Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Technology for My Pocket

For a good number of years when I was asked what I want for Christmas I was stumped to come up with anything which, upon opening it, would make me jump for joy. There were things I'd have wanted that would have had a very unrealistic price tag. Likewise, I could have named things just for the sake of naming them that would have left me feeling decidedly underwhelmed. I just opted for cash which would give me some options if I ever did find something I really wanted and which I could use in the mean time for my refreshing mini vacations out of town. This year it was more or less decided by the "Santas" that I needed to want a thing. Though the price was on the higher end of reasonable, I figured I might as well ask for the only thing I'd had my eye on for a while and that I knew I wouldn't buy for myself - an iPod Touch.

I spend 98% of my time most days here in the house or at work and I have wireless 'net access in both places. And, I spend much of my free time online. What would be better than being able to take the internet with me - to the toilet, for example, or to the deck in the summer without having to lug out the laptop and then worry about a bird bombing the keypad? Yes, an iPod Touch would be handy, so that's what I told the Santas I wanted. They came through, and with a bigger and niftier one than I thought I might get!

It came as a delicious bonus when I read just a few days ago that McDonalds is going to offer their Wifi service free starting in a few weeks. And, in having borrowed my daughter's Touch for the past week to learn the basics in anticipation of getting my own, I discovered that there are a good number of unsecured wireless routers out there in just about every neighborhood. Okay, so maybe it's not perfectly legal to borrow a little bandwidth on occasion, but for a quick mail check I'll do it. (It's not like I'm going to sit in front of somebody's house researching a professional paper for hours on end with a palm sized device. If you don't want me using your router, at least put a password on it!)

Frugal as I am I've downloaded a bunch of free apps and haven't even started to look at the ones with price tags yet. Though I've had an mp3 player for years, it's not something I ever really used; I don't need to have music glued to my ears all day like the kids seem to, so the Touch isn't going to get filled with tunes and if it does get a few they'll be from the 70's. It's basically going to be an internet browser and mail client. If you correspond with me and it might disturb you to think that I wrote from the crapper, you're weird. Get over it!

Now comes the question of where and how to carry it. If I add another pouch to my belt I'm going to look like Batman with his utility belt. (Some folks think I do already.) I can't carry it in a pants pocket because I already carry about 10 pounds of stuff in them, and said stuff might scratch it or do worse damage. It seems that a shirt pocket will make the most sense except I'll need to remember that it's there whenever I bend over. Maybe in a sock would be better. In any event, I'll be enjoying myself for a while and hopefully after, when the novelty wears off, I'll still be able to amuse myself with it until scooter riding weather is back.

I fired up the BV yesterday morning just to warm it a little. I tried to start it a few days ago when it was bitter cold and I was a little worried when it wouldn't turn over. I keep in on a battery tender and there was plenty of juice so I'm guessing the oil was just sitting in it like molasses.

A Merry Christmas Season to one and all who share the joy of the season with us, and to those who don't - have a happy whatever you have!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And, Suddenly, It's Winter!

I sort of lost the past month.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is that length of time when the anticipation of the holidays seems to put the apparent movement of time into overdrive.  It seems that the last bit of leftover stuffing barely clears the gullet when the  spicy scent of festive cookies being baked spreads through the house.  A big old evergreen appears in the living room.  The countdown of days till Christmas vacation excites young (students) and old (teachers) alike.  And, depending on one's view of the stuff, the earth is blessed with a covering of snow.

Clement Moore's "long winter's nap" comes with the advent of winter.  Actually, many such naps are in order during the season, especially later when it drags on into when it seems that the arrival of spring might never come.

Favorite machines get put aside out of necessity.  Others which are much less fun need to be readied to do their duty through the long, cold days and nights ahead.

The first half inch of the first snow is kind of delightful.  After that, it becomes old hat awfully fast.

I've lost almost 50 pounds since June.  I can shovel snow without feeling like a heart attack is waiting just around the corner.  I was out clearing the walk this morning, and felt almost a kind of childish glee while tossing the shovels full of it aside.  I wonder if my gas mileage will get even better on the scooter with less of me for it to haul around?

I'm waiting for a "warm" day when all the sludge on the roads is cleared so I can get out on the BV.  Till then I'll anxiously await the arrival of Christmas!