Commencement advice

UF gradIt is the season and we have two new college graduates in the family.   At Gina’s UF commencement, I was surprised that there was no commencement speaker to give some pithy world advice for the graduates.  So I have a couple of nuggets I’d like to share from my 59 years of experience.

  1. You will acquire some big things that require maintenance (car, house).   For each thing, make a point to write down and keep a log  of all maintenance/repairs/improvements you make.  Eg.  oil changes, house painting, battery replacement, washer/dryer replacement, hot water heater repair.    Within 3 or 4 years you will discover how useful this is.  By 8-10 years it is indispensable.
  2. If/when you acquire a house, get one with a front porch and use it.
  3. Do not buy or install white/off white carpeting.  Ever.
  4. Keep all your owners manuals in one place, and tape or staple the purchase receipt inside the front cover.
  5. Keep your own medical records (this is quite similar to #1 above).

bucket list

  • Hike and camp on the Appalachian trail
  • Drive or (motorcycle) ride the Alaskan highway
  • Visit fantasy fest key west (October)
  • Take a self-supported bicycle tour
  • Catch and harvest a giant tuna, swordfish or halibut
  • Visit SXSW Austin TX (March)
  • Sing onstage at the Grand Ole Opry
  • Visit unspoiled south Pacific, eg. Tahiti, great barrier reef

 

camera tech

The convenience and internet facility of cell phone photography has caused a definite decline in the quality of family images I’ve shot and collected over the last few years.   This recent picture was typical of my disappointment:

Taken with a Pantech android phone, I’ve observed that iPhone photos are capable of quite a bit better quality.

I realized my ‘good’ camera has just been collecting dust for months.   I thought I might pickup an Eye-Fi SD card for my camera, which would permit me to email and post better photos via my smartphone.  Alas, my high-end Lumix TZ1 point and shoot from 2006 is too old and not compatible with the eyefi technology!

I’m reading up on camera’s with built-in wifi now available, but it appears the integrated technology is still buggy and causing consumer complaints.   Maybe this all will mature a little and I can look for santa to bring me a solution this winter.    (Recall, I had a pretty good cellphone camera for a little while in 2010, but I discarded it for my first smartphone).

U.S. health care crisis and reform

Our health care crisis is twofold.  Primarily, the rampant cost of both critical and excessive services is totally out of control due to the largely unregulated third-party payer system that has evolved. All the players (hospitals, labs, insurance companies, doctors)  are trying to maximize profits, and free market principles don’t lead to efficiencies or economies when the consumer is not paying the bills.  You cannot argue with this; just compare U.S. health care pricing with any other industrialized nation.   It is flat out ridiculous.

Secondly, access to those third-party payer privileges is not available to a large segment of  Americans, and the majority of us are subject to financial ruin in the event of a health care crisis.  The Affordable Care act really only addresses this second issue, by making access to (our overpriced) care more equitable.  There is a minority who will be penalized or disadvantaged by the specifics of this act, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sound public policy based upon the presumption that health care is a legitimate human right.

But IMO, the more critical of these problems is the out of control costs and that can only be addressed by dismantling the current powerful health care insurance industry.  Obama was not able to do this.  Just my 2 cents.

Bob R.