Is My Phone Smart or Stubborn?

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It was absolutely beautiful at the retreat I went to in July, so I wanted to take some pictures. It was an unusual urge for me. Part of my non-love affair with technology is a healthy ambivalence about photography and videography.

I really didn’t/don’t mind looking at other people’s travel pictures when they were/are actually travel pictures or pictures of people I knew/know. I don’t need to look at more than a couple of pictures of someone I don’t know. Back in the Dark Ages, you had to ask someone to take your picture in front of a scene or object. It seriously limited the number of pictures of the traveler.

You can guess where I’m going with this. I really don’t want our civilization represented in future ages by 253 pictures of baby Doris’ first birthday party and 25 selfies of John getting wasted on his 21st birthday, repeated several million times all over the world.

Anyway, I woke up the phone and, sure enough there was an icon that looked like a camera lens. So I tapped it. Something came up in the viewfinder. Yeah!! Something intuitive. The screen says to center the box on what I want to take a picture of before I snap it. OK.

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There’s a “Next” arrow at the bottom of the screen. Of course I followed it. There were some technical directions about photography that I didn’t understand (I thought this was point and click).  Tap “Next” one more time. More advanced directions that I don’t need. It’s a bunch of trees and a lake.

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This appeared to be the last screen so I tapped on it. (I don’t know why. It seemed to work everywhere else.) Still had the words on the screen. Suddenly I was looking at myself. Remembered something about gently shaking the phone to get it to reverse the screen. Apparently in my frustration, I have shaken the phone sufficiently to reverse the screen. Something clicks. Great. I have a picture of me. Shaking “gently” does not reverse the lens.

I texted my daughter. She said to ignore the words, they would go away after I had taken a few pictures. (?) All I had to do was point and click. So I let it go to sleep and woke it up again. The camera was pointed in the correct direction. I pointed and clicked a couple of times. I found the gallery on my own. (I was impressed.) What do you know? My pictures. My fuzzy pictures (none of my face). Oh yeah. I was supposed to get the subject in the box and let it focus. Oops.

Went back out and tried again. I could see it focusing. This is not the camera for an action shot. I followed its rules. The words went away. The pictures turned out beautifully. I got rid of the icky ones. I’m still not sure why sometimes it would snap when I tapped it with my finger and other times I needed to use my nail.

Verdict: Stubborn

But it does fit into my back pocket better than the old one, and isn’t that what’s important?

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(See – I’m learning already. I much prefer the vertical pictures on the slideshow. But putting them on “paper”, the horizontal pictures look better)

If It’s a Smart Phone, Why Does it Act Stupid?

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(1896 Swedish Telephone – Wikimedia)

As you may recall, I was very attached to my “dumb” phone. All I could do on it was text and make phone calls. And all I wanted from a phone was to text and make phone calls. You’ll notice that I am speaking in the past tense. That’s because my carrier said that it was not economical to support that technology anymore.

How dare they? They make so much money, I’m sure they could write off whatever it costs them to support me and the three or four other people who still have that phone.

So a few months ago I got an Android. The more technologically progressive members of the family hate Apple – something about them wanting to control all aspects of our data. I don’t really care. I have hated being on the telephone since I was a teenager.

Yes, I know. Being on the telephone no longer means you have to try to be interested in what happened to Millie’s mother-in-law’s niece’s husband for three hours while you can only move three feet. Or inadvertently picking up a call from that friend you’ve been avoiding for six months since she told you that everyone else thought you were getting fat, but she didn’t.

First thing I did was to enter everyone’s phone number. My SIM card was so old it wouldn’t transfer to the new phone. I opened the contact page. The first line wanted the name. I looked around; there’s no keyboard. Oh. You have to tap on the field to get the keyboard.  Went down to phone number. Had to tap the phone to get the keyboard back up. The phone’s not smart enough to figure out that if I put a name in, I’m probably going to have something else to enter?

I wasn’t available the first time I received a call. I got a notification that I had missed a call and should call xx number. I didn’t know anyone at that number, so I ignored the message. The second time I got the message, I asked my son why I kept getting calls from that number. He didn’t even roll his eyes when he explained to me that it was the number for voice mail, not the number that was calling. So I have to pay to retrieve my messages? Yes, that’s the way everyone does it now.

I’m beginning to see why they wanted me to change phones.

I heard my phone ringing. There’s a sort of target-looking thing in the center of the screen. I supposed I needed to press that. Nothing. There’s a red phone at the bottom of the screen; I pressed that. Nothing. The call went to voice mail. Of course.

At dinner, my husband and son explained that I need to swipe from the target thingy to the right to answer the phone. If I swipe to the left, I disconnect them. The red phone at the bottom is to hang up. If I have a red phone to disconnect, why would I need to swipe left? Just because.

I left my husband a text, and didn’t hear back from him. He said he didn’t get it. I tried a few more times over the next few days with no luck. He said that maybe the software wasn’t working right in my phone, so at dinner he tried sending me a text. Hummmm. The text arrived. I responded, and it went to his cell phone. I tried to text him. Nothing.

Finally, he looked at my phone. He told me that I was texting to his work phone. How did that happen? I had gone to his icon and sent the text. The first number assigned to him is his cell phone; why would it send it to the work phone?

That’s not how you’re supposed to send texts. You’re supposed to go to Contacts and tap on the message icon for the correct number. It’s not smart enough to just use the first number?

You call people the same way. Go to Contacts and choose the phone symbol by the correct number. This is not making my life easier. I may go back to memorizing people’s numbers.

I asked my daughter how to send a text to two people at a time. I was out of town relaxing at a retreat and had wanted to let her and my husband both know I had arrived safely. She told me there was an icon near where I typed the message. I still can’t find it.

 

(Next I try the camera)

 

One Last Look at the Animal Olympics

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(Words in italics are translated at the bottom.)

The sloth 10-meter race was amazingly quick this year, coming in at less than five days for the first time in Olympic history. The winner, Maria Perezoso of Costa Rico, said that she credited her intensive training regime with moving vines for her victory. She also said that the climate in Rio was similar to that at home which helped her breathing.

One of the best ideas this year was to separate the gorilla gymnastics from the rest of the competition due to the weight differences. After the tragic accident in London where John Gorilla misjudged his landing and fell on the monkey team practicing on the next apparatus, there was no question that something had to be done. This year’s competition was thankfully accident-free.

The biggest upset of the year was the victory of Lin-Lin Panda in the 20-meter tree climb, beating heavily favored A. M. Biri. Mr. Biri is challenging the results. The Olympic Committee is awaiting drug-testing results before making a decision.

Once again, Russian bears won all of the wrestling medals: Igor Obez’yana – gold; Sergei Obez’yana – silver; and Petya Obez’yana – bronze. The Canadian Alan Brown Bear ended in fourth place, the best result for a non-Russian bear in the last eight years. Russian cubs are taken into training when they are four months old, which probably accounts for their dominance. Unfortunately, there is some impact on social development and these bears rarely mate.

As expected, Samuel Duma dominated the short running events. His only real competition was I.A. Duma, his training partner. Hando Paa came in third, undoubted aided by the cheetah who was close behind. Mr. Paa said that instinct took over and propelled him to his bronze medal.

The long-distance running events took an unexpected turn when Dubai entered several camels in the races. On the hot track, Abraham Jamal easily outpaced his competition. Ishmael Jamal took the silver. Alexander Kudu from the African savannah was the third-place finisher. The camels will be definite contenders going forward. The other competitors found them rather rude and almost mean.

Unfortunately most of the swimming events had to be cancelled. When the water was tested prior to the first race, the officials found a significant amount of chlorine. Suspicion immediately focused on the Russians whose Siberian tigers had been disqualified due to failed drug testing. The tigers had been heavy favorites to win several events. The other theory is that the maintenance crew had been given the human requirements by mistake.

The other animals laughed at the idea of the hippos entering a team in the water polo competition. No one is doubting now that they have won the silver medal. Their style is definitely unorthodox, using their snouts to propel the ball. Their coach, Jonas Kiboko, credited the team’s desire to prove the critics wrong for the strong showing. Unfortunately, the elephant team ended the hippos’ run. Their long trunks provided superior accuracy, and the team went on to win their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Overall, the games were a huge success. Now the animals can relax until their human counterparts are finished and provide them with a ride home. Unfortunately, the animals lost their petition to attend the human games. Apparently the cheetah eating the capybara early in the games has led some humans to fear for their own lives. For their part, the animals are hoping that there are no hunters on the human side.

 

Spanish – sloth, Hausa – gorilla, Hausa – monkey, Russian (transliterated) – bear, Swahili – cheetah, gazelle, Arabic (transliterated) – camel, Swahili – kudu, Swahili – hippo (Translations provided by Google. The African translations are limited by the number of languages available.)

 

Rio Animal Olympics: Water Aerobics

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(Google Images/Rebloggy.com)

I’m Les Sloth, and I’m here with the Canadian otters, winners of the 2016 gold medal in Water Aerobics. From the left, we have Terry (team captain), James, Ian, and Joseph.

Les: Congratulations! How does it feel to win the gold?

Terry: It’s amazing. We’ve been working so hard, and it’s great to get the gold for Canada.

Les: The competition did not work out the way many folks thought it would. It was supposed to be a four-way contest between the Canadians, Americans, Russians, and Chinese. What happened?

James: Well, it was kind of a fluke with the Americans. None of us knew that it was illegal to shave our country’s name into our fur. Once the first team was disqualified, they really didn’t have much of a chance.

Ian: And the Russians were pretty demoralized when their coach wasn’t allowed to leave Russia with them. Who knew that his wife’s grandmother’s second cousin was married to a Chechen?

Les: It’s incredible that both of those things would have happened the same year. But what about the Chinese?

Terry: We’d rather not talk about that.

Les: Why’s that?

Terry: Apparently, there was some sort of political situation. As athletes, we try not to get involved in those things.

Les: Can you tell me anything?

Ian: It appears that they were using some kind of top-secret training facilities that may not have been approved for the Animal Olympics. The Olympic Committee was looking into it right before the Games.

Les: Did they find anything?

Ian: There was enough of an issue that they issued a warning to the Chinese. Of course, the Chinese denied they had done anything wrong and blamed a Western conspiracy to eliminate the Chinese politically since they couldn’t do it in the water.

Les: Do they know what was happening at the secret facility?

Ian: Rumor has it that they were using some kind of hyper-oxygenated water to train. It’s supposed to help develop stronger lungs.

Terry: But there’s no proof that the Chinese were cheating.

Joseph: We do know that for some reason they didn’t understand that the competition was happening at a river here in the zoological park. They have been training for the past couple of months in an extremely polluted river outside Beijing. They thought it would give them an advantage over those of us training in the wild.

Les: That’s awful. It’s probably the reason they wanted stronger lungs.

James: Unfortunately, most of them picked up some kind of river sickness that has made them incredibly weak. A couple of the alternates even died.

Joseph: They were training with the rest of us, but they weren’t in the clean water long enough to make a difference.

Les: That definitely explains why Iceland and Norway showed so strongly.

Terry: They did perform very well. Iceland, in particular has shown immense growth in the last few years. We’re proud to have beaten them.

Les: So what are you planning to do to celebrate?

Terry: The Canadians have a party every night for all of their medal winners. You are welcome to come.

Les: Thank you very much. However, after the incident in the Big Cat room yesterday, I’ve decided to eat in my room.

James: Yes, it was very unfortunate that the capybara was mistaken for dinner. They never should have sent him in as a waiter for the 200-meter dash winners. They knew the room would be full of hungry cheetahs.

Les: Yes, that is true. I suppose it was appropriate to hold the administrators responsible rather than the cats.

Ian: We feel the same way. The only carnivores allowed tonight are those on Team Canada. It’s unfortunate, but the cats understand. They really feel terrible about what happened.

Joseph: They are collecting money for the poor fellow’s family.

Les: That’s showing the true Olympic spirit. Otters, thank you so much for stopping by. And congratulations once again.

(Google Images/Wikimedia)

 

Surely the Underworld is Carpeted with Weeds

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And they are ruled by King Thistle, ably assisted by Lords Kudzu and Creeping Charlie.

                     

I am an intermittent gardener, at best. I can’t blame nurture. My mother grew fruits (raspberries, strawberries, etc.) and vegetables. Both my maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother had amazing flower gardens, specializing in roses. Grandpa also had a large selection of dahlias (some of them his own breeds).

My husband has a vegetable garden in the backyard. I wanted flowers in the front. After several years of intense neglect, I decided to take another shot at making it look like more than a weed patch. My son suggested that I salt the earth and put in a rock garden.

I began with a small patch in front of the house. I had to dig out all the weeds by hand (actually shovel). So far, so good. Turn over the dirt; rake out the weeds (and many years of rotting leaves). Hmm, what is that hard thing I keep trying to shovel? We have rocky soil, but this is ridiculous.

Finally, I scraped away all of the detritus. Oooh, it’s the sidewalk! And there are things actually growing on it. How embarrassing. Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound (guess that saying survived from Colonial times – otherwise, it makes no sense whatsoever). I trenched along the edge, swept away the dirt. Voila! It was all still there.

So I shoveled along. Guess what? Myrtle grows on the sidewalk even better than weeds! I always thought nothing grew better than weeds. I moved on to a section full of lily-of-the-valley. I love them and wanted to move some of them to my newly discovered soil.

The only problem was that they were “protected” by some really healthy thistles. I’m told that thistles grow in abundance on the moors. I’m going to look into a repatriation program for the ones in my yard.

There is only one good way to get rid of thistles. Dig them up by the root. The whole root. Don’t worry, says a friend. All you have to do is cut off the top of the stalk and spray Round Up on the opening of the stalk, and it will travel directly to the roots. (For those of you unfamiliar with Round Up, it is an extremely toxic herbicide that is dangerous to both humans and animals.)

I don’t believe in herbicides, but the thistles were three feet high. I bought the least toxic type. It didn’t kill the thistle. My husband pulled them out for me (root and all). I threw away the Round Up.

I bought some blue spruce sedum to plant along the path to the garage. It’s been really dry and the ground has never been used for anything except scrub grass. (You didn’t expect Kentucky Blue, did you?) My husband used the tiller, and they went in with no real problems. They like dry soil, so all is well.

The house is on a small hill. It’s almost impossible to mow, so I decided to put in moss (easy to grow, spreads well). My husband offered to till it for me. For logistical reasons, I decided to start at the top, just past the sedum. He had just started to till when he heard a crunch. He’d cut a copper pipe to something. It would have to be fixed before he could root up any more weeds.

My moss was in its nursery containers looking a little unhappy, and my husband and son were leaving on their annual fishing trip. So back to the shovel. In dirt that had seen no cultivation in the fifty years since they moved the house from its original site on a farm. Oh goody.

It was like digging through cement. Once I managed to get the first shovelful out, it became a little easier. (As I’m typing this, I just realized that I should have rented a badger. I read that they can burrow through anything, even cement. I wonder where you rent badgers?)

I finally had enough space for my 12 moss plants. I dug the holes. Hmmm. I bet the soil in Ireland doesn’t look like clay that’s ready to be fired. The lady at the nursery said to mix sphagnum peat moss with the soil to loosen it for the plants. I had a bag. I needed a bog.

So I planted them directly into the sphagnum. I used her extra-special root food and hoped for the best. It’s been a couple of weeks and they haven’t died. Maybe I should play them some Celtic folk music.

I wonder how much the salt and rocks would have cost?

(pictures courtesy of Google Images; creeping charlie via University of Georgia, badger via Liverpool, UK)

Newsflash: IAOC Bans Tigers

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(Google Images/Pinterest)

 

Dateline: July 22, 2016

Irkutsk, Siberia – Rumors have been running rampant that the International Animal Olympics Committee (IAOC) was investigating the Siberian Tiger swim team. Those rumors were verified today when Ferdinand Fox, President of the IAOC, issued the following statement:

“After months of testing and research, the IAOC has determined that the Siberian Tiger swim team has consistently shown inappropriately high levels of testosterone. The guidelines for the Animal Olympics are very specific, and the Siberians have not met the requirements. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to ban the team from the 2016 Animal Olympics.

“We did not make this decision lightly. We know that the Siberian Tigers have always been an important part of the swimming competition. However, we must abide by the guidelines. The integrity of the Games is more important than any one team.”

The sports world’s reaction was mainly surprise. Given the strength of the Siberian team, no one thought the IAOC would have the fortitude to penalize the team. The Siberian Olympic management issued a competing statement:

“The charges are ridiculous. Our swimmers are the strongest tigers in the world. Of course they have high levels of testosterone. We would never inject them with additional hormones. The meat we use comes straight from Moscow and is guarded to prevent adulteration.

“We do not plan to challenge this ban. After training in the pure waters of Siberia, the filthy water in the Olympic venue would probably make the team sick anyway. We feel that we are being singled out unfairly because of our strength. These charges are based on groundless rumors started by the Americans and Bengal Tigers because they have never been competitive against our superior training and strength.”

There was no immediate comment from the Americans or Bengalis.

We have not been able to verify reports that the athletes have threatened to eat the members of the IAOC who voted for the ban. There has been a lot of growling around the camp, but the tigers are forbidden to speak with the media.

This ruling will not impact past medals that the Siberians have won. Because of the lifespans of some of the Olympic participants (e.g., mice, some fish species), the IAOC has determined that awards will stand once they have been presented.

Reported by Ricky T. Tavi  (Google Images/Reddit)

 

Cat Forum: Breaking Election News

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Washington, DC, September 16, 2016

Commentator: We just received word this afternoon that not only is the Cat Party not going to put forward a candidate for the coming election, they are disbanding the party. On the eve of the Republican Convention, this is truly shocking news. I have them on the phone to find out what happened.

Commentator: Hello guys. We heard the big news. So what happened?

Jaime : Hello, and thank you for having us. We all discussed it and decided that Washington is no place for a cat.

Creamsicle: : You might remember that we were going to Washington to learn about the budget. It was a total disaster.

Commentator: What do you mean?

Creamsicle: Well, the first ones I wanted to meet were the Fat Cats. I thought that maybe I could show them some tricks about maintaining a healthy lifestyle even when they were super-busy. Do you know what I discovered?

Biff: We were all shocked.

Creamsicle: Fat Cats refers to humans. In fact, everyone we saw in the government was human.

Charles: Some of them wanted to put us in cages!

Commentator: That’s horrible.

Charles: Not only that. Some of them are incredibly stupid.

Commentator: How so?

Charles: We looked at the budget. Some of those numbers had way too many zeros. Our government could never afford things with that many zeros.

Jaime: And nobody noticed that the numbers were wrong.

Biff: That’s because nobody went to that meeting where they talked about the budget.

Creamsicle: It was pretty boring. I almost fell asleep.

Biff: But don’t you remember at the beginning when they called off the names of the people who were supposed to be there?

Charles: I counted. Only 16 out of the 42 people were actually there.

Jaime: But that wasn’t the really scary part.

Moderator: It got worse?

Jaime: Definitely. Later that day, they voted on spending the money they were talking about in that meeting.

Biff: There were 25 people at that meeting. I heard some of them whispering to their aides in the hall before the meeting. They were asking what they were voting on and how it impacted important people they know.

Creamsicle: They hadn’t read any of the bill!

Commentator: So you all decided that you didn’t want to be in Washington?

Charles: What self-respecting cat would?

Creamsicle: Those people never stop talking!

Biff: And a lot of the people smoke in that city. Can you imagine what our fur would smell like?

Charles: Besides, we would only be a token cat. They don’t even have litter boxes in those buildings.

Jaime: And they said that only one of us could represent cats. The rest would have to go home. We’d have to work with a human staff!

Commentator: That’s appalling!

Creamsicle: That’s what we thought. What’s to stop them from giving us someone who smells like dog?

Commentator: So what’s next?

Biff: We’ve had an offer for a book deal writing about our experiences.

Charles: We’ve also been offered a talk show. Kind of a political round-table.

Creamsicle: But right now we’re just looking for a place with enough sun for us all to relax. It’s been a tough few months.

Commentator: Thank you for spending your time with us.

Cats: Purr, Purr

(All pictures courtesy of Google Images)