So, it ends where it all began…(or hasta la vista iPhone as a music player)

Hello, Sony Walkman it is our time to journey together once again.  I have been growing increasingly frustrated with using my iPhone as a music player.  Especially since I found out that Apple’s drive to make your phone be cloud-reliant will cause even a 256gb iPhone like mine to not play all of the music that you have supposedly downloaded to it unless you have internet access or data signal.

Yeah, you read that right, if your iPhone can’t call home to Mama then it won’t play all of your music even if you have downloaded it to the phone repeatedly.  Apple really wants you to use Apple Music.  For someone like myself, this is unconscionable.  This is why Apple killed the iPod classic.  They don’t want anyone to have access to their own massive music collections without a monthly fee.

Well, Apple can jog on because Sony has completely redone the Walkman line and it has VASTLY superior sound and will take a 128gb micro sd card.  No moving drives to go bad and Sony’s proprietary sound processing.  Thank you for your service, Apple, but I have to say that it isn’t me…it’s you.  Our iTunes relationship has been suffering for quite some time.

I have spent the afternoon comparing the sound of my iPhone and this gem of a Walkman on my Audio-Technica MX-50x studio monitor headphones.  The winner is clear: Sony’s Walkman by a country mile.

Sorry, Apple, we are done here.

Bank Error In Your Favor

I know that most of us feel like this is a completely untrue premise…that this never actually happens in real life.  This week, however, either some of the old Ernest Greene luck or divine providence kicked-in.

Since I was a youth minister for so long, I worked for a very long time in positions that paid well below market rates for people with $124,000 educations.  Couple that with some genuinely bone-headed financial decisions between 1998 and 2003 and I ended up with a student loan that stayed in deferral for far too long.  Now, I’m forty-six and still paying off a student loan where the balance is actually greater than the original principle from twenty years ago.

Thankfully, and to my great surprise, I got a notification from my lender this week.  Apparently they had made a serious error on their end some years ago.  Although I have been faithfully paying for well over fifteen years, they had not been billing me properly or in accordance with our loan agreement.  As a result of their error, they credited my student loan balance to the tune of about $6,600 and adjusted my payment terms.

As a result of their error and subsequent adjustment in my payment terms, I should be shed of this burden in about five years.  At that point, Master will have given Dobby a suit of clothes and he will be a free elf.  Dobby will finally be freeeee!

Seriously, modern student loans feel so much like indentured servitude and all it takes is the mistake of taking out a consolidation load to remove most of your rights and stick you with a ridiculous interest rate.  This is such a huge blessing.

How much of our lives are wasted on scrolling through meaningless bullcrap on the internet?

How much of our lives are wasted on scrolling through meaningless bullcrap on the internet?

That is the question that I have been wanting to ask for a long time.  Unfortunately, I felt that I had to cut way back on my Facebook time before I could ask it without being a hypocrite.  Why do we even know or care who Kim Kardashian is?  Why is Miley Cyrus not broke and living out of a dumpster?

Why do we pay no-value celebrities any attention at all?  Even better, why do we worship them?

Imagine if you had all the time back that you spent scrolling through your Facebook feed.  Imagine if you spent that time with the ones whom you love…without a screen between you.

All week long, I’ve been missing this place.

I miss having my favorite place to eat.  I miss the food.  I miss the people.  I miss Jenny and her unique brand of service.  I miss Stephen playing with my daughter on breaks from the kitchen.  I miss Tom’s food.  I miss hanging out there with my friends.

I want a Diablo with wedges and a ginger tea.  I want fried pickles and about a gallon of Tom’s homemade ranch dressing.  I want a buffalo chicken sandwich with fries.  I want Burgermeister’s.

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Apparently, Mail Issues Do Matter to the Postal Service

I’m not sure what happened, but after speaking to District Management in Charlotte, it looks like there is going to be some recourse on the aforementioned issues.  The misdelivery issues are apparently something that are easier to fix, but the Greenville center causing delays and lost mail is getting their attention.

It helps to be able to give concrete examples of mail problems.  I thought the lady was going to choke when I told her about the certified mail being misdelivered and the carrier just shrugging his shoulders when he came to pick it up.

Accountability.  All jobs ought to have it.

Objective Truth

I’m going to take a quick respite from trying to process what is going on with my father to get out the firehose for some of the folks that I’ve seen in debate with various Jenner and Dolezal-related issues over the last two weeks.  Hopefully, I can bring a little clarity to several of you who seem to be struggling and are perhaps out of your depth when it comes to the following two topics.

First, there is no such thing as “my” truth.  There is simply “the” truth.  The truth is objective.  The truth is reality.  The truth is a little bit of science, a little bit of religion, a little bit of philosophy, and a whole lot of reality.  The truth does not change and does not waver.  It is as solid as concrete and tough as forged steel.  The truth is the same for us all, only some of us choose not to see it.  There is simply one truth.  A person either accepts that or they don’t .

You can, however, have “my” perspective or “my” opinion or “my” feelings.  Those are accurate statements.  Those are things that actually exist.

Any time you hear someone say “this is my truth” you need to understand one thing above all else…you need to understand that that person is self-delusional and is not to be trusted.  You can pity them, you can humor them, but if you keep their company or listen to their counsel, you are a fool.

Second, you can say that you are whatever you want, but that doesn’t make it true.  I will give you an example:

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This is Bruce Ernest Greene.  He is my son and he is 2 1/2.  Two days ago, he decided that he was “Star Rebel” who is presumably some intergalactic rapscallion, much like Han Solo.  Although I am certainly proud of my son’s imagination and taste, he is not Star Rebel…he is Bruce.  He is always Bruce, although he may choose to pretend that he is a puppy or “some kid” or Star Rebel.

I hope that this helps some of you folks regain your center.  If not, our next discussion might cover a couple of different topics, such as whether or not a person can actually contract Sickle Cell Anemia as an indicator of racial determination or perhaps a lengthy treatise on Y Chromosomes.

This week, more than ever, I am acutely aware that there are far better ways for us to be spending our time than debating issues which are best left with those who are directly involved.  Our propensity to waste time on such issues and internet drivel is staggering.

I want to write something really profound, but my day sucked.

I’m going to take a cue from Red vs. Blue and release a pre-planned PSA when I just can’t make my self-imposed deadline.

If you were any sort of fan of the Christian Alternative and Hard Music Scene in the 90’s, you owe it to yourself to listen to the two following podcasts:

The Never Was Podcast

The Urban Achiever Show

These two podcasts are done by Mark Salomon, of The Crucified and Stavesacre, and Billy Power, formerly of Tooth and Nail Records and Blenderhead.  Start with their first shows and listen all the way through.  They have some of the best conversations regarding music, life, and faith that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Bluetooth Keyboard

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This little guy has changed the way that I use my smartphone.  About a year ago, Jessica and I were discussing whether or not we needed to buy another laptop because we had just had one die and our other one was on its last legs.

We talked about the actual usefullness of a full-fledged laptop versus a Chromebook.  As we decided that a Chromebook was not quite as useful as a laptop, we came to a realization.

The smartphones that we carry in our pockets everyday are at least, if not more, capable than most Chromebooks.  They have constant connectivity to the internet, either over wi-fi or cellular data.  They have all the same apps and even sport better cameras and microphones.  Also, as screens on smartphones get bigger, it is much easier to see the interface.  Really, the only drawback is that nobody really likes typing on a smartphone screen.

Enter the solution:  Ta da!  The cheap bluetooth keyboard.  This one cost me about $19 on Amazon and every smartphone has bluetooth.  This means that you can spend less than $20 and you can have a very capable computer in your pocket.

Now, to be honest, I don’t keep the keyboard with me everywhere I go, but I can take it wherever I need it.  The bonus is that it doesn’t just work with phones.  It works with all tablets and just about all computers. 

No more taking a laptop on trips.  No more worrying about how TSA is going to treat my computer.  No more worrying about whether the hotel has wi-fi.  No more worrying about expensive equipment.  Just a whole lot of pure functionality.

This single keyboard has changed the way that both myself and my wife interact with our technology.  The best part?  We only need one keyboard for all of our devices.

I know this is excessively “techy” but I thought that I would share the idea.  I sure has saved us a lot of money and really increased our functionality.  In fact, I wrote this whole post on my cell phone.  There is no way that I would have done that without this keyboard.