Monthly Archives: February 2018

A New Phone (that I would rather talk about than Florida)

My trusty smartphone’s battery was going and, rather than fix the battery, I went for an upgrade. I originally got an HTC because, in 2012, it was rated as the best Android phone. I also liked that it was Taiwanese and, probably, not made by slave labor at Foxconn. I loved that phone even when it got old and, while I am not a heavy phone user – or even, I suspect, an average user – I still loved the way the HTC looked, with its tapered sides and solid, metal, construction. When I got a new phone, I got another HTC because, probably, I am stubborn and,  at $600, it was 25% cheaper than the Samsung and Google equivalents. I also figured it would work well with Google Assistant – Google’s Siri equivalent – because HTC built the first Google Pixel and Google has invested $1.1 billion in HTC. 

So I now have the new phone and it is a disappointing experience. The problem with buying any replacement phone or a camera, for that matter, is that they always do what the old phone/camera did…only slightly better (in this case, I prefer the looks of the old phone which doesn’t help). Yeah, I can conveniently play Alison Wonderland on Spotify through the livingroom speakers but I could do that on my old phone too. However, what this phone does have is Google Assistant and I am warming up to saying “OK Google, phone Michele” and having it actually happen. A couple of days ago, Michele and I were having a Siri/OK Google talk off, I had just opened OK Google when Michele said “Hey Siri” and then, seeing I had opened Google, said, “Oh, sorry.” OK Google said, “That’s OK, don’t be sorry. I admire Siri, in fact, I wrote her a poem.” My old phone couldn’t do that.  

It’s moth season in Portola Valley

According to Bug Guide, the season for the California Oak Moth – Phryganidia californica, as if you care – is March to November. December through February should be too cold for them to be out. But it is about 70° outside and we haven’t had a night that dropped below freezing all winter. In the Sierras, there is almost no snow, less than 4% of normal near Tahoe, and the Department of Water Resources says that it is too early to say we are in a drought which I’m going to take as We are in a drought, almost for sure.

Climate projection and long-range weather predictions are very inexact sciences and, it seems, at some level, the decision has been made to underestimate the changes we are going through. I can, kind of, sort of, understand that because, if “Officials” overreact, the climate deniers will say, See, they are just trying to scare you (so they will get paid more or the Chinese will make money on unnecessary solar panels, or something other than “This is a real problem”). When we talk about a drought, we have the tendency to think rainfall and, especially, local rainfall but the lack of snow is the biggest problem. So far, this winter has just been too warm.  


Super Moon(s)

This year, as luck would have it, the last Super Moon of a cluster of three fell on Michele’s birthday. And to make it even more special, according to Michele, this Super Moon was a Blue Moon – meaning that it was the second Super Moon of the month – with a total eclipse that resulted in it being a Blood Moon just before the dawn of her birthday. If you are into that sort of thing, which I am not, but Michele is, it is almost too exciting to bear. The day before ended with a sweet sunset. On the West Coast, the moon eclipse was about five in the morning and Michele’s plan was to get up every hour starting about three. I slept so I can’t attest to how many times Michele got up, but about five she woke me and it was pretty terrific.

It was dark and cold, silent except for the sounds of a couple of owls, with a light fog layer hanging over the tidal flats of the upper Tomales Bay and, above that, was a red moon, much bigger and rounder than I expected. Michele took several pictures and this is the one I like best (BTW, Michele’s reflection is on purpose).      ,