Category Archives: Stuff

Thunderstorms

This is another Father’s Day tribute to Bob (aka Dad).

From Welcome to the Future …

Despite the fact that my parents love for me caused them to be overly protective, my dad did something equally amazing for me. I have always loved thunderstorms. I love the lightning and I love the thunder. I think that thunderstorms are one of the most exhilarating of all natural phenomenon. There is a reason for this. My dad grew up in an orphanage. It was not uncommon at the time for single mothers who could not care for their children to abandon them at an orphanage. Summertime in Florida produces severe afternoon thunderstorms. The nuns at the orphanage were afraid that lightening would hit the building and set fire to it. Rather than face the possibility of an orphanage full of trapped children burning to the ground, whenever a thunderstorm approached, the nuns would make the children go outside and lie facedown in the grass until the storm passed. Needless to say, my dad was terrified of thunderstorms; shaking, vomiting, fetal position terrified of thunderstorms. Dad swore to himself that I was never going to be afraid of lightning and thunder like he was. From my earliest days my dad would pick me up and bounce me on his knee during storms. “See the lightning,” he would say, “now wait, here it comes … BADDA BOOM.” I would giggle and laugh. He showed no fear, why should I. Of course, I remember none of this. I was too young. But I do know that I love lightning and thunder. Whenever my dad told this story he would add one more thing … by making sure that I was never afraid of thunderstorms he had cured his own fear too.

  
Trying to proof-read the above is difficult through tear filled eyes. If there are typos, cut me some slack.

 Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there and to their children!

Bob

Robert Francis (Bob) Bergman 

Circa mid 1970s

[Click the images to zoom to full size]


YOKS (Ye Olde Kid Sister) posted the photo above of our Dad to Facebook today.

I took that photo during my “Black & White” photography period. My camera bag is prominently visible in the foreground. This is a classic Bob photo – beer in hand. Note the old school disposable “pop top” beer can and Bob’s signature white cowboy hat.

Below is another picture I took on a different fishing trip. This is actually a cropped digital image of a framed picture I have hanging on my staircase. It is my favorite photo of Dad.


 

Bob loved to fish and I frequently went along with him always getting on the road before sunrise. I was heavily into photography in the 70s and would go “fishing” with him just to get out and away from everything and to spend time alone with him. I am not sure exactly when these pictures were taken – I could probably find the negatives and give you the exact dates, but that would be irrelevant – mid 1970s is close enough. 

I put “fishing” in quotes because I mostly went for the solitude, sandwiches, beer, and photography. Fishing was very “zen” for Bob. Peace, quiet, solitude … and beer. Bob loved beer. Fishing wasn’t so much about catching fish as it was the entire experience. Sure he loved actually catching fish, but not catching fish was OK too. How does that old saying go … “the worst day fishing is better than the best day of work.”

Our “worst day of fishing” was the time we were out in Florida Keys in a rented boat and sheared the propeller shear pin on a sand shoal – with no extra shear pins. After several hours of trying to row back to shore with the single oar we had – including realizing we had snagged the line of a lobster/crab pot on the outboard motor, thus going nowhere – Bob decided to fashion a shear pin out of a heavy gauge fish hook. That did the trick and we limped back to the marina. Speaking of “lobsters” I was wearing shorts, no shirt, and no hat. Although by some miracle I did not blister, I was “cooked lobster red” for many days afterwards. Still better than “the best day of work.”

Bob would have loved this song …

Bob is no longer with us. Time may heal all wounds, but we still miss him.

Bob, wherever you are, this one’s for you …


 

Happy Father’s Day

Safety Break

Remember Adult Swim?

No, not the one from Cartoon Network. The original adult swim of 10 minutes every hour at your local Home Owner’s Association (HOA) community pool. It was originally used to give the lifeguards a break and give adults the ability to swim laps without interference from the kids. 

Today at my local pool, which I began attending to walk laps for exercise (32 laps = 1 mile*), we were told at 10 minutes before the hour that it was Safety Break and EVERYONE had to get out of the pool for 10 minutes. Apparently there was an age discrimination lawsuit filed (and won) in California against Adult Swim. Now HOAs across the country are avoiding Adult Swim for fear of lawsuit.

I suggest they play Safety Dance during the Safety Break.

 

* the swim lane section of our pool is 25 metres long … one lap is 50 metres, one mile is 1609 metres … do the math

Bergen Park Dreams

[ I began writing this about the time that iOS 10.3.2 Trashed My iPhone … just now getting back to it ]

In a previous post I told you briefly of my time living at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory a mile or so west of Bergen Park Colorado in the mountains west of Denver. 

I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in Bergen Park from 1976 to 1981 with my newlywed bride, two dogs, and (very briefly) a cat. They were perhaps the happiest days of my life and I still have what I have come to call “Bergen Park Dreams”.

“Bergen Park Dreams” are essentially what they sound like, dreams about living in Bergen Park … but they have evolved subtly over the years. Initially they were simple reminiscences of actual events at the time, but as time passed they became stranger and stranger. This maybe due to the fact that I had revisited Bergen Park in the mid-90s and more recently in 2015 – boy had things changed.

My first drive to Bergen Park and the Observatory was in 1975. It was little more than a crossroads with a Conoco station, a mini mart, liquor store, bowling alley, and a few restaurants. Depending on which road out of Bergen Park you chose, you would be on your way to the more populous Evergreen to the south, or on the road to Squaw Mountain and Mount Evans to the southwest, or heading west back to connect to I-70 via Colorado 65. 

The area west of Bergen Park on Colorado 65 was pristine. It was a Colorado mountain paradise. The Observatory was just off of 65 to the north up a dirt road. Back then, as I said, it was truly a pristine paradise. Elk would graze within a stone’s throw of the upper balcony. Little did I know that it would all change in just a few short years with the development of the Soda Creek community on the south side of 65 and it’s million dollar mini-ranchettes. From 1976 to 1981 I lived in a Colorado paradise worth millions of dollars because I could not afford to live anywhere else.

In the summer of 1976 the future Mrs flew out to visit me for a week during the summer. We had been dating since 1973 when we had met in fencing class at Broward Junior College near Davie, Florida west of Fort Lauderdale where I lived with my folks. Ok I actually lived in Wilton Manors, an island bounded by natural rivers and man-made canals within Fort Lauderdale, but whatever. 

I met my wife-to-be in Junior College while attending a fencing class. She was my partner during field camp for the “barbed-wire stretching” section. We had five miles of barbed-wire to stretch along a section of canal that bordered the Everglades. She cut her hand and I cleaned and bandaged it tenderly with love and care. So gentle were my attentions that she soon fell under the spell of my gentle but manly manner and soon we were lying under the shade of a mangrove tree making sweet, sweet …

Oh wait that was last night’s dream … It was fencing class as in touché, sabers, etc. …

My wife-to-be in fencing class:

20130831-171620.jpg

Ok not my wife … and besides in 1973 the world had not yet been introduced to light-sabers. We used foils, épées, old-school sabers. Her sweet smile and school girl laugh pierced my heart as did the unshielded tip of her épée. When I finally got out of the hospital … OK that was lie. It was fencing class nothing more. But it was the beginning of a 40 year love affair.

For a picture of my wife-to-be back in 1973, click HERE.

Where was I? Oh yes, 1976, so this was the first time I had not gone home over summer break and had moved into the Observatory full-time only a few months before in order to establish in-state residency. My wife-to-be was flying out from Miami to visit me. I had gone to the former Stapleton International airport in Denver to pick her up only to find out that her flight was “delayed”. I was unable to get any information regarding the delay. I began thinking … what if the plane had crashed? Would the Arrival Display calmly announce “Hull Loss” or “Plane Crashed”? Of course not. It would announce FLIGHT DELAYED. I finally gave up and drove back to Bergen Park with the weight of uncertainty heavily upon me. Later that night she called from the hotel in which the airline had put them up in Dallas due to engine trouble. She arrived the next day telling me the story of the woman dressed in her wedding gown flying to her wedding which she obviously missed. Not like you could call someone on your cell phone to explain the situation back then – THEY DIDN’T EXIST.

My wife-to-be spent the week with me in Bergen Park the summer of 1976. It was a wonderful week. I asked her to marry me and, fool that she was, she accepted.  We set the date for December 30th, 1976 when I planned to be home for Christmas break. We chose December 30th because we did not want to be driving anywhere on New Year’s Eve. Before and after her visit and until we were married, life was pretty lonely in Bergen Park. I could drive the old International Harvester back and forth to Golden and stop at any points along the way, but I was broke and spent most of my time studying. Since no mail was delivered to the Observatory (I didn’t even know the address at that time), I had gotten a post office box in Golden that served as my official address. There was also a land line to the Observatory, but I tried to keep the long distance calls to a minimum. My wife-to-be was in nursing school in Miami and was quite busy herself.

Over the summer of 1976 I had a lot of time to myself. I hiked around the 75 acres of Coors land that the Observatory sat on. I walked or drove into Bergen Park for groceries. I read a lot. I changed and developed the seismic records every night and once a week drive them down to Golden. Life was peaceful and idyllic, when not outright boring. I caught wolf spiders in jars and kept them as pets feeding them moths. OK – that was creepy, but I was desperate for companionship. Introvert that I was – and still am – I treasure my alone time, but there is alone and then there is lonely. I would talk out loud to the spiders, the walls, myself just to hear a voice.

There was a well on the property that provided all of the water (via an electric downhole pump) and two drain fields. The well was located just to the east of the building and the sanitary septic tank and drain field was located on the other side to the west. There was also a secondary drain field in the front of the building (to the south) near the dirt road up from the main road. This was for the photographic chemicals and rinse water. I had to be careful not to use too much rinse water during the development process or when cleaning the tanks or I would get a spring that ran down the dirt road. Not a problem in the summer, but it would form an ice slick in the winter … which my wife discovered when she slid under her car while getting into it to head to work one frozen morning. It was several minutes before I noticed her screaming for me … an event she tells others to this day.

I didn’t trust the well, so I would fill jugs of water up from a water spigot at the back of the Green Center building back at the School of Mines in Golden and lug them up to Bergen Park. Cecil H. Green (founder of Texas Instruments) was quite the philanthropist and many buildings are in his (and his wife’s) name. Eventually I had the well water tested and it came back with coliform bacteria at “TNTC” (Too Numerous To Count). My fears were justified. Contaminated ground water had gotten into the well. I would fix this. I found the well head and opened it up. Then I ran a hose from the spigot into the well and turned on the water. Finally came the chlorine bleach, I forget how many jugs of bleach. I let the water circulate – I forget for how long – but long enough to circulate the bleach to every part of the system. Then I let it sit and soak. Then circulate. Then soak. Finally I let the water run and flushed out the bleach until I could smell chlorine no more. Then waited to let the well recharge and flushed it again. Eventually I had the water tested again and it was safe to drink. But for how long? I think I waited a month to get the well water tested again before I felt safe to drink it. With the second test passed, I could stop lugging water. The well water at Bergen Park was perhaps the best water I have ever had. It was delicious … and had the bizarre ability to keep our teeth free of plaque. To this day, only Ozarka Spring Water comes close.

Anyway, not long after moving to Houston with my first employer out of college I began to have the “Bergen Park Dreams”.  As I said above, they were originally just remembrances of the past, but slowly began to morph into something stranger, an alternate reality. I am back in Bergen Park present day and move back into the Observatory for no apparent reason. Sometimes the Mrs is with me, sometimes not. We are usually our younger selves. Often the area around the Observatory is highly built up, even more than in reality. The dreams are often quite vivid and colorful. Sometimes I also dream about an alternate reality version of Golden and the School of Mines, usually an ultra high-tech version, with many new ultra modern buildings. 

Dreams are curious things. Mine are often quite interesting. Some folks have the occasional nightmare (scary dreams), me not so much. I tend to think of dreams as the “screen saver” our brain provides while it “defrags.” Sleep is the time our brain sorts and stores our daily memories and our nervous system is flushed of toxins. Sleep is when our muscles are repaired from the damage incurred during our daily workouts. Sleep is also when youngsters grow – and why adequate sleep is so critical for the young. So between nervous system and muscle repair, body growth, and memory fixation we learn that adequate sleep is very, very important to the human condition.

My occasional “Bergen Park Dreams” are just another aspect of my sleep.

 
Links in this post:
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/24/ios-10-3-2-trashed-my-iphone/
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/22/olde-time-radio/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen_Park
https://contrafactual.com/2013/08/31/convoy/
https://contrafactual.com/2013/09/28/hot-chick/
http://greencenter.mines.edu
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Howard_Green
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coliform_bacteria
https://www.ozarkawater.com
https://contrafactual.com/2014/05/27/sleep/

iPhone Hell Continues

And so it goes 

In order for my iPhone to see my Apple Watch I had to reset it to factory settings and now begin the task of reconfiguring it back to the way I liked it. I was on phone with Apple until 2 AM last night.

Now I begin the task of remembering, downloading, and reconfiguring every <expletive deleted> app on my iPhone and Apple Watch. Setting up email and remembering or changing passwords. Not how I had planned my day.

One thing is certain … my iPhone and watch will be leaner and meaner.

 UPDATE – I am installing the latest Apple Watch version now (might as well there is no reason not too)

iOS 10.3.2 Trashed My iPhone

WARNING – RANT ALERT

The latest iOS 10.3.2 update has completely trashed my iPhone 6s Plus and by “trashed” I mean blasted it back to factory settings. I spent over five hours in online chat and phone calls with Apple support working between my iPad, MacBook, and iPhone. Only now do I have a semi working iPhone.

Here’s what happened – I set my iPhone up to upgrade to iOS 10.3.2 at about 6 PM before walking next door to have a beer (or two) with the neighbors as we often do. When I got back expecting all to be OK, my iPhone was in continuous reboot mode. It would briefly display the logon screen then immediately flash to the spinning wheel icon before re-displaying the logon screen, over and over and over again. The only way to break the cycle was to connect it to my MacBook and follow the instructions in the links below (provided by support).

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203899   and   https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201412

I finally got it to the point of restoring from a backup and after going through all of the steps and waiting for everything to restore, it eventually went back into continuous reboot mode again. I ended up starting over from scratch several times and even attempting a restore from a backup made two days ago. I eventually got all the way to the end and … continuous reboot mode … again.

Arrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh

So start over again, but this time set it up as new iPhone without doing a restore. Luckily all of my contacts, photos, iTunes, and notes are safely in iCloud and available on my other Apple devices. They also appear to be mostly available on my iPhone, but I still need to reconfigure my email settings, selectively download and reconfigure apps (most of which require logon ID and password configuration), reset and reconfigure my alarms, and set my icons back to where I like them. I had also saved many web pages as icons so I will need to reconstruct these as well.

I also need to reconnect my Apple Watch, Fitbit Scale, and on and on and on.

UPDATE – can not get my Apple Watch to connect