Monterey Viewpoint

Safety at Monterey

Safe walking"You mean you're supposed to walk on the left facing traffic? I always walk on the right!"

A friend of mine was taking a walk just as I was. If you come face to face with another walker going in the opposite direction, it's pretty clear that one of you is on the wrong side of the road, a circumstance which people usually ignore. This time, though, my friend said, "Hey! You're going the wrong way!"

It seemed to me a shocking lack of knowledge by an up-to-date woman in her seventies, recently retired from a successful career in real estate, but I wasn't about to miss my chance to point out which one of us was wrong and to preach about walking on the left side of the road.

"Oh, I get it!" my friend continued. "If you're facing traffic you can see a car coming towards you. If you're going with the traffic, a car can suddenly come up behind you. Neat!" Aha! I have a new recruit for safer walking, plucked from the group of about half the walkers at Monterey, who, sadly enough, walk with the traffic.

Distracted walking is not good.

Before we separated to continue walking in opposite directions and on opposite sides of the road, I grabbed the moment to emphasize wearing white or light clothing, especially walking early or late in the day, so drivers can pick you out quickly. At one time, those two points would have been enough to reasonably assure a walker's safety, but technology has tossed a new and powerful intrusion into today's reality. Walkers wearing earphones to listen to music have blocked out surrounding sounds, whereas talking or texting on cell phones and smart phones has become such an imperative that many people cannot forsake the habit for a moment even while walking. Drivers distracted by texting and talking have been the source of much criticism, but for some reason, walkers wired up to music or with cell phones in hand have escaped notice and blame.

Liberty Mutual conducted a countrywide survey of one thousand people, exposing findings that fully 60 percent of them routinely read and send texts and emails, talk on cell phones, and listen to music while walking and crossing streets, even though the vast majority realize that this behavior might be increasing the chance of getting hit by a vehicle or failing to notice tripping hazards.

For heaven's sake. HANG UP and keep that cell phone in your pocket, or stop walking and get to a safe place to answer or call with your phone. We have found the old fashioned pastime known as "thinking" can be a perfect accompaniment to walking.

Walk a mile every day. It takes about a half hour. The results will be mind boggling.

Popular Activities Thrive

Description: Bocce.JPGActivities at Monterey have grown in scope in recent years reflecting the shifting and broadening interests of the population. As an example, looking around here from January to March, you would hardly believe that, on the physical side, Bocce was once a small sideline for a few people. Now our court is taken up by scheduled play three days a week in season! A plan is starting to jell to create a second bocce court by converting part of the unused shuffleboard layout.

Interest in small boats is on the rise! Two years ago, a few people got together in a Focus Group and created a Canoe and Kayak Club, which now sports (and can house) sixteen or seventeen boats! Sometimes they plan a joint outing, but a lot of the boating activity is by individual venture. The group has established regulations, is well managed, and encourages new members to join in its growing schedule of activity on and off the water.

Description: Kayak.JPG
Here’s a real example of shifting tastes: The pool room is also gaining in popularity. Once quiet and abandoned, these days the sound of clicking balls is frequently detected from behind that closed door.

Our Exercise Room was once a poor relative, used only by a few. Now, after a refurbishing and the addition of a new elliptical machine, it’s something we can show off to visitors and is in daily demand.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, bridge has long been a staple pastime at Monterey. The women’s group meets on Monday afternoon, and two co-ed groups, one duplicate and one a party bridge format, meet on evenings during the week. Now players of other card games vie for space in the clubhouse, and some energetic persons even hold classes. Monterey’s magic expression prevails here: “Everybody’s welcome!” Note: I think there are also some poker groups tucked away someplace.

If your idea of a good time is a bit more hokey, we’ve got you covered. Traditional Bingo is a weekly standard during season! You’ll be astonished at the size of the crowd.

Social Activities, a committee with two couples at its head, is always there to provide periodic relief to those of us who feel a compelling need to be together periodically with a Monterey crowd. Dinner, music, and dancing provide the key that opens the door to this style of companionship, which comes along just about once a month. The true dancers get a nice mix of music with a few line-dancing episodes tossed in. You’re a non-dancer? Doesn’t matter! You’ll have a ball!

Description: Golf.JPGYou’d think we’d get enough of golf with a weekly men’s league, a weekly women’s league, monthly scrambles, and plenty of openings for the foursome of your choice or just a drop-in game. But no! A new league for couples has started up on Friday afternoons and became a winner overnight, thanks to the organizing skills and friendly manner of its originator. Each week it’s a different format, all challenging and all fun. And, to add to the intrigue, the couples don’t have to be married to each other.

Some people just love physical work as a pastime. Their interests are served through at least two of Monterey’s committees. One is the Beautification Committee, which meets every Monday to plant trees, trim, and otherwise work with plants and the soil. The other is the House Committee, which works at bettering the walkways, the dock, and all areas inside of and surrounding our clubhouses. If you are so inclined, watch for opportunities, or talk to the committee chairmen.

Description: BG2.jpgDescription: Carousel.jpgThe Workshop, too, is a haven for people who love to work with their hands. With tools available as well as skilled workmen who stop in on a regular basis, finding help is not an issue. Currently a small class is in session on carving small carousel horses. More practical tasks find solutions there as well.

Description: cranes.JPGNever fear. The dreamers have not been left out. Monterey boasts an ever growing library, with new books constantly donated and catalogued. Books are going out and coming in every hour of the day – all on the honor system.

Travel adventure takes up a full bulletin board in the library. A resident chairman assists local travel agents in presenting their offerings through posters and timely bulletins. Trips of all descriptions, many of them day trips that originate close by, are noted so you can follow up, get more information, or buy a ticket!

Mentioned in passing, the Monterey manner of classifying admittance to group activity is worth another declaration. “EVERYBODY’S WELCOME.” It’s the attitude and promise that characterizes our community and our activities. If you want to take part, come on! We’ll do our best to include you and make you welcome.

Bocce Madness

Monterey's new sports extravaganza began unobtrusively a few years ago as a pastime with a few of the men taking it up to fill in the time while the Women’s League was taking over the golf course on Wednesdays. Slowly growing in popularity, the game beckoned women into the fold as well, with over 70 women now enrolled to play in teams of four on either the Tuesday or the Thursday roster. One might safely say, involvement has grown from pastime to passion in two years' time.

All season long, as newer players became more and more dedicated and skilled, enthusiasm rose to its crescendo in March with playoffs between couples leading to a tournament championship. No less than thirty-two couples signed up to compete. As the list narrowed down, the heat of the competition and the size of the crowd ballooned. Hooting, hollering, and a bit of mischief were not out of place in this atmosphere, and finally one couple was left standing - but with plenty of runners-up still brimming with energy. Have no doubt, also, that the onlookers had as much fun as the participants.

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Computer Safety

by: Chuck Bessey and Tim Foelker ( Protechworks.com ) – 8/13/10

Just imagine yourself surfing the Internet for a new car or a red party dress, and all of a sudden your computer slows down, freezes, or……..you’re at your computer blissfully typing and clicking, and all of a sudden your screen goes blue, or……you settle in front of your computer to check your email, and you can’t access the internet…..

Your heart stops, and your hands tremble. You suspect you may be under attack. What do you do now? As a matter of fact, you have good reason to be apprehensive. All incidents of malware, more commonly referred to as a virus, spyware, or adware, can require extensive expert help to resolve. Extreme cases will crash the computer and can even destroy information on the hard drive!

So, let’s start with what you should have done before. 

UPDATE for 2014:
One of the most cost effective solutions for protecting Window's computer securty comes free, directly from Microsoft: Microsoft Security Essentials. Yes, click this link to Get Microsoft Security Essentials for the low, low price of free. Microsoft Security Essentials is supported on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

While Apple's Mac OS X operating system (the one that runs your Mac), and iOS (the one that runs your iPhone), generally don't need extra security software installed, it's critically important to keep your operating system(s) up to date. Both Apple and Microsoft have built-in tools to check for updates to your devices automatically. Always leave these update checks enabled.
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Your first lines of defense are to have your Windows “firewall” activated and to have an anti-virus program installed and kept up-to-date. Norton , McAfee , or a free one , AVG , are all good programs. Additionally, you should have a malware program like Spybot or Malwarebytes (both also free) installed on your system.

In the instances described above, run your antivirus program, use Windows System cleanup , defragmentation, and other maintenance programs, and hope to see an improvement. However, you may need expert help from a relative or friend, or, alas, from a repair service center such as the Best Buy’s - Geek Squad, and hope they can repair the system without costing you an arm and a leg.

Most attacks come from downloading infected email attachments, visiting questionable web sites, or clicking on unidentified links. Malware can even be inadvertently passed on by your friends and, further, spread unawares by you yourself through forwarding infected email!

When surfing the web, a little paranoia and a lot of common sense are in order. Use caution visiting celebrity, sports, and game sites. Especially be careful when you are accessing your bank or credit card or shopping accounts. The reason is “Phishing.” Phishing is an attempt by a web site to masquerade as another site (like your bank!) in order to trick you into giving them your information, thereby opening the door to theft of your identity! The scenario works something like this: you get an email about an error in your bank account (or Amazon or Ebay saying they couldn’t deliver a package). It asks you to click a link to log in and verify your information. When you click the link the site looks just like your bank or Amazon or Ebay, with a logo and everything. The site might be fake, however, and if you enter your log in and personal information it is being captured by bad guys for nefarious purposes.

To protect yourself, never click any links in any emails you are not absolutely sure are legitimate. Always go to the site by typing the proper address (e.g., usbank.com, amazon.com, ebay.com) in your browser’s address bar, or using a known good bookmark in your browser for that site. From there you can safely log in and check you account or order status.

When handling email, do not open mail from unknown senders. Do not download attachments from unknown sources. Do not click on embedded links you are not sure about. Do not click on any site offering free scans of your computer, or on any anti-virus program that is not already on your system. NEVER give out personal information such as your SS number, your bank account number, or any passwords, in an email, even though the request appears authentic. (And also because email, by its nature, is inherently insecure and now you've written down and sent sensitive informatin that you can't guarantee is private anymore!) Make a direct phone call to anyone requesting such personal information to verify the source and reason for the request.

If you ever feel that any account information has been compromised, do not hesitate to immediately change your password on the affected account. And use secure passwords: lots of random characters, a mix of upper and lowercase alhpabet with numbers and symbols.

Be wary of any email that has been forwarded to you, especially one with one or more FWD’s in the subject line and those that contain attachments. Forwarding is one of the most common ways of spreading malware around the Internet, so do not let yourself become part of the problem by clicking on “forward.” You should highlight and copy any text you want to pass along to friends and paste it into a newly composed email of your own. Tell your friends you will delete forwarded email without opening it.

Here at Monterey, we have discussed these Internet safety and email issues in our Computer Workshops, but many of these common mistakes persist. Over the past few months, several computers at Monterey have experienced problems requiring extensive expert help to resolve. The wonderful expansion of personal computers and access to the Internet has broadened and enriched our lives. Using your computer to stay in touch with family and friends, to surf the web for information, to shop and do your banking should be a pleasurable experience. Following these guidelines will help alleviate some of the anxiety and ensure you stay safe in cyberspace.

Traveling Adventures

Gas line

I had no clue there was a gas shortage in Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina as I ventured out on my trip from Michigan back to Florida…(Could this be due to Ike shutting down refineries?)

After a full hour’s stop-and-go traffic near Chattanooga, I entered Georgia at down to a quarter tank of gas (my car only has a 15 gallon tank.) I stopped for that old universal need to empty my bladder and fill my gas tank – and found that three stations at that stop were all out of gas! Yikes!

Next exit, one station, with long lines – by the time I got to the pump, my needle was touching the red empty. They were only allowing $30 worth per car – and CASH only. Working my way toward Atlanta - three more stops, and NO GAS. Down to about a quarter tank, I figured I better get a motel room and see what I could find out on the news. TV News – Yep, Georgia is out of gas! The shortage is expected to last anywhere from a week to a month.

In a state of panic now, I went to sleep early, so I could get a jump on the situation in the morning. As I left the motel at 5:30 a.m., a station across the street sprouted two huge lines of cars starved for gas. I had to travel a block in the wrong direction and made it into the line. Forty-five minutes later I had a full tank and was leaving the station as they began shutting down the lines. No more gas.

With no traffic, I got past Atlanta and figured I’d better start looking for gas at half a tank, not an-eighth as normal. First stop was a winner – one station out of three had gas, and I got my fill. Showee! Maybe I can make it! I did make it to Florida, where blessedly there is plenty of gas. Hoorah!

Question: How can the entire metropolitan area of Atlanta and north Georgia be without gas for such and extended period of time??!! This is ridiculous to say the least.

In the United States, nobody has built a new refinery in over 25 years, even though existing refineries are producing at near capacity. Investor’s Business Daily provides reasons that highlight persistent environmentalists’ resistance and battles in court as well as the need for hundreds of permits pertaining to required reduction of sulphur content in gasoline. Add to this the poor return on billions of dollars in investment, and it appears that the last refinery has been built. Maybe it’s time for America to wake up.

One thing I can tell you. You don’t ever want to be on the road with no fuel at the pumps.

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