birthday is September 21st. Not that anyone asked.”

But perhaps the most glorious of birthday honors is if your special day is glorified through song. To this I thank Earth, Wind & Fire and their 1978 number one hit – September. It starts off with the classic line: “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” The song has such magical staying power that NPR even just did a segment on how the song has stood the test of time, and even how they picked the 21st as the date.

So when you’re birthday comes rolling along give it a once over and see what’s going on. Maybe you’ll find a little gift or two.


Yet Another Blog Post About the iPhone

Just what the world needs, right? Another blog post about Apple’s iPhone. The trend since even before there was even an iPhone was to postulate and ruminate about the upcoming device. There are still posts hanging out on the Internet where folks predicted an early death of the iPhone because it didn’t have a physical QWERTY keyboard like the for-adults BlackBerry line. However, it was only 17 months before Research in Motion introduced the BlackBerry Storm, a full touchscreen model, because Apple was beginning to eat their lunch, and finally in late 2013 Blackberry couldn’t even find a buyer for their near death company and Apple sold 500 millionth iPhone in early 2014.

With Apple’s new event coming up tomorrow, the word on the street is that it will probably be about the iPhone 6, and maybe about the new iWatch – or whatever Apple will call it—but that’s a post for another day. My focus and attention is actually on the other end of the iPhone model line, or as Apple calls it, the iPhone 4s. I had had my iPhone 4 for over two years and loved it. Almost as a matter of principle I held onto it as long as I could. The feeling of being forced as a consumer to purchase something that you do not need is not a good feeling in my book. My iPhone 4 was months past it’s two-year warranty and worked relatively well. More than likely moisture had gotten into the front-facing camera lens so all of my photos looked like they were from a dream sequence. The home button below the screen only worked if you pressed super had, so I just used the AssistiveTouch on-screen home button, which is probably a nice way to keep the wear and tear down on the actual button since they are notorious for having problems, no matter which version of iPhone you have. And overall the poor thing was slow as all get out. It took far too long for any app to open up and to even work once open. Eventually, the phone became an exercise tool for keeping one’s Zen in check.

I’m an AT&T customer, for better or worse, and since I was out of my two-year contract I could upgrade my phone with some pretty sweet deals if I agreed to be their indentured customer for two years. They carried the various iPhone 5 models, but they were still too expensive considering the commitment I was making, but the iPhone 4s was free. Though free being like the Portlandia phone store bit—it was a free upgrade once I paid the $40 upgrade fee. The iPhone 4s has a chip two models down from the current top of the line iPhone 5s. And as noted previously, a new phone should be coming out any day that will undoubtedly have a brand new chip in it as well. But I really like the feel and size of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 family seem too thin and I don’t need a bigger screen. It’s over kill for my needs and I don’t want to be forced into it. The iPhone 4s is still going to be supported by iOS 8 when it comes out in the fall, but no word if it is going to slow the older phones down and I’ll be in the same boat for the next two years.

A phone, or a smartphone, is a personal tool and should fit the needs of the user. There’s more than one Swiss Army knife, and they understand that individuals have individual needs. That’s why they have been making some of the earlier models for decades now. Why couldn’t Apple have put a faster chip in the 4s when the 5s came out? Call it an iPhone4s+ or whatever, but give the choice of a different size for those of us who don’t want just one model. There seems to be a trend to make phones bigger and bigger, when only a few years ago people made fun of the iPad in that it was just a big iPhone. Which is really what it was. With the proliferation of touchscreen technology you could use it for any sized device you’d like. Are phones getting bigger to make room in the marketplace for the inevitable wave of touchscreen, smart watches—or as the industry calls them, “wearables”—coming out? Samsung’s line of Gear watches have been receiving favorable reviews and seems to be really setting the pace in this area.

I’ve had my iPhone 4s for about a week now and love it. It’s just my iPhone 4, but faster, with a working button and lens, and it’s the same feel. Who knows what Apple’s plans will be come Tuesday, but I’m going to continue to think different and stick with what works for me.