Those Giant Christmas Ornaments at the Mall

Christmas Decoration at Barton Mall
Christmas Decoration at Barton Mall

I’ve been thinking about those large spherical Christmas ornaments on display at Barton Creek Square Mall. Are they rigid, or do they somehow fold into a smaller shape for storage?

Recently I saw one in a non-spherical status, and that explained everything. They are inflatables, like the Santa on my front lawn.

The fan is in the top, hidden by the red ribbons. Power for the fan comes from above.  Internal access is accomplished (probably) by a zipper under the flap of material to the right of the top. The ball is held open by air pressure.

I doubt that many others wondered about this, but it has puzzled me for at least 2 years. Now I know.

Lifetime Learning Institute of Austin, A Valuable Resource for Persons Age 50+

LLI LogoLifetime Learning Institute of Austin (LLIAustin.org) has been in operation for over 40 years, providing economical classes on an eclectic range of topics. The primary group served is persons 50+.

Registration for the Spring 2019 semester opens on January 16, but it’s not too early to take a look at the classes that were offered in the Fall because many will also be available in the Spring.

Many LLI classes fill up within hours, so it pays to register as soon as possible. You can take a look at the list here to see which Fall classes filled (shown in red) and which still had room.

I usually take 2 or 3, sometimes 4, LLI classes each semester. My favorites are T’ai Chi (Taiji) and Qigong, and Yoga Fit. This time I enrolled in classes about American Comedy Films, Exercise for Men and Women, and India. My other recommendations are How to Listen to Classical Music, and Geology.

LLI is run as a non-profit by volunteers, and part of what keeps Austin wonderfully weird.

Austin Classes for Retired Seniors

Lifetime Learning Institute LogoAustin is home to to the Lifetime Learning Institute (LLI), which offers educational classes on a variety of subjects at the bargain price of just $20 per course. The Fall list of classes is out, and online registration starts tomorrow, August 15.

Lifetime Learning Institute runs on volunteer labor, as it has for over 40 years. The teachers are often retired UT professors or other educational professionals. With a few exceptions, each course consists of 8 sessions, one session per week. Classes are held in churches or similar locations that offer free parking.

Perhaps the most popular LLI class is “Hiking Austin Trails”, which meets Mondays at 9:30 AM.

You can see a simple list of the classes here, but it’s better to go to the actual LLI website and see full descriptions. Printed class catalogs are available in Austin libraries…look for the bright green cover.

We are so fortunate to have a resource like LLI in Austin! I take several classes in the Fall and also in the Spring.

What to Do During a Long Airport Layover

American AirlinesI was talking with a friend this morning about a long layover he had a few days ago. He was flying from Austin to Charlotte via DFW, in order to attend a family get-together. His American Airlines flight from DFW to Charlotte was cancelled, and he had to wait several hours for the next available seat.

The information in this well-done article at CreditCards.com would have helped him:

https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/long-airport-layover-credit-card-tips.php

It’s good to read these tips, because everyone who flies will sometimes be in the same situation as my friend.

How to Override Hotel Thermostat Limits

Some hotel rooms have thermostats that offer only a limited amount of control to the guests. For example, the temperature might be limited to the range of 71 to 84 degrees F.

This Your Mileage May Vary post has links to YouTube videos that show how to hack these thermostats so they will go beyond the normal limits. That is useful if you sleep best at, say, 65 degrees.

The site contains a warning that some of these hacks might damage the thermostat, but I deem that highly unlikely if you are just pushing the buttons.

I always carry an un-inflated mylar balloon and string, which can be used to fool occupancy sensors by “blowing in the wind.”

Enjoy the tips, and stay comfortable on your upcoming hotel stays.

DoNotPay.com Promises to Re-Book Your Flights & Hotels When Prices Drop

DoNotPay LogoThe Milenomics blog has a long post on a free new service that could save travelers some real money…if it works as planned.

DoNotPay.com plans to be the AutoSlash of airline and hotel bookings, checking frequently to see if prices have dropped and automatically re-booking you when they do.

DNP owners claim they can even work with Southwest Airlines, which is something that others have had no success with…Southwest’s team of lawyers quickly sue any website owner that scrapes their data.

DNP requires a large amount of private information from its clients, as explained in the Milenomics post.

I wish them the best of luck…they will need it to survive.

Free Seminar for Seniors in Austin Next Tuesday (April 10)

Commission on Seniors

Community Interest Announcement

Livability for Longevity: A Symposium Connecting People, Process and Policy for Healthy Aging in Austin
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bass Lecture Hall, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Located on the lower level of Sid Richardson Hall (SRH)
2315 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78712-1536
Free and open to public