One For Hank Hedland

Write like you are writing to a friend. I’m writing to Hank Hedland.

Hank Hedland,
The accompanying mind dribble is sent to you without vindictive intentions. I have nothing but good purposes mixed with a needy desperation to find a destination for this writing. I need to pass it to someone before I put it away forever. Like a pink elephant gift.

As a member of To Live And Write In Alameda I’ve been trying to get into the habit of writing and one prompt in this regard has been the written advice of the sadly recently departed Tom Wolfe. His tip to fledgling writers was along this line. “Write as if you you are writing to a friend,” he said, as I recall. “Why me?”, you may ask Mr. Hedland. Here is what I wrote. It touches on your and Tom’s podcast Talk About The 80s content, a little bit. So that’s why.
Oh, and I don’t know what Mr. Wolfe would advise me about my run-on sentences. And I don’t really know if heavy metal bands are an 80s thing. Which, if they aren’t, could be a bit awkward for my reasoning.


My bedroom window opens up to a view of my neighbor’s backyard. In that yard is the beginning of the construction of a little cottage. It was begun with the laying of a cement foundation. That is how they start.

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My Grandma, My Nanny and Me

Grandma & Nanny, and me, a brief history v4.1

My grandmother’s hairpiece was in the shape of a “bun” that so many gray haired senior ladies had on the top of their head in those days. When I was a kid it looked kinda funny to me. As I got older I came to realize that the “bun” was a kind of wig that she wore. 

I’ve noticed that this hairstyle seems to have come back into fashion in recent years. Today it looks good. Really. Take it from me. The adult me. Even guys have one sometimes.

Back then, to me – the child, it looked kinda like a doorknob sticking out of the top of her head.

And the adult me and the history buff in me now wonders what I missed knowing about my grandparents in those days. Back in the early “Bun Days.”

So, I’m looking back to my grandma’s days. Stuff that was going on in my family in those days has me curious. There is so little that I really know. But now I’ve run out of time to learn very much about those days and, of course, I’m out of grandparents to ask.

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Satisfaction on a Sunday Morning

In an email one Nick Weaver asked me if I would like to write a review of his product, my newly purchased eero system wifi extender. He asked me in an email yesterday. So I don’t mind. It seems to work fine. I suspect that Nick, “Co-founder and CEO,” is hoping that I would write a good review.

And he can be pretty fairly comfortable asking because I had answered his earlier email questionnaire a week ago. My response was conveniently abridged in 5 easy button selections. And all my selections were all positive. I checked all with the 5 button indicating “Very Satisfied” buttons in all cases I pressed SEND.

Yep, I’m a pretty satisfied customer. Somehow I keep forgetting the product name though. Is it aaro or is it eero? Are business running out of name choices? When it grows up will it use a capital letter? Is this a “branding” issue Nick? No biggie.

Bet Nick doesn’t send any followup requests to the guys who are unsatisfied in even one of 5 categories found in the customer opinion email. So I am pretty much a sure thing. Let’s see if he is satisfied by this.

Really, getting good reviews is tuff as we all know it is easier to want to complain about something you bought than send a nice message for positive results.

I think it’s something like 8 times more likely that a complaint will be sent than a good review on a product purchase. Somehow has figured out a way to defeat this human trait, apparently.

Then again, maybe Nick has only satisfied customers. Wouldn’t that be nice.

You know Kick gave me the chance to start the day in a positive way and I’m pretty sure I didn’t kick a cat at any time that morning. Thanks Nick.
The start of my Review for Amazon, to which Nick provided a convenient link:

So here you go Nick. My Amazon Review of eero system:

This aaro system has been working out just fine at home since I installed it. I only needed to call tech support on a Sunday morning and a very nice person answered and guided me until I realized that I had forgotten to select my new WiFi network. Tip: always makeup a new name for the new network that eero makes. Could be confusing later, otherwise.
The old WiFi network was weaker and wouldn’t range into the back bedroom well. Checking email in bed was “such a problem!” So, after being reminded, I clicked on the WiFi symbol at the top of the screen to select my newly setup network. Of course I had named it differently. It was the step that I had forgotten and it was a cinch, after it was pointed out. Thanks Sunday morning guy.

aaro info (advertising) suggests that you buy the 3 unit system (called an eero and two eero Beacons) to reach around all corners in a 1,500 sq. ft. house or office. At over $300 thats a lot of money spent for buying a lot of invisible waves that might be here or might be there, or not. But the aero app shows great power everywhere so now I don’t have to get out of bed. And bonus, I can even download to my laptop while it’s in my back yard. I need a hammock.

MY REVIEW, it’s working fine. Satisfied customer.

Meeting Howard Cosell

First trip to the New York Subway System
Stamford Train Platform

It was my first visit ever to a New York Subway platform, I walked up a stairway from the metro parking lot to purchase my ticket. The “platform” I climbed to was actually in Stamford Connecticut but I understood it would take us to the New York subway. That would be about 40 miles away.

I was with my cousin Richard who was a local Stamford teenager just graduated from high school. I was about 10 years older than Richard.

My visit to Stamford Connecticut was just beginning after my first night “crashing” at my uncle’s house there. My VW bus had been my sleeping place for most of the nights between the San Francisco Bay Area and Stamford. I drove to my aunt and uncle’s home in Stamford the afternoon before Richard’s and my New York tour.

I was excited to be about to be shown New York City by Richard. It would be fun to get to know him better along the way. And it would probably be far better than getting a different tour from his parents, my aunt and uncle, for sure.

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Following Breakfast, Lunch

I’m not complaining, I promise. After a very leisurely breakfast we had our chance to catch up on family stories and travel stories. It wasn’t long before the comfort food was being ladeled out from the kitchen. The kitchen is to the rear in this picture.               Ajiaco, Colombia’s ultimate warm and welcome dish. The corn, chicken, peas and potato in a broth was a very satisfying start to our trip.


Morning in Bogota

It’s a warm gathering for breakfast that we just finished in Zoraida’s family home. Eggs and bread for us and caldo (broth) for “nonita” (Abuelita, Mama).

The house has two levels and we were provided again a nice ground floor room filled with niece Margarita’s clothing, college books and more. The room has a large window which gives a fine view of my brother-in-law’s carpentry shop in the covered yard. He took it over from his father over 30 years ago. Oscar has an employee today helping finish a large wood shelving piece which will be moved later today in a rented truck.

When it starts to rain the weather predictions are proven correct. Colombia has had the rainiest year in recent memory. There rains have reduced flower production and been the cause of disastrous landslides in three spring.


I am getting ready for a two week family trip.

The details are the regular mundane insanity.

  1. Plane departure time has been rescheduled which shortens the connection time interval leaving too little time for finding our way around any airport without a pretty big chance we could miss the second plane.
  2. A new, earlier flight is arranged for and the clock alarm must be set 2 hours earlier than the original plan.



Working under the tent roof there was the reek of hot plastic. But the work had to be done.

When all was said and done, Senator Eugene McCarthy had sent his last campaign mailing to his most fervent supporters. And sent it also to the most generous party donors on a specific list provided that day. There were just over 20,000 letters. 20,105 according to the stamp count, leaving on the fold-up tables in the tent covered work area just 95 unlicked and on the volunteer tables. Piled next to the remaining blue George Washington 43cent stamps and a couple hundred empty letter sized envelopes with the Senator’s white hair flowing in his official photo with the return address on the left corner top. Under the tent no one thought to keep any un-mailed letters as souvenirs of their day’s work. Surely there were many indications that this mailing and the resulting inflow of cash would carry the Senator into the convention with renewed energy.

Under the work tent it was hotter than it had been when the work began, and there was still the reek of hot plastic.

. . .

Pizza. The offer of free pizza could always draft a sufficient body of undergrads to the activity room of the dorm. Even in Palo Alto where pizza was just about as plentiful as Starbucks and many students had deep enough pockets to buy all the pizza they could ever eat, pizza could attract a lot of volunteers. even if they didn’t want to admit it. So the hungry student with the stated aim to support the white haired candidate to stun the system and upset the moderates who had always failed the nation, lined up at the pizza boxes and to sit at the computer spaces. And if a volunteer had no interest in pizza, a selection from the tray of Bahn Mi would be an acceptable substitute for the pizza.


Emily, the party coordinator, explained that the correct password would access a party site. She explained that this page linked to a brainstorm page. Here they were to put their most creative contributions. They should check the targeted recipient’s age range.

All of these ideas would be passed to “national” in the effort of generate the identification of the most current issues that would spark outcomes including donations, phone bank volunteers, increased attendance at candidate and party meetings, donations and those kinds of things.

“You know we are going to have to work very hard in these last few weeks,” Emily said to them all as they prepared to leave the room. “They don’t expect us to make it.” Actually the effort was ended in just a few days.

A tan T-shirt with the candidate’s name and picture was provided to all who attended.

. . .

We wondered if there would be another election. How could it be held? There were no photos of the candidate for obvious reasons, as explained by the blip-text. We would find voting convenient as it was coming in the same form as had this message. All votes should be counted and the results would be sent after 25 hours. Check your mailbox.

Proper log-in is, of course, required. Code and finger ID. Blip-text gave 60 seconds for voting before closing so citizens should be ready. 100% participation is expected. Since the terror bombings of the recent months and the subsequent travel restrictions, all votes would be electronic and would indicate citizen participation. Failure to vote would indicate non-citizenship, which is illegal.

The apartment smelled of marijuana. At least we could still find some dope out there.

Because our vote was required, and would give away some information that could reveal too much, we were living in a moment of heightened purpose. It had been awhile since we struggled to avoid the new reality. Mostly people disappeared after trying to put an end to the organizations said to be watching to protect the citizens. It didn’t matter.

We slipped on our rubber gloves, filled the canisters and walked casually with our backpacks to the corner.