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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Icebox

Wednesday
November 13, 2013

"Pretend it's not that way
That's my idea of faith"
-Ben Folds Five "Mess"

Last night I woke up with my apartment feeling like an icebox. To that point I hadn't turned on my heater yet since this past spring, in large part because I tend to like the temperature colder than most. That is most inconvenient during the summer, when my air conditioner is on blast pretty close to 24/7, but by October the advantage swings in my direction with the cooler temps giving the dueling wall units here a chance to rest up.

One real negative about my wall units is my location on the first-floor and the close proximity to another apartment complex on the other side from my place. I can tell when someone lights up a cigarette outside as that disgusting stench of cigarette smoke sneaks in with the air conditioning. You have no idea how much that annoys me. Joe Camel one building down doesn't want his apartment to reek of cigarettes, so I'm rewarded with some of his second-hand smoke. Lovely.

But while it does get cold when the temps drop to the 40-45 degree range, at least that saves me the electric bill drain of the A/C and ensures that I don't wake up with it smelling like Marlboro Country up in here. I can wear one of my many purple Evansville sweatshirts and the Pac-Man fleece pants I got for Christmas last year and be fine, yet another advantage of living solo.

Eventually, though, the temperature drops low enough to where even I have to tap out and turn on the heat. And that point finally arrived last night, roughly 16 hours after the first snow of the fall hit -- the thick, fluffy kind that looks good on TV (and we had it this morning with our double live shots) and doesn't stick to the ground, not mere hours after the temperature had been above 50 degrees.

Of course, as always happens, the heater being used for the first time in many months was accompanied by the associated burning smell that naturally set off my smoke detector. I'm sure that thrilled my neighbors to no end, but at least I did it at 8:30 p.m. and not on a weekend at 3 a.m. or something like that.

My latest iPad addiction is the amazingly fun game The Simpsons: Tapped Out. It's one of those "freemium" games that draws you in with free entertainment and then tries to extract money from you for premium items and/or to speed things up. It's kind of like Farmville, only without the element of spamming your Facebook friends. And maybe it's because of having a quarter-century worth of characters and stories to draw from, or because of having actual writers for the show working on the project, or some of both, but it's remarkably addictive.

It's also available on the Android platform, so if I want to play it on my Droid 4, I can. But the smaller screen leaves something to be desired, particularly in a game where, as the title might hint, tapping on a certain area is a requirement. And I'll say this: it might not have been cheap, but the iPad 2 I bought this past May was well worth the purchase price. I'm hardly an Apple "fanboy" and I find several elements of it to be annoying (all things DRM, lack of USB support, proprietary chargers, etc.) but overall the device is fun and easy to use and remarkably stable, both in design and in function.


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