2012 – A Year of Reclining Values

by Greg Fuller

Twenty Twelve was the year of the Barcalounger. In truth, I donÕt actually own a real Barcalounger. But I really like the sound of the name. Much better than Laz-E-Boy or the generic term ŅreclinerÓ. According to the online Oxford Dictionary:

Syllabification: (BarįcaįLoungįer)
Pronunciation: /ˈbŠrkəˌlounjər/

Definition of BarcaLounger

„ trademark a type of deeply padded reclining chair.

1970s: from the name of Edward J. Barcolo, who acquired the original license to manufacture the chairs, and lounger

Thanks again Ed. YouÕre a real swell.

No, what I really have is two pseudo Barcas (well really four, but I bought the other two so people wouldnÕt keep sitting in my chair. And I still have to chase them out from time to time, particularly the grandkids — who not only donÕt need to lounge, but arenÕt yet big enough to reach the footrests).

What I really have is this caramel colored Eye-tal-Yan thing at home, which is pretty comfortable and by now well broken in, but lacks the critical second snooze position for proper napping while watching NCIS. And a more architecturally correct Mission style model up in Tahoe, with big flat wooden arms that can hold both a drink and the remote simultaneously. Maybe a couple of remotes and a bowl of chips with guacamole to boot. My Mission Lounger also has the perfectly balanced, critical second snooze position, one back from the first television watching and laptop operating position. The beauty of it all is – if you find the old eyelids getting a bit heavy while Gibbs is yelling at DeNinozzo, or Ducky is waning poetic about his latest communication from a corpse — just a little tush push and youÕre near horizontal. Dreamland bound. This is also a superior position for the rest of your company, as at that angle the loungersÕ mouth is much less likely to gape, saving later embarrassment for all concerned and malicious photo postings to Facebook.

But thatÕs not what the year was about. No. This year was about hard, sweaty work. Achievement and learning, Communication. Marketing and Advancement. This year was about accomplishing all that, and more. But without ever getting out of my lounge chair. Granted, when I do get up I stagger around like Gollum searching for Bilbo Bagginses and The Ring. But thatÕs a small price to pay for convenience and a perpetually recumbent lifestyle.

I owe it all to technology, particularly those wizards at Apple. With my MacBook, iPhone, iPad and Pod – I need not stir for a long as my bladder holds out. Their brilliant Mobile Technology has allowed me to achieve – Immobility!

And to think I might have missed all this if, by some evil twist of fate, I had a job. Alas, in that dire circumstance, I might still be chained to my collection of Wonders from Redmond, back in the land of XP or worse – Windows Vista (gasp!). And also cast upright – for even with the wonderful wide arms of my Mission Lounger – a recliner is no place for a mouse.

ItÕs all about the Swipe, you see. And the two fingered scrolling. I suspect Windows World 8 has some of this now, but back in late 2011, those things were only a twinkle in Steve BalmerÕs eye. And who can resist operating systems with names of great cats like Mountain Lion and Snow Leopard? Vista my ass.

So there I was late last year with limited prospects and a severely aging Dell Inspiron — with a cracked case, marginal wifi connectivity, and only one operational USB port. Something had to be done.

At the same time, I had embarked upon a course of self-enrichment and potential personal fulfillment, determined to learn the fine art of mobile app creation. I flirted briefly with Android, but the magic just wasnÕt there. Besides, the iPhone had sixty percent of the market, and you could maybe get two bucks rather than 99 cents for your app. The die was cask.

Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip
Mum mum mum mum mum mum
Get a Mac Sha na na na, sha na na na na

How do I tie this in with a Barcalouger? (see how that word just rolls off your tongue?). Let me tell you then.

After hitting the proverbial self-taught wall late in 2011, I admitted that I might need professional help. Owing to severe budgetary constraints, I picked a quick fix three day course, at ŅiPhone BootcampÓ. There was a cute picture in their ads of a Victorian somewhere in San Francisco, which they dubbed the ŅiPhone MansionÓ (clever. Not exactly Hugh HefnerÕs digs, or likely to be populated with similar Looking tenants, but whatever). The Camp was willing to slide me into a course in late December at the last minute, but I think we were supposed to bake Christmas Cookies that weekend or something, so I opted for the next date, at the beginning of February. Meanwhile, I signed up as an official Apple Developer, which allowed me to put my apps in the Store. Which I couldnÕt do until I took the course, because, you know, I had hit the wall. In the mean time, I hoped for snow in January (which didnÕt come) while gazing longingly at my Squaw Season Pass, and could appreciate the ability to walk Max without having to go out in the rain.
I must admit, Irene has been an inspiration during all of this. Long before I discovered the Nirvana of lounger laptop surfing, she was parked with her PC in a chair for hours on end. Nor was she bothered by what was — to me — the obvious disadvantages of the Windows touchpad. As a matter of fact, it was just her proclivity for recumbent work-style that necessitated the purchase of a second Eye-Tal-yan lounger, albeit in green, so she wouldnÕt always be parked in MY chair.

After The Bootcamp, which by the way was the equivalent of three days of supersonic beer chugging – except with lines of programming code rather than Coors Light, the wall was broken. I then embarked upon writing my first iPhone app, with visions of App Store dollars dancing in my head, and – my MacBook in the recliner.

So you see, I have an entire ecosystem here at 70 degrees off the level. I can communicate by email, phone, text, video. All without touching the floor. Need to test? – please pass the iPhone or iPad. Eight, ten hours a day. More. Recreation? Hand over the other two remotes, the one to the big screen TV and the other for surround sound. I can job hunt or blog without moving a tenth of a geolocational degree. And when I am in the Tahoe Mission Lounger – I donÕt even have to go to bed. Move to Position Two – who needs a Beautyrest? Lately Max just climbs up into the chair with me. I donÕt even have to reach out to pet him. Although he does get jealous of the chair – since, although I can throw the tennis ball from it, I have not yet figured out how to go for a walk or a run on the beach without relinquishing the recliner. But IÕm working on it.

I will admit there are the occasional downsides. For example, the time up at Tahoe when I mistakenly set down my beer on the wonderfully wide armrest before reclining. The Mission Lounger, being a bit more classic, doesnÕt have quite the smooth operation of my Italian model. Consequently, there was a bit of a jump in the process, and I ended up with Newcastle on my new Squaw Dogs Mountain Rescue tee. Crisis. I needed to take care of the Squaw Dogs immediately, least they end up spotted like a bunch of snow frosted Dalmatians.

Which led to É

The Great Flood of 2012

Threw off the Tee, turned on the cold water in the bathroom sink and tossed the Squaw Dogs in for a soak. Remembered I still had about a half a bottle of Newcastle in drinkable form at my chair, and the other half needing to be sopped up from the Mission Lounger and rug. Went back into the Living Room.

About ten minutes later, a rather loud Irene Scream emanated from the direction of the upstairs bath. Apparently the capacity of the overflow valve in the sink had been exceeded, which resulted in a cascade of events (including a cascade of water) including a couple of inches on the floor of this bathroom, the bathroom on the lower floor, and much absorption by the neighboring carpets, pad, walls and woodwork and lots of drips in various strange locations.

Realizing a quick and decisive resolution was called for, and abandoning the remainder of my Newcastle, I sprung into action, grabbed a box cutter, and started slicing up the carpet to get at the rapidly rising waters, emptying and moving the antique sideboard, and distributing all twenty or so towels from the linen closet across two floors. Oh, yeah. And also turned off the faucet. I then headed out to Mountain Hardware and purchased a couple of their most powerful electric heaters – about the size youÕd use to heat a hanger for the Hindenburg.

After things dried out and we got a carpet guy to stitch things back up , well, you could hardly tell there had been a flood. Except the box cutter wasnÕt exactly surgical, so some of the carpet seams sort of look like Dr. Frankenstein had done the repair job. But hey. Who looks down anyway.

As noted, it was also necessary to obtain a second, almost matching Mission Lounger up there at the Hungry Bear. As much as we can, we try to bring Mom along to the mountains. She makes much more use of the snooze position, and is also much less likely to be out skiing or hiking. So she uses it a lot. Since it does seem sort of cold to kick my 92 year old Mom out of the chair, we got this other one just for her. Or mostly for her. The grandkids with the Nintendos are another matter. If I could find a Mission Lounger with a seat launcher like Mr. BondÕs Aston-Martin, well É

Sorry Sir. We Most Respectfully Recline

After the Tahoe City Annual SnowFest – which like the rest of last Winter up there was more Fest than Snow, it was pretty much back in the Italia Lounga through June – when I released by iPhone app MarkMyPlace (check the App Store or www.markmyplaceapp.com). I think Irene was working pretty hard during that time as well, because the was parked – evenings, weekends, and work-at-home days –in the matching olive green Italia Lounga II, on the other side of the Living Room. I suppose she could have been on email or Facebook or Macys.com. But she still has a job and even got a nice raise this past Spring. So one would assume it was more than social networking.

The lack of snow was not all bad – in that I could actually find my speedboat in the front yard before August (as opposed to the previous year, when we could have literally made snowcones in the yard until about Labor Day). Thus I resolved to use it more last Summer. Which I did. There were setbacks, however.

Bada Boom

After our second instance of miscalculating the turning radius of the boat trailer and clipping a neighborÕs ride – turning the fifteen dollar launch fee into a couple hundred dolla taillight repair event — we got a little gun shy. Luckily I happened upon an opportunity at the Tahoe Marina, where, it turns out – older is better! While we know this to be generally true with Scotch, the Antiques Fair and certain selected red wines, as far as an over forty year old piece of floating plastic, — whoda thought?

You see, if you have a new boat – say newer than 1989, or a big boat, say over the 19 feet of our rubber ducky, youÕve got about as much chance of touching a rental slip as M. C Hammer. But they have a bunch of little ones that we can fit in. Voila! Slip that baby into a slip for August – and no more trailer trauma.


Which also meant we used the speedboat way more. And used way more gas – which heretofore we had always filled up with at the Shell station next to the SaveMart, and I think never used more than about a tankful in a season. Which also means — I really didnÕt have to worry about the accuracy of the gas gauge, or consumption of fuel over time /or distance. Given that I am more used to the sailboat, which we have to fill up – like – twice a year, I may have miscalculated.

ŅWeÕre not really boatersÓ – Kristy, after being rescued by the Blue Tahoe Shuttle.

That first week of renting the slip, we had something like five successful runs – up to Garwoods, and Captain Jons for breakfast, then down to Emerald Bay and back. Great fun. The sixth time – well, not so much.

We had promised Riley and Kaleigh a ride before embarking on dinner at Lakeside Pizza. Kristy – who previously generally begins to get seasick when stepping on a sailboat while still in dock (ŅitÕs kind of tippy, you knowÓ) – reluctantly agreed to join the excursion, probably to make sure we didnÕt drown her children, at least not without taking her down with them.

The first red flag appeared as we started out. Or not exactly. IÕm pretty sure weÕd never had more than four adults in the boat. Maybe only three. And she could fly. ItÕs a V8 – nice Chevy block – so youÕd think we could kick butt. But apparently, there is some adjustment for altitude. In any case, with five adults and the two children, instead of zipping across they lake, we were plowing like a landing craft headed for Omaha Beach. Which resulted in a hell of a rooster tail (or whatever you can get out of a 40 yr old plastic classic), which then resulted in Kristy being doused. And also resulted in Kristy being not particularly amused – but particularly cold. Unfortunately, she had also followed IreneÕs advice in Ņnot needing any warm clothesÓ for the ride, so my backup sweatshirt was appropriated for the cause.

Apparently landing craft mode also uses a bit more gas. While I started with what appeared to be just under a half a tank, by the time we had turned around at Garwoods, the needle on the gauge was dropping faster than the Dow Jones during the bank meltdown. We made it around Dollar Point, but just about at Buoy I, the mighty Chevy V8 sputtered to a halt. Just as the sun was setting, obliterating all discernable landmarks on shore.


Fortunately I keep the towing insurance current, and the Blue Tahoe Shuttle just happened by at a fortunate moment — being able to pluck the women and children from our disabled craft like a lifeboat on the Titanic. Once suitably lightened, and refuled by the tow boat (for only ten bucks a gallon), we were able to follow Tow Tahoe though the dark night at something like forty miles an hour — back to the safety of our little rented slip. But I do have the memory of Kayleigh standing near the stern, arms outstretched,  saying, ŅIÕm doing this in case we sink!Ó

And We are Saved

But we didnÕt sink – although I was beginning to wonder about the whole boat karma next day when Irene and I tried to go to the gas dock the to fill up, and couldnÕt get any fuel because half of Tahoe City was without power. On a beautiful, clear day in the middle of August. Go figure.

By September I was firmly ensconced back in the Lounger de Italia della Casa Sausalito, laptop in its eponymous location, putting together course material for the vey same iPhone Bootcamp I had taken in February. Well not really the very same, in that each instructor (which I was now to be) has to prepare their own course. In any case, I was due to instruct on the first weekend of October – which was also The Busiest Weekend Ever in San Francisco, spending three days locked up in a conference room while the AmericaÕs Cup racing and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival were going on, among about a jillian other things. But hey, considering the month of prep time, I probably made at least $10 an hour overall. So whoÕs complaining.

After that – it was back to the app, composing the 1.1 version between the armrests, and fending off Max, who by now considers the MacBook Pro a serious contender for my affection and from time to time tries to climb on the keyboard – or at least disable it with tennis ball slobber. And, of course, Irene was laptopping in the Lounger Olivia nearby.

Da Bears (redux)

Interrupted, of course, by the occasional maintenance trip up to the Hungry Bear Lodge, as well as the occasional encounter with real hungry bears (I have pictures). A cavalier lapse of judgment on my part – thinking if there were piles of people around, there wouldnÕt also be piles of bears – resulted in the annihilation of a downstairs bathroom screen by one such furry perp. Apparently the electric wiring IS a deterrent, and lack of same, or lack of energizing it, invites chaos.

Ah, Mr Gatsby I Presume

And we had one very cool evening, accompanied by longtime friends Cheryl and David, when we played like rich people at a charity event held in the Thunderbird Lodge – over near Incline Village. In addition to the rather hefty ticket price for the winemaker dinner (some portion is deductible), they held an auction after dinner – sort of like having dessert in the middle of a KQED Pledge Drive. During which the very drunk guy at the next table pledged twenty-five thousand bucks as a donation. Actually, at first he only offered ten, but that apparently was small potatoes for his wife, who upped the ante. Boy IÕll bet he had an expensive hangover the next day. ŅYou said IÕd do what, Sugar Plum?Ó. At least he probably got to ride on the Thunderbird boat, which is much longer than mine, has dual 1200 horsepower aircraft engines, and probably an accurate gas gauge.

We also spent Thanksgiving up there – with Mom and Max, more bears (I have pictures), children, grandchildren, and a Border Collie next door who conspired with Max to tunnel under the adjoining fence for play dates.

And here I am, back in the Lounga Italia, writing this letta.

Happy Holidays

Stay Horizontal My Friends.

Greg, Irene, Max, Paulie && Da Bears.

© 2012 by Greg Fuller