Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Picture People - Out of Business

Picture People, Foster City, Californa
October 1, 2001 to September 20, 2007
On Thursday, May 18, my former employer, TPP Holdings DBA The Picture People closed doors permanently.

While it's sad, it did not come as a surprise to many of us who were once employed there. I was separated from Picture People in September 2007 when headquarters was moved from Foster City, California to Plano, Texas.

Like my other former employer, The Sharper Image (see blog post November 18, 2017), shut down business operations in 2008. There have several relaunches beginning in 2010, the latest is through Camelot Venture Group in April 2018.

With the recent store closings for Macy's and Sears, traditional retail in malls as we once knew it has changed. It's looking more like a future destination to the mall won't just be for shopping or the movies.

Other than my two rounds of four-year employment with Sharper Image, my six years of continuous employment with Picture People is the longest I've worked anywhere. As it usually is in retail, turnover is frequent. So when one stays for at least three years, he/she would be considered an old-timer. Bonds form and cement into lifelong friendships.

Alumni from Sharper Image recently announced plans for a second reunion this fall. Picture People from the Foster City headquarters held a reunion in March 2014.

It's my hope that those who suddenly lost their jobs will receive some kind of employment assistance.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

2011 May 19

Heard this song at the end of USA Network's In Plain Sight episode "I'm a Liver Not A Fighter". It aired on June 19, 2011, a month after my almost 2-year relationship ended with a longtime friend I had a crush on from the moment I met him in 1988. Bawled my eyes out. The relationship didn't last, but the friendship continues (now 30 years).

Maybe.

Music and Lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson

Sunday, May 13, 2018

iPhone 8 Plus - 4th Apple phone

iPhone 8 plus
iPhone 4S, 5S, 6S
Happy Mother's Day!

My history with the iPhone began in 2012, starting with the 4S model (see blog entry September 27, 2015). As of yesterday, I retired the 6S and bought an 8 plus. The battery on the 6S was on its last legs almost a year ago, but I did not update at that time because my contract to pay off the phone wasn't until April 2018.

I chose the 8 plus over the 8 because I needed a bigger viewing screen for my middle aged eyes. I chose the 8 plus over the 10 because I wanted to keep Touch ID. Face ID replaces Touch ID on the iPhone 10.

As I never owned previous iPhones for more than 2 years, I didn't realize how quickly the battery power deteriorates until I got the 6S. Especially when I used the GPS. Power would drop 10% to 15% in less than 10 minutes.

Prior to Apple, the only other cell phone brand I've owned more than once is Nokia (see blog entry March 7, 2014).

As I did with the previous iPhones, I buy a new phone cover. I'll get that tomorrow or Tuesday. I also ordered a new 2-in-1 adapter (newest iPhones no longer have a earphone jack) yesterday. I'm seriously considering a magnetic holder to put on my car's dashboard.

Let's hope the latest and almost greatest iteration of this iPhone will have a more robust battery life than the S's.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

PBA Tour Final and PWBA Challenge

source: PBA
Top L to R: E.J. Tackett, Tommy Jones, Marshall Kent, Jesper Svensson
Bottom: L to R: Anthony Simonsen, Dom Barrett, Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash
This weekend, at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Michigan (Detroit area), eight of the top PBA earners the past two years compete in the PBA Tour Finals. All bowlers but Australian Jason Belmonte are former or current Weber Cup (Weber Cup is between Europe and United States) members.

Matches will be televised on CBS Sports Network over the next five Tuesdays beginning on May 22 at 10 pm Eastern Time, 7 pm Pacific Time.

source: PWBA
For the women, the PWBA Challenge will take place on Sunday, June 24 in Orlando, Florida at 4 pm, Eastern, 1 pm Pacific Time live on Xtra Frame.

This event will take the top four in the points standings compete in a special finals bracket.

Congrats to the eight men who made the finals. Best of luck to the women who will be competing for one of the four spots.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pablo Pitches in a Pinch

source: Jeff Chiu, AP
Pablo Sandoval, relief pitching
SF Giants vs LA Dodgers, 28 April 2018
I haven't posted in the past 2 weeks due to a bunch of weekend bowling activities.

April 14 and 15 - worked and bowled in Pacifica at Sea Bowl for the SFUSBC City Tournament.

April 21 and 22 - in Reno at the National Bowling Stadium bowling Women's USBC Championships.

Today, Women's Peninsula USBC Open at Bel Mateo (where I bowl Monday nights).

Yesterday, back in Pacifica at Sea Bowl for the yearly meeting and election of SFUSBC Directors. Appointment approved and got my navy association polo to make it all official.

Also yesterday, the Giants and Dodgers played a doubleheader (day and evening game). The day game was to makeup April 6's rained out game in San Francisco.

Had it not been for the doubleheader, it was unlikely we would have seen 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval make his pitching debut.

Since Pablo's return to San Francisco late last season, he's performed admirably in a utility/supporting role. He's played 3rd and 1st base and is listed as an emergency back up catcher for the Giants.

He added another position to his player résumé. Relief pitcher.

The Giants were down 15-6 with another game still yet to play. On those occasions where the game is a blowout, a MLB team will have a position player come in to pitch.

Enter the Panda.

He pitched a perfect 9th inning. 3 infield ground balls = 3 outs. If you missed it yesterday as I did, here it is:

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Oakland to Columbus - Nonstop

Southwest Airlines
Nonstop Oakland to Columbus
My last trip to my birthplace, Columbus, Ohio was in August 2013, when I flew back for my 35th high school reunion.

That was 5 years ago. I was able to get a non-stop on Delta from San Francisco to Cincinnati, rent a car and drive the 110-120 miles to Columbus.

If there's any opportunity to fly non-stop, I'll take it. Even if it costs me $100 more. I've been stranded and delayed more times than I can remember when I have to take a connecting flight.

It amazes me with how much we've gained in technology and I still can't fly directly to Columbus, Ohio. The state's capital city. A metro population of more than 1 million. The city The Ohio State University calls home.

When they announced our 40th high school reunion a few weeks ago, I was prepared to fly directly to Cincinnati again. Prices were higher than I hoped, so I was going to wait a few more weeks to see if the prices would come down.

Frustrated with less than ideal options on flight times and cities where I'd have to stop, I did a Google search. Perhaps now there is an airline carrier that does offer non-stop from the San Francisco Bay Area to Columbus.

Success. My search results found a 2015 press release from Southwest Airlines announcing a non-stop service from Oakland to Columbus. Woo hoo to the max.

I signed into my Southwest account right away and booked the flights tonight. The cost isn't cheap, but about $100 less than Delta, and only 4.5 to 5 hours flight time. A flight from San Francisco with a stop in Phoenix would add 3-4 more hours in travel time.

Hello, Columbus. See you in September.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

2018 Weber Cup Team Selections

source: bowlingdigital
Anthony Simonsen

source: bowlingdigital
Kyle Troup

source: bowlingdigital
L: Tommy Jones, R: Chris Barnes

source: Weber Cup
L to R: Dom Barrett, Martin Larsen, Jesper Svensson, Stu Williams
This year's Weber Cup will take place on June 15 - 17 at Arena MK, Milton Keynes. Team Europe looks to repeat for their sixth consecutive win. Team USA seeks their first win since 2012.

Team Europe's roster remains unchanged for the third year in a row.
Captain Dom Barrett, Martin Larsen, Jesper Svensson and Stu Williams.

Team USA has struggled badly the past three years and hopes to recapture glory days with the return of two former Weber Cup bowlers: Tommy Jones and Chris Barnes. Barnes will resume duties as Team USA's captain.

The only returning member from USA last year is Kyle Troup. This will be Troup's third Weber Cup. New to Weber Cup for Team USA is Anthony Simonsen. I like USA's combination of youth and experience, but not sure it will be enough to match Europe's chemistry, experience and fire power.

As an American, I'd like to see Team USA do well, but I'm partial to Team Europe. Based on the number of blog entries I've written on him over the years, it's been no secret how much I like Dom Barrett. I also think Europe is a better team and predict they will prevail. If they don't, I won't be heartbroken about it either.

Good luck to both teams.