Regularly Posting Since 2000

Stanford research shows right-to-carry gun laws are linked to an increase in violent crime.

The strangely amusing website is a collection of world maps which — for some odd reason — do not include New Zealand.

Friday Five: Kevin Kline

Kevin KlineMy five favorite Kevin Kline movies:

  1. The Pirates of Penzance
    The Pirate King
  2. Soapdish
    Jeffrey Anderson / Dr. Rod Randall
  3. A Fish Called Wanda
  4. Dave
    Dave Kovic / Bill Mitchell
  5. French Kiss
    Luc Teyssier
Throwback Thursday
You Can't Take It With You

You Can’t Take It With You
Father Lopez High School

Two Months with an iPhone 6

iPhone 6I’ve had my iPhone 6 for just about two months now, so I feel I’m in a good position to detail some of my feelings about it. It’s certainly beautiful and fast, and it takes phenomenal photos. But there are a slew of hardware / design problems with it that honestly make me regret upgrading from the iPhone 5S. I have a long — long — list of bugs I’ve found in iOS 8, but right now I just want to write about the hardware.

So here goes, in no particular order:

Moving the power button to the side was an awful idea. It infuriates me because after two months I am still finding new reasons to disagree with this decision, and I can’t imagine how anyone at Apple approved this change.

  • Taking screenshots is now an exercise in digital gymnastics which much more often than not results in either changing the volume or locking the screen instead.
  • Restarting / rebooting the phone — which is already something you only do when frustrated or annoyed by a different problem — is now maddening.
  • After years of hitting the top of the phone to lock the screen, I still do that regularly to my chagrin.

The gorgeous curved edges are lovely to see, but make the phone harder to grasp. I routinely used my iPhone 5S (and 5 before that) in commando mode, without a case, and the squared edges provided very well-balanced fulcrum points for manipulating any of the buttons. Because of the increased width and decreased depth of the 6, squeezing the phone with one hand to reach the power button is now impossible to do without a case to provide grip. (It will simply pop out of my hand like a water balloon.) And being forced to add a case obviously nullifies the beauty of the curves.

I’m right-handed (like most people) and the vast, vast majority of the time I use my phone, I’m doing so single-handedly and with my left hand. Unfortunately the increased height of the 6 means I can no longer reach the top right corner of the screen with my left thumb and the increased width means I can no longer reach the right edge of the screen either. The only way to do so is to sort of pop the phone halfway into my palm, but then my fingers are no longer clasping the right edge of the phone and are instead balancing it from behind, which is dangerously precarious.
I know that Apple introduced with iOS 8 the ability to sort of double-tap the home button to bring the items at the top of the screen a bit lower so they can be reached with the left thumb, but (a) that doesn’t solve the issue of hitting the items on the far right of the screen, (b) I never remember that option exists, and (c) this is the sort of half-hearted, last-second kludge of a fix that I expect from really, really bad developers and not from one of the largest, most-profitable corporations in the history of the world which prides itself on spectacular design.
It took me a good week or two to get used to this and I still find myself having to catch it with my right hand or risk it smashing on the ground. (For reference: I never once clumsily dropped any of my previous iPhones in all the years I had them. Not once.)

Apple made a big deal about how the 6 is allegedly designed to improve your ability to take a “selfie”, but in my experience this simply isn’t true. The increased height and width of the device make it infinitely more difficult to maintain a stable grip on it while simultaneously clicking the shutter button (or either of the volume buttons) to snap a photo at arms’ length. And I use the word “infinitely” intentionally, because with all prior versions of the phone taking a selfie required zero — zero — careful consideration of finger placement or grip.

I should note that I don’t have particularly small hands or anything ridiculous like that, and that I’m only writing about the iPhone 6 here. I can’t even imagine how torturous the iPhone 6+ is to use.

I should also note that if the reason for the increased size of the phone was made to provide more space for an incredible battery, I would still have all of these complaints. But I’d at least understand that most people care more about battery life than anything else. But the battery life of my iPhone 6 is considerably worse than that of the iPhone 5S, which regularly lasted 36 hours with normal use. I have yet to get more than about 16 hours of normal use out of my iPhone 6 without needing to recharge it.

This is the first time I’ve been truly disappointed with an Apple product, and that bothers me for a lot of reasons.


In the final analysis, the progress of our civilization will be retarded if any large body of citizens falls behind. Without the help of thousands of others, any one of us would die, naked and starved.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Friday Five: Stone Temple Pilots

Tiny Music...Songs From the Vatican Gift ShopHere are my five favorite Stone Temple Pilots songs:

  1. Sour GirlNo. 4
  2. Interstate Love SongPurple
  3. AtlantaNo. 4
  4. PlushCore
  5. Big Bang BabyTiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop
Throwback Thursday
Walter and Lorraine

Walter and Lorraine Gagne
~ 1948?

Friday Five: Scary Movies

JawsI tried to come up with five scary movies for this Halloween Friday Five, but I could only think of three films that actually ever scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. (I’ve never seen any of the Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw, or Friday the 13th movies; mom would never let us watch them!)

  • Jaws
  • The Thing
  • Gremlins

If you had to pick just two scary movies, what would you suggest I add to the list?

What You Don’t Know About Obamacare Will Surprise You


Obamacare is really, really difficult to understand. So here is a really, really good explanation to help. If you are a person who is alive, you should read it. (And, no, it’s actually not biased! It’s just a straightforward explanation!)

Throwback Thursday
Buddie, Goodland

with Sir Budrick the Lion-Hearted


Theodore RooseveltGet action. Do things. Be sane.
Don’t fritter away your time. Create. Act.
Take a place wherever you are and be somebody.
Get action.
Theodore Roosevelt, The Roosevelts

Rise – The Sunrise / Sunset Calendar

Rise - The Sunrise Sunset CalendarI prefer to run first thing in the morning.* I like being up and at ’em before the rest of the world and I know that if I wait until the end of the day I’ll find some excuse to be lazy instead. Right now I’m living in an area without adequate street lighting, and it’s simply much too dark to hit the road until there’s at least a sliver of sunshine.

In about a week we’ll be done with Daylight Saving Time and it won’t matter, but until then I’ve been relying on the awesome app Rise to let me know when to set my alarm before I go to bed. Not only does it tell you when sunrise is going to be based on where you are, it also tells you when “first light” will be. That’s usually just enough to see the sidewalk, which is all I really need. If you’re a morning runner, I recommend it. And it’s free!

*I can’t have anything in my stomach before I exercise, and pre-breakfast is the only part of the day when that’s really an option.

Friday Five: Disneyland Rides

Jungle CruiseMy five favorite rides at Disneyland:

  1. Jungle Cruise
  2. It’s a Small World
  3. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
  5. Gadget’s Go Coaster
Throwback Thursday
Music Biz

Music Biz


Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
André Gide

a thousand thousand slimy things

Ghost Ship

[Today is] the birthday of the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born in Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire, England (1772). He was a very ambitious young man, who lectured on religion, wrote journalism, and single-handedly tried to launch his own magazine. But he was exhausting himself and falling into a depression when he was introduced to the poet William Wordsworth. They met only briefly in 1795 …

Within a few years of writing “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” [in 1798] Coleridge’s life began to fall apart. He became addicted to opium, which ruined his friendship with Wordsworth. He had a habit of starting enormous projects that he could not then finish, including a 1,400-page work of geography, a two-volume history of English prose, a translation of Faust, a musical about Adam and Eve, a history of logic, a history of German metaphysics, a study of witchcraft, and an encyclopedia.

His friends hated the fact that he had wasted so much of his talent. They’d all considered him the most brilliant writer and thinker they’d ever known, but he accomplished so little.

from The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor newsletter

Friday Five: Disneyland Rides

It's a Small WorldMy son’s five favorite rides at Disneyland, and what he calls them:

  1. It’s a Small World — “Issa Small World the Ride”
  2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh — “Pooh!”
  3. Gadget’s Go Coaster — “Baby Roller Coaster”
  4. Storybook Land Canal Boats — “Whale Belly”
  5. Alice in Wonderland — “Alices”
Throwback Thursday
Chris, David, Ryan

Chris O’Brien, Me, Ryan Tober
Studio City, CA

Friday Five: Reasons to Celebrate October 10th

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

  • It’s the anniversary of my wedding day.
  • It’s the anniversary of my wife’s wedding day.
  • It’s the anniversary of the day my wife and I were married.
  • It’s the anniversary of the day my wife became Mrs. Gagne.
  • It’s the anniversary of the #1 Florida Gators 13 to 3 victory in Baton Rouge over the then #4 LSU Tigers in 2009.