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Sunday, June 28, 2009
So I got over my regular fear of commitment today long enough to ditch Verizon Wireless and sign up with AT&T and get a 32GB White iPhone 3GS.

white iPhone 3GS

This is something I've been wanting for literally two years now. Ever since the release of the iPhone, my "oooh, something shiny!" reflex has been twitching and, with the release of the 3GS (combined with the expiration of my Verizon contract much earlier this year) I determined that I was finally going to take the plunge.

This was not something undertaken lightly, however. I spent months researching network coverage, phone specifications, alternatives, and generally weighing the pros and cons of the whole thing. I'm not dissatisfied with Verizon's network; I seem to get reasonable coverage all the places I should be able to. I am, however, intensely dissatisfied with the price I have to pay to use the aforementioned network, the miserable selection of phones available through Verizon, the unreasonable amount of "restricted features" on those phones, the feeling of having been nicked-and-dimed by Verizon for the past 6+ years of being a customer, and the generally arrogance with which I, as a customer, feel that I'm treated.

And yet, many years ago, prior to being a Verizon customer, I was an AT&T customer. And, when I left, I swore that my life would be better off never having to deal with them again. By and large, I was. I can only console myself with the knowledge that it's really Cingular rebranding themselves. Right?

What drove this decision the most was phone functionality. I had an LG enV that I'd bought in January of 2007. I liked the phone; at the time is was quite advanced. I was constantly frustrated by Verizon's Mobile Web (being hideously expensive and mostly useless). The idea of having email at my fingertips was enticing, especially since - as phones usage goes - I make relatively few phone calls. So, with the determination that I was going to get a smartphone next, I pondered various options from Blackberry and weighed their benefits against my iPhone-is-shiny-and-plays-well-with-my-Macs instinct. The iPhone, as you've read, won quite handily.

So after a few hours of ownership I'm quite satisfied. Web browsing is fast, maps and email are quick to load, I have already downloaded several custom applications that make this almost as useful as a laptop, it syncs with my MobileMe, and the phone is generally slick. I'm happy with it!

The Final Lesson

Friday, June 19, 2009
My dad relayed to me a piece of wisdom imparted to him by a friend: "The final lesson our parents teach us is how to die."

I'm currently in Reston, VA visiting my grandmother as she undergoes treatment for cancer. What started as breast cancer (apparently the tumor formed just after her last mammogram) is now Stage IV cancer, meaning it's spread throughout most of her body.

She's been undergoing both radiation treatment and chemotherapy, and when I decided to come out here again she'd been hospitalized. I'm happy to say that - at this point - she's home and bustling around like I would expect, but that's the current news. She resumes chemotherapy soon (she stopped because it was killing her faster than cancer) and only after that treatment is over will we have a clear idea of what the future holds; our best guess now is "6 months to 16 years".

So my dad is here helping his mother and sister prepare the financials and paperwork so that - should things take a turn for the worse - the necessary forms will still be able to be filled out and such. Affairs, as they say, are being put in order. I'm here, well... for comedic relief, if nothing else. I am, of course, helping in any way possible, but more I'm just happy to have this time with my relatives.

Several months ago I wrote about the time with my other grandmother (on my mother's side) and her ongoing battle with Alzheimer's disease. It's very sad to see that generation of my family move to the final stage of life; it's not something I really know how to deal with as death hasn't yet been something that dramatically touched my life.

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...

Sunday, June 07, 2009
Well, now that I'm officially a Portlander, I figured it was time for me to buy a bicycle. So I walked over to the local bike shop, Weir's Cyclery, and purchased myself a shiny, new bike: a Specialized Sirrus.

Of course, once I bought a bike I then needed a few accessories: a helmet, a little bike computer, a water bottle holder, a rack, a portable bike pump, and - having spent all this money on a bike - a lock. I'm not even done, but I'm more than out of money so I had to stop. Still, I'm happy with what I've got thus far.

If we were to jump back in time 10 years, we would find me owning a very nice bicycle. I don't remember the brand, but it was fairly solidly built, properly sized (XL), and was of the "hybrid" style; mountain-bike ergonomics, road-bike tires. I don't mountain bike, so I don't need the knobby tires working against me. The bike I had back then was amazing; it had what I needed it to have to carry me around the city. Since I lived in Eugene at the time, I could go almost anywhere. Of course, since I lived in Eugene at the time, my bicycle was stolen.

Back in the present, I wanted a bicycle with roughly those same properties, and you can see what I ended up with. Today was the inaugural ride of this fine bicycle, since I just got it from the store on Wednesday (they had to special order the size.) I took a nice ride around Portland; 19-ish miles in all. Not a great distance, per se, but I'm finding that bicycling is working muscles I don't normally otherwise use. I'm okay with that.

I'm looking forward to discovering more of Portland on a bicycle over the coming months!



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