Monthly Archives: October 2019

Save Big Time with GoodRX

It is well known the we in the U.S. pay the highest prices for medication in the world. May I emphatically recommend you use GoodRx?

There is a website and a smartphone app. It costs you nothing, and you don’t have to sign up or create an account. Simply type in the drug, dosage, and count/amount, and GoodRx will tell you the price at various pharmacies in your area.

You will be surprised how big a difference in price there can be!

GoodRx will even tell you if you can use a coupon (often presented on your smartphone) or whether a special membership with the pharmacy (typically $20-40 per year) will save you money. You may find that another pharmacy often offers better prices than your regular pharmacy and may want to switch your default pharmacy.

Think you have a good prescription plan through your insurance? Think you are saving money receiving your drugs through a mail-order pharmacy (like SureScripts or ExpressScripts)? I still saved money over my insurance plan simply by using GoodRx.

I don’t have pets, but I understand GoodRx can be used for pet medication, too.

Here’s what I do:
Whenever I go in to pick up a prescription, I ask what the drug is, the dosage, and the amount (number of pills). I plug it all into the GoodRx app on my cell phone, and check to see whether the price listed is lower than what the pharmacy was going to charge. Often it is. The pharmacists are used to it and quickly print out a new receipt.

I just saw a friend post a complaint about a mail-order pharmacy on social media. I sent him a message to try GoodRx. A couple hours later he messaged me that he saved $150 the first time they used it!

If this sounds like a paid testimonial, I’m sorry. Anyone who knows me knows how much I loath advertisements. I receive no benefit from promoting GoodRx beyond the good feeling of knowing I saved my friends money.

My Facebook Exodus: Removing Pictures and Ads

So what have I been cleaning and removing from my Facebook account? Currently I am backing up removing pictures and removing all my Facebook Ad “likes.”

Regardless of whether you plan to #DeleteFacebook, backing up pictures, deleting pictures, and deleting Facebook Ads is something you probably should know how to do.

I. Backup and Delete Photo Albums
This is a semi-tedious task. Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy to backup and download each photo album, but I have many albums created over the past 11 years. Here’s how:

  1. Backup Photo Album
    a. Log into Facebook on my computer
    b. Click on my name
    c. Click on “Photos”
    d. Click on “Albums”
    e. Open a specific album
    f. Click on the little gear icon in the upper-right
    g. Click “Download Album” – a pop-up message says it may take a few minutes to prepare the download.
    h. Click “Continue.” When it’s ready, you will receive a notification “Your album [album name] is ready to download” (it takes approximately 1-4 minutes)
    i. Click on the notification, and you will be prompted to enter your Facebook password
    j. Click “Continue” and you’ll be prompted to save your pictures (which will be in a compressed .zip file). Click “OK”
    k. Your pictures will be downloaded.
  2. Delete Photo Album
    a. Repeat steps a-f above
    b. Click “Delete Album”
    c. When prompted to confirm, click “Delete Album”

II. Removing all Facebook Ad “Likes”
Facebook continually adds advertisement “likes” behind the scenes based on what you post, share, and like. It is a tedious process to go through and delete them. I find it easier/quicker to do on a computer than on a mobile device. Here’s how:

  1. Log into Facebook on your computer
  2. Click the down-arrow on the top right corner and choose “Settings”
  3. Click “Ads” near the bottom of the left side column
    Go through the various categories and delete the ad subjects and items listed.!

Having deleted all of my ad likes, I’m watching to see if and when Facebook creates new ones for me. Having stopped posting, commenting and liking stuff, nothing has appeared…yet.

Ghosts of Halloweens’ Past

Click on image to see a video of the living, breathing Rorschach

I was behind the 8-ball and didn’t prepare a costume to wear to work today. Over the years I’ve come up with some decent costumes, some requiring very little work, others a lot. Here are some of my costumes from Halloweens’ past:

Rorschach (from “The Watchmen“): I am really proud of this costume, and it won me a prize last year. I purchased heat-sensitive powder (really cool stuff, btw), mixed it with glue, and painted a Rorschach design on a white t-shirt. Worn over the head, the heat from my breath caused the pattern to change. A cheap raincoat, hat, and gloves completed the look.

Dryer Sock Monster: This was the simplest, easiest costume I’ve ever made, and it was still very successful. I simply took a black raincoat and safety-pinned one of every sock in my drawer. People looked at me with confusion for a minute, then when the realization hit, pointed at me and shouted, “you’re the one who stole my socks!”

Golf Accident: This took some work. I carefully sawed a golf ball in half with a hacksaw. I stuck it to my forehead with band-aids and tape. I made fake blood mixing creamy peanut butter and green food coloring and smeared it around the golf ball. I then dressed in really tacky golf clothes I found at thrift stores (pink sweater vest, white pants, etc.) and carried a bent golf club.

Biking Accident: (am I sensing a theme here?) I dressed in biking clothes, smeared grease on my bare legs and arms, locked a Kryptonite U-lock around my neck, tied bike tire tubes around my arms, and hung a bike chain over my neck. I believe I also tied some loose bike pedals to my shoelaces. This may have happened within a year of a spectacular bike wreck I had mountain biking that cut and bruised my face, but, extremely fortunately, did no more damage.

Leisure Suit Dating Horror: Purchased some really cheesy 70s clothes at a thriftstore, a fake gold chain necklace, and some fake fur from a fabric store. I hung the fur on my bare chest, and unbuttoned my shirt to my navel, and hung the chain over my neck. Some tinted glasses completed the look.

Phantom of the Opera: I own white tie and tails, which somehow still barely fit. I purchased a half-mask, donned my tails, set up an electronic keyboard at my door, and when the trick-or-treaters arrived, played the opening lines of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue.

What to do with leftover candy

Today is Halloween, the holiday in the U.S. during which the most candy is purchased. If you, like me, have leftover candy, there are options other than just keeping it and forcing yourself (with varying degrees of gusto or resistance) to consume the sugary remains.

I was delighted to hear that my workplace will collect extra candy and ship it to Operation Shoebox, a non-profit that prepares care packages for people serving overseas.

I did a quick check and there are other charities that will gladly accept your leftover candy:

Soldiers Angels will ship your donated candy to deployed service members around the world or distribute to veterans in VA Hospitals.

Operation Gratitude will donate sweet treats for our Deployed Troops and First Responders.

Want to donate locally? Contact nearby nursing homes and homeless shelters to see if they’ll accept such donations. You can also try programs like Big Brother Big Sister and the Ronald McDonald House Charities, too.

Stopover in Reykjavik?

Next Summer I plan to visit friends in Norway, Finland, and Germany. I can’t wait!

Since I expect to fly Icelandair, I’m considering a stopover in Reykjavik. Icelandair charges little to no extra for an overnight (or many night) stopover in Iceland. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland, but my time is limited. Airbnb options look quite reasonable, but car rentals are on the steep side, and I assume gas and food is expensive. I’ll be traveling solo the end of June.

Anyone done a one-night stay in Reykjavik? Do you have recommendations?

DuckDuckGo vs. Big Data?

Google is the 2,000-pound gorilla among the search engines out there.

It should come as no surprise that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other big tech companies are amassing a lot of data with each online search and purchase. Ever notice how if you search for some product, it suddenly appears in ads and banners in multiple applications?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine which purports not to collect and store personal information about its users.

Our privacy policy is simple: we don’t collect or share any of your personal information. Ever.

– from DuckDuckGo’s homepage

I’ve been aware of DuckDuckGo for some time, but reading this piece from DuckDuckGo’s CEO, Gabriel Weinberg has convinced me to try using the DuckDuckGo search engine instead of my default Google search.

I’ll report back with my results and observations after I’ve given DuckDuckGo a fair trial.

Here are some reviews of DuckDuckGo vs. Google:

DuckDuckGo vs. Google: An In-Depth Search Engine Comparison – SearchEngineJournal, April, 2019
DuckDuckGo Vs. Google: What You Need to Know – Hackernoon, February, 2019

DuckDuckGo vs. Google – Is one really better than the other? – Lifewire, October, 2019

Do you use DuckDuckGo or anything other than Google? Would you consider scrapping Google as your default search engine? Send me your comments!


In Oregon, we are blessed to have Vote By Mail. If you haven’t already done so, excercise your right, priviledge, and responsibility!

You can easily check whether you are registered to vote, and whether your mail-in ballot has been received using the My Vote website:

Here is what my My Vote results looked like:

Newport Symphony performs Schubert and Bloch

Come to the coast for a fantastic concert by the Newport Symphony. We’ll be performing Schubert’s Great Symphony in C, and Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso no. 1.

Concerts will be Saturday, November 2, at 7:30pm, and Sunday, November 3, at 2pm at the Newport Performing Arts Center (PAC). For directions, click here.

Franz Schubert is one of my favorite composers. His music combines beautiful, soaring melodies interlaced with moments of darkness and melancholy. He completed this work in 1825, just three years before his death. That he lived only to age 31 is a profound tragedy to us all. He composed an amazing amount in his short life, but one cannot help but imagine how much more of his wonderful music we would enjoy today had he lived 10 or even just 5 more years.

Ernest Bloch lived to the age of 79, more than twice as many years as Schubert. He spent the last two decades of he life in Agate Beach, OR, just a few miles north of the Newport Performing Arts Center where the Newport Symphony will perform his work. The Concerto Grosso for string orchestra with piano obbligato was composed in 1925. It is considered his best work by many critics and musicians alike.

Come see and hear us this weekend! If you do, please come up to the stage and say, “hello!”