Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Smart Phone or Not to Smart Phone?

What would The Dude do??

In high school I was able to get my own phone line. Not just a phone in my room, but my own friggin' phone number. For a high school girl, who happens to be very chatty, this was like the Golden Ticket. ~ That was cool.

I'll admit to having owned a beeper for a while too. In the days before cell phones, this is what you owned. Looking back on it, it was really stupid. I mean, there weren't cell phones and if you were out somewhere and your mother paged you then you had to hunt here and there for a pay phone (and change for it), all while your mother gets angrier and angrier the longer it takes you to return her call. People paged you with "911" when it couldn't have been less of an emergency. And, we TRIED texting. Think all the abbreviations in texting world are confusing now? You shoulda seen it when we had to use numbers!! ~ Ok, an aside here because, dude, doesn't that just sound like a "You know nothin' youngster. When I was your age and we wanted to text we had to use numbers because they didn't have letters like they do now!!" ~ So, the beeper was, and remains, a joke. Unless you're a doctor or somebody.

A decade ago when I moved back from Charleston, SC and was temporarily living in my Dad's basement, I got a cell phone. It made sense. Minutes were limitless. Ahh .. it's like the 60's and Free Love, but instead it was the 00's and I had Free Minutes. But, it did make sense. I spent very little time at home and, still being rather chatty, this enabled me to go forth and chat as much as I pleased.
I don't remember texting coming along for another 3 years or so. And then it was on a green-lit screen in little black type. Kinda like old computers, but in reverse. And it wasn't a big deal. It was fun, but most people didn't text. Oooh .. another ala the 60's moment of naughtily asking "so, do you ... text?"
~ But the overall look-back of those days was that the cell phone was worth it. Though it always has bothered me that it starts with the word "cell", like I'm imprisoned or something.

After Shannon came along and I began staying at home, our need for a cell phone disappeared. I mean, I was home. If Justin wasn't here he was at work. If he wasn't at work he was on his way to or from or perhaps at lunch. We could handle not being able to reach each other for those time periods.
After Tristan came along we still didn't need a cell phone. But then, my mom & stepdad began being our go-to babysitters. And they couldn't always reach us. And come Summertime and with it staying light a lot longer you can accidentally let several hours go by wherein you're suddenly several hours late picking up your kids and your mother, who isn't prone to worrying or hysterics or anything at all like that, thinks you're in a ditch dead somewhere and begins filing the adoption papers so she can keep the kids. ... Well, sorta. You get the idea.
A cell phone was forced upon us. To tell you how much we resisted and fought the notion, we actually "inherited" my 90 year old grandfather's cell phone. Apparently it did him little good because he just kept it in a drawer all the time. So Mom repo'd it from him and hoisted it upon us.

Now the world has changed and everyone has a cell phone. I do find myself using it a lot. You can't call people, they don't want to be bothered. For those of you on my daily "gotta chat with" list I apologize for being such a pest, know that you are loved dearly, and well, please don't quit talking to me I might go nuts. But, the rest of you! HA!! The rest of you can't be bothered with phones!!!
OR EMAIL!! Who has the time to check email?? There are so many of them too!!! It's overwhelming!!
Then, a somewhat geeky savior came along. We weren't sure about him at first because the colors were bland, but then we came around. That's right FACEBOOK.
Facebook became THE way to connect and stay in touch. You could find everyone and talk with them!! But, that's the problem isn't it? Everyone found you. And they want to talk. About everything. Every .. single .. stupid .. inane .. thought that comes out of their swelled heads. ~ I would be just as guilty of this as everyone else, but face it, all my thoughts are worthy of being saved as magnets and bumper stickers and just generally dipped in gold. Really.
But, since most people have just become a pest and there are enough invites on Facebook to make you miss having to actually mail the damn things, people have begun ignoring Facebook too.

NOW if you want to talk to someone you have to text them. In fact, there was a recent comic strip that joked how if you want to talk to someone you have to text them to let them know that you will be calling them. Not far from the truth.
AND .. there is an app for EVERYTHING!

When we went on vacations last year we did use the online access available with our cell phone. Being out of town and in places with out of date phone books and etc, it did make it helpful. But our phone is now a dinosaur among phones. I wish it could be as cool as having an actual fossil, but I think my phone is more comparable to coprolite. Ya know, fossilized poop. Though I believe coprolites are more valuable than my current cell phone. Maybe I should pour tree sap around my cell phone and allow it to sit and harden for several thousand years. Then it might be worth something again. In fact, I may just have myself buried that way. Surely that would REALLY mess with some folks thousands of millions of years from now ... right???

But, I digress, and in that digression I probably show that I really don't need a smart phone. Or do I? I tried comparing my phone with current smart phones to, well, umm, shop smartly for a smart phone? I pretty much got laughed at, and not in the way I usually like. In the "HA!! You can't compare THAT to THIS!!! HA!" snotty sales clerk who knows everything about smart phones kinda way.
Then I went to a different store. There I met a sales clerk who reminded me of Holt from the Cleveland Show, only taller. "Nope you do NOT want this. It's JUNK. HATE IT! You want this!" ~ Ok, dude, you might've thought you were gaining my trust by telling me this, but really you seemed like a douche. And playing Bob Marley in your store didn't make you any cooler.

I really didn't like feeling like I was just trying to be upsold. I'd be much more comfortable if the sales clerk sat down with me, had a few drinks, and said "Dude, what do you really want to do?" And then we could figure this whole thing out together.

But it doesn't work like that. And all I know is that I liked being able to access a couple things on the web. And I like a couple of the apps. Mostly the really stupid ones like the one with the talking cat. And I'm scared of the Droid phones because I'm scared of robots and androids and my main question if I were to get one of those would be about "Can I change it to say something else other than DROID?? Cuz that really creeps me out." Actually, I don't think I could get a Droid phone, it creeped me out too much just touching it. (And yes, I know they mostly all use Android technology, but that's on the inside and much easier to overlook)

Do I need all these GB?? I don't want to watch movies on my cell phone, that's why I have the man cave-ish living room! I would like to be able to take better quality photos with my cell phone than I currently can, but being a freelance photographer I still want to do the majority of my photos with .. ya know .. my cameras!

So, Dude, I just don't know. I really don't. But I would love to hear your thoughts. So, please, leave me a message and tell me what you think. Do you own a smart phone? Are you uber-hip or are you a quasi-Luddite? Do you really use it for all it's worth?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Anger

~photo borrowed from

Earth Day is upon us once again and normally I would be full of mirth and merriment but instead, today, I'm just pissed off. I know, I know ... I mean, look at me, at our lives, this should be like our Christmas or something, right? Wrong!

So, why am I pissed off? Let's start with the 'More, More, MORE Orgasm' shall we? Supposedly being frugal is now chic. It's hip to save money and companies have responded with a Pavlovian drool response that rivals my dogs'. Groupon. Daily Deal. And on and on. At first these things didn't seem so bad. Kinda cute, good deals, yada yada. But now? C'mon man!!! Most of the coupons that you would use in the store are for Frankenfoods that you really wouldn't want to put in your body if you took a second glance at the reality of them. And, these Daily Deal coupons? Ok, not all of them require 'TODAY ONLY!' but a lot of them do. And, you know what, I don't need your shit today! In fact, do I need it at all????
The reality is that these coupons & deals are an attempt to get us to buy more crap. More crap that we likely don't need. Confining it to one day means we have to find a way to acquire that money NOW, meaning we're likely to be spending unwisely: on credit, in lieu of something that is an actual need, etc. This isn't being frugal. This is the exact opposite of it.

Second Gripe: I feel like we have less and less say over our own lives. Even when we own a spot of space of our own there are more and more rules about what we can, or more accurately, CAN NOT do with it. Yea, there's a good chance we'll get to keep our chickens. But should this have been something we've had to fight so hard for and that others are having to fight harder for? Should there be rules that forbid you to hang your laundry to dry? What type of gardens you can plant and where? I mean, what the fuck?
We have spread out and spread out and spread out some more, and in the process we've taken away the ability to provide for ourselves. Food HAS to be imported in because ya certainly can't grow it here!!!! You know, there was a time when you could go out to eat and ask how your food was raised. Not just cooked, but RAISED. Sadly, nowadays you're lucky if they know how it is cooked (and even then you're likely limited to baked, fried, grilled, or broiled - just that, nothing more). As to where it was before it was cooked? In the freezer or walk-in. Before that? On a truck.
If you want to drink good milk it's gonna come from between 45 minutes away and an hour away. And your choices here are extremely limited. Raw milk is illegal. At first you might think this isn't so bad, right? Wrong. Am I not intelligent enough to be able to decide for myself what to consume? Apparently so. This kind of reminds me of Robin Hood. Where it's illegal to hunt for wild animals because they all belong to the King.

And, finally, for the same reason I was so pissed off about Earth Day in high school: Earth Day Whores. Because, and I am quoting what I said to my chemistry class in high school here, you twits don't give a shit about it any other day of the year, you're just doing all this right now for another "look at me" opportunity. The week leading up to Earth Day it becomes a pep-rally orgy of banners and slogans and other cutesy crap. How much "Earth Day 2011" crap was sold this year? Really? Did we need to create so much more junk? Is that really celebrating the earth?
In some of the photos I saw today there was one on a beach in Florida from Earth Day 2009. 4,000 pounds were used to create a colored sand sculpture that spelled out "SAVE OUR EARTH". It was pretty, so were those stupid banners. It was so big that well, hmmm ..... where could you REALLY get a good view of it???? Oh!!! I know!!! THE SKY!!!!! HELLO MEDIA OPPORTUNITY!!!!!

Unless of course they're trying to talk to possible aliens in space. And, should that be the case, I'm pretty certain those aliens would agree with that cartoon up top.

PS ~ Just in case, I feel I need to clarify something. If you've read this and you read my above rant about Earth Day Whores, I am not calling YOU specifically one. That "you twits" statement was something I said in high school. And THEY were twits. But you ... well, you read this, so likely you're pretty friggin' awesome.