Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger Decides

Years ago when I began blogging, I would spend time clicking on “Next Blog” to pass time. I found many interesting sites and people. Then a while ago, Blogger decided to help us “blog browsers” by choosing which sites would interest us. It’s a little like Net Flix, using your past choices as criteria, suggesting movies you may enjoy. It is nice that I don’t have to wade through foreign language posts (although with the Bing translator I may find something interesting written in Arabic), and I’m no longer shocked with explicit photos when blog browsing.

I can’t figure out the logic behind their offerings when I’m browsing. There have been times when I’m taken to site after site dealing with autistic children or sites written by cancer patients and/or their caretakers. I don’t think I have ever posted about autism, and I think I only mentioned cancer briefly when my brother was dying. I think that was in my first blog. I have never been taken to a site discussing the latest mystery novel, or needlework, or television programs, or humor, or blogs written by people in my age group, or the state of the world in general. Those are the things that interest me.

The worst thing is there seems to be no way of breaking the chain of posts selected by Blogger. As a result, I don’t blog browse any more by clicking on “Next Blog.” As I said, there are good aspects to the service, but if Blogger is going to decide the blogs I’m going to read, they should allow me to choose the type of blogs I would like to browse.

On another note, I read the other day that blogging has become a vehicle for those of us who are more life experienced (that’s my term; I think the term I read was “older” people which means “old” people). I noticed a few years ago that the number of blogs written by teenagers discussing music and teen angst disappeared almost overnight. That must have been when Face Book and My Space began. I guess “blogging” has become one more sign of aging along with gray hair and wrinkles.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This and That

There was an article in a local paper about a 44 y.o. woman in another part of the state who was arrested for drunk driving. At the time of her arrest she had her six grandchildren in the van. The article stated the children were all under the age of ten. Almost all the people commenting on the article were taken aback by the fact that she was 44 with 6 grandchildren. I was taken aback by the fact that she was driving drunk with her grandchildren in the car. Anyway,I have a story that beats that one.

After Jason was born I had to return to work when he was only a couple of months old. I decided that I couldn't take the pressure of a secretarial position (yes, that was before secretaries became personal assistants) so I applied at a local factory for a job that consisted of mind-numbing, repetitious tasks, but I could work my eight hours, leave, and not have to worry about working overtime with no extra pay and I didn't have to deal with government contracts and bureaucrats.

While working there I met a young woman who was 28, only a few years older than I was at the time. She mentioned that she had a new grandchild. I was dumfounded and my tact slipped a bit when I said, “How can that be? You are far too young to be a grandmother!” She said, “I was 14 when I had my daughter, and she was 14 when she had this baby.”

That means that the 44 y.o. could have been a grandmother when she was 34 if she and her child were 17 when they they had their first child.


Things have certainly changed in the internet world. When I was introduced to this wonderful technology, I could play games for hours (I could hit over a million points playing Cubis) without paying. Now you can only play shortened versions of most games or pay for the games. You can play full versions on some sites but with interruptions for advertising. Everything seems to have a price attached.

Yesterday afternoon Mr. Fixit and I were in the car with the radio playing. The song playing was “Bette Davis Eyes.” I have a particularly hard time understanding the lyrics. I said to Mr. Fixit, “It's sounds like she's singing about making “a crow blush.” That can't be right. I'm going to check the internet for the lyrics." Imagine my surprise when I found that while I could read the lyrics at all the sites I checked, I couldn't print them except on two different sites and all the sites were selling the music as ring tones. Geesh, I remember when you could download music from Napster without paying until the courts declared that wasn't quite kosher.

Now you have to subscribe to a lot of online newpapers, too. Years ago, I could read newspapers from my hometown. Now I would have to pay if I want to read anything published in the county. I can understand that, but please don'T make me pay and then make me crazy with those pop-up ads that blocker doesn't stop.

While I'm complaining, I would also like add a snotty remark about the crap (links that have nothing to do with the article you are reading) that pops up when you accidentally slide your cursor over highlighted words in news articles. That really drives me nuts! If the word “car” is highlighted, you get a little box with a link to Ford Motor Company or some such thing.

Now for a little positivity (is that a word?). There was a comment on my last post that was in Chinese. I tried something new. I highlighted the comment, right clicked and then hit “translate” on the menu, and almost instantly there was the translation. I was a bit disappointed that the comment was a bit strange. Maybe it lost something in the translation. But imagine, instant translation! Astounding!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Future is Now

I think I'm going to change my sobriquet from “Computer Wizard” to “Techno Grammie.” Since I am the only person who calls me the Computer Wizard, except for Mr. Fixit when I perform extraordinary feats of computer stuff like sending email, I guess that I can call myself any name I desire.

Mr. Fixit gave me an mp3 player as an anniversary gift a couple of days ago. It only took me about three hours just to discover the manual and learn how to download. I think I am the only person over the age of seven who didn't have one of these tiny music thingies. Sometimes I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the present century.

I don't care too much about the music aspect. I'm not one of those people who needs music constantly. When I walked for exercise, I listened to audio books. When I'm in the car, I very seldom turn on the radio or put in a CD. Sometimes I just like silence. I wanted a player so that I can listen to “Old Time Radio” shows in the car. I'm not quite into this century if I am listening to radio programs from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, am I?

I really like this little gadget though. I have downloaded several radio shows and a couple of hundred songs. I don't think any of the music, with the exception of some of the New Country music that Mr. Fixit likes, was popular after 1970. Well, I take that back. I do have some newer Eagles, Bonny Raitt, and a few others that are a bit newer.

So now I can just plug the thingy into the jack in the car and be transported to a kinder, more innocent time even when crime was more civilized, and Sam Spade reigned supreme, bless his male chauvinistic heart.

Note: It was our 44th anniversary.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Work, Books, and Scandal

There hasn't been much time for me to post in the past couple of weeks. Jason, our younger son, is the Quality Control Manager at his company. He ran into a bit of a problem and brought Mr. Fixit and me some parts that needed to inspected and sorted. It's not hard, just time consuming. I don't mind doing it, but I'm always a bit worried when the decision to discard a part is subjective. It would be easier for me if I had a gauge or some other implement to tell me that a part is defective instead having to rely on the "feel" the part and make the judgment. The extra money is nice. I think I'm going to buy an MP3 player and save the rest in my New Kitchen Floor Fund with my share.

I haven't had time to go to the library either so I have been re-reading some old books. I picked up one featuring a woman police detective written back in the 80's. I remembered nothing about it but I know that I liked the series. In this particular book, a retired movie star is the victim. She is described as 84 years old with a 10 year old grandson. Okay, no problem. She was married three times, the first time when she was 16. From that marriage came her only child, a daughter. They don't say how old she was when the daughter was born, but it was implied that the marriage lasted only a few years. The daughter followed in her mother's path and married while she was in college, had a child, and divorced the father of her only child after a short time. While there was no specific age of the daughter mentioned, I inferred that she was in her 30's. The whole age thing was so unclear to me that it diverted me from the plot. I kept going back to re-read anything to do with their ages. If the victim was 84 and her daughter was say 35 at the time of the crime, that made the mother 49 when the daughter was born. Possible, but I thought she was married to the daughter's father for only a few years. It drove me nuts.

There was another flaw in the plotting. At one point, a witness was found to a secondary crime and he reported what he had seen. However, at the end of the book when the perp (that's a technical term) confessed, his story was different from the witness's. That was never explained. The difference would have changed the steps to the solution of the crime.

I know, I know. I'm nitpicking, but stuff like makes me crazy. I keep thinking, “What happened to the editing?”

Once again, another South Carolina politician is embroiled in a sex scandal. This time the state's Comptroller General, separated from his wife for two years, is in the hot seat along with his lady friend, a candidate for Education Superintendent who is a divorced, single mother. Someone leaked some sexually explicit emails the two had exchanged. I didn't read them, and I won't read them if the local press publishes them because I don't give a rodent's behind about sexual escapades of others that have nothing to do with me. (That doesn't sound exactly right, but you know what I mean.) The emails were published in another media outlet. One commentor on the story in our local paper had read them and said there seemed to be an endeavor to circumvent state campaign finance laws mentioned. Hmm. That rather changes things. I don't care what other people do in their private lives, but please be honest while doing the job you were elected to do.

The Comptroller General's camp has accused a political opponent for the leaking. I was rather surprised when the woman involved said that she was not going to comment on her personal, private life. How refreshing! Neither one has, as yet, asked to the forgiveness of their families, the voters, or brought God into the controversy.

To all you politicians out there—ARE YOU ALL JUST PLAIN STUPID? Haven't you learned yet that your emails and cell phones can be hacked? For heaven's sake, if you have to act in a questionable manner, at least use some common sense and buy a few stamps and note paper. Better yet--Don't write anything down anywhere.

What a Difference 6 Days Make

This was the result of our snow storm last Friday. It amounted to about 2 1/2 or 3 inches. It was gone by Saturday afternoon. Noah had a basketball game at 10:00am Saturday, and the roads were still very slippery on the shaded sections. We had a couple of close calls.

This is the same tree shown above as it appears today. It has started to bud. (Click on photo to enlarge for detail.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Something in the Air

Once again we have missed an opportunity for snow. The forecast had called for the possibility of the white stuff last night, but we only had rain in the afternoon and little or no precip of any kind last night.

When I was taking the garbage to the street this morning, it was cold enough to remind me of well-diggers, witches, and metallic primates and the wind is quite brisk. However, there is something in the air. I think it could be the breath of spring.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

As Heard on TV

A few minutes ago, Mr. Brian Oxman, one of the attorneys associated with the Jackson family, was being interviewed on the CBS morning show regarding the possible arrest of Michael Jackson's doctor. Mr. Oxman was seemingly outraged that the doctor would only be charged with manslaughter. During the interview Mr. Oxman said he had warned everyone that someday Michael " would wake up dead." Huh?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Internet Made Me Do It

Mr. Bill Crider, author of several series of mysteries, has a very interesting blog. It’s sort of an e-magazine. He sometimes publishes links to “lists”--The Best Movies of all Times, The Worst Movies of all Times, The Best Books Ever Written, etc.

Today there was a link to a list, “The Most Expensive Flops on Television” (I’m paraphrasing.) On the list was “Cop Rock” accompanied by a video of one of the production numbers. While I could never bring myself to watch the show when it was on prime time (I take my cop shows a little seriously to be interested in a cop musical. I’m a bit snobbish about my cops and robbers.), I was hooked after I watched that one video. I then spent a couple of hours watching some of the videos from the show on YouTube. I even tried to find whole episodes on the internet to watch. I guess the show was so bad no one cares to see it in any venue. No one, but me, that is. I even checked Netflix and Hulu. Nothing! Hmmm, I wonder if they have the DVD at Sam’s along with the complete libraries of “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Adam 12.” I’ll have to check when I’m alone. I don’t want anyone to know I bought “Cop Rock.”

I have one other guilty secret. I can’t seem to resist taking a peek from time to time at the “People of WalMart” site. I should be ashamed of myself. In fact, I am ashamed of myself, but that doesn’t keep me from a giggle or two during my visits. Okay, it’s more than a giggle, or even a chortle. Sometimes it’s a an actual guffaw. I just know that St. Peter is up there making notes on my page for my every guffaw. I will beg for forgiveness in the near future. I promise!