technology


7 Sep
Feeling as stupid as Hoda Kotb this morning. Sat in the driveway listening to a This American Life story and ran my car battery down. The AAA guy is changing it out for a new one now. It was old and on its last legs, he said. Glad I didn’t have to have the car towed. The other irony? I never did hear the end of that story.

Not much energy today, even less after The Battery Incident. Desperately want a nap.

7 Sep
My 92 year old mother just declared that she wants to cook Thanksgiving dinner rather than have it catered as we’d planned. “It will taste so much better.” It will, but neither one of us is up to it anymore. At least I’ll have three days to recover. I may just be able to walk again by Monday. Mom doesn’t like having Tgiving at other peoples’ houses, either.

Mom has a huge spirit and can’t accept her frail body. Who’s to say she’s wrong?

But I need knee surgery on both knees and that much cooking will involve a lot of time on my feet which will require a lot of recovery.

9 Sep
First sign of autumn at my house.

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12 Sep
Called DPSS to find out exactly where to take the form they insist on getting in person (no email) before actually taking the day off tomorrow to bring it to them. 

”That’s not a walk in office,” the person on the phone said. “You can’t bring things there until we transfer your mother’s case to a new office.” Which won’t happen until October 1 when her case worker comes back from vacation. Apparently, no one else can help me.

On the one hand, I should be irate for the sodding great waste of time. OTOH, yippeee! I don’t have to go to DPSS tomorrow!!

12 Sep
So I walked outside last night to put scraps out for the wild critters and came face to face with one—fortunately. I’d hate to be face to tail with a skunk. A skunk! In the middle of the city near LAX. I beat a hasty retreat back inside.

13 Sep
WUUUUUFFFFFFF! That’s the sound of a giant gust of wind going out of my lungs in relief. Doing a little caregiver dance!  Dancey dancey dancey! Take that Amy F. Grant and Katie F. Couric! I got someone to take my mother to dialysis on Mondays and Wednesdays so I don’t have to leave work in the middle of the day and make a 50 mile round trip! And I don’t have to wait on DPSS to pay for it!

18 Sep
Remember when newsreaders actually understood the news they read?

19 Sep
She actually simpers. I didn’t think anyone did that anymore once past the age of 16. Or who weren’t employed in a cat house.

23 Sep
Mom was not in a good way after dialysis tonight. Had to call the paramedics to assist in getting her out of the car and into the house. She’s okay. It just takes it out of her sometimes, makes her weak and very disoriented. She’s usually fine by morning.

24 Sep
Procrastination is not a good thing. Then again, neither is exhaustion.

25 Sep
Note to Pam: you can’t rely on the 92 year old to say when she’s running out of things. It sucks but you have to monitor Every. Blessed. Thing.=

27 Sep
Mom came through her outpatient procedure very well. Unclogged the fistula in two places which may explain the excessive bleeding Saturday.

27 Sep
Got an absolutely brilliant idea for a story this morning. Unfortunately it was while laying in bed. I fell asleep and now can’t remember it.

28 Sep
So relieved that necklace I’ve been ogling on Etsy sold. Close enough to my price range to be so tempting, but not money I needed to spend.

28 Sep
The nights when Mom is hallucinating from a combo of dialysis and pain medication are not at all stressful. Not at all.

It is what it is. She’ll be fine in the morning once she’s had a night’s sleep, once I can get her to bed. It’s been an occasional ongoing situation for awhile, just been a stressful week and harder to deal with today. Hoping things settle soon.

4 Oct
“[Those]…otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that…goes against their political beliefs.” http://fb.me/2xzM2CDAw 

4 Oct
Plumbing. Plumbing, plumbing, plumbing, plumbing.

5 Oct
My new dishwasher has been down since Sunday. Turns out rat(s) gnawed a hole in the drain hose. Min’s a good mouser but can’t get under the kitchen sink/counter where the bastards are coming up.

5 Oct
Emergency Kittens: pic.twitter.com/7I3Yb87rKi

7 Oct
Sears customer service sucks. My dishwasher purchased in April has a hole in the drain hose and even though I told two people at Customer Service what the problem was, they sent an installer crew not a repair crew and they didn’t have the part needed to fix the washer.

 When I called Customer Service/Repair back I did get an intelligent, responsive person on the line who is sending the correct part to me, but even if they had sent a repair crew, I was informed, they wouldn’t have had the part on their truck and I still would have had to wait to get the washer fixed. This is illogical, inefficient, and non-responsive and I am DONE WITH SEARS.

8 Oct
Apparently no one on service desks listen anymore.

8 Oct
So sorry people are leaving Goodreads over the review pulling. Sorrier still about pulling reviews because of some whiny authors.

9 Oct
Not surprisingly, the part needed to repair the dishwasher, which Sears promised would be here on Tuesday, has not arrived.

9 Oct
One of the worst aspects of being home sick is having to watch tea party wipes talking out of their ass. Oh right, I can turn the channel. Senator Buck McKeon claimed that less than 10 people in the whole country had signed up for the Affordable Care Act. Wolf Blitzer corrected that: over 16,000 in the 3 states reporting.

10 Oct
Tipping the potato chip bag up to get the last crumbs in your mouth: ladylike or beyond mortal definitions of assigned gender roles? Asking for a friend.

11 Oct
Guess what? Wonderful Sears ordered the wrong part for the dishwasher. The repairman won’t be back for yet another week. That will be three weeks without a dishwasher plus taking care of a sick 92 year old and working full time. I’m so happy.

(Insert primal scream here.)

This morning as I was reminding Ma about the repairman coming I had a premonition about the wrong part. I’m furious but not really surprised.

13 Oct
Friday Sears said someone would call me within 24 hours. Do I even have to type the rest at this point? Sick as a dog since Friday. Probably just as well they didn’t come.

14 Oct
My mother doesn’t understand the concept of laryngitis even though she had it in the early days of this cold. What? What you say? What?

“The disease is nothing, the terrain everything”—Louis Pasteur on his deathbed.

Well, at least there’s a UFO Files marathon on.

Fun: trying to get VRS to understand you when you have laryngitis.

18 Oct
Sears has gone beyond incompetence into criminal neglect. The part to fix the dishwasher is on backorder until November. At the crucial moment when I thought I was getting some resolution, we were disconnected. I called back to try to get to who I was talking to and the clueless helpdesk folks had no idea and connected me to someone who decided to stonewall and say “I see no record of you talking to anyone who made you such an offer. We can’t do anything more for you. You’ll have to wait until November.” At one point the Sears stonewaller said, “I’m sorry you’re unhappy with your dishwasher. Contact the manufacturer.” “It’s a Kenmore,” I told him. “You are the manufacturer.” He sputtered some but didn’t have much else to say.

18 Oct
In other corporate news, Alka Seltzer Plus Nighttime is most excellent. First good night’s sleep in days.

20 Oct
Hilarity of the morning: the bird and Mom coughing at one another. Or the bird saying “Ouch!” when I cough.

20 Oct
Birdie between coughing fits.

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20 Oct
I suppose it’s not possible to hope both teams lose the World Series. No hard feelings.

21 Oct
Every time I look up there’s another Sears commercial on TV. The Universe is mocking me.

21 Oct
The ironies pile up.  “18 Depressing Photos That Show Why Nobody Wants To Shop At Sears”    http://yhoo.it/1a0jUyq 

22 Oct
I gave up on Sears and called plumber. He fixed the dishwasher in about 20 minutes with the parts the Sears tech said were wrong. The only reason I stuck with Sears this long was because the dishwasher was still under warranty.

Sears corporate types have been reading my Twitterfeed complaints and calling me, but the situation never got resolved. The weird thing, when corporate Sears calls me they go direct to voicemail. Those are the only calls that do. And when I call them back it goes direct to voicemail. This only increases my frustration and adds paranoia.

23 Oct
I’m not so much hoping the Sox win as I’m hoping the Cards lose. The Cards are a team of prigs. No hard feelings.

25 Oct
#1. Act 3 is broken and I don’t know how to fix it and haven’t got the time. #2. It’s been out there so many times. #3. I never did find the time for that final read through. I don’t know what I’ve got there. Could be brilliant, could be crap. #4. There are holes in this that still haven’t been plugged. Plus #1 and #4 are part of trilogies. Oh the humanity! If I haven’t got time for a one-off, how can I find time for 3???

I’m thinking of changing my name to Oh!TheHumanity! Thompson.

29 Oct
Sometimes I seem nearly psychotically cautious, other times the feckless, trusting fool.

29 Oct
Sears, to be perfectly fair, has promised to pay my plumbing bills for the dishwasher. I have not yet seen cash. I will keep you posted.

26 Jun
Yeah, I was late to the SCOTUS party as well as Wendy Davis’s stand. Thrilled and frustrated both this morning.

27 Jun
Okay, I just wept like a fool when I heard the Gay Mens’ Chorus sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

27 Jun
Stand Up Wendy. We love you. You are fighting the good fight.

27 Jun
My friend from Mississippi lessoned me on alternate meanings of “crunching” that put a new light on “crunching numbers.” According to her, down in Pontotoc, Mississippi “crunching” is another way of saying defecating.

27 Jun
Interesting times at work. In the Chinese curse sense.

28 Jun
You go, Joan and Edna: Joan Crawford reads Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music”: http://tpr.ly/13cxuQK  .

29 Jun
From Margo Howard: “Don’t die a virgin. Terrorists are up there waiting for you.”

WARNING: THE NEXT SECTION MAY CAUSE DISTRESS TO SENSITIVE VIEWERS:

30 Jun
Min left a dead mouse somewhere in the computer room but I can’t find it. How do I know it’s here? Heatwave, that’s how. Thanks, Min. I think I’m going to vacate this room for awhile. Even with all the windows open it’s not fun. Blargh. Found it. It had crawled into a collection of cloth grocery bags and a ground-level shelf of a cabinet to slough off the mortal coil. Except not really. Chlorox Clean and Nature’s Miracle and the room is barely habitable after everything was thrown out. It barely missed my Tarot card collection. That would have been an expensive throw away. I moved the Tarot card collection and anything else valuable off the lower shelves in case Min decides to release another half dead mouse in here. She was very proud of herself and when I complained about the outcome, she patiently explained her job was to catch them not dispose of them. In fairness, I interrupted her in the process and allowed semi-dead mouse to escape—which Min pointed out when I complained. A neighbor called during cleanup to invite us for the 4th and he and Mom were discussing menu items. I kept shouting, “Shut up!”

30 Jun
Just spent two hours on the land line with tech support for my aged, ailing Droid. Think it’s fixed long enough for my new Droid to arrive.

1 Jul
Anyone want any more dead mouse stories? Just kidding.

1 Jul
I’ve decided to lay aside my martyr rags and wear shining raiment instead.

1 Jul
Survived day one at work. Two more to go.

2 Jul
Maybe I didn’t survive yesterday and I’ve slipped into the Purgatory Zone.

2 Jul
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?/Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down /Letting the days go by, water flowing underground /You may ask yourself, how do I work this?/You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile?/You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house /You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife/Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down/ Letting the days go by, water flowing underground/Into the blue again, after the money’s gone…Same as it ever was, same as it ever was…

2 Jul
The idea is not to fall into the rabbit hole even if you take things on faith.

2 Jul
The greatest English queen and one of the world’s greatest monarchs couldn’t really have been a woman, but must have been a man in drag: http://dailym.ai/163pFI5 

3 Jul
I am definitely not having fun. Four more hours.

3 Jul
Booga-booga, ya’ll. The case of the spinning Egyptian statue: http://bit.ly/14OtstD 

4 Jul
My old Droid died for good this morning. Fortunately, I had a new Droid in hand and have (mostly) finished programming it. The 4G is so much faster than the 3G, but I think I’m inferior to it.

4 Jul
The Fourth of July artillery barrage has been going on for hours now with no sign of letting up soon.

4 Jul
The world is not a pure place and although it’s very colorful it favors shades of gray.

5 Jul
I still haven’t retrieved my contacts on the new phone. Because my old phone died the death of a thousand…deaths I couldn’t transfer them that way, and the phone wouldn’t accept my pin, tech support got stumped, so now the “Network Engineers” are working on it and I may have to wait another 24 hours or so. Because I’m an anal bunny I’ve got most of those backed up to a paper address book so I’ll be 80% okay if they can’t retrieve Ma Stuff. I like Verizon, they’ve been very good, so I’m hoping it’ll all be okay. But I’m wondering why I spent money on this Droid cover. It seems so anticlimactic.

6 Jul
Protip: when using Backup Assistant on your Droid remember to manually back it up periodically. Apparently just telling it to backup your contacts at the time you’re adding them is not enough. Most of my contacts are gone for good.

7 Jul
Min is having her first supervised walk in the backyard for months and what does she choose to hang out with? The smelly old trash cans. Stink so gud. Alas…Mom wanted to come out, too, but she got a phone call from my cousin which is lasting hours. She’s actually doing quite well these days, despite not liking stinky trash cans as much as Min.

7 Jul
This phone proves over and over again that I am inferior to it. Except for the spell check. Well, it’s superior in that too, just wacky.

8 Jul
Spent the morning at Urgent Care with Mom. She’s okayish. Barked and ugly shin. Now I’m at work.

9 Jul
I need to find more money I need to find more money I need to find more money I need to find more money I need to find more money I need to…

10 Jul
Let’s hope the loud “DROID!” notification of new email doesn’t wake me up at 2 a.m. like it did last night. I think I changed the settings.

11 Jul
The Droid was quiet as a little lamb last night but Mom’s talking clock starting screaming, “It’s 12 o’clock midnight!” over and over…at midnight. It’s a very handy gadget when the alarm function hasn’t been accidentally set. It’s atomically aligned to Greenwich or some such nonsense. It’s always right.

12 Jul
For the third night running electronica conspired to disturb my sleep. First, the talking clock again shouted, “It’s 12 o’clock midnight!” I unplugged it and took the batteries out just to be safe. I noticed before doing so that the alarm icon was still showing on the face. I shall attempt to fix that when I’m actually awake. Sometimes the functions on this thing are easy to figure out, sometimes not, and of course Mom doesn’t know where the instructions are. But sight-impaired Mom won’t go without her talking clock. I hooked up the spare one for her this morning.

The second electronica whim-whammery came when the Droid again screamed “DROID!” in the wee hours. I was too tired to care, turned over, and went back to sleep. I guess I didn’t get those settings right after all. I may have to admit defeat and call Support.

Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new, in things that have just come into being. That is to say, our ancestral components are only partly at home in such things. We are very far from having finished completely with the Middle Ages, classical antiquity, and primitivity, as our modern psyches pretend. Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with ever wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots. Once the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely the loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the “discontents” of civilization and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up. We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is cancelled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.

Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for. They by no means increase the contentment or happiness of people on the whole. Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before. Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est—all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say….

Inner peace and contentment depend in large measure upon whether or not the historical family which is inherent in the individual can be harmonized with the ephemeral conditions of the present.

—Carl Jung from Memories, Dreams, Reflections, written circa 1960

It all started when my mother said, “Carol called today. Her kids bought her a Candle.”

Skkkiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrruppppppp! The needle skips backwards across the record.

Actually, it started earlier that morning when I thought, “You know, maybe Mom would be able to read the large type on my Nook.”

Skkkiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrruppppppp!

All right, I confess it actually started much earlier than that when I became intrigued with the Kindle Fire, and before that when I lusted for an iPad—okay! Don’t scratch that record again!

It goes back to September when my mother had a mild stroke which left her reason, speech, and mobility intact but imposed upon her a visual impairment which made reading very, very difficult. Even large type books were hard for her to read, the lines of the text running together and jumping around because her stereoscopic vision has gotten messed up. This is a woman who read voraciously, sometimes a book every day or two. She’s been so lost and forlorn without her books. I suggested audiobooks, but she shot that one down really fast. She doesn’t like audiobooks, she said most definitively.

She can’t drive anymore, either. Time weighs heavy on her. She started making up household projects to fill the time. Sometimes that worked out, sometimes they just got her into trouble and wore her out. I haven’t known what to do for her. Then one day last week while driving to work, the notion of letting her use my Nook popped into my head. And then, as if the Universe had decided to take us in hand and get us pointed in the right direction, my mother’s friend, Carol, called to tell her about this wonderful new “Candle” her children bought her for Christmas and how much she loved reading on it and playing games and being on the web. I couldn’t wait to mention the Nook to Mom, but she couldn’t wait to tell me about the “Candle.”

“It’s actually called a Kindle,” I told her. “It sounds like she has a Kindle Fire.”

“Whatever. It sounds really great.”

“Well, I have a Nook. Would you like to see if you like it?”

“Yes!”

So I pulled out the Nook, ran it through its paces, increased the text to Extra Extra Large and showed it to her. I thought we could make do with this and maybe somewhere down the line get a Kindle Fire.

“I can read this!” Mom said with such a look of wonder on her face. Just about scrambled my heart strings, I tell you. “So what’s the difference between a Nook and a Kindle?”

I’d played with a friend’s Kindle Fire so I could tell her right off the bat it was easier to use than my elderly Nook, and more comprehensive. Not just about reading, but about All Groovy Web Things. I started to do the ol’ compare/contrast thing…and it really didn’t take long before I’d talked myself into buying a Kindle Fire. Forget about waiting. I may have purchased one this weekend. It may be arriving today. I may be giving it to my mother and showing her how to use it.

I called Mom earlier today and she told me she talked to Carol again. “Did you tell her you’re now part of the Kindle club?” I asked.

“Sure did. We’ve set up a Scrabble game for when I learn how to use it.”

I love living in the future. Mom is starting to feel that way again, too.

You may have seen this one, the baby and the iPad:

Random quote of the day:

 

“Technology changes; humans don’t.”

—Deb Schultz, deborahschultz.com

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

I hope to return to real blogging soon, but it’s been hella busy. In the meantime, here’s another one of those numbered thingies:

1. Listening to the graduate students around here make excuses to their professors as to why they haven’t completed their coursework, it strikes me that not much has changed since elementary school. They’ve just found more sophisticated, elaborate, and convoluted ways of saying, “The dog ate my homework.”

2. I’m on chapter eleven of the read-through of Venus in Transit. I should be much further along as I hadn’t intended to do any restructuring or heavy editing, but you know how it goes. A couple (or more) scenes that just had to be rewritten, language desperately needed de-clunkifying, things had to be looked up and pondered… There’s still plenty more that needs fixing, no worries, but it’s amazing to me how many of the smaller threads of plot and characterization got left untied. I’ll definitely deal with those in the next draft.

3. I’ve acquired a sudden re-fascination with cunning folk, witchery, and folk medicine, et al. lately. I’ve been reading books and scouring JSTOR for articles. (I love JSTOR. Thank goodness for institutional subscriptions.) If research interest is an indicator of which novel my right brain next wants to write, things are looking good for my proto-novel, Time in a Bottle, the idea based in part on my novella, “Sealed with a Curse.” That novella involved an 18th century cunning man, infidelity, wastrelism, and a witch’s bottle. The novel version carries forward to the 21st century descendants of some of the folks involved in that affair. And maybe time travel. Or maybe not.

4. I’m wondering if a subscription to Netflix would be worth it to me since I rarely am in the mood to watch a movie at home more than once or twice a month? I used to devour movies at a massive rate, but I lost the love somewhere along the way. The $8.99 one would definitely be sufficient, but I’m not sure I’d get my money’s worth even then.

5. Come the Singularity, I suspect I will not be allowed on the lifeboat. I suspect I will be okay with that. Utopian visions rarely turn out well for humanity at large. I have zero confidence that techo-utopians will be any better at it than every other millennial movement that has wrecked humanity in the past. I am not a Luddite. I really do enjoy living in the bright, shiny techno-age—but sweeping mass social engineering never works. That’s the lesson of history. That’s the lesson of any close study of human nature. Power corrupts, even utopian techno power—and besides, these yahoos aren’t even trying to be egalitarian. This is all about ego and rich mostly whitefolk trying to escape the filthy masses.