Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image


Carol and I were away for three weeks, of which two and change were spent in Scottsdale, where we lived from 1990-2003. Rumors are circulating that we’re moving back there, which (like so much else) is complicated. It may be getting warmer somewhere in the world, but here in the US, winters are getting worse. By mid-November our nightly lows here in Colorado will probably be in single digits, and we’ve seen one scary forecast of nightly lows below zero–five weeks before winter actually begins.


So we would certainly like to have a place in Phoenix metro, where we could spend as many months as Colorado weather is inhuman. Can’t happen for awhile still, for a number of reasons, but we came away from our trip with a much clearer picture of what we’d like. More on this as happens.

We did manage to see a few of our old friends. Carol and I had dinner with my Coriolis co-founder Keith Weiskamp and his wife Cynthia, whom we haven’t seen since the early-mid oughts. Keith has his own glass studio, with furnace, and produces art glass for local galleries. I had breakfast with the gang from the New Church of Phoenix like I did regularly fifteen years ago. (Many thanks to Vic Odhner for pulling the group together.) The Arizona Book Publishing Association (for which I served as president in 1999 and 2000) no longer exists, but Gwen Henson arranged a small group dinner for ABPA veterans at the Bluewater Grill in Phoenix, including Alan Korwin, Rob Rosenwald, Bill and Amanda Fessler, and others whom I hadn’t yet met but came out to visit anyway. We saw Jan Marvin and Sue Thurman and realized how much we had both missed the whole bunch.

The weather was more September than October, with temps hitting the low 90s until the day before we left. Imagine slopping around in the pool until November 1. I’m thinking with a decent solar heater we could keep a smallish pool swimmable year-round or pretty damned close to it.

I didn’t do a lot of online stuff during the trip because my laptop was crashing and sending the cursor all over the place and generally being unusable. Multiple scans have shown that it isn’t malware, so I guess something just started growing mold somewhere in Windows’ eleventh sub-basement. I suppose I could reinstall Win7, but this may be an opportunity to buy a new slab and learn Windows 8. Still shopping.

As we are for a number of other things. Our phones are three years old and also getting cranky. I’m looking closely at the Galaxy Note 4, and wondering when (if ever) we’ll see Lollipop for it. My current phone (a Droid X2) is stuck at Gingerbread. Android’s come a long way since then. The Note 4 has (of all things) a heart-rate monitor, which I tried at Best Buy and found that it actually works, though it’s fussy about how you position a finger over the sensor. And that display! 515 ppi is boggling, and higher res than Apple’s Retina display. I’d consider the Nexus 6 if there actually were a Nexus 6. And even if it shows up next week, there’s always that old saw about pioneers getting arrows.

We need a new car to replace our 19 1/2 year old Plymouth Voyager. I’d go shopping if our last dealer experience (in April of 2001) hadn’t been so unutterly horrible. Doesn’t Detroit understand that being dogpiled under half a dozen greasy salesmen doesn’t inspire love and kisses? Clearly, the franchise dealer model still exists only because the dealers have bought laws locking out competing models, like Tesla’s. This is what I call a brittle business model. When it fails, it will fail very badly.

I broke my 2001-era titanium frames a few days ago, and now need to find a usable replacement. Larger frames are coming back, so maybe humanity’s long hipster romance with teeny tiny glasses is over. I won’t ask to go back to what I wore in the 80s, which gave my cheeks 20-20 vision. I’d settle for, well, something the size of what I had until Wednesday.

I had the crazy notion while driving through western New Mexico that I should incorporate the Voynich Manuscript into my Neanderthals novel, The Gathering Ice. In the story, it’s a secret plan, written in the Neanderthal language, for ending a looming ice age. The Neanderthals are ace genetic engineers, and have been for a hundred thousand years. They created soccer-ball sized GMO grapefruit that grow in Montana. They created something else, too, that got a little out of hand. You can get some nice Voynich Manuscript fonts online, and I’m tempted to write some encrypted Neanderthal text for the book and see if anyone can figure it out.

I also got an insight about the recent election that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and I’m trying to decide whether to write up here. I probably will, even though I ration my coverage of politics for obvious reasons. Politics isn’t show business for ugly people, as Jay Leno said. Politics is hate in an evening gown.

There’s your clue. You’ll read it when I write it.


  1. Rick H says:

    Regarding the purchase of a vehicle, I too am not enamoured of the car dealer purchasing decision. So our last 5 cars have been purchased from the local Hertz used car sales.

    No pressure at all. Prices are fair market value. Full maintenance records are available. Cars are well maintained (I don’t buy into the theory of “Rental cars are beaten to death”.)

    All of the cars have had minimal problems. Oil gets changed regularly, new tires now and again, and a brake job or two. But no major mechanical problems.

    So I recommend a visit to your local Hertz used car dealer. You can look at available stock on-line, and they will transfer a vehicle from another location. Very easy, low-key, no-hassle process.

    (I have no affiliation with Hertz other than being a repeat used car buyer there.)


    1. RH in CT says:

      I too bought my current car from Hertz. I had a three day rental to try it and get it checked out, the price of which was waived when I decided to buy it. Price was fair, condition good, and it has done well for me for the last two years.

  2. RH in CT says:

    I’ve worn glasses (except when sleeping, showering, etc) since fourth grade. Now that means progressives that darken in the sun. I had long tended toward larger eyeglass lenses until my current frames. Yes, they are smaller but they also fit closer to my eyes. I had no problem adapting and they have not been a problem.

  3. Larry Nelson says:

    Over the last couple of years I have swapped my whole fleet buying and selling on Craigslist. Average age of three vehicles in my garage went from 25+ years to 8 years. Net cost was about 22k.

    It takes some time to get a feel for the market and a willingness to test drive and walk away. Have an able mechanic available to review any concerns. Time spent per vehicle was about 12 hours (ignoring evening Craigslist browsing time). That is reasonable for the size of the purchase.

    Overall it was a pleasant experience that let me shop the whole of the northwest instead of the paltry dozen used cars available in the local want ads.

    If you are not fixated on new, perfect, and a particular color, 5 to 10 year old vehicles offer a real bargain. Cars last a lot longer than they used to. Mileage over 100,000 is not the kiss of death. My beloved and still reliable 1992 Toyota Camry wagon with 325,000 miles sold in 9 minutes on Craigslist and got $1,900.

    Cash is king for negotiating a quick deal at a good price. Don’t spend all your budget in case something crops up a few months later that needs repair. In fact, we have had minimal repair needs.

    With CarFax and some internet research you feel like a stalker but can learn a great deal about used vehicle history. From the Carfax I got the previous owner address and from a bumper sticker I got their employer. That let me Google map the typical commute route (not too much stop and go). High-heel wear patterns on the door threshold told me that the woman of the house was the usual driver. Creepy but useful.

  4. Tom Roderick says:

    I am really looking forward your insight on the recent elections.

    One thing I noticed more than anything else is that the media is treating elections as just another sporting event. The only thing that matters is winners and losers and not a damn thing about what the candidates may have had to say they would or would not do if elected.

    Another case of tribalism at its worst!

  5. jimf says:

    FYI…my Nexus 5 is upgrading to Lollipop as I write this. It has been an excellent phone… From what I read, the Moto X is the way to go now…but I prefer unlocked phones and the Nexus 5 32gb is reasonably priced.

    I concur with Larry N above…but buy a car just out of lease say 3 years old. Let someone else take the depreciation hit. My 2000 Lexus RX300 has 205,000 miles on it and runs like a new car.

    BTW…I have a couple of friends in Scottsdale…but they are snowbirds…winter there, the rest of the year in Vernon Hills, IL.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *