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M-Cubed for 3/14/2011

Posted Mar 14 2011 4:57am
Monday Morning Musings for March Fourteenth, Twenty Eleven. A smattering of thoughts that alone don't constitute a blog post but together end up here on Monday morning.

- Oh yes, another weekend, another Monday after drill weekend with the Navy. These Mondays never get easier. Tough to turn one part off and another part on.  Pressing on!

- My apologies for a very quiet week here...no posts since last Monday. Last week was a crazy week and much of what was going on and consuming the majority of my thoughts can't really be talked about on here so there you have it...a quiet week.

- Friday WAS the release of Apple's iPad 2. Coinciding with my arrival in Columbus with the Navy, I found the local Apple Store at Easton shopping area and headed out there around 3pm. There was already a line wrapped around the building. Since that morning, Apple was taking orders online with  an estimated ship date of 3-5 business days. This morning? 3-4 weeks. As 5pm got closer, blue-shirted Apple employees started serving Starbucks coffee to us shivering crazies, shooting some video of us, running through the line, high-fiving us, and also dividing themselves among us to "inventory" our desires. Using an iPhone app, they went person-to-person and asked them which of the 6 iPad 2 versions they wanted and what color (black or white). This input bounced the desire off of the "secret" inventory numbers inside to see if they could meet the demand. "White is pretty limited so you may or may not get that, Sir," is what they told me. Eventually after 5pm...probably around 5:45pm, I got in and an Apple employee greeted me and stayed by my side until I left. One-on-one service from start to finish. In fact, as I was having an incredibly tough time picking out the color of my "Smart Cover," I told her that she didn't need to wait for me and she advised they weren't to leave our side and she still wanted to have me open up the box and play around with the pad before leaving so she could answer any and all questions. A little bit later along with a handshake, I was off...iPad in hand. After dinner at Cosi and 7pm rolled around, the line was still very long as people waited for their new iPad 2. Photo above is outside the Apple Store two hours before opening on Friday.

- From initial reports on the Wall Street Journal's website, 400,000 to 600,000 iPads were sold in the first 3 days which is more than the first full week sales of the original iPad. Stores, reportedly, sold out hours after the 5pm release. Other retailers like Target and Best Buy are also selling them. Wall Street Journal article . Why go to Apple and wait in line, then? Hmmm... tough question for many to grasp. Let me attempt to convince you. :-) Apple is a genius at marketing and creating demand. You can go online, to a Target, or to an Apple Store to buy many of their products and the price is the same everywhere. Even online, it's free shipping so it truly is the same price...tax and all. It's more about the "experience" of the Apple Store and being amongst other fans. Standing in line for 2 hours with others who feel the same way and having conversations with them is a "bit" different than standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart. I guess you just have to be "Apple Brainwashed" to get it. Cult? Well, that's a bit severe but it is a very loyal fan base. A little factoid: the lady behind me in line was older than my mom so it's not just the young generation! She uses it primarily for daily news reading and reading e-books. Just sayin'...  The pic here is from yesterday at lunch at a Starbucks in Reynoldsburg, OH. The new "Garage Band" app is what you see on the screen. That's the "Grand Piano" mode. :-)

- Oh, how I love the old marquis' at locally owned movie theaters. When I find one, I seek it out at every opportunity. The yuppy, wealthy suburb of Columbus, Bexley, has one...the Drexel Theater. Across the street is Capital University and the governor's mansion is also nearby. The Drexel is simply amazing and shows many of the shows who make it big at the Sundance Film Festival but don't necessarily hit the mainstream in the U.S.  Some folks refer to these flicks as "artsy" very often. I love seeing these flicks because if they've been awarded so many awards, something must be great about them...acting, cinematography, etc. I saw one on Saturday night called " Barney's Version "...hokey name, eh? It stars Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman. Paul just got the Oscar for this movie for leading role in a comedy. It was soooo good. I recommend you grab it when it hits the rental scene. I met up there with fellow runner, Mike K, who also joined me for dinner next door at the attached Radio Cafe. Great food, live music, awesome atmosphere, and you can take in your food/drinks with you into the theater if you wish. They also delay the movie if there are long lines waiting to get in...happened this time and at my first visit when I saw the "King's Speech." LOVE this place and will certainly return. It's a great date night place, too...if only I could get my date there.  Sorry, Mike...you don't count.

- Oh, Japan. My heart pours out to you. The devastating 8.9 earthquake that rocked them as we slept overnight from Thursday into Friday and the tsunami that followed is absolutely horrible. Watching the scenes on TV from cars floating among debris in the streets was amazing. That tsunami surge just picked up houses from their foundations and destroyed them. The cars looked little Matchbox cars floating in a river. I was quick to e-mail my contact and raise my hand to go if the need arises for my "line of work" in the Navy. However, much of the aid we are already providing will be easily handled by the active duty component of the Navy. We already have an aircraft carrier stationed in Japan (my last ship..the USS George Washington, CVN-73) and we sent another one, the USS Abraham Lincoln, immediately. They've been sending in aid around the clock all weekend and also serving as re-fueling platforms for much of Japan's coast guard and military aircraft who are conducting rescue missions. We are fully engaged!!! I've also been watching the nuclear power plant situations closely. As a former nuclear mechanic in the Navy for 10 years, I know the inner-workings of a nuclear reactor extremely well and it all makes sense to me. The Navy trained me well back in 1992! The inability to cool the fuel rods/reactor core is a very bad thing. That flowing water is what draws the heat away from the fuel rods. Failed power followed by failed diesel generators spelled doom in a very bad way for them. Trust me...nuclear power plants around the world are watching very closely and already reevaluating their own systems and their backup systems...probably running tests on them as we speak. This disaster in Japan is far from over and will be forever written in the history books.

- Ice cream, anyone? March 24th! Billocks' Ice Cream opens their doors for the 2011 season! I posted the menu and price list over the weekend on our Facebook page . Looking forward to it!

- Dang, anthrax shot. I got another one in my upper right arm on Saturday. Very sore this morning. I'll probably have to get the small pox one, too, which from what I hear, eclipses this one by a long-shot in terms of pain and discomfort. Still no fun.

- Lots of opinions are out there about the repeal of DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) in the U.S. military. It is certainly going to happen but will not go into effect until all of the services return to the Secretary of Defense and report that every single member has been trained. Then, 3 months after that, it will be repealed. Well, I sat in a mandatory training session where I received that training yesterday. It was very well done and thought out by the powers-that-be. So, if you ever wonder what is going on with the repeal, now you know! We also celebrated the Navy's Reserve's 96th birthday just prior. Well, "celebrated" is a bit overkill. How about a mention of it and passing around a cookie tray to a packed room of sailors? "That'll do, Pig..that'll do."

Have a great week, everyone, and "Welcome, Spring!!!"  Happy Trails!
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