Catching up with the times

  • Monday, April 21, 2014


Facing the age issue is a hard fact of life, and when your eyesight starts letting you down, you have to weigh the hourglass against the doctor's orders.

My physician recently gave me instructions to go to the eye doctor, and sure enough, my eyesight is slipping, so I got an eye test. There was nothing really off the chart, but since I have diabetes, I have to get them checked regularly now. I never know when I will have to search for needles in haystacks in the ocean when an airliner goes down.

Since the females in bikinis are striking out to the beach and swimming pools, it always helps to have good vision, I figured. So I went down to Wal-Mart and got a pair of glasses, which was held up in Atlanta when the snowstorm struck there. They are bifocals, so I feel like I see better when using the bottom reading part.

I feel like I look older. They are snazzy, however, since I got a decent pair which ended up being only $20 through my wife's employer's insurance. Since I have never had glasses before, I feel like I'm having to clean them every five minutes when oil from my hair gets on them.

When I'm driving, it really gets challenging. When you are lost in a strange town on a trip, you need something a little more reliable than a smartphone app to guide you to your destination.

I'm about to get in the car and drive with a Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD. It's got free lifetime maps and traffic with NAVTEQ navigation. It's also got Bluetooth support. Also, it's smartphone link compatible from a free mobile app.

This Prestige Series has a five-inch high resolution display with pinch and zoom. There are maps of North America and Garmin Real Directions with Garmin Real Voice. HD Digital Traffic has free lifetime traffic and weather alerts.

There is voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth and Smartphone Link compatibility. It is smooth looking and slick with a glossy finish. Garmin Real Directions will get you there, no problem with recognizable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights. There are plenty of points of information.

Have you ever gotten turned around, having to check yourself and pull out a map when your GPS just didn't do the trick?

Use Garmin Express to keep the device up to date. Its on-screen keyboard is easy to use. You adjust the volume with a slider bar, and the screen brightness adjusts easily. There is also an automatic volume. It is easy to see the GPS signal status bar. Setting the time is a snap.

I'm doing interviews with a tape recorder now; I use a back-up, the Logitech Webcam C930e. It is an 1080p HD webcam with Scalable Video Coding and UVC 1.5 encoding technology, freeing up PC bandwidth. Every house on our street has been broken into but ours, so I'm setting up a security system.

What is so funny is to capture Peachie, our white, little dog, running around on a security cam, bouncing on the bed, hiding under the blanket or slurping from her pan.

All night long it seems cars drive by slowly, checking out the neighborhood, so I'm watching them now, taping it. I've grown too old to go around peeking in on people with a cam to see what they are doing. Sometimes that is so dangerous. You never know what's going to pop up after the black screen opens up to show some 90-year-old naked as a jaybird.

I got a SodaStream machine which makes soda and seltzer water.

More than eight years ago, nine years on May 23, I stopped drinking alcohol, and that definitely makes it easier to drop pounds. You slowly shed weight, and there are definitely less hangovers which is a plus.

The SodaStream comes in a big box with several flavors, including a cola flavor soda mix which makes six liters.

During the Super Bowl, you may have been watching Scarlett Johansson in the commercial, but the fizz from this thing is better than Coke or Pepsi. It is powered by a Co2 bottle which you can get refilled at Walmart or wherever you bought it. Ocean Spray makes flavors. Get ready to burp a lot. Fizzing drinks always settle my stomach. There are caffeine-free flavors of beverages, which is great for me because I am a diabetic.

The products are kosher and vegan and the tonic drinks have quinine.

The drinks do not go flat quickly. Sparkling water hits the spot. With the machine you can make it high fizz, medium or light.

All these years I've been writing columns without glasses, but now after visiting the eye doctor, I have officially joined the legion of optically impaired readers and writers. I can read my soda machine instructions easier and the directions to my SodaStream Country Time pink lemonade. There are less plastic bottles to pollute the environment.

It is an active green product, reducing the O2 footprint.

Tim Bullard, 58, has a book published by The History Press of Charleston, “Haunted Watauga County.” He is married and has a son, Conor. They live in Winston-Salem, N.C. He also has a column in the North Myrtle Beach Times and has won the S.C. Press Association Feature Writing award and a N.C. Press Association Writing Award. His website is www.timbullard.com.

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