Sorry, Apple

In early December, I ordered an Apple Mac Studio desktop. I loaded it up with a top-end processor, tons of memory and storage, and even though it would take a month to get it, I ordered it anyway. $6k all in.

Right in the middle of Chanukah, I got a note from Apple saying sorry, your order is being delayed for another month. No explanation was provided. A year after launching the device, it was still taking months to produce.

So I spent just a little time digging into the issue. While I found no official announcements, I was led to suspect that Apple was facing one or both of two issues:

• The COVID-19 outbreak in China hammered the Apple supply chain, and the company could not get the product out of the factories.
• There were undisclosed production or performance issues at the upper end of Apple’s homegrown silicon, the M1 Ultra chip.

So I thought about it for two days, went online, and canceled the order. This was not the right time to get a high-end Mac.

I skipped my mid-life crisis: I was too busy at work.

Or, as it now seems, perhaps I was just postponing it for retirement.

Looking Like My Parents

I had to laugh at and share this shot, because in it I look like I textbook combination of my parents.

While this provides some assurance that my family tree is as advertised, it is also a bit frightening: I look like my parents did when I was a teenager.

Ah, well: aging beats the alternative.

Happy Hannukah, everyone! Chag Sameach!

Kick-Back Stack

Sunny’s eyes just about came out of her head when the waitress at Kick Back Jack’s set these monster blueberry pancakes down in front of her.

My dear wife had her revenge, though: she made it through about 80% of this massive stack, then jumped back into the car and drove another four hours.

Never underestimate the ability of a thin person to make food just seem to disappear.

Porta-Casa

If I can’t be on a train, I want to be in a tent.

Camping out with a well-run Troop, by about 10 in the evening the Scoutmaster can relax. The youth leaders are in charge: the Patrol Leaders have their patrols in their tents, and the Senior Patrol Leader has held a quick meeting to plan the next day before everyone else turns in. It’s now 10:30pm and totally quiet in the camp.

I change my socks, put my shoes by the tent door, tuck into my sleeping bag, zip up, set my alarm for 6:30, prop my head up on my extra sleeping bag, and turn on my Kindle.

After a long day and a superb dinner, the quiet forest and a warm sleeping bag conspire to shorten my time catching up with Fyodor Dostoevsky, and I am snoring within minutes.

Books of 2021: San Miguel

In a departure from his normally humorous style, T.C. Boyle builds upon the little-known history of a forgotten American domain to spin a novel both lyrical and haunting. So perfectly are the characters and their setting woven together that I almost feel like I was reading Steinbeck.

I finished the novel late at night, and, sitting up on the edge of my bed, opened my windows so I could invite in the mist and listen to the sea lions sing a duet with the foghorn.

Reasons to Love Amtrak: Service

They gave these to me for free. Portland station for the win again.

When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, domestic US airlines had a culture of service that they extended to everyone regardless of whether you were flying first or coach. That sentiment is mostly dead unless you are seated in the front of the plane, and even then, its a crapshoot.

Amtrak, on the other hand, has a service culture that harks back to the golden era of air travel. I will choose Amtrak over any domestic US airline, and this simple gesture on the part of a Portland baggage handler is just one more example of why that is the case.

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