This Chair By Appointment

I like a barber shop. It’s one of those places where things make sense, where there’s no subterfuge or duplicity. Guys are getting their hair cut; besides some conversation to pass the time, that’s all that’s going on. No one tries to sell you something you didn’t come in for, nothing you didn’t know you needed. The arrangements may involve subjectivity, but when you’ve been getting the same haircut for so many years, there’s zero temptation to be impulsive anymore.

When I finished college in 1986, I wandered the wasteland of hair salons for 5 years. Then my brother recommended this place in 1991. Since then, every haircut I’ve gotten has been in this simple but perfect barber shop; except one, because I needed a haircut when I was traveling. Best guess, about 150 haircuts in 27 years, all in the same chair. And 3 generations of the same family have been my barbers there.

In a world rushing headlong into an inscrutable maelstrom of change, I cherish continuity, simplicity, and the extraordinary gift of someone who knows what you like and appreciates a joke. I double dog dare you to name a better place to find that than a barber shop.

Spring has Sprung

and that quite earnestly. It’s so warm that I started the day by opening all the windows in my place. And it’s spring break for the schools here, so I’m sure the kids are enjoying the beach.

The high for the day is projected at 80.

It’s not my favorite time of year, which is basically Halloween to New Years, but darned if it won’t do.

Now the flowers break
forth riotous!

– Phaedrus

In Which I Save Money on the Phone Bill

I think it’s ridiculous that we’re still paying what I presume many of us are paying to have a telephone in our home. You’d think after 100 years, the price would come down, as it does with much of technology. Seems like the phone company is betting that we’re just used to paying what we pay, and they’re probably right.

Do we really even need a phone in the house, now that we have cell phones with unlimited long distance? Well, I think it’s a good idea. If you call 911 on your cell, you have to be feeling well enough to enunciate your exact location. If you’ve got The World’s Largest Gummy Bear lodged in your trachea, I guess we’ll see you on the other side. With a landline, they know where you are instantly. And here in California, 911 cell calls go to the CHP, not your local emergency dispatcher.

Yes, I know, there’s GPS. But that takes time. And it only gives them a general idea of where you are. They won’t find you in a condo complex; at least, not in time. And by then, their method will be more olfactory than electronic.

I’ll admit a sentimental attachment to my landline too. My Mom & Dad gave me a phone and my own line on my 17th birthday in 1978. I still have the phone and the same number, though the phone doesn’t work very well anymore. I enjoy keeping things for a lot longer than most people do, when it makes sense. Obviously, I’m not using my college typewriter to post these thoughts to Metaphor.

I looked at my home phone bill the other day. $50 a month. Wooly crap. I was paying for unlimited local calling, long distance, call forwarding, caller ID, and wiring maintenance. That’s just too much.

Now I’m paying $20 + tax per month for the home phone. Soon, it will go down to down to $12 + tax. … From $50 to $12, just by getting rid of stuff I don’t need. I’ll tell you how I did it.

I called Verizon today and cut my local plan back to measured instead of unlimited. So my local connection will be a lot cheaper. Outgoing local calls will be 3 cents a minute for the first minute, 1 cent for each additional minute, but with a $3/month credit. I doubt I’ll ever spend anything for local calls.

People who call me, take note: Incoming calls are still unlimited, free gratis.

I canceled all long distance on my home phone. And all the calling features except caller ID, which I’ll keep another week or two, while I transition to using Google Voice. That will make it drop from $20 to $12 + tax.

What’s Google Voice? It’s pretty cool, that’s what. It’s a free service from Google, which provides a phone number you can give to people. When they call it, all of your phones – home, office, cell – ring at once. You decide which phone to take the call on. So you can use the Caller ID on your cell phone to see who’s calling, but pick up the home phone to answer. That’s why I won’t need Caller ID on the home phone anymore.

Google Voice also provides an Internet-based voicemail, which you can listen to on your PC or by phone, or read the voicemail as text in your email. Plus, free nationwide long distance over the Internet, using your PC. That’s why, along with my cell phone, I really don’t need long distance on the landline anymore.

I hope this gives you some ideas for cutting back on the old school tech in your house. 

My next step is to decide whether I should add more minutes to my cell phone. If I do, I give back part of the savings. But I’ll get Friends & Family, which makes all calls with my family members unlimited without using cell minutes. So that’s something to ponder.

Before you go, you did click the link above and check out The World’s Largest Gummy Bear, right? I’m not making that up. And I’m pretty sure, one way or another, it could kill you.

Christmas in Santa Barbara

I know that a couple of my readers are in the midwest and the eastern part of the country. So I wanted to share this: At mid afternoon today, the ambient temperature on my parents’ back yard deck – on the southern, sunniest side of the house – was 87 degrees. Humidity about 45 percent.

Neener neener neener.

Perhaps a visit to Santa Barbara at the holidays would be nice for you.

You are most welcome! Though I have to admit, all this sunshine does not make for a traditionally picturesque Christmas.


But I imagine having to dig your car out of a drift doesn’t set you to singing carols either.

December is Here

It comes driving darkness ahead of it like a slow herd of dark animals.

night bison1

That’s a fuse for a poem, maybe.

But tonight it’s good that my Christmas lights are up, to keep the December beasts at bay.