The House of Flying Monkeys

… but they seemed so normal…

Archive for the ‘Technology’


But Why Did We Need a Wheel Anyway?

Yeah, you know, because feet worked just fine… and besides wheels lead to roads, and horses, and cars, and traffic accidents, and… see? There’s my point. Too much trouble. Roll back the clock and let’s just stick with feet.

There, that’s so much easier. Right?

And with all that blathering, the point is that I’m trying something new today… blogging from the most underused piece of technology in our house -the iPad. Yeah, you know, that thing I really wanted worse than almost anything? That thing that seemed too perfect?

That thing that is… well, not so much.

Yeah, you read that right, not. so. much.

Yes, the cool factor is off the charts. I will also concede that tablets and portability are where computing is going. But, as much as it pains me to say this, I really really like my 24 inch monitor and my fairly souped-up CPU still works very well so neither of them will be moving out any time soon. Further, photoshopping on a little bitty screen just doesn’t work for old people like me. And Apple isn’t making these things with the built-in magnifying screens like the Boomer- friendly folks at Samsung. Oh hell to the no! I’ve just got to squint and hope for the best.

Woo-frickin-hoo.

And before you say it, I’m well aware that this is some majorly shocking luddite talk from the Queen of Newer/Faster/Better. I almost think I need to surrender 25 Klout points just for typing that first section.

But I won’t… because I’m an influencer… I could single-handedly bring back the first century BC with this one post. And seriously, I always did admire the fashion sense of Wilma & Betty. But I do need ya’ll to be truthful, does this lion skin make my butt look big?

Oh, hello tangent! Funny how I end up running into you whenever I start scribbling.

Anyway, yes, we do use the iPad, but not that much. It’s shiny and cool to look at, it’s easy to read books on and play games on too. But for the heavy lifting, or the moderately strenuous writing and homework? Not my go-to piece of tech.

Not even close.

And because of that I do feel somewhat guilty, and like perhaps I need iPad lessons so I can learn to love it like everyone else does. Unless, maybe I’m finally just stating the simple truth for a lot of iPad users. Maybe I’m the one who is actually brave enough to say what everyone else is thinking?

“Hey Mister! You ain’t got on any clothes! And by the way… this iPad thingy? It’s not so much.”

I don’t know. Maybe.

Filed under the heading of “Old Dogs & New Tricks”

Because you can actually teach them a few, but you have to keep teaching them over and over and over.

My new/old trick?  If I write people read.

I know, shocking, seriously, WTF?

But yes, indeed, if I write, people read.  Which I think is really flattering.  Since, hell, I can’t get my husband to listen to me on a regular basis.  Which explains all the detritus on the Kitchen Countertops.

You! Yeah, you, the one with the foldy butt!  Don’t make me sic that Honey Badger on you!  Figure out the damned sponge for once and for all, and quit trying to make me have an aneurism.  Remember, Honey Badger don’t give a sh*t!

Anyway, yeah, where were we?  Oh, right, I write, you read… and then we went off on this tangent

 

 

And, from the looks of the past few months, my blog has been maintained by a Honey Badger.  A badass, indeed, but also one that does not really give a sh*t.  No, not at all.  But, hey, everything gets second chances, right?  So I’m writing.  And, hey, funny how that works, you’re reading.

Yay.

So, remember, I’m your favorite, and I’ll keep writing so you’ll keep coming back to the blog-diggity and learning really cool stuff… you know, like

Yeah, now you know about Honey Badger, and you know I told you.  Keep learning the new tricks.  I will too!  And come back soon!  Honey Badger says she’ll come look for you if you don’t!

Baby we can drive your cars!

woo hoo hoo hoo hoo…

And therein describes our weekend… driving cars, not listening to old Beatles songs.  Yeah, we drove a bunch of cars, at Epcot, because GM invited us, and it was a hella’ bunch of fun!

Thanks GM!  I’m sure we got the invite because you’re still being nice to me because of that whole BlogHer Carpool thing and let me just say that it’s appreciated and if you ever invite me to anything like that again, I’m in!

But anyway, the driving event is called Mainstreet In Motion, it’s put on by GM, and they have all their makes and models, as well as some of their competition’s models available to test drive in a road course setting.  And before you think I’m spamming you, I’m not.  This post is not sponsored, and the only renumeration we got was a bag of (very marginal) Trail Mix and a Diet Coke.  And Coke isn’t even giving me anything for the plug. I must be a “momblogger” failure.  Such a disappointment, I know.

But back to the driving, because when I say they have everything, I mean it.  We concentrated on sedans, crossovers, and small SUVs, but we could have driven virtually anything from pickup trucks to large SUVs, to their sports models that included Corvette and Camaro.   For those of you who know me too well, no, I didn’t drive the ‘Vette.  I sat in one, dreamed about driving it, but I’d had Bob white knuckling too much in the sedans, I would probably have killed him in a ‘Vette.  And besides, there were 82 million testosterone deficient JackA%%’s over there in line.  I didn’t want to make them all look bad when I tore a hole through Spaceship Earth and made that baby a living breathing member of the Test Track fleet.

Um, yeah.

No, like I said, we concentrated mainly on cars that we might actually own, or that we’d like to have one day, if our ship came in and our rich Uncle got out of the Poorhouse.  That list for sedans included the Hyundai Elantra (quick, fun, cute, not so expensive, good mileage), Ford Taurus (sorry Ford, it’s a dog… with fleas, mainly due to major hesitation on acceleration, plus we were the youngest people waiting to drive that one, so we think we’re not allowed to buy the AARP Pace Car), Chevy Cruze (hard seats! Everything else was okay, but really hard seats, and we were in the luxury trim model, BTW did I mention? Really hard seats?).  We skipped the Toyota Camry/Corolla, the Honda Accord, and the Chevy Malibu/Impala duo.  Probably because we’d already had a week-long test drive of a hybrid Camry out in California at New Years (LOVED IT!!! Would buy it in a second, if we could find a decent price for one) and I drove an Impala for my company car for 2 years so  I know that model inside and out. But even with skipping quite a few, I felt I tested everything in that category I’d ever consider owning.  Would like to have tried out a new Hyundai Sonata, or maybe a Genesis, but the Elantra was a nice peek at their sedans… we can go to a Dealership if we want to check out the others.

Moving on… we next visited the Crossovers and small SUVs, and boy did we have some fun there.  Fell in love too.  Too bad we’ll need to hit the lottery in order to turn that relationship into more than just an unrequited passion.  First we hit the Hyundai Santa Fe – same car we had driven up there in – and that’s just it.  It’s the same.  Nothing new, same as we’ve already got.  Only thing that’s different now is that the price tag is higher.  Meh.  Then we moved on to one of our favorites – the Nissan Murano.  Don’t let the exterior shape fool you, that’s one sweet ride!  Fast acceleration, handled great, trimmed out very nicely, and the consensus is that we’d buy it in a second, if we didn’t have to face $500+ car payments.  After that, we checked out the Honda CRV – in a word nice.  Not something to write home about, but roomy, not a hard SUV to drive, and sized big enough for us to roadtrip wherever we normally drive.  But then we moved on to our “Wow” car – the GMC Acadia – and that’s the SUV we voted best in show.  And before you ask, yes, it’s big.  A schoolbus, in fact, but for it’s size it handled very well, in fact about the same as the Murano.  But the space in that thing!  Wow!  You could easily roadtrip with another three people and no one would be uncomfortable.  And a big plus, it’s really nice.  Yeah, you can tell, we loved it, enough that both of us drove that one, but again, in order to buy it we’d have to either rob a bank or win the lottery.  Sadly, since neither of those are likely to happen in the very near future, expect to see us driving the Santa Fe for some time to come.

But the big event was last, mainly because the line was so huge, because Chevy was also test driving their new “Wondercar” – The Volt.  And, truthfully, in driving it, and looking it over, we may have driven the next step forward for cars… but I’m afraid we’ve driven it several years too soon.  The Volt is electric-powered, but not like the standard Hybrids that are out there now.  No, it runs mainly on electric, until it runs out of juice, and then it switches over to the ten gallon gas tank and operates as a traditional car.  For my <5 mile commute, I’d use no gas at all, any day.  For Bob’s – he’d be on electric to work, gas to get home, and his mileage would be somewhere around 60+ mpg.  And the interior is cool-looking.  Lots of buttons and knobs.  Very futuristic.  But like I said, I think it’s too early, too far ahead of the curve, because it doesn’t have the electrical recharge infrastructure to support it yet.  It’s coming, in places like California, but here in the south – not so much.  Once that drawback is corrected, and the initial bugs get worked out, I think GM will have a winner.  But not until then.  For now, it’s a novelty.  A very nifty novelty, but still a novelty.  Like it, alot, but I’ll like it more when there’s an Electric Station right next to the Exxon.

And there, that’s my recap of Mainstreet In Motion.  The only thing I was disappointed in was that there were so many of the competition’s cars that were not there.  No Subaru, Dodge/Chrysler, VW or Volvo.  I don’t know why that was the case but if the other manufacturers chose to opt out then shame on them.  Our collective feeling is that opting out says more about those missing brands than it does about GM.  Oh, and before I forget, another thing we were really wowed by was the new Onstar app for your iPhone/Droid that allows you to lock and unlock your cardoors, start your car and check it’s vital stats from your phone.  Yeah, that was way cool!  For geeks like us, that’s “Brave New World” stuff we’d be all over… if we were driving something newer than the Conestogas we tool around in.  Look for us, you can’t miss those Oxen on South Florida Avenue, it’s like a living, breathing episode of Oregon Trail.

Especially when Bob gets Dysentery.

And, on that note, if you want to go check out Mainstreet in Motion they’re bringing it back to central Florida for a repeat in September.  Even if you aren’t in the secret club and you don’t get a special, personal invitation (like some of us… not that I’m all la-ti-da about that, no way!) you can still go.  Hit up their website and register, that’s all it takes. You can take the whole fam damily (car seats and boosters are available) and make a fun afternoon of it.

Have fun, drive their cars,

’cause baby they love you…beep beep beep beep yeah!

Help Wanted!

So… if you aren’t into teh geekery, move along.  This won’t interest you at all.

Okay, there’s what? Three of you left?  Oh wait, one of you missed the sentence above, you need to leave too.  You’ll hate this.

There, now that nobody’s reading, here’s my new geekish issue.  Imma be looking for new webhosting.  Why?  Well, because @bluehost is costing too damned much.  No , they aren’t doing anything bad.  No, they haven’t had too many outages.  No, it’s just that our household government has instituted an austerity plan and we’re eliminating waste in all sectors.  And really, $10.00 a month for a toy isn’t a justifiable expense.   Actually the Household Finance Commissioner called it “ridiculous”.  But keep in mind, first – he’s an idiot, and second – he doesn’t understand how much of a public service I’m doing with this little site.

Lives saved, families reunited, problems resolved.  My work here is important.

Er… well, sorta.

But anyway, this is to my geek friends.  Halp!!!!!!  I need a good recommendation for affordable hosting.  And someone to hold my hand while I move the damned thing over to a new home.

Yikes!

Oh and whilest I’m asking, I also want a new header design.  Mainly because I don’t live on Maplewood anymore.  And because I’m bored.

Sorta important I think.

Anyway, that’s my Geek Help Wanted list.  Any recommendations?  Must work for Skittles, and that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you help out the poor and downtrodden.  Remember – the Accounting Department won’t give me any real money for this.  But thanks for considering my plea!

Smooches,

M

And now I’ve lost my crackers…

Not shocking to any of you I’m sure, but there is more of a point to this than that piece of obviousness.

I know… WTH????

But anyway, as my Twit/Face peeps are already painfully aware, I’m using this new weightloss app – Lose It. Go here and check it out.

Pretty cool, eh? And you know me… I’m all about the cool.

Um, er, yeah.

But anyway, the point of Lose it is to create food and exercise accountability. And how it does that is like this:

  1. Set your weight loss goal and enter your start weight.
  2. Log everything you eat for meals, snacks, whatever. If it crosses your lips, type it in.
  3. Log all your exercise activities. Everything. Walking around the house, walking the dog, running the vacuum cleaner, having sex. It all counts, enter it in.
  4. Don’t forget to weigh in and enter those results too.

And by entering all that info into the App, what you will see is a graphic representation of the deposits and withdrawals into your daily calorie bank.  If you eat more than your allowed calories, you’ll see that your weight loss time line moves out.  Likewise, if you stay under your allowed calories and exercise, you’ll see that weight loss timeline shrink.  In other words – your success or failure , based solely on your choices.

Wow, what a concept!

But after almost a week of using the App I’m finding out some things about me that are sorta embarrassing. 

Are you ready for it?

I’m lazy.

As a three-toed Sloth on Ambien.

I know… how funny is that?

But anyway, because of that personality defect, I’m finding that Lose It is working very well for me, but not for the reasons the Developers intended. For me, that whole laziness thing is helping me create success by serving as the most recent thing I don’t want to do but feel guilty if I don’t. 

WTF????

Okay, here’s the deal.  Because I’m having to type each item I put in my mouth into the App, I’m actually eating less, but only because I don’t want to type it into my phone. Yes, I’m actually making eating choices based on the amount of time it will take me to enter that food into the App.  If it’s more than 3 or 4 letters in the food name? Nope, don’t need it.

Seriously.

Gone now are the days of chomping a few harmless crackers and nobody (including me) knowing the difference. Now, before I eat those crackers I have to take the time to look them up in the Food Guide and log them into my food diary. And if the particular brand or kind isn’t there? Oh that means I’m creating them, via two fingered typing, on my iPhone screen.

Have you tried to quickly type anything on an iPhone?

Really?

How’d that work out for you?

For me… not so good.

So finally I have managed to find the real win in not possessing teh mad typing skillzez. Because that missing skill is causing me to debate over whether or not I really want those three Triscuits or 4 Pecan Nut Crisps.

“Hey, I know, Imma eat some of these crackers, (rustle, rustle), oh crap, gotta type ‘em in first, dammit, think I’ll just take a walk.”

And now I know the real secret with this whole logging food and exercise gig.  Wanting to avoid unnecessary aggravation=eating less food. Because if you’re lazy like me then that whole accountability thing "consider what you do, look at it up close, see the real effects of your choices" isn’t so much of a good everyday driver. Occasionally? Yes.  But not all the time.  But that whole "avoiding extra typing and annoyance" thing? That’s powerful.

Powerful enough to take away my crackers.

Damn.

But before you mourn the lost crackers, keep in mind that by not eating the crackers that I didn’t really want in the first place I’m having some additional success with my weight loss.

Yes, I know, it’s a burden being this weird.

But in a totally ass-backward way, this might be the most genius weight loss tool ever invented for people like me. And on the plus side, if it doesn’t work then at least I’ll have the cutest, skinniest fingers in town.

Or I’ll be eating Pie, Jam, Ham, and any other food that has 3 letters in it, all rolled in Pam.

All. The. Time.

Lazy.

Loves it!

It’s Weekend Update – The Hurricane Edition

With your host…

Oh, nevermind, channeling again.

Anyway, here’s the bulletpoints, because I’m a slackass, and I really don’t want to write an entire post with all the frills and furbelows you’ve come to expect.  Although, now that I think about it, your expectations are pretty low on this site. Like subterranean.  Or lower.  But anyway, regardless (or is it irregardless? I get so confused), here’s what I think you need to know about the here and now.  And lest you be confused, I’m doing this alternating good things/bad things, because life is like that.  Sweet with sour. Yeah, you know it.

  1. Bob got a job.  Yes, a job. Where they pay him and everything. Yay.  So happy.  We may not end up living in a box after all. This is a very good thing.  Florida, in the summer, in a box, would be "of the suck". Because of this.
  2. Yes, as I linked above, Tropical Storm Ana has formed in the Atlantic.  Now I usually like Ana’s, and in fact I’m particularly fond of this one who spells hers Anna but pronounces it like Ana.  However, I am not a fan of Tropical Storms, or their much scarier cousins – hurricanes.  Nope, not a fan at all.  In fact, I might be in contention for ultimate anti-fan.  This is the part about Florida that I don’t like.  The part where the whole damned place could conceivably turn into one big, flat parking lot, filled with nothing but hostile wildlife and swamp.  Oh, wait, that’s already happened.  So what am I afraid of?  May actually give us a shot of urban renewal or something.  So, glass half full or glass half empty and sides about to implode from Cat 5 winds.  You decide.  I’m just going to have another drink.  Hurricanes anyone? 
  3. And the drinking isn’t just because of impending doom.  As hard as it may be to believe, I may have a pretty good shot at a contract position too.  Yes, employment.  For me.  That doesn’t involve "por favor, step away from the Slurpee Machine!"  And before you go getting all excited and shiz, no, it is not a forever job, at least initially.  But they are paying big dinero for a contract hired gun (that would be me), and the company who needs said hired gun is just right down the street so the commute is pretty easy.  Even better, I get to pass the Starbucks on my way, and there aren’t any red light cameras in that area.  So it’s all one big yay, right?  More Hurricanes for everybody!
  4. And boy oh boy, Bob’s going to need them! He had a physical yesterday.  Yes, he got "the finger", they’re taking him off his Diabetes meds to see if he is self-controlling any at all, no they never told me whether he actually has a brain, and yes they will be setting him up for a Colonoscopy.  If you aren’t aware of the fun involved in this procedure, read this.  If you don’t want to know any more about this topic then go look at these.  Ha, gotcha! Now I bet you really do need the Hurricane, right?  Bob’s hoping for one mixed into his Moviprep.  I may put this on Youtube. 
  5. But not from my new iPhone 3G.  Yes, you read that right, MY NEW IPHONE 3G!!! Another round of Hurricanes, just to celebrate! Drink up, you’re getting behind!  Now we didn’t get the new fancy-schmancy version with the compass (in the stock?) and the video camera, but we did get them at a really good price and they didn’t appear to have any crime scene detritus on them, so we’re okay with not being on the cutting edge.  We’re old, we’re used to it.  But, because we’re old, learning to use our new toys (I mean phones) has been more than a little challenging.  I mean, I think we spent at least a year this week learning how to do little things like PLACE AND ANSWER A FRICKIN’ PHONE CALL! Oh, and how to unbrick the damned thing when you answer it while you’re installing a critical software update.  Don’t do that BTW, I’m just sayin.  And yes, surprisingly, I’m the guilty party on that one.  Two hours after we got them home, mine was dead.  Really dead.  Like, as dead as Sarah Palin after a visit with the Death Panel (hey, a girl can dream, right?).  But thanks to The Google and Youtube and all you other geeks out there, I brought The Precious back to life.  And since that fun little incident we’ve spent the week perusing all the many free applications out there on iTunes and we’ve installed some really superb productivity helpers like Atomic Fart, and Bubblewrap.  Yes, really, we have both of them, and More Cowbell too! Because, hey, doesn’t everything need more cowbell? Yes, indeed it does.  The downside is that conversation has nearly ceased in our house, while we’ve been busy putting the pinstripes on our kewl new gadgets.  But the upside is that I am now qualified to work at any tech helpdesk job in the world.  That is, as long as I can begin every call with "Damnit Bob, what the hell did you do?"  Customer Service with a big smile is my life! Um, yeah. 

 

So, that’s all for now.  Next week’s fun includes a trip to TN at some point.  Oh, and Tropical Storm Ana.  Can’t forget her.  I tell ya, the fun just never stops around here.  And neither, apparently, do the Hurricanes.  Have another drink. Looks like you might need it.

I know I do.

R U My friend? SRSLYWTF?

Yep, I think I got that note several times, growing up, back in the days before Skype, IM, chat, Pieplace, and Spacebook took over the communications game. You know, back in the days when private messaging consisted of (horrors!) a pencil, a sheet of notebook paper, and paper-folding skills that rivaled anything those Japanese ladies can do with candy at EPCOT. Because I can tell you from painful experience that if you didn’t fold the note in a really cool fashion nobody wanted to read it anyway.  You – and your note – were both marked as "lame" and both of you got the NO checkbox. 

But, of course, the modern technology (and The Google) has changed all that.  Now you can reconnect with any number of people  – friends or not so much – with simply a click on "add as a friend."  And this revolution in reconnection has shown me some things that are amusing, a few things that I expected, and -most importantly- things that have let me know that no matter how much botox we get (not me, thankfully, remember – fat don’t wrinkle!), no matter how much hair we lose, no matter how good we’ve gotten at being adults, who we are really never changes from when we were kids.  Not very much at all.    And I say this because, if you look through my "friends" on Facebook, you’ll find that the only people from "back in the day" that I’ve reconnected with have been people who were my friends back then.  My circle of friends hasn’t grown by one person since 1982.  Sad, isn’t it?  Okay not really. 

To be clear, I was never a "cool" kid.  In fact, I was probably more accurately described as a geek or a dork – more focused on school than the next cool party or fashion trend.  And my friends were like that too.  We were outsiders, not in the fashionable cliques, and we really didn’t hate that reality too much.  And since school ended, lo these many 27 years since, none of us have been to a reunion or tried to reconnect.  Until Facebook.  Facebook brought us all back together, mostly, and we’re sharing our lives virtually, and it’s really nice.  But, sadly, as with all good news there’s some bad.  And the bad side to all this reconnecting I’ve done on Facebook?  The reality that while all my old friends were so eager to accept my invites and become adult acquaintances who share our lives, the remainder of the 610 members of the class of 1982 at Lakeland High School all fall into the "not so much" category.  And I say that only because whenever I’ve tried to reconnect with any of them all I’ve gotten for my trouble is a bad case of Inbox Rot.  I know, amazing!  Even from the guy who is living in Knoxville (just like I did), who had lots of classes with me, and who knew me well enough to sign my yearbook with very friendly words all three years of high school.  And, yes, I’m talking to you, Craig Hohl, you and your bitchin’ bald head, OBTW not rockin’ such a cool look anymore there Dood!  Oh, there are other instances… and every one of them stings a little, and every time it happens it merely reconfirms my idea that I was probably right to view invites to our reunions with a jaundiced eye.  Maybe because I’ve always known that those people who thought they were "all that"… weren’t.  I just figured that they would one day grow up and realize how shallow they were.  Sadly, I was wrong, they still haven’t.  So, I’m sure whenever they gather, they’re all still hanging in their same little cliques, showing off their latest trophies, their newest surgeries, whatever their latest accomplishments are that make them all still feel like they are "all that".  But they still aren’t real.  Still shallow.  Still fake.  And that’s the reason I didn’t like them back then either.  And that’s why I won’t be there with them.  Because I’m real, living a real life, with real problems and real friends – new and old- and I don’t live my life or choose my friends with the sole focus of fitting in, the sole focus of being cool.  Because I am, and I always was.  Cool, that is.  So from now on I’m checking NO.  To high school drama when I’m 45.  To mean girls and boys.  Because I’m cool like that.

I know.  Me? Cool?  Yep.  After all these years.  Who knew? Not them, apparently.  So let them know.  They’ll be surprised.  But I’m not.

Moving… it goes on and on and on

And, yes, I know, you’re so tired about reading of the trials and travails involved in a three state move. Fine, go here… enjoy! Maybe you should plan on coming back in a month or two.  By then I might have a new topic.  Like, oh, I don’t know, maybe the cross-town move? Because that’s going to go so much better than the TN to FL move.  Already I’m planning for it to include less blood, fewer lost parents, and no dead furniture.  But then again, when Patton planned the Battle of the Bulge, I’m sure the original battleplan was to be something like a fifteen minute conversation where he would say "Hello, Germans?  Would you like a Coke?  Oh, by the way, we’re taking your woods, thanks!" and the Germans said "don’t mind if we do, and go ahead, the woods are yours, but watch the Hedgehogs, they’re a testy lot." And history tells us that even the best laid plans sometimes go completely wrong. I’m just sayin.

But anyway, back to yesterday’s Moving tribulation o’ the day.  The cellphone service, which is currently being brought to us by Verizon (cue Angels singing and Trumpets sounding).  The problem with the cellphone service?  Oh nothing major, just my poor over-used and much maligned Blackberry email services were totally borked.  Because our former cable provider (who shall remain nameless but whose name rhymes with Bomb Fast) very inconsiderately terminated our primary email address (which was also linked to that same Blackberry) with no warning whatsoever.  After they had assured me that we had 90 days after service termination before that action would be taken.  As you might guess, they lied.  Bigger than an "I did not have sex with that woman" lie.  Even bigger than an "Iraq has WMD" lie.  Yep, because they shut the damned thing off 30 min. after I turned in all the boxes and gizmos and the one slightly dog-chewed Remote Control that Mabel loved to play with much more than any of her many other actual dog toys.  Um, er, yeah.  I guess chewing is an expected action when you can’t change the channels because YOU HAVE NO THUMBS! But anyway, they shut down the email, with no warning, and they borked the mail on my Blackberry with that genius move.  Um, thanks?  And if they did that because of the remote then all I can say after all this additional aggravation is that I’d have Mabel give their carpet her own special cleaning treatment, if it wasn’t so far to their offices.  But that would involve another trip north, and I’m just saying NO to that particular adventure (for this week anyway). 

But anyway, back to the malfunctioning Blackberry.  Sadly- the email malfunction wasn’t the only issue I was having.  And yes, I know this problem is relatively trivial before you even start on me, but my Facebook application had also quit working when I attempted to upgrade it, around the same time as the Bombfast terrorist mail attack.  Oh shut up, yes, Facebook is really that important on my phone, so not listening to you, lalalalala.  So, with two malfunctions, along with a really big stumbling block to solving the problem (I didn’t remember either the User ID or the password for my mail settings- hello, my name is Idiot, pleasedtameetcha!) I finally broke down and called Verizon Tech Support.  Because, I’m sort of male about that, all "I can do it myself, I don’t need help", so getting me to call for help is harder than keeping Mabel from eating the remotes. I’m just sayin’. 

And I know you’re thinking about now "geez, is there a point to this? Other than that you’re an idiot?" And, sadly, like all my stories, there probably isn’t.  So, to make a "longer than War & Peace" story at least manageable in length, the upshot is that Tech Support recovered my User ID and password (which turned out to be my name and phone number – hello, awkward?), fixed my mail and Facebook, and did some other nifty upgrades like changing my TN number to a Florida number, oh and shutting off Bob’s phone entirely.  Yep, bricked it, bigger than snot, by changing his number too, even though I didn’t want that done.  Because he wanted to wait until later in the summer. But they did it anyway.

(cue Gilly music) Sorry.

See? That’s why short stories aren’t as good.  Because now you have no idea how we did that.  And the short answer is that I didn’t, Tech Support did.  FYI – it takes 3 days to get your phone number back if you accidentally change it.  Also FYI – sending an email to everyone you know announcing the sudden change is faster. Also FYI – I found out that I’m also pretty good at phone tech, since I was the one who fixed Bob’s phone. Yay me.  Although I guess it is somewhat appropriate that I fixed it, since I did have some involvement in the breaking of it.  Maybe.

But there is a happy ending to this, after all that.  Because now both of our phones completely upgraded and working better than before, with new Florida numbers and a Friends and Family Plan to boot.  And, most importantly, my precious Facebook app is finally working again – and let me tell you, the new version is so much better than the old one!!!  Woot and squee!!

And again, you with the snark? Shut up with the snickering back there in the back.  Don’t even try to make me believe that there isn’t something meaningless and trivial that you’re inexplicably attached to. Yeah, you, I’m talking to you, the one carrying the coffee cup. Oh, wait, that’s me too. Sorry.

Rekindling my love of reading

As anybody who knows me is well aware, I’m a prodigious reader from way back.  Like age five.  As with then, today reading is, for me, a wonderful potpourri of many things.  It’s part continuing education, combined with a way to travel to places and learn things I might not otherwise get to learn about or see, and sometimes it’s simply pure escapism for when I need to be alone.  And don’t ask me about my favorite authors or genres, my tastes are so diverse that they are virtually impossible to quantify into anything so simplified as favorites.  Seriously, if you looked through the stack of books on my nightstand, you would probably question first how many people sleep in our bed and second, whether they’re all schizophrenic.  Because the selection is totally random, and none of them bear any resemblance to each other.  Well, beyond the obvious "made of paper" thing of course.  You want examples?  Well, the current selections include Fodor’s New York, Krakatoa, and Scarpetta, along with my current copy of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, oh, and this week’s Metro Pulse.  Yeah, diverse doesn’t even begin to draw that picture. 

But since Christmas there’s been a new addition to the stack.  And if I had to guess, I’d call it a game changer.  Because for Christmas this year I got an Amazon Kindle.  And let me just say that this bit of joy is the best thing to happen to the publishing industry since, oh, since Gutenberg took a bunch of metal and a pile of scrap lumber and single-handedly ushered in the Renaissance and created the first large-scale unemployment problem in the world.  You know,  by putting all those scribbling Monks in the unemployment lines.  And I know this is off-topic but we really need to be grateful to Gutenberg for more than just that printing press.  If not for him we might not have had the invention of good Champagne, Scotch Whiskey, or Frangelico!  Yep… all done by the religious brethren, probably in the massive amounts of free time that was created after they no longer were forced to stay locked in some dank and dark cell, scribbling out pages upon pages of some dark-ages version of Stephen King or Danielle Steele.  Talk about your happy accidental outcomes…

But, as usual, I digress.  The point here is that I. LOVE. MY. KINDLE.  It’s in my hand constantly.  I take it to work and read during lunch.  Every night I read for an hour at least.  I don’t know why, but it’s just better than the real thing to me.  No trip to Barnes and Noble.  No need to leave the house.  Just point, shop, click, and you have whatever you’re looking for, ready to read.  It’s instant gratification, in a book form, really!  And another "Loves It" feature is that you can download samples of books, just to see what you think of them before you hit the Buy It Now button.  Let me tell you, this is such an improvement over  the lowly jacket blurb.  There’s no comparison.   

So, to recap my reading adventures in the month since I got it?  Well, I’ve read all 8 books in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris.  In case you don’t recognize it, these are the books that True Blood on HBO is based upon.  And yes, you read that right, all eight.  I read fast, mkay?  But wait, there’s more.  I’ve also re-read Eclipse from the Twilight series and read The Host,  all by Stephenie Meyer.  And right now I’m reading Lamb by Christopher Moore.  Think Monty Python meets the Bible, and that gets you started.  Funny stuff.  Actually reminds me of Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman… and that’s the best recommendation I can ever give anything.  I also read an obscure sights of NYC guide, and I sampled about 2 dozen other books that I haven’t bought yet.  Next up, I think, will be American Lion by John Meacham.  I listened to a podcast of Bob Edwards interviewing him and discussing the book last week and I am intrigued.  But I also want Dreams From My Father by our new President – Barack Obama.  Oh, and I can’t wait for the new Jefferson Bass book to come out.  As well as the new Sookie Stackhouse.  And the list goes on.  Maybe I should consider a career as a book reviewer?  Maybe. 

But anyway, if you ever get the chance, buy a Kindle.  It’s perfect, even if I haven’t figured out how to put music on it yet.  BTW – thanks Mom & Thi Thi – you always know me best and you picked spot on with this one!  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my book.

Seeking…but not finding

Short and to the point – what blogging software do you all recommend for Mac?  Something fairly idiot-proof that’s as kick-butt as Windows Live Writer?  Suggestions?