4-Days in the Valley - Proto-Podcast season 0 episode 02

Music: Are You Awake? from the album "Lost In Translation - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" by Kevin Shields

Music: Alone In Kyoto from the album "Lost In Translation - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" by AIR

Script: "Four-Days in the Valley" A Lumbering Thru Life Video podcast w/ Joe Bustillos

Hi, this is Joe Bustillos Welcome to this edition of the LumberingThruLife Video Podcast

I just got back from spending a few days with the folks. I don't know if it's the 4-days with the folks or the 8-hour drive there and 8-hours back that puts me in a thoughtful mood.

The folks are getting on in years, this year dad will turn 79. Add to that, this visit had a higher than usual sense of importance because, like some old rock band on their final tour, this was going to be one of my last visits with the folks before I move to Florida in June. It definitely added some energy to the air.

On the surface I was there to do some work on mom's macmini. I'd made a few mistakes when I installed it over a year ago, the biggest mistake being tucking the cute little box in an under-desk storage area, forgetting that even macs need to be powered down occasionally and neither mom or dad were able to find the tiny recessed power-button in the back of the thing, especially because there was no way from them to be able to see the damn thing. Unfortunately the only people who could help mom had no experience with macs, Then when my sister, who is quite good with her PC set-up at home, came by, she pretty much confused mom and I knew that I needed to do something so that when mom ran into problems I could be of some assistance. And the problem was bad enough when I was 8-hours away in California. I felt all the more pressure to find some solution before moving to the opposite end of the country. So that was the cover story, but for me, it was just good to be away with the folks moving through the days at their pace.

One thing that had changed was that my dad had always been an early riser, getting up before the crack of dawn and then passing out in front of the TV at nine O'clock. Mom always got up with dad, so I thought that she was an early riser too. Several years ago I discovered that she was more of a night person, when I was staying with them and she walked into the kitchen when I was in the middle of a typical 1 A.M. writing session. Anyway, since relocating to Arizona it seems that mom has won out and now they have a habit of staying up past midnight and not getting up until 10 AM. That suited me just fine, even though I naturally wake up at 6 AM now.

The other thing that I found interesting was how much time they spent watching (and falling asleep in front of) the TV. And wasn't so much just watching TV as much as dad continually channel surfing and with dozens of channels to choose from he spend the first 10-minutes solid of each hour or half-hour flipping through the channels, spending no more than 30-second on each channel before flipping to the next one. Even when he landed on a channel that we want to see, he flipped to the next one and would go all the way through the dial to get back to it, rather than going back to the channel we wanted to see. Being the guest, I just found this habit curious. Mom usually just read the paper or took the remote away from him.

So we got up late, talked a lot about the family over meals... there was one morning I was really tempted to pull out my video camera because dad was relating stories about his family that I'd never heard. I'm not sure why I didn't except that if I pulled out the camera over breakfast they would have felt like they needed to be more presentable and that would have ruined the moment. Then I was also feeling a little guilty because several years ago I interviewed dad for over 40-minutes and never got around to editing the tape. So I let the moment go. It was just nice enough to be there with them, talking about politics and the move and family.

I'm a pretty open person, as is evident from my blog, but I don't really have that kind of blurt it all out kind of relationship with the folks and I find it easier to listen more than talk or to ask questions to keep the conversation rolling. A few times my questions got them arguing, even though they both held the same point. I tried to avoid doing that too much. But the conversations were important, even if we weren't really saying anything. Just having the conversations, spending the time was a good thing.

As for my technology mission, I wanted to get iChat video working, so that there would be the possibility of keeping the conversation going. But I failed to get iChat video or the more important desktop-share function to work, when I tested it with my brother who was online with me in California. When I tested it the next using my macbook instead of mom's macmini it worked, so the leading theory was that I was going to have to add more RAM to her computer. That would have to wait for another visit. Damn. I was able to get a Stickam video-chat group going with my brother, myself and mom and dad, so the mission wasn't a total failure.

But then, watching how they live their lives mostly in the living room or in the kitchen, I knew that she is only going to use the computer just enough to not really get the hang of it. I understand how intimidating the technology can be, and sitting with her for only a couple of minutes to show her how to move pictures sent to her in her email to iPhoto and then how to print them out is a bit much for one fast session. Brother Matt gave them a 5-disk DVD/CD changer during his last visit and they were totally intimidated by the jumbo-sized remote. Given that all of their music was already on her mac mini and playing a DVD is simply a matter of slipping a disc in, it dawned on me that moving the macmini to the living room and attaching it to the TV with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse would have been a neat solution, except for the fact that their standard definition 28" TV would have made reading or writing email impossible. When I shared my idea with brother Matt he thought I was crazy. But then he's never used Apple's FrontRow app and it's really simple play/pause/menu remote is way easier and more intuitive than the 5-DVD/CD changer they're currently struggling with and they would have access to all of their music and pictures. And having a video-chat session with me in Florida, sister Joyce in Hawaii and Matt, Kats, and Mich in California would be a really kick if they could do it from the comfort of their couch in the living room in full big-screen HD glory. Anyway, I think that it's a neat solution and if I can afford it, I know that getting them a HD widescreen, that's viewable from the couch would make it fun. They spend all their time in the living room anyway.

Yeah, it's just like me to find a solution to something that they don't feel is a real problem.

Twitters During AZ Sojourn:

  • Burning nephews Japan DVD 'cause he sent mom his only copy, oops.... watching the endless "closing"... er "verifying" status bar # 2008-03-24
  • spring break day 2 intinerary: walk w/ dad, set up family stickam room, dinner w/ fam/friends @ local mexican restaurant. Out of contol SP! # 2008-03-25
  • Got Stickam working btwn Macmini in bedroom 2 mbp in kitchen, question is whether anyone will use it, 3 of 5 + mom have mac; pcs need cams # 2008-03-25
  • Calculating cost of moving to Florida: U-haul 14' truck w/ car trailer for 9-days = $1684. not bad # 2008-03-25
  • waiting 4 dreamweaver to sync all files or folders from http://joebustillos.com to local drive. Very slow # 2008-03-25
  • car's packed, mom's making one last batch of pancakes & then I'm out'a here, headed back 2 long beach (1 hr behind "schedule"). It's all ... # 2008-03-26
  • I seem 2 do this every time. I pass up Blyth & then barely make it 2 the next gas station? My bladder doesn't appreciate this habit either # 2008-03-26
  • made it to the Indio In-n-Out, lunch time. Traffic is going to suck the rest of the way 2 long beach, might as well enjoy the moment # 2008-03-26
  • playing w/ VideoCue instead of putting things away after AZ trip. Need 2 strike while iron is hot (or b4 I pass out.. from exhaustion) # 2008-03-27

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[2016-04-21] When moving my video files to a new YouTube Channel I realized that this video was a proto-video podcast that would eventually become JBB’s Final Thoughts many years in the future. jbb