Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WOBO Wallet Review

Prompted by a follow-up email request to review the WOBO wallet I recently purchased for myself, I composed the following review:

I bought the WOBO wallet for three reasons:  (1) I tire of replacing cracked drivers' licenses, banking and loyalty cards, (2) my previous (trifold) wallet was a giant lump in my pocket, stuffed so full with such cards that cash bills had to be literally crammed in, and (3) I know the WOBO wallet's designer personally.   
Now, let's face it -- there are other solutions for reasons #1 and #2, and #3 is not a product-based reason at all.  As such, my expectations were moderately high, but tempered by prior attempts at solving my wallet problems.  It is with pleasure, then, that I can report here that my expectations were met and exceeded. 
This is a solid product, well-conceived and well-constructed.  The 15-17 cards I carry around (including freshly replaced, now-crack-free NCDL and debit cards) are securely held and easy to access.  The whole package is about the same size as a small flipphone (which means I can comfortably and more safely carry it in my front pocket), and it's easy to slip bills in and out of the elastic strap.  And when I run into the WOBO designer around town I can continue to greet him with a smile and the promise of word-of-mouth marketing for his product. 
So my three reasons for giving the WOBO a shot are now three reasons to give it a shout-out.  That's a successful experiment in my book. 
(Though, I confess I was disappointed to learn from the designer that "WOBO" didn't stand for "Working Our Butts Off" as I had supposed...)
 A couple of additional thoughts for the WOBO folks to consider:

  • Closing the wallet can be a challenge if the "top-most" card in the stack isn't smooth-faced (for example, if it has raised/embossed letters and numbers).  Consider providing a smooth, clear, plastic card that folks can put on the top of the stack if they really want a "bumpy" card to be the first one they see upon opening the wallet.
  • While the video instructions are great, a paper-set of illustrated open/close instructions wouldn't hurt.  (I wonder if the IKEA folks outsource their artists...)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Home

One of my favorite smartphone apps is the Voice Recorder.  These days I feel like I can barely remember anything, so I use it whenever a piece of musical inspiration strikes.  Over time, pieces and segments of song ideas get refined into something whole that's perhaps worth keeping, and I'll usually take the time then to record something of higher quality as a memento/demo.  Eventually I'll delete the original Voice Recorder files that no longer serve as songs-in-progress.

Earlier this week while performing just such a cleaning-out, I stumbled across a recording that I made back in January of a single song section.  The theme of the verse (as it later came to be) was about heavenly homesickness.  I recall picking up this theme from C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity.  Here's a relevant section of his text:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same. 
Of course, the notion of Christians having the citizenship right in heaven rather than in the material world is more directly biblical.  Philippians 3:18-21 reads like so:
For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
I spent some time churning on this notion and on my little song baby, and was motivated to fully mature it into something worthy of a demo recording (lyrics follow):



And here's the lyrical content:
"Home"

On this road I walk along,
Seasons dim and seasons dawn
And the years keep rambling on.
They ramble on.
I know well this world I see,
Shared with friends and family,
But a voice keeps telling me
I'm sick for home.

Jesus, only You can satisfy.
You alone make all things new.
You're the Way, the Truth, the Life and I'm,
Oh I'm, coming home to You.

The rugged cross that Jesus bore
Draws my thoughts towards Heaven's shore
Where the One I'm living for
Prepares my home.
Lord, the beauty of your grace
And the promise of your face
Bid me make this world a better place
Until I'm home.

Jesus, only You can satisfy.
You alone make all things new.
You're the Way, the Truth, the Life and I'm,
Oh I'm, coming home to You.
Lord, I'm coming home to You.

When my final day is done
And this earthly race is run,
I will bow before the One
Who calls me home.
Yes I'll bow before the One
Who calls me home.
© 2016 C. Michael Pilato. Available for use under the cc-by-3.0 license.
I hope you enjoy the listen.  Leave feedback if you feel so motivated.

UPDATE(9/4/2016): Due to the rather personal perspective of this song, I never dreamed it would have a life beyond this crummy little demo recording.  But as it turns out, we had a rare revival-like sermon today on "The Preciousness of Heaven" presented by Rev. Rody Carland at my church, and he allowed me to share the song as a musical special ahead of the sermon.  Thus, a song that nearly fell through the cracks and was unlikely to ever be publicly performed is now being considered by some as the best thing I've even written.  I'm continually surprised by how God works stuff out sometimes...