Month: November 2015

Fill ‘er up!

Gas Station Service 01

Yep, “fill ‘er up” is sure not a term you hear anymore. And if you are anywhere near my age surely there was a time when you often bellowed it out to a service station attendant.

Gas Station Service 02I had planned sometime back to do a post on the service stations of old that I and virtually all my peers have visited on more than one occasion I’m sure. I was reminded of that this morning when reading the morning newspaper and the adjacent picture appeared in our local paper. Can you believe that in the UK they apparently still have service stations where attendants tend to your vehicle needs? I’ll bet they really don’t. This one service station is probably on some property belonging to the Buckingham Palace gang. 🙂

Admittedly I really miss the convenience of those days. Some may just call me lazy if I object to getting out of the car and pumping my own gas. No, I don’t think its laziness, it really did have to do with the service you received, especially if it was a good service station. Not to mention not having to deal with the weather conditions. And I would think in particularly that a lot of the ladies would sure like to have seen that service continue.

Gas Station Service 03You got your tank filled, your oil checked, your windshield washed and could even request them to check the air in your tires if you were concerned about that. As far as I know, the only place to receive service like that now days here in America is in your dreams. Most service stations that I am aware of don’t even have air pumps any longer while others are like vending machines where you put in a quarter for 2 minutes of air. And then of course there is the air gauge we all have to have because if we do have to check our tire’s air pressure we have something to do it with.

Surely you remember paying the attendant and if you didn’t have the correct change they would have to go inside the station to get the change. They weren’t always happy about having to do that as I recall, especially if it was bad weather. At some point many stations began having their attendants wear coin dispensers on their belts and carrying a stash of bills so they could make change right at the car.

Now back in the forties and fifties when I was growing up dad would drive the car up to the local service station almost every Sunday to get it washed and serviced. Now the service stations hand washed cars in those days. Normally you would go to your local neighborhood Gas Station Service 04station, they would drive you back home in your car then return to the station with your car and after the car was washed and greased, they would return to pick you up and you would then drive them back to the station and pay for your services. I don’t remember but I bet that was all for a lot less than five bucks! In those days cars needed more frequent oil changes and lubrication or grease jobs as we use to call them. Most service stations were extremely busy on Sundays with car washing, oil changes and grease jobs.

Found this photo of a service station attendant on the Internet. Wow… I never had a service station attendant that looked like that for sure. Must be one of those California girl attendants. If we had had lady attendants here in Arkansas they would have probably been able to beat the crap out of two men at the same time… know what I mean!

Gas Station Service 05

Well once again I find myself traveling down the old reminiscent trail of days gone by. I suppose if I face the reality of still having all those great drive-thru services the cost of gasoline would be even higher. And with all the cars on the road I doubt service stations need to provide such services to aid in increasing their bottom line. Well… at least we got to enjoy the good life for a while. 🙂

“PONG” – King of the video games….

I guess I have always enjoyed playing video games and became a huge fan of the Sega Genesis video consoles and games in the 1980s. I am particularly a fan of the arcade type space games and golf video games. Of course, as always, all good things come to an end and Sega would eventually close up shop in 1997. But there is, of course, no comparison to the graphic quality of the games on the market today verses the quality of the older game consoles.

Always slow to embrace change, I finally broke down several years ago and purchased a PlayStation 3 and have been reasonably happy with it. It’s a no-brainer with regard to the quality of the graphics. My first game purchase had to be the “Tiger Woods 09″ golf game. I loved it! I then purchased the ever popular “Call To Duty” and didn’t like that game whatsoever. That turned out to be because I just had too difficult a time using the PlayStation controller. I ended up giving it to my brother-in-law who obviously loved it since my sister threatened to divorce him if he didn’t stop playing it. But all’s fair in love and war. This same brother-in-law gave me a racing game, named “A Need for Speed – ProStreet”, and I like it so well I went out and spent another $150 on a silly-ass steering wheel attachment for my PlaStation. Not to mention another $50 for the supposedly ultimate racing game – “Grand Turismo”!

Having said all that to simply get to the subject of this post, there remains one video game that will live forever and rightly so, deserving a front row seat in the video game Hall of Fame. The one that started it all…..”PONG”! I’m sure some of the younger folks are not going to be familiar with “Pong” at all. And even today with its complete simplicity, it is still a joy to play. Not to mention the fact that the controller consist of one knob rather than numerous knobs and buttons needed for today’s typical video game.

Pong Video Game(My Pong Video Game – Click to Enlarge)

A couple of weeks ago I, by chance, ran across a little graphic animation of a ‘pong’ game and it got the ole’ memories stirring. Then I remembered having an old ‘pong’ game stored somewhere in the attic. So up I went and sure enough there it was. Now it is sitting on a table in the den having been dusted, cleaned and made like new!

And I also ended up making a video clip to pay homage to this giant of the video game world. So you’re invited to share a nostalgic moment in time if you dare and to click on the video below. There is an unmistakable sound that emanates from a “Pong” game and if you ever hear it, you will never forget it. You may wish to forget it, but you won’t!

If you are also a fan of some measure of the “Pong” video game, be sure and visit The Pong Story, a website containing lots of historical information and technical tips regarding the game and its many faces.

Fellow consumer, here’s a little trick of the trade!

As a consumer, I have from time to time purchased an item, usually something electronic in nature, that doesn’t do what I had thought it would do or at the very least, hoped it would do. Sometimes getting less than we expected in a product we purchased can be blamed on misleading advertisement or more often than not, just the lack of sufficient information about the product at the time of our purchase.

Well, a while back I found a great way to help resolve many of those disappointments and frustrations. That is to simply go on-line, locate the “user manual” for the specific product your interested in purchasing, downloading it via the Internet and reading through it prior to making a purchase. These user manuals by the way are almost always made available in ‘pdf’ format. I have to admit that more times than not I have found that the product I thought I wanted would not actually fulfill all my expectations. On occasion however, there were times when it actually exceeded my expectations.

FZ-150 User Manua;

My most recent buying experience was to review and contemplate the purchase of a specific new digital camera. Having specific needs and desires regarding the camera’s capabilities, I went to the manufacturer’s website, queried the “model number/user manual” (Lumix FZ150 User Manual) I was contemplating purchasing, and was able to download the appropriate user manual and get all the detailed information I needed to confirm this was the appropriate item for me to purchase that would suit my needs. Often you can just “Google” the model of the item you are interested in followed by the words ‘user manual’ and get it that way. These downloaded user manuals are almost always the exact manual you will get in the box with your purchase. And in most cases the downloaded version is much easier to read on your computer than they are in their physical state. As an example, here are three 3) typical manuals I downloaded for products I have purchased…

AT&T Cordless Telephone User Manual

Craftsman Electric Edger – User Manual

Philips Sonicare User Manual

I have done this in the past for electric shavers, vacuum cleaners, portable telephones and cameras as well as those included above. You might want to give it a try next time you are considering a purchase that most probably has a manual of some sort required for its use and/or maintenance. 🙂

A “wordsmith” I’m not, nevertheless….

Wordsmith Master Graphic

By no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself a “wordsmith” of any stature. I enjoy writing and maintaining this blog but when it comes to the grammatical details and word usage to do those things, I am by no means a grammatical or English language expert. I certainly do try to be grammatically conscientious and do the best I can but there are times when mistakes may be noted.

But from time to time, perhaps like some of you, I do by chance run across words that I have never heard before that have somewhat of an enchanting quality about them. You would think that by the time you have reached the age of 74 as I have, you would have heard all the words that had ever been created.

Anyway, most recently I happened upon the word “williwaw” and was absolutely elated at my discovery. What a jewel of a word I thought. There was some measure of humor to the sound of the word but something strange about the word itself. It had the aura of Australian slang I thought. Perhaps it was what you called an infant wallaby.

Well, turns out that was incorrect! A “williwaw”, as it turned out, is defined as a sudden blast of wind descending from a mountainous coast to the sea. Well for crying out loud then, why did someone go and reinvent a word for that. We already had a word for that which everyone is familiar with the Santa Ana winds. Now, although I didn’t read this anywhere, I have deduced that a Santa Ana wind is inclusive of an entire wind event whereas the “williwaw” is just one occurrence of a wind blast. Therefore to have a Santa Ana wind you have to have a whole bunch of williwaws.

This all reminds me of the first time I heard the word “kerfuffle”. That’s a word that almost sounds exactly like what it means. A favorite word of mine for sure. But now I have got myself another favorite it would seem. Yep. Williwaw!

Google’s Birthday Wishes….

I don’t know about you but I use Google often and if you are a user yourself then you know that just above the search area where you enter your search criteria, there is almost always a graphic of some type. I usually pay little attention to the graphic myself while at other times I may click on it to see if it leads me to a game which it often does if you’re unaware of this hidden treat.

Well, this past Friday was my birthday which falls the day before Halloween. Of course if you know anything at all about Google and the subject graphic I was speaking of, you know Google always has a graphic posted that is appropriate for the season, holiday or event. On one of my visits to Google last Friday it caught my attention immediately that their graphic had an assortment of cakes, cupcakes and other choice goodies. The cakes and cupcakes all had burning candles in them. Of course with it being right on the cusp of Halloween I thought the graphic was somewhat out of place.

Jokingly I finally decided that it was specifically for me and Google was celebrating my birthday, yea, fat chance right? You can imagine how ridiculous I thought my conclusion was but then when I took my mouse and clicked on the graphic it took me directly my personal Google+ page. Well that really set me back for a moment. I then paged back to the graphic and left my mouse cursor on the graphic for a couple of seconds and up pops a little window “Happy Birthday Alan”! Here is a screen capture of the whole deal…

My Google Search Page - Happy Birthday

As it turns out after doing a little research on what was going on, using Google of course, I found that in 2010 Google implemented this feature for those who had a Google account. So if you have a Google+ account, YouTube account or a ‘gmail’ email account then I’m assuming those all are under the main Google account. If you have entered your birth date on your ‘Profile Page’ of your main Google account you too will reap fame and fortune and be headlined by Google just as I was when your birthday rolls around.

So, if you are as unaware of this kind of fun feature be sure and check it out on your next birthday. Oh, and by the way in case you are wondering, you are the only one that sees this Google phenomenon on your computer. It’s not, unfortunately some sort of international recognition of the event. Alas, it’s only for you…. 🙂