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Archive for May, 2010

It’s difficult to decide whether I am a ludite or just being lazy.  If you ask my husband, he’ll give you a straight answer.  He thinks I’m a ludite.  I disagree.  I think I’m just lazy.

It’s a strange counter-argument, but hear me out.

I’m not technically averse to learning new technology.  It’s just for that technology to be worth my while, it has to somehow improve the situation over the old technology.  An easy task, one would assume, since the point of evolving technology is to improve our lives or machines, or at least make something go faster so I have to spend less time fiddling with it.  If whatever the new technology is does not make things better, I want no part of it!

Thus the “three click” rule.  If I can’t get something to work in three clicks or less, I won’t use it.  I boycott it!  I hate it!

Ok, hate is a strong word.  Maybe I don’t hate it, but I definitely am not going to spend hours trying to figure it out.

For example, our televisions and game systems are all organized around a “receiver”.  Don’t ask me to explain it, I’m not sure I could.  Let’s just say the “receiver” works like a brain for the entertainment system.  It sends out messages to the various devices attached to it.  Most of the time these messages are simple like “turn on” or “change the channel”, or maybe even something infinitely more complicated like “fast forward”.

What’s that you say?  Why would I be so demanding of my entertainment system?  Why would I request that it turn on and off at different times?  Or that all the devices turn on (or off) in unison?  I know I’m being unreasonable, but there you go, I’m just that kind of person.

So when I point the fancy touch screen remote control (that often likes to show me the screen saver of happy families watching tv instead of useful info screens like numbers) and all but one item turns on, it gets to be a little frustrating.

Here’s how it goes:

Click one: Activities button

Click two: “Watch tv”

And when everything else turns on (the receiver, the cable box, the speakers) and yet the actual television screen does not, I press my least favorite button: help.

Click three: “help”

“Help” (yes I am using quotations marks sarcastically) then makes the remote control flash a light at the receiver and says to me “Did that solve the problem?”

Click four: “no”

See, now I’m starting to get annoyed.  If my third click “help” had actually helped me, I wouldn’t need to go any further.  If only….

Because whatever flashy thing the remote did didn’t work, “help” asks me “Is the receiver on?” “Is the cable box on?”

Clicks five and six: yes and yes

Now the remote starts f-ing with me.  It starts asking me completely unrelated questions.

“Is the PS3 on?” “Is the Wii on?”

Click seven and eight: No

I feel like there should also be a “WTF?” button at this point.

The remote blinks at the receiver several more times and then says to me “is the tv on?”

Click nine: NO!!!!!!!! (ok, so there’s no actual exclamation points on the remote screen, but I’m using enough force behind my point-clicking to hopefully get my exclamations across).

More blinking. More flashes.

“Is the tv on now?”

Deep breath

Click ten: No

Because, really, why would it be?  I mean why would it be?  Why would the remote actually tell the tv what it’s supposed to do?

“Is the tv on?”

Click eleven: no

“Is the tv on now?”

Click twelve: no

Depending on just how patient (or frustrated) I am, these last few clicks can go around in this cycle for quite a while.  Back and forth.  Never actually accomplishing anything.

Sometimes, though, I think I’ll outsmart my remote control and just turn everything off and then turn it all back on again.  That should solve the problem, right?  It just resets.  Doesn’t it?  DOESN”T IT?!?!?

After click 24 I’m hastily looking for the nearest heavy object to smash the remote control with.  I fantasize about taking a hammer to it “are you broken? are you broken now? are you broken? are you broken now?”

I don’t though.  Instead, I shut everything off again and walk away.  Biting off the choice words I would like to say to my husband about his precious technology.  In their place I just yell “BRIAN! The tv is broken!” up the stairs.

He comes loping down the stairs, casually asks for the remote, goes through clicks one and two and suddenly everything is working.  Sesame Street dances before our delighted son’s eyes, while I can feel the top of my head start to smolder with frustration.

My husband looks at me with his deep blue, innocent eyes “So what’s the problem?”

I think I see something mocking me in the back of those big eyes.  I hear a tone of amusement in his voice, or did I imagine it?

Usually, I just glare at him and walk away.

But one day, I’ll have my revenge on that remote.  Modern Family captured this dynamic perfectly.

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Broken

Aside from having a craptastic couple of weeks, my blog hasn’t been working correctly. I don’t know if it’s WordPress, my internet connection or what, but I can’t type up a full blog post, only these quickies.

I’m going to take it as a sign from the universe that I need a few more days before I write a long post, so maybe I don’t sound like a raving lunatic or a complete B (either of which have been perfectly possible these last couple of weeks). Ok, universe. Message received. I’ll avoid scaring my friends and family for a few more days. Thanks for looking out!

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After a long couple weeks of illness and other nasty business, Baby C finally is sleeping in his own bed again.  Hurrah!

But wait…why am I tossing and turning all night?  Why do I feel the need to clutch a pillow to my side (since as you know my husband eats/sleeps/lives at work)?  Do I actually miss my baby boy?

Tell me it isn’t so!  I finally have the big bed back to myself, well sort of, since I usually have two sleeping dogs at my feet.  The bed now feels empty! The enormity of the mattress now feels overwhelming, lonely even, as if I am adrift among the sheets and blankets.

All the while, C sleeps peacefully, perhaps blissfully, in his crib.  He may wake occasionally, as he manages to scrunch himself into a corner of the crib, no longer having the miles of space to flop around in.  But as soon as I re-binky him and lay him straight in the middle, C is asleep again.

I would like to think that I am not looking at his sleeping form with envy, but I cannot be certain.

I trudge back to my (mostly) empty bed and lay there, waiting for sleep to come.  I slip my arms around a pillow and hope it fills the emptiness.  It works, a bit, and I finally drift off….

Only to awaken very early in the morning because my son is refreshed and ready to start a new day.

He babbles, telling me how well he slept.  I listen, my eyes slit open, mumbling affirmative noises as C relates his dreams or his love for sunrises or whatever so delights his as to have him talking for minutes (which feel like hours) on end.

But I suppose it’s just another lesson in motherhood: it’s a good thing to nurture his independence, even if I suffer at my own hand.  I’m sure I’ll adjust to sleeping alone soon enough…or maybe I should go pull out my old pregnancy body pillow…

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Finally feeling better, but still worn out. Hand Foot Mouth disease basically sucks. And as much as I love my son, I now view him as a tiny disease incubator.

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There are many differences between my babies, the most obvious being their different species, but no less important is Baby C’s thumbs.  Of all the gifts humanity has bestowed on C, the dogs most envy his moving digits which can lead the way to the dogs’ dearest wish: freedom!

Now C’s ability to grip can be a source of pain for the dogs, often literally.  C alternately tortures them with his kung fu grip on their ears and tails or by chasing them with hard, but brightly colored plastic objects in his hands.

Recently this behavior has escalated to include an object in each hand, which C clanks together in an adorable and somewhat menacing manner.  He sometimes laughs manically while doing this, which honestly scares the crap out of Dodger. Poor Dodger can be spotted running away from C several times a day as C charges the poor dog with various toys and Dodger scampers out of the way in a panic as if C had a gun or a metal wrench instead of a bumblebee maraca.

Yet, C’s opposable thumbs do have an upside for the dogs.  Penny is fond of the fact that C can hold food in his hands, which she is happy to relieve him of (though she is less pleased that he can take food from their bowls).

Both dogs are intrigued by C’s grip on tennis balls.  His hands are large enough to grip and throw the balls now, though he seems to prefer chasing Dodger with the ball held in one hand while the other hand is held out to fend off unwanted licking.  If he is close enough to one of the dogs, C holds the ball out near dog’s mouth.

Actually, C attempts to force the ball into dog’s mouth, most often Dodger’s mouth.  Poor Dodger isn’t exactly sure how to react.  Every instinct he has is telling him to grab the ball from C and run, but that means putting teeth on bare baby skin, something Dodger does not want to do.  So Dodger turns his head this way and that, trying to find the best position to take the ball from C’s vulnerable little hand, all the while trying to avoid getting a tennis ball in the eye or being punched in the nose by it.  He bites one way, then releases, then bites a different way and releases, maybe tugging the ball a little so it’s not quite surrounded by flesh.  You can see the eagerness in his eyes grow with each attempt.  He is trying so hard not to bite the baby, but he really REALLY WANTS THAT BALL!  Finally, Dodger works the ball out of C’s hand, immediately backing away, tossing his head in triumph.  Mission accomplished!

But the dogs’ favorite trick C performs with his magic thumbs is opening doors.  C, usually running, rushes up to the door and grabs the long silver handle in his hand.  Penny doesn’t move yet, but you can see her eyebrows arch up, ears twitching.  Dodger eagerly rushes up to stand just behind C.  With each of C’s attempts, you can watch the hope rise and fall on his little black furry face.  Finally, C turns the handle enough, the latch pulls back audibly.  Suddenly Penny is shoulder to shoulder with Dodger as they urge C to open the door.  You can almost hear them chanting “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”  and at last the door opens.  And as C pulls the door back, all my babies rush out, the joy palpable in the air they leave behind.

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For those of you who are not a fan of the show, this blog post will be meaningless.  For those of you who are, you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say:

I’m really going to miss you, Law and Order.

You’ve been like an old, dear friend to me over the years.  20 years to be precise, which would technically have made me 9 years old in your first season, and therefore a wildly inappropriate audience for your dark subject matter.  Yet, when I did discover you, years later, it was an instant connection.

I wouldn’t say love at first sight because in those early days your video and sound production was shaky.  Perhaps you were trying to capture the grittiness of New York City, pre-Giuliani and the great clean-up of Times Square and the Great White Way.  Perhaps, because of your newness, your budget simply wasn’t that big.  Even your cast photos needed some polish back in those days.

Michael Moriarity and Richard Brooks

Though your actors have real names, often with illustrious careers prior to joining your cast or even after they depart, I’ll always remember them by their characters’ names.  For example, the pair above, the DA dynamic duo in the very early days, will always be Stone and Robinette to me.  And Jerry Orbach will always be Lennie Briscoe in my heart.

In fact, when Jerry/Lennie passed away a few years ago, part of my love for the show went with him.  Not that I didn’t still love you, but I loved you more when Lennie was with you.  In fact, Lennie was an important part of my personal “dream team”: Det. Lennie Briscoe, Det. Rey Curtis, ADA Claire Kincaid, Exec ADA Jack McCoy, and DA Adam Schiff.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed Jesse L Martin and Chris Noth as Lennie’s partners (and the partners of other detectives), but Benjamin Bratt’s role as Det. Curtis was so perfect, so spot-on as the young, excitable detective, who chafes at the old-school way of doing things, yet struggles with his own demons, that it successfully makes Bratt my favorite of Lennie’s partners.

Lennie, or Jerry Orbach I should say, was on the show for over 270 episodes from 1991-2004, making him third to Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson)  at 391 and Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) at 368.

These three characters weathered the technology revolution that shook the justice world to its core, both in reality and in fiction.  Through your eyes, Law and Order, we saw the world embrace DNA evidence, trace evidence, e-mails, cell phones, digital cameras, etc.  I saw the phone on Lt. Van Buren’s desk change from rotary to multi-line punch to sleek flat panels for caller id.  I saw the detectives go from checking pagers and using payphones to holstering their cell phones alongside their weapons.

But it’s not just the nostalgia of changing times that will make me miss you, Law and Order.  It’ll be all the times I spent with you that I miss the most.

You were there for me with a Saturday afternoon marathon when I was desperate to avoid homework.

You were there for me with regularly schedule early morning repeats on weekdays for hung-over college students, senior citizens, and stay-at-home moms (at various times, I fit all but one of these categories).

You were there for me everyday, like clockwork, when I was stuck on bed-rest with 1) a broken toe; 2) a bum knee; 3) a nervous breakdown; 4) pregnancy related illnesses.

You were there for me when nothing else was on.  I knew that even if the current season wasn’t to my liking, as it has increasingly been, there would be re-runs of you somewhere, out there on the web or the thousands of channels provided via satellite.

And so, I’ll miss you.

I’ll miss your legal nuances and blunders.  I’ll miss your “ripped from the headlines” stories and the ones that were just too bizarre to be true.  I’ll miss your “da du”.  I’ll miss the ironic one-liners.

So goodbye, dear Law and Order.  Adieu.

I’ll see you in re-runs.

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The past couple weeks have been a bit hectic what with my corneal infection, Penny’s surgery, house-hunting, Mother’s Day, and, most recently, the stomach flu.

Occasionally during this time I have come to my sad, neglected little blog and think “Oh, no.  My readership is down! Sad! I should really write more. But not today…” Or I’d simply fail to form some coherent sentences after staring at the computer screen for several long minutes.  But then I’d get over it and go back to reading my cheesy mystery novels.

In just over three weeks I’ve read all of the following novels:

The mysteries: I love historical mysteries! They combine two of my favorite genres–historical fiction and mysteries.  by C S Harris

What Remains of Heaven: A Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C S Harris

What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C S Harris

When Gods Die: A Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C S Harris

Where Serpents Sleep: A Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C S Harris

Why Mermaids Sing: A Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C S Harris

And Only to Deceive (A Lady Emily Mystery) by Tasha Alexander

A Fatal Waltz (A Lady Emily Mystery) by Tasha Alexander

A Poisoned Season (A Lady Emily Mystery) by Tasha Alexander

Tears of Pearl (A Lady Emily Mystery) by Tasha Alexander

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen

The supernatural fiction: I’m hopelessly addicted to “fantasy” fiction, though I would like to add an addendum by saying that I don’t delve into the depths of fantasy with the whole Star Trek worlds or fighting dragons and what not.  I stick with mostly witches and vampires, because the make me oh so much cooler.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Burned by P C and Kristin Cast

Prior to the last two weeks, more like in the two weeks before that (with some time off for my eye infection), I read the entirety of The Hollows series by Kim Harrison.  They’re violent, sexy, over the top, and completely addictive.

I guess I should do some more serious reading.  I currently have two Lincoln assassination histories, a Mark Twain biography, a Pulitzer prize winner, and a book about cyber-librarians lined up on my nightstand.

And yet…I’m just itching for another book in one of the series I’ve been reading to come out…or maybe a whole new series to latch on to.  That would be lovely.

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