12/18/13

Gadgets and Gimmicks continued.....

Well, I guess my fascination with gadgets and even some gimmicks continued yesterday.

I had a dentist's appointment in the morning with my good friend Dr. Al Boone.  I was in 6 months ago for a routine cleaning and he noted I would need to replace an old filling at my 6 month cleaning and check up in December.  I guess I forgot about the filling aspect of the appointment and thought I was just getting a cleaning.  After the cleaning, the hygienest told me now it was time for my filling.  What?  Oh, that's right.  Now I remember.  So I was marched into the next room and saw the another assistant come in with the big novacaine needle and syringe along with the tools for the drill job.  Al came in to chat and take a look.

Here's the gimmick that Al offered to me...

He said we could give it a try without novacaine.  Really?  He said if I felt any pain, we could always novacaine me up at that point?  I trusted him and the drilling proceeding to remove the old filling, and drill down another 1.5mm to prepare for the new filling.  He was right, outside of the pressure and sound - I wasn't feeling any pain.  Kudos to Al for recommending that as it saved me from drooling for 2 hours with a numb mouth.  I got the new filling and instructions not to eat for an hour - and when I did, only chew on the other side of my mouth.  Sounded like a recipe to have soup for lunch.

I drove across the street to the tire shop and saw that my Firestone Winterforce tires had arrived.  Much to my surprise, one of Zack's ex-girlfriends was working there and it was nice to talk to her and catch up.  The new tires look great...

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...and provide a nice plush, soft ride in the colder temperatures.  The reviews talked about how loud they were, but I took it up to 65 mph and it didn't sound much different than with my all-season tires on there.  The Element is simply not a quiet ride to begin with, so no problems there.  More snow is due tomorrow and since I have to get Alexa to the KC airport - perfect timing to have the dedicated tread installed on the truck.

Back to gadgets...

More options will be available for mountain bikes in 2014 from Wolf Tooth Components and Absolute Black that include larger cogs on a rear cassette for a cost-effective 1 x 10 system that has as broad a range of gearing as the 1 x 11 systems to date.

Wolf Tooth will have a 42T cog for around $90 in January...

wolftooth-42t_silver

And Absolute will have a 40T cog next year as well...

absoluteblack-40t

I'm not ordering anything yet, but it's nice to be thinkering on it all.  I bet there is even a way to convert a 9 speed cassette using one of these new cogs via a wider spacer and the same sort of instructions as those used for converting the 10 speed cassette.  Using a 10 speed chain on a 9 speed is fine - actually better in terms of chain retention - so no problems there.  I've got plenty of time to think about it.  I rode the RIP yesterday for the two dog walks and it was nice to sit back on a full suspension after 2 months of nothing but sitting on the road bike, trainer and hardtail.  My back and body let out a nice sigh of relief with a big "Ah......" as I flew through the field behind the nearby elementary school with dogs running wild.

Temperatures rose to 38 degress on Tuesday afternoon, but the windchill made it feel like it was in the low 20's.  So I bundled up and headed out for a 75 minute black pavement ride on the road bike with Beethoven and Mahler blasting in my ears.  Most of the wind I hit was a cross wind which kept me on my toes handling wise.  It was pretty strong.  It's even stronger today!!!

Phone gadgets and gimmicks...

US Cellular began selling the iPhone on November 8th.  Zack and I were still on the old flip phones with no data package and were years out of our contract and due to be brought into the fold of having a smart phone.  We had accrued enough points to get 2 iPhone 5C's for a penny each (well, along with the 2 year contract and an increase from $10 a month to $35 a month for the data package).  We needed Tara to go along with us to US Cellular to do this as she had to sign the point release.  Somehow, we never got around to upgrading once the phones we had been waiting for were available at US Cellular on November 8th.  Either we were all busy doing different things or the local store was out of stock on the iPhones.

Regardless, last night the full moon found us all in the same place at the same time, so we made her go with us to the local US Cellular branch.  And of course, a stop at a US Cellular store in these parts is a guaranteed 2 hour wait.  After having been in and out of there so often over the years thanks to Alexa managing to always break something, or get a faulty phone - I dread having to sit around so long waiting for service.  And so it was last night.  We had to sign our names on a wait list and were told the wait was running around 35 minutes.  2 hours later, our name was called.  During that time, I pretty much tried out every phone in the store to make sure I was going to be okay with the iPhone.  The special rate they were running for the holiday season was instead of the phone price for the iPhone 5C being $99, you could get it for a penny with 5000 points from your account.  The salesman told us we had enough points to get 5 or 6 phones - so we were good to go for the two we needed.  Eventually, we emerged through the locked doors at 9:25 PM with our new gadgets in hand (cased in the Otter Box protective case).

Zack's phone and case is white and my phone and case is blue...

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How's that for a "phonie self"....?  '-)

Good grief!  Now I have to remember all of these dang passwords (Facebook, flickr, YAHOO!, Google, iTunes, WiFi, etc...).

I know the camera is a bit better on the iPhone 5S, but that phone would have cost me $199 more than the penny for the 5C.  You needed something like 31000 points for that phone to be free and we didn't have enough for one of those and a 5C.  It was something I could stand considering I still have a nice digital camera for any occasion.  The phone camera - as you see in the pictures above of me new tire and the phone - is fine for showing representative images on a blog or Facebook.


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