Walking (and walking, and walking) for Food Allergy

FARE Walk along Long Beach

This year’s route for the Walk for Food Allergy was a lot longer than last year’s, when we walked out along a jetty and back. That was a comfortable 1½ round trip surrounded by ocean. This was 1½ miles each way on a path along the beach, surrounded by reflective white sand, in the hot sun, with no shade. (Hey, at least it wasn’t last weekend, when it hit 99°F.) In fact, since the signs ran out about halfway there, a lot of us started to wonder if maybe we’d missed the turnaround.

Some families turned around early. We almost did, but spotted a sign on a table full of water bottles not far ahead, and we decided to go at least as far as the water. We asked the woman staffing it where the turnaround point was, and she told us that was it.

Wait, Why Were You Walking?

15 Million Reasons to WalkEvery year, FARE sponsors events around the country to raise money for research and education, and to increase awareness of food allergies. 15 million people in the US alone have food allergies — and for a lot of us, it’s severe enough to be life-threatening. FARE sponsors research into treatments and prevention, provides educational resources, and advocates for allergy-friendly policies and laws.

You can still donate through December 31 if you want to help!

We’ve been walking in the Los Angeles event for four years now. Our first year was in Santa Monica. It moved to Long Beach in 2012. That year the planned route was blocked by construction and it took about ten minutes to walk. Last year was the jetty, and this year we walked from the western end of Marina Green Park, across from Rainbow Lagoon, along the beach to the Long Beach Art Museum.


The registration area always has tables for the event sponsors: food companies with allergy-friendly samples, pharmaceutical companies that make epinephrine injectors (since that’s basically the only reliable treatment for an anaphylactic reaction once it starts), and local medical and support groups.

Bouncy SlideLately they’ve also had a bouncy obstacle course and slide for the kids. Last year, J (almost three at the time) desperately wanted to go through it, and we wouldn’t let him because we thought the walk was about to start any minute. Then one person after another went up on stage to talk, and we realized he would have had plenty of time, but then the walk did start. We told him he could go on it when we got back…but we returned to see it being deflated.

This year, we made an effort to get there early, and we didn’t bother pulling him out until everyone had left the stage and they were calling us all to the starting line. He went through the course more times than I could count. We didn’t drag him away until they ran out of people onstage and told everyone to head for the starting line. (Of course this year they kept it inflated afterward, but we were too tired and hungry for it to matter.)

Wrapping it up

We finished up the afternoon with lunch at The Potholder Cafe Too, which reminded us of Broken Yolk Cafe in San Diego. They specialize in all-day breakfast — many, many varieties of all-day breakfast — but have sandwiches and burgers as well. I think I know where I’m going to grab dinner when I go to Long Beach Comic Con next weekend!

Posted in Food | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Radiant Sunsets

Sunset Rays (enhanced contrast)

Last Tuesday I stayed late at the office. As I was leaving the parking structure, I looked to the left for oncoming cars and saw this. I was stunned. Instead of getting on the road immediately, I parked on the side of the street to look and take a couple of photos.

It didn’t look exactly like this, of course. The photo came out too yellow, so I tried adjusting it to bring out the orange tones, until finally I just started trying all of Snapseed’s filters until I hit on this one. I was surprised by the level of detail it brought out in the upper cloud layer, and how far the crepuscular rays actually extended.

I also took a photo with my camera, which was adjusted for sunset tones. It came out a lot darker than the actual scene, but the color balance is closer. Continue reading

Posted in Photos | Tagged | Leave a comment

I’m Going to Miss the iPod Click Wheel

Fifth generation iPodAs I moved our iTunes library last week, I worried that the new system might not be able to sync with the old iPod, but relaxed when I saw that Apple still sold the click-wheel iPod Classic. They discontinued it a few days later, but fortunately we were able to sync the old devices.

Why do I prefer the older iPods with physical buttons and tiny screens?

Because I listen to music in the car, and a touch screen is a terrible interface for quick actions while driving.

While touch screens are better for menus, searches, finding albums, playlists, artists, and just about anything else, they’re actually dangerous for driving. A physical control of some sort is best for any action you might have to take while behind the wheel of a moving car.

Pause/Play, Skip and Volume. Those are the key things you want to be able to do with music without thinking too much about where you’re reaching, or taking your eyes off the road. (Especially if you have a mix of quiet and loud songs.) Volume’s on the dashboard, but it’s so much easier — and safer — to hit an actual button for pause/play or skip than to jab at the touch screen until you get it right.

Posted in Apple, Computers/Internet | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The USS Epinephrine Returns!

USS Epinephrine

The annual Walk for Food Allergy is coming up, and I need your help to raise funds for Food Allergy Research and Education, an organization dedicated to, well, research and education about food allergies.

Food allergies can vary in severity from mild discomfort to immediately life-threatening. We’re still trying to nail down exactly what causes them to develop, why they’re on the rise (current estimates are 15 million people in the US alone), and what can be done to stop allergic reactions from happening.

Until then, the best we can do is:

  • Avoid the foods we’re allergic to as best as we can. (This depends on industry and food preparers labeling properly and trying to avoid cross-contamination.)
  • Always carry epinephrine injectors and always plan for the possibility of a trip to the emergency room.

FARE funds research, provides educational resources for everyone from allergic patients to the food industry, promotes awareness of the problem, and pursues advocacy for people living with food allergies.

I’ll be walking in the September 21 event near Los Angeles. You can help by donating here. Every bit helps. Thank you!

Posted in Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Did Smartphones Make Watches Obsolete?

Every time someone announces a smart watch (today it’s the Apple Watch), people trot out the idea that the wristwatch is obsolete because look, I already have a smartphone with a clock on it. But phones don’t completely replace wristwatches. They completely replace pocket watches.

pocket watch photo

Why do I need a wristwatch? I have a clock in my pocket!
Photo by France1978

The wristwatch thoroughly replaced the pocket watch for most of the twentieth century because it’s so much more convenient. You don’t have to pull it out of your pocket to look at it. You don’t have to worry about dropping it. You don’t even need free hands to check the time.

The only reason we went back to pocket watches is that the new ones can do so much
more than the old ones did. That and so many of us are spending so much time sitting in front of a glowing rectangle with a clock in the corner. (Note to fellow geeks: not everyone does this, so don’t generalize your experience.) As with cameras, music players, and portable game systems, we abandoned a specialized device in favor of a multitasker that wasn’t quite as good at the job. The difference is that with the wrist watch, its advantage wasn’t something that newer technology could catch up on. It was the form factor.

Smartwatches, in concept, are not a step backward, even if this generation’s specs leave something to be desired (and I’m not just talking about enabling the wearer to “start and stop the flow of time”). They’re a step sideways to a different use case. It’ll take time (no pun intended) and experimentation by real-world users to shake out what it’s best suited for.

Posted in Computers/Internet | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment