Procrastination (But I Digress)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I applaud, you applaud, we all applaud the ipad

This was my speech last night. I didn't win, but I also didn't get to say the whole speech, because I went over the 5 to 7 minutes. Six years of toastmasters and I still can't get my whole speech within the allotted time--oh well, I hope you enjoy it.

I Applaud, You Applaud, We All Applaud the ipad!

So last year the ipad came out and I thought—that’s just a glorified iphone without the phone. I don’t need that. Sure, I LOOOOVVVEE my iphone, but the ipad is just a bigger version. I’ll just wear my glasses. I didn’t need an ipad.

I got dad an ipad and he absolutely looovveed it. But I already had my beloved iphone. I didn’t need an ipad.

Then Adam, my favorite nephew who’s lived with me since he was a baby moved to Australia. I was bereft, miserable, inconsolable, lost, so very sad. I need an ipad (and a trip to Hawaii).

OMG I love my ipad. It is my iphone, but bigger. AND you can watch movies on it. AND, well, let’s go through the main features about the ecstasy that is the ipad.

First and foremost—there’s no phone and there’s no camera, but otherwise it is very like the iphone in versatility and for the apps. I have heard that they are actually coming out with an ipad with a phone, but that just seems silly.

Next, there are several types of ipads (not to mention the other notebook computers that are following in ipad’s very large footprints, but I digress). There is an ipad that only gets 3G which is what my phone uses to get onto the internet and to sync with my computer. There is also an ipad that only gets the wifi wireless internet connection. My dad has that one, since he has wireless internet at his house--he's at his house most of the time. I have wireless internet at my house, but I leave my house all the time for most of the day, and I do not have wireless internet at my office. Now there are all of these advertisements that McDonalds and bookstores and airports and even some entire cities have wireless internet available, but I tried it at Borders bookstore for my iphone and it actually erased my ebook application—I guess it was trying to sell me Border’s version, but I digress.

So the final type of ipad (currently available—they are always coming out with something new) is the 3G and wireless. It costs a little more, but when you are grieving over missing your pseudo son who moved 18 time zones away, you don’t really care how much it costs.

So my ipad has 3G. This involves a monthly fee, but there is no contract. So it was $14.99 per month for 250 M Bs (whatever those are). After about four days, I received an e-mail that said I was about to go over my 250 MB’s, but for $25 I could get 2 GB’s—M stands for mega and G stands for Giga. So I think of it as 250,000 and 2 million. That’s not it really, but that’s how I think of it. Anyway, I got the 2 GB’s and I’ve got thousands and thousands of MB's left for the month. I think I’m going to be ok going back down to the 250 plan next month. The real explanation from a live guy at at&t said that if I tried to download a movie one time using 3G and not the internet, I’d use my entire 2GB--$25 for one movie, I don’t think I’ll be making that mistake now that I know.

But, the data plan allows my ipad to sync to my computer at the office even if I am away from the internet—so I get my e-mails. There is a cute little noise when something comes up on my calendar that I haven’t silenced yet and I’m thinking of leaving it, because it is just so darn cute—but I won’t keep any noise to tell me about e-mails—I just get too many.

Anyhoo, I had the ipad (didn’t blink at the price tag--didn't look either, but I digress), I had the data plan ($14.99 or $25 per month) and I was ready to go. The apple store guy said would you like a free consultation to get you started. Now normally, I’m a “I don’t need to read the directions kind of gal”, but I thought, what the hey—it’s free. OMG, how lucky am I that I still wanted more distractions from missing Adam, because the free consultation guy showed me how to get kindle books for the ipad. There is an apple book store and a kindle book store—well really it is Amazon, but if you go through the kindle app, then you don’t have to do anything after it is set up and when you buy a book, it magically appears on your ipad. Oh, it is so beautiful. AND the free book that the apple store gives you is Winnie the Pooh with pictures—the kids love looking at that. And the free consultation guy spent the time to find the complete works of Emily Dickenson and showed me how to use the search key so that I could find a needle in a haystack (long story) that I now know with a fair amount of certainty doesn’t exist.

Back to the ipad. So I got back to my office and synced to my computer. It goes through itunes. So everything that I had on my iphone (also purchased through itunes or the apple app store which is in itunes—synced to the ipad. Now I had all of the apps from my phone on my ipad (except ebooks—that’s odd—I blame Borders).

The apps that came from my iphone are small on my ipad or I can press a key and make them twice as big. The picture of most things on the ipad is amazingly clear and wonderful, but not so much on the apps that came over from the iphone that have to be enlarged to the ipad. No worries—so many apps are free, I just went and found them for the ipad.

The pictures—all the pictures on my computer—hundreds of pictures—all synced to the ipad. My e-mail, my calendar, my contacts list and I just tried something today—if I scan a court document and e-mail it to myself, I can open it in my e-mail and not have to bring the court file to court—I have it on my ipad. I am so spoiled.

Now I was incredibly aware that all I really had was a larger iphone without the phone or the camera, so I went looking for things that I would use the ipad for that I didn’t use the iphone for. Newspapers and magazines. I have USA today on the ipad (for free) and I read it everyday. I never have the patience to read newspapers. I also have subscribed to my favorite magazine (although it was in the grocery store one day earlier than it was available on the ipad—bummer). It is so cool not to have the paper copy taking up space, but I don’t have to worry about not saving it because I might want to reread an article—it’s on my ipad.

I have to say I love, love, love my ipad, but my poor iphone is feeling neglected. I just don’t make that many phone calls or take very many pictures. When it dies, I probably will not replace it—but I may be tempted to trade it in for the next generation of ipads that have a phone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Whopping Cough

So the doctor who got mad at me for coughing for a month without seeing a doctor got to see me again today (seven weeks and still coughing). She suggested that it might be mold (everyone in the house coughs, so I have to admit, that thought crossed my mind also), but I told her that I cough more at the office. So then I described Adrienne's cough which is very much like mine, except ten times stronger. The doctor said, hmmm. When were you vaccinated for whopping cough last? When I was a child?? It's time for a new vaccine, but not until you are all better--they only last about 10 years and whopping cough is very contagious so Adrienne is probably the culprit. That was the doctor talking--little does she know that I was sick first, so I'm probably the culprit, except who gave it to me in the first place? Water under the bridge. She did a test (stuck a very long skinny stick up and into my nasal cavity) and she'll know if a few days, but don't that sound fun--Whopping cough.

So I have my handy dandy google at my fingertips and I looked up whopping cough (the doctor called it by its Latin or doctor type name and I couldn't spell that so I looked up vaccine which I also couldn't spell, but I got close enough and eventually found whopping cough). I read all of the symptoms and I am the poster child for whopping cough (and so is Adrienne). It lasts four to eight weeks. One more week to go, woo, hoo.

The only thing that has me a little confused is that it is bacterial. But I've had it before. Who keeps giving it to me? That is the question. I suspect Norm. He has a huge cough every once in a while, but it's not like we spend much time in the same room. Hmmm. Maybe he gives it to his secretary who is also my secretary and she gives it to me. Maybe she has been vaccinated, so she's a carrier, but not sick. Maybe Caitlyn got it at school (cest pool of germs), but she's been vaccinated, so she carries it to us old folks who haven't been vaccinated in more than ten years. If I was a detective or a journalist, this would all sound like good stuff. It's a good thing that I'm not a hypochondriac.

Ten minutes and no coughing--knock on wood. Wikapedia says that the coughing starts when you yawn, yell, talk or look at cartoons (I'm paraprhasing). So I need to stay very still--oh no, I just yawned. I'm holding my breath. wish meeee luc k .

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Hawaii Part Deux

These are the Akaka Falls in Hawaii on the Big Island. My travel agent calls the Big Island, Kona, but in fact there is Kona (City and airport) on one side of the Big Island and Hilo (City and airport) on the other side. This falls is on the Hilo side. One of the travel guides on the internet said it is such a long drive, that you should spend half of your vacation on the Kona side and half on the Hilo side. So I suggested this to the travel agent who suggested it to the tour company that she deals with in Hawaii. They must be located in (and get their profit from) Kona, because they said, no, no, no. It's only a two hour drive and the hotels are awful on the Hilo side--you won't be comfortable. Ok. So even though the main reason (besides relaxing and its Hawaii and comfortable ocean view, etc., etc.) for going is to see these falls, I have to drive to the equivilent of going to Santa Barbara to see them and come back the same day. Ok. Not that I ever drive to Santa Barbara for the day now, but it's not impossible.
I went on my iphone map to see how far it was and it refused to give me directions. Refused. On the map it looks like a very big volcano is right in the middle of the Island making it rather impossible to get from one side to the other, but I am assured by the tour company that there is a two lane highway to take me there.
The internet picture on the webcite for the hotel looks cheesy, so I was somewhat sceptical. However, the internet picture on GoHawaii looks awesome. A trick of the camera? A little airbrush here and there? Who knows--and really who cares. It's Hawaii. The garbage dump in Hawaii is still in Hawaii. Even the warehouse that I worked at in Hawaii was in Hawaii--it was dark when we left, but the air was so sweet and lush. I was still in Hawaii.
So yes, I'm going and yes, I'm probably going to be disappointed by some things, but I'll be disappointed in Hawaii. Big fat hairy deal--I'll be in Hawaii. I can't stop grinning.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


I just realized that I am so happy to use an ATM and now my grocery store has self check out that I love and I get so geeked over not requiring any assistance from the checker, BUT if I call customer service on the phone and I don't talk to a live person--I am pissed. I hate talking to a computer and punch 0 over and over to try to force the phone to connect me to a live person, but in a bank or grocery store, I have absolutely no use for a live person and resent them.

Is ironic a synonym for odd?

Friday, February 04, 2011


So there is a travel agent down the hall from our office. Every once in a while they drop off brochures at the front desk. No one ever picks them up, but I happened to be coming into the office at the same time that the gal was dropping off the brochures and the top one was for Hawaii. I'll look at that.

I went to Hawaii twice a long, long (really long) time ago. Both trips were great, but I hated the very long plane ride. The first trip was really cheap, but then they sold us a bunch of excursions, so it ended up being pretty pricey. The second trip was free to me (except for the couple of excursions), because it was for work. I went over for a week and we literally drove to the apartment at night, got up at 6 a.m. to drive to work IN A WAREHOUSE WITH NO WINDOWS and left well after dark to go back to the apartment for five straight days. I could have been at the North Pole. So the sixth day I insisted that we take the day off and go sight seeing and it was great.

Take a trip to Hawaii has been on my list for a very, very long time, but I thought I had grown--I live in California. This is a rather hot vacation destination and I live here all the time. So why get on a plane and fly to far away when I can just drive to San Diego or up the coast. It makes no sense. Except that I almost never do. So last year I forced myself to take a trip to San Diego. It was nice, but the beach wasn't all that. It was overcast most of the time and that long drive was not appealing. And then there is Hawaii 5 0. It is kind of a cheesy crime show, but the view is awesome. I want to go there.

So connect the dots, and I'm looking at this brochure and it has information about a cruise around all the islands. I've heard of this before and hated the idea, but then I looked a little closer--American cuisine--floating hotel that goes to all of the islands. I took two trips to Maui the last two times I was in Hawaii. It is not unreasonable that the cheapest way to go would be to stay in Oahu and I've never been to the big island, so I have to go. A cruise with American cuisine would be perfect. I looked up the prices on line--ouch.

But it's on my list. I haven't been on a vacation for me in a very long time. I went to Washington DC a couple years back for work--five days--worked 7-8 hours each non-travel day--awesome vacation. (Not sarcastic--I really had a good time.) Last year we went to Kansas City for work--again, very nice time, but for work. Oh, and don't forget my weekend at San Diego. But turn off the phone, my only job is to relax for 10 days...haven't had one of those in a very long time.

So I psych myself up to spend the money--damn the torpedoes--I'm getting the talking Elmo (inside joke--a friend of mine was broke to the point of taking out payday loans, on the brink of wage garnishments and she bought a talking Elmo--she doesn't even have kids). Then I realize, I also have to get there and look up airfares--double ouch.

So I'm leaving for lunch the next day and my feet find their way to the office of the travel agent. They have a De La Crois hanging on the wall. I love those prints. It must be a sign. I lay out everything to the travel agent and she says, "what's your budget." I tell her the ginormous number that I have estimated that it could cost me and she says she'll get back to me by the end of the day. Then nothing. She doesn't call back.

So I'm thinking about it and I go back on line to look at the cruise. I hate cruises. I notice some small print. The steakhouse (that caught my eye and pushed me over the edge on a cruise) is available for an extra charge. At each stop they have excursions you can buy and they are not cheap. I'm wondering if there is anything but a sleazy dock where we pull into port--been to enough of those to last me a lifetime. So now, I'm thinking--"what were you thinking"--I hate cruises. All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air--OK, an ocean view would be awesome and comfortable is a must, but I don't care about all the silly vacation stuff that other people are looking for. A nice view, maybe one day of renting a car to go see a volcano.

So I put that in an e-mail to Ms. Travel Agent and she calls me right back. She's so happy that I have lowered my expectations, because there is no way she can swing a cruise on my budget (double occupancy means I pay twice what I put in my budget and my budget was already anemic compared to the actual cost). She has lots of great ideas in my budget.

My ginormous budget that I can't afford to leave a great vacation destination to fly five hours to a tourist trap where I will pay so, so, so much extra for my diet coke. This does not sound good.

So she was going to call me back by end of business yesterday with a proposal for my new plan. She hasn't called. I can either throw more money at this or grow up and take it off the list. Decisions, decisions.

P.S. Just got the e-mail that for my ginormous budget I can get 7 days at cheesy partial ocean view hotel. Tried to find restaurants in the area and the pickings are slim and pricey. No steakhouses--they lik'a the fish there. Do they even have McDonalds in Hawaii? They must, but what if they don't?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Cough, Cough, Cough

Yes, I'm still coughing. It has been a month. Everyone is tired of my cough. I went to the doctors on Saturday, but the parking lot for a rather large medical building was completely empty. They were closed on Saturday--every single office in that building was closed on Saturday. Last year when I went, I had a Saturday morning appointment--what a difference a year makes. Anyway, I was busy yesterday, but coughed up a lung anyway, so I took this morning off and went to the doctor. Ok, I took the morning off and played with Matthew and Madilyn until it was time for them to leave and then took a side trip to Glendale Beautiful (where I didn't volunteer for anything I'm very proud to say, coughed a lot, yes, volunteered, no). After Glendale Beautiful, I found the right entrance onto the freeway and headed to the doctor. I figured that it would be easier to make an appointment by going in. I've waited on hold for my doctor's office--probably longer than I've spoken with her in person over the past 12 years. I was lucky to find a parking space--the lot was completely full--but someone was leaving just as I got there. I glanced at my watch and was a bit concerned that it was 20 minutes to noon. My doctor's office closes from noon to 1:30 for lunch (kind of like the courts). How long can it take to make an appointment when I'm right there in person?

So this story has a happy ending (of sorts--the real happy ending will be when I stop coughing). I said, I need to make an appointment because I've had a cough for a month. The girl said would you like to have a morning appointment with Dr. so and so. Remember, it is 20 minutes to Noon. Sure, I say. Have a seat. Five minutes later I'm called in. They weigh me and take my blood pressure (fat and normal). The nurse takes a really long time to check my pulse--I started to wonder if I didn't have one and is that a problem, but she was done and said the doctor would be right in. I pulled out my phone to check my e-mail and the doctor walked right in--I was shocked. I told her my ailments and described how the cough medicine that I was taking made no impact on my cough in the least. She asked about mucuse and I'll spare the details of her descriptive question, but my answer was pretty tame on the subject. And then she said "No one should have a cough for a month. You have a low grade infection and we are going to treat it with antibiotics." Now you probably don't know me well enough to know that I hate antibiotics. I'm opposed to them as a rule. I've refused them on many occasions in which doctors have said, you may have an infection, so we'll give you antibiotics just in case--I say no if it is I "may" have an infection. Do I have one or not. If you don't know, I'm not going to endanger the planet by taking unnecessary antibiotics. But this doctor didn't say that. She asked some very pointed, detailed questions about mucuse, after suggesting musinex (which I informed her did nothing to help my cough) and then she said definitively, "you have an infection." So I have antibiotics--"that's why God invented them," she said. Wow. I am really hopeful that my cough will be gone in three to four days (course of treatment).

I also have a very wierd bruise on my hand. Blood tests to follow--stay tuned.